Dallas Cowboys

NFC East

2014 Schedule

  • Week 1

    SF @ DAL

    09/07/14

    4:30 pm

  • Week 2

    DAL @ TEN

    09/14/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 3

    DAL @ STL

    09/21/14

    4:00 pm

  • Week 4

    NO @ DAL

    09/28/14

    8:30 pm

  • Week 5

    HOU @ DAL

    10/05/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 6

    DAL @ SEA

    10/12/14

    4:30 pm

  • Week 7

    NYG @ DAL

    10/19/14

    4:30 pm

  • Week 8

    WAS @ DAL

    10/27/14

    8:30 pm

  • Week 9

    ARI @ DAL

    11/02/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 10

    DAL @ JAC

    11/09/14

    1:00 pm

  • Week 11

    bye

  • Week 12

    DAL @ NYG

    11/23/14

    8:30 pm

  • Week 13

    PHI @ DAL

    11/27/14

    4:30 pm

  • Week 14

    DAL @ CHI

    12/04/14

    8:30 pm

  • Week 15

    DAL @ PHI

    12/14/14

    8:30 pm

  • Week 16

    IND @ DAL

    12/21/14

    4:30 pm

  • Week 17

    DAL @ WAS

    12/28/14

    1:00 pm

PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart

The PYRO Fantasy Football Depth Chart is a rundown of where Team PYRO projects the fantasy production for each team at each position. It is NOT an attempt to inform you of the current starters for each team. For example, we are well aware that Brandon Manumaleuna is currently the starting TE for the Chicago Bears, but if you look at the Bears Team Page, we have Greg Olsen listed at TE. Why? We’re projecting that Greg Olsen will be the most Fantasy Football relevant TE for the Bears this season. Since Olsen will be the Bears leading FF point scorer at TE, it’s his name at the top of the TE column on our PYRO Fantasy Depth Chart.

Dallas Cowboys - 2014 Preseason #FF Preview

Cowboys


 


 


Before jumping into fantasy, I want to take a moment and just say what a loss it is that Robin Williams is no longer a soul on this earth. Poets, musicians, actors, and artists are the brave souls in this world that have the courage to not only travel inside one self, but to put it on display for all to see.  As we gaze, we see reflections of ourselves, people we want to become, hidden fears we all have. In the case of Robin Williams, we were allowed to live vicariously through his characters. The many masks he wore on stage reflected all of us. We were better for it, with a laugh, sometimes with a tear; we made connections in this world through him. There were days we all had, that he made better. Our world is a little darker today without him in it.


 


 


Robin Williams


 


 


Rest in peace Robin, we thank you.


 







 


 


Turning back to the world of fantasy, we are going to plow into the cowboys, much like the offenses of the NFC East will undoubtedly do to Dallas in 2014. Statistically, no other team gave up more yards than the Cowboys in 2013. They gave up 415.3 yards per game. To put this in some sort of perspective, Seattle was #1 in this category only giving up 273.6 yards per game.  This year, it is not looking much better. The biggest lost to the D was undoubtedly DeMarcus Ware. He was lost to free agency as well as Jason Hatcher.  In the preseason so far, the numbers keep dwindling for the Dallas defense. Orlando Scandrick is suspended for four games for a banned substance. Sean Lee is out for the season with a torn ACL. Demarcus Lawrence has a broken foot, his anticipated return is week four. Finally, Anthony Spencer has undergone knee surgery. The team is hopeful he returns for the start of the season. So, how does this impact fantasy? Well, even without such losses, you were not going to draft their defense anyway. But, for one, it should help any NFC East offensive weapon you happen to draft. Two, this should mean Dallas will be involved in high scoring sagas on the field. Dallas will have to step up offensively if they hope to contend. Romo will have to put the team on his surgically repaired back and lead the passing game in many a shoot out.


 




Alright, if you share Dawgmatica’s concern about Romo’s upcoming season, please raise your hand.




 


 


EverybodyGetUp


 


 




Romo is a big question mark going into 2014. Not only that, he enjoyed the 2nd easiest passing schedule in 2013. This year, they have the hardest, #32. That is a big shift. Pyro picks the 34 year old QB as a bust candidate this year. Statistically, he has been declining in several categories. His completion percentage is down for the 4th straight year. Plus, he is not throwing it as far. His yards are down per attempt and per completion. The fact that they have a terrible defense will make Romo force balls that should not be thrown. He should see an increase in INTs as he will undoubtedly be feeling the pressure to come from behind. Let some other schmuck take a chance on Romo this year. I have said this before and I will say it again, you cannot trust ADPs when it comes to QBs. Most leagues draft a quarterback far earlier than any ADP will show. Although I do not trust ADPs for quarterbacks as far as the round is concerned, it will give you an idea of the order in which they may go. For example, as of mid-August, Romo has been going ahead of guys like Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers, and Ryan Tannehill, all of whom Pyro likes more than Romo. I would have no problem starting any of these guys (except Romo of course). Just make sure that you have two of the same caliber QB. If you draft a Tannehill, make sure you also have a Cutler or a Kapernick in order to play the matchups.


 




Look, the odds are fairly high that Romo is going to miss some time this year. He had major back surgery last year and is still discussing how it has affected him. Although Dallas is trying to limit his reps in the preseason, the writing is on the wall, it is a concern in Jerry’s house. The concern is so real, Pyro has picked Brandon Weeden as a possible deep sleeper. Primarily, it is just the opportunity that we like. Once he gets in there, he will have some major offensive weapons to rely on. He is entering his third year, playing his first two in Cleveland. He has a career completion rate of 55.87% and has thrown more interceptions (26) than touchdowns (23). Weeden looked decent in the first preseason game. The second preseason game he looked more like the Brandon Weeden of old. Look, Dawg thinks it is not a matter of if, but when Romo goes down, Weeden will be the QB for the Cowboys. He has a plethora of weapons and could be a nice surprise in the new offense, if he can just stop being… well, Brandon Weeden.


 




Here’s the thing, Dallas could possibly have the league’s worst defense this year. If they want to stay in games, they are going to need to put up points. In the off season, Dallas made a move that could help in that category. Scott Linehan came over from Detroit to call the plays in Dallas. In my book, this bumps up Demarco Murray, especially in a PPR format. Last year in Detriot, Linehan utilized two backs in the passing game: Reggie Bush and Joique Bell. Together, they were targeted 149 times out of the backfield and collectively caught 107 passes. Dallas is one of the rare teams that still incorporate a one back system. Murray is the bell cow in that offense. If he sees such numbers, he could easily lead all backs for receptions. This honor went to Pierre Thomas, who caught 77 passes in 2013. Now that Linehan is in Dallas, Murray’s numbers will increase. Last year he was targeted 66 times and caught 53. He totaled 350 receiving yards and caught a touchdown. I could easily see Murray nearing 70 catches this year. Not only is he going to be a monster in PPR, his is a powerful runner. He averaged 5.13 yards per carry last year. He racked up 1,121 yards rushing and 9 TDs in the running game in just 14 outings. Although they have a tough passing schedule, Dallas comes in with the 11th easiest rushing schedule for 2014. Murray has a surprising amount of tread on the tires. In 3 years in the NFL, he has only amassed 542 carries. The down side is the reason why. Murray has been injured every year so far. The guy has only played in 37 games.  2014 could be his best year to date. He certainly has incentive to do so. This is a contract year for Murray. Another factor going for their running attack is the offensive line. They could easily be one of the top three this year. With a top quality offensive line, plus the fact they will be forced to put up points in order to combat their woeful defense, this could spell big fantasy numbers for Demarco Murray.


 




But, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s face it, Murray is not dependably. Chances are, he is going to miss some games. In which case, Lance Dunbar is currently the guy to own. Last year he only toted the rock a total of 30 times. He did average an impressive 5 yards a carry. I put him in the Knile Davis, Ka’Deem Carey category. These guys back up bell cow running backs. Their fantasy relevance is tied to the health of the guy in front of them. However, I will say that out of all those situations, I think Dunbar has the highest probability of seeing the field. In other words, Murray is the most susceptible to injury. If you own Murray, and you look around at the end of the 13th round (his current ADP in 12 team leagues as of mid-August) and don’t like the talent at the other positions, then why not back him up with Dunbar.


