<![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 Sun, 26 Apr 2015 12:14:30 -0500 Sun, 26 Apr 2015 12:14:30 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Cowboys NFL Draft Preview]]> Sat, 25 Apr 2015 20:39:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Doney_Machota_Web_1200x675_434461251720.jpg Pat Doney and Dallas Morning News Cowboys reporter Jon Machota discuss the NFL Draft and the 2015 Cowboys schedule.]]> <![CDATA[Romo: Cowboys Will Win Super Bowl 50]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:46:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461347814.jpg

It just wouldn’t be a Dallas Cowboys offseason without a Super Bowl prediction, and that’s exactly what Tony Romo gave us when he accepted the Nancy Lieberman Lifetime Achievement Award at the Dream Ball Gala at the Omni Hotel recently.

“This award is very meaningful to me, mostly because I get to be associated with this and to be associated with Nancy,” Romo said, per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “It’s incredible and I really appreciate you, and we’re going to win a Super Bowl next year. Thank you.”

Before ending on the prediction--which he made while smiling--Romo discussed at length his motivation.

As he’s grown as a person and a football player, he said, that motivation has changed. Where as a younger player, he was focused on himself--on establishing himself as a winner in the NFL and earning accolades on an individual basis--now he wants to go to the top of the sport for those around him.

“In the last five years, it’s become all the people that I’m with, the Jason Wittens, the Jason Garretts, the Joneses, these people I’ve been with for a long time,” Romo said. “I want to win a championship so bad, but it’s just not about me. I literally want to win it so bad for them. For the people around me who have helped me.

“They’ve allowed me to achieve my dreams and my goals. Without them, I’m not there, I promise you. I’m not where I’m at right now and I’m not going where I’m going.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[3 Cowboys' NFL Draft Fits: LB]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:10:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/StephoneAnthony.jpg

The Cowboys gave up fewer yards and points last season than the season before, but they didn't actually play much better. The team still needs to upgrade in talent at every level.

Dallas is fortunate, though, that the value in the 2015 NFL Draft could match up with their needs. They could fill their need at linebacker with one of several options on days 2 and 3.

Stephone Anthony, Clemson
Ht. 6025, Wt. 243, Arm: 32 1/2”, Hand: 10 3/8”, Bench: 23
40 yd: 4.56, 10 yd.: 1.57, 3 Cone: 7.07, Vertical: 37”, Broad: 10'2”

Anthony's name wasn't popular going into draft season, but the Tigers' leading tackler is likely rising up boards. He finished the 2014 season with 10.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 11 quarterback pressures, 2 forced fumbles and 4 passes broken up before being voted first team All-ACC.

  • Strengths: Super physical. Athletic player who swarms. Active hands and difficult to block. Difficult to block. Good blitzer. Seals gaps quickly.
  • Weaknesses: Inefficient feet in coverage. Can be overly aggressive at times. Average instincts.

Anthony isn't the next Patrick Willis, but he is exactly the type of player the 49ers could target to replace the legendary linebacker. He has all the tools to become an elite linebacker in the NFL.

Denzel Perryman, Miami
Ht. 5106, Wt. 236, Arm: 31 7/8”, Hand: 9 1/2”, Bench: 27
40 yd: 4.78, 10 yd.: 1.68, 3 Cone: -, Vertical: 32”, Broad: 9'5”

Perryman provided the Hurricanes with nearly the same production Anthony provided Clemson, totaled 9.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 5 passes broken up and an interception. He was voted third-team All-America

  • Strengths: Violent hitter. Good tackler. Explosive. Closes quickly. Splash plays. Good instincts. High effort player.
  • Weaknesses: Shorter than ideal. Tested poorly athletically. Limited in coverage.

Perryman played like a poor man's Anthony. Anthony bigger, faster and better athlete in general, but you wouldn't think the gap was that large based on the tape.

Jordan Hicks, Texas
Ht. 6013, Wt. 236, Arm: 32”, Hand: 10”, Bench: 20
40 yd: 4.68, 10 yd.: 1.53, 3 Cone: 6.78, Vertical: 38”, Broad: 10'4”

Injuries robbed Hicks of most the 2012 and 2013 seasons, but he began to show his potential with a healthy 2014 season. The former 5-star prospect led the team with 147 tackles, notched 13 tackles for loss and was voted second-team All-America.

  • Strengths: Exceptional burst. Disciplined. Strong tackler. Looks fluid in coverage. High character. Passion for game. Highly athletic.
  • Weaknesses: Injury history. Poor hand use and has trouble disengaging from bigger blockers. Needs to get stronger.

Hicks is as athletic a linebacker as any available in this draft. He's a third-round value on ability and upside alone, but his lengthy injury history will drop him a round or two. WILL

Conclusion

The linebacker position has been devalued in the draft lately, but Cowboys fans should know the value of a good group at the position. Dallas' defense was much more fierce against the run when Rolando McClain was on the field.

The Cowboys have needs at every level of the defense, so they are truly in position to take the best grade available at each pick. Anthony, Perryman and Hicks could provide top-level production right away



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Herschel Walker: Vikings Should Trade Adrian Peterson]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:34:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP599762017641.jpg

If anyone knows big trades involving the Minnesota Vikings, it’s Herschel Walker.

Walker was traded from Dallas to Minnesota in 1989, in a move that would ultimately set the foundation for the Cowboys 1990s dynasty. It stands as perhaps the most famous trade in NFL history, as well as the most lopsided.

Now, Walker thinks it’s the Vikings who should send their star running back elsewhere.

"It makes no sense just to hang on to him just to hang on to him," Walker told the Pioneer Press. "I don't think that's right if you're not getting along."

The Vikings’ public stance is that they want to hang on to Peterson, and that stance is backed up by what is reportedly a massive asking price. But the latest reports have six teams still interested in Peterson--including the Cowboys--and Walker thinks they should pull the trigger on a deal with one of them if they can.

"They should trade him because I think Adrian has lost his love for the Vikings with everything that went on last year," Walker said. "There is a lot of bad blood right now. I think Adrian feels that (the Vikings) should have supported him throughout his tough time, and I think they should trade him if they can."



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Eagles Won't "Mortgage the Future" for Mariota]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 12:15:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Oregon-Ohio-State-Mariota-First-Quarter.jpg

The Philadelphia Eagles may be “philosophically opposed” to the drastic sort of maneuvering it would likely take to move up and land Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.

So said Eagles vice president of player personnel Ed Marynowitz in a pre-draft “reporters round table,” anyway.

“Philosophically, we are opposed to ‘mortgaging the future’ was Chip’s term,” Marynowitz said, per Pro Football Talk.  “Really, the way we look at it is draft picks--every draft pick you have is an opportunity to improve your football team.  So the more opportunities we have to improve our team, we’re excited about that.  So I’d rather have more picks than less picks.  I think Chip shares the same philosophy.  That doesn’t preclude us from moving up and doing something.  I think you never say never.  But, philosophically, we have eight picks and we’d like to pick eight players or more, not less.”

Much like the Adrian Peterson-to-Dallas rumors, the rumors linking the Eagles to Mariota aren’t likely to go away before the draft opens next Thursday. Kelly, who recruited Mariota to Oregon and coached him for two seasons there likes him too much. And after watching this offseason unfold, we wouldn’t put anything past the mad scientist that is Kelly.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Victor Cruz Has "Zero Doubts" He'll Play in Opener Vs. Cowboys]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:46:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP888825023440.jpg

When the Dallas Cowboys open up the 2015 season against the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football, Giants receiver Victor Cruz will be ready.

Cruz, who suffered a torn patellar tendon in a loss to the Eagles last October, said as much himself this week.

"There's zero doubts that I'll be playing in that first game," Cruz said this week, per Kevin Patra of NFL.com.

Cruz is still quite limited, six months after the injury--he has been running but he still hasn’t started cutting on the knee yet. Giants general manager Jerry Reese concurred that Cruz is on schedule in his rehab and on track to play in Week 1, but the team’s optimism remains cautious.

"He looked good, he's running pretty good, right now and he's scheduled to be back ready for the opener for us," Reese said. "But until you get out there and turn it loose, you never know what a guy is going to do. But he looks great right now."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Romo Now Pitching National Pay TV Service]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:47:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/romo-directv-pitch.jpg

Tony Romo turned 35 this week. What do you get the man who has everything?

