Dallas Cowboys: Senior Bowl

Senior Bowl watch for the Cowboys

January, 26, 2013
The Senior Bowl is today in Mobile, Ala., and we have some thoughts on players you should watch out for in regard to the Dallas Cowboys.

1. Jay Ratliff's status with the team didn't seem in doubt when the Cowboys arrived at the Senior Bowl. But after being arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated raises questions about his future. The Cowboys are headed to a new defensive scheme, switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3, and we've got a few players who might fit into that defensive-tackle, three-technique scheme, who will play today. Penn State's Jordan Hill (6-foot-1, 294 pounds), Kawann Short (6-foot-3, 280 pounds) from Purdue and Brandon Williams (6-foot-2, 341 pounds) from Missouri Southern play for the North. Williams, because of his size, might be more of a nose in a 3-4.

2. The Cowboys spoke with two defensive ends who will play for the North in SMU's Margus Hunt, measured as the tallest player at the Senior Bowl at 6-foot-8, and Texas' Alex Okafor, who is 6-foot-4 and 261 pounds. Okafor said he can play either as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme or defensive end in a 4-3. It's too early to determine if Okafor or Hunt are first round picks, but if the Cowboys don't re-sign or franchise Anthony Spencer in the offseason, drafting an end could be a realistic possibility.

3. The Cowboys need at least three tackles to go with during game days. Tyron Smith, Doug Free and Jermey Parnell were the trio during the season. Free was inconsistent in 2012 and there is concern about his future with the team. Should the Cowboys invest a draft pick on a tackle? The South roster has 6-foot-6, 302 pounder Lane Johnson from Oklahoma, who will get snaps at right tackle in the Senior Bowl. It's also worth checking out Eric Fisher, a tackle from Central Michigan from the North.

4. The Cowboys could release veteran fullback Lawrence Vickers this offseason and go younger at the position. When you see how bad the running game was in 2012, you have to look at more than the running backs coach, who was released. There are two fullbacks -- Tommy Bohanon from Wake Forest and Kyle Juszczyk of Harvard -- who are worth looking at on Saturday.

5. Tony Romo isn't going anywhere, so talking about his demise with the Cowboys is pointless. However, drafting a quarterback in the middle rounds might be something the Cowboys consider. Mike Glennon, the 6-foot-6 quarterback from N.C. State, could increase his stock among NFL teams with a strong performance today. Glennon might be worth taking a pick on in the second round.

Much is left unanswered at Valley Ranch

January, 25, 2013
We left for the Senior Bowl on Monday in search of answers.

All we got from Dallas Cowboys officials was confusion.

Ed Werder joins Ben and Skin to talk about Troy Aikman's recent comments about Jason Garrett, the ties the new Cowboys coaches have with Jon Gruden and Jerry Jones' continued unwillingness to fire Garrett.

Listen Listen
What we do know is that Jerry Jones has hinted that Jason Garrett won't call plays in 2013. Jones didn't say who would call plays, but all indications are that offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Bill Callahan will take over those duties.

It would appear to be a step back for Garrett, but Jones has tried spin the situation so that it doesn't look like a demotion for his head coach. Jones' preference to have a "walk-around" coach represents a change in thinking. It was just a few months ago that Jones shared a story of how former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said it was best for a head coach to call plays on either the offense or defense. That way, Gibbs said, it gives the appearance the coach had a hand in a victory or defeat.

Jones hired head coaches Chan Gailey, Wade Phillips and Garrett under this model. Now it seems he is switching gears. Jones points out that Garrett will still have a hand in the day-to-day operations of the football team. Well, that's fine and good, but he's always had that.

Garrett has two years remaining on his contract, and if this whole thing doesn't work out with him in 2013 it's clear he won't get another year to fix it. Jones clearly appears to be taking more power away from Garrett by the day.

Garrett, however, has still been involved in the interview process for offensive coaches. The Cowboys need a running backs coach and tight ends coach and most likely a wide receivers coach. Garrett conducted interviews at the Senior Bowl, ducking out after watching a few moments of practices to greet coaches.

