May 4, 2012; Irving, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys draft picks Caleb McSurdy (56) Morris Claiborne (24) Matt Johnson (37) and Danny Coale (81) walk off the field after rookie mini-camp practice at Dallas Cowboys headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Dallas Cowboys Tyrone Crawford and Other Rookies Primed to Take Veterans’ Jobs


Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garret has always preached competition; here are some the position battles looming between rookies and veterans.

Tyrone Crawford vs. Kenyon Coleman

Tyrone Crawford, the dynamic Defensive End out of Boise State, received  the phone call from Jerry Jones for two reasons: one, the Cowboys love his upside, and two, the defensive line was awful at rushing the passer last season. Pathetic really. Jason Hatcher had a decent season with 4 sacks, but the rest of the main defensive line rotation-Kenyon Coleman, Jay Ratliff and Marcus Spears, combined for the same number.

Backups Sean Lissemore and Josh Brent have flashed potential (and Clifton Geathers’ size is intriguing), but the group as a whole under-performed, even accounting for the lesser role in pass rushing the Defensive Line has in a 3-4 defense.

There’s no point in drafting a player in the third round to have him continuously sit on the bench, and it would stunt his growth as a player to have him in the back of the rotation, so one of the veterans may get released.

Kenyon Coleman had 1 sack all of last year, and at 33 years old his time wearing 99 is coming to a close. Save for two fluke seasons, he has averaged less than 25 tackles and 8.5 sacks a seasons. He simply doesn’t have much in the tank, if he ever did, and is a waste of 1.75 million dollars.

If Marcus Spears hadn’t signed an extension, he would be on this list too, but with the cap penalties imposed by the NFL there isn’t any room to make a move. If the penalties get overturned, then Marcus Spears could see his time as a Dallas Cowboy end too, as there are simply two younger, cheaper, possiblly more effective players ready to take his job.

Danny Coale vs. Kevin Ogletree

Kevin Ogletree, though injury prone (an ailment he has never lost) seemed like a decent player with enough upside to be a solid contributor if he could ever stay healthy, and he has succeeded in a way few undrafted players do.

That does not mean he is a good player.

Like Martellus Bennett, inopportune drops seemingly by the dozens have plagued his tenure as a slot receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, a position that hasn’t been rectified since Patrick Crayton went to the Chargers for a seventh round pick. Danny Coale, who other than one supposed “drop” in the Orange Bowl had displayed good hands, was drafted in the fifth round, breaking a string of four straight defensive players drafted.

Most scouts question his break away speed, but seeing as that isn’t Ogletree’s specialty either, the issue shouldn’t hamper Coale’s chances as much as it would on other teams. Another added bonus: Coale played punter too, so if Chris Jones has issues, Coale could serve as an emergency substitute.

Morris Claiborne vs: Mike Jenkins

Saving the most obvious for last, Morris Claiborne likely spells the end of Mike Jenkins’ time as a Cowboy, though that will likely culminate at the end of this season, as there seem to be no trade takers. Claiborne, like Jenkins, topped (or nearly topped) the cornerback list in their respective drafts, and both have the potential to win multiple pro-bowls (Jenkins has already won one.) The problem with Jenkins, and the reason that his job will inevitably be gone at the beginning of next year, is that he is injured so much that he is rarely at 100%, and is much less effective near the end of the season. This phenomenon could be a reason that the defense was so awful in the last few games-with both Jenkins and former Cowboy Terrence Newman banged up, there ability to do anything diminished greatly. In other areas, such as coverage ability or size, Morris Claiborne is just better than Mike Jenkins. Both are good in coverage, but Claiborne has been compared favorably to Patrick Peterson (last year’s consensus number one player) in coverage ability, something that Jenkins never sniffed in his own class (astoundingly, that title went to Leodis McKelvin.) Claiborne is also taller, an issue that has plagued the Dallas cornerbacks over the years, and faster. Basically, anything Jenkins can do, the rookie Claiborne can do better, a scenario that has shown itself in two other position battles, and a scenario that will eventually cost Kenyon Coleman, Kevin Ogletree and Mike Jenkins their jobs as Dallas Cowboys.

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Tags: Danny Coale Kenyon Coleman Kevin Ogletree Michael Jenkins Morris Claiborne Tyrone Crawford

  • Californy

    I do get your point about compairing these athletes to others on the team.  I think the real compairson to Crawford should be with Spears not Coleman. Spears has the bigger contract and a greater saving could be had replacing Spears.  Spears had 15 tackles last year and was paid 3.94 million last year, Coleman made about 900,00 last year  and had 38 tackles  2.5 times more thab Spears. Lissemore is Coleman back up and he should be replacing him in the rotation.
    The Compairson to Ogletree is humourous to me, because I dont even believe Ogletree even deserves a roster spot. Ogletree cant even nail down a starting KR,PR job on special team after all this time.  The real comparison should be with Dwayne harris, and I have my bet on Harris.
    The Morris Claiborne comparrison is fair, but even a 3rd CB can beat Michael Jenkins.  This should be a cake walk for Claiborne.  I just hope he doesnt get sloppy in his play, because he will be playing against some of the better WR in the NFC East.

