Dallas Cowboys: Chicago Bears

Caleb Hanie is living the dream

April, 25, 2014
Apr 25
He doesn't know what's going on with Kyle Orton.

He's moved on from his four seasons in Chicago.

He's going to bring what he learned from Peyton Manning to Dallas.

[+] EnlargeCaleb Hanie
AP Photo/Steven SenneCaleb Hanie, who last played with the Cleveland Browns, is excited for the opportunity to suit up at QB for the Cowboys -- his favorite team as a kid.
And, Caleb Hanie is living the dream.

The Dallas Cowboys' newly signed quarterback is from Forney, Texas, and Hanie said the Cowboys were one of his favorite teams growing up.

"It's a blessing," Hanie said to ESPNDallas. "It's surreal. A little big, it's a childhood team. You dream about playing (for the Cowboys)."

The Cowboys signed Hanie to compete for a backup quarterback position with Orton's status uncertain. Orton hasn't reported to the Cowboys for offseason workouts, almost forcing the team to add another quarterback to the roster.

Tony Romo is recovering from back surgery and despite the presence of Brandon Weeden, the Cowboys need quarterbacks to throw the ball around this summer.

“I don't think anybody is really sure what Kyle's doing," Hanie said. “I think it's one of those deals that he's either on the fence. I haven't spoken to him about it, but I'm not really sure what's going on. I do know I get to compete for a third string or second string. It's a good opportunity for me."

It seems Hanie is a perfect fit for the Cowboys, particularly for coach Jason Garrett.

Here's Hanie -- a local kid, undrafted free agent, who fought through the ranks to get signed by a NFL team. Sounds like Garrett and Romo? The Bears signed Hanie after the 2008 NFL draft as a backup quarterback. Hanie had some moments in Chicago while backing up Jay Cutler, but it was a four-game stretch in 2011 that was too much to overcome.

With Cutler out with a broken thumb, Hanie lost all four games. The Bears had enough and didn't re-sign him when the 2011 season ended.

“You can't dwell too much on it," Hanie said of his time in Chicago. “I just relied on my family, my wife, Andrea, my faith and not take it too serious. It's just football, you know, there's a lot at stake but it can get grueling on you if you let it. It can weigh down on you a lot and it did a little for me in Chicago and after that I got to Denver with Peyton (Manning) and that was a great experience and that refreshed me a little bit."

Hanie spent the 2012 season watching and learning from Manning. He learned how to become a better pro on and off the field. He gained practice habits, improved communication skills with the offensive line and learned another offense.

Hanie also understood patience.

He wasn't going to play over Manning, so he wanted another chance to prove himself. He didn't return to Denver last season and spent the summer with the Baltimore Ravens before he was released in August. He was signed by Cleveland in early December, only to get cut after a week on the job.

In late December, Romo gets hurt in the Washington game, and the Cowboys bring in Hanie, along with several other quarterbacks, for a workout/tryout.

Hanie thought he had a solid workout, but Dallas signed veteran Jon Kitna, who came out of retirement to backup Orton for the regular-season finale.

The only question this offseason regarding the quarterback position was whether Romo would return from back surgery. But now Orton's absence from the offseason program has caused other issues.

Weeden was signed as a No. 3 early in the free-agency period, and with Orton out for the time being, the Cowboys brought Hanie in for another workout on Tuesday for insurance.

He impressed them enough to sign a one-year deal.

"I got to take a step back and observe, still get to stay in shape and work on my game," Hanie said. "But learn a lot about the mental side and learn from the guys who do it well and learn how to be successful and hope to get another chance and get another opportunity to show what I've learned."

Henry Melton must block out distractions

March, 21, 2014
Mar 21
There wasn't a big news conference in the team meeting room with cameramen and reporters settling into seats about to ask questions.

Nothing was inside one of the many plazas at AT&T Stadium announcing something big.

