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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Will Darren McFadden Surprise Everyone?

All the news that's fit to link: Difference makers! Offensive strategy! Impact signings! Slaps! Jibber-Jabber! Classic finishes! "Cowboys-esque" is a word! Viva Mexico!

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Jerry Jones believes Darren McFadden can be a difference maker | ProFootballTalk
Jerry Jones discusses why he believes McFadden can be a competent replacement for DeMarco Murray, and suggests that Murray's injury history may have played a role in the Team's willingness to invest in the position.

"[Y]ou’ve got a good chance to not live up to expectations," Cowboys owner and G.M. Jerry Jones told PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio regarding the lackluster career of McFadden, who has only one 1,000-yard campaign in seven seasons. "Because when you are drafted that high, people think that you are going to be the next Jimmy Brown. So, yes he would have liked to have had a more productive career. But the kinds of skills that got him drafted with the fourth pick in the draft, he still has.

"You worry about injury, but we were worried about injury with Murray. In eight seasons, four in Oklahoma and four with the Cowboys, Murray only had two injury free seasons. And so the position is one you have to take into consideration no matter what the skill level is, they take a lot of hits, lot of punishment, and you got a good chance to have an injury issue. And that’s why we couldn’t make that kind of commitment of dollars to that position."

Darren McFadden still has No. 4 pick skills, Jerry says -
Owner Jerry Jones believes Darren McFadden still has the skills that made him the No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 draft. Although the Cowboys figure to bolster their backfield in next month's draft, owner Jerry Jones isn't hiding his belief that McFadden can play a big role in replacing the production of 2014 Offensive Player of the Year DeMarco Murray.

Bob Sturm: Will Cowboys’ offensive strategy change with Murray gone? | Dallas Morning News
In response to a reader question, Sturm ponders the direction the offense will take.

The real discussion we need to have is whether we like our 3rd WR (Cole Beasley or Devin Street) more than we like our 2nd TE (Gavin Escobar). I am sure that this offers different game situations to consider and we need to think carefully about the ramifications of replacing a 6’6 player with a 5’8 player (approx) and losing 100 pounds but gaining a matchup issue inside.

Do I expect the Cowboys to run the ball for that many yards and carries? Well, maybe not, but it worked wonderfully and if they can get a legit RB1 in, I don’t know why I would get away from it until the league shows they can slow me down. The league hasn’t come close to that yet.

Top 10 impact signings, trades for 2015 offseason - ESPN
In this In$ider article, Matt Williamson ranks the top 10 impact signings, and has Greg Hardy at No. 6.

Hardy is very stout on the edge against the run, but is also a great pass-rusher who can win on the edge or as an inside pass-rusher when Dallas goes to its sub package defense. That makes him close to an every-down player.

Jeremy Mincey played well for the Cowboys in 2014, and DeMarcus Lawrence has a lot of ability that flashed at the end of the year. This could be a very good defensive line after the addition of Hardy. Behind this upgraded defensive line, Sean Lee needs to finally stay healthy and the Cowboys could use a new recruit or two for the second level via the draft. But their pass rush and overall play up front should make this an improved defense.

Twitter mailbag: Joseph Randle's future in Dallas - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Have you ever wondered aloud about the importance of pass protection for a running back?


That was Todd Archer slapping you across the face for jibber-jabbering.

Personally, I think we in the media and fans sometimes overrate pass-protection issues as some sort of way to show we "know the game." Yes, it’s important, especially when you have a quarterback with a bad back, but I don’t think it is too difficult to figure out who to block as a running back if you just pay attention. As much as I was a Murray fan, he wasn’t perfect in pass protection, either.

But Randle's two arrests in less than six months play a part in the Cowboys’ apparent lack of faith. He could still be punished by the NFL even if he is not punished legally.

When Dallas Cowboys really need to find QB Tony Romo's heir - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
You've recently started wondering whether this is the year the Cowboys should start looking for Romo's succesor in the draft.


