Cowboys Sign WR Reggie Davis (Feb. 7)
The Cowboys have signed Reggie Davis, a first-year wide receiver who spent the final two months of the season on their practice squad.
Undrafted out of Georgia in 2017, Davis has spent time on practice squads in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Cleveland.
Davis (5-11, 170) played four years for the Bulldogs at receiver and returner, taking one punt return back for a touchdown as a junior.
Staubach Backs Dak (Feb. 2)
No one knows the pressures of leading America’s Team more than Roger Staubach.
Visiting with 105.3 The Fan from the Super Bowl, the Hall of Famer said he anticipates Pro Bowl quarterback Dak Prescott getting better with more experience.
“I’m a little disappointed that people don’t see the whole Dak,” Staubach said, citing Prescott’s toughness and leadership, and pointing out that even all-time greats such as New England’s Tom Brady had to grow into the job.
“And the other thing is, his teammates really respect him,” Staubach continued. “You have to have confidence in yourself but you’ve got to transfer that to your teammates. And everything that I see when I see these guys interviewed, they respect Dak. And doesn’t blame anybody, he doesn’t complain.
“I think he’s really a good football player and he’s going to continue to, with the team getting stronger, continue to be a great quarterback.”
“Consistent Lineup” Helped Dak In 2018 (Jan. 31)
It’s no secret the Cowboys’ passing game production picked up after the bye-week trade for Amari Cooper. Dak Prescott’s numbers pre- and post-trade are proof: 8 passing touchdowns and 62.1 completion percentage in the first seven games; 16 passing touchdowns and 70.1 completion percentage in the final 11 games (plus playoffs) with Cooper.
But Prescott said the development of a consistent receiver rotation also helped him as the season went along. Prior to the trade for Cooper, five different receivers had at least 100 offensive snaps in the first seven games as the Cowboys tried to build an effective receiver committee to replace Dez Bryant.
“Guys were doing well. I just, honestly I wasn’t comfortable,” Prescott said. “It wasn’t the same guys at the same positions, as much as it was anything. You look out there and it’s a different X than it was a play ago, it’s a different Z than it was a play ago. I think what that did is it created a little bit of uncertainty for me. More so than it was getting the No. 1, it was just getting a consistent lineup and group across the board.
“But when you have a guy like Amari and his ability to get open, the way that he studies and prepares the game, it’s second to none. That’s what makes him a No. 1 receiver.”
The Cowboys will most likely be dealing with several NFL agents this summer with more than a handful of key players getting to the end or nearing the end of their contracts.
But one of the more prominent agents in the NFL does have a client with the Cowboys but isn’t expecting to be negotiating a new deal – at least not yet.
Drew Rosenhaus recently added defensive tackle Antwaun Woods this past season and is happy to have No. 99 on his team.
“Yeah he’s a very talented defensive lineman,” Rosenhaus said of Woods. “We’re excited to represent him. I’ve heard a lot of good things from the coaches and the organization that he’s got a bright future.”
Woods had surgery two weeks ago to repair a torn labrum on his shoulder that he sustained in the playoff loss to the Rams.
“Thankfully, the shoulder should be fine. He’ll be ready to go for training camp,” said Rosenhaus, who seems to love Woods’ approach. “He’s a very humble guy. I talked to (Titans DT) Jurrell Casey, who was his teammate at Tennessee. He was very fond of him. He’s a real winner on and off the field. Real excited to have him in our family.”
Woods was one of the Cowboys’ biggest surprises in 2018, going from a rather unknown tackle trying to make the team, to starting 15 games. He led all defensive tackles on the team with 34 tackles. Woods will be an exclusive rights free agent in 2020 and will be restricted in 2021.
Rosenhaus, who was watching some of his clients this past week at the Pro Bowl in Orlando, currently represents over 80 NFL players, including Antonio Brown, Tyreek Hill and Rob Gronkowski and has had Hall of Famers such as Terrell Owens and Warren Sapp.
