Linebacker Rolando McClain has been hit with a second suspension for violating the National Football League's substance abuse policy. The violation comes on the heels of the four game suspension that the talented but troubled defender received last off-season. This results in his serving a ten game suspension to start the season.
McClain looked to be the Cowboys starter in the middle, but now Dallas will have to look at other options. Helman gives us a look at some of the things that Rod Marinelli and his staff might be considering.
As for the Cowboys, they’ll have to determine what to do about the void at the middle linebacker position. Sean Lee has played middle linebacker in the past, but he earned his first Pro Bowl selection playing on the weak side. Andrew Gachkar received the majority of the first-team snaps in the middle this spring, and Anthony Hitchens also has extensive experience in that spot.
Todd Archer wasted no time in laying it out for everyone. No punches were pulled in his recent post at ESPN.com, and that is the way it should be.
On the field, he has shown that he's a playmaker in his two seasons with Dallas, but he has not shown the discipline required off the field to earn the right to play in the league or for the Cowboys.
Archer nailed this one. In my opinion it is time to say 'No, thanks' to the linebacker and judging by the emails from my colleagues this afternoon I suspect they concur.
The staff at DMN put together a look at the remaining cast of characters for the Dallas linebacking corps and also throw in a refresher course on what those players were able to contribute to the team last season. The pickings might be slim, but the only thing to do now is to roll up those sleeves and get to work.
Hitchens has had some good games and shown he can play hurt. Plays all three spots but appears best-suited for middle or weak side.
Wilber started at strong side linebacker but came off the field in obvious passing situations. Led the team in special teams tackles.
Gachkar was brought in primarily to help on special teams. He's done a good job there but hasn't been asked to do much more.
Mark Nzeocha is the wild card. He could certainly make things difficult for the coaching staff. Do they go with proven veterans or the young guy and his upside?
My partner in crime, Mr. Tom Ryle, gives us what seems to be a consensus opinion among the staff here at BTB. Jerry Jones is a gambler who hit big on a risk early on and now he keeps going back to the same well. Lightning seldom strikes twice, but it is Jones' failure to heed this proverb that has the Cowboys in their current predicament.
The reason he keeps making this mistake can be summed up in three syllables: Charles Haley. The Hall of Fame pass rusher came with a ton of problems, but he became instrumental in the Super Bowl victories of the early nineties. Despite that being a different era when teams could cover up things so much better than they can now, Jerry Jones keeps trying to recreate that success. It has created a huge blind spot for him in evaluating the risk/reward equation. In the past few years, he has gotten that calculation wrong.
It seems like there was an old country lyric by Kenny Rogers that sums up the lesson to be learned here. Anyone care to venture what that is? When you figure it out, explain it to Jerry, OK?
In a perfectly timed piece, Dallas linebacker Sean Lee sat down with Phillips for a discussion of his health. The Dallas defensive leader recently had a follow-up procedure to the surgery that cost him the entire 2014 campaign, and he clues us in on his recovery. Lee's health was vital to the team prior to McClain's most recent trip to Goddell's whipping shed, but not it becomes even more critical.
Although I rarely link to video pieces, the timing on this one makes it highly relevent to the theme of the day.
Ordinarily I would end on something light hearted, but given the upcoming July 4th weekend I am going to end with this PSA. Sure, it does give me a chance to take a jab at a division rival, but in all seriousness it is an important message.