 




In only the deepest of leagues would I look any further down the line for a Cowboys running back. Dallas has Joseph Randle and Ryan Williams. Williams, although currently 4th on the depth chart, has looked impressive in the first two preseason games.  Williams was highly touted coming out of Virginia Tech. He was drafted by Arizona, but in three eligible NFL season, the dude has played a total of five games. If we were just looking at talent, I like him over Randle. But, I just do not trust his ability to stay on the field.




 


Linehan’s approach to the offense will certainly help the passing game. Again, they are fighting the hardest passing schedule, #30 for the wide receiver, and tied for 18th at the tight end spot. There has been some speculation that Linehan might just allow Dez to make that leap into tier I category. Dez is the X factor in the new offense.




 


 


DezDezDez


 


 




Many are expecting Linehan to turn him into a Calvin Johnson. Bryant certainly has the physical skills to do it. Plus, similar to Murray, it is a contract year for Dez. If you look for positive trends, just look at his last two seasons. He has averaged at least 12 fantasy points the last two years. He has had at least 12 TDs in both seasons and put up over 1,200 yards in each year, with at least 92 receptions in both. Dez finished the year as the 6th best fantasy WR. He was certainly trending nicely at the end. In fact, during the last 3 weeks, no other wide receiver had more points than Dez Bryant (50.5). Collectively, Pyro rates him as a tier II WR. Remember, the collective tiers are now available on version 4 of the draft kit.


 


 


 


If Dez does have an elite year, than you can bet Terrance Williams will finish higher than his ADP. As of mid-August, Williams is going in the middle of round 7 in 12 team leagues. The better he does, the less teams will be able to double Dez. Likewise, the more prolific Dez becomes, the more opportunity Williams will be afforded. Stagg Party is highest on Williams as he has him ranked in tier VII (#s 26-33) for wide receivers as of version 4 of the draft kit.


If the NFL had walk up music, Jason Witten’s 2014 tune would be none other than “End of the Line” by the Traveling Wilburys. Chances are, his career is there, in fantasy terms at least. 


 


 







 


 


 


Pyro has pegged Witten as a bust candidate. If you caught an NFL game with Witten in his rookie season, you could have also traveled to the theater to see Finding Nemo, Kill Bill vol. 1, and Bad Boys II. Look, if we are taking a detour to watch a clip, it sure as hell is not going to have Martin Lawrence or a damn talking fish.


 







 


 


Witten has been known as a PPR guy, but last year he only caught 73 balls. That was his lowest total since 2006. Witten is not used much in the red zone. The guy’s career average is only 4 touchdowns per year. The tight end position is incredibly deep this year, including Gavin Escobar, who is also a Cowboy. There is a good chance Witten does not land in the top 12. There are too many young guys that are poised to do what Jordan Cameron did last year. The fact is, there is not much of a difference between tight ends once you get past the first 6 or 7. While there are plenty of young guys who might just break into that rank, you can bet Witten will not. Give me a guy who has a similar floor to the rest of the pack but might just have a high ceiling. While that may describe several of those 2nd or 3rd year guys, it no longer applies to Witten.


 


 


 


By Mo 





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The Man in the Hat

the man in the hat - tom landry - dallas cowboys


Tom Landry, or known by many as “the man in the hat”, patrolled the sidelines for the Cowboys from their inception in 1960 for 29 seasons until 1988, which was the second longest tenure for a coach with one team behind George Halas who coached the Chicago Bears for 40 years.  During his tenure the Cowboys had many successes and some disappointments, but Coach Landry was always the face of the organization and the stabilizing force to their success. 


At the start of his coaching career it did not go so well.  It took him until 1966 for the team to have their first winning season and they won the NFL’s Eastern Conference Championship.  The remarkable stat about Landry and his coaching was that the team did not have a below .500 record again until 1986, and during that stretch Landry had 20 straight winning seasons (a record that still stands and is a standard and in all sports), 13 Divisional Championships, 5 NFC titles and winner of Super Bowls VI and XII, and lost in Super Bowls V, X and XIII.  During his career he posted a total record of 270-178-6 and his total for wins was only surpassed by George Halas and Don Shula, although his 20 post-season victories were the most in NFL history and that was before the Wild Card game. 


Landry was an innovator in the NFL and introduced the 4-3 defense, “flex defense”, situational substitution and restructured the shotgun and implied a spread offense in the 1980’s.  When Landry introduced the 4-3 defense his innovation was the introduction of the middle linebacker.  When Landry was coaching the defense for the Giants he used to defense to huge success thanks to having the legendary Sam Huff as his middle linebacker.


Sam Huff said this about Landry and his 4-3 defense; “Landry built the 4-3 defense around me.  It revolutionized defense and opened the door for all the variations of zones and man-to-man coverage, which are used in conjunction with it today.”


Then when Landry became the head coach of the Cowboys he refined the 4-3 into the “Flex Defense” which helped create his “Doomsday Defense”.  The reason for the refinement was that he was concerned with Vince Lombardi and his “Run to Daylight” scheme where the running back went to an open space instead of a designated gap.  Landry believed that the best counter attack to that offense was a defense that flowed to daylight and blotted it out.  So Landry moved 2 of his 4 linemen off the line of scrimmage one yard, and would change which linemen would flex based on which way the defense anticipated the offense would run.  There were thus 3 different types of Flex Defense: Strong, Weak and Tackle (in this formation both defensive tackles were off the line of scrimmage).  The base of the defense then had gaps that each defender needed to fill, even before they knew where the play was going. 


Landry the innovator was not done as now that he created a monster or “Doomsday Defense” he needed to create an offense that could score on it.  Landry went to a man-in-motion offense and also implied the shotgun formation, but the biggest offensive contribution was in the use of “pre-shifting”, where the offense would shift from one formation to another before the snap of the ball.  Landry took this from Coach Amos Alonzo Stagg who invented this around the turn of the 20th century, but Landry was the first one to use this on a regular basis.  Landry would then have his offensive linemen stand up and then resume their hands down stance, all the while the backs were in the process of shifting their positions.  The purpose of the offensive linemen standing and getting back into their stances was done to make it more difficult for the defense to see where the backs were shifting and gave the offense an advantage.  While shifting was done by many teams few of them employed the “up and down” technique as much as Landry. 


The end of Landry’s coaching career came after the 1988 season in which the Cowboys finished 3-13, and it was the 4th time in 5 years that they missed the playoffs and their 3rd straight losing season.  Landry was determined to turn the team around and coach into the 1990’s as he said “unless I get fired”, all the while he was letting his coaching staff go.  Landry had one year remaining on his contract which him $1 Million a season.  Then H.R. “Bum” Bright sold the team to Jerry Jones due to his major loses he suffered during the Savings and Loan scandal.  With the team now under the control of Jerry Jones, for less than 2 weeks, decided it was best to move on and dismissed Landry as head coach on February 26th, 1989.  Jones then hired his former teammate at the University of Arkansas, Jimmie Johnson, who was coaching at the University of Miami.  Tex Schramm, a long time friend of Landry and GM for the Cowboys, was in tears at the press conference which announced the coaching change and shortly afterwards he was also forced out.  The two had been together for 29 years since the inception of the Cowboys in 1960.  When Landry met with his players 2 days later to tell them how much he would miss them, he began to cry, and the players responded with a standing ovation for the “Man in the Hat”.


By Houdini      

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Emmitt Smith: All-Time Leading Rusher

Emmitt Smith career stats

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Ed Too Tall Jones

ed "too tall" jones and john elway


Ed Lee “Too Tall” Jones is one of only 3 players who played 15 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.  Jones was 6 feet, 9 inches tall which made people call him “too tall”.  He was a member of the famed “Doomsday Defense” of the 70’s and bridged the gap playing for both Tom Landry and Jimmie Johnson.  By the end of his career he finished with 106 career sacks, with a season high of 13 sacks in 1985.  Unfortunately, he is remembered as the improbable tall lineman who Joe Montana threw over to complete “The Catch” to Dwight Clark.


Jones was named All-Pro in 1981 and 1982 and played in 16 playoff games, including 3 Super Bowls, when he officially retired in 1989.  Jones also made a special appearance in WrestleMania 2 as a referee outside the ring for the 20-man Battle Royale, which included William “The Refrigerator” Perry.  Jones recently starred in a Geico commercial where the commentator asks “Is Ed Too Tall Jones really too tall?” to which we flash to Jones in a doctor’s office trying to be measured with the scale rod coming detached from the scale trying to reach his head.  The nurse then says “I’m just going to guesstimate.”


