Boys Bag Brice Butler for Conditional Pick

Cowboys chose to go with a young and athletic receiver in Brice Butler than other Veteran options.

Cowboys chose to go with a young and athletic receiver in Brice Butler than other Veteran options.


With Dez Bryant being sidelined for a duration of four to six weeks, (Bryant broke a bone in his foot that will prevent him from playing) the Cowboys needed to acquire new talent to help carry the load at the wide receiver position. Tuesday, they did just that and maybe more when they traded a conditional seventh round pick to the Oakland Raiders for Brice Butler. Some do not know who Butler is, as he has been struggling to climb out of the depth chart in Oakland. Who is he and what can he bring to the Dallas Cowboys?

Brice Butler was a seventh round selection by the Raiders in 2013. He spent his senior season playing for the San Diego State Aztecs, as a teammate to current Cowboy Gavin Escobar. Previous to that, he played for the University of Southern California. Butler has not had the success that he had wanted, but works hard and has impressed in the little time that he does see. He looks the part of a go to guy, but has not pieced it together. While the Cowboys were in need of a receiver, Butler was in need as well of a change of scenery and a new opportunity to showcase his talent and skills.  They had other options as veterans like Reggie Wayne and Hakeem Nicks were available, but Cowboys chose to go with Butler.

Physically, Butler is a very gifted receiver. He stands 6’3 inches tall, weighs in at 215 pounds, possesses a 39 inch vertical and was clocked at his pro day at 4.36 in the forty-yard dash. Looking at his college and pro film, he shows that not only can he make tough catches, but he can use his speed to over the top of the defense and get yards after the catch. What I have seen is only a sample size, but it seems like what he needs is more touches. In Dallas, he will get every opportunity.

Terrence Williams will be your primary receiver. Cole Beasley will be in the slot. The question you ask is who will be opposite of Williams?  Cowboys could utilize Escobar or Witten more and try to use their size to the Offense’s advantage. We saw Sunday what a weapon Lance Dunbar can be. And the coaches are still hoping that Devin Street can show what he is capable of doing under bright lights and in an actual game. So there are options. Consider this, though. Williams isn’t the playmaker that Bryant is. He doesn’t command double teams. In quick passing situations, Dunbar can be dangerous, but you don’t want to show that too much with a QB who has had some injury issues from a pass protection standpoint. You need another wide receiver who can come in and hold the defense accountable and be able to make a play if their number is called. With his size and speed, Butler could make an immediate impact on this team.

What exactly did the Cowboys give up for the young wideout? The conditions of this trade is simple. Brice, like any other player can be released at any point and time, but if he is on the roster for week 8 then the seventh round pick will turn into a fifth round pick. Interesting of note, the Raiders will send the Cowboys back a sixth round pick. If Butler doesn’t last that long, then it will just be a loss of a seventh round pick for the Cowboys. Basically, the Cowboys have a total of six games to see what they really have in him.  Three good things about this is: 1) the window. Nothing but upside with little cost. Especially if you consider the compensatory picks the Cowboys will most likely get next year. If he doesn’t pan out, it is just a seventh rounder. The Cowboys cut their seventh round picks this year. Keep that in mind. 2) If he is on the roster, then he must be doing well for the team. Cowboys have depth at WR now, and when Dez comeback, they might have another weapon to put on the field with him. 3) You find serviceable talent and get an additional pick for the price of one as the Raiders would give the Cowboys their sixth round pick. Good dealing by Stephen Jones and front office. Hopefully this is another great find by Will McClay and his staff.

The show must go on. Dez Bryant will be missed. No one can replace his value to this team and his knack for making plays. One would hope; however, that this receiving corps rise to the challenge and gives Tony Romo enough windows and haul in enough passes to keep the Cowboys on track. The league doesn’t take a vacation because your star Wide Receiver is out. The Cowboys head to Philadelphia next week to play another NFC rival, then the Falcons come flying in to AT&T Stadium the next week followed by the Saints. This is going to be a difficult time, but true heroes turn trials into triumph. Lets see how heroic this Cowboys team can be.

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Cowboys Players Who May Have Breakout Seasons

DeMarcus Lawrence is set to make a name for himself in this league.

DeMarcus Lawrence is set to make a name for himself in this league.

It has been a good off-season for the Dallas Cowboys. They ended getting three first round caliber players in the draft process, signed Greg Hardy to improve their pass rush, resigned their head coach, defensive coordinator, and offense play caller. They also resigned a number of their own players. The most notable was Dez Bryant. With most of the front office off-season done and training camp being a week away, football is getting closer and closer. Many players have put in some hard work this off-season with hopes of getter better this year. Who do you think will have that break out season this year?