While he’ll have to earn his first Super Bowl by himself, he did get the gift of a national endorsement rubbing shoulder pads alongside a couple of quarterbacks who have rings and another seemingly destined for one.

If you’ve grown tired of the Rob Lowe spots for DirecTV never fear, because the Cowboys’ quarterback is coming to a TV commercial near you soon.

Joining Peyton and Eli Manning and Andrew Luck, Romo will be featured in spots starting around the NFL Draft. The group, which has a combined 155,673 passing yards, 1,117 touchdowns and two Super Bowl titles, will obviously be pitching the network’s popular NFL Sunday Ticket package.

Though it’s certainly not his ultimately goal, the recognition is yet another sign that Romo is appreciated and beloved more nationally than he is here in own hypercritical back yard.

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



Photo Credit: DirecTV]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Jennings Says Giants are Super Bowl Contenders]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 10:51:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455881046.jpg

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has said this offseason that he expects the offense to take a massive step forward in the second year under Ben McAdoo, who took over for Kevin Gilbride as offensive coordinator last year.

Running back Rashad Jennings took it a step further this week, saying that to his thinking, the Giants are legitimate Super Bowl contenders right now.

"No question," Jennings told Bob Glauber of Newsday. "We've got the skill set to do that. We showed flashes last year, but they were obviously being overshadowed by what we didn't do so well. We eliminate self-inflicted wounds, the before-the-snap [and] after-the-snap errors, this is a different team."

Granted, the Giants finished 6-10 last year. But like Manning was, Jennings is quick to point out that the team will be able to focus on just running their offense this season, whereas last year they were still learning it.

"You look around the locker room, we've got great players," he said. "Everybody's coming back healthy, flying around, going into Year 2 of the same system. That makes a tremendous difference. McAdoo explained it to us. Last year, we installed a system. This year, we get to run our offense.

"There's a difference. Different attitude, different command in the huddle, different understanding of what's going on. It's not about lining up in the right place now. It's about making plays. That's what we expect. We've got explosive players. Great offensive linemen, we got the capability at every single position to make sure we're in this playoff push."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Field of Teams Interested in Peterson Grows]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:40:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/186716672.jpg

The field of teams reportedly interested in Adrian Peterson keeps growing.

Last week, it was reported that the Oakland Raiders had joined the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals as teams with some interest in the two-time NFL rushing champion. Now, according to a report, the field has grown to six--and it doesn’t include those Raiders.

Per the Pioneer Press, the Cowboys, Cardinals, Falcons, Jaguars, Buccaneers and Chargers are in the mix, and if a deal is going to get done with one of the teams, it’ll happen in the next week.

"If he's not traded next week, [the Vikings are] going to keep him," said a source “close to the situation.”

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones cast some doubt on the idea that the team is looking to make a move for Peterson earlier this week, when he said he doesn’t see them trading draft picks for a veteran player--like Peterson.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Latest ESPN Mocks Have Cowboys Taking Byron Jones]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 13:35:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/byron+jones+uconn+cornerback.jpg

For much of the offseason it’s been widely assumed that the Dallas Cowboys would use their No. 27 overall pick in next week’s draft on either a running back to replace the departed DeMarco Murray or a much-needed pass rusher.

But if the most recent ESPN mocks are correct, they’ll go after a cornerback. UConn’s Byron Jones, to be exact.

Todd McShay had Dallas taking Jones at 27 in his latest mock draft this week and, before that, Mel Kiper had Jones-to-Dallas in his latest. And the pick would certainly make sense.

Jones is among the top three ranked corners going into the draft, and the Cowboys certainly need an upgrade at the position.

Brandon Carr is coming off an incredibly rough year and could be asked to take a pay cut, Morris Claiborne is coming off a torn patellar tendon and won’t return to the field until training camp, and Orlando Scandrick--without doubt the best corner the team has had over the past couple seasons--is staying away from Valley Ranch as he hopes to get a raise.
 



Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Hardy's Suspension Increases Need For DE]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 12:22:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP693473168313.jpg

The Cowboys needed help at defensive end before the announcement of Greg Hardy’s suspension. And, sure enough, they still need help after it.

Though the stiff 10-game penalty (that could be decreased upon appeal) was more than most of us – including Jerry Jones – expected, I don’t think the slight increase in games missed for their star player warrants a drastic altering of the draft plan at Valley Ranch.

The Cowboys, of course, knew what they were getting with Hardy, baggage and all. They weren’t blindsided by the NFL’s announcement. There had to be a Plan B in place for Hardy’s anticipated absence, and part of that formula included added talent in the draft.

Plus, remember that Hardy is only signed to a one-year deal. Depending on his play and/or his personality, his career with the Cowboys could last only six games. Add to that the fact that Anthony Spencer and George Selvie left in free agency and that Jeremy Mincey is a free agent after this season, and it’s easy to see the need for help at end.

Hardy’s suspension doesn’t shove defensive end to the top of Dallas’ draft priorities. Because it should have been up there already.

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



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Hardy Now Stands to Make Around $5M in 2015]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 12:20:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/180322854.jpg

Going in well-aware that some substantial league discipline was likely coming for Greg Hardy, the Dallas Cowboys designed his contract so they wouldn’t end up paying the former Pro Bowler a pile of money for games he didn’t play.

As it happens, unless the suspension is reduced on appeal, Hardy won’t play in the first ten games of the season.

Needless to say, as detailed Wednesday by Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk, this will take a big chunk out of his earnings.

Hardy’s deal could have been worth just over $13 million, but because so much of his pay comes in per-game roster bonuses, he stands to earn just over $5 million--and that includes a workout bonus and his $265,000 salary.

Of course, this is assuming Hardy will miss out on his incentives, but that’s a pretty safe assumption. $1.8 million in incentives are built into the deal, but they don’t come into play until Hardy records his eighth sack. Playing in just six games, he’ll have to go on an unthinkable run to see any of that money.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: RG3 Won't Be "Bummed" If 'Skins Decline Option]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 12:24:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/20141123+Redskins+49ers2.jpg

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is ready to give the team his all in 2015, the final year of his rookie contract if the team doesn’t pick up his fifth-year option. But if the team passes on the option, which seems a real possibility at this point, Griffin isn’t going to be broken up about it.

In fact, he’s not even thinking about the option at the moment.

I wouldn't be bummed,” Griffin told Jeff Darlington of NFL.com. “Either way, we're going out there to prove it this upcoming year--not next year. I just want to win. I want to win games and have fun doing it. The rest will take care of itself. They can pick up the option--or they can decide not to pick up the option. It'll work out either way. I'm focused on this year.”

Griffin is coming off a rough year. He suffered a dislocated ankle in Week 2 and missed the next six games. He returned for three games beginning in Week 9 before being benched in favor of Colt McCoy. Then McCoy got hurt and Griffin returned to start the final three games.

Through all that chaos, Griffin threw for 1,694 yards, four touchdowns and six interceptions in 2014.

"This could be the final year of my contract," said Griffin. "But I can't let that stress me out. We've hurt ourselves these past few years, between coaching changes and other situations, so now it's just about stripping it down. Having fun. Enjoying each other.

"There is no question: We all want to win."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dorial Green-Beckham Visits Valley Ranch After All]]> Thu, 23 Apr 2015 11:22:52 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dgbeckham-cowboys.jpg

We devoted a post earlier this week to reports that former Missouri receiver Dorial Green-Beckham had declined the Dallas Cowboys’ invitation to come to Valley Ranch for a pre-draft visit.

Apparently, something changed, because according to the Dallas Morning News, Green-Beckham visited Valley Ranch on Wednesday--the final day pre-draft visits are allowed, per NFL rules.

It’ll be interesting to see where Green-Beckham goes in the draft, which opens a week from today. At 6-foot-5 and 237 pounds, some see Green-Beckham going in the front end of the first round. Others will have him further down their board as a result of his off-field issues at Missouri.

Green-Beckham was arrested on marijuana-related charges twice at Missouri and was dismissed from the team after he was investigated for burglary and assault. As a result, he spent last year on the Oklahoma Sooners’ practice squad.
 

