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Dallas Cowboys History: #89 Belongs To Billy Joe DuPree

RJ Ochoa

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Cowboys Blog - Dallas Cowboys History: #89 Belongs To Billy Joe DuPree

There are officially 89 days until the toe meets the ball at AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys will host the New York Giants on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

I hope that you’ve packed your neon clothes and hair spray because today we’re taking a look back at the 80s. To be specific we are going to determine who the greatest 89 in Dallas Cowboys History is. This is a number that’s typically given to wide receivers or tight ends so we’re sure to see some touchdowns on this list.

The following players have all worn 89 for the Dallas Cowboys:

  • Robert Awalt, TE
  • Kelly Blackwell, TE
  • Thornton Chandler, TE
  • Tony Curtis, TE
  • Donnie Davis, TE
  • Mike Ditka^, TE
  • Fred Dugan, WR
  • Billy Joe DuPree, TE
  • Gavin Escobar*, TE
  • Scott Galbraith, TE
  • David LaFleur, TE
  • John Phillips, TE
  • Jim Price, TE
  • Brian Salonen, TE/LB
  • Derek Tennell, TE
  • Derek Ware, TE
  • Randal Williams, WR

^Pro Football Hall of Famer

*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster

This is quite the list to digest. There are an awful lot of tight ends here, two wide receivers, and I’m sure you’re wondering about that “TE/LB” that I threw in. Brian Salonen was a Montana dude who was drafted to play TE. After mostly playing special teams he was converted to linebacker heading into his sophomore season. He fizzled out shortly, but deserves a mention, as that’s an interesting hybrid.

Few fans will know who Fred Dugan is in Cowboys history. Taken in the 1960 Expansion Draft by the Cowboys…Dugan, along with Billy Howton, became one of the first ever-starting wide receivers for the Dallas franchise. While he only played one year (1960) under Landry and Co., asking to be traded after 1960, Dugan will forever be remembered as one of the very first Cowboys.

It’s obvious that this list is filled up with tight ends. Gavin Escobar is one of the current Cowboy tight ends that look to have a great 2015. The Cowboys had one of the greatest tight ends that have ever played the game lace up for them in Mike Ditka. Don’t believe me? Chew on this, Mike Ditka was the first EVER tight end inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The former Pitt Panther’s accolades as a player really came during his time in Chicago, where he was a part of the 1963 NFL Champion Chicago Bears, but he had quite the run in Dallas as well.

In four years with a star on his helmet Ditka caught 72 passes for 924 yards and 5 TDs. He went to two Super Bowls as a Cowboys player and was a member of the 1971 World Champion Dallas Cowboys squad that won Super Bowl VI. Ditka even caught the final touchdown pass, from fellow Hall of Famer Roger Staubach, in SBVI that gave the Cowboys their 24-3 victory over the Miami Dolphins. Ditka would transition from player to coach for the Cowboys in the 1973 season and was a part of the coaching staff that won Super Bowl XII.

While Ditka was a great 89 for the Cowboys, the Greatest 89 in Dallas Cowboys History poetically landed in Dallas the year that Ditka became a part of the coaching staff. Billy Joe DuPree was taken with the 20th overall pick of the 1973 draft out of Michigan State University. As a 6’4” tight end DuPree was hard to stop and proved it by leading the Cowboys in receiving yards with 392 his rookie season.

Perhaps part of what made DuPree such a great tight end was the presence of Ditka on the coaching staff, or perhaps it was just his own sheer athletic skill. In 11 years (all with Dallas) DuPree caught 267 passes for 3,565 yards and 41 TDs. DuPree played in three Super Bowls: Super Bowl X where the Cowboys lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Super Bowl XII…a victory against the Denver Broncos (where he led the team in receiving yards with 66), and DuPree caught a touchdown in what I believe was the greatest game of all time…Super Bowl XIII where the Cowboys were outdone by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In an era where tight ends were used most often for blocking, DuPree was a TD machine. He helped redefine the position, as it became more of an offensive threat to opposing defenses. His 41 TDs were a Cowboys tight end record until Jason Witten broke it in 2012.

Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 88 in Dallas Cowboys History is!

