<![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 Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:53:58 -0500 Tue, 30 Jun 2015 20:53:58 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Beasley Benefits From Practice Battles with Scandrick]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:48:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461029268.jpg

A lot has been made of the positive effect DeMarcus Ware had on Tyron Smith in his rookie year, when Ware beat up on Smith on a daily basis in practice. Now an All-Pro, Smith himself credits the baptism by fire he received from Ware in the summer of 2011, his first NFL training camp, for speeding up his development and ultimately helping to mold him into the player he is today.

Now it’s Smith as the veteran, dishing out similarly tough lessons to rookie defensive end Randy Gregory, and it’s not just in the battle at the line of scrimmage that the Cowboys are sharpening each other in practice.

Discussing his rise in the offense recently, receiver Cole Beasley attributes his ability to beat corners to facing Orlando Scandrick, who he believes is one of the best in the business, every day in practice.

“Well, I like to think the guy across from me is ready cause he’s playing for respect, too. Really I just approach it the same way. Luckily I get to go against one of the best guys to do it at nickel-corner in Orlando Scandrick and he prepares me as well as anybody would for any guy that I’m going to see in the game,” Beasley said, per the Dallas Morning News. “He gives me a lot of looks that nobody will ever give me so I see a lot more in practice than I do in the games and that only helps me improve. Really it doesn’t matter who the guy is. I don’t ever know their names when going against them. It’s always jersey numbers and how they play so really, I’m just going in thinking, ‘I have to kill this guy’ every time.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Cowboy Kyle Knox Suspended Four Games]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:28:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/kyle-knox-cowboys.jpg

Linebacker Kyle Knox was cut by the Dallas Cowboys on June 5, just three days after his signed with the team. A little over three weeks later, Knox has been suspended four games by the league for unclear reasons.

The suspension, for the violation of some unnamed league policy, was reported by Howard Balzer of Sports Xchange on Monday evening.

Knox came into the league with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent out of Fresno State in 2012, but never appeared in a game for the team. His first real action came in 2013, when he appeared in four games for the Jacksonville Jaguars but failed to record a tackle.

Last season, Knox went to the Saints and recorded the first three tackles of his career while appearing in 12 games.
 

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<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Eagles' Center Fires Back at Giants' Punter ]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 12:17:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jason-kelce-talk.jpg

Last Friday in a radio interview, Giants punter Steve Weatherford seemingly ripped the Eagles’ quarterback situation, saying he wouldn’t want Tim Tebow taking snaps for his team and comparing Sam Bradford to a Ferrari that breaks down a lot. This week, Eagles center Jason Kelce responded on Twitter.

"Of course a player who is literally not allowed to be touched is talking s---," Kelce wrote, via ESPN. "Is interviewing punters a thing now?"

In response to Kelce’s response Weatherford returned to radio, this time on 97.5-FM The Fanatic, to argue that he wasn’t really ripping the Eagles quarterbacks at all.

"When you have a quarterback like Eli Manning, a two-time Super Bowl champion, I'm going to prefer that he take the snaps for my team than Tim Tebow," Weatherford said. "That's not a shot saying Tim is not good at quarterback. I think it's pretty factual that Eli Manning is better. I gave the guy the greatest compliment that you can ever give anyone, that you would let them date your daughter."

Right.

Weatherford also he revisited his comments regarding Chip Kelly and a possible extension for the Ferrari that sometimes doesn’t start, Bradford. In his original comments, he seemingly suggested that the Kelly era in Philly could end abruptly if they extend Bradford and he gets hurt again.

"I'm not saying your job is in trouble, but that is a guy you are expecting to be the future of your franchise, the same way it would be if you give a guy a long-term extension and then he ends up injured," he said. "It could happen to anybody. I'm not saying Chip Kelly's job security would be in trouble. I'm just saying if you invest that much money, that much cap space into a franchise quarterback and he's not on the field, then you're in trouble."

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<![CDATA[Dez Bryant Non-Catch a Hot Topic at NFL Rookie Symposium]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:54:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461346426.jpg

These days, part of the NFL’s rookie symposium is a visit from VP of Officiating, Dean Blandino, the man most famous in North Texas, probably, for being really outspoken in his (and the league’s) stance that Dez Bryant’s catch in the Divisional Round loss to the Packers in Green Bay was not at all a catch.

But the play remains a hot topic, as evidenced by Blandino’s recent discussion of it with the 2015 class of rookies.

It is well received,” Blandino told SiriusXM NFL Radio, via Pro Football Talk. “I made the mistake yesterday with the rookies of showing the Dez Bryant play too early in the presentation so that was all anybody wanted to talk about.”

Of course, the goal of Blandino’s visit wasn’t to revisit Dez’s catch that wasn’t, but to explain some of the more subtle differences in rules between the college and pro game.

“What we try to do is give the rookie players a basis, a foundation for the rules,” he said. “The rules are different from college to the pros. Some of the basic stuff that everybody knows--two feet vs. one foot and down by contact and those differences--but there are some differences that they have to know in terms of the chop block, what chop blocks are legal in the NFL that are not legal in the college game. We try to give them that background, revolving mainly around protection of the player, things like that, a lot of our safety rules and defenseless players.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cole Beasley Still Feels He Has "A Lot to Prove"]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:39:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460755372.jpg

Cowboys receiver Cole Beasley is in a much more comfortable position than he was at this time three years ago, when he was preparing for his first ever NFL training camp as an undersized, undrafted free agent out of SMU. Going into his fourth season, Beasley has established himself in the Dallas offense, and just a few months earlier he was given a four-year extension worth more around $13.6 million.

But far from content with his body of work to this point, Beasley has maintained the scrappy, underdog mindset that arguably played a significant role in his rise in Dallas.

“It’s easy, because I still feel I have a lot to prove,” Beasley said in a recent interview with the team’s official website, via the Dallas Morning News. “I’m still kind of, I have minimal things that I’m doing right now and it can only increase.

“I’m just trying to do what I can to increase my role and open up the route inventory for me a little more and start getting more stuff down the field. So, I really have to prove myself in other areas so it’s really just all about improving and getting better for me.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bryant Takes Time to Recruit for Mavs]]> Tue, 30 Jun 2015 10:23:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/473792158.jpg

So while his agents frantically try to negotiate his football contract, Dez Bryant is focused on baseball and basketball?

Sure enough. The Cowboys’ receiver played in Dirk Nowitzki’s charity baseball game over the weekend and has promised to the help the Mavericks in their recruitment of free-agent center DeAndre Jordan.

A player unhappy with his contract in Dallas attempting to lure a star to sign a contract in Dallas. This should be interesting.

We’ve seen teams get creative in recruiting free agents. Photo-shopped images. Celebrity endorsements. Rolling billboards driving past the players’ houses. But using America’s Team surely can’t hurt the process.

The Mavs have historically whiffed on landing big-name free agents, but Bryant has a friendship with Jordan and has also said he’ll be willing to recruit coveted free agent and Texas native LaMarcus Aldridge to the Mavs. Owner Jerry Jones and quarterback Tony Romo might also be involved on some level from appearing in a video pitch to making a simple phone call.

Here’s hoping someday Bryant isn’t having another star trying recruit him out of Dallas.

