NFL Team Column
1 May 2013
Breaking down the Dallas Cowboys 2013 NFL Draft
The 2013 NFL Draft has come to a close and another crop of college players are ready to take their talents to the next level. The Dallas Cowboys took seven players this year and filled many needs that they had going into the event. Over the course of the next two articles, we are going to take a look at the newest Cowboys starting with those that were picked in rounds 1, 2 and 3 in this one.
Going into round one of the 2013 NFL Draft, many experts knew that Dallas was going to need to address the offensive line at some point during the draft and the earlier they did it, the better off they would be. While many pegged Dallas in a potential trade up situation to draft one of the two top guards going into the Draft, Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper, or possibly even one of the top tackles in the draft, DJ Fluker, Dallas proved to have another guy in mind. While they sat on the clock with the 18th pick and all of their potential offensive line options gone, many were waiting for them to turn the card in with the name Sharrif Floyd on it and take what many viewed as the top DT of the draft, who had somehow slipped all the way down to them. However they took everyone by surprise when they decided to trade down with the San Francisco 49ers and trade back to the 31st pick of the night and pick up an extra third rounder along the way. Many will criticize the decision to do so however no one can walk away from the Draft with the knowledge of what was best and what was a bad move.
31st Overall Pick – Round One – Travis Frederick – C / G – Wisconsin
Travis Frederick is a typical Wisconsin offensive lineman. He stands 6’4 and weighs in at 312 pounds. Many did not have high grades on him and in fact some had him as low as a 4th round grade. Dallas saw something in Travis which made them want to go get him as soon as they could. There are many reasons why this would make sense to pick him up this point in the draft. It is no secret at all that offensive line has been a very porous part of the offense for a couple years now and with the new contract for Tony Romo, it is important to take care of the investment. Getting a guy that can help anchor the offensive line for the next few years makes a ton of sense. Also with the new rookie salary rules, any of the players that are taken in the first round can be paid their rookie wages over the course of five years opposed to the four years for the other rounds. So if Travis ends up being the lineman that they are hoping for, you will get him at a rookie wage for five years opposed to four meaning you can spend that money elsewhere if needed.
Travis Frederick is a very versatile lineman who can play both the guard and center positions. The interior part of the line has struggled as of late so Travis Frederick can bring some much needed continuity to the line along with health, having only missed one game over his career. He was the first true freshman to start the season on the offensive line for Wisconsin. In 2012, he was named to the All-Big Ten 1st Team. He has fast hands and a very strong upper body. He is known as a drive blocker with good feet, mostly on angles however lacks overall quickness. Dallas needed a big mauler type of offensive lineman and they may very well have found it in Travis Frederick. Whether he moves to a guard spot or starts at center, it is hard to argue with the impact he should make when it comes down to game time. Along with his impressive stats, you have to know that he will be using the motivation from the critics to fuel his time in Dallas and prove all those that said Dallas made a mistake wrong.
47th Overall Pick – Round Two – Gavin Escobar – TE – San Diego St.
In the second round, Dallas looked to shore up the TE position by selecting Gavin Escobar out of San Diego St. Looking to give Tony Romo another big target, Escobar stands 6’6 and weighs 254 pounds. Knowing that eventually they will need to find the replacement for future Hall of Famer Jason Witten, Dallas drafted Escobar who could possibly fill that void in the future. While it would be a tall task to bring the same leadership and intensity as Witten does every week, being groomed by Witten could go a long way to give Dallas the best shot at getting that type of production in the near future.
Another draft selection that was criticized by many, Escobar comes to Dallas with a lot of skill. Escobar is arguably the best pass catching tight end to come out this year. His ability to catch anything thrown his way could end up paying dividends in red zone opportunities. Adding another target for Romo to through down inside the 20s could be a huge help in hopefully upping the red zone efficiencies that was so low last year. Like many tight ends, Escobar comes from a basketball background. After being redshirted his freshman year, Escobar never missed a game and eventually entered the draft as an underclassman. Along with his strong ability in pass catching, Escobar has been very successful in vertical situations against coverage. Although where he excels, there are also a couple downfalls to his abilities. He is neither a very strong blocker nor a great route runner. One of the things in which Witten excels in is blocking so if Escobar plans on making the transition over to the next great Dallas TE, he must learn the basics from the best and make some changes to his all-around game. If he can heed the advice and learn from Witten, he very well could be on the road to being a very effective target for Romo for the next few years.
74th Overall Pick – Round Three – Terrence Williams – WR – Baylor
With the pick received from the 49ers in the third round, the Cowboys then went on to select Terrence Williams, who many look at as possibly one of the best value picks in the draft. Some slated Williams as a potential late 1st to early 2nd round talent. Many wondered how well Terrence Williams would play with the loss of his QB, Robert Griffin III as well as their top receiver Kendall Wright. His career at Baylor has been a successful one as he has piled on the stats over his collegiate career. Along with his receiving skills, Terrence Williams also gave Baylor a boost in the return game.
With great size and overall talent, many believe Terrence Williams can provide much needed help to the oft injured Miles Austin. After a somewhat down year compared to his previous, many believe that is Miles Austin does not return to form in the 2013 season, Terrence could be in line to compete or even take the starting job from him. The only downside to Terrence is his burst off the line. If he can correct that and come off the line a bit quicker, look for him to put up big numbers in Dallas. Coupled with Dez Bryant, they could be a force to be reckoned with over the next few years in Big D.
80th Overall Pick – Round Three – J.J. Wilcox – S – Georgia Southern
One of the biggest holes in Dallas was the safety position. Signing Will Allen in the offseason and a returning Barry Church, some thought this was a weakness of Dallas. Much to their delight, they were able to get the safety they wanted. J.J. Wilcox did not come from a big school however is going to bring toughness and skill to a weakened position. Playing safety only one year, converting from a running back, J.J. Wilcox had a great year at Georgia Southern. J.J. is an extremely gifted athlete that has been able to impress over his entire football career. Starting 13 of 14 games, Wilcox made 88 tackles as well as being a contributor to the return game.
Wilcox stated that he thinks his game is closest to Sean Taylor, former Washington Redskins safety who was killed in 2007. With the ability to put the big hit on the ball carrier, many see the comparison and agree with it. As often is the case with small time school prospects, there was not a lot of hype around his game however looking at his highlights would shed a different light on his skill. While there were other safeties in the draft that could have been more popular options, much like the Terrence Williams pick, this could prove to be an extremely valuable pick especially if the both of them are contributors this year.
Be sure to look out for Part II of the Dallas Cowboys 2013 NFL Draft class coming soon.
27 November 2012
Cowboys can't win with their current offensive line
General Manager Jerry Jones has never given much priority to his offensive line, instead, using his draft picks and free agent priority on skill players, and recently cornerbacks.
This concept is flawed and one of the primary reasons the Cowboys can't win on a consistent basis. Just look at the impressive 49ers who have built their team around their offensive line. Three of the starting five 49er lineman are former first round draft picks: Joe Staley, Mike Lupati and Anthony Davis.
The Cowboys drafted left tackle Tyron Smith in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, but outside of that, they don't have any high draft picks on their roster. Doug Free and David Arkin were both drafted in the 4th round and have both been a bust thus far.
Jerry Jones thought to try and patch things up this year by paying a considerable amount of money to free agent guards Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau. Neither Livings nor Bernadeau were re-signed by their former teams for a reason, they just aren't very good and have not played up to their hefty contract. They brought Guard Derrick Dockery back out of retirement and he has played decent in spurts, but he is an aging, mediocre lineman without much future.
While Tyron Smith has shown considerable promise at left tackle, right tackle Doug Free has been a train wreck and probably needs to be released in the off season or moved inside to guard.
The Center position has been one of the biggest weak points for Dallas since the days of Mark Stepnoski, who in 1992 was a Pro Bowl center and a Super Bowl champion. That's a long time folks. The Center position isn't flashy and he isn't on any fantasy football teams, but that position is one of the most important in football. Quite simply, you can't run if you don't have a good center and if you let the pass rush come up the gut, your quarterback has no pocket to step up into.
C Phil Costa has shown some promise, but he hasn't been able to stay on the field with a bad back and now he is out with a sprained ankle. They signed journeyman Ryan Cook to fill in for the injured Costa, Cook performed poorly when he was healthy and now he to is out with a sprained knee. That means the Cowboys will have to move one of their under performing guards to center or hope Kevin Kowalksi can move in and play the position.
Quite frankly the Cowboys can't win with this group of guys and it needs to be an area of focus in the off season or the Cowboys have no hope of getting back to the playoffs.
1 October 2012
Will the Cowboys beat the Bears at home?
Let's start with the Dallas Cowboys and their injured players. Listed as out were defensive end Kenyon Coleman (knee), center Phil Costa (back), safety Matt Johnson (hamstring) and linebacker Alex Albright (neck).
Safety Barry Church is out for the season with a torn ACL and Danny McCray is stepping in, so Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will try to test him deep. McCray has been primarily only a special teams player so he is very inexperienced at safety. The other safety, Gerald Sensabaugh is nursing a sore calf, he is expected to play, but he might be a step or two slower than usual. Dallas will need to stop WR Brandon Marshal and his big plays to have a shot of winning. I think the Cowboy corners will step it up though.
The key to the game will be the Cowboys offensive line, they must open up some holes for DeMarco Murray and protect Tony Romo. RT Doug Free will have to step up his game. LT Tyrone Smith and RT Doug Free lead the league in false start penalties. The only saving grace for Dallas is the Bears offensive line hasn't been much better.
