<![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, 26 May 2015 23:04:56 -0500 Tue, 26 May 2015 23:04:56 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Hatcher Feels at Home in Washington]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 12:59:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jason-hatcher-generic.jpg

Last year, after eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Jason Hatcher followed a truckload of money to Washington DC to join the Redskins. He recorded 5.5 sacks in his first year with the team, exactly half of his total in 2013 as a member of the Cowboys.

Over a year after joining the team, Hatcher admits he wasn’t always comfortable in a new place and in a new role in 2014. But now he’s settled in, and he foresees a big year for himself and the Washington defensive front as a whole in 2015.

“It was an adjustment, just getting here and feeling out the locker room and stuff like that,” Hatcher told the “Redskins Nation” show on the team’s website. “I think the GM did a good job of bringing in the right guys and so we can take this thing in the right direction. It was very uncomfortable, I’m not going to lie, but coming in here, seeing some stuff how it was done, but it’s definitely changed this year. I feel at home; I feel comfortable.”

With Joe Barry taking over as defensive coordinator this season, Hatcher believes he’ll return to the ultra-disruptive style of play that earned him the nickname “Big Daddy” from Cowboys defensive coordinator (then the defensive line coach) Rod Marinelli in 2013.

“The scheme has changed; I can get back to being 'Big Daddy' up field making plays and not just holding the blocker, so you’ve just got to do what they pay you to do,” he said. “If they tell you to hold up blockers, that’s what you got to do. But this year they can kind of turn me lose and I can go up field and do what I do, so hopefully 'Big Daddy' will be back in the building.”



Photo Credit: Frank Heinz, NBC DFW]]>
<![CDATA[Jason Garrett Preaching "Competition" to Rookies ]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 12:34:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jason-garrett-camp-2014-03.jpg

With organized team activities opening on Tuesday, the rookies on the Dallas Cowboys roster are going to hear a lot from Jason Garrett about competition, and creating that competition.

“For all rookies, I think going into OTAs Coach Garrett does a great job of telling them, ‘Create competition,’” veteran tight end Jason Witten told the team’s official website. “A lot of them we’re counting on to play and play significant roles, and others are going to be contributors. This is the start of it. We’ve had good offseason workouts so far, but nothing like going to the field and taking those practice reps and getting better.”

This week is the first of three weeks of OTAs, leading up to the first mandatory minicamp of the offseason in mid-June.

Among those rookies who will likely see a lot of action in 2015 are first round pick, defensive back Byron Jones; second rounder, defensive end Randy Gregory; fourth rounder, linebacker Damien Wilson; and, of course, La’el Collins, the first round-graded offensive tackle who was signed as an undrafted free agent.



Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 Photojournalist]]>
<![CDATA[Staubach Excited to See Where Romo Takes Cowboys]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 13:31:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461024562.jpg

To say Roger Staubach is a Tony Romo fan might be an understatement.

Speaking at a flag football event benefitting the Wounded Warriors recently, Staubach made clear that he’s always thought highly of the Cowboys quarterback, and he’s fairly shocked that this isn’t a unanimous position among Dallas fans.

“I’m just mystified that we’re not all Tony Romo supporters,” Staubach told the team’s website. “He’s a fantastic football player. He needs some good people around him like we all do in life. He’s a winning, franchise quarterback.”

Last year, Romo did have “some good people around him,” and he made the most out of it, leading the Cowboys to their first NFC East championship and their first playoff victory since 2009. Staubach is excited to see where they go from here.

“Oh yeah, there’s no question about it. In the ’90s, it was a lot of fun to go to work every day, watching the Cowboys win,” Staubach said. “Now, it looks like we’re headed there again. It makes a big difference.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Cowboys Sign WR AJ Jenkins]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 11:32:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/458294338.jpg

With OTAs opening at Valley Ranch, the Dallas Cowboys signed wide receiver and noted former first round bust AJ Jenkins on Tuesday, according to Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas.

A University of Illinois product, Jenkins was one of a handful of veterans to work out at Valley Ranch last week, a group that included running backs Ben Tate and Felix Jones. He comes as the fourth receiver added to the roster this offseason, the others being undrafted free agents George Farmer, Lucky Whitehead and Antwan Goodley.

Back in 2012, Jenkins was selected 30th overall by the San Francisco 49ers but only lasted a year there, appearing in three games and catching no passes. He was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs following his rookie season, and put up eight catches for 130 yards in his first year there.

Last year with the Chiefs, he had nine catches for 93 yards. He is still looking for his first NFL touchdown.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Starting RB is Randle's Job to Lose]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 11:16:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460755606.jpg

As the Cowboys open Organized Team Activities this week at Valley Ranch, the running back job is apparently Joseph Randle’s to lose.

From the flashes we’ve seen on the field, he has the talent to keep the gig. But from the gaudy lapses in judgement off the field, he’ll be lucky to keep a roster spot.

DeMarco Murray’s role will likely be replaced by a gaggle of runners including Randle, Darren McFadden, Lance Dunbar and Ryan Williams.

Because he served in the backup role last season, Randle will likely line up with the starters this week. He showed bursts in 2014, averaging 6.7 yards per carry.

The question with Randle isn’t between the sidelines, it’s between his ears. There was the shoplifting arrest, followed by promises of a “light-bulb” moment and serious attention to his profession. And that, of course, was followed by the off-season incident in Kansas in which he was arrested for domestic abuse.

But with those charges dropped, the Cowboys are seemingly putting the pressure on Randle. It’s your job, take it.

We’ll start learning in OTAs if Randle is good enough – mature enough – to hold off McFadden for the role.

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[OTAs Begin Tuesday at Valley Ranch]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 11:01:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/romo-training-camp-2014-03.jpg

Organized team activities begin Tuesday for the Dallas Cowboys, and many other teams for that matter, and head coach Jason Garrett wants to ensure his team gets the most out of these next three weeks.

Everyone's excited to get started and do football, but you have to practice smart,” Garrett said, per ESPN Dallas. “One of the things we talk to our players about all the time is, given the new collective bargaining agreement, you don't have that many full-padded practices. The teams that learn how to practice in helmets and jerseys really are the teams that are the best teams in this league because this is how we practice many more times than not.

“So we have to do a great job teaching tempo and convincing our players about the type of tempo we want to practice with. There's a sense of urgency. There's a pace for these types of events.”

The beginning of OTAs marks the beginning of 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills, which is the closest to actual football the team has come since the offseason program began over a month ago.

“This is the start of it,” said tight end Jason Witten. “We’ve had a good offseason of workouts so far, but there’s nothing like going to the field and taking those practice reps and getting better. I think that’s the best thing we did last year. We eliminated all the noise and worked our tails off.”



Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 Photojournalist]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Need a Bell Cow Back]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 13:21:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459965554.jpg

With DeMarco Murray gone, the Dallas Cowboys may use more of a platoon system than we saw last year, but they're still planning on having a clear top dog in the backfield.

