Tag: Jay Saldi

Cosbie Show a Hit in Big D From 1979 through 1988

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Cowboys tight end Doug Cosbie runs for yardage after catching a pass from Danny White in a 1984 Cowboys-Redskins game at Texas Stadium.

 

At 6’6″ and 236 pounds with the power to block linemen and linebackers and the speed to threaten defensive backs, former Cowboy tight end Doug Cosbie seemed to be straight out of central casting when he joined the team in 1979.  The California native, who turns 62 today, had a strong 10 year career that made him one of the best at his position in Cowboys’ history.

Looking to develop a potential successor to veteran star Billy Joe DuPree, Dallas made Cosbie the 76th pick in the 1979 NFL draft.  Cosbie played behind DuPree and veteran Jay Saldi in his rookie year, but earned the praise of head coach Tom Landry heading into his second season.  In the 1980 Official Dallas Cowboys Bluebook, Landry was quoted as saying, “Cosbie is an excellent prospect.  He has the same dimensions as Billy Joe DuPree. He has excellent blocking techniques, he catches the ball well and he is smart”.

Cosbie began becoming a target of Dallas quarterback Danny White in the 1981 season. He caught five regular season touchdowns, including crucial touchdowns in key mid-season wins over Miami, Philadelphia and Buffalo that helped Dallas regain the NFC East title they had lost to the Eagles in 1980. He also caught a fourth quarter 21 yard touchdown pass from White in the 1981 NFC title game that seemed to have Dallas in route to a NFC championship before the 49ers rallied to win in the game’s final minutes.

By 1982, Cosbie had supplanted DuPree as Dallas’ top tight end.  He caught 30 passes for a career high 14. 7 yard per catch and four touchdowns that year before starting a three year span from 1983 through 1985 when the Santa Clara product made the Pro Bowl each season.

Cosbie’s best season from a statistical standpoint was in 1985, when caught 64 passes and scored six touchdowns to help Dallas to an NFC East title.  In week two of that season, the lanky receiver set career highs in receptions (11) and yards gained (159) in a 26-21 loss at Detroit.  On Thanksgiving Day of that year in a 35-17 route of St. Louis, Cosbie caught five passes for 122 yards and a touchdown to help Dallas earn a crucial divisional win.

Among full-time tight ends, Cosbie’s 30 career touchdown catches ranks behind only Jason Witten’s 68 and DuPree’s 41 in team history.   His final scoring play came in a week 15 victory at Los Angeles over the Rams on a 27 pass from Steve Pelluer.

Like many Cowboys’ players before him, Cosbie came into a successful Dallas program as a backup, worked his way into more and more playing time by honing his craft and eventually became a star.   He never experienced the ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl crown, but he was part of six playoff teams in his decade in Dallas.  When the roll is called of Cowboys’ greats at the tight end position, it doesn’t take long before Cosbie’s name is mentioned.

 

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This Day in Dallas Cowboys History-Picking Up Where They Left Off

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Harvey Martin recovers a first quarter Minnesota fumble in Vikings’ territory to set up Dallas’ first score in the Cowboys’ 23-6 NFC Championship Game victory on January 1, 1978.

The Dallas Cowboys were the NFL’s most dominant team during the 1977 regular season.  Dallas started out winning its first eight games, many by substantial margins.  After a two week slump in which they lost to St. Louis at home and the Steelers at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, the Cowboys rattled off four straight victories to end the season to finish at 12-2.  A first round playoff rout of the Chicago Bears sent Dallas into the NFC title game, where they’d face a Minnesota Vikings team Dallas had beaten 16-10 at Minnesota in the first week of the season.

The first day of 1978 was  cold one in Dallas, with wind chill readings below the freezing mark. However the cold weather didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd of almost 62,000 at Texas Stadium, a group that believed its team was on a direct path to represent the NFC in Super Bowl 12.  After 60 minutes of football, it was clear that they were right.

Dallas jumped on the visitors right from the start.   An early first quarter Minnesota fumble was recovered by Harvey Martin at the Vikings 39 yard line to put the Cowboys in scoring position right off the bat.  A first down run by Robert Newhouse netted seven yards, and Dallas cashed in on the next play due to a tremendous play design.  The Cowboys lined up with flanker Drew Pearson wide to the right. Before the snap, Pearson came in motion all the way across the field.  On the snap, quarterback Roger Staubach faked a hand off to rookie sensation Tony Dorsett and then gave the impression that he was throwing a wide receiver screen to Pearson. The Vikings, undoubtedly aware that Pearson was the Cowboys’ number one threat at receiver, bit on the fake and Pearson’s partner Golden Richards escaped behind the Vikings’ defense. Staubach’s pass to Richards was slightly overthrown, but the fourth year receiver cradled it as he fell into the end zone and Dallas was ahead 6-0 after usually reliable kicker Efren Herrera missed the extra point.

The Cowboys struck again in the second quarter, aided by a 14 yard run for a first down on a fake punt by Danny White.  Newhouse’s five yard touchdown run and Herrera’s extra point put Dallas up 13-0.    Minnesota got two Fred Cox field goals in the second quarter to draw within a touchdown at 13-6, but Herrera’s short field goal near the end of the quarter expanded Dallas’ lead to 10 points at the half.

Dallas’ defense, led by Ed Jones who had eight solo tackles, dominated in the second half, and some help from the special teams and the offense sealed the victory for the Cowboys.  Thomas Henderson (who had an interception in the game) was a dominant force at outside linebacker for Dallas in his third NFL season, and he also excelled on special teams. His brutal hit on Minnesota punt returner Manfred Moore in the fourth quarter caused Moore to fumble, with Dallas’ Jay Saldi recovering in Minnesota territory. Dallas then drove for the score that put the game away, with the final points coming on a beautiful Dorsett touchdown scamper around right end on which the Pitt product displayed his trademark acceleration.

On the day, Dallas caused four Minnesota turnovers, sacked Vikings’ quarterback Bob Lee twice and outgained the visitors by 114 yards.  A potent Dallas’ rushing attack  gained 170 yards on the day, with Newhouse posting a game high 81 and Dorsett chipping in with 71 more.

With team that had numerous stars on both offense and defense, a special teams group that could make big plays and a head coach whose innovation and game planning were second to none, the Cowboys made short work of the NFC in 1977.   Two weeks after their championship game win over Minnesota, the Cowboys would prove that they were the NFL’s best with a convincing victory over Denver in Super Bowl 12.