Back By Popular Demand [New Graphics]

Back in July we created new game day schedules. While they were well received, we received several messages asking where the neon light schedules were and if we were planning to make them for the new season.

So without further ado, I present to you the famed 2009 Neon Light Schedule Graphics. There is one graphic for each week, 17 in all including the bye week but excluding preseason.

You can find the entire collection in our graphics section under the category “gameday” or you can click here.

Cowboys Stadium-Punting Flaw?

The Titans think they have revealed a flaw in the new Cowboys Stadium and it looks like maybe they have.

Punting is a normal part of a football game and always will be. In the new $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium the video board that was installed is sitting at 100 feet above the field and cost $40 million, it extends from 20 yard to 20 yard line. It is a great thing for the fans in the stadium because it allows you to see the action no matter where you are in the stadium, however it may very well be in the way of some punts.

scoreboard

Punters are going have to find a way not to punt the ball to high, because if they do the ball could hit as it did in the Cowboys’ second pre-season game against the Titans. Titans’ punter A.J. Trapasso actually hit the bottom of the video board and due to the dead ball ruling was allowed to re-punt.

Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones believes that this not an issue and that the rule is clear – if it hits it, just re-punt.

Yes, when the stadium was built this possiblity should have been thought of and maybe it was and could have been deemed as not an issue, since both teams have to deal with it. Yet it is still a weird thing because it may cause punters to punt the ball a little differently in the Cowboys’ stadium. I guess maybe they should do what the arena league did with the nets at the end of the field and just play the ball off of the video board… hee hee.

Another Rookie Lost For the Season

It has been reported by ESPN.com that rookie LB Brandon Williams will miss the 2009 season after suffering a torn ACL during the victory over the Titans Friday night.  The injury occurred during a punt return. Williams joins fellow rookie draft pick Robert Brewster who tore a pectoral muscle a few weeks back and will also miss the 2009 season.

Coach Phillips on Brandon Williams…

“This kid had a chance to play some plays,” said coach Wade Phillips during his news conference Saturday. “I guess he’ll just have to do it next year.”

In other news Saturday it was reported by DallasNews.com that Wade Phillips has decided not to put Felix Jones in to return punts this season. This is due to the fact Jones is not comfortable doing it and the coaches are also not comfortable with him doing it. Jones has struggled to judge and catch punts. Patrick Crayton will most likely be the Cowboys punt returner for 2009.

“I just don’t know if he is going to be ready to return punts this year,” Wade Phillips said. “I don’t know if he has the confidence or we have the confidence yet that he can be clean with the football every time.”

Tony Romo threw in the direction of Roy Williams seven times during the first half of the Titans game Friday night. Williams ended up catching five of those passes for 36 yards. Look for this connection to improve as each game passes. I don’t believe we need Williams to stretch the field. He needs to use his big frame on cornerbacks and be physical. Make the big reception over the middle and move the chains.

“He missed me a couple of times, but I’m not going to complain about that,” Williams said. “We’re still a work in progress. He’s still getting to know me, and I’m still getting to know him.”

“With a route tonight on third down, I felt like we needed to be on the same page,” Romo said. “If we do, it’ll help. Those are drives we can’t get back. I think guys are taking the right approach, though. We’ll be fine.”

Now That’s More Like It; Cowboys Top Titans 30-10

Felix Jones TDThe Cowboys broke in their new stadium with a well played 30-10 win over the Tennessee Titans, much to the delight of a raucous crowd of over 75,000 screaming and adoring fans.

While the spectacular new Cowboys Stadium stole much of the spotlight, the Cowboys made some magic of their own as they beat a solid Titans team that finished 13-3 last season to win their division.

Jerry Jones was smiling from ear to ear. “A great night. A great crowd. And an event we will remember for a long, long time.”

Now I wouldn’t exactly go that far, as it was only a pre season game, but it was a satisfying win all the same.

The first team offense played the entire first half and by all accounts, they were firing on all cylinders. Quarterback Tony Romo, executed two solid scoring drives of 90 and 79 yards, and had a great night passing completing 18 of 24 passes for 192 yards. He once again spread the ball around, as he did last week, and completed passes to seven different receivers.