To the surprise of many, maybe most, the Cowboys didn’t draft a running back. The running back they got in free agency, Darren McFadden, has had a total of one 1,000-yard season--and that was five years ago. The other obvious option is Joseph Randle, who has shown flashes of brilliance certainly and averaged 6.7 yards a carry a year ago, but has a career total of just 105 attempts.

So who will it be?

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan doesn’t know, just yet. But he’s excited to find out.

I still feel like we’re going to find somebody that’s going to have, not the majority of our carries, but a good bulk of our carries,” Linehan told the team’s official website. “I think that person’s going to rise to the top. What’s interesting and exciting is we’re going to find out. That’s why we have this time and that’s why we have (training camp in) Oxnard. That’s what we do.

“We have a lot of optimism about it, but we have big expectations that regardless who’s in there our execution is going to be at a high level.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Shanahan Doesn't Blame Injuries for RG3 Struggles]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 13:21:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/184425706.jpg

There’s no denying that Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has had a rough draw thus far in his NFL career where injuries are concerned.

After leading the Redskins to an NFC East championship in his rookie year, Griffin suffered a devastating knee injury in a playoff loss to the Seahawks. He returned in 2013 but wasn’t ever close to the same as he was the year before, when he won Rookie of the Year honors, and he was ultimately shut down for the final three games of the season.

Last year, Griffin suffered a dislocated ankle in Week 2, an injury kept him out for almost two months. When he returned, he struggled and was benched for Colt McCoy. He got the starting job back when McCoy went down with a neck injury and finished the season with a 2-5 record as the team's starting quarterback.

Griffin’s coach for his first two seasons in the league, Mike Shanahan said in a recent interview on the Grant and Danny Show on 106.7-FM The Fan in Washington DC that he doesn’t think injuries are to blame for RG3’s struggles of late.

I don’t think getting hurt has anything to do with it,” Shanahan said, via CSN Washington. “In college he didn’t have a route tree, didn’t have a playbook. That does take some time. ... If you take a QB like that you must run the kind of system that allows them to be successful... I really believe Robert thought he was more of a drop back quarterback. He hasn’t done things the NFL asks you to do. It does take some growing pains. You better really work on it inside and out.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Will Cowboys Need a Two-Point Specialist?]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 12:14:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cowboys-Extra-point-NFL.jpg

Do the Dallas Cowboys need to start looking for a two-point specialist?

They might soon, if Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak is correct. In response to the extra point rule changes--under which teams can either start from the 15-yard-line and kick for one point, or start on the 2-yard-line for a two-point attempt--Kubiak told USA Today this week that he sees NFL teams employing two-point specialists.

“I think there (are) going to be two-point specialists from the standpoint of how you go about doing it. Coaching, those are things that you work on," Kubiak said. “You probably practice those things during camp. It's not very much and, all of a sudden, it becomes part of the game. That's a big part of practice. It's going to change the way you go about doing things. I know that.”

It could be interesting to see how teams react to the new rules once the season begins, we suppose, but we’d imagine most teams will continue to kick after touchdowns in 2015.

A 33-yard attempt is still a very high-percentage kick, after all. And as for the Cowboys, they have a kicker in Dan Bailey who is the most accurate in NFL history at the moment, for whom the 33-yard extra point shouldn’t be much of a problem.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Peterson Will Skip OTAs, Still Wants to be Traded]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 11:54:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/186722617.jpg

Minnesota Vikings running back and centerpiece of a great deal of the offseason trade rumors involving the Dallas Cowboys, Adrian Peterson will reportedly skip the team’s organized team activities, which begin Tuesday.

According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports, Peterson is still hoping to be traded, and doesn’t plan on attending any of the Vikings’ offseason workouts. This will cost him $250,000 in the form of a workout bonus that requires he attend 90 percent of the team’s offseason workouts, but he apparently doesn’t mind. Citing a an unnamed “longtime Peterson confidant,” Robinson reports the star running back still hasn’t decided whether he’ll attend the mandatory minicamp next month or training camp in July.

This news should get the rumors linking Peterson and the Cowboys started again, at least to some degree. Reports before the draft said that if a deal wasn’t done by the end of that weekend, the Vikings wouldn’t deal Peterson at all. Nothing happened, of course, and the rumors went away for the most part.

The rumors were given new life, however, when Cowboys owner Jerry Jones went on record as saying he’d be open to trading next year’s first round pick to give the team a better chance at winning now.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Cowboys Worked Out Daniel Thomas, Too]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 11:55:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456277884.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys worked out a group of veteran running backs at Valley Ranch last Thursday, a group that included former Cowboy Felix Jones, former Texan Ben Tate and, apparently, former Miami Dolphin Daniel Thomas.

Thomas was a second round pick out of Kansas State back in 2011 and rushed for 581 yards in his rookie season, a figure that stands four years later as his career-high. He was among the Dolphins’ final cuts coming out of camp last year but came back when Knowshon Moreno was hurt to run for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 44 carries. He also had 121 yards receiving.

After losing DeMarco Murray in free agency, the Cowboys have made clear all offseason that they’re open to bringing in more running back help.

The issue is never resolved,” said head coach Jason Garrett said, per the Dallas Morning News. “We feel very good about the guys we have on our roster. We feel good about Darren McFadden. We feel good about Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar, Ryan Williams. But we’re always trying to create competition. Competition with those four guys themselves but also competition where we can get running backs from other places."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Staubach Wouldn't Want Hardy on His Team]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 09:27:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/roger-staubach1.18.12.jpg

On Friday I said the Cowboys should pursue Ray Rice. Because, after all, the bar on the caliber of class has already been lowered to the gutter with the signing of Greg Hardy.

But, as I’ve written before, the ideal situation is to have a team and an organization that doesn’t need criminals to win championships. And I’ve got pretty good company echoing that sentiment.

Roger Staubach ring a bell?

“I don't have any tolerance toward domestic violence,” the Cowboys’ Hall-of-Fame quarterback said Friday in an interview on KTCK-AM radio in Dallas. “If I was making the decision, it probably wouldn't have been good for the Cowboys.”

Hardy, of course, was found guilty of domestic abuse against his ex-girlfriend but had the charges ultimately dropped when she disappeared. He missed all except one game last season and on Thursday will appeal his 2015 10-game suspension.

While future Cowboys’ Hall of Famer and anti-domestic violence advocate Jason Witten has said he’ll be accepting of Hardy, not so with the man that led Dallas to its first two Super Bowls.

“I wouldn't really enjoy being in the locker room with someone I knew was a domestic violence person,” Staubach said. “I would have really had a hard time with a teammate that you look at as a courageous, tough guy on the football field ... to abuse a woman in any shape or form, there's just no excuse for it.”

Amen.

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.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Legendary Cowboys Play Wounded Warriors]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 00:09:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/052415+Wounded+Warriors+vs+NFL.jpg Roger Staubach and other legendary members of the Cowboys recently played a football game with the Wounded Warriors Amputee Football Team. Proceeds from the event raised money for the WAFT and Disabled Veterans Initiatives In Texas.

