Jerry Jones Speaks and Cowboys Fans go on Suicide Watch

WARNING: READING JERRY’S COMMENTS MAY CAUSE FANS TO CONSIDER TAKING IRRATIONAL ACTION TO HARM SELF. READ AT OWN RISK.

After a disappointing season last year, all indications were that the Cowboys were going to go to work on improving their team right? Brought in new coaches for offense and defense. But don’t forget (no matter how you try) that Jerry Jones is the owner and he said a few things while at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, that give me the impression that Jerry isn’t really sincere about improving his team. Not if it cost money.

First of all, Jerry thinks the Cowboys were Super Bowl contenders last year. That’s not a good sign. Here is Jerry’s logic, we almost beat the Giants, in two unsuccessful attempts, and the Giants won the super bowl therefore we are right there in contention. Jerry lives in his own little world. JERRY

Reality is that in their own division the Cowboys were swept by the Eagles (games not even close) and swept by the Giants while just barely beating the struggling Redskins twice. The only good team the Cowboys defeated all year was the 49ers in O.T. With that win, they went 1-4 against teams that made the playoffs last season. To call them Super Bowl contenders is delusional.

The problems on defense, particularly pass defense, were well documented but Jerry is starting to feel better about how they played evidently. Jerry suggest that Terrance Newman may come back at the right price. NEWMAN. I can just hear the Cowboys fans release a collective groan with that comment.

Jerry went on to defend the play of Newman and Scandrick by implying that they weren’t used the right way in Ryan’s new scheme. Jerry has taken a look at the price of free agent CBs and decided that if he can get Newman cheaper then he represents value. You may have a point there Jerry, if Newman could cover!

Jerry claims Newman still has his speed but if that is true, then Cruz of the Giants is without a doubt the fastest human on earth because he left Newman grabbing air. Jerry is the one who over paid Scandrick on his contract last year so naturally Jerry will defend his play. It’s either that or take responsibility for his poor decision and if you know Jerry, that ain’t gonna happen.

Newman "posterized" by Cruz but according to Jerry's world Newman still has his speed.

Remove all sharp objects from Cowboys fans because there is more from Jerry and it gets even worse.  

Laurent Robinson was a very productive WR last year for Dallas particularly in the high priority redzone and Cowboys fans pretty much agree we need to get this guy signed. Jerry indicates that while Robinson was valuable last year, he could be replaced by a young receiver, Andre Holmes.

Holmes has been on the practice squad and to say the least is unproven as a player. Is Jerry serious? Romo really connected in a unique way with Robinson while they displayed a chemistry that shouldn’t be taken for granted nor assumed can easily be replaced.

The fact is Robinson is looking to get paid and Jerry is looking to get by on the cheap. Could Jerry be bluffing in an attempt to sign Robinson for less? Possibly but we are talking Jerry here and if it sounds too stupid to be true, then you don’t know Jerry like we do.

As Cowboys fans, we have heard this talk from Jerry before in the off season where he says he feels good about the guys he currently has on the roster. Then the team goes out and stinks up the joint missing the playoffs yet again. How many times will we fall for it?

Have hope that Jason can some how influence Jerry to improve his team and for sure stay away from sharp objects during this off season!

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CHEAP SHOTS: DEZ BRYANT “LAZY BUT TALENTED” APPAREL LINE

Dez rolls out offseason workout gear....

1) Dez has been rockin’ a T-shirt that appropriately describes himself as, “Lazy but talented.”  STORY

Perhaps this is what Jason Hatcher was referring to when he said the Cowboys have no real leaders on the team. After laying an egg at the end of the season when they had a chance to win the division, I can just imagine Coach Jason Garrett’s reaction when Dez “jailin’ pants” Bryant walks by him at the ranch wearing this shirt at workouts during the off-season. It’s not exactly going to inspire teammates to bust their tails to improve.  

Hey Dez, back in the day bro, “Moose” Johnston would have told you to change your shirt, change your attitude, pull up your pants and don’t doze off in meetings either or else! STORY     

2) Rob Ryan attacked the Broncos offense after Tebow beat his brother’s team, the Jets. LINK

We can only hope Jason Garrett is tearing off a very big piece of duct tape (after all it is the south) to put over the mouth of Rob Ryan next year.  What is it that compels the entire Ryan family of Rob, Rex, and dad Buddy, to shoot off their mouths and motivate their opponents far more than their own players?

