Monte Kiffin and the Cowboys will be playing a 4-3 defense in 2013. That leaves a few players unsure about their role in the upcoming season. One of those guys is Jason Hatcher. The veteran defensive lineman put together his best years under the tutelage of Rob Ryan. Ideally built for a 3-4 defensive end, he wondered where he'll play now, and even Monte Kiffin doesn't know the answer yet.
"He still doesn’t know where I’m going to play yet," Hatcher said on The Ben and Skin Show on 103.3 [KESN-FM]. "I don’t know if I’m going to be the Warren Sapp in his 4-3 defense or not. He does have high hopes for me. I’m going to be a big part of this defense, so I’m excited about this role I’ll have in this upcoming season. I’m going to embrace it and be the best I can be."
Part of the reason Hatcher wants to know where he'll line up is so he can prepare his body over the offseason for it.
Hatcher could remain at defensive end under Kiffin’s direction or he could be moved inside to one of the two tackle positions. ... Hatcher said if he’s going to play defensive end he’d like to get his weight down to 285 pounds. If he’s going to play defensive tackle, Hatcher would like to weigh closer to 295, which he said is his current weight.
Another guy who is wondering where he'll play is Anthony Spencer. But he's primarily wondering whether it will be in Dallas or somewhere else. Regardless, he's now a Pro Bowler.
Coming off a career season, Anthony Spencer is undoubtedly headed toward a major contract here in free agency. And the price tag might have gone up a few bucks Friday, when it was announced Spencer has made his first career Pro Bowl. Spencer is replacing Green Bay outside linebacker Clay Matthews. In fact, he is the second outside linebacker to recently be named to the Pro Bowl after Minnesota’s Chad Greenway replaced DeMarcus Ware, who pulled out of the game after undergoing shoulder surgery.
Congrats Anthony. Almost no more. Now, will he be a Cowboy in 2013? My gut says no, just because of the economics. But Stephen Jones has worked miracles before, we'll see how he does with this year's salary cap.
Related: Cowboys 2013 Roster Talk, Part III: What Are We Doing With Our Current Players?
Jason Witten is as good as can be on the football field. He's also a pretty good guy off the field. Because of that, he's made it into the finals for the Walter Payton Award.
Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals, Joe Thomas of the Cleveland Browns and Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys are finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award. The only league award that recognizes a player's community service as well as his playing excellence, the Walter Payton winner will have a $20,000 donation made in his name to his favorite charity. Fitzgerald, Thomas and Witten were chosen from among the 32 team nominees, all of whom receive a $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice. The three finalists will receive an additional $5,000 donation in their name.
We've been blessed to have Witten all these years. His pick in the third-round of '03 was an absolute steal.
The latest move in the Cowboys coaching carousel saw John Garrett (Jason's bro) leaving town for Tampa Bay.
Related: John Garrett Leaves Cowboys To Be Tampa Bay WR Coach
Three position coach vacancies still need to be filled - running back, tight ends and special teams. But is there really a fourth position open? The question about bringing in or promoting up a game day play-caller is still floating around.
If the Cowboys take these duties away from Garrett, the strongest candidate to replace him would be offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Bill Callahan. He's called plays before -- with success. Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson remains a dark horse in the race, only because he's been more familiar with Garrett's offensive system longer than anybody on the staff next to Garrett.
The Cowboys could go outside the organization by possibly Hue Jackson, or waiting until the Baltimore Ravens season ends and go after Jim Caldwell. Caldwell might be harder to hire because it's assumed he'll get a salary increase for the work he's done with the Ravens the last month of the regular season.
The internal politics at Valley Ranch must be interesting on this one.
The Senior Bowl is this Saturday, we'll be covering it throughout the week. But for a good primer, check out this article.
In case you missed it, KD's excellent video about five plays that defined the 2012 season.