Dallas Cowboys: David Garrard

Random Thoughts from Senior Bowl

January, 25, 2012

MOBILE, Ala. -- We're leaving the Senior Bowl after three days of nice, cool weather, and here's some notes:

1. The Cowboys are doing their due diligence regarding the quarterback position. I don't believe the Cowboys will draft one, but they did interview Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden on Sunday. Jerry Jones said if the team picks up a quarterback, it has to be a veteran who can move quickly in the offense. Weeden's age, 28, means he's a little more mature than some rookie quarterbacks and he picked up the Washington Redskins offensive terminology pretty quickly during practices here.

2. Finding a cornerback is a must for the Cowboys. When Jones says there will be new faces on the roster at that position, he's telling the truth. Alan Ball, Frank Walker, Terence Newman and quite possibly Abram Elam might be gone from the 2011 roster. The Cowboys interviewed troubled corner Janoris Jenkins, but one corner to watch is Georgia's Brandon Boykin. He's 5-9 1/4 and 183 pounds. He plays physical and can play the slot and outside. Boykin can also return kicks and punts.

3. It seems Keith Brooking wants to continue playing, according to his agent Pat Dye Jr. Brooking is open to playing a reduced role with the Cowboys. You could say he played a reduced role in 2011, but that was only after the team felt confident enough in Sean Lee's development in training camp to pair him up with Bradie James. The Cowboys want a younger team, especially on defense, but if Brooking is willing to play 10 defensive snaps with some special team duties per game, it might be worth keeping him around.

4. It's pretty interesting the Cowboys are downplaying Dez Bryant's confrontation in Miami last week. Jerry Jones has not spoken to Bryant, but someone in the organization did, according to Jason Garrett. Bryant's behavior away from the field should concern the Cowboys and if they don't get a handle on it, it could go bad quickly.

5. Brooking is coming here to be inducted into the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame along with Donovan McNabb and Dan Reeves. ... If the Cowboys sign a veteran quarterback, why not get David Garrard? The former Jacksonville quarterback's back should be 100 percent by the end of March. ... Garrett went to only one Pro Day last year, USC's to check out Tyron Smith. Garrett didn't say if that number will increase. He expects it to be a case-by-case basis. ... DE Marcus Spears is expected to return along with fellow DE Jason Hatcher. As good as Spears and Hatcher were, Kenyon Coleman struggled down the stretch.
IRVING -- Cowboys safety Gerald Sensbaugh said he was surprised to see Jack Del Rio fired as coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Tuesday.

Sensabaugh was the Jaguars' fifth-round pick in 2005 and learned a lot about the NFL from his first NFL coach.

"Me personally, I thought Jack was a good coach," Sensabaugh said. "He was real big on discipline and held everybody accountable."

The Jaguars made a bold move before the start of the season in cutting veteran quarterback David Garrard and have never found a replacement in rookie Blaine Gabbert and vet Luke McCown.

"I see something where they said if he didn’t make the playoffs he was going to get fired," Sensabaugh said. "But then again they let go of their starting quarterback. I don’t understand having that. You're not going to win without a quarterback in this league, not saying the one that they have is terrible or anything but he’s a rookie guy and there’s going to be a learning curve."

Sensabaugh left after the 2008 season and has spent the last three seasons in Dallas. Yet, he still remembers the quality of coach Del Rio was in Jacksonville.

"I don't know it was kinda of weird," Sensabaugh said. "I didn't think he should have been fired. I thought he was a great coach. When I played for him, he's had some good teams over there. We could never really get past the hump. We got to the playoffs a couple of times. But he's a good coach and he’ll find a job somewhere quickly. I'm sure somebody will pick him up. He's coordinated before; That situation is just kind of awkward."

Scout's Eye: Jaguars-Cowboys preview

October, 29, 2010
The 1-5 Dallas Cowboys host the 3-4 Jacksonville Jaguars in a battle of two teams that struggled to defend the run last week in their losses.

Scout's Eye
The Cowboys allowed the Giants 201 yards on the ground. The Jaguars allowed the Chiefs to rush for 236.

It’s another week and another quality running back that Wade Phillips’ squad must face. When you study the Jaguars offense, the one player that stands out is running back Maurice Jones-Drew. He is nowhere the height of Arian Foster or Adrian Peterson, but he runs with the same power and determination of those larger backs.

Jones-Drew has impressive stop-start quickness. He runs with outstanding patience and vision. He does much of his work on his own because his offensive line doesn’t always get the type of push that some of the top running teams get in this league.

Jones-Drew is a difficult back to tackle because of his low-to-the-ground running style. It’s hard to get a clean hit on him because of his compact body type. Jones-Drew is not afraid to carry the ball inside but does a very nice job of getting it on the edge and around the corner. Quick feet and powerful legs are his trade marks.

Another area that the Cowboys must be concerned with is Jones-Drew’s ability to catch the ball. The Jaguars will use him in the red zone, trying to create mismatches with linebackers on Texas routes inside.

