NFC East: Todd Archer

Inside the ropes with Tony Romo

May, 22, 2010
As some of you know, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo made it through the first round of qualifying for the U.S. Open, which will be played next month at Pebble Beach. Karen Crouse of the New York Times says that only three professional athletes from other major sports have competed in the U.S. Open: John Brodie, a 49ers quarterback in the 1960s; Sammy Byrd, a Yankees outfielder in the 1930s; and Bill Ezinicki, who finished his N.H.L. career with the Rangers in 1955.

Brodie actually had some success on the Senior Tour in the early 90s and it wouldn't surprise me if Romo tried to do the same -- 20 years from now. For the time being, he'll focus on the Cowboys' upcoming organized team activities this week. On Friday, though, he was following his 16-year-old pal Jordan Spieth as he made the cut at the HP Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Texas.

I know there are a few Cowboys fans and even some reporters who wonder if Romo spends too much time on the course in the offseason. But as long as he doesn't miss any football workouts, I don't see why it's a problem. And you can rest assured that owner Jerry Jones loves seeing Romo show up on "SportsCenter" for his golf exploits.

And if Romo happens to qualify for the U.S. Open, I'm sure he'll turn to the NFC East blog for some tips. I played the course with him in 2005 when the Cowboys made a West Coast trip to play the 49ers and Raiders. I've conveniently misplaced the scoreboard, but I believe Romo shot a 74, punter Mat McBriar carded an 85, Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News had a 93 and a birdie on No. 8 helped me avoid triple digits.

By the way, Drew Bledsoe canceled on us at the last minute, which may or may not have led to his demise with the Cowboys. For more on my round with Romo, stay tuned to the Golf Channel.

The Beast Knee-jerk Report

November, 23, 2009
It was a good day for Beast teams other than the Redskins, and they actually did some nice things against the Cowboys. Let's take a quick look at what folks are saying in the aftermath of Sunday's games:


Wednesday Beastlines: Non-print edition

November, 11, 2009
Posted by's Matt Mosley

Let's take a quick look at what's going on around the NFC East this morning.


Monday Beastlines: Expanded edition

August, 3, 2009

Posted by's Matt Mosley





Report: Cowboys' rookie OT out for season

July, 27, 2009

Posted by's Matt Mosley

Cowboys rookie right tackle Robert Brewster, a third-round pick, will miss the '09 season with a torn pectoral muscle, according to Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News. Brewster apparently suffered the injury during offseason workouts following the club's June minicamp.

It's bad news for a team that has done a poor job of developing depth along the offensive line. Brewster didn't miss a game in four years at Ball State, but an AFC scout told me after the draft that he was very worried about Brewster's durability leading up to the draft. Brewster's agent tried to put a positive spin on things by saying that rookie linemen don't normally play anyway, but the Cowboys definitely needed Brewster to be in camp improving his technique.

It's also a huge setback that Brewster won't be able to focus on his upper body strength for awhile. That's an area in which he desperately needed to make strides. The Cowboys didn't expect any of their draft picks to immediately become a starter, but Brewster had a chance to help on special teams and provide much-needed depth.

Now the Cowboys will continue to see if former draft picks Pat McQuistan and Doug Free can challenge for playing time. Yes, they're still on the roster. So is someone named Gibbons. If you need a unit to worry about for the Cowboys, I suggest you start at the offensive line. The Cowboys could be one injury away from having some serious issues.

OK, I'll keep you posted.

Update on Jerry's (non)pursuit of Pacman

June, 8, 2009

Posted by's Matt Mosley

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, a giddy Jerry Jones told Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he hadn't closed the door on troubled cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones returning to the Cowboys. But earlier this afternoon, Jones issued a statement to the Dallas Morning News via public relations chief Rich Dalrymple that he has "no plans to bring Adam back."

Could this be double-speak from Jerry? Nah, that could never happen. Pretty funny stuff. Hill had infiltrated the owner's suite at the new Cowboys Stadium at about 1 a.m. local time in an effort to let Jones know that someone forgot to order drinking straws for the concession stands. And that's when Jones apparently "broke" a little news on Pacman. 

Blessed with some perspective after his big night, Jones is now telling a different story. You can't make this stuff up! 

Romo squeezes in workouts around golf

May, 13, 2009

Posted by's Matt Mosley

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo failed in his bid to advance in U.S. Open qualifying Monday and then he came up short in an HP Byron Nelson Championship qualifier Tuesday. Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News documented both rounds and quickly pointed out that Romo worked out at Valley Ranch both days.

Some people wonder if Romo's playing too much in the offseason, but honestly he's probably playing about the same amount as any other avid golfer/NFL player. We just notice him more because he attempts to qualify for professional events. I think the folks who run Nelson (the Salesmanship Club of Dallas) are missing a golden opportunity by not granting Romo a special exemption. He's a scratch golfer, so it's not like he's going to embarrass himself too badly. And it would help bring more people to an event that has lost some of its luster since Nelson died -- and Tiger Woods no longer shows up.