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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tyron Named Dirk's Celebrity Game MVP]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 13:14:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tyron-smith-baseball.jpg

Tyron Smith might be the best left tackle in football. He was definitely the best player in Dirk Nowitzki’s Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game on Saturday night at Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco.

Smith fell a home run short of the cycle and took home MVP honors for his three-hit performance for the Blue Sox, who won 17-5 over a White Sox team that featured Nowitzki, Steve Nash and Smith’s Cowboys teammate Dez Bryant.

Smith and Bryant were among a handful of Cowboys playing in the game. Guard Ronald Leary, receiver Cole Beasley, linebacker Kyle Wilber, running back Lance Dunbar and kicker Dan Bailey were also there, though none of them did anything as spectacular as Smith--all 6-foot-5, 305 pounds of him--legging out the last 90 feet of his triple.

The other Cowboys highlights pretty much all revolved around Dez, who (a) threw up the “X” early and often, including when he reached base on an infield single in the first inning, (b) lobbied for fans to help in the effort to bring NBA free agents DeAndre Jordan and Lamarcus Aldridge to the Mavs, while Blue Sox third base coach and current Mavs’ center Tyson Chandler stood maybe 100 feet away and (c) did a back flip after catching a routine fly ball.
 

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<![CDATA[Manning's Agent Confident a Deal Will Get Done]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 12:33:14 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459486282.jpg

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is headed into the final year of his current contract but Manning’s agent, Tom Condon, is confident the team will step up to the negotiating table and pay their two-time Super Bowl Champion quarterback when the time comes.

In explaining his confidence, Condon points out that only in the rarest instances have elite quarterbacks found themselves on the open market in the free agency era of the NFL.

“The interesting part about it is, since 1993, the inception of free agency, has there ever been an elite quarterback hit the open market?” Condon said, per Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. “Peyton (Manning did in 2012), but he had four neck surgeries and no idea if he would ever be well enough to play. Drew Brees, when he went to New Orleans (in 2006), he had 15 studs in his shoulder, in his throwing arm (from a hit he took in the final game of 2005). There’s nobody else that’s ever come up. They just re-do you.”

Condon, who also represents Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, was most recently in the news in Dallas when he met with the team for the first time in months over the weekend.  He, Bryant and the Cowboys have until July 15 to get a long-term deal in place.

“The quarterbacks always get done,” Condon said of Manning’s situation. “And the Giants are not a skittish team. So it’s not one of those things where they get nervous or they jump around or anything like that. You know you’re going to go in and it’s going to get done. I’m sure at the appropriate time it’ll happen.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bailey Pretty Sure Dez Could Eat Cookies & Cake, Still Be a Freak Athlete]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 11:56:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/1042701431.jpg

Asked which of his Cowboys teammates was most likely to impress in Dirk Nowitzki’s Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game over the weekend, Dallas kicker Dan Bailey put his money on Dez Bryant.

His reasoning was simple. Bryant’s an amazing athlete, and he has been since he and Bailey arrived at Oklahoma State in 2007. Now that they’re NFL teammates, Bailey marvels at Bryant’s athleticism as much as ever. Perhaps the most amazing part of it all is that the super-athlete Bryant has said he’s achieved that RoboCop physique while still eating burgers and pizza--a claim Bailey wouldn’t argue.

It wouldn’t surprise me,” Bailey said, per the Dallas Morning News. “I think that guy could eat cookies and cake all the time and still be a freak athlete.”

For what it’s worth, Bryant had an infield single (and threw up the “X” after reaching safely) and caught a few balls in left field. After one of those outfield putouts, Bryant did a backflip in celebration, presumably while all the Cowboys fans at Dr. Pepper Park in Frisco held their collective breath.

But of course, he stuck the landing.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Punter Rips Eagles' QBs]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 11:35:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Giants-Lions08.jpg

Ah, bulletin board material. What would the offseason be without it?

Pretty much any offseason smack talk is fun. When it involves two of the Cowboys’ NFC East rivals, it’s more fun, and we got a good dose of that brand of smack talk last Friday when New York Giants’ punter Steve Weatherford went on WFAN in New York and discussed the Philadelphia Eagles’ quarterback situation in less than flattering terms.

"I'm the biggest Tim Tebow fan in the world," Weatherford said, per NJ.com. "I mean, who wouldn't want their daughter to date a guy like that? I'll tell you want, I don't want him taking snaps for my team."

Weatherford launched into a car metaphor to express his thoughts on Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez.

"I'm gonna give you a Ferrari that maybe won't be running all the time, or I'm giving you a nice Cadillac sedan," he said, referring to Bradford and Sanchez, respectively. "It's not the fastest but you know what you're going to get out of it."

What about the idea that the Eagles will look to give Bradford an extension?

"Good luck with that. ... Chip Kelly will get himself in serious trouble if they get an extension for that guy and he gets hurt? He's done."

Ouch. As far as we know, Matt Barkley was spared from Weatherford’s critique, presumably because he couldn’t think of a car to which he could compare him.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[McFadden Says He Feels Like a Rookie]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 11:04:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/darren-mcfadden-cowboys.jpg

After being drafted with the fourth overall pick of the 2008 Draft, Darren McFadden spent the first seven seasons of his NFL career with the Oakland Raiders. Coming to the Dallas Cowboys in free agency this offseason, the 27-year-old says he feels like a rookie again.

It's great to be in Dallas,” McFadden told the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “I'm looking forward to getting on the field with those guys and doing great things this year. ... Definitely exciting. I tell everybody I feel like a rookie all over again. I just want to go out there, stay healthy and run the ball the way I know I can run the ball.”

The Cowboys are certainly hoping that he can be a difference maker behind their vaunted offensive line, seven inconsistent, injury-hampered years in Oakland notwithstanding. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has remarked that McFadden still possesses the skill set that led to his being the fourth overall pick all those years ago.

“Being a former Razorback, we're always going to have that bond,” McFadden said of Jones. “But he stays in his office and takes care of his business, and I stay in the locker room and take care of mine.”

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<![CDATA[Bryant's Agents Meet With Cowboys]]> Mon, 29 Jun 2015 10:51:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460752374.jpg

Since deadlines prompt motivation, the Cowboys and Dez Bryant just might agree on a long-term contract this summer after all.

I’m confident the star receiver will be in the lineup when the Cowboys open the season against the Giants Sept. 13. But will do it via a one-year contract or one with long-term security?

Bryant has expressed his frustration over the prospects of playing for the franchise-tag, $12.8 million, and last Friday his representatives were attempting to find a resolution.

According to ESPN, Bryant’s agents were at Valley Ranch and had their first face-to-face meeting with the Cowboys since February.

If the two sides don’t reach an agreement by July 15, Bryant will be forced to play the season under the terms of the franchise tag and wouldn’t be allowed to continue negotiations again until after the season.

Obviously the Cowboys and Bryant would be better suited if a long-term deal is reached. The face-to-face talks are a step in the right direction.

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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFL Insists New Injury Timeout Rule Won't Be Used That Often]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 12:54:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457969810.jpg

We’d understand if some fans were given pause by the NFL’s new injury timeout rule.

