Off-topic con­ver­sa­tion: Dar­ren Wood­son

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bet­ter guy in the locker room they’ve got some guys that can than Dak Prescott. I think that’s le­git­i­mately rush the passer on the num­ber one thing as far as the out­side. I think up front con­trol­ling who he is and what they are go­ing to be for­mi­da­ble. he brings to the locker room. … The ques­tion marks on this He’s a leader, and peo­ple will de­fense will be the young cor­fol­low be­cause of that. His work ners on the out­side. Chi­dobe ethic is tremen­dous. I re­mem­ber Awuzie, Jour­dan Lewis, and af­ter the sea­son ended, three An­thony Brown are go­ing to weeks af­ter he had dropped 10 have to show up this year. They pounds. He had al­ready started are go­ing to have to play against work­ing out. So, you know what some re­ally good re­ceivers in you have in Dak Prescott. He is this league this year. Their sec­fully com­mit­ted to be­ing the ondary is go­ing to have to match Dal­las Cow­boys quar­ter­back, up. I think there is a rea­son why and he is com­mit­ted to want­ing they are look­ing for a guy like to be one of the best if not the Earl Thomas to come in and best quar­ter­back in foot­ball. play that back end; they need That’s his com­mit­ment. On the some vet­eran ex­pe­ri­ence and a field, his strengths are the crossvet­eran play­maker that can take ing route, un­der­neath routes; the safety po­si­tion.

Sit­ting on any ESPN set preare go­ing to be plugged into be­ing able to break down the Should the Cow­boys make par­ing for his role as one of the these start­ing roles. With Ja­son de­fense with his legs. He’s got to that deal and give up what­evnet­work’s NFL an­a­lysts, Dar­ren Wit­ten mov­ing on, now you get bet­ter at throw­ing the deep er they need to get Thomas? Wood­son is al­ways look­ing have Blake Jar­win, Dal­ton ball, and he’s got to do a bet­ter I think it’s twofold. It’s hard for­ward to high­lights of New Schultz, who is a rookie, you job at throw­ing the back shoulon the business side. I’m a busiEng­land Patriots. have a num­ber of tight ends der fades on the out­side. But ness owner, so I to­tally un

Wood­son, the for­mer Dal­las who will be bat­tling for that when you talk about the mid­dle der­stand where the Cow­boys Cow­boys safety, has seen spot. And you know they are of the numbers, those type of are in this. They know Seat­tle enough of Tom Brady. Bill Bel­go­ing to be hun­gry to prove that throws he’s very good at that. doesn’t want Earl Thomas, and ichick isn’t the pri­mary fo­cus, can play at this level. And in the And you can run mul­ti­ple ofThomas doesn’t want Seat­tle. ei­ther. But Wood­son likes sec­ondary, the one thing I look fenses with him. You can run They know that’s a volatile watch­ing re­ceiver Ju­lian Ede­lat is you have a lot of young some of the zone read con­cepts sit­u­a­tion. Why give up a sec­ond man as much as pos­si­ble. guys. I re­mem­ber those days with him, a lot of the boots; get or third round pick right now

“He’s men­tally tough,” Wood­when we had young guys come him out on the edges. He’s not a and then play a year with him son said. “If you watch him play in, and even my­self when I guy that’s go­ing to get down. and have to redo his deal, which week in, and week out, he’s the came in as a rookie, you want to You see a lot of good quar­teris go­ing to be a top-notch safety same dude over and over again. eat. You want to prove that you backs. The great ones, they deal which is a lot of money.

He’s go­ing to catch balls. You be­long, and you’ll do what­ever it over­come. And that’s the one Who’s to say he doesn’t come can’t cover him one-on-one in takes to show that pride in thing he has — the abil­ity to back the next year be­cause he’s the slot. He’s go­ing to talk trash your­self. … I like the com­petiover­come mis­takes that he’s go­ing to be look­ing to get paid. all day, and he knows he has the tion they are go­ing to have at made ear­lier in the game and So, there is a whole lot of risk in best quar­ter­back in the game. mul­ti­ple po­si­tions be­cause I make a play. that; giv­ing up a sec­ond round

“He re­minds me a lot of Steve think it makes them that much I look at this team with­out pick for one year. That’s the risk Smith when he was on the top bet­ter of a foot­ball team. Now, Dez and Ja­son. They have you take, and I don’t think the of his game,” Wood­son con­tinare they go­ing to miss Ja­son some good pos­ses­sion re­ceivCow­boys — and I know with ued. “Just vi­cious.” Wit­ten’s lead­er­ship? Ab­so­lutely. ers in Allen Hurns, Ter­rance Stephen Jones more in­volved,