The terrifying story at Valley Ranch

May, 5, 2009
  AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
  The Dallas Cowboys' practice field bubble lies on the ground after it collapsed following a storm in Irving, Texas, on Saturday.

Posted by's Matt Mosley

IRVING, Texas -- As the skies over the Dallas Cowboys' Valley Ranch headquarters grew ominous Saturday afternoon, the obvious decision was to hold practice indoors. As is the custom during a rookie minicamp or any other practice, a member of the Cowboys' public relations staff escorted reporters past the outdoor practice fields toward the club's 80,000-square-foot indoor facility, where players and coaches had already gathered.

There was no indication that in less than an hour, many of them would be fearing for their lives. What follows is an attempt to piece together what happened in those chaotic moments after winds of up to 70 mph treated an enormous structure as if it were a toy. In conversations with reporters, video journalists and members of the Cowboys' organization, we've tried to reconstruct some of Saturday's events. Because club employees have been told not to speak to the media, they've been granted anonymity for this story.

Cowboys Facility Collapse
• VIDEO: Footage from collapse
• PHOTOS: The collapse

At about 3:15 p.m. local time Saturday, heavy rains began pounding the fabric-covered indoor facility at Valley Ranch. People who are used to being in the facility during rainstorms immediately recognized a louder roar than usual. A group of reporters and cameramen from four local TV affiliates was in its normal position near the south end zone while players went through team drills. As the rain continued to pelt the facility, Todd Archer of The Dallas Morning News remarked to public relations assistant Jancy Briles, "I wonder what this thing's wind resistance is?"

In a few moments, he would have his answer. The first major sign of trouble was the violent swaying of lights high above the field. At that moment, several people in the building became concerned that one of the lights -- about 3 to 4 feet in diameter -- might drop on a player or coach. Fox 4 cameraman Larry Rodriguez looked up and spotted Cowboys videographer Sam Cromley 40 feet above the field on a hydraulic lift.

"Sam's platform was waving back and forth like a flag," Rodriguez said. "And pretty soon after that, the whole building started to shake. It felt like you were in a ship."

The team's director of videography, Robert Blackwell, ordered Cromley to come down, but it was too late. As the roof and walls began to fold like an accordion, Cromley remained on the platform and basically rode it down to the ground. In some of the video footage captured by local TV affiliates, you can hear Cowboys assistant linebackers coach Dat Nguyen yelling, "Sam, Sam, Sam" as he rushed over to help Cromley escape from underneath the facility's vinyl covering.

Nearby, one offensive lineman could be seen wrapping his arms and legs around one of the few poles that hadn't fallen. He apparently thought a tornado had hit the building, and he was holding on for dear life. For some, the most haunting thing was the initial sound they heard when the building began to implode.

"To me, it sounded like bubble wrap," said Rodriguez, who suffered a laceration on his hand that required nine stitches. "You could just hear everything popping and snapping around you."

(Read full post)

Surreal scene at Valley Ranch after roof collapses

May, 2, 2009

Posted by's Matt Mosley

IRVING, Texas -- It was easy to tell the survivors from the onlookers Saturday afternoon at the Cowboys' practice facility. Even an hour and a half after 64 mph winds ripped the club's practice facility to shreds at 3:27 p.m. local time, some of the reporters who'd been inside the facility when the storm arrived had shell-shocked looks on their faces.

I had been at Saturday's morning practice and subsequent interview session, but wasn't attending the afternoon workout. When I returned to Valley Ranch at about 4:30 p.m., there were fire trucks and police cars everywhere. Gawkers were walking up and down the street taking pictures of the area where the practice bubble once sat. If you've ever driven through the area surrounding Valley Ranch, you know how prominent the structure was. It was 85 feet tall and it took up 80,000 square feet. The practice bubble looked like a gigantic white tent, and I can remember thinking how unnatural it looked in the neighborhood when it opened in the summer of 2003.

The morning practice had been held outside, but with dark clouds forming, the Cowboys held the afternoon session indoors. According to people I talked to at the scene, the first sign of trouble was when the light fixtures atop the facility started swaying violently. And then the entire building began to shake back and forth. By the time people started racing for the exits, the structure was already crumbling.

My former colleague at the Dallas Morning News, Todd Archer, was trapped in one of the doorways. Here's his account of what happened. He credits former Texas Tech defensive end Brandon Williams and Cincinnati safety DeAngelo Smith for lifting the door frame so that he could escape the building. Nick Eatman of attempted to help Archer, but said it was like "lifting a car."

The Cowboys didn't reveal the names of the 12 people injured in the collapse, but I've confirmed that special teams coach Joe DeCamillis was transported to a local hospital for a possible neck injury. I'm also told that assistant secondary coach Brett Maxie suffered a laceration on his leg that required stitches. As I left the building Saturday night, a longtime cameraman for the local Fox affiliate, Larry Rodriguez, was about to receive treatment for a gash in his hand.