    • B-rad

       @Californy I believe it is inevitable that Jenkins will be gone after this year, however, he is in a contract year and I fully expect him to have his best season so far in 2012. Seeing what kind of contract a player like Carr was able to snare will motivate him as will his laundry list of doubters coupled with the team drafting Claiborne. I am not a huge supporter of Jenkins and as stated previously I don’t believe he will be on the team next year but I think we may be glad to have him this year. 

      • cjwright

         @B-rad Would you rather have Scandrick as your 3rd/slot corner than Jenkins?

        • B-rad

           @cjwright Scandrick has been groomed for the slot, haven’t seen Jenkins play there. It is definitely different having to cover the slot when receivers have in and out cuts available.

    • CowgirlCas22

       @Californy I disagree that a 3rd CB could beat out Jenkins. He is just as good as Carr when healthy. The teams lack of depth prevented them from resting him so he can get healthy. Trust me a healthy Mike Jenkins is a top tier CB In the NFL. Even playing hurt he was the best CB on the team last year. He had a full offseason to rehab his injuries. He should be back to his top form again this year. I think all of these players will be better conditioned and less prone to injury with Woicik being added to the staff. A lot of the teams injury issues were a direct result of poor conditioning.

      • B-rad

         @CowgirlCas22  @Californy I agree that Jenkins has good skills but I have not been able to forget him passing on a tackle, or as Deion used to call it making a business decision. Could have been to prevent an injury from getting worse but it was still a dagger in my heart!

        • Californy

          That Business decision you refferd to is one of the reason that Ray Horton former Cowboy defensive coordinator for Arizona took Jenkins off of his draft list for CB.  It may also cost him a job with the Cowboys this offseason

  • Californy

    I dont mind having these young player win starting job.  That what you hope for when you draft players. The part I hate is when JJ cuts the player infront of these athletes and say they beat the other guy they cut..  This isnt winning the job, this is handing a job to these players.  Let these player  out play   the competion on the team and hopefully this drives, them to do the same in the game by beating there opponet.  I doubt whether Free could of beaten out Flozell, but i do understand these moves, I just dont like them.

    • cjwright

       @Californy I really have to believe that Garrett makes the personnel decisions in cooperation with the other coaches.  To not believe that would mean that Jerry Jones has repeatedly lied about how things work.

      • CowgirlCas22

         @cjwright  @Californy  I don’t believe a word JJ says!!! especially after that press conference called a Romo Friendly draft. He did absolutely nothing in the draft to address that Black Hole he considers an OL. JG is just a puppet or stupid . He was a QB, if anyone should know the importance protecting Tony it should be him.

        • Californy

           @CowgirlCas22  @cjwright I heard Tony Romo didnt even watch the draft, this comment came before the draft.  I assume Tony was let know ahead of time the Cowboys were not going to draft a offensive lineman.  The best friend of a QB should be a offensive lineman, becauseespecially when  are protecting the QB interest and watching his back.  I find it humoerous that they have Costa looking at mangold tape to improve on Costa play.  That is so funny.  They should show Costa a  picture of a football sled and tell him, that that will be your best friend this summer, become acquainted by by leaning hard against each other.

        • Dallas3026

           @Californy I didn’t realize that coaching a OL was so easy – you just make them sled all summer?  I need to change jobs.
          How could Romo know ahead of time?  Do you really think they went in to the draft knowing that it was impossible that they would draft a lineman, and also told some of the players those plans? That is ridiculous.

        • Dallas3026

           @CowgirlCas22  @cjwright  @Californy Calling Garrett stupid seems a tad harsh.  Clearly Garrett has a different opinion of the OL than you do.  It will really be impossible to tell if not drafting an interior lineman was a mistake until we see how the OL performs.  There are many people who believe it will be much better than last year and therefore will be adequate even if not superb.  The young guys on the roster really deserve the chance to have a full offseason to learn to play together before anyone decides that none of them are quality players.  

        • Californy

           @CowgirlCas22  @cjwright JJ like manager to run this team.  We havent had a real coach since Parcell or Jimmy Johnson.This is the last time we had some real accountability.  A manager take the lead for the GM of the business.  We need a Head coach to have the backbone to make business decison with confidence and the support of his staff.  If JJ comment on a game result, he may be undermining the whole process of JG coaching here in Dallas

        • Californy

           @Dallas3026 Romo had to know that The OL was not a priority.  JJ wants to give the OL a chance.  The fact is no other team was in search for these player services.  The team that cut these two OL got the player I wanted in this draft.  Wre could of had those player instead at about 1/5 of the cost JJ spent on these FA.  This year FA class will cost us under 6 million a year to signed all the draft picks.  These guys cost us 30 million just to signed 2 players.  We could of had 5 draft class of player, that 35 players in their rookies season what we will play for these player during the lenght of their contract