Rob described the Broncos offense as college crap and said they don’t win at the NFL level….unless of course they go up against a Ryan coached defense evidently. Rob also said that Broncos offense made him “throw up.”

Hey Rob, the way your defense performed against the Eagles and Giants last season, made Cowboy fans throw up!

3) Jerry Jones’ Puppet  uh I mean son Stephen responded to Jason Hatcher’s comments of  a lack of leadership on the field,

Everybody has their reasons for our seemingly not making the playoffs or not getting the job done that we all want to get done, including Jason,” Jones said. “He wants to go to the Super Bowl, and so our guys appreciate that. They think we’ve got a lot of talent on [this] team. Sometimes it’s frustrating and it’s then, ‘Why aren’t we getting it done? I think Tony’s a helluva quarterback. We have good players on defense.’ And I think we do to. Everybody’s trying to figure out what we need to do to take the next step. I’m sure if you ask 53 guys they’ve all got differing opinions as to why it’s not done. “

Actually Stephen, if you were to ask those 53 guys, you wouldn’t get 53 answers. They could pretty much narrow down it down to a couple of reasons why we aren’t getting it done. 1. Jerry Jones and 2. YOU!

Jason Hatcher: Somebody Step Up Already

Recently DE Jason Hatcher was asked about the on field leaders for the Dallas Cowboys. His answer certainly raised a few eye brows when he made the point that there really isn’t someone stepping up and taking charge especially on defense. Jason’s response,

“Dude. I gotta be honest with you: That’s a good question. That’s a good question. I really don’t know. It’s just another thing we really need … like the Ravens, we don’t have that. We’ve got the talent. We’ve got everything we need. I think we get like a Ray Lewis-type. Everybody buys into him. When Ray Lewis speaks, everybody listens to him. A guy like that. We really don’t got  that. I think we definitely need somebody like that.”

When we look back on how the 2011 season unfolded, it would appear that Hatcher makes a very valid point. Time after time we watched the Cowboys defense allow last-minute drives that resulted in touchdowns causing the team to lose some close games that they really could have won. The defensive unit lacked a strong leader to step up and put the team on his back with an attitude that said, “Come on guys let’s get a stop and get off the field right now.”

Without leadership on the field, the tendency is for players to start pointing the finger at each other and participating in the blame game. Good leadership focuses on accountability and making sure you do your own job correctly.

At one point in the week 10 Giants game, Sensabaugh and Newman got into a shoving match right during a Giants drive. VIDEO. Clearly something is wrong here. It led former outstanding Cowboys safety Darren Woodson to say,”I’ll be damned if Terrence Newman ever yelled at me during a game”. Woodson can see that something is wrong here in the leadership department.

Before games we have often watched Brooking yelling and carrying on like a WWF pro wrestler. VIDEO. Is this what Jason is looking for? I doubt it. It is not big on substance and could be provided by Hulk Hogan. It doesn’t appear likely that Brooking will be with the Cowboys next year. So who on this team could step up into the role?

Ultimately it is up to the player and coaches but let’s look at the best candidates on the defense side of the ball.

Ware– Ware has certainly been a very good consistent player that lead the team in sacks last season. He appears to be a solid guy on and off the field. Ware can fill this role but he doesn’t appear to be a very vocal type leader which is OK. He leads with actions. I’m not sure why he isn’t filling the leadership role but at this time he doesn’t appear to be the answer.

James-Bradie james has been a solid leader on and off the field in the past. However he isn’t the player that he once was and he may not be with the Cowboys for much longer. He can fill the leadership role but his time is probably passing on this defense.

Lee– Sean Lee is a linebacker that has provided some much-needed youth and energy for the defense. He has been a leader on the field thru his play and I can easily see him growing into this role in the future. Probably also on the quiet side it would appear. His time to lead may not be here just yet.

Jay Ratliff– If you watch the video of the Sensabaugh/Newman skirmish, there is a guy that steps in to break it up and restore order to the chaos. That player is Nose Tackle Jay Ratliff and I think he may be the best candidate to step up and lead the defense in 2012. He is a Pro Bowler and a consistent veteran on the defense. It is pretty clear that he is respected by teammates and listened to when he speaks.

Jason Hatcher and Darren Woodson see there is a leadership problem with the Cowboys defense. An important part of turning things around next season will be having a leader on the field to keep everyone playing together and focusing on the mission at hand. Ratliff is the strongest candidate in my view but it could come from another player too. Regardless of where, it needs to happen.

