Tag:Dallas Cowboys
Posted on: December 11, 2011 11:53 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2011 11:54 pm

Giants save season

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Season on the line, down five late, the New York Giants looked done against the Dallas Cowboys.

Fifty-eight yards stood between then and their season essentially being over.

Then Eli Manning did what he's become known for, even if he doesn't get credit for it: He was clutch in the end.

Manning drove the Giants 58 yards to the game-winning touchdown, that coming on a 1-yard run by Brandon Jacobs in the final minute and then Giants held on with a blocked field goal with 1 second left from 47 yards out to beat the Cowboys 37-34. 

The victory gives the Giants a 7-6 record and puts them ahead of the Cowboys in the NFC East, based on them having the same record but the Giants winning Sunday night.

The two teams meet again in the final week of the season, but, for now, it's the Giants on top of the NFC East.

Category: NFL
Posted on: September 19, 2011 2:15 pm
Edited on: September 19, 2011 2:53 pm

Monday Musings: Lay off Romo

Ripping Tony Romo has become a blood sport. It's almost like everyone sits in wait to attack Romo when he doesn't play his best, or has a game like he did last week against the Jets, which included another late-game meltdown.

So why doesn't it go the other way when he plays like he did Sunday against the 49ers?

Romo is just one of those guys people love to take apart.

Why? What's the issue? Is it because he's the quarterback of the Cowboys? Romo works hard. He's a good guy. His teammates like him -- yet he takes an endless stream of abuse.

Romo suffered a broken rib against the 49ers, but came back to throw for 320 yards after the injury, He finished with 345 yards and two touchdowns and hit Jesse Holley on a 77-yard pass in overtime to set up the winning score.

Romo might not have a Super Bowl ring. And he's had some playoff failures, but it's time for those of you out there who rip him just for being the quarterback of the Cowboys to back away.

I just don't get it.

At least give him credit when he deserves it like he did Sunday against the 49ers.

 Let's get this straight: Falcons coach Mike Smith did not want punter Matt Bosher to punt to DeSean Jackson in the final seconds. The decision was to punt the ball out of bounds, but somehow Bosher booted it right to Jackson, who ripped a similar kick in the closing seconds to beat the Giants last year. Smith did admit to botching the closing seconds when he told quarterback Matt Ryan to take three knees but left time on the clock for the punt and a Hail Mary into the end zone. "That's on me," Smith said. "I should have run a play. Coaching error."  Smith said he didn't give any thought to taking a safety up 35-31 in that situation. He didn't want to kick off.

 I have to give credit to Matt Hasselbeck. I was ready to bury him and have the Titans play Jake Locker. But Hasselbeck responded against the Ravens by throwing for 358 yards and a touchdown. Props to Hasselbeck, but I still think the long-term interest of the franchise is better off with Locker playing sooner rather than later.

 There was a lot of talk this summer that Miami running back Daniel Thomas was soft. He didn't look it against Houston, rushing for 107 yards in his first NFL game. He did fumble, which can't happen.

 The Falcons are adamant that the hit Dunta Robinson put on Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin should not have been flagged. Smith said Maclin took a couple of steps before Robinson hit him. "That's not a defenseless receiver," Smith said. If Robinson is fined or suspended -- this is his second offense after laying out Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson last year -- you can expect an appeal. Robinson, for the most part, is expecting a fine -- bare minimum. -- even though he insisted it wasn't a dirty play. "I'll let the commissioner decide that," he said.

 With Cam Newton and Andy Dalton putting up big numbers this past weekend, what could keep the Jaguars from starting rookie Blaine Gabbert? Luke McCown was terrible in the team's loss to the Jets, throwing four interceptions. Gabbert came in for mopup duty and his five of his six passes. It can't be any worse.

 It's easy to take shot at Chiefs coach Todd Haley. But what about general manager Scott Pioli?  His moves have backfired in a big way. Trading for Matt Cassel and paying him a long-term deal was and is a bad move. The guy is just ordinary. Pioli has made some other questionable personnel moves, like drafting Tyson Jackson with the third overall pick. Pioli is from the "we invented the game bunch" that is offspring of Bill Parcells.  It looks like Mr. Rigid hasn't invented the game after all.  One more note: Haley and Pioli aren't exactly chummy, but the coach loses out in that one.

 Sad to see Jamaal Charles go down with a torn ACL. He is one of the game's most-explosive runners. One has to wonder if he will be the same. Backs off ACLs sometimes never look the same again.

 The Colts aren't good right now. And Kerry Collins isn't playing well. But Brett Favre? That's what some in Indianapolis are saying. What's the point? Leave Favre on the farm. Please.

 What happened to the Raiders defensive line in a week? They owned the Broncos last week and then were handled by an average Bills line Sunday. Was it motivation, maybe?