        • Californy

          I want to talk to you in regards to the sled.  Have you been watching how bad the OL block today.  There a joke.  I can remember being on the sled at least 3 times per week.  The sled is needed so you have an instrament measuring the fire and explosition of the offensive and defensive line firing off as a unite.  The coaches use to make us hold out block for 5 secounds as we drive the football.  Every player on the team knew how to block or they didnt play at all.  Yes even QB, RB, & Wr use to know how to block.  The sled had to finished perpendicular to a line or we would do it all again.  Football is not rocket science, it pretty easy, all it requires you to do is to execute the play.  You have no idea the concept of this sled and how it makes player into football players.  In my first year of football, the coach took us to the High school field to practices us on the sled, we hit that thing so hard we broke it.  It almost impossible to break these things but we did.  The coach challenge us to do just that and that what we did.  They key to football is the ability to drive your opponet backward and that what the sled accomplishes.  If I were a head coach, i would put the team 30 minutes per day working on the sled. Every position including QB included.

        • CowgirlCas22

           @Dallas3026  @cjwright  @Californy If and or when I am wrong, I am the 1st to admit it. But, to date, I am about 90% on my player evaluations. I really don’t think JG has as much say so as people think. I have seen JJ’s half witted decisions too many times. This is why he has gone through 8 HC’s and Landry was the coach for 28 yrs, Landry was used to having full control. Parcells converted every team he coached from crap to championship and/or super bowl teams. he had the Cowboys headed in that direction, but couldn’t handle JJ’s meddling and quit

        • Dallas3026

           @CowgirlCas22  @cjwright  @Californy I wonder what you will say about Garrett if the OL makes it through the Giants game without giving up more than a sack and Romo has lots of time.

        • CowgirlCas22

           @Dallas3026  @cjwright  @Californy I will give the praise they deserve. However, the key to a solid OL is being consistent week in and week out for 16 games. They will have more time to gameplan the NYG for week 1 than any other game of the season. It will take more than 1 game to evaluate them. Callahan as the OC  will have new things that the Cowboys never did before.
           
           
          We need to see how things go after the DC’s have some time to recognize the changes. I really hope they pan out, but no one will convince they are equal to what Brady or Brees has. You have to consider, Romo put up Gaudy numbers with scrubs because of  his elite mobility. Even if these guys are just a little better it will show. I want to see him being able to step up and make 3-4 reads like these other guys do,  I am tired of the OL getting credit for Romos’ legs.

        • Californy

          @Dallas3026 @CowgirlCas22 @cjwright New flash Bernardeau need hip surgury breaking down before our eyes. Our depth is Nagy, kowalski , Leary and Atkins.

        • Californy

          There really no better friend to a QB than some good lineman.  Romo friendly a term that had nothing to do with 2012 draft.

      • Californy

         @cjwright You guy need to interview Brodducks, the Dallas Ex Scout and ask him how Jerry Jones really is about the decision process, and I bet you he uses his veto power most of the time.  The scouting department and Head coaches are JJ Puppets, or fall guy in case he lack as a GM.

  • Californy

    I like real competition, I just hope JJ doesnt try to protect hus draft picks in place of his undrafted FA.  If a player like Cole Beasley beats out Danny Coale, then let the player win a spot on this team roster.

  • CowgirlCas22

    I think it’s very premature anointing Mo before he has played a down in the NFL. He needs to prove he is better than Jenkins before we even think about letting him go. The management is responsible for Jenkins issues. The lack of depth prevented the Cowboys from giving Jenkins the necessary time to heal properly. When you continually force a player to play hurt he will never get healthy. I think Jenkins is a valuable asset to the team and it would be foolish to contemplate letting him go for an unproven rookie. Especially with the lack of depth at the CB position. I don’t have anywhere near as much faith in Scandrick as I do Mike. If JJ is smart he will work on a reasonably priced extension before Mike hits the open market and commands top dollar!

    • cjwright

       @CowgirlCas22 Very interesting.  I don’t hear many people arguing that Jenkins is still a good CB.  I personally think he still has the potential to be an excellent CB, but I assumed that was just me being overly optimistic as usual.

  • Californy

    Jenkins is not the long term solution here. This team can not afford another 50 million contract for Jenkins or another cb. Wes welker just go a contract for 9.5 million per year there no way Jenkins is worth more than this. Welker has a history of doing it Jenkins does not.

  • Californy

    Several years ago the Cowboys were interviewing Ray Horton CB coach as this team defensive coordinator, they ask him about Michael jenkins.  Horton said that Michael jenkins was not on their cross hatr because he was not a good tackler.  I like the man honesty.  That responce may of cost him the Cowboy job, but there is no if but or bone about what Ray Horton see and access, when it come to developing talent.  They have a good CB in Flemming to develope this year.  He will do great in Arizona because they get good player who can play the position.  last year they drafted Peretson, and had my CB Richard Marshall, who by the way was rated hight than Brandon Carr.  Richard also started some game last year at safety.

  • bryanlyle

    By the way, Coale’s “drop” was in the Sugar Bowl.  Danny Coale is going to be a breakout player for the Cowboys.

    • cjwright

       @bryanlyle I  don’t know much about Coale, but I hope you are right.