Interview With Bryan Broaddus
By Cecil Lammey and Sigmund Bloom
August 24th, 2010

Cecil Lammey: Welcome back to the show that you know and love, it's time for another edition of the Audible as we take our annual tour around the National Football League and talk to some of the best minds inside the game. We go to Bryan Broaddus today, talking Dallas Cowboy football. Of course you can check out Bryan's work on Twitter and also on 103.3 FM ESPN and ESPNDallas.com. Bryan, welcome to the show!

Bryan Broaddus: Well thanks very much for having me guys, I really enjoy being with you.

Lammey: And before we jump in, just a quick note here for the listeners. You were a scout in the NFL for 13 seasons, working with several teams. Earned a Super Bowl ring from the Packers back in '96. So just tell us overall first, what you think of the Dallas Cowboys situation here with Dez Bryant and the injury - we'll just jump right in and talk about the rookie phenom. In my opinion, could be a superstar. How much will this injury set him back though by the time we get to the regular season?

Broaddus: Well I think guys, it'll hurt him quite a bit because he was a guy who was trying to get that second wide receivers job and the Cowboy's intent was to bring him in and see if he could handle that. You know, Roy Williams is a guy that was brought in with much fan fare and he just hasn't produced. And they've been looking for that second receiver for them to come in and play opposite of Miles Austin. And he was having the type of camp where you thought well, if you keep throwing stuff at him - and I'm talking about the mental stuff and the physical stuff and all that - it was like he was doing very well with that. Even building some confidence and trust with Tony Romo. And that's really important with Tony - he's got to have the ability to know that you're going to be in the right place, that he can throw the football and you'll make a play. And the thing that Dez Bryant does is, he will make some plays. And even on the play that he got hurt - Jon Kitna threw the ball so poorly but Dez trying to reach that for the football, which he's done before, gets tangled up with Orlando Scandrick. So, Dez Bryant is just one of those guys that, when you watch him play, he's just such a 'WOW' factor of a player. He just does things throughout practice that you're just amazed by, watching the way he plays. It's a big setback because now it becomes more kind of learn the mental aspect of what's going on, instead of being out there with Tony Romo and this offense.

Sigmund Bloom: Bryan, all offseason we heard about how Felix Jones is going to get a chance to start, Felix Jones is going to step up and take the lead in this backfield. But we saw by Nick Eatman at DallasCowboys.com a great feature that said "hey, Marion Barber is still the starter, he deserves to be the starter." What do you think is the state of this backfield right now and from what you've observed, how do you expect it to shake out?

Broaddus: Well, I think it's going to stay status quo. They can say what they want about 'there was a competition there' but even through the OTAs and the mini-camps and things like that, it just never really changed. You know, they want Felix Jones to have more of an opportunity, there's no doubt about that. He's a home run type player. You can give him the ball at any point in time on the field and he can score. He brings that to the game. I just really think that, with Marion Barber, with the weight loss - you know he has looked well in camp. His vision has always been very good. He's the most complete back that the Cowboys have. When you talk about the runner, the catcher and the guy in pass protection - and in this offense it's very important that you have that ability to block - and I think with Barber, he's all those things. And again, he came in (to camp) in very good shape. The coaches are very happy with him. And again I think all three of these backs will continue to have the roles they had last year. You might see a little bit more opportunity for Felix Jones but it's yet to be seen if they're going to full bore give it to him every time. And every time he averages ten or more carries he's a 5.2 yards per carry guy. So that just shows that if you do give him the ball, good things can happen but to me, right now, it looks like they're going to play with what they really did last season.

Lammey: Well we know the Cowboys sure have a high powered offense and the guy running the show - of course, quarterback Tony Romo. Kind of on a pitch count? Is that how you would describe it Bryan, with the sore arm? Don't want to make a mountain out of a molehill here, but is that a concern? You know, watching the number of reps that he gets on that arm?

