We start things off with some stories that go a bit beyond just the world of the Dallas Cowboys.
These articles are basically about the fallout from the whole Jonathan Martin - Richie Incognito incident with the Miami Dolphins. Even though that may have been atypical for the league as a whole, everyone is going to get some instruction on what things are considered over the line. Whether or not you think this is a big deal, the league obviously does, and will do whatever it takes to protect the image of the league.
This has one direct impact on the Cowboys. The San Francisco 49ers are the opponent in the season opener at AT&T Stadium, and this megadeal is likely to be one of the hot topics leading up to the game.
NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers have signed a six-year extension through 2020, according to a source close to the situation. Kaepernick will earn up to $126 million, with $61 million guaranteed, per Rapoport. Kaepernick was entering the final year of his rookie contract, which was set to pay him under $1 million. The deal was completed in only one day of negotiations, and the team later announced the deal.
Another interesting facet of this is that the 'Niners were one of the franchises being praised by all the pundits for how they were finding ways to get by with cheap rookie contracts, paving the way for forward thinking front offices (and by implication saying that all the other front offices handing out big contracts to quarterbacks were a bunch of slack-jawed losers). Now that has clearly gone out the window in SF, and you can bet Russell Wilson and his agent are going to be looking for something modeled on this when his contract negotiations start up with the Seattle Seahawks. It will be interesting to see who is seen as being in the largely mythical "cap hell" in a couple of years.
Some like it. Some hate it. I just want to see the Cowboys in it.
OK, now to some more Cowboys football oriented stuff...
This should be a very good thing.
For a ton of reasons, the Cowboys defense was bad in 2013. Historically bad. The secondary was not up to snuff and the Cowboys could not affect the quarterback enough.
Out is Monte Kiffin as coordinator. In is Rod Marinelli, who has run largely the same system as Kiffin but with some differences. Marinelli used more single-high safety looks while with the Chicago Bears, than two deep safeties.
He plans on allowing (Brandon Carr, Orlando Scandrick and Morris Claiborne) to play more man in 2014.
"These guys are really good man corners," Marinelli said. "They can go up and get you and press you. They really add something to the defensive package."
It certainly looked like the cornerbacks, especially Carr and Claiborne, were being misused to an extent last year. Playing to their strengths could lead to some significant improvement.
They are on board with the new plans.
Despite losing his starting job to Scandrick last year, Claiborne says the group is focused on what they can do together, not on who is working with the first team.
"We believe that we can be the best in the league," Claiborne said of the trio. "We got some unique talent on our team, especially in our secondary. With us three in general, from the way we work and the way we go at it, we're pushing each other each and every day.
"We feel like there's no starting corner. All of us have the ability to go out and play, and we're going to go out and compete like that. All of us know it. We help each other, but at the same time, when we're on the field, we compete against each other."
Just having Mo healthy may make a difference. He had his issues the first two seasons.
Morris Claiborne was happy to be golfing on Tuesday even if he had never really swung a club before.
Claiborne did not participate in the 2012 and '13 Dallas Cowboys' sponsor golf tournaments because of injuries. Even though he had shoulder and finger surgeries earlier in this offseason, he has been cleared for all activities.
My latest exhibit in support of the contention that every free agent of note is eventually linked to the Cowboys. This is almost disappointing because it is from the mothership, where you would think all the writers would see the reasons a player serving a six game suspension for violating the league drug policy might not be the best fit in Dallas. At least one of the other guys at DallasCowboys.com has what seems to be a logical view of things.
Speaking of Mr. Broaddus, he is one of my favorite reads because he just seems to see so much that is going on, and shares it with all of us. This story was covered a few days ago here on BTB, but here it is again.
During Monday's practice,
Mackenzy Bernadeautook some snaps with the first offense at left guard. I have written before that a battle for a roster spot could come down to Bernadeau and Tyronne Green, but we should not discount Bernadeau taking a starting spot away from Ronald Learythis summer.
It is not that Leary has been playing poorly, but Bernadeau just might be too good to put on the bench.
Don't sleep on Bernie. He seems to get an undeserved bad rap, and I am looking forward to seeing how he competes.
Yeah, another good thing about Broaddus: He writes a lot, and almost all of it is interesting. One of the questions he answered was about whether Scott Linehan or Rod Marinelli was under more pressure to perform this season, and not surprisingly he went with the defensive coordinator.
Marinelli must now figure out how to play without
Sean Leeand do it with backup players. Marinelli will also need to find a way to get Morris Claiborneand Brandon Carrto also play at a much higher level, whether that is through scheme or technique. Other than say a Barry Churchor Orlando Scandrick, there is not one position or player where these defensive coaches can hang their hats on and that has to be a huge concern. This defense is not void of talent but the pressure will be on Rod Marinelli to pull it all together.
Jason Witten didn't need to be at Monday's organized team activity.
His son had surgery in the morning, and the OTAs are voluntary. Plus, Witten has a resume complete with nine Pro Bowls and a Dallas Cowboys' franchise record 879 catches.
But once he knew his son was fine, Witten drove to Valley Ranch and showed up a little late for the workout. While teammates went through individual drills, Witten warmed up off to the side. By the time team drills began, he was ready.
Nice leadership from the Senator.
There have been several articles lately (including this one) about the favorite to win the starting SAM linebacker job, Kyle Wilber. He thinks he is now settled into a better position for him than defensive end, where he started last season before moving to SAM due to other players being injured.
"Definitely more comfortable in the scheme," he said. "You just get more comfortable once you know what everybody else around you's doing, what you're doing, it's just much easier to play and react knowing the next guy next to you. He's got this gap and knowing that you've got this gap, it's just trust. So it's a lot easier now."
You can help pick the covergirl for this Star Magazine special issue. Although having to closely study twelve different pictures of Cowboys Cheerleaders in rather skimpy swimsuits to figure out who to vote for is an onerous chore, hopefully a few brave and hardy souls will be willing to volunteer their time.