<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Blue Star]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcdfw.com/blogs/blue-star http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Thu, 26 Mar 2015 19:16:07 -0500 Thu, 26 Mar 2015 19:16:07 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Hardy Set To Fill Big Cowboys' Cleats At Right Defensive End]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 16:06:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/180322854.jpg

The guy who was on the wrong side of the law with the Carolina Panthers will be on the right side of the defensive line for the Dallas Cowboys.

When the team lines up on defense during organized team activities at Valley Ranch in May, Greg Hardy will take his spot as the premier pass-rusher at right defensive end. Like Harvey Martin, Charles Haley and DeMarcus Ware before him, Hardy is expected to create constant pressure off the edge and produce havoc from the blindside of right-handed quarterbacks. From that position, Martin had 23 sacks in '77, Haley helped the Cowboys to three Super Bowls and himself to the Hall of Fame, and Ware secured himself a spot in the Ring of Honor.

The move will slide Jeremy Mincey and DeMarcus Lawrence to compete for playing time at left defensive end. Mincey led the Cowboys’ anemic pass rush in 2014 with six sacks. Hardy, who sat out the final 15 games last season after being charged with domestic abuse, has 27 sacks in his last 26 NFL games.

“If you watch him play in Carolina, he plays 3-technique, he plays the nose tackle, he plays left end,” head coach Jason Garrett said to a group of reporters at the NFL owners meetings. “He rushes outside on third down. He rushes inside down. He has great versatility as a player. A lot of different skills. You can use him in a lot of different spots. He is a guy who plays a lot for them. We believe in rotating our defensive line, kind of coming at the offense in waves. He is a guy that played so many snaps for them in a lot of different spots.”
 

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



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<![CDATA[Jerry Jones: Time to Start Thinking About Romo's Successor]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:48:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Romo-Inks-Deal.jpg

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is coming off perhaps his best season as a pro. He’s also 34-years-old, and will turn 35 next month. Considering, owner and general manager Jerry Jones has acknowledged that it’s about time for the Cowboys to start thinking about Romo’s successor.

Granted, when the team drafts a quarterback, that won’t spell the end for Romo. Jones is quick to point out that Romo spent a few years as a backup before taking over as the starter, and believes he was better off for it.

We do have to look to the future relative to quarterback,” Jones said, per David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. “It’s starting a time frame where a guy could come in and be a good backup. Look at how Romo evolved into the guy he is today. He did a little time with the clip board.”

The Cowboys haven’t drafted a quarterback since 2009, when they took Stephen McGee out of Texas A&M in the fourth round. He spent three seasons with the team before being waived prior to the 2012 season.

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<![CDATA[Sean Lee Moving to Weakside Linebacker?]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:56:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/186726662.jpg

There seems a pretty good chance that Sean Lee will move to the weakside linebacker spot full time in 2015.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said this week that the ideal scenario would have Lee on the weak side and Rolando McClain, or a player of equal or greater talent, in the middle. McClain flourished at middle linebacker in Lee’s absence in 2014, but is now a free agent. Jones, always an outspoken fan of McClain’s, has expressed hope that Dallas will be able to bring him back.

“Yes, I think so. The ideal scenario would be to have a player of McClain’s caliber, and that would certainly make it real comfortable to move [Lee] over there,” Jones said, per David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. “Sean is the quarterback of the defense, and the ideal spot for the quarterback is in the middle. On the other hand, a key player of skill that has the instincts that he has, the key spot [in the Cowboys’ scheme] is over at weakside linebacker.”

Even if the Cowboys are unable to sign McClain, Jones added, there’s a good chance Lee will make the move.

“That still wouldn’t preclude us,” Jones said. “We still might be better off, regardless. We got some good play out of Anthony Hitchens last year. He’s going to be better, and he’s durable. We could get enough confidence there to move Lee.”

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<![CDATA[ESPN's Kiper Calls Todd Gurley "Best Fit" for Cowboys]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:49:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Gurley.jpg

With 2014 Offensive Player of the Year DeMarco Murray in Philadelphia, the Dallas Cowboys need a running back.

The team went out and got Darren McFadden in free agency, but we’d highly doubt they are content to rely on the veteran as their feature back. So, barring a trade for Adrian Peterson--and it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen at the moment--they’ll probably enter next month’s draft looking for a runner.

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. believes Dallas might find their man in Todd Gurley and, as he wrote this week, actually sees the former Georgia Bulldog as the best fit for the team in the first round.

Dallas is going to have one of the best run-blocking lines in the NFL next season, if not the best,” Kiper writes, via Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. “The Cowboys don't need a dancer, they need a player who will get downhill fast and turn a crease into a big run because he's so hard to get to the ground when he hits the second level. Gurley can do that. Dallas added Darren McFadden, but they won't be done at this position.”

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<![CDATA[Jason Garrett Thinks Catch Rule "Still Needs Some Work"]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:51:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461346426.jpg

Earlier this week, the NFL addressed Dez Bryant’s catch that wasn’t by making a rule change that wasn’t. Not really.

Really, all the competition committee did was tweak the language of the rule. Where before, receivers were charged with making a “football move” before going to the ground, now they have to establish themselves as runners. Under the change, Bryant’s non-catch would still be a non-catch, leading Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett to believe the rule still needs some work.

We’re inclined to agree.

That’s where the discussion starts,” Garrett said, per the Dallas Morning News. “Having said all that, this is an opportunity now for the league to address that situation. That’s why we’re here. I do think it still needs some work. I do think that play should be a play we have in our game. It was a great play, a dramatic play, arguably in the history of the National Football League.

“The Cowboys were going back up to Green Bay, 47 years after the Ice Bowl, and we have a chance inside the 1-yard line to have the go-ahead score as Aaron Rodgers is walking on the other sideline waiting for his chance to come back. I think that’s what we want as a league.”

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<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Giants Unsure If Cruz Will Be Ready for Opener]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:58:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455446194.jpg

New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz is coming along nicely in his rehab from a torn patellar tendon, suffered in Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles, but head coach Tom Coughlin is not sure if he’ll be ready for Week 1 of 2015.

Coughlin pointed out that the Giants have some recent experience in beginning a season without the services of one of their top receivers: Last year, rookie and eventual Pro Bowler Odell Beckham, Jr. missed the first four games of the season with a hamstring injury before returning and setting the league on fire.

Like Beckham, the Giants believe Cruz will come back strong; it’s just a question of when.