Broaddus: Well you know, you talk to Tony about it, he'll tell you there's no pitch count and then some of my other sources and stuff in the front office they've told me it's nothing that they really worry about. Just something that Tony gets treated for every once in a while. He does have some soreness in his shoulder and in his biceps. And it's, you know, it's something that he just works through and he gets ice on it. I trust these guys, I worked with these guys for six years. When they tell me that "hey, don't worry about it, everything will be fine", I'm not going to worry about it. And again, I think we're probably making a little bit more of it because - you know, my 13 seasons in the National Football League, even Brett Favre, when I was with him in Green Bay, got a tired arm. So those are the types of things that you have to deal with, especially during Training Camp. These guys practice two times a day, they make a lot of throws and you're just going to have those normal types of problems.

Bloom: Bryan, we've been hearing about a re-commitment to using Jason Witten as a receiver in the red zone. Do you think we'll see that touchdown total come up this year or is this one of those aspirations, one of those things they want to do, but actually making it happen in the regular season is another thing?

Broaddus: Well I think the commitment is there to try and make something happen. Last year there were too many times where, he was left in, in the scheme and having to block. And he's one of the great mismatch plays in the National Football League, he's too big for defensive backs to have to cover, he's too quick for linebackers. So any time that you have an opportunity that you have to put him in the pattern, then he's going to make a play. He does a great job of working in the middle of the field, knows how to get open. All those things. So, I think the commitment is there to try and get him more involved. There was some - the Cowboys in the red zone, they didn't have many plays to hang their hat on. And I think they're trying to develop a little bit of an identity. They had some scheme problems last year, with guys missing some blocks and things, which kind of blew up some plays. I think that Jason Garrett and Tony Romo and those guys know that if you get Jason Witten involved in the game plan down in the red zone, you're probably going to have some pretty good results.

Lammey: Well, let's talk about the backup running back now - Tashard Choice. You see these running back injuries across the league happening in Training Camp. If someone were to approach the Cowboys with the right deal, would dealing Tashard Choice happen, in your eyes? Because he has the talent, in my opinion, to be a starter, if he gets a shot.

Broaddus: You know, Tashard has had a very quiet camp so far and a lot of it has to do with the fact that he's running with the second and the third offensive line and they've had their struggles as well. I do agree with you on Tashard, I think he's a very talented individual. I even asked Steve Jones that question: if someone were to come and offer something for Tashard, would you listen? He said it'd have to be a very significant offer. So - never say never but I think the Cowboys are very happy with the running back situation that they have. The three running backs - and if something were to happen to one of them, well then you go to battle with the other two. So again, it's going to have to be something significant and then if it is, then Steven Jones will pull the trigger or not pull the trigger on that.

Bloom: Bryan, let's talk about Miles Austin and obviously he made a quantum leap in his game last year and even evolved as the season went on to handle the extra attention a number one receiver gets. Do you see him continuing to build and stay among the leagues elite this year and into the future? And then adding in Dez Bryant, is that the kind of thing that maybe we have a 1 and a 1a, or does that help Austin even more because he will see single coverage a lot more often?

Broaddus: yeah, you make a very good point. I think the thing with Miles - I think everyone sees talent. They've always seen the talent. He had the breakthrough year last season for 13 games, you know - tremendous run after catch. And this is something that, in the National Football League that these receivers, the good ones have that ability to take the football on a seven yard pass and to take it and gain 25-30 yards. And that what Miles really has. He's a very powerful runner with the ball in his hands. You saw some of that when he was a kickoff return guy. So I think they are hopeful that they get that same kind of year. Jerry Jones is always been the type of guy that, if you do show production they're willing to pay you. And they understand that if Miles has another year like he did last year, that they're going to have to pay quite a bit. And they're comfortable with that. On the other side, that's why you'd hope that - someone needed to step up and be that second receiver, whether it was Dez Bryant, Roy Williams - whoever it was on that other side needs to help. Because you will see some coverage roll Miles' way. That people will start playing him different. But the great thing, not so much about the second receiver, but also that teams have to find a way to take care of Jason Witten and as long as you have somebody like that who works the middle of the field like he does, coverage cannot always be rolled Miles' way because Jason Witten will wear you out if you dedicate too much to one side of the field. So they've got a couple different avenues that they can go but again if a second receiver were to step up - Dez Bryant, Roy Williams, whoever that is - it would definitely the situation.

