After a furious opening week to free agency, it appears Dallas has slowed the pace just a bit. They've made their initial imprint on the start of the league year, and now are focusing on continuing the transition. If you missed it over the past few days, the Cowboys have started to schedule visits from draft prospects. Alabama CB Dre Kirkpatrick headlines a group that also includes LB Ronnell Lewis from Oklahoma, LB Tank Carder from TCU, G Ronald Leary from Memphis, CB Lionel Smith from Texas A&M and QB Nathan Dick from Central Arkansas.
Dallas also has apparently been talking to one of it's former draft picks, outside linebacker Erik Walden, about possibly rejoining the team.
Why, I have no idea.
Walden has spent the last two years playing opposite Clay Matthews in Dom Caper's defense in Green Bay. Walden lines up in the same spot as the Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware, but obviously Green Bay uses Matthews as their main pass rushing catalyst. If you had a problem with Anthony Spencer's sack totals while lining up opposite Ware, what are your thoughts of Walden's three total sacks in 933 snaps opposite Matthews?
Walden also gave up a 78% completion percentage against as well as a QB rating of 103.6 when he dropped into coverage. Now, Green Bay had a putrid defense last year in general, but it wasn't as if Walden was a redeeming light.
Someone, please tell me the redeeming value here.
The Cowboys were also talking to Packers CB Jarrett Bush, but he re-signed with Green Bay.
OK, on to other news...
A cornerback knows that he's only as good as the pass rush in front of him (cough, front office cough). It appears the Dallas brass knows this as well, regardless of how much they've pursued upgrades there in the early stint of free agency. The new $50-million man, Brandon Carr is excited to play behind his dinner hosts DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee and the gang.
"Those guys are your best friends," Carr said of the front-seven. "When you get a big pass rush, it helps you out at cornerback. So I'm excited about what I see. I know I met a lot of big guys. What I see on film is everything I see in person. They showed me so much love. They were eager to have me here and I'm eager to show them what I can do."
The ESPN draft guru's held a chat yesterday in which they discussed the possibilities for Dallas at pick number 14. Mel Kiper stuck to his guns that Dallas is going to pick S Mark Barron out of Alabama. As we saw last year, Mel is pretty middle of the pack in predictions even though he gets lots of airtime.
McShay on the other hand, is leaving open the possibility for Dallas to go in a myriad of directions.
"They could still draft a corner," he said. "They're not in love with what they have necessarily. They could still draft Mark Barron, the safety out of Alabama who health is not supposed to be an issue...
"Or they could simply sit back and just take the best player available. Maybe it's another pass rusher, which they don't necessarily need, but okay. Maybe it's Dontari Poe, a guy that needs time to develop but could realistically play defensive end or nose tackle in that 3-4 scheme."
"I think it's going to be interesting for the Cowboys because they can listen to trade offers," McShay added. "Let's say [Texas A&M quarterback] Ryan Tannehill does fall all the way to 14, for some possible reason, or a different player and a team wants to move up a few spots. I think this sets up the Cowboys to take advantage of the draft and a player that falls to them at 14 because they are not forced to do anything."
If you were privy to the behind-the-scenes action in our Writer's Mock draft, you'd know that trading down (or up) isn't out of the question. Although, that might just be because we have seven GMs who are all fans of Dallas and only one of us has the pick.
Why in the flying squirrel are we even talking about this?
Hat Tip to friend of the blog JimmyK of BloggingTheBeast who after a twitter exchange with Sturm located his review of the signings.
Here's Bob's take on Livings, and it's not very complimentary. I'd summarize it, but it wouldn't even do it justice so I'll quote the entire section.
First, Nate Livings. He is 6'4, 310 pounds, and has primarily been a left guard for the Bengals. He has been a starter and has kept himself pretty healthy so the idea of getting a big body that you can count on is worth something. But, beyond that, I am a bit puzzled at what made the Cowboys rush out and put 5 years and a fair amount of cash on this guy at the start of free agency. He has many characteristics of a guard that you might want to replace. He is on the ground a lot, meaning he is losing battles and losing his balance. This is a problem Leonard Davis had because he would often be plugging holes for his own runner by falling in the path. On pulling plays, he does win a reasonable amount, but it is far from a regular event. He is often stood up at the point of attack which is uncommon for a pulling guard who is getting a running start to the collision. Sometimes, he is being stood up by a linebacker with which he severely holds a weight advantage.
Livings plays high, and in football at the line of scrimmage, that is not something that is a plus. Low man wins, and he is often not very low. In pass protection his feet do not look quick enough to deal with stunts, as Jeremy Mincey destroyed him on an inside stunt in Week 5. As most guards, he is as good in pass protection as can be expected as long as he doesn't get exposed in space. If the gaps widen out, he is in trouble, and Antonio Smith of Houston was able to make that happen in the playoffs. With the run, he can be decent, but there are plays where the man across from him shoots a gap to either side of Livings and the guard has no chance and either holds or gets beat badly.
In general, he is just not that impressive. I am hoping the Cowboys know something that we don't, but on the surface, yes, he is younger and yes, he is healthier. But, he is not better than Montrae Holland from what I could tell, and I am a bit puzzled at the signing. Time will tell, but I would keep my bar low on this signing.
Well, I'd like to say that there were some positives to pull from Sturm's review, but... well, you read it. Hopefully Livings will prove all these detractors wrong once we hit camp.
Since we can't end on such a downer, how about a little comedy?
For some reason, Terrell Owens still thinks he has a chance to rejoin the fray at Valley Ranch. Even though he knows that now-head coach Jason Garrett isn't all that fond of him.
“So, again, I know there was a couple people including Garrett that I think didn’t want me there, and ultimately led me to not be on that team and got cut, got released when I had just signed an extension the year before. So other than that, man, I can’t really say. I can’t do anything about being released. Would I like to play for the Cowboys again? Sure. I just want an opportunity to play football, and try to help a team win a championship. I know that I have that capability, I know I have that big-play capability still. So other than that, I’m not the one that makes that call. Again, the guys in the locker room, they know the type of person that I am, they know the type of player I am. So again, I can only just go with one team, all I need is one opportunity.”
I feel for Owens, as I do believe he has a skill set that can still contribute to an NFL team. However, your time in Big D is done, period point blank. It was exhausting having you in the fold, people don't want to go down that road again.