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Wade Phillips Sets the Cowboys Lineup for 2009

Bryson Treece



I was reading Mickey's article on last night about the Cowboys seemingly trying to get younger, or more specifically, trying to avoid getting old, and the one part that sticks in my mind is the stuff about Ellis.

If you've read the blogs over at before, then you might very well know that I have mixed feelings over Ellis between his decent to good play over the years, and his inability to shut up about his contract.

But now the Cowboys have told Ellis that he will not be the starter in 2009, and that Anthony Spencer will instead be given the job. Spencer has developed into a bit of a gamble lately, not really because of his off-the-field incident after the season ended, but because he's not yet proven that he can stay healthy long-term.

For the sake of argument, I actually see Ellis as a better player simply because he has experience. His only major injury since the switch from DE to OLB has been the Achilles injury that landed him on IR a couple of years ago, and to my surprise that a lot of people don't know this, it was Bobby Carpenter that filled in for him 90% of the time he was out.

But Anthony Spencer has been as much of a role player as Ellis has been the past two years. Last year, Ellis was the starter by title, yes, but that was mainly because he played the first defensive down of every game. Spencer would then come in on most first and second downs while Ellis played primarily on third downs, in passing situations.

But the real point here isn't whether Ellis or Spencer starts, but that Ellis will not start ... that he has been told already, in March mind you, that he will not be the starter. This does two things; 1) it gives Ellis even more reason to continue whining that he might be cut since his cap number is awfully high for a third down player, and 2) it sets the tone for the whole season as far as player management.

Maybe it's a benefit of having your head coach also serve as the defensive coordinator. Not only does Wade know what he wants to do with his defense as the DC, but as the HC he doesn't have to wait around to convince anyone else that it's best, he doesn't have to wait and see how it turns out ... he's already got the authority to make the decision early on.

It also goes to show that maybe he is making some of those changes to his nice-guy persona that so many have complained about. He isn't going to let the cards fall where they may and use competition or a challenge scenario as an excuse to start Spencer over Ellis, he's come right out and made it known long before it really matters that Ellis will not be the starter. Somehow the "awe shucks" image just doesn't fit a move like this.

So while Ellis is now seemingly on the chopping block awaiting his impending doom with the franchise, this team has taken a step toward less controversy and more stability. Having it set this early on that your younger player will be the starter has its positives.

For instance, instead of valuable reps in the off-season being wasted on a veteran player who knows the system pretty well, the guy who really needs the extra work will get every last snap that he needs to prove himself.

It's equally beneficial that the club has made it known that they plan on Miles Austin being the number 2 receiver opposite Roy Williams instead of returning Patrick Crayton to the spot now that Owens is gone.

It portrays a picture of a coaching staff that has done their homework, has made choices, and is not only sticking by them, but doing so in a way that leaves no doubt to played upon later as the season nears. It portrays something that many fans refuse to believe, that this coaching staff knows what they are going to do for 2009.

It's a small step, but it's another one in the right direction.

Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter - @InsideTheStarDC

1 Comment
  • cowboycards

    Fingers crossed your right on this one. I certainly hate the see the Cowboys loose another veteran like Ellis but surely his best days are way behind him.

Player News

Free Agent WR Allen Hurns Plans to Sign With Cowboys

Brian Martin



Free Agent WR Allen Hurns Plans to Sign With Cowboys

It looks as if the Dallas Cowboys will be adding yet another wide receiver through free agency. According to sources, Allen Hurns plans on signing with the Cowboys.

Josina Anderson on Twitter

WR Allen Hurns just told me, "I'm going to sign with Dallas." #Cowboys

This is a move that seemed unlikely after the Cowboys signed Deonte Thompson a few days ago, but I know a lot of Cowboys Nation will be excited about this transaction.

Allen Hurns joins a receiver group that features Dez Bryant, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, Ryan Switzer, Noah Brown, and the recently added Deonte Thompson.

While this move is exciting, it does create more confusion for the Cowboys and their wide receivers. It's difficult to imagine all of these WRs sticking to the roster, which means there will be some tough decisions that need to be made.

What will the Cowboys do with Dez Bryant?

Will Cole Beasley be cut or traded?

Are the Cowboys comfortable absorbing Terrance Williams' cap hit if traded or released?