It would be all too easy to mention a player like Joseph Randle to have an amazing season. Randle will most likely take over for DeMarco Murray and should rush for over 1,000 yards rushing this year. But what about players who will be playing in their same role? Which Cowboys will take that next step? The three names that come to mind for me are Cole Beasley, Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence.

Cole Beasley is the slot receiver for the Cowboys. Last year, he racked up 420 yards receiving and scored four times. The more tape you see on Beasley, the more you see his upside. Beasley could easily get 800 yards this year. He runs great routes and seems to always be open. Beasley has the speed to turn short routes into long plays and the quickness to elude defenders. Pro Football Focus (PFF) noted that Cole forced an average of .77 missed tackles per catch last season. That is the best in the NFL amongst all wide receivers. The 5’8 baller from Little Elm might do big things for this Cowboys offense in 2015.

On defense, it is a toss-up between DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford. Crawford has been in the League since 2012, but only got three sacks to his credit.  That number should change. Not only is he getting better, but he now has better people around him as well. DeMarcus Lawrence is in his second year in the League. Like Crawford, his alma mater is Boise State. He is both naturally and physically gifted. That is why the Cowboys traded up to get him. Sadly, a broken foot sidelined Lawrence for 9 weeks of the regular season. When he did get his shot, it took him some time to adjust and get his feet under him. It was apparent, however, the talent was there. He proved that once the Cowboys got into the playoffs. Lawrence had sacks in both the Detroit and Green Bay games and helped seal the deal against the Lions. Cowboys are hoping that he continues to develop and be the player that they know he could be. Lawrence had learned new pass moves and put on some weight in the off-season. His hard work can be seen. So many people are talking about unleashing the Kraken and the pass rushing prodigy Randy Gregory, but don’t forget about Tank Lawrence.

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Training Camp: Risers of the Challenge

Of the players expected to step up and have a good year, is third year running back, Joseph Randle.

The Dallas Cowboys will be leaving for Oxnard on Tuesday. By Thursday, July 30, they will be having their first camp practice. Training Camp is the place where all your hopes and dreams begin to form. The real work begins and you start to build something special for the upcoming season. Excitement builds, for veterans and rookies alike. Everybody is ready for the season to start. There will be some players who will be asked to step up and make an impact on this team. Rather that is in a starter role or not, the role that they take on can prove to pay huge dividends for the team in the 2015-16 season.

Gavin Escobar has been a known commodity for a couple of years, but his production has not matched what we all thought it would be. True, there is only a certain amount of targets a fifth or sixth option can have, but there are things that he can do to improve. The main thing is his run blocking ability. The coaching staff needs to trust that he can handle all assignments given to him, especially when they are in the 12 formation. If he can block and be the receiving target that he is, the offense is at an advantage.
Escobar has only gotten 18 receptions on 28 targets in his first two seasons. All but four of those receptions has resulted in a first down or touchdown. Gavin seems poised to be a player that Romo trusts and is willing to give more opportunities to. Not only that, but Witten is 33 years old and heading into his 13th season at Tight End. At 6’6, 260 pounds, Gavin is a mismatch for most defenders on size alone. Again, he will have to show in camp that he can be counted on in the run blocking game to merit more playing time that.

Sometimes a challenge arises through situations. The situation with players suspensions have created an opportunity for some players. Jasper Brinkley and Damian Wilson are two players that will have to step up for this Defense. Ironically, neither player was with the team last year. Wilson will be in his first season in the NFL. He played for the University of Minnesota last year. Brinkley on the other hand played for the Minnesota Vikings. With Rolando McClain being suspended for four games, the Cowboys will look to them to help with the third linebacker position. The coaches have been preparing Wilson for the possibility of playing early and often since the mini-camps. Remember how he and Hitchens were used at various times during nickel drills? Similar to how they treated Hitchens last year, this staff has thrown a number of different sets and plays at Wilson with success. He has shown promise. Brinkley has been in this league long enough that he and the staff knows what he excels at. His calling card is his ability to stop the run. Last season, Brinkley had a 9.4% run stopping percentage and a 20.7% running game tackling efficiency rating. Though he doesn’t get a ton of snaps, he makes the best of them and can be counted on to make plays.

While four games isn’t that long, the more they adjust and absorb the better they will play. Who knows when the Cowboys might need them. Lee was lost for the season last year and McClain is coming back after he had two concussions and other nagging injuries. Then you look at the “what if” with him. What if McClain fails another drug test? McClain would get a 10 game suspension. The Cowboys need this entire linebackers corps to play solid football and match some of the intensity that Rolando McClain brought last year.

