Dallas Cowboys: Kenyon Coleman

Reviewing Cowboys' free agency: 2011

April, 16, 2014
Apr 16
With free agency entering the final stages, we'll review the Cowboys' past five free-agency classes.

We'll continue with 2011:

Players signed: Kenyon Coleman

Starts earned: 15

Analysis: When defensive coordinator Rob Ryan wanted a new defensive end, he thought of Coleman, who played for him with the Cleveland Browns. The Cowboys were looking for depth along the defensive line when they lost Stephen Bowen in free agency. Coleman signed a three-year contract with the Cowboys to become a stop gap until some younger players emerged as starters. It was an excellent signing for the Cowboys because they picked up a veteran player who could teach Sean Lissemore, Clifton Geathers and Josh Brent about playing the defensive line. While Lissemore and Geathers were ends, Coleman's veteran presence was a welcome to the Cowboys' locker room. In 15 starts, Coleman, a run-stopping end, finished with 44 tackles, 10th on the team. He also had five tackles for loss, fifth on the squad. His best game occurred on Nov. 24 against Miami, where he had four tackles, one quarterback pressure, a tackle for loss and a sack.

Grade: B

Compensatory picks could mean a lot

March, 27, 2014
Mar 27
IRVING, Texas -- As easy as it has been to rail on the Dallas Cowboys' drafting over the years, the one area where the Cowboys have consistently excelled is in finding undrafted free agents.

That is why this week’s news that the Cowboys received three seventh-round compensatory picks should not be overlooked.

With the free-agent losses of Mike Jenkins, Victor Butler, Kenyon Coleman and John Phillips, the Cowboys gained picks Nos. 248, 251 and 254 in the seventh round. Those picks cannot be traded, so in effect the Cowboys can guarantee landing their top targets in college free agency.

Last year, the Cowboys targeted Brandon Magee and Jakar Hamilton as undrafted free agents. Magee was guaranteed $70,000. Hamilton received a $10,000 signing bonus. Magee didn’t make the final roster, but Hamilton spent time on the active roster after opening on the practice squad.

The Cowboys also had Jeff Heath and Cameron Lawrence contribute as undrafted free agents. In 2012, they signed Ronald Leary and Cole Beasley. Leary started at left guard, and Beasley has developed into a valuable slot player. In 2011, they signed Dan Bailey and they signed him to a seven-year, $22.5 million extension this offseason. In 2010 they signed safeties Barry Church and Danny McCray. Church led the Cowboys in tackles last season.

Oh, by the way, Tony Romo was an undrafted free agent in 2003.

Cowboys are getting younger

March, 12, 2014
Mar 12
IRVING, Texas -- These are not your father's Dallas Cowboys, so to speak.

Once a team stocked with enough players to field a softball team in an over-30 league, the Cowboys are getting young.

With the releases of DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin, the Cowboys have three starters over 30 years old in Tony Romo, who turns 34 next month, Jason Witten, who turns 32 in May and Doug Free, who turned 30 in January.

The only other thirty-somethings on the roster are backup quarterback Kyle Orton, who is 31, and long-snapper L.P. Ladouceur, who turns 33 on Thursday.

Not included on the list are free agents Anthony Spencer (30) and Jason Hatcher (31).

Ware turns 32 in July and Austin turns 30 in June.

The Cowboys have refused to use the word "rebuild" over the last three seasons but they have re-tooled their roster moving away from Leonard Davis, Kyle Kosier, Andre Gurode and Marc Colombo on the offensive line and Ware, Jay Ratliff, Marcus Spears and Kenyon Coleman on the defensive line.

They have made the decision to not restructure the contracts of Witten and Brandon Carr, who turns 28 in May, unless absolutely necessary so they do not push more money into the salary cap in future years.

For years people have called the NFL a young man's game. The Cowboys are moving to a younger man's team.
IRVING, Texas -- Since the Seattle Seahawks have won the Super Bowl, every team now has to copy what they did to win a title.

