There are only two football games of any importance left, the Reeses Senior Bowl and Super Bowl 50. (If you attach any importance to the Pro Bowl, well, enjoy that, too.) For the Dallas Cowboys, the Senior Bowl is of course the main thing, not only because they are coaching the North squad, but because they are looking forward to finding some important help in the draft. But before we get to the plethora of draft headlines, some other news.
Former Cowboys great Troy Aikman observed that he didn't think Tony Romo would appreciate it if Dallas drafted a quarterback in the first round. Romo took a different view.
"Well, I think me and Troy are a little different in some of the things we may think sometimes," Romo said. "I think that that's just his opinion. For me, if you're good enough to play at the highest level and you think you can play at a certain level, you should never be worried about anything other than just helping your teammates.
"I understand that's part of the game - people get threatened. But for me, I feel very strongly and confident in the things our team can do."
Diplomacy? Sure, but likely more than just that as well.
It was reported this was coming, and now it is official. Jerome Henderson will become the passing game coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons.
It's currently uncertain how the Cowboys fill Henderson's role. One option could be Joe Baker, who has been on staff coaching the safeties since 2012.
And many Dallas fans are glad to see him go.
Henderson was brought in when Rob Ryan took over as defensive coordinator, but the secondary hasn't had much success in any season since he took over the group. During his four years as the secondary coach, Henderson's unit has a total of 25 interceptions. That is just two more picks than the team's linebackers and defensive linemen during the same span.
This season, the Cowboys' secondary had just five interceptions, their lowest total in Henderson's tenure. A new voice is surely needed.
Sigh. At least DeMarcus Ware is getting his shot. And he is not the only ex-Cowboy involved with the Broncos.
Part of Ware's success has to do with Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who was the Cowboys head coach from 2007-10. Phillips' tenure ended horribly with a 1-7 start to the 2010 season and Jerry Jones made the first in-season coaching move in his tenure as owner and general manager.
It has been so, so long since the glory days of the Nineties. And many of us have to wonder what had happened if Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson had just been able to get along.
As much as the Super Bowl drought is bothersome to Cowboys fans, former players, current players, former coaches, current coaches and the Jones family, there is always a what-if wonder to those Cowboys teams of the 1990s.
They became the first team to win three Super Bowls in a four-year period, but could it have been more? They are considered the team of the 1990s, led by the Triplets -- Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith.
Now, on to the draft stuff.
A factoid that makes you wonder what the organizers were thinking.
Day One of the Senior Bowl practices is unique because of its structure. The first official practice (South Team) kicks off at 1:30 p.m. tomorrow at Fairhope Municipal Statidum, with the second practice (North Team) starting at 3:15 p.m. in Ladd-Peebles Stadium. It's a bit chaotic, considering there are only 15 minutes between practices that take place roughly 20 minutes (distance) apart.
Dane Brugler offers his take on top players on the offense. While we have been focused on Carson Wentz, there may be another option at QB for the Cowboys to consider.
Jeff Driskel, QB, Louisiana Tech (6-4, 234)
Many dismissed him as a legitimate NFL prospect after his struggles at Florida, but Driskel reinvented himself at Louisiana Tech this past season, rebuilding his confidence. The physical traits are there with his size, arm strength and athleticism and he should perform well in a controlled all-star setting like the Senior Bowl. Driskel, who will also be coached by the Cowboys' staff, has tremendous leadership and might be the most intriguing of the day three passing prospects in this year's draft class.
And there's also this:
Shrine Game notes I never got to: talked w/ #Cowboys source about QB Carson Wentz being their pick. Rolled his eyes. Lot of evaluation left.— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) January 25, 2016
And Brugler also takes a look at the defenders. Topping his list:
Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky (6-3, 261)
The best player on either Senior Bowl roster, Spence will be a popular name this week because of his ability on the football field and for what he says off of it. A former five-star recruit at Ohio State, his drug issues earned him a Big Ten ban and landed him at Eastern Kentucky where he dominated FCS competition. A top-15 talent in the 2016 class, how Spence interviews and carries himself in Mobile will be an important step in his job interview for NFL teams.
Sturm is on his annual list of draft prospects. He takes a look at Austin Johnson, a potential 1-tech defensive tackle that might be a valuable upgrade for Dallas.
Now, they have Johnson on their "North" squad this week in Mobile, which certainly will not mean as much as we will want it to mean, but they will have a close-up view on him to see if it is time to invest in their defensive front further after spending important picks on DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, and Randy Gregory. Adding Johnson in the 2nd round might be a very fine idea to bring this line together. This is a very deep defensive line draft (again - this is becoming a bit of an annual truth) so there should be some fine ideas in Rounds 2-4.
Just a quick recap of the number two all-star game, for those interested.
This is just an interesting bit of trivia about Ryan Mack, a player who participated in the NFLPA Dream Bowl. And he might be an intriguing late round option for the Cowboys, who have shown that you can never have too many good offensive linemen.
Mack, 22, spent three years at Louisville, and was the starting right tackle during Teddy Bridgewater's final season with the program. After Charlie Strong left Louisville to become the head coach at Texas, Mack stuck around for one more year before transferring to Memphis, which was close to home. As a graduate senior, he started for the Tigers and helped protect Paxton Lynch, one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft.
And one last thing from Dane Brugler. You might want to bookmark this one. He is good at this stuff.