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Q&A with Dallas Cowboys SS Gerald Sensabaugh

Dallas Cowboys Nation sits down with Cowboys starting Strong Safety Gerald Sensabaugh to discuss the upcoming season and the state of the Cowboys defense.

Bryson Treece

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When we started this blog we had one goal in mind, to be the best fan blog out there. Well we forgot some details in that original goal and have since been shown a few new things we needed to work towards. Needless to say it became apparent that we had to write about something on here that would keep you all interested.

So we brought you an interview with a rather unlikely candidate – Mickey Spagnola, the www.DallasCowboys.com writer. We got some good feedback and it was fun to do, but our real goal with that was to get the fire started, and today the flames have risen once again.

Some of you know him and others only know of him. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2005 draft after he recorded a record vertical jump of 46’6 at the combine. He then started all 16 games his rookie season with the Jaguars.

He’s coming off of his best year in Jacksonville where he amassed 55 tackles, a team leading 4 interceptions, and 8 passes deflected while playing in all 16 games, starting 13. He’s the new starting Strong Safety in Dallas and has already shown us that he can cover man to man like Roy Williams only dreamed of doing.

I’m happy to present to you #43 Gerald Sensabaugh!

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DCNation: In the off season you had an opportunity to sign a long term deal elsewhere, why did you decide to opt for a one year deal with the Cowboys?

Gerald: The numbers weren't where I wanted them to be. So I figured I would take one last shot and see what I can get after another 1 year deal. I also wanted to go to a larger market team and experience football with some tradition behind it.

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DCNation: We know that the main goal every year is to win the Super Bowl, but can this team realistically do that? Why?

Gerald: Yes, this team has the talent and personnel to do so. There are many explosive players on the offensive side of the ball, so expect lots of points. On the defensive side, we have the opportunity to be one of the best defenses this year in the league. So if you combine the two, I say we have a legit shot at winning the Superbowl.

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DCNation: The past couple of years this Cowboys team has had plenty of talent to get deep into the playoffs, lack of execution has been the Achilles heel to this team. Every year the fans of the Cowboys hear "how things will be different" from the same players, so many fans have grown weary of their talk. So far in your first year with the Cowboys, what can you tell us about this team - what makes you think that you can contend this year?

Gerald: We will be major contenders this year. Going through OTA's this team got a lot better from last year. Through training camp we are going to fine tune the chemistry and we will be set to go.

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DCNation: Based on what you’ve seen so far, what do you think about the cornerback situation that’s brewing? Scandrick has shown serious talent, but Jenkins was drafted higher and also brings some good coverage skills. Your thoughts?

Gerald: I'm very exited about the two young corners. No matter who starts, they both will be major contributors to this defense.

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DCNation: The 2008 Dallas Cowboys Defense was a strong unit, but I think the coaches and fans believe that this years defense could be one of the best in the entire NFL. It is my perception that the biggest reason for these thoughts is because of you. What do you feel is the greatest asset you’re bringing to this team?

Gerald: I feel that I bring the ability to cover at the strong safety position. I have had my share of both run stuffing and covering but I believe the need here in Dallas is to cover more. I am still expecting to make a impact on the run game also.

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DCNation: Is there another player, former or current, that you have tried to pattern your play after? Why?

Gerald: Donovan Darius because he was a physical player that was know for big hits, and always being around the football. And Deon Grant because of his ball skills and coverage ability. Those are the two that I learned from as a youngster and I tried to pattern my game with both of theirs combined.

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DCNation: It’s no secret that the Cowboys have struggled in recent years at the Strong Safety position. From both the perspective of your new teammates and your own estimations, what do you feel is your biggest goal for 2009 to bolster the Strong Safety position in Dallas?

Gerald: Covering Man to Man. To make a bigger difference in the passing game.

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DCNation: Many fans in the NFL view the safety position as a guy who can really lower the boom on opposing players. The Dallas Cowboys recently had a safety who was known for that, but was not very good to say the least in coverage. Does your play favor coverage over hitting? Or do you feel you are a balanced Safety?

Gerald: I feel that I am balanced. In my prior years I had to do both.

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DCNation: Dave Campo has had defensive success in Dallas before, and as well in Jacksonville. Having seen him in action in both places, what do you think he brings to a team that might be otherwise missing?

Gerald: He brings a positive, fair, competitive environment that players like. He's a coach that gets the best out of his players.

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DCNation: It is obvious that you were brought in to be the starter, but do you still feel like you need to prove that you are the man in training camp?

Gerald: Yes, I always have to prove something. Here in Dallas there is a lot of competition. We have guys that can play safety and corner. This secondary is real athletic. Everybody here can play.

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DCNation: Of the scheduled opponents for 2009, which team concerns you the most as a safety?

Gerald: I really don't have any concerns but I do respect all teams equally. Every team brings a different attack to the table so you must prepare as best as you can for all of them.

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DCNation: Can you give us a little insight about the work ethic and demeanor of your new Head Coach / Defensive Coordinator?

Gerald: Coach Phillips is going to make sure that we work hard and get things right. He is less tolerant of errors (especially mental errors), I can tell those get under his skin.