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys History: #89 Belongs To Billy Joe DuPree" 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

2018 In Review: Byron Jones Emerges As CB1

Kevin Brady

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Byron Jones

Heading into the 2018 season Byron Jones was being asked to prove himself. The former first round pick had fallen out of the coaches' good graces during his third season, though many of his struggles could be attributed to those very coaches which were then questioning his ability.

Being asked to play out of position, or at least in a spot which did not maximize his natural ability, Jones struggled in 2017. Too often he was playing in the box as a safety where his lack of physicality was exposed by the opponent's run game. This was mostly due to the coaching staff falling in love with his tight-end-erasing ability in man coverage, but backfired when overused as a safety.

Once hired the following offseason, Kris Richard and company decided to move Byron Jones to cornerback full time, allowing him to utilize his excellent coverage skills and athletic ability to the fullest, rather than putting him at a disadvantage in the box.

The results? Well, Jones had one of the best seasons of any cornerback in football, earning All Pro and Pro Bowl honors for the first time in his young career.

Pro Football Focus on Twitter

Byron Jones had a dominant season for Dallas

Pro Football Focus graded Jones as the sixth best cornerback in all of football last season, allowing just 0.79 yards per coverage snap. Despite not having an interception on the season, Jones still earned national recognition as one of the best cornerbacks in the entire league.

Down the stretch of the season, Chidobe Awuzie started to play up to the level which fans had hoped for during the preseason. He had been sticky in coverage most of the year, but now he was making plays on the ball at a much better rate, forcing incompletions. This led to an increase in targets to Jones' side, and though the increase resulted in more catches given up by the number one cornerback, I don't think Jones' play faltered as much as some will have you believe.

The fact is, when you get targeted more you are bound to give up more catches and yards. The key is to force them into contested catches, and make things as difficult for the receiver as possible when targeted.

Byron Jones continued to do this all season long, and fans should be excited for the next step of his growth in 2019.



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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: Comentando el Tope Salarial

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Time to Stop Making Excuses for QB Dak Prescott?

Por muchos años, el tema del tope salarial ha sido un tema sensible para los Dallas Cowboys. Entre dinero muerto y otros problemas, el equipo ha tenido una situación delicada en este aspecto. Sin embargo, para la temporada del 2019 tienen más espacio de lo que estamos acostumbrados.

Según Over The Cap, los Cowboys tendrán aproximadamente 48 millones de dólares disponibles en 2019. Es importante recalcar que este número no es definitivo y puede cambiar. Año tras año, esta administración ha sido aficionada de reestructurar los contratos de ciertos veteranos para liberar espacio salarial constantemente. Además de esto, hay varios jugadores bajo contrato que el equipo podría decidir cortar para liberar aún más dinero.

Al ver sólo 48 millones disponibles, es complicado imaginar un escenario en que el equipo logre satisfacer todos sus objetivos. Hay bastantes candidatos a grandes extensiones en el equipo, principalmente dos jugadores. En una liga en la que quarterback es la posición más importante, la segunda más importante podría ser la del caza cabezas, cuyo objetivo es ir tras el quarterback contrario.

DeMarcus Lawrence, Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Pues en Dallas, hoy dos  jugadores en estas posiciones que hay que extender. El más urgente sin duda es el defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. Lawrence se puso el jersey del equipo cuando este lo designó a jugar bajo la etiqueta franquicia. Afortunadamente, el atleta de 26 años la hizo de soldado y jugó sin amenazar con faltar a entrenamientos ni pretemporada.

Lo que sí comentó es que no pasaría por lo mismo en 2019. Ahora, el momento está aquí y es tiempo de que los Cowboys lo extiendan. El valor de Lawrence es difícil de predecir, pero es bastante seguro que se acercará a los números de Khalil Mack. Mack hizo historia ganando un contrato que en promedio gana 23.5 millones al año. Si bien no anticiparía que lo supere, la cifra estará cerca al contrato del defensivo de los Chicago Bears.

Además está Dak Prescott, cuyo contrato probablemente estará por encima de los 25 millones anuales. Son contratos caros, pero son piezas fundamentales para el equipo. Definitivamente se les tiene que pagar a ambos. Son pilares que año tras año buscan equipos en toda la NFL.