By Houdini

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Dan Reeves and his Cowboy connections

dan reeves cowboys RB


Dan Reeves will always be connected to Cowboys, and more specifically Tom Landry who was his mentor.  Reeves signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 1965 to play safety, but due to many injuries during training camp he was moved to halfback.  He did not play much except on special teams in his rookie year. 


The next year Landry wanted more speed at running back and moved All-Pro safety Mel Renfro to offense.  Renfro was hurt in the opening game against the Giants and Reeves stepped into his role.  Reeves broke out that year leading the team in rushing and with 757 yards and came in second on the team in receiving with another 757 yards.  He set a Cowboys record, at the time, with 16 touchdowns (8 rushing, 8 receiving) and finished the season with the most touchdowns in the NFL.  He was named All-Pro that year and helped the Cowboys reach their first championship game. 


The following year totaled over 1000 total yards and had two milestone games.  In a game against the Philadelphia Eagles he scored a touchdown rushing, receiving and also threw a touchdown pass.  The other was a game against the Atlanta Falcons where he set a team record scoring 4 touchdowns.   Reeves was a very talented player who was off to a very promising start, until the 4th week of the 1968 season where he tore his right knee and missed the rest of the season.  That knee injury never truly healed, modern medicine could have had him back near 100%, and his abilities took a sharp turn downward.   


Tom Landry was such a fan of Reeves he refused to cut him.  Instead he played him in spots and made him a player coach.  Reeves remained in that position for 3 years through 1972 when he finally retired and became a full time assistant coach.  During his playing career the Cowboys made the every year and reached the Super Bowl twice (V, VI) winning Super Bowl VI.  That made up for his missed catch, in Super Bowl V, in the last two minutes of a tie game that was intercepted and set the Colts up in Dallas territory where a 32 yard field goal ended the game in 16-13 defeat.


After his playing career was over he spent time with the Cowboys as their backfield coach before becoming the team’s offensive coordinator in 1977.  He remained in that role until his opportunity came in 1981 to become the head coach of the Denver Broncos.  At the time, the Landry protégé was the youngest head coach in the NFL.  Reeves then went on to coach for the NY Giants and Atlanta Falcons.  Reeves holds the record for the most Super Bowl appearances as a player and or coach with 9 (5 with the Cowboys, 3 with Denver and 1 with Atlanta).  He was named Coach of the Year in 1998. 


In 2010, Reeves was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame.


By Houdini

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The Story of “America’s Team”

america's team for women's team water polo


The Cowboys have been known as “America’s Team” for as long as some people can remember and while the Cowboys embrace the name, there are many fans around the country who hate that the Cowboys are “America’s Team”.  So where did this come from and how did it stick? 


In 1978 NFL films was doing a highlight film for the Cowboys and when the film opens the narrator opens with the following:  “They appear on television so often that their faces are as familiar to the public as presidents and movie stars.  They are the Dallas Cowboys, America’s Team”.  The coining of the phrase goes to Bob Ryan, who is now the Vice President and editor in chief of NFL Films.  Ryan was quoted as saying; “I wanted to come up with a different twist on their team highlight film.  I noticed then, and had noticed earlier, that wherever the Cowboys played, you saw people in the stands with Cowboys jerseys, hats and pennants.  Plus they were always the national game on television.”   That is all fine and good but that did not make the term stick.


In 1979, during the Cowboys’ first game, which was a nationally televised game against the St. Louis Cardinals, the announcer for CBS introduced the Cowboys as “America’s Team” and the name stuck from there on out.  Tom Landry was originally opposed to his team being called “America’s team” as he feared it would give opposing teams an extra incentive to play harder against them.  Eventually even he changed his mind and came to like the name.


By Houdini

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Roger Staubach – One of a Kind

 


His parents may have named him Roger, but in truth, Bob and Betty Staubach may have been the only two people in history to call him by that name.


Some people knew him as “Roger the Dodger” for his tremendous scrambling ability; others dubbed him “Captain Comeback” for his effectiveness in executing come-from-behind victories; and still others saw him as “Captain America” for being the quarterback/leader of America’s Team. However, no matter the nickname, he will always be known as to most every fan around as “The Greatest Cowboy” ever.


Staubach’s brilliant career began as a sophomore QB for the United States Naval Academy in 1962, but it wasn’t until his junior year that he would gain national notoriety. That historic 1963 season would see Staubach win both the Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award (best college football player in the U.S.) for leading the 9-1 Navy Midshipmen to the national championship game against Texas in the Cotton Bowl (which they lost, 28-7). It was the last time the Heisman Trophy was won by a player from a military academy.


Roger might have been drafted much earlier if it weren’t for his impeding four years of naval service, but due to his military commitments, he wasn’t selected until the 10th round (129th overall) of the 1964 NFL Draft. In 1965, Staubach graduated from the Naval Academy with an engineering degree and began his active duty. Three of those years were spent in the States while the other was spent on a tour of duty overseas in Vietnam as a supply officer. In 1969, his four years of active duty were completed upon which time he joined the team that drafted him, the Dallas Cowboys.


Most of his first two seasons (1969-70) with the Cowboys were spent gathering butt-splinters as then-starting quarterback, Craig Morton, was busy leading the team to back-to-back playoff appearances. In the middle of the 1971 season, however, coach Tom Landry decided that Morton had lost his mojo enough for Staubach to get his chance…and Roger would not disappoint. After beginning the season at 4-3, Staubach was called upon as the full-time starter and did his part to see America’s Team go undefeated the rest of the way…including the playoffs. At 29-years-old, Roger Staubach led the Cowboys to their first ever Super Bowl title and a legend was born.


Captain America’s Cowboys had a winning record during each of his 11 years as Roger put up an astounding 85-29 regular season record as a starter. He also led the ‘Boys to four Super Bowl appearances in all (1971, 1975, 1977, 1978), winning two of them (1971, 1977), while missing the playoffs just once (1974, though the team was 8-6). His career accolades were endless, highlighted by six Pro Bowl selections, five All-NFC selections, being named the Super Bowl VI MVP, induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985 (his first-year eligible), being named to the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team, and an induction into the Cowboys Ring of Honor. He was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981.


Another little-known fact is that the “Hail Mary” pass was named after, or at least became famous because of a game-winning touchdown pass by Roger Staubach to wide receiver Drew Pearson in the 1975 NFC Divisional Playoff game against the Minnesota Vikings. With 24 seconds left on the clock and the Cowboys down 14-10, Staubach heaved a desperation pass down the right sideline that ended up barely being caught by Pearson for a game-winning touchdown. After the game, when Staubach was asked about the play, he said “It was just a Hail Mary pass; a very, very lucky play. I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary”.


 








 


As a Naval Officer in his youth, a Hall of Fame quarterback in his prime and a real estate business mogul in his later years, fans of America’s Team can be proud to say that Roger Staubach—a legendary, one-of-a-kind individual—played his entire career for their team, the Dallas Cowboys.


Roger Staubach career stats

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Troy Aikman – Modest Leader of a Dynasty

 


Troy Aikman grew up in the middle class suburb of West Covina, which is located about 20 miles east of Los Angeles, California. The town is somewhat known for the plethora of baseball players that come from the area, most notably the Giambi brothers, Jason and Jeremy. Troy could have easily taken up a career in baseball himself, as he was offered a contract by the New York Mets straight out of high school, but instead he chose to become a quarterback in his the sport he loved just a little bit more—football.


However, Troy still carries a torch for baseball as he jumped back into the sport in 2009 when he became part-owner of the San Diego Padres. He might have been this close to signing with the Mets as either a catcher or outfielder back in 1984, but you can bet Cowboys fans are pretty darn happy he didn’t accept their offer.