 Bad move by Jim Harbaugh declining the 15-yard penalty and keeping a 55-yard field goal on the scoreboard against the Cowboys. In that situation, you try to get a touchdown and at least burn more clock. I don't know about Harbaugh as an NFL coach.

 The interior of the Eagles offensive line isn't very good. That could cause a lot of issues for Mike Vick as it relates to the blitz.

 Tom Brady has thrown for 940 yards in two games. To think Bill Belichick once loved the running game. Smart man that Bill. Smart man.

 Chris Johnson and Arian Foster: Why you don't pay running backs big-money deals. You just don’t.

Category: NFL
Posted on: July 31, 2011 7:50 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2011 10:18 pm

Cowboys camp talk

SAN ANTONIO -- I came away from Cowboys camp really impressed with two young players, rookie tackle Tyron Smith and second-year receiver Dez Bryant.

If Bryant can stay away from off-the-field troubles, and can do a better job of running routes and gaining Tony Romo's trust, Bryant could have an 85-catch, 1,300-yard, 10-tocuhdown season. He made some dazzling plays the two days I watched him. He's clearly a fan favorite, playing to the crowd.

The tough thing for him is that Romo is so comfortable with tight end Jason Witten and Miles Austin, the other receiver, who has deep speed.

Bryant caught 45 passes for 561 yards and six touchdowns last season in 12 games with two starts.

"He missed so much time last year," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "I think we had six or seven days with him in camp and he missed five or six weeks. He did an amazing job for not having much football in our system. I thought his transition was good.  It really looks like he's come back physically this year. He handled his rehab well and looks healthy."

The fans seem to love him. He clearly played to the crowd here and there were a lot of No. 88 jerseys in the stands -- and not with Irvin on the back. At one point, fans were throwing jerseys, shoes and other things to him in the tunnel below so he could sign them. He signed a few and threw them back, but then a guard ended that.

"You throw anything else and we are keeping it," the guard said.

"You heard the man," Bryant said smiling. "I can't."

As for Smith, the team's first-round pick, he impressed with his athletic ability. His feet are already impressive. There were several drills where he had problems because of mental breakdowns, but the thing that impressed the coaching staff was that he didn't let it get him down. He continued to fight.

Smith is playing right tackle, with Doug Free the left when he can practice this week. Free was a free agent and re-signed with the Cowboys last week, but can't practice until the CBA is ratified.

Here are some other observations

---Romo doesn't appear to have any problems from the broken clavicle that forced him to miss 10 games last season. He was throwing with velocity. I asked Garrett is Romo was all the way back. "Absolutely, yes," Garrett said. 

---The Cowboys have issues at safety. They need to sign a player and are attempting to do that. One name that is possible is Abram Elam, who played for new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan in Cleveland last year. The Cowboys had a bunch of kids working in the back end during the two days I watched. Alan Ball, a projected starter, is another player who can't work until the CBA is ratified.

---Nose tackle Jay Ratliff is down about 20 pounds. He looks lean. That's a good thing in Ryan's defense. Ratliff will be moved around a lot and the loss of weight will help. Ratliff is one of the top nose tackles, but his play tailed off some last season.

----After Austin and Bryant, the Cowboys are thin at receiver. But with Witten and Marcellus Bennett, the Cowboys can use both of those guys to help compensate. That's their 12-personnel package, which Garrett will use a lot. Kevin Ogletree is the leader to be the No. 3 receiver. Having a tight end like Witten who can split out is a big plus for Garrett, who will call plays again.

---The weak spot on the offensive line is right guard. Montrae Holland is working with the first team, and actually had a couple of nice blocks Saturday, but look for the Cowboys to nose around for a veteran. One name that has been mentioned is Brian Waters, who the Chiefs released last week.

---One thing's for certain about these Cowboys: Garrett has instilled more discipline. The practices seem crisper than a year ago. Garrett also has a three-hour practice each afternoon, which is long. But the veterans get to take off the first hour or so.

---With Marion Barber let go, Felix Jones is clearly the No. 1 back. He has to be better running inside than he has been his first three years. Rookie DeMarco Murray will also play, but he's battling back from hamstring injury and not practicing. Tashard Choice is also out with a calf injury. Keep an eye on second-year player Lonyae Miller. He has impressed some observers.

Category: NFL
Posted on: August 28, 2009 10:38 am
Edited on: August 28, 2009 5:50 pm

"Scoreboardgate" lives on


The scoreboard at the Dallas Cowboys new stadium remains an issue for 2009.

The NFL sent out a memo to its teams Friday notifying them of a change in rules for the 2009 season relating to the video board.
The memo stated that after consulting with the Competition Committee and NFL staff, the commissioner said the following will be in effect for all remaining preseason, regular season, and postseason games of the 2009 season:

---If a ball in play strikes a video board, guide wire, sky cam, or any other object, the ball will be dead immediately, and the down will be replayed at the previous spot.  