I’m guilty of making those comparisons the past few days. ESPN Dallas columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor made one today, repeating the “defense wins championships” phrase.

In order for the Dallas Cowboys to get back to Super Bowl respectability, Jerry Jones has to make defense a priority, according to my guy JJT.

I’d make the argument the Cowboys owner and general manager has made defense a priority. The investments just haven’t paid off.

In 2012, the Cowboys traded up to the sixth overall pick in the draft to take cornerback Morris Claiborne. That came a month after they gave cornerback Brandon Carr a five-year, $50 million contract. The Cowboys’ top three picks that year were defensive players.

In 2011, they drafted Bruce Carter in the second round and their only free-agent pickup that year was starting defensive end Kenyon Coleman. In 2010 they drafted Sean Lee in the second round. Last August they committed a $42 million contract to Lee.

In 2009, an ill-fated draft for sure, the Cowboys’ top pick was a linebacker. In 2008, they drafted cornerback Mike Jenkins in the first round and that came after they gave Terence Newman a $50 million contract.

In 2007, they drafted outside linebacker/defensive end Anthony Spencer in the first round. In 2012 and ’13, they used the franchise tag on Spencer, spending nearly $19 million on him. In 2006, four of their first six selections were on defensive players. In 2005, they used both first-round selections on defensive players (DeMarcus Ware, Marcus Spears) and four of their first five picks were used on defenders. Jay Ratliff was a seventh-round pick that year and the Cowboys signed him to two big-time contracts. The second was a colossal flop and he was released last October.

Ware received a $91 million extension in 2009. That same year they signed three defensive starters in free agency: Keith Brooking, Igor Olshansky and Gerald Sensabaugh.

Defense has been a priority. They just haven’t got the return on their investments.

Former Cowboys still playing this weekend

January, 4, 2014
Jan 4
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys did not make the playoffs, but they could have as many as 11 former players taking part in the postseason this weekend.

Kansas City Chiefs

Anthony Fasano caught 23 passes for 200 yards and three touchdowns in nine games for the Chiefs. He was the first of three second-round picks the Cowboys have used on tight ends since 2006. The lack of creativity at times with “12 personnel” has hurt him, Martellus Bennett and Gavin Escobar.

Indianapolis Colts

Running back Tashard Choice had 11 carries for 44 yards in three games for the Colts after he was cut by the Buffalo Bills. He had some moments with the Cowboys but could not get in the running back rotation with Marion Barber and/or Felix Jones.

Defensive tackle Jeris Pendleton was signed in June and released by the Cowboys on Aug. 26.

Erik Walden was a sixth-round pick in 2008, just like Choice, but he never showed the pass-rush ability the Cowboys hoped for. He won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers and has 45 tackles and three sacks in 15 games for the Colts.

New Orleans Saints

Shayne Graham was with the Cowboys in training camp in 2011 when they had five kickers on the roster at one point. At one point it looked like the job was his, but the Cowboys went with undrafted rookie Dan Bailey, who has been one of their best players the past three seasons. Graham was a late-season addition to the Saints' roster.

Kenyon Coleman is on injured reserve and Victor Butler is on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.

Philadelphia Eagles

If there was a player to make the all-airport team it would be Clifton Geathers. He had the look of the prototype defensive end in a 3-4 but he just didn’t make enough plays. He had 26 tackles in 16 games for the Eagles this season with one in last week’s win against the Cowboys.

Cincinnati Bengals

Cornerback Adam Jones had an eventful one season with the Cowboys in 2008. He has found a home in Cincinnati. He has 56 tackles and three interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, in 16 games.

Terence Newman had a second straight solid season with the Bengals but missed the final three games with a knee injury. He should play Saturday against the San Diego Chargers. In 13 games he had 52 tackles, two interceptions and 14 pass deflections.

Who is Kevin Brock? A tight end. He did a short stint in training camp with the Cowboys in 2010.

Dennis Roland was an undrafted offensive tackle with the Cowboys in 2006. He has had a decent career, mostly with the Bengals and is a backup now.

