25 years ago Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys off of Burn Bright. Since then Jerry Jones has seen three super bowl wins and has turned his franchise into the second most valuable team in the NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL behind only the New York Yankees. Jones has seen more success than any other owner in the history of the Dallas Cowboys and is one of the most polarizing figures in all of sports. None of this would have it been possible without the man that came before Burn Bright: Clinton W. Murchison Jr.
Clinton attended Duke University where he was at the top of his Institute of Technology class and graduated with a masters in mathematics. Great intelligence was not his only privilege as it just so happened that he was the son of one of the big four of Texas oil.
Being a half back at Lawrenceville school prep academy in New Jersey Clinton, at a very young age, developed a passion for the game of football large enough to match the depths of his very deep pockets. Clinton was one of the lucky few that witnessed the first Dallas Texan's game versus the New York Giants.
It was only a matter of time before Clinton's incredible wealth and intelligence, met his desire to pursue the game of football. Presenting the acquisition of a franchise as a great business opportunity was enough motivation as Clinton began his quest to acquire an NFL franchise. After initially being rejected by commissioner Bell and several other struggling franchises, Clinton caught a break when George Halas and Art Rooney announced the NFL was expanding and Dallas was set to get a team. November 24th 1954, it became official as it was announced at a press conference that Clinton was to be the owner of the new expansion team.
Clinton achieved his goal but knew that from that point on the fate of the Dallas Cowboys would have to rest in the hands of another man. With a seemingly endless flow of cash and an owner that was willing to take a step back Tex Schramm jumped at the opportunity to become the first general manager of the Dallas Cowboys.
Schramm wasted no time as, even before the NFL officially approved the expansion while dealing with the conflict with the AFL's Dallas Texans, he offered Don Meridith a five year $150 000 contract. While this was extraordinarily important, it was Tex's next significant move that changed not only the Dallas Cowboys, but the entire NFL. Tom Landry, the former defensive assistant of the New York Giants was hired by Tex Schramm.
The quarterback and the coach was a fantastic start for Tex Schramm, but they were merely the focal points as his football team needed many more pieces. Gil Brandt was then hired as the head scout to help fill up the rest of a championship roster. As hard as it is to hire someone as impact full as Tom Landry, Gil Brandt comes as close as possible. Without Gil Brandt, the Dallas Cowboys, could not possibly be the same franchise today as it was he that went after Roger Staubach in his junior year at the Naval academy. The Chiefs also attempted to go after Staubach, but with the deep pockets of Clinton, Tex was able to match the offer of the Chiefs and secure one of the greatest players in the history of the Dallas Cowboys.
Everything that Clinton could have wished for when he first become owner of the Dallas Cowboys came to fruition. Tom Landry and Roger Staubach lead the Cowboys to their first, and their second super bowl win in 1972 and 1977.
With the media circus that surrounds Jerry Jones it appears as though the one thing the world wants him to do is exactly was Clinton did. Clinton took a step back and instead of trying to run the team himself hired the likes of Tex Schramm and Gil Brandt who were responsible for two of the most iconic Dallas Cowboys in Tom Landry and Roger Staubach. It was because of Clinton's era that such a tremendous standard of excellence surrounds the Dallas Cowboys. They began and established one of the most successful teams in pro sports. Even though Jerry Jones has won more super bowls and made more money, he and everyone else that is a part of the Dallas Cowboys owe their opportunity to the generation that preceded them.
(Information courtesy of The Dallas Cowboys by Joe Nick Potoski)
Tony Pollard, Supporting Cast or a Co-lead with Ezekiel Elliott?
Since the Dallas Cowboys drafted Running Back Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall in the first-round of the 2016 NFL Draft he's been the star of the show. Any of their other offensive weapons have been nothing more than supporting cast the past three years, but rookie RB/WR Tony Pollard could prove to be more than just supporting cast and become more of a co-lead in Zeke's show.
Suggesting Tony Pollard has a chance to be more than just supporting cast with Ezekiel Elliott is a lot to put on a rookies shoulders, but that's the kind of hype he's receiving already. He hasn't even put on the pads yet with the Dallas Cowboys, but he's already receiving Alvin Kamara type comparisons due to the versatility he's expected to bring with him to the NFL.
Living up to those Alvin Kamara comparisons might be even more difficult than becoming anything more than just an extra behind Zeke anytime soon, but it's doable. After all, Kamara immediately stepped in as a rookie and became a costar with Mark Ingram in New Orleans. It's certainly feasible to think Pollard can do the same.
There's of course only one problem with this way of thinking. Mark Ingram is no Ezekiel Elliott. And, no RB on the depth chart behind Zeke the last three years has been good enough to cut into #21's heavy workload. Is the hype surrounding Tony Pollard justified? Is he talented enough to cut into Zeke's playing time?
Those are some really big questions we don't have an answer to as of yet. Training camp could help determine the type of role Tony Pollard will have with the Dallas Cowboys in 2019 and beyond, but even that can be thrown out the window once games start to matter in the regular season.
