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Cowboys CTK: Superman Roy Williams Soars To #31

RJ Ochoa



Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Superman Roy Williams Soars To #31 4

Happy Dallas Cowboys Kickoff Day!

That’s right. Tonight there will be a football game played and the Dallas Cowboys will be a part of it. I just about destroyed my office because I was so excited! This must be how puppies feel when they see you after a long day.

The dog days of the offseason are over, as we will have some football to chew on after tonight. Today also puts us exactly ONE MONTH away from games that actually count! 31 days, baby. 31 days.

The current 31 of the Dallas Cowboys, Byron Jones, could probably leap that whole distance since he’s such an athletic phenomenon, but I’m going to help him out and do it for him. Throw on your Jumpman 31s with me as we stroll down memory lane in our Countdown To Kickoff Series with the Greatest 31 in Dallas Cowboys History.

The Following Players Have All Worn 31 For The Dallas Cowboys:

  • Gary Allen, RB
  • Benny Barnes, CB
  • Otto Brown, CB
  • Mario Butler, CB
  • Fred Cone, K
  • Bill Hill, CB
  • Mike Jenkins, CB
  • Brock Marion, FS
  • Amos Marsh, FB
  • Billy Owens, CB
  • Micah Pellerin, CB
  • Gloster Richardson, WR
  • Sims Stokes, WR
  • George Teague, FS
  • Chauncey Washington, RB
  • Roy Williams, S

2002 was a fun time in the NFL. The NFL was creeping its way into the 21st century, the New England Patriots had just won the first Super Bowl of their would-be dynasty, and a band of misfits joined together to form the newest NFL franchise… the Houston Texans.

The draft saw five Miami Hurricanes taken in the first round – five! Obviously other schools were well represented, but on a bigger level so were conferences. The Big 12 had four first-round draftees, none of which would accomplish as much as the future Greatest 31 in Dallas Cowboys History.

Roy Williams

The hard-hitting safety out of the University of Oklahoma was the first safety off of the board in 2002. He was paired with the newest member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor, Darren Woodson, in the defensive backfield.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Superman Roy Williams Soars To #31

2 October 2005: Dallas safety, Roy Williams, in action in todays 19-13 loss to the Raiders in Oakland, CA.

With Williams at the free safety spot and Woodson at the strong, the Double W (say that out loud, it’s difficult) tandem made for quite the pair.

Thanks to the scheme that the Cowboys employed at the time they actually would interchange positions throughout the year, confusing their opponents.

Williams intercepted 5 passes, returning 2 of them for touchdowns, and forced 3 fumbles on his way to being the runner-up for Defensive Rookie of the Year (Julius Peppers of the Carolina Panthers won the award).


2003 saw Williams really channel his Superman persona. You see, “Superman” was a nickname given to Roy during his time in Norman thanks to his ability to patrol the line of scrimmage and fly to quarterbacks or short pass situations. He brought that energy to the Cowboys as they put together the league’s number one ranked defensive unit.

Williams found himself as a First-Team All-Pro and with a roster spot on the Pro Bowl squad. He had a great season individually, although not as great of a statistical year as his rookie season… adding to the reasoning that Roy should have won DROY the year before.


Roy Williams earned yet another nickname in 2004 when during a press conference Head Coach Bill Parcells said, in reference to his weight, that Williams was “a biscuit short of a linebacker.”

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Superman Roy Williams Soars To #31 1

IRVING, TX - AUGUST 9: Roy Williams #31 of the Dallas Cowboys walks on the field during the preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Texas Stadium on August 9, 2007 in Irving, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Biscuit earned some more notoriety after the 2004 season when the NFL instituted the “Roy Williams Rule.”

With an injured Darren Woodson, Williams had to play more coverage situations as opposed to down near the line of scrimmage.

He had to chase down more receivers and when tackling them accidentally brought a few down by the back of their shoulder pads.

This horse-collar tackling led to three serious injuries under the execution of Williams. One of the injuries sustained was a broken leg by a future teammate of Roy - Terrell Owens.

The NFL had seen enough of it and outlawed what many deemed the signature of Roy Williams.