San Diego Chargers

The Cowboys traded Sean Lissemore to the Chargers on Sept. 1 for a seventh-round pick in 2015. Given the injuries they had on the line, they would have been better served to keep Lissemore, who might not have been the best fit in a 4-3. In 15 games (two starts), Lissemore had 24 tackles and two sacks for the Chargers.

Tight end John Phillips was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. He had four catches in 15 games.

The San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers do not have any former Cowboys on their rosters.

DeMarcus Ware: Best fix for D is health

November, 13, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- By their 10th game last season, the Dallas Cowboys had already lost key defensive contributors for a combined 33 games.

Safety Barry Church went on injured reserve on Sept. 25 with a torn Achilles. Sean Lee went on injured reserve on Oct. 24 with a toe injury. Defensive lineman Kenyon Coleman went on injured reserve on Nov. 14 with a triceps injury. Six other players had missed at least one game, including Sean Lissemore with six games and Jay Ratliff with four.

Through 10 games this season, the Cowboys have lost key defensive contributors for a combined 21 games. Ratliff, Tyrone Crawford, Ben Bass and Matt Johnson are not included on the list because they were never on the 53-man roster this season, but those injuries are noteworthy nonetheless because of the roles they were expected to play.

Anthony Spencer leads the way with nine missed games with his season over because of knee surgery. DeMarcus Ware and J.J. Wilcox have missed three games. Four other players have missed at least one game so far.

What gives the Cowboys hope this year is that the currently hurt players will get healthy.

“I mean when you have, what, five guys or six of the starters out, the best way to fix it is to get the guys back,” Ware said. “Sometimes we have guys in there that sort of don’t know what they’re doing because it’s probably the first time they’ve been playing in a long time. When you have a team that doesn’t make mistakes and sort of expose you that with those guys that are in the game, that’s what [New Orleans] did. You’ve got to get the guys back that know what’s going on and during the bye week use that to make a big push.”

Morris Claiborne and Ware did not practice on Wednesday but they expect to play against the New York Giants on Nov. 24. Jason Hatcher was on the field Wednesday and also expects to play. Wilcox also hopes to play against the Giants.

The return of Claiborne will help the secondary even if he was not without faults before getting hurt.

“We still have guys that can fill in but obviously the experience that I have that B.W. [Webb] and [Micah] Pellerin don’t, that goes a long way.”

Linebackers Lee and Justin Durant will miss at least two games with hamstring injuries but will be back.

Last year the Cowboys did not have the luxury of players returning. Ratliff did not play a game after Nov. 18. Bruce Carter went on injured reserve on Nov. 26 with an elbow injury. Orlando Scandrick went on injured reserve on Dec. 8 with a wrist injury. Josh Brent was put on the non-football injury list on Dec. 12 after the accident that cost the life of teammate Jerry Brown.

Maybe it’s foolish to think the Cowboys won’t suffer more injuries on the defensive side of the ball in the final six games, but the one hope is at least some people will return.

“We’ve just got to get healthy, man,” Hatcher said.
IRVING, Texas – When defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was shown the door after last season, it seemed much of the team's swagger and boasting went with him.

Todd Archer joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Tony Romo news and what he will be watching for in OTAs.

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But as the Cowboys kicked off OTAs on Tuesday at Valley Ranch, safety Barry Church would not shy away from expectations.

“If we can remain healthy through the whole season, the sky’s the limit for this defense,” Church said. “I mean, we’ve got stars at every level and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be the No. 1 defense in the league.”

Given that it’s May and the defense has had one day of work against the offense, the hyperbole might be understood, but Church’s point about the health of the unit is valued.

He played in only parts of three games last year before tearing his Achilles. Linebackers Sean Lee and Bruce Carter ended up on injured reserve with toe and elbow injuries. Defensive tackle Jay Ratliff missed 10 games with groin and ankle injuries. Defensive end Kenyon Coleman (triceps) and cornerback Orlando Scandrick (wrist) also ended the year on injured reserve. Pro Bowler DeMarcus Ware was limited by a shoulder injury that required postseason surgery.