I think he’ll be the player that he was, and hopefully better,” Coughlin said this week, per the New York Post. “But as far as when, I would be careful. Hopefully, it’s the first [regular-season] game. But if it isn’t, we’ve done that before. We just went through it.”

Coughlin is hopeful that Cruz, who recently started running again, will be ready for training camp, but he’s certainly not going to rush him.

“You’re not just going to throw him to the wind,” Coughlin said. “He’ll work his way through.”

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<![CDATA[Garrett Hopes Moving Sean Lee Will Help Keep Him Healthy]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 11:39:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/186038785.jpg

Earlier this week, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones discussed the possibility that Sean Lee will be moved to weakside linebacker full time in 2015 and, at this point, it certainly seems like the move will happen.

Jones mentioned having Lee on the weak side and free agent Rolando McClain in the middle, but he added that Lee might make the move even if they are unable to bring McClain back. They’ve already added a veteran middle linebacker this offseason in Jasper Brinkley.

"I think we have to look at the landscape of our linebackers and we'll make our best decisions," head coach Jason Garrett said, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. "Sean Lee has great instincts. In our defense, he would be protected by that under-tackle, that three-technique at the Will, where he can go and use those instincts. It's the Derrick Brooks position, it's the Lance Briggs position, and we just think Sean would do a fantastic job at it."

Garrett went on to say weakside linebacker is Lee’s natural position, and expressed the hope that putting him there full-time will help to keep him healthy. Lee missed all of last season after suffering a torn ACL on the first day of organized team activities.

"That's his most natural position," Garrett said. "Sean Lee's biggest issue throughout his whole career has been his health. If Sean Lee can stay healthy, he can be one of the best linebackers in this league -- and he has been. When he's been on the field, he's been as productive as anybody playing that position. He can play Mike, he can play Will, he can play Sam. He's an outstanding football player. We do think that Will is the best fit for him."

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<![CDATA[Haley on Hardy: Cowboys Need a Bad Boy]]> Thu, 26 Mar 2015 15:54:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/charles-haley2.9.12.jpg

As we all know by now, Greg Hardy's signing by the Dallas Cowboys stirred up all kinds of controversy, both locally and nationally, and even led the Dallas mayor to take a stand, calling it a shot to the gut of the city. That was a bit ridiculous.

Anyway, one former Cowboys great, who's soon to be a Hall of Fame inductee, came out and said he thinks the Cowboys need someone of Hardy's ilk, and he'd know.

That's because Charles Haley was once in Hardy's position — a too-hot-to-handle defensive end with a great talent for getting to opposing quarterbacks and wrecking opponents' offensive game plans. Haley was the missing piece of the early 90s Cowboys dynasty that put them over the top and helped them win three Super Bowls in four seasons and come very close to four straight.

Haley was never a convicted woman-beater, but he had a really bad rap and the Cowboys were able to handle it and get the most out of him while he was a "good enough" teammate to help the team be successful. Haley thinks the Cowboys made the right call by bringing in Hardy, who is also a transcendent talent, despite all of his baggage.

"Everybody deserves a second chance," he told FoxSports.com. "He wants to show everybody what he has and what he can do. He wants to be judged by what he does on the field. But the only way you can be judged by the things you do on the field is you can't be doing dumb (expletive) off the field.

"He's going to be fine. I can't wait to meet him and I can't wait to see him play. I hope and pray the Cowboys make the next step in this journey for a Super Bowl. Sometimes bad boys have to come in here and kick some tail."

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<![CDATA[Goodell: Decision on Hardy Coming "In the Near Future"]]> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 17:41:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/453495740.jpg

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell expects the league’s review of Greg Hardy’s case to be wrapped up in the near future, with a decision on what discipline will be handed down to follow shortly thereafter, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News reports.

Hardy spent all but one game last season on the Commissioner’s Exempt List as he awaited trial on domestic violence charges. He was found guilty during a bench trial, but he requested a jury trial afterward and the charges were dropped when the accuser didn’t show up to court and couldn’t be reached by prosecutors.

“Any team was free to sign Greg Hardy,” Goodell said. “They understood that we were reviewing his case for potential discipline and that it continues. We are trying to get as many facts as we possibly can and make the most informed decision we can so that we can uphold the standards that we purport in the personal conduct policy.

“So I expect that will conclude sometime in the near future and we’ll make a decision shortly after.”

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<![CDATA[Cowboys Want to Bring Rolando McClain Back in 2015]]> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 17:46:00 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/4571341601.jpg

Left impressed by his improbable 2014 campaign, the Dallas Cowboys want to bring linebacker Rolando McClain back next season. McClain is currently a free agent, but executive vice president Stephen Jones said this week that they’ve been in contact with the former first round pick.

We’re in talks with him, and we want him back--that’s the best way to say it,” Jones told the team’s official website. “We’ve got to just figure out something that works for both sides.”

After being traded from the Ravens and coming out of retirement to join the Cowboys last year, McClain registered 81 tackles, a sack and two interceptions in 13 games while filling in for the injured Sean Lee at middle linebacker. If he returns, the Cowboys will likely plug him back in to the middle linebacker spot and move Lee to the weak side.

“Rolando really affected some of our games last year. He played well,” Jones said. “We’re certainly in in the midst of trying to get him back on our team.”

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<![CDATA[Stephen Jones Backs Away From Brandon Carr Pay Cut Talk]]> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 17:47:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/2013-cowboys-redskins-b-%2860.jpg

This week at the annual league meetings in Phoenix, Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones backed away from the talk of Brandon Carr being asked to take a pay cut or be sent packing.

“We’ve accounted for him, that’s why he’s still on the roster--we’ve accounted for him where he is,” Jones told the team’s official website. “As we can continue to evaluate our roster, we’ll make decisions based on the opportunities that are out there versus what we have.”

Earlier this week Carr’s agent, Ben Dogra, said flatly that his client would not take a pay cut.

“At some point I’ll get a hold of Ben and we’ll sit down and visit,” Jones said. “I certainly understand--obviously he represents Brandon, and I respect where he’s coming from.”

Carr had three interceptions in each of his first two seasons with the Cowboys, after signing a five-year, $50 million deal in 2012, but failed to record a pick last year for the first time in his career. He also had only seven passes defensed, his lowest total since he was a rookie with the Chiefs in 2008.

Still, Jones is hopeful that Carr will be back with the team in 2015.

“Obviously, we’re working around that situation. Brandon is a really good football player. At some point we may sit down and see if there’s a situation that’s win-win for him and us,” Jones said. “I fully expect Brandon to be a part of our team next year.”

