The NFL playoffs are up and running. The Houston Texans notched their first playoff win, and the New Orleans Saints gave notice that the Green Bay Packers may not be a shoo in.
But Dallas Cowboys fans are already focused on next season, so here is a look at some news from the past few days about our favorite team.
There is a report out that the Cowboys have signed safety Justin Taplin-Ross out of Utah, possibly to a three year contract. No details, but Rotoworld and other sources are all showing the same information. As KD wrote at the time, he was brought to training camp back in July, but failed his initial physical and was promptly released. It seems he was still recovering from appendix surgery at the time. The Cowboys brought him back in October for a tryout but waited until now to sign him. Check KD's article for his pro day numbers. If he has been signed, it looks like Rob and company are already addressing the secondary issues.
Meanwhile, Jason Garrett has been meeting with some of the assistant coaches.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett met with some coaches in the last few days to talk about their status with the organization. Several coaches, Dave Campo, Brett Maxie, Skip Peete, Hudson Houck, Wes Phillips and Keith O'Quinn, entered the last year of their contracts.
It isn't known if these coaches were retained by Garrett, but Campo, the secondary coach offered a "no comment" when asked about his status with the team.
Anybody want to try reading between the lines there?
More stuff of possible interest after the jump.
Jerry Jones is also talking about the changes likely to come on the coaching staff.
"We'll give you better answers on that as we go over the next three weeks," owner/general manager Jerry Jones said during a Friday appearance on KRLD-FM, indicating that hires would be made the week of the Jan. 28 Senior Bowl. "That's pretty much the way I'll leave it."
Bill Parcells and Charles Haley are on the list of 17 Hall of Fame finalists.
Sean Lee had a statement about Penn State's hiring of Bill O'Brien to replace Joe Paterno.
"Alumni, current players and students need to rally around him and try to help him be as successful as possible. If you have reservations on whether Coach O'Brien embodies the Penn State tradition, instead of turning our backs on him, we need to embrace him and help him understand the Penn State way. The best thing for Penn State right now is to support Coach O'Brien and that is what I intend to do."
Over at the mothership, Mickey Spagnola has an article about not getting too emotional about the way the season ended up. Mickey is an employee of the Cowboys organization, so I am hoping he is correct in this part of his assessment:
And take heart, the Cowboys understand their shortcomings. They know they must improve the back end of their defense. They know they need to find someone to help Ware put pressure on opposing quarterbacks. And they know they need help on the interior of their offensive line. Doing so will vault them forward even more.
Under the heading of "Were you paying attention?" comes this piece about a former coach of ours.
So would Wade Phillips return to a head coaching role for the first time since being fired by the Cowboys midway through the 2010 season? In an interview with NFL.com this week, Phillips said, he believes, he should at least be considered.
Pro Football weekly (among others) are saying that flipping Tyron Smith and Doug Free is looking like a done deal.
ESPN Dallas has a poll up on who to keep and who to trash on the team you can vote in. Big shock: Terence Newman is number one on the trash list.
Speaking of ESPN, they list the Cowboys' offensive line struggles as the number one thing that went wrong in 2011.
Looking back it was too much to ask of the Dallas Cowboys offensive line. Protect Tony Romo with three players who never started a NFL game and two rookies. Just too much.
There is an amusing back and forth between a couple of CNN writers over whether the Texans have supplanted the Cowboys or not. The Houston supporter's silly ideas are here, and the obviously correct conclusion that Dallas is still America's Team is here.
NBCDFW has their own take on which free agent Cowboys should stay or go. And if you want to read something that just might set your teeth on edge, they have a decidedly pessimistic look at 5 Things We Learned in 2011.
There's a thought provoking piece at the Dallas Morning News on Jason Witten and how his production was off, especially in the last half of the season.
And finally, here is a cautionary tale to not take sports in general and the Cowboys in particular too seriously (the title pretty much says it all): Drunk Cowboys Fan Attacks Nephew With Frying Pan And Umbrella After Loss To Giants.