Photo Credit: David Watkins, NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Remembering Cowboys Fan Rio Cantu]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 10:54:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rio-cantu-cowboys.jpg NBC 5's Pat Doney remembers Rio Cantu, a Glen Rose teenager who was a huge Cowboys fan. He passed away earlier this month from the cancer he battled so valiantly.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[With New Deal, Scandrick Hopes to be a Cowboy For Life]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 12:10:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456306356.jpg

Back with his teammates at Valley Ranch, with the ink drying on a newly reworked deal that will keep him in blue and silver through 2019, Orlando Scandrick hopes he’ll be a Dallas Cowboy for life.

I would like to think I'm going to be (a Cowboy) for life,” Scandrick said, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. “It's going on eight years. It's now on me to take care of my end of the bargain and continue to be a productive player.”

Scandrick stayed away from the team through the first several weeks of their offseason program in hopes of revisiting his contract--a contract that had been reworked just two years ago, in 2013. He had been the best cornerback on the Cowboys’ roster in the two seasons since, but was set to make significantly less than both Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne this season.

As the team showed a willingness to work with him, though, Scandrick returned to North Texas a week ago and began working out with the team on Monday.

“I think this was a special circumstance,” Scandrick said of his contract situation. “Two years ago when I signed an extension it was essentially a pay cut. It's not normal you see guys take pay cuts in the prime of their career. A lot of people look at the overall numbers and think you signed a new deal and it was something I wanted to do to essentially stay with the team and have some stability. Looking back on it I don't know if it was the best decision, but now waking up here today it's all irrelevant and I've moved past it. I can't put into words how appreciative I am of the Jones family and the organization.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-Cowboy Michael Sam Signs with CFL's Montreal Alouettes]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 11:57:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GERRY_MCCARTHY__1409761483_39578161-620x503.jpg

Michael Sam, whose last NFL experience came as a member of the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad, is headed to Canada.

Sam has signed a two-year deal with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, the team that has had his CFL rights since his senior year at Missouri.

I am very excited and proud to join the Montreal Alouettes," Sam said in a statement, via ESPN. “... I cannot wait to put on the pads, get back on the field and work hard each and every day with my teammates to bring a Grey Cup to the great fans here in Montreal.”

Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL last year when the St. Louis Rams selected him in the seventh round, but he was among the Rams’ final cuts coming out of training camp. Less than a week after that, Sam signed with the Cowboys, and he stayed on as a member of the practice squad for a month and a half.

Dallas ultimately released Sam to add linebacker depth in October, and we last saw him at the inaugural veteran combine, where he ran a 4.99 40-yard dash.



Photo Credit: Gerry McCarthy / Dallas Morning News Staff Photographer]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Should Take a Shot on Ray Rice ]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 11:57:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/187572616.jpg

If Felix Jones, why not him?  And if Greg Hardy, why not him?

You know, him. As in, yeah, Ray Rice.

I know your initial reaction when I mention the former Baltimore Raven and infamous domestic abuse villain: You cringe and say, “Noooo waaaaay!”

To which I retort, "Whyyyyy nottttttt?" Think about it.

Even though they didn’t draft one, the Cowboys are admitting they still need running back help by entertaining workouts from the likes of re-tread journeymen Felix Jones and Ben Tate on Thursday.

I can argue that Rice is significantly better than any runner on Dallas’ roster, including Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar and Ryan Williams.

Rice, 28, had four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons from 2009-12, made three Pro Bowls and helped the Ravens win a Super Bowl. His accomplishments dwarf the Cowboys’ other backs … combined.

The other piece to the puzzle is character and class, something Jerry Jones long ago sold down the river in an attempt at another Super Bowl. In a perfect world the Cowboys would be choir boys, but welcome to reality.

Dez Bryant was arrested for a domestic squabble. So too Randle. The Cowboys welcomed back Josh Brent after a prison stint for a DUI accident that killed a teammate. And then there’s Hardy, the Cowboys' prized free agent whose alleged treatment of his former girlfriend is even more heinous than Rice’s infamous elevator scene, only it wasn’t caught on tape.

Rice has reconciled with his wife. He’s completed court-ordered counseling and had his charges dropped. He isn’t suspended by the NFL, and is free to sign with any team. Crazy as it seems because of the notoriety his case received he’d come to the Cowboys with less baggage than Hardy, who is scheduled to be suspended the first 10 games for his episode.

Look, the bar has been lowered. The line has been obliterated. The seal has been broken.

Since the Cowboys clearly don’t care about character, they might as well get the best of the worst.

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[Williams Wants to Inspire Witten-esque Level of Trust in Romo]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 11:29:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461027914.jpg

Tony Romo clearly enjoys having Terrance Williams as a target.

In his first two seasons with the Cowboys, the former third round pick out of Baylor has 81 catches, 1,357 yards and 13 touchdowns. In the playoffs last year, his first taste of the NFL postseason, he caught four passes--and three of them went for touchdowns.

But Williams is still working on his relationship with his quarterback. His goal?

To inspire Jason Witten- or Dez Bryant-esque level of trust in Romo.

"I'm still trying to find ways to come out there and have him look my way the same way he looks at Dez (Bryant) and (Jason) Witten," Williams said, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. “Now, this spring, I'm just basically with Tony doing whatever he's telling me to do, because I want him, every time he breaks the huddle, to have somebody else he can count on.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Saban Recalls Being Impressed by Jason Garrett in 2005]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 11:05:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457508598.jpg

Jason Garrett’s first job as a coach came under Nick Saban, and suffice to say the former left a lasting impression on the latter.

Garrett and Saban are good friends and mutual admirers now. But in 2005, Saban was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins and Garrett was looking for a job. Saban reluctantly agreed to give Garrett an interview at the behest of some of his assistants--assistants that would later join the Cowboys staff, like offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and offensive line coach Hudson Houck--and the rest is history.

"Scott Linehan and all the other offensive coaches who had coached in the league ... they all knew Jason, and they said, 'You've got to interview Jason Garrett,’” Saban told AL.com. “I said, 'The guy's never even coached. How can you recommend him for a coaching job?'

“And I interviewed him, and he was by far the best candidate. And I said that even after a year--after his first year of being a coach--I really considered him to promote him to [offensive] coordinator and call the plays because he was that good a coach that quickly because he's a very bright guy and really could relate well with the players."

Garrett coached the quarterbacks in Miami in each of Saban’s two seasons as head coach, 2005 and 2006. When Saban head back to the college ranks in 2007, Garrett got his offensive coordinator job with the Dallas Cowboys.Three and a half short years later, he’d take over as head coach.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Orlando Scandrick Gets His New Deal]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 10:31:15 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/orlando-scandrick12.5.11.jpg

Orlando Scandrick has his new deal.  

Scandrick has agreed to a one-year, $9.5 million extension to his existing deal, which will keep him in Dallas through 2019. He will now earn $4 million this year and $5 million the next. Before striking the deal today, he was set to earn $1.5 million for the 2015 season.