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<![CDATA[Jerry: Talented, High Character Guys Hard to Find in "Real World"]]> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 14:03:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Jones-Arrives-031015.jpg

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones thinks it’d be nice if he could load his team with super-talented players who were also men of sterling character. But this is the real world and, in the real world, that whole package is hard to come by.

Jones said all this in reference to the Greg Hardy signing this week and admitted what everyone already knew, that the Cowboys didn’t sign Hardy because he was “the right kind of guy” necessarily, but because they needed a pass rusher.

“I recognize all of those statements that, if you want to look at it that way, could be conflicting,” Jones said. “There’s no question that Jason (Garrett) wants a team that is made up of the finest character players and the finest talent that you can have. The real world is that you don’t get all that.

“One of the things that we need to do at all times is be looking toward becoming a better football team. That’s all of our jobs.”

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<![CDATA[Cowboys Draft Profile: CB Kevin Johnson]]> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:05:14 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/KevinJohnson1.jpg

Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
Ht. 6002, Wt. 188, Arm: 31”, Hand: 8 3/8”, Bench: -
40 yd: 4.52, 10 yd.: 1.60, 3 Cone: 6.79, Vertical: 41.5”, Broad: 10’10”
Games Watched: Clemson, Virginia Tech, at Florida St.

If you think other games better reflect this player’s ability or you want to request a profile on a specific player, email me or hit me up on Twitter.

The more players I look at, the more I think the Cowboys are picking outside the top tier of prospects. In other words, they’ll probably have to move up, hope a player falls or pick a player that kind of bridges the top two tiers.

Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson might be the answer. He flew relatively under the radar until the latter part of the 2014 season, but he’s not under the radar anymore. He earned second-team All-ACC honors last season and allowed only 24 receptions on the season.

Strengths

Johnson is a technician. From smooth, efficient feet to fluid hips, he’s the closest thing to a finished product in this draft. He also showed veteran savvy, “leaning” receivers toward the sideline.

Johnson might have a slight frame, but he doesn’t shy away from contact. He’s a willing and effective tackler, but he’s also capable of making big hits.

With his height, jumps and three-cone time at the combine, Johnson showed off NFL measurable. Combine them with his coverage technique, and you have a Day 1 starter on Sundays this fall.

Weaknesses

Johnson’s desire to make splash plays borders on “too aggressive” at times. He’s always looking to jump a route, leaving him susceptible to double moves. Plus, he has a tendency to be a little handsy downfield.

Johnson is physical at times, but he looked like he couldn’t fight off a block to save his life. He had trouble disengaging from nearly every opponent, so he seems to be a liability on outside runs and bubble screens.

For as technical as he is, Johnson has a few too many lapses in judgment. He occasionally gets caught looking in backfield in man coverage, creating separation against lesser receivers. He was also flagged for one targeting penalty that I saw and he could have earned another.

Verdict: Fringe First Rounder

When watching Johnson’s college tape, I felt like I was watching a young Asante Samuel. They have similar frames and they both play with the same feisty, aggressive style.

It’s been a while since such a finished product came along at cornerback, but that also raises concerns about his upside. I’d slot Johnson between the Marcus Peters and Jalen Collins tiers and say he's worth the 27th pick if the top linemen and running backs are gone.



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<![CDATA[Jones: Best Chance to Improve Was Without Murray]]> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 17:52:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456299652.jpg

DeMarco Murray took the Cowboys to a new level in 2014, establishing an identity as a run-first team that will punish opponents' defenses and will their way to wins. Along the way, Murray set a new single-season franchise mark for rushing yards in a season — saying a lot with a guy named Emmitt Smith and another named Tony Dorsett having toted the rock in Dallas.

And just like that, Murray was gone. And not only gone, but gone to a hated division rival who is the biggest threat to unseating the Cowboys from their throne as NFC East champions.

But no worries, Cowboys fans. Owner and GM Jerry Jones said on Tuesday that the best way for the Cowboys to get better this offseason was to let Murray walk.

“He’s an outstanding football player,’’ Jones told reporters from the NFL Annual Meetings. “Under the right circumstances it would have been good for everybody for him to be here.

“On the other hand, our best chance of getting better was to make the decision we made.’’

While it might seem crazy, it's actually a pretty good point.

The Cowboys have a great, young offensive line that is widely regarded as the best offensive line in the NFL. They have a top two or three wide receiver and a quarterback that, while fragile, is coming off an MVP-caliber season. With hopes of upgrading a mediocre defense, the best chance was to not spend money on Murray. It's a great point, now Jones just needs to make the right moves to execute the plan.

“Certainly, our players and everybody in our organization understands the concept that you can’t have everything," Jones said. "You can’t have it all. It’s just impossible.’’



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<![CDATA[Cowboys Will Scour Rookies In Search Of Full-Time Running Back]]> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 12:13:18 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461342082.jpg

The Cowboys are moving on from DeMarco Murray. It looks more and more as though a big part of that process will be the NFL Draft.

Owner Jerry Jones on Tuesday said the top backs in the draft will all visit Valley Ranch before April 30. That group includes Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Georgia’s Todd Gurley, Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah, Indiana’s Tevin Coleman and Boise State’s Jay Ajayi.

The Cowboys have four running backs on the roster. But none of them – Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar or Ryan Williams – are projected as every-down players with the skills to replace the NFL’s leading rusher.

“The top backs, all of those top backs, and we may have a down-the-line guy,” Jones told reporters at the NFL owners meetings. “The guys we bring in will be full-time backs, not a specialist or third-down guy.”

It’s a long-shot the Cowboys can find one runner to eat up Murray’s production. But that best chance will come from the group of rookies they’ll interview at Valley Ranch.
 

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



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<![CDATA[Jones Says He Isn't Worried About Dez Holdout]]> Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:56:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460755588.jpg

Dez Bryant has established himself as one of the top two or three wide receivers in the NFL, and after he was slapped with the one-year franchise tag, he isn't a happy camper.

It should be noted, there is still plenty of time (until July 15, to be exact) for the Cowboys and Bryant to reach a long-term agreement before training camp begins, but if they don't it certainly isn't out of the realm of possibility that Bryant could hold out from training camp, and possibly even games waiting for a long-term deal.

Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones, however, isn't worried about that possibility.