The signing of Henry Melton, to a one-year contract, with a team-option for three more seasons, was big for the Dallas Cowboys.

The local kid comes home.

The kid from Grapevine High, who was a running back at the University of Texas, is playing for the local pro team in town.

Melton's signing didn't get the star treatment from the organization in terms of a news conference (reporters had a conference call), but there were photos of Melton smiling as he posed for pictures with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and a team official signing his contract on the team website.

Some Cowboys' fans were yearning for this team to do something in free agency after watching star defensive end DeMarcus Ware get cut and then sign a contract 24 hours later with Denver. The fans saw defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, off a Pro Bowl season, visit Seattle and eventually sign with division rival Washington.

Now, the fans were looking for something to shout about.

Enter Melton, who agreed to an incentive-laden deal this week to become the pass rushing defensive tackle that the Cowboys lost in Hatcher.

Melton comes home to become the savior for a defense that was terrible last season.


And with that there could be distractions.

"I've been in the NFL long enough," Melton said during that conference call on Wednesday. "I have a small group of people that I trust and go with and they are good people and I associate with good people."

Later, Melton said of his friends, "they don't have a negative influence on me."

Yet, here is Melton defending himself in a lawsuit by a bar owner in Grapevine, Texas alleging Melton bit him during a fight.

Melton has denied any wrongdoing and said he'll be vindicated.

"Yes, it is what it is," Melton said regarding the lawsuit. "Everyone sees it as (a money grab), no truth on what's been reported off the papers with no investigation into what really happened. We're going to move on from it and whatever happens, happens and the truth will come out eventually."

The fight occurred when Melton was recovering from knee surgery last December. Bar fights happen more often than we know, it's just when a scrap breaks out with an NFL player, it usually elevates from the police blotter to national news.

Melton seems smart enough to know he can't get into any more trouble around here given the standards being set.

The Cowboys and Melton need each other.

The local kid, who wasn't a Cowboys' fan growing up, but was a Ray Crockett fan because his famous relative played for three NFL teams, winning two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos.

Melton is coming off a knee injury and has to prove he'll come back after participating in just three games for the Chicago Bears last season.

Melton said he's trying to regain his Pro Bowl form of 2012, hence why Marinelli is like Yoda to him. Marinelli was the Bears' defensive coordinator when Melton reached Pro Bowl heights.

The Cowboys and Melton need for that to happen again.

So any distractions of the local kid coming home must end.

"That's what the position demands," Melton said. "It doesn't matter I was part of a great defense (in Chicago) and I had a lot of hall of famers, future hall of famers on my team. But I still have a bullseye playing that position. For the defense to be successful, the three technique, has to do his job and be very disruptive."
The Cowboys have a scheduled visit with free agent defensive tackle Henry Melton on Monday, according to a source.

Melton visited Seattle late last week and could have more planned if he doesn't reach a deal with the Cowboys.

Melton played in just three games with the Chicago Bears last season before suffering a torn ACL. While it's expected Melton will recover in time for training camp, he must prove to NFL teams, looking to sign him, health won't become a problem during the 2014 season.

The Cowboys are looking for a replacement for defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, who signed a four-year contract with the Washington Redskins, late last week. Melton is a favorite of Cowboys' defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who coached him to a Pro Bowl berth while they were in Chicago in 2012.

Melton is the biggest free agent to visit Valley Ranch since the period started last Tuesday. The Cowboys are looking to upgrade the defensive line and have expressed interest in Julius Peppers (signed with Green Bay), Jared Allen, Robert Ayers and Melton.

The Cowboys would also like to bring back one of their own free agent defensive lineman in Anthony Spencer. Spencer, who is coming off a torn ACL, is visiting the New York Giants on Sunday and visited the Washington Redskins along with Hatcher, last week.

Henry Melton would have interest in Dallas

February, 26, 2014
Feb 26
IRVING, Texas – There is no doubt the Dallas Cowboys need to upgrade their defensive line through the draft or free agency, whether or not they keep DeMarcus Ware and/or Jason Hatcher.