If the Cowboys win they will pull even with the 3-1 Eagles and if not they will fall into the pile of the rest of the NFC East at 2-2.
My predicted end score: Dallas 28 Bears 21.
26 September 2012
Breaking News: The Cowboys offensive line stinks
All of Dallas football fans know our O-line (offensive line) is less than stellar. Here is our line:
Tyron Smith #77 Left tackle 6 foot 5 311 lbs
Nate Livings #71 left guard 6'5 332 lbs
Phil Costa #67 center 6'3 314 lbs
Mackenzy Bernadeau right guard #73 6'4 308 lbs
Doug Free right tackle #68 6'6 323 lbs
As you can see good size but almost no talent. Doug Free's weakness is he is to jumpy and gets called for false start on an average of 2 times a game on a good day. Our best lineman is Tyron Smith out of USC (university of southern california) he was our first round draft pick last year and has done well so far. Phil Costa is just garbage I think that dallas needs a remodel at the guards, center, and right tackle. Last year we lost Kyle Koiser to Seattle. If we could have kept him we would have at least a half decent line. I also think that there would be more pros than cons if we let go of Doug Free when the season is over. Also let go of Phil Costa and draft the center from Alabama. If we could also get the left tackle from Michigan we would be a great running and passing team. I'm not saying we can't run but we would be better off with those lineman then we have now. Well that's it on the Dallas O-Line
Kevin Ogletree a diamond in the rough?
WR Kevin Ogletree is the number three wide out for the Dallas Cowboys behind Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. Ogletree's performance in week one was a 5 star performance in my opinion. Eight catches for 185 yards and two TD'S (touchdowns) that's amazing for a number three wide out. Week two wasn't much from Ogletree but it wasn't much from Dallas overall either. Ogletree leads Dallas in reciving yards with 140 and leads in receptions with nine but Austin has nine receptions as well just not as many yards as Ogletree. Austin has 136 reciving yards, Austin and Ogletree both have 2 reciving TD's Will the real Jason
Will the real Jason Witten please stand up
Jason Witten has not had the best start to the season. He has had more drops already than he has the last two years combined. Personally I think he is scared to get hit. I know he is one of the toughest players to touch the field and has the best hands of the Dallas cowboys roster right now, but ever since the spleen injury he seems to be a totally different football player. Against Tampa he had two catches for eight yards that doesn't sound like a performance from one of the best tight ends in the Nfl (National Football league) to me. He took a beating against seattle last week as well. I think if they bench him for a week we will wake up and play like the old Jason Witten. Will the old Jason Witten return?
27 May 2012
2012 NFL Draft Review
You can't really fault the Cowboys for trading up and taking LSU CB Morris Claiborne. They haven't had any star power at the cornerback position since Kevin Smith and Deion Sanders roamed the secondary. If Claiborne can avoid the injuries that can often plague rookies, he could be the shut-down corner that Dallas needs to run their blitz happy 3-4 defense they want to run. Draftnik Mel Kiper stated Claiborne is as good as any cornerback he has evaluated in the last ten years.
The problem is giving up their second round pick to move up 8 slots in round one really hurt their opportunity of improving the interior of their offensive line. The interior of their offensive line is by far the weakest position on the team and maybe even the weakest in the entire NFL. Adding free agent offensive guards Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau will probably prevent a total collapse, but both have been plagued by injuries in camp and neither are dominant players at their position. Center Phil Costa, if he doesnt improve from last year, will likely contribute to the inability to run the ball up the middle. Niether Center or Guard were strengthened in the 2012 NFL Draft.
In the first round, Guards David DeCastro and Kevin Zeitler slipped to 24 and 27 respectively. Also, the impressive Center from Wisconsin, Peter Kontz and Iowa State Guard Kelechi Osemele slipped to the end of the second round 55 and 60 respectively. The Cowboys should have traded back up and selected one of those guys.
The Cowboys had two 4th round picks that they could have traded to move up. In my opinion they wasted both of their fourth round picks in drafting Wake Forest OLB Kyle Wilber and Eastern Washington Safety Matt Johnson, Wilber should have been a 5th or 6th round pick and Matt Johnson might not have even been drafted.
The silver lining however might be the 3rd round selection (81st overall) of Boise State DE Tyrone Crawford. He (Crawford) is a former JUCO kid out of Canada, so he is still learning the position and just now coming into his own. He only started his senior year at Boise State, but he really blossomed. He was a First Team All Mountain West selection and finished with 13.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks and 44 tackles. Crawford has a high motor and hustles on every play, he is 6' 4" 280 pounds so he has the size to play End in a 3-4 defense. Current starter and former first round pick Marcus Spears' days might be numbered.
In the 5th round they selected Virginia Tech WR Danny Coale (6' 0" 200 lbs), Coal has a good shot at making the team and even being the 3rd receiver. He's got great hands and runs precise routes. He is known to be a very good down field blocker and he ran a 4.40 fourty yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. He is also smart, last season at Virginia Tech he won the James Tatum Award as the ACC's top student athlete.
In the 6th round they selected Oklahoma Tight End James Hannah. He (Hannah) also has a very good shot at making the team. He wasn't real consistent at Oklahoma, and he looks like an H-back type. At 6' 4" 250 pounds he isn't huge, but he is blazing fast and will really stretch the field. He ran a 4.41 fourty yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and he can consistently run in the 4.5s.
Complete 2012 NFL Draft:
1. (6) CB Morris Claiborne, LSU
3. (81) DE Tyrone Crawford, Boise State
4. (113) OLB Kyle Wilber
4. (135) S Matt Johnson, Eastern Washington
5. (152) WR Danny Coale, Virginia Tech
6. (186) TE James hannah, Oklahoma
7. (222) LB Caleb McSurdy, Montana
22 January 2012
What Do They Need To Take the Next Step?
First and foremost they need to upgrade their offensive line and secondary. For a team that almost made the playoffs they have a lot of needs.
Offensive Line: At tackle they have two decent starters, but no depth, the problem is Doug Free is not a left tackle. Two years ago he played excellent at right tackle so he and rookie standout Tyrone Smith will likely switch spots next year. If Smith makes that transition successfully they should be solid at tackle.
At guard they have real problems, Derrick Dockery and Montrae Holland are free agents and wont likely be resigned. Last years 4th round pick David Arkin showed promise, he has decent size (6' 5" 310 lbs), but he played college for small school Missouri State and is extremely raw. Its no guarantee he will even make the team next year. Bill Nagy just isn't strong enough to hold up in the NFL and Kyle Kosier is average at best and getting a little old. They probably need at least two quality guards to be able to compete next year.
Stanford Guard David DeCastro, Georgia Guard Cordy Glenn should be first round targets, and if Miami (Fl) Guard Brandon Washington, Wisconsin Guard Kevin Zeitler or Wisconsin Center Peter Konz are available in round two they could be a solid selection. In the 4th or 5th round, small school (California (PA) Guard Rishaw Johnson would be an excellent pick. I think Phil Costa might be OK at center, but Konz would be a huge upgrade.
I also think they should go after Saints free agent guard Carl Nicks, he would immediately improve the Dallas offensive line.
Cornerback is another huge need for the Cowboys. Terence Newman was absolutely horrible last year and was injured often. Newman likely has played his last game for the Cowboys. Orlando Skandrick was just resigned, he is OK, but not a starting caliber cornerback. The only starting caliber cornerback on the roster is Mike Jenkins, but he has suffered from numerous injuries and recently had shoulder surgery. Frank Walker and Alan Ball are free agents and probably won't be resigned.
If the Cowboys don't trade down in the 2012 NFL Draft and if they don't target DeCastro or Glenn, then corner might be a target in round one. Problem is, the only players worthy of being drafted where the Cowboys are drafting at (14) is CBs Morris Claiborne, LSU and Dre Kirkpatrick, Alabama (JR). Claiborne will likely be a top five pick and Kirkpatrick will probably be picked in the top 10. They could also target Stephon Gilmore (South Carolina) in round two or Leonard Johnson in round three or they might get lucky and have Alfonzo Dennard (Nebraska) or Janoris Jenkins fall into the second round.
The bottom line is they are going to need some free agent help at cornerback. They need to target one or even two of the following NFL Free Agents: Ladarius Webb (Ravens), Brandon Carr (Chiefs), Tracy Porter (Saints), Cortland Finnegan (Titans), Brent Grimes (Falcons) or Richard Marshall (Cardinals).
Linebacker is also a need, but not as much as offensive line and cornerback. Keith Brooking will likely be gone, but Sean Lee has already replaced him, Anthony Spencer will probably be resigned, but if not, Victor Butler has enough talent to replace him. They also have last years second round pick Bruce Carter, who has a ton of talent and they are going to need him to contribute next year. If they can't resign free agent Brady James they could use their first round pick on ILB Luke Kuechly (Boston College). I wouldn't have a problem with that, Luke is a future Pro Bowl linebacker. In three years at BC he recorded 432 tackles, 35.5 tackles for loss and 7 interceptions.
Defensive end and nose tackle are also a need. DE Marcus Spears has been a bust and Jason Hatcher is average at best. Sean Lissemore has talent and size (6' 4" 306 lbs), but they need a better pass rush from the end position. There are some good pass rushing defensive ends in this draft, but I would like for them to get a huge nose tackle and move Jay Ratliff out to end. LSU defensive tackle (DT) Michael Brockers, Clemson DT Brandon Thompson or Memphis Nose Tackle Dontari Poe would be a nice upgrade on the defensive line. At end, if North Carolina DE Quinton Coples slips down to them in the first round they will be hard pressed to pass on him.
