There are officially 80 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.
There are officially 11 weeks until we’ll be getting ready for the NFL Kickoff game featuring the World Champion New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers. After that the real fun begins, as Dallas Cowboys football will be back in the swing of action! That glorious day is 80 moons away, so to celebrate we’re going to crown the Greatest 80 in Dallas Cowboys History.
The following players have all worn 80 for the Dallas Cowboys:
- Rod Barksdale, WR
- Gary Barnes, WR
- Martellus Bennett, TE
- Anthony Fasano, TE
- Lee Folkins, TE
- Bernard Ford, WR
- Everett Gay, WR
- Alvin Harper, WR
- Rod Harris, WR
- Tony Hill, WR
- Dave McDaniels, WR
- Tony McGee, TE
- Ernie Mills, WR
- Lee Murchison, WR
- Sean Ryan, TE
- O.J. Santiago, TE
- Sebron Spivey, WR
- Reggie Swinton, WR
- Stepfret Williams, WR
It’s pretty interesting that a Dallas Cowboy hasn’t worn the number 80 in the regular season since Martellus Bennett in 2011. Marty B wasn’t exactly the torchbearer that we’re looking for in an 80, but two guys do stand out above the rest.
The Cowboys took Alvin Harper with the twelfth overall pick in the 1991 NFL Draft. There are many people who believed then, and still do, that he had more talent than fellow wideout Michael Irvin. He played four seasons as a Cowboy wearing #80 (Harper came back for an encore in 1999 and wore #82) and caught 124 passes for 2,486 yards and 18 touchdowns. Harper’s most notable reception though, came in 1992 at the famed Candlestick Park.
With approximately four minutes to go in the NFC Championship game, up by 4 against the San Francisco 49ers, with a trip to Pasadena and Super Bowl XXVII on the line…Alvin Harper stepped into Cowboys History. Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner called “896 F Flat” which called for one receiver to run a curl route and one to run a post route. Harper had run the curl all day, and had been thrown the ball repeatedly. With the game on the line The Playmaker made his way to the curl route to take it over, leaving Harper to the post. Troy Aikman read blitz and knew where the ball had to go. He delivered the ball perfectly, as Norv Turner recalled in Troy Aikman's Hall of Fame induction, to Alvin Harper between the numbers. Harper sprinted 70 yards downfield and the Cowboys dynasty was born.
While Harper’s 1992 NFC Championship play is one of the all-time greats, it’s not enough to give him the nod as our best 80. There’s somebody else that earned it long ago.
Taken in the third round of the 1977 NFL Draft out of Stanford University, Tony Hill began his path to becoming the Greatest 80 in Dallas Cowboys History. The 1977 Dallas Cowboys are arguably the greatest team that the franchise has ever fielded, and rookie Tony Hill helped them on their way to winning Super Bowl XII against the Denver Broncos.
“The Thrill” really came into his own in 1979 and, amazingly, 1980. He began to blossom into a big-play receiver. The late, great Tom Landry even said of Tony, “Our Home Run Hitter. I’ve never seen a guy who could adjust to a ball in mid-air like Tony. He is a very explosive player---the type who can turn a short play into a big play in a hurry, because he has excellent running ability and speed.”
In 1979 “Dial 80” helped the Cowboys etch their place in NFL History as he, Drew Pearson, and Tony Dorsett became the first team in NFL History to have two receivers top 1,000 receiving yards and a running back rush for over 1,000 yards. This was also the first time in franchise history that two receivers both hit four digit marks. In his career Tony has 479 catches for 7,988 yards and 51 touchdowns. He is without question the Greatest #80 in Dallas Cowboys History.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 79 in Dallas Cowboys History is!
DL Kerry Hyder Helps Solidify A Re-Tooled Defensive Line
The Cowboys got off to a busy start to week two of free agency on Monday, and capped it off by signing defensive lineman Kerry Hyder to a one year deal.
The former Detroit Lion could be classified as a "one year wonder" of sorts, but when you look closer at his career arc, you see that Hyder can provide upside at multiple positions across the Cowboys' defensive front.
After having 8 sacks and 19 quarterback hits as a defensive end in 2016, Hyder missed all of 2017 with an achilles injury. Last season, under new head coach Matt Patricia, Hyder was moved out of position and forced to play as a nose tackle and 5-technique more often.
So, the last time Hyder was healthy and playing in the role in he will likely fill in Dallas, he was productive. Yes that was a couple of seasons ago but it makes Hyder worth the one year deal he received from the Cowboys.
What exactly is that role, though?
I see Hyder primarily as a rotational 3-technique for the Cowboys. At just 270 pounds Hyder isn't going to play over the center often, and won't be very useful as a 1-technique against the run. He's at his best when lining on the outside shade of an offensive lineman, where he can use his get-off and quickness to create pressure.
Kerry Hyder can also fill in at defensive end if needed, especially when the Cowboys go into a nickel package. Hyder is similar to Tyrone Crawford in his ability to move inside and out, but is a bit better of a pass rusher than Crawford when at his best.
Hyder is a high energy, motor, and character defensive lineman who will fit right in with a Rod Marinelli unit. If it all clicks for Hyder and he regains his 2016 form, the Cowboys will have stolen an impressive pass rushing defensive lineman who can win from multiple positions.
If Hyder is actually a "one year wonder" who is more of his 2018-self with the Cowboys despite being put in a better role to succeed, Dallas can move on rather quickly because he is only on a one year deal.
This is a smart signing by the Cowboys front office as they look to re-tool their defensive line, and avoid being pigeon-holed into over-drafting at a certain position this Spring.
New Cowboys WR Randall Cobb Announces His Signing With A Fantastic GIF
On Tuesday this week it became official the Cowboys would sign former Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb to a one year deal worth an estimated $5 million. After his visit Monday morning, speculation around whether and when he would sign was swirling.
Cobb confirmed his intentions to join the Cowboys himself, and did so with some A+ GIF usage on Twitter.
In case you don't know, the GIF Cobb tweeted is Woody from Toy Story, emerging confidently and tipping his cap.
This was Cobb signaling that he his a Cowboy, and he appears excited to be joining America's Team. Cobb also received some social media love from his now former teammates in Green Bay, including wide receiver Davante Adams and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Aaron Rodgers had some parting words for new Cowboys WR Randall Cobb
Clearly Randall Cobb made an impact in Green Bay, both on and off the field. Let's hope he can replicate some of that in Dallas now that he has joined the Cowboys.
Malik McDowell Is Well Worth The Risk For The Dallas Cowboys
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.
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."
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.
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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