So far Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald has been the apple of many eyes when it comes to the draft, but could Dallas defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s past help the Cowboys land another defensive tackle in free agency?

Free agent-to-be Henry Melton thrived under Marinelli with the Chicago Bears. Melton had 15.5 sacks from 2010 to '12 with Marinelli as coach and went to the Pro Bowl after a six-sack season in 2012.

There is a "but" here -- Melton’s health. He is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in the third game of last season.

“Henry’s from Dallas, he played for [Marinelli], obviously there would be interest from Henry’s side -- but who knows at this point?” Melton’s agent, Jordan Woy, said.

Woy said Melton’s recovery is coming along.

“He’s back to running and doing really well,” Woy said. “He’s sprinting and stuff, so he’s kind of at the same time frame as [Anthony Spencer, roughly training camp for a return] or maybe a little earlier.”

Woy also represents Hatcher and Spencer, so he will know how much the Cowboys will be looking to spend in free agency rather quickly.
OXNARD, Calif. -- Cowboys coach Jason Garrett likes to talk about the process a lot.

The process to build a football team involves many things, and when Garrett relinquished the play-calling duties this spring to Bill Callahan, the process continued.

Jean-Jacques Taylor joins Galloway and Company live from Oxnard, Calif., to discuss the latest news from Cowboys training camp.

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Garrett has discussed the mechanics of play calling during offseason workouts and in the early stages of training camp.

Enter Wade Wilson.

The Cowboys' quarterbacks coach is the glue for the new way the Cowboys are calling plays in 2013.

Callahan will calls plays from the press box and those plays will get relayed to Wilson standing on the sidelines, who then relays the play to quarterback Tony Romo via walkie talkie. (NFL rules stipulate communication to the quarterbacks helmet receiver must come from the sidelines.)

During some plays, the process to get a play call to Romo will be streamlined because Romo will wear a wristband that has a set of plays on them.

Callahan said he's used wristbands with New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. Wilson said he's also familiar with the system and doesn't expect too many problems.

"It's very natural. Coach Wilson has so much experience in the game, not only coaching quarterbacks, but playing quarterback for 18 years that is invaluable," Callahan said. "I really appreciate all of his assistance and help and what he does for our offense. In a lot of ways he’s an unsung hero.

"Nobody talks about Wade. He does a great job and he deserves credit, not only helping me, but with those quarterbacks."

This is Wilson's second stint with the Cowboys. He was the quarterbacks coach with the Cowboys from 2000 to 2002 and then left to coach the same position with the Chicago Bears in 2004. After the 2006 season, Wilson return to the Cowboys and has been a trusted ally for Romo and several other veteran quarterbacks, including Jon Kitna and Kyle Orton.

Wilson, of course, knows a alittle something about the position. He played 17 NFL seasons at quarterback, compiling a 36-33 mark while throwing for 17,283 yards and 99 touchdowns. He played with the Cowboys from 1995 to 1997, participating in 17 games.

Now, Wilson is trying to keep this thing Garrett calls the process running smoothly.

"I've been in this system for a long time and (will do) anything I can do to help Bill, and Jason is still very much involved as well," said Wilson, who was born in Commerce, Texas. "I'm just glad to be an active part of it."

Cowboys have interest in Amobi Okoye

July, 23, 2013
OXNARD, Calif. -- The Cowboys have expressed interest in free agent defensive lineman Amobi Okoye, according to a source.

Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic preview the 2013 season for the Cowboys in "Two-A-Days." Can Tony Romo and Dallas take the next step?

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Team officials have no plans at the moment to bring in any linemen for a workout, but the team does have one roster spot available on their 90-man roster. The goal is to fill that spot with a defensive lineman.

