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Cowboys CTK: Tony Dorsett Dominates #33

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Tony Dorsett Dominates #33 5

Like any great running back pushing for more we are inching our way to the goal line of the 2015 NFL season. A mere 33 sets of the sun are what separate us from our weekly rituals of wearing our favorite jersey, grilling some barbecue, and gluing ourselves to the best seat in the house.

In just 48 hours we will finally get to see the Dallas Cowboys in their uniforms and playing a game of football. How awesome is that?

Unfortunately those games count about as much as rock, paper, scissors… but hey, it’s football. The real deal goes down in 33 days and to help maintain our sanity until then we are going to continue our Countdown To Kickoff with the Greatest 33 in Dallas Cowboys History.

The Following Players Have All Worn 33 For The Dallas Cowboys:

  • Gene Babb, FB/LB
  • Jason Bell, S
  • Eric Brown, CB
  • Tony Dorsett^, RB
  • Chris Greenwood, CB
  • Wendell Hayes, RB
  • Nate Jones, CB
  • Cyril Pinder, RB
  • Chris Randle, CB
  • Timmy Smith, RB
  • Duane Thomas, RB
  • Russell Wayt, LB

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

In 1975 the Dallas Cowboys had the second overall pick in the NFL Draft. With a man named Walter Payton on the board they decided to pull a Pete Carroll and pass on running the ball. Who’d they pick? Just a guy named Randy White. Worked out pretty well, I’d say.

In 1977 the Dallas Cowboys had the second overall pick in the NFL Draft. Yes, again. When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took USC’s Ricky Bell the war room just about jumped through the roof.

The University of Pittsburgh’s all-time leading rusher was there. The very Pitt Panther that helped them win the 1976 National Championship. This was such an illustrious collegiate player that he was deemed the best in the nation, winning the 1976 Heisman Trophy. Who was he?

Tony Dorsett

The 1977 Dallas Cowboys were thought to be a running back away from being Super Bowl contenders. They had been unable to run the ball effectively in Super Bowl X, a big factor in why they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Tony Dorsett Dominates #33 1

Names like Roger Staubach, Drew Pearson, Tony Hill, and Billy Jo Dupree graced the offensive side of the depth chart. Doomsday took care of the defense.

The Dallas Cowboys had a fine running back combo of Robert Newhouse and Preston Pearson, but they were missing that one ingredient. They needed a playmaker. They needed somebody who could be the difference and pose as a viable threat in the run game. With Roger Staubach airing the ball out, teams already feared that aspect. The Cowboys needed teams to fear their entire offense.

Run To Daylight

Upon arrival, Dorsett and the man in charge, Head Coach Tom Landry, had differing opinions on how Tony should run the ball. You see, Tom Landry was one of the most methodical men to ever live. He viewed football almost as a play with each motion of the game happening almost in a scripted and predetermined fashion.

One day in practice while preparing for the Cardinals Dorsett took a sweep right. The offensive and defensive players clashed leaving little room to run. The shifty Tony Dorsett cut his run back all the way to the left and picked up a huge gain.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Tony Dorsett Dominates #33 2

It will NEVER, in 100 years, happen like that!” screamed Landry. Dorsett was supposed to hit the hole Landry had drawn up, not run to what he saw.

That week against the Cardinals… it happened like that. Dorsett broke his cut back and danced his way down the Texas Stadium turf – 77 yards for a touchdown.

After that Tom Landry changed the way that he put together game plans. He instructed his linemen, the famed “Zero Club”, to block and hold their man… Tony would take care of the rest.

World Champs – And Everything Else

The Cowboys rode their rookie running back, and third down specialist Preston Pearson, to a 12-2 record. They cruised through the playoffs – vanquishing the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, and Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. The Dallas Cowboys were World Champions.

Just one year prior to winning Super Bowl XII in the Superdome down in New Orleans, well technically 379 days earlier to be precise, Tony Dorsett had won the National Championship as a Pitt Panther in that same building.