Then, of course, there's the issue of Rob Ryan's dismissal. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram had a report that Garrett said the defensive coordinator was let go because his unit didn't create enough turnovers. The Dallas Morning News countered that Garrett's comments about Ryan were taken out of context.

A few weeks ago, Jones said on KRLD-FM that part of the reason he let Ryan go was because of losses at Seattle and against Chicago, games he felt the defense didn't do its part.

Wait, there's more.

Wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson wasn't with the team in Mobile. Jones said Robinson is still on staff but that something might change with his status. What could that be? It might be a personal issue that allows Robinson to leave the day-to-day operations of working with Garrett. Nothing has been resolved here.

The other hot topic was Jay Ratliff's arrest early Tuesday morning for allegedly driving while intoxicated in Grapevine, Texas.

Jones talked with reporters at around noon Tuesday and was asked about a tiff he had with Ratliff and if that would have any bearing on his status with the team. Jones indicated it didn't and compared it to father and son having a typical argument.

Did Jones know about Ratliff's arrest when speaking with reporters in Mobile? We don't know. Saying he forgave Ratliff for a heated argument the two had during the season is one thing. Can Jones forgive Ratliff for getting arrested, too?

There are plenty of questions hanging around Valley Ranch. Hopefully in the next few days we can get some answers.

IRVING, Texas -- Just a few days after the Dallas Cowboys' season ended, it was clear that Jason Garrett's days as a play-caller were going to come to an end.

When we talked to Garrett the day after the regular-season finale, the coach said he anticipated the status quo when it came to the calling of plays in 2013. The next day on KRLD-FM, owner and general Jerry Jones said everything was up for discussion and then Garrett told the station he would be open to giving up the duties.

Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com joins Galloway & Company to discuss Jerry Jones hinting that Jason Garrett will not be calling offensive plays for the Dallas Cowboys next season.

Listen Listen
Funny how that stuff works, isn't it? Remember when Garrett said the team would look at other kick returners early in the season only to be followed the next day by Jones saying Felix Jones would remain the kick returner? Well, what do you know, Felix Jones remained the kick returner. It's the same sort of deal here, and it's a reminder that this is and will always be the Jerry Jones Show, especially if coaches don't win.

He was happy to stand to the side for a few years when Bill Parcells came on board but then got itchy. And when the team didn't win a playoff game in Parcells' four seasons, Jones did not try to talk Parcells out of retirement. It gave Jones the chance to say, "Hey, I tried it your way and it didn't work, so we're going back to my way."

Garrett had two full seasons to do it his way, so to speak, and produced a 16-16 record. Now Jones is showing he's in charge.

Which is why Bill Callahan looks to be the next play-caller if you want to read between the lines on Jones' comments from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

Yes, the move would neuter Garrett, to a degree, but it'd actually be the best of a worst-case scenario for Garrett.

Should the Cowboys go outside the Valley Ranch surroundings for a new play-caller -- someone like Norv Turner, Pete Carmichael or Hue Jackson -- Garrett would be further muted as head coach.

Garrett would have had no say over the offense if an outsider had come on board.

Turner would've run the same offense, but he would've been all-powerful when it came to the game-day specifics. With Carmichael or Jackson -- or any other coach outside the building -- Garrett would not have had the background in the new offense.

And if the Cowboys want to go that route, then Jones just needs to put an end to the Garrett Era.

If Callahan is the choice, Garrett will be able to keep his thumbprint on the offense. The plays will largely be the same the Cowboys have run since Garrett joined the team in 2007. Callahan was not in the passing game meetings last year; Garrett ran those. Callahan does not have the depth of knowledge in Garrett's passing game as he does in a West Coast scheme. And they will not be making a seismic shift to the West Coast offense with Tony Romo as the quarterback.

If they do that and make a seismic shift on defense from a 3-4 scheme to a 4-3 scheme, then this team will not compete in 2013. It might not be able to compete anyway, but two gigantic changes would make Garrett's job even more impossible.

