Sports Outside the Beltway

Dallas Cowboys 2009 Draft – Day 1

The Cowboys traded their 2009 1st, 3rd, and 6th round picks to the Detroit Lions for WR Roy Williams and a 2010 7th rounder.  Thus far, it has been an awful trade but Williams was hurt and didn’t have the benefit of an offseason working with Tony Romo and the Cowboys’ system.  Those excuses will be gone this season.

The trade meant that the Cowboys’ first chance to pick came at the #51 spot but they traded that pick to the Buffalo Bills for their 3rd and 4th round picks.  Indeed, those of us watching on television thought the Cowboys had “passed” on the pick entirely!   Apparently, they had their sights set on Oregon center Max Unger but the Seattle Seahawks traded up and grabbed him two spots earlier.  Thinking there were no players left worth spending a 2nd rounder on, they pulled the trigger on the trade.

So, Day 1 of the draft was a complete bust for Cowboys fans.  With a whopping twelve picks on day 2, though, Jean Jacques Taylor says there are no excuses for not dominating today.

There will be no acceptable excuses today for the Cowboys failing to obtain every single player they covet because they will control the draft. That’s what having two picks in the third round and three picks in the fourth and fifth rounds does for them.

They can target specific players and, with the bevy of picks they’ve accumulated, easily move up and down the board to scoop them up.

The Cowboys entered this draft needing to shore up their secondary since Roy Williams and Adam Jones have been released, backup Keith Davis is a free agent and so many teams use formations with three and four receivers.  The Cowboys also need to improve their depth at receiver since Miles Austin and Sam Hurd have combined to catch 42 NFL passes. While the Cowboys love Austin and they like Hurd, neither has proved anything yet.

The Cowboys entered the second round with several potential candidates, but five of the 21 players they brought in for predraft visits were selected with the first 17 picks of the round.

But he also makes a good point:

Jerry [Jones] didn’t seem to think there were many players in the draft who could help this team right away aside from contributing on special teams or third downs.

Well, this team didn’t make the playoffs. It has holes. It’s not flawless.

It’s just hard to believe none of the draft’s top 64 players can have an impact on this team. It almost sounds like the philosophy the Cowboys espoused during the 1995 draft. The Cowboys drafted backup players that year because they were so talented, they didn’t believe anyone could break the starting lineup and didn’t want to pay players to sit on the bench.

It’s too early to evaluate this draft, obviously.  But every single other team in the division — the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Washington Redskins — got significantly better yesterday.  The Cowboys didn’t.   They’ve got some serious catching up to do today.


Buffalo Bills trade OT Jason Peters to Philadelphia

Another unhappy player gets his wish to play for another NFL team. From AP-

The Bills traded left tackle Jason Peters to the Philadelphia Eagles rather than risk another offseason holdout from their disgruntled two-time Pro Bowl player.

The basics of the deal were agreed to Friday, a person familiar with the trade talks told The Associated Press. The Eagles are attempting to work out a contract extension with Peters before completing the trade, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced.

In exchange, the Bills will receive the 28th overall pick – the second of the Eagles’ two first-round picks – and a fourth-round selection in next week’s NFL draft.

While the Bills lose their most talented offensive lineman, they rid themselves of a potential headache. Peters was threatening to repeat last year’s offseason holdout. Scheduled to make a base salary of $7.2 million during the final two years of his contract, Peters is considered underpaid for a player at such a high-profile position.

Left offensive tackle is a critical position in football. The Bills are not likely to fill Peters place with a player close to his quality. This trade has the potential to effect Buffalo’s 2009 prospects more than the acquisition of Terrell Owens.


John Madden retires after 30 years in booth

He was a Hall of Fame coach with the Oakland Raiders before that. From ESPN-

John Madden, a fixture in NFL broadcast booths for 30 years, has decided to retire, he announced Thursday in a statement released by NBC Sports.

Madden, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and former Super bowl-winning coach of the Oakland Raiders, has been a game analyst and TV personality since walking away from coaching in 1979.

“It’s time. I’m 73 years old. My 50th wedding anniversary is this fall,” Madden said. “I have two great sons and their families and my five grandchildren are at an age now when they know when I’m home and, more importantly, when I’m not.”

“It’s been such a great ride,” he added. The NFL has been my life for more than 40 years, it has been my passion – it still is. … it’s still fun and that’s what it makes it hard and that’s why it took me a few months to make a decision.

Madden played college ball at Cal Poly and had a brief career as a player with the Philadelphia Eagles. Before being hired by the Raiders as a defensive assistant, Madden was a assistant coach on the college level with Buffalo State and San Diego State(Under Dan Coryel). Sadly Al Davis the owner of the Oakland Raiders hasn’t been able to make a similarly brilliant head coaching choice of late as to when he promoted Madden to the job in 1969.