Superman Returns

The Superman Returns movie that was released in 2006 was absolute garbage, but it was freaking incredible in 2005. With the free agent signing of cornerback Anthony Henry the coverage was taken care of and Roy Williams was back on duty at the line of scrimmage. Hello, quarterbacks.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Superman Roy Williams Soars To #31 2

Williams recorded 2.5 sacks and 3 interceptions in that 2005 season, earning his third straight Pro Bowl appearance. He would stretch his Pro Bowl streak to five full seasons before it ultimately ended.

#31: Roy Williams

The hard hits and tough tackles executed by Roy Williams are still being felt by their recipients today. While tearing offenses, and people, apart Roy Williams put together an illustrious Dallas Cowboy career under the banner of 31 (he switched to 38 for his final season in Dallas in 2008).

410 tackles, 19 interceptions, and 3 defensive touchdowns came from Roy Williams. He made his presence well known whether it was at the line of scrimmage, in the defensive secondary, or on top of the ball carrier after he had walloped him. Roy Williams continues that level of intensity as he makes his presence known on our Countdown To Kickoff as Roy Williams is the Greatest 31 in Dallas Cowboys History.

Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 30 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 "Cowboys CTK: Superman Roy Williams Soars To #31" 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!

  • Don

    can we get a complete list of the greatest from 1-99 when u are done with this list. Of course the greatest coach is Tom Landry!

    • rjochoa


  • Don

    I think they held out too many players in this game !

Star Blog

Sean’s Scout: WR Deonte Thompson A Vertical Threat for Dallas Cowboys

Sean Martin



Sean's Scout: WR Deonte Thompson A Vertical Threat for Dallas Cowboys

Finally addressing their underwhelming cast of wide receivers, the Dallas Cowboys signed journeyman Deonte Thompson yesterday. The seventh-year pro spent 2017 with both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills, hauling in 38 passes for 555 yards and two touchdowns.

Thompson was undrafted in 2012 out of Florida, making both the Cowboys' free agent signings to date former UDFAs. The Cowboys added LB Joe Thomas earlier in the week, who you can learn more about in Sean's Scout as well.

In desperate need of speed and play making ability on the outside, here is a look at what WR Deonte Thompson can bring to the Dallas Cowboys.

WR Deonte Thompson: Strengths

Thompson1 - Streamable

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Deonte Thompson plays with a great understanding of his own frame, using his length to give defensive backs problems up the field. Not a true "burner", Thompson takes some time to accelerate down the field, but can separate vertically.

Thompson runs smooth routes, using his long strides to get on DBs in a hurry. Once in position to free himself at the stem of a route, Thompson showed the ability to consistently turn his hips and complete a number of underneath and deep routes at a high level.

Thompson2 - Streamable

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Deonte Thompson may not win on many throws "above the rim", but he is above average at the catch point securing passes with his strong hands.

Snagging the ball outside of his frame is not much of an issue for Thompson, who makes the most of his run-after-the-catch opportunities by effortlessly receiving the ball in stride.

At this stage of his career, Thompson may not be an every down player, but this is a player the Cowboys can absolutely find a way to get involved in their sputtering passing offense next season - at the very least replacing the role of FA WR Brice Butler.

WR Deonte Thompson: Weaknesses

Deonte Thompson should not be expected to go over the top on many defenses for the Cowboys in 2018. While the traits are there to flash as that sort of player, Thompson simply is not at his best trying to track down deep vertical passes.

When Thompson does not create separation on his initial burst up the field, there was a tendency for him to get shoved around at the catch point. Still coming up with his fair share of passes, the degree of difficulty on these catches was often increased by his inability to truly play through contact.

This is not a player with a powerful lower body, relying on upper body flex and foot speed to free himself and create plays in space. Overall balance is a strength for Thompson, but he rarely is able to break tackles or move defenders as a blocker in the running game.

WR Deonte Thompson: Summary

Thompson3 - Streamable

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The Cowboys should know what they are getting in Deonte Thompson, who has not had the benefit of great quarterback play in recent seasons. The hope in Dallas is that a number of receivers on the bottom of the depth chart can stand out this summer to make the team out of a crowded room.

This group of Ryan Switzer, Lance Lenoir, Noah Brown, and KD Cannon will now include Deonte Thompson - who should have the edge over most of these names.