With Callahan calling plays, Garrett could be in Callahan's ear and offer suggestions that can be viewed as commands.

When Sean Payton and Tony Sparano called plays for the Cowboys, they ran Parcells' offense. Parcells did not let either coach go off on their own when it came to calling the plays. He kept a strong hand on top of them -- which some of you might remember more as a bad thing than a good thing -- and would intervene at times.

Jones will attempt to spin the move as a positive for Garrett, but it's not. Would Jones the general manager be happy if somebody came in to make the draft decisions? Of course not. And that will never happen, as we all know.

But, for Garrett, the move to Callahan would give him some chance to maintain a sliver of offensive control.

It would be up to him to use it as he sees fits, but I can't imagine he would just goes quietly into that good night during the week and during the games.

Random Thoughts from Senior Bowl

January, 25, 2012

MOBILE, Ala. -- We're leaving the Senior Bowl after three days of nice, cool weather, and here's some notes:

1. The Cowboys are doing their due diligence regarding the quarterback position. I don't believe the Cowboys will draft one, but they did interview Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden on Sunday. Jerry Jones said if the team picks up a quarterback, it has to be a veteran who can move quickly in the offense. Weeden's age, 28, means he's a little more mature than some rookie quarterbacks and he picked up the Washington Redskins offensive terminology pretty quickly during practices here.

2. Finding a cornerback is a must for the Cowboys. When Jones says there will be new faces on the roster at that position, he's telling the truth. Alan Ball, Frank Walker, Terence Newman and quite possibly Abram Elam might be gone from the 2011 roster. The Cowboys interviewed troubled corner Janoris Jenkins, but one corner to watch is Georgia's Brandon Boykin. He's 5-9 1/4 and 183 pounds. He plays physical and can play the slot and outside. Boykin can also return kicks and punts.

3. It seems Keith Brooking wants to continue playing, according to his agent Pat Dye Jr. Brooking is open to playing a reduced role with the Cowboys. You could say he played a reduced role in 2011, but that was only after the team felt confident enough in Sean Lee's development in training camp to pair him up with Bradie James. The Cowboys want a younger team, especially on defense, but if Brooking is willing to play 10 defensive snaps with some special team duties per game, it might be worth keeping him around.

4. It's pretty interesting the Cowboys are downplaying Dez Bryant's confrontation in Miami last week. Jerry Jones has not spoken to Bryant, but someone in the organization did, according to Jason Garrett. Bryant's behavior away from the field should concern the Cowboys and if they don't get a handle on it, it could go bad quickly.

5. Brooking is coming here to be inducted into the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame along with Donovan McNabb and Dan Reeves. ... If the Cowboys sign a veteran quarterback, why not get David Garrard? The former Jacksonville quarterback's back should be 100 percent by the end of March. ... Garrett went to only one Pro Day last year, USC's to check out Tyron Smith. Garrett didn't say if that number will increase. He expects it to be a case-by-case basis. ... DE Marcus Spears is expected to return along with fellow DE Jason Hatcher. As good as Spears and Hatcher were, Kenyon Coleman struggled down the stretch.

Cowboys might visit with Janoris Jenkins

January, 24, 2012
MOBILE, Ala. -- The Cowboys have a scheduled meeting with troubled yet talented cornerback Janoris Jenkins of North Alabama for Tuesday night here at the Senior Bowl.

Update: Jenkins, after meeting with the Oakland Raiders, said the meeting with Cowboys might not happen.

"No big deal, though," he said. "It might happen."

Jenkins, was kicked off the Florida football team for various offenses, including being arrested twice within a three-month span on drug-related charges. He also got into a fight and was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor affray and resisting arrest without violence.

"I just go in as who I am," said Jenkins, who has spoken to five NFL teams. "I tell them what happened and be honest because I did it. I made a mistake and I take full responsibility for it. I'm sure I have to deal with it. I'm looking forward to it. I have nothing to hide. I just go in and they ask me the question and I give it to them and be honest. I just look them in the eye and let them know I can be honest."

The Cowboys' scouts most likely will speak with Jenkins and provide a report to Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett.