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<![CDATA[NFL Suspends Greg Hardy 10 Games]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 20:57:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/greg-hardy-jason-garrett.jpg

Dallas Cowboys fans will have to wait quite awhile to see defensive end Greg Hardy on the field.

The NFL announced Wednesday that Hardy has been suspended 10 games without pay for conduct detrimental to the league.

Hardy was informed of the suspension in a letter from league commissioner Roger Goodell, which detailed the findings of the two-month investigation into Hardy’s case that followed his last court appearance.

"This suspension is something that we anticipated prior to Greg's signing, and we respect the Commissioner's ruling," said Jerry Jones. "Our organization understands the very serious nature of this matter. We will use our resources --work closely with Greg and with the league -- to ensure a positive outcome."

According to a report by The Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys and NFL are now awaiting an appeal by Hardy to see if he can get the 10-game penalty reduced.

Hardy was found guilty of assault on a female and communicating threats in a bench trial last July, but he appealed and was granted a jury trial. When that jury trial was set to begin in February, the prosecution couldn’t locate the accuser and the charges were dismissed.

The next month, Hardy signed an incentive-heavy, one-year deal with the Cowboys, who of course were well aware that the 2013 Pro Bowler was facing league discipline.

Now, Hardy is set to make his Cowboys debut on Thanksgiving Day against his old team, the Carolina Panthers.
 

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<![CDATA[What Happened to Cowboys T-Day Matchups?]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 11:13:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/106876573.jpg

My next prediction: The Cowboys will be better at winning games in 2015 than I was at predicting their 2015 schedule.

I took a shot at their upcoming slate and, wow, went an ugly 2-14. Only nailed Weeks 8-9 against the Seahawks and Eagles at  home. Otherwise, splat.

Of course, stubbornly, I still like my schedule better. Why?

Because we’ve already seen the Giants open the season on a Sunday night in Arlington. Just two years ago. In fact, those teams will now have faced each other to start three of the last four seasons. It’s an intriguing rivalry, but c’mon. A little creativity please.

While I would’ve rather had seen Dallas open on a Monday night at Lambeau and close at home against the Giants in January, my main problem is what has happened to the big game in between – Thanksgiving.

Maybe I’m getting old or am just trying to cram too many turkey day memories into my cranium, but didn’t that used to be a special game between marquee teams? And, also, didn’t the NFL once alternate years with NFC and AFC opponents? I’m lost. And not thrilled.

Because Cowboys-Panthers on Nov. 26 just isn’t worthy of a football holiday.

Last year the Cowboys hosted the Eagles and three years ago it was a rookie named RG3 and the Redskins. I’m fine with those matchups of fierce division rivals. But when it comes to choosing an AFC opponent, the NFL has swung and missed and, apparently, altered the system.

Nothing would compliment the cranberries like a Thanksgiving afternoon matchup between the Cowboys and defending Super Bowl champion Patriots. Instead, we get the Panthers? Greg Hardy harassing his old team and chasing Cam Newton won’t induce national naps, but it’s just not the most appealing matchup possible. Which it should be.

In the past couple of years the NFL on Thanksgiving has trotted in the Raiders, Dolphins, Raiders again (when a visit from Peyton Manning and the Broncos was an option), and Buccaneers. I think I get it. Maybe.

Since the Thanksgiving game will draw huge TV ratings regardless of the matchup, the NFL must think “why waste a primo team.” So instead Tom Brady will make his first visit to AT&T Stadium on Oct. 11 instead of Nov. 26. Will still likely be an entertaining game, just not an eternal holiday memory.

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



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys to Kick Off Season on NBC Sunday Night Football]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 19:54:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461028712.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys will open their 2015 regular season on Sept. 13 with a home game against the New York Giants on NBC's Sunday Night Football.

Other featured games include a home tilt on Nov. 8 against former Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray's new team, the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Thanksgiving Day opponent will be the Carolina Panthers, and the Cowboys wrap up the regular season at home Sunday, Jan. 3, against the Washington Redskins.

Single-game regular season tickets go on sale May 1.

See the full schedule below (home games in bold):

  • Sept. 13 vs. New York Giants (Sunday Night Football on NBC 5)
  • Sept. 20 at Philadelphia Eagles
  • Sept. 27 vs. Atlanta Falcons
  • Oct. 4 at New Orleans Saints (Sunday Night Football on NBC 5)
  • Oct. 11 vs. New England Patriots
  • Bye Week
  • Oct. 25 at New York Giants
  • Nov. 1 vs. Seattle Seahawks
  • Nov. 8 vs. Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday Night Football on NBC 5)
  • Nov. 15 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Nov. 22 at Miami Dolphins
  • Nov. 26 vs. Carolina Panthers
  • Dec. 7 at Washington Redskins
  • Dec. 13 at Green Bay Packers
  • Dec. 19 vs. New York Jets
  • Dec. 27 at Buffalo Bills
  • Jan. 3 vs. Washington Redskins



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys' NFL Draft Fits: DL]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 13:23:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/nunezroches-chickillo.jpg

The best way to improve a defense is to start up front. The Cowboys don't have any immediate needs on their defensive line, but there are several questions beyond this year.

There's a good chance that a promising edge rusher — like UCLA's Owamagbe Odighizuwa or LSU's Danielle Hunter — or an ideal 3-technique tackle — Ohio State's Michael Bennett or Clemson's Grady Jarrett — will be available when the Cowboys pick at No. 27. If not, though, there are a few options that should be available on Day 2 or even later.

Rakeem Nunez-Roches, DT, Southern Miss
Ht. 6022, Wt. 307, Arm: 32 5/8”, Hand: 10 1/8”, Bench: 26
40 yd: 5.02, 10 yd.: 1.72, 3 Cone: 7.67, Vertical: 34”, Broad: 9'6”

I'll be honest...I hadn't even heard of Nunez-Orches until a few days ago, but man did he show up on tape. It's easy to see why the Golden Eagles' redshirt junior earned first-team all-conference honors as a junior with 14 tackles for loss, 3 sacks and a blocked field goal.

  • Strengths: Disruptive. Highly athletic with good balance. High effort player.
  • Weaknesses: Needs to strengthen base. Some of his burst is snap anticipation. Short arms.

I watched Nunez-Roches play against Alabama and Mississippi State, and he looked like he belonged on the same field in terms of talent level. He was often asked to control the nose, but he looks like a future attacking 3-technique like the one the Cowboys utilize.

Bobby Richardson, DL, Indiana
Ht. 6025, Wt. 283, Arm: 35 5/8”, Hand: 11”, Bench: -
40 yd: 5.16, 10 yd.: 1.78, 3 Cone: 7.57, Vertical: 32.5”, Broad: 8'10”

Richardson was voted an honorable mention on the All-Big 10 team by the coaches and media as a senior, notching 9.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

  • Strengths: Versatile. Big, heavy hands. Exceptional length. Quick and agile.
  • Weaknesses: Doesn't use his hands to disengage. No set position.

Richardson is an intriguing developmental option because he has NFL-quality attributes and experience in several different roles. He looks like a promising prospect as a 3- or 5-technique. Former Cowboys scout Gil Brandt even suggested moving him to offensive tackle recently.

Frank Clark, EDGE, Michigan
Ht. 6027, Wt. 271, Arm: 34 3/8”, Hand: 10 1/8”, Bench: 19
40 yd: 4.79, 10 yd.: 1.70, 3 Cone: 7.08, Vertical: 38.5”, Broad: 9'10”

Clark was very successful on the field, being named second-team All-Big 10 as a junior. He was having an even better senior season — 13.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in 10 games — before being dismissed following a domestic violence arrest.

  • Strengths: Good burst. Active hands. Disruptive. High motor. Disciplined. Instinctive. Good run fits. Gets hands up at line of scrimmage.
  • Weaknesses: No good pass rush moves. Mediocre anchor. Average push against the run. Likely off several teams' boards after arrest.

On the field, there's not much separation between Clark and someone like Shane Ray, who's projected to be picked in the top half of the first round. He's a second-round talent that could be picked Day 2 if NFL teams are satisfied with the resolution of his legal issues.