“It’s not imperative for him or us to get something done by the season or otherwise,” Jones told the team's website. “Let’s be real clear: the franchise is there just to do exactly what it’s doing, and it really rewards, financially, a player. And so while both of us would like to have a long-term agreement — and I can speak to that, we both would — it’s not imperative on any type of time frame of months or during the time the franchise is in to get something done.”

Jones also addressed the widely held thought that Bryant is upset with his franchise tag, which will pay him more in 2015 than he's made in his entire career, to date.

“I don’t see angst there at all. I hear angst from media, but I don’t see angst,” he said. “And angst is equal — we both would like to have a long-term contract.”

So just get it done, Jerry. Get it done.



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<![CDATA[LeSean McCoy: Eagles' Signing of Murray "Like a Panic Move"]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:48:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP383450712423.jpg

LeSean McCoy believes his former team was in panic mode when they signed Ryan Mathews and DeMarco Murray in the span of about 24 hours a couple weeks ago, scrambling for a replacement for the man they call Shady after they sent him to Buffalo in a trade for linebacker Kiko Alonso.

"I saw that they originally were trying to get Frank Gore, and he backed out," McCoy told The Rich Eisen Show, via ESPN.com. "So then when they got DeMarco and they got Ryan Mathews, I thought it was like a panic move."

McCoy got a five-year, $40 million deal from the Bills, including $26.5 million guaranteed. His former team, the Eagles, gave Murray $42 million for five years, and Mathews $11.5 million for three. McCoy is a fan of Murray’s and thinks he’ll do well in Philadelphia, but he’s still a bit confused as to the thinking behind the moves.

“I can't really answer it," McCoy said. “They took two backs to replace one. I think DeMarco's a hell of a back. I think he'll do a good job there. I'm not sure how that went.”

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<![CDATA[Seahawks Didn't Think Greg Hardy Was Worth the Trouble]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:17:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/180322854.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys obviously thought Greg Hardy was worth the controversy he’d bring and the money he’d command, as they signed him to a one-year, $11.3 million deal a week ago. The Seattle Seahawks, who were also reportedly in the running for Hardy, ultimately did not.

Seahawks general manager John Schneider said this week that Hardy’s legal troubles played a significant role in their decision to not pursue the 2013 Pro Bowler.

Absolutely, yeah. Yes,” Schneider told Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “That was the primary thing.”

According to Schneider, their decision became all the easier when they took the financial question into account.

“It was like, you have the background, you are trying to get more and more background on it, the situation itself and then when we found out what his level of compensation was going to be it was pretty easy for us to just walk away from it,” he said.

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<![CDATA[Report: Anthony Spencer Visiting Saints]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:07:00 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/anthony-spencer10.7.11.jpg

It looks like free agent defensive end/linebacker Anthony Spencer could be on his way out of Dallas.

According to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com, Spencer will head to New Orleans on Tuesday to visit the Saints. If he winds up in the Big Easy, he will be reunited with former Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, under whom Spencer went to a Pro Bowl--the only of his career to this point--in 2012.

Dallas picked Spencer 26th overall out of Purdue back in 2007. He became a starter in 2009, and had a few solid but not outstanding seasons before really breaking out in the aforementioned 2012 season, when he led the Cowboys with 95 tackles and had 11 sacks.

In 2013, he appeared in just one game before undergoing microfracture surgery on his knee, a very serious procedure that kept him out through the first three games of last year. He finished 2014 with 22 tackles, a half sack and a forced fumble while appearing in 13 regular season games as well as both of the team’s playoff games.

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<![CDATA[Garrett: Cowboys Have to Move on From DeMarco Murray]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:08:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455442130.jpg

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett wanted to keep DeMarco Murray around in 2015 and far beyond, for obvious reasons, but obviously that wasn’t in the cards. Murray signed with the rival Eagles almost two weeks ago and now, Garrett knows the Cowboys have to move on from last year’s rushing champion.

DeMarco is a great football player and a great young man,” Garrett said, per the Dallas Morning News. “What he was able to do for our ballclub last year was phenomenal. He had a huge impact on the success that we had. We wanted him to be a Cowboy not just for this coming year but for many years to come. But there is a business aspect. He had to do what he felt was right for him and his family, and we had to do what was right for organization.

“Unfortunately that didn’t work out. Now we have to move on and make the next best decision for our team.”

It won’t be easy to replace Murray. Last year, the Oklahoma product set a new franchise record with 1,845 rushing yards, breaking Emmitt Smith’s mark of 1,773 yards, set in 1995. He was also credited by Garrett himself with setting the tone for the team down the stretch and into the playoffs, and was named the AP Offensive Player of the Year at season’s end.

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<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Giants, Eli Manning Not Close to New Deal ]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 12:55:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459480778.jpg

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is set to enter the final year of his contract, but the two sides remain far apart on an extension and, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com, the team is just fine with allowing the two-time Super Bowl winner to play out the 2015 season without a new deal.

This doesn’t mean the Giants plan on letting Manning get away after next season. Not at all. According to the aforementioned report, they still view the 34-year-old as their franchise quarterback, and want him to retire as a Giant.

"My basic feeling is he's our quarterback and I would like him to be our quarterback for as long as he can do it physically," head coach Tom Coughlin told “NFL Total Access” on NFL Network this week. "Whatever it takes to cause him to be confident of his future--that's what I want done."

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<![CDATA[Carr's Agent Draws Line in the Sand]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 10:38:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Brandon+Carr+011215.jpg

Brandon Carr, as we all know, didn't record an interception last season. That coming from the guy who was supposed to be the best cornerback on the Dallas Cowboys, and definitely the highest-paid one.

A lot of good can be said about Carr — he's a good locker room presence, he never lacks effort and he seems like an all-around good guy — but you can't make $8 million per year and not have an interception. Carr did play well down the stretch in 2014, but his performance didn't live up to his salary.

It wasn't out of the realm of possibility that Carr could be back in 2015, but it would almost certainly involve the veteran cornerback taking a pay cut, as the Cowboys currently have just $5 million of free cap space for the 2015 season, barring anyone else restructuring their deal or taking a pay cut. That's not likely.

What's also not likely? Carr being a Cowboy after his agent, Ben Dogra, came out and told the Star-Telegram that Carr would not be taking a pay cut. That means it's most likely that Carr will be cut by the Cowboys some time before June. With Morris Claiborne likely to start the 2015 season on the PUP list and Sterling Moore going bye-bye in the car-car, the cornerback depth is even thinner than it was before, and if the Cowboys have to cut Carr it's going to be severely lacking behind ace corner Orlando Scandrick.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Have Holes to Fill Through Free Agency]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 10:35:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461029880.jpg

With the initial frenzy apparently over, are the Cowboys better off now than when free agency started two weeks ago?