Además de esto, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, Cole Beasley y más podrían tener un impacto en el tope salarial. Algunos buscan un contrato nuevo, otros una extensión. Pero honestamente, me parece que habrá más espacio en el tope salarial de lo que pensamos. Sólo es cuestión de tiempo para que los Cowboys comiencen a reestructurar a sus veteranos para ahorrarse unos cuantos millones para utilizar en agencia libre.

Tyron Smith, Tyrone Crawford entre otros pueden ser buenas opciones para comenzar este proceso. Antes era Jason Witten uno de los candidatos favoritos para este proceso, pero él ya se encuentra comentando partidos para ESPN. En Inside The Star, continuaremos actualizándote con contenido al día de los Dallas Cowboys.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Comentando el Tope Salarial" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason?

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Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason? 2

Super Bowl LIII is in the books, and the Dallas Cowboys can look back on a better-than-expected 2018 campaign. Having won the NFC East with a 10-6 record and bowing out to eventual finalists Los Angeles Rams, the Cowboys' young team can look ahead to 2019 as a chance to take another step forward.

The offseason is now upon us, with the NFL free agency period opening in the middle of March and the NFL Draft coming around at the end of April. Until those times, experts, pundits, and fans are left to assess their teams and predict their activities in the running to the start of next season.

The Dallas Cowboys are in a precarious position, with the team exceeding expectations, still being very young and having plenty of cap space, but also having many top-end players set to become free agents and being without a first-round pick in this year’s draft. There does, however, appear to be a way for the team to make improvements and solidify their place atop the NFC East and potentially go on to win in the Conference Finals.

Lock Down the Big Guns

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason?

@Randy81MossRetires, via Twitter

Many see DeMarcus Lawrence as the top potential free agent this spring, so the Dallas Cowboys need to do everything in their power to lock down the 26-year-old defensive end.

Vice President Stephen Jones has emphasized the team’s target of retaining their own stars, per Star-Telegram, with Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and perhaps Byron Jones being in the discussion for long-term deals.

As it stands, the team will have roughly $48.5 million in cap space for next season, which leaves plenty of space to re-sign their top players. They look set to let go of Tavon Austin, David Irving, and quite possibly Cole Beasley, among others, leaving a need to add reinforcements.

Adding New Talent

Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason? 1

@brkicks, via Twitter

One of the most heavily rumored moves for Dallas in this free agency is picking up native Texan and former Legion of Boom linchpin Earl Thomas, per Forbes.

Against the Rams in the playoffs and throughout the season, the Cowboys lacked a defenseman who could make plays on the pass. Thomas is one of the notorious ball hawks in the league, boasting 28 career interceptions, three of which came in just four games of last season.

If the Cowboys can re-sign their stars while keeping some space for an Earl Thomas-sized contract, which clocked in at $10.4 million in 2018 for the Seattle Seahawks, their odds of going all the way next season will significantly increase.

Right now, the expected names of the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs lead the odds to win the next Super Bowl at +750. Behind them, the Rams sit at +900 having suffered a suffocating defeat in this year’s Super Bowl. Much further down are the Cowboys at +2500 right now with redbet. If they re-sign Lawrence, pay their young stars, and bring in Thomas, they’ll shoot up the table of favorites.

Then, there’s also the additions in the draft to consider.

The Cowboys may be without a first-round selection, but that may end up working in their favor. Round one of the 2019 NFL Draft is set to be laden with defensive selections according to most mock drafts, with a few quarterbacks sprinkled around and a minimal selection of offensive weapons. If the Cowboys re-sign Lawrence, they’ll be looking good at defensive end, so should then turn to giving Prescott another weapon in the passing game, which will also help to keep defenses honest and give Elliott more room to operate.

As stated, the NFL is a passing league, and Prescott exploded once he was given a viable option in Amari Cooper. Michael Gallup is expected to take another step forward next season, but just in case, the Cowboys can add another strong receiving option in the draft thanks to the strength of the defensive class. A.J. Brown of Ole Miss will almost certainly go in the first round, but exciting talents in D.K. Metcalf, Parris Campbell, Marquise Brown, and Deebo Samuel could all still be available when Dallas rings in during the second round.

Improving Dallas' pass options and pass defense will go a long way toward improving the team and allowing them to push on to a bigger and better campaign in 2019.



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