It certainly sounds like a rule with great potential to cause outrage: A so-called medical spotter will sit in a booth, with the power to stop the game via an injury timeout if they believe a player might have suffered a concussion. To wit, they could have a player taken out of a game when everyone on the field, that player included, are attending to business as usual. It’s a seemingly reasonable player safety measure, but that might be hard to keep in mind if you’re seeing a key player on your favorite team be taken off the field by an unseen hand in a crucial moment.

But the NFL insists that the fans have nothing to worry about. They’re quick to point out that referees already have this power, and that the new rule will just allow for another set of eyes on the field, from a different angle. Besides that, they say the rule won’t be put into action all that often at all.

NFL vice president of officiating (and heel to all those Cowboys fans who saw Dez Bryant make that catch in Green Bay) Dean Blandino recently said that, of all the film the league has watched in making the rule change, there have been 10 instances, at the very most, in which it would have applied.

“What we’re teaching our game officials, and this has been the direction for a while now, is if you recognize a player who is unstable or disoriented and is clearly not 100 percent, then we have to get that player attention and we have to stop the game and get him out of the game,” Blandino said, per Pro Football Talk. “Where the trainer upstairs, where they’re really going to have to come into play, is when something happens and it’s behind the play, they don’t see it and the medical staff misses it, they’ll have the ability to call down to the game officials.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Could Dustin Vaughan Make a Run at the No. 2 QB Spot?]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 12:55:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/453705570.jpg

By all accounts, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dustin Vaughan has had a great offseason. Head coach Jason Garrett has said he’s a different player than he was a year ago, when he came to the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent out of West Texas A&M.

But could Vaughan give Brandon Weeden a run for his money for the No. 2 quarterback spot on the depth chart?  

NFL analyst Babe Laufenberg, a former Cowboys quarterback himself, believes he might. Laufenberg discussed Vaughan’s chances of making the depth chart leap in a recent Q&A piece for the Dallas Morning News.

“... I am interested to see the progress of Dustin Vaughn this year. Very interested,” Laufenberg wrote. “I think he has a chance. Would love to see him push Weeden for the backup job, and if the Cowboys give him a legitimate chance, I think he might do just that.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[How Bisaccia, Eberflus Helped Draw Andrew Gachkar to Dallas]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 12:57:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/gachkar-cowboys.jpg

There were several reasons veteran linebacker Andrew Gachkar came to Dallas this offseason.

Among the major ones were the presence of a pair of coaches with which Gachkar has history: Linebackers coach Matt Eberflus, who was the defensive coordinator for the Missouri Tigers for two years while Gachkar was there, and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, who was the Chargers’ special teams coordinator in 2011 when Gachkar was drafted and coached him for two seasons there.

“No. 1 was Bisaccia. Having Eberflus here was a good thing,” Gachkar said, per the Dallas Morning News. “My wife’s from Dallas, so that was a big thing. No state tax here, obviously, so that helps. Those were all big factors.”

Just like back in 2011, Gachkar anticipates making a difference on Bisaccia’s special teams units.

“Rich was a big part of drafting me to San Diego,” Gachkar said. “He kind of groomed me there. My first two years in the NFL really was just special teams. After that, I obviously groomed myself along with the coaching staff there to help me become an even better linebacker.

“Now, coming here, it’s a really good fit with Rich. I already know the scheme. He’s really comfortable with me. I’ll be able to give the team help in special teams areas as well as at linebacker.”

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<![CDATA[Randy Gregory Looking to Become a "Technician"]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 12:59:00 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/randy-gregory-charles-haley.jpg

In preparing for his rookie season, Cowboys second round pick Randy Gregory is taking his time in the film room very seriously.

The Cowboys believe Gregory has the potential to be a great pass rusher in the NFL, and they haven’t made much of a secret of the fact. They cheered when he fell into their laps in the second round, at 60th overall, and they gave him DeMarcus Ware’s and Charles Haley’s old jersey No. 94. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has made it his business to show the rookie game film of some of the all-time greats.

"You got to really be a technician," Gragory told NFL Media’s Tiffany Blackmon this week. "That's why guys like J.J. Watt, Aldon Smith, [Simeon] Rice, guys like that, that I've looked at and tried to model my game after, they are just technicians and they do certain things really, really well."

Gregory has watched a lot of longtime Dolphins great Jason Taylor and Marinelli’s old pupil in Tampa Bay, Simeon Rice, in particular, because they--like Gregory--were on the long, wiry side for the defensive end position.

"I watch a lot of Simeon," Gregory said. "His length is probably the biggest thing I've taken notice of. He uses it very well and that's something I've really been trying to do. My long arm I think is getting better in camp and it's only going to get better the more I play, and Jason Taylor, he's real athletic, tall guy, long, kind of myself. So they're real athletic. They do a lot of good things and I'm gonna take the things that Coach Marinelli preaches and get off the ball. I'm trying to get off the ball as much as I can."

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<![CDATA[Continuity a Refreshing Change for Weeden]]> Fri, 26 Jun 2015 13:02:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/458288682.jpg

Cowboys backup quarterback Brandon Weeden is feeling a lot more comfortable in the offense now, even though his reps throughout the offseason were cut fairly dramatically with the return of Tony Romo.

Last year, with Romo nursing an operated-on back for the second straight offseason, Weeden came to the Cowboys and got a crash course in the system pretty much immediately--he got nearly all the first team reps with Romo limited to rehab work. A year later, his comfort in the system is understandable when you consider, until this year, Weeden has never worked in the same offensive system two years in a row in the NFL.

Weeden’s rookie year, 2012, the Browns’ offense was run by Brad Childress; his second year, Norv Turner took over. Scott Linehan has been running the Cowboys’ offense since Weeden arrived, as passing game coordinator last season and offensive coordinator this season.

It’s a big difference,” Weeden told the team’s website. “You’re around the same guys. You’re around the same coordinator (Linehan), the same coaching staff, and I didn’t have that in Cleveland. We’ve been in the same offense for the second year now, so it’s nice not worrying about what’s going on trying to fit in.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Still Playing Waiting Game On Greg Hardy Ruling]]> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 14:06:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/greg-hardy-jason-garrett.jpg

Caught a sneak preview of Ted 2 the other night. One of the crazy scenes involves Tom Brady, joking about being a cheater.

As I watched I immediately had this thought:

What the what with Greg Hardy?

Obviously the deflated footballs trick has the Patriots being suspended and going under oath to appeal his punishment. But his case is in the line behind Hardy. Right?

All the sudden it’s been a month since the Cowboys’ defensive lineman appealed his suspension, which all the sudden was handed down in April. While with the Panthers, Hardy was charged with domestic violence and NFL commish Roger Goodell suspended him 10 games under the league’s new, tougher Personal Conduct Policy. The NFLPA, meanwhile, argues that the punishment is too harsh is the wake of the Ray Rice ordeal. Since the incident occurred in 2014, it claims the case should be governed under the NFL’s old policy, which would mandate only a two-game suspension.

Huge difference.

With the Cowboys dispersed for a summer break before training camp one month from now, the timing is right for the Hardy ruling. Expect arbiter Harold Henderson to announce his decision one of these late Friday afternoons, when fans are distracted by their weekend plans and while the media has little chance of getting immediate reaction from Hardy.