Monte Kiffin took over for Ryan and has brought in his 4-3 scheme. Church likes what he sees.

“He’s a fiery guy,” Church said of the 73-year-old Kiffin. “He’s bringing a lot of energy to this defense. He’s teaching us a lot of discipline to this defense. We’re out there running to the ball every snap. Nobody’s loafing. We’re trying to strip the ball every play. He’s bringing that turnover mentality to this defense, and that’s what you need.”
The good people at ESPN Stats and Information broke down several key areas the Cowboys need to fix this offseason, whether it's through the draft or during the free-agency period that begins today.

Todd Archer joins Galloway & Company to discuss the Cowboys' latest moves, if the team should extend Tony Romo's contract and much more.

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The Cowboys lost two players to injury along the defensive line last season -- Jay Ratliff and Kenyon Coleman.

According to Stats and Information, the Cowboys' defensive line was one of the NFL's most unproductive units in 2012. It finished 30th in sacks (7.5) and tied for last in batted passes (two) and tackles for loss (five).

The Cowboys are moving to a 4-3 defensive alignment with the hopes of boosting the pass rush under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Ratliff is moving from nose tackle to defensive tackle and Jason Hatcher will move from end to tackle. The Cowboys will convert outside linebackers DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer to end. The duo combined for 22.5 sacks and 59 quarterback pressures last season.

Safety is another position that needs improving, especially after the team released Gerald Sensabaugh. Barry Church, coming off a torn Achilles' tendon, is one starter. The Cowboys could opt for Matt Johnson, Danny McCray or a draft pick to start alongside him.

Last season, according to Stats and Information, the Cowboys' safeties combined for only eight pass breakups and one interception, tied for 29th in the NFL. Under Kiffin's defense, the Cowboys are expected to get more pressure on the quarterback which, in theory, allows for more forced throws. That should help create turnovers, especially in the deep secondary.

Getting younger at the position in 2013 might also help in creating turnovers.

Fixing the defensive line and safety position whether it's in the draft or free agency, are just two of the keys for the Cowboys in 2013.

Simpler scheme played role in move to 4-3

February, 13, 2013
IRVING, Texas – With all the injuries the Cowboys had in 2012 on the defensive side of the ball, it seemed like Rob Ryan had to re-teach his scheme to a new player every week.

The Cowboys lost Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Kenyon Coleman, Jay Ratliff and Orlando Scandrick, as well as Josh Brent to injured reserve or the non-football injury list, forcing the team to find street free agents like Ernie Sims, Brady Poppinga, Brian Schaefering and Charlie Peprah and poach Sterling Moore off New England’s practice squad.

It was taxing and difficult, considering the supposed complexities of Ryan’s schemes.

Part of the desire to add Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator and move to the 4-3 was the supposed simplistic nature of the scheme.

“In this day and age in the NFL, with shortened offseasons, shortened training camps, injuries, all those kinds of things, it’s important to try and put offensive and defensive systems in place that allow you to deal with the schedule and absorb the injuries that very well could happen,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “That was one of the philosophical advantages of playing this 4-3 defense. We think it can be a simpler defense for us, for guys to come in here and learn in this day and age, and also if you have the injuries to absorb it allows you to maybe do that a little bit better.”

Could Saints make run at Anthony Spencer?

February, 6, 2013
IRVING, Texas – With Rob Ryan at least in the mix to be New Orleans' next defensive coordinator -- if he's not already the guy -- let’s play a game of connect the dots involving Anthony Spencer.

[+] EnlargeRob Ryan
AP Photo/James D SmithAnthony Spencer would seem like a logical fit to run Rob Ryan's defense in New Orleans.
The Saints are moving to the 3-4 scheme with or without Ryan as coordinator, which would make Spencer an attractive free-agent fit anyway. By adding Ryan to the mix, the Saints would be an even more likely destination for Spencer, who had his best season under Ryan.