Enjoy your retirement coach.


QB Jeff Garcia signs with Oakland Raiders

One of the NFL’s worst teams was looking for insurance at Quarterback. From ESPN-

The third time is charm for the Oakland Raiders and Jeff Garcia as they agreed Monday on a one-year contract, the team confirmed.

Twice before during his football career, the Raiders talked to Garcia about joining them, dating back to his days coming out of college.

Garcia grew up in Gilroy, Calif., and went to college at San Jose State. Out of college, he signed with Calgary of the CFL. The Raiders also talked to him about joining them another time before he settled into a career with the San Francisco 49ers, a career that has featured Pro Bowls and trips to the playoffs.

The 39-year-old Garcia is expected to back up JaMarcus Russell, who is solidly entrenched as the starter.

The Raiders will be Garcia’s sixth team. He has also played with the 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

If not for his age, you might wager Garcia plays with a dozen or more NFL teams before his career is through.


Philadelphia Eagles Def. Coordinator Jim Johnson has cancer

He plans to still coach as he battles deadly skin cancer. From AP-

Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson has had a recurrence of cancer, this time in his spine, team officials said Thursday.johnson

Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder told The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News that Johnson on Monday was diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer that has formed a tumor in his back. Johnson has begun radiation treatments at Bryn Mawr Hospital, the trainer said.

The tumor is in the same area where Johnson’s skin cancer was diagnosed in 2001, Burkholder told the newspapers. Johnson also has cancer in other areas of his body, Burkholder said, but he declined to elaborate. The team did not offer a prognosis.

I know what the prognosis is for Stage IV for Malignant melanoma is and it isn’t good. See I’m in the same boat as Johnson and I’ve survived a year so far. My chances to five are less than ten percent.

As for coaching, I don’t expect Johnson to be back. Only because the battle he faces will consume almost all his time and energy. God bless Jim Johnson and his family. The rest of the AP article is below the fold.


Eagles, Bengals play to NFL’s first tie in six years at 13-13

There aren’t always winners and losers in the NFL. From AP-

Donovan McNabb expected to keep playing until someone scored, no matter how long it took. Mercifully, the NFL’s rules set a time limit on terrible play.

Eagles 13, Bengals 13. It couldn’t have ended any other way.

McNabb fumbled and threw three interceptions in regulation Sunday, and the Bengals botched the only scoring chance in overtime, leaving the equally inept teams with the NFL’s first tied game in six years.

Cincinnati’s Shayne Graham missed a 47-yard field goal with 7 seconds left in overtime, falling to the ground as the ball sailed a few inches wide to the right. It was a fitting finish to a game played like the very definition of a tie. Despite all the shanked punts and trick plays, this one went nowhere.


It was the first tied game in the NFL since Nov. 10, 2002, when the Falcons and Steelers finished 34-34 with Michael Vick and Tommy Maddox matching each other pass for pass. In this one, the teams matched each other gaffe for gaffe.

The Eagles (5-4-1) have yet to win a close game this season, going 0-4 with a tie in games decided by less than a touchdown. McNabb had a big hand in this one, matching his career high with three interceptions and setting up 10 of Cincinnati’s points.

He nearly had another pass picked off in overtime, but Johnathan Joseph dropped a potential interception near midfield. Each team had three chances in the extra 15-minute quarter, but only the Bengals (1-8-1) got close enough to try a field goal.

They missed it, leaving them with only their second tied game in franchise history. They played Houston to a 31-31 tie in 1969, their second season.


Philadelphia hadn’t finished with a tie since a 10-10 game against Baltimore in 1997.

Ties became rare in the NFL after the overtime rule was instituted in either 1972 or 1973. I’ve actually attended a tied game. One between Miami and the New York Jets that was played on 10/04/81 and ended in a 28-28 tie.

A tie may make things interesting for the Eagles come playoff time. The Bengals aren’t going anywhere in the postseason.


NY Giants sign DE Jerome McDougle

This in order to shore up the defending Super Bowl Champs’ battered Defensive line.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants shored up their defensive end position by signing former Philadelphia Eagles first-round pick Jerome McDougle.

A source told’s John Clayton that McDougle receives a one-year, $1 million deal.

The Super Bowl champions lost seven-time Pro Bowler Michael Strahan to retirement in June and then had two-time Pro Bowler Osi Umenyiora sidelined with a season-ending knee injury a little more than a week ago in a game against the Jets.

New York moved Mathias Kiwanuka from linebacker back to defensive end days after Umenyiora was hurt.

