Dallas Cowboys: Kurt Warner

Where do Staubach, Aikman rank on QB list?

February, 5, 2014
Feb 5
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IRVING, Texas – Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel is one of the finest football writers around, and before Super Bowl XLVIII he ranked the top 25 quarterbacks he has seen play.

Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman made the list. So did one-time Cowboy Randall Cunningham.

Joe Montana was at the top of McGinn’s list and it’s hard to argue that spot. The rest of the top five was Johnny Unitas, Tom Brady, Dan Marino and Peyton Manning.

McGinn did not have any set criteria. He called some of it just a “gut feeling.” He is not afraid to make some decisions others might think are off, like having Ken Anderson check in at No. 14 and Donovan McNabb come in at No. 21.

Brady and Manning were two of the four active quarterbacks on his list. Aaron Rodgers was not on his list, but Ben Roethlisberger (No. 18) and Drew Brees (No. 25) were.

As for Staubach and Aikman, they were ranked Nos. 10 and 19. Staubach was one spot behind Dan Fouts. Aikman not only checked in after Roethlisberger, but also Kurt Warner. He ranked one spot ahead of Steve McNair.

Thoughts?

Total QBR: RG3 great, but not 'perfect'

November, 19, 2012
11/19/12
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Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III earned a perfect score of 158.3 in Sunday's victory on the traditional NFL passer rating scale. He's the fourth quarterback in the last five years to do that in a game. Yet his Total QBR -- the stat that measures a quarterback's contribution to his team's chances of winning on a scale from 0-100 -- was 93.7. Obviously an excellent score, but the lowest among the four perfect-passer-rating games of the last half-decade.

The reason, according to the folks at ESPN Stats & Information who administer the Total QBR stat, is Griffin's fumble late in the first half with the Redskins leading just 14-3. Washington recovered the fumble, so there was no harm done, but the fact of the fumble with the game still in doubt does damage to the player's QBR. That play dropped Griffin's from 99.7 to 93.5 at that moment. None of the other guys -- Tom Brady in 2010, Drew Brees in 2009 or Kurt Warner in 2008 -- fumbled in their perfect-passer-rating games.

For the week, Griffin's Total QBR ranks third so far in the NFL behind those of only the Saints' Brees and the Patriots' Brady. For the season to date, Griffin's Total QBR of 70.7 ranks eighth in the league.

Some other NFC East-related Total QBR notes from Sunday:

The Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo had a total QBR of 19.5 in the first half Sunday against the Browns, but he had a Total QBR of 78.0 in the second half and overtime as the Cowboys came back to win.

The Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles posted a Total QBR of 7.2 on Sunday in Washington in the first NFL start of his career. That's the fourth-lowest by a rookie in his starting debut over the last five years, trailing only the debuts of Brandon Weeden, Ryan Tannehill and Jimmy Clausen. It's also worse than any game Michael Vick played over that same time span.

If you want a high Total QBR these days, you want to be playing quarterback against the Eagles' defense. Through the first six games of the season, opposing quarterbacks had a Total QBR of 28.2 against Philadelphia. But in the four games since the Eagles fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and replaced him with Todd Bowles, opponents have a league-high Total QBR of 87.1 to go with a staggering 78.4 completion percentage, 9.4 yards per pass attempt, 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions.

Peyton Manning's future affects Cowboys

March, 7, 2012
3/07/12
9:02
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IRVING, Texas -- Peyton Manning will be released today by Indianapolis and the Cowboys will be paying attention. Or at least they should be.

PODCAST
Are the Cowboys sniffing around Peyton Manning? Not a chance, but ESPN Dallas' Todd Archer tells Ben and Skin that the Redskins are a major threat for his services.

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No, not to think about signing the future Hall of Fame quarterback, but to see where he ends up playing in 2012.

That could have a direct impact on the Cowboys.

According to multiple reports, Miami, Washington, Seattle and Arizona could be the top suitors for Manning, who did not play in 2011 because of a neck injury. His future is still unknown to a large degree.

The Cowboys would be better served if Manning stayed in the AFC.

The Redskins desperately need a quarterback and have the cap room necessary to land Manning. Washington has some decent pieces in place, but Mike Shanahan’s return to the sidelines as not gone well largely because he has not had a quarterback.

A healthy Manning would give Shanahan a quarterback and force the Cowboys to prepare for him two times a year. Now, Shanahan would have to alter his offense some to fit Manning – forget those bootlegs and waggles – and live with the idea that Manning would be the de facto offensive coordinator.

There’s a lot of ego involved there, and would the Mannings – Peyton and Eli – want to deal with the stress NFC East faceoffs twice a year? The Manning Bowls would be mean huge television numbers.

