The VRR: Cowboys Say Hello to Alex Barron, Goodbye to Bobby Carpenter

The day after the trade. Indeed, Bobby Carpenter for Alex Barron was no blockbuster deal. For us Cowboys fans, though, we didn't get any action in free agency. Prior to the addition of Barron, it was just the same ol' Pat McQuistans, Montrae Hollands, and Cory Procters' backing up the starting offensive linemen. Those were the vets.

Sure, we all have hope for Robert Brewster, Travis Bright, and maybe a Sam Young or Mike Tepper. But each of those guys will still be shedding their own shades of green come training camp.

Whether you like Barron or not, the team needed to add another young vet to the line. Most importantly, they needed a guy who could swing behind RT Marc Colombo and new starting LT Doug Free. And though our opinions may differ on Barron, he sees an opportunity in Dallas.

In fact, when he spoke with the Star-Telegram, he seemingly indicated that he will compete for the starting left tackle gig.

"I feel good," Barron said, when reached by phone after the deal was finally completed. "It's a good thing for me and the team. I feel I can help them and get this thing rolling."

Barron said it's his understanding from the Cowboys that he will come in and compete with Free to replace the departed Flozell Adams.

"They expect me to come in and compete for a left tackle spot," Barron said. "I'm going to give it my all and help the team the best way."

It's hard to decipher whether Jerry Jones sees the expectations the same way as Barron does.

"The trade brings us a player who, although he is just entering his prime years in the NFL, has 74 career starts under his belt. That experience is invaluable for a young offensive lineman. It also speaks to his durability and versatility - having started at both tackle positions. The process of managing an offensive line is always ongoing, and this is acquisition was a great opportunity for our group."

Barron may have to start with proving Peter King wrong.

One of the reasons I've never been an Alex Barron fan -- only his accountant should be partisan to the former first-round tackle of the Rams who's about to be dealt to Dallas -- is his attention to detail, and his fervor to be great. It's just not there.

This illustrates it best: 43 false-start penalties in five seasons. Ridiculous.

Barron on the difficulties he had with the Rams' cycling of coaches:

"It was a little different," Barron said. "Most the coaches wanted to teach you different things all the time. It had to be their way, instead of it just being about football. When that happens it makes it difficult."

Barron's agent had this to say about his client's trade to the Cowboys:

"Alex is planning on having the best year of his career," Barnes said. "I believe Alex will show that he'll be one of the best tackles in the NFC."

An AFC scout's take on Barron, courtesy of ESPN's Matt Mosely.

"Has size and length, good reach, can slide feet, but lacks power," said the scout.

"Average strength in run game. Not a very physical run blocker. Lacks some natural leverage but can use body to cover/shield [defenders].Has good lateral slide in pass protection, but anchor can be a bit of an issue. More finesse than might. Ordinary as a starter, but has played in the league and will be an adequate backup and good spot starter."

The mothership has updated its roster showing that Barron will be wearing jersey number 78. Scroll down to their draft picks, though, and you'll see that Sean Lissemore will be wearing the same number. Bull-in-the-Ring action to see who gets to keep it?

Although disappointed to leave Dallas, Bobby Carpenter looks forward to becoming a part of Steve Spanuolo's defense.

"I think it's a great opportunity for me," said Carpenter on Monday. "I get a chance to go to a 4-3. I'm getting a chance to start fresh, to start over and hopefully earn my way up here."

During his years with Dallas, the team's talent at linebacker made it tough for Carpenter to see substantial playing time.

"We've had a good team for a lot of years, and it's been tough to get on the field," Carpenter said of his years in Dallas, per the Associated Press.

"I think it's going to be a great opportunity (in St. Louis). "They've got some great defensive minds and really a young team, so I think it's going to be really enthusiastic, a lot of energy."

Carpenter may have not have been a fan favorite to all, but that doesn't matter much to him.

"I don't know if throwing mud at anybody does any good," said the No. 18 overall pick in the 2006 draft.

"I know I had the respect of a lot of my teammates down there in Dallas, and respect in the locker room, that's all that matters. What was said outside of the organization really wasn't important to me."

Carpenter also confirmed that he will play outside linebacker in St. Louis, though he isn't sure if he'll play the strong or weak side. It's expected that Carpenter will end up starting at the latter position, with David Vobora and Na'il Diggs competing opposite him.

David Buehler can do it all, right? He can beat defensive backs in a foot race, grow the team's newest afro, lead the league in touchbacks, but can he strengthen the team's greatest weakness?