Anthony Chickillo, EDGE, Miami
Ht. 6031, Wt. 267, Arm: 33 1/2”, Hand: 10 1/8”, Bench: 27
40 yd: 4.79, 10 yd.: 1.59, 3 Cone: 7.17, Vertical: 34.5”, Broad: 9'6”

Chickillo went to Miami as a 5-star prospect and was exactly the player the Hurricanes should have expected. Miami fans might have been disappointed in his production, but his coaches didn't put him in the best position to excel.

  • Strengths: Exceptional burst. High motor. Tough against run. Flashed pass-rush ability.
  • Weaknesses: Mostly projection. On-field athleticism in question.

Chickillo's college coaches asked him to consume blockers as a 5-technique in the team's 3-man front, but he's best suited as a penetrating defensive end. Only three defensive linemen recorded faster 10-yard splits at the combine and they're all edge rushers that are considered top-50 picks. Chickillo could be a third-round steal for a 4-3 team like Dallas.

Conclusion

What the Cowboys do in this draft at defensive end could give an indication about their long-term intentions with newly-signed Greg Hardy. If they think he's a one-year option, one of the team's first three picks will likely be used on an edge defender.

The Cowboys have a 3-technique at the moment, but that's a position where you want elite play and depth. If they don't land an elite prospect, a guy like Nunez-Roches or Richardson could provide depth.



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<![CDATA[Stephen Jones: In My Mind, Scandrick Should Be Out There]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 12:17:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/orlando-scandrick.jpg

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick is staying away from Valley Ranch as the team goes through the first week of the offseason conditioning program, in hopes of getting a raise. Executive vice president Stephen Jones understands that. But he still believes Scandrick should be out there, participating in the voluntary workouts with his teammates.

“If something makes sense for us to add some years or do something, then we’ll take a look at that,” Jones told 105.3-FM The Fan this week, via the team’s official website. “But we just re-did Orlando’s contract a couple of years ago. He’s been a really good football player for us. He’s a leader on this team and we certainly need him out here. In my mind he should be out here right now working out.”

It’s true that Scandrick just got a new deal in 2013, but his frustration is fairly understandable. Scandrick has been the best cornerback on the Cowboys’ roster the past couple years but, with a 2015 base salary of $1.5 million, he makes less than Morris Claiborne and way, way less than Brandon Carr.

“Orlando’s under contract,” Jones said, “but not unlike a lot of players, they’d like to have more.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dez Bryant Deal Remains Top Priority for Cowboys]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 11:43:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/4604794001.jpg

The only news that we’ve had regarding Dez Bryant lately is that there’s been no news.

But locking up the Pro Bowl receiver a long-term contract remains the top priority for the Dallas Cowboys’ front office, executive vice president Stephen Jones told 105.3-FM The Fan on Tuesday.

“That’s what we’d like to get done, and we have to be patient with that,” Jones said, via the team’s official website. “Those things don’t happen overnight, but when they finally do get traction and legs, then they tend to happen quickly. We’ll continue to work at that and see where we may progress as we go forward.”

Bryant has yet to sign his franchise tender, so he’s not at Valley Ranch for the team’s offseason conditioning program. Instead, he’s working out independently and hoping for that long-term deal.

When the two sides come together on a contract, assuming they do at some point, it’s going to be big. 2014 was Bryant’s best season to date, as he went for 1,320 yards on 88 catches and scored 16 touchdowns, a new franchise record for receiving touchdowns in a season.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Manning "Comfortable" with No Contract]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 11:39:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457518422.jpg

The New York Giants have made clear that they’re comfortable letting Eli Manning play out the final season of his current contract with no deal in place to keep him in New York beyond 2015 and, apparently, so is Manning himself.

In a conference call on the first day of the Giants’ offseason conditioning program, Manning told reporters his focus is on the football field.

“I am comfortable,” Manning said, per Yahoo Sports. “I have a job to do and that is to play football, and that is my only concern, so I have never got too caught up with contract stuff. The way I look at it is that I have one more year and I am going to play that one more year and go from there.”

Despite the lack of an extension, the Giants have been outspoken in their commitment to Manning, who has led New York to two Super Bowl victories.



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<![CDATA[RB Lance Dunbar, P Chris Jones Sign RFA Tenders]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 10:56:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/175605302.jpg

In a move that won’t make any headlines, the Dallas Cowboys signed running back Lance Dunbar and punter Chris Jones to one-year, non-guaranteed restricted free agent tenders on Tuesday. The deals are worth $1.542 million each.

A UNT product, Dunbar has spent three seasons with the Cowboys since coming in as an undrafted free agent in 2012.

He appeared in all 16 games in 2014, but finished with just 99 yards on 29 carries, and 217 yards on 18 receptions. He still has yet to score an NFL touchdown.

Jones is entering his fifth season with the Cowboys, and has a net average of 40 yards per punt over that span.

Last year, his net average was 39.8 yards a punt, and he pinned opponents inside their own 20-yard line 21 times. 
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stephen Thinks Romo Can Have Another Career Year]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 10:39:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461029826.jpg

Tony Romo’s 2014 season is considered by many to be his best to date, and for good reason.

Romo completed almost 70 percent of his passes for 3,705 yards, 34 touchdowns and just nine interceptions while leading the Cowboys to their first NFC Championship and first playoff win since 2009.

The Cowboys’ signal caller turned 35 on Tuesday but, with the benefit of a healthy offseason for the first time in two years, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones sees no reason to believe Romo can’t have an even better year in 2015.

No question in my mind,” Jones told 105.3-FM The Fan, via the Dallas Morning News. “I think he keeps getting better. I actually had a visit with him out there at the awards show and he said he’s felt as good as he has felt in years, in terms of his off-season and how his body feels and the work that he’s doing.

“The last couple of years he has been dealing with off-season surgeries and some uncomfortable things. But he said he thinks he’s ready to have the best year he’s ever had.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jones Downplays AP Rumors]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 16:06:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/new12.jpg

The man who, according to popular lore, kept the Dallas Cowboys from drafting Johnny Manziel a year ago is casting some doubt on the idea that they could make a big splash this draft season by trading for one Adrian Peterson.

Cowboys COO and executive vice president Stephen Jones was on 105.3-FM The Fan and, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News, he suggested that the team has no plans to trade away any picks to get a veteran--even, we’re left to assume, if he’s a highly-decorated veteran like Peterson.

"I don't see us using any picks to trade for veteran players,” Jones said.

We sincerely doubt this will slow the Peterson-to-Dallas talk at all. After all, this could be read as public posturing on the part of a team that is still very much interested in the 30-year-old.

But it also seems very likely that the Cowboys are content to take their running back need to the draft next week, which features one of the best crop of running backs in recent memory.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Scandrick Risks $500K by Skipping Workouts]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 12:30:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/orlando-scandrick12.5.11.jpg

By no-showing the Dallas Cowboys offseason conditioning program, cornerback Orlando Scandrick is risking $500,000--kind of.

Scandrick is unhappy with his contract, which will pay him $1.5 million in 2015--a figure that, according to the Dallas Morning News, puts him outside of the Top 50 highest paid cornerbacks in the league. Specifically, he’s tied for No. 53.

This is understandably hard to swallow for Scandrick. He’s been the Cowboys’ best and most reliable corner over the past couple seasons, yet he makes less than Morris Claiborne--who he replaced in the starting lineup in 2013, and who will make $2.6 million--and Brandon Carr, who is coming off a very disappointing 2014 but will make a base salary of $8 million next year.

So Scandrick is intent on staying away from the team, working out on his own, until the team is willing to revisit his contract. He could lose $500,000 in the short term due to a de-escalator in his contract that will come into play if he attends less than 90 percent of offseason workouts.

Of course, if the Cowboys are eventually willing to give Scandrick a raise, he’ll make that money back--meaning we’d doubt he’s fretting too much about the half million he’s risking now.

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<![CDATA[With AP, Cowboys in the Super Bowl: Emmitt]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 11:33:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/186726615.jpg

We’re still over a week away from the draft, and the rumors linking the Dallas Cowboys and two-time rushing champion Adrian Peterson are alive and well.

That said, it seems highly unlikely, at this point. The Cowboys would have to give up a whole lot for Peterson, who is 30 and has a torn ACL in his past, and the aforementioned draft is loaded with talent at the running back position.

But for what it’s worth, Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith believes the addition of Adrian Peterson would make the Cowboys a Super Bowl team.

Smith offered up the opinion in a recent interview with Mike Doocy on KDFW-TV in Dallas.

