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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.

Cowboys Blog -  35

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

Can QB Dak Prescott Steal Back His Mojo From Atlanta?

Brian Martin



Can Dak Prescott Regain His Mojo Against Atlanta?
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

When the Dallas Cowboys last traveled to Mercedes-Benz Stadium they were completely throttled by the Atlanta Falcons. It's a game a lot of Cowboys Nation would like to forget, but no one more so than Quarterback Dak Prescott. That game could very well be where his struggles really began.

It's almost exactly a year later and the Dallas Cowboys still find themselves haunted by that brutal beating the Atlanta Falcons handed them in Week 10 of the 2017 season. The Cowboys seemed to lose all confidence in themselves after that game, but it was almost as if it was the exact point in time where Dak Prescott lost all of his mojo as well.

Before that match up against the Falcons, Prescott was still playing at a pretty high level. But since then, he has been in a slump and there have been very few signs of recapturing any of that magic he once had. Heading back to Atlanta maybe the key for him finding and stealing back his mojo.

Things could definitely go a little differently this time around. The Cowboys will have Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith in the lineup this week. Zeke missed the game last year due to the league mandated six-game suspension, and Tyron missed due to an injury. Having those two back in the lineup could pay huge dividends, especially for Prescott.

Without his starting left tackle and running back, Dak was pretty much beaten to a pulp by the Falcons defense a year ago. They applied relentless pressure, hitting and sacking him on a number of occasions. Unfortunately, I think that's where he started seeing ghost in the pocket and its haunted him ever since.

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

The beating he took at the hands of the Falcons has really thrown off his entire game. His mechanics, accuracy, and effectiveness as a scrambler can all be traced back to that one matchup. He just hasn't been the same QB he was prior to that game.

Prescott's stats prior to the Falcons game:

24 starts
66.7 completion percentage
102.4 passer rating

Prescott's stats since the Falcons game:

17 starts
63.3 completion percentage
83.1 passer rating

As you can see, that's a notable difference. His passer rating has shockingly dropped nearly 20 points since last playing the Falcons and it's really hurt the entire offensive production. It's time for that to change.

Prescott has no choice this week. He has to get back up on the horse that bucked him off and hopefully regain that mojo he left in Atlanta a year ago. Fortunately for him, his confidence might be is as high as it's been since that last meeting after pulling off the upset against the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

Now, he just has to go out and prove it!

Do you think Dak Prescott can regain his mojo against the Atlanta Falcons?

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Star Blog

How Cowboys Could Regain a 2019 1st-Round Draft Pick

Brian Martin



Cowboys Headlines - 5 Cowboys Players That Could Be Traded
Matthew Edmonds-USA Today

The Dallas Cowboys are currently without a 2019 first-round draft pick after acquiring Wide Receiver Amari Cooper from the Oakland Raiders, but what if I were to tell you there was a way to regain another first-rounder? Well, with a little outside the box thinking I think there could be a way to accomplish just that.

It's completely hypothetical, but I think the Dallas Cowboys could possibly regain a first-round draft pick in the 2019 NFL Draft with little finagling and good luck. Everything would have to fall into place perfectly, but I think it's definitely doable.

Remember, this is completely hypothetical with a lot of "what if's" involved, but the Cowboys could regain what they lost acquiring Amari Cooper and come out of it no worse for wear. I think there are a lot of different scenarios that could accomplish this feat, but only one of them that doesn't hurt the team in my opinion and it centers around Right Tackle La'el Collins.

I know you're probably going to think I'm crazy, but I think the Dallas Cowboys could possibly land a 2019 first-round draft pick if they decided to trade away RT La'el Collins. Trust me, I wouldn't suggest this if I didn't think there was somebody capable of stepping in and playing just as well.

Enter Connor Williams.

Connor Williams

Dallas Cowboys LG Connor Williams

I always believed Connor Williams' best position in the NFL was at right tackle, not on the inside at guard. And yes, I was one of those advocating for Williams to play RT and Collins to move back to LG before the 2018 season started. I thought that gave the Cowboys their best starting five.

Williams has been serviceable at LG this season, but has been overpowered at times. His athletic ability would've been much better served on the outside at tackle, which is where I would play him next season, making La'el Collins expendable.

Again, I know what you're thinking. If you move Williams to RT and trade Collins, there is now a void at LG. Well, that's where Xavier Su'a-Filo comes into play. He is coming off a fantastic performance against the Philadelphia Eagles and a lot of Cowboys Nation is already advocating that he remains the starter over Connor Williams.

If Su'a-Filo can maintain the same level play he did against the Eagles, he probably remains the starter for the rest of the 2018 season. If this is indeed what happens, he could end up being the starter once again next season, making my plan of trading La'el Collins more feasible.

Were you able to follow all of that?

Keep Xavier Su'a-Filo at left guard

Move Connor Williams to right tackle

Trade La'el Collins

Like I said, this is all hypothetical, but something that could feasibly happen. Now we just have to wait and see if Xavier Su'a-Filo can continue to play like he did last week, because without him sticking at left guard none of this is possible.

I told you it was some out-of-the-box thinking.

Would you go along with the scenario to regain a 2019 first-round draft pick?

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Star Blog

Should Cowboys Stick With Xavier Su’a-Filo at Left Guard?

Brian Martin



Should Cowboys Stick With Xavier Su'a-Filo at Left Guard? 1

Don't look now, but we may have another Ron Leary/La'el Collins situation unfolding before our eyes with Xavier Su'a-Filo and Connor Williams. Who ends up starting at left guard for the Dallas Cowboys the rest of the 2018 season is up in the air right now, but might not be for long.

Remember a few years ago when La'el Collins started the season at left guard for the Dallas Cowboys, but then had to miss time due to a toe injury. Ronald Leary took over during his absence and never looked back. It even earned him a big payday with the Denver Broncos.

Déjà vu anyone?

Yes, I'm talking about the hot topic of the hour as to whether or not the Dallas Cowboys should stick with Xavier Su'a-Filo at left guard or reinsert Connor Williams once he is healthy enough to return to the lineup? As with any debate, there are two sides of the coin.

Honestly, I can make an argument for both sides here. These are two different players and both have their own strengths and weaknesses. Su'a-Filo isn't as agile as Williams and relies more on his strength and power, whereas Williams is almost the complete opposite. Depending what the Cowboys coaching staff wants out of their LG, either player makes sense.

Xavier Su'a-Filo

Dallas Cowboys LG Xavier Su'a-Filo

I could go into a long debate as to who I believe the Cowboys should start at LG moving forward, but I think that would be a waste of our time. I think this is a situation that will work itself out one way or another this week against the Atlanta Falcons.

Nothing is set in stone right now, but I have a hard time seeing Connor Williams being ready to play this week after having knee surgery. It would be unwise to rush him back before he's 100% healthy, especially after the way Su'a-Filo preformed against the Eagles. And if Su'a-Filo plays well once again, Williams may not get his starting job back.

See, I told you it was looking like a Ronald Leary/La'el Collins situation all over again.

This is a situation that many of us will be following closely this week and it may not only have ramifications on the rest of the 2018 season, but it could carry over into next year. Maybe Xavier Su'a-Filo remains at LG next year and Connor Williams moves to his more natural position (right tackle), making La'el Collins expendable. But that's a debate for another time.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys should stick with Xavier Su'a-Filo at LG?

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