If the Cowboys are going to have success on defense this Sunday, controlling Jones-Drew is a must. A repeat of what happened to them last week against the Giants will only create more opportunity for this offense.

Jaguars quarterback David Garrard missed last week’s game in Kansas City with concussion that he suffered in a Week 6 loss to the Titans. Jacksonville fans have always had a love/hate relationship with their signal-caller. Garrard is 34-34 as a starter, and depending who you were talking to in the Jaguars organization, there were those that believed that this was a make-or-break year for him.

Garrard has had two three-touchdown games this season. In the Jaguars’ three wins, Garrard has completed 77 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and one interception.

Garrard has really shined in his starts in the fourth quarter. His quarterback rating is 114.8 and he has three touchdowns and no interceptions.

When the Jaguars throw the ball, it’s usually going in the direction of the two “Mikes” -- Mike Sims-Walker and Mike Thomas. Both are not big-name type of players, but it was interesting to study them getting ready for this game.

I was impressed with the playmaking ability of Thomas, a DeSoto native. He is like Jones-Drew in that he is a short guy, only 5-foot-7 and change, but he has playmaking ability not only on the offensive side of the ball but also as a punt returner. Thomas has 4.30 speed and unbelievable quickness. He is a slippery player with the ball in his hands.

Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter does a nice job of creating opportunities for Thomas by getting the ball in his hands through screens and reverses. Thomas uses his speed and quickness in his route running as well. Saw one ball where he adjusted very well to a low ball across the middle, but the next time was unable to bring it in.

The Jaguars have a talented tight end in Marcedes Lewis. Lewis is a large target that is a nice up-the-field player. He has solid hands and runs very well. The Jaguars will use him out of the backfield, flexed and inline. Lewis has the potential in this game to be a matchup problem for the linebackers and the safeties. Like Thomas, the Jaguars like to get the ball in his hands on the waggle and in the red zone.

*On defense for the Jaguars, there is nothing particularly good that they do. They are ranked near the bottom in most statistical areas. They are 30th in total defense and 31st in points allowed.

The pass rush is poor and they struggle to get consistent pressure on the quarterback. Former Packers defensive end Aaron Kampman is really the only bright spot as a pass rusher with four sacks. Kampman is a try-hard guy that plays with big effort and will show a variety of pass rush moves as he works his way to the quarterback.

Kampman will work from both sides but mainly over Doug Free. When he switches to the other side in the nickel, rookie Larry Hart will take his spot at right end.

Rookie Tyson Alualu plays the 3 technique while Terrence Knighton lines up as the 1 in this 4-3 defense. I really do like the motor on Alualu and the way that he keeps coming after you inside. Need to watch the matchup of Leonard Davis and Phil Costa against Alualu. He plays with nice power and strength but has also shown the ability to use his quickness to be disruptive pushing the pocket inside.

Jon Kitna is not the most mobile quarterback. He has the most problems when the front of the pocket becomes soft and there is not a wall for him to move forward in.

In the secondary, cornerback Rashean Mathis is the best player and is someone that the Cowboys should avoid at all costs.

Mathis played left corner in the Kansas City game last week but then played right corner against the Titans. Mathis will bait you into throws. He gives you a look like his man is open, then drives on the football after the quarterback throws it. He is instinctive and a reader. There were times that he floats in coverage then comes off his man to make a play on the ball in another area.

If the Cowboys on defense are going to struggle to cover tight end Lewis, the Jaguars will struggle to cover Jason Witten as well. Was not one bit impressed with the linebackers or safeties in coverage. Kansas City had a great deal of success running waggle and boots to their tight ends, which gave the Jaguars fits. Would not be the least bit surprised if Kitna calls Witten’s number several times in this contest, because the Jaguars do not have anyone that can cover Witten.

It will be interesting if offensive coordinator Jason Garrett goes with a game plan to try to get his running game going to help Kitna, or does he throw the ball all over Cowboys Stadium on Sunday because of the lack of a pass rush for the Jaguars and some match up problems in the secondary?

Injuries: Terence Newman limited

October, 27, 2010
IRVING -- Cornerback Terence Newman and wide receiver Dez Bryant were on the injury report as being limited in Wednesday's practice.

Coach Wade Phillips said Newman (rib muscle strain) was "very limited" in practice. Phillips hopes with rest that Newman will be ready for Sunday's game vs. Jacksonville.

Bryant told reporters after Wednesday's practice he felt fine and Phillips said the rookie looked good in workouts.

Kyle Kosier (strained right Achilles and high-ankle sprain) and Montrae Holland (strained groin) did not practice.

Jason Hatcher (groin tear) and Tony Romo (fractured left clavicle) missed practice and won't return for a while.

Bradie James (knee) was listed on the injury report but was a full participant.

The Jacksonville Jaguars listed all their quarterbacks on the injury report, but starter David Garrard (concussion) had full participation and should play Sunday.

Todd Bouman (finger) was limited and Trent Edwards (thumb) had full participation.