"I'd be excited for him, because you're getting a proven runner. You're getting a runner that every defense in America must respect,” Smith said of Peterson, via the Dallas Morning News. “Regardless is he sat out a whole entire season or not, he's still a performer, he's a guy that's a threat no matter what and I know he's coming back with a chip on his shoulder and a lot to prove. Some people may have written him off because of his whole entire year but he has a strong mind, a strong heart and he's determined to be successful.

“It's always been the question around him, DeMarco Murray and some others,  can he maintain that health and consistency throughout the whole entire season? If he does, and if he's on the Dallas Cowboys, I think we'll be back in the Super Bowl next year."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Duke Johnson Thinks He'd be a Good Fit in Dallas]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 11:34:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457740480.jpg

Duke Johnson, the University of Miami’s all-time leading rusher, believes he’d be a good fit with the Dallas Cowboys.

Obviously, the Cowboys are approaching next week’s draft in need of a running back and the projected second round pick Johnson is a good one--ranked by NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock as the No. 4 running back in the draft at the moment--if not as highly touted as the Todd Gurleys and Melvin Gordons of the world.

Johnson named the Cowboys as the team that best fits his running style in an interview on NFL Network’s “NFL AM,” on Monday.

In college, we ran the same outside zone scheme," Johnson said. “I can run it, basically, in my sleep.”

Of course, the Cowboys lost the NFL’s reigning rushing champion this offseason as DeMarco Murray went to the rival Philadelphia Eagles in free agency. Right now, the biggest name in the Dallas backfield is Darren McFadden, who was signed the day after Murray signed with Philly.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Planning Joint Training Camp Practices with Rams ]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 11:33:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/bw-scrimmage-fight-dmn.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys have made something of a habit of hosting joint practices with another team during training camp and, this year, it looks like that team will be the St. Louis Rams.

According to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, the plans are being finalized this week.

Last year, the Cowboys hosted the Raiders in Oxnard, CA for several days, and they’ve done joint workouts with the San Diego Chargers in the past.

These workouts are mutually beneficial, as they allow players the chance to hit someone in a different jersey after camp takes on an incredibly monotonous feel. Plus, for fans, there’s always the chance of a fight. Last year, the Cowboys were involved in a huge melee with the Raiders.

As Moore points out, when the Rams visit the Cowboys in Oxnard, they’ll be just down the road from where owner Stan Kroenke seems to want to move the team, in Los Angeles--to be specific, 64 miles away.
 



Photo Credit: The Dallas Morning News/Michael Ainsworth]]>
<![CDATA[What the Cowboys' 2015 Schedule Might Look Like]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 15:20:06 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460774542.jpg

With the NFL releasing its 2015 schedule Tuesday night at 7, let’s peer into our crystal (foot)ball and make some very flimsy predictions on where and when the Cowboys will play this season.

Of course, we already know who they’ll play.

As always, they’ll play home-and-homes with their NFC East division rivals the Giants, Redskins and Eagles. And as division champs, the Cowboys have to play the first-place teams from the NFC’s West (Seahawks) and North (Packers) divisions. And per the NFL’s rotating divisional matchups, the NFC East will play the NFC South and the AFC East.

The result is home games against the Falcons, Panthers, Patriots, Seahawks, Jets, Eagles, Redskins and Giants, and road games at the Bills, Packers, Dolphins, Saints, Buccaneers, Eagles, Redskins and Giants.

After a 12-4 season that came within a replay overturn of ascending to the NFC Championship Game, you know the Cowboys will again be a marquee attraction on national television and make the maximum five prime-time appearances. The season starts Sept. 10 in New England and ends Feb. 7 with Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

In between, it just look like this …

  • Monday, Sept. 14 – at Packers, 7:30
  • Sunday, Sept. 20 – vs. Panthers, noon
  • Sunday, Sept. 27 – at Dolphins, 3:25
  • Sunday, Oct. 4 – vs. Jets, noon
  • Sunday, Oct. 11 – at Giants, 3:25
  • Sunday, Oct. 18 – at Buccaneers, noon
  • Sunday, Oct. 25 – Bye
  • Thursday, Oct. 29 – vs. Seahawks, 7:30
  • Sunday, Nov. 8 – vs. Eagles, 3:25
  • Sunday, Nov. 15 – at Bills, noon
  • Sunday, Nov. 22 – at Redskins, noon
  • Thursday, Nov. 26 – vs. Patriots, 3:30
  • Sunday, Dec. 6 – vs. Falcons, noon
  • Sunday, Dec. 13 – at Saints, 7:30
  • Sunday, Dec. 20 – vs. Redskins, 3:25
  • Monday, Dec. 28 – at Eagles, 7:30
  • Sunday, Jan. 3 – vs. Giants, 3:25

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



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tony Romo at the 2015 ACM Awards]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 13:08:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/470386576_master1.jpg Tony Romo takes a stab at the Patriots with a joke at the 2015 ACM Awards.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys' Top 3 NFL Draft Fits: OL]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:58:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Clemmings2.jpg

The success of the Cowboys' run game might have been a surprise, but the level of play by the offensive line shouldn't have been. The team spent three of their last four first-round picks on offensive linemen and the results speak for themselves.

The Cowboys used a mainly zone-blocking approach in 2014 and their "type" of offensive lineman — athletic and intelligent — reflects that philosophy. The team's strength does have a few issues, though, and the front office should consider using a pick in the first three rounds on an lineman if the right one falls.

T.J. Clemmings, Pittsburgh
Ht. 6046, Wt. 309, Arm: 35 1/8”, Hand: 10 3/8”, Bench: 22
40 yd: 5.14, 10 yd.: 1.80, 3 Cone: 7.68, Vertical: 32.5”, Broad: 9'3”

Clemmings went to Pittsburgh as Scout.com's No. 6 defensive end prospect in 2009 and then appeared in 16 games at that position. He switched to offensive line before the 2013 season and then started 26 games at right tackle for the Panthers, earning first-team All-ACC and second-team All-America honors as a senior.

  • Strengths: He punches like a young George Foreman. Good kick-slide. Mirrors well. Efficiently moves to the second level to block. Excellent length.
  • Weaknesses: Inexperienced. Must improve hand use. Might be considered to "finnesse-y" to play inside.

Like Zach Martin, Clemmings has the athleticism to play left tackle and the strength to kick inside at guard. His lack of experience at the position and undeniable upside should intrigue the Cowboys at pick No. 27.

Ty Sambrailo, Colorado State
Ht. 6057, Wt. 311, Arm: 33”, Hand: 10”, Bench: 23
40 yd: 5.36, 10 yd.: 1.81, 3 Cone: 7.54, Vertical: 29”, Broad: 8'1”

Sambrailo was voted second-team All-Mountain West as junior and first-team as a senior. More than held his own — for the most part — against potential early-round pick Nate Orchard out of Utah.

  • Strengths: He. Is. Quick. Excellent mirror. Fast kick-slide. Stretch zone experience.
  • Weaknesses: Must get stronger, but might struggle to add weight. Needs to use hands better. Level of competition.

On the first few snaps, I thought I was accidentally watching the Rams' tight end. Sambrailo is extremely athletic in the mold of the 49ers' Joe Staley and excelled in a run game that looked a lot like the Cowboys'.

Daryl Williams, Oklahoma
Ht. 6052, Wt. 327, Arm: 35”, Hand: 9 3/4”, Bench: 27
40 yd: 5.34, 10 yd.: 1.75, 3 Cone: -, Vertical: 26”, Broad: 8'1”

Williams was a four-star recruit out of Lake Dallas High School and a three-year starter at right tackle for the Sooners. He was named first-team all conference by Big 12 coaches and earned an honorable mention as the conference's Offensive Lineman of the Year.

  • Strengths: Ideal frame and length for the position. Good athlete for his size. Good burst. Strong.
  • Weaknesses: Must improve footwork to play outside. Susceptible to speed. Questionable scheme fit right now.

I think Williams is a tackle in a guard's body and is more of a project pick than the previous two guys. He could step in play either guard spot in a pinch and — with some work — has the potential to start at tackle down the road.

Conclusion

Right tackle Doug Free struggled against speed rushers in pass protection and the team's lack of depth should be a concern. They need to bring in at least one offensive lineman in the upcoming draft and their type can be hard to find after Day 2.

