Dallas Cowboys: Deion Branch

Cowboys a fit for Laurent Robinson

January, 17, 2012
IRVING, Texas -- A lot of times when players are about to hit free agency, all they see is dollar signs.

Free-agent WR Laurent Robsinson joins Ben and Skin to discuss his first season with the Cowboys and his desire to return.

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After playing for four or more years with one team, they look forward to the open market, dreaming of the biggest payday.

That sure didn’t sound like Laurent Robinson last week when he appeared on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s Ben and Skin Show.

“This is where I want to be,” Robinson said. “It doesn’t matter if I’m the No. 1, 2 or 3. I feel like I have a good fit here.”

Maybe Robinson has a different view on his impending free agency because he did not make his mark with three organizations before joining the Cowboys, but if he is talking about “fit” and not about the “money” then the Cowboys have a good shot at re-signing Robinson, who caught 11 touchdown passes as part of his 54-catch, 858-yard season.

Robinson and Tony Romo meshed right away, which flew in the face of the excuses we heard during Roy Williams’ run with the Cowboys.

Back in 1995, Alvin Harper was in a great position as the Cowboys’ No. 2 receiver opposite Michael Irvin but left to become the No. 1 receiver in Tampa Bay with a four-year, $10.6 million contract, which at the time was a large deal, and it never panned out.

It never panned out for Peerless Price in Atlanta (seven years, $37.5 million) after he caught 94 passes for 1,252 yards from Drew Bledsoe. It didn’t work out for David Givens in Tennessee (five years, $24 million) in part because of injury. It didn’t work out for T.J. Houshmandzadeh in Seattle (five years, $40 million). A pair of trades didn’t work for Javon Walker (from Green Bay to Denver and a five-year, $40 million contract) or Deion Branch (from New England to Seattle and a six-year, $39 million deal).

Branch was traded back to New England and it’s working out just fine once again because he fits with Tom Brady.

Funny how that worked.

It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and say, ‘Don’t think about the money.’ What would most of us do if you could do the same job somewhere else for a large check?

The Cowboys need Robinson in a lot of ways because there always seems to be something with Dez Bryant and Miles Austin was hurt most of 2011. He is not a No. 1 receiver, but he showed he could fill in for Bryant and Austin when they were hurt and excel.

If fit matters, as the wide out said, then the Cowboys have a chance to keep him.

Five-star answer: Patriots fall short of 30

October, 13, 2011
Five-star question: Will the Patriots tie the NFL record of 14 consecutive games with at least 30 points this week?

I think the Patriots’ run comes to an end this week, but not by much since I predicted a 28-24 Patriots’ victory.

Some of it will have to do with Rob Ryan’s defense against Tom Brady. Some of it will have to do with how much the Cowboys control the ball. Some of it will have to do with all good things coming to an end.

The last time New England did not score 30 points came against Ryan’s defense in Cleveland. They held the Patriots to 14 points in Week 9 last year. Having worked in New England as an assistant coach, Ryan has an understanding of what the Patriots and Brady like to do.

And I’m sure some phone calls will be made to the New York Jets as well with Ryan picking the brain of his brother, Rex.

The Cowboys will have their top three cornerbacks available to them for the first time this season with the return of Orlando Scandrick from an ankle injury. That will give Ryan some flexibility to be creative with his coverages that he was not able to do in the first four games.

The key, however, will be pressure on Brady. Bill Belichick said DeMarcus Ware is the best player the Patriots have seen this season, but New England’s offensive line will be the best the Cowboys have seen this season. Brady has been sacked eight times and is averaging 9.56 yards per attempt. He is deadly with time to throw to Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Deion Branch.

He’ll be deadly again Sunday; just not enough to score 30.