A first round pick in 2003, McDougle was cut by Philadelphia on Saturday. He played in 33 games in five seasons and had three sacks. He missed all of last season with a triceps injury and was out for all of 2005 after being shot in the abdomen during a robbery during the offseason.

Jerome is the older brother of Stockar McDougale, an alumni of Deerfield Beach High School in Florida.(The school’s mascot is The Bucks) The same school I attended from 1976-1979. I don’t know whether Jerome went to DBHS also.

Good luck Jerome and Go Bucks!


Frank Cornish, Cowboys Super Bowl Lineman, Dies at 40

Former Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Frank Cornish died in his sleep Friday night.  He was only 40.

Frank Cornish (left) and teammate Brian Nielsen meet police constable Sue Dawson before training at London\'s Crystal Palace sports ground in August of 1993. The Dallas Cowboys travelled to England to play an exhibition game with the Detroit Lions.Cornish, an offensive lineman, played for five NFL teams during a six-year career that started in 1990 when he was a sixth-round pick out of UCLA by the San Diego Chargers. He played with the Cowboys on Super Bowl-winning teams in 1992 and 1993, starting five games.


“The Bruin family sends our deepest, heartfelt sympathy to the Cornish family,” said UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel, a Bruin assistant for most of Cornish’s college career. “I was a coach when he was a player, and he was just a gifted guy. Frank was a great guy in the locker room and a huge personality and a fun guy to be around.”

Cornish’s father, Frank played in the NFL in the late ’60s and ’70s.

Frank Cornish IV is survived by his wife, Robin, three daughters and two sons.

Truly sad.


Former NFL Lineman Thomas McHale dead at 45

McHale played both on the offensive line and defensive line during the nine years he played in the NFL. He played Defensive End at Cornell where he was an All-American. RIP.

WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the death of former Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Thomas McHale, who was found dead at a friend’s home. He was 45.

The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said McHale was found by the friend early Sunday in the Tampa-area home. Authorities say foul play is not suspected. An autopsy has been scheduled.


McHale played for the Bucs from 1987-92, then spent two years with the Philadelphia Eagles and a year with Miami Dolphins.


NFL Power Rankings – 2008 Preseason

The gang at ESPN has ranked all 32 NFL teams. Here’s the top 10 (final 2007 rankings in parenthesis):

1 (1) Patriots 16-0-0 A healthy Tom Brady and a happy Randy Moss make the Patriots championship contenders this season and for years to come. (MS)

2 (2) Colts 13-3-0 They haven’t had a lot of offseason turnover and they already were very good. Continuity means a lot. (PY)

3 (6) Chargers 11-5-0 If the Chargers can get over their injury issues, they could be in the Super Bowl mix all the way to Tampa. (BW)

4 (3) Cowboys 13-3-0 Felix Jones should help the running game immediately. But who will emerge as the No. 2 receiver? Patrick Crayton wasn’t up to the task in late ’07. (MM)

5 (4) Jaguars 11-5-0 They sometimes get overshadowed by division rival Indianapolis, but the Jaguars have an elite roster and an elite coach in Jack Del Rio. (PY)

6 (9) Giants 10-6-0 Teams other than the Patriots aren’t supposed to repeat as Super Bowl champions. Will Michael Strahan retire? Can they compensate for free-agent losses at LB? (MM)

7 (8) Steelers 10-6-0 A very strong draft catapults the Steelers into Super Bowl contenders. RBs Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall should be one of the best 1-2 punches. (JW)

8 (7) Seahawks 10-6-0 New O-line coach Mike Solari stands out as the Seahawks’ top offseason acquisition, perhaps allowing them to keep their edge in the NFC West. (MS)

9 (13) Browns 10-6-0 The 2007 darlings face high expectations. The offense will score. Can the D, anchored by additions Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams, hold up its end? (JW)

10 (5) Packers 13-3-0 This is an unpredictable team in the wake of the retirement of Brett Favre. Who will step up and make the big plays this year? (JW)

Click here for 11-32.

Dropping the Packers, were 13-3 and lost in the NFC Championship game to #10 seems about right. After all, they lost one of the best quarterbacks in League history to retirement. But how do you justify dropping the team that beat them, along with the #4 ranked Cowboys and the #1 ranked Patriots on their way to winning the Super Bowl down to 6th place? Even if Strahan retires, they still have the most dominant defensive front in the League and Eli Manning should only get better.

I like the Cowboys’ chances at #4, though, especially since that puts them as the favorite team to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. They’re a deeper team than the Giants, I think, and have really shored up their defensive backfield with the Pacman Jones trade and the drafting of Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick. But the Giants deserve to be considered the team to beat.


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