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Tony Dorsett Dominates #33

In back-to-back football seasons Tony Dorsett accomplished what no one else in the history of football ever had. He had won the Heisman Trophy, the collegiate National Championship, and the Super Bowl.

In chronological order, this is Tony Dorsett’s senior year at Pitt through winning Super Bowl XII with the Dallas Cowboys:

  • 1976 Rushing Yards – 2,150
  • 1976 Rushing Touchdowns – 22
  • 1976 Receiving Yards – 67
  • 1976 Receiving Touchdowns – 8
  • 1976 Heisman Trophy Winner
  • 1976 National Champion
  • 1977 Second Overall Pick
  • 1977 Rushing Yards – 1,007
  • 1977 Rushing Touchdowns – 12
  • 1977 Receiving Yards – 273
  • 1977 Receiving Touchdowns – 1
  • 1977 NFL Offensive Rookie Of The Year
  • 1977 Super Bowl Champion

Cowboy Career

It’s pretty hard to follow up a run, no pun intended, like Tony Dorsett had from 1976 to the wee beginnings of 1978, but he managed to put together quite the career. He began his career with 5 straight 1,000-yard seasons, including an astonishing 1,646 in 1981. Tony Dorsett was not just immediately an impact player, but he was immediately a significant contributor and a star. It’s rare that a running back has entered the NFL and immediately shown that level of dominance.

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His streak was broken in 1982, but to be fair this was a strike-shortened season where Tony only played 9 games, still racking up 745 yards; however, in the final regular season game Tony etched his name in the record books in one of the most unique ways in NFL History.

In the season finale, and first primetime game ever played in Minnesota’s Metrodome, Tony Dorsett was his usual star-studded self. With the Cowboys backed up as far as possible, literally the ball sat on the goal line, Tony took off.

Tony broke through the line of scrimmage and tight-roped his way down the sidelines – 99 yards for a touchdown. It is the longest play from scrimmage in NFL History and can never be beaten, only matched.

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This play cemented Dorsett’s legacy as one of the great running backs of his era, especially considering that fullback Ron Springs was not on the field for the play. That’s right, Tony Dorsett accomplished the longest possible play on a football field with only 10 men on the field, the absentee being his primary blocker.

#33: Tony Dorsett

Cowboys Blog - Cowboys CTK: Tony Dorsett Dominates #33 4

Tony Dorsett racked up 12,036 yards and 99 touchdowns in his time with the Cowboys (he played one final year with Denver before retiring). He retired as the Dallas Cowboys all-time leading rusher and as one of the franchise’s most decorated players.

He was a first-ballot member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1994, which felt only fitting to the career that he had. Everything else happened on the first try, why not the Hall of Fame? Tony Dorsett accomplished arguably everything that one aspires to in the game of football.

Tony Dorsett's career accomplishments include:

  • Heisman Trophy Winner
  • National Champion
  • First Round Draft Pick (2nd overall)
  • NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year
  • Super Bowl Champion
  • Unbreakable NFL Record
  • Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor Member
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame Member (Class of 1994)

Tony Dorsett did it all. He is one of the most prolific players in NFL History and one of the finer men to ever put on the Dallas Cowboys uniform. His mantle is probably pretty cluttered, but allow me to give Tony Dorsett one final award… The Greatest 33 in Dallas Cowboys History.

Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 32 in Dallas Cowboys History is!


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

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys CTK: Tony Dorsett Dominates #33" in the comments below. You can also email me at RJ.Ochoa@SlantSports.com, 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!

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Star Blog

Malik McDowell Is Well Worth The Risk For The Dallas Cowboys

Kevin Brady

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Malik McDowell, Michigan State

The Dallas Cowboys are reportedly brining defensive lineman Malik McDowell into The Star this week for a visit, as they decide whether or not to potentially sign him for the 2019 season.

