Dallas Cowboys: Notes On The Senior Bowl

I saw some interesting stuff out of the Senior Bowl, centering around Dallas Cowboys Owner/GM Jerry Jones and Head Coach Jason Garrett. For those, like me, who enjoy trying to read the tea leaves and figure out what is happening in the heads of the men who run our favorite team, it was rather interesting.

First, for all you people trying to figure out Dallas' draft board, you might want to think a bit about Janoris Jenkins, because he is going to interview with the team scouts.

"I just go in as who I am," said Jenkins, who has spoken to five NFL teams. "I tell them what happened and be honest because I did it. I made a mistake and I take full responsibility for it. I'm sure I have to deal with it. I'm looking forward to it. I have nothing to hide. I just go in and they ask me the question and I give it to them and be honest. I just look them in the eye and let them know I can be honest."

The Cowboys' scouts most likely will speak with Jenkins and provide a report to Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett.

It sounds like the Cowboys, along with other teams, are trying to get a read on Jenkins and just how much of a risk he would be. This is one time where I actually like Jerry's tendency to talk a lot, because he might drop some hints on how the team is leaning here. Now if only we can figure out how to keep all the other teams from listening to what he has to say . . .

More doin's from Mobile after the jump.

The interest in Jenkins falls in line with what Jerry had to say about the current secondary players for the Cowboys - and what he didn't say.

"We very likely will have new faces over there," Jones said after the first day of practices for the Senior Bowl. "How many, I can't tell you, but we'll have some new faces."

It's uncertain who will be leaving, but Jones did praise cornerbacks Orlando Scandrick and Mike Jenkins.

When asked about veteran corner Terence Newman, who struggled toward the back end of the season, especially in two games against the New York Giants, Jones failed to offer support.

This sounds like confirmation for what has been long speculated here, that TNew is not likely to remain with the team. That will free up his $6,016,000 salary, and his play last year certainly made it look like he needs to be replaced.

UPDATE: Dallas has also met with Alabama OLB Courtney Upshaw:

Upshaw has great size at 6-1 1/2 and 273 pounds (he was listed on the roster at 265 but weighed in eight pounds over that Monday morning). He's built to play near the line of scrimmage. He's also shown great speed off the ball this week in practices.

And get this, he's a big DeMarcus Ware fan.

Looks like that pass rush might get a little attention, too.

Jason is also busy trying to fill out the last opening on the coaching staff. The article from CBS Sports is short, so I'll quote the entire thing for you.

Mobile is aptly named for Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, who has been on the move at the Senior Bowl looking at players and interviewing for an assistant secondary coach to work with Jerome Henderson.

Henderson was recently hired as the 'Boys secondary coach and he needs someone new in the assistant position after Brett Maxie departed for the secondary coach position with the Tennessee Titans.

Garrett is in Alabama with his recently hired offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who had not been to the Senior Bowl since 1999.

The assistant secondary coach position is Garrett's last slot to fill on his coaching staff.

"We've actually interviewed some guys down here in Mobile and we'll continue that process," Garrett told the Dallas Morning News. "We have to make sure whoever we bring into the organization you go through the right process to evaluate them and see how they fit. We're in the process of doing that right now and hopefully we'll get that firmed up here in the next couple of weeks."

Wow. It's a process. Who knew?

The article also mentions that Bill Callahan is there as well. That makes it look like the offensive line is also a priority for the team, which just reinforces the conclusions that we have been drawing around here.

Jerry had some things to say on the subject of the O Line as well.

"In personnel we may have gotten over zealous with some young players in the middle of our offensive line," Jones said. "We have to make sure we not only give them a chance to grow and have progress but we also have to have the type of protection we want in there for Tony."

Those are the facts as we know them at the moment. But beyond the facts, I think there are some inferences to be drawn. First, it seems like JJ and JG are seeing exactly what we all are, that the secondary was an ongoing train wreck last year, and that the Yuglies just did not work out the way we wanted. And having recognized that, some serious steps are being taken to fix things.

And now to set off some fireworks.

Jerry bashing is an ongoing and very popular past-time around these parts, but I am not sure exactly what he could be doing any better right now. He has acknowledged the problems, correctly as far as I can see, and he is aggressively taking steps to solve them (or backing Jason up in his steps by getting the old wallet out, which has the same effect). I have not seen a single thing that the team has done so far this off season that makes me unhappy. To the contrary, I actually am getting a little bit excited that things are on the upswing.

Could it be possible that Jerry has learned from his errors and found a way to correct them? I thought so back when he first hired Garrett as head coach. I like what happened in last year's draft, which gives me hope that the team can have a third good one in a row. The team is not making big, splashy moves to win now. It is building intelligently and with a strategic eye for the long haul.

I'll give you that Jerruh has had a long, bad spell as GM. I think it is over now. I see the team having a chance to get back to playoff land next season, and a better chance the year after. And I think JJ deserves some credit for the past year and a half, just as he deserved the blame for the decade and a half before that. He still has a lot to prove, but judge what is happening lately by the facts. Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, Tyron Smith, DeMarco Murray, and Laurent Robinson were all pretty good acquisitions. So were Bill Callahan and Jerome Henderson. And Bruce Carter, David Arkin, Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski, to name a few, may also turn out to be pretty good players. So whether Jerry picked them, or listened to the coaches and scouts who recommended them, something is going right lately.

That decade and a half will take longer than a couple of seasons to correct. But the team seems clearly to be headed in the correct direction now.

It's a start. I'm going to be optimistic about it until proven otherwise.

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