Theme Music. Every good super hero should have some.
For those over age 30, we know that concept wasn't originally struck by getting-stranger-by-the-outfit Kanye West. No, that line originated in the classic comedy film, "I'm Gonna Get You Sucka"; a movie made by Keenan Ivory Wayans (In Living Color fame) as a parody on 1970's films.
Whether your preference is hip-hop, country or classical... every life has a soundtrack to it. Here, I'll take parts of my soundtrack and apply it to this list. The Top 7 non-household names I'm hoping make a big impact for the Cowboys this summer. Funny thing is, most of the guys named are too young to remember their theme music. Welp.
7) G Ron Leary
"One day, the fellas got together,They vowed... that no one would ever, Come on our block, and terrorize us, The gangs that used to do it, now they idolize us, Guns, we don't like to use them, Unless, our enemies choose'em, We prefer to fight you on like a man, And beat you down, with our hands and bodyslam you at the...wild wild west" - Wild Wild West, Kool Moe Dee (1988)
Hand fighting; love it. Bodyslams? More, please. The trenches are a war, and what better way to describe an up and coming Cowboys lineman than with the '80s classic. According to former scout Bryan Broaddus, the only thing keeping Ron Leary out the lineup at guard is experience.
Around this time last year, fans were learning that they should abandon ship on the USS We Stole Leary. Reports were that the UDFA that the Cowboys had rated as a third-round pick and gave a huge guarantee, was not looking NFL-ready at all. He ended up making the practice squad and was quickly being thought of as one of the Cowboys UDFA's that wasn't going to work out. What we didn't see was his reported improvement as the year went by. From the sounds of things, Leary plans on forcing Dallas' hand, and have a fairly well-paid veteran guard on the bench this season.
Leary's rep is that of a nasty player with outstanding work ethic. Power, length and quickness. Just what you'd expect from a Cowboy. If he makes the starting lineup it will give Dallas three linemen under the age of 25. That's how you remake an offensive line. No more letting other 'gangs' cross that trench and terrorize us.
6) RB Lance Dunbar
"So here I go it's my shot. Feet fail me not, this may be the only opportunity that I got...
You better lose yourself, in the music, the moment, you want it, you better never let it go. You only get one shot, do not, miss ya chance to blow, cuz opportunity comes once in a lifetime..." - Lose Yourself, Eminem (2002)
Lance, this might be your one shot, my dude. Myself personally, I love the quickness that Lance brings to the table and I definitely remember his play in last year's final preseason game. He has a world-class spin move and according to OTA reports has been acquitting himself rather well so far. Unfortunately though, it appears not as well as Phillip Tanner has been. Throw in 5th round draft pick Joseph Randle (who the Cowboys gave a third-round grade) and another UDFA speedster in Kendial Lawrence, and Dunbar has a challenge ahead of him.
Would the Cowboys go with four running backs? Would it be Lance over Lawrence? Dunbar would most likely need to work special teams and his kick return average of 21.8 isn't one that knocks people's socks off. He did make 7 special teams tackles.
Regardless of this, though, I'm rooting for Dunbar to work his way back onto the 53 man roster as he might be the only pro-ready speedster they employ at the position. The power of game-breaking speed cannot be understated.
5) WR Dwayne Harris
"The C stands for cool breeze who's known as the champ. Freddy Calhoun, the coolest cutta at camp.. Ay, my one's and my two's got your whole town shook. You betta listen to your corner, and watch for the hook" - Watch For The Hook, Cool Breeze feat. Dungeon Family (1998)
Defensive coordinators might be worried about Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, the one's and the two's, but their corners are gonna learn about Dwayne Harris' button hooks and other routes he runs where he gets great separation and makes teams pay.
A third year receiver, Harris finally got a chance to step onto the stage last season after the team began to tire of Kevin Ogletree hanging Tony Romo out to dry. Harris showed an explosiveness and wigglebility (my word) with the ball in his hands. He only accounted for 17 catches, but he actually averaged more yards per target than any Cowboy other than Dez Bryant. (8.22 per target, Dez was at an astounding 10 per target).
A lot has been made of the Terrance Williams selection as a future replacement for Miles Austin, but Harris will most likely be the third receiver out of camp and if Williams (and Cole Beasley) does in fact step up; you could see Dallas having a group of receivers to rival Green Bay and New Orleans.
Harris is also an exceptional punt returner, averaging over 16 yards a return. He had a score against the Eagles in Week 10 for 78 yards and had 7 returns of at least 20 yards on the season. He didn't become the primary returner until Week 8.
Dallas drafted several players that have punt return ability, but as a receiver I'm rooting for Harris to make the third-year jump. Watch for the hook.
4) CB B.W. Webb
"This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill. Fifteen percent concentrated power of will. Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain. And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!" - Remember The Name, Fort Minor (2005)
I'm a sucker for initials, sue me. Plus small school- Fort Minor? Remember the name, BW Webb. The fourth-rounder is an interesting player for me, and it isn't all spawned from Orlando Scandrick hate. I think Scandrick could play better, yes, but he receives a bad rap while manning what might be the toughest defensive position to play in football, slot corner. There were other transgressions, but most remember Scandrck as a leading culprit in the loss to Atlanta for failing to make an open field tackle and later getting a holding penalty on fourth quarter third down plays.