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DCNation: Playing in the AFC South you were able to test your abilities against one of the greatest QB's of this era, Peyton Manning. Was there anything you learned from your time against him that you feel will help you be a top tier Safety in this league?

Gerald: Reading QB's and not going for fakes. He's the pump king and does it every play. He makes the safety play honest and is hard to get a tip on.

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DCNation: There has been a lot of talk about some incidents in your past, are those things behind you now? And is there anything you would like to let the fans in Dallas know about you to clear up any questions they may have?

Gerald: The whole past is behind me and I'm looking forward to winning the super bowl with the Cowboys. That is my main focus.

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[wstlink]r http://www.GeraldSensabaugh.net[/wstlink]You can find out more about Gerald by going to his website – www.GeraldSensabaugh.net – he has a blog there that he not only updates rather often, but he actually participates in comments on his blog. Truly a class act and we welcome him to Dallas.

We want to thank Gerald Sensabaugh not only for speaking with us, but for taking the time to do so from San Antonio as training camp starts. We also look forward to more interviews with Gerald throughout the season.



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

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys 2019 Training Camp Preview: Tight End

Jess Haynie

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Jason Witten
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The shocking return of Jason Witten is a feelgood story for the 2019 Dallas Cowboys, but will it really mean on the field? How will Witten's big presence impact the tight end position during the upcoming training camp and beyond?

Before we ever knew Jason would come back from retirement, Blake Jarwin was stirring up excitement as the new starting TE this year. His huge three-touchdown game in Week 17 last year, while an extreme example, showed the kind of receiving threat he might be going forward.

Still, before Witten announce his return to football, some wanted the Cowboys to invest more in the position. Whether it came in the form of a veteran free agent like Jared Cook or Tyler Eifert, or a high draft pick, there was the thought that Dallas needed to guard themselves against Jarwin being a flash in the pan.

But once we heard that Jason was back, we knew that there wouldn't be any big moves at TE this offseason. The Cowboys are hoping that some combination of Witten's actual return to the field, or his mentoring of their young prospects, will elevate the position from last year.

Here is our projected TE depth chart for the 2019 training camp:

  1. Jason Witten
  2. Blake Jarwin
  3. Dalton Schultz
  4. Rico Gathers
  5. Codey McElroy

While Jarwin may wind up having the most snaps and targets of any TE this season, it's a safe bet that Witten will get some deference as a Cowboys legend. That's why we're making him the starter right now, even with a year away.

The balancing between Blake and Jason as the top two will be something we watch all season. Not only does it impact the 2019 offense, but we want to know if Dallas has a TE of the future in house or will need to make a big move next year to solidify the position.

Dalton Schultz

Dallas Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz

2018 4th-round pick Dalton Schultz may have something to say about the presumed top two. If he's made some strides in his sophomore season, Schultz could force a full-blown committee approach at tight end.

From a financial standpoint, Dallas would love for Schultz to take over the position in 2020.  He is signed through 2021 on a cheap rookie contract, while Jarwin will be a restricted free agent next year.

Predicting who emerges between Jarwin and Schultz is hard to say, but what isn't hard to imagine is that these may be Rico Gathers' last few weeks as a Cowboy.

Now entering his fourth season, the basketball-to-football transformation project has not been able to break through. He has expressed frustration with the TE depth chart during the offseason, and a one-game suspension to start 2019 isn't going to help matters.

Dallas may just be keeping three tight ends this year. They have WR Noah Brown and FB Jamize Olawale who are built to do play like smallish TEs. If they only keep three, it won't matter how much Rico has progressed.

If the Cowboys go with four tight ends that last guy may not be Gathers. They signed prospect Codey McElroy this offseason, who spent last year as an undrafted rookie with the Rams. McElroy may be their new developmental project.

Dallas' 2019 camp will offer plenty of new insights into the TE position. How do they split the workload between Jason Witten, Blake Jarwin, and Dalton Schultz? Can Rico Gathers do anything to fight his way into the conversation, or will he lose his spot to Codey McElroy?

We look forward to getting some more answers in the coming weeks.

~ ~ ~

OTHER 2019 CAMP PREVIEWS



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Dallas Cowboys

Guillain-Barre Syndrome: Travis Frederick’s Health Still a Concern?

Brian Martin

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Concerns About Travis Frederick's Health Still Justifiable
George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It's been nearly a year since Dallas Cowboys Center Travis Frederick was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), an autoimmune disease. And although all signs are pointing towards him making a full recovery and regaining his starting job, there are still some lingering concerns about his health.

Travis Frederick didn't miss a start in his previous five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys before being diagnosed with GBS. He was an Ironman and was the anchor for the Cowboys talented offensive line. But battling injuries and an autoimmune disease in which there is a lot of unknown about still are two different animals. It's the unknown here that still carries some concern.

What is Guillain-Barre Syndrome?

According to the Mayo Clinic, Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) occurs when the body mistakenly attacks its own nerves, specifically the peripheral nervous system, which connects the brain and the spinal cord to the rest of the body. This can result in a wide range the nerve-related symptoms, including tingling, prickling, or pins and needles sensations; muscle weakness; difficulty walking, talking, chewing, or swallowing; pain; and, in severe cases paralysis, which can become life-threatening if breathing is affected.

