Dallas Cowboys: Reggie Herring

Reviewing the Cowboys’ drafts: 2009

April, 14, 2014
Apr 14
IRVING, Texas -- The NFL draft is about a month away and we'll begin digging more into the Dallas Cowboys' interests in 2014 going forward, but let's review the past five drafts.

The 2009 draft was one of the worst in team history. With 12 picks, the Cowboys should have been able to capitalize on the number of selections to a roster that was considered deep at the time even if they did not have a first-round pick because of the Roy Williams' trade with the Detroit Lions.

They didn't.

The Cowboys did not have a player they re-signed after their rookie contract expired. The draft quickly earned the "special teams draft" nickname, which should never happen. And they did not get much special teams' help from the picks either.

First-round pick: None

Number of picks: 12

How they did: Terribly. Six of the picks did not make the 53-man roster, which might have been a sign of the depth the Cowboys had then, but those players did not go on to make any significant contributions to another club either. It was not a good sign in training camp when the kicker they drafted in the fifth round, David Buehler, beat the safety they drafted in the same round, DeAngelo Smith, in a 40-yard dash in training camp.

Pivotal pick: Their first pick, Jason Williams (No. 69 overall), could never find a role. He played a hybrid role at Western Illinois and his athleticism made up for the lack of football wisdom at that level. He could not make the transition to inside linebacker in Wade Phillips' 3-4 scheme. He even had trouble with the special teams' part of the game. The lasting image is of linebackers coach Reggie Herring coaching Williams for every second of every play in training camp and it never really sticking.

Best pick: Linebacker Victor Butler (No. 110 overall) was picked in the fourth round as a situational pass-rusher. He contributed 11 sacks in four seasons before signing as a free agent last year with the New Orleans Saints. He could not win a full-time role playing behind Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware, but when he did get some snaps in the base defense he struggled against the run. That he is the best pick shows you how poor this draft turned out for the Cowboys.

Worst pick: Robert Brewster (No. 75 overall). The Cowboys gave up their second rounder to the Buffalo Bills and got the Bills' third- and fourth-round picks in return. Brewster tore a pectoral muscle working out in the offseason and missed his rookie year. He dressed for one game in 2010. He was a project when he was picked, in part because of his conditioning. The Bills used the second-round pick on guard Andy Levitre with the 51st pick. Had the Cowboys chose Levitre, they would not have had to spend money in free agency on Nate Livings.

Former Cowboys still playing

January, 6, 2012
IRVING, Texas -- One of Jason Garrett’s final messages to the Cowboys’ players on Monday was to watch the playoffs and let the feeling burn a little and serve as motivation in the offseason.

If the players take Garrett up on that message, then they will see some familiar faces playing or coaching on wild-card weekend. There are 10 former players among the six teams playing this weekend and five former coaches.

Cincinnati – Mike Zimmer, Pacman Jones, Dennis Roland
Pittsburgh – Shaun Suisham
Houston – Wade Phillips, Reggie Herring, Bobby King
New York GiantsChris Canty. (Isaiah Stanback is on the practice squad.)
Detroit – Bobby Carpenter, Leonard Davis, Stephen Peterman
New Orleans – Pat McQuistan, Scott Shanle, Sean Payton

Only Denver and Atlanta do not have former Cowboys players and coaches.
SAN ANTONIO -- Sean Lee didn’t need Bradie James barking about getting the veteran inside linebackers some rest to want to return to practice.

“It’s tough not to feel like a pansy being on the sideline when you’re hurt,” Lee said. “It’s tough to really see your team grind through two-a-days and you not be part of it.”

Lee missed 13 practices while dealing with a strained quadriceps. But he didn’t look like he missed a beat during Wednesday afternoon’s practice.

The second-round pick had a pair of would-be sacks during team drills. He also sniffed out a screen, fought through traffic and got to Felix Jones behind the line of scrimmage.

Head coach/defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and linebackers coach Reggie Herring had said they weren’t too concerned about Lee missing practices because they were confident that he had a strong mental grasp of the defensive scheme.

