Over at the DMN blog, they’ve named Jay Ratliff as the Most Improved Cowboy.
Ratliff earned a five-year, $20.5 million extension by filling the void at nose tackle left when veteran Jason Ferguson suffered a season-ending bicep injury in the opener. Ratliff had proven that he could be an effective interior pass rusher, and he enhanced that reputation with three sacks and 15 QB pressures (second on team behind DeMarcus Ware's 27). He also answered questions about whether his 6-4, 298-pound frame could take the pounding. The Cowboys ranked sixth in the league against the run (94.6 ypg) and allowed a 100-yard rusher only once -- the only game Ratliff missed.
It’s hard to argue with this selection. Ratliff was thrust into a position as a starter than no one was really sure if he was equipped to handle, but he shined as the starting NT. It will be interesting to see what direction the Cowboys go in the offseason involving the NT position. Will they keep Jason Ferguson? Will they rotate Fergie and Tank at NT and move Ratliff back to DE, hopefully in a starter’s role? Or will they keep Rat in the middle?
Whatever they do, they now know that Rat is a player that can’t be kept off the field. He’s become a starter and should remain that way.
Here’s something I didn’t know. Add it to a long list of things I don’t know. It has to do with guaranteeing Jason Garrett that he would be the next head coach in Dallas.
According to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, the league would have no problem with a guarantee as long as it was written into Garrett's contract. It's not known if it is.
"The rule specifically allows for a team to have a contractual arrangement with an assistant coach to be its next head coach," Aiello said. "It has to be in the coach's contract. If so, there is no interviewing requirement. That is part of the rule."
That’s news to me. But it probably doesn’t matter now because Garrett said there was no guarantee from Jerry that he would be the next head coach.
Cowboys assistants Todd Bowles (secondary), Paul Pasqualoni (linebackers) and Kacy Rodgers (defensive line) didn't sign contract extensions, so they become free agents today. They didn't make the trip to the Senior Bowl workouts with the Cowboys' staff and owner Jerry Jones.
According to a source, the Dolphins have offered positions to Bowles as assistant head coach, Pasqualoni as defensive coordinator and Rodgers as defensive line coach.
Cowboys coach Wade Phillips will begin looking for replacements while in Mobile. Phillips said the remainder of the staff will return next season, including special-teams coach Bruce Read, whose coverage units struggled.
Wade should be able to find some good assistants considering his long tenure in the league on the defensive side of the ball. But Bruce Read as the special teams coach is still questionable to me. I thought his unit really let us down in the playoff game.
Update [2008-1-22 13:39:41 by Dave Halprin (Grizz)]: It's official for Todd Bowles, he's leaving to join all the ex-Cowboys over in Miami.
As expected, secondary coach Todd Bowles, whose contract expired on Tuesday, is off to Miami where he is expected to be named the Dolphins' defensive coordinator.
Hat tip to kingbillito for the link.
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