Yeah, it’s chicken. But it’s also the way the NFL does business.

So for now no news isn’t good news. It’s just no news.
 

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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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<![CDATA[Brandon Carr Putting Turbulence of 2014 Behind Him]]> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 13:43:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/2013-cowboys-redskins-b-%2860.jpg

After a 2014 campaign that was rough enough at points that it was widely assumed that he’d be asked to take a pay cut this offseason, Brandon Carr is moving forward.

For what it’s worth, that pay cut never came, though owner and general manager Jerry Jones has said the team will continue to look at their options where Carr’s mammoth contract is concerned. Carr himself isn’t interested in all the speculative contract talk, as he made clear earlier in the year, when the talk was a lot louder.

“It’s a business and it’s all about producing, and each and every day I fight to get up and try to embrace the grind and get better each day I step onto that field,” Carr told the team’s website. “All the noise outside--I’ve been here for four years now. I’ve learned how to block it out and how to maneuver through it.”

Of course, last year wasn’t all bad for Carr. He came on late in the season and in the playoffs with a series of performances that we’d imagine encouraged his bosses at Valley Ranch a good deal. He’ll look to build on that in 2015.

“That last month I had an opportunity to go out there and really get back to form and shutting guys down,” Carr said. “I definitely want to build on it, but this is a new year, a new set of circumstances.”



Photo Credit: Frank Heinz, NBC DFW]]>
<![CDATA[Former Agent Offers "Fair Contract Solution" For Bryant, Cowboys]]> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 13:46:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460755588.jpg

About 20 days remain before the July 15 deadline for the Cowboys to get a long-term deal with Dez Bryant done and, as far as anyone knows, there’s been no progress toward an agreement between the two sides.

So what would be a fair deal?

Former agent Joel Corry was recently asked that question, and he took to CBSSports.com to lay out his response. It’s an interesting read, if you’re interested in the business side of football, with each side’s approach--and the reasons we’re currently at an impasse--more or less laid out in clear terms.

Basically, Corry insists that both sides must make certain concessions.

Bryant has to concede that he won’t be better paid than the highest paid receiver in the league, Calvin Johnson--not because he doesn’t have the potential to be as good or better than Megatron (that’s not the argument here) but because Megatron had a lot more leverage in 2012 than Bryant has now.

The Cowboys must concede that they’re not going to be able to sign Bryant to a long and very team-friendly contract of the sort Tyron Smith got.

In the end, Corry suggests a five-year deal for Bryant worth $71.25 million, with more than $36 million in guaranteed money.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Kelly Insists "Improved" Tebow Will Compete ]]> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 14:08:00 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP413295479855.jpg

Tim Tebow is still behind Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez and presumably Matt Barkley, too, on the depth chart, but Eagles head coach Chip Kelly insists he’s seen marked improvement since Tebow arrived two months ago and that he’ll compete for a roster spot.

I have seen an improvement from Tim since the day we got him in terms of his knowledge of what we’re doing, understanding where everybody is,” Kelly said, per the Delaware County Times. “There’s a whole process, and for him what we have done is different than what he’s done anywhere else.

“So in terms of learning our terminology and how we do things, I think each week you’ve seen an incremental bump in him, so we’re excited to see where that takes him and it’ll be a good competition as we get into August.”

Granted, Tebow will battle for the third string spot--Bradford will start in all likelihood, and Sanchez will back him up--but the general thought is if he’s on the roster, Kelly will find some way to use him.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: 'Skins Plan to Get Garcon the Ball Early & Often]]> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 14:16:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP842862385071.jpg

In Jay Gruden’s first year as Redskins head coach last year, Pierre Garcon’s production fell dramatically.

Granted, some of that has to do with the team’s acquisition of DeSean Jackson, and the team’s situation at quarterback was shaky at best--they went through three starters last year. But in 2013, Garcon had led the NFL with 113 catches. In 2014, he had just 68.

Now, according to those who have watched the Redskins’ offseason, Gruden seems committed to getting Garcon’s production back up. When asked about the duo of Garcon and Jackson recently, Gruden went out of his way to praise the former.

I’m impressed, especially with Pierre,” Gruden told the Washington Post. “Pierre has been here every day, working his tail off, doing a great job.”

Gruden went on to say of the Jackson-Garcon tandem, “We’re going to demand a lot from them.”



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: OBJ Says He Has No Problem with Teammates]]> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 14:14:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/beckham7.jpg

Last week, New York Giants receiver and Madden coverboy Odell Beckham, Jr. expressed some frustration over his teammates’ jokes regarding his inability to get on the practice field. Beckham missed training camp and the first four games of his rookie season last year with a hamstring issue, and this year, yet another hamstring issue kept him limited throughout offseason workouts.

Apparently, Beckham’s teammates have teased him about his absence and apparently, Beckham took exception to that line of jokes at some point.

But Beckham wants to make clear that he has no problem with anyone in the Giants‘ locker room.

I have no problem with anybody on the team or inside or anything,” Beckham told the New York Post.
 
Beckham also doesn’t want to get a reputation as being thin-skinned because, he says, that’s just not true.

“It was more of, you know, I feel like you can’t take someone’s words and you can’t really tell the tone they’re saying,” Beckham said. “I’m like, ‘Yeah, it gets a bit frustrating when teammates joke with you,’ and it gets written that he’s frustrated with teammates and it’s like it’s not how it sounds. It’s weird sometimes.”



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Garrett Excited to See What Randle Can Do with Opportunity]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 13:56:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460755606.jpg

Coming into 2015, Joseph Randle has 105 career carries. Last year alone, DeMarco Murray had 392.

While we doubt Randle will approach that leviathan figure, a franchise record, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is excited to see what he--and Lance Dunbar, for that matter--can do with the opportunity at hand.

We’re excited about the opportunity we’re going to give those guys,” Garrett told the team’s website. “Joe Randle has been here a couple of years, as has Lance. Those guys are good players. If you go back and watch their tape and say, ‘Let’s watch Randle play or let’s watch Dunbar play. Let’s watch their reel,’ you’d be impressed by what they did. Those guys are comfortable with our offense. Those guys are comfortable playing next to guys in this scheme. We’re looking to give them more opportunities.”

In his second NFL season last year, Randle had just 51 carries but he made the most of them. He finished with 343 yards for a 6.7 yards per carry average and scored three touchdowns.

“You control what you can control. He had opportunities at different times where he went in for one play in the middle of a quarter and was productive,” Garrett said. “We just try to emphasize that to our players. If you get an opportunity, be prepared for it, whether it’s in practice, a scrimmage, a preseason game or a regular-season game. I thought Joe did a really nice job of that last year. At that position, sometimes it’s not always easy. But in a pinch-hitting role last year, he handled himself well and took advantage of those opportunities. I’m excited to see him more.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry Expects Key Veterans Back For Training Camp]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 13:56:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/10p_jerry_jones_photo_reax_1200x675_317065795627.jpg

A few fairly big-name Cowboys veterans missed time during offseason workouts, OTAs and minicamp with various injuries, but Jerry Jones expects that group, which includes cornerback Morris Claiborne, right tackle Doug Free and middle linebacker Rolando McClain, to be ready to go when training camp opens next month in Oxnard, CA.

