There are officially 72 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.
Hello, Friday! This beauty of a day has been on all of our minds since we fell into the weekly trap that is Monday. It feels good to know that the weekend is ahead, we can push our work back a couple (or a hundred) days, and that there is some new Cowboys scoop to talk about. Today we’re going to discuss the Greatest 72 in Dallas Cowboys History.
The following players have all worn #72 for the Dallas Cowboys:
- Stephen Bowen, DE
- Rob Callaway, DT
- Louis Cheek, OT
- Ray Childress, DT
- Travis Frederick*, C
- Bill Herchman, DT
- Ed “Too Tall” Jones, DE
- Tony Liscio, OT
- Dwayne Missouri, DE
- Stephen Peterman, OG
- Don Talbert, OT
*Active player on the Dallas Cowboys roster
Current Cowboys fans are all about Travis Frederick. Taken with the 31st pick of the 2013 NFL Draft the former Wisconsin Badger has already lived up to his first-round hype.
As the center, Travis anchors what is arguably the greatest offensive line in today’s NFL and he’s regarded as a highly intelligent (the dude has a degree in computer engineering for crying out loud) master of the game.
Beyond snapping the ball to quarterback Tony Romo, Travis is responsible for making various reads and communicating information to the rest of the line. He’s well on his way to making a significant mark in Dallas Cowboys History, but he’s nowhere near the level of prestige as our greatest 72.
Tennessee State University thought they hit the jackpot with 6’9” Ed Jones. Two seasons in, Ed decided that football was a far more enticing option than basketball and during his first practice had a teammate notice that his pants didn’t fit like everyone else’s. Those pants led a teammate to conclude that Ed was “too tall to play football,” but as soon as he rushed the passer everybody relaxed.
Ed “Too Tall” Jones turned heads as he became a two-time All-American. Too Tall was the crown jewel when the 1974 NFL Draft took place and the holders of the number one overall pick - the Dallas Cowboys - needed someone with some serious height. Dallas took Jones as their first #1 overall pick in franchise history and a star was born.
Too Tall became a starter at left defensive end in 1975, helping the Cowboys reach Super Bowl X where they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Cowboys would return to two Too Tall (say that five times fast) Super Bowls in the 1970s: Super Bowl XII against the Denver Broncos (a victory) and Super Bowl XIII, a rematch of X against the Steelers. Ed helped anchor Dallas’ legendary Doomsday Defense, guided by Tom Landry, and had a very prominent stint during those first few years in the 70s.
After a brief stint in professional boxing, Too Tall returned to the Cowboys in 1980 and outperformed his 70s self.
He went to three straight Pro Bowls from 1981 to 1983 and was a First-Team All-Pro in 1982 (coincidentally the first year that the NFL began tallying sacks as an official statistic). The Dallas Cowboys were a part of many historical games from 1974-1989 and they were all, in large part, thanks to Mr. Jones. Don't believe me? Check out Tom Landry's personal letter to Too Tall congratulating him on an illustrious career as a Dallas Cowboy.
Too Tall Jones was a number one overall pick that became a legendary pass rusher in an era full of them. He has 106 quarterback sacks, unofficially … putting Jones third in franchise history. His 224 games played in the blue and white are the most ALL-TIME in Dallas Cowboys Franchise History. Too Tall is a Cowboys legend, a defensive force, and the Greatest 72 in Dallas Cowboys History.
Check back tomorrow to find out who the Greatest 71 in Dallas Cowboys History is, and go follow Too Tall on Twitter at @1EdTooTallJones (I promise, that is the real Ed Too Tall Jones).
Xavier Woods, the Real Reason Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
It's not uncommon for Dallas Cowboys fans to zero in on certain free agents in hopes that they will bring their talents to America's Team. In fact, just about any "big name" player to hit the open market is often linked to the Cowboys in some way or another. That was the case when the Arizona Cardinals decided to move on from Tyrann Mathieu.
Once Tyrann Mathieu became available, Cowboys fans immediately wanted to see him with a star on his helmet. But, despite the fans petitioning, the Cowboys brass seemed to show almost zero interest in the former Cardinal.
The decision to not pursue Tyrann Mathieu certainly didn't sit well with a lot of Cowboys Nation, but I think it was the right decision.
Despite Mathieu's perceived talents and youth (he's just 25), the Cowboys weren't interested in paying the price to bring him to Dallas, especially since they already have a similar player on their roster.
It may sound crazy, but I think the real reason the Dallas Cowboys didn't show much interest in Tyrann Mathieu is because of Xavier Woods.
I honestly believe Xavier Woods and Tyrann Mathieu have a similar skill set. Both players are little undersized to be a full-time safety in the NFL, but each of them have the versatility to play several different roles in the secondary.
Mathieu may have been listed as a safety on the Arizona Cardinals roster, and now the Houston Texans, but the truth is he played mostly out of the nickel/slot in his professional and collegiate career. That is where he is at his best, and the same can be said about Xavier Woods.
