The Cowboys organization lost one of its founding fathers and greatest innovators on Thursday. We join the NFL family in looking back and honoring the legacy of Gil Brandt to kick off this edition of News and Notes.
Elsewhere, Zack Martin gets a shiny new surprise, Noah Igbinoghene gets a new opportunity, several Cowboys get new jersey numbers, and Simi Fehoko gets a new team. We take a look at the race to sign CeeDee Lamb before the market gets reset, we look at the former Packer who head coach Mike McCarthy sees when he looks at Hunter Luepke, we get a glimpse at what Micah Parsons was like as a running back, and we explore the dangerous game Dallas is playing at the center position. All that, plus the Cowboys lead the money list again, ESPN makes playoff predictions, and which team is in better shape: the Cowboys or the team that’s knocked them out of the postseason the past two years?
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Legendary architect of early Cowboys, Gil Brandt has passed away :: Cowboys Wire
“The Godfather of Scouting” was hugely responsible for helping turn 1960’s Dallas expansion team into the most popular sports team on Earth. But he also revolutionized the larger game of pro football by introducing computers into the player evaluation process, birthing the idea that became the annual scouting combine, and pioneering the notion of recruiting athletes from other sports to play football. Brandt, a Hall of Famer and member of the Cowboys Ring of Honor, was 91 when he passed away Thursday morning.
Gil Brandt dies at 91: Godfather of modern scouting helped build Dallas Cowboys into 'America's Team' :: NFL.com
Among a lifetime of stories about Brandt’s imprint on the game, Judy Battista shares how his scouting career started thanks to a part-time gig as a baby photographer, how Bill Belichick believed Brandt should have been “the first guy” in the Hall of Fame for scouting, and how he basically invented analytics before it was even a term. During a 1977 draft-day debate, for instance, Brandt’s book of computer printouts showed Tony Dorsett to be “a cinch to be All-Pro,” while Ricky Bell, the other prospect in the running, only “had a 60 percent chance of being an above-average starter.”
Here are the Cowboys' new jersey number assignments for 2023 :: Cowboys Wire
Jayron Kearse will wear the No. 1 left behind by Kelvin Joseph, and Markquese Bell switches to the No. 14 formerly worn by Jabril Cox. Brandon Aubrey, Hunter Luepke, and John Stephens Jr. also have different digits from the ones they wore during camp.
Why Mike McCarthy likened Dallas Cowboys rookie Hunter Luepke to this former Packers FB :: Fort Worth Star-Telegram
McCarthy thinks he may have a new John Kuhn. The Packers fullback was used as a lead blocker, pass-catcher, and special-teams star and became a fan favorite in the process. Luepke has shown the same kind of versatility in camp and the preseason. “I really took pride in learning everything that I possibly could,” he said. “Help in every situation possible- whether that be run game, pass game . . . special teams, especially.”
Noah Igbinoghene ready for NFL reset: 'I need this' :: The Mothership
The former first-round draft pick admits his career hasn’t lived up to expectations. “But I’m still young,” Igbinoghene said at The Star. “There’s a lot of stuff I went through, but it made me the man I am today. I get a new, fresh start with a new opportunity and new, fresh faces. I get to gain my respect again on a new team and show them what I can do.” Dallas will look to the onetime track star- whose parents were both Olympians- to catch on quickly on special teams and maybe eventually work his way into the rotation on defense.
Zack Martin gets new bling to celebrate 99 'Madden' rating :: Dallas Cowboys
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) August 31, 2023
The Cowboys are now in a race to sign CeeDee Lamb to a new deal :: Cowboys Wire
With the Vikings reportedly making “an effort” to get Justin Jefferson signed to what is expected to be a record contract that will reset the market, the Cowboys would do well to get something done with Lamb first. The receiver, though, seems content to hang back and see how much Jefferson pulls down. To make him play ball, the Cowboys may have to blow Lamb out of the water with their offer.
Preview 'A Football Life Origins: Micah Parsons' :: NFL Films
"I always believed I was a running back, I was forced to play rusher."
— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) August 31, 2023
NFL playoff predictions: Picking eight division winners, six wild-card teams for 2023 season :: ESPN
Of the network’s 34 expert panelists, only 10 chose the Cowboys to win the NFC East; every other vote went to Philadelphia to take the division crown. Dallas did, however, lead all NFC teams in votes as the conference’s top wild-card team.
Who would you rather be: The Dallas Cowboys or San Francisco 49ers? :: The Athletic
Both teams are on similar trajectories, as evidenced by back-to-back playoff meetings. This is arguably the Cowboys’ best roster since their loaded teams of the 1990s, and their defense could be tops in the league. San Francisco, though, has 2022 Pro Bowlers at every level. Dallas added lots of skill during an aggressive offseason, while the 49ers lost some key talent in free agency. 2023 will be very telling for both teams’ futures.
The Cowboys are rolling the dice at the center position :: Cowboys Wire
Matt Farniok, Alec Lindstrom, and Brock Hoffman were all released on Tuesday, leaving Tyler Biadasz as the only center on the roster. There’s still time to bring in outside help, but it’s a situation that bears watching, as the Cowboys’ Plan B at the position is currently a total mystery.
Dallas Cowboys top Forbes’ most valuable NFL franchises for 15th consecutive year :: Dallas Morning News
Jerry Jones bragged in 2022 that he could sell the team for “more than $10 billion.” (Not that he ever would, he says.) Now the club is inching very close to that mark, according to the latest $9 billion valuation from Forbes. That’s up 13% from a year ago.
Simi Fehoko signed to Steelers practice squad :: Steelers Update
The #Steelers have signed four more players to their practice squad, one of which is related to another Steelers teammate.
G Joey Fisher
OT Kellen Diesch
DB Josiah Scott
WR Simi Fehoko, the cousin of DL Breiden Fehoko
Pittsburgh now has three open practice squad spots to… pic.twitter.com/vLZKnLPbGq
— Steelers Update (@steelersupdate6) August 31, 2023