The name Morris Claiborne gives Cowboys fans mixed feelings. Morris Claiborne is in a contract year. Though he has always battled injuries, he has the talent needed to be a shutdown corner. Mo just doesn’t seem to be able to piece it all together. In 3 years Morris Claiborne has missed 19 games. He has not been able to stay healthy and live up to the hype of his draft selection or the expectations coming out of Louisiana State University. The Cowboys want him to make that step and be the player that they scouted. Claiborne wants it also. Claiborne surprised everyone except his self when he was able to participate, a little, in mini-camps. He has done an excellent job of getting back right after the offseason surgeries. Claiborne had to have a surgery to fix the torn patella tendon in the shoulder, and another surgery to his knees. As of now, he’s letting his work do the talking, but he knows this is a big year for him. Just how big does he want it to be?

Much talk has been given to the Cowboys running game. Rightly so. Last season, we had the best running back in the NFL who have to get the second most rushing yards in the League. With the departure of DeMarco Murray all eyes have been placed on Joseph Randle. Honestly we will not get to see fully what Randle can do on the field during training camp. there is only so much a running back and show you and non contact drills and limited contact. Last season, though his carries were miniscule, we saw his vision and expolosion when he rushed for 6.7 yards a carry. Being a good running back requires more than that. What made Murray so good and have the type of season he had in 2014 was his great offseason approach, both mentally and physically. Murray was mentally ready and knew where he needed to be and what assignments his line had. Also, he was physically ready to take on the punishment of being a workhorse running back in this system. The Cowboys will not employ the same strategy with Randle, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar, but Randle needs to prepare his self just like Murray did. He needs to have the mental focus and willpower to make the most of each carry an opportunity. While 29 will not be behind number 9, the impact of a good running game remains. The commitment to run the ball will not change as the Cowboys continue to try to have a balanced attack.

The Dallas Cowboys are also in the need of a return specialist. Many have this opportunity going to whoever wins the fifth receivers position. The two players who have stood out the most are Lucky Whitehead and Antwan Goodley, but what if a player like Deontay Greenberry wins the job. What will happen then? Deontay is not return specialist. Lache Seastrunk was added to the team for training camp and does possess the athleticism to merit consideration. This is highly doubtful since the Cowboys will not carry four or five running backs into the season. Another option is using one of the veteran players like Cole Beasley or Lance Dunbar. It will be interesting who steps up to win the job and take over the production from the departed Dwayne Harris.

The Cowboys pass defense will need to improve as well. they only tallied 28 sacks and gave up 4,031 yards of offense. Players like Anthony Spencer, George Selvie and Henry Melton are gone. New players like Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory will be looked at to lead this new group of rushmen against NFL passers. Being close is not enough, in sacks nor interceptions. It is good to get pressures and pass reflections, Marinelli wants sacks and turnovers. This is the quickest way to turn an average defense into a good one. Cowboys are optimistic that the changes they have made will improve not just there pass rush, but their overall defense.

The Cowboys went 12-4 last season and was a few plays (really one catch)away from being in the NFC Championship game. The only thing that is pertinent this year is that they build off that season and progress. This will take hard work and a strong dedication. While there are some individuals who will be called on to step up, it will take a team effort to have the success that they want. The goal is SUPER bowl. Training Camp is the first step towards that lofty prize of the Lombardi Trophy.

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Scandrick, Rewarded Again

Scandrick wasn’t happy that Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr will be making more money than he him this year…

When you think about Cowboys, you think about Country Music. Jake Owens has a song stating that “We all want what we ain’t got.” Don’t tell that to Orlando Scandrick. He wanted more money, and now he has it. Scandrick wanted a salary increase via an extension this year. He wasn’t concerned about staying here longer, he had four years left on his deal. His issue is that in 2015 both Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr will be making more money than he would. Somehow, he felt under-valued. Is that the case?

The Dallas Cowboys have rewarded Scandrick. It started off in 2011 when Scandrick, our third corner back at the time, just played the slot. They saw something in him. They saw his value. They ended up rewarding him for something that he had not yet earned. Cowboys gave Scandrick a 5 year, 15 million dollar extension. This deal consisted of 10 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of 3 million dollars.

Scandrick later overcame competition and supplanted himself as the Cowboys best corner. He made good on their gamble. Yet, the Cowboys rewarded him again. In 2013 he received a two-year, six million dollar extension. That same year, his contract was restructured to give him 3.75 million dollars. One of the things about a restructure is that it pushes money up into your contract. What you were going to make later is changed. This is why he was only going to make 1.5 million dollars.

Have the Cowboys mindsight changed? No. They have believed in Scandrick. They continue to do so. No one complains when you get more of a good thing. Scandrick agreed to all these terms. A person shouldn’t be so quick to see what you presently do not have, that you don’t see the benefits you have already received.