Yep, Todd Archer again.

The likelihood of the Cowboys finding Romo's heir in the middle to late rounds is slim. Extremely slim. The odds-aren't-worth-it-slim. There are two starting quarterbacks currently in the NFL who were picked after the third round. Romo is one and he wasn't drafted. Tom Brady is the other and he went in the sixth round.

The days of developing a quarterback seem long ago. The Green Bay Packers did it with Aaron Rodgers behind Brett Favre. Philip Rivers sat for two years behind Drew Brees with the San Diego Chargers. Those guys were taken in 2005 and 2004.

Most teams are drafting their guys in the first and second rounds and if not playing them in Week 1 of their rookie seasons, then very soon in their rookie seasons. Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr started as rookies last season.

It sounds quaint, the notion of a quarterback holding a clip board, taking mental notes as he watches. It's just not reality.

Jason Garrett: Catch rule robbed the NFL of a classic finish | ProFootballTalk
Looks like Garrett couldn't leave well enough alone after all, as he argues that had Bryant's catch been allowed, the game would have been an instant all-time playoff classic.

"To have the Cowboys inside the 1-yard line at Lambeau Field with 4:45 to go 47 years after Bart Starr had a quarterback sneak is great for our game," Garrett said, via the Star-Telegram. "To have Aaron Rodgers standing on the other sideline waiting for his opportunity to come back, that’s what we want. And Dez Bryant getting three feet and a forearm down I think should be a catch in in our league. I think we should find ways to make sure it is going forward. It has nothing to do with our game, our team, its about how to right the rule going forward."


Overpaid? Why Dwayne Harris may be worth every penny for the Giants |
It seems the Giants weren't the only team interested in Harris. Fourteen teams reached out to Harris when the free-agent window opened. Several were interested in his services for the price the market ultimately proved he was worth. Of course, this info is coming directly from Harris' co-agent Chad Speck, so it may be nothing more than spin control.

Lions looking to establish a "Cowboys-esque" offense -
You've got to like it when Cowboys are used as an adjective for something positive.

Matthew Stafford attempted 602 passes last season, a four-year low, but also the fifth most in the league. "When I tell you that we're not going to throw the ball any more than we threw it (last year), that's a fact," Caldwell said. "If we do throw it more, that means we're behind, we're struggling, we're not winning, we're not a very good football team, plain and simple." Despite Caldwell's pleas for a more Cowboys-esque offense, we'd be shocked if Stafford didn't again finish in the top 7-8 in attempts.


Sabin: Why TCU's Paul Dawson intrigued Cowboys despite past struggles | Rainer Sabin, Dallas Morning News
Sabin takes a closer look at Dawson, aqnd explains that five extra pounds and a tweaked hamstring were behind Dawson's poor Combine performance, which he improved on (slightly) at his pro day yesterday.

His 40-yard dash time was clocked between 4.78 and 4.82 seconds. His vertical leap was 30 inches. And the NFL cognoscenti on hand seemed to like how he performed in several agility tests.

"He did a nice job," said Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus.

Eberflus was among several Cowboys representatives in attendance. Assistant director of player personnel Will McClay and national scout Walter Juliff also were there — studying a defender who thrived in a scheme that relied on only two linebackers, much like the Cowboys did in 2014 when they used nickel on 66 percent of their defensive snaps.

Cowboys met with Eric Rowe (Utah, DB) -
Tony Pauline reports that the Cowboys are showing interest in Rowe, and met with "at length" prior to his pro day workout.


NFL could expand International Series to Mexico, Germany -
Good news for fans outside of the NFL's traditional anglo-saxon comfort zone:

The league wants to extend the International Series beyond London, Breer writes. The target date is 2017 and Mexico and Germany are the target countries. The stadiums in Mexico City still need work, and the biggest issue in Germany is finding an over-the-air carrier for the regular-season games.

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