There are officially 75 days until the toe meets the ball at AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys will host the New York Giants on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
Congratulations! You’ve made it all the way to the number 75 on our countdown here at Inside The Star. I know that it still feels like forever until we’re going to hear that glorious sound of helmets crashing together, but today we’re a bit closer as we determine the Greatest 75 in Dallas Cowboys History.
The following players have all worn 75 for the Dallas Cowboys:
- Jon Carter, DT
- Tony Casillas, DT
- Marc Colombo, OT
- Derrick Dockery, OG
- Bob Fry, OT
- Brandon Noble, DT
- Phil Pozderac, OT
- Jethro Pugh, DG
- Darrion Weems*, OT
- Marcellus Wiley, DE
- Ryan Young, OT
*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster
My oh my there is a lot to digest here.
Bob Fry was the first starting left tackle in Dallas Cowboys History. Think about that for a second. This is a franchise that has featured the following players at left tackle: Ralph Neely, Mark Tuinei, Flozell Adams, and current standout Tyron Smith. The path was paved for all of those greats by the one and only Bob Fry (who was actually coached in high school by the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant).
Tony Casillas was a huge part of the reason why the Cowboys had, as Ken Norton Jr. called it, the “best defense in the land” in 1992. He became a run-stopping specialist in his time wearing the Cowboys 75. The former Sooner recounted his days in Dallas on our Cowboys Cast a few weeks ago, talking about how he and his fellow defensive linemen bonded over terrorizing opposing quarterbacks. Casillas has over 200 tackles to his Cowboy name and is one of the more elite players to wear the number.
If you like monster trucks and heavy metal music then Marc Colombo might be your guy. The former 75 was, quietly, a very productive right tackle for the Cowboys. He was a part of an offensive line in the beginning of the Romo era that kept him upright and the ‘Boys very competitive. He would go on to form a literal rock band with former teammates Leonard Davis and Cory Procter.
While there are certainly a few guys who we all have fond memories of in the blue and white 75, one stands above the rest.
Both the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders in the 1965 NFL/AFL Drafts drafted Jethro Pugh. He opted to play for the NFL’s Cowboys and put together what is arguably a Hall of Fame career.
In his 14 seasons as a Cowboy (only Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Bill Bates, and Mark Tuinei played more years as a Cowboy) Jethro Pugh was a part of a lot of history. In terms of NFL History, Pugh was on the receiving end of Jerry Kramer’s block on the final play of the Ice Bowl that allowed Bart Starr to score and send the Green Bay Packers to Super Bowl II against the Oakland Raiders (where they defeated them in the Orange Bowl). Pugh was no pansy though which is exemplified by the fact that he fought through appendicitis during the 1971 season (the first in which the Cowboys won the Super Bowl…SBVI against the Miami Dolphins). APPENDICITIS! The dude took shots of penicillin to numb the pain so that he wouldn’t miss time. I’ve personally had appendicitis and I don’t know how much respect you guys will have for me after this, but I was in the hospital for a week after it. So needless to say Jethro is more man than I.
Jethro put his hand in the dirt next to some pretty amazing players. Bob Lilly, George Andrie, Randy White, Harvey Martin, and Ed “Too Tall” Jones all lined up next to him at one point or another. While quarterback sacks did not become an officially tallied statistic until 1982, Jethro has an unofficial 95.5 career sacks. He led the team in this category each season from 1968-1972, a record that stood until 2010 when DeMarcus Ware led the team for his sixth consecutive season.
The late Jethro Pugh is one of the all-time greats who never put on another uniform in his career. A Cowboy for life, Pugh was a part of both the Super Bowl VI and Super Bowl XII World Champion teams. He is in some great company in Club 75, but Jethro Pugh is the Greatest 75 in Dallas Cowboys History.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 74 in Dallas Cowboys History is!
Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
It's not uncommon for Dallas Cowboys fans to zero in on certain free agents in hopes that they will bring their talents to America's Team. In fact, just about any "big name" player to hit the open market is often linked to the Cowboys in some way or another. That was the case when the Arizona Cardinals decided to move on from Tyrann Mathieu.
Once Tyrann Mathieu became available, Cowboys fans immediately wanted to see him with a star on his helmet. But, despite the fans petitioning, the Cowboys brass seemed to show almost zero interest in the former Cardinal.
The decision to not pursue Tyrann Mathieu certainly didn't sit well with a lot of Cowboys Nation, but I think it was the right decision.
Despite Mathieu's perceived talents and youth (he's just 25), the Cowboys weren't interested in paying the price to bring him to Dallas, especially since they already have a similar player on their roster.
It may sound crazy, but I think the real reason the Dallas Cowboys didn't show much interest in Tyrann Mathieu is because of Xavier Woods.
I honestly believe Xavier Woods and Tyrann Mathieu have a similar skill set. Both players are little undersized to be a full-time safety in the NFL, but each of them have the versatility to play several different roles in the secondary.
Mathieu may have been listed as a safety on the Arizona Cardinals roster, and now the Houston Texans, but the truth is he played mostly out of the nickel/slot in his professional and collegiate career. That is where he is at his best, and the same can be said about Xavier Woods.