Claiborne suffered a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee in a Week 4 victory over the Saints, and has been working back ever since. He was limited this offseason, but says he’s more than a month ahead of schedule in his rehab and expects to be ready to go in camp.

McClain underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in May, and Free had surgery on his foot in January.

Also missing minicamp was safety J.J. Wilcox, who’s dealing with the lingering effects of plantar fasciitis, but like the others, Jones expects him to be back full-time when the team arrives in Southern California.
 

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<![CDATA[Randy White Impressed by DeMarcus Lawrence]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 13:57:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461344812.jpg

Hall of Fame defensive tackle Randy White visited Cowboys’ minicamp last week to address the team and watch practice. He came away impressed, particularly by DeMarcus Lawrence, the second-year defensive end who was selected early in the second round of last year’s draft.

I watched him today and that guy can move like a cat,” the Ring of Honor member White told the team’s official website. “He’s pretty impressive out there. He can be a game-changer out there if he can continue to improve and play the way he did at the end of the year, I think he can be a great player for them.”

The way he played at the end of last year was certainly impressive.

As you probably remember, Lawrence suffered a broken foot in training camp and missed half the season as a result. When he did return, he managed just nine tackles in seven regular season games.

The playoffs would be his coming out party, as he had two sacks in two games, including the game-ending strip-sack (and recovery) of the Lions’ Matthew Stafford in the Wild Card Round win over the Lions.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dunbar Explains What He Learned From DeMarco Murray]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 13:57:52 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/175605302.jpg

Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar are the top three running backs on the Cowboys’ depth chart, and as such, they will be charged with making up for all the production lost when the reigning Offensive Player of the Year, DeMarco Murray, went to the Eagles in free agency.

Of the three, Randle and Dunbar have the benefit of having watched the 2014 NFL rushing champion work, first hand, and there’s certainly something to be said for that experience.

Dunbar recently explained what he took from the three years he spent working side-by-side with Murray.

It was more mental with him,” Dunbar said, per the Dallas Morning News. “He is a student of the game. He studied the game, the ins and outs. He knew almost as much as Romo, and that played a big part. He knew all the defenses. It just took my game to a higher level just by getting in the classroom.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry Calls Romo's Presence the Biggest Offseason Development]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 12:42:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/romo-AP225265499084.jpg

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo just went through a full, healthy offseason for the first time since 2012, but the team will continue to monitor the Pro Bowler in training camp. Head coach Jason Garrett said recently that it’s too early to say if the team will consider putting limits on Romo’s workload as they have in the past two camps.

I think it’s early to talk about that,” Garrett said, per the Dallas Morning News. “He seems to be able to handle the workload fairly well on back-to-back days, but we’ll try to treat those situations individually like we’ve done in the past, and try to get as much work as we can without compromising any of the players.”

For now, owner and general manager Jerry Jones is just thrilled that Romo had such a productive offseason. Jones declared last week that Romo’s mere presence was the biggest, most positive development of the Cowboys’ offseason.

“I don’t think there’s been a bigger one,” Jones said.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ron Jenkins]]>
<![CDATA[Dez Appearance Weakens Poker Face]]> Wed, 24 Jun 2015 11:05:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/nbc-sports-dez-cam-promo-shoot.jpg

See, here’s the problem with Dez Bryant’s tough stance: His weak will power.

Not that he doesn’t want to win or is one of the NFL’s hardest workers and most passionate players with a desire to win. But he loves the game too much to skip, well, even one game.

Bryant has bellyached via social media this offseason about the Cowboys’ franchise tag and accompanying lack of long-term security, and he’s so far refused to sign the one-year contract that will pay him only $12.8 million in 2015. His agent has even hinted that the star receiver would be willing to miss the season opener to make his point.

But those positions have officially been de-clawed.

After showing up to the team’s final minicamp practice last week, Bryant voluntarily attended a promotional video shoot at NBC studios in Los Angeles. Bryant was there hyping, sure enough, the Cowboys’ first game against the Giants on Sunday Night Football.

Hence his participation in the promos, Bryant obviously plans on playing in the game.

Dez deserves a long-term contract. And, again, I understand his frustration. But we also know good and well that he loves football and the Cowboys too much to miss even one snap of one game over money.

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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: NBC Sports
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<![CDATA[Landry's Old Home Should be a Landmark]]> Tue, 23 Jun 2015 10:48:27 -0500 See the listing and more photos of Landry's former home here. Photo courtesy of Shoot2Sell.net.]]> See the listing and more photos of Landry's former home here. Photo courtesy of Shoot2Sell.net.]]> http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/4510-hallmark-dr-dallas-tx-high-res-1.jpg

One question immediately popped into my mind when I learned that Tom Landry’s old house is up for sale:

No, not why is it only $795,000? But rather, why isn’t it a historical landmark?

In 1962 Landry was the bright, defensive-minded head coach of the expansion Cowboys. He had the security of a 10-year contract, a couple of decent players (Don Meredith, Don Perkins and Bob Lilly) and a keen sense for what he wanted and how he planned to get it.

On the field, it was “Flex” defense. Off the field, it was a custom-designed, spacious 4-bedroom house near the intersection of Midway/Forest in North Dallas.

No telling what Landry conceived and diagrammed in that home. But undoubtedly he hung his Fedoras on a rack in the corner.

Landry, without saying, belongs on the Mount Rushmore of Texas sports icons. And he’s face should be carved on the mountain of this nation’s great men.

His house shouldn’t go to the highest bidder. It should go to the state as a landmark. Put one of those markers in his front yard and open it up as a shrine to wonderment.

I’d be first in line.

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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: Shoot2Sell]]>
<![CDATA[Garrett Says 90s Teams Influenced Cowboys' O-Line Overhaul]]> Tue, 23 Jun 2015 13:00:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457517772.jpg

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett isn’t about to draw any comparisons from the current team to the teams of the 1990s that won three Super Bowls. But having been part of two of those three Super Bowl Champions, those teams have had a very real and evident influence on how these Cowboys have been constructed, and how they operate.

“I’m not one to make comparisons, and certainly don’t want to make comparisons with a team that won three Super Bowls in four years,” Garrett told Rick Gosselin on 1310-AM The Ticket recently, via the Dallas Morning News. “But I was a part of those teams and was influenced significantly by those teams. So much of why those teams were so good was how they played and the makeup of those rosters.

“Having a big, strong physical offensive line where you can run the football, having playmakers outside; having a quarterback who plays at a high level; having a defense that can really run, make plays and take the ball away. Those are all models that I live with, and we had a lot of success here during that time. You can never really recreate another team based on an earlier team, but I do think you can learn from the experiences you’ve had.”

Indeed, going into this year’s draft, the Cowboys had used three of their last four first round picks on offensive linemen--Tyron Smith in 2011, Travis Frederick in 2013 and Zack Martin in 2014. This year, they waited until the third round to draft a lineman, Chaz Green out of Florida, but they essentially got another first rounder after the draft when they picked up La’el Collins as a rookie free agent. In building this line, many in North Texas have been reminded of the Great Wall of Dallas that led the way for those ‘90s teams.