It’s been more than 10 years in They are go­ing to miss what he Wil­liams, and Cole Beasley. he’s not look­ing at the pie in the the TV business, and Wood­son brings. His work ethic. His But if I’m a de­fen­sive co­ordisky deal like Jerry has al­ways will be the first to ad­mit he pro­fes­sion­al­ism. How he goes na­tor, I would just load up done and for­ever the op­ti­mist. never en­vi­sioned his time as an about pre­par­ing for the game. the box to stop Ezekiel El­liott He’s a guy look­ing at the fu­ture NFL an­a­lyst last­ing as long as it He’s a great role model to look at and make Dak beat me with of this foot­ball team and how has, es­pe­cially not with the top how to han­dle your­self on and his arm. Is there a dan­ger in he’s go­ing to build on this team. sports net­work in the world. off the field. But I don’t know if that game plan? So, that’s a huge risk for them to But Wood­son is hav­ing­take.fun­the­yare­go­ing­tomis­shi­masLis­ten,Ithinkyou’reright.I while on cam­era and ap­prec­imuch on the field be­cause he think you would hear that with With all that said, and I ates still be­ing in­volved in the be­came an op­tion route guy. any team play­ing against the know it’s ex­tremely early, but sport he loves. That’s what he gave you. He Cow­boys. You know the right now where do you think

“It keeps me around the didn’t give you a whole lot of strength of the Dal­las Cow­boys they fall in the win-loss degame,” he said. “The game has stretch­ing the field; mid­dle of is that of­fen­sive line and the part­ment? changed so much. It’s not the the field. I know they are go­ing run­ning game. So what do you There are so many un­knowns same game that it was back to miss him in some ways. Dez do? You load the box up, and with this team, and I think the when I was play­ing. It’s more of is an­other guy. When we talk you force Dak to beat you with divi­sion has got­ten bet­ter. We a wide-open three-on-three about Dez, in the past they dealt his arm. I think the pos­i­tive that know what Philadel­phia brings bas­ket­ball game. That’s what it with a lot with Dez off the field you have in that is now you’re to the ta­ble. The Ea­gles are head feels like. But it al­lows me to see as far as not get­ting to meet­ings able to have smaller re­ceivers and shoul­ders the class of the some of the new wrin­kles that on time, not get­ting treat­ment. like the Cole Beasley in the slot, divi­sion. If you’re a Cow­boys are out there. So, it’s fun watchYou have to deal with the probTavon Austin if you’re go­ing to fan, you have to be con­cerned ing the young guys come in to lems with Dez in the locker put him out there, Deonte about with the Giants are start­com­pete at the high­est level.” room, the ups, and downs. But Thomp­son and Ter­rance Wil­ing to do. They have a ton of

In this week’s Off Topic, his pro­duc­tion was so good liams, they’re go­ing to have tal­ent and a ton of weapons Wood­son dis­cusses his thoughts early on that you cov­ered those some one-on-one op­por­tu­ni­ties of­fen­sively, and I think that’s a on the up­com­ing sea­son for the warps be­cause he was so good on the out­side. night­mare for the Cow­boys. Cow­boys, how that team is on the field. But when the proLet’s look at the de­fen­sive And then the Red­skins are the dif­fer­ent, what im­presses him duc­tion dropped, and you still side of the ball. What are the un­known. A lot of peo­ple are about quar­ter­back Dak Prescott, had the prob­lems of be­ing late strengths and weak­nesses of pro­ject­ing the Red­skins to be a and pro­vides an early pre­dic­tion and not do­ing the right thing in this unit? bet­ter foot­ball team than they on where the team could fin­ish. the locker room, you can’t blame Sean Lee is the strength in were last year be­cause of the

What is your ini­tial take the Cow­boys for say­ing, “We’re the mid­dle of that de­fense. He tal­ent they ac­quired. But If I about the Cow­boys en­ter­ing done; let’s move on.” and Demar­cus Lawrence are was a betting man right now, I the sea­son? No Dez Bryant. Dak’s go­ing into Year 3, head and shoul­ders above the hate to say 8-8 be­cause that’s the No Ja­son Wit­ten. It’s al­most what are some more of his best play­ers on that de­fense usual, but I would say at best like a brand new team. strengths that will ben­e­fit right now.I think they’ve got a 10-6 fight­ing with the Giants to

I’m op­ti­mistic in a sense that this team? lot of depth with Demar­cus be sec­ond place in the divi­sion. we have a lot of young guys that Great leader. You won’t find a Lawrence, Ty­rone Craw­ford; It’s a wild card team.

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