Leading up to his pro career, Aikman would play two years in college for UCLA after transferring from Oklahoma. In the first of those two seasons, Aikman led the Bruins to a 10-2 record and was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year. In his final season, Aikman again led his team to a 10-2 record yet this time, he would go on to win the Davey O’Brien Award (the nation’s top QB), was a consensus All-American and finished third in the 1988 Heisman Trophy voting. He would eventually be voted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008, but what grabbed him the most fame that final season was that the Dallas Cowboys coach at the time, Tom Landry, came to watch Troy at practice at Texas Stadium while the Bruins prepared for their Cotton Bowl showdown with the Arkansas Razorbacks (which UCLA won, 17-3). Because “The Man in the Hat” (Landry) came awatchin’, America was sure that Troy Aikman would become the #1 overall selection for the Dallas Cowboys in the 1989 NFL Draft.


America was right.


The Cowboys made Aikman the first overall pick in the 1989 draft and even though Tom Landry wasn’t there to see that it happened (he was fired and replaced by Jimmy Johnson two months earlier), there was no doubt whatsoever it was the correct call for the ‘Boys to make. Dallas was in desperate need of a signal-caller at the time and as it turned out, Aikman would be one of only three QBs drafted over the next three years to ever make a Pro Bowl team (Neil O’Donnell, 3rd-round, 1990; Brett Favre, 2nd-round, 1991) and is currently the only one in the Hall of Fame (Favre will be a first-ballot inductee in 2016). When you’re looking to rebuild your team, what better place to start than with the quarterback position?


Unlike his predecessors—Cowboy greats Roger Staubach and Danny White—Aikman was handed the keys to the car and thrown directly into the fire upon arrival. Though he would go on to have one of the worst rookie seasons a quarterback could possibly have, the decision would ultimately turn out to be the best possible thing for both the Dallas Cowboys franchise and for Troy himself. Aikman went on to start 11 of the Cowboys 16 games during his rookie season in 1989 and ended up with a dreadful 0-11 record. He averaged a mere 159 yards/game while throwing just nine touchdowns compared to 18 interceptions. His passer rating of 55.7 was the seventh-worst of any rookie QB since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger (based on 250+ pass attempts) though it must be said, it was slightly better than John Elway’s 54.9 rookie passer rating.


The fact of the matter is that the Cowboys were rebuilding their franchise from the top down. They had nobody to throw the ball to; nobody to run the ball; nobody at all! This is why starting Troy Aikman from Day One was exactly the right thing for the team to do. Their starting QB of the future could now walk into his second season with a little bit of experience under his belt while owner Jerry Jones and coach Jimmy Johnson assembled a few more pieces for him to work with… and boy oh boy would they ever.


The Cowboys already had Michael Irvin locked in at wide receiver after drafting him with the 11th pick in the first round in 1988, but maybe the most important piece to Troy Aikman’s eventual success came in 1990 when the 17th pick of the first round rolled around and the Cowboys decided to give Aikman a guy to hand the ball off too; RB Emmitt Smith.


Dallas spent the next few seasons building their offensive line and revamping their entire defense through the draft, trades and free agency and by 1992, they had themselves a winner. In just his fourth season in the league, Troy Aikman led the Dallas Cowboys to their first of three Super Bowl victories in four years between 1992 and 1995. No team and no quarterback had ever accomplished such a feat before and none have since.


Over the course of his Hall of Fame career, Troy Aikman may not have assembled the finest statistical resume in the history of quarterbacks, but he sure knew what it took to win. His triumphs, such as the 90 wins he accumulated in a single decade (the 1990s) or his three Super Bowl rings in four years, are records most any QB would rather have than any statistical accolade. He was a high-profile, yet modest leader who held together a team full of egos better than most anyone could have ever imagined.


Whether he was the most talented player in Cowboys history or not, Troy Aikman epitomizes what it means to be a Hall of Fame quarterback.


 


Awards


-       Three-Time Super Bowl Winner


-       Super Bowl XXVII MVP


-       Three-Time All-Pro (1993, 1994, 1995)


-       Six-Time Pro Bowl Selection (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996)


-       Walter Payton Man of the Year (1997)


 


Where Aikman Stands in Cowboys History


-       94 Wins (First All-Time, 94-71 overall record)


-       4,715 Pass Attempts (First All-Time)


-       2,898 Pass Completions (First All-Time)


-       32,942 Pass Yards (First All-Time)


-       165 Touchdown Passes (First All-Time)


-       141 Interception (First All-Time)


-       61.5 Completion % (Third All-Time)


-       199.6 Pass Yards/Game (Fourth All-Time)


-       81.6 Passer Rating (Fourth All-Time)


 


Troy Aikman career stats



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Cowboys and Redskins: Where the Rivalry Began

There is a strong hatred between the Cowboys and Redskins that even had Tom Landry sing “Momma, don’t let your babies grow up to be Redskins”.  The history of the rivalry goes back to the inception of the Dallas Cowboys.  When the NFL began considering Texas as the state to host a proposed expansion team the move was strongly opposed by George Preston Marshall, the Redskins owner, who had enjoyed a monopoly in the South for 3 decades.  Clint Murchison who was trying to bring the NFL to Dallas made a bold move and a move that made the Cowboys possible.  Murchison bought the rights to “Hail to the Redskins” and threatened to prevent Marshall from playing it at Redskins games.  Marshall then agreed to back Murchison’s bid and Murchison gave him back the rights to the song, and the Dallas Cowboys were born.


By Houdini

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Randy White

Randy White was a BEAST!!!  I remember as a child watching the Cowboys and you had to be aware of where Randy White was.  He was drafted by the Cowboys in 1975, but did not make his impact on the team and the NFL until his 3rd season in 1977 when White was moved to right defensive tackle. 


1977 was a breakout year for White.  He was named to his first Pro-Bowl and that year was named co-MVP of Super Bowl XII with teammate Harvey Martin, which makes White one of only 7 defensive players ever to win the honor.  White followed that season up by being named to 9 consecutive Pro-Bowl teams.


During his 14 year career, White racked up 1104 tackles (701 solo) along with 111 sacks.  In 1978, White, who had 16 sacks, was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Year.  In his 14 years of professional football White played in 209 games and missed all of 1 game during his career.  When you think about the era he played in and the amount of injuries that took players out, that is a remarkable feat.  He finished his career at the same time as Tom Landry’s unwanted departure from the team.  His teammates said what set Randy White apart from the other Cowboys was not his ability to make big plays, but rather his consistency and his willingness to work hard.  At practice, his teammates would suffer just trying to keep up with him.  He had the desire of a champion and in 1994 he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 


By Houdini

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Cowboys or Steers?

The Dallas Cowboys were not always the Dallas Cowboys.  Upon their inception the team was known as the Dallas Steers and then it was changed to the Dallas Rangers.  All of these names came out and were changed before the team made their debut.  They were not happy with the initial selections and really like the name Cowboys and that was the one that stuck.  I think I prefer the Cowboys to the Steers, good choice Dallas.


By Houdini

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Bad Luck Blues

There are two stories that revolve around why the Cowboys wear white uniforms at home.  The story that I find to be the most fun is that they are known as the “Bad Luck Blues”.  The curse of the blue jerseys dates back to 1968 when the 12-2 Cowboys were upset in the playoffs by the Cleveland Browns 31-20.  Then 2 years later in Super Bowl V they were forced to wear their blue jerseys because they were designated as the home team and lost to the Baltimore Colts 16-13.  This is because it was an unofficial rule back then that home teams needed to wear their colored jerseys in the Super Bowl.  Since then fans have considered the blue uniforms to be the Bad Luck Blues and the Cowboys have not played as well in the blue uniforms.  The Cowboys wear their white jerseys at home, and knowing how they feel about the blues, there are some teams like the Giants, Redskins, Rams and Eagles who would force the Cowboys to wear their blue jerseys while on the road in hopes of playing into the curse.  


Then there is the story that combined with what happened in Super Bowl V makes the most sense.  Tex Schramm has said that going into the inaugural season of 1960 that the Cowboys had no traditions.  The main reason he said for doing this was so that the home fans could see the home colors of all the other teams in the league.  You combine that with the fact that the fans thought they were bad luck and you have the tradition of wearing the white jerseys at home. 


By Houdini

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Cowboys on Thanksgiving

In 1966 the Dallas Cowboys played in their first Thanksgiving Day game, and on playing in the game the Cowboys sought a guarantee that they would regularly host the Thanksgiving day going forward.  The Cowboys and Lions have been the hosts to the games since 1966 and due to TV contracts that networks had to showcase either the NFC or the AFC forced one of the games to be between two NFC opponents and one vs. an AFC opponent.  That rotates between the two teams.  The Cowboys and their fans are very proud of their tradition on Thanksgiving.