Why should the Cowboys care about Seattle? The Seahawks are on the Cowboys’ schedule this year. That Seattle defense is going to be good. They have committed to high picks on the line. They just re-signed running back Marshawn Lynch. And, according to reports, they would be interested in signing one of Manning’s favorite receivers, Reggie Wayne, as a package deal with Manning.

Like the Redskins, the Seahawks don’t have a quarterback either and a healthy Manning would make Pete Carroll happy.

Why should the Cowboys care about Arizona? Arizona gave Kevin Kolb a sizeable contract last year but the Cardinals have questions about him after injuries largely ruined his first year. Add a healthy Manning to the mix with Larry Fitzgerald and a defense that was better last year and it’s not difficult to see a Kurt Warner-like turnaround in the desert.

If you believe in San Francisco’s turnaround in 2011, then the Cardinals would figure to be a wild-card contender at worse with Manning, and that would affect the Cowboys.

Manning is 2-2 all-time against the Cowboys, winning in 1999 and 2002 and losing in 2006 and ’10. The 2006 loss ended Indianapolis’ run at a perfect season and came in the midst of Romo-mania when Tony Romo took over the starting job. The ’10 loss was to Jon Kitna in overtime, 38-35, in what was Sean Lee’s breakout game.

In those four games, Manning has completed 107 of 159 passes for 1,184 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions, four of which came in 2010.

Scout's Eye: Cowboys-Cardinals preview

December, 2, 2011
12/02/11
9:34
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It’s never easy when the Cowboys travel to the desert to face the Cardinals, and this season will be no different.

Scout's Eye
The Cardinals have skill at several positions, but they have weaknesses that Jason Garrett’s club can take advantage of. It’s this mix of good and bad that could either lead to an upset or to the Cowboys winning their fifth straight game on their march to the NFC East title.

Offensively, the Cardinals present two reasons for concern: Larry Fitzgerald and Beanie Wells.

Cardinals' Fitzgerald could exploit Cowboys' weakness


You do not have to be a professional scout to know that Fitzgerald is one of the best wide receivers in the game. The Cowboys have struggled with receivers making plays down the field the past two games. I was concerned about what Brandon Marshall was going to do against this secondary, but I am even more concerned of the challenge that lies ahead with Fitzgerald.

When you study his game, you see a tremendous route runner -- not in the sense of an explosive player, but much like Miles Austin in that he runs his routes at the same speed throughout the route. Fitzgerald doesn’t give the corner any type of hint when he is going to break in his route. Most receivers in the NFL have to chop their steps or slow down to make cuts, but not Fitzgerald.

In my view, the most impressive trait he possesses is his hands. Other than Kurt Warner, Fitzgerald has played with some bad quarterbacks throughout his career in Arizona. Never have I seen a receiver that adjusts to more bad balls than this guy, but he is always coming up with the play.

The Cowboys have to be careful with Fitzgerald when he runs the inside routes, getting the ball on the move and exploding through the middle of the secondary. Remember what he did to the Steelers in the Super Bowl several years ago? He has done that this year as well.

The one personnel switch for the Cowboys will be that Mike Jenkins will be in the lineup. That takes Alan Ball off the field in the nickel, and it also allows Orlando Scandrick to go back to his role as the nickel corner.

RB Wells has very similar style to Cowboys' Murray


The Cowboys’ run defense has had stretches where it has been outstanding, then two games where the Eagles and Seahawks were able to gash the defense for some nice gains. Beanie Wells is more of a physical runner than a home-run back. His offensive line doesn’t give him much room, so he has to create opportunities on his own, but he doesn’t have the quickness of LeSean McCoy or Marshawn Lynch.

Wells can hurt you with the ability to use his vision to see a crease then make a cut, much like what we have seen with DeMarco Murray. Wells is not afraid to take the ball to the hole then allow the defenders to commit and bend it backside. The Cowboys’ run defense can be aggressive flowing to the ball, so what happens on the backside with these defensive ends and linebackers will be key if they are going to keep Wells in check.

The Cardinals will attempt to run Wells to keep the rush off Kevin Kolb, who is making his return to the starting lineup after dealing with a toe issue.

Matchup to exploit: Cardinals' offensive line


The biggest weakness of this Cardinals offense is their line. There is nothing pretty about the way they play or the effectiveness in which they operate.

Usually when I study an opponent each week, there are one or two players that I will like on their offensive line. There is no one on the Cardnals’ offensive line I would want if I were building a team.