Hard to see how that answer is anything but a resounding … no.

Going: Two linebackers (Bruce Carter and Justin Durant) with another (Rolando McClain) seemingly on his way out, their special teams leader (Dwayne Harris), a cornerback (Sterling Moore), a backup tackle (Jermey Parnell) and, of course, the NFL’s leading rusher (DeMarco Murray).

Coming: An elite pass rusher (Greg Hardy), a veteran running back (Darren McFadden) and a bunch of mediocre names (Jasper Brinkley, Andrew Gachkar, Jed Collins, Ray Agnew and Corey White) who won’t exactly titillate the needle of Cowboys fans.

Sure they managed to keep Dez Bryant, but the Cowboys’ free-agent balance sheet looks a bit in the red. Right?

And though at this point it’s like finding crumbs in the corner, they still must fill holes.

Without Parnell, they need a dependable swing linemen in case of injury to Tyron Smith or Doug Free. Their cast of potential replacements has never played a snap in a regular-season game.

Without Harris, they need a kick returner. Yes, he was average in 2014 but fans underrate Harris’ hands and decision-making and his plays making tackle on special teams. Without an addition, the Cowboys will trust the return duties to maybe Lance Dunbar or even Cole Beasley.

Without Murray, they need a feature back. This could obviously come in the draft, but their current stable amasses to only a committee of underachievers.

And with Morris Claiborne’s confidence and health uncertain and Moore in Tampa, I’d like to see them add a quality cornerback.

Before those holes are adequately filled, you have to sit here on March 24 and say the Cowboys today aren’t a better football team than they were when the season ended in January.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Garrett: McClain Still an Option]]> Tue, 24 Mar 2015 10:36:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/458297328.jpg

As the Dallas Cowboys made a move to sign free agent linebacker Jasper Brinkley, it seemed their plans to possibly bring back Rolando McClain were evaporating. McClain was a complete flier last season after the Cowboys traded a seventh-round draft pick to the oft-troubled, but extremely talented middle linebacker, who had retired twice by age 25.

And the flier paid off in a big way, as McClain led a Cowboys defense that improved drastically from 2013 and helped the Cowboys to the NFC Divisional Round of the playoffs after Sean Lee tore his knee up in OTAs and never had a chance to help the team in 2014.

Now, McClain is still a free agent, and while it seemed almost a certainty the Cowboys would bring him back, the more time that passes seems to point to the opposite, even after McClain tallied 81 tackles in the regular season to go with a sack and two interceptions.

McClain does face a possible four-game fine heading into the 2015 season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, so he's a bit of a hot topic, but if the Cowboys can employ Greg Hardy, they can re-sign McClain.

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said Monday that McClain is still in play for the linebacker corps, which lost both Bruce Carter and Justin Durant already this offseason. While Lee is set to return at full strength, he's never played a full healthy season.

“I talked to him two or three days ago,’’ Garrett told reporters in Arizona. “We’re just working through the business of the NFL.’’



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Aikman Hopes Hardy to Become an Advocate]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:04:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/aikman-on-hardy.jpg Former Dallas Cowboys great and NFL Hall of Fame member Troy Aikman comments on the team signing Greg Hardy and what he hopes the athlete will do going forward.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Hardy Will Have to Atone in Dallas: Moose Johnston]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:13:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/moose-on-hardy.jpg Former Cowboys Great Daryl "Moose" Johnston talks about the signing of Greg Hardy, the topic of domestic violence and what the athlete needs to do in Dallas to win over fans.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Fans Could Come Around on Hardy: Brown]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:20:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tim-brown-hardy.jpg In talking about the Cowboys signing Greg Hardy, NFL Hall of Fame Member Tim Brown says fans will come around if Hardy performs on the field.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Aikman Hated to See Murray Leave Dallas]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 15:57:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/aikman-on-murray.jpg Former Dallas Cowboys great Troy Aikman says it won't be easy for the team to replace running back DeMarco Murray.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[It'll be Difficult to Replace Murray: Moose Johnston]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:10:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/moose-on-murray.jpg Former Cowboys Great Daryl "Moose" Johnston says it'll be tough for the team to replace a running back as good as DeMarco Murray and that you can't just put anyone behind a great offensive line.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Need to Get Better Than Murray: Tim Brown]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:24:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tim-brown-murray.jpg NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Tim Brown says it'll be really tough for the Cowboys to replace DeMarco Murray, and it stings a little more because he's now in Philadelphia.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Panthers Owner Made Decision to Cut Ties with Greg Hardy]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 14:47:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP693473168313.jpg

Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson made the decision to let defensive end Greg Hardy walk in free agency, Richardson told ESPN.com this week from the annual league meetings in Phoenix, AZ.

"Whose call would you think that would be?'' Richardson said.

Why was the decision made?

"We do the right things,” Richardson said.

The Dallas Cowboys signed Hardy to a one-year deal last week, despite the fact that the 2013 Pro Bowler is still on the Commissioner’s Exempt List and could face a suspension by the league, pending the findings of an NFL investigation into whether Hardy violated the personal conduct policy.

The move has come with plenty of controversy, not surprisingly, with no less than the Mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings, vocally criticizing the decision to bring Hardy into the fold.

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Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Michael Sam Confident He'll Play "Somewhere" in 2015]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 14:20:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GERRY_MCCARTHY__1409761483_39578161-620x503.jpg

Former Dallas Cowboys practice squad member Michael Sam didn’t set the world on fire with his performance at the NFL’s inaugural veteran combine over the weekend, but he remains confident in his football future.

"I am very confident that I will be playing football this year somewhere," Sam said, per Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com. "So we'll leave that at that."

Last year Sam was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round out of Missouri and, in doing so, became the first openly gay player in history to be selected in the NFL draft. He was among the team’s final cuts, but was signed to the Cowboys’ practice squad not long after. He was released by Dallas in October.

Now, Sam is looking for another opportunity wherever he can get it.

"I'll play for whoever," Sam said. "If the Rams or Cowboys want me back, I will go there [on the] first flight out."

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Photo Credit: Gerry McCarthy / Dallas Morning News Staff Photographer]]>
<![CDATA[Catch Rule Getting New Wording, Not Really Changing]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 13:27:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461346220.jpg

The catch rule that helped end the Dallas Cowboys’ 2014 season will be clarified somewhat at the league meetings, but it won’t be changed in any meaningful way.

