The DC Times

A New Way to Look at the Cowboys, NFL, and Fantasy Football

By Jonathan Bales

Dallas Cowboys News and Notes, 6/16/11: Re-Sign Gerald Sensabaugh?

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Jonathan Bales

Let me start by apologizing for the ridiculously low amount of posts here in recent weeks.  A combination of the lockout and a lack of time has led to the sparse article count, but I will make a concerned effort to increase my work in the coming weeks.  On a bright note, the time off from football should allow all of us to come back full force as the season approaches.  Here is my take on some recent Cowboys notes:

  • The Cowboys want to retain Gerald Sensabaugh at a “sensible” (no pun intended) price.

Many of you griped when I ranked Sensabaugh as the Cowboys’ fifth-best player in 2010, but I think he deserved it.   Sensabaugh gave up a team-low 57.1 percent completion percentage, one touchdown, and just 6.95 yards-per-attempt.  In my 2010 Safety Grades, that led to the best Dallas Cowboys Times Pass Defense Rating.

With all of the talented safeties possibly on the market (Eric Weddle, Michael Huff, Dawan Landry, Donte Whitner, Quintin Mikell), no one is going to overpay for Sensabaugh.  If anything, he will get less than he deserves.  With a superior pass rush and a better starting free safety both likely in 2011, Sensabaugh has a chance to have a really solid 2011 in Dallas.  Look for him to be back in Big D this season.

  • John Phillips is completely healthy and ready to challenge Martellus Bennett for the No. 2 tight end job.

Not so fast.  Phillips looked excellent last preseason. . .for all of half of a game.  I am just as excited as you about Phillips’ long-term potential, but let’s not forget Martellus Bennett is probably this team’s best blocker.  He was my No. 4 overall player in 2010.  Yes, on the entire team.

With all of the weapons on offense, the Cowboys’ No. 2 tight end will never get a ton of looks.  Put the best blocker on the field.  Plus, there are ways to get Phillips and Bennett on the field at the same time. . .and I think the ‘Boys should throw the ball often out of those run-heavy looks.

  • The Cowboys appear set to re-sign Stephen Bowen.

I’m indifferent on this move.  Bowen was average at best last year, but the Cowboys have little option.  Depending how the lockout ends, Bowen, Jason Hatcher and Marcus Spears might all be free agents (Spears is definitely gone), so they have to re-sign someone.  That’s especially true if they cut Igor Olshansky.

Like I’ve said before, the team could really benefit from signing a nose tackle and moving Jay Ratliff to end, but it doesn’t appear as though that will happen.

Thanks to David Myers for sending this in.  The image below is actually from Advanced NFL Stats and it shows how second-round picks may be superior to first-round picks in terms of the value-compensation ratio.  I think this is particularly true in recent years, as the gap between elite prospects is shortening.

We’ve had some fine conversations in the “Comments” regarding this topic, with most of you arguing that it is not possible to justify keeping two kickers.  I have disagreed, arguing the value of touchbacks and Buehler’s kick coverage ability are enough for the Cowboys to keep him regardless of who is kicking field goals in 2011.

The link above is to an article detailing why Billy Cundiff’s value to the Ravens last season was the same as a defensive end with 20 sacks.  Put another way, the expected points added from his kickoffs were good enough to rank him ahead of the expected points added of all but six running backs.

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6 Responses to Dallas Cowboys News and Notes, 6/16/11: Re-Sign Gerald Sensabaugh?

  1. Vince_Grey says:

    My initial reaction upon reading the Cundiff/DE with 20 sacks comparison was, “This might possibly be the dumbest thing I’ve ever read”.

    After clicking over and reading the entire article, and then carefully rethinking things, my conclusion is, this is definitely right up there with the dumbest things I have ever read.

    You have take into account all the problems such a DE would cause an offense even on plays where he doesn’t actually sack the QB. The offensive line would likely commit two blockers to such a player. At least two. Possibly, a RB or TE would chip on this DE as well, slowing their releases into the passing routes. Also, a DE like that would cause even the best QB’s some serious consternation. Then there’s the turnovers a guy like that would cause.

    What this ridiculous article is saying is that a kicker like Cundiff is more valuable than a 15 sack DE! Like D Ware, for instance. This is clearly one of those things where the stats are full of crap. You can show me stats till the cows come home and there’s no way in nine h*lls you ever convince me of this one. Just does not pass the eye test or the smell test.

    As to your others points, I don’t see those other safeties as being all that talented. They might be a little better than what we have, but even that’s not a slam dunk. Huff is another of those safeties who not much of a hitter or tackler. I would be fine with resigning Sensabaugh at a decent price. I don’t know if paying a premium price for one of those other FA safeties for a small gain (Maybe) on the field is all that great a bargain. I say maybe let’s just give the guys we have another year (Now under Ryan) to see what they can become.

    You’re right, Phillips really didn’t have much of a chance to shine before he got hurt, but boy, did he look great in that short opportunity. Not sure how you get Phillips and Bennett on the field at the same time for any length of time. That means most likely sitting All Pro TE Witten. How does that make us better?

    The 1st rnd/2nd rnd debate is strictly based on money. Even if you’re really hard up against the cap, I can’t see a team seriously considering trading a 1st for a 2nd straight up, unless you’re talking one of those give a 2nd now for a 1st next year things.

  2. Rick says:

    Where’d you hear that the team wants to re-sign Sensabaugh and Bowen and expects Phillips to be the #2 TE?

    As for Bowen, I think you’re selling him pretty short. For a career backup to come in and become a 3 down player in the middle of the season, not be a noticeable downgrade in run defense and be an upgrade in pass rush, is pretty impressive in my book.

  3. Vince_Grey says:

    BTW, Kris Brown’s career FG percentage is slightly over 77%. David Buehler hit on 75% last season. If David had made just one more attempt, his percentage goes up to over 78%, which is, of course, better than Brown’s lifetime average. And it was Buehler’s first season as the starting kicker.

    Based on that, I can’t see Brown as any sort of upgrade over Buehler at this time.

    Sure, Brown could come in and hit 89% of his kicks, like he did one year recently, or he could drop down to barely over 70% as he did in `02 and `04, or 68%, as he did in `01.

    Maybe I’m missing something, but I just don’t see this as you do.

  4. Jonny Danger says:

    hate this lockout with a passion. Its killing my favorite website!

  5. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Alright Johnny Boy, time to ramp it back up… Questions I have:

    Cap impacts of cutting/restructuring Davis, Williams, Colombo and MBIII. Do the Boys get a one time “excusal” or cap release because I could’ve sworn cutting Roy was cost prohibitive?

    Who are the Boys targeting at FS? I haven’t seen/heard anything but actually heard Weddle is being looked at by another team.

    What does the 3rd WR position look like – Hurd, Olgetree or Harris?

  6. john coleman says:

    TJ- I agree on the ramp up. I was wondering if JB had been counseling Pacman.

    Can’t wait to get some new fodder for rolling with.

    I have to say I like the direction of the moves I have seen so far. Some of the UDFA’s have a little potential and the oline is looking much younger and retooled. I’m guessing with all the C prospects + Costa from last season that Gurode could end up at OG.

    Bring it on.

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