NFC East: 2014 Senior Bowl

PHILADELPHIA -- The NFL scouting combine is about a month away. So Saturday’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., is your last chance to eyeball some of the players the Philadelphia Eagles could select in the draft in May.

Based on a number of sources and a little logic, here are five players to keep an eye on:

Cornerback Stan Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska. As Jimmy Kempski of noted, the Eagles' staff spent a good deal of time chatting with defensive players after the practice sessions this week. Jean-Baptiste, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound converted wide receiver, has the size and the cover skills the Eagles are looking to add to their secondary. Watch Jean-Baptiste with an eye on whether he’s willing to tackle, especially when playing the run.

Safety Deone Bucannon, Washington State. You may have heard the Eagles have had a tough time filling the safety position. The 6-1, 216-pound Bucannon plays with a “nasty edge,” according to Greg Bedard of That’s an element the Eagles have lacked since Brian Dawkins, and is probably a more pressing need than corner right now.

Outside linebacker Trent Murphy, Stanford. Could he be the defensive equivalent of tight end Zach Ertz, the Stanford tight end the Eagles took last year? Chip Kelly definitely remembers those who played well against his Oregon teams. Murphy is 6-6, 261 pounds. The Atlanta Falcons' coaches have him playing defensive end this week, but that should be seen as a testament to Murphy’s versatility. He had 15 sacks as a linebacker during his senior season.

Outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech. Sheil Kapadia over at Eagles 24/7 did a piece about how the 6-3, 252-pound Attaochu might fit in the Eagles’ scheme. Unlike Murphy, Attaochu could be around in the second round if the Eagles go for a defensive back or wide receiver in the first round.

Wide receiver Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt. It is considered a deep draft for big-bodied wide receivers, and it would make perfect sense for the Eagles to grab one in the first round. Texas A&M’s Mike Davis and Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin won’t be on the field Saturday. The 6-3, 210-pound Matthews will.

Cowboys open to drafting a QB

January, 23, 2014
Jan 23
Before leaving the Senior Bowl practices, Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said the team is open to drafting a quarterback this spring.

"You always have to be open to that," Jones said. "Yeah, and whether it’s a guy ultimately one day, your future, even if its at some point it enables you to not have a better (more expensive) backup, that saves you money if you’re able to get on a guy like that, so we’re always open to it."

The Cowboys had two quarterbacks on the active roster in Tony Romo and Kyle Orton. They also had Alex Tanney on the practice squad, but lost him when the Cleveland Browns signed him to the active roster.


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The issue regarding drafting a quarterback came up after Romo had back surgery just days before the final regular-season game against Philadelphia. Romo is expected to start the 2014 season on time, but will be 34 when it does start, and Orton will be 31.

At some point, with two quarterbacks in their 30s including a starter in his mid-30s, might the Cowboys want to draft a quarterback?

By picking in the middle of the first-round, it's doubtful if the Cowboys will invest in a quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel are expected to be selected in the Top 10.

Yet, Derek Carr, Logan Thomas, Jimmy Garoppolo and Aaron Murray could be around in the middle rounds for the Cowboys. Selecting a quarterback for the future is the smart play.

But given the holes in the Cowboys' defense, improving that unit is important as well.
MOBILE, Ala. -- Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said he doesn't believe in a lame-duck status for coaches, saying it was a "politicians" word.

The man who enters that lame-duck status, coach Jason Garrett, isn't concerned about entering the final year of his deal with the Dallas Cowboys either.

"I'm focus on doing my job and our staff's job as well as we can do it," Garrett said. "That's always been my approach in this game, as a player and a coach and that’s what I'm focused on. The business side takes care of itself. We got to do a better job to breakthrough and become the team we want to be."

You can look at how other teams approached lame-duck statuses with their coaches. Washington fired coach Mike Shanahan before he entered the final year of his contract, and Rex Ryan received a contract extension from the New York Jets.

The Cowboys have elected to keep Garrett with his current deal in place.


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Something could happen when the 2014 season begins in terms of a contract extension, Jones has done it before, most recently with former coach Wade Phillips.

Garrett however, would have to convince Jones he needs a contract extension during the season. For that to happen, the Cowboys would have to get off to a strong start, but the way things have gone for this franchise, losing in a win-or-go home game the past three seasons, it's doubtful Jones would extend Garrett before the end of the 2014 season.

So Garrett must work under these conditions and hope his team responds to the challenge of reaching the postseason.

"We just have to simply get better," Garrett said. "We've been close the last three years, as we all know, the opportunity in that last game of the season to win our division, the last two years it's a two-minute drive from winning our division. We didn't get that done and we have to live with that reality. We have to look at the things that are positive and build on them, and correct the other things and (the Senior Bowl) is one of the real early stages of correcting the other things; Trying to add personnel to our team that can really make a difference to help us get to the next level."

Senior Bowl notes: Memories of Ware

January, 21, 2014
Jan 21
MOBILE, Ala. -- When you coach for a long time, which is the case for Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, you have quite a few memories.

Kiffin had one when he was coaching the defense in the 2005 Senior Bowl as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff.

There was this defensive end named DeMarcus Ware, who was playing in the game from Troy, and former Cowboys' coach Bill Parcells made a request of Kiffin.

"I was on the sidelines, and Rod (Marinelli) had a hip replacement," Kiffin said Monday. "So I had to do the defensive line, too. Parcells was here and a long time ago, he was at Texas Tech and I was at Arkansas when we were college coaches. He asked me, 'Do you mind standing one guy up and rush a couple of times?' I said that's OK. We stood him up and the rest is history."

Interesting to note that while Parcells did draft Ware in the first round for his 3-4 scheme, he turned him into a outside linebacker. Kiffin, in his first year with the Cowboys, moved Ware back to a defensive end in the 4-3 scheme.

LSU safety is Cowboys fan: LSU safety Craig Loston, a Houston native, said he's a fan of not only the Cowboys but the Baltimore Ravens as well. Loston returned for his senior season to not only graduate but to improve his skills as a free safety. He finished the 2013 season tied for the team lead with three interceptions and finished sixth with 57 total tackles. "I thought about coming out but I had personal goals I wanted to experience and I just wasn't ready to leave LSU," Loston said. "I love LSU and I wanted to experience my last year and I wanted to reach personal goals and graduate, so a lot of reasons why I stayed. I enjoyed my last year." Loston said he had a meeting scheduled with the Miami Dolphins on Monday night. With the Cowboys in need of upgrading the defensive back position, specifically safety, Loston might be someone to look at. Loston is listed as 6-2, but measured at 6-foot at the Senior Bowl.

New practice facility update: Jerry Jones said the new $115 million practice facility in Frisco hasn't set a groundbreaking date just yet. Jones said there is still more planning to do for the 20-acres of land which will house a 12,000 seat indoor stadium, two outdoor practice fields, the training headquarters plus various other buildings which includes a hotel.

Notes: Former Cowboys' receivers coach Jimmy Robinson is attending practices this week after taking a year off from coaching. Robinson coached the receivers for two seasons before leaving for personal and health reasons. ... Tennessee defensive tackle Dan McCullers, 6-6, 348 pounds, had the longest wingspan, 85 1/2 inches and measured 10 5/8 hand width with a 35 5/8 arm length. ... Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who will be compared to Tony Romo, measured in at 6-2 and 219 pounds.