Scandrick entered a minor holdouIt, letting Cowboys management know that he was unhappy. Cowboys requested that he join the club and that they would look into his contract. Orlando Scandrick reported back to the facilities and now has been rewarded again. Another year was added to his contract. Not only will he be guaranteed 4 million dollars, but a total of 9.5 million dollars have been added to his contract over the next five years.

For certain reasons, the Cowboys gave in to Scandrick. The depth at Corner is lacking. You have an average corner in Brandon Carr, a rookie in Byron Jones, Morris Claiborne is still recovering from knee surgeries, and the competition will soon start for your fifth corner spot. Getting a quality, free agent corner, worthy of starting isn’t cheap. Then look to the afore-mentioned Brandon Carr. It isn’t a sure thing either. The Cowboys would rather give him an extra $2 million here or there than to have him sit out. They would rather him be here, happy, as a leader of this defense.

The Cowboys are building something here. They believe that these are the “Days of Gold” for the Romo and Witten Era. The key to this team reaching expectations lie with this defense.

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Prime Position Battles: Defense


The Dallas Cowboys defense showed improvements last year. This was a pleasant surprise. Rod Marineli deserves his fair share of credit, but the players took on this challenge and answered the call. New Defensive Coordinator, replacing your top two pass rushers, and not signing any big time free agent to bolster up the pass rush. This defense went from historically bad, and ranked last in 2013 to a ranking of 19th in 2014. This defense knows that is has the potential to be even better this year. With Organized Team Activities starting May 26, the work needed to accomplish that goal starts now.

As if overnight, the Cowboys have rebuilt this Defensive line. No more Anthony Spencer, George Selvie, and as of now, no Josh Brent. In the Cowboys mind, no problem. So pencil in Mincey and Lawrence at ends to start. Nick Hayden and Crawford in the middle. What is every bit of important, is having a solid rotation to keep these guys fresh without losing production. Depth isn’t an issue. The 2015 draft brought in Randy Gregory and Ryan Russell. Ben Gardner, Ken Bishop, Kenneth Boatright, and Devon Coleman look to impress and show why they deserve to be in this rotation. Chris Whaley and Jack Crawford are coming back healthy. Whaley sat out last year and has already caught the eye of the coaching staff and personnel. Crawford got the chance to play last year, but suffered a broken thumb and was put on Injured Reserve. Crawford has versatility and he knows what coaches expect from him.

What we know is that the Kraken, Greg Hardy will have to miss time due to a suspension that he is seeking to get reduced. DeMarcus Lawrence finished the year on a high note. The best defensive end last year was Jeremy Mincey. Rookies Gregory and Russell are excited to showcase their athleticism.

Injuries were a major concern even before the season started. The Sean Lee  injury was the most crippling blow to this team, but they managed to salvage enough talent to keep afloat. Anthony Hitchens proved to be a play maker in his rookie season. He stepped in and played valuable time and all three linebacker positions. With Bruce Carter and Justin Durant now gone via free agency, new Cowboys will look to earn their keep and contribute to the team. Not only that, but the depth we build just might come in handy. Veteran Free agent acquisitions Jasper Brinkley and Andrew Gachkar would logically have the upper hand against rookies Damien Wilson and Mark Nzeocha. Brinkley is a great run stopper and Gachkar shows strong fundamentals. Experience versus athleticism. Gachkar has been solid on special teams. To make this team, the rookies will have to prove that they can be an asset in the coverage game. Kyle Wilber, who was brought in for the 3-4, had some nice plays last year. His development will be key to what role he has this year. A player with the most to prove is Cameron Lawrence. The four-year player has only been a special teams contributor. It is obvious that the team is looking to get more athletic at each LB position.

The secondary is undeniably the Cowboys biggest room for improvement. I am not sold on either safety spot moving forward. J.J. Wilcox showed flashed of being a solid player. Naturally, he is still learning.  Trusting  film sessions and letting the game come to him will make him a better player. Barry Church is still giving up entirely too many big plays. In this defense, the Safety can not afford to lose ground. He is going to be in coverage, and last year, he proved to be a liability.  The Cowboys roster doesn’t offer much help. Jeff Heath has been the back up for the squad. Nothing special can be said of his play. CJ Spillman is versatile, but not really good at anything except special teams. He will never be more than what he is. The undrafted rookies that were signed have a solid skill set. Tim Scott sees the field well and closes on the ball quickly while Ray Vinopal plays with a chip on his shoulder. They will get their chances to showcase their talents come training camp.