Jones said Monday he expects to see new faces in the secondary. He offered support for Orlando Scandrick and Mike Jenkins but didn't for veteran corner Terence Newman.

Also, Frank Walker, Alan Ball and Abram Elam are unrestricted free agents and their long-term status with the team is still being determined by the front office.

It's not guaranteed the Cowboys will draft Jenkins with the 14th pick of the first round, or even later on. His off-the-field issues pushed him down many draft boards, including the one of ESPN's Mel Kiper, who doesn't have Jenkins as a first-round pick on his first Mock Draft.

The other downside to Jenkins is the fact he played Division II and several teams didn't direct passes his way.

"There were a lot of times I was out there by myself," Jenkins said. "I had to make plays on special teams, punt returns, being a gunner. The time they weren't coming at me, I was working on my techniques. Just basically trying to get better."

Senior Bowl practices: Day 3

January, 26, 2011
MOBILE, Ala. -- This was our last day in this city and our trio of guys, Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl, broke down the third day of Senior Bowl practices.

You have to be an ESPN Insider to check out the Senior Bowl blog and it's worth it. As always he's a sample of what our blog had to say.

The good, bad and awesome

Texas A&M LB Von Miller's movement skills are ridiculous during drills. ... South Alabama WR Courtney Smith continues to have problem extending and fielding the ball with his hands. He also dropped a pass after getting popped, his second drop of the day. ... TCU WR Jeremy Kerley not as explosive as we thought coming into the week, but he does a good job with tempo in his routes.

Carimi struggles and Brown has great speed

Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi did not have his A-game today. He was beat by Iowa DT Christian Ballard in 1-on-1 drills and was tossed to the ground by Notre Dame's Ian Williams at the end of a play in drills. He didn't look as sharp as he normally does. ... We love WR Vincent Brown's hands and his ability to make plays in traffic. But the one reason he's making plays in traffic is he doesn't have great burst. You see it when he's trying to separate from corners. He had a chance to make a play coming out of his break but could not close on the ball while it was in the air.

ESPNDallas' take on practices
We missed both sessions today because we had to catch a flight home and get ready for the Super Bowl but had a quick chat with Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller. He's dazzled the scouts down here with his quickness off the ball, and he's got good moves to get to the quarterback. "I just want to be the best linebacker and the best player that I could be," he said. "I will play whatever they want me to play, safety if they want me too." Miller has spoken to quite a few teams but as of Tuesday evening had not talked to the Cowboys. ... In the practices that we attended, TCU's Andy Dalton has shown good arm strength and pocket presence. ... There weren't as many head coaches and agents down here as in year's past and that might be attributed to the labor situation that threatens to cause a lockout. Several agents come here to speak with teams about their clients' futures, but with the league in limbo, there isn't a lot to talk about.

Ray Sherman's exit an issue of chemistry

January, 26, 2011
MOBILE, Ala. -- Jason Garrett on Tuesday talked about why he liked new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

Ryan comes from a football family, much like Garrett, and he loves to talk football. Garrett is built in the same ways.

Garrett said he saw the passion from Ryan when he interviewed for the defensive coordinators position last week.

Chemistry on the coaching staff is very important to Garrett. Now it doesn't mean you will have success, but if everyone is on the same page it makes things a little easier.

Ray Sherman didn't have that chemistry with Garrett. Sherman was the only member of the 2010 coaching staff not retained when his contract expired following the season.

The two men should have spoken more about the direction of the offense and the concerns the wide receivers had with it. Too many times wideouts spoke out against what was going on with the offense, from Terrell Owens, Roy Williams, Dez Bryant and Patrick Crayton.

Garrett prefers his players speak in private about their issues with the offense, which is what Miles Austin does, if he has any, but overall, it didn't happen on a consistent basis with the Cowboys.

There is a thought Garrett wanted Sherman to keep the wideouts quiet, but that's hard to do when you have strong-willed veteran players such as Owens, Williams and Crayton. Bryant, a rookie in 2010, is still learning the game and his sideline antics of yelling when things don't go his way irked some in the organization.