By Houdini

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Tex Schram: A legend to the Cowboys and the NFL

Tex Schramm is a legendary figure of the Dallas Cowboys.  He was the team’s General Manager from their inception in 1960-1988.  It became apparent in 1959 that the NFL was intent on expanding to Dallas and Schramm told all his friends in football of his desire to run the team.  Schramm got the help he needed in form of the founder of the NFL, George Halas, who introduced Schramm to Clint Murchison Jr., who was the eventual owner of the new franchise in Dallas, and Murchison let Schramm do what Schramm did best. 


In 1960, Schramm hired Tom Landry to be his head coach and Gil Brandt to be his chief scout.  The three men built the expansion Cowboys into an elite team within 5 years.  Under the tenure of Schramm the Cowboys had 20 consecutive winning seasons and were with the team with the most wins in the 1970’s (more than the Steelers who won 4 Super Bowls in that decade).  The Cowboys appeared in 5 Super Bowls (V, VI, X, XII and XIII) during the 70’s winning Super Bowls VI and XII.  Their 3 Super Bowl losses came by a combined total of 11 points. 


Schramm was known as the most powerful General Manager in the NFL.  Schramm even held the Cowboys’ voting right at league meetings, a right normally reserved for team owners.  Schramm showed his power back in 1966 when he met secretly with Lamar Hunt, founder of the American Football League (AFL), and began negotiations that led to the first Super Bowl in 1967 as well as the NFL and AFL merger of 1970.  Schramm also impacted the game in other ways.  


The way we watch and enjoy football today can be attributed to the changes that Tex Schramm made to the game for the good.  He was the driving force for using Instant Replay in football, which is something we can’t do without these days.  He also was the first to use computer technology, think Moneyball, in his scouting of players.  Schramm is the reason that we have multi-color striping on the 20’s and 50 yard lines.  He is also the reason they initially went to a 30 second clock, now 25 seconds, between plays to speed up the game.  Schramm is also responsible for having extra-wide sideline boarders and the person who thought that the goal posts needed flags on them to help tell the wind direction for QB’s and kickers.  Have you ever been thrilled to hear the long winded explanations of the “BUFF” official Ed Hochuli?  Well that would not be possible if Tex Schramm had not come up with the idea for a microphone on the referee.  Then we all need to give thanks to Schramm for his greatest innovation of all time…the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. 


Schramm lead the league’s Competition Committee and oversaw rule changes such as overtime in the regular season, putting the official time on the scoreboard, moving the goalposts from the front of the endzone to back, and he oversaw the in the grasp rule to protect quarterbacks.  Guess what else Schramm helped develop?  Due to his using computers in scouting and wanting a more comprehensive scouting process led him to help create the all popular NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. 


Tex Schramm may truly be the biggest innovator and reason for the success of the NFL as a brand through his vision and foresight.  I can blather on and on about him, but I think one of the greatest coaches of all time, Don Shula, said it best when speaking of Schramm, “I truly believe he has as much, or more, to do with the success of professional football as anyone who has ever been connected with the league.”


By Houdini

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Jay Novacek – The Fourth Piece of the "Big Three"

 


When you think of the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990’s, if you’re like most people, the names Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin immediately come to mind. Or maybe you’re the type of fan who loves a good defense and find yourself thinking of guys like safety Darren Woodson and the infamous Deion Sanders. Or maybe, just maybe, you’re a persnickety old multi-gazillionaire or just plain cuckoo and recall the likes of either Jerry Jones or Jimmy Johnson. Whatever the case, my guess is you’re probably not one of the 0.01% who first remembers the Cowboys athletic tight end, Jay Novacek…but there are plenty of reasons why you should.


First of all, the Cowboys run of three Super Bowl victories in four years during the mid-90’s was in no small part due to the play of Mr. Novacek. In those three games, the Cowboys tight end combined to put up 17 catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns while leading or tying for the team lead in receptions during all three games. Pretty impressive when you consider all the other options Aikman had at his disposal (Michael Irvin, Alvin Harper, Emmitt Smith, Daryl Johnston, Kevin Williams).


Novacek also came to be known as Troy Aikman’s “Right-Hand Man” during the early part of his career. On more than a just few occasions, Jay bailed Aikman and the ‘Boys out of trouble as it seemed the two had some sort of sixth sense about one another. Click on the link below to hear Aikman and Michael Irvin talk about the impact Novacek had on their offense during those years:


http://www.nfl.com/videos/auto/09000d5d8008fbd9/America-s-Game-1992-Cowboys


As far as personal achievements go, Novacek, a College Football Hall of Famer, stands pretty darn close to some of the best tight ends to ever play the game. He was selected to five Pro Bowls (each year from 1991-1995) during his 11-year career, or as many as Pro Football Hall of Famers Dave Casper, Mike Ditka, John Mackey, Jackie Smith and Kellen Winslow. He also had the most receptions for a tight end and third-most yards in the NFL during his duration as a Dallas Cowboy from 1990-1995 while leading the league in both 1990 and 1992.


Jay Novacek career stats


As of the beginning of the 2012 season, Novacek’s career statistical rankings within the Dallas Cowboys organization is pretty high up there as well as he ranks 8th in receptions (339), 9th in receiving yards (3,576) and 13th in receiving TDs (22).


Sadly, in February of 2010, Jay Novacek’s wife, LeAnne, was found dead at her mother’s home of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. She was 45-years old.

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The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders!

 


There are plenty of words you could use to describe the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders:  Sexy; Gorgeous; Spicy; Erotic; Provocative; Hot; Voluptuous; Risqué; Salacious; Yowzers!; or just plain Hubba Hubba.


Actually, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders didn’t quite get their start in the way you might have dreamt. In fact, the original cheerleading squad, which was put together in 1960, was made up of both women AND men that were taken from local high schools and called themselves the CowBelles & Beaux.


However, in 1969, male cheerleaders were dropped from the squad and then in 1972, an idea hit the Cowboys general manager, Tex Schramm, that cheerleaders could actually be part of the overall entertainment of football instead of merely a group of rah-rah local students. So he pitched his idea to the manager of the squad, Dee Brock, and the decision was made to make the change.


Dee went out and hired a top-of-the-line dancer, Texie Waterman, to hold auditions for the redesigned squad and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders as we know them today was born. Dancing routines were infused with beauty and sexiness; pom-poms and pimples were replaced by short-shorts and glamour. When the 1972 season began, the seven most beautiful and talented women of the sixty who auditioned took to the sidelines and the NFL was set ablaze.


In 1978, two network television specials—the NBC Rock-n-Roll Sports Classic and ABC’s The Osmond Brothers Special—featured “America’s Sweethearts”, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders…and things only grew from there. Commercials were shot, made-for-TV movies were created, television appearances were made, and on and on and on. Tours across America and regular USO tour appearances overseas became the norm for the DCC phenomenon. Yearly calendars are published, charity work, you name it.


The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are truly as heavenly a body of performers in the sporting world as you’ll find anywhere around the globe.


http://www.dallascowboyscheerleaders.com/home.cfm


 








 








 







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The Big Blue Star

 


Besides my mother and father, there were a few things I remember loving as a child back in the mid-to-late 70’s. I loved the tree house my Dad built in the backyard. I loved playing board games like Candyland and Chutes and Ladders. I loved family trips to Maine and bubblegum ice cream. But what I loved most, what I loved the absolute most of all the things in the entire world…was football.


Being from Chicago, I remember trouncing around the yard pretending I was Walter Payton, trying to run through my Dad like he was “Mean” Joe Greene keeping me from winning the Super Bowl. Of course I loved the Chicago Bears, but when you’re a kid, all you really tend to love is the sport itself. I loved Walter Payton because he was the most fun player to watch. I loved Otis Sistrunk because he looked like an alien. I loved Reggie Rucker because of the face he made on his 1979 Topps chewing gum card. I loved Earl Campbell, John Riggins, Lee Roy Selmon, Billy Sims, Kellen Winslow, Garo Yepremian, the San Diego Chargers and yes, I loved the Dallas Cowboys.


There were so many great players to love! Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Drew Pearson, Tony Hill, Randy White (and who I thought must be his younger brother, Danny), Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Charlie Waters and of course, the man in the hat, Tom Landry. What wasn’t to love?