Your starting Cornerbacks might have contract concerns, but they are the best you have. Byron Jones will get his chance to play Corner, and he may be one of the best coverage guys on this team. Morris Claiborne is still recovering from knee surgeries. If all goes well, he might be ready by training camp.  Tyler Patmon will try to earn snaps like he did last year, and newcomers Jason Wilson, udfa from Central Michigan, and Corey White, free agent who played for the Saints last season will also compete for that fourth corner spot. White is believed to have the skills needed to work out of the slot. A slot receiver has more route combinations and field to work with. Defending the slot has become a huge priority for Defenses. Lately, Cowboys have put Scandrick, their best corner there. If White can produce, this frees up Scandrick to match up elsewhere.

The Dallas Cowboys have done a great job of bringing in the best talent possible. While their offense is still explosive, they understand that creating stops and turnovers is crucial in determining the winner of a game. The Cowboys will have to be tough, physical and mentally prepared. The competition that we see in camp will set the foundation for the entire season.

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Position Battles on Offense


Organized team activities has not even started yet and people already coming out with their 53 man rosters. admittedly this can be fun and excitement of the Cowboys is officially back. We just witnessed the rookies getting their first taste of the NFL and go through practices and film/ training sessions with the coaching staff. There is not a Cowboys fan anywhere that is not in anticipation of September 13th, the Cowboys first regular season game. wow this is understandable, we still have a ton of work to do. For starters, the inside competition will start first. In what ways? Position battles.

The main competition will be who will get the majority of the snaps at running back. Will it be Joseph Randle, Ryan Williams or Darren McFadden? At the current time, Cowboys are electing to keep the competition in-house. Has Ryan Williams improved his pass protection over the last year? Many are high on Williams because of the player he was coming out of Virginia Tech. He has the talent needed to be a featured running back but health has derailed his career. Williams has not played a game since week 5 of the 2012 NFL season. Is this the year he gets on track and run away with the job of Cowboys main threat? Some point to the contract details and signing bonuses between Williams and McFadden as an indicator to who has the upper hand. All that says is that Williams has the better agent. The rest will be handled on the field.

The position battle at left guard is sure to be a nice one. The Cowboys already had, with little debate, the best offensive line in the NFL. It only got stronger through the draft process. La’el Collins went undrafted due to a murder investigation that he wasn’t involved in. This Top 15 Talent decided to come to Dallas to be a part of something legendary. Now his task is to supersede the last player that the Cowboys signed undrafted at guard, Ronald Leary. Leary has shown heart and character battling veterans like Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernardeau and his own injuries. He earned his spot and has had a huge role in the success of this team.

The Cowboys also drafted tackles Chaz Green and Laurence Gibson. Green could very well be the heir apparent at RT. He needs to improve his strength, but has the skill set and athleticism to be a solid starter in this league. He is also versatile which comes in handy when picking which lineman can contribute to your team. Gibson is the player that worked out for Mark Columbo, offensive line assistant and former Cowboy. Even after taking a tackle early in draft, the impression Gibson left on the staff merited a selection. Players like Ryan Miller, Darion Weems and John Wetzel will need to continue to improve, both physically and mentally or they could be left behind.

Tyler Clutts was released so the Cowboys need to find another Fullback. The two that they have on their roster now are Ray Agnew and Jed Collins. Agnew is a strong down hill blocker while Collins is the more dimensional zone blocker. He can block from the I- formation or the off set. Having a solid lead blocker is important to a running game. They must act with power and precision. They need to quickly identify their assigned man and work in unison with the line and the runner to accomplish  goal of a successful play call. Expectations for the fullback is not just run block but to perform effectively on passing downs as well, be it staying in to protect Romo or running a route for a short gain. Whoever can have the most impact on this team as a football player will get the job.

The Cowboys spent not just one draft pick, but one next year as well to grab Geoff Swain, Tight End from the University of Texas. This is yet another example of where the Cowboys are thinking smart. Two things they know for certain. Jason Witten isn’t getting younger and James Hanna is in his contract year. Has he proved that he can be the player that the Cowboys need? If not, the Cowboys will not think twice about letting him in go. If this is the case, I am sure he will go on to bigger things like former backups Anthony Fasano and Martellus Bennett.  What about Gavin Escobar? He is a great target and a huge receiving threat (9 catches, 105 yards and 4 Touchdowns), but are the Cowboys using him enough? Is his lack of blocking ability hurting his opportunity? He is one of the players that I want to see more of. Rookie Ray Hamilton will also be in camp trying to earn a spot on this team.