McDowell is a former second round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, who fell to day two because of what scouts call "off the field" or "character" concerns. McDowell did not last long with Seahawks, as he was released in 2017 following an ATV accident in which he reportedly suffered "extensive brain and eye trauma" according to Charles Robinson.

None of us know much about who Malik McDowell is as a person, or what concerns their really should be with his health. But what I do know is that on tape at Michigan State, McDowell was a top 5-10 player in the 2017 draft class. He was a stud, and has the traits to continue to be a stud in the NFL.

2017 NFL Draft: Scouting Michigan State DL Malik McDowell - Slant Sports

The 2017 NFL Draft is chock full of talented, athletic, and productive defensive linemen. While most of the draft pundits have focused on EDGE rushers thus far, the defensive tackle class also possesses some of this year's top NFL prospects. Arguably the best of those defensive tackles is Michigan State's Malik McDowell.

Back in 2017 I wrote a full scouting report on McDowell, detailing why he earned such a high grade on my board. McDowell is a versatile linemen who is explosive off the ball, powerful and rangy against the run, and a skilled pass rusher who plays with a high motor. What more could you really ask for?

"McDowell is a patient pass rusher at times, setting up the blocker how he likes and then beating them with ease. McDowell’s ability to swipe hands off helps him greatly, but his quick swim is his most effective pass rush move.

On this play he uses that swim to perfection, forcing the center to power down to the right before swimming back to the other side."

nfldraft malik mcdowell 3

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

When the Spartans went to a three man pass rushing front, McDowell moved to the EDGE often and made plays with his quick, active hands and impressive swim move. He was much more impressive on the interior, however, and could be a direct replacement for David Irving as an explosive and powerful 3-technique for the Cowboys.

nfldraft malik mcdowell 4

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

I love that the Cowboys are bringing McDowell in for a free agent visit. His price will likely be low, as he is yet to play in an NFL game over the last two years, but his ceiling remains very high if he is healthy. It's rare for a player with his college production, natural ability, and measurables to completely fail in the NFL.

Maybe all McDowell needs is a second chance to get his head right and prove that he belongs in the league. Maybe he flames out quickly and can't get on the field due to "off the field" stuff. Or, maybe he simply isn't healthy enough to contribute as an NFL player. Regardless, for the price he'll likely command, McDowell is well worth the risk if the Cowboys are willing to take it.



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Though Not A Direct Beasley Replacement, Randall Cobb Would Bring Value To Cowboys’ Offense

Kevin Brady

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Not A Direct Beasley Replacement, Randall Cobb Would Bring Value To Cowboys' Offense

When the news broke Monday that veteran wide receiver Randall Cobb was visiting the Dallas Cowboys, most immediately assumed he would be a logical replacement for the departed Cole Beasley.

When you take a look at the film and each of their skillsets, however, you quickly see this is likely not the case.

While Cobb would be able to play in the slot as a receiver for the Cowboys if he signs, his value extends much further than just a slot receiver. Where Beasley makes his mark with precise route running, short area quickness, and 3rd down reliability, Cobb is much more of a threat after the catch. He's not the route runner that Beasley is, and really isn't an upgrade over Beasley as a receiver, but Cobb would be able to help the Cowboys' become more diverse in their offensive schemes.

Similar to Tavon Austin, Randall Cobb can be used in pre snap motion and jet-sweep packages, as well as a traditional running back. A college quarterback, Cobb's versatility is what makes him so attractive to NFL teams. Cobb would actually fit more of the Lance Dunbar "scat back" role of sorts for the Cowboys than that of the Cole Beasley slot receiver role. His versatility, however, allows him to carve out a lane within the offense which they haven't quite had before.

Another area Cobb could help the Cowboys is when the play breaks down. With experience in the Packers offense playing with arguably the greatest improviser we've ever seen in Aaron Rodgers, Cobb would be able to help Dak Prescott down the field when he breaks the pocket and the play is off schedule.

So often last season we talked about how the Cowboys offense is reliant on remaining on schedule, staying in front of the chains and not having to force the ball downfield. Unleashing the Mississippi State version of Dak Prescott, where he can improvise and use his legs to create big plays, tends to be when this offense is at its best, however.