As a rookie, Xavier Woods showed his versatility with the Dallas Cowboys by playing a variety of different roles in the secondary. His versatility was one of the reasons the Cowboys decided to trade up in last year's draft to acquire his services.
His name might not carry the same kind of weight as Tyrann Mathieu right now around the league or amongst NFL fans, but I don't think Xavier Woods is that much of a drop off talent wise.
Personally, I believe Mathieu is starting to decline a little as a player. I think injuries are starting to take a toll on his play, although it may be minimal. I actually prefer Xavier Woods' upside, especially when you take into account the difference in salaries between the two.
Surprisingly enough, Xavier Woods might just have been more productive in 2017 then Mathieu. Woods started just four games and finished the season with 42 tackles, three passes defensed, and one interception. Mathieu on the other hand started all 16 games and accumulated 78 tackles, one quarterback sack, one forced fumble, and two interceptions.
As you can see, Xavier Woods was almost just as productive as Mathieu in nearly a third of the playing time. What's even more impressive about this is that Woods accomplish this as a rookie.
Of course, all of this is speculation, but I for one am not all that upset the Dallas Cowboys missed out on Tyrann Mathieu. I'm willing to bet on Xavier Woods being able to do everything Mathieu can and at a fraction of the cost.
Were the Cowboys right not to pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
Free Agent CB Orlando Scandrick Joining Washington Redskins
Just two days after being released by the Dallas Cowboys, cornerback Orlando Scandrick has found a new home in the nation's capitol. After 10 seasons in Dallas, Scandrick is signing with the rival Washington Redskins.
Redskins and Orlando Scandrick have agreed to a 2-year deal worth a max value of $10M, source said. From Dallas to a rival.
By joining Washington after leaving Dallas, Scandrick follows in the footsteps of many ex-Cowboys: Terrell McClain, Jason Hatcher, Stephen Bowen, and even Deion Sanders to name a few.
Last week, Orlando reportedly requested his release from Dallas. It was widely expected that he would be a salary cap casualty anyway, though, and especially with the young stockpile of cornerbacks the Cowboys currently have.
Dallas has three young corners they believe in with Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown. There is also talk that Byron Jones could be moving back to CB next year.
Scandrick, 31, will get to stay in the NFC East and now cover some of his former teammates. Give the reportedly salary, he should at least be the slot corner for Washington next year if not a starter.
Upgrading the Offensive Line Cowboys Top Offseason Priority?
Despite the displeasure by the majority of fans, the Dallas Cowboys continue to hold things close to the vest with their approach to free agency. It's definitely not the most popular approach and tends to drive fans crazy, but things could start heating up now that the free-agent market is starting to settle.
Looking from the outside in, we can only speculate as to which positions the Dallas Cowboys may prioritize in free agency and in the draft that matter. Earl Thomas and the safety position has been the most popular topic of discussion throughout the free agency process, but it looks as if the Cowboys are narrowing their focus on upgrading and adding depth to their offensive line.
This is just speculation of course, but it's based on the fact that the Cowboys are rumored to be bringing in free-agent offensive lineman Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming. And on top of that, it was announced that two of the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visitors are also offensive lineman, Will Hernandez, who is popular among Cowboys fans already, and offensive tackle Kolton Miller.
I don't know about you, but it looks as if the Dallas Cowboys are certainly focused in on upgrading the offensive line. This absolutely makes sense after what they went through last season with the carousel at the left guard position and Tyron Smith's struggles to stay healthy.
More than anything, the Cowboys need OL depth heading into the 2018 season. There is only really one spot up for grabs at left guard, but the depth across the OL is absolutely depleted unless you want to rely on Chaz Green again.
This is where Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming make a lot of sense. Marcus Martin has the versatility to play center and guard, and has done so already in his NFL career. He could compete for the starting LG position, but if nothing else, could replace Joe Looney as the backup C/OG.
Cameron Fleming could be the more important of the two free agents the Cowboys are rumored to be interested in. At the worst, Fleming would be an upgrade as the swing tackle, something he's done with the New England Patriots throughout his career. But, he could compete to become the starting right tackle, which would kick La'el Collins back inside to left guard.
That's all speculation right now, but the Dallas Cowboys would do what's best for the entire team in order to get the right starting five offensive lineman on the field.
The same can be said about rookies Will Hernandez and Kolton Miller. Hernandez would likely be a plug-and-play left guard if he ended up being the Dallas Cowboys first-round draft pick. That would keep the offensive line from shuffling and hopefully solidify the unit for years to come.
Kolton Miller on the other hand would be a lot like the Cameron Fleming situation mentioned above. He can probably tackle on the left or right side the NFL, although some draft analysts believe he will struggle as a LT at the next level.
Of course, there is no way of knowing how much interest the Dallas Cowboys have any of these players right now. But to me, it looks as if upgrading the offensive line is certainly one of their top priorities this offseason.
Is upgrading the OL the Dallas Cowboys top offseason priority?
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