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News: JJT: Blade blew his chance

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by LaTunaNostra, Jul 27, 2004.

  1. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Jean-Jacques Taylor: Blade blew his chance
    05:30 PM CDT on Tuesday, July 27, 2004

    Jean-Jacques Taylor
    Inside Valley Ranch


    Cowboys coach Bill Parcells took Willie Blade under his wing last year.

    He nurtured the former third-round bust and even met with his family to determine the best way to make Blade successful.

    After all, the Cowboys already had released him once, despite using a premium draft choice to select him out of Mississippi State.

    Parcells saw talent. He saw a player who could become a good pass-rushing defensive tackle. He saw a player who could contribute on a good team.

    So Parcells gave Blade the greatest gift you can give a player: opportunity.

    Blade started the final 15 games of last season and played a role in the Cowboys' 10-6 regular season.

    He will not start this season.

    The Cowboys released Blade on Monday. Overweight, he blew his chance.

    The Cowboys have good, young defensive linemen in Leo Carson, Daleroy Stewart, Jermaine Brooks and Shaun Smith.

    No one knows how good any of them will be, but all worked hard in the off-season. That's what it takes to play for Parcells and the Cowboys these days.

    The NFLPA might tell players that it only needs to be around the club's facilities for a limited time in the off-season, but the reality is that the NFL off-season is getting shorter every year.

    Parcells wants players committed to winning and training on his team. Blade didn't appear to be committed, so now he's a former Cowboy again.

    COWBOYS Q&A


    Q. I noticed in last week's newsletter that you mentioned Darren Woodson struggling in coverage. Actually, Roy Williams is far worse in coverage than Woodson. He gets turned around on deep balls and is often late in recognition. As much as I like Roy, he isn't an all-around great player yet and gets a hair too much recognition because of his hitting. Woodson is a sure tackler, more than serviceable in coverage, and rarely gets caught out of position. Your thoughts?

    Elliot, Beverly Hills, Calif.

    TAYLOR: Elliot, you have a couple of different themes going. Woodson's ability to cover has nothing to do with Williams' ability to cover. Woodson used to be terrific in coverage. Now, he's average. He has lost some speed, and the Cowboys ask him to do quite a bit of man-to-man coverage. He has trouble gauging the ball in the air, and the fines he has received from the NFL have made him tentative about hitting receivers going across the middle. It doesn't mean he stinks, but he has struggled. Roy has struggled in coverage, in part, because he is still learning to decipher route combinations and how to keep tabs on the biggest receiving threat at all times. He'll get better.

    • • •
    Q. The Cowboys seem to expect a lot from center Al Johnson. It's almost as if his presence in the starting lineup will upgrade the offensive line play. Why are they so high on him ?

    Pierre Fréchette, Montreal

    TAYLOR: The Cowboys drafted him in the second round, and Johnson had been elevated to the starting lineup before the start of last season. He is the most athletic center on the roster, and the Cowboys think his ability to pull on perimeter running plays and screen passes will give the offense an added dimension.

    • • •
    Q. Do you think Eddie George's decline was only a matter of age and injuries or was it also about offensive scheme?

    Alex Chandler-Ezell, St. Louis

    TAYLOR: I think it's primarily a result of age. Eddie George, who will be 31 on Sept. 24, has always been a power runner, so his body has taken a beating. It's no surprise he has worn down. Of the top 20 rushers in NFL history, George has the lowest average per carry (3.6). Now, Eddie would tell you that his lack of production the past few years is the result of Tennessee becoming more of a passing team instead of a power running team. I'm not sure I agree, but the Cowboys hope he has at least one more productive year in him.

    • • •
    Q. Why would Eddie George take a one-year deal for $1.5 million when he already had that deal in Tennessee? I would have been real disappointed with future Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith if he would have left the Cowboys for the same money and a shorter contract.

    Chip Anderson, Canton, Ohio

    TAYLOR: Good question. I asked Eddie about that last week. His answer: It became a matter of principle with Tennessee. He thought he had done too much for the organization to take a $3 million pay cut. I can't really blame him. A lot of decisions in sports are based on principle.