Surgery For Taco Charlton (Jan. 24)
Defensive end Taco Charlton reportedly had surgery to repair the shoulder injury that sidelined him for three November games this past season.
Charlton appeared in 11 games (seven starts) in his second NFL season, posting 27 tackles (13 solo) and one sack as part of the defensive line rotation.
Beasley Clarifies Comments On Role (Jan. 23)
Wide receiver Cole Beasley tweeted out a clarification to comments he made Tuesday about his role in the Cowboys’ offense.
The explanation provided context to Beasley's tweet from Tuesday: “Honestly, the front office pushes who they want to get the ball to. I haven’t been a huge priority in that regard. Maybe that will change but I’m not sure. More balls come my way in 2 minute drill where nothing is planned.”
As a guest Wednesday on the Rich Eisen Show, Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones was asked about Beasley’s original comments.
“I would hope that’s just his frustration but certainly not at all the case,” Jones said. “We don’t get involved in that.
“He’s been just an integral part of what we’re about. Certainly he’s made a lot of big catches and key catches in games that we’ve won and had success with.”
Beasley also emphasized Tuesday that he wasn’t ruling out a return to the Cowboys:
Beasley has been a reliable option for Dak Prescott since the Cowboys’ starting quarterback entered the league in 2016. This season he ranked second on the team with 65 catches for 672 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was targeted 87 times, including 16 in the final two minutes of the first and second halves, according to Pro Football Reference -- though naturally the passing game dynamic changed once the Cowboys traded for Pro Bowl receiver Amari Cooper at midseason.
No First-Rounder? No Problem (Jan. 22)
Draft evaluations continue this week at the Senior Bowl – a showcase of the top senior prospects – but the Cowboys are in a unique position this year without a first-round pick.
Not that the club is complaining. Amari Cooper is headed to the Pro Bowl this week after completing a 1,000-yard season with the Cowboys. His new team is quite pleased with the decision to trade its first-rounder to Oakland for the 24-year-old receiver back in October.
“We’ve got one,” chief operating officer Stephen Jones said. “It’s Amari Cooper.”
-David Helman and Rob Phillips
Jerry Jones Updates OC Search (Jan. 22)
Speaking from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones discussed a number of topics regarding the coaching staff. Some highlights:
- It’s been four days since the Cowboys parted ways with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, but Jones said the club is currently in the “throws of evaluation” and “in no hurry” to name a replacement at the moment.
- Asked specifically about outside candidates for offensive coordinator, Jones said, “I like the guys we’ve got in house.” Quarterbacks coach Kellen Moore and tight ends coach Doug Nussmeier have been rumored as possible candidates to help with the play-calling.
- Asked about head coach Jason Garrett’s involvement on offense with an eventual new offensive coordinator, Jones said, “It could be more or less.”
- Asked how much he values quarterback Dak Prescott’s input in the decision-making process for a new offensive coordinator, Jones said, “Significantly.”
- Jones confirmed that the Cowboys have secured a commitment from former quarterback Jon Kitna to join the staff, but it doesn’t sound like the club has fully defined his role. Earlier this year, Kitna was hired as offensive coordinator for the San Diego Fleet in the Alliance of American Football.
-David Helman and Rob Phillips
Beasley Opens Up About Free Agency, Role (Jan. 22)
Cole Beasley is set to be a free agent in March, but the veteran receiver isn’t ruling out a return to Dallas.
Beasley discussed his future with fans Tuesday via Twitter, indicating that his role in the offense will have an impact on his decision.
“Utilization is more important than money,” he tweeted.
“Doesn’t mean I’m gone," he continued. "I’ll play anywhere where I can make more of an impact. I would love for that to be Dallas or anywhere else that will give me more pops to make an impact.”
Beasley has been a reliable option for quarterback Dak Prescott, working mostly from the slot. This season he ranked second on the team with 65 catches for 672 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Cowboys Sign Former 2nd-Round Pick (Jan. 18)
On a day of changes, the Cowboys made a noteworthy addition to their roster.