Look at Ryan’s run with the Cowboys as an example. In 2011, the Cowboys signed Kenyon Coleman and Abram Elam, in part because of their pasts with Ryan in Cleveland. In 2012, the Cowboys signed Brodney Pool, who played for Ryan but lasted just a week or so into training camp.

By reconnecting with Spencer in New Orleans, Ryan would have somebody with experience running his defense. He would also have the best available outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. Spencer had a career-high 11 sacks and was a late add to the Pro Bowl after leading the Cowboys in tackles.

The Cowboys want to keep Spencer, but they might not have the salary cap wherewithal to keep him with a long-term deal. They could place the franchise tag on him for a second straight year at a cost of $10.6 million and could be open to making a trade for picks.

Cowboys free agents: Kenyon Coleman

January, 29, 2013
[+] EnlargeKenyon Coleman
AP Photo/Paul AbellThe move to a 4-3 defense could spell the end of Kenyon Coleman's days in Dallas.

Kenyon Coleman

Position: Defensive end

Type: Unrestricted

Summary: Coleman played in only seven games in 2012 because of injuries. He suffered a torn triceps on Nov. 11 at Philadelphia that required season-ending surgery. He finished with 22 tackles, two quarterback pressures and one forced fumble. Before getting hurt, he was playing his best football, and the run defense suffered in his absence.

Why keep him: He fits in with Jason Garrett's desire to have the "right kind of guy" in the locker room. He is selfless and will do what the coaches ask of him.

Why let him go: The move to the 4-3 hurts Coleman's chances of returning, even on a one-year deal at the veteran minimum. He is a 3-4 defensive end with the ability to hold up blockers, but he is not a penetrating type of lineman.

Best guess: The Cowboys need to upgrade their defensive line with their move to the 4-3 and need to get younger and more athletic up front. Coleman could return as a fall-back option, but the chances of that happening should be slim.

Read the rest of the series here.

What Went Wrong, No. 1: Injury bug strikes

January, 11, 2013
[+] EnlargeSean Lee
AP Photo/James D SmithSean Lee's injury was one of many the Cowboys had to endure.
Our five-part series on what went right and what went wrong for the Cowboys concludes with No. 1:

Throughout the season, Jason Garrett kept talking about the “next man up” philosophy used by the Cowboys and every team in the NFL in dealing with injuries.

The Cowboys took that to a ridiculous extent in 2012 with some of the “next men up” coming off the couch, or in Ernie Sims’ case, a tractor, to play important roles.

It started with safety Barry Church tearing his Achilles against Tampa Bay and then moved on to linebacker Sean Lee suffering a significant toe injury against Carolina. Center Phil Costa was lost in that game, as well, to a dislocated ankle. Punter Chris Jones suffered a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament. Defensive end Kenyon Coleman tore a triceps. Linebacker Bruce Carter broke his elbow. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick broke his wrist

Even backups like Ben Bass and Orie Lemon were lost for the season.

This doesn’t even count guys that were hurt but continued to play, such as DeMarcus Ware, Eric Frampton, Gerald Sensabaugh, Nate Livings, Felix Jones and the six games missed by DeMarco Murray. Jay Ratliff played in only six games because of ankle and groin injuries and needed sports hernia surgery in December.

Injuries are a reality in the NFL. Teams have to overcome them. The Cowboys couldn’t, and it was part of the reason – at the least – why Rob Ryan is no longer this team’s defensive coordinator.

The games lost to injury also showed how flawed the roster has been because of poor drafts in 2007-09 that robbed the team of depth.

Switch to 4-3 could benefit Jay Ratliff

January, 11, 2013
There are indications Monte Kiffin could become the Dallas Cowboys new defensive coordinator. If Kiffin takes over the defense, it most likely will move from a 3-4 alignment to a 4-3.

Kiffin runs a version of the 4-3 called the Tampa 2. It's designed for the four pass-rushers to get pressure on the quarterback and the linebackers and defensive backs to play zone coverage and converge on the ball carrier from different areas of the field.