22 September 2011
It was looking rather bleak on a particular Sunday afternoon, the 18th of September to be exact. Tony Romo was back in the locker room and Kitna had just thrown his second interception of the day and it looked as though San Francisco had the game wrapped up tight. Suddenly, after reporting that Romo would not be back in the game, the sideline camera showed Romo getting his helmet and trotting back onto the field to do what he does best and that is give his team a chance to win the ball game. Tony Romo then proceeded to lead one of the most impressive comebacks in recent memory, especially after finding out later on he not only had a cracked rib but a punctured lung. Romo passed for almost 200 yards in the fourth quarter and showed everyone that the first week of the season could very well have been a fluke or misfortune.
The above was most likely what everyone saw on Monday morning in your local newspapers and with good riddance. In my Cowboys watching life, I had never seen a moment for Tony Romo where I can honestly say that he gave everything he had in order to help his team win. Romo went on a hot streak that connected with Miles Austin to bring them within three and then setup the game tying field goal in the fourth quarter to send the game into overtime by Dan Bailey. Then for his final act, he connected with Mr. Fourth and Long, Jesse Holley on a nice throw that setup Dallas for the game winning touchdown in overtime. For a man that was so heavily chastised after his week one performance against the Jets, Romo redeemed himself and showed once and for all that he has the talent to get the job done. Consistency has always been the question and Romo will have the chance to continue his good fortune when the 2-0 Redskins come into town on Monday night.
One aspect of the offense that has yet to get going is the running game. Felix Jones, who went out with a separated shoulder, has yet to show the true explosiveness he showed in the preseason. Many are wondering if this back can carry the load for 16 games, especially with his injury big showing up once again. The Cowboys are carrying four running backs and the recent injury to Jones shows why that was a good choice. Jones’ availability for Monday night looks to be a go but many wonder if he will be able to get on track against a stout Redskins defense.
The defense had another good game as they really shutdown the 49ers offense in the second half. Recording 6 sacks in the whole game (2 by Ware, 2 by Hatcher, 1 by Spencer, 1 by Ratliff) and 10 on the season, which leads the league, Rob Ryan has shown that he can do a lot with a defense when he has talent. The defense should get another lift Monday night when Terence Newman returns from injury, which will make the first time this season, including preseason that both starting Cornerbacks will be available for a game. Look for Newman to have a good game as all he has heard for the last few weeks were that Dallas should have gotten rid of him before the season.
Injuries seem to be piling up all around however it looks like all players should be available Monday night, including Dez Bryant after missing Sunday’s game with deep bruised quad with he exception of Miles Austin, who had a stellar game, receiving for close to 150 yards and three touchdowns, including his final touchdown to bring Dallas within four with his variation of ‘planking’. Austin re-injured his hamstring on the final offense play of the fourth quarter. There is chance he may be out until the bye week, week 5. Scandrick is still couple game away, however this did not deter Dallas from releasing Bryan McCann in favor of Laurent Robinson, who had signed with the team a week or so ago only to be released.
Dallas faces off against Washington this week with first place on the line i their home opener. This will be a great chance to not only turn the corner but also prove if Washington is for real or not. Tony Romo will have all eyes on him as he fights through his injury to tries to give Dallas an above .500 mark since two years ago. This will be a great chance for many of the young players, especially receivers to show their worth and skill and a great opportunity in general for Dallas to get an early lead within the division. However, only time will tell if Dallas has yet to jump that hurdle in the Jason Garrett era.
15 September 2011
Heartbreaking Loss for Dallas
Heading into Week One of the NFL season, many thought this would be a rebuilding year for the Dallas Cowboys. Many felt that with a new defense coordinator an a new head coach, it would take some time to adjust and get to a comfortable position within the team. Those thoughts may have been somewhat justified or somewhat inaccurate depending on how you look at it.
The Dallas defense played one of their best games in a while. The game started off with Ware getting on of his two sacks on Sanchez as the Dallas defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage, limiting the Jets running game to under 50 yards. Anthony Spencer also contributed with a sack himself. Sean Lee was very impressive in his first starting role over Keith Brooking tallying 12 tackles and one interception, which almost went the distance for a touchdown. Dallas rotated their Middle Linebackers among three of them, Lee, Bradie James and Brooking, with Lee and James getting a majority of the playing time. This was a great sign for Dallas who has been waiting for Lee to emerge after picking him up in the second round out of Penn State a couple years ago.
Coming into the game, thin at Cornerback, Dallas had issues keeping healthy corners on the field. Terence Newman was held out with a groin injury and the starting jobs went to Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick. Scandrick went out in the first half with what is being diagnosed as a high ankle sprain and is expected to miss 3 - 4 weeks, which should put him back on the field after the bye week. He was then replaced by Alan Ball, whose transition to Cornerback has been a welcome sight as he has played well in that role.
Jenkins had two different injuries in the game and was replaced by Bryan McCann, who played well at times but did give up a big touchdown to Plaxico Burress cutting the lead down to 7 in the fourth quarter. In nickle and dime packages, Dallas brought in their backup safeties, McCray and Church. McCray had a forced fumbled on Sanchez which was recovered by Dallas. For the issues with injuries at Cornerback, Dallas fans should be encouraged with how well the Dallas defense played and with Newman hopefully coming back this week and Jenkins able to play, the Dallas defense should only improve.
The young Offensive Line for Dallas was another huge concern going into their matchup with the Jets. Having three of the five lineman, only have one game in between them, Phil Costa, they handles themselves pretty well. Smith out of USC did particularly well, especially working on a hobbled leg. Luckily, Tony Romo has the mobility to move around in the pocket which masks any issues that could be present for the lineman however they played extremely well considering the circumstances. Dez Bryant was off the charts in he first quarter racking up 3 receptions for 70+ yards and a Touchdown.
However, after suffering a bruised quad on a punt return and battling cramps, Bryant was limited the rest of the game. Miles Austin had a nice night, catching one touchdown pass on a nice tack away from Cromartie. Both players had a hold of the jump ball in the end zone but the ball is awarded to the offensive player in that situation which Austin would have ripped away regardless. Witten, as usual, had a very good game totaling over 100 yards, including a nice 64 yard catch which almost went in for six. The running game was less than impressive as they never could get going against a stout Jets defense.
QB Tony Romo had a great three quarters until he faltered in the fourth. Having close to 350 yards passing, two touchdowns and one interception, some would say that it is the sharpest Romo has looked in his career. However, Romo’s inconsistency came back to haunt him again as he turned the ball over twice in critical situations. In tfourth quarter, Romo tried to run up the middle for a touchdown on a third down play and fumbled on the one, giving the ball back to the Jets. Had they settled for a field goal, Dallas would have taken a 10 point lead and the game would have been pretty close to over. Then, after the Jets recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown, Romo threw an interception to Revis which setup the game winning 50 yard field goal by former Cowboys kicker, Nick Folk.
Romo got much deserved criticism for the game however his team has rushed to his defense to say this was a team loss. Another way of looking at it was that Romo could not have been in position to lose the game had he not played so well to put them up by 14 points inthe first place. One thing is for sure, Romo has always had an ability to comeback big in games after he made huge mistakes and with the 49ers, Redskins and Lions on the schedule for the next three weeks and with the way the defense played against a good Jets offense, there is a strong chance Romo will have plenty of time to divert his critics attention away from his bad play and continue to make the turn into a QB that everyone feels he can be.
9 September 2011
Week One Matchup: Cowboys Travel to New York on 9-11
With the season now upon us and the preseason in the past, we now look forward to Week 1 which will pit the Dallas Cowboys against the New York Jets. This will be a tough matchup for Dallas as the Jets defense is one of the best, if not the best in the league today. Rex Ryan, much like his brother Rob Ryan can throw different type of schemes at the offense and throw them off. Offensively, they have some talent but their offense is nowhere near as feared as the defense.
If Dallas is going to have a chance at winning this game, there are many factors in which they will have to use to their advantage. The main one is the offense. Anyone who knows anything about football will tell you that Dallas has one of the top offenses in the NFL. With Jason Witten, Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, the Jets defense will have to stay on their feet in order to defend them. With Felix Jones also catching screens out of the backfield and using his speed and quickness, he will be another weapon that will have to be watched. Dropping last year’s gained weight looks to really have made a difference thus far. Tony Romo played less than half of the year last season before he was injured with a broken collarbone but even he has looked very sharp in camp and practice leading up to the week one matchup.
The biggest question mark Dallas will have going into the game will be their offensive line. With three of the five having limited to no game experience, Tyron Smith, Bill Nagy and Phil Costa, many Dallas fans are wondering what they are thinking. Signing Derrick Dockery and releasing both Andre Gurode and Montre Holland showed that Dallas is not going off past performances and living in the now. They are beginning the transition from old to young and jumping into the fire with what they have. Garrett is making it clear every day that no one is guaranteed a roster spot on the Dallas Cowboys and he is going to leave his imprint on this team.
Terence Newman will be going into the game questionable with the groin continuing to cause an aggravation. If he is unable to go, Dallas will be left with Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick as their two starting cornerbacks. After signing a five year extension, I would expect Scandrick to be at his best. That would then move Alan Ball, who previously failed last year at Safety to the nickel corner and Bryan McCann, who was last year’s special teams wonder to play in dime situations.