The team signed Devin Smith, a former second-round draft pick with the New York Jets, to a reserve/futures contract on Friday.
Smith was drafted No. 37 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft after emerging as a big-play threat at Ohio State. He averaged 28 yards per catch and scored 12 touchdowns during his final college season, and his 4.43 time in the 40-yard dash secured his status as one of the top receivers in that year’s class.
Injuries limited him from ever tapping that potential in New York, though. He tore his ACL in December of his rookie season, and he didn’t return to the Jets’ active roster until November of the next year. In the spring of 2017, the Jets revealed that Smith had torn the same ACL again, which landed him on injured reserve for the entirety of that season. He was released prior to the Jets’ 2018 training camp.
All told, Smith finished his Jets career with just 10 receptions, and he hasn’t played an NFL game since 2016. But as a low-risk, high-reward signing, it’s definitely an intriguing addition for the Cowboys.
Missing the Pro Bowl
For the first time in six years, it appears the Cowboys will not have an offensive lineman in the Pro Bowl. Obviously, both Tyron Smith and Zack Martin were named to the Pro Bowl last month, but because of nagging injuries, the two star linemen have elected to miss the game.
Smith has been selected to the Pro Bowl six straight years from 2013-18 and Martin has made it the last five years.
Smith missed three games this season for various injuries while Martin sat out the first two games of his career because of a knee injury. Both of them were able to play in both playoff games.
Currently, the Cowboys still have four players heading to Orlando along with the entire coaching staff. DeMarcus Lawrence, Ezekiel Elliott, Byron Jones and Leighton Vander Esch are still expected to play in the Jan. 27 game.
*Stephen Jones: ‘Busy Offseason’ Ahead
The Cowboys don’t have an overwhelming number of free-agents-to-be on their roster this year – Pro Bowl pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence tops the list – but there’s a lot of potential business items for the front office to discuss.
“We've got a lot of work to do in this offseason,” Cowboys Chief Operating Officer Stephen Jones said this week on 105.3 The Fan. “So, it will be a busy one."
Continuing their philosophy in recent years, Jones doesn’t expect the Cowboys to be major players for outside free agents. They’ll focus on re-signing their own players, and it’s worth noting that other key contributors are entering the final year of their current deals in 2019, including quarterback Dak Prescott. The timing there remains to be seen, of course.
“I think you can use (free agency) for depth and where to fill in, but I don't think we make our living out here paying big money for free agents,” Jones said. “Don't see that being the case, especially since we've got some really, really good football players on our team that need to be paid.
“Obviously we don’t have our one (first-round pick). We've got (wide receiver) Amari (Cooper). He'll be another one that's in discussion for a long-term contract. We’ve got to draft well with the picks we’ve got and hopefully sign the players that we have and let these young players take the next step."
LVE Just 11th Rookie Pro Bowler
When Leighton Vander Esch got added to the Pro Bowl earlier this week, it got us thinking just how many defensive rookies have made it for the Cowboys. The answer is just three now, with LVE becoming the first rookie linebacker as he joins only Mel Renfro (1964) and Everson Walls (1981).
But what about overall rookies? In the 59 seasons of Cowboys football, only 10 rookies had ever made it to the Pro Bowl, including three in the past four years. Both Dak and Zeke made it in 2016 and Zack Martin was a Pro Bowler as a rookie, and has been ever since.
Still, it’s pretty rare for a Cowboys player to make the Pro Bowl as a rookie and Vander Esch finds himself in pretty elite company.
1961 – Don Perkins, RB
1964 – Mel Renfro, CB
1965 – Bob Hayes, WR
1969 – Calvin Hill, RB
1981 – Everson Walls, CB
1990 – Emmitt Smith, RB
2007 – Nick Folk, K
2014 – Zack Martin, G
2016 – Dak Prescott, QB
2016 – Ezekiel Elliott, RB
2018 – Leighton Vander Esch, LB
Of the other 10, two are in the Hall of Fame and three are in the Cowboys Ring of Honor.