I get the feeling that the best grade available when — and if — the Cowboys pick at No. 27 will be a defensive back or an offensive lineman. Florida State's Cam Erving is the best fit because of his versatility, but Clemmings, Sambrailo and Williams offer at least a potential fit in each of the first three rounds.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Report: Dorial Green-Beckham Declines Cowboys Visit]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:48:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dgbeckham-cowboys.jpg

It’s not often that the Dallas Cowboys invite a prospect to Valley Ranch for a pre-draft visit and the prospect declines. But according to FOX Sports, that’s exactly what happened when the Cowboys gave an invite to former Mizzou receiver Dorial Green-Beckham recently.

Per the report, the reason for Green-Beckham declining the visit is wholly unclear. He has visited the San Francisco 49ers and the Cincinnati Bengals so far this spring in preparation for the NFL Draft, which kicks off on April 30 in Chicago.

Green-Beckham is widely viewed as one of the top five receivers in the 2015 class. He was named second-team All-SEC as a member of the Missouri Tigers in 2013, but was dismissed from the team the following spring after he allegedly forced his way into an apartment and pushed a woman down several stairs. Ultimately, he was never charged in the incident. 

After his dismissal, Green-Beckham moved on to Oklahoma, where spent the 2014 season on the Sooners’ practice squad.

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<![CDATA[Peterson Absent From Day 1 of Vikings Offseason Program]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 12:01:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/20121014Redskins15.jpg

The newly reinstated Adrian Peterson no-showed the opening day of the Minnesota Vikings’ offseason conditioning program on Monday, according to ESPN, but this doesn’t come as any surprise.

According to the source cited in the report, Peterson never shows up to team headquarters at this point in the offseason, opting instead to work out on his own until later in the spring each year. Add to that that Peterson has gone on record as saying he’s “uneasy” over the idea of returning to Minnesota in 2015, and the two-time rushing champion’s absence today is an exceedingly predictable development.

Peterson’s 2014 season officially came to an end when he was was suspended for the year last November, two weeks after he pleaded no contest to reckless assault. He was just reinstated--and cleared to participate in all team activities--last Friday.

The Vikings have been unwavering in saying they’re not about to part ways with Peterson, but that hasn’t stopped interest from popping up elsewhere. All offseason, reports had the Cowboys and Cardinals looking at Peterson and, as of last week, the Raiders have joined the list of potential suitors.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Scandrick Absent as Offseason Program Begins]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:25:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/orland-scandrick-ped-presser.jpg

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick didn’t show up for the opening of the team’s offseason conditioning program on Monday at Valley Ranch, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports, making him a conspicuous no-show along with receiver Dez Bryant.

Bryant’s absence was more predictable than Scandrick’s, of course.

The Pro Bowl receiver was given the franchise tag this offseason, but has yet to sign his tender in hopes that he and the team can work out a long-term deal. Players in that position almost never attend voluntary workouts.

Scandrick’s absence comes as more of a surprise but, according to Rapoport, it’s also probably the result of contract issues. While Scandrick has a deal in place--he’s signed through 2018--he is set to make a relatively modest $1.5 million in 2015.

Over the past couple years, Scandrick has become the Cowboys most reliable cornerback. In 2015, he recorded 55 tackles, a sack, a pair of forced fumbles and a pair of sacks.



Photo Credit: NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Mo Claiborne Hopes to be Ready for Training Camp]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 11:26:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/mo-claiborne-cant-relax.jpg

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne is in a familiar and frustrating place as the team opens its offseason conditioning program on Monday--sidelined as he recovers from an injury.

Claiborne is still recovering from the most serious injury of his injury-hampered career, a torn left patellar tendon suffered last September in a victory over the Saints. He will miss the offseason program and the team’s mini-camps for the third time in four years, but hopes to return in time for training camp.

"I can't wait," Claiborne said, per FOX Sports Southwest. "Like I said, it's one of those things. It's a day-by-day thing. I'm getting better each and every day; getting stronger each and every day. You know, that's all I can ask for at this moment."

Claiborne is still a ways from being medically cleared, but he recently starting running again, a big stride on his road to recovery.

"I was at a point where people thought I wasn't going to walk again," Claiborne said. "I'm in a better place now in my life and in coping with my injuries and coming back from them."

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<![CDATA[Dez Has Valid Reasons to Skip Off-Season Workouts]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 10:45:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dez-bryant-sweaty-interview.jpg

Next season officially becomes this season today as the team that came within a controversial replay overturn of the NFC Championship Game in 2014 begins working toward 2015.

With the beginning of the team’s off-season workout program, there is one player who should be missing at Valley Ranch – Dez Bryant.

The receiver has been publicly disappointed that the team franchised him in lieu of a long-term contract, and since he has yet to sign the franchise tender he has no obligation to participate. The Cowboys want Bryant – now solidified as a team leader – to take part in the program, but the receiver has no protection against injury without a contract. Same situation in Denver for receiver Demaryius Thomas, who was franchised by the Broncos and has since skipped the voluntary off-season workouts.

By now we should be assured of Bryant’s work ethic. He’s a fitness freak and his effort and intensity are among the most intense in the NFL.

Bryant skipping workouts would in no way mean he’s going to sit on the couch binge-watching Silicon Valley and gaining 15 pounds of flubber. It will, however, send a message to management that he’s serious about being unhappy with his contract.

What would Bryant miss if he no-shows?

Players will be supervised by strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik in Phase One. The next phase starts May 4 and runs three weeks, allowing position coaches to work with individual players. Phase Three starts May 26 with Organized Team Activities and ends with a mandatory June 16-18 minicamp.

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



Photo Credit: NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Tim Tebow is an Eagle Now]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 10:29:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP817287134026.jpg

The Philadelphia Eagles’ crazy offseason just keeps getting, well, crazier.

On Sunday, FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reported that the Eagles will sign Tim Tebow on Monday, a month after he was brought in for a workout with the team. For the Eagles, like the Cowboys, Monday marks the beginning of the offseason program.

Tebow spent the past two seasons out of football, working for ESPN as a college football analyst, but never made any secret of his desire to return to the NFL.

The 25th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Tebow started three games in his rookie season. His best year came in 2011, when he started 11 games, threw for 12 touchdowns and six interceptions, and led the Broncos to the Divisional Round of the playoffs before they were eliminated in a drubbing by the Patriots.

After the Broncos acquired Peyton Manning the following offseason, they traded Tebow to the Jets, where he spent a strange and terrible 2012 season. He appeared in 12 games and started two that year, but attempted just eight passes and 32 rushes.

Tebow’s last shot in the NFL--before Chip Kelly came calling, that is--came in 2013, when he spent the offseason with the New England Patriots, but found himself among the Pats’ final cuts after training camp.

With the Eagles, Tebow joins a stable of quarterbacks that includes his old Jets teammate Mark Sanchez, Sam Bradford, Matt Barkley and G.J. Kinne.
 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Todd Gurley Set For Medical Recheck on Friday]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:38:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456212412.jpg

In less than two weeks, Georgia running back Todd Gurley will likely be celebrating the next step in his career as a first round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, but on Friday he'll be on an examination table undergoing the league’s official medical recheck.

The projected first rounder has to go through the examination because of the torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in November of last year, an injury that stands out as just about the only negative in his scouting report. Even after the ACL, he’s widely regarded as the top running back in the draft, and one the Dallas Cowboys would jump at the chance to take if he’s still on the board at No. 27.

The recheck is huge particularly in Gurley’s case because it will mark the first time NFL team doctors have looked at the surgically repaired knee. Following the advice of his doctor, orthopedist to the stars Dr. James Andrews, Gurley decided against having it evaluated in February at the NFL Combine.

"I would guess that anybody that has him high on their board is going to have their doctor there," said longtime NFL executive and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian, per Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today. "I'm sure everybody will be scrutinizing the results. They'll all make their own decisions as to how far along the timeline he is. That decision, in my experience, rests with the docs."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Raiders Join Mix of Teams Interested in Adrian Peterson]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:15:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/186722617.jpg

For most of the offseason, general thought has been that, if Adrian Peterson leaves Minnesota, he will go either to the Arizona Cardinals or the Dallas Cowboys.