Regardless of the outcome, I think we can all agree that we are happy to have football back and ready to begin the Road to the Super Bowl!
1 September 2011
Two weeks into the preseason and there are many teams that still have some questions. Some teams are still trying to find their identity while others are just trying to find some form of consistency. Dallas came into the preseason with many questions and are beginning to get some answers.
Offensive line is one position that Dallas was hoping to shore up after losing two of their five starter as cap casualties. When Colombo and Davis left, many knew that Dallas was going to have to fill a couple of very important voids in order to be competitive. Tyron Smith, 9th overall pick out of USC, was the easy choice to replace Colombo and has done a pretty good job. He has shown the athleticism you want to see in a tackle however lacks the quick feet needed to stop ends coming off the line. Many believe that he will grow into that as the more experience he gets, the better he will become.
Guard is a position that seems to be a little more questionable as currently, David Arkin and Montre Holland seem to be the ones battling it out however latest developments have come out that Andre Gurode, the Pro Bowl Center for Dallas will be cut, and Phil Costa will then take over at Center as he has impressed many within camp. Holland showed up to camp overweight and injured and Arkin has been less than stellar. The Sunday night game against San Diego showed that Arkin still has a very long way to go as he blew an assignment that caused McGee to fumble and Dallas to lose possession, halting a productive drive.
Ask any Cowboys fan their number one concern coming into the 2011 - 2012 season and Safety probably would have been at the top of that list. With Alan Ball having a horrible season at Safety and the uncertainty of what was going to happen at that position, Dallas resigned Gerald Sensabaugh and also signed Abe Elam, who played under Ryan in Cleveland. However, after two games within the preseason, many are questioning whether Elam will be the starting Safety come week one. Last year, Dallas drafted McCray and Church, two young guys that Dallas liked. McCray has began contributing on Special Teams while Church has began to open many eyes with his play.
After a touchdown saving toss from Rivers to McMichael, Church showed his skill and athleticism. While on the other side of the coin, he had a penalty against him, many would agree that this could be the turning point. While I believe that Elam will ultimately start this season, don’t be surprised to see Church in a starting capacity next season.
Lastly, Wide Receiver was the final major question mark heading into the season. After Roy Williams left, which was justifiable with the amount of salary owed and the production that was received, however that left open a spot on the field after Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. Kevin Olgetree seems to be the first candidate as he has shown flashes of greatness since being drafted by Dallas out of Virginia. WR Dwayne Harris had a huge game against Denver in week one of the preseason however had little to no production in the second game.
WR Manual Jonhson was actually the opposite as he was quiet the first game but had a nice bounce back game against San Diego. Jesse Holley is an interesting name as he has somewhat grown into the receiver role while continuing to contribute positively on Special Teams. Jason Garrett has made it clear that someone needs to emerge in the position of third receiver or the team will have no choice but to look elsewhere. Who this could possibly be? The jury is still out on that.
There is always the slim possibility that Tashard Choice, with injury and the emergence of Tanner and Miller, could be traded and maybe net you back a decent third receiver. Whatever the end result is, look or Dallas to look to fill that void as soon as possible to do everything they can to try to shore up any questionable positions before the September 11 match-up with the Jets.
10 August 2011
Can You Smell Football?
Can you smell it? No, no the gym socks under your bed. I am talking about FOOTBALL! Training Camps are in full swing for all 32 teams and we are a little over a week away from our first preseason games. With all the CBA crap out of the way, it is time to get into the meat and potatoes of what we all love and live for.
For those that have been living under a rock for the last 4 months, we had a bit of a situation in the NFL. There was this little thing called a lockout. For four months, NFL fans alike were held hostage as the NFL and NFLPA fought over the best for each side. While the NFL fans were on the sidelines awaiting every moment that the battle, we all had to wonder at one point or another, will there be football and if so, when? Will we be able to enjoy the game we have all come to love or would we be robbed of the one thing that makes Sunday’s worth it?
After months of arguing and bickering, the NFL and NFLPA came to a 10 year agreement which guarantees football for 10 years; no opt-out clause. Ten years of NFL football and staying glued to the sets every Sunday and Monday along with a couple Saturdays and Thursdays. This is what we love, this is what we breathe and for some, this is what we write.
Now we turn our attention to the team that whether you like them or hate them, is the team that everyone is always talking about. Your beloved Dallas Cowboys. Entering the NFL season, there were some definite holes that needed to be filled in order for this team to be considered a contender. There were some things that needed to be done in order to make this team relevant again in the eyes of NFL fans as well as die hard Dallas Cowboys fans. Within this writing, we are going to take a look at what is needed, who has been released, who should be signed as well as who has been signed.
Coming into the offseason, everyone knew that Safety was going to be a position of need. There was no doubt in that and no running from that fact. After watching Alan Ball get torched on a constant basis and made to look like a true corner converted Safety, it is obvious that this is one position that was needed from the get go. One name which constantly was floated around was Michael Huff. A Texas product, he made it very clear that he wanted to be in Dallas and you though that Dallas wanted him. After it pretty much came out that Rob Ryan was not a huge fan of him nor did he feel that he was the kind of player the Cowboys needed, he resigned with the Oakland Raiders and the pipe dream of getting a real, ball hawking Safety was down the tubes.
We now turn our eyes to Safety Abe Elam, who was a former Cowboy who was picked up by Dallas in 2006 as an undrafted free agent out of Kent State. After a one year stop with the Jets, he played for the Browns and most notably for Rob Ryan. Rob Ryan liked what he saw with him and Abe signed a one year deal, which seems to be kind of the norm this year with such a short offseason.
Many people ask why Dallas was not in the market for a big name. Franky, Dallas is in a very unique situation where they need talent however they have a very limited amount of money to do things. After releasing four contracts, which we will get to, they are going to have over $20 million in dead money in 2012. So jeopardizing your franchise in the future is not the best thing to do when you can get a serviceable player for the right amount of money. Abe Elam is not a big name, but he is a player that is true to the position and can play the position. For one, I believe that this can work out for both sides as I feel that Elam can be the stop gap between what they have had and the future of the position.
Another need coming into the offseason was on the Offensive Line. Many felt that the number one priority for Dallas was going to be Doug Free and Jerry Jones quickly took care of that by locking up Doug Free for the next 4 years, for $32 million. Jerry Jones quickly answered that with signing Kyle Kosier to a 3 year deal and first round draft pick Tyron Smith to a 4 year deal respectively. Continuity on the Offensive Line is priority number one if this team is going to do anything. Keeping Tony Romo on his feet is going to go a long way to determining where this team goes. Adding two bookends like Free and Smith for the next 4 years adds a lot of comfort to the mind of Tony Romo and should to many Cowboys fans. Montrae Holland will be stepping in to take the Right Guard spot from the recently released Leonard Davis and many would believe that he will hold his own.
However he Leonard davis) did come into camp at a whopping 340 pounds. For someone who is only 6’ 2", that would be considered a little overweight. However, many have liked what he has done in a reserved role and now that he has the chance to supplant himself as the started, I look for Holland to have a breakout year. Dallas could add a little depth here at the Guard spot. One name that you may hear thrown around is Brian Waters, who made it clear he would like to finish his career in the state of Texas. However, if he is not willing to do the league minimum, I find this a very long shot to happen.
Lastly, Defensive End was a spot many looked at as one that would need to be done. With Bowen, Hatcher and Spears all becoming free agents, many thought Dallas would have to sign atleast one to have an impact. Jerry did you one better and signed two, or so it seems. Spears was recently signed to a five year deal and Jason Hatcher resigned for a three year deal.
DE Stephen Bowen, which many liked has decided to head to the enemy as he got a very large deal from Washington. Whether that was worth the price for the amount of playing time he has shown remains to be seen. Many though Cullen Jenkins would be a great fit in Dallas especially once Washington bowed out, but as the Eagles did with Nnamdi, they swooped in and took the prize. Dallas did add another Rob Ryan product in former Cowboys Kenyon Coleman. This former 5th round pick out of UCLA played with Dallas from 2003 - 2006. Under Ryan, Coleman played well and Dallas is hoping the same can hold true with his second stint in Dallas. Coleman registered nearly 70 tackles and 2.5 sacks with Cleveland in 2010 and looks to continue to build off of that another year under Ryan.
When looking at who Dallas moved before the cap deadline, there may be one or two surprises. Of the main names that were cut from the Cowboys, the most notable names were Marion Barber, Marc Colombo, Leonard Davis and Roy Williams...part two. Many figured that Barber and Colombo would be cap causalities. Both had fallen off over the last couple of years. Colombo with injuries and Barber with what many saw coming due to his heavy running. Davis was somewhat of a surprise as the last six games of the season, he played very well.
WR Roy Williams underachieved the entire time in Dallas and became a somewhat easy choice with the emergence of Dez Bryant. Jerry Jones has gone on record to say that the trade for Roy Williams rivaled the horrid trade made for Joey Galloway when Dallas gave up two first round draft picks. Releasing these four players along with a couple more cuts along the way got the Cowboys where they needed to be in order to get under the salary cap limit of $120 million.
None the less, Dallas has moved on from their failed contracts and are hoping to promote within these positions. I look for Kevin Olgetree to have a huge year as a possible replacement at the third receiver. He could very well be the perfect fit to be in the slot receiver role. As stated above, Holland will most likely get first crack at Right Guard, first round draft pick Tyron Smith will see the Left Tackle starting spot and Cowboys fans should most likely get their wish of seeing a little more Tashard Choice in the backfield, if he can somehow get healthy in time to prove his worth on the field.