Okoye played in nine games last season for the Chicago Bears under then-defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who is now the defensive line coach for the Cowboys. Okoye, a 2007 first-round pick by the Houston Texans, has 16 career sacks.

The Cowboys have lost four defensive linemen to injury in the first three days of training camp.

Starting defensive end Anthony Spencer was sent back to Dallas to undergo surgery on his left knee. The recovery time is two to four weeks. Starting defensive tackle Jay Ratliff hasn't practiced yet because of a hamstring strain and his return date is unknown.

Backup defensive end Tyrone Crawford suffered a torn Achilles injury the first day of training camp and is lost for the season.

Before Tuesday's morning walk-through practice, backup defensive tackle Ike Igbinosun was seen wearing a protective boot on his right leg. His status is unknown.

The Cowboys entered training camp with 14 defensive linemen, but only two of the projected starters -- DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher -- are healthy and practicing. The team is down to 10 D-linemen.

Team officials continue to stress that it's too early to panic regarding the defensive line and that seeing some of the younger linemen is a good thing at this stage.

"Injury provides opportunity," coach Jason Garrett said Tuesday. "There are some young guys that we have we want to see. We want to see a lot more of those guys play. We saw some of them play in the spring. We'll get a chance to see more of them now that we will have the pads on starting (Tuesday). It's just an opportunity to show us what they can do. If they do that, they earn more of our trust and we give them more opportunities."

IRVING, Texas – Among the reasons why Brian Urlacher decided to retire was the fact that he could say he played for the Chicago Bears and for the Chicago Bears only.

In this salary-cap age, that is a difficult thing to do. Emmitt Smith's playing career ended in Arizona. Jerry Rice's ended in Seattle.

Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin were able to be “one jersey” players, in part because of injuries. Aikman wrestled with the idea of returning not long after he stepped away but decided against it.

Jason Witten and Tony Romo are entering their 11th seasons with the Cowboys. Romo, who just turned 33, is signed through 2019. Witten is signed through 2017. So is DeMarcus Ware, who is entering his ninth season.

Of the long-term players on the Cowboys’ roster, these guys figure to be the “one jersey” types.

Witten is already the franchise’s all-time receptions leader. Only Bob Lilly, Larry Allen, Mel Renfro and Randy White have played in more Pro Bowls as Cowboys than Witten, who has eight. He is coming off a 110-catch season, the most in NFL history by a tight end. He turned 31 earlier this month.

Romo is the Cowboys’ all-time leader in touchdown passes and could surpass Aikman in passing yards in 2015. He has more 100-plus passer rating games in his career than Aikman. Romo’s 55 multi-touchdown pass games are the most in team history. His four four-touchdown games are second-most in history to Danny White.

Ware is the franchise’s official all-time sack leader with 111 for his career and needs four this season to break Harvey Martin’s unofficial sack record. He has had seven straight seasons with at least 10 sacks, and only Reggie White (nine) and John Randle (eight) have more since sacks became an official stat in 1982.

If the Cowboys win a Super Bowl in the next few years, then the chances of these guys playing for another team in the future would be slim.

If the Cowboys don’t win a Super Bowl and they become salary-cap casualties later, do they chase a championship and not play for the Cowboys and the Cowboys only?
Monte Kiffin told his players to study two teams’ defenses from last season: the Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks.

A couple of Kiffin disciples (new Dallas defensive line coach Rod Marinelli and new Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley) coordinated those two units, which ranked among the NFL’s top five in scoring defense, total defense and turnovers forced.

Cowboys safety Barry Church joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the new defensive scheme and the impact it will have on him, how much more intense he expects practice to be with Monte Kiffin and his expectations.

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Another thing the Chicago and Seattle defenses had in common: They featured tough, playmaking cornerbacks. In fact, those were arguably the best two cornerback combos in the league last season.

Chicago’s Tim Jennings led the NFL with nine interceptions. His counterpart, Charles Tillman, forced a league-high 10 fumbles, recovered two and returned all three of his interceptions for touchdowns.