But now, the Oakland Raiders have joined the mix as the third team reportedly interested in pursuing the 30-year-old two-time rushing champion. Citing two NFL general managers, Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman reports that the Raiders’ interest is considered serious.

"The Cowboys are the front-runners," one of the unnamed GMs said, "but I actually believe the Raiders are right there."

Granted, this is IF the newly reinstated Peterson leaves Minnesota. Which is kind of a big if. He has a huge contract in tow, and he’s 30-years-old in a league that has devalued the running back position greatly in recent years. Not to mention we’re approaching a draft deep in running back talent.

"Few teams will be willing to take him, at his age, with that salary," the GM said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys' Top 3 NFL Draft Fits: WR/TE]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 13:06:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/458230798.jpg

The Cowboys are relatively set as far as pass catchers go, but teams that draft well aren't ever content. The top 3 wide receiver positions are set, so the team's best option is probably to spend a Day 3 pick on a player with return experience and developmental upside.

Tight end is trickier, because it's too soon to expect Jason Witten to retire or give up on Gavin Escobar as a flex tight end. So, like the wide receiver position, the focus should be on a late-round option with high upside.

Kenny Bell, WR/KR, Nebraska
Ht. 6011, Wt. 197, Arm: 31 5/8”, Hand: 9 1/4”, Bench: 7
40 yd: 4.42, 10 yd.: 1.55, 3 Cone: 6.66, Vertical: 41.5”, Broad: 10’9”

Bell left Nebraska as the school's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards and was voted all-conference by Big 10 coaches. His value is still less than the sum of his parts, but his upside and ability to contribute early make him the type of receiver Dallas could target.

  • Strengths: He's a smart player who knows his role. Tenacious and physical blocker. Runs good routes. Athletic potential, specifically the devilishly good 3-cone. High points ball well.
  • Weaknesses: Dropped several catchable balls. Relatively slow out of his breaks. Could have trouble separating in the NFL. Measurables didn't match tape.

Bell has the intelligence, experience and athleticism to have an impact on an NFL roster, but his potential is still greater than his production at this point. He's worth a fourth-round pick as a kick returner early that could develop into a good third receiver.

Stefon Diggs, WR/KR, Maryland
Ht. 6000, Wt. 195, Arm: 31 1/4”, Hand: 10”, Bench: -
40 yd: 4.46, 10 yd.: 1.54, 3 Cone: 7.03, Vertical: 35”, Broad: 9'7”

The University of Maryland is gaining a reputation as an athlete factory and Diggs could be the next in line. Like Bell, Diggs is an intriguing developmental option at wide receiver that could return kicks early.

  • Strengths: Outstanding body control and agility. Finds soft spot in zone coverage. Huge hands. Willing blocker. Solid kick returner. Slot and outside experience.
  • Weaknesses: Needs to sharpen routes. Struggled to get open at times and was not featured in Maryland's offense. Inexperienced.

Diggs at times looks like a poor man's Victor Cruz that sacrifices some shiftiness for physicality. He doesn't look like that consistently enough for the Cowboys to consider drafting him before Day 3, though.

Blake Bell, TE, Oklahoma
Ht. 6062, Wt. 252, Arm: 33 1/8”, Hand: 10”, Bench: 14
40 yd: 4.80, 10 yd.: 1.67, 3 Cone: 6.85, Vertical: 33”, Broad: 9’8”

As most sports fans in DFW should know, "The Belldozer" spent three seasons at Oklahoma as a quarterback before switching to tight end. He's is all projection at this point, but he's an NFL-caliber athlete with a desire to play football.

  • Strengths: Athletic. Willing blocker (seems to enjoy it). Soft hands. Quarterback's perspective as a receiver.
  • Weaknesses: Obvious inexperience. Has trouble engaging as a blocker.

Considering Bell's inexperience, he looks relatively comfortable running routes. He needs a lot of work as a blocker, but the Cowboys could make a late-round gamble that his play will catch up to his athleticism.

Conclusion

Successful teams use the draft to set their squads up for the future, rather than the upcoming season. Players like Diggs and the Bells have later-round price tags and the potential to fill looming needs.

If Diggs or Kenny Bell are available in the fourth, they might make sense for the Cowboys. Similarly, Blake Bell has developmental value to the Cowboys late Day 3.



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<![CDATA[Cowboys Work Out UCLA QB Brett Hundley]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:43:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/brett-hundley-cowboys.jpg

With Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones acknowledging earlier this offseason that it’s probably time for the team to start looking for a quarterback to groom as Tony Romo’s successor, the team has worked out several signal callers in preparation for the upcoming draft.

The latest is UCLA’s Brett Hundley.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that the Cowboys held a private workout for Hundley at UCLA on Thursday. They’ve previously shown some pre-draft interest in Baylor’s Bryce Petty and Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson, who’s set to visit Valley Ranch at some point.

Hundley, who threw for 2,348 yards and 20 touchdowns last year for the Bruins, is ranked as the No. 3 quarterback in the Class of 2015 behind Florida State’s Jameis Winston and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and projected to come off the board in the second round.

The Cowboys haven’t drafted a quarterback since 2009, when they took Stephen McGee out of Texas A&M in the fourth round, and they haven’t drafted a quarterback in the second round since 2001, when they took Quincy Carter out of Georgia.

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<![CDATA[Dez Cuts Ties with Adviser David Wells]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:27:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460753312.jpg

Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant has reportedly decided to cut ties with longtime adviser David Wells, at least from a professional standpoint.

According to Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPN Dallas, an attorney representing Bryant, Jordan Siev, sent Wells a cease-and-desist letter back in February to formally end their business relationship. Bryant had already terminated Wells’ power-of-attorney rights.

Bryant goes way back with Wells. He lived at Wells’ house in DeSoto for several years, beginning in 2009, his final year at Oklahoma State. When he entered the NFL, Bryant took on Wells as his adviser, and Wells has an agreement to remain in that position through 2016. But Wells said he’d be willing to walk away from that role if Bryant’s lawyers pay out the rest of the money he’s due.

Interestingly enough, this seeming tension doesn’t mean Bryant and Wells no longer speak. According to Taylor, they speak regularly, and Bryant even visited Wells’ house as recently as this week. But the tension is also reportedly a factor in Bryant’s and the Cowboys’ inability to come to an agreement on a long-term deal.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Could Eagles Make Two Trades for Mariota?]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:25:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Marcus+Mariota.jpg

We’re a little less than two weeks away from the opening night of the 2015 NFL Draft, and Oregon quarterback winner Marcus Mariota’s stock remains as high as it’s ever been, if not a little higher, spurred on by a report by ESPN’s Ron Jaworski saying that the Buccaneers are leaning toward the reigning Heisman Trophy winner over Jameis Winston.

But if the Bucs don’t take Mariota first overall, Will Brinson of CBS Sports can see the a scenario where the Eagles make a three-team deal with the Browns--who have already expressed interest in Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford--and the Titans, who own the No. 2 pick, to land Chip Kelly’s old college quarterback.

“So let's bring that deal back and have the Browns give the Eagles a first-round pick (No. 12) in exchange for Sam Bradford (Philly can throw in a third-round pick to expedite the deal maybe?),” Brinson writes. “The Browns own No. 19 in this draft and have their new quarterback. The Eagles own No. 12, which Kelly promptly packages with No. 20 overall and sends to the Titans in exchange to the rights for No. 2.

Brinson points out that this dealing isn’t something that we should expect to happen on April 30, but if the Eagles really want Mariota to run Kelly’s offense that bad, this is one way that they could potentially make it happen.
 



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<![CDATA[Peterson a Cowboy is Fantasy Football]]> Fri, 17 Apr 2015 11:11:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/AdPete.jpg

During four of their five Super Bowl wins, the Cowboys handed the ball to a Hall-of-Fame running back. In their other championship season they had a player lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns and a duo combine for 1,300 yards and 19 scores.

Moral to the story: Heck yeah, Adrian Peterson with a star on his helmet would greatly increase the Cowboys’ chances for a sixth Lombardi Trophy.

As of now, there are no plans to have Duane Thomas, Calvin Hill, Tony Dorsett or Emmitt Smith on the 2015 roster. Same with Peterson. But now that the best current running back in the NFL has been reinstated by commissioner Roger Goodell it does kick-start the imagination.