What got me so curious about them, though, was that big blue star on their helmets. Stars are what I would get on my assignments when I did a good job in school, so naturally, I took it to mean that the Dallas Cowboys must be a really really really good football team. I remember asking my father one day if the star meant that they were the best team in the league. I don’t specifically recall if he chuckled at that or not, but I wouldn’t blame him now if he did. He told me, “That’s good thinking, son. But actually, the Cowboys wear the star on their helmet because Dallas is located in Texas, and Texas is known as ‘The Lone Star State’”.


Obviously I was enthralled by this information and proceeded to ask what every state I could think of was known as, but it all came back to that big blue star and what it meant to me. I then told my Dad that I loved the Cowboys and what did he do? He went out and bought me a plain white football helmet and painted the big blue stars on it himself.


To tidy up this little story a bit, I feel I must add that my father was actually a touch wrong as to why the Cowboys wear the star on their helmet. It’s not simply because Texas is “The Lone Star State”, but also has to do with what the star itself actually represents. The star, in and of itself, symbolizes Texas’ independence from Mexico and stands for the entire state’s solidarity for God, State and Country. The Dallas Cowboys adopted this philosophy as their own and proudly show what their team stands for within their logo; the Big Blue Star.

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The Mitsubishi JumboTron







 


 


Question:  So how big is this monstrous Mitsubishi JumboTron thing at Cowboys Stadium anyway?


Answer:  Since we have the exact specifications of the JumboTron, which is actually the largest High-Definition Video Display in the world, we might as well give them to you:


(http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/12000/largest-scoreboard)


 


Two Center-Hung Sideline Displays


Width: 159' 7-1/16"


Height: 71' 4-3/4"


Total LEDs: 10,584,064


Pixel-Pitch: 20mm


Screen Area: 11,393 square feet


Power Consumption: 635 Kilowatts


Screen Weight: Approx. 170,000 lbs


Video Source: 1080p HDTV


Resolution: 2,176 x 4,864


 


Two Center-Hung End Zone Displays


Width: 50' 4-3/4"


Height: 28' 6-3/4"


Total LEDs: 2,088,960


Pixel-Pitch: 16mm


Screen Area: 1,439 square feet


Power Consumption: 80 Kilowatts


Screen Weight: Approx. 25,000 lbs


Video Source: 1080p HDTV


Resolution: 1,080 x 1,920


 


Installation Start Date: October, 2008


Installation Completion Date: June 1, 2009


 


Question:  So how much did this bad-daddy cost?


Answer:  The entire Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Vision™ JumboTron ended up setting Jerry Jones and the Cowboys back approximately $40 million.


 


Other Assorted Facts and Figures:


-       It would take 4,920 52-inch flat panel TVs lined up side-by-side to equal the size of the JumboTron


-       The whole thing weighs about 600 tons and is suspended 90 feet in the air directly over the center of the big blue star in the middle of the playing field


-       It stretches from approximately one 20-yard line to the other 20-yard line


-       The video board itself uses 30 million light bulbs


-       The only access to the video board is by one of two motorized platforms that can only move at a rate of 30 feet per minute

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Romo having troubles

Tony Romo has not settled in this year. His passes seem to be overthrown or underthrown, his normal short completion routes to Jason Witten hasn't been there either. There can be many reasons why he hasn't looked himself, the most telling is that through two weeks, he has a passer rating of 75.1, tied for 30th place in the league. Another sign is that the $108 million dollar quarterback is handing the ball off 29 times a game. This is an offense that is built to pass, but instead chose to run?



Pyro's take: Until it seems that Tony Romo can get his playing ability back, which may be tough considering he is 34, the Cowboys will be a running team.

09/17/14, 05:37 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.star-telegram.com

Romo makes mistakes

Tony Romo had a hard time looking better than any other quarterback on the team, as the Dallas Cowboys looked second rate against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Romo finished the day with a 60.8 quarterback rating, including three interceptions. One, at the goal-line on first down.

Head coach Jason Garrett though backed-up his starting quarterback by stating: “Tony, like everyone else in this room and on the football field yesterday, is human,” Garrett said. “He made some decisions over the course of the game that he’d like to have back. That happens every week in the National Football League to every quarterback. You continue to try and learn and continue to try and grow from the situations you’re in.”

Pyro's take: Tony Romo should be just fine. Ya, he stunk it up yesterday, but all quarterbacks, and all people stink it up here and there. He is still the guy you drafted, and Sunday's performance should not change your mind on when to use him.

09/08/14, 05:06 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: cowboysblog.dallasnews.com

Orton signs with Buffalo

The Buffalo Bills have signed Kyle Orton to a one year contract. Orton was released by the Cowboys this summmer, which had one year left on his three-year, $10.5 million contract before his release. His last game in Dallas saw him throw 46 pass attempts, completing 30 for 358 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Orton was on the verge of retirement before the Bills lured him back into the league. Kyle Orton has been a mix bag of starter and back-up material, and has played in at least one game since 2005.

Pyro's take: Many have wondered if this move is to quietly say that the Bills need someone else other than EJ Manuel calling the plays. Manuel has continued to struggle throughout the preseason, and just does not look like he has the talent to be a full-time starting quarterback. I would ignore both quarterbacks in any draft at this moment.

08/30/14, 11:37 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.dallasnews.com

Bryant Confident

Dallas Cowboys’ first-team offense managed only six points and 110 yards on 32 first-half plays against the Dolphins Saturday night, but that didnt faze Dez Bryant in the slightest.“I feel like we did good,” Bryant said. “We want to be better. I was telling the guys on the sideline this only comes around once a year, make the most of it. You got to be hungry, you have to want it. And I think that’s what we’re doing.”

Bryant finished the game on solid ground as he had four catches for 32 yards on five targets. Bryant was able to catch his missed target, but was unable to get both feet down on a diving attempt. Week five,is usually for the non-starters to get some action as they fight for roster spots, therefore, Dez Bryant probably finished this preseason with seven receptions on eight targets for 91 yards and a touchdown.

When asked how he felt facing the 49ers in week one of the regular season,“We’re ready for anything that’s thrown in our face,” Bryant said. “My confidence is over the roof when I get on the field.”

Pyro's take: One thing that Dez Bryant never lacks is self-confidence, the issue has always been controlling that confidence. Either case, he is one of the best wide receivers in the game, and should continue that confidence throughout the season.

08/25/14, 11:35 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: cowboysblog.dallasnews.com

Bryant is ready for the season to start

Dez Bryant looked to be in mid-season form early Saturday night against the Baltimore Ravens.

In Bryant’s first action of the preseason, he caught three passes for 59 yards and a touchdown.

But being on the field for only 14 plays wasn’t enough for the Pro Bowl wide receiver.

“It wasn’t really nothing,” Bryant said. “It was a tease. I feel good mentally and physically. Other than that, I’m ready for the game. I’m ready for the real deal. [Tonight was] not the real deal to me.”

It might not have been the real deal for Bryant, but he was the real deal midway through the first quarter, catching a 31-yard touchdown pass from Tony Romo.

Pyro's take: Dez had himself a nice first outing. Bryant is one of the most talented players at the wide receiver position, and he should be getting a lot of work this season. The Cowboys biggest deficiency is their defense, which ranked 32nd, or dead last a season ago. This year's team will be without DeMarcus Ware (now in Denver), and middle linebacker Sean Lee, lost to injury. The Boys will be having to outscore their opponents to win, which means more opportunity for Dez. The only downside to his potential is the injury risk associated with Tony Romo, and that Brandon Weeden is the backup.

08/17/14, 07:01 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: cowboysblog.dallasnews.com

Romo ready: Return

Tony Romo should make his first start back since undergoing back surgery for a herniated disk last December. He will be facing the Baltimore Ravens, and the Cowboys have wanted him to ease back into the fold, as he missed the opening pre-season game. Tony Romo said he didnt believe in missing pre-season. "I think you have to play in the preseason," Romo said. "Obviously, some people can't, but I do know from my perspective, this game is not something where you can show up and think that you can do it. I think it's been proven far too many times that if you take too long of a break or don't get reps under you that you will be exposed in certain areas."

When Romo got injured against Washington, in late December,which required surgery, was his second procedure on Romo's back in an eight-month span. He had a cyst removed before the start of offseason practices last year and didn't do any significant work until training camp.