But Webb is going to have a hard time beating out Scandrick initially, reports are that Orlando has been the best corner in OTAs. I'm more interested to see if Webb can unseat Sterling Moore, another young player I like, from the dime corner position.
Webb, out of William and Mary, showed his worth at the Senior Bowl when the level of competition stepped up. He has great short area quickness and has a nose for the football. I think he has the tools to not only man the slot, but also the ball skills to match up on the outside with bigger receivers and still attack the football. Webb is also one of those players with punt return skills that could be there should Harris' role in the offense expand.
3) LB Brandon Magee
"What! The kids better buy my rookie card now, Cause after this year the price ain't comin' down. And if you got a joint bubblin' then get money now, Cause in a minute, there's gonna be some real trouble comin' out. Just a warnin', as usual some cats wont heed it. The hard headed always gotta feel it to believe it. It's a shame the jealous gaze is too short to see it, But when they face hit the cement, they nod in agreement" - Oh No, Nate Dogg feat Mos Def and Pharoah Monch (2000)
If anyone listened to Episode 2.2 of the Cowboys Crunchtime Podcast, you'd know why Magee is high on my list of players I'm rooting for this summer. You can hear the passion this kid has for playing football and the enthusiasm he has for the coaching staff in Dallas. After being one-upped in the rookie mini camp by fellow UDFA Tank Reed, Magee reportedly stepped it up in the first OTA session. He's a smaller linebacker out of Arizona State but that just reminds me of Dat Nguyen and Dexter Coakley- although they did have 3rd round draft pedigrees.
Magee is a flyer and a sound tackler, capable of playing will and mike linebacker. I think he makes the team easily but it will be interesting to see how high he can climb up the depth chart considering how wide open the backup positions are for the Cowboys at linebacker.
The quoted verse goes on to say "Harder than y'all cuz I'm smarter than y'all... I know that deep down it's got to be botherin' y'all."
Just my gut feeling, but I'd advise to buy stock in Magee, or his rookie card, now. People with that much passion for something rarely fail.
2) S Barry Church
"Eventually, I knew that I would find my way, After the darkest night, always comes a brighter day, And some would say, that turned away is all you'll get, I just said, "bet," and never let 'em see me sweat. Cause in the end, I knew that I would have it all, while non-believers, were prayin for my downfall. And some would call, and tell me that they wish me well, but in my heart, I'm knowin that they wish me hell" - Strictly For My, 2Pac (1993)
This is from maybe my favorite verse of all time. Circa 1993. It's one of those, 'don't let anything or anyone hold you back' verses. That's exactly the mentality I envision Church having as he tries to reclaim the spot he worked so hard for and then lost in an instant.
Church spent a couple years as a special teams ace and bit player before finally getting to the big stage in 2012. An injury against Seattle in Week 2 was followed by tearing his achilles in Week 3 and that ended his season. He appears to be fully healed and entrenched in the Cowboys rotation as the #1 safety early in the offseason. The two safety spots are Dallas' biggest question marks this year and Church seems to be the guy they have the most confidence in.
Church had a tremendous 2012 training camp, so much so that Jones and company gave him a four-year extension AFTER he tore the achilles, to make sure that he knew the team was committed to him. He'll get every opportunity to earn that contract and I look forward to seeing him do just that. Monte Kiffin told him to prepare to play the John Lynch role. If Matt Johnson's range allows him to play single-high safety, than Church should excel in the new defense.
Remember how it felt, and then remember this. Be true to you...
1) LB Bruce Carter
"RRRRAAAOOOWWW RRRAAAAOOOWWW like a dungeon dragon, Change your little drawers cause your pants are saggin'. Try to step to this, I will twist you in a turban, and have you smelling ripe like some old stale urine" - Scenario, (Busta Rhymes) Tribe Called Quest featuring LONS (1992)
Don't run at Bruce Carter. Don't throw at Bruce Carter. He'll twist you in a turban and have you smelling like pee-pee. He's a dungeon dragon.
There is not a player I'm more enamored with in Dallas than Bruce Carter at the moment. I was excited when Dallas drafted him in 2011. I was excited when he was named starter in 2012 and I was vindicated when he took over as the main inside backer after Sean Lee's injury. It is my sentiment that when it's all said and done, Carter will be the better of the two backers, and that's saying a whole lot considering what I think the team has in Lee when healthy. Carter's speed is unbelievable, as witnessed when he tracked down Atlanta speedster Julio Jones in that Atlanta game last year.
Jones runs a 4.39 40 people, Carter caught him.
He has a nose for the football, is able to diagnose plays correctly and has elite speed to pursue sideline to sideline. I think that he'll be the Cowboys defender everyone is talking about by the end of the season and combined with Lee- woah buddy... buckle up your seatbelts ladies and gentlemen.
I'm not the only one to agree, the website Pro Football Focus has named Carter as a 2013 Secret Superstar. Football Outsiders' Aaron Schatz metrics say that out of 56 opportunities, Carter didn't have a single missed tackle in 2012. Not one.
Yeah, I'm all in on Bruce Carter in 2013. Let the dungeon dragon loose.
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