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Bradie Bunch: #56 Belongs To Bradie James

RJ Ochoa



Cowboys Blog - Bradie Bunch: #56 Belongs To Bradie James

If you’ve ever seen the cult classic Dodgeball (shout out to Steve the Pirate) then you are pretty familiar with ESPN 8: The Ocho. This is cool for two reasons today of all days: 1) My last name is Ochoa which is just Ocho with an a… pretty sweet, right? 2) There are exactly OCHO weeks that stand between you and some high-octane Dallas Cowboys football going on!

So calm yourself down, grab a dunkaroo (who else misses those?), and settle in. Today we’re talking the Greatest 56 in Dallas Cowboys History.

The Following Players Have All Worn 56 For The Dallas Cowboys:

  • Reggie Barnes, LB
  • Rodrigo Barnes, LB
  • Troy Davis, LB
  • Randall Godfrey, LB
  • Orantes Grant, LB
  • Harold Hays, LB
  • Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson, LB
  • Bradie James, LB
  • Eugene Lockhart, LB
  • Bob Long, LB
  • Caleb McSurdy, LB
  • Jack Patera, LB
  • Bill Roe, LB
  • John Roper, LB
  • Thomas Stincic, LB
  • Korey Toomer, LB
  • Jason Vega, DE
  • Dekoda Watson, LB
  • Martez Wilson, LB

There are a lot of great things in life that come in threes: cheers, company, musketeers, blind mice, and the top gentlemen to wear 56 for the Dallas Cowboys.

Bradie James


Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson


Eugene Lockhart


The Hart Lock 56

We’ll start with Eugene Lockhart (no relation to Professor Lockhart from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets). “Mean Gene the Hitting Machine” grew up pretty quickly after Dallas selected him out of the University of Houston in the 6th round of the 1984 NFL Draft.

Lockhart came out of the gate ready to roll and he became the first rookie in franchise history to ever start at middle linebacker.


Lockhart donned the blue and silver from 1984-1990 and was one of the better players in a darker time in Cowboys History.

Throughout his 7 years with the club he led the team in sacks 4 times and had more than 100 tackles all but once. Eugene wound up being traded to the New England Patriots by Jimmy Johnson as part of a package that ultimately became the number one overall pick in 1991 (Russell Maryland). His time served under the star was very impressive, but Eugene falls short of the Greatest 56 honor.

56 Goes Hollywood

The 1975 Cowboys Draft Class, aka the Dirty Dozen, has been featured plenty on our Countdown to Kickoff. The 18th pick of that draft was none other than Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson out of Langston University. Now this shouldn’t come as a surprise to you, but you don’t get the nickname “Hollywood” for being quiet and doing puzzles.

Hollywood was one of the most flamboyant personalities that ever graced Texas Stadium.

As a linebacker, Henderson was unquestionably great, and he showed this by earning the strong side starting gig in 1977… and the Cowboys rode his success - among many others - to their second Super Bowl in franchise history. Thomas was extraordinarily talented on a football field and the Cowboys took every opportunity to give him the ball… even using him as a return man.

Thomas delivered on that investment when he returned a punt 97 yards for a score during his rookie season.

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Thomas Henderson was one of the most physically gifted linebackers to ever play, not only for the Cowboys but at the position in general.

While his Cowboy Career spanned only 5 years he made an NFL-wide impact. Lawrence Taylor, arguably the greatest linebacker to ever live, has stated many times that he was inspired to wear 56 by none other than Hollywood. While that tidbit is amazing, unfortunately, it’s not enough to let 56 live in Hollywood permanently.

A Very Bradie 56

It’s hard to believe that the 2003 NFL Draft was twelve years ago. Cornerstone players Jason Witten and Tony Romo strapped on their Cowboy boots that year, but it’s 4th round draft choice Bradie James out of LSU that we’re here to talk about.


Like most young linebackers, Bradie James spent some time on the special teams unit and earned his stripes.

When the Cowboys changed to a 3-4 defense in 2005, James became the starting middle linebacker and began to shine as he led the team in tackles. In regards to tackles, Bradie James conquered unchartered territory for the Cowboys as he became the first player to lead the team in this category for 3 straight seasons.

