Tony Romo’s performance in the CBS booth seems to have dropped off in the past season or two, and his employers have apparently noticed. One report says the network has stepped in to coach up the ex-QB, but CBS brass is pushing back on how the interaction has been characterized. Romo, meanwhile, is still smarting over never making it to a Super Bowl and had some surprising thoughts on his former boss in Dallas.
The Pro Bowl Games kicked off with several Cowboys taking part in skills competitions, but the night ended prematurely for the ultra-competitive Micah Parsons, who managed to get ejected from his event in short order. As for the new fun-and-games format, an iconic Cowboy thinks he deserves the credit for planting the seed many years ago. We’ve also got insight from the Senior Bowl, where Jerry Jones seems to have fallen for a local quarterback. He offered a questionable take, however, on a rival’s roster-building tactics. We’re mocking defensive help, we’re playing matchmaker with free agents, we’re looking back at Tyler Smith’s big year, and we’re welcoming a new offensive line coach who’s been around the block. (If his name doesn’t sound familiar to you, ask your dad.) Here’s the News and Notes.
Report: Cowboys hire Mike Solari as offensive line coach :: ProFootballTalk
The new offensive line coach certainly has been around. The coaching veteran of 30 years was an assistant under Mike McCarthy in Green Bay in 2015, and has also worked for the Cardinals, 49ers, Chiefs, Giants, and- most recently- the Seahawks. But it’s actually a return to Dallas for Solari; he was with the Cowboys under Tom Landry in 1987 and 1988.
Parsons, Diggs among Cowboys in Thursday’s Pro Bowl Games skills events :: Cowboys Wire
Opening night of the Pro Bowl Games was designed to give fans a look at the the league’s all-stars competing in a variety of events that combined elementary school field day favorites and more traditional football drills. Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, cornerback Trevon Diggs, and Parsons were slated for dodgeball; guard Zack Martin, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, center Tyler Biadasz, and return specialist KaVontae Turpin represented the Cowboys in a three-part game called Lightning Round.
Why Troy Aikman says he deserves some credit for NFL’s new Pro Bowl Games format :: Dallas Morning News
The legendary quarterback says he pitched a Battle of the Network Stars-esque event in place of the Pro Bowl back in 1993 after he left that game early and was summoned to Paul Tagliabue’s office to explain why. “I said, ‘Commissioner, with all due respect, nobody wants to play in this football game.’ I said, ‘They want to go to Hawaii for a week, but no one wants to play in the Pro Bowl.’”
Micah Parsons, Demario Davis look like ‘Average Joes’ in Pro Bowl dodgeball :: SB Nation
Par for the course, the refs affected the outcome. But this time, they were pretty obviously right. Parsons went waaaay past the midline in a dodgeball match versus the NFC offense and was ejected just seconds into the game.
Cowboys O-linemen make shagging punts look easy :: Jon Machota (Twitter)
CBS tried Tony Romo ‘intervention’ amid concerns about regression, per report :: SI.com
Romo catapulted to the top of the broadcast game from the moment he stepped into the CBS booth and quickly made a name for himself with his seemingly easy approach to insightful color commentary. But there’s been enough of a dropoff recently that the network has been concerned. “Tony Romo needs to study more,” according to an industry report. “He needs to be better prepared. As you move away from the sidelines, you need to do more work.”
[Ed. note: CBS Sports later responded by saying, “To call this an intervention is a complete mischaracterization. We meet regularly with our on-air talent.”]
Tony Romo’s emotional response to Jerry Jones’ Cowboys regret: ‘Eats at you’ :: New York Post
The Cowboys owner said earlier this month that he’s still “sick” over not getting to the Super Bowl with No. 9 under center. “To not have gotten it done during those years really tears me up,” he said. Romo agreed this week, explaining, “You never let that go… It’s just one of those things I’ll never really truly get over.” He called Jones “a father figure to me in a lot of ways.”
Jerry Jones does not understand how the Eagles were built :: Touchdown Wire
Jones lumped the 2021 Rams and 2022 Eagles together, claiming both teams chose to “empty the bucket and get to the Super Bowl,” adding that he’s “real hesitant to bet it all for a year.” Problem is, Philadelphia already owns the 10th overall pick in the draft (in addition to either the 31st or 32nd), have receiver A.J. Brown locked up on a friendly contract, are far less in the hole in terms of salary cap space than Dallas, and boast the league’s most-balanced roster. They’re well-positioned to be a force for a while, so their bucket is actually in much better shape than the Cowboys’.
Inside Access: Senior Bowl recap | 2023 :: The Mothership
Take an insider’s look at how the Cowboys scouting staff grades and evaluates this year’s college prospects at the Senior Bowl. While they’re quick to take note of “a damn good football player” or someone who’s “going to go crazy at the combine,” they also don’t pull punches with some others, calling out “a bad body” when they see one.
Jerry Jones calls TCU’s Max Duggan ‘the most impressive quarterback’ at Senior Bowl :: Jori Epstein (Twitter)
2023 NFL mock draft: 2-round projections heading into Senior Bowl week :: Draft Wire
Depending on what happens in free agency, linebacker could suddenly become a position of need in Dallas. Former five-star recruit Drew Sanders from Arkansas is the first-round choice in this mock; Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks goes to the Cowboys in the second.
A look at Tyler Smith’s rookie season for the Cowboys :: Cowboys Wire
Smith’s selection with the 24th pick may have been a surprise to fans, but it was the rookie’s play that ended up catching the attention of the league. After spending all training camp learning the intricacies of left guard, he found himself at left tackle in Week 1 after a nasty injury to Tyron Smith. Tyler played 99% of the team’s offensive snaps in 2022 and racked up 11 penalties, but he looks to be firmly entrenched as a future star who now lets the team go with the best lineman available in the upcoming draft.
2023 NFL free agency: One player each team should prioritize signing in offseason :: CBS Sports
Jordan Dajani likes the Cardinals to target tight end Dalton Schultz this offseason, and for the Broncos to go after Tony Pollard as Sean Payton’s new version of Alvin Kamara. As for the Cowboys, JuJu Smith-Schuster sure would be “fun to watch” as a No. 2 alongside Lamb.
Report: Doug Nussmeier is a name to know in Miami’s offensive coordinator search :: Inside the U
The Cowboys’ ex-quarterbacks coach interviewed with the Ravens on Thursday about their OC job, but Nussmeier is also reportedly a “candidate of deep interest” at the University of Miami. Hurricanes head coach Mario Cristobal worked with Nussmeier at Alabama in 2013.