We bring this up this morning because I thought about how it might affect nose tackle Jay Ratliff.

If the Cowboys were staying in a 3-4 alignment, I said Ratliff's days with the Cowboys would be over. His body is wearing down from years of getting double-teamed. His production slipped the past few years and, combined with the $1 million the team saves by cutting him and his confrontation with owner/general manager Jerry Jones, it would probably be time to go.

A move to a 4-3 alignment would prevent Ratliff from getting doubled by centers and guards on a consistent basis, and he could instead pressure the quarterback between the center and guard in a four-man pass rush.

Maybe keeping Ratliff around helps the Cowboys on this front. We assume one of the defensive ends in the new 4-3 will be DeMarcus Ware. The other end could be Jason Hatcher or maybe Anthony Spencer if he re-signs with the Cowboys. The two inside defensive tackles have to be quick off the ball and be able to pressure the quarterback, which brings us back to Ratliff.

Sean Lissemore is better suited to play end, and Marcus Spears and Kenyon Coleman are run-stoppers. Coleman is a free agent and his future with the team, like Spencer's, is uncertain.

Ratliff's status with the team -- which I thought wasn't so secure because of his health and lack of production -- now could be strengthened with a shift to the Tampa 2 defense.

I was told Ratliff is open to moving to defensive tackle, as he was a few years ago when former coach Wade Phillips tried him out at end.

That's a good attitude to have, and if the Cowboys believe in Ratliff's skill set, then keeping him is the best thing. If not, then I can truly understand why releasing him works. But if the Cowboys do, they better find a defensive tackle that can help with the pass rush.

Injuries or no, right for Rob Ryan to go

January, 8, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- As the injuries piled up on the defensive side of the ball during the course of last season, everybody associated with the Cowboys said they could not be used as an excuse.


Did the Cowboys make the right move in firing defensive coordinator Rob Ryan?


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Rob Ryan kept saying it every week but always with some sort of snide remark, just to let everybody know that the injuries were why the defense kept sliding in the rankings.

Hey, it’s true. Injuries did affect Ryan’s ability to call what he wanted. By the end of the year he was without Sean Lee, Barry Church, Bruce Carter, Kenyon Coleman, Orlando Scandrick and Jay Ratliff. He had DeMarcus Ware playing with one arm.

But if injuries could not have been used as an excuse two weeks ago, then they can’t be used as an excuse now that Ryan has been told he’s no longer the Cowboys defensive coordinator.

His two-year run was filled with more soundbites than highlights.

Even when relatively healthy, the defense did not make enough game-changing plays. The Cowboys forced 16 turnovers in 2012, a franchise low. They did not come up with enough crucial stops either, and that wasn’t just a 2012 issue.

The Cowboys lost five fourth-quarter leads in 2011 on their way to an 8-8 record.

Far too many times the Cowboys were disorganized on the sidelines. They had anywhere from nine to 13 guys on the field over Ryan’s two seasons. In Cincinnati, Ryan lost his poise and drew a penalty for yelling back at tackle Andre Smith.

How can a coach ask players to remain calm, when he can’t remain calm?

In 2011, Ryan tried to be a genius by devising all of these blitzes and the Cowboys couldn’t cover on the back end. In 2012 he largely played it safe -- even before all of the injuries -- and that did not work well enough either.

Ryan has been a coordinator for nine years for three teams and none of those teams finished with a winning record.

Is that all his fault? Of course not, but Jerry Jones promised change and so far Ryan is the biggest change.

And change can be good.

A look at the Cowboys' free agents

December, 31, 2012

LANDOVER, Md. -- The Cowboys will have 18 free agents, but the biggest decision will be with outside linebacker Anthony Spencer.

The Cowboys could place the franchise tag on him for a second straight year, but that will cost them $10.6 million. Spencer has played so well in 2012 that another team could be willing to overpay him to pry him away from Dallas.

The Cowboys are not in the best of salary-cap positions and will likely have to restructure a number of contracts and cut players just to reach the expected $121 million cap.

Here’s a look at the free agents to be: