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Old 06-02-2012   #1
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Default Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

........an Alan Ball, that is. He's a former Cowboys cornerback and safety. Got to be another Wade pick.

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Texans have reached contract agreements with CB Alan Ball and RB Justin Forsett.
Here's a contemporary piece from SPORT DFW I found about him.
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5 Reasons Why Dallas Cowboys GM Jerry Jones may Re-sign Alan Ball
Mar 12th, 2012 at 11:00 am by C. Joseph WrightDallasHome » Dallas » 5 Reasons Why Dallas Cowboys GM Jerry Jones may Re-sign Alan Ball

When the Dallas Cowboys failed to make the playoffs this season, there was no shortage of people to blame, but Alan Ball received more criticism than any other Cowboy, with the possible exception of Terence Newman. Alan ball, having played five seasons as a Cowboy, is now a free agent.

Alan Ball was drafted in the 7th round of the 2007 NFL draft as a CB out of Illinois. Ball did not see significant playing time as a Cowboy until the 2010 season when he started all 16 games at safety. The experiment at the safety position was less than a success, so last season Ball returned to his position as a 4th or 5th corner behind Mike Jenkins, Terence Newman, and Orlando Scandrick. Ball was forced to start 2 games last season due to injuries.

The general consensus in the media, on the blogs, in the comments sections, and by the water cooler is that Alan Ball was a liability in coverage, and the Cowboys should be happy that his contract has expired. If one searches the internet, it is practically impossible to find anyone who thinks the Cowboys should, or will, re-sign him.

It would not be shocking if Alan Ball remained a Cowboy for the 2012 season. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Like always, the Cowboys need depth at CB. Terence Newman is likely to be cut, so they have Mike Jenkins penciled in as one starter, and Scandrick as the 3rd starter in the slot. That means they need at least one free agent or early round rookie to come in and start. If Jerry Jones does sign a CB capable of starting, there will be very little money leftover for depth in the secondary.

For depth, they currently have 3 CB’s under contract who will compete in Training Camp for a spot on the Roster:

Mario Butler, 6-1, 188 lbs., undrafted free agent from Georgia Tech. He has never played a snap in a real NFL game.

Justin Taplin-Ross, 6-3, 214lbs, undrafted free agent from Utah. He has never played a snap in a real NFL game.

While both of these players have good size and therefore people are excited about their potential development, neither of them are guaranteed to make the final roster next year.

CJ. Wilson, 6-1, 195 lbs., Baylor. He was drafted in the 7th Round of the 2007 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. He has never started an NFL game, and he has never even played in more than 8 games in a season.

When considering the need for depth behind the starting 3 CB’s (Mike Jenkins, Orlando Scandrick and a free agent or draft choice), remember that Jenkins has a bit of a history with injuries, so it would not be a huge surprise if he couldn’t start all 16 games. Scandrick also missed a few games with injuries last season. (The good news is that Brandon Carr has started all 16 games in all four seasons in the NFL.)

Having Alan Ball as the 4th or 5th CB would provide time for Mario Butler and/or Justin Taplin-Ross to develop. If nothing else, Ball would provide decent competition for younger players in Training Camp. Of course, everyone would be hoping that one or both the rookies would beat Alan Ball out of his spot, for they would be cheaper and have much bigger .up-sides’.

2. Alan Ball has a lot of game experience, and he knows Rob Ryan’s complicated defense.

3. Alan Ball could probably be signed for a very reasonable salary. Walter Football ranks him as the 29th best free agent CB out of a group of 59 free agents, so there are worse options.

4. Alan Ball is versatile; he could fill in at safety in an emergency.

5. The most convincing fact was saved for last: Alan Ball is a phenomenal tackler. In fact, Alan Ball is one of the best tackling CB’s in the entire NFL. The guys at ProFootballFocus looked at every CB in the NFL who attempted at least 25 attempted tackles in run support. In 2011, Alan Ball’s tackling efficiency was the 2nd best in the NFL. They analysed the tackling efficiency of over 100 CB’s; Alan Ball was the second best.

In addition to the need for experienced depth in the secondary and the attractive price of Alan Ball, having a player who can play both CB and safety, and who is an excellent tackler when providing run support, seems like a player who could be useful to a Defensive Coordinator like Rob Ryan.
Don’t be shocked if Alan Ball goes to the 2012 NFL Training Camp with the Dallas Cowboys. You have been warned.

On an almost unrelated issue, the interesting thing about the ProFootballFocus’s examination of CB’s tackling efficiency in run support, was that many of the NFL’s ‘elite’ corners are in the bottom 20 (in a group of over 100).

Take a look at some of the big names (and highly paid) players that are clustered at the bottom.CLICK HERE FOR THE LIST
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Old 06-02-2012   #2
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Default Re: Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

Depth for camp.
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Old 06-02-2012   #3
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Default Re: Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

If either of these guys makes the team do they affect our compensatory picks for next year since we signed them as FA? Also the Cowboys are desperate for CB's so I don't think they'd have let Ball go if he were any good. Camp bodies maybe?
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Old 06-02-2012   #4
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Default Re: Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

These guys won't make the final 53. At least, I surely hope not.
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Old 06-02-2012   #5
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Originally Posted by Wolf6151 View Post
If either of these guys makes the team do they affect our compensatory picks for next year since we signed them as FA? ...
The placement of the picks is determined by a proprietary formula based on the player's salary, playing time, and postseason honors with his new team, with salary being the primary factor.
IIRC vet minimum guys don't count.
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Old 06-02-2012   #6
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Default Re: Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

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Originally Posted by Wolf6151 View Post
If either of these guys makes the team do they affect our compensatory picks for next year since we signed them as FA? Also the Cowboys are desperate for CB's so I don't think they'd have let Ball go if he were any good. Camp bodies maybe?
At this point, I doubt guys like this are signing for anymore than veteran minimum, which does not influence the compensatory picks assuming I have the rules correct.

Anyway, Ball was liked more when he was 3rd/4th CB & special teams guy a couple years back. He then was given the starting FS job and was overmatched. Did not return to previous form in 2011, imo.
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Old 06-02-2012   #7
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Default Re: Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

My fingers are itching, but, my keyboard will remain silent, simply because I am DESPERATELY trying to stay positive!!
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Old 06-02-2012   #8
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Default Re: Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

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Originally Posted by ArlingtonTexan View Post
At this point, I doubt guys like this are signing for anymore than veteran minimum, which does not influence the compensatory picks assuming I have the rules correct.

Anyway, Ball was liked more when he was 3rd/4th CB & special teams guy a couple years back. He then was given the starting FS job and was overmatched. Did not return to previous form in 2011, imo.
Remember, he was always a CB in college. No experience as a safety. He was just getting getting his feet wet in his 1st real year chance at CB, just before Wade left. When Ryan took over, Ball was a young guy that was forced into an unnatural position. Ryan's supporting personel and scheme didn't help his performance any. It will be interesting how he does/progresses back at CB under Wade again.
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Old 06-02-2012   #9
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Default Re: Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

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My fingers are itching, but, my keyboard will remain silent, simply because I am DESPERATELY trying to stay positive!!
I kill about 75% of my posts before the're ever submitted.

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Old 06-02-2012   #10
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Default Re: Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

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Originally Posted by TejasTom View Post
The placement of the picks is determined by a proprietary formula based on the player's salary, playing time, and postseason honors with his new team, with salary being the primary factor.
IIRC vet minimum guys don't count.
I think he means to ask whether this will affect the compensation we'll receive for Mario Williams' departure. In which case, I don't believe so.
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Old 06-02-2012   #11
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Default Re: Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

Beefing up the secondary.
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Old 06-02-2012   #12
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Default Re: Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

Ehh Wade probably doing these guys a favor by giving them a look. The last time we signed a Cowboy db (Jacques Reeves) it didn't work out so well.
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Old 06-02-2012   #13
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Default Re: Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

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Ehh Wade probably doing these guys a favor by giving them a look. The last time we signed a Cowboy db (Jacques Reeves) it didn't work out so well.
I think that is the key word there better coaching, a lot better scheme, and a lot better front 7
Wade/Vance Joseph >>>>>>>Bush/Gibbs

I am not saying Ball will make the team or anything, just my random thoughts
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Old 06-02-2012   #14
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Default Re: Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

ProFootballFocus ranked Ball

166 out of 198 at CB in 2011
87 out of 186 in Coverage in 2011
Does appear to have been an efficient tackler in 2011, fwiw

178 out 185 at Safety in 2010
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Old 06-02-2012   #15
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Default Re: Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

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Originally Posted by ckhouston View Post
Depth for camp.
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Originally Posted by NastyNate View Post
These guys won't make the final 53. At least, I surely hope not.
Check the Texans depth chart at CB and RB. I think Ball and Forsett make this team easily.
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Old 06-02-2012   #16
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Default Re: Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

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Check the Texans depth chart at CB and RB. I think Ball and Forsett make this team easily.
I think Forsett makes the team.

I don't think Ball makes the team.
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Old 06-02-2012   #17
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Default Re: Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

Cheap, veteran, versatile secondary swingman. To me this signing means keo and t williams dont make the team.
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Old 06-02-2012   #18
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Default Re: Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

Ball is meant to be this yrs Allen.

Remains to be seen if he can live up to Allens level of play.

I'm really high on Williams and especially Carmicheal. So I doubt Ball makes the team.
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Old 06-02-2012   #19
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Default Re: Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

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I'm really high on Williams and especially Carmicheal. So I doubt Ball makes the team.
Fans tend to have an overinflated view of their young prospects. Williams and Carmichael have a combined NFL experience of 1 game. It may or may not be Alan Ball, but Wade will find a vet to play behind (or share the position with) Kareem Jackson.
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Old 06-03-2012   #20
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Default Re: Looks Like We're going to Have a Ball with this Team.....

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Ehh Wade probably doing these guys a favor by giving them a look. The last time we signed a Cowboy db (Jacques Reeves) it didn't work out so well.
Reeves was a serviceable-good nickle guy who the FO gave starter money because of necessity. Ball was signed to (presumably) the league minimum and has to earn his spot among Harris, Carmichael, and McManis. I like this situation more.

What's sticking out to me about this deal is that Wade has now signed two of his old Dallas cronies since arriving in Houston and we've all seen/heard/read how highly he thinks of Bradie James so I'm guessing he saw something worthwhile in Ball. I may be wrong and he might just be a camp body but if I had to place a wager on the final 53, I'd have Ball penciled in.
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