Here are a few clippings about the 'Boys for your Sunday morning reading and discussion pleasure.
In this morning's headlines, we look at how some of the younger players on the roster are developing. We also examine how Jason Garrett and Rob Ryan will get along, and whether there might be more coaching changes in store at Valley Ranch.
In other assorted bits and pieces, we also have an interview with Emmitt Smith, look at the value of youth in the NFL, examine whether paying a king's ransom for a guard is a good idea and take a peek at the Eagles late-breaking dismissal of their defensive coordinator.
ESPNDallas.com is running an interesting series of articles titled "Future Focus" that looks at some of the young 2010 players on the roster in detail. The articles are well worth checking out in their entirety, here are some highlights from the profiles they have compiled so far (hat tip to Thehomerpimpson for the fanshot):
Bryan Broaddus writes about QB Stephen McGee:
Stephen’s going to have to learn how to be a pocket passer [...] But if you’ve got a guy with toughness and smarts, I think those are things you can work with. The guy will work at it and try to get better, but the big thing will be him having the confidence to move forward and step into a throw. But I don’t discount a guy like that.
OT Sam Young will need to add strength in the off-season.
Young could find himself battling for the starting right tackle spot. He has the size and footwork that you want in right tackle. He also has the fight of a Colombo. Some at Valley Ranch were hoping he would get some playing time in the last two games when he was active over Alex Barron in order to help speed up his development for 2011.
CB Bryan McCann is battling for the fourth corner spot.
The thing that we saw with Bryan McCann had a lot to do with training camp, he was a very competitive player. [...] His technique is good because he has really good quickness and has a really good eye for when to break on the football and he can get up on the receivers and play the ball and use his body and use his reach to defend passes.
C Phil Costa may not become a future starter, but he could be a guy that sticks around for a few years.
His No. 1 trait is strength. If you look back at this team they played championship football with Mark Stepnoski, who never was very big. The thing about [Costa] is he has good feet, good strength and the ability to stay on his feet. Overall I’m OK with this guy.
Buck Harvey from the San Antonio Express News looks forward to a lot more nastiness on defense, courtesy of Rob Ryan, one of the brash brothers.
It's hard to tell the difference between these cursing, colorful, fat sons of Buddy. They know defense, and they coach with outrageous swagger, and they provide an edge the Cowboys haven't had since Jimmy Johnson returned fire against Buddy Ryan. The Cowboys haven't had this kind of character for a long time, if ever, and this bold, out-spoken toughness is precisely what the Cowboys need.
The Cowboys have had good athletes and good guys, but not the kind found in the Pittsburgh-Baltimore brawl Saturday. The Ryans have created similar locker rooms, finding ways to make a violent sport fun, and their players have loved them for it.
David Moore from the Dallas Morning News looks at the imminent Ryan hire through a similar lens, arguing that the Ryan-Garrett pairing is not really the 'Odd Couple' remake it looks like at first glance.
The Princeton-educated head coach and the sometimes-coarse son of Buddy Ryan is an odd pairing on the surface. Southwestern Oklahoma State University, where Rob went to school, is a fine institution, but it's not Ivy League. Neither is Ryan's language.
He is prone to four-letter words while Garrett leans toward those with four syllables. So what? Garrett's goal is not to assemble – wait for this four-syllable bomb – a homogenous staff. It's to assemble a group of assistants who are good at what they do and can communicate to the players what needs to be done. Garrett demands emotion, passion and enthusiasm from his players. Why would he want anything less from his assistants?
Rick Gosselin, also from the Dallas Morning News, weighs in on three Cowboys-related topics. As he discussed Keith Brooking's future with the team, he made a strong case that if you want to win in the NFL, you need to go young.
Find the young players who can develop into Pro Bowlers for you and win championships for you and play them. That's what Jimmy Johnson did -- and his approach won three Super Bowls. The Cowboys were the youngest team in the NFL in 1992 when they won that first Lombardi Tropy [sic] of the Jones era.
Gosselin also weighs in on a scourge that has been haunting many a mock draft and free agency projection across the nation these days, and answers the question of whether the Cowboys should pursue Logan Mankins.
Offensive tackles have the value in free agency, not guards. The Vikings made Steve Hutchinson the highest paid guard in history in free agency and do not have a Super Bowl to show for it. Kansas City had the league's best tandem for years in Will Shields and Brian Waters and couldn't even win a playoff game. Most teams spend their money at the tackle position.
Gosselin proved to be in fine form in his live chat on Thursday, and threw out this little nugget on the wholesale coaching changes he expects to happen in Dallas:
I think come the NFL combine in February, you're going to see a coaching staff with Jason Garrett's stamp on it. Different faces, different coaching approaches and a lot of changes. What the Cowboys were doing on the field and on the sidelines wasn't working. Garrett knows that. I expect wholesale changes in both places.
Jennifer Floyd Engel from the Star-Telegram expects similar wholesale changes on the coaching staff. In an article in which she uses an Oprah analogy to outline which players can stay and which must go, she also suggests the Cowboys must cut the clutter on the coaching staff to become playoff team.
As for the coaches, well, everybody is gone. Everybody except Brother Garrett. I say this not because I know his coaching skills but rather because who actually fires his brother? I realize this will be hard for Jason Garrett, especially with offensive line coach Hudson Houck. But if Skip and Sherman are biting the dust, well, then how can you keep the coach of the biggest underachievers on the team?
ProFootballWeekly.com has an interview with Emmitt Smith in which he discusses the Cowboys, playoffs and the Hall of Fame. Here's an excerpt from that interview on what Emmitt thinks of Jason Garrett becoming the head coach of the Cowboys:
You could see the difference in the way the Cowboys ran the football, the way that penalties kind of came down a little bit. I think he implemented some things that Jimmy Johnson used to have with us, in terms of work ethic. Go out there on Wednesday in full gear, practice on Thursdays in shorts and shoulder pads, and you're going to hit a little bit. So I think he's starting to instill some of the toughness that I believe the Cowboys were missing.
On Monday, Andy Reid said Sean McDermott would return to lead Eagles' defense as defensive coordinator. Yesterday, the Philadelphia Eagles fired McDermott anyway. The Eagles allowed 377 points this season, the most since 1974, but were once again outdone by the Cowboys who allowed 436 points, the most in franchise history.
Our SB Nation pals at Bleeding Green Nation are now looking at possible candidates for defensive coordinator. Since we've just been through this whole exercise, some of the names being thrown around may sound familiar.