Essentially, the league will use different language to describe what is basically the same rule.

It’s really putting an emphasis on if you can establish yourself as a runner,” Green Bay Packers CEO Mark Murphy said, per John Kryk of the Toronto Sun. “If you can establish that you’re a runner, then by definition you’re not going to the ground.”

Dez Bryant’s catch that wasn’t came on a 4th-and-2 late in the 4th quarter of the Divisional Round loss, and would have set the Cowboys up at the Green Bay two-yard line, poised to take the lead. But upon review, officials determined that Bryant did not make a “football move” before going to the ground and reversed the call, giving the ball back to Aaron Rodgers and co.

The term “football move” might be going away, but Murphy pointed out that Bryant’s non-catch--which came against his Packers--would have been a non-catch under the new (but not really) rule as well.

“Dez Bryant was falling to the ground,” Murphy said. “He couldn’t establish himself as a runner.”

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<![CDATA[Felix Jones Has Rough Day at Veteran Combine]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 13:15:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/felix-jones-redskins.jpg

Former Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones was one of the players to take part in the inaugural veteran combine over the weekend, and he had kind of a rough day.

A first round pick by the Cowboys out of Arkansas in 2008, Jones recorded 40-yard dash times of 4.79 and 4.85 on Sunday, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. This is a few steps off of the 4.47 he recorded at the combine prior to the 2008 Draft, but that shouldn’t come as any surprise, considering he was out of football all of last year.

Still just 27, Jones spent five seasons with the Cowboys but never could establish himself as a reliable feature back. After the Cowboys cut ties with Jones, he played sparingly in one season with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013.

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<![CDATA[Goodell: Playoff Expansion Talks Still Going Strong]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 13:14:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455039886.jpg

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said recently that talks of playoff expansion are still going strong, and that the issue will be on the table this week at the annual league meetings in Phoenix, AZ.

The idea of expanding the postseason field from 12 to 14 teams has been out there for a long time now, but we haven’t heard as much about it this offseason as we did last year to this point. In a discussion with Roger Goodell on MMQB this week, Peter King asked the commish why the expansion talks have cooled, and Goodell quickly asserted that they haven’t.

I don’t think it’s cooled at all,” Goodell said. “There are a lot of factors that go into it. One, we want to be right when we do it ... It’s something that we think has got a lot of merit from a competitive side, because it would actually add more teams to the race as you get toward the end of the season. There’s the broadcasting side of it. When would you play that extra game? [A seventh playoff team in each conference would leave] one bye for the first seed in each conference.”

The NFL league meetings kicked off Monday morning in Atlanta.

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.



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<![CDATA[Greg Hardy Doesn't Care if You Like Him]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 14:26:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/180322854.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys sent shockwaves through the NFL world and throughout DFW last week when they signed controversial free agent Greg Hardy, a transcendent pass-rushing talent who happens to have a domestic abuse rap sheet.

On Monday, Hardy spoke out for the first time since the signing, which Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings called a "shot to the gut" for the city. Hardy took to his Instagram account and sent a message to Cowboys fans, whether they're fans of him or not.

The post included a picture of Hardy in the Cowboys locker room wearing a Cowboys cap, but has since been removed from the site. A tweet, referencing the post, can be seen below.

So there you go. Hardy's nickname is "Kraken," in case you were wondering what the hell he was talking about. To sum it up, he doesn't care what you think of him, and he doesn't care about any thing or place except for America and the Dallas Cowboys.

That includes you, Mayor Mike.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Peterson Too Expensive For Cowboys' New, Disciplined Taste]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 10:23:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/personajes-malvados-2014-23.jpg

If the Cowboys are being financially responsible as their free-agent dealings with DeMarco Murray and Greg Hardy suggest, then they shouldn’t – and won’t – go after running back Adrian Peterson.

I’m not saying Darren McFadden is a one-man solution. I’m merely pointing out that there’s nothing to suggest tossing their budget in the trash and over-paying for Peterson is in the plans.

First off, there is running back quantity and quality in the upcoming NFL Draft. Secondly, if the Cowboys weren’t willing to pay more than $6 million a season to keep Murray why would they then pay more than twice that to acquire Peterson? Answer: They won’t.

Peterson is the best runner in the game. He’s 30, and he wants out of Minnesota. And, yes, he’s expressed the desire to play in his home state. It would be the sexy move that the Cowboys need in an offseason that so far has seen many more departures than arrivals.

But it’s not happening.

Peterson’s contract is worth $12, $15 and $17 million the next three seasons. Will he run for twice as many yards as Murray? And, to the Cowboys’ thinking, will he run for six times what a rookie such as Todd Gurley will?

The Cowboys have the salary-cap dollars to pursue Peterson. And the common sense to not break the bank for him.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Exclusive: Why the Cowboys Signed Greg Hardy]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:27:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cowboys_Interview_Greg_Hardy_2shot.jpg NBC 5's Meredith Land talks exclusively with Charlotte Jones Anderson, Executive Vice President & Chief Brand Officer of the Dallas Cowboys about the signing of Greg Hardy.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Hardy Signing Huge For Dez]]> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 17:39:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461347692.jpg

Other than Greg Hardy, there might not be anyone in Dallas happier to see the Dallas Cowboys sign the troubled, yet supremely talented defensive end than Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant.

It's not because Hardy will vastly improve the Cowboys' defense, and in turn give Bryant and the offense more opportunities. Nope, think a little deeper than that.

You see, Bryant didn't get the long-term deal he wanted before the March 2 deadline and instead was hit with the team's franchise tag, giving him a one-year deal to play on, or maybe just to buy some more time for the Cowboys. But if Bryant, as rumored, didn't get the long-term deal because of the club's concerns with his off-field issues and behavior, then the Cowboys have no leg to stand on now.

Bryant might or might not have done something in a Wal-Mart parking lot five years ago, but Hardy almost definitely did some very bad things last year involving domestic abuse, threats of killing people and machine guns on couches. He's a bad dude, but he's also a bad dude on the football field.

The Cowboys aren't the first team to employ a questionable character who's really good at football, and frankly it shouldn't be such a shock and moral dilemma to people that they did sign him. But it should come as sweet validation, of sorts, to Bryant.

