Dallas Cowboys: David Fales

Cowboys preview: Make-or-break stretch

August, 27, 2014
Aug 27
2:30
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The end of the season has not been kind to the Dallas Cowboys in recent years. It's not been just a Jason Garrett problem, but the Cowboys lost three of their last four in 2013, their final two in 2012 and four of their last five in 2011 to finish 8-8 all three years. This year's late-season schedule is difficult -- five of the last seven away from home -- but the pivotal stretch will be early in the year to make sure the end of the year is relevant. Six of the Cowboys' first nine games are at AT&T Stadium, which has not provided the greatest of home-field advantages since opening. The Cowboys have a three-game homestand from Oct. 19-Nov. 2 against three NFC teams that they almost have to sweep to stay in contention in the division or help in the wild-card standings.

Complete Cowboys season preview.

Cowboys Twitter mailbag, Part 2

May, 3, 2014
May 3
12:00
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IRVING, Texas – Part 2 of the Dallas Cowboys’ Twitter mailbag is ready.

In it we discuss the futures of Tyron Smith, Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray,a great scenario for the Cowboys if Aaron Donald, Anthony Barr and Zack Martin are there at No. 16 on Thursday, drafting a quarterback later in the draft and the future of Doug Free.

For Part 1 of the mailbag, click here.

Away we go:
 

Beyond the first round: Quarterbacks

May, 1, 2014
May 1
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Over the last nine days, we have focused on one position in the NFL draft by highlighting a prospect in Rounds 2-7 who might fit for the Dallas Cowboys. With so much attention placed on the first round in mock drafts, "Beyond the first round" focuses on lesser-publicized options beyond the first 32 picks. Today we look at quarterbacks.

Second round – Jimmy Garoppolo (Eastern Illinois): Why not go after another Eastern Illinois QB after the success the Cowboys had with Tony Romo? Garoppolo completed 66 percent of his passes and threw for 5,050 yards with 53 touchdowns and nine picks as a senior. He performed well at the Senior Bowl against better competition with a quick release and feel for his throws. He can move defenders with his eyes.

Third round – Zach Mettenberger (LSU): He will need some time coming off a torn ACL, but he improved greatly with one year of work with former LSU coach Cam Cameron. He is the prototype (6-foot-4, 227 pounds) but he does not move very well. He can make all of the throws. His decision making was much better in 2013 with just eight picks and 64.9% percent completion rate. He’s tough, will take a hit to make a play.

Fourth round – Aaron Murray (Georgia): Like Mettenberger he will need some time coming off a torn ACL. He is not the biggest (barely 6 feet) but no quarterback in SEC history has more touchdown passes (121). He completed 64.8 percent of his throws and improved his decision making. He has moxie and seems to play his best when the pressure is greatest.

Fifth round – Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech): His best season was his sophomore year when he threw 19 touchdowns and 10 picks but he never progressed the way some had hoped, which might have been due to coordinator changes. He can spin it like no other QB in the draft. He is big (6-6, 248) and moves well enough but pocket presence needs work. He completed only 56.5 percent of his passes last season.

Sixth round – David Fales (San Jose State): His senior season was not as good as his junior year when he played for former Cowboys assistant Mike McIntyre but he still threw for 4,189 yards with 33 TDs and just 13 picks. He has great accuracy and anticipation that can make up for an arm that is not the strongest.

Seventh round – Jeff Matthews (Cornell): A Princeton coach going after a Cornell QB? Keep it in the Ivy League. He looks the part but has some awareness issues in the pocket. He can make all of the throws but doesn’t have the strongest arm. He threw for 2,953 yards with 22 TDs and 13 picks in 2013. He won just 12 of 37 career starts.

Does Kyle Orton's absence up need for QB?

April, 22, 2014
Apr 22
12:45
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IRVING, Texas -- Before people get carried away with Kyle Orton's absence from the Dallas Cowboys' offseason program, two factors need to be put out there: the workouts are voluntary and he missed just one day.

But the Cowboys should not look at Orton's absence as a one-day deal. They should take a worst-case scenario look at it. They need to determine whether Orton really wants to play football in 2014, despite what they heard from the player's agent and the fact Orton would be walking away from $3.25 million.

[+] EnlargeKyle Orton
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsGiven some of the current uncertainty surrounding backup Kyle Orton, should the Cowboys look to select a quarterback in next month's draft?
It could be as simple as him not wanting to play anymore. He is the second-highest paid backup quarterback in the NFL behind Matt Moore ($4 million) of the Miami Dolphins, so money wouldn't seem to be an issue. He has been content in his role as a backup to Tony Romo, so opportunity wouldn't seem to be an issue.