Thompson won't be the difference in the Cowboys' offense having a bounce back season in 2018, but his raw athleticism and effortless ability to serve as a deep threat could surely make an impact in Dak Prescott's progression.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: WR Deonte Thompson A Vertical Threat for Dallas Cowboys" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Star Blog

Using Win Probabilities To Evaluate Decision Making: Cowboys Kick Vs. Raiders

Kevin Brady



Takeaway Tuesday: Cowboys' Defense Silently Shined, Jeff Heath Saved The Season 1
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles have surpassed the Dallas Cowboys in more ways than one, but on Super Bowl Sunday, their willingness to "be aggressive" and "take chances" shined through the most. Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was congratulated by the masses for not coaching scared, and instead going for it on key fourth downs and even attempting trick plays.

When you really evaluate those decisions, however, they shouldn't even be thought of as "risky." If anything, they were simply the obvious call.

Over the last few months I have been working with win probability models, looking to validate and refine those available to the public. I can't share too much about the work as of yet (there will hopefully be a published article in the future), but the work is certainly promising.

What I can say is this. Dennis Lock and Dan Nettleton worked to utilize random forests to estimate win probabilities before each play in an NFL game. These "forests" are similar to decision tree machine learning, cycling through random trees of past data to predict future outcomes.

Brian Burke has been utilizing his model for a while now, and Pro Football Reference has a simple, yet effective model as well. For my project, I have been working to find the "best" ways to estimate those win probabilities in order to inform decision making by head coaches and coordinators.

If you aren't utilizing analytics correctly in today's NFL, you're falling behind. And if you aren't willing to take calculated risks based off of what these numbers say and mean, you are really falling behind.

How does this all relate to the Cowboys?

Well, Cowboys Nation has been pretty consistent in their main criticism of head coach Jason Garrett: he's too conservative. They say he coaches scared, and they believe he punts the ball away too often between the 40's. Numbers accumulated by writers such as Bob Sturm and Marcus Mosher back up these claims, but I wanted to examine Garrett's decision making through the win probability lens.

I took to Twitter to ask the fan base for specific scenarios in which they felt Garrett was too conservative. Then, I ran these situations through the win probability model to determine how these decisions affected the outcomes.

Over a series of posts I will detail what the model says about the Cowboys' decision making in these key moments. First, we go back to December of last season where the Cowboys had their season on the line in Oakland.

Cowboys at Raiders, 2017

One instance which was consistently brought up was ironically from a Cowboys win. Yes, a win!

The Raiders had played the Cowboys close all game long, and with their season on the line Dallas was in position to put those pesky Raiders away. Tied at 17 they entered a fourth and goal situation at the Raiders' 1 yard line. The Cowboys decided to kick the field goal and grab a 20-17 lead. While Dallas did hang on to win, this was only because of a miraculous play by Jeff Heath which resulted in a fumble and a touchback.

Many of the fans who tweeted at me seem to think the Cowboys should have went for the touchdown on fourth down, rather than take their three points. But what does the model say?

Prior to the fourth down play, the Cowboys had about an 85% chance to win the game. After kicking the field goal and kicking the ball away to Oakland, that probability went down to just above 80%. Had the Cowboys gone for it and been stuffed at the Raiders' 1 yard line, that probability would have dropped all the way to just over 57%.

But the model does believe that Garrett made the right decision. Of course, had Dallas scored a touchdown, the game would've virtually been over, but the variance in probabilities suggests that kicking the field goal and taking the sure points was a good move.

Next week, I explain where Jason Garrett and company may have gone wrong during a key 4th down decision against the Los Angeles Rams. If you have any suggestions for plays/situations you'd like evaluated, please comment below!

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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Nuevas Contrataciones, ¿Podría Ser Allen Hurns la Siguiente?

Mauricio Rodriguez



Cowboys en Español: Nuevas Contrataciones, ¿Podría Ser Allen Hurns la Siguiente?

La agencia libre de los Dallas Cowboys comenzó un poco tarde, siendo el último equipo en toda la liga de la NFL en realizar una contratación este offseason. Ahora, con algunas caras nuevas en el equipo, comienzan las preguntas inevitables. ¿Qué jugadores tendrán un impacto y qué jugadores serán una contratación irrelevante?

Sólo el tiempo lo dirá. Las piezas que añadieron los Cowboys no son agentes libres de gran renombre pero podrían llegar a tener algún impacto en el 2018. Sin embargo, no todas las adquisiciones de Dallas han sido por medio de la agencia libre.