“One of the things we’ve tried to do is reconstruct our offensive line over the last four years,” Garrett said. “We’ve allocated a lot of resources to that position, and I think it’s had a really positive impact,  not only on the other players on offense but throughout our team. There’s a certain style we want to play with. There’s a relentless nature we want to play with. All of those things that are successful, not only for those teams from the ’90’s; but for most successful teams in this league throughout history--(and) that’s the style of play we want the Dallas Cowboys to have. It’s a work in progress every day. We’re always try to build that kind of identity, but it’s a fun process to be part of.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: RG3 Excited for Year 2 in Gruden's Offense]]> Tue, 23 Jun 2015 12:33:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460112736.jpg

Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III’s first season in Jay Gruden’s offense didn’t exactly go swimmingly.

Griffin was injured in the second week of the season, returned in Week 9, lost his starting job in Week 12 and then got it back in Week 14 when Colt McCoy was injured. He finished the season with a 2-7 record as a starter, four touchdowns, six interceptions and nine fumbles.

But with all that behind him, Griffin is feeling good in his second year in the system.

No ifs, ands or buts about it, I feel great, the second year in the offense,” Griffin said, per the Washington Times. “I feel great about the guys around me working hard to get better, and that’s all that you can ask for."

Gruden himself had high praise for RG3’s offseason work.

“I think the transition for him into a new system last season was a little bit rocky for all of us,” Gruden said. “But when you have the same system going in for year two, I think he’s going to get better. You can see the progress every day that he makes, and it’s exciting to watch. It really is, with all three quarterbacks, actually. Robert, especially, is doing an excellent job every day. He’s not perfect, nobody is. I’m not perfect. But he’s really striving to be perfect, and he’s doing a great job of working.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McFadden Sees Some Similarities Between Al Davis, Jerry Jones]]> Tue, 23 Jun 2015 13:38:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP666561932430.jpg

Cowboys running back Darren McFadden was drafted by Al Davis’s Oakland Raiders with the fourth overall pick back in 2008. He came to Jerry Jones’s Dallas Cowboys as a free agent this offseason, after seven seasons in the NFL. Not surprisingly, he sees a few similarities between Davis and Jones, who were good friends up until Davis’s death in 2011.

“Definitely,” McFadden told Babe Laufenberg in a recent interview for the Dallas Morning News. “They’re go-getters, and they want their teams to be successful. They’re going to do what it takes for them to be successful. They’re two very sharp guys. They know football.”

The most obvious connection between McFadden and his new boss Jones, meanwhile, is that they’re both famous Arkansas Razorbacks. Laufenberg asked McFadden, if he and Jones were on campus in Fayetteville, who would get stopped for more pictures with fans.

“I would say me--just because of age,” McFadden said. “I may have a little more following with the younger crowd, but if it comes to older crowds, definitely Jerry.”



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Dunbar: Cowboys Running Backs All Feel Like They Can Start]]> Tue, 23 Jun 2015 11:44:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/451771255.jpg

Outside of Valley Ranch, there’s a good deal of doubt over whether the Dallas Cowboys’ stable of running backs can get the job done in the absence of a star, bell-cow kind of back like DeMarco Murray. Inside Valley Ranch, there’s no such question, at least not from the running backs themselves.

We’re all confident,” said Lance Dunbar, per the Dallas Morning News. “We all feel like we can be starters in this league and play in this league.”

Along with Dunbar, who had more of an impact in the passing game than in the running game last year, the Cowboys will look to Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden in the running game. They also have last year’s preseason rushing leader Ryan Williams and former Baylor standout Lache Seastrunk on the roster.

It’s a group that’s not exactly swimming in acclaim, but Dunbar and the rest know that they’re not going to change any minds by talking.

“It’s kind of disrespectful, some of the things that they say,” Dunbar said. “But we just have to go out there and when it’s time to play, we have to play. We just talk with our play, not with what we say.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry Sounds Pretty Thrilled About Byron Jones]]> Tue, 23 Jun 2015 11:19:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/471748516.jpg

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was really, really impressed by rookie defensive back Byron Jones this spring.

To date, the Cowboys’ first round pick out of UConn’s NFL experience has been limited to a couple of minicamps and three weeks of organized team activities, but that was enough to convince Jerry--who says he gets “visions of sugar plums” when he thinks of Jones playing in the Cowboys’ nickel package, whatever that means--that the team got a good one with their 27th overall pick.

I don’t think we could have asked for more, sitting here today, than what he’s shown,” Jerry Jones said, per the Dallas Morning News. “He certainly has shown the athletic ability, which was a given, but he’s shown the instincts, shown the ability to have position flex of corner as well as safety. With those tall guys, a lot of times you have a little limitation in how you basically turn, and some of that. One of the first things that we talked about once he had been out here a few days was just his hip flex and his ability to do what you’ve got to do at corner. We know it’s there for safety, and so there is no doubt he’ll get some work at both places.

“You couldn’t ask for a pick to pan out better than he’s panned out, much less being a first-round pick. He is everything as advertised.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Garrett Didn't Dwell on Contract in 2014]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 16:48:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460774542.jpg

This time last year, Jason Garrett was preparing to enter the 2014 season as a so-called lame duck head coach--a coach without a contract beyond the current year. That season went well, of course, as Garrett led the Cowboys to a 12-4 record, their first NFC East Championship since 2009 and a playoff win, and was rewarded with a new, five-year deal after the season.

But to this day, Garrett insists he never paid much mind to his contract situation last year, in good  times or bad--which, if true, is a case of Garrett practicing what he so often preaches.

“A big part of the culture we talk about is controlling what we can control,” Garrett said, per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “I can honestly say to you that I never really thought very much about that. What I do every day is I wake up and try to do everything I can to build the kind of football team that we all can be proud of.

“We try to instill that mentality in our coaches and our players. That’s how we think. Try to control what we can control, don’t worry about what people are saying on the outside, just do what we can do to the best of our ability every day. That’s really the way I live.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Don't Forget About Darrion Weems]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 13:23:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/joseph-randle-darrion-weems.jpg

With the Dallas Cowboys’ continued commitment to the offensive line in and just after the draft this year, landing Florida tackle Chaz Green in the third round and picking up LSU tackle La’el Collins in the week after the draft on the rookie free agent market, Darrion Weems has kind of been lost in the shuffle.

But Weems, who it was assumed would battle Green for the swing tackle job left vacant by Jermey Parnell, isn’t worried about any of that.

“You don’t think about any of that. You just come out every day and you work to get better,” Weems told the team’s website. “If you’re thinking about everything that’s being said and done around you, you’d go crazy.”

Though few outside Valley Ranch might realize it, Weems has put together a very impressive offseason, working mostly at right tackle in the absence of Doug Free, who is coming off offseason foot surgery. Collins saw some reps at the right tackle spot as well, but he was eventually moved to left guard, and Weems stayed put.

“Every rep is key," Weems said. “Doug is there constantly, in my ear, letting me know the things I’m doing wrong, things I’m doing right. He’s being very vocal and great and helping me come along.”



Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 Photojournalist]]>
<![CDATA[Claiborne Says He's "Ready to Roll" in Training Camp]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 13:00:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mo-claiborne-cant-relax.jpg

When the Dallas Cowboys made the decision not to pick up Morris Claiborne’s fifth-year option this offseason, Claiborne himself wasn’t surprised. In fact, he says if he were in the Cowboys’ shoes, he would have made the same decision.