Lammey: You're listening to The Audible, on the VIP line, it's Bryan Broaddus. You can check him out on ESPNDallas.com, also 103.3 FM ESPN and follow him on Twitter. Bryan, my final question for you today - I'm really intrigued by backup quarterback Stephen McGee. Now Bloom and I saw him during the week of practice leading up to the Shrine Game a couple of years ago. Athletic, decent enough arm - is there something developing here? Kitna is getting a little long in the tooth, shall we say. Is there something developing here with McGee, so he could be a quality backup? Maybe even develop into a guy you can trade, somebody else may see him as a potential starter?

Broaddus: Well, you know, before I went on air with you guys, I was writing about Stephen McGee. And you know, my thoughts about Stephen is - I talked to a couple of coaches on the staff. He's going to get the full opportunity to try and shine this preseason. The Cowboys really, they know what Stephen McGee is, they've been with him in meetings and practices and stuff but you don't really know how he's going to react in game situations and these coaches I was talking to, I said 'Listen, are you guys going to play Stephen McGee extensively?' And it was like 'Absolutely' because they need to find out really what he's like under these game conditions like I was talking about. This will be the only shot that they really have because once the preseason is over, they're not going to see Stephen McGee other than running the scout team and being in meetings and stuff like that. That was something when I was on the staff here in Dallas, that we were able to look at Tony Romo and kind of see where he was at and at least get a good evaluation of him. And that kind of helps you going into the season that - ok next April, we're not going to have to worry about maybe drafting a quarterback. Maybe we can get a backup to McGee. But if McGee is one of these guys that doesn't come through, then all of the sudden now you're talking about Kitna with age and Stephen McGee potentially not being able to play, well you're going to have to look at two quarterbacks right there. So this is going to be a very, very important training camp for Stephen McGee - the games in Training Camp - because he's going to have an opportunity to either solidify his position or make these guys feel like their going to have to, in the fall, go out and evaluate other quarterbacks.

Bloom: Bryan for my final question, I want to go big picture. In the Tony Romo era, this team was beginning to be known for its' December swoons. They got over that hump last year. They won a playoff game last year. Then they ran into a brick wall against the Vikings. But expectations are high, Super Bowl expectations I think are fair for this team. How do you see this team handling those expectations? And when it's all said and done, do you think they will live up to them?

Broaddus: Well, you know, I think they have tremendous talent in a lot of different areas. There's the skill at the outside, there's the skill at the running back. The tight end is one of the best in football. Defensively, they've got two of the best outside rushers Ware and Spencer. Brooking and James and the inside linebackers have been outstanding in camp. They had Sean Lee, the second round pick - he hasn't shown much so far as he's been hurt, but you can tell that he has instincts, that he knows how to play, he knows how to read things, study, prepare. He's going to help in the nickel. It looks like Allen Ball at free safety is going to give them some range back there. So, this team is set in a lot of different ways. The one thing that can really derail this is if David Buehler, the kicker, doesn't come through. If they have to use a roster spot to go get a kicker, well that's going to be something that they have to do, but I do believe what I have seen so far in Buehler and I've been very critical of Buehler. I do want to see him kick in the preseason, I do want to see him kick against the rush. But if he's able to hold onto the job and the kicking situation's ok then this team is complete in a lot of different areas. And when you talk about what's happening to the Vikings with Brett Favre potentially not being there - that's a huge blow for them. I think the New Orleans Saints are once again pretty good. So, they're going to have to play those teams during the regular season and that'll probably be the best competition to go along with a trip to Indianapolis and Tennessee and those kind of people as well that they are going to have to deal with.

Lammey: You want to keep up with the Dallas Cowboys, of course, you're checking out Bryan Broaddus on ESPNDallas.com, and also on 103.3 FM ESPN and follow him on Twitter. Bryan, my man, we thank you very much for joining the show and go keep McMahon and Watkins in line on the sidelines.

Broaddus: Well I'll tell you, I'm carrying their notebooks every day. It's this rookie orientation I'm going through. Between driving them to practice every day and carrying their notebooks, I look forward to losing this rookie status after the season.

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