Vote For Zeke
To no surprise, Ezekiel Elliott is one of the finalists for the FedEx Air & Ground Player of the Year Award. Elliott, who led the NFL in rushing with 1,434 yards, will need the fans to vote for him, especially considering the candidates he’s facing the Rams’ Todd Gurley and New York Giants rookie Saquan Barkley.
Gurley won the weekly FedEx award back in Week 6 and Barkley did in Week 11. Zeke was nominated a couple of times but never won the fans vote.
On the passing side of the award, the nominees are Drew Brees, Patrick Mahomes and Philip Rivers.
To vote for Zeke, click here:
“Bad Day To Have A Bad Day”
The Cowboys’ defense was a major strength of the team all season, but as Cowboys owner/general manager reflected this week on 105.3 The Fan, “we picked a bad day to have a bad day” in last Saturday’s divisional-round loss to the Rams.
Dallas ranked fifth against the run during the regular season, allowing 94.6 yards per game, but the Rams piled up 273 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Jones said the slippery field in L.A. might have been a factor, but overall they just couldn’t find any traction – figuratively – against the Rams’ attack.
“We had a combination of players that just didn't have their best game,” Jones said. “They did some things in there that weren't confusing, but just were debilitating to us relative to the way we play. We were, some of our guys were getting backed up in lanes that other guys were trying to rush in and we just had a bad day overall."
Jason Garrett had a few answers on some questions he was asked on Monday. He sidestepped a few others.
And some of them, such as his contract, he was rather short.
When asked if he had discussions with owner Jerry Jones about a possible contract extension, the head coach firmly said “No.”
And that was it. Garrett didn’t offer any substance to the topic. The Cowboys’ head coach has one more season remaining on his contract that expires after the 2019 season.
Comparing Dak to Brees/Brady
Garrett had all the positive answers when asked in general to assess his quarterback Dak Prescott, citing his toughness both physically and mentally and his leadership.
He was then asked about the areas his quarterback needs to improve.
“I think every aspect of his game,” Garrett said. “That comes from playing and learning from your experiences. You look at two of the guys who are playing this weekend, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, that’s what they do. Now they’ve been doing it for a long, long time. Over the course of their career, I think they developed that. They’re both smart guys. They both love football. And they grew with the experiences they had. And we feel like Dak has some of the same qualities of those guys in terms of how much he loves it, how smart he is. He’ll learn and benefit from his experiences as well.”
Garrett made it clear that there haven’t been many discussions about the roster, especially in the upcoming free agents such as DeMarcus Lawrence, who played this season on the franchise tag.
“But he’s certainly as big a priority as there is,” Garrett said. “He’s been such a great player for us and continues to get better and better. Talk about a guy who takes the right approach to the game and wants to be a great player and wants his unit and our team to be great. He had a fantastic year last year. Again, he was put in that situation with the franchise tag, but he embraced every moment of it. He was involved in everything we did. He’s really embraced the role of being a leader on this football team, beyond just his production.
While he probably won’t be heavily involved in the negotiations of a potential contract for Ezekiel Elliott, Garrett definitely has an opinion. And it’s not a surprising one.
“Again, I don't want to talk about any specific contracts, but suffice to say I love Ezekiel Elliott,” Garrett said. “And I think everybody that is connected to the Cowboys knows the impact he's made on our team, and he's a hell of a football player and he represents everything that we want in our guys. He loves the game. He plays the game at a very high level. So, he's had a huge impact on our team over the course of his first three years here."
Explanation Of ‘In The Grasp’ Sack vs. Dak
A key moment in Saturday’s 30-22 loss came late in second quarter, when the officials ruled that Dak Prescott was sacked on third down even though no Rams defender actually brought him to the ground.