Bradie would add to his streak and eventually lead the team in tackles for 6 straight seasons, setting a franchise record.

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt (18) loses his helmet as Dallas Cowboys linebacker Bradie James (56) tackles him during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Mike Fuentes)

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt (18) loses his helmet as Dallas Cowboys linebacker Bradie James (56) tackles him during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Mike Fuentes)

Bradie James was a statistical machine. He had 5 straight seasons of 100+ tackles, but he was so much more than that.

James was the leader on the Cowboys defense and a leader in the community. He took the torch of Cowboy linebackers from Dexter Coakley before his time and passed it on to Sean Lee after it. 56 features some formidable competition, but the Greatest 56 in Dallas Cowboys History boils down to the one and only Bradie James.

Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 55 in Dallas Cowboys History is!

Want to share your opinions on who should be featured on our Countdown To Kickoff? Email me at or Tweet @rjochoa.

Tell us what you think about "Bradie Bunch: #56 Belongs To Bradie James" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!

I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!


Star Blog

Tony Pollard is Just What the Doctor Ordered in Dallas

Matthew Lenix



Tony Pollard is Just What the Doctor Ordered in Dallas

The Dallas Cowboys have what many believe to be the best running back in the NFL in Ezekiel Elliott. However, you can never undervalue the importance of depth at any position. When the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft came around, the Cowboys added another weapon to the backfield by selecting Tony Pollard out of Memphis.

If you’re looking for a dynamic player maker with the ability to take it to the house at any given moment, Pollard is your man. The former Tiger averaged a touchdown every 13 touches in college. That’s an absolutely insane statistic when you think about it. He also tied an NCAA record with seven kick returns for touchdowns. Long story short, he can get you six points at the blink of an eye.

The versatility in his game is outrageous and undoubtedly the reason why he was drafted. In addition to running for 941 yards on 6.8 yards per rush, he also had 104 receptions for 1,292 yards. New offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has to be salivating about the possibilities with his new toy. Having a running back that can not only carry the load as a runner but also line up at receiver keeps the defense honest. You never know what angle the offense is going to come from.

This has to be a sigh of relief for Ezekiel Elliott. Now, the Cowboys don’t have to overexert him and can bring Pollard in on third downs if need be. Not just to give Elliott a breather but to change the pace of the offensive attack. You can hand the ball off, throw it to him or run jet sweeps when he is on the field. This sets up a potential combo at running back that could be the leagues very best shortly.

Speed, quickness, and agility are all wrapped up in the Tony Pollard package. The Cowboys now have a running back that can line up at multiple positions if need be. Also, this prevents a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on the body of Ezekiel Elliott. This combination has all the potential to set the NFL on fire in 2019.

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Star Blog

CB Byron Jones Not Expected To Return Until Week 1 Against NYG

Kevin Brady



Byron Jones

Coming off what was clearly the best season of his career thus far, Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones underwent surgery to hopefully fix a nagging hip injury.

While he earned both his first All Pro and Pro Bowl honors in 2018, his first season as a full-time cornerback, Jones still has a lot to prove in the upcoming season. Some still criticize him for his lack of interceptions, and there's no doubt his stellar play slowed down a bit towards the end of the year.

I'm willing to wager that the slight decline had a lot to do with his hip troubles, but nonetheless he must come up with his elite level play once again to earn himself a nice contract somewhere in 2020.

Oh, did I forget to mention it's also a contract year for Byron Jones? As it is for so many important Dallas Cowboys, it seems.

So when will Byron Jones be able to return to the Cowboys' lineup? Well, the initial date reportedly set by Jones and the team was late July, giving him a chance to practice and play a bit before the season opener in September. But, according to the Team Site this week, that date may be pushed back a bit, and we might not see Byron Jones until that season opening game against the Giants.

"As for Jones, all along the Cowboys have been targeting his return for the season opener, but hopefully at that. So, don’t expect to see much of Jones in training camp, and if so, certainly no more than individual and walk-through drills." - Mickey Spagnola

Ultimately, as long as Byron Jones is good to go when the regular season starts, that's all that matters, but the fear of rust when Jones returns is a real one.

