Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: "I Try To Be As Violent As I Can."

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Latest Cowboys headlines: 11 Personnel is the most effective formation in the NFL; Tony Romo is happy the Cowboys are building through the line; Is Romo a top-10 QB?

Of course Tony Romo is a top-10 quarterback. Teams starving for a signal-caller would kill to have him. He's the only reason that the flawed Cowboys even made it to eight wins in each of the past three seasons. - Adam Schein, NFL.com

Tony Romo happy Dallas Cowboys building through line - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
No kidding, Mr. Archer! Tony Romo has suffered a fractured clavicle, a punctured lung, a broken pinkie, a severe hand contusion, and repeated back problems that ultimately culminated in a herniated disk and back surgery. No surprise he's happy to see the Cowboys invest in the O-line. But not just for health reasons:

"When I first started playing we had some pretty good players that did some really good things for the organization, and I think we’re building that back to that point," Romo said.

"As a quarterback, that half-second, that tenth of a second can make the difference in completing a pass or not," Romo said. "A lot of that is dictated as to whether or not you have that extra time. I think it goes to show the organization is building through the lines and that’s the way you win in the National Football League late in the year."

Marinelli: Crawford To Begin Inside, Also Needs To Know Left End - Rowan Kavner, DallasCowboys.com
The defensive coordinator has spoken, and it's official: Crawford will play the three-technique, but he’s got to be prepared to move around.

"I could see him playing inside and some outside," Marinelli said. "I like to probably start him inside at the under, and he’s always got to know the left end position also… I want these guys to compete for a job."

The starting QB has also spoken, and it's also official: If there’s one dark horse to watch for on the team this year, it’s Crawford.

"I think Tyrone Crawford’s going to be a guy that’ll be shocking to a lot of people, and I think if we’d had had him last year, it’d been a very different defensive unit that we would have had," Romo said. "Without people knowing, I think we’re getting a couple of first or second round guys with him coming back from injury. He’s a guy that stands out for me."

"Football is a violent game, so I go in each and every day and try to be as violent as I can - DeMarcus Lawrence

DeMarcus Lawrence: football is a violent game, so I ‘try to be as violent as I can’ | Jon Machota, DMN
Lawrence hits all the right notes in a recent interview:

"Football is a violent game, so I go in each and every day and try to be as violent as I can," Lawrence said Wednesday after an NFL PLAY 60 event, "because when I look at the bigger picture, the next man is always going to try to be better than you. I go in every day ready to work and try to get better."

"He’s the guru," Lawrence said of Marinelli. "If I can stay with him for a long time, I’m going to be one of the smartest football players, ever."

"Every day I wake up, everything is being a pro," Lawrence said. "How I treat my body, how I take care of myself, how I present myself, it’s all about being a pro."

Martin and Lawrence ready to get to work | Mark Lane, Cover32
According to Lawrence, fellow linemen Jeremy Mincey and Tyron Crawford are among the players that have made him feel welcome in Dallas.

"We got a good group of football players here in Dallas," Lawrence said. "Some of the best have taken me in and shown me a real nice time, helped me out with my plays, and everything I need to do to fit in."

Kyle Orton, Dallas Cowboys in standoff over future - NFL.com
Kyle Orton has informed the Dallas Cowboys of his wish to retire at age 31, Ian Rapoport reported.

The problem with Orton's stance is that the Cowboys will force him to pay back $3 million of his $5 million signing bonus if he follows through on that plan to walk away. The ball is in Orton's court. Retirement might just be a luxury he can't afford.

Step up your game! guys who must deliver - NFL.com
Adam Schein names nine players and coaches who need to shine in 2014. One of them is Morris Claiborne:

When Claiborne was coming out of college, I thought he was going to be fantastic. So did the Cowboys, who traded up to take him with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. He's been adequate, at best, and most certainly not an elite corner. In his first two NFL seasons, Claiborne's play has been spotty and he's battled a bevy of injuries.

Now, to be fair, I should note that Dallas' defense was a complete mess last season, as I touched on earlier this week. [...] This defense, which ranked 30th against the pass, can significantly improve in 2014, but Claiborne has to take that next step. I expect it to happen.

Five Guys You Might Have Forgotten About - Bryan Broaddus, DallasCowboys.com
With all the new faces showing up around Valley Ranch these days, Broaddus lists five players you might have forgotten about, but shouldn’t: OT Darrion Weems, S Jakar Hamilton, DE Martez Wilson, WR Tim Benford, and WR LaRon Byrd.

Secret Superstars 2014: Cowboys - Pro Football Focus
PFF suggest Cole Beasley could be the secret superstar for the Cowboys in 2014.

Of his 39 receptions in 2013, 35 came in the slot as he averaged 1.81 Yards Per Route Run, the 15th-best mark from the slot from the 60 receivers who ran at least 100 routes from the slot.

Expectations shouldn’t be too high for Beasley, as we’ve still seen just 375 snaps from him on offense, but there’s no denying that he’s been effective in those snaps. Plenty of receivers have made a name for themselves for their work in the slot and, after being targeted on 25.5% of his routes run from the slot, he has established himself as someone who his quarterback trusts in that role, so it makes sense for his role to grow.

Roster Moves: Rookie Guard Pughsley Waived/Injured; Vet Guard Signed As Replacement - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys.com
Jarrod Pughsley suffered a torn biceps injury and was waived. His replacement, Darius Morris was at rookie minicamp as a tryout player, and has been around the league since 2011.

Charges dismissed against Melton in Texas bar case | FOX Sports on MSN
Tarrant County prosecutors on Wednesday announced the misdemeanor case against Melton has been dismissed, along with civil proceedings.