As a rookie, Xavier Woods showed his versatility with the Dallas Cowboys by playing a variety of different roles in the secondary. His versatility was one of the reasons the Cowboys decided to trade up in last year's draft to acquire his services.
His name might not carry the same kind of weight as Tyrann Mathieu right now around the league or amongst NFL fans, but I don't think Xavier Woods is that much of a drop off talent wise.
Personally, I believe Mathieu is starting to decline a little as a player. I think injuries are starting to take a toll on his play, although it may be minimal. I actually prefer Xavier Woods' upside, especially when you take into account the difference in salaries between the two.
Surprisingly enough, Xavier Woods might just have been more productive in 2017 then Mathieu. Woods started just four games and finished the season with 42 tackles, three passes defensed, and one interception. Mathieu on the other hand started all 16 games and accumulated 78 tackles, one quarterback sack, one forced fumble, and two interceptions.
As you can see, Xavier Woods was almost just as productive as Mathieu in nearly a third of the playing time. What's even more impressive about this is that Woods accomplish this as a rookie.
Of course, all of this is speculation, but I for one am not all that upset the Dallas Cowboys missed out on Tyrann Mathieu. I'm willing to bet on Xavier Woods being able to do everything Mathieu can and at a fraction of the cost.
Were the Cowboys right not to pursue Tyrann Mathieu?
Free Agent CB Orlando Scandrick Joining Washington Redskins
Just two days after being released by the Dallas Cowboys, cornerback Orlando Scandrick has found a new home in the nation's capitol. After 10 seasons in Dallas, Scandrick is signing with the rival Washington Redskins.
Redskins and Orlando Scandrick have agreed to a 2-year deal worth a max value of $10M, source said. From Dallas to a rival.
By joining Washington after leaving Dallas, Scandrick follows in the footsteps of many ex-Cowboys: Terrell McClain, Jason Hatcher, Stephen Bowen, and even Deion Sanders to name a few.
Last week, Orlando reportedly requested his release from Dallas. It was widely expected that he would be a salary cap casualty anyway, though, and especially with the young stockpile of cornerbacks the Cowboys currently have.
Dallas has three young corners they believe in with Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Anthony Brown. There is also talk that Byron Jones could be moving back to CB next year.
Scandrick, 31, will get to stay in the NFC East and now cover some of his former teammates. Give the reportedly salary, he should at least be the slot corner for Washington next year if not a starter.
Upgrading the Offensive Line Cowboys Top Offseason Priority?
Despite the displeasure by the majority of fans, the Dallas Cowboys continue to hold things close to the vest with their approach to free agency. It's definitely not the most popular approach and tends to drive fans crazy, but things could start heating up now that the free-agent market is starting to settle.
Looking from the outside in, we can only speculate as to which positions the Dallas Cowboys may prioritize in free agency and in the draft that matter. Earl Thomas and the safety position has been the most popular topic of discussion throughout the free agency process, but it looks as if the Cowboys are narrowing their focus on upgrading and adding depth to their offensive line.
This is just speculation of course, but it's based on the fact that the Cowboys are rumored to be bringing in free-agent offensive lineman Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming. And on top of that, it was announced that two of the Dallas Cowboys 30 pre-draft visitors are also offensive lineman, Will Hernandez, who is popular among Cowboys fans already, and offensive tackle Kolton Miller.
I don't know about you, but it looks as if the Dallas Cowboys are certainly focused in on upgrading the offensive line. This absolutely makes sense after what they went through last season with the carousel at the left guard position and Tyron Smith's struggles to stay healthy.
More than anything, the Cowboys need OL depth heading into the 2018 season. There is only really one spot up for grabs at left guard, but the depth across the OL is absolutely depleted unless you want to rely on Chaz Green again.
This is where Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming make a lot of sense. Marcus Martin has the versatility to play center and guard, and has done so already in his NFL career. He could compete for the starting LG position, but if nothing else, could replace Joe Looney as the backup C/OG.
Cameron Fleming could be the more important of the two free agents the Cowboys are rumored to be interested in. At the worst, Fleming would be an upgrade as the swing tackle, something he's done with the New England Patriots throughout his career. But, he could compete to become the starting right tackle, which would kick La'el Collins back inside to left guard.
That's all speculation right now, but the Dallas Cowboys would do what's best for the entire team in order to get the right starting five offensive lineman on the field.
The same can be said about rookies Will Hernandez and Kolton Miller. Hernandez would likely be a plug-and-play left guard if he ended up being the Dallas Cowboys first-round draft pick. That would keep the offensive line from shuffling and hopefully solidify the unit for years to come.
Kolton Miller on the other hand would be a lot like the Cameron Fleming situation mentioned above. He can probably tackle on the left or right side the NFL, although some draft analysts believe he will struggle as a LT at the next level.
Of course, there is no way of knowing how much interest the Dallas Cowboys have any of these players right now. But to me, it looks as if upgrading the offensive line is certainly one of their top priorities this offseason.
Is upgrading the OL the Dallas Cowboys top offseason priority?
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