Rams pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr. had a hand around Prescott’s neck as he bumped into right tackle La’el Collins and the play was whistled over. Trailing 20-7, the Cowboys were forced to punt after driving inside the Rams’ 40-yard line.
According to a pool report by the L.A. Times’ Sam Farmer, referee John Parry said, “From my view the quarterback’s progress had stopped moving forward. There were hands around him and another defender was coming, so we went in the grasp to protect the quarterback.”
Asked if Prescott’s progress was stopped, Parry said, “He was no longer moving forward.”
The ‘in the grasp’ call “is designed to protect the quarterback,” Parry said.
Richard Not Pondering Future
A week ago, Cowboys defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator Kris Richard interviewed for head coaching vacancies with the Bucs, Jets and Dolphins. The Bucs (Bruce Arians) and Jets (Adam Gase) have since made other hires, however, and the Dolphins are reportedly looking to hire Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores.
Richard, when asked if he was pondering his future immediately after Saturday’s playoff loss to L.A., said his focus is on the Cowboys.
“It’s always going to be where I am, about this team, about the men,” Richard said. “The sole mission is to build men and make sure that they have something when they’re done with this game.”
“Why would I retire?”
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli had no issues answering questions about their run-defense problems. He didn’t appreciate getting asked about his future or to comment about a report stating he wouldn’t be the defensive coordinator in 2019.
“Why would I do that,” Marinelli said of retiring. “Why do people keep asking me that? I would tell you. You ever see me come out and not be energized and ready? So why ask me that? I’m tired of answering that. What kind of question is that after a game? Ask me about run defense, I’ll give you anything you want.”
Marinelli, who turns 70 in July, said he had not heard anything that suggested he wouldn’t be back as the DC or that Kris Richard would take over for 2019.
Get Off The Field
What a difference a week makes. Against Russell Wilson and Seattle last Saturday in the Wild Card Round, the Cowboys defense had three straight 3-and-outs to start the game.
Against the Rams, they never had one, allowing at least one first down in every Los Angeles offensive series.
The Rams only punted once in the game, but even that possession saw five plays.
On the other side, the Cowboys had three different three-and-out series that ended in punts.
Back to Orlando?
Saturday’s loss now opens the door for the coaching staff to coach the NFC once again in this year’s Pro Bowl.
If the Saints, the No. 1 seed in the playoffs, defeat Philadelphia on Sunday, Jason Garrett and his staff will be the coaches for the NFC for the third time in five seasons.
NFL rules state that the highest-seeded team that loses in the divisional round will coach the Pro Bowl. If the No. 6 seeded Eagles lose, it would make Dallas (fourth seed) the highest seed to lose.
Should Philly win, it would send Sean Payton and his Saints’ staff off to Orlando.
Gallup’s Rookie Record
Michael Gallup finished with 119 receiving yards in the game, which set a new Cowboys record for the most receiving yards by a rookie in a postseason contest, shattering the previous mark of 88 yards set by Alvin Harper in the 1991 wild-card win over Chicago.
Gallup also became only the 21st rookie in NFL history to earn at least 100 receiving yards in a playoff game. His total of 119 ranks eighth all-time in league postseason record books for a rookie.
LA’s Rare Double-Trouble
The 273 rushing yards allowed marked the most ever given up by the Cowboys in a playoff game and the seventh highest total given up by the Cowboys in any game, regular season or playoffs. With C.J. Anderson rushing for 123 yards and Todd Gurley going for 115, this marked only the second time in Cowboys history that the team allowed two 100-yard rushers in the same game. The first came on Dec. 20, 2008 against Baltimore, the final contest played at Texas Stadium. Le’Ron McClain rushed for 139 in that one with Willis McGahee totaling 108.
By not committing a turnover, it marked the Cowboys’ first postseason game without a turnover since Super Bowl XXX against Pittsburgh. However, unlike that win over the Steelers, which saw the Cowboys record a pair of second-half interceptions, the Cowboys did not get any turnovers from its own defense.