Randall Cobb won't be a Pro Bowler if the Cowboys sign him, and depending on the money he receives, it might not even be a lock that he makes the final roster. But Cobb would be an exciting addition to a Cowboys offense which has lacked "creativity" over the last few seasons, and is looking to reinvent themselves to a certain extent.

A receiving corps headlined by Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, with versatile weapons such as Cobb and Tavon Austin behind them, is a pretty good one to head into draft day with.

Signing Cobb would keep the Cowboys from "needing" to take a wide receiver early in the draft, and would allow them to easily shed Allen Hurns if a receiving weapon did fall to them at 58th overall.



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Star Blog

Should Cowboys Inquire About Trading for 49ers DL Solomon Thomas?

Brian Martin

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Should Cowboys Inquire About Trading for 49ers DL Solomon Thomas? 1

When it comes to making trades, the Dallas Cowboys are typically the buyer and not the seller. They proved that last season when they acquired Tavon Austin, Jamize Olawale, and Jihad Ward via trade and could be looking do the same once again this offseason. That's why today I want to talk about the Cowboys putting in a call to the San Francisco 49ers to inquire about potentially trading for Solomon Thomas.

New 49ers Defensive Line Coach Kris Kocurek is rumored to be evaluating Solomon Thomas' film in order to determine his fit and future with the organization moving forward. This is no easy task. In his two years in the league they've tried Thomas at DE and DT, but unfortunately the former No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft has yet to find his footing at either position.

Being a man without a position doesn't bode well for Solomon Thomas, especially after the 49ers acquired Defensive End Dee Ford from the Kansas City Chiefs last week via trade. The 49ers are suddenly stacked along the defensive line. That's not all though, things could actually get worse for Thomas.

To further complicate matters, the 49ers could use their second overall pick in the upcoming 2019 NFL Draft on the either Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams. If that's what indeed happens, someone is going to be the odd man out. If you haven't guessed it yet, I think that player could be Solomon Thomas.

Solomon Thomas

San Francisco 49ers DL Solomon Thomas

As a former high first-round draft pick, Thomas would count $7,678,468 against the salary cap in 2019 and $8,958,213 in 2020. That's probably more than the 49ers want to pay for a rotational/backup defensive lineman. And cutting him this season would create $16.6 million in dead money, so a trade is the logical solution.

With all that in mind, it wouldn't surprise me if San Francisco put Solomon Thomas on the trade block any day now. He is only two years into his four-year rookie deal and comes with a fifth-year option as a former first-round draft pick. That means if a team does trade for him they have him under contract for essentially three more years.

If you add all of this up, it makes a lot of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. They need defensive line help and Solomon Thomas needs a fresh start. The Cowboys would get a young versatile defensive lineman and the 49ers get to dump his contract while also receiving some compensation in return. It's a win-win for all parties concerned.

I know what you're thinking though. What would the Cowboys have to give up in the trade? Well, it might not be as much as you think.

Fortunately, Thomas' failure to make an impact his first two years in the NFL favor the buyer, in this case the Dallas Cowboys. He has only four career quarterback sacks, three of which came in his rookie season. Stats of course don't always tell the entire story, but game film does. Unfortunately for Thomas, he can't escape his poor play.

I believe it wouldn't take more than a 2019 fourth-round draft pick to get Solomon Thomas away from the 49ers. Remember, just last season the New England Patriots sent a third-round draft pick to San Francisco and received Offensive Tackle Trent Brown and the fifth-round pick in return. Brown was a more proven player and was in the last year of his contract.

I don't know about you, but I kind of like the idea of Solomon Thomas in a Dallas Cowboys uniform. If anybody can tap into his potential, Rod Marinelli can. Giving up a 2019 fourth-round pick is well worth the gamble in my opinion.

Do you think the Cowboys should inquire about trading for Solomon Thomas?



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