It's tough to go from no live football straight to the meaningful games, but if anyone would be able to do it it would be the guy with the freakishly athletic traits. The guy who can get out of the bed in the morning and set athletic records at the Combine.

And, of course, that guy is Byron Jones.

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Star Blog

Dak Prescott: Calm Under Pressure

Matthew Lenix



Dak Prescott: Calm Under Pressure

When the 2016 NFL Draft came around the Dallas Cowboys were in search of the heir apparent to Tony Romo. Unfortunately, coming off an injury-plagued 2015 season, Romo would find himself on the shelf again after suffering a broken bone in his back during a preseason game against the Seahawks. However, the Cowboys had an ace in the hole, in the form of Dak Prescott who they drafted in the fourth round.

The idea was the groom him for a few years before taking the keys to the car so to speak from Romo, but fate had another idea in mind. Prescott would be thrust into the starting lineup against one of the Cowboys most hated rivals to start the season, the New York Giants. Added to that, was the pressure of living up to Romo's stellar resume as the franchise's all-time leading passer. After struggling in a tough 20-19 loss, no surprise there for a rookie quarterback, Prescott began to take flight.

Over the next eleven games he wouldn't suffer a single loss as the Cowboys were sitting pretty at 11-1. What made this streak more impressive was the efficiency of Prescott. He threw 19 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions over that span. In the process, he set an NFL record for the most passing attempts to start a career without an interception with 176. This broke the previous record held by Tom Brady of 162. It didn't stop there, as he also set a rookie record for completion percentage (67.8), was named Offensive Rookie of the Year and was selected to the Pro Bowl.

The Cowboys would finish 13-3 and win the NFC East. With home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and the franchise only winning two postseason games in 21 years, Prescott was definitely under the microscope. After the offense struggled to produce points in the first half and fell behind 21-3, Prescott lead a furious comeback. Helping the team storm all the way back to tie the game at 28 and again at 31. He finished with 302 yards and 3 touchdowns in his first playoff start against future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers. Even though the team lost 34-31, Prescott proved how much of a gamer he was as he basically went yard for yard and point for point with one of the NFL's elite signal-callers. It was clear the Cowboys were in good hands going forward.

2017 started off well as the Cowboys were 5-3 and firmly on pace for another playoff run. Unfortunately, All-Pro Running Back Ezekiel Elliott lost his fierce battle with the NFL over domestic violence allegations, and Dak along with the offense struggled. After a 9-7 season and falling one game short of a Wild Card berth, the pressure on Prescott heading into the next season was immense.

Once 2018 came about Prescott had more pressure than ever with Elliott back for a full season. After a slow 3-4 start the Cowboys traded for Pro-Bowl Wide Receiver Amari Cooper, providing the team with it's first true number one receiver since Dez Bryant. Putting even more expectations on Prescott to turn things around, and boy did he ever.

He would complete 71.6% of his passes in the final eight games of the season, and the Cowboys won seven to finish 10-6. Now, with another division title under his belt, came a playoff matchup with Super Bowl-winning Quarterback Russell Wilson.

Late in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys were hanging on to a 17-14 lead. They faced a 3rd and 14 inside the redone with just over two minutes left. After dropping back a few steps, Prescott scrambled for 16 yards setting up a first and goal from the one-yard line. The team held on for a 24-22 victory but here's why that scramble was so important.

If the Cowboys don't convert that 3rd and long that would've set up a field goal attempt. Assuming it would have been successful, that would've only put them up 20-14. Giving Seattle a chance to more than likely win with a touchdown and an extra point or two-point conversion. Prescott essentially won the game with that 3rd down run. Proving once again there's no situation he can't handle.

He's set an NFL record for completion percentage in the first three years of a quarterbacks career at 66.1 percent. No quarterback has won more games than him since 2016 except Tom Brady. No one has more game-winning drives than him since he entered the league. His 13 primetime victories are tops in the NFL over the last three seasons. Simply put, Dak Prescott is a winner and doesn't fold under pressure, instead, he embraces it. There are no bigger lights in the NFL than the ones that shine in Dallas. With those lights come huge expectations and pressure, and it's clear this young man is made of the right stuff to handle it.

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