    • • •
    Q. Eddie George only gained 59 more yards than Troy Hambrick last season (1,031 to 972). For the money, how much more are the Cowboys getting?

    Dennis Fox

    TAYLOR: They might not be getting that much more in terms of total production, but if you listen to the coaching staff,they will be getting a lot more in short-yardage running and toughness. The Cowboys had six rushing touchdowns inside their opponents' 20 last season. They expect that number to grow considerably with George, who is known for his toughness between the tackles. The Cowboys also hope he can sustain drives with his performance on third-and-1. Hambrick was not a tough inside runner and couldn't make yards when the hole wasn't there. The Cowboys think George can.

    • • •
    Q. I've heard a couple times this weekend that Parcells and Jerry Jones didn't see eye to eye on the signing of Eddie George. Would Jerry sign George without getting the OK from Parcells?

    Erik, Charleston, S.C.

    TAYLOR: I don't believe that. Jones said he spoke with Parcells several times before making the deal. He has too much respect for Parcells to give him a player the coach doesn't want. George is the kind of power runner who Parcells can use to control the game and clock.

    • • •
    Q. With Darren Woodson being out of training camp and the opener against Minnesota, how come Dallas isn't looking at Zack Bronson, the former 49er safety? Do you think he could provide some help until Woodson gets back and some depth once he returns?

    Emil Calomino, Kingston, Pa.

    TAYLOR: At some point, you have to give young guys an opportunity to play. The Cowboys drafted Tony Dixon in the second round three years ago. They signed Keith Davis because they think he has some good ball skills. This is the time for those guys to prove they can get the job done. If Bronson were on the roster for the first game, his salary would be guaranteed for the year. The Cowboys aren't willing to make that type of financial investment.

    • • •
    Q. How long was Chad Hutchinson actually employed by the Cowboys and, by the time all payments are made, how much money did the Cowboys pay him? Do you think Chad has any legitimate gripe with the way he's been handled by the Cowboys?

    John Fraser, Delmar, N.Y.

    TAYLOR: Hutchinson spent two full seasons with the Cowboys and earned about $4 million, including a $3.1 million signing bonus. He didn't really earn the paycheck. It wasn't all of his fault, because the Cowboys put him on the field way too early. Still, he started nine games in 2002 and showed a lot of reasons why he won't succeed in the NFL. He has no pocket presence and doesn't have the elusiveness to avoid the rush once the pocket breaks down. Given a chance to compete for the starting job last year, he wilted.

    • • •
    Q. The Cowboys have no speed. Wow, that'll be hard to defend. I can see why Jerry Jones is already distancing from 10 wins. What do you think?

    Scott Eyers

    TAYLOR: You make a good point, although I think they have speed at receiver with Terry Glenn and at tight end with Jason Witten. Julius Jones also gives Dallas some big-play potential at running back. Speed stretches the field and creates holes in the middle of the field. Dallas has plenty of speed on defense, but it clearly needs more on offense.

    • • •
    Q. It bothers me that Dallas is, in a way, conceding 2004. The Cowboys have talent, money and an intelligent front office and coach. Why are they doing this?

    Mark Mumford, Wilmington, Del.

    TAYLOR: That seems to be a prevailing thought, although I can't find overwhelming evidence to support that train of thought. That kind of thinking apparently is based on Drew Henson being the quarterback next season. Henson hasn't played football in three years -- it will be four after this season -- and there's no way of knowing when he'll be ready to start. If you don't have a quarterback, you can't compete at the highest level.