I wasn’t expecting for that to happen,” Claiborne said of the 2016 option, per the Dallas Morning News. “Why would you put so much in a person that you don’t know where he’ll be standing? If I was on the other side, I wouldn’t have done that. It’s just one of those things. It’s a business. I approach it that way. I got to go put in some work. I got to go make somebody want me. I don’t want nothing to be just given to me.”

As you might remember, Claiborne suffered a ruptured patellar tendon in Week 4 of last season but the Cowboys are looking for him to be ready for training camp five weeks from now., and Claiborne seems ready to oblige. He said during the final week of minicamp practices before camp that he was more than a month ahead of schedule in his rehab and ready for Oxnard.

“I feel good,” he said. “I’m ready to roll.”

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<![CDATA[Rams History Made SoCal Practices "Attractive"]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 12:56:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cowboys31rams7.jpg

Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones liked the idea of the team practicing against the Rams in training camp in part because of the Rams’ history in Los Angeles, Jones said last week. He didn’t say as much about the Rams’ possible future in the area, as rumors abound involving the team moving to LA in the near future.

In any case, when the Rams visit the Cowboys in Oxnard, CA, they’ll be just about an hour north of their old, and potentially new, home.

“With the initial focus groups and the initial look-sees, the Rams are a very popular team in Southern California,” Jones said, per the Dallas Morning News. “And so one of the reasons that it was attractive to us to work against them is because they have that good flavor. It is certainly not a reach at all to say that fans remember the Los Angeles Rams, and that is not a reach. So that makes them a good partner to practice with in the Los Angeles area.”

Meanwhile, head coach Jason Garrett is just excited for his team to face someone other than themselves in camp, a change that will come as a breath of fresh air, as well as a chance to ratchet up the level of competition in Oxnard.

“I just think it’s a positive situation,” Garrett said. “We’ve tried to do this as much as we can when the logistics work out during training camp. You grind away in training camp. Day after day after day, you’re working against each other. And we try to create as many competitive situations as possible. We think that’s good for our team. But anytime you start playing the preseason games or have an opportunity to go against somebody else in a practice setting, I think you can really benefit from it. It’s a good way to evaluate your team collectively and individually and there typically are some good matchups there.

“The competitive spirit gets a little bit higher. I just think that’s a really good thing for your team and it’s a great way to evaluate a lot of different things. So we’ll have a good couple of days with those guys after we play that first preseason game and hopefully it will benefit both teams."

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<![CDATA[Street Wants to be a "Dominating Force" ]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 12:57:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/453705374.jpg

When looking back on Devin Street’s rookie season in the NFL, “dominant” is not an adjective that comes to mind. But entering his second season in the NFL, Street is looking to get there.

Street ultimately wants to have an impact on the offense not unlike that of Dez Bryant, whose absence from Valley Ranch this spring has helped the Pitt product put together a nice offseason.

“It’s really not going to deter me from my work ethic, how I prepare or anything like that,” Street said, per the Dallas Morning News. “To a certain extent, he’s a dominating force out there, but at the same time, I want to be a dominating force out there, too. So I can’t really get deterred from that or get distracted. I have to go out there and execute to the best of my ability to help this offense and help this team.”

A fifth round pick last year, Street appeared in all 16 games but finished with just two catches for 18 yards. Despite the paltry numbers, head coach Jason Garrett came away from 2014 with high praise for the rookie.

“Devin did a really good job,” Garrett said. “He played a lot of different spots for us, didn’t have a lot of production for us. But he was up virtually every week and was able to handle all of the different spots, both outside positions and inside positions, and go into games and handle his work well.

“Again, not a lot of opportunities but he was doing the right things. I do think he has grown physically over the last year. He’s stronger, he’s quicker, he’s faster. Those are all measurable things we have seen in our strength and conditioning program. And that stuff is starting to show up on the field.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McFadden Hasn't Locked Up RB Gig]]> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 11:04:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/466161578.jpg

Yeah, but what if the Cowboys signed Darren McFadden to replace DeMarco Murray and he can’t win the job?

After OTAs and last week’s minicamp, it’s a real possibility.

While McFadden was slowed this offseason with various bumps and bruises, both Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar made strong plays to get more touches this season.

I don’t believe the Cowboys ever planned on McFadden being the replacement for Murray, but I think he was option No. 1. They still want him to be the starter and the guy who gets the bulk of the carries. Bottom line: He wasn’t as good as the two guys behind him during the spring.

Dunbar’s role will likely be the same: A change-of-pace back and third-down specialist. Randle, however, looks like he’ll make a real push for McFadden’s job in Onxnard.

The reality? It make take the Cowboys all three backs combined to replace Murray’s productivity.

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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Happy Father's Day: Cowboys' Camp Close After Offseason Program Concludes ]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 14:47:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/TONY-ROMO-JASON-WITTEN.jpg

Here’s an early Father’s Day gift: The next time you see the Cowboys they will be wearing pads at training camp.

And that welcomed sight is only five weeks away.

With their off-season team work concluded via this week’s minicamp, the Cowboys will next get together as a team when they fly to Oxnard for camp on July 28.

Since that gut-wrenching loss to Green Bay in the NFC semifinals back in January, they rolled the dice in free agency, thrown some darts in the draft and flipped a coin in contract negotiations. Are the Cowboys better? Have they been lucky? After beginning individual workouts in early March, the official off-season program in April and OTAs and minicamps in May and June, the Cowboys are different than the team that went 12-4 but lost to the Packers.

The Good

*Re-signed several key figures to their success including head coach Jason Garrett, fullback Tyler Clutts, cornerback Orlando Scandrick, right tackle Doug Free and receiver Cole Beasley.

*Signed all draft picks already, minimizing early distractions at training camp.

*Saw no lingering effects on recent back surgeries from quarterback Tony Romo, who participated in all off-season work and is 100-percent healthy headed to Oxnard.

*Drafted cornerback Byron Jones with their first-round pick, and give him a realistic shot to start in Week 1.

*Linebacker and leader Sean Lee is back on the field and healthy.

*Improved all facets of their team in free agency with the signings of Greg Hardy (defense), La’el Collins (offense) and Danny McCray (special teams).

The Bad

*Star receiver Dez Bryant remains unsigned and unsatisfied with the team’s franchise tag designation.

*After losing NFL leading rusher DeMarco Murray to the Eagles, they only replaced him with Darren McFadden and the hopes of major improvement from Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar.

*Linebacker Rolando McClain had surgery and has done his rehab in Alabama, away from team doctors.

*With the loss of Dwayne Harris to the Giants, they enter camp without a proven kick-returner. McFadden and rookie free agent Lucky Whitehead will get looks.

The Bottom Line

*If Hardy and Jones can play and Lee returns to form, the defense has a chance to improve. But on offense, the Cowboys are banking on their offensive line – perhaps bolstered by Collins – being a bigger asset than Murray was. No reason to think they can’t at least compete for the NFC East again.
 

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 lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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<![CDATA[Next Stop: Cowboys Training Camp 2015 in Oxnard]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 14:35:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/romo-training-camp-2014-03.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys wrapped up their mandatory minicamp on Thursday at AT&T Stadium, sending the players on a five-week break, their last before 2015 Training Camp opens in Oxnard, CA.