Not to be lost in the shuffle is the replacing of Dwayne Harris. Harris left via free agency to the New York Giants. He was more than just our fourth receiver. He was a gunner on the return team and returned both kicks and punts. He was a versatile player that will be missed. He didn’t have that many touches at receiver, especially with Dez Bryant, Terrence Williams and Cole Beasely ahead of him, but the team trusted him if his number was called. A handful of undrafted rookies and a few second year guys will be looking to step up. Devin Street doesn’t offer too much from a special teams perspective, but he runs great routes and has solid hands. He didn’t get to see much action, but was on the active roster each game. Chris Boyd will be looking to make the transition from practice squad to the 53 man roster. Boyd is a big receiver. With improved route running, he could be a dangerous weapon. Rookies like Antwan Goodley, Ronald Lucky Whitehead, George Farmer and Deontay Greenbury will try to earn their keep by winning the return job. Farmer is a physical and athletically gifted wideout. Goodley played at Baylor University and can be a solid weapon. Lucky might have the advantage in the return game, but he will have to show he can compete on a far greater level then what he was accustomed to. This will be the fastest way to make the team. During all drills, they will need to maintain their focus and rise to the occasion. They are competing against other players for the position they play and opposing corners trying to earn a spot as well.

The health of Tony Romo is a huge concern. The hopes of a franchise lay with his arm and on his surgically repaired back. He has stated that he is feeling as good as he has felt in years. Just thinking about this offensive line must do wonders to his mental health, but we know that it only takes one hit to change the outlook. So with that in mind, the back up quarterback position will be one of emphasis. Dustin Vaughn or Brandon Weeden? Weeden failed to capitalize on all the preparation he received filling in for an injured Romo. He had the majority of reps in training, and then the starters reps each Wednesday. Given the opportunity to reveal his grasp of this offense and confidently lead this team to a victory, he failed. Weeden threw for 183 yards, 1 TD, with 2 interceptions and a passer rating of 55.5 on the way to a 28-17 loss. The most prepared backup in the league couldn’t get the job done. Dustin Vaughn will get his chance this year. Vaughn made the roster and spent every game learning and soaking up any information that would help him become a better player. He saw the good decisions and bad decisions and got schooled on how to handle certain situations. Learning from the sideline is a helpful thing, but come OTAs and Training Camp, he will be tested to see if he can become a player the Cowboys can count on in the worst case scenario. He has all the tools that you need: strong arm, accurate, poised, ample mobility and toughness. This battle means more to Vaughn as he is trying to show the Cowboys that he can be the guy once Romo hangs up his holsters.

OTAs begin May 26. The coaches can finally get to see the picture they have been working on since that loss in Green Bay. Cowboy fans are ready. After a long off-season, the Cowboys should be ready as well.

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Cowboys Not Waiting On Purple Jesus

Adrian Peterson is a great talent, But Cowboys believe that they can be productive without a premier running back.


The Dallas Cowboys are making headlines again. Thoughts of making a trade involving their first round pick next year are the topic of discussion. No one mentioned Adrian Peterson, but that was what the media jumped to conclusion to and what many will have you believe. No one mentioned that the Vikings are not interested in trading Adrian Peterson for one pick. No one mentioned that the Cowboys said that they would consider it, as it being an option not the plan.

Adrian Peterson is a phenomenal football player, an All-world talent. He has been something special since his days in Palestine, Texas where his legend begun. Stories where he was on defense, he would beat his man, crush the quarterback so hard that they caused a fumble and would take the ball 60 or 70 yards the other way for a touchdown. With in 20 yards of him taking off, players just stopped chasing him. His father saw it in him early, hence the nickname “All Day.”

In college, he was an instant star the moment he stepped onto the field in Norman, Oklahoma. His freshmen year, Peterson carried the ball 339 times rushing for 1925 yards and 15 touchdowns. Injuries might have derailed the future All-American and Heisman Finalist, but he never rushed for less than 1,000 yards in either of his three seasons at Oklahoma. He was fast, quick, powerful and unstoppable. The scary thing is, he still is. The six-time pro bowler and three-time All-Pro will most likely finish top five in rushing yards once he hangs up his jersey. Peterson is greatness.  But greatness has its price.

In the next three seasons, Peterson is slotted to make $44.25 million dollars. The 30-year-old running back is halfway through a six year deal that was worth $86.28 million dollars with $36 million guaranteed. To keep his services in Minnesota, Peterson’s team is reportedly asking for another $25 million in guaranteed money over two or three years. Honestly ask yourself is this the financial flexibility that the Cowboys want? If the Cowboys really wanted to sign a premier running back, why not keep the one you had for more than half of what Peterson wants?

We rave about this offensive line. We talk about its potential to be dominant, to be great. Not just this year, but for a decade. That would be historic. To keep three or four pro bowl caliber type of players will take financial flexibility. Tony Romo will need this line to help prevent further injury to himself and prolong his career. Hopefully, the Cowboys can find a suitable replacement with Romo still on roster. You don’t want history to repeat itself and be wandering around the NFL without a QB.  Need I remind you, the post Troy Aikman years saw a win percentage of 41% and one playoff berth.  Until then, a healthy Romo is our best shot at winning a Super bowl.