This relatively paltry sum led to Scandrick staying away from Valley Ranch for the first few weeks of the team’s offseason program--he had outplayed his contract and was the best cornerback on the Cowboys’ roster over the past two seasons, after all, yet he continued to make significantly less than both Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne.

But relations between Scandrick and the Cowboys began to thaw a week ago when he returned to North Texas to meet with the team. From there, he rejoined his teammates in workouts on Monday, setting the stage for the announcement of his new deal on Friday.

]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Sign 2nd Round Pick Randy Gregory]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 13:12:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/randy-gregory-charles-haley.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys have signed second round pick Randy Gregory to his rookie contract.

Gregory was selected in the second round, the 60th pick overall, to a chorus of cheers from the Cowboys’ draft room. The cheers were motivated by the fact that at 60, Gregory has the potential to be a major steal. He was widely regarded as perhaps a high first rounder before he failed a drug test at the Combine and tumbled down draft boards as a result.

But the Cowboys believed all along that they could put an effective support system in place to keep Gregory on the straight and narrow and were confident enough in him to give him No. 94--previously worn by soon-to-be Hall of Famer Charles Haley and probable future Hall of Famer DeMarcus Ware.

The exact terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed, but because of the rookie wage scale, it’ll be somewhere around the four-year, $3.5 million deal (with $1.25 million guaranteed) that Missouri’s Kony Ealy got when he went to the Carolina Panthers 60th overall last year.

]]>
<![CDATA[Williams Admits He Was Glad Cowboys Didn't Draft Any RBs]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 12:59:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/4537124122.jpg

This season, Dallas Cowboys running back Ryan Williams will look to see a regular season carry for the first time since 2012. He’ll have to work his way into the mix among Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar, but the door is about as open as it could be for a player like Williams in mid-May.

Williams, a former second round pick of the Cardinals, admitted in a recent interview with 103.3-FM ESPN Radio this week that he was somewhat glad when the Cowboys came away from the draft without a new running back.

I was happy,” Williams said, via the Dallas Morning News. “I’m going to be honest with you guys, I was happy, but I didn’t get too happy because I was in the same situation my last year with the Arizona Cardinals. We didn’t draft a running back, ended up still getting released after everything that I was told previously. So the only thing that I can do is control what I’m able to control, and that’s to continue to work hard and continue to get into the book and continue to show these guys that I’m capable of doing the things that they want me to do.

“That’s it. That’s the only thing that’s on my mind. I don’t care who they brought in here. I couldn’t care less what the situation could have been, because I’ve basically been a part of every situation you can think of in the NFL and I’m still here, and I’m still strong and I’m still showing these guys that’ I’m capable of doing it, so that’s it.”

Williams has certainly done his best to show the Cowboys what he can do. He led the team in rushing in the preseason last year with 112 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries, but he spent all of the regular season on the practice squad. Obviously, with DeMarco Murray gone, his chances of cracking the 53-man roster have shot up this year.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Extra Point Changes Won't Alter Dan Bailey's Approach]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 12:35:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457134542.jpg

Long before the extra point rule change actually came through, Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey opined that moving the kick back because it had become pretty much automatic was tantamount to punishing kickers for being good at their job.

Now that the rule has been changed, extra points moved from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line, Bailey isn’t mad. But he still doesn’t see why the change was necessary.

"I think there was talk that they wanted to add, quote, 'skill,' to the kick," Bailey said, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. "As somebody that does this as my job, it requires the same skill to kick an extra point from where it was to where it's going to be. The skill set is the same. It requires you to be accurate in both acts.

“Now it'll be a little more distance, but by saying we're trying to add skill to the kick is almost saying we didn't possess that before, which I don't agree. Ask around the league--everybody is going to approach each kick the same way. A 50-yarder is just as hard as a 33-yarder to an extra point. You can't take mental breaks on any kicks because then you'll be out of a job."

The rule could be changed again next year, if the percentages remain too close to “automatic” in the eyes of the competition committee. Bailey sees this as a potentially slippery slope.

"What are we trying to accomplish out of this?" Bailey said. "What will be an acceptable percentage for extra points? Right now it's pretty much we make 100 percent, but now we back it up. OK, is 95 percent an acceptable baseline? Ninety-three percent? I can see this adding more value to our position if you're above whatever we set the baseline as during the course of the year."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[LBs Coach Thinks Weak Side Suits Sean Lee]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 12:19:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/sean-lee9-19-12.jpg

Sean Lee will move from middle linebacker to weakside linebacker on a full-time basis beginning in 2015, and linebackers coach Matt Eberflus believes the new position will fit Lee like a glove.

“A few years back before we went to this defense he played Will linebacker,” Eberflus said, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. “We were in a lot of under fronts and he was playing behind the three technique (defensive tackle) and you kind of saw what his capabilities were there. If you marry him to the three technique, he’s going to be more of a run and hit guy, and that’s where his instincts and natural abilities sort of lean that way. So he’ll be really successful at that position.”

The Cowboys are very optimistic about the move. Like Eberflus, head coach Jason Garrett believes the move suits Lee and what’s more, he thinks it could help keep him healthy and on the field. For his part, Jerry Jones expressed a hope this offseason that Lee could move to the weakside while Rolando McClain plays in Lee’s old spot in the middle, as he did a year ago. Jones got his wish and McClain re-signed with the Cowboys.

Eberflus believes McClain can be even better this year, as he won’t be working his way out of retirement and back into football--he’ll have the benefit of an offseason.

“Just really the strength and conditioning part of it,” Eberflus said. “I think that’s the biggest thing and really getting a foundation of the calls and the fundamentals that we’re teaching here: how to take on a block, how to drop to a zone, how to set up on the quarterback and all of those things. Just being here, strength and conditioning, fundamentals, that’s only going to get better.”

]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Felix Jones Among Group Working Out for Cowboys]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 12:05:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/felix-jones-return.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys are looking at a number of running backs at Valley Ranch today, a group that includes former Houston Texan Ben Tate and, according to Bryan Broaddus of DallasCowboys.com, former Cowboy Felix Jones.

The last we heard from Jones, he was taking part in the inaugural NFL veteran combine. He didn’t fare so well there, running the 40-yard dash twice, in 4.79 and 4.85 seconds.

Jones was drafted by the Cowboys in the first round of the 2008 draft out of Arkansas and played five seasons in Dallas. While he certainly had his moments, he struggled with injuries and never developed into an every-down back for the team--he never had 200 carries in a season and never rushed for 1,000 yards. He was released by the team after the 2012 season and spent 2013 with Pittsburgh, where he appeared in all 16 games but got just 48 carries.

Jones spent 2014 out of football.

On the outside chance that Dallas brings Jones back, he’d be reunited with his old Razorback teammate Darren McFadden, with whom he shared the backfield in Arkansas from 2005-2007.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Kick the Tires on Ben Tate]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 11:06:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459076090.jpg

So perhaps, as we’ve surmised repeatedly, the Cowboys aren’t as content with their running-back-by-committee as they publicly profess.