Bryant has proven what he means to the Cowboys, which is something Hardy has yet to do. Bryant is right up there with the top two or three wide receivers in football, and if the Cowboys are going to give Hardy a deal then Bryant certainly deserves a bigger one. Don't be shocked to see the Cowboys and Bryant agree to something before the summer and for all the Cowboys-Dez drama to be swept under the table.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Re-Sign DT Hayden]]> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 17:15:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/2013-cowboys-eagles--%28388%29.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys made big headlines on Wednesday when they signed defensive end Greg Hardy to a one-year deal after losing defensive linemen Henry Melton and most recently George Selvie to free agency.

Aside from Hardy, the Cowboys have now kept one of their own in defensive tackle Nick Hayden, who signed a one-year deal on Thursday to remain with the team after becoming a personal favorite of defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

Chances are, Marinelli isn't fond of Hayden so much for his talent and play as he is for his effort and motor, which is arguably the best on the team. But his deficiencies are evident, as the folks at Pro Football Focus so kindly pointed out.

As the folks at noted Cowboys blog Landry Hat pointed out, Hayden's PFF rating on the season was a league-worst among defensive tackles and the worst on the Cowboys defense. His rating of -23.8 was by far the worst on the team, followed by Bruce Carter's -8.2.

The hope here is that Hayden is nothing more than a solid backup in 2015 after starting the last 32 games for the Cowboys. There is something to be said for his veteran presence, but it sure would be nice if the Cowboys could draft a defensive tackle early on in the draft to start in his place.



Photo Credit: Frank Heinz, NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry: Hardy-esque Pass-Rushers Like Franchise QBs]]> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 16:23:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Jones-Arrives-031015.jpg

Jerry Jones made all kinds of noise locally and nationally on Wednesday when he signed free agent defensive end Greg Hardy to a one-year deal coming off a year which saw him play just one game after being charged with domestic abuse of an ex-girlfriend in a high-profile incident allegedly involving machine guns on couches and lots of bad things of the sort.

But Jones saw an opportunity to improve his team on the cheap, and improve it in a big way, and since the signing, Jerry has explained himself from a football perspective by saying Hardy's signing is on par with bringing in a franchise quarterback, who can have all kinds of effect on a franchise for years.

“These players that can put pressure on the quarterback are rare,” Jones told the team's website on Wednesday afternoon. “They’re as rare as franchise quarterbacks. From what we’ve seen of his play, he’s in that category.”

Hardy, who has notched 27 sacks in his last 32 games — a remarkable number — should provide a huge boost to a Cowboys defense that had just 28 sacks a year ago and has lost both George Selvie and Henry Melton off the defensive line to free agency.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Cowboys Will Host Gordon Before Draft]]> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 18:32:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/melvin-gordon2.5.15.jpg

Melvin Gordon, along with Georgia running back Todd Gurley, are pretty much widely considered as the top two running backs in the upcoming NFL draft, and the Dallas Cowboys obviously need a running back to help replace the departed NFL rushing champ DeMarco Murray.

Gordon, the former Wisconsin star, was in Dallas recently to accept the Doak Walker Award and went on record saying he thought the Cowboys should keep Murray. Of course, that didn't happen, and now he's a possibility to replace Murray.

The Dallas Morning News reported that the Cowboys plan to host Gordon prior to the draft, which is no big shock given the fact that each team is allowed to host 30 draft prospects at team facilities prior to the draft. Part of that process, of course, is an extensive interview process.

The running back class is one of the deepest in years with several good runners likely to be available into the third round, so it remains to be seen whether the Cowboys take Gordon and Gurley in the first round or focus on defense with that pick and wait until the later rounds to take a less heralded, but still good, running back.

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<![CDATA[Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings: Hardy Signing "A Shot in the Gut"]]> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 15:02:14 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP693473168313.jpg

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings isn’t happy with the Cowboys’ signing of defensive end Greg Hardy, saying Thursday that “as a Cowboys fan, this was a shot in the gut.”

The signing was a controversial one for obvious reasons. Hardy was accused of domestic violence last year and spent all but one game on the Commissioner’s Exempt List as a result. The charges were ultimately dismissed during Hardy’s appeal, when the  victim couldn’t be located by court officials but he could still face discipline from the league.

“I’m a big Cowboys fan. I love them to death and I want them to beat the Eagles every time they play,” Rawlings said, per Sarah Mervosh of the Dallas Morning News. “But at some point, being a sports fan gets trumped by being a father, husband, wanting to do what’s right for women, so this is not a good thing. I don’t think I’m going to be buying Hardy jerseys any time soon.”

Rawlings made clear that he will remain a fan of the Cowboys, but “that doesn’t mean I have to agree with every play that’s called and every person that’s hired, and in this case, I don’t.”

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Draft Profile: RB Melvin Gordon]]> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 12:41:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/MelvinGordon.jpg

Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin
Ht. 6005, Wt. 215, Arm: 32 3/8”, Hand: 9 3/4”, Bench: 19
40 yd: 4.52, 10 yd.: 1.63, 3 Cone: 7.04, Vertical: 35”, Broad: 10’6”
Games Watched: LSU, Nebraska, Ohio State

If you think other games better reflect this player’s ability or you want to request a profile on a specific player, email me or hit me up on Twitter.

With questions at running back, it’s a good bet that the Cowboys will spend a first- or second-round pick on the position in this year’s running back-rich draft. Aside from Georgia’s Todd Gurley, Wisconsin back Melvin Gordon might offer the most upside in Dallas.

In 2014, Gordon led the nation with 2,587 yards rushing (second best in FBS history), won the Doak Walker Award and finished second in the voting for the Heisman Trophy. He set FBS records for yards in a game when he ran for 408 yards against Nebraska (which stood for one week) and career average of 7.79 yards per carry.

Strengths

Gordon wins with elite quickness. He gets up to full speed more quickly than any running back I’ve seen in a few years. He also cuts on a dime and moves very well laterally.

The other elite quality that makes Gordon special is his body control. He makes himself skinny through the hole and is slippery for a back his size. It’s amazing to watch him bounce off defenders without losing stride.

Wisconsin ran a mix of mostly man blocking and inside zone, but Gordon seemed most comfortable on sweeps. He quickly spots cutback lanes and is decisive through gaps, making him an ideal fit for the Cowboys’ zone runs.

Weaknesses

Defenders caught Gordon from behind an awful lot in 2014. Mediocre long speed isn’t a huge issue, but he offers a hefty drop-off from Murray in that area.

Gordon didn’t catch one pass in the three games I watched and only caught 22 in his college career. Wisconsin’s quarterback didn’t look in his direction much, but there were a few times he was late getting his head around as a check down option.