Will this keep the Cowboys from drafting a WR early?

All of these questions and more will have to be answered eventually. But, one thing is for sure, things are definitely about to get interesting.

Of course, there is a bonus here for the Dallas Cowboys. Since Allen Hurns was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he doesn't count against the Cowboys compensatory picks next season.

Please stay tuned and we will continue to keep you updated on contract details and any other news involving Allen Hurns as it becomes available.

What do you think about the Allen Hurns signing?

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Dallas Cowboys

What Signing Thompson Means for Hurns and Cowboys WR Position

Mauricio Rodriguez



Questions Surround Cowboys WR Position After Deonte Thompson Signing

UPDATE: News of Hurns saying he will sign with the Cowboys broke as this article went live. 

Free Agency began a bit late for the Dallas Cowboys, but they've already done enough to get fans discussing about the latest additions to the roster. Adding help on offense, defense and special teams in form of tier-2 free agents may not be what Cowboys Nation wants to see, but I'm certain they wouldn't have enjoyed giving Sammy Watkins a three-year $48M contract, either.

However, the Cowboys are clearly in the wide receiver market after an offensively disappointing season. They have quite a few of this year's class of wide receivers prospects scheduled to visit Dallas, and they've hosted some WR free agents as well.

This week, they even signed one.

Deonte Thompson, who started seven games for the Bills last year, is coming to Dallas on a one-year $2.5M contract. The 29-year old could be the burner receiver this offense is missing and could end up being an improved version of Brice Butler for the Cowboys in 2018.

He hasn't had a great career but last season was his best year so far. Starting three games for the Bears and seven for the Bills, Thompson was able to rack up a career-high 555 yards and two touchdowns.

His best attribute as a player is definitely the speed he brings to the table and his ability to separate down the field, which he'll be looking to do on Dak Prescott's offense this season.

But there was another wide receiver visiting Dallas this week and now we wonder whether or not the Deonte Thompson signing will keep the Cowboys from targeting former Jaguars' WR Allen Hurns.

According to Todd Archer, that won't be the case.

Todd Archer on Twitter

Told the signing of Deonte Thompson does not close the door on the Cowboys' interest in Allen Hurns, who visited the team Wednesday and had dinner. Things could get interesting in the Cowboys' wide receivers' room.

It shouldn't be. First of all, Hurns is a much better player than Thompson and would provide this offense with a receiver who can play in the "X" or in the "Z" role. We've been talking about getting Prescott a reliable target to try to give him a "best friend." Allen Hurns could be just that.

Sure, he's had a couple of down seasons, but the talent is there to take.

Simply put, the Deonte Thompson signing shouldn't stop the Cowboys from looking at WR in the first round of the NFL Draft. Allen Hurns would.

Cowboys en Español: Nuevas Contrataciones, ¿Podría Ser Allen Hurns la Siguiente?

It sure would make things interesting in the wide receiver room for Dallas. Despite what many believe, Dez Bryant will probably remain a Cowboy even if Hurns is signed. Let's say the Cowboys go out there and get the 26-year old from Jacksonville and have to decide which six receivers to keep for the season.

They'd possibly have to decide among these:

  • Dez Bryant
  • Terrrance Williams
  • Cole Beasley
  • Ryan Switzer
  • Allen Hurns
  • Deonte Thompson
  • Noah Brown
  • A drafted rookie?  

This is where a lot of dilemmas start taking form. Cole Beasley and Ryan Switzer are basically the same player and if you're not going to use them both at the same time, do you keep them anyway? What about Terrance Williams? He could be the worst receiver to make the cut just because of his contract. 

Noah Brown showed promise in 2017, are they ready to move on from him? And finally, a rookie could very well end up beating Deonte Thompson, who was guaranteed a million in his contract.

Wide receiver is indeed one of the top needs for the Dallas Cowboys. They could head to the 2018 NFL Draft needing one in the top rounds or they could be fine signing Hurns and taking a late-rounder receiver to compete in training camp for a spot on the roster.

As long as they're having a tough time deciding because they are all good, it should be fine.

Tell me what you think about "What Signing Thompson Means for Hurns and Cowboys WR Position" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 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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Player News

Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson

Jess Haynie



Deonte Thompson

The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.

Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.

Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.

Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.

For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.

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