If so, why is veteran running back Ben Tate at Valley Ranch for a workout Thursday?

It was just last week that owner Jerry Jones claimed the Cowboys’ running game would in 2015 be “better” despite the departure of NFL leading rusher DeMarco Murray. Assuming that belief is genuine, then why continue the search for a running back?

The answer, to me, is that while the Cowboys’ dominant offensive line will be even better with the addition of free agent La’el Collins, there is still room for improvement behind them with the players who tote the football. Enter Tate.

Having rushed for 2,363 yards with four teams over four seasons, he doesn’t immediately grab you as an upgrade over Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar and Ryan Williams. A second-round draft pick of the Texans in 2010, he missed a year with a broken ankle and then rushed for 942 yards and four touchdowns in ’11. Since then he’s bounced from the Browns, Vikings and Steelers, each with a variety of unproductivity.

It’s always tricky following the philosophy at Valley Ranch. Passing on a running back in the draft only to trot in re-tread veterans for tryouts certainly adds to the mystery.

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[LeBron James Sends Dez Bryant a Care Package]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 13:13:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/lebron-james-cowboys-fixing.jpg

LeBron James has changed jerseys a few times, but he’s never swayed in his allegiance to the Dallas Cowboys.

In fact, during his first stint in Cleveland, he drew the ire of some of the Browns for hanging out on the Cowboys’ sideline before their game in Cleveland. But LeBron didn’t waver, ever. In fact, he’s remained about the most visible Cowboys fan this side of Chris Christie in the years since.

So it’s not too much of a surprise that James is a big fan of Dez Bryant, to the point that he sent him a care package recently.

Bryant posted a photo of the package to Twitter, along with his thanks to King James, and it is quite the haul of LeBron-related stuff--a pair of new special edition LeBron 12s, some cans of that “Sprite LeBron Mix” and a pair of Beats headphones.

According to FOX Sports Southwest,
it is just one of 100 such care packages that were put together.

]]>
<![CDATA[JerryWorld Not in the Running for 2019, 2020 Super Bowls]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 12:50:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cowboys-stadium-XLV-722.jpg

North Texas last hosted a Super Bowl in 2011, and at least a decade will have passed before we host another one.

The Dallas Cowboys have been eliminated from the field of teams who will make a bid to host the Super Bowl in 2019 and 2020. The cities still in the running for those games, and the pomp and circumstance (and money) that surround them are Atlanta, New Orleans, Tampa and Miami.

As Jeff Mosier of the Dallas Morning News points out, Atlanta seems very likely to host one of these, as they have a new stadium with a $1.5 billion price tag--a little more, even, than Jerry Jones spent on JerryWorld--set to open in 2017.

The next Super Bowl the Cowboys will have a chance to host will be in 2021, by which time Los Angeles could very well have a new stadium--and a new stadium in LA will obviously, admittedly present some stiff competition for a city whose last Super Bowl week didn’t exactly go swimmingly.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Terrance Williams, Dez Will Look to "Pick Up Where We Left Off"]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 12:21:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461029600.jpg

In the final three games of the regular season last year, Cowboys receivers Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams went on kind of a hot streak, combining for eight receiving touchdowns in that span--six for Bryant and two for Williams. In the playoffs, Williams caught three more touchdown passes and Bryant made one of the best catches of his career only to see it ruled an incomplete pass.

Bryant has been doing some strength and conditioning work at Valley Ranch, but he won’t get on the field as he continues negotiating toward a long-term deal. What’s more, if Bryant doesn’t get his new deal before the July 15 deadline, it’s likely that he won’t join the team until training camp in late July in Oxnard.

But whenever he gets back, Williams is confident that he and Bryant will be able to pick up right where they left off down the stretch and into the playoffs last season.

“I still talk to him once every two days, probably--I just check up on him and see how he's doing,” Williams told the team’s official website. “The times he did come, he looked like he was ready to go. I guess whenever he decides to come back, we're just going to pick up where we left off at.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dallas O-Line "Grinding," Not Thinking About Making History]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 12:03:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Collins-Jersey.gif

When La’el Collins signed with the Dallas Cowboys two weeks ago, he declared that he was joining an offensive line that has the potential to be the best in NFL history. Collins’s new line-mates aren’t ready to make any such declarations.

You know that’s not something that I personally am going to say,” said center Travis Frederick, the Cowboys’ first round pick in 2013, per Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I know we have a long way to go to reach anything like that. For us to come in and try and do what we want to do--and what that is, is do as well as we did last year and continue to improve--we have a long way to go. So we’re just grinding continuing to work on technique and strength and speed and hopefully we can have another good year.”

Collins’s excitement is certainly understandable. Dallas had one of the best offensive lines in football going into the draft. They came out of the draft only stronger, with the selections of tackles Chaz Green out of Florida in the third round and Laurence Gibson out of Virginia Tech in the seventh. So when Collins was added to that already loaded group--the fourth first round-graded offensive lineman they’ve brought in since 2011--the excitement about that particular group went through the roof in North Texas.

“We certainly have a lot of talent in that room,” Frederick said. “A lot can be said about the guys who are there, but there are also a lot of times when talent goes wasted if it’s not put to good use. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. We have a long way to go, and we’re going to continue to work and continue to try and get better.”



Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Garrett, Cowboys Glad to Have Orlando Scandrick Back]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 11:35:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456306356.jpg

Not surprisingly, Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is glad to have cornerback Orlando Scandrick back on the field at Valley Ranch.

Scandrick sat out for most of the first month of the team’s voluntary offseason conditioning program in hopes of reworking his contract--a contract that he’s outplayed in the past two seasons as the best corner on the Dallas roster. He returned to North Texas late last week to meet with the team and rejoined his teammates on the field on Monday.

It’s great to have him back,” Garrett told the team’s official website this week. “Orlando loves playing football, loves playing for the Cowboys. His great strength as a player is his passion for the game, the edge that he plays with.”

Garrett added that it’s clear that Scandrick was working out during his time away from the team.

“He looks good,” Garrett said. “You can tell he’s been working out. We’re going to take care of the football part. The business side will take care of itself.”
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New PAT Rule and Dallas' Dan Bailey]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 11:08:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cowboys-Extra-point-NFL.jpg

Say goodbye to one of the most boring, predictable plays in all of sports. And hello to more drama heaped upon the shoulders of head-coaching decisions.

In other words, it’s a good day to be a fan of the NFL.

Owners voted Tuesday, 30-2, to change the rules pertaining to point-after-touchdown attempts. Out is the traditional kick from the 2-yard line, replaced by attempts from the 15. The change is dramatic, turning a kick good for 1 point from a 20-yard chip-shot into a 33-yard field goal.

The other twist: Teams can still try for a 2-point conversion from the 2-yard line, but defenses can now score 2 points by returning the attempt – a blocked kick or a fumble or interception return – for a touchdown.

Bottom line: More extra points will be missed. More 2-point conversions will be attempted. More defenses will score points. More important will be coaching decisions after touchdowns. And more exciting will be the games.

