A veritable gallimaufry of articles today, with no central theme or themes around which to group them. Consequently, I have decided to organize them alphabetically, by title. Here we go...
10 linebackers Cowboys could consider in the 2015 NFL draft - Jon Machota, DMN
Machota's ongoing list of possible draft targets brings us to linebacker, a position where the Cowboys certainly have need. Here's a guy who is emerging as a real possibility at #27:
Eric Kendricks, UCLA. Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus traveled to UCLA to work out Kendricks on Monday. "It went super well," Kendricks (6-0, 232) told NFL.com about his encounter with Eberflus. "He’s good. He played himself, he played at Toledo, so he has a lot of experience. He’s a really sparky guy." The Butkus Award winner finished his career as the school’s all-time leading tackler with 481. His brother Mychal Kendricks is a linebacker for the
Philadelphia Eagleshorrible filth.
Sturm's increasingly capacious draft series continues with a peek a big, athletic, Oregon offensive tackle. Since he's almost certainly going to be drafted by Chip Kelly, let's look at what Sturm doesn't like about him:
...just don’t like the idea that he appears to be straining to physically hold off his man so often and his strength situation just does not appear to be as functional as you would like. You often catch him almost Greco-Roman wrestling, with all upper body twisting and turning when he gets in the trenches and of course, leverage is everything in there so he loses quite a bit. Below, in a stretch of the Rose Bowl, Mario Edwards (admittedly a rather strong defensive end) was tossing him to and fro with relative ease for an entire sequence that showed you the disadvantage Fisher plays with when it comes to brute strength. He was the victim of several push/pull moves where he was left on all-fours. He doesn’t pack much punch in the trenches and that makes me wonder if I can run behind him in short yardage.
The arson investigation into the fire that destroyed Dallas Cowboys free agent linebacker Rolando McClain’s home in December remains open but is now inactive because all leads have been exhausted. Why open yet inactive? Alabama state fire marshal Ed Paulk offers clarification:
There is no statute of limitations on the crime of arson in the state of Alabama, Paulk said, so "the case will remain open until solved."
After the Bears signed a player twice arrested on domestic violence charges, ESPN's local beat man Greenberg gets to the sad heart of the matter:
But given that the NFL pays players as fungible assets, why take a chance on this guy? Well, the Bears think McDonald can help them win football games. And perversely, because of his troubles, he comes at a good price, allowing the Bears to improve their team in other areas as well. It’s a gamble they’re willing to take, even as it offends a portion of their paying audience. But then again, we all know the outrage will die down. It always does.
The Eagles "took" DeMarco Murray away from a Cowboys team that beat them for the NFC East title. Clearly, one reason for this was that it weakened the team to beat in the NFL East?
"We never look at it that way,’’ Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly said. "We’re just trying to acquire players. We don’t say let’s take this player over that player because it’s going to make that team weaker."
Since we must assume Chip is lying (that's what the majority of the Philadelphia media assume), I'll translate that as: "Of course we did. We were afraid of facing Dallas with both he and Dez Bryant on the field, forcing us to pick our poison."
The Cowboys have continued to show financial restraint this offseason, as evidenced by their refusal to overpay for DeMarco Murray. Here's his former head coach:
"We had a number of discussions with him and with his representatives all throughout the process of free agency to try to keep him," Garrett said. "But you do get to a point, like you would with any player, where you say ‘Ok, can we really keep going here? This decision will preclude us from making all these other decisions.’ So we wanted to have discipline."
Archer's superb film reviews of the Cowboys' free agent haul lands the big fish: Greg Hardy. Here's his conclusion after spending some time with the tape:
How he fits: There is no question he gives the Cowboys something they didn’t have. There were several occasions when he lined up at three different spots on consecutive plays. It’s something I wonder the Cowboys will do a lot with him because of the versatility they will have with guys like Jeremy Mincey, Tyrone Crawford and DeMarcus Lawrence. The Cowboys needed a defender like this who will make the offense have to account for No. 76 on each play.
