Before we get into the latest Cowboys news for the day, I wanted to start off with some in-depth analysis articles that I found pretty interesting.
Not all rushing yards are created equal. There are so many factors that one needs to consider to truly judge the effectiveness of any specific back. Is he limited to a specific scheme, is he durable, is his average based on a lot of small gains buoyed home runs, does his offensive line create most of the yardage? In this exercise, Mike Clay takes a look at how successful backs are running against various defensive packages.
It goes without saying that the more defensive backs in a play (therefore meaning less front seven defenders), the easier it should be for a back to gain yardage. In theory, a back that plays in a system that spreads defenses out on a regular basis (i.e. Denver) should have a higher YPC average just based on circumstances.
The interesting take here is that, even though Dallas faced base defenses 61% of the time (19th in the league), Demarco Murray ranked 1st out of all backs with a 5.7 yard average against the base D's. Of course, the argument that base defenses are used less and less is a valid point. However it's possible that maybe Murray is really just scratching the surface.
A few weeks ago, I opined on Twitter that the Cowboys had a surprisingly successful 2008 draft in that all six of their picks were still playing in the NFL six years later. That's not really commonplace for Dallas. Felix Jones, Mike Jenkins, Martellus Bennett, Tashard Choice, Orlando Scandrick and Eric Walden all earned paychecks in 2013; with three of those players (Bennett, Scandrick, Walden) having perhaps the best year of their careers. Make no mistake, there wasn't a star in the group (which is what you would hope for in a season with two first round picks) and only one of them is still with Dallas, but it was a really good draft class.
This past week, Football Outsiders looked back on that 2008 draft class, in their annual "Six Years Later" article. It's a great exercise to go through in that you can truly grade the results of a draft class. Before you start dismissing Dallas' draft acumen that year (feel free to start your "yeah but in 2009's") take a look at some of the misses in that class. It's a highly interesting exercise that should be kept in mind as we approach this super-deep draft class of 2014.
OK, now let's get into the news of the day.
Oh look, a delay in the schedule. This never happens; except every year. Hopefully next week.
As long as the folks who own the free TV networks are willing to pay billions to televise the games, free TV won't go anywhere. It's a multi-level win for the league. Huge money on the front end, maximum exposure on the back end.
Three-hour national infomercials. Three of them back-to-back-to-back on Sunday and now (for half the season) one on Thursday night.
Rick Gosselin evokes the ghost of Matt Johnson, Ben Bass and also thinks that Jeff Heath has more to show than what we witnessed last season. Well, we agree on Bass.
Oh, Aaron. You can't keep teasing us like this my friend. If you really wanted to be here, you'd have a press conference where you'd talk about the wives of the 14 GMs that have a pick prior to Dallas. You might want to cuss out the rest of the league's GM's too, to ensure they don't trade up for you.
Donald also said that although he doesn’t keep up with the pre-draft hype, his mother is all over it.
"She’s pretty much looking at Google every day," Donald said. "So every day she says ‘This team says they’re going to draft you this time. I’m like, ‘Mom, just don’t look at that. None of that matters until your name gets called.’ But that’s what she does."
So, everyone, say hi to Mrs. Donald.
"It factored in a lot," McClain said, via the Dallas Morning News. "He actually came down to my pro day and actually did the drills at my pro day three years ago when I was coming out of college, so I had a chance to talk to him. He was telling me all about himself. He's a great guy, a great coach and I'm really fortunate to be able to be coached by him the next three years."
In case you missed it, the 30 visits that Dallas is allowed with Draft prospects kicked off yesterday. They will have 10 players a day over a three day span. OCC (surprised?) has done a masterful job tracking all scheduled visits, for these as well as for Dallas Day. The full list that includes Donald, Timmy Jernigan and Anthony Barr, is in the link.
Todd Archer tries to insert reason into Jerry's recent speaking faux pas in which he seemed to be bragging about the Cowboys ranking atop the TV ratings despite their less-than-stellar performance over the last few years. As most of us here already know, separate the carnival barker from the guy that is still somewhat in charge of player personnel.
However, when Henry Melton made his free-agent visit, Jones was away from Valley Ranch tending to other business interests. Stephen Jones and Jason Garrett handled the visit and Melton signed on with the club. But how many other general managers wouldn’t be on hand when a free agent, especially one as important as Melton, is visiting? It is between none and nil.