Cowboys Legends Irvin, Walls On DeMarco Loss
If you didn't hear "The Playmaker" meltdown over the Dallas Cowboys letting DeMarco Murrayscamper to Philadelphia, then take a moment to hear this podcast with our friends in the G-Bag Nation on 105.3 The Fan.
Count Everson Walls as one of those ex-Cowboys who is in disbelief that the league-leading rusher will don the green and white this fall. ... and who are clearly not pacified by Jerry Jones explanation of Murray's $42-million departure.
"I'm upset. I'm very upset about it," Walls told CowboysHQ.com. "And I just said it on the radio earlier. I think the Cowboys just lost their chance to go back to the playoffs this year."
Even if Murray stayed, repeating as playoff qualifiers would be challenging for Dallas. The Cowboys haven't done so since 2006-07. The last NFC East team to do so were the Eagles from 2008-10. Going back to the playoffs is quite the task in the NFC East.
The Super Bowl XXV champion realizes that quarterback Tony Romo can't do it all by himself. He needs "that extra X-factor," and he doesn't mean Dez Bryant either.
"I think DeMarco was that guy," Walls remarked.
Said Walls: "[Romo] needed a running back that could take the load off of him, not just an offensive line, but a running back that is heads-up to be the outlet when he's in trouble, to be the guy that protects him on a blitz. With DeMarco Murray gone, I think Tony Romo's career is going to be a lot more difficult than it was last year."
Really? In this draft that has an abundance of running backs not seen since 2008, "Cubbie" Walls doesn't think a capable back could step up behind the new Great Wall of Dallas that features three Pro Bowlers?
"If his first name doesn't start with 'A' and his last name with 'P,' no, no one else is out there that can make it happen."
Walls was at a NASCAR event in downtown Dallas to honor retiring driver Jeff Gordon. Walls was kind enough to answer some more questions with CowboysHQ, with special thanks to our friend Ehsan Azad for speaking with Everson Walls. Check Ehsan out on Twitter @easportsdfw.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE COWBOYS CORNER SITUATION? -- "Yeah, I was very pleasantly surprised with Orlando [Scandrick]. I was on his case a couple years ago. I didn't think he played with the way he should have played. He had a lot of opportunities to make plays that probably could have made the difference for us in those 8-8 seasons. This year, this past year, I think he played for well for us in 2014. His contribution was numerous. He shut down some of the better receivers. He made those plays that you know he can make. And he was one of those good leaders in the locker room as well. Scandrick was one of those guys that really shored up a good secondary. Corners are doing well. I think Brandon can play a lot better. I think he needs to get more confidence back. And Claiborne is a guy that as he comes back, he needs to get with guys like Scandrick and understand what's important about being a professional defensive back for the Dallas Cowboys. Because at this point, he seems to be very unsure of himself."
COULD MO HANDLE BE A THIRD-STRINGER? -- "Right now, I think Claiborne would be happy to play anywhere in the secondary that the Cowboys will take him. Because he will be needed. You can see that the secondary position, we lacked another playmaker that we needed back there. Claiborne can be one of those guys like in basketball, the sixth man off the bench. If he can be that dime cornerback that comes in and makes a difference on third down and stops the opposition from moving the chains, then he can find his niche in that secondary."
ON DARELLE REVIS SIGNING HIS BIG CONTRACT -- "A lot of people don't realize just how much Revis brought to the table because you didn't hear much from him was the fact that he was doing so well as a player. He really had a lot to do with the young man making the interception in the end zone, because Revis jacked his man up so well on the goal line, it allowed the defensive back [Malcolm Butler] to come around and make the play. And those are the small things defensive backs do, good defensive backs do that really don't show up on the stat books. And he's going to do the same thing for the New York Jets when he gets there. It's a familiar place for him. He's been there before, and now he's got a great head coach in Todd Bowles. And even the assistant coach that I played with in Pepper Johnson."
DID DEZ MAKE THE CATCH IN GREEN BAY? -- "I thought the call was correct, but I think the ruling is garbage. And I thought it when it happened to [Calvin] Johnson when he was with Detroit. I think it was against the Bears. I thought it was a bad ruling then. And I think it's a bad ruling now that needs to be changed."
*Heads up on the compensatory picks Dallas will be getting for losing DeMarco and the rest. Done right, this will be a Cowboys windfall in 2016, as KD brilliantly explains here.
*Dwayne Harris considers himself the NFL’s most versatile special-teamer and now the Giants will pay him that way, luring him away from Dallas with what sources tell us is a five-year, $17.5-million contract.
"Will be taking my talents to the Big Apple,'' Harris tweeted Tuesday, shortly after the NFL's free-agency shopping period opened.
Harris caught just seven passes for 116 yards (with four carries for seven yards). But offense wasn’t his Cowboys forte as much as special-teams play was. He dipped a bit in 2014, averaging 24.7 yards per kick return and 9.2 yards per punt return. But the year before he averaged 30.6 yards per kick return and 12.8 yards per punt return, in addition to perennially being Dallas’ best kick-coverage guy. He also led the Cowboys with 18 special-teams tackles.
Meanwhile ... A couple of days ago we spoke to Justin Durant and despite his impending free agency, he was optimistic about returning to the Dallas Cowboys.
"I'm glad people are interested," The team captain told us. "And hopefully we get it done."
It turns out the "people'' that are most interested are the Atlanta Falcons, who are hiring away Durant after his two seasons in Dallas.
The Cowboys have prioritized the return of Rolando McClain, will get Sean Lee back from injury, have Anthony Hitchens coming off a fine rookie season, and have signed NFL veteran Keith Rivers to a deal.
But Durant was the consummate pro during his time here even as he missed two thirds of last season due to injury. He earned a reputation as a playmaker and was even voted team captain by his mates as he began his second year at Valley Ranch.
*We reported Monday afternoon that agent Tom Condon has no face-to-face meeting scheduled with the Joneses regarding client Dez Bryant's cap-compliance-deadline-beating "Cowboys For Life'' deal. This is not a good thing. We will monitor. Research here for how the Dez deal works.
We reported on Sunday that the "Tyron Trigger'' would happen before cap-compliance time, 3 p.m. Monday. It's done, and now Dallas has about $9 million of room (with Tyson's $8 mil of space created). In addition to DeMarco, Rolando McClain is a priority and Dallas is touching base there.
*The Cowboys are sitting on the Brandon Carr talks right now, likely to re-explore if/when needed.
*The Buccaneers signed Bruce Carter to $20.5-mil deal for four years. Last year Carter recorded 68 tackles with five interceptions. Henry Melton is also signing with Tampa. And Sterling Moore is visiting there.
*Here's the "why'' of Dallas' signing of Darren McFadden. Dallas has also signed middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley and fullback Ray Agnew.
*Should we be angry at Cowboys management for opting to avoid paying "star-market-value'' for a good player they think is replaceable? Should we be mad at DeMarco Murray for being told Dallas loves him near $6 mil and Philly loves him near $9 mil ... so he loves the $9 mil back more? We've got the details on DeMarco's departure to Philly here.
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