Consider also the fact that when running backs can be found anywhere, many want to over pay and mortgage a part of their future when a capable running back can suffice.

A capable running back is currently on the Cowboys roster. In a sample size of touches, Joseph Randle produced for this team last year. Randle had 51 carries for 343 yards. That is an average of 6.7 yards a carry. He has earned his chance. The notion that he can’t be the work horse since he haven’t been is insane. I suppose that Aaron Rodgers couldn’t lead the Packers since Brett Farve was doing it previously. A super bowl and MVP later, and he is one of the greatest quarterbacks of this generation. The Cowboys had a good running back. He is no longer here. Next man up. Give Randle a shot. Have we forgot that he produced in college for Oklahoma State? Take his 2011 and 2012 seasons. Randle rushed for 2,633 yards and had 38 touchdowns. He has been a productive starter before. Randle has made some mistakes off the field (drugs, violence and theft). He has acknowledged them and is currently moving forward. Let us not be hindered by our mistakes but brought back on track by them. Let us learn and grow from them to be better people.

Darren McFadden was also brought in. Will he replace the production of Murray? No. But he can contribute. He can add to the running game and provide something that we haven’t seen lately. Run DMc still has some speed a burst about him. Again, he will be playing behind a great offensive line. Where cracks become alleys and alleys become highways. Why not let a guy with his pedigree be unloaded against opposing teams? Let him get loose around the edge and see what happens. Trust what you have built. Before you go grocery shopping, check your pantry to see what you have. You could very well have enough for a feast.

No one saw DeMarco Murray having the success he had last year. The change came when the Cowboys made a commitment to the running game. Not the runner, the running game. They knew that a balanced attack is the most dangerous strategy on offense. This won’t change. The next running back or group of running backs will inherit this line and get every chance to produce at a high level, either separately or collectively. The opportunity is there. Now is their time to run with it.

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Zone Blocking: The Anti-McFadden

Originally posted on The Rookie Scouting Portfolio:

One of my early thoughts of McFadden at Arkansas was that he struggled with decision-making in non-angle blocking (zone) situations. Contributor Nathan Miller shows where McFadden and most of all, his offensive line, is struggling to pick up the zone blocking scheme coach Dennis Allen brought to Oakland. Photo by TipsterHog.

By Nathan Miller

Another season, another less than electric year for Darren McFadden. But this time it isn’t due to a lingering injury suffered on the field, in practice, or doing it Gangnam style across his imported mahogany floors. The culprit this time is a change in the Raiders offense to a zone blocking scheme during the offseason. Past history lulled us into thinking the change wouldn’t be a problem, but it is rearing its ugly head once the real games were underway.

Newly anointed head coach Dennis Allen installed Oakland’s new zone blocking scheme. The switch carries along…

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Cowboys Land La’el Collins

La'el Collins was a Top 15 Draft prospect that went undrafted due to a murder investigation that he wasn't involved in. The newest Dallas Cowboy will get to flex his muscle on the rest of the NFL.

La’el Collins was a Top 15 Draft prospect that went undrafted due to a murder investigation that he wasn’t involved in. The newest Dallas Cowboy will get to flex his muscle on the rest of the NFL.

Dallas Cowboys coach, Jason Garrett preaches getting players that are “Right Kind of Guys.” Through the most tumultuous adversity La’el Collins have encountered, he has proven that he is a RKG. Collins was slotted to go in the first round of the NFL Draft last Thursday. Some had him going within the top 15 selections.

Collins is 6 feet four inches tall. He weighs 304 pounds. He played both Tackle and Guard on the left side of the LSU Tigers offensive line. Collins started in 38 games (25 at Tackle and 13 at Guard). His versatility and experience is just the beginning of why he is a phenomenal football player. Collins is a tough and physical player, both mentally and physically. He plays with aggression and power. He is a  mauler. He possesses quick feet and is strong in both his upper and lower body. He has the total package and is a pro bowl caliber type of player.

This dream of his, being selected and signing a lucrative contract, did not come to fruition due to a murder investigation. As a result, Collins went undrafted. The NFL had previously denied his request to be removed from draft or be entered into the supplemental draft.

The only way he could go into next years draft would be to get drafted by a team and refuse to sign the contract, holding out the entire year. This was an option, but La’el knew he wanted to play football this year. La’el Collins had already missed out on millions of dollars. What he was afforded to do in becoming an undrafted free agent was to have the option to pick what team you will play for from your contract offers. La’el had 29 teams that were on record trying to receive his talents. Collins and his agents evaluated each team, trying to find the best fit. What happens next was a Godsend for Collins.

