There are officially 74 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.
Guess what day it is?! No, not hump day. Today is Bob Lilly Appreciation Day! We’re going to unveil who the Greatest 74 in Dallas Cowboys History is. Let’s get started.
The following players have all worn 74 for the Dallas Cowboys:
- Bob Lilly^
^Pro Football Hall of Famer
Yes, really. Only one man, one legend, one Cowboy has EVER worn 74. Holy freaking crap how awesome is that?
Robert Lewis Lilly, aka Mr. Cowboy, started wreaking havoc at Texas Christian University. He was twice an All-Southwest Conference pick, a consensus All-American, and a member of the 1961 College Football All-America Team. With a resume like that you’re sure to get noticed at the NFL level, and Lilly definitely was.
After expansion in 1960, 1961 was the first time that the Dallas Cowboys would ever participate in the NFL Draft. Having previously traded their first-round draft choice to the Washington Redskins in exchange for first Cowboy QB ever Eddie LeBaron, they found themselves in a pickle. There was a player sitting at the 13th pick that they knew could catapult them into NFL relevance. The Dallas front office called up the Cleveland Browns and struck a deal.
The Cowboys gave up their first round draft choice in 1962 and Mr. Cowboy was born.
There is usually an insane amount of pressure on first-round draft selections. There’s an even larger level of responsibility handed out to the number one overall pick. Imagine being a franchise’s first ever draft selection! Lilly never batted an eye and the Hall of Fame defensive tackle actually began his career in 1961 as a defensive…end.
It wasn’t until 1963 that Coach Landry moved Lilly to the defensive tackle spot. It was at this position that Lilly found his niche and became the star of the vaunted “Doomsday Defense”. Lilly used a rarely seen four-point stance (in which he placed both of his hands in the ground as opposed to the usual one) that allowed him to generate a greater force when taking on the opposing linemen.
The Cowboys and their fearless leader finally began to find success and punched a ticket to the big dance with their first Super Bowl berth in 1970. The Cowboys were beaten mostly by themselves, but the scoreboard and record books assign the victory to the Baltimore Colts. Bob was so disgusted with the loss that after the game he launched his helmet, almost into outer space, across the field in an iconic moment in NFL History.
1971 saw an intense level of dedication and commitment from Bob Lilly and his Cowboys teammates. This eagle eye focus led to a return trip to the Super Bowl, this time against Don Shula’s Miami Dolphins, where the Cowboys trounced the Fins 24-3. Bob Lilly got his own personal satisfaction with another iconic moment in NFL History.
Early in the game, with a 3-0 lead behind them, Bob Griese (also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, mind you) took the snap on 3rd and 9. He scrambled around the pocket for a bit, Larry Cole jumped in the air causing him to retreat, and Bob Lilly chased him down for a 29-yard sack. It is to date the longest negative play in Super Bowl History and is a microcosm of the grit and determination that Bob Lilly played with throughout his entire career.
Bob Lilly's career accomplishments include:
- 196 consecutive regular season games played AND started
- 94.5 career sacks (unofficial as sacks weren’t officially tallied until 1982)
- 4 career touchdowns (3 fumble returns and 1 interception return)
- 11-time Pro Bowl Selection (1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973)
- 7-time First-Team All-Pro Selection (1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971)
- 2-time Second-Team All-Pro Selection (1970, 1972)
- 8-time First-Team All Conference Selection (1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, 1972)
- 2-time Second-Team All-Conference Selection (1970, 1973)
- Member of the 1960s All-Decade Team
- Member of the 1970s All-Decade Team
- Member of the 75th Anniversary All-Time Team
- Inaugural member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor inducted on November 23rd, 1975 which was dubbed Bob Lilly Day
- Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 1980 (first year of eligibility)
Mr. Cowboy is not just the Greatest 74 in Dallas Cowboys History; He is arguably the Greatest Cowboy of All-Time. He has exemplified excellence both on and off the field. His numbers between the hashes speak for themselves, but Bob Lilly is a Hall of Famer in real life. He consistently refers to his former head coach as “Coach Landry” and celebrates the achievements of all Cowboys … never having missed a single Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor member induction.