Pyro's take: Dallas Cowboys need Tony Romo to be at his best, and if he had any set-backs they would not have him play in the pre-season, no matter how much Romo wanted to be out there. The Ravens have an adequate defense, so this will be a solid test for him. Watch and see how he responds.

08/13/14, 04:37 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.csnbayarea.com

Romo's back is a major concern

On Friday, the Cowboys held another glorified walk-through but the starting quarterback Tony Romo wasn’t included. And that’s actually a major change from what we’ve seen from Romo when he’s been held out of practices this summer because of his back injury.

Romo typically stays engaged with the offense, giving pointers to both the quarterbacks and receivers about the routes and play-calling. But on Friday Romo started off on the field but left quickly after the stretching period.

“He wanted to not push it here this afternoon,” Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said Friday after practice. “He’s been going pretty good between all the conditioning and running and getting himself back into shape and then having a big two or three days here, that he wanted to take this afternoon and rest up a little bit and get ready. He said he doesn’t want to miss anything that’s competitive, and everybody agreed that was a good idea.”

Pyro's take: It is early at camp and Tony Romo is already being held out of practice, and a walk through at that. Romo's ADP is falling with this concern, and tough schedule this season. I am not a believer in Romo this season, and would only consider drafting him as a backup.

07/26/14, 03:07 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.dallascowboys.com

Orton released

The Dallas Cowboys had enough of Kyle Orton and decided it was best to release him. Orton has not shown up for any of the off-season activities, and the Cowboys needed to move on.

Pyro's take: The release of Kyle Orton leaves Brandon Weeden and Caleb Hanie as back-ups. In other words, if Tony Romo goes down, the Cowboys are screwed. No-way does Weeded or Hanie carry this team, and this may force the Dallas Cowboys hands to go into free-agency, as both are number #3 type quarterbacks at best.

07/17/14, 02:42 PM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: www.dallascowboys.com

Beasley developing his route running

Cole Beasley has been working on his route running to establish a better connection with quarterback Tony Romo. Beasley who stands at 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds has the typical slot receiver frame. Beasley stated he was “just kind of working on my feet and pumping my arms at the top of routes."

The slot is not the only position he is lining up, he is also out wide. Wide receivers coach Derek Dooley said Beasley has expanded his route inventory. The Cowboys would like to move Dez Bryant around more in 2014. In order to do that, they need Beasley to be able to handle the outside. “He’s going to be a much better player than he was last year,” Dooley said, “and he was really valuable to us last year.”

Pyro's take: Cole Beasley is entering his third year, and has improved his game each and every year. Last season, he had 39 receptions on 55 targets for 368 yards and two touchdowns. He plays in a solid offense with All-Pro players in Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten, and both DeMarco Murray and Terrance Williams round out that solid offense. Beasley is more of a PPR threat than he is in a standard league format, but his success will depend on his receptions, and if he can truly open things up for Bryant, by allowing him to move around. Look for 55-60 receptions for 650 yards and 4 touchdowns

07/07/14, 10:35 AM CDT by Vaaal-verde
Source: espn.go.com

DeMarco Murray Pros & Cons - Ranked 10th

We are going to start showing pieces of what is in the Pyro Draft Kit via the NewsFeed section. So if you want to see the Pros & Cons we have for DeMarco Murray in the RB Rankings Tab, check 'em out...

Pyro's take: You can purchase the 2014 Pyro #FF Draft Kit here: http://bit.ly/1z3BwYf

(+) Just when we thought he might be dead, Demarco shows he is still a player to be reckoned with in #FF

(+) Dual threat - he had 1,125 yards rushing plus 53 receptions last season

(+) Peaks out on all the physical measurables, when healthy is a top tier player

(+) Can bust out the big plays, as his 4.9 yards per carry average indicates

(+) Jerry has stuck by him, no weapons that threaten him at the moment in Dallas

(+) He has great weapons surrounding him, so it will be difficult for defenses to key in on him

(+) The Cowboys have a nice fantasy playoff schedule

(+) In a contract year, so there will be no doubt he will lay it all on the line for the big pay day

(+/-) #28 had three games over 100 yards (134, 146, 175)

(-) Injuries have gotten in his way, missing 11 games over the past three seasons

(-) Only had three games last season where he had more than 20 carries

(-) Is not the offensive focal point on many Sundays

07/04/14, 09:39 PM CDT by d-Rx
Source: www.pyromaniac.com

Is Williams a breakout candidate?

The Dallas Cowboys scored in the 2013 draft with first round selection, center Travis Frederick and third rounder, wide receiver Terrance Williams, both of whom were named to Mel Kiper's All-Rookie Team after the season. According to CBS Sports’s Pete Prisco, this is just the beginning for the pair of league sophomores.

Prisco believes Williams is in position to build on a rookie campaign that saw 44 catches, 736 yards and five touchdowns.

“With Miles Austin now gone, this second-year player takes over as the starter opposite Dez Bryant,” Prisco writes. “That should mean a lot of single coverage and a chance for big plays. Look for his numbers to go up dramatically from his 44 catches a year ago.”

Pyro's take: Prisco is on board with Williams, and I also like his potential, but more goes into his success than just the fact that Miles Austin is gone. I agree his numbers will increase from last season, but how "dramatically" remains to be seen.

What Prisco is failing to take into account is that the Cowboys have the third most difficult schedule for wide receivers. That looks pretty good when you consider that they have the toughest schedule for quarterbacks. They have lost their starting middle linebacker, and defenses are going to be teeing off on Tony Romo. I agree his numbers will increase, but there is going to be a lot of inconsistency in that increase, which tempers my excitement.

06/09/14, 09:56 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.nbcdfw.com

Weeden released

The Cleveland Browns on Wednesday released quarterback Brandon Weeden. General Manager Ray Farmer made the announcement.

Farmer released the following statement:
“First and foremost, the Browns would like to thank Brandon and his agent for being true professionals. The circumstances in which he found himself were not easy for him or the team. After discussions with Brandon and his agent, we’d like to give him the ability to pursue other opportunities.”


Pyro's take: This is no surprise to us here at Pyro. The Browns, under their new leadership, clearly wanted to make a change this season, and will likely grab a quarterback in the draft.

Weeden will turn 31 during the 2014 season, and the chances of him landing a starting job somewhere else this off-season are slim to none. Brandon will catch on somewhere as a backup, but he is not a recommended fantasy option at quarterback.

03/12/14, 04:14 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.clevelandbrowns.com

Romo joins elite company with third 30+ TD season

Despite being hampered by a rib injury for the first quarter of the season and eventually missing the final game due to a herniated disc in his back, Tony Romo became just the ninth quarterback in NFL history to record three or more seasons with 30-plus touchdown passes (2007 - 36; 2011 - 31; 2013 - 31).

The other QBs to accomplish the feat (with # of seasons in parenthesis) are:

Brett Favre (9)
Peyton Manning (8)
Drew Brees (6)
Tom Brady (4)
Dan Marino (4)
Philip Rivers (3)
Aaron Rodgers (3)
Kurt Warner (3)

Pyro's take: The Dallas Cowboys franchise QB is getting up there in age (he turns 34 in April) and the wear and tear is starting to show. After going through two back surgeries since April of 2013, one has to question how much longer Mr. Romo can play at an effective fantasy level.

That being said, Jerry Jones and the Dallas brass still have high hopes for Tony, as evidenced by their signing him to a six-year, $108 million contract extension back in March of 2013 (signed through 2019 when he will be 39 years old).

Though he finished in the Top-10 in fantasy points PER GAME for a seventh straight season last year, the path to doing so again looks a little too drunk with obstacles for me to advise taking the chance in 2014 fantasy drafts.

01/28/14, 11:50 PM CST by Dawgmaticå
Source: www.pro-football-reference.com

Murray will run through the pack, when he gets the ball

One of DeMarco Murray’s best performances in his pro career was overlooked Monday.

In Dallas’ 45-28 loss to Chicago, Murray ran for 146 yards on 18 carries, contributing two of the three biggest plays for the Cowboys.

Murray’s success was overlooked as people outside the Cowboys’ locker room kvetched about the defense’s struggles.

But after shredding Chicago’s front the Dallas running back is on pace to become the first Cowboys player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season since Julius Jones accomplished the feat in 2006.