Hace unos días, los Raiders y los Cowboys acordaron un trade por el fullback Jamize Olawale. Días después de perder a Keith Smith (quien fue contratado por... los Raiders), Dallas no quiso echarse todavía otra necesidad encima, así que solucionó rápidamente su hueco en la posición que le abrirá camino a Ezekiel Elliott.

Además de enviar a Olawale a los Cowboys, los Raiders consiguieron una selección de quinta ronda de parte de Dallas y ellos entregaron su sexta ronda. En otras palabras, los Cowboys sólo renunciaron 19 turnos en las rondas tardías del Draft por un fullback que será de ayuda constante para esta ofensiva.

A pesar de ser tres años más grande que Keith Smith, Olawale le brinda a los Cowboys potencial para participar en el juego aéreo así como en el terrestre.

Por la agencia libre, los Cowboys obtuvieron ayuda ofensiva y defensiva.

Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

Joe Thomas, (no, no el que todos conocemos como uno de los mejores tackles de la historia) el linebacker que viene de los Green Bay Packers, usará la estrella este 2018. Mi compañero y escritor de Staff Sean Martin escribió una excelente pieza analizando a detalle al nuevo defensivo. 

Thomas definitivamente no será un titular, pero sin duda ayudará a un grupo de equipos especiales que necesitan bastante apoyo esta temporada. Además, es un linebacker rápido y atlético que podrá brillar como un jugador de rotación en una defensiva que incluye a Sean Lee y a Jaylon Smith.

Esta contratación no hace que los Cowboys dejen de tener una gran necesidad por un LB, pero da una profundidad que urgía a la posición.

Questions Surround Cowboys WR Position After Deonte Thompson Signing

El último movimiento y quizá el más discutido por los aficionados de los Cowboys es la adquisición de Deonte Thompson. Un receptor abierto que ha batallado para conseguir una casa en la NFL llega a un equipo que cuenta con nombres como Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams y Cole Beasley, pero que aún necesita mucho más producción.

¿Acaso la adición de Thompson al roster hace que WR deje de ser una necesidad para el equipo de los Cowboys? Claro que no, pero añade un talento que quizá pueda ayudar al equipo en ciertos aspectos.

Thompson es un jugador muy rápido, lo cual es algo que esta ofensiva necesita para abrir el campo un poco más. Un corredor de rutas bastante sólido con manos seguras. Thompson viene probablemente a ser una versión mejorada de Brice Butler por $2.5M.

Quizá fue un error de parte de la administración garantizarle un millón de su contrato. ¿Por qué garantizarle dinero a un jugador que ni siquiera debería tener un lugar asegurado en el equipo? Sin embargo, Thompson parece ser un contribuidor a la ofensiva.

Pero no fue el WR en la agencia libre del que se ha hablado esta semana en el mundo de los Dallas Cowboys. De hecho, aún después de firmar su contrato, no es el más discutido entre los aficionados.

Allen Hurns, receptor que fue cortado de Jacksonville, es un jugador que podría llegar a hacer un impacto inmediato en la ofensiva de Dak Prescott y proveerle al QB un potencial mejor amigo. A pesar de que muchos esperarían que conseguir a Hurns significaría decirle adiós a Dez Bryant, la verdad es que no sería necesario.

Hurns podría tomar el rol que Terrance Williams posee ahora como receptor "Z" y llevar a esta ofensiva a otro nivel. Todd Archer de ESPN reportó que la reciente adquisición de Deonte Thompson no significa que la posibilidad de ver a Hurns usando la estrella ha acabado.

Todos queremos ver acción en la agencia libre, aunque a veces lo sensato sea ser conservadores. Así como muchos aficionados de los Cowboys se quejan de la falta de movimientos, muchos aficionados de los Steelers y los Patriots agradecen que sus equipos tengan esta filosofía de no gastar mucho en agencia libre.

La diferencia son los resultados en el campo.

Sin embargo, Allen Hurns definitivamente parece como una opción muy viable para los Cowboys, y una adición que simplemente tendría mucho sentido. Sólo queda esperar si lograrán firmarlo o si un equipo (como los Jets, quienes han mostrado mucho interés y tienen bastante espacio en el tope salarial) logra convencerlo de no regresar a Dallas.

Por ahora, esperamos. Quizá hasta que los Cowboys firmen a alguien más. O quizá hasta la llegada del NFL Draft.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Nuevas Contrataciones, ¿Podría Ser Allen Hurns la Siguiente?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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