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Enemy intel: Cowboys' Jones ignores players' baggage

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Enemy intel: Cowboys' Jones ignores players' baggage

A look around what's going on around the NFC East.

With DE’s DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory and LB Rolando McClain all suspended for the start of the season, Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated thinks that the Cowboys’ defensive MVP might be coordinator Rod Marinelli.
But not to be overlooked in that division-winning effort—and it wasn’t by those paying attention—was the work Marinelli’s defensive unit put in. Without any obvious stars, Dallas’s defense finished in the top half of the league in points allowed, holding every single opponent under 30 points and half of their foes to 20 or less. It was some of Marinelli’s finest work.

He made lemons out of lemonade last season, too, giving the Cowboys a chance to win most weeks despite the utter calamity that occurred when Romo was sidelined.

If the ‘16 season is to be a bounceback year for the ’Boys, Marinelli will have to pull a rabbit from his hat again. On Thursday, the NFL announced that starting linebacker Rolando McClain would have to sit out the first 10 games of the season for another violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy. He will join previously punished edge defenders Randy Gregory and DeMarcus Lawrence (four games each) on the sideline. Those are three significant losses for a team already shy on proven depth in the front seven.
Tandler: Marinelli did get the most out of the Cowboys defense the last couple of years. But production is more about Larry and Joes than X's and O's. I'm not so sure the Dallas defense will survive without the three suspended players.

Longtime Dallas writer Rick Gosselin takes Jerry Jones to task for relying on the likes of Lawrence, McClain, and Gregory—all of whom has major red flags when the Cowboys acquired them—to get the job done.
The Cowboys employ scouts.

Maybe they should start hiring porters. In addition to paying scouts to find the players, the Cowboys need porters to carry all their baggage into that sparkling new practice facility in Frisco.

That's been one of the shortcomings of Jerry Jones in his capacity as general manager and personnel guru of the Cowboys. He's always been a sucker for a bargain. His personnel decisions are based exclusively on on-the-field ability rather than any potential off-the-field headaches. If you have talent, Jones will ignore your baggage.

. . .

The most important part of ability is availability. At some point, a franchise must realize that these players are chances that aren't worth taking.

Now the Cowboys are in a bind. Defense was a problem on this team a year ago. The Cowboys ranked last in takeaways with an NFL-record-tying low of 11 and 25th in sacks on the way to a 4-12 collapse.
Tandler: Don't ever fire yourself, Jerry. It's just too much fun.

Eagles GM Howie Roseman said recently that the team has made its biggest mistakes by giving big money to free agents that weren’t their own. I guess they couldn’t figure this out by looking at their own 2011 “dream team” experience or by looking at the history of their division rivals just down I-95.
“When you look at it, some of the mistakes we’ve made have been going out and spending a lot of money,” Roseman said. “A lot of those mistakes were on guys that aren’t our own. They were guys that we’ve brought from another organization, and we thought we knew.”

The failed contracts that were extended to DeMarco Murray and Byron Maxwell instantly come to mind when considering recent free agent activity. Rather than continue to go down the same path, the Eagles have focused on keeping a core group of players in the fold and complementing them with additional players.

“We went and looked at our plan for our roster over the next couple of years and said we will never let Fletcher Cox leave the building,” Roseman said. “We will never let Lane [Johnson] leave the building, we will never let Zach [Ertz]…if we do it now, we do it a little early and maybe save on those guys and add to the team, keep as many guys around as possible. We have this core, and we can build off of that.”
Tandler: I like the moves the Eagles made in locking up Cox, Johnson, Ertz, and a few others. I'm still dubious about their quarterback situation and if Carson Wentz isn't very good they will have issues winning consistently. But locking up their own is almost always the right move and none of the contracts seemed to be out of line.

When the Ravens released offensive tackle Eugene Monroe many figured it was just a matter of time before he signed with the Giants, who have been rebuilding their line over the past few years. But Monroe is still a free agent and here’s why:
The Giants still have interest in former Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe after an offseason where they tried to find a potential replacement for right tackle Marshall Newhouse, but came up empty. The problem is similar to what they ran into with Russell Okung, Donald Penn and even current Jet Ryan Clady.

Monroe would prefer to play left tackle. The Giants aren't willing to offer that position. They're strongly intent on keeping last year's first-round pick Ereck Flowers on the left side. The question now is whether Monroe can get an offer elsewhere to play somewhere on the left side. If so, he's not a Giants option.

Monroe's currently assessing his options, while the Giants wait on a decision. They're not about to break the bank for a 29-year-old tackle who has struggled with injuries in recent years.
Tandler: I'm not sure if Monroe is going to be able to find a left tackle job that he'll be able to walk in to in July; most teams make a top priority of filling those job. His options are to wait and see if a left tackle gets injured in training camp or accept a right tackle job with a team like the Giants.

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Dallas sportscaster really doesn't want you comparing the Cowboys' O-line to The Hogs

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Dallas sportscaster really doesn't want you comparing the Cowboys' O-line to The Hogs

You'd think that comparing an offensive line to The Hogs — that famous unit who played a major role in the Redskins' best days in the 1980s and '90s — would come across as a compliment.

But one Dallas sportscaster didn't take it as such when a CSN reporter tried to do so. 

On Wednesday's edition of Countdown to Training Camp, Newy Scruggs joined Chris Miller and Doc Walker to talk about the Cowboys. During that discussion, Miller asked Scruggs if the team's revered offensive line could end up as the second coming of The Hogs.

Scruggs responded by calling that thought disrespectful. Not disrespectful to The Hogs, however.

"We've already had a great wall in Dallas that won three Super Bowls, OK?" Scruggs said with a tone that was a mix of annoyed and incredulous. "Why can't they be that next version? Let's not compare them to something that's over in Washington."

To see Scruggs' full answer to Miller's question and his entire explanation for why he didn't like it, watch the video above. And for any Redskins fans who don't like the way he spoke about The Hogs, here's the man's Twitter. Now, tweet away.

MORE NFL: TWO STEPS THAT'LL MAKE RYAN KERRIGAN MUCH BETTER

 

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Ryan Kerrigan is capable of even more sacks, but he needs help from other defenders

Ryan Kerrigan is capable of even more sacks, but he needs help from other defenders

Here's a list of things you can depend on Ryan Kerrigan doing: having bigger biceps than you, being a part of the world's cutest engagement photos and showing up on Sundays to harrass opposing quarterbacks. 

The Redskins' 2011 first-round pick has never missed an NFL game and has averaged 9.75 sacks over the course of his six-year career. But CSN analyst and former Redskin Doc Walker thinks the 28-year-old can be even better than the production he's posted for Washington.

"He can get that waking up," Walker said, referring to the 11 sacks Kerrigan notched last season. "I need 16, big fella."

But in Walker's opinion, there are two things that are holding the Pro Bowler back from reaching the next level. For his full analysis of what's missing, watch the video above.

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