“I just worry about taking it one game at a time, doing whatever I can to help this team,” Murray said.

In the final three weeks, Murray figures to benefit from the addition of fullback Tyler Clutts, who was acquired Dec. 3.

Pyro's take: Murray had a fantastic game against the Bears, but for some reason the Cowboys stopped running the ball for a large chunk of the game. This is not the first time this has happened to Murray.

The Cowboys pass the ball 65% of the time. Even when Murray is running well to start a game, the offense drifts away from the run and becomes pass heavy. This should be the week that the Boys do a better job of having a health mix of run and pass.

Murray is a great start this week against a poor tackling Packer defense. If the Cowboys do stick with the run Murray will be a monster this week.

12/14/13, 07:00 PM CST by Houdini
Source: cowboysblog.dallasnews.com

Dez says he is a better player this year...really?

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said Thursday that Dez Bryant is a better player than he was a year ago. Although it’s been difficult to prove that recently on the stat sheet, Bryant agreed with Garrett on Friday.

“I feel the exact same way,” Bryant said. “I’m a much better receiver than I was last year.”

Why does he feel that way?

“My approach of the game, the understanding, reading coverages,” Bryant said, “I can go on and on about how much better I am than last year.”

Bryant is on pace for 86 receptions for 1,117 yards and 12 touchdowns. He finished with 92 catches for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.

Over the last four games, Bryant’s averaging only 4.75 catches for 50.75 yards.

Pyro's take: This season Dez has not been the dominant force he was down the stretch last year. The only benefit that Bryant has given fantasy owners over the past two weeks is a pair of touchdowns.

Dez has not had a 100-yard receiving game since week 7. This was supposed to be the season that Dez challenged Megatron for supremacy, but that has not been the case.

This week he gets the Packers, and will have a chance to have his best game of the season. The Packers have allowed top receivers to take advantage of them. Unfortunately, his poor play might have cost many of his owners a chance to have this game mean anything. BITCHSLAP!!!

12/13/13, 05:31 PM CST by Houdini
Source: www.dallasnews.com

Weeden Browns starter, again

Brandon Weeden is the Browns staring quarterback.

Again.

The season is 11 games old. Not once, but TWICE Weeden has lost the starter's job.

And he has lost it to two different quarterbacks -- two quarterbacks who are supposed to be career backups at this point.

And he lost the job twice after having the coaching staff support him in the off-season, work with him in training camp and supposedly build an offense that can help him succeed.

But it didn't work.

Yes, Weeden was injured in the second game of the season -- but the coaching staff seemed almost relieved to hand the team over to Brian Hoyer for Game 3.

When Hoyer injured his knee and went down for season in Game 5, Weeden returned to action.

By Game 8, Weeden had lost the job to Jason Campbell

This week, it's Game 12. Campbell is expected to be out with a concussion.

And Weeden is starting … again.

Pyro's take: That about says it as far as I am concerned. There is no reason to grab Weeden unless you want to lose fantasy games.

11/25/13, 06:00 PM CST by Houdini
Source: www.cleveland.com

Williams primed to keep producing

Although Williams knows the reps might be limited somewhat with Austin returning, the rookie from Baylor seems excited about his return.

“He looks sharp out there,” Williams said. “I think it’ll be great to have him back. He’s a great player and you can’t have enough great players on your team.”

In the first three games of the year, Williams, by his own admissions, was nowhere near the player he is now, both physically and mentally.

“I just finally have a grasp of what I’m doing,” Williams said Wednesday in the locker room. “Before, I didn’t have the speed that I have now. I was second-guessing on what I had to do. Now, I just feel like I know what I’m doing. I’m comfortable with the checks Tony’s making. I know what I’m doing throughout the whole play instead of, if Tony sees something, then I have to think about what I’m doing while I’m running. Now when Tony makes a check, I can do it at 100 percent and not like 75.”

Pyro's take: Miles Austin may be returning to the lineup for the Cowboys this week, although I would not count on him having a big game in his return. T-Will has continued to develop throughout the season, and having Austin back may just open things up for Williams.

Romo has gotten comfortable throwing to the rookie, evidenced by his five touchdown catches over the past six games. If you own Williams feel comfortable that he is going to be one of the main targets in the offense behind Dez.

11/20/13, 09:24 PM CST by Houdini
Source: www.dallascowboys.com

Dez looking to light up Saints

Saints coach Sean Payton watched from his most comfortable chair last year during his suspension as Bryant shredded a historically poor Saints defense. He said part of the process of preparing for the Cowboys' offense this week is to review game film from last year.

Payton already is familiar with Tony Romo, who he originally groomed while Payton was the offensive coordinator in Dallas. It hasn't taken Payton long to realize who Romo would most likely target within the offense.

"I think when you're playing that position (quarterback) and you're getting pressure, for instance, or blitzed, you're mindful of where a player like that is," Payton said. "You know you have a good matchup. If you get in the red zone, you know you have a size matchup. Third down, all of those things.

"Tony's good with placing the ball at the right spot for a big receiver. Those become challenges and you see the big plays that take place because of it. We're going to have to be very, very sharp in regards to our coverage, our rush and where he's at. ...

"Paying attention to a player like that, no different to a player like Jimmy Graham, is going to be very important."

Pyro's take: Last season when Bryant faced the Saints he lit them up for 224 yards on 9 catches, with 2 touchdowns. Dez has not had a 100-yard receiving game since week 7, and this could be the game that gets him back on a role.

Number 88 should be targeted early and often by Romo, in what should be an exciting offensive game on Sunday Night Football. Bryant should have his first 100-yard game with a touchdown since week 5.

11/07/13, 05:16 PM CST by Houdini
Source: www.nola.com

Witten finally reemerges

Jason Witten had been uncharacteristically quiet in recent weeks.

He came on strong Sunday with eight catches for 102 yards and a touchdown. It marked the 19th time Witten has gone over 100 yards in a game and allowed him to become only the 20th player in NFL history with at least 850 receptions for his career.

The tight end had just nine catches for 90 yards in the previous three games.

“It’s been a tough couple of weeks with coverage,’’ Witten said. “There was a lot of double coverage in Philly and Detroit last week.

“It’s frustrating for all of us. But you work those situations and stay ahead of the chains.’’

Quarterback Tony Romo was patient and consistently found Witten underneath against the Vikings Tampa 2 defense.

“When you play these defenses, the ability to find those underneath throws and get those first downs, it can really hurt that style of defense,’’ Witten said. “We’ve worked it a lot over the years and it’s good to see it pay off like this in this game.’’

Pyro's take: Witten finally gets back on track, but he is also setting a new trend. This is the third time that Witten has bounced back after 3 sub par games. If you look at his stats from the season opener, week 5 and week 9 Spitten Witten has 23 catches for 293 yards and 4 touchdowns.

In the other 6 games #82 has only caught 22 passes for 212 yards and zero scores. He has not been as consistent this season as in years past, but Romo remembered him this week. Let's hope it doesn't take him another 4 weeks before he finds Witten again.

11/04/13, 03:41 PM CST by Houdini
Source: cowboysblog.dallasnews.com

Ryan Williams now only trade bait

Ryan Williams’ name is above his locker, just like every other player in the Cardinals locker room, but the running back knows that some people would attach other labels if they could.
Like fragile. Unwilling to play through injuries. Resident of coach Bruce Arians’ doghouse.

“I’ve been labeled,” Williams said, “and none of them have really been positive. I don’t really worry about what people say on the outside, but what I do want to do is bring light to this offense.”

That’s impossible to do if you aren’t in uniform on game day. Williams, a second-round pick in 2011, has been inactive for all six games, a healthy scratch.

That’s fueled speculation the Cardinals will try to trade him before the league deadline of Oct. 29 at 1 p.m.

Maybe they will, but at present, the Cardinals aren’t pursuing a trade. There likely are several reasons for that.


Pyro's take: What a disappointment Williams has been, and it would only make sense for the Cardinals to trade the 23-year old running back. The Cardinals have a ton of depth at the running back position, and after all of Williams’s failed attempts to produce it would only be fair to him and the organization to ship him out of town. A change of scenery could help Williams, but even if he is moved he is a major risk to count on in fantasy.

10/17/13, 06:28 PM CDT by Houdini
Source: www.azcentral.com

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