The VRR: Ken Hamlin Talks Being Captain; 4th and Long Series Finale Tonight

When Ken Hamlin signed with the Cowboys in March of 2007, he was known as "The Hammer". While earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl that season with a 102-tackle, five-interception season, he became known as "the quarterback" of the Cowboys secondary. His experience calling the defensive signals has also led to him becoming a team captain.

But last season, Hamlin intercepted just one pass and was part of an inconsistent secondary decimated by injuries.

In this interview with Jim Rome, Hamlin discusses how seriously he takes his role as a defensive captain. Because of this role, he holds himself accountable for the defense not making key stops last season - stops, such as the two long runs against Baltimore, that could have kept the offense in a position to win games. He says that coaching was not part of the issue last year, nor will it be this year. Where head coach and defensive coordinator, Wade Phillips, has in the past taken the blame for his defense's breakdowns, Hamlin places the responsibility on the players' shoulders.

This year, Hamlin says, the secondary will focus on getting turnovers. If the defense comes anywhere near leading the league in sacks again, the defensive backs must take advantage.

Hamlin also talks about the pressure he puts on himself here in this phone interview with ESPN.

With the Cowboys bringing new faces into the secondary, including three new safeties in free agent signee Gerald Sensabaugh and rookies Michael Hamlin and DeAngelo Smith, The Hammer's guidance will be counted on even more. Throw in the developing experience at cornerback, with second-year pros Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick projecting as feature players, and Hamlin will again be expected to be the quarterback of the defense.

Tonight is the season finale of 4th and Long. Tonight, we find out which new name will be added to the Cowboys training camp roster. Here's a little preview:

At the end of the 9 p.m. finale, owner Jerry Jones congratulates his newest player on the field inside Cowboys Stadium: "Clear your Sunday afternoon calendar," Jones tells the winner, "because you are going to be spending it out here with a big star on your helmet."

I will believe the whole Andrew-Hawkins-is-stuck-in-the-CFL thing when I see it. In the show's preview, Jerry Jones is holding a Cowboys jersey with the number 16 on it. That has to be a wide receiver. Both Hawkins and Jesse Holley have consistently been getting the best of the defensive backs throughout the series. Soon we will see which one will be going up against the Newmans and Scandricks of the NFL.

If you've missed episodes and need to catch up, SpikeTV's 4th and Long homepage replays full episodes.

Jamie Dukes ranks DeMarcus Ware as his number four Best in the Biz player.

NFL Outsider's Greg Trippiedi provides some contrast to this ranking by underestimating Ware's overall skills. Hater!

Q: What kind of encore season can Cowboys fans expect from DeMarcus Ware, and is he truly among the league's best defenders?

A: Ware is probably not capable of another 20 sack season, because he's not going to see too many single teams over the next five years. 12-13 is a reasonable expectation. But if Ware is truly a franchise player, he needs to improve aspects of his game unrelated to pass rush, such as defensive positioning, taking on blockers while not on the attack, and pass coverage on the weak side.

Tony Romo shot a 69 Saturday and a 71 Sunday to finish second at the American Century Golf Championship.

Before Jason Witten, there was Jay Novacek. A Cowboy for most of his pro career, Novacek was also a Cowboy in college when he played for Wyoming. Troy Aikman's go-to guy in the middle, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame this weekend.

Novacek, who was a Consensus All-America tight end at Wyoming in 1984, still holds the NCAA record for highest average gain per reception in a single season by a tight end, averaging 22.6 yards per catch in 1984. The native of Gothenburg, Neb., also placed fourth in the decathlon at the NCAA Championships his senior season, earning All-America honors in track and field.

During his college career from 1982-84, Novacek had 83 receptions for 1,536 yards and 10 touchdowns, while playing in a wishbone offense. Novacek will be one of 13 former college players and two former college coaches inducted into the 2008 College Hall of Fame class.

He will be inducted with his former Dallas Cowboy teammate Troy Aikman (UCLA, QB, 1986-89).

Aikman, always the perfectionist, still feels he missed out on the big one in college.

"The one I regret I have on any level is that I didn't lead a team to the Rose Bowl," the three-time Super Bowl champion said. "I think a lot of times in the NFL a quarterback is measured by whether or not you lead a team to a championship. For me at UCLA, it was whether or not you led your team to the Rose Bowl. I failed to do that."

Are you worried about the Cowboys' future at the offensive tackle position? If so, Gil Brandt did some homework for you. In this NFL.com article, Brandt looks at the top OT prospects for 2010.

Rich Behm is optimistic about his recovery and is ready to get back to work.

"[I'm] still going to walk again," he said. "It's no big deal. That's a goal, and so I'm sticking to that."

Behm was injured in the collapse of a Cowboys practice facility in May.

"I'm still trying to learn how to deal with what's happened to me right now in terms of getting on with my normal life," he said. " I can't even drive a car."

[snip]

"I mean, going into the office and getting some work done, that's kind of what I'm ready to go back to do," Behm said. "I'm ready to get out of the house. That's for sure."

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