For those of you who are still worried about Roy Williams, you can step back from the ledge as Romo connected with him five times last night. One receiver who really stood out was rookie Kevin Ogletree, who had three catches for 37 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown.

The running game was in the capable hands of Marion Barber and Felix Jones who both notched touchdowns in the first half. Jones thrilled the masses with an electrifying 42-yard catch and run that led to his one-yard TD run with seconds left in the half. Jones continues to impress me, and there’s a certain energy on the field whenever he’s in the backfield.

Barber TDDefensively, the Cowboys were nearly flawless compared to their erratic and inconsistent play in the first pre season game. The one mistake was when cornerback Mike Jenkins got burned for a 17-yard touchdown pass to Justin Gage that looked like it could have been prevented. It was Jenkins’ first game after missing last week due to an injury, so I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. The bottom line is that our guys looked sharp, tough and determined. Heck even Bobby Carpenter managed to get a sack in what might be his one Kodak moment of his career. (Sorry Bobby, I gotta tell it like it is.)

Special Teams continues to nosedive and we’re still waiting for this new and improved play that was promised by Wade Phillips and Joe DeCamillis. Last night they muffed a few punts, missed a field goal, got burned for a 51 yard kickoff return, and allowed way too many yards on punt returns. It was obscene and so were the penalties. That said, there’s still time for special teams to get it together, but the clock is ticking.

All in all it was a good win for the Cowboys and they showed a lot of fight and determination in this one. Let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope that this was just the start of something big as I wrote on Friday morning.

Go Cowboys!

A Great Beginning to Cowboys Stadium

It was a good night for the Dallas Cowboys for the most part as they beat the Tennessee Titans 30-10. The offense looked crisp as they mixed the run and the pass and controlled the clock. The Cowboys won the time of possession 40:57 to 19:03 and gained 466 yards of offense. They had three drives in which they held the ball more than five minutes and two of those three resulted in a touchdown. With that kind of ball control it allows the defense to stay fresh, which they were as they dominated the first half for the most part and did not allow a point in the second half. Total yards given up by the defense to the Titans was only 191 yards and they recorded one interception.

What continues to be a concern is special teams and penalties. Why so many missed tackles? It’s something that needs to be addressed as preseason continues on toward the first week of the season. With the penalties it just seems to be the same as the past few seasons. Against the Titans the Cowboys were penalized 13 times for 113 yards. Last week the Cowboys had 11 penalties for 109 yards against the Raiders. Hopefully it’s something they can get a hold of (no pun intended) and straighten out.

Some of the positive things from the game…

Romo being patient in the pocket and stepping up when he needed to.

No Turnovers for the offense.

Offensive line pass blocking well as well as run blocking.

Receivers catching almost everything thrown their way.

Running Backs doing well as they all rushed for a combined 111 yards.

DeMarcus Ware…what can I say, he is amazing.

Newman and Jenkins looked good coming back from injuries.

Defense forced five 3 plays and out on the Titans offense.

75,720 fans for a preseason game? Wow!!!!

Some of the negative things from the game…

Penalties!!!!! Especially on the offensive line.

Special Teams tackling.

Terence Newman and DeAngelo Smith should not be returning punts.

Nick Folk is having issues with Field Goal attempts.

Will the big screen be a concern as the season moves on?

It was a good time had by all last night. The win, the progress of the team and oh yes, the new stadium that is amazing. I was in awe as I watched on TV. I can only imagine what it looks like when you are actually there. I thought Fox did a good job showing the new stadium to the fans during the game and I loved the tour during halftime.

“For the opposing teams, it’s a shock to them,” linebacker DeMarcus Ware said of the stadium’s atmosphere. “It’s definitely a 12th man.”

“The big star was the stadium and our fans,” Phillips said. “It was loud in there, and our players played to the level of the situation.”

Tony Romo, Patrick Crayton and Jason Garrett on how the team played..

“The team came out with a lot of energy, and it’s really exciting to be a part of something this special,” Romo said. “It’s only going to continue and get better as the year goes on.”

“I thought we did the big things well,” Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said. “I think we’re playing with good tempo and good urgency, which is an important part of our style of offense.”

“You can be pleased by it, but I know there’s room for improvement,” Cowboys receiver Patrick Crayton said. “If we’ve got five series, we want to go 5-for-5 in scoring. We need to improve on that.”

Funny thing that somehow I missed during the third quarter as Referee Walt Anderson announced another Dallas penalty…

“False start; everyone but the center.”

So now the Cowboys are 1-1 this preseason. Next up are the San Francisco 49ers August 29th. I’m sure we will all be looking for continued progress from the team and much less penalties since the 3rd preseason game is usually the true warm-up for the season. There were some of us on the Chat Board last night speaking about nothing at the 50 yard line of the new stadium. I’ve read a few articles that lead me to believe Jerry Jones is planning something for the first regular season game against the Giants on National TV. The stadium won’t be complete until that star is at midfield.

The Chat Board is a lot of fun for all. It’s even better when the Cowboys are winning and the humor increases among all of us. Whether it’s praising the 911 connection of Romo and Williams or becoming a Kevin Ogletree fan. I for one hope he makes the team because he looks like a really good receiver and also because Stanback was out of the game again last night. Why? because of an injury.

Go Cowboys!!!!


Know Your Cowboy

With training camp coming to an end and the Boys departing San Antonio for the comfy confines of their new palace, I thought this would be a good time to write the first of what could be many brief bios of current Cowboy players. Just a little something to help the fans get to know your Cowboys a little better.

As I sit here and try to pick one of the many Cowboys to start with, I am watching Fridays preseason game versus the Titans. I just watched a beautiful nine minute eleven second, 90 yard drive end in a Marion Barber 1 yard plunge into the end zone for the first score of the game. This was a thing of beauty, a long drive mixing in a bit of Romo to Roy Williams and some pounding by the Barbarian, a sign of things to come for the season no doubt.

So it would seem the obvious player to start with would be Marion Barber after taking his stroll into the end zone. But … yes I did say but, I am also reading up on some of the players on the roster and I realize I do not know much about this years first draft pick, albeit a third round draft pick, but still our first draft pick.

With their first overall selection of the 2009 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys chose Jason Williams in the third round (69th overall). This 6 foot 1 inch 238 pound Linebacker out of Western Illinois is expected to be a starter (and a good one) on Special Teams and compete for the Nickle and Dime Linebacker positions, as well as be in the mix for substitutions in the regular defense.

In his college career he was a disruptive player tallying 14 forced fumbles, 289 tackles and 15 sacks. In 2008 he set a school record with 6 forced fumbles in one season and was voted an All-America first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report, The Sporting News, Associated Press, the Sports Network, College Sporting News and the American Football Coaches Association.

In his senior year last year he recorded 67 of his tackles (39 solo) and 4 sacks, showing that as he got older he got better. Hopefully as he transitions into the NFL he will continue to improve his game play and his numbers. This kid has strength and speed and in a few years you probably will see him replace Brookings or someone else as a starter in the defense. The Cowboys may have gotten themselves a steal with this stud.

Oh and by the way, another rushing touchdown, this one by Felix the Great, has the Cowboys up 14-10 at half time.

Storylines Aplenty As 2009 Season Approaches

There is certainly no absence of story lines as 2009 training camp comes to an end in the Alamo City.  Position battles, new faces, and players past are but a few of the most popular headliners going into this year.  The house-cleaning done by Jerry and Stephen Jones in the off-season has left several important positions vacated and free for the taking.  And with that, here are a few positions to keep a watchful eye on as pre-season play progresses. 

 

Wide Receiver

Wide receiver is, without a doubt, the unprecedented position of interest heading into this year.  The most popular topic is obviously the departure of Terrell Owens, who spent the last three seasons as the most productive receiver the Cowboys have had since Michael Irvin.  Owens’roy-williams-hookem departure means that Roy Williams will take the reigns as the number one receiver in the Dallas offense.  Many are quick to scrutinize the unproductive season Williams had last year, but nary a soul remembers that Williams did not arrive in Dallas until the week six bye, and had very little time to learn the playbook.  Many also forget that nagging injuries hampered Williams for most of the season and affected his speed, quickness off the line, timing with Romo, etc.  With Williams at full health this year, look for him to give the Cowboys good production as the number one receiver.  Also look for Patrick Crayton to regain the number two receiver spot that he held two years ago.  Many also forget that Crayton posted stellar numbers as the number two receiver in 2007.  The Cowboys also went without Sam Hurd for a good portion of last year, and were without Miles Austin’s services for several weeks, as well.  Look for the Cowboys to use Mile Austin’s size and speed to stretch the field, and look for Hurd to be used in multiple receiver formations.  The fifth wide receiver position will likely be up for grabs between Isaiah Stanback, Manny Johnson, and Jesse Holley, who won the final roster spot on 4th and Long.  Youngsters on the outside looking in include Mike Jefferson, Travis Wilson, Kevin Ogletree, Julian Hawkins, and Willie Reid.  For what it’s worth, I asked Isaiah Stanback via Twitter if he thought Jesse Holley was any good, to which he replied simply, “I’m better.” 

 

Secondary

It seems like the secondary tops these lists every year for one reason or another, and this season is no different.  Watchful eyes will be locked on the secondary this year to see if the departures of several key veterans will pay dividends.  Gone is safety Roy Williams, 547186who since 2002 had been a staple in the Dallas secondary.  Though he had several outstanding years with the Cowboys, Williams seemed to fall off the map the past several years.  He became a severe liability in pass coverage, and his run support also became less effective.  To replace Williams, the Cowboys signed Gerald Sensabaugh from Jacksonville.  Sensabaugh is better known for his coverage skills, having also played stints at cornerback for the Jaguars.  Also gone is cornerback Anthony Henry, who was traded to Detroit in exchange for Jon Kitna.  Looking to fill Henry’s shoes are second year players Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick.  Jenkins would seem to have the edge because of his first round draft status.  But Scandrick, who looks to be the steal of the 2008 draft, showed last year that he is also worthy of the starting job.  It will be interesting to see how the Cowboys will split time between these two young talents, if that is the approach they decide to pursue.  I personally believe the Cowboys have three very talented rookies in Michael Hamlin, DeAngelo Smith, and Mike Mickens.  Both Mickens and Hamlin were both projected to go as high as the second round in this year’s draft, and it will be exciting to see if they live up to their pre-draft stock.  Eyes will also be upon Pat Watkins to see if he can be a key contributor in the secondary after a nagging neck injury last season landed him on injured reserve. 

 

Linebacker

With Greg Ellis little more than an afterthought in Dallas, outside linebacker will also be an area of interest heading into the season.  The Cowboys drafted Anthony Spencer (A fellow Boilermaker) several years ago with the intent of grooming him to replace Greg Ellis.  To answer the qFALCONS SAINTSuestion that my favorite Smiths song asks, the time is certainly now for Spencer.  He has undoubtedly shown signs of being DeMarcus Ware’s counterpart the last two seasons, but has been somewhat inconsistent due to a few injuries and playing behind Ellis.  At full health this year, Spencer will benefit from the constant attention that DeMarcus Ware demands from offenses, and will compliment him well on the opposite side.  The Cowboys linebacking corps will also have a new face in the middle, with Keith Brooking arriving from Atlanta.  He should be a much better fit next to Bradie James than Zach Thomas was last year.  The Cowboys also have four talented rookies joining the linebacker corps this year in Jason Williams, Victor Butler, Brandon Williams, and Stephen Hodge.  With Greg Ellis gone, look for Butler and Brandon Williams to shoulder the backup outside linebacker duties.  Jason Williams will be battling for playing time at nickel linebacker with Bobby Carpenter, and Hodge will provide depth at middle linebacker.  Look for all of these rookies to contribute heavily on special teams, as well.  One linebacker everyone should have on their radar is Bobby Carpenter.  He has not exactly lived up to expectations since arriving in 2006, but it is much too early to toss him onto the scrap pile with a bust tag.  Carpenter has gotten less than a fair shake since arriving in Dallas, having been moved around to different linebacker spots multiple times.  It would appear, for now at least, that Carpenter has found a home at nickel linebacker, a title previously held by Kevin Burnett.  If Carpenter excels at the nickel linebacker spot early on, expect him to get more playing time in other packages, as well. 

As the start of another football season grows closer with each passing day, the chills of autumn grow more intense as they go up and down my spine.  Hold onto your hats fellow Cowboys brothers and sisters, for this season promises to bring much excitement.  I can feel it in these silver and blue bones of mine. 

 

Extras

In the past couple of weeks, I have done quite a bit of networking with several Cowboys players on Twitter, routinely chatting with names like Martellus Bennett, Isaiah Stanback, Gerald Sensabaugh, and Jason Williams.  Having the opportunity to network with men that I call my heroes is truly amazing.  As a boy knowing I wanted to “do John Madden’s job,” I never would have fathomed that I would be able to chat with players from my favorite team with the mere click of a button.  I want to thank these gentlemen for taking time out of their hectic schedule to network with fans such as myself.  Keep it real Cowboys fans.

Breaking Camp And Ready For Some Football

The Boys have left the Alamodome and are now preparing for some football in their new home. The consensus among the players is that this years camp was much tougher, and more focused than years passed, especially after last years circus.

Gone are the likes of Terrell Owens, and Adam “Pacman” Jones who always brought their own distractions wherever they went. And lets not forget about Jessica Simpson … or actually maybe we should. With her around it was clear to every fan that Romo’s head was never truly in the game. Hopefully this year he has his priorities straight, and his focus on the Lombardi Trophy. Oh yea and I almost forgot that other distraction that followed the entire team around last year, the HBO show “Hard Knocks”. It was fun to watch as a fan but if you think what it must of been like for the players being followed around all the time and every detail filmed. “It was a drama-free three weeks in San Antonio” reports KTBB.com, which is what we like to hear.

“This camp has been like two of the other camps put together. I haven’t heard anyone call this one cupcake,” linebacker Bradie James said.

Coach Wade Phillips wanted to push the team a bit more this camp, making sure they stay focused and to help them get stronger as a team.

“I am trying to do what helps this team. It’s a long season and the mental toughness is part of it,” Phillips said. “I say the mental part of it. When you get tired, that’s when the mental process comes in. I thought it was good for our guys. I think they have come through it well.

Phillips will have even more on his plate this season as he is also the teams defensive coordinator.

With camp ended the Cowboys stayed fairly healthy. They will be without Fullback Deon Anderson for some time after he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last week. But both corners Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman who have been a little banged up returned to practice and are set to go. Roy Williams wrist is improving and barring any set backs he should be fine as well.

Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will have a three headed monster in Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice to get the ball to. The idea is that Barber with use his brute strength to soften and beat down the defense, then have Felix use his speed to fly by and around them. Choice will get a few carries a game as well to give Barber and Jones a break. Garrett is looking to get the ball to Felix 12-15 times a game and doesn’t care if its by air in the passing attack or handing it to the speedster.

With so many weapons, and as long as everyone can stay healthy, the tougher camp and the time spent together could push the Cowboys back into the elusive playoffs, then watch out!!

Titans vs Cowboys – The Start Of Something Big

Tonight’s the night. The team’s first game ever in Cowboys Stadium kicks off at 7:00 PM tonight against the Tennessee Titans and will be televised on Fox for all the world to see.

The stadium has been open since June and has already featured the Jonas Brothers and even legendary rocker and former Beatle, Paul McCartney. But they were just warming it up for the main attraction, the Dallas Cowboys. About 75,000 people are expected to be on hand for the Dallas Cowboys’ first game at the new stadium which should be a memorable and breathtaking experience.

As for the pre season game, it certainly will be out-shined by the staggering dimensions of the state of the art park, but it does bare watching so pay attention.