19 January 2011
Looking at 2011
There is no doubt that heading into the offseason of 2011; there is a lot of disappointment. Not only at Valley Ranch but in America as a whole as the entire fan base of the Dallas Cowboys suffer one of the most disappointing seasons in franchise history. While just a few short months ago, people had Dallas becoming the first team in NFL history to play in the Super Bowl in their own stadium, and trust me that is something Jerry Jones would have loved to have had! However it is never too early to begin looking into the future of America's Team through the next few months. Let's take a look at some of the possibilities the Cowboys could be facing this coming offseason, draft and beyond (assuming there will be a football season next year).
The first thing many look at is what does this team need most? I think two positions that scream out are offensive line and safety. Doug Free was easily the most consistent lineman Dallas had during the season. With him being a free agent, look for Mr. Jones to lock up his contract first and foremost. Then you take a look at the rest of the line. Gurode is almost a lock to comeback as he has played rather well at the center position. Kyle Kosier will be a free agent as well however, I look for Jerry to lock him up as well, if for nothing else as insurance for a free agent or top flight rookie. Then you look at the rest of the line, you have Leonard Davis who has a lot of money left on his deal and Marc Colombo, who still has the ability at the line but the biggest knock is if he can stay healthy? There is no doubt that Dallas will look to the line in the draft to try and do something they have not had much luck doing in draft and that is building a young, consistent offensive line (Hello Stephen Peterman!).
Looking at the safety position, I think many would agree that the Alan Ball project is most likely over. However, do you take a chance with one of your members of the 2010 draft class? Would you take a good look at Church or McCray to fill the void? Ball will also be a free agent this year as well. Then again, what about picking up a corner and moving Newman to safety? It has been proven time and time again that as cornerbacks begin to age, they have the ability to play safety and does it well. This could be the perfect time to test that theory. With Gerald Sensabaugh also no longer having a current deal in place, he could also be on the way elsewhere and now leaving two holes to fill in the backfield of the Dallas defense. Sensabaugh has played well though and I expect him to be back next season.
Another burning question is who will lead the Dallas defense in the 2011 season? As of this writing, Dallas is currently meeting with Rob Ryan who runs a phenomenal 3-4 defense and would show tons of different looks for the opposing offense. Jason Garrett has shown a lot of interest in bringing in Mike Nolan to run his defense and of course we cannot forget about Dom Capers who has pretty much become the master of the 3-4. However, Capers most likely would not be interested in another project of building another defense with his schemes and bringing in his own type of players. Assuming Ryan does not get the job, look for Dallas to interview Ray Horton who is currently the defensive backs coach for the Steelers and also played for the Dallas Cowboys from 1989 - 1992. At the end of the day, I could see Dallas going after a name. While Horton would be a good fit, he has never been a coordinator anywhere and it may not be wise for Jerry to decide to let him be the test run to see if he would be good or not. However, at any time a new candidate could come out of the blue but as things sit now, I look for Ryan or Nolan to get the job and begin building this team for next season.
Lastly is a position that has already been decided on and that is the head coaching position. Jason Garrett officially had the interim tag removed days after the season finale and in the process signed a 4 year deal to be the Dallas head coach for at least the foreseeable future. This is one decision that even the fans had to agree with Jerry on. Jason, a former Cowboys QB, brought a lot of things to this team that it looked to have been missing and that was discipline and pride. For the first time in a long time, since the Parcells era, players were held accountable for what they did and did not do. They were told to follow a certain code and face consequences if they weren't met. Also, Jerry did not want to see another coordinator leave his team only to win a Super Bowl, ala Sean Payton. While Jerry has been criticized over the years, I firmly believe this is one he got right. This is one that will work out for the best and if nothing else will instill a little bit that has been missing for a few seasons now.
Be sure to check out future posting(s) where we will look at free agency, the collective bargaining agreement as well as the draft.
5 January 2011
As the dust settles on another season for the Dallas Cowboys, everyone is left once again to wonder what it might have been? What if Romo had not been injured and Dallas ended up pulling out the win against New York? What if Garrett had taken over sooner? What if the defense did pick up where they left off last season? What if Choice hadn't fumbled before the half? These are questions not only fans but players themselves are asking as the season ended once again far too soon compared to expectations.
In the final showdown with the Eagles this season and final game of the regular season for both teams, it was what you expected; A very sloppy game. Dallas, a team that had struggled all year but somehow has found their identity in the past few weeks played probably its worst two game stretch in the Garrett Era. Losing a heartbreaker in Arizona and squeaking out a win over a second string Eagles team. Mcgee got his first start with the injured Kitna and other than the touchdown in the end of the game to seal the win, did not play very well. He went 11/27 for 127 yards and one touchdown. He was sacked twice. Felix Jones continued his starting role as he led all rushers with 81 yards on 11 carries. Miles Austin led all receivers in yards with 62 yards on 2 receptions. Witten caught 4 passes for 46 yards and caught the lone touchdown for Dallas to win the game with one minute left in the game. Both Witten and Austin eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving this season.
The Dallas defense came up huge, most notably Ware as he not only recovered a fumble for a touchdown but also recorded 3 sacks and won the NFL Sack Title for the 2010 season, finishing with 15.5 sacks total on the year. The Dallas defense was able to pick off Kolb three times including one from Sensabaugh and two from Newman. Spencer was also able to come up with two sacks himself.
Philadelphia played as you would think a team would play who was resting all starters. Of the notable inactives was Vick, Jackson and Samuels. Kolb filled in for Vick going 18/36 for 162 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Hall for Philadelphia led all receivers with 84 yards on 6 receptions for one touchdown. Harrison had a great game as he ran for 99 yards on 21 carries. The defense was led by Gaither in tackles with 10 and Patterson and Te'o-Nesheim who each had a sack. This game was dominated by punts with a total of 15 on the day, 8 from Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowler McBriar and 7 from Rocca for Philadelphia.
There is no doubt that within the next couple of days, more and more will surface as far as who the next head coach will be for the Dallas Cowboys. Much speculation has already occurred on who will take over the full time duties and I think everyone will be highly surprised if Garrett is not the head coach next season. On Tuesday, Dallas interviewed Ray Sherman, Wide Receivers coach and many believe this was a way to satisfy the Rooney Rule before naming Garrett coach. The question then comes in as to who else will join the staff? There has been talks of Tony Sporano may work with Garrett if he is fired from the Dolphins. Capers could come over from Green Bay as his contract is up, however with the defense he has built there, that is somewhat unlikely. Mangini could be another choice to come in as the defensive coordinator. Rumors will swirl and names will be dropped, but until the line is signed, nothing will be official and nothing more than speculation.
Please be sure to check back often as we will be breaking down the coaching decision as well as looking forward to the draft in April when the Dallas Cowboys will be picking 9th overall.
29 December 2010
Garrett Era Takes a Hit
A rare sour moment in the Garrett era took place Saturday night in Arizona as Dallas dropped a heartbreaker to the Cardinals, 27 - 26. After getting off to a bad start, having two interceptions returned for touchdowns and getting down to an early deficit, Dallas was able to roar back behind Stephen McGee, after a Jon Kitna knee injury and was an extra point away from taking a three point lead with under 3 minutes left to go in the game. David Buehler missed a chip shot extra point, after hitting 53 and 42 yard field goals, which eventually led to what hurt the team in the end of the heartbreaking loss.
Kitna in the first half did not have the best stats as he threw two interceptions returned for touchdowns. Both of which were not his fault as they were dropped by the receivers. He finished 12 of 20 with 115 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He went down with a knee injury toward the end of the second quarter and did not return to the game. Stephen McGee took over and after numerous running plays, he finished with a decent game considering he had never taken a snap and finished 11 of 17 for 111 yards and one touchdown. Felix Jones was the leading rusher with 77 yards on 16 carries. Marion Barber returned to the lineup with a nice 58 yards on 8 carries and scored the lone rushing touchdown. He was flagged 15 yard for excessive celebration after his touchdown run for removing his helmet after the score. Miles Austin had a nice game as he caught 6 balls for 115 yards and one touchdown, including a 37 yard touchdown from McGee to take the lead with little time left on the clock. Jason Witten caught the other Cowboys touchdown as well.
The Dallas defense played well against the run, allowing less than 100 yards for all four runners. John Skelton finished the game 11 of 25 for 183 yards and one touchdown however he was able to put the Cardinals in the position to win the game as he marched the offense down the field on a 1:36 drive, leaving 5 seconds on the game clock. The Cowboys recorded only one sack in the game, as Ware continued his hot streak and got another sack upping his total to 12.5 on the year. Penalties were even for both teams as Dallas had 7 for 49 yards and the Cardinals had 6 for 43 yards.
Garrett is now 4-3 as head coach of Dallas and goes into his final game of the season. It is assuring that he will not finished his stint with a losing record, but a 4-4 record over the eight games may not be enough to win him the job. Jones has said himself that Garrett's lack of experience concerns him and alluded to the fact that no head coach has ever won a Super Bowl with two different teams. Some took that as he may go after a head coach that has won a Super Bowl to be another 'first' in Dallas while others took it as him not interested in trying to make it work. Either way, we could be a mere couple weeks away from finding out either way. As soon as the clock hits 0:00 in Philadelphia on Sunday, the Garrett Watch clock will start, however no one knows when exactly it may end.