NFL Films once referred to Lilly as the “unblockable, unstoppable, force of The Doomsday Defense.” He was all of this and so much more.
Bob Lilly gave the Dallas Cowboys everything that he had and laid the foundation for one of the NFL’s most historic franchises. He is anything and everything that you would want in a football player. Mr. Cowboy is not just the only, but he is unequivocally the Greatest 74 in Dallas Cowboys History.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 73 in Dallas Cowboys History is!
WR Tavon Austin Named Veteran “Most Likely To Be Cut”
The Dallas Cowboys spent the 2019 offseason looking to add new dimensions to their offense.
They went out and signed Randall Cobb, the veteran receiver who made his name in the slot for the Green Bay Packers. They then drafted Memphis running back Tony Pollard in the fourth round to add a versatile weapon to their offensive backfield.
They also promoted quarterbacks coach Kellen Moore to offensive coordinator, hoping he can bring a fresh perspective to an offense many labeled stale over the course of 2018.
All of these changes could leave members of that "stale" 2018 offense in the dust, and Todd Archer believes wide receiver Tavon Austin could be one of those casualties.
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Terrelle Pryor and Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Richie Incognito are new to their teams, but will they still be there on opening day? Can Pittsburgh Steelers corner Artie Burns stay out of the doghouse and fight his way back up the depth chart?
Archer named Tavon Austin the veteran most likely to be cut by the Cowboys, and roster math does somewhat point to this prediction coming true. If the Cowboys were to only take 5 receivers, as ESPN is suggesting in their latest roster projection, then it's hard to see a perfect spot for Austin.
Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup are complete locks. Randall Cobb is about as close to a lock as you can imagine. That leaves two spots for a lot of talented players, including Austin, Noah Brown, Allen Hurns, Lance Lenoir, and Cedrick Wilson.
It's certainly possible, and more than likely, that the Cowboys go with more than just 5 receivers however. This way they can keep a young hopeful like Wilson around while still maintaining the explosiveness that Tavon Austin can bring them in 2019.
Of course, the Cowboys are not afraid to cut veterans. Just last year we saw Dan Bailey get the axe after training camp, and Dez Bryant get released prior to any offseason activity even began. Tavon Austin is still of cheap value to Dallas, however, and when healthy he was an impressive weapon both on offense and special teams in 2018.
I actually do expect Tavon Austin to survive final cuts in Dallas, mostly because I anticipate they keep more than just 5 receivers on the roster.
Cowboys Twitter Tuesday: Addressing the 2019 53-Man Roster
For the Dallas Cowboys, the NFL, and the NFL fanbase, the waiting game for the start of training camp has begun. As Tom Petty says, "the waiting is the hardest part." The Dallas Cowboys go open training camp in about five weeks. The first preseason game is 53 days away and week one is less than three months away at this point. It's so close we can taste it.
Each week, I'll gather questions from you the Cowboys Nation community. Each week, we'll hone in on a specific topic based on your questions. So whether it's roster related, salary cap focused, or you have a fantasy football question, don't hesitate to send it to me on Twitter.
This week, we're going to take a look at the Dallas Cowboys 53-man roster.
@john9williams Who contributed to last year's team that won't make this year's team?
The 53-man roster will be one of the more debated topics over the next couple of months as the Dallas Cowboys get ready for training camp and the preseason. Every year there are surprises and we should expect the same this year. The Dallas Cowboys have incredible depth through the roster and so there will be at least one name that doesn't make the final 53-man roster who had an impact in 2018.
To answer Jesus' question, I think the easy answer is one of the wide receivers be it Noah Brown, Allen Hurns, or Tavon Austin. This might be a hot take, but I'm going to go a different direction and say guard Xavier Su'a-Filo.
In 2018, Su'a-Filo started eight games for the Dallas Cowboys and though he started out strong for them midseason, his play tailed off before he was injured allowing Connor Williams to regain his starting spot at left guard. The Dallas Cowboys coaching staff loves position flexibility, especially along the offensive line. Su'a-Filo, though he's a solid backup guard option, doesn't have the ability to play multiple positions along the line like his teammates.