Let’s face it, kickers have become so good that the extra point rivaled baseball’s intentional walk as the most boring “play” in all of sports. Even to an admitted traditionlist like Jason Garrett, the changes are welcomed.

“Well obviously it makes the extra point that much more challenging,” the Cowboys’ head coach told reporters after a charity Home Run Derby Tuesday afternoon at Globe Life Park in Arlington. “I think the percentage to make a PAT the way it is is north of 98 percent and I think it's about 93 percent to kick a field goal that's 33 yards. So there's a little bit of a difference there obviously. I'm glad they did the thing where the defense can return it and get two points. I think that's a good rule, and I'm glad they kept it at the 2-yard line.”

Because Dan Bailey has never missed a PAT (179 of 179) in his career, the Cowboys rarely try for two points. They’ve only attempted seven in Garrett’s four full seasons (converting four) and none in 2014. Bailey’s also made a stunning 38 of 40 field-goal attempts between 30-39 yards and has never missed one shorter than 34 yards.

So will Garrett take the almost automatic one point in 2015, or gamble for two?

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: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Michael Irvin Plans on Recruiting for the Mavs]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 12:33:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/DeAndre-Jordan-Clippers-vs-Rockets-Game-4.jpg

The Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan is headed toward free agency, and he figures to be a major target for the Dallas Mavericks this offseason. Assuming they do make a push for Jordan whenever league rules allow them to make a push, Mark Cuban and co. will have help, apparently, from Dallas Cowboys legend Michael Irvin.

The Hall of Fame receiver recently joined 103.3-FM ESPN Radio to discuss his recruiting efforts and told his hosts that Jordan, a Houston native, is a big fan of the Cowboys.

“DeAndre Jordan, he sent me his number a few weeks ago,” Irvin said, via the Dallas Morning News. “He’s a big Cowboys fan, a big Mike Irvin fan he said. I was going to reach out to him and get some tickets to the finals. I just knew they were going to be there, Michael Irvin sitting right here, DeAndre Jordan’s guest right now, ‘Hey! What’s up!’”

That wasn’t in the cards, of course. The Clippers’ season ended on Sunday with an ugly loss to the Houston Rockets. Now, Jordan has a decision to make, and Irvin wants to make sure he seriously considers lovely Dallas before making it.

“I feel I have a duty to make sure I let him know exactly how beautiful it is to land right here and call Dallas home,” Irvin said. “And that would be no doubt the truth for me. There’s no place better and I will certainly let him know that.”



Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Haley Picks DeBartolo to Present Him at HoF]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 12:33:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/226125.jpg

Owner Jerry Jones has become a familiar face at Hall of Fame induction ceremonies involving former Dallas Cowboys of recent. He presented Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin and Larry Allen, and at the time of Smith’s induction, added that it was a possibility that he’d present Deion Sanders and Charles Haley when they went in.

Sanders ended up going with his agent Eugene Parker to present him back in 2011, and Haley--set to be inducted in August--will also look elsewhere for his presenter, though he admitted it was a tough choice.

Haley’s first choice was his first coach with the 49ers, the legendary Bill Walsh, but Walsh passed away in 2007. He also thought of having more than one presenter, but the Hall nixed that idea. So he’s going with the 49ers owner at the time he came into the league, Eddie DeBartolo.

"I wanted to do like a combo but the Hall of Fame wouldn't [allow it] and I stressed to them there's not going to be anybody that's going to be with one team the rest of their careers," Haley said, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. "You're going to start having guys play five years here and five years there and have great success at both plays so what do you do? And they're toying with that right now.

"I promised Bill Walsh before he died that I wanted him to present me and he called me like two days before he passed and he just followed my whole career. He was there for me and I could call him about anything. Hey, that was an easy thing for me to go with the 49ers."

His combo-presenter idea rejected, Haley still intends on Jerry being involved in his big weekend.

"Jerry's always been real with me and he knows my heart and he knows what I'm about," Haley said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Carr Serving as a Mentor For Rookie Byron Jones]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 11:03:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/471748472.jpg

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr is taking first round pick Byron Jones under his wing a little bit as he gets acclimated to the next level this offseason, and he’s impressed with what he’s seen out of the UConn product thus far.

Specifically, Carr has now seen firsthand the freakish athleticism that led the Cowboys’ draft room to celebrate Jones falling to them at 27th overall three weeks ago.

"I'm all about mentoring guys," Carr said, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. "I'm all about competition. I'm all about guys getting better each and every day. He's a young guy. He has a lot to learn. I feel like I can add some teaching lessons to him as well. But he's a guy with tremendous athletic ability. Now he's got to translate that to Sundays and go out there and play fast."

Personally, Carr has had an interesting offseason to this point. Coming off a rough season--the third year of a massive five-year, $50 million contract--the Cowboys want him to take a pay cut. Carr’s agent says he’s not going to do that.

For now though, Carr is a Cowboy, and he’s committed to the Cowboys--as evidenced by his budding relationship with Jones.

"He's a sponge right now," Carr said. "Rookies come in with a clean slate. They come in humble. They come in ready to learn, ready to go out there and compete. That’s all you can ask for. He's a guy that works hard. He does his best each and every day and tries to get better each and every day."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Witten Thinks Romo "Can Play as Long as He Wants to Play"]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 10:46:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/TONY-ROMO-JASON-WITTEN.jpg

When the Dallas Cowboys were in the process of courting La’el Collins, quarterback Tony Romo reportedly told his Valley Ranch bosses that if Collins was added to what was already an impressive offensive line, he could play five more seasons.

Romo’s longtime teammate and friend Jason Witten believes that’s a realistic estimate for he and his quarterback, but he doesn’t want to get into guessing at the future.

“If we do it like last year we can. But I mean, I try not to look that far ahead,” Witten said, per the Dallas Morning News. “I think you just go one year at a time. For him, he played as well as he’s ever played. I think the way he’s handled the back and the way he’s on top of his body, I think he can play as long as he wants to play.”

To be sure, there was no evidence that Romo is slowing down on display in 2014. He might have had his best season ever, throwing for 3,705 yards, 34 touchdowns and just nine interceptions while leading the Cowboys to their first NFC East title since 2009. The performance came as no surprise to Witten.

“His standard and his expectation for what he wants to do and achieve is so much higher than what any of us thinks,” Witten said. “He’s constantly changing things to give himself an opportunity to be at his best. I think that’s what makes him so elite, how he’s approached it, and he doesn’t listen to any of that other stuff. I thought last year was a byproduct of all the work that he puts in.”

]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Ink Clutts as Their Reliable Fullback]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 10:39:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461342198.jpg

The Cowboys’ proud lineage of productive fullbacks reads thusly:

Don Perkins.

Walt Garrison.

Robert Newhouse.

Ron Springs.

Daryl Johnston.

No, they didn’t abandon the running game after Moose’s retirement in ’99. It only seems that way. Because that’s when the impressive list of lead blockers hit a brick wall of anonymity.