Behind the scenes with America’s true team: The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders | USA Today
A behind the scenes look at the most recognizable cheerleading squad in America. If you are more visually inclined, you'll be glad to see that the article also contains loads of pictures.

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Ranking Tony Romo: Is the Dallas Cowboys veteran a top-10 QB? - NFL.com
Tony Romo is one of the NFL's most polarizing players -- hailed for his gaudy stats and scrutinized for his decision-making. Is the Dallas Cowboys quarterback among the NFL's 10 best signal-callers? Six NFL.com writers weigh in with their opinions, one of whom is Adam Schein:

Is this a trick question? Of course Tony Romo is a top-10 quarterback. Teams starving for a signal-caller would kill to have him. He's the only reason that the flawed Cowboys even made it to eight wins in each of the past three seasons. Last year's 51-48 defeat to Denver -- in which he was dominant but the defense couldn't make a stop -- sadly defines Romo's career. Yes, he threw a late pick, but as I wrote at the time, that game was lost by the Cowboys' D.

It's sad this even needs to be explored. Romo is clearly a top-10 quarterback, and fans in Big D won't realize what they have until he's gone.

2014 NFL season over/under win totals: NFC picks - CBSSports.com
Will Brinson looks at the 2014 NFL season over/under picks for the NFC teams, and takes the UNDER on the Cowboys' 8-win projection.

Over the last three years, the Cowboys are a combined 24-24, with each season culminating in an 8-8 record. They are mediocrity defined. Playing the NFC West this year is terrifying and Jerry Jones' team sports a really difficult schedule (vs. SF, @TEN, @STL, NO) to start the season. Losses on the defensive line are a real concern and I'm not sure I'm buying what they're selling. 8-7 going into the final week against the Redskins is almost a lock. Just depends on whether you think they'll win or lose.

The Notebook: Round one reflections from the 2014 NFL Draft - SBNation.com
Retired NFL defensive end Stephen White checks in with a look at the teams and the players featured on the first night of the draft, and likes the Cowboys' pick:

Surprisingly enough, the Cowboys also make this list because I think Zack Martin was the perfect choice for them at No. 16. There were people clamoring for Johnny Manziel and thought Jerry Jones might once again pull the trigger on a questionable draft-day move, but Dallas went with Martin instead. He'll immediately help turn a weak offensive line into a team strength. Imagine that, getting somebody to help protect the quarterback you just paid a buttload of money, rather than selecting a guy who probably wouldn't have taken a snap this year unless disaster struck.

Six Dallas Cowboys among fantasy top 200 - ESPN
Here's a reminder that fantasy football drafts will be coming up in the next few months. DeMarco Murray is the highest-ranked Cowboy at No. 14.

NFL draft grades are in — for 2011 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
This article takes a look back at the 2011 draft and ranks the Cowboys' haul as the 8th best draft class of the year.

First-round left tackle Tyron Smith is an emerging star, while third-round pick DeMarco Murray is a Pro Bowl running back. Second-round outside linebacker Bruce Carter starts on a poor defense, while sixth-round receiver Dwayne Harris is an elite returner. The other four picks are long gone.

At least as satisfying as the Cowboys' grade is seeing where the other NFC East teams are ranked: The Redskins are tied with seven teams at No. 16, the Giants and Eagles are tied with four other teams for the second worst grade on this list.

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11 Personnel is the most effective formation in the NFL - Football Outsiders.
11 personnel - one running back, one tight end, three wide receivers - was used on the majority of plays (51.2%) in the NFL last year.

Use of 11 personnel skyrocketed over the past couple seasons, and one reason it has skyrocketed is that it works. Look at how more efficient offenses were with 11 personnel last year. This isn't a one-year fluke. In 2012, the leaguewide DVOA with 11 personnel was also 8.1%. In 2011, it was 5.5%, and in 2010, it was 9.1%. Right now, the most efficient way to play offense in the NFL is to put three wide receivers, one running back, and one tight end on the field with your quarterback in shotgun for a majority of snaps. Not all of them, you have to switch it up of course, but most of them.

Age and the NFL Draft — FootballPerspective.com
After Kevin Clark of the Wall Street Journal noted that the Eagles targeted college graduates in the 2014 NFL draft, many card-carrying members of the Philadelphia Eagles Mutual Admiration Society picked up the story and mindlessly regurgitated Chip Kelly's assertion that players with college degrees are the more successful pros.

There's no way to verify which players had degrees before entering the NFL and which didn't (at least not on the scale required to reach a representative sample size) so Chase Stuart of Footballperspective does the next best thing and uses age as a proxy for college graduates. His findings:

For every year of age, a player’s expected AV in his first five seasons …. decreases. In other words, to the extent age serves as a proxy for college graduates, Kelly’s hypothesis isn’t just not true, it’s counterproductive.

Go Eagles.

Jacksonville Jaguars used scouting, stats in harmony during 2014 NFL draft - SI.com
Doug Farrar offers a glimpse into the Jaguars’ front office, and writes about how the combination of analytics and scouting complemented each other in the Jaguars’ draft. Many fans assume there's a contradiction between the two, but the article shows that there really isn't. A couple of quotes from Tony Khan, the team’s Director of Analytics:

"Every once in a while, when you’re trying to merge analytics and scouting, you’re going to have those clashing moments. But for me, it’s been great working with [GM] Dave and [Head Coach] Gus, because they’ve been very open to ideas driven by analysis. It’s something that Dave and I have talked about every day since he first came down to interview with my dad for the general manager position."

"But I’ve brought statistics in through that process, as we’ve been discussing the draft and free agency, and Dave’s asked some very good questions through the process. We’ve been able to introduce ideas that have helped us identify some pretty good players, and helped us find some red flags that some potential players might have had."

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Dallas police charge nude man caught on video jumping into woman’s car through sunroof | Dallas Morning News
True story.

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