Garrett took the public stance that he welcomed Bryant's passion for the game, but moving forward you wonder if the young receiver will do it again in 2011.

Tuesday, Garrett spoke highly of Sherman.

"The only thing I'll comment on that is I appreciate everything that Ray did for us over the last four years," Garrett said. "He certainly did a very nice job for us. Sometimes, you just go in different directions and that's what happened. We're excited about what he did for us and what his future is going to be."

It's interesting note this comment from Garrett regarding filling the coaching staff: "We, as the Dallas Cowboys, always want to make sure it's a fit. It's also important for them to feel like it's a fit. We encourage that."

Sherman wasn't that fit with Garrett and that more than anything else is why he's not here.

Senior Bowl practices: Day 2

January, 25, 2011

MOBILE, Ala. -- The second day of Senior Bowl practices has finished, and here's a recap from the trio of Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl.

You have to be a ESPN Insider to get this but here's a sample of what they said of Day 2:

Von Miller Texas A&M

Texas A&M LB Von Miller went down with the linemen to rush the passer in one-on-ones and was lights out. He's so quick around the corner and the blockers had no chance. On the flip side, NC State LB Nate Irving also went down to rush the passer and followed Miller and you could see the difference. He didn't have the same first-step quickness and was unable to turn the corner as a result.

Linebackers working on individual drills

Linebackers Mason Foster (UCLA), Mark Herzlich (Boston College) and Lawrence Wilson (Connecticut) are fighting the ball during individual drills. Ohio State's Ross Homan made a clean catch on one pass, but dropped the next one.

ESPNDallas' look at practice: We believe the Cowboys need some help along the offensive line and possibly along the pass rush. In one-on-one drills we watched Alabama left tackle James Carpenter hold Texas' Sam Acho of Dallas St. Mark's on a bullrush as if he wasn't even there. Carpenter displayed good power and footwork. But Acho came right back in the same drill and blew right past Mississippi State tackle Derek Sherrod. ... Running back Noel Devine from West Virginia looks smaller than his listed 5-8, 180 pound numbers. One scout said Devine is 160 pounds. There is no question about Devine's speed. He hits holes fast and could be used as a scat back in somebody's offensive system. ... Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy of Southlake Carroll threw a nice deep pass to Hawaii receiver Greg Salas for a touchdown. ... LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, considered a Top 10 pick, worked out for some teams down here. Peterson did not list the Cowboys among the teams in attendance. ... Colorado tackle Nate Solder said he's spoken to about 10-to-15 teams, including the Cowboys scouts. ... Von Miller said he hasn't talked with the Cowboys.

Jason Garrett likes Rob Ryan's family ties

January, 25, 2011
MOBILE, Ala. -- Two big things Cowboys coach Jason Garrett likes about new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan are that he's from a football family and he's pretty good at what he does.

Ryan's dad, Buddy, was an NFL coach. His brother Rex is the coach of the New York Jets. We all know the history of the Garrett family, with his dad being a long-time scout and his two brothers also coaching in the NFL.

"He’s a football guy," Garrett said. "He certainly grew up. His dad is arguably one of the great coaches ever in this league. We know the success his brother has had both as an assistant coach and as a coordinator and also as a head coach. Rob comes from that same cloth. What’s attractive to me about him, and it’s hard not to see it when you start talking to him, is how excited he is about football, how passionate he is about football. The scheme part of it. The teaching part of it. And really everything that goes with it. He’s fun to be around."

Garrett told a story of how during the interview process, Ryan couldn't wait to get out of his shirt and tie and start to get on the grease board and start diagramming defensive plays. While Garrett is considered a shirt and tie guy -- despite wearing the same Cowboys cap until it's beaten up before changing it -- he wanted someone who can not only related well to the players but hold them accountable.

"One of the things that everybody talked about, one of the things you see on tape, is how his players played for him," Garrett said. "I think it creates an atmosphere where it’s hard, it’s tough. Guys work at it, but at the same time they enjoy playing football for him. A lot of different people told me that. I think you see that on tape and you certainly see it when you get a chance to visit with him."