21 December 2010
The Tale of Two Halves
In one of the most meaningless games between the Redskins and Cowboys in recent memory, the Cowboys were able to pull out a 33 - 30 win against the Redskins. After jumping out to a 30 - 14 lead with what looked to be the game in hand, the Redskins led by Rex Grossman were able to tie the game and put the pressure on Dallas with little time to go in the fourth quarter. David Buehler was able to kick, what was the game winning field goal with little time in the fourth quarter to carry Dallas home with their 5th win of the season and 4th win under Head Coach Jason Garrett.
The weekend started out bizarre as Donovan McNabb was benched in favor of Rex Grossman. In the same interview, it was noted that McNabb would be benched the rest of the season in order to see Grossman and John Beck in more light to see how their future would be at the QB position. Dallas took advantage of this by coming out very strong, scoring the first 13 points of the game, coming from two Buehler field goals and one connection from Miles Austin to Jon Kitna. Torain was able to run from 19 yards out to bring the Redskins closer as the Cowboys then answered with two touchdowns, one to Witten and a 3 yard run by Choice. The Cowboys were able to jump all the way out to a 30 - 14 lead but with two touchdowns later for the Redskins, they were able to close in on the Cowboys in order to make it somewhat interesting.
Jon Kitna finished the game 25/37 for 305 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Felix Jones led all running backs with 70 yards on 12 carries and Choice added 53 yards on 15 carries. Witten had a huge game as he was able to catch 10 passes for 140 yards and 1 touchdown. Jones also added 47 yards on 2 carries to have a very strong statistical game. The Dallas defense was able to commit three turnovers, two on interceptions and one on a fumble recovery, forced by Ware and recovered by Ratliff. Both Sensabaugh and Newman were able to grab both interceptions, Newman's the more costly one as it was picked off with the last gasp of Washington falling short. Dallas was able to get a total of 5 sacks, Sensabaugh, Scandrick and Butler all with one and Ware with two extending his double digit sack streak for another season.
The Redskins had a very strong game at the QB position as Grossman was able to throw for 322 yards on 25 of 43 attempts and two interceptions. Torain led all running backs with 53 yards on 11 carries. Santana Moss caught two touchdowns for Washington with 8 receptions and 72 yards. Anthony Armstrong was able to add 5 receptions for 100 yards. The Washington defense came up with zero turnovers but was able to come up with two sacks on Jon Kitna, one from Holliday and one from Doughty.
All in all it was a game that turned out as expected. Two teams that will not sniff the playoffs this year with very sloppy play at times and flashes of brilliance others. It was a tale of two halves, the first half dominated by Dallas and the second half dominated by Washington. Both teams enter the final two weeks of the season at 5-9 and both vying for a top ten pick. Currently, Washington holds the tie breaker and would pick after Dallas due to conference record; Dallas 3-7 to Washington’s 4-7. This could change as Dallas' final two games are against NFC opponents, starting with Christmas day against the Arizona Cardinals.
8 December 2010
Upset the Colts
Dallas once again showcased their ability to fight in a lost season as they once again came out, fought hard and got a hard earned victory against the Colts in Indianapolis. For the fourth week now under Jason Garrett, Dallas has fought hard, been in every game and either gave themselves a chance to win or came close enough to make it interesting. For the fourth week in a row, Jason Garrett has put his stamp on this team and served noticed that he should be the future coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Players look to be responding to the former Cowboys QB and have really seemed to have taken note of what he wants and what he expects, that has transferred to the field.
The offense had a very nice game. They did not have to put the entire game on Kitna's arm again as they have in the past, as he only threw for 167 yards and only had 26 pass attempts, completing 18 of them and one touchdown, which was a go ahead score to Jason Witten with under 4 minutes to play. The running game got off the ground as Tashard Choice took a good amount of carries, 19 to be exact and ran for 100 yards for the first time this season, including a 20 yard touchdown run on the first drive of the game. Felix Jones added with 83 yards on 22 carries. Altogether, the running game was able to net 217 yards, by far one of the best outputs if not the best output this entire year. They did it without former Minnesota Gopher Marion Barber as he missed the game due to injury. Miles Austin led all receivers with 47 yards however four receivers had 20+ yards total for the day as Kitna did a nice job distributing the ball. Dez Bryant however looks to be done for the year as he fractured his ankle, which was operated on this past Monday, during a kickoff return in the second half. Many wonder why he was in this position with his importance to the offense. No matter the reasoning for it, Dez Bryant has shown his potential this season and given Cowboys fans a lot to look forward to in the near future.
The Dallas defense played well, no matter how the total score looked. Sean Lee had a breakout game as he was able to pick Peyton Manning off twice, one for a touchdown return in the 3rd quarter and then another in overtime which set Dallas up for a field goal attempt which one the game, a 38 yarder from David Buehler. Altogether, Dallas was able to pick Manning off for a total of 4 times, the other two picks by Alan Ball and Orlando Scandrick, which the interception by Scandrick was returned for a touchdown as well. Dallas was able to hold the running game to under 50 yards total however the passing game was a struggle as Reggie Wayne alone had 200 yards receiving on 14 catches plus one touchdown. Manning ended up throwing the ball almost 50 times, 36/48 but was able to throw for 365 yards and two touchdowns to go along with his four total interceptions. However as the past has shown for Dallas, just because you have big numbers in the passing game does not always translate to a win, and this was another case of that. Jenkins led all defensive players with 8 tackles. No sacks were recorded on the day for the Dallas defense. The Colts were able to record two sacks, one by Mathis and one by Freeney.
One of the most crucial plays in the game was after the Colts was able to tie the game up, McCann returned the kickoff out from the goal line and fumbled. Luckily, Lonyae Miller, who was just signed from the practice squad that week to replace Barber, was able to recover the fumble and essentially save the game. Had he not been there, there was a very good chance it would have been an exact replay of the Saints game. Another potential win which was lost due to a fumble. Another impressive moment of the game was when Dallas was able to drive down to score the go ahead score in the fourth on a 18 plays, 81 yard drive which took up 10:18 of the game clock, easily the longest drive of the season and maybe even the most impressive. This is a totally different team than what has been seen in recent weeks. Players hold each other accountable and now just don't want to lose. Garrett is now 3-1 however Jerry Jones himself has pumped the brakes on anointing Garrett as the next head coach. He remembers that Garrett was a part of the debacle in the beginning of this season and that may still end up playing a factor in his decision at the end of the season.
Next up, Dallas will host Philly for an important divisional matchup. This is one of the two games they will play against Philly in the remaining four weeks of the season. While the Cowboys playoff hopes are any and everything less than faint, they have the chance to play spoiler to a divisional foe. The game will be in Dallas and you can bet that they will be ready to go when it is time to play. While this game looked pretty easy around Week 9 for Philly, this is a brand new team with a brand new philosophy and they are fighting until the end. Whether they are close to the playoffs or not, Dallas still has pride to play for and that is evident for the past four weeks. Time will tell if it hold true for the last quarter of the season.
30 November 2010
Dallas Comes up Short on Thanksgiving
For another week in the Garrett Era, Dallas played better than the first 8 weeks of the season. Although Dallas came up short in a 30 - 27 loss to the Saints, one thing was very apparent from beginning to end in this game on Thanksgiving and that was this Dallas team likes Garrett, listens to Garrett and respects Garrett. Three things many questioned if it happened when Phillips was head coach.
The game started off pretty rough as the Saints got off to a 17 - 0 lead. Many thought the Cowboys were returning to previous form and would fold like a piece of paper. However that was not the case. Dallas was able to draw within 14 going into half. Then with less than a minute into the third quarter, Miles Austin ran a reverse and with great downfield blocking was able to run in for a 60 yard touchdown. After a Saints field goal, Dallas was able to pound the ball into the end zone in two possessions with Barber running in from 1 yard out and Choice running in from 1 yard out.
Dallas had a tight clinch on the game late and as Kitna connected with Roy Williams on a nice pass and catch, Roy Williams fumbled on the 11 yard line which would have iced the game and sent Dallas on its way with a three game winning streak. Instead, Brees connected with Lance Moore on a 12 yard touchdown with a little under 2 minutes on the clock and Dallas had one more chance to win the game. They dinked and dunked down the field and setup Buehler with a 59 yard field goal to send the game into overtime. While the kick had the distance, it did not have the accuracy, one thing Buehler has lacked all year and Dallas was left feeling what it could have been.
Kitna came away with another 300 yard passing game as he completed 30/42 passes. He did not have any touchdowns but did have one interception. Felix Jones was able to run for 44 yards on 13 carries as he continues to be the primary running back. Miles Austin led the way with the most rushing yards for the day as went for 60 yards on a touchdown. Jason Witten had another solid performance as he caught 10 balls for 99 yards.
WR Dez Bryant was held in check by the Saints defense as he had zero catches in the game. The defense looked decent as well as they really hampered down in the second half and limited the Saints to only 10 points which was better than the 17 it gave up on the first three Saints possessions of the game. Ware and Ratliff both were able to record sacks to up their sack totals to 9.5 and 2.5 respectively. Gerald Sensabagh recorded the only interception for the Dallas defense.
QB Drew Brees was able to out duel Kitna as he went 23/39 for 352 yards and one touchdown and one interception. Julius Jones, former Dallas Cowboys second round pick, was the leading rusher for the Saints as he ran for 45 yards on 10 carries. Colston led all Saints receivers with 105 yards on 6 catches. Lance Moore caught the lone Saints touchdown. Will Smith had a huge day for the Saints defense as he was able to record a sack, interception and a forced fumble and clearly was the biggest defensive threat on the field for the Saints.