Since Johnston stopped blowing open holes for Emmitt Smith, the Cowboys have rifled through forgettable fullbacks such as Robert Thomas, Troy Hambrick, Darian Barnes, Deon Anderson, Chris Gronkowski, Shaun Chapas, Tony Fiammetta, Lawrence Vickers and Tyler Clutts. Each has experienced a varying level of non-success.

The position was in such a disarray that the Cowboys at one time gave up on full-breed fullbacks for a sort of tight-end hybrid, employing the likes of John Phillips as lead blocker.

But apparently Clutts is good enough to at least keep the gig, because on Monday the Cowboys signed him to a one-year contract and released his main competition, free-agent Jed Collins.

Clutts played in all 16 games last year, helping open holes for DeMarco Murray’s NFL-leading 1,845 rushing yards. He also caught a touchdown in Dallas’ playoff loss in Green Bay.

I’m not saying it’s time to etch Clutts after Johnston, but at least the Cowboys feel they have a reliable incumbent at an important position.

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[Cowboys Bring Back Fullback Tyler Clutts]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 10:17:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/453321284.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys are bringing back fullback Tyler Clutts, re-signing the veteran on Monday.

Clutts signed with the Cowboys prior to the 2013 season and has appeared in 20 games for the team over the last two seasons, starting one, including all 16 games last year. The team obviously likes what he brings to the table as a blocker, but he has no carries in the NFL.

He also has 10 career receptions, but eight of those came in his rookie season of 2011 with the Chicago Bears. With the Cowboys, he has one catch in each of the past two regular seasons, but he did record his first career receiving touchdown last year in the Divisional Round loss to the Packers.

Clutts’s contract ran out this offseason and initially it looked like Dallas would let him go. They signed journeyman fullback Jed Collins and second-year fullback Ray Agnew, but with the re-signing of Clutts today, they released Collins.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dez Working Out at Valley Ranch: Report]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 13:06:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460752374.jpg

Dez Bryant still has no intention of getting on the field for the Cowboys’ offseason program, but he will be around.

According to Mickey Spagnola of DallasCowboys.com, Bryant showed up at Valley Ranch last Thursday to do his strength and conditioning work, and he apparently intends to make a habit of it.

Granted, Bryant won’t do any on-field work with the team. But working out at team headquarters, he will be around his teammates, and that certainly helped motivate the All-Pro to return.

“I wanted to be here for my teammates,” Bryant said.

Bryant, of course, has not signed the franchise tender offered by the Cowboys. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement on a long-term deal by July 15, Bryant would play the 2015 season for the $12.83 million tender. It would also likely mean that Bryant won’t get on the field until late July.

Understandably, Bryant is standing firm where the negotiation process is concerned. But as his (albeit limited) return to Valley Ranch makes clear, he wants to be back with his teammates.

“In the past two years that locker room has changed,” Bryant said. “There is something special in there.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Witten, Cowboys Like What They See From Joseph Randle]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 12:31:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/458702416.jpg

Last week, Dallas Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown mentioned that it seemed like the team was seeing a new, more mature Joseph Randle this offseason.

This is good news, of course. Randle was arrested twice in the last year, and though he will face no charges after being investigated for domestic violence in Kansas, he could still face some discipline from the league under the personal conduct policy. Even getting close to that territory will likely give pause to a team that will look to a stable of running backs headed up by Randle to get past the loss of DeMarco Murray.

So it’s also good news that Cowboys veteran tight end and captain Jason Witten agreed recently with Brown’s take. Like Brown, Witten believes whatever change they’ve seen in Randle comes from the fact that he understands the opportunity he has in front of him.

He’s had good workouts,” Witten said of Randle, per the Dallas Morning News. “I could tell he’s focused, he’s locked in. I think he sees the opportunity he has in front of him. I think he wants everybody to have that trust in him that he can be the guy.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Williams Sees Opportunity in Dallas' Backfield]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 11:58:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/4537124122.jpg

With DeMarco Murray gone, the door is wide open for the running backs on the Dallas Cowboys roster, and Ryan Williams is hoping to make the most of the opportunity that this uncertainty at the position presents.

“I think everybody will have a great chance to show what they can do, and it’ll go from there,” Williams told the team’s official website. “I never had a chance to run behind that O-Line last year, so hopefully I get an opportunity this year and I think that’ll help my chances showing everybody what I’m really capable of doing.”

In his first season with the Cowboys last year, Williams led the team in rushing in the preseason before finding himself among the team’s final cuts in late August. He was brought back as a member of the practice squad, where he spent the entire 2014 season. This offseason, the team brought him back with a two-year reserve/futures contract.

For Williams, it’s been a rocky four years in the NFL. He came into the league in 2011 with the Cardinals, as a second round pick out of Virginia Tech. But his rookie season ended before it really started when he suffered a ruptured patellar tendon in the preseason of that year. He came back in 2012 only to suffer a season-ending shoulder injury, and didn’t see a carry with the Cardinals in 2013.

That means two full seasons have passed since Williams had an official attempt in the NFL, but he’s confident he’s ready to make the most out of whatever opportunity he’s afforded.

“(The knee injury) changed my life,” Williams said, “but I’m still here, and I honestly feel like I’m better than I was before.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Witten, Cowboys Understand Dez's Absence]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 11:28:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/183075982.jpg

Veteran tight end Jason Witten readily acknowledges that the Cowboys miss Dez Bryant, who has yet to sign his franchise tender in hopes of receiving a long-term deal, and is staying away from Valley Ranch this offseason as a result--but they also understand his absence.

You’d love to have Dez there,” Witten said at his football camp over the weekend, per the Dallas Morning News. “I think that would be great. Dez loves playing ball. He’s a great teammate. You miss him when he’s not out there, because of the passion and the energy that he brings. He’s a tone-setter.

“I think everybody understands the business side of that. If there’s one person who wants to be there playing catch and throwing and running and working out, it’s Dez.”

In the mean time, having seen how Bryant works out over the past five years, Witten has no doubt that he’ll be ready to roll whenever he does rejoin the team.

“He’ll be there,” Witten said. “He’s taking care of himself. He’s going to be ready. It’s just part of the business. Hopefully it gets worked out. But if there’s going to be one guy that’s ready, it’s going to be Dez Bryant.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Scandrick to Join Cowboys for Workouts]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 11:09:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457964998.jpg

It was about a month ago that the Dallas Cowboys opened their offseason program in the conspicuous absence of cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who is hoping for a new contract, but after meeting with the team last week Scandrick is reportedly headed back to Valley Ranch.

Per Rainer Sabin of the Dallas Morning News, Scandrick will join the team on Monday.

Scandrick’s almost-month-long holdout came as a result of his thoroughly outplaying his contract. He was the Cowboys’ best corner over the past two seasons, but is the third-best paid, making significantly less than both Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne.

The Cowboys have been quick to point out that they just reworked Scandrick’s deal in 2013, but never left any doubt that they hold the Boise State product in high esteem.