Seattle’s Richard Sherman tied for second behind Jennings with eight picks and tied for second among corners with three forced fumbles. Brandon Browner, the bully who plays opposite of Sherman, also forced three fumbles and had three picks despite missing four games due to a suspension.

See why the Cowboys were so dismissive about the discussion that Kiffin’s scheme didn’t put a premium on cornerbacks?

The corners in Chicago and Seattle set the standard for Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne.

“They’re aggressive. They’re physical. They’re always attacking the ball,” Carr said. “They’re showing press with Seattle. With Chicago, they’re playing the hard Cover 2 scheme, but they’re up there dictating the flow of the receivers. That’s what we want to do. We want to dictate the flow and not let them attack us. We’re going to attack them.”

The Cowboys didn’t get enough of a return on their investments in the corners last season. After giving Carr a five-year, $50 million deal and packaging their top two picks to move up to sixth overall to select Claiborne, the Cowboys’ starting corners combined for only four interceptions, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in 2012, when Dallas forced the second-fewest turnovers in the NFC.

That’s one of the primary reasons Rob Ryan no longer reports to work at Valley Ranch. As the defense’s injuries stacked up throughout the course of the season, the corners were assigned to play soft zone coverage more frequently, which caused some behind-the-scenes grumbling.

Despite the Tampa 2 tag, the Cowboys will blend in several other looks with the Cover 2 staples. The corners have been told that they’ll consistently be lined up within breath-smelling distance of receivers.

“This defense kind of caters to Claiborne’s and my abilities out there, our traits, our qualities,” Carr said. “It allows us to go up there and press pretty much the whole game. Whether we play Cover 1, Cover 2, Cover 3, you’ll have to find out after the (snap), but it allows us to be aggressive and go out there and dictate the game.”

Are Carr and Claiborne worth the price the Cowboys paid for them? They’ll have a chance to prove they are in a scheme similar to ones that feature star corners in Chicago and Seattle.
IRVING, Texas – Until the Cowboys win in December, the closing month will always be the toughest stretch of games.

Three of the Cowboys’ December opponents had winning records in 2012 (Chicago, Green Bay, Washington) and two made the playoffs (Packers, Redskins). The Bears finished 10-6 in 2012 and lost out on a wild-card spot due to tiebreakers.

Winning at Chicago in December is a difficult challenge, but the Bears have changed coaches and have parted ways with future Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher. The Cowboys will also look to avenge a 34-18 drubbing last season at Cowboys Stadium in which Tony Romo was intercepted five times.

The first time Green Bay played in Cowboys Stadium, it won Super Bowl XLV. Aaron Rodgers is at the top of the quarterback charts in the NFL and Clay Matthews signed an extension this week. The last time the Cowboys played the Packers happened to be Wade Phillips last game as coach, a 45-7 thrashing at Lambeau Field on Nov. 7, 2010.

Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett examine the recently-released NFL schedule and agree that the Cowboys don't have any reason to complain.

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Every Cowboys fan should remember what happened when their team visited Washington to close the 2012 season. Romo was intercepted three times and the Cowboys limped home with a 28-18 loss to finish 8-8 for the second straight year. Any trip to FedEx Field has been a grind for the Cowboys. Robert Griffin III makes it that much harder.

Closing the year at home against Philadelphia will be nice after the Cowboys failed to win de facto NFC East championship games at MetLife Stadium to the Giants and FedEx Field to the Redskins in 2011 and ’12. In fact, the last time the Cowboys made the playoffs was in 2009 when they ended the year by beating the Eagles and beat them again a week later in the wild-card round.

What could help the Cowboys entering December is a late bye (Nov. 17) and the 10-day break after the Thanksgiving Day game. That time off could benefit the team’s health.
Former Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett inked a four-year $20 million deal with the Chicago Bears on Wednesday afternoon. The Texas A&M alum has come a long way since his rookie year with the Cowboys.