According to Jason Witten, who’s gone through the grind of an NFL offseason a time or two, the time between now and July 28 is going to fly--and that’s a positive.

It’s good to be quick,” Witten said, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. “This is why you do this work, to have this opportunity to go to camp. I think that some of your best times as a group is building your team, individually kind of setting your goals, but then doing it as a team. I’m excited where we’re at. I think we really kind of talked about mentally going into this offseason of, 'We’ve got to get better.' It’s a group of guys that works really hard. I’m excited to get to training camp.”

This will mark the Cowboys’ fifth training camp under head coach Jason Garrett, who preached discipline to his players before turning them loose for one final break on Thursday, between the rigid structure of the offseason schedule and the rigid structure of an NFL training camp.

“They have to have some discipline as they leave here,” Garrett said. “It’s been a structured environment for them through the offseason in our offseason program both in strength and conditioning and with the OTAs and minicamp. Now, many of the guys are going to be away for a little over a month. They’ll have to get their minds right, do what they need to do each and every day so that they can be the best coming back when we go to Oxnard.”



Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 Photojournalist]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry "Wouldn't Dare Have Higher Expectations" for Romo]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 14:37:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/romo-AP225265499084.jpg

Not surprisingly, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wishes the referees in Green Bay had determined that Dez Bryant caught that ball back in January, and that the team would have won that Divisional Round game and a chance to go to the Super Bowl in a conference championship game against the Seahawks.

But Jones doesn’t feel like he could have asked anything more of his quarterback, Tony Romo, who may have had his best season last year as a 34-year-old with two back procedures in his recent past.

I’ll take the way he’s been playing,” Jones said, per the Dallas Morning News. “I will take it and call it a day right now, if you’ll give me the whole year like that. I wouldn’t dare have higher expectations, other than I’d like to have held the ball ... and beat Green Bay. Other than that, we might have been sitting here talking about a dream season for Tony.”

This spring, Romo has gone through the offseason program with the team for the first time since 2012, which benefits the team as a whole, but the young receivers behind the absent Dez Bryant on the depth chart in particular.

“I’m really glad that they’re getting to benefit from him throwing the ball to them,” Jones said. “I think that was propitious that that timing happened. Because last year these young receivers wouldn’t have had him throwing to them as much, at all. So we’ve been really able to evaluate a lot of these guys.”



Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ron Jenkins]]>
<![CDATA[Terrance Williams Ends Promising Offseason with an Injury Scare]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 14:39:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456299956.jpg

Terrance Williams and the Dallas Cowboys got a scare on Thursday as, just minutes before the end of the team’s final practice session before training camp, the third-year Baylor product was sandwiched between two defenders, injuring his elbow, and had to be helped off the field. He went into the locker room at AT&T Stadium and underwent precautionary X-rays, which came back negative.

“Yeah, you’re always worried. That’s the No. 1 thing you’re worried about,” wide receivers coach Derek Dooley told the team’s website. “But you just can’t coach worrying about injuries because the only way to be a good football player is to go out there and play. Sometimes it’s physical and there’s always risk involved. Hopefully, he’ll be OK and we’ll see him in five weeks.”

The scare came at the end of what’s been a highly promising offseason for Williams, who stepped up in the absence of Dez Bryant to put together what Tony Romo called one of the best offseasons he’s seen. Dooley was similarly impressed by Williams.

“He’s had a phenomenal four weeks. I told him before we want on the field how proud of him I was,” Dooley said. “He’s not only taken a tremendous leadership role in the group, really setting the example of how you do things, he’s expanded his route inventory. He’s played X, he’s played Z, he’s played in the slot and every day he went out there and was the same player. Every route, every opportunity he had he took advantage of it. He’s made a big jump this offseason.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry Says Cowboys Are "Very Comfortable" at Running Back]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 14:44:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Jones-Arrives-031015.jpg

For now, the Dallas Cowboys are happy with what they have at the running back situation.

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones spoke on what has been the most talked about position of the offseason this week, suggesting that if the team brings in any additional help, it’ll come later. As of the end of minicamp this week, the final practices before training camp opens late next month in Oxnard, CA, Jones says the team is “very comfortable” with their stable of backs--a group led by the trio of Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar.

“... How we balance out training camp risk on our running back situation speaks to healthy backs,” Jones said, per the Dallas Morning News. “If we bring in a back, they need to be healthy, they need to have a good logical thought that they are going to be able to hit up in there and come out and do it again, so they’ve got to be stable, durable, and hopefully you’ll have some potential to see somebody with some upside there, too.

“It’s a hard spot for veteran backs, when we’ve got three that we want to treat like veterans as we get ready for the season. So finding that veteran back usually isn’t the answer at this particular time. Now if we were down at the end of training camp and we were getting ready to go play, then a veteran is a different circumstance. From that standpoint, it’s a managing situation as to where we are now as opposed to where we’re going to be when we leave training camp.”



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Romo Jumps to 36 in NFL Network's Top 100]]> Fri, 19 Jun 2015 14:43:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461028712.jpg

For the third year in a row, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rose in the NFL Network’s Top 100, an annual, player-voted ranking of the top 100 players in football today.

From being left off the list completely in 2013, Romo ranked No. 72 last year and made another big jump in this year’s list, coming in at No. 34 overall. That puts him firmly in the top 10 quarterbacks in the league according to the list, at No. 8, with only Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers ahead of him.

Arizona Cardinals’ defensive end Calais Campbell had some high praise for Romo--and a reference to what Newy Scruggs calls “Romo Magic”--on the edition of The Top 100 featuring the Dallas quarterback.

“When Romo’s in the game and he’s playing like he can play, it’s a tough time to beat him because he makes magic happen,” Campbell said, via the Dallas Morning News.

Romo had some familiar company in the mid-30s of the list, with the man who protects his blind side, left tackle Tyron Smith, coming in at No. 36.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dez Bryant Makes Appearance at Cowboys Minicamp]]> Thu, 18 Jun 2015 13:29:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/204*120/dez+at+camp.JPG

The Dallas Cowboys headed to AT&T Stadium for their final day of minicamp practice on Thursday, and All-Pro wide receiver Dez Bryant was in attendance.

Like his appearances at Valley Ranch earlier in the offseason, during offseason workouts and OTAs, this doesn’t signal any progress in his negotiations with the team. He still hasn’t signed his franchise tender, which would pay him $12.8 million for the 2015 season, meaning he can’t be penalized for missing the minicamp--and we’d guess this isn’t a sign that he’s backing off his reported willingness to sit out regular season games if he doesn’t get a long-term deal before 2015.

Still, the team was happy to have Bryant there, even if his involvement was limited to tossing a ball around with his teammates and catching some passes while wearing street clothes.

It’s great to have him here,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said, per the Dallas Morning News. “Dez obviously hasn’t signed his franchise deal yet so he’s not practicing. He’s dropped in throughout the offseason program. Dez is a special guy. He’s obviously a heck of a football player, very important to our football team, his approach is really well-respected by anybody on our football team, the guys he goes against, has a great passion for the game. It’s great to have him here.”

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