Last week, Scandrick flew to North Texas to meet with the team and though no deal got done, the Cowboys were encouraged by the visit. Apparently, judging by his reported return, so was Scandrick.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Witten Wiping Slate Clean For Hardy]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 10:51:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460756556.jpg

Sports makes for strange, uncomfortable and even seemingly incompatible bedfellows.

Jason Witten, meet Greg Hardy.

The Cowboys’ future Hall-of-Famer, of course, had his youth clouded by domestic violence and, accordingly, established a foundation to raise awareness and help victims. His new teammate at Valley Ranch this spring? Hardy, who missed all but one game last season and has been suspended 10 games this season for his role in a domestic violence case.

So how does Witten welcome his new teammate?

“I think more than anything I think everybody knows I’m against domestic violence,” Witten told ESPN Dallas late last week. “That’s unwavering. That’s something that I lived, my family lived. But that guy is a teammate of mine, so I think you have to look at it from that standpoint.”

It can’t be easy, but Witten’s maturity and leadership has helped him be one an annual captain and one of the best players in franchise history. Still, a man found guilty of domestic violence by a judge in North Carolina, only to have charges dropped when his former girlfriend disappeared, tests even Witten’s open arms.

“As coach Garrett says, it’s our job to invite those guys in and create a standard of how we do things. I think he’s done a great job since he’s been here,” Witten explained. “It’s not my job to decide who comes in. I’m a tight end. But I’ve been really pleased how he’s approached it and how he goes to work and what kind of teammate he’s been. The day he got suspended, the next day he’s in there working out, so I think that’s kind of the mentality he has, what kind of work ethic he has and what he’s trying to prove in Dallas. I think he’s learned a lot from what he’s gone through in the last year. He’s had a good offseason.”

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[Meet Cowboys Rookie Defensive End Ryan Russell]]> Sun, 17 May 2015 15:22:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cowboys_Watkins_Russell_1200x675_446815811980.jpg NBC 5's David Watkins talks with rookie defensive end and former Carrollton Creekview standout Ryan Russell about being drafted by and playing for the Cowboys. ]]> <![CDATA[Jerry: Carr "In Our Top Consideration"]]> Fri, 15 May 2015 15:35:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/brandon-carr-chargers.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys would like Brandon Carr to take less money in 2015, but they maintain that they love him and want him back.

Carr’s base salary next season is $8 million, and he’s coming off the first season of his career in which he didn’t record a single interception. Carr’s agent Ben Dogra said earlier this offseason that his client won’t take a pay cut, but it could come down to that or being designated a post-June 1 cut.

The Cowboys would much prefer keeping Carr around.

“Without getting vague here, all contracts that we don’t have closure on are a priority,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said this week, per the Dallas Morning News. “He certainly is a player who is in our top consideration. So yeah, I’d say that’s a priority. We want him on the football field.”

Meanwhile, Carr’s stance all offseason has been, essentially: I’m happy to be here and I’m here until I’m not.

“I’m a Cowboy,” Carr said. “I love being a Cowboy. As long as I’m in this building I’m going to give it my all. I love playing the game of football.”

]]>
<![CDATA[Hardy Wants to Reward Jerry]]> Fri, 15 May 2015 12:11:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/greg-hardy-jason-garrett.jpg

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy isn’t a man of many words, publicly anyway, but he’s made clear that he wants to reward Jerry Jones for taking a chance on him.

Hardy spent all but a week of last season on the commissioner’s exempt list as he was investigated on domestic violence charges. He was found guilty of assaulting a female and communicating threats in a bench trial in North Carolina last summer, but he appealed for a jury trial and the charges were ultimately dropped when that trial was set to begin and the prosecution couldn’t locate the accuser.

The next month, Hardy signed with the Cowboys. A little over a month after that, it was announced that Hardy would be suspended for 10 games for conduct detrimental to the league.

Whenever he gets back on the field, Hardy says he’ll do all he can to make his new boss happy.

What I am going to do is make sure Jerry’s happy,” Hardy said, per the Shreveport Times. “(Because) he took a chance on me.”

Hardy has a plan to ensure he has no off-the-field issues in Dallas.

“Be me again,” Hardy said. “Be a considerate, nice guy. Help people. Keep a lot of love in my heart. Stay out of trouble.”

]]>
<![CDATA[Lawrence Looks to Pick Up Where He Left Off]]> Fri, 15 May 2015 11:41:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461028890.jpg

Provided that he can stay healthy, Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence seems primed to have something of a breakout year.

The Cowboys’ second round pick out of Boise State, Lawrence was slowed last year by fractured foot. He suffered the injury on the fourth day of training camp and missed the rest of camp, the preseason and the first nine games of the season--as well as all the knowledge that would come with those experiences.

“It was hard,” Lawrence told the team’s official website. “It was a real tough grind to deal with, just trying to stay focused and into the playbook and just coming back trying to get back into your rhythm and your groove. But I just had to deal with the punches as they came--focusing on my technique and my skill development was my main focus. It just got better over time in the games.”

Lawrence finished the regular season with just nine tackles, one for a loss and no sacks. But in the playoffs, he came alive. In the Wild Card Round victory over the Lions he had a strip-sack of Matthew Stafford--and recovered the fumble himself--to end the game. He added another sack the next week in the season-ending loss to the Packers in the Divisional Round.

“When the playoffs rolled around I just felt a switch flick on,” Lawrence said. “It was just me and my mindset--trusting my body, trusting my foot again and just letting go and having fun.”

Lawrence will look to pick up where he left off in 2015.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Randle Understands the Opportunity in Front of Him]]> Fri, 15 May 2015 11:23:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460755606.jpg

If Joseph Randle can keep his nose clean, there seems a good chance he could take over as the Cowboys’ primary back in DeMarco Murray’s absence. After all, he is coming off a year in which he rushed for 343 yards on 51 carries, an average of 6.7 yards per carry, and three touchdowns.

But it hasn’t been all roses for Randle recently. Last October he was arrested for shoplifting a tester bottle of cologne and a pack of underwear from a mall in Frisco, an incident that became a running joke in North Texas for awhile. Then back in February, he was arrested on drug charges after police responding to a domestic violence call in Kansas found marijuana in his hotel room. He was investigated for the domestic violence accusation and ultimately wasn’t charged with anything, but the NFL could still discipline Randle under the personal conduct policy.

Running backs coach Gary Brown admitted a little concern on the part of the team over Randle, but believes he’s seen the 23-year-old mature even just over the span of this offseason.

“I think Joe really has to make sure he takes care of everything on and off the field,” Brown said, per the Dallas Morning News. “We want to trust Joe, we like Joe, but we want to make sure he’s going to be with us at all times.

“I think he’s maturing up and he’s getting better and he understands the opportunity he has in front of him and I think he’ll take full advantage. I think those days are behind him and we’re looking forward to working with Joe. ... Just being around him these last few weeks, he seems to be more mature to me. He and I have sat down and had one-on-one conversations about his future and I think he wants to go in the right direction.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>