Calvin Watkins joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to talk about Martellus Bennett's progression since he left the Cowboys, the definition of a Tony Romo apologist and the Cowboys' salary cap situation.

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Bennett endured four difficult years in Dallas, especially at the start when he was chastised by then-tight ends coach John Garrett for making a joke with reporters regarding a former girlfriend of quarterback Tony Romo.

He was fined an undisclosed sum for making a rap song and a YouTube video that some deemed offensive.

Oh yeah, on the field, Bennett caught four touchdown passes his rookie year but didn't score the next three seasons.

Bennett voiced his frustration about his role in Dallas and when he became a free agent, signed a one-year deal with the New York Giants last season. He caught five touchdown passes and was targeted a career-high 90 times.

Now he's with the Bears and is considered an important part of their offense.

Wednesday, Bennett was asked about his time with the Cowboys and offered an interesting response.

"I think early in my career, it’s no secret that I struggled earlier in my career," Bennett said. "But it wasn’t because of my ability or being able to make plays. It was more attitude. I think I never accepted my role in Dallas and I always was fighting with what my role was instead of just accepting
it. I did kind of accept it because I became one of the better blocking tight ends in the NFL, which was my role there. It’s helped me out throughout my whole career. I was a blocking guy down there. Really it just added some perspective for me."

Bennett was the backup to Jason Witten, considered one of the best tight ends in the league. In New York, due to injuries, Bennett was needed to become No. 1 on the depth chart.

The Bears wanted the all-around Bennett, who not only is a good blocker but an excellent receiver.

"I didn’t want to be the second guy (in Dallas)," he said. "I never want to be second. I finally got a chance to be the No. 1 guy, and I was able to make huge strides in being able to play and make plays. I think this is the next step for us up and I’m excited about it."

In some ways Bennett was doomed to fail with the Cowboys for several reasons. The team didn't know how to use him on the field or talk with him away from it. Garrett made efforts, he attended a charity event of Bennett's during the lockout a few years ago.

But Bennett needed a fresh start somewhere to grow not only as a player but as a person.
The first day of free agency is over and things will probably slow down a little on Day 2. With that, we review what we heard, saw and talked about Tuesday night and preview what could happen down the line.

Randy Galloway and Matt Mosley discuss the latest free-agency moves going on around the NFL.

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The loss of John Phillips: The Cowboys lost their backup tight end to the San Diego Chargers on Tuesday. Phillips was part of that dreadful 2009 class that produced very little for the Cowboys. Only free agent linebacker Victor Butler remains, and he's drawn interest from the New York Jets. Losing Phillips isn't a big deal because James Hanna has more upside as a solid pass-catching tight end. The Cowboys are in need of a blocking tight end, and this is where drafting someone in the late rounds could be important.

Chase Blackburn vs. Kevin Burnett: The Cowboys released backup inside linebacker Dan Connor because he refused to take a pay cut. The Cowboys are in the market for another one and like middle linebacker Blackburn, who started 15 games last season for the New York Giants at middle linebacker. He finished second on the Giants with 97 tackles and had eight tackles for loss and seven quarterback hits. He also had three sacks and six pass breakups. If signed, Blackburn, an eight-year pro, would be a nice backup for Sean Lee at the inside linebacker spot. But what about Burnett? The former Cowboys linebacker was released by the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday and might be a nice pickup to start at that vacant outside linebacker position. Burnett, who started 16 games for the Dolphins last season at one of the outside linebacker positions in the Dolphins' 3-4 scheme, would like a return to Dallas. He was credited with 109 total tackles (second on the team), picked up 2 1/2 sacks, five tackles for loss and five quarterback hits. Who would you rather have, Blackburn or Burnett?