Clearly one thing this game showed was the fact that Garrett has this team playing hard again, and while the playoffs are out of reach, this team is clearly responding to Garrett and buying into what he is selling. Many wonder that with even a loss, if Garrett may have won this job with this game. Under Phillips, this team would have lost 45 - 3 and had to endure another horrible blowout. Instead they brought themselves back into the game and played as hard as they could and set themselves up with a chance at the end of the game. For them, that was a win of sorts.
Next week, Dallas goes to Indy to play the Colts as they continue their struggles as well. While many will look at the Colts as the favorites in this game, it cannot be overlooked that this Dallas team is looking to finish strong and even with the playoffs clearly out of reach, this is a team that is not only playing for pride and respect but for a head coach that they believe in and in a coach that they clearly want in Dallas, for many years to come!
22 November 2010
Another week in the Garrett era and another win is the end result. For the second straight week, the Cowboys were able to put 30+ points on the board in a 35 - 19 rout of the Detroit Lions. The offense once again looked to be a well oiled machine as they were able to put up big numbers. They had a running game that become somewhat consistent compared to previous weeks and a passing game that wasn't stellar when you look at the stats sheet but was good enough, none the less to make a difference in the game.
QB Jon Kitna was able to out-duel Shaun Hill by going 18 for 24 for 147 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions. His continued consistency has been a huge difference in this team over the last two weeks. Kitna was also able to run for 40 yards on 4 carries, including a 29 yard scamper for the touchdown which basically sealed the game, all lead by great downfield blocking by Doug Free. Miles Austin and Dez Bryant both had quiet games when looking at yards as they both combined for 5 catches and 15 yards but had 3 touchdowns between the both of them, 1 by Dez on a 1 yard touchdown and 2 by Austin for both 3 and 4 yard touchdown respectively. Witten was able to lead all receivers with 48 total yards. RB Felix Jones led all running backs with 51 yards on 11 carries.
The Dallas defense once again played at a top level as they were able to get pressure on Hill. Hatcher and Bowen each had a sack and Ware and Ratliff converged for a sack as they were able to put the pressure on all day long. Newman was able to come away with a nice interception toward the end of the game that helped ice the results. When looking at the Lions on the offensive side of the ball, the running game was pretty much not there. There leading rusher was Morris who ran for 31 yards on 10 carries. They had no rushing touchdowns. Burleson played very well as he was able to get 97 yards on 7 receptions and a touchdown. Orlando Scandrick had a very good game as he was able to keep most of the receivers he faced in check.
DB Brian McCann once again had a huge game as he was able to score another touchdown for the second straight week in a row on a 97 yard punt return. It was a smart, heads up play by McCann as the ball was batted back into the field of play by a Lions player who was trying to down it near the one. McCann got the ball and scampered up the sideline for a 97 yard return. Further review showed McCann did step out of bounds but the play was not reviewed by Detroit and stood as another huge play by the rookie from SMU. This is the second week in a row, McCann was able to make a huge play which resulted in a momentum shifter. After McCann's touchdown, Dallas got the ball back after a fumble forced by rookie Sean Lee and recovered by Jason Hatcher and then led to the first of two Miles Austin touchdowns.
The killer for Detroit was the penalties as they racked up 76 yards on 10 penalties. None hurt them more than the horse collar tackle called on Suh who pulled Barber down by the hair. The refs thought it was inside the pads which would have resulted in a correct call however after a replay it showed it clearly was the hair that was pulled and no part of the pad. This showed to be a huge game changer as it went from 3rd and Goal from the Detroit 11 to 1st and Goal from the Detroit five. Miles Austin then caught his second pass for a touchdown in the game two plays later.
Dallas now has to turn around on a short week and play the New Orleans Saints; a team that was 13-0 last season before getting beaten by Dallas in New Orleans. The Saints now come back to town and really a tale of two teams. One is sitting at 7-3 and all but a lock to make the playoffs while the other is 3-7 and just now able to find themselves. There is no doubt though that this game will be a lot more intense than previously thought a couple weeks ago. Dallas is playing hard for Garrett and he has put his stamp on this team.
Dallas still believes there is a chance at the playoffs and with a win against New Orleans on Turkey Day, they can draw closer to that as well as give Jason Garrett an even better chance at possibly getting the job full time. Regardless of the outcome of this game, one thing is for sure, this is a totally different Dallas team than what started the season and this is a team that is playing as a team, which is a lot more than could be said earlier in the year. One thing is for sure, if Dallas can pull out a win on Thursday, how much do you think Jerry will be kicking himself for not making the move sooner?
16 November 2010
Jason Garrett to the Rescue
The Garrett era started off with a sure fire bang as the Cowboys went to New York for their first game in the new Giants stadium and defeated the Giants by a final score of 33 - 20.
Not only did the Cowboys shutdown numerous phases of the Giants game but they also managed to shutdown the electricity within the new stadium. Did someone forget to pay the light bill or what? Either way, this is the Cowboys team that everyone has been waiting to see since August. This is the team that everyone has been waiting to take advantage of given opportunities and turn them into a plus for them. Sunday afternoon, they did just that.
QB Jon Kitna continued his domination through the air, throwing for over 300 yards for another week, winning his first game since 2007, as he was able to throw for 327 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. He was over 50% passing and has began to grow a real chemistry with WR Dez Bryant who caught 3 passes for 104 yards and 1 touchdown. RB Felix Jones got the start as Marion Barber started the game on the bench. While some think it may be due to the fact that he did not follow Garrett's dress code, Garrett said it was due to playing calling. Both Felix Jones, 85 yards receiving and 51 yards rushing as well as WR Miles Austin, 68 yards, caught touchdowns as well. The defense played very well recording 2 interceptions, one by Alan Ball which sealed the win and one by rookie Brian McCann, which was returned for 101 yards, longest interception return in Cowboys history.
The Cowboy defense had no sacks on the day but did a good job pressuring Manning and forcing him into mistakes. All in all, it was the kind of game that would make any Cowboys fan proud. I am not talking about the Cowboys fans that want to see this team lose so they can gain the #1 overall pick. I am talking about the ones that have been with this team all season and never jumped off the wagon. They played well in all phases of the game, won the turnover battle and won the game.
On the opposite side of the ball, you saw a Giants team that never really got into the groove of things. Manning was able to throw for 373 yards for 2 touchdowns but the 2 interceptions were killers and thrown at bad times. The first was thrown when the Giants were setup about the score and Brian McCann jumped the route and returned it for 6. The other was while the Giants were matching again and Ball was able to swoop in and take the ball away and seal the game. The Cowboys defense did a fabulous job on stopping the running game as they had a total of 107 yards on 28 carries, which averaged less than 4 yards a carry. Jacobs was held to a nonfactor as he only ran for 17 yards. Bradshaw did fairly well running for 73 yards on 20 carries. Neither scored touchdowns. Manningham lead all Giants receivers with 91 yards receiving on 10 catches and 1 touchdown.
Both Jenkins and Newman went out with injuries during this game, Newman later returned, and the Cowboys were left with Scandrick and McCann to man the receivers. Both guys played very well in situations and were able to take care of business when it mattered most. Jenkins went out of the game with a neck injury and will be evaluated on Monday. Newman continues to battle sore ribs and was able to return to the game which is a good sign for Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions.
Garrett had a strong first game as head coach. While it is exciting to see a team play with heart, everyone has to remember this was one game. This was one game of eight total games that Garrett has to prove he is head coach material. String together a couple more of these types of wins, especially against the Saints and Colts, the two teams who played in last year’s Super Bowl and then you may have some believers. He has made a strong push to change the culture in the locker room and hold guys accountable when things are done wrong. This week will be another test. The Detroit Lions will be coming into Dallas looking to snap a 25 game road loss streak, which was broken on Sunday and surpassed their streak from the 2001 - 2003 seasons. Dallas should win this game and win it handily but this will see how well they really can play under Garrett. Everyone thought they would come out with heart and play as hard as possible for their new leader. This week will serve as a true test as to whether or not this team will return to its old ways or if they truly have turned things around for the better and continuing to put the best foot forward.
25 April 2009
Cowboys Picks Rounds 4 – 7
Akwasi Owusu Ansah, CB/S, Illinois (Pa.) – With the acquisition of Ansah, the Cowboys have allowed themselves to move Alan Ball to corner on a full time basis (once Ansah gets his legs under him or a veteran is acquired). With this pick Patrick Watkins, special teams ace, is also now expendable. Ansah is a special teams standout with the skills necessary to become a solid player at safety. He is adept at both kick and punt returns. Expect the Cowboys to make a play for A.J. Atogwe on June 1st, the day he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
Sam Young, OT, Notre Dame – I imagine this pick is a bit of a head scratcher for the casual observer. The Cowboys lose Flozell Adams and they don’t pick a tackle until the 3rd day? The Cowboys already have their starter at left tackle, namely Doug Free. You don’t draft backups on the first day. That’s why they passed on the several tackles still available to grab the uber-talented Dez Bryant.
Jamar Wall, CB, Texas Tech – Wall is an athletically gifted corner that did well against the prolific passing offenses of the Big 12 South. You can never have too many good corners.