You should give Garrett credit for the Ryan hire. He did interview three candidates for the position before settling on someone that has the opposite personality of him.

Garrett was looking for a guy who was a good football coach who could add some spice to the defense, and if his players have fun doing it, so be it, as long as the job gets done.

While Garrett is working on his skills as a head coach, he's done a good job with his first major hire. Yes, owner Jerry Jones gave him the power to fill the coaching staff, but it's interesting to note that Garrett went with a guy who is noted for his quotes with reporters as well as how well his defense plays.

"I think we have a lot of things in common," Garrett said. "One of the things I’m attracted to him about was he’s a football guy. He loves football. You get him in a room and start talking about it, it’s easy to see the passion that he has for it."

Rob Ryan has positive look at the CBs

January, 25, 2011
MOBILE, Ala. -- Looking for some drama from the Senior Bowl?

Well we found some, kinda, when Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones backed up his support for the cornerbacks. On Monday, Jones said cornerbacks Terence Newman, Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick didn't play as bad as everyone thought they had in 2010.

He did say they need to improve, but was confident the trio will play better in 2011.

Jones took some heat from fans and the media who disagreed with his comments.

Tuesday afternoon, Jones responded to his critics.

"I stand by that regardless of what other people thought," Jones said.

When asked what new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan thinks of the cornerbacks, Jones said, "I think his initial evaluation of them is a positive."

Jones' thinking is that Newman and Jenkins were once Pro Bowlers and once you display that type of skill you can do it again. Some in the organization believe Jenkins just had a bad season in 2010 and Scandrick was the best corner on the roster. Newman had an off year as well but is expected to bounce back.

If the Cowboys release Newman, it creates $4 million in cap space, but if you do you better have a replacement.

"I think they’ve shown in the past, you take each one of them, that they can play at a high level," Jones said. "It's not unrealistic to think they can't play at a high level again because their skill level is good enough to do that."

Ryan will not speak with reporters until the rest of the coaching staff is finalized.

Senior Bowl practices: Day 1

January, 24, 2011

MOBILE, Ala. --We are done with the first day of practices at the Senior Bowl and our crew of Todd McShay, Steve Muench and Kevin Weidl are here to recap what went down.

You have to be an ESPN Insider to get their stuff, but here's a taste.

Day 1 update from the group: TCU's Dwayne Harris seemed reliable and comfortable fielding punts, made a great one-handed catch but we'll keep a close eye on his route running and getting in and out of breaks. He looked really choppy today and had to gear down anytime they were working on start/stop or change of direction stop compared to the other receivers.

Todd McShay on TCU's Andy Dalton: "We are eager to see [Dalton] at Monday's weigh-in at the convention center to see his actual height. Dalton is one of the more underrated quarterback prospects in the class and this is a good opportunity to show NFL teams that he is capable of scanning the field and making all the necessary throws from within the pocket. Florida State's Christian Ponder, like Locker, didn't play as well as hoped this year. It's important that he's consistent both with his accuracy and decision-making. Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick, like Dalton, needs to look fluid dropping from under center and needs to make sound decisions."

Here's the link to McShay's thoughts coming into the Senior Bowl.

Here's everybody's wrap up of Day 1.

Players the Cowboys might look at: Jerry Jones and some front office types attended the North practice and saw the raw power of Colorado offensive lineman Nate Solder and Toledo's Kevin Kowalski. ... It was nice to see Oklahoma's DeMarco Murray moving around at running back. Murray displayed a good burst as he hit the holes. ... Utah State defensive back Curtis Marsh missed the session with a pulled hamstring. ... New coach Jason Garrett was at the South practice where a bulk of area players worked out, including Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller, Arkansas offensive lineman DeMarcus Love from Lancaster and Baylor defensive lineman Phil Taylor.

Jerry Jones believes in the cornerbacks

January, 24, 2011

MOBILE, Ala. -- If there was one negative about the Cowboys defense in 2010, it was the secondary.