Good move: Clearly it’s a good move for the football team and this post is about the on-field help, not the off-field issues. The Cowboys didn’t have a bell-cow rusher last year. Hardy gives them that, but I do wonder if the expectations he will face will outweigh his productivity. If there is one word of caution here: He’s not DeMarcus Ware. Hardy has 26 sacks in his last two full seasons, but he does it completely differently than Ware. It’s a speed guy (Ware) vs. a power guy (Hardy).
It's been a while, Robinson claims, since we've seen a coach like Chip Kelly:
...one with a monstrous appetite to inflict roster change at the highest levels of the depth chart, and the ego to never waver in the mission. This is the stuff of Jimmy Johnson during his re-mastering of the Dallas Cowboys. A philosophy where no cow was too sacred, no roster move too crazy, and no question that couldn't be answered by the master plan.
The problems with this statement? To my mind, they are twofold: 1) Chip took over and gutted a vastly more talented roster; 2) Jimmy stockpiled picks, while Chip just threw one away to acquire a pedestrian veteran quarterback. From where I stand, Chip looks more like another former college coach with a huge ego, Steve Spurrier, than he does Johnson.
The Dallas Cowboys have hinted at moving Sean Lee to weakside linebacker since the middle of last season. At the NFL owners meetings, those hints were even stronger:
"I think we have to look at the landscape of our linebackers and we'll make our best decisions," coach Jason Garrett said. "Sean Lee has great instincts. In our defense, he would be protected by that under-tackle, that three-technique at the Will, where he can go and use those instincts. It's the Derrick Brooks position, it's the Lance Briggs position, and we just think Sean would do a fantastic job at it."
"That's his most natural position," Garrett said of the weakside spot. "He's an outstanding football player. We do think that Will is the best fit for him."
In the midst of a Wednesday chat, Sabin offered a wee commentary on Brandon Carr's contract situation:
This year, his cap number is $12.72 million, and the Cowboys have indicated they would like Carr to take a pay cut. If Carr refuses, he could face a post-June 1 cut. Why? It makes no sense to outright release Carr. The Cowboys would gain only $566,000 against the cap in 2015 because they would have to carry the unamortized portion of his bonus this year. A post-June 1 cut would allow the Cowboys to spread the hit over two years, saving them $8 million in 2015 but saddling the team with $7.43 million in dead money in 2016.
Nothing new here, but it's good to remind ourselves about the possibilities....
In either this year's draft or next year's, Moore asserts, the Cowboys are likely to select Tony Romo's successor. This is, of course, based on one quote from Jerry Jones:
"We do have to look to the future relative to quarterback,’’ Jones said. "It’s starting a time frame where a guy could come in and be a good backup. "Look at how Romo evolved into the guy he is today. He did a little time with the clip board.’’
Mel Kiper identifies perfect player-team fits in the 2015 NFL draft, including Todd Gurley to the Cowboys. His two cent's worth:
The fit: Dallas is going to have one of the best run-blocking lines in the NFL next season, if not the best. The Cowboys don't need a dancer, they need a player who will get downhill fast and turn a crease into a big run because he's so hard to get to the ground when he hits the second level. Gurley can do that. Dallas added Darren McFadden, but they won't be done at this position.
The chances: I'd safely say less than 50-50. Dallas has shown good restraint recently, such as in last year's draft and in not overpaying for DeMarco Murray, so it certainly wouldn't be knocked by me for passing on a RB in Round 1 (I certainly would). But Gurley is worth a close look if they think he's a missing link.
Broaddus takes a closer look at the roster, settling on running back committee member Ryan Williams. Here's his take:
With the departure of DeMarco Murray to the Eagles, the running back position will have a different look in 2015. I really do like the addition of Darren McFadden and the tendering of Lance Dunbar. I don’t believe that even with Joseph Randle and Williams currently on the roster that this will keep the front office from adding another back -- whether that is with a trade or through the draft. Where that leaves Williams? That is a great question. He needs to continue to develop that mental side which means in the passing game. His assignments and execution as a blocker will be key. He will also need to develop some value as a special teams performer as well.