Martellus Bennett goes to Chicago: The tight end signed a four-year, $20 million deal with the Chicago Bears. He's come a long way since his days in Dallas, when he fumed at times for not getting enough passes thrown his way. Bennett had an excellent season for the Giants and, while they wanted him to return, the Bears had a need at the position. One of the biggest problems with Bennett in Dallas was his lack of maturity and the Cowboys' inability to know how to use him. Bennett's career is summed up this way in Dallas: He caught four touchdown passes his rookie season (2008) and none the next three seasons. He caught five TD passes during his one year with the Giants. He's a good blocking tight end, something the Cowboys need, and he's athletic enough to make plays on the field. We'll see how Bennett does with Jay Cutler.

Jenkins and Jones drawing interest: Free agent cornerback Mike Jenkins and running back Felix Jones didn't have any visits the first day of free agency. But with the biggest day of this period over with, both are starting to draw interest. The former first-round picks, especially Jones, need to prove to NFL teams that they can stay healthy for an entire season and are willing to accept backup roles. It will be interesting to see if Jenkins, a former Pro Bowler, gets a two- or three-year contract to become a starter or maybe gets his role changed to possibly get snaps at safety, where he played some in 2012.

The good news: The Cowboys couldn't participate Tuesday because they have just $175,000 in cap space. Anthony Spencer signed his franchise tender, and the team can continue having talks with their defensive end about a long-term deal. Also, if the team can finalize a new long-term deal with Tony Romo, it'll lower his salary cap number from $16.8 million and open the door for the Cowboys to sign some second-tier free agents.

Chicago happy to have Joe DeCamillis

February, 21, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS – Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery thought so highly of former Cowboys special teams coach Joe DeCamillis that hr interviewed him for the Bears’ head coaching vacancy.

Todd Archer joins Galloway & Company to discuss who the Cowboys should draft in the first round and how far the team can go with Tony Romo at quarterback.

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Emery eventually hired Marc Trestman, but he was able to get DeCamillis away from the Cowboys, naming him special teams coordinator and assistant head coach.

"I was extremely surprised and felt very good that we were able to get him on this staff," Emery said. "Obviously, we had lost Dave (Toub). He had moved to the Chiefs. And we interviewed Joe D. for the head coaching position, so I felt very good about him as a coach and glad to have him."

Emery and DeCamillis worked together in Atlanta, so they had a background together, but Emery came away impressed with DeCamillis in the interview process.

"For those who know Joe D. in the coaching community and throughout the league, he’s a very detailed, well-prepared individual,” Emery said. “We sat down, and he had an iPad ready for me and an iPad ready for himself and he said, ‘I’m ready to go.’ I had to slow him down a little bit. I wanted to revisit with him. We had worked together, but I wanted him to take me back through his career then we moved forward. He had an excellent interview."

DeCamillis had been with the Cowboys since 2009 and generated some interest from Jacksonville about its head coach opening in 2011. The Cowboys replaced DeCamillis at special teams with Rich Bisaccia.
The ESPNDallas.com Hot Button debate this week is about whether the Cowboys should keep Anthony Spencer.

As far as I’m concerned, if the Cowboys are going to invest big money in a defensive player this offseason, they’d be better off signing another one of agent Jordan Woy’s clients who is entering free agency after his first Pro Bowl appearance.

[+] EnlargeHenry Melton
Scott Boehm/Getty ImagesHenry Melton has 13 sacks over the last two seasons and is a great fit for the Tampa 2 scheme.
They know defensive tackle Henry Melton is a great fit for the Tampa 2 scheme, having seen him tear it up for Rod Marinelli’s Chicago defense the last two seasons. (Just pop in the tape from the Bears’ visit to JerryWorld this season.) They think that Spencer will be able to make the transition from 3-4 outside linebacker to an undersized 4-3 strongside end.

They’re both Pro Bowlers primed for big paydays, meaning the cap-strapped Cowboys would have to get creative to create room for either Spencer or Melton to be on the roster next season.