Connor Williams can play guard and tackle. Connor McGovern will get snaps at guard and center, and to hear him talk, he can play tackle as well, though that's probably a bit of a stretch. Joe Looney, the Dallas Cowboys starting center for 2018, has the ability to flex out to guard if you need him to.
Because the Dallas Cowboys will have difficult decisions to make at wide receiver and defensive line, they can afford to go light along the offensive line because of the flexibility of players like Williams, Looney, and McGovern.
@john9williams #CowboysQuestions do we extend Dak before game #1? How many WRs on 53?
I'm gonna leave the Dak Prescott question for another day and address the wide receiver question as several people asked about that position group in particular.
The wide receiver group is a really deep group. With Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, and Allen Hurns, it features three guys who've had at least one 1,000 yard season in their career. Michael Gallup is an ascending player. Tavon Austin is a really nice punt returner and offensive puzzle piece that can take the top off the defense with his downfield speed. I think four of those five are locks to make the roster.
According to Jeff Cavanaugh from 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, the team really likes Allen Hurns and his ability to play inside and outside in the formation. He's solid veteran depth at a low cost.
Then if you include Noah Brown's ability as a receiver and as a blocker, I think you have a very versatile and dangerous group in the passing game. Though the coaches really like Brown's ability to block in the run game, if they don't use him in the passing game, it tips their hand to the defense that the team is going to run. If they're going to keep him on the roster, they have to use him. It's a waste otherwise.
Brown and Hurns to me are on the roster bubble at wide receiver. Talented players like Cedric Wilson, Devin Smith, Jon'vea Johnson, Jalen Guyton, and Reggie Davis have all stood out at one point in time or another during OTAs and minicamp and will make the decision difficult for the coaching staff.
In my most recent roster projection, I had the Dallas Cowboys keeping six wide receivers; Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb, Tavon Austin, Allen Hurns, and Noah Brown. Being a team on the verge of contending for a Super Bowl, I think they go with veterans who can help them win now.
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That'll do it for this week's edition. Make sure to get your questions in via Twitter, or you can leave them in the comment section for next week's post. Also, don't forget to check out Inside The Star's newest podcast, Cowboys Weekly featuring Managing Editor Bryson Treece and Senior Writer Jess Haynie.
Does Darius Jackson Have A “Puncher’s Chance” Of Landing On Final Roster?
Remember Darius Jackson?
The sixth round running back was an instant fan favorite of Cowboys Nation, as the fanbase hoped Dallas had found the explosive RB2 behind Ezekiel Elliott they needed in the very same draft. Jackson, however, had an up-and-down preseason in 2016 and ended up being waived from the team to make room for Darren McFadden later in the year.
Jackson has bounced around the league a bit since then, joining both the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers at different points. He's back with the Cowboys, however, looking to fight his way onto the team's final roster.
But does the fourth year running back have more than a puncher's chance to do so?
The Cowboys spent much of the 2019 NFL Draft rebuilding their running back depth. First, they drafted Memphis back Tony Pollard hoping to find a versatile and dynamic threat to compliment the workhorse that is Ezekiel Elliott. Then, in the seventh round, Dallas took another Ohio State running back in Mike Weber who fits more of the "traditional" running back form.
So with two new touted rookies behind the veteran Elliott, and fullback Jamize Olawale more than likely having a roster spot as well, there doesn't seem to be room for Darius Jackson on the Dallas Cowboys.
That didn't stop him from competing at OTAs, however. DallasCowboys.com named Darius Jackson one of their top ten "head turners" from the OTA practices, and considering that Mike Weber is banged up at the moment, Jackson will certainly have his opportunities to fight for that spot.
Still, the odds suggest that Darius Jackson will not be with the Cowboys come the Fall of 2019. Though he entered the league with some fanfare for a day three pick, his production has been more fitting of his draft grade than of his fan hype.
Jackson hasn't been the explosive player/receiving back that they're hoping Tony Pollard will be, nor has he been the every-down type backup runner that they seem to hope Mike Weber will be.
In the end, the Cowboys-Darius Jackson story is likely to close during this year's training camp.
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