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  2. Hostile

    Hostile Tacos are a good investment Zone Supporter

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    We have a Center who can pull? Do you realize how rare that is? To be able to snap the ball then get outside to lead a block is really impressive. it is one thing for a guard who does not have to ensure the QB receives the ball, but really rare from Center. I like this kid more all the time.
  3. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    Geez, yeah TH, when Dallas drafted Johnson, he was said to be the center Tuna wanted because his draft reports compared him to Kevin Mawae, a true pulling center.
  4. TruBlueCowboy

    TruBlueCowboy New Member

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    If he can pull and block like a guard then we've found our man. :cool:
  5. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Bad Santa Staff Member

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    That is exactly what I was thinking....Bill got spoiled by Kevin and saw someone similar in Johnson.

    I am just hoping we get to see why the coaches were so high on him last year in camp.
  6. dbair1967

    dbair1967 Arch Defender

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    This kid is going to be good, real good...I didnt see Wisconsin play alot but the few games or parts of games I did see he stood out...I also read that when Parcells invited Ron Wolf down last yr for the first week of camp that Wolf fll in love with Johnson's ability and thinks he's a long time probowler

    David
  7. Hostile

    Hostile Tacos are a good investment Zone Supporter

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    Mawae is exactly who I thought of when typing that. Talk about a potentially versatile running attack.
  8. Hostile

    Hostile Tacos are a good investment Zone Supporter

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    I can only think of 3 or 4 Centers that I have seen pull out on traps and screens. That is rare ability indeed. He must have really superior footwork.
  9. Hollywood Henderson

    Hollywood Henderson Benched

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    Give me Spags any day over this frenchy fella...

    Woodson was never good in coverage IMHO, but he is worse now...If I see one more ball hit him in the back of his helmet as he runs into the back of a receiver, causing PI... I will barf...

    Hopefully Davis can show zimmy why EVERY OTHER NFL TEAM uses a FS....
  10. Bluefin

    Bluefin Well-Known Member

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    It's going to be interesting to see how mobile Al Johnson is and if his knee causes any problems, I don't expect it will.

    A mobile center is a rare thing.

    There's Kevin Mawae playing now and one of my favorites to watch was Steeler great Dermonti Dawson.

    If Johnson successfully returns to the line-up, and he's already months ahead of schedule, he will completely change the offensive line for the better, IMO.

    The wait is almost over.

    No speed?

    Trading Galloway for Johnson was a reduction in speed, but releasing Hambrick and drafting Jones was a vital increase in speed in the backfield.

    Terry Glenn isn't a turtle, neither is Antonio Bryant.

    And Randal Williams is faster than Galloway if he ever gets on the field.

    Dallas has speed, it just isn't clear how it will be used.

    And speed on the outside can be defended if there's nothing to worry about in the backfield.

    That's why Julius Jones is so important.

    Not only must the running game work better than it did last year, the Cowboys needed a runner who will give defensive coordinators something to consider.
  11. LaTunaNostra

    LaTunaNostra He Made the Difference

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    It would be great if the mantle that passed from Dawson to Mawae now went to Johnson.

    We had to know he was special when Bill referred to him as "a trained pig". :p
  12. Bluefin

    Bluefin Well-Known Member

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    LOL :D

    It's a term of affection, but that's just mean.

    The kind of Parcells soundbite the media loves.
  13. blindzebra

    blindzebra Well-Known Member

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    At least you are a two trick pony.

    Quincy can't pass, and Zimmer can't coach, we GET IT ALREADY.
  14. Bluefin

    Bluefin Well-Known Member

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    That's a wee bit of a blanket statement.

    Darren Woodson is the best strong safety in man coverage I've ever seen play in the NFL.

    Woody was beyond good, he rarely got tested despite being matched up on slot receivers in obvious passing situations.

    The struggles have come in zone coverage, Woodson's used to playing the receiver, not looking back at the quarterback.

    It sounds easy enough to do, but old habits die hard.

    And it's another reason I'm not in favor of the right and left safety scheme.

    Roy Williams is at his best near the line.

    Woody needs all the snaps he can get at deep safety to grow comfortable in a new role.

    Now, Woodson's going to miss all of camp and possibly the start of the season.

    Will Zimmer continue with the current scheme and tab Tony Dixon or will they hold a competition and find the best free safety of the bunch?

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