23 April 2009
Cowboys Trade Up For Sean Lee
Previously, we had been asking ourselves the question – offensive line or safety? Apparently the answer is neither. Dallas moved up four spots in a trade with division rival Philadelphia, once again jumping the Baltimore Ravens, this time to take ILB Sean Lee out of Penn State. Frankly the pick threw me off, along with a host of other Dallas fans. I had not bothered to research much about linebackers for this draft, as I didn’t consider it a big need. But upon further review and hearing some comments about him, Sean Lee sounds like a beast.
Mel Kiper, draft guru, says that Lee is the most instinctive linebacker in the draft. Reggie Herring, Cowboys linebacker coach, called him “once in a lifetime”. Those are particularly strong words, but from all the reports I have read they don’t seem to be unwarranted.
Overall, Lee has great football intelligence, has a good burst in pass rushing situations, is adept at slipping past blockers to get to the ball carrier, and is an asset in pass defense. Furthermore, reports say that he is a natural born leader and highly competitive. Sounds like a three down linebacker to me.
So this brings up another question. What is the future of Bobby Carpenter? Time will tell.
Welcome to Dallas, Sean Lee !!!
Day 2: Offensive Line or Safety ?
Now that the glamour pick has been had, thanks to the shrewd draft strategies of Jerry Jones and company, what’s next? The second round and beyond are the rounds where it’s okay to reach, ie take a player at a position higher than his subjective worth, and as such they are the rounds where you can go all out to address needs. Two needs that have been hashed and re-hashed for the Cowboys are offensive line and free safety.
As for offensive line, this year’s starters are set. You are not getting anybody at this point who could come in and start right away. And besides that, the need for an immediate starter is non existent. The Cowboys have addressed the needs of tackle by placing Doug Free at left tackle. Returning is right tackle Marc Colombo, who is simply a beast over there. People get too caught up in the Minnesota game where he turned in a sub par performance and they completely forget that was his first game coming back from a fractured ankle. You try going back to your companies softball league a little early recovering from a broken ankle and tell me how that feels. Backing them up is Robert Brewster, whom we didn’t see last year due to pre-season injury. But the coaches are high on him and that’s good enough for me. The starters are also returning on the interior line. I think the backup center/guard is the issue, so if there are any 2010 offensive line needs, that’s where it’s at.
In case you haven’t heard by now, Ken Hamlin, famous liner-upper of defensive backfields, was released this offseason. In his place the Cowboys are looking to put Alan Ball, again a guy who did a good job in backup roles last year, and the coaches are high on. The other free safety is Mike Hamlin, from last year’s draft. While Ball is a steady and reliable player, what happens if he goes down with injury? Like the old shoe commercial says “Bad things, man. Bad things.”
But do these positions need to be filled in the draft? Fans have been talking all season long about Baltimore’s left tackle Jared Gaither and St. Louis’ safety Atogwe. Of note, Atogwe, one of the better safeties in the league, will be unrestricted come June 1st. Oh yeah, he’s also injured.
So to answer the question, I think it would be wise for the Cowboys to somehow acquire a third round pick (they swapped their third for New England’s fourth in last nights Dez Bryant trade) and pick up one of each – whoever is the better value at the time. What will Jerry Jones do? Probably something unexpected.
In sharp contrast to last year’s much derided backup/special teams draft, Jerry Jones moved up a few slots at a very small price and nabbed the best receiver in this draft and quite possibly the best in the last couple of years (Crabtree included), when he drafted Oklahoma State’s Dez Bryant.
Bryant was at that point the unquestioned best player available, and had Dallas not traded up with New England, the Baltimore Ravens would most certainly have drafted him with the very next pick.
Here are some of the qualities that WR Dez Bryant brings to Dallas: he has excellent hands and can go up and fight for the ball. Dez is strong, big, fast, and can make good things happen after the catch. He has the speed to go deep, and he adjusts very well to the ball in the air. He’s also competitive and aggressive in close quarters – he’ll fight tooth and nail for the ball. About the only thing you can knock Bryant on is he is not a very good blocker. He is also an excellent punt returner. All things considered, Dallas got the hands-down best receiver in the draft at a bargain price.
So, what is Dez’ role on the team? The only thing we know for certain is that he is going to be returning punts. In the coming weeks, speculation will fly about the fate of Roy Williams. Dallas currently has Williams, Bryant, Miles Austin, Patrick Crayton, Sam Hurd, Kevin Ogletree, and 2 practice squad players in Manuel Johnson and Jesse Holley. That’s six plus two projects, so in one of my favorite sayings, “Something’s gotta give.” That something could “give” in the next two days or not until training camp. Jerry says Roy is staying, but then again, he also said he’s happy with the receiver corps and he’s not going to trade up to get one. One thing’s for sure, we didn’t just draft the best receiver to come along in a couple of years just to sit him on the bench. He will most assuredly get his reps this year.
Welcome to Dallas, Dez!
22 April 2009
DEZ BRYANT IS A COWBOY
Just when us Bryant-Watchers were getting breathless, Dallas traded up from pick 27 to 24 and got themselves a top flight wide receiver in Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant.
More on WR Dez Bryant will come later.
16 April 2009
Cowboys Pre Draft Special.
It’s now six days until draft day, and it’s time to do some looking around and seeing what Cowboy Nation has been up to.
First stop is the offensive line. In case you’ve been on a survival adventure for the last month, you know that Flozell Adams, long time left tackle, has been released. Some question the timing of the move, but the timing here allows Adams the courtesy of finding other employment and allows Doug Free to get into the mindset of being the team’s starting left tackle and all the reps going into training camp.
Plenty of fans and commentators, although aware of the good job Free did at right tackle last year, wonder if he can handle the job of starting left tackle. Free is a very quick and agile player, and therefore is actually more suited to the left tackle position than the right.
The Cowboys should be good at left tackle, but they should still look to pick up another in the draft. The depth along the entire line is a big concern, and it seems like the appropriate time to begin rebuilding the Cowboys offensive line for the future. Maurkice Pouncey, the center/guard from Florida, has been seen going to the Cowboys on several mocks recently (I don’t see him falling to us), as have been several other offensive linemen, including the likes of Anthony Davis, Bruce Campbell, and Charles Brown from USC. I would like to see the Cowboys take two offensive linemen – a tackle and a combination center/guard. Along the offensive line, Dallas is good on starters, but if an unfortunate injury occurs, it could spell disaster.
Another notable offseason loss has been that of free safety Ken Hamlin. Hamlin took a lot of grief from Cowboy Nation over his lackluster tackling ability and lack of big plays, but darn it, he sure could line up a defense ! Who’s going to replace that value ?? Sarcasm being what it is, I’m sure we could find someone adequate to perform the task of secondary alignments. In Hamlin’s place we have Alan Ball, a hybrid cornerback/safety who the coaches like, and did a decent job when he was on the field last year.
Although Ball is a solid and serviceable player, the feeling around the organization and fanbase is that the Cowboys need a playmaker at safety. Texas cornerback/safety Earl Thomas and Tennessee safety Eric Berry would be outstanding additions to our secondary, but both will likely be long gone by the time Dallas picks at #27 in the first round. If there is a trade up to be had, it would probably be to obtain the services of one of these players. Other than those two, there are several solid defensive back prospects in this draft.
For cornerbacks there is Joe Haden, Kyle Wilson, Devin McCourty (my current pick as our #27 draftee), and several others that can be had somewhere in the first three rounds. For safety prospects, Taylor Mays (who reminds some people of Roy Williams), Nate Allen, Morgan Burnett, Chad Jones, and Major Wright, among others, are solid pro prospects.
Offensive line and defensive backfield are the two main needs of the Cowboys. The others are inside linebacker (Keith Brooking is not getting younger), fullback (it’s time we had a Moose type player. John Conner, anyone?), defensive end (Marcus Spears departure may be imminent), and probably at the bottom of the list, wide receiver, as long as the value is there. Ideally a team should go Best Player Available as much as they can. And if the best player available is a wide receiver, then by all means go get him.
One other topic of conversation of late has been the usage of the running back corps. It’s the general consensus of the known world outside of the Barber family, Felix Jones should start and get most of the carries, and that Marion Barber should be used where he is most effective – late in games to wear down the defense. It is generally assumed this is going to happen this season, and along with that, the inevitable trade rumors began making their rounds. But as with all rumors, it looks to be all false – then again, draft day isn’t until next Thursday, so to coin a phrase – “are we there yet?”
My Cowboys Mock, “A” Version:
1st Round - Devin McCourty, CB, USF
2nd Round - Vlad DuCasse, OT/G, UMass
3rd Round - J.D. Walton, C/G, Baylor
4th Round - Kevin Thomas, CB/S, Southern Cal
6th Round – John Connor, FB, Kentucky
7th Round – Joe Pawelek, ILB, Baylor
My Cowboys Mock, “B” Version:
1st Round – Maurkice Pouncey, C/G, Florida
2nd Round – Morgan Burnett, FS, Georgia Tech
3rd Round – John Jerry, T/G, Mississippi
4th Round – Jacoby Ford, WR/KR, Clemson
6th Round – John Connor, FB, Kentucky
7th Round – Joe Pawelek, ILB, Baylor
Back to the TopThe Romo-led Cowboys are 2-0 in Giants Stadium. A victory there would pretty much put the Giants’ playoff hopes on life support, and give Dallas a momentum boost for the rest of the month.
The rest of the season consists of games with San Diego, New Orleans, Washington, and Philadelphia. With at least two of those games very winnable, the Cowboys could very well end the year at 11-5 at the very least, with 12-4 a distinct possibility.
The question everyone is wondering though is, can the Cowboys win in December? Coach Wade Phillips better hope so because his job will depend on it.