Another week gone by, another week closer to the onset of the new league year; something that can't get here quick enough for fans of 30 of the 32 NFL teams. In the meantime, in between time, here's some news that might have slipped past you this week. As always, click on the headlines to link to the full articles.
Suggs, Ware Named Co-Winners of 4th Professional Butkus Award: MarketWatch.com | Dallas' DeMarcus Ware and the Ravens Terrell Suggs share the award presented to the NFL's best linebacker for the 2011 season. Another trophy for the mantle for the Cowboys illustrious sack master.
"I give Stephen a lot of credit for taking a year we thought would be Armageddon for us, and we were able to do some things last year with the cap that puts us and gives us some viability," Jones said. "Stephen and a lot of the crew he works with regarding the caps, regarding the contracts, all of that has given us a chance to have some room to improve this team this year.
"And we will use it."
Jerry says Murray's Power Separates Him From Felix: Star Telegram | Point of order. I love Murray, I am uber-excited to see him as the lead back for the next 5 years hopefully. However, it really pisses me off that people don't give Felix Jones the credit for breaking the tackles that he does. You know how many yards after contact Murray averaged? 3.01 per attempt. Felix Jones averaged 2.98 per attempt. Felix may be fragile, but he never gets the credit he deserves for fighting through tackles; something I commented on over and over this past season.
Jerry Jones Hasn't Spoken To Dez About Night Club Altercation: ESPN Dallas | The Cowboys owner has yet to have a conversation with the talented wideout, and neither has head coach Jason Garrett. This is Bryant's second public altercation in the last two offseasons, to go along with his legal debt issues. Last year, he got into it with mall security he claims harassed him and his friends in a Dallas shopping establishment.
2011 Tackling: The Safeties: Pro Football Focus | The Cowboys could be looking, once again, at trying to shore up the safety position in this coming off season. It feels like the umpteenth consecutive year we've said that. However, PFF says that even though he was the 55th ranked safety with a -5.3 cumulative grade, Abe Elam did some nice things in his first year in Dallas.
In a year of league-wide atrocity for the safety position, Elam tackled extremely well while in pass coverage. He played 608 coverage snaps, made 37 coverage tackles and didn't miss a single one; best marks in the league. He missed five tackles in 361 run stop plays however, leaving his total efficiency at 12.6% (969 snaps, 63 attempts, 5 misses) and 13th ranked in the league.
2011 PFF All-NFC East Team: Pro Football Focus | Cowboys honored include:
TE Jason Witten (1 of 1), WR Dez Bryant (1 of 3), T Tyron Smith (1 of 2), DT Jay Ratliff (1 of 2), LBs Sean Lee and DeMarcus Ware (2 of 3), and K Dan Bailey (1 of 1). DE Sean Lissemore also got an honorable mention (of sorts) for great production in limited snaps.
Dallas Cowboys Notes On The Senior Bowl: Tom Ryle | BloggingTheBoys
Tom does a great job of intertwining Jerry speak with whom the Cowboys talked to as the Senior Bowl week kicked off.
One of the lasting impressions from the playoff teams not in the Super Bowl may be the aggression shown by Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints. In their playoff game against Detroit, Payton threw caution to the wind and showed confidence in his offensive juggernaut. They went for it on fourth down four times, converting three of them; exhibiting a rather large brass pair. Here's a look at Advanced NFL Stats visual on what a team should do when presented with fourth down situations.
Football Outsiders clocks a metric they are calling Aggressiveness Index. It is basically their way of measuring how gutsy a coach is when his team is trailing in a game. They define it as follows:
To compute AI, we analyzed fourth-down decisions when the offense was in the opponent’s territory, where a coach’s tendencies were most distinguished from his peers. We also excluded obvious catch-up situations: Third quarter, trailing by 15 or more points; Fourth quarter, trailing by 9 or more points; Last five minutes of the game, trailing by any amount. AI measures how often a coach attempted a fourth-down conversion compared to the league averages in similar situations, based on the field position and the distance needed for a first down.
Cowboys head coach and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett ranked 25th of all 32 NFL play callers; going for it only three times, in 46 "AI" opportunities for an AI of .816 and a rate of 6.5%. Sean Payton, the former Cowboys coordinator, ranked fifth. Aaaaand... go!