Since 2005 Cowboys kickers have made 106 of their 140 regular season attempts, just over 75 percent. Can't Buehler do at least that well, or pretty close? He was 26-of-33 on field goal tries at Southern Cal - almost 79 percent. And he did make the only preseason attempt he had last year, off the dirt infield at Oakland. True, Buehler didn't look very good when special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis staged essentially a public competition between he and Folk last year, but that was after he had spent the whole season working almost entirely on kickoffs. His mechanics surely weren't as good as they will be now that he's spent all spring and summer working on things.

The Cowboys did spend money to fix the kicker position this year, bringing on Chris Boniol as a part-time coach. Also on the roster is 26-year-old rookie Connor Hughes, but he's not as much competition for Buehler as he is an insurance policy in case of injury, or Buehler's absolute failure.

DC.om's Roster Rundown series features the human highlight reel, Felix Jones.

Folks are still talking about the Cowboys draft board pics. Here's the Miami Herald's take on how Dallas' board rated the Dolphins' picks. And Brad Biggs does the same from a Bears' perspective.

Fitting with the randomness that is the VRR, here is the AP's most up-to-date list of NFL free agent signings.

Anybody in need of a "pet cat"? The DMN's Gerry Fraley traces how former CFL speedster, WR Titus Ryan, found his way to the Cowboys. With a 4.28 40 and the Cowboys doing squat in the kick return game last year, it's a wonder he didn't get here any faster.

Ryan received much-needed game experience last season in Canada. The wide-open, bigger-field CFL game is a distant cousin to the NFL, but Ryan benefited by playing. In the CFL, Ryan averaged 26.4 yards on 15 catches and ranked among the league's top 10 in punt and kickoff returns. That included a 104-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

The Cowboys' longest kickoff return last season went for 41 yards.

"He's got some possibilities because he's got the great speed," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said.

Perhaps you would like a backup NT for your "pet cat". How about UDFA Junior Aumavae from Division II's Minnesota State-Mankato?

Aumavae made an immediate impact for the Division II Minnesota State Mavericks, making 10 starts. He was dominant in the interior of the Mankato defensive line and was named first-team All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and the NSIC Defensive Newcomer of the Year following the 2009 season.

Following his senior year, Aumavae signed with Imani Sports. Since, he’d been in contact with a number of NFL franchises and worked out for NFL scouts during a "Pro Day" at the University of Minnesota earlier this year.

[snip]

Aumavae will now work toward making Dallas’ regular season roster. If Aumavae does stick with the Cowboys, he would be the 11th Alaskan to make an NFL regular season roster.

Tony Romo will be a guest celebrity on tonight's episode of The Biggest Loser: Couples III. (Trolls, be gentle.) Romo will be surprising the contestants, and offering them some words of encouragement as they work to turn their lives around.

"I tried to get across what an inspiration these people are -- not just to their families, but to anyone who's struggling with a challenge," he said. "It's a fantastic show with a great message."

The episode airs at 8PM EST on NBC.

Pictures of Romo's offseason so far.

Allow me to add on to OCC's latest Dez Bryant post with quotes from Miles Austin and the mild-mannered Jason Garrett.

Austin:

"He's got some serious skills," Austin said. "Ball skills, catching the ball, route running, just natural skills that some people take time to develop, he kind of already has those right now. Hopefully, we can put those things in play and get rolling."

Garrett:

"We were certainly very impressed with him on tape; his career at Oklahoma State as a receiver was productive. He’s a very impressive guy, he’s one of those guys that really jumps off the tape at you. And then when we got a chance to visit with him, at the combine and when he came to Dallas, and we really got to know him more, we were really impressed by him as a person as well.

He’s a rookie, a young guy and particularly at that position, it’s hard to transition into the league as a receiver. There are a number of guys who’ve been drafted high and it’s taken them a couple of years to get themselves acclimated to the NFL game. He’ll have a transition like a lot of other people but we’re certainly excited about what we saw on the field and about kind of person he is."

Dallas' Fourth-round selection, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah was a guest on this weekend's episode of The Blitz. (Skip ahead to about the 1:20 mark to avoid commercials.)


A big thank you to you folks who have donated to the BTB 2010 Training Camp Fundraiser. Yesterday, the NFL officially finalized its 2010 preseason schedule. As expected, the Cowboys will head to Oxnard after their August 12 matchup with the Raiders. Game times are CST.

Sunday, August 8: Cincinnati vs. Dallas, 7PM (NBC)
Thursday, August 12: Oakland at Dallas, 8PM
Saturday, August 21: Dallas at San Diego, 8PM 
Saturday, August 28: Dallas at Houston, 7PM (CBS)
Thursday, September 2: Miami at Dallas, 7PM

With your continued support, we look forward to sending representatives to both Cali and San Antonio. There is still time to donate, so click below to relieve yourselves of that excess pocket change!

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