I’ve said adamantly that Tony Romo’s contract wasn’t restructured directly to pursue Peterson. But I also allowed that the Cowboys might make a run at him nonetheless. That is, if he’s affordable.

The Cowboys balked at paying DeMarco Murray more than $6 million per season. I don’t think they’d overstep that budget more than twice over to acquire Peterson, who makes $12 million. Another roadblock is the fact that the Vikings said publicly Thursday that they intend on keeping their star in Minnesota.

It’s a looong shot. But aren’t all fantasies?

Everything about Peterson in Dallas would be delicious. His presence would allow the Cowboys to not use a high draft pick on a running back, strengthening another area of weakness instead. Even at 30 and with a torn ACL in his past, he’s a three-down back with elite size, strength and speed. He’d be running behind one of the best offensive lines in football. And, combined with Romo’s closing window and the arrival of Greg Hardy, it would put an undeniable “Win now” stamp on the 2015 season.

If Peterson was to land in Dallas, I predict the Cowboys would make it to the Super Bowl and Murray's single-season rushing record would have a short shelf-life.

The Cowboys have never won a Super Bowl without a primo running game. Peterson would fill that void, and then some.

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



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Aikman, Romo, Witten Among ACM Presenters]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 15:03:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/ACM-Aikman-Romo-Witten.jpg

One former and two current Dallas Cowboys will take to the stage at the 50th Academy of Country Music awards show Sunday at AT&T Stadium.

The all-star affair will take place at the home of the Dallas Cowboys so it's only fitting Troy Aikman, Tony Romo and Jason Witten would have a part in the show.

Burleson's own original "American Idol" Kelly Clarkson, "American Sniper" Chris Kyle's widow Taya Kyle and Dr. Phil McGraw will also present Sunday along with a host of other celebrities.

Despite a fire on Lady Antebellum singer Hillary Scott's bus Thursday in North Texas, the country group is among the performers at the star-studded event Sunday, along with George Strait, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan to name a few.

Academy of Country Music Takes Over North Texas

North Texas county music fans have plenty of opportunities to hear from their favorite stars in events leading up to the ACM Awards broadcast.

On Friday, the ACM Lifting Lives benefit gala takes place at the Omni Dallas hotel. Originally there was going to be two events one in Fort Worth and one in Dallas, but event organizers decided to make it one big event with a cocktail reception, dinner, live auction and musical performances from Hunter Hayes, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, the Band Perry and promised "special surprise guests." Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Nancy O'Dell and Montel Williams will host.

Also on Friday, the ACM Party for a Cause Festival will fill Globe Life Park in Arlington. 27 artists including Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Brantley Gilbert, Ronnie Milsap, Reba McEntire, Darius Rucker, Alabama, Montgomery Gentry, Brooks & Dunn and Eli Young Band just to name a few.

The ACM Party for a Cause Festival continues Saturday with 33 artists scheduled to take the stage including John Anderson, Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, Hunter Hayes, Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, The Band Perry and Lady Antebellum.

On Saturday, the ACM Charity Motorcycle Ride and Concert will start at Longhorn Harley Davidson in Grand Prairie and Strokers Dallas in Dallas and end with a "post-ride rally concert" at Maverick Harley Davidson in Carrollton. The concert hosted by by Dierks Bentley will feature Montgomery Gentry and Thompson Square to name a few.

More: ACM Lifting Lives Gala Info | ACM Party for a Cause Festival InfoACM Charity Motorcycle Ride & Concert Info



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<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Kai Forbath Re-Signs with Redskins]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:35:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457504676.jpg

Kai Forbath, who once upon a time was in the running with Dan Bailey for the Dallas Cowboys’ place kicking job, has re-signed with the Washington Redskins.

Forbath was the only player to receive a restricted free agent tender from the team. He signed that tender offer on Wednesday and announced the news via an Instagram post with the caption:  “Contract signed!! Officially putting on the Burgundy & Gold for another year!”

A UCLA product, Forbath came into the league with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He spent the 2011 season on the reserve/non-football injury list with quadriceps issues and was released in April of 2012. By that time, Bailey had locked up the kicking job, having gone 32 of 37 on field goals in his rookie season.

After spending the 2012 preseason with the Buccaneers, Forbath moved on to Washington in October of that year, and he’s been there ever since. In his career with the Redskins, Forbath has made 59 of 67 field goal attempts.
 



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<![CDATA[UPDATED: Peterson Now Eligible For Reinstatement, But No Word From NFL]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 14:41:55 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/186716672.jpg

Another week is coming to a close, and we’re still no closer to knowing anything about what the immediate future holds for Adrian Peterson.

As of Wednesday, Peterson is eligible for reinstatement, but there’s been no word from the league either way--meaning, for now, he remains on the Commissioner’s Exempt list, where he spent most of last season and where he’s been since he won the appeal of his indefinite suspension.

Peterson met with Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York last Tuesday, which many took as a sign that he would be reinstated when he became eligible.

Whether this means anything for the Cowboys, we don’t know. But we doubt it. As much as Jerry Jones loves Peterson, we’re approaching a draft loaded with talent at the running back position, where Dallas will be able to find a quality running back--not as good as Peterson, granted, but good--at a fraction of what the 30-year-old Peterson is set to earn in 2015.

That said, we’ve learned not to put anything past Jerry Jones, the man who reportedly really wanted to draft Johnny Manziel around this time last year.

UPDATE: Peterson has been notified by the league that he will be reinstated on Friday, April 17. Goodell informed Peterson in a letter that his reinstatement is contingent on his continued cooperation with authorities in Texas and Minnesota, as well as the fulfillment of commitments he made during the meeting with the Commissioner last Tuesday.
 



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<![CDATA[Christie Booed by South Jersey Eagles Fans]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:14:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461342250.jpg

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has made no secret of his love for the Dallas Cowboys. He’s taken in Cowboys games against the New York Giants in Jerry Jones’s owner’s suite at AT&T Stadium and, last December, he was seen hugging Jones after Dallas beat the Eagles.

Considering that the State of New Jersey is made up mostly of Eagles and Giants fans, what happened on Wednesday was kind of inevitable.

At the grand opening of a Bass Pro Shops megastore in Atlantic City, Governor Christie was roundly booed by the Eagles fans in attendance.

"Ah, I love the Eagles fans are here, baby," Christie responded, per NJ.com.

Christie then asked former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook to join him, and Westbrook promptly led the crowd in an Eagles chant.

"Let's give the governor a chant," Westbrook said. "Say it with me: E-A-G-L-E-S."



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<![CDATA[Cowboys Miss More Than Hit Drafting at No. 27]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:11:22 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459467090.jpg

In their 54 previous NFL Drafts, the Cowboys have selected a player 27th overall only three times. I don’t think they’ll stay at 27 in this year’s draft in a couple of weeks, either moving up to grab a running back or trading down for quantity over a lack of quality.

But should Jerry Jones pull a fast one by not pulling a fast one and staying put, they can look forward to players like Deone Bucannon, DeAndre Hopkins, Kevin Zeitler, Jimmy Smith and Devin McCourty. Underwhelmed? You shouldn’t be.

Those are the last five players selected 27th overall, and it’s not a bad group at all.

Bucannon (2014) is a productive safety for the Cardinals who had two sacks as a rookie. Hopkins (2013) has eight touchdown catches in his first two years with the Texans, and is part of the reason Houston was willing to part with Andre Johnson. Zeitler (2012) has been the Bengals’ starting right guard since the day he was drafted. Smith (2011) was having a Pro Bowl season at cornerback for the Ravens last year before a serious foot injury. And McCourty is one of the leaders of the Patriots’ defense, a safety rewarded with a $47 million contract this offseason.

If the Cowboys can get a player with that kind of production they’ll be satisfied with a pick at the end of Round 1. And they’ll top their previous No. 27 picks:

1970 Bob Asher – Offensive lineman played only six games before tearing up a knee and eventually getting traded to Bears.

1976 Aaron Kyle – Cornerback had 11 interceptions in six seasons and was a starting cornerback on Super Bowl XII team.

1979 Robert Shaw – Center injured a knee in '81, never became a regular starter and was off roster by 1982 after playing only 33 games.

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



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>