Monday, January 20, 2014
Senior Bowl primer
By Calvin Watkins
MOBILE, Ala. -- The Cowboys will be here for their first major postseason college all-star game this week when the front office, scouts and coaches check out practices of the annual Senior Bowl.
We offer a primer to what's going on.
Coaches convention: For coaches looking for a job, this is the place to be, especially with several NFL teams looking to fill assistant coaching positions. The Cowboys were faced with this problem last year, but not so much this year. Coach Jason Garrett will seek a tight ends coach -- Wes Phillips is heading to Washington -- and the team won't replace kicking coach Chris Boniol. Also, the Cowboys will enter the Senior Bowl with a defensive coordinator (Monte Kiffin) and offensive coordinator (Bill Callahan) in place from last season. There was speculation each would be replaced after the 2013 season, but that doesn't appear to be the case.
Who to look for: A player of interest for the Cowboys is at quarterback. Jimmy Garoppolo from Eastern Illinois, yes, that same Eastern Illinois where Tony Romo went to school, will participate in the Senior Bowl. Garoppolo is a late replacement for Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron who elected not to play in the game. Garoppolo threw a touchdown pass and received some positive reviews in last week's East-West Shrine Game. Players of note: DE Dee Ford, Auburn; G Gabe Jackson, Miss. St.; T Ja'Wuan James, Tennessee; G Joel Bitonio, Nevada; T Billy Turner, North Dakota St.; DT Will Sutton, Arizona St.; DT Caraun Reid, Princeton; DE Brent Urban, Virginia; S Ahmad Dixon, Baylor; DT Shamar Stephen, UConn; G Cyril Richardson, Baylor; DT DaQuan Jones, Penn St.; DE Trent Murphy, Stanford; DE Kareem Martin, North Carolina; DE James Gayle, Va. Tech.
The Cowboys have used the Senior Bowl: The Cowboys drafted three players who played in the Senior Bowl last year: S J.J. Wilcox, WR Terrance Williams and CB B.W. Webb. Williams, a third-round pick, was the best of the trio as he finished with 44 catches for 736 yards with five touchdowns. Wilcox took a starting job away from veteran Will Allen, but a sprained knee cost him three games and he never regained his starting role again. Webb was a major disappointment.
What you'll get this week: Here on ESPN Dallas, we'll provide daily coverage of the Senior Bowl as it pertains to the Cowboys and give you a daily notebook as to what's going on in the practices. Jacksonville and Atlanta are the coaching staffs working the players split into two teams. If you want to wall-to-wall coverage check me out on twitter @calvinwatkins.
Notes: The Cowboys owner/general manager (Jerry Jones) along with the head coach (Garrett) are expected to address the media at some point during the three days they'll spend watching practices. ... Several college coaches have attended the practices in the past from Nick Saban to Les Miles. ... Player agents will also show up to watch their new clients and chat with NFL teams.