Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Cowboys Had "Smart" Offseason

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Latest Cowboys headlines: Todd Archer believes the Cowboys "should be able to compete" in the NFC East; Anthony Spencer faces an uncertain future; How to plan QB successions in the NFL.

Insiders not high on Cowboys' offseason - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
An ESPN Insider article doesn't give the Cowboys' offseason high marks, but Archer makes a few points that put the Cowboys' offseason in perspective (note the emphasis on big-name players):

  • They could have kept Ware, but that would have meant restructuring his contract once more, and they didn't want that extra cap hit in later years.
  • They effectively traded Jason Hatcher for a younger version of Hatcher in Henry Melton - if Melton is healthy.
  • They could have signed either Julius Peppers or Jared Allen if they had wanted to, but that would have made signing Tyron Smith and Dez Bryant much more difficult from a cap perspective.
  • Scott Linehan and Rod Marinelli are upgrades at their respective new positions.

The Cowboys could not answer all of their offseason questions, but they did have a "smart" offseason, and in the NFC East they should be able to compete.

Which Cowboys Players To Buy Or Sell - Bryan Broaddus, DallasCowboys.com
Broaddus is buying Gavin Escobar and Morris Claiborne stock, while selling Kyle Orton and Justin Durant stock. I can understand the rationale for the first three names, but Durant?

There was a usefulness to Durant, but those days have passed. I believe that he will be in the way of what will be one of the best battles for a position when Kyle Wilber and DeVonte Holloman go at it this summer. Taking snaps from them would be a mistake in my eyes, and that doesn’t need to happen.

Tarleton State ex determined to achieve Cowboys dream - Dwain Price, Star-Telegram.
Price details the challenges Tarleton State CB Dashaun Phillips faced in landing a spot with the Cowboys. Here's one of them:

"When I came [to Dallas Day], they didn’t know my name," Phillips said of the Cowboys’ coaches. "They called me ‘Tarleton State.’

"By the end of the day they actually called me by my name. So I was like, ‘OK, hopefully I made a great impression on them.’ "

Hitchens Has Ability To Play All Three Linebacker Spots - David Helman, DallasCowboys.com
Hitchens played the weak side for most of his career in Iowa. The Cowboys are looking at him as a potential backup for Sean Lee at the Mike position, but haven't yet ruled out playing him at any of the other spots. So far though, linebackers coach Matt Eberflus was impressed with Hitchens’ first bit of work last weekend.

"It’s a new position for him, new techniques for him and the first time in front of the huddle for him," Eberflus said. "So he had to learn how to take control of the huddle, make the call, make the close calls, set the defense and all those types of things – so there’s a lot of things going on there for the young man in the first practice."

"I loved his movement skills, he used his hands really well. He was taught well there at Iowa, so he did a lot of good things physically," Eberflus said. "Some of the mental aspect of it he wasn’t used to doing, but he’ll get that."

Anthony Spencer, has gone from indispensible player to spare part with cloudy future | Rainer Sabin, DMN
Sabin reviews Spencer's status, and concludes with a bleak but realistic outlook:

As for now, the senior citizen on the Cowboys’ defensive line is working to recapture all that he lost after suffering the biggest setback of his career. And no one knows — most especially Spencer — if he can.

After the Ratliff saga, are Cowboys headed down same road with Kyle Orton? - Rainer Sabin, DMN
Sabin wonders whether after dealing with Ratliff’s situation, the Cowboys may want to heed the signs that Orton probably doesn't want to be in Dallas anymore.

If not Kyle Orton, who will back up Tony Romo? - Calvin Watkins, ESPN Dallas
Watkins answers his own question: Brandon Weeden or Caleb Hanie, with Dustin Vaughan on the practice squad.

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Football Superheroes: NFL.com assembles a roster of superheroes
The quality journalism from NFL.com continues. Just a couple of days after a post looking at which football positions some Game of Thrones characters would play, this post looks at NFL counterparts for popular superheroes.

Just like the previous post showed a shocking lack of understanding of the GoT plot dynamics, this one displays a distressing shallowness of pop-culture knowledge by the author. I know this because despite my protestations to the integrity of journalism, I looked at every single picture - in both posts.

Planning QB successions in the NFL - NFL.com
Nice article from Albert Breer in which he looks at how the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos are going about planning for the succession of their quarterbacks - and how teams have gone about it in the past. An excerpt:

There's no question that it's hard for a club to guess when it has entered the home stretch. Signs of age are less defined at quarterback. Sometimes, as was the case with Montana, an injury can lead to declining arm strength. Other times, as was the case with Favre, a loss in mobility means a guy has a harder time protecting himself in the pocket, which can change a passer's game completely.

But a look at the raw numbers tells us the end is near. Aikman was just 34 when concussions drove him from the game. A battered Kelly was 36. Elway, Marino and Young were 38. Favre made it to 41.

And that's where the words of Belichick from May 9 ring true: "I think you're better off being early than late at that position."

[...] something Sean Payton might have to do soon in New Orleans (Drew Brees is 35) and something Jerry Jones must consider in the near future in Dallas (Romo is 34).

Saints' Drew Brees plans to play into his 40s - NFL.com
With 13 NFL seasons under his belt, no one would blame Drew Brees for looking forward to retired life. But the New Orleans Saints' QB has no plans on walking off into the sunset any time soon.

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