The 26-year-old Melton, a Grapevine native who started his career at Texas as a running back, just makes more sense than the 29-year-old Spencer -- especially considering the importance of a disruptive 3-technique tackle in Monte Kiffin's Tampa 2 scheme.

Of course, the Bears would rather not let the Cowboys or anyone else have a chance to sign the 6-foot-3, 295-pound Melton, who has 13 sacks over the last two seasons. He expressed optimism this week that he’ll have a deal done with the Bears before free agency begins March 12.

"We were talking during the season," Melton told The Waddle and Silvy Show on ESPN Chicago 1000. "I expressed my interest in coming back and staying here. We didn't get anything done. All the coaching changes and all that have delayed it. Hopefully we can get back on schedule of getting something done.

"We were getting somewhere, but we couldn't really come to a deal. Hopefully we can get back on track, because I do want to stay in Chicago.”

If the Bears allow Melton to test the market, it’s easy to envision him coming back home to reunite with Marinelli. The Cowboys’ new defensive line coach helped Melton develop from a fourth-round project into a Pro Bowler during their three years together in Chicago.

"It was sad to see my man Rod go,” Melton told ESPN Chicago 1000, “but it's just how the game is."

The Cowboys would be sad to see Spencer go after a career year, but it’d be a better business move if they could sign Melton.

So what's next for the Cowboys' coaches

January, 18, 2013
The Cowboys finalized the hiring of Rod Marinelli as defensive line coach Friday, beginning a trickle-down effect for the rest of the defensive coaching staff.

Cowboys defensive end Jason Hatcher joins Ben and Skin in studio to talk about his famous response to the leadership question the last time he was on the show, his development as a player, the transition to Monte Kiffin's Tampa 2 defense and much more.

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With Marinelli on board to coach the defensive line, Brian Baker's time with the Cowboys appears to be over.

The defensive coaching staff will have some familiar faces in 2013, with Jerome Henderson (secondary) and Matt Eberflus (linebackers) returning to the coaching staff. If Rob Ryan becomes the defensive coordinator in St. Louis, it will be interesting to see if he tries to hire Eberflus. But the Cowboys might block any potential move by Eberflus.

The offensive coaching staff still needs some work. Skip Peete, the Cowboys' former running backs coach, has been hired in Chicago, and the Cowboys have yet to hire a replacement.

Former Arkansas and Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt interviewed with the Cowboys this week for an offensive position, maybe the running backs job or possibly the tight ends gig. Tim Spencer, who was released of his duties in Chicago this week, is a possibility. Anthony Lynn, a former Cowboys coach now with the New York Jets, has one year remaining on his contract. The Cowboys have tried to hire Lynn in the past, but the Jets have not allowed them to interview him.

John Garrett is still employed at Valley Ranch as the tight ends coach, but he applied for a head coaching job at Delaware and didn't get an interview. Dave Brock, an assistant coach at Rutgers, took the job Friday.

There are rumors Garrett might not return in 2013. If Garrett leaves, there's a chance Mike Tice, the former offensive coordinator in Chicago, could take the position.

The Cowboys also need to hire a special teams coach to replace Joe DeCamillis, who took that position in Chicago and was also named assistant head coach.

Steve Hoffman, a former Cowboys kicking coach, is free after his time in Kansas City ended in 2012. Rich Bisaccia, the San Diego Chargers' special teams coach the last two seasons, who also worked in Tampa Bay when Monte Kiffin was there, could be considered.

Skip Peete joins Bears' staff

January, 17, 2013
Rob Ryan said it would take him five minutes to get a new job. It didn't take former Cowboys running backs coach Skip Peete much longer to find a new gig.

Peete was hired by the Chicago Bears on Thursday after new coach Marc Trestman released the bulk of the offensive coaches Thursday, which included running backs coach Tim Spencer.

Ryan has been linked to the St. Louis Rams, but nothing official has happened. Last week while on vacation, Ryan said he hadn't spoken to anyone.