Undoubtedly the Cowboys have spoken directly to Orton this offseason with the whispers of him thinking about retirement. What was discussed is not known. Did he tell them he would play or not play?

Orton holds the cards here because he does not have to show up until the mandatory June minicamp. If he does not report for that, then he would face fines up to close to $70,000. If he does report, what kind of condition is he in?

The Cowboys can trade him or release him. What kind of return would they get for a player who may or may not report to a new team? If they release him, then they would forfeit the right to pick up $3 million of the $5 million signing bonus he received in 2011. After the Jeremiah Ratliff fiasco, you would think the Cowboys would be more vigilant in these kinds of cases.

They could keep him and hope he arrives at the June minicamp in good shape and is ready to go when the team reports to Oxnard, Calif., for training camp. Hope, however, should not be their strategy.

Yet there is a more immediate question raised from Orton's absence. Does it push quarterback up the ladder when it comes to the draft?

The Cowboys signed Brandon Weeden to a two-year deal in the offseason with no signing bonus. They liked him coming into the 2012 draft, but not as much as the Cleveland Browns liked him. He had more interceptions than touchdown passes, but the Cowboys have taken a no-risk look at him.

What can they learn about Weeden before the draft? Not much. Coaches are not allowed on the field with the players until Phase 2 of the offseason program, which comes the week of the draft.

The Cowboys attended Aaron Murray's workout at Georgia last week. They talked with Jimmy Garoppolo and David Fales at the NFL scouting combine. They had a number of quarterbacks at their Dallas Day workouts last week in Garrett Gilbert, Casey Pachall and James Franklin, but they did not have a quarterback among their national visitors.

The Cowboys aren't exactly being held hostage by Orton, but his decision (or indecision) could go a long way in how they plan to attack the draft.

Kyle Orton not at Monday workout

April, 21, 2014
Apr 21
7:30
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IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys' offseason program began on Monday without veteran quarterback Kyle Orton, according to sources.

Orton had been contemplating retirement, but at the NFL Owners meetings in March his agent, David Dunn, said the quarterback would play in 2014 and retirement was never an issue. Since the NFL scouting combine in February, the Cowboys have stated their belief that Orton, who is set to make $3.5 million as Tony Romo's backup, would return.

The workout program is voluntary, but Orton participated in it his first two seasons. Only the June 17-19 mini-camp is mandatory. If Orton skips the mini-camp, then he would be subject to fines totaling close to $70,000.

If Orton's absence is prolonged it could affect the Cowboys' draft plans. The Cowboys signed Brandon Weeden to a two-year deal with no signing bonus earlier in the offseason. Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson attended the pro day of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray last week. At the combine, they had meetings with Jimmy Garoppolo and David Fales.

The last two quarterbacks drafted by the Cowboys are Quincy Carter (second round, 2001) and Stephen McGee (fourth round, 2009).

Cowboys Twitter mailbag, Part 1

April, 11, 2014
Apr 11
12:00
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IRVING, Texas -- Part 1 of the Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag is ready.

In it we discuss the best way for the Cowboys to win, the apparent plans at safety, finding a future quarterback, rebuilding and Ed Reed. Ed Reed? Yep.

Away we go:

 

Cowboys met with QBs Garoppolo, Fales

February, 28, 2014
Feb 28
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IRVING, Texas -- There is no question Johnny Manziel will be the most-talked about player of this year’s NFL draft, and there has been some connecting of the dots of the Texas A&M quarterback and the Dallas Cowboys.

Manziel
The Cowboys talked with Manziel at the NFL scouting combine as a way of doing their homework, but owner and general manager Jerry Jones squashed any dream for those wanting the Cowboys to select Manziel.

“We’ll never see him,” Jerry Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan. “We couldn't get there if we traded three drafts to get him. But he's an outstanding player. The area I feel the best about our chances in is at our quarterback. And I feel that way for the next several years. The only exception to that being injury.”

But who could really be in play for the Cowboys in the May draft?

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According to a source, the Cowboys also met with Eastern Illinois’ Jimmy Garoppolo and San Jose State’s David Fales at the combine.

While Garoppolo’s status is rising -- Bill Polian sees him as a first rounder -- he could be on the Cowboys’ radar in the second or third rounds. The Eastern Illinois tie with Tony Romo is intriguing. Both players won the Walter Payton Award as seniors. Garoppolo threw for more than 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in 2013.

Fales was a two-year starter at San Jose State, playing for former Cowboys assistant Mike MacIntyre in 2012. He had 66 touchdown passes in his two seasons and had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl. He could be a possibility in the middle rounds.

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