“I think I have the basis of it,” said Lee, whose status for Sunday’s Hall of Fame Game hasn’t been determined yet. “It’s the little wrinkles I’ve got to get out. You can learn as much as you want on paper, but you have to actually get out and rep it with your body, see it full speed, play it, and that’s how you get better.”

Sean Lee mad he'll miss few more days

July, 28, 2010
SAN ANTONIO – Second-round linebacker Sean Lee doesn't expect to practice for a few more days.

A strained quadriceps forced Lee to the sideline for Tuesday’s two practices. He hopes to be back on the field this weekend.

“It’s one of those things you’ve got to nip in the bud before it gets worse, but I’m rehabbing it nonstop and I’m going to try to get back as soon as possible,” Lee said. “Hopefully it’ll be as soon as possible, because you can’t get better sitting on the sideline. You can’t help the team when sitting on the sideline.”

Concerns about Lee’s right knee caused the linebacker the Cowboys graded as the No. 16 prospect on their board to slide toward the bottom of the second round. He had to redshirt two years ago at Penn State after tearing up the knee during spring drills.

The quadriceps injury isn’t considered serious, but Lee is rather perturbed about missing practices.

“It’s frustrating because you see guys making progressions when you’re on the sideline and you want to be out there competing every day,” Lee said. “That’s something I haven’t had a chance to do, but like I said, this is something you’ve got to take care of early or it can get worse.”

Linebackers coach Reggie Herring isn’t concerned that Lee, who learned the defensive scheme during OTAs and minicamp, will take a step back while sitting out to rest his quad.

“We know his character and his work ethic,” Herring said. “He’ll do everything he can to get back as fast as possible. That’s the first thing. The second thing is he’s a student of the game.

“Before he got hurt, he knew what to do, how to do it. He was having a nice camp. We’ve got a lot of confidence in his ability to know what to do. He studies the game. I would expect [after] the time that he’s missed, he will make a fast recovery. I would bet money on that.”

Herring lobbied hard for the Cowboys to draft Lee, and he had a lot of company among the team’s coaching staff, scouting department and front office.

Word is that Patrick Willis, San Francisco’s Pro Bowler, is the only inside linebacker the Cowboys gave a better grade than Lee in recent drafts.

Has Lee been everything Herring expected?

“That’s like asking you about your wife. Was she everything you expected after three months?” Herring cracked. “I mean, we gotta date a little bit here. We gotta play a game first.

“We’re very excited about Sean. I’m not going to declare anybody anything until they line up against NFL competition and prove it. Right now, he’s done a nice job at practice. He’s doing what we asked of him. He’s shown nice ability in the run and pass game. He’s a smart, instinctive player. So far, he’s everything we thought he’d be. So far. Now, let’s go play a few games and make an evaluation.”

For now, Lee’s focus in on returning to the practice field.

LB Lee loves the individual attention

May, 1, 2010
IRVING, Texas -- Wade Phillips joked that Sean Lee looked like a boxer with an entourage during rookie minicamp workouts.

Lee is the only linebacker out there, but he isn't lonely. He has linebackers coach Reggie Herring and defensive assistant Bobby King, who took over from Dat Nguyen, watching his every move. And the Cowboys' athletic training staff has given Lee a lot of attention this weekend as they try to find a knee brace that he likes.

Although Lee would rather ditch the knee brace, the second-round pick is loving every second of it.

"It forces you to concentrate and be on edge all the time and be ready to go," said Lee, a football junkie who spends quality time with his playbook before bed every night. "As a rookie, as a young guy who wants to learn, I think it's the best situation."

Lee hasn't participated in the competitive pass coverage drills as a precautionary measure, because he's still waiting to get a knee brace that feels right. (His old brace from Penn State was shipped to Valley Ranch, but he said it no longer fit because his leg has gotten bigger while working out without a brace since football season.)

Herring, however, has seen enough to reinforce the belief that the guy the Cowboys had No. 14 overall on their draft board was a steal.

"He’s like a magnet, just sucking in information," Herring said. "He wants to learn. He gets upset when he doesn’t do things right. It bothers him when he does things wrong, and it’s very obvious.

"That’s where it all starts. Do you care? Are you committed? Are you consistent? Guys like that usually are consistent."