Melvin Ingram Steals Show at 2012 All Star Challenge

Hey Melvin, Leon Lett just called and said be sure to tuck the ball away when you are going in for a score!

Recently the Football All Star Challenge was held in Indianapolis to showcase 12 NFL prospects in a variety of skill and challenges.

Now keep in mind these drills are done in shorts and don’t always mean they can be good football players in the NFL. I imagine that Bobby Carpenter was very impressive in this kind of stuff but when he got on the field, well Cowboys fans will tell you “he looked like Tarzan but played like Jane.”

In my view, Melvin Ingram (South Carolina), who must be on the Dallas Cowboys’ radar as a first round pick, stood out as the best overall athlete considering speed, quickness, strength and agility. RESULTS 

Melvin had the best time in the Lineman Challenge. After an early struggle pushing the sled at the first of the obstacle course, he blazed through the rest of the course displaying exceptional quickness for his position. He went on to win the defensive team competition too that had him teamed with Keenan Robinson (Texas) and also led his team to the win for the full team competition that had four on a team. In the full team competition, Melvin anchored the last leg and powered his team to victory.

Then as if that wasn’t impressive enough, after the event Melvin started tossing footballs into a basket down field with an equal accuracy to that of the three QBs in the competition just to show he could I guess. Is that why he wears #6?

Now remember this is the same defensive lineman that took a fake punt for a score against Georgia. Melvin is an athlete and you can always use guys like that on defense so I hope the Cowboys are taking a look at this guy.

It’s fairly likely that Melvin will still be on the board when the Cowboys step up at #14 and as I watched him run effortlessly in a circle moving the bean bags, it was very easy to picture him flying around an offensive tackle and putting an oppossing NFC East QB on their back. That’s something the Cowboys could use wouldn’t you agree?

Quinton Coples also competed in the lineman challenge and while not as agile as Ingram he is very strong and in my view the most impressive thing is his height. He will be a force at DE and I predict he will be very effective at tipping passes with his height. The next best thing to a sack on a QB, is to knock down the pass. No defensive lineman gets to the QB every time so being able to tip a pass or alter a throw is a big plus especially when your secondary can’t cover Rob Ryan on an out pattern.

There were also three QBs that are all expected to go in the mid to late rounds of the NFL draft so I think the Cowboys could consider all three prospects to replace the retired Kitna. Nick Foles, Arizona won the QB drills competition over Case Keenum, Houston and Kellen Moore, Boise State. All three were about equal in skill during this competition and since Moore and Keenum are projected to go in the 6th or 7th round, that would be a pretty good spot for the Cowboys to select a QB after addressing more urgent needs earlier in the draft.

With smaller size, Melvin Ingram may struggle to fight off blocks once he is blocked. But with his cat-like quickness, who is going to be able to block this guy anyway? Can Dallas pass on this OLB prospect at #14?

Al Davis and Jerry Jones….Similar Legacys

Jerry and Al

It’s nearly impossible to not compare the owners of two of the most followed, recognized and winning-est, NFL franchises in pro football. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said himself that Raiders owner Al Davis was a friend and huge influence on him and how he runs his organization. Al was an encouragement to Jerry when Jerry first took over the Cowboys and endured some tough times at first. Both of these men have been a part of winning Super Bowls in the NFL and they also have been described as implementing a very “hands on” approach to running their teams.

Their brands have a national following that have been the biggest in all of sports with “Americas Team” and “Raider Nation”. But lately things haven’t been so good.

Both owners/GMs certainly have their critics with what has transpired in the last 10 years and deservedly so. Jerry’s legacy is still being made while Davis passed away last year and leaves a Raiders organization trying to find its way again.  Both brought their sons into the business and seem to keep them on a very short leash as they conduct business their way whether it is best for the organization or not.

In the past when Jones or Davis brought in strong leaders who would turn the team around, they would suddenly part ways with them inexplicably other than the fact that it is all about Davis and Jones.

Jerry’s way

Jerry parted ways with Jimmy Johnson after they won Super Bowls together. It appears they just couldn’t get along. Then later after three consecutive miserable losing seasons with Dave Campo as head coach, in desperation, Jerry brought Bill Parcells out of retirement to turn things around. Parcels made an immediate impact in leading the Cowboys into the playoffs with winning records. While they didn’t win a Super Bowl under four years of Parcells, it was clear that he had the team headed in the right direction.

He just couldn’t quite get over the hump so Parcells retired again and then Jerry brought in Wade Phillips who had an outstanding regular season in 2007 with a team that Parcells put together but after that it went down hill. Eventually Phillips was fired.

Al’s way

Al Davis hired a young assistant coach from the Eagles name Jon Gruden back in 1998 and his impact was an immediate turn around of a losing Raiders team. Gruden went 12-4  and made it to the AFC championship game in 2000. But after the 2001 season, Davis surprisingly released Gruden to the Buccaneers and brought in Bill Calahan as head coach who was recently named the Cowboys new Offensive line coach incidentally. It would appear that Gruden and Davis just didn’t get along.

Similar to Phillips first year with Dallas, Callahan had a great first year that took the Raiders to the Super Bowl where as fate would have it, they were defeated by Gruden’s Buccaneers team. And like Phillips, it all went down hill from there as the Raiders returned to their losing ways under Callahan.

In recent years before his death, Davis tried a couple offensive coordinators Lane Kiffin and Hue Jackson as head coach but the Raiders finished 8-8 last year and just missed the playoffs again. Sound familiar? Jones promoted offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to head coach and the Cowboys went 8-8 just missing the playoffs too.

On January 6, 2012, the Raiders brought in Reggie Mckenzie from the Packers to be their first GM since Davis. On the first day, Mckenzie fired head coach Hue Jackson after his 8-8 season and hired a defensive coordinator from the Broncos, Dennis Allen as head coach.

It will be very interesting to see how this new chapter plays out for the Raiders. Eventually they will no longer be able to blame Davis for their troubles. Of course they may just return to their winning ways with better personnel decisions and more solid coaching relationships. It all remains to be seen.

The legacy of Al Davis will depend a great deal on what happens now that he no longer has complete control of all things to do with Raiders. Will it be a good one or not? Which ever legacy unfolds, Jerry Jones is facing a similar one.

Draft versus Free Agency. Cowboys Considering Both

Coach Jason Garrett has indicated that he will seek to improve the Cowboys on offense and defense with a combination of the draft and free agency. We are already hearing FA names floating around of players that the Cowboys may be interested in acquiring to address specific position needs. But when it comes to free agency, I say proceed with caution.

Think of NFL players as stocks. The objective is to buy low and sell high. Not buy high and then get nothing at all like we saw Jerry do with the acquisition of WR Roy Williams from the Lions in 2008. Roy was signed for to a $54 million dollar contract and Jerry threw in three draft picks to the Lions including a first rounder.

I can’t help but wonder how the Cowboys may have helped their team with those picks he gave up for some mediocre WR? Available in the 2009 draft and still on the board after 20, where the Cowboys would have picked, were OLB Clay Mathews (Packers), All Pro center Alex Mack (Browns), OT Michael “Blind Side Movie” Oher (Ravens) and none other than WR Hakeem Nicks (Giants) who had a very good game in the Super Bowl. But the Cowboys got Roy Williams.

Later Roy was released to the Bears where he has done very little so far other than continue to drop passes like Patriot receivers in the Super Bowl. Roy better hope Cutler’s future wife Kristin Cavallari doesn’t go off on him like Brady’s super model.

So the point is things don’t always work out with a big time free agent signing and they can be very costly. When applied against the salary cap, these players can eat up a lot of money and hinder you from addressing other weak positions. The Cowboys dug themselves into a bit of a hole in recent years and that’s why you found them going very young and inexperienced on the offensive line which made things pretty tough for their QB Romo last season.

At times a free agent player can come in and make a huge difference to a team by filling a major need and getting the team over the hump by making them a contender quickly. However one must realize that free agents are often players at their peak and you are paying them more for what they did in the past than what they will do for you in the future. A key point. That means you pay top dollar but their play usually has nowhere to go but down hill from there.

Generally speaking, most successful teams are built through the draft and while there are no guarantees there either, it usually requires less investment. The better managed teams seem to know when they have gotten the best years from a player and then wisely trade him before his ability takes an obvious decline. The teams that can’t seem to recognize that, pay a price by resigning players to huge contracts then wish they hadn’t later. In case you have never noticed, the Cowboys tend to do that and it shows.

2012 NEEDS

FA Guard- One free agent player that we hear about is Saints Guard Carl Nicks. A good fit for the Cowboys and a fairly young player at 26 so he certainly still has some tread. Nicks would certainly help a young offensive line immediately. He made the Pro Bowl the last 2 seasons and Nicks is looking to get paid by someone in a big way. Based on a teammate’s contract, he is thinking in the $56 million area at least. Interested teams could bid that up and make him become very pricey for a guard.

OR

Draft a Guard- David Decastro of Stanford is a highly ranked guard that could be a pro bowl type player for many years to come. Then when he wants his big pay-day for his declining years, you could just let him go and draft another one. That’s business in the NFL. Decastro is an almost can’t miss pick in the draft.

FA CBs- A couple of names pop up which are Finnegan (Titans) and Grimes (Falcons). Both would offer an upgrade over Newman’s play last season. Both of the corners are relatively young (28) but are also on the small side at 5-9. It is expected that they will be offered top dollar in free agency. That means you pay a lot for a 5-9 corner whose play will likely decline in a couple of years. Getting a step slower at this position is critical as the WRs you face are not getting slower. I think you will get good play from them for a couple of years then be looking again. Don’t over pay.

OR

Draft a CB (Kirkpatrick or Jenkins) If Dre Kirkpatrick falls to #14 then I think he would represent a pretty solid option for Dallas. He is 6-2 and played on a great college defense. However he does come with character red flags that should be looked into. Janoris Jenkins has a similar profile and would come with some risk as well. Both of these guys could be signed for less than the free agents no doubt and may be very good CBs for several years to come. However they do not come completely risk free.

Tough decisions to be made for Jason and crew regarding free agency and the draft. Beware of becoming obsessed with any free agent as you may pay a very high price for not so great play. Last year the Eagles signed CB Asomugha (who the Cowboys went after as well) to a very big contract and his play was not outstanding in 2011 and neither were the Eagles who did not make the playoffs.

Buy low and sell high. Less regrets.

THE SECONDARY WOES: ORLANDO SCNADRICK

It is pretty obvious to even the casual fan that the Cowboys need to improve their defensive secondary. And a consensus that Terrance Newman is getting older, slower and not likely to be with the Cowboys next year. It appears likely they will either find a CB in the draft or via free agency to fill his spot.

But what about the other CBs in the secondary?

Mike Jenkins is in his last year of a contract and while he had injuries last year, his play was fairly solid for the Cowboys considering the poor play around him. Pro Football Focus ranked him 40th out of 109 CBs last year.  If healthy, I expect Jenkins will be back next year and I think he will play well as do most NFL players who are in the last year of their contract.

Remember that Jenkins suffered a shoulder injury and is having surgery on it. That means he will miss the off-season program and possibly will be eased into things in training camp. It remains to be seen how healthy he will be at the start of the season.

OK well we have Orlando right? Yes we have him whether we like it or not. Let me explain…

With the contract Scandrick scored from Jerry, we are probably going to see more of this.

Orlando Scandrick struggled last season but since Jerry Jones gave him a big contract prior to the season, the Cowboys are kind of stuck with him for now. Orlando signed a six year contract for $28.2 million with $10 million guaranteed and then he went out, as most NFL players often do, and had himself a season that would make you feel like you got ripped off. Too often we see NFL players get their big pay day then not play up to that contract level the next year. It’s a reoccurring problem facing all NFL organizations.

Pro Football Focus has Scandrick ranked in the bottom 10 for completion percentage allowed. Last season 69% of passes thrown Scandrick’s way were completed. Scandrick does cover the slot receiver which means he will naturally be targeted more by QBs so you can say that he gets a tough assignment. But hey if you were the QB, wouldn’t you target a guy allowing 69% of passes to be completed? Just saying.

Do the Cowboys have any options since they signed Scandrick to a six year contract last year? The Cowboys could possibly look to bring in a CB to take over the tough assignment of covering the slot receiver while moving Scandrick to another area of the secondary. That would mean getting a free agent with enough experience and skill to do it. However top free agent CBs can cost you. Remember when Dallas looked at acquiring Asomugha before the season? But the Eagles showed up with more money and “cha ching” the Eagles had him and the Cowboys didn’t.  It’s difficult to imagine a rookie capable of taking that spot. We have Scandrick and while he isn’t that great, he is all we have.

Hopefully the new secondary coach, Henderson, will be able to get the most out of Scandrick and elevate his performance next year. And that goes for the entire secondary for that matter.

The Cowboys will need Jenkins and Scandrick to step up their games since the guy replacing Newman will most likely be a rookie.

Wish I had better news, but the reality is fixing the Cowboys secondary will be tough to do in one offseason. Unfortunately it is going to take some time.