---If there is not an on-field ruling that the ball struck an object, the Replay Assistant is empowered to initiate a booth review, including if the event occurs prior to the two-minute warning.  If, prior to the two-minute warning, no booth review is initiated by the Replay Assistant, a coach’s challenge is permitted under the customary procedures for such a challenge.  

---In the event the down is replayed:

(a)  The game clock will be reset to the time remaining when the snap occurred.

(b)  All penalties will be disregarded, except for personal fouls which will be administered prior to replaying the down.

OK, so what happens if a player gets hurt on one of those meaningless punts. Say your top gunner blows out a knee while covering a play that doesn't count? Can't wait for that uproad.

But in fairness to Jerry Jones and the Cowboys, the board is 90 feet above the playing surface. The NFL mandates it be 85 feet. That's why there is no change. If it was under 85, you can bet the NFL would have made Jones change it.

The interesting thing will be if punters now go out and try and hit it. It will be like overcooking a driver on the golf course. We know how that works.

Category: NFL
Posted on: November 3, 2008 4:54 pm

Monday Musings


It's amazing to me that the Dallas Cowboys, which means big-spending owner Jerry Jones, didn't have a better backup quarterback plan than Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger.
Are you kidding me?

The Cowboys should have signed a quality veteran. Maybe Byron Leftwich before he signed with the Steelers?

I like to say that if the starting quarterback on a good team goes down, the season is over. But if Tony Romo only misses three games, that shouldn't be the case. But without an adequate backup plan, the Cowboys have put their chances of winning the division at being a long shot now at best.

They could have signed Leftwich for the veteran minimum. Pretty cheap price for a guy who is not 40 and can actually stand in the pocket and make plays.

Quick hits

---There's nothing like playing experience for a rookie quarterback. Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan are proof of that. When in doubt, play the kid. Flacco and Ryan have both had good starts to their rookie seasons, but the playing experience will be even more valuable in the coming years. They're learning how to handle a game, handle a huddle and handle defenses. The Baltimore Ravens have solved their quarterback problems for the next decade with Flacco and the Falcons have done so with Ryan.

---What's wrong with Jay Cutler? A month ago many were ready to anoint him as the next great thing. Now he's struggling. In his first three games, Cutler threw eight touchdown passes and three interceptions. In the past five, he's thrown six touchdown passes and eight interceptions. His lowest passer rating the first three weeks was 93.3. He's had one 96.1 in the past five games, but the other four have been in the 70s and 60s. What's happened to him is teams have taken away Brandon Marshall with Cover-2 schemes and Cutler hasn't been patient enough to take what the defense has given him. Throwing the long ball against man coverage is the easy part. Carving up different zone coverage is the next step for him/

Here's the situational coaching blunder of the week (only he got way with it). With the Jaguars trailing the Bengals 21-3 early in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars faced a fourth-and-goal from the Cincinnati 3. The Jaguars decided to go for it. But they were called for a false start and the ball was moved back 5 yards, which made coach Jack Del Rio change his mind. He was lucky he did. The right play there is to take the field goal and make it a 15-point game, no matter what. As it turned out, the field goal was huge. The Jaguars got within a 2-point pass of tying the game -- it failed -- but those three points made it possible. Del Rio got away with one.

---The Packers may have lost to the Titans Sunday, but after watching that game it's clear that Aaron Rodgers is the real deal. For a first time starter, which we forget he is, he's got plenty of pocket awareness. The Packers were wise to give him a long-term extension last week.

---Just a thought: Is Mike Shanahan in trouble? Will he ever be? If the Broncos don't make the playoffs, don't you think it's time?

---The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 6-2 at the halfway point, which might be a shock to many. Jeff Garcia and the defense have received a ton of credit for getting Tampa Bay to that mark. I want to add the offensive line to that group. We hear a ton about the Tennessee offensive line being the best in football, but I think the five in Tampa might argue. The addition of center Jeff Faine has really helped the Bucs line. Right guard David Joseph is a mauler.

---It was only a matter of time before rookie Tim Hightower took over for Edgerrin James as the featured back in Arizona. Why? Arizona sources say James left 300 yards on the field last season. He left plenty of yards on the field early this season, too. Give coach Ken Whisenhunt credit for making the move. It probably wasn't received well in the locker room. But Hightower showed it to be the right move by rushing for 109 yards in the Cardinals' victory over the St. Louis Rams. James better get used to time on the bench. Hightower, a fifth-round pick from Richmond, is the man.

---With Matt Schaub out for a month with a torn MCL, it means the Texans will turn to Sage Rosenfels for the next four or five games. Rosenfels played well at times against the Vikings, but has he moved past his end-game meltdown that he had against the Colts?
We'll know after his first start, when the pressure is ratcheted up.

Category: NFL
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