Verdict: Fringe First Rounder

Gordon has some zone experience, but his speed through gaps and ability in space should make him attractive to Dallas. He’s often compared to former Longhorn Jamaal Charles, but he’s looks more like a slightly poor man’s DeMarco Murray to me.

While I think Gurley is the better running back prospect in a vacuum, Gordon is a better fit for the offense the Cowboys ran in 2014. He is worth the 27th pick, but Dallas might have to move up a few slots in order to land him.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ajayi: I'd Love to be a Cowboy]]> Fri, 20 Mar 2015 10:42:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jay-ajayi-cowboys.jpg

Jay Ajayi was a star running back for a breakout Frisco Liberty team just a few years ago, and now he might have the opportunity to not only return to the Metroplex but to his hometown, which also happens to be the Cowboys' future headquarters in a couple of years.

Boise State had its pro day on Wednesday, and the Cowboys were most definitely in attendance with a plethora of Broncos already on their roster such as Orlando Scandrick, DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford.

“I would love to play for the Cowboys,” said Ajayi, whose family is originally from London but moved to Frisco before he starred for Frisco Liberty. “If it happens to be the Cowboys I know my family will be excited for being back home in North Texas.”

As the team's official website pointed out, Ajayi was a standout at the NFL scouting combine last month, as he finished in the top five of running backs in the 20-yard shuttle, the broad jump and the vertical jump, and he had the fourth fastest time in the 60-yard shuttle among all combine participants, regardless of position.

He isn't a first-round projection like Melvin Gordon and Todd Gurley, but Ajayi is considered one of the better prospects in an incredibly deep running back class entering the draft next month.

He's proven he can handle the load between the tackles, and also has been an accomplished receiver out of the backfield with 50 catches for 535 yards last season for the Broncos. 

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<![CDATA[Selvie Latest Cowboy to Defect to Division Rival ]]> Mon, 23 Mar 2015 10:49:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460755822.jpg

Another day. Another load of fuel for the enemy.

In a frenzied offseason in which the Cowboys have already lost DeMarco Murray and Dwayne Harris to NFC East rivals, this morning comes news that defensive lineman George Selvie has signed with the New York Giants.

In recent years the Cowboys also lost defensive linemen Chris Canty to the Giants and Jason Hatcher to the Redskins.

Now, with the way teams are plucking players from the defense, you’d think the 2014 Cowboys’ unit was the ’85 Bears. Gone are Sterling Moore (Buccaneers), Bruce Carter (Buccaneers), Justin Durant (Falcons) and now Selvie, who is signing a one-year deal worth $1.4 million to help the Giants’ 30th-ranked run defense. It also appears unlikely that Rolando McClain will be back in Dallas next season.

Selvie proved a valuable find in 2013, when he was seemingly an emergency afterthought to replace injured Anthony Spencer at defensive end but wound up with seven sacks and a forced fumble. In 13 starts last season he produced three sacks.

He became expendable with the expected growth of DeMarcus Lawrence and the arrival of Greg Hardy.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Another Cowboys Defender Goes to Tampa]]> Thu, 19 Mar 2015 16:49:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459967262.jpg

First it was Bruce Carter, then shortly thereafter it was Henry Melton, and now according to multiple reports, Sterling Moore is signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the third Cowboys free agent to sign with the Bucs from the defensive side of the ball.

Lovie Smith, of course, is the Bucs' head coach and has close ties to Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, and they both run the same defensive scheme.

While Carter's loss was a tough one, it was almost more surprising that the Cowboys let Moore get away when they could've had him for cheap as some nice depth in the cornerback corps, which might be the Cowboys' biggest glaring hole defensively this offseason.

Moore was a nice piece to the puzzle last year, especially after the underperforming Morris Claiborne went down with injury. Moore led the team in pass breakups, despite not having an interception — a stat that also applies to highly paid cornerback Brandon Carr.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hardy Exactly What Cowboys Need]]> Thu, 19 Mar 2015 13:54:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/187*120/geehardee.jpg

The headline of this story alone will likely draw some folks offsides.

As we all know, and as people are pointing out very publicly, Greg Hardy has a ton of baggage hanging around his neck coming to Dallas via free agency.

There's likely a suspension coming for his domestic abuse case, which was dismissed when his ex-girlfriend couldn't be located to testify against him.

But putting all that aside, we also all know how much the Cowboys need a pass rusher, and boy, did they get one.

Hardy has Charles Haley-esque talent as a pass-rushing defensive end, and we all remember what Haley did when he was acquired back in the early 1990s, right? Well, this guy has the opportunity to do the same to the 2015 Cowboys, who were better defensively last year but still struggled at getting to the quarterback.

Hardy had 26 sacks in 2012 and 2013 combined, including 15 in 2013. The last time a Cowboys pass-rusher had numbers like that was the prime of DeMarcus Ware's career, and Ware wasn't the run defender Hardy has a chance to be when he's playing well.

From a football standpoint, and nothing more, this is exactly what the Cowboys need.

Some Vegas people are even putting Dallas right behind Seattle as favorites to win the NFC after the Hardy news broke.

We'll see how many sacks into his Cowboys career it takes for people to start forgetting about the charges against him.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Romo Kills Kimmel Appearance]]> Thu, 19 Mar 2015 13:53:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461347814.jpg

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was announced to the Jimmy Kimmel Live crowd in Austin on Wednesday by telling the audience he is the highest profile sports figure, basically in the free world, as the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys.

Perhaps the highlight of the appearance was when Kimmel asked Romo is he feels he's underrated, even though he's in such a high-profile spot, and Romo gave a quick response of "yes."

He's right. He was an MVP-caliber quarterback in 2014 and arguably was the league's MVP, but is still questioned by a great number of Cowboys fans for whatever reason.

He also told the story of how he let Jerry Jones know he and Romo have "four or five years" left to win a title, basically implying that Jones will die in that time frame. That drew plenty of laughs, and it was pretty funny.

He also talked about the big Cowboys story of the week (until Wednesday afternoon, anyway) when he was asked about DeMarco Murray's departure to Philadelphia. Romo said he talked to Murray often throughout the process, trying to talk him into returning.

Then he went two days without calling Murray after he signed with the Eagles before he was finally able to reach out and congratulate his friend.

Overall, it was a pretty solid appearance on the national stage for the Cowboys quarterback, one that will surely draw the ire of Romo haters because he was on the show and not throwing footballs through tires in his backyard.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>