"I reached up to try and block a beam that was falling on me," he said. "But then I realized that wasn't a wise move."

Most of the reporters who were inside the building during its collapse appeared to have minor cuts and bruises. It created a surreal scene in which the reporters were being interviewed by other reporters. I reached one of the rookies by cell phone this evening, but he said players had been instructed not to talk about the situation.

In some of the TV footage following the collapse, you could see guard Greg Isdaner, a free-agent rookie out of West Virginia, holding onto a pole inside the practice bubble with a look of sheer terror on his face. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips attempted to direct emergency crews to three people who were trapped underneath the debris.

I walked out toward the practice bubble at about 6 p.m. local time Saturday and couldn't believe the sight. As one reporter who was inside the building said, "It's like a bear ripped up a tent."

When you look at the destruction, it's hard to imagine how everyone survived. It's not like a couple of steel poles fell down. Pretty much the entire framework came tumbling down. I shudder to think what the result would've been if this were a full-roster minicamp. The head of emergency services in Dallas County, Dr. Paul Pepe, said there were only three "serious" injuries and that none of them were life-threatening. And according to the latest report from the Star-Telegram, only one person will have to stay in the hospital overnight.

Team spokesman Rich Dalrymple said owner Jerry Jones had cut his trip to the Kentucky Derby short and was flying home Saturday night. The players participating in this weekend's minicamp are expected to hold meetings Sunday, but they probably won't practice. We'll obviously keep you posted on any new developments.

Update: As of 12:08 a.m. ET, a Cowboys scout named Rich Behm is undergoing surgery on his spinal cord at a Dallas hospital, according to a source close to the family. DeCamillis, who is former NFL head coach Dan Reeves' son-in-law, has two broken vertebrae, according to sources.

Update 2: Very sad news Sunday night. Word is out that Behm is paralyzed from the waist down.

Friday Beastlines: Special Cutler edition

April, 3, 2009

Posted by's Matt Mosley





Cowboys interested in Boller?

February, 27, 2009

Posted by's Matt Mosley

The Dallas Cowboys have had preliminary talks with free-agent quarterback Kyle Boller about their backup position, according to Todd Archer. Boller would seemingly be a good fit with the Cowboys. He has a strong arm and he moves around pretty well. He's not going to challenge Tony Romo, but at 27, he is a much better option than Brad Johnson.

The lone voice of the Cowboys speaks

February, 24, 2009

Posted by's Matt Mosley

On Saturday morning, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones basically told local reporters that they'd wasted their companies' money coming to Indianapolis because he probably wouldn't have anything to say. Since that conversation, he hasn't shut up.

  AP Photo/Mark Duncan
  Jerry Jones said the Cowboys will seek to be more "Romo-friendly."

Jones talked Saturday night, Sunday afternoon and finished up with an hour-long Q&A on Monday. He's also selling season tickets on my blog, but that's another story.

Jones gathered a small group of reporters inside Lucas Oil Stadium and discussed a variety of topics, including Terrell Owens' future and chemistry in the locker room. Longtime beast reader and ESPN "Around The Horn" regular Tim Cowlishaw took on the almost impossible task of interpreting Jones' free-form answers. (Sidenote: In the early '90s, Jones studied under a celebrated public relations consultant. The main thing he learned was to make sure his answers were long enough to eventually wear down the interrogator.)

Dallas Morning News beat man Todd Archer was kind enough to transcribe the entire interview. Here are a few of the highlights:

Why isn't team chemistry a bigger deal to you?

Jerry Jones: I think it's principally because I've experienced locker rooms that look dysfunctional on the face of it and won world championships, OK?

What is this team's top priority?

JJ: I think being as Romo-friendly as our team can be. ... Romo-friendly means let's utilize his skills to the fullest and make sure everything we do maximizes his abilities. ... On defense, I'd like to see turnovers. I'd like to see us get turnovers. I'd put that right behind the quarterbacking -- getting defensive turnovers. Eliminating some turnovers, maybe that ought to go right in there on the offense.

Does Wade Phillips need to be tougher on the players?

JJ: Wade's style, I've seen that win championships. ... But I've seen him bite and bite good. It's a mistake for anybody to think that he won't and doesn't disagree with me.

Why should fans be optimistic about 2009?

JJ: We'll get better quarterbacking. Tony [Romo] is early in his career. I'm not going to say that we're going to have him for 16 games and through the playoffs. We all know the injury factor isn't something you can plan on. We need to do a better job when we don't have him at quarterback. ... I think Tony will be better. When you look at the games he played in, it'd surprise you as to how well he played compared to the year before. He played well in our complete analysis of his year.

Didn't you hint last week that T.O. would be back?

JJ: You got my drift. And that's all I want to say about that.

So why is Jones being so vague on this T.O. topic? I want to hear what you think first. Even you, Samoyed.