He received a call. From who? Cowboys owner and general manager, Jerry Jones. The two talked for hours, about the interest of Collins being a Cowboy, the investigation and the person La’el was. Jones got to know who he was as a person and from what background this young man came from. After the conversation, La’el felt like he was being guided by God. He immediately called Jerry Jones back and requested a meeting with him. Collins met with not only Jerry Jones, but players like Tyron Smith and Tony Romo who he had looked up to. He knew that Dallas was the place for him, not only to play football, but to become a better man and have a chance to make history. He felt that Jerry Jones and this organization believes and trusts in him and can push him to be greater than he ever thought. “If you want to be great” Collins said, “surround yourself with great people.” Iron sharpens iron.

Instead of going to a team with less competition for a starting job, he wanted to contribute and be a part of something special. “What’s greater than being a Cowboy?” Collins asked. Collins chose to be here with his future in mind. To build, to grow and become his best. To win Championships. To make History. He feels like, with the right amount of dedication, chemistry and hard work, this offensive line can be the best ever.

Collins is motivated. His mother likened it to being hit in the face with a vicious blow. Now this 305 pound man is set to unleash on everyone, the teams that passed on him, and they will now have to “face” him. Regarding the money, Collins stated that he “Never played the game for Money.” Football is a passion of his. While he does think about the money he initially lost, he understands that if he and this team plays to a level he knows it can, the money will take care of itself.

Not too many press conferences are scheduled because of an undrafted free agent. Collins case is different. One can’t help but come away impressed by this young man. His pride, passion and commitment to being great. I have a feeling that there won’t be too much standing in his way. That the adversity that La’el went through will be added motivation to becoming great. After all, even through this investigation Collins has shown he can stand tall. The process to greatness has begun.

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Cool Points on Randy Gregory

Randy Gregory, a Top 10 NFL prospect, is still available day 2 of NFL Draft.

Randy Gregory, a Top 10 NFL prospect, is still available day 2 of NFL Draft.

Talent is undeniable. He has all the measurements. He has a solid frame.  His arms are long and strong. He stands 6’6 feet tall and weighs 245 pounds. A quarterbacks worst nightmare who will also effect the running game. He is a can’t miss prospect, but character is a concern. The “He” is Randy Gregory.

In just two seasons at Nebraska, Gregory racked up 120 tackles from his Defensive End position. 25.5 of those were tackles for loss. He catapulted into Top 10 in Nebraska history for sacks with 17.5. Gregory also came away with four turnovers. This is the type of production the NFL looks for. What they also look for is players who smoke marijuana. When they find them, they are suspended and put into Programs to help prevent you from smoking. If this fails, you will suffer the fate of a player like Dion Jordan.

Dion Jordan was a Defensive end from Oregon that was drafted by the Miami Dolphins. Like Gregory, Jordan had his problems with using illegal substances. Multiple suspensions later and Dion Jordan is now on a year long suspension. This suspension prevented him from being traded to his former coach, Chip Kelly and have a chance to capitalize on his talent. That pick from 2013 is essentially a waste. Teams did not want to make that mistake with Randy Gregory.

Marijuana is prohibited from the NFL. Personally I believe that this is not the main problem. As you are preparing for the biggest interview and workout of your life, you reveal to your future employers that you are not prepared or committed. How so? Once you declare for the draft, you start to get ready. You should mentally be ready as well as physically. Besides, the NFL is a mental game as well. You tell GMs and scouts that you can stop smoking weed to focus on your potential career and the chance to make millions playing your favorite game. Where is your discipline? Mentally this makes you weak.

This raises red flags to teams. Now they have to go and reevaluate you, both as a football player and a man. Can they invest in you? Can they trust you? Is this a glitch or glimpse? A glitch is a small problem. A kink that can be worked out. This is something that is abnormal to the person you are. However, a glimpse is a look into your life that reveals who you really are. A small glance at what you like to do. NFL teams must have thought that this failed drug test was a glimpse of the man that Randy Gregory is.

For him, this is unfortunate. Gregory will get drafted. Whatever team that picks him might end up with a Warren Sapp. A player that saw his draft stock plummet from the potential number one pick in the 1995 Draft. He made the Buccaneers look smart. He is possibly the best defender to ever play for them and a Hall of Famer.

Gregory will have to accept his fate and stay committed to staying away from what has cost him so much. Take the Warren Sapp and Randy Moss approach and make every team that passed on you regret it. Because at the end of the day, you still have your opportunity. The chance to play in the NFL. To be a star and make a name for yourself. This was just a chapter in your life. Not the entire book. May you write your next chapters with hard work and dedication. Only then will you have a shot at making your dreams come true.

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