Personally, I think Tony Pollard will be part of a supporting cast behind Ezekiel Elliott this year. I just don't think he's ready to step in and costar with Zeke just yet. I think he will be more of a comedic relief that will be used from time to time to keep things interesting. That's not necessarily a bad thing though considering his versatility to contribute in the running or passing game.
In time though, Pollard could prove worthy of an increase in playing time and become more of a co-lead with No. 21. It may very well be in his rookie season, but he's really going to have to prove himself and that will need to start this week when the Dallas Cowboys kick off their training camp in Oxnard, California.
What do you think? Is Tony Pollard supporting cast or a co-lead with Zeke?
Randy Gregory can Make the Perimeter Pass Rush Extremely Formidable
Randy Gregory showed flashes last season of the potential he has as a pass rusher. Even though he only managed one start he did see action in 14 games. Had registered 6 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, 7 tackles for loss and 15 hits on the quarterback. That's very good production with limited opportunities. Now, this sets up the Dallas Cowboys on the edge getting to the quarterback, and here's how.
The Cowboys acquired Defensive End Robert Quinn via trade from the Dolphins back in March. He is set to start at right defensive end opposite All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence. Gregory, who lines up on the right side as well, can potentially make said side a huge problem for offenses on 2019.
Let's just take a typical season from Quinn which is between 8-9 sacks. If Gregory can give at minimum what he did last season, that's around 15 sacks just between the two of them alone. Now, as we all know, Lawrence can be penciled in for double-digit sacks routinely at this point. So given this information that's a potential 25-30 sacks just from these three players. This is without including guys such as Taco Charlton, Dorance Armstrong, Kerry Hyder, and rookies Joe Jackson and Jalen Jelks (assuming they make the final roster).
Why is Gregory's potential impact so important? For me, it's simply where he lines up at defensive end, on the right side. Most quarterbacks are right-handed, which means when they drop back to pass they face left side defensive ends, with their backs to defensive ends coming off the right side. If you can consistently pressure a quarterback from his blindside the opportunities for sacks and fumbles increase. Regardless of how skilled a quarterback is you can't avoid what you can't see.
Of course, this all depends on what the NFL does regarding the reinstatement of Gregory. He was suspended indefinitely in February for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, a situation he is all too familiar with. My guess is Gregory and the Cowboys will ask for a conditional reinstatement like he was given by the NFL in 2018. What this would do is allow Gregory to participate in meetings and condition work until he's a full participant. He is set to apply for that reinstatement within the next few days.
The only thing Randy Gregory can do now is play the waiting game. The league is currently considering the possibility of softening their stance on marijuana use. If they are serious about it I can see Gregory getting reinstated even if it's on a conditional basis. If this is granted the Cowboys will be getting big-time pressure off the edge with Lawrence, Quinn, and Gregory in 2019.
CB Jourdan Lewis Getting Ready For Bounce-Back 2019 Season
For a third round pick, cornerback Jourdan Lewis sure did come to Dallas with his fair share of hype.
In fact, much of Cowboys Nation was more excited about Lewis joining the Cowboys than they were about either of the team's first two selections in that same draft, Taco Charlton and Chidobe Awuzie. But while Awuzie has soared to starting cornerback levels with Dallas during his first two seasons, Jourdan Lewis has been forced to take a back seat.
After a promising rookie season, Jourdan Lewis didn't get much playing time at cornerback in 2018. Anthony Brown took over as the starting slot corner, while Byron Jones and Awuzie manned the outside. This left Lewis as the odd man out, despite what many consider to be impressive cover skills.
Lewis is not allowing this down season to eat away at him too much, though. While speaking with the media last week at SportsCon in Dallas, Lewis gave his thoughts on how his year spent behind the other young Cowboys corners is only fueling him for the future.
"As a competitor it's always tough, especially as a rookie and you're playing all of the time. It's definitely when you take a step back it humbles you. Sometimes you gotta understand that you have to wait your turn and work on your craft. Understand that you always have to stay a professional no matter your situation. And that's what I learned last year."
Considered undersized by the standards typically used by Cowboys secondary coach Kris Richard, some have argued that Lewis was never given a fair shot to earn playing time once Richard took over in 2018. Whether or not this is true can't ever be said for sure, and the level of play Anthony Brown exhibited from the slot in 2018 didn't leave much room for substitutions either.
Still, Jourdan Lewis says he appreciates that time he spent on the bench, and he hopes that it will only drive him towards bigger and better things down the road.
"I appreciate the time that I sat last year honestly...Because it made me a better player, maybe a better person honestly."
The Cowboys cornerback situation didn't get any less crowded this offseason. Not only is Dallas bringing back all three of the aforementioned starters from a year ago, but they also drafted Miami's Michael Jackson in the fifth round of the 2019 draft.
That cornerback room is full of talent. Not only does this create a luxury for the Cowboys at one of the league's most important positions, but it also breeds immense competition between the corners come training camp.
Which, if you didn't know, begins on July 26th.
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