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75) Which Dark Horses Could Arise As Possible RT Starters?


IRVING, Texas – As the Cowboys focus on the offseason, training camp is still in sight.

Coming off two straight 8-8 seasons and three full years removed from the playoffs, the Cowboys have plenty of question marks surrounding the team as they prepare for the 2013 campaign.

As we count down to camp, each day the writers of will take a different question concerning the roster.

With 75 days until the Cowboys take the field in Oxnard, Calif., today's question centers on right tackle:

75) Which Dark Horses Could Arise As Possible RT Starters?

That's a question that might be even more pressing depending on what happens with the Doug Free situation here, probably sooner than later. Owner Jerry Jones said following the NFL Draft two weekends ago he expected something to happen with Free, who has been asked to lower his base salary of $7 million for this season.

But if he doesn't, and seeing as the Cowboys did not address the tackle position through the draft, the focus must shift on the players currently on the roster, especially if the club decides to part ways with Free.

While Jermey Parnell would be the logical first option, there are no guarantees that a player with one start under his belt would be the answer.

That's where Darrion Weems might enter the equation. Listed as No. 75 on the current roster, Weems did what is seemingly impossible for most 6-5, 320-pounders and that's slide under the radar last year. He was signed to the Cowboys roster from Denver's practice squad.

Weems did not play in a game last season, but the Cowboys were in no hurry to rush him onto the field. The thinking was to use 2012 as a "redshirt" year to let Weems get acclimated to Bill Callahan's offensive line schemes and system. When the time is right to compete, then they'll throw him in the mix.

That time could be this training camp. If nothing else, Weems should have a chance to compete for the "swing" tackle spot, which makes him a game-day backup for both left and right tackle.

His experience his limited but his size is ideal for the position and one that makes him an attractive project this summer.

The Cowboys also have offensive tackle Aderious Simmons (6-7, 310), who joined the team late last season.

But if someone is going to sneak onto the scene this year at right tackle, watch out for No. 75, just like another one did a few years back. Marc Colombo was a first-round pick of the Bears in 2002 and had much more talent and ability than Weems. So when he was cut because of numerous injuries, the Cowboys were taking a chance health-wise, but figured he had ability. They were patient with him in 2005 and let him compete in 2006, where he won the starting job and became a mainstay on the line for five years.

Is Weems the next Colombo? That's quite a stretch, but stranger things have occurred. 

Sticking with our numerical journey to training camp, let's take a closer look at the number 75:

  • Arguably the most famous play in Cowboys history occurred during the 1975 season. On Dec. 28, 1975, the Cowboys pulled off the "Hail Mary" against the Vikings to advance to the NFC Championship Game. Roger Staubach's heave to Drew Pearson still stands as one of the greatest plays in NFL history as well.
  • The 1975 season ended with heartache as the Cowboys lost Super Bowl X to the Steelers, 21-17. Dallas couldn't stop Pittsburgh wide receiver Lynn Swann, who was named MVP for his acrobatic catches that are still considered two of the best plays in Super Bowl history. The Cowboys finished 10-4 in the regular season.
  • Of the 4,409 rushing attempts by Emmitt Smith, the longest run of his career occurred on a *Monday Night Football *affair against the Redskins in 1991 when he raced 75 yards for a touchdown. Never known for his breakaway speed, Smith was actually caught on the play by a linebacker but not before crossing the goal line.
  • Other 75-yard touchdowns in Cowboys history include a Tony Dorsett touchdown run at New England in 1981, a touchdown from Tony Romo to Terrell Owens vs. Philadelphia in 2008, and a 75-yard strike from Troy Aikman in his rookie season against the Cardinals to James Dixon.
  • Three players are tied for the second-longest punt in Cowboys history at 75 yards: Sam Baker (1962), Billy Lothridge (1964) and Mat McBriar (2006) have all booted 75-yarders. The Cowboys record belongs to Ron Widby, who boomed an 84-yarder in 1968.    [embedded_ad]
  • The 1975 NFL Draftis arguably one of the best in team history, and dubbed the "Dirty Dozen" for the 12 rookies that made the roster that year. The Cowboys had 19 selections in the 17-round draft. Among the notable picks were Randy White, Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson, Bob Breunig, Pat Donovan, Randy Hughes, Herb Scott and Mike Hegman.
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