As with many autoimmune diseases, experts don't fully understand what causes GBS. There is still a lot of unknown about this disease, and that includes how to treat it and recover from it. However, when diagnosed early, like in Frederick's case, the chances of stabilizing sooner rather than later are pretty good. Although, the recovery process can be a slow one, anywhere from a few weeks to a few years.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome Cure and Recovery Time?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for GBS at this current time. There are a couple of treatments which has shown some success, although patients respond differently which makes determining a person's recovery time nearly impossible.

According to the Mayo Clinic, most people recover within 6 to 12 months. However, about 30% of people still experience lingering weakness three years after a diagnosis, reports the Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and about 15% continue to have weakness long after that. Hence, the lingering concern about Travis Frederick and his future health.

Travis Frederick's Optimism

Despite all the unknown with GBS and how it's affected Travis Frederick's life, he sounds pretty optimistic his health is trending in the right direction.

"I feel really good about where I am at. Both in recovery from Guillain-Barre syndrome and the offseason surgeries that I had done. We are just starting to get to the end of the shoulder rehab. That will start to free up a little bit of my activities. But as far as (Guillain-Barre syndrome) goes, I feel really, really good. It's gonna be hard to tell whether I'm back exactly 100 percent until I can go against another player at full speed in full pads. I don't think we're actually going to know until training camp. But all signs are currently pointing to really good things."

As if we didn't already have enough to keep an eye on once the Dallas Cowboys start training, Travis Frederick certainly jumps to the top of the list. How he is able to respond in some "live-action" practices should help determine where he's at healthwise. Hopefully for his sake, and the sake of the Cowboys, he's back to 100% or as close to it as possible.

Are you concerned about Travis Frederick's health heading into 2019?



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Player News

Report: Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott Planning Training Camp Holdout?

John Williams

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Ezekiel Elliott: NFL's History with Domestic Violence Shows Inconsistency, Hypocrisy 2

All offseason, the possibility of a new contract for Dallas Cowboys Running Back Ezekiel Elliott has been a hot button issue among media and fans alike. Not because Ezekiel Elliott isn't a great player and worthy of top running back money, but because the idea of paying running backs north of $15 million a year isn't as simple as, "Is he worth it?"

There is significant evidence that the running back position experiences a significant decline in production around their age 28 season and few running backs play into their 30's with good to elite production. Ezekiel Elliott, though he's experienced heavy usage in his first three seasons, could be the exception to the rule.

Well, knowing his worth to the Dallas Cowboys he's expecting a heavy payday at some point in the next couple of seasons. Elliott is under contract through 2019 and the Cowboys picked up his rookie option for 2020. So, technically, Elliott wouldn't be a free agent until the 2021 offseason. However, much like in the case of Todd Gurley, Elliott's looking to get paid early to maximize his prime years as the Dallas Cowboys running back.

Within the last hour, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk released a report that Ezekiel Elliott is planning on holding out of training camp if he doesn't receive a new contract, per a "league source." It should be noted that Mike Florio has had some missteps in his reporting of Dallas Cowboys news, most notably the perpetuating a rumor that Dez Bryant was caught on videotape doing something at a Wal-Mart, that would have a "Ray Rice type of impact." A tape that has never been discovered or produced and a story that's completely died off since it was originally reported in 2015.

Given the recent news that Melvin Gordon is planning a training camp hold out, it should come as no surprise that Elliott is being mentioned similarly. ESPN even mentioned the idea of Elliott and a looming contractual holdout in a piece earlier today, but their prediction pointed to 2021 and wasn't a report based on fact or a source, but a prediction for next year.

The two-time NFL rushing champ is scheduled to count $7.9 million in 2019 and just over $9 million in 2020 against the salary cap. His salary for 2019 is only $3.8 million. Elliott certainly has earned the right to be paid like Todd Gurley ($14.37 million per year), Le'Veon Bell ($13.13 million per year), and David Johnson ($13 million per year) despite having two more years on his deal.

In looking at the long-term impact of Elliott's contract, I've advocated that if the Dallas Cowboys intend to pay Elliott, now's the time to do it. A contract extension now, that adds three or four more years onto his existing deal would get Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys to his age 28 or 29 season. In a well-structured contract, they'd have opportunities to get out at the back end if Elliott experienced a significant decline in production.

Ezekiel Elliott's contract is going to continue to be a hot button issue until he's either signed to an extension or it's made known that the Dallas Cowboys have no intention of extending him. Currently, there aren't any other sources confirming Elliott's plan to hold out of training camp, which starts July 27th, but it's a story that we'll continue to follow here on InsideTheStar.com.

Update: 7/16/2019 10:42 am.

Charles Robinson, Senior Reporter for Yahoo! Sports provided some insight into the thinking of Elliott and his representation.

It certainly seems like holding out is on the table for Ezekiel Elliott and his representation, but no decision has been made at this point.

Check back with us for updates on Ezekiel Elliott's contract extension. 



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