The Cowboys allowed 33 passing touchdowns, tied with Houston for the most in the league. Dallas' defense ranked 26th against the pass and it allowed the second most points in the league, which was also a franchise record at 436.

But Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones defended the cornerbacks on Monday, saying it's not all their fault for what happened in 2010.

The Cowboys went from two Pro Bowlers at corner in 2009, Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins, to none in 2010.

"They’re probably, and I go down through all of them, they’re a little better than probably the taste we have in our mouth," Jones said. "I’m not saying we hung them out, but I’ll say that we sure ask a lot of them, relative to maybe what we might do in the future."

Early in the season, the Cowboys played a lot of man-to-man, which is what the two outside cornerbacks like to do. When you play that type of coverage, the risk of getting beat increases. The safety play didn't help matters as Alan Ball and Gerald Sensabaugh struggled at times on deep balls.

The pass rush also didn't get to the quarterback enough to take some pressure off the corners.

"Now I don’t think we were pleased with the year they had compared to other years," Jones said. "But a part of this job is looking at not only to the talent of the player, but how he compares to other players. But in general, I’m not as negative on our cornerbacks as you might think."

It's interesting to note the Cowboys have the ninth pick of the draft this spring and there are two corners who might be available to them in LSU's Patrick Peterson and Nebraska's Prince Amukamara.

Whether the Cowboys draft a cornerback is uncertain, but Jones believes Jenkins and Newman will bounce back from their struggles of 2010. Orlando Scandrick, the slot corner, also had his issues, but he might have been the best of the three primary corners.

"We accept some of the things that we were doing and asked our corners to do," Jones said. "We probably ... when the dust settles, won’t be as hard on those corners as we might have been, or generally as fans might have been."

No timetable to finalize coaching staff

January, 24, 2011

MOBILE, Ala. -- All the Cowboys coaches that are present at the Senior Bowl are expected to return, unless they don't want to.

With Rob Ryan becoming the new defensive coordinator, there was a thought he might make some staff changes on defense, but Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said that might not be the case.

Jones was asked is it good to assume every coach attending the Senior Bowl is going to be on the 2011 staff.

"That’s good, that’s good," he replied. "You have a situation sometimes where a team might really ... and a coach might really, for whatever the reason is, to consider a different team. But I think the fact that they’re here at this time tells you what Jason [Garrett] feels about him. So, I think that’s safe to say."

The Cowboys let two coaches go from the 2010 staff in Ray Sherman (wide receivers) and Reggie Herring (linebackers). Herring is now the linebackers coach in Houston and Sherman's contract wasn't renewed the same week he interviewed for the Cowboys head coaching job.

Wade Wilson (quarterbacks), Chris Boniol (kicking) and John Garrett (tight ends) were given new deals when the 2010 season ended. Garrett interviewed with the Miami Dolphins to become their offensive coordinator but he pulled out of the running and was elevated to passing game coordinator/tight ends coach with the Cowboys.

The Cowboys have to fill three positions on their staff, defensive line, linebackers and wide receivers, and there could be some additions. Jones said there is no timetable for finalizing the staff.

"We’ve got plenty of time this offseason," Jones said. "There is no timetable, but it’s certainly not imminent. That will seek its own time. We’ve got a lot of coaches that are here that want to be talked to about jobs. As you know, this is kind of a coaching job fair."

Cowboys staff at Senior Bowl

January, 24, 2011
MOBILE, Ala. -- The potential of a lockout will not stop NFL teams in their preparations for the NFL Draft.

Cowboys officials are here watching practices of the top seniors as they prepare for Saturday's Senior Bowl.

New defensive coordinator Rob Ryan walked through the Renaissance hotel with defensive coaches Dave Campo and Brett Maxie on Monday afternoon getting ready to watch the afternoon session.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is expected to watch one of the afternoon practices at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.

Here's a list of some of the players with some local interest participating in the game: Andy Dalton, Sam Ach, Jake Kirkpatrick, Von Miller, Greg McElroy, Phil Taylor, Jeremy Beal, Quinton Carter and DeMarco Murray.