Tackles Levi Brown and Jeremy Bridges struggle with speed off the edge, and it would be no surprise to me if Rob Ryan starts there to attack this offense. At the guard spot, things aren’t much better with former Packer Daryn Colledge and ex-Brown Rex Hadnot, who really struggle with movement of the defensive line and don’t do a good enough job of handling the twist stunts or games in the middle of the line. Colledge really struggled because he would become engaged with his block, then a linebacker would run through on the blitz and he was unable to adjust off that to secure the blitzer.

The biggest fear for the Cardinals is if they are stuffed on the run with Wells and it turns into a game where the Cowboys can tee off on Kolb. The fear for the Cowboys is that they allow this poor Cardinals line to block them like the Redskins did two weeks ago.

There are questions about Kolb’s health and mobility. The Cowboys need to take advantage of the situation when given the opportunity.

DT Dockett will be handful for Cowboys' line


Defensively for the Cardinals, tackle Darnell Dockett will be a handful for Kyle Kosier and Montrae Holland. I worry more about Holland because he tends to struggle with those players that can get on his outside shoulder and quickly get up the field. That is what we see in Docket’s game.

Dockett is an explosive player that loves to attack on the outside. Holland hates this type of player because he doesn’t always adjust quickly enough out of his stance.

The Cowboys have to be careful when they go to their outside game that Dockett isn’t allowed to get up the field and into the backfield to throw off pullers or John Phillips trying to get to the edge to secure the corner. Any type of penetration throws off timing and the execution of the blockers.

The Cowboys will have an advantage when the Cardinals have to rush the passer. Other than Dockett, this front really struggles with pressure. It is only when they are able to bring linebacker help that they are able to generate a pass rush.

The Cowboys have struggled some this season when teams have brought pressure from the linebackers in the middle of the defense. Center Phil Costa was better last week, but continue to watch how he and Holland handle these games.

Cards' young linebackers making some noise


The Cardinals have two young linebackers that I really like. Former TCU star Daryl Washington and Texas-ex Sam Acho really show up on tape. Both of these players are always around the football. Impressed with the way that they are able to fight blocks and finish plays.

Washington showed the ability to work through the trash, keep his balance and make the tackle in the hole. I would not call Washington a thumper like a younger Bradie James, but at the point of attack, he has done a nice job.

Acho is a nice player off the edge. In the Rams contest, he showed the quickness to come around the corner, beat the tackle and get a sack of Sam Bradford to cause a fumble. He and Dockett are the two best pressure players the Cardinals have in the front seven.

Don't overlook Peterson as defender, either


Rookie Patrick Peterson has created quite a buzz with his ability to return punts for touchdowns. Peterson is a talented cornerback, but I have heard the whispers that early in the season he wasn’t playing as well and was struggling in coverage.

I studied four games -- Eagles, 49ers, Rams and Ravens -- and did not see the struggles that scouts were speaking of. There was one play against the 49ers where he slipped on a stutter-go to Michael Crabtree and it ended up as a nice gain, but overall, I only observed a corner that could read the route, drive on the ball and defend the play. Didn’t see a corner that played with wasted steps or was not quick enough to keep position in the route.

In the Ravens game, Peterson did a nice job in press coverage, turning and running with his man, then finding the ball. In my view, Peterson did not look like a player that was struggling to do his job. We’ll see if Jason Garrett’s game plan will be to try to attack Peterson, but there are other areas that he can go to for better results.

Cowboys run game: Watch safety Wilson


When the Cowboys run the ball, they must be aware of safety Adrian Wilson, who likes to work around the line of scrimmage. Wilson is a physical player who is not afraid to mix it up against the run or pass.

When the Cardinals need a big play in the secondary, it will usually come from Wilson. Wilson can hurt you as a blitzer. He has a nice feel for how to time his blitz and be that disruptive player.

Romo thinks Warner is a Hall of Famer

January, 30, 2010
1/30/10
12:40
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The retirement of Kurt Warner on Friday brought out all sorts of questions regarding his Hall of Fame status.

In 124 regular-season games, he completed 65.5 percent of his passes for 32,344 yards and 208 touchdowns for three NFL teams. Warner and Fran Tarkenton are the only NFL quarterbacks to throw for 100 touchdowns and 14,000 yards for two teams. Warner also is a two-time MVP.

"He has had an incredible career, he has nothing to prove," Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said Friday. "He has been a great ambassador to the game and a great player. We have been lucky and fortunate enough to be able to watch him and be around him."

As far as reaching Canton, Romo believes Warner should get in.

"It speaks for itself, I think," Romo said. "He played in three Super Bowls, won one, MVP, what else do you want to have in a Hall of Famer?"

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