Ladies and gentlemen… Now entering the game for the first time since the 2008 season… The incomparable… The magnificent… The oft injured… The one and only… Let’s give it up for cornerback… Terence Newman. That’s right, Newman will be making his pre season debut and on the other side will be Mike Jenkins who will also take the field for the first time this preseason. Assuming they both stay healthy, I expect both will soon be named starters and hopefully they will deliver solid seasons. Last week the Cowboys corners looked inept and were easily burned by a not so great Raiders offense who absolutely owned them.

It’s been reported that Roy Williams is coming off his best week of practice, and that he and Tony Romo are gaining chemistry. If they can flash some of that chemistry in this game, I’ll breathe a sigh of relief as will most of you. We don’t need Roy Williams to be the NFL’s number one receiver, but we do need him to be our number one guy, and it’s time for him to claim that job in convincing fashion.

The Titans will be looking to spoil our fun and prevent us from notching our first win at Cowboys Stadium, albeit a pre season win. Running back LenDale White had this to say,

“I’m trying to beat some butt and trying to get a victory. I’m ain’t concerned about that stadium at all. We’re not playing the stadium. We’re going in there to play the Dallas Cowboys and get a win. Maybe after the season when we win the Super Bowl and they have an all-star game there, I can go back to sight see.”

Talk about high hopes… That’s some big time smack coming from a team that just lost defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. Maybe he forgot that the last time we faced them in 2006, the Cowboys stomped their asses 45-15. Or that the last time we faced them in the pre season, the Cowboys pulverized the Titans 34-10.

Getting back to the better half of this contest, if the Cowboys want to impress me, we need our defense to step up and play the caliber of football we all know they are capable of.

Last week was an embarrassing loss mostly because it was the lowly Raiders who were 5-11 last season. The Titans were 13-3 last season, feature a great ground attack and even with the loss of Haynesworth, their defense is among the best in the game. They will give our team a grueling challenge, and expect to see some tough man to man matchups. It should be a battle that will test the readiness, toughness, and determination of both teams.

Our starters will most like play for at least one half tonight, if not more. Last week we got a loss that was drenched in excuses. Tonight we need to ditch the excuses and deliver some high octane performances.

It’s time for us to make a statement and deliver a message to the rest of the league. If not now, then when?

All Work and No Play Makes Wade A Dull Boy

The Boys had their final Alamodome practice yesterday and will be heading back home to Cowboys Stadium for the second preseason game against the Tennessee Titans.

Word has it the starters could play into the third quarter. Nick Eatman at dallascowboys.com gives good reasons for this unusual plan and it makes complete sense to me.

1. The Cowboys first game in the new stadium. It’s going to be one heck of a celebration.

2. It’s the Titans third preseason game so they are in that mode.

Eatman says Wade Phillips didn’t say how long the starters would play, just that it would be a lot more than last week’s game.

Another interesting story that caught my attention was Wade complaining about the running race between David Buehler and DeAngelo Smith. As posted earlier this week, the two rookies ran a foot race and DB Smith was burned by K Buehler in a 50 yard dash.

Coach surprisingly put his foot down and decided he was not going to allow any more “extracurricular activity” for fear of an unnecessary injury.

Not sure how to feel about that one. I agree we don’t want any injuries from horsing around, but these are athletes and competition is always a good thing. I think I will stay neutral on this because I can understand both sides.

Finally, ESPN’s Matt Mosley posted Three and Out: Cowboys over at this NFC East blog, basically only stating the obvious.

1. Get ready to hear a lot about the two-tight end offense.

2. The Cowboys could be in big trouble if there’s an injury on the offensive line.

3. The Cowboys could have 63 sacks if everything goes as planned.

CHECK. CHECK. CHECK.

We have been blessed with two amazing tight ends and we sure plan to use them to the best of their abilities.

O-line, ugh. What can you say? No depth.

Sacks for everyone! Roll call – Ware, James, Spencer, Ratliff…!

***

Big (preseason) game tomorrow! Everyone get your game faces on and hope our ‘Boys break in the new stadium with a outstanding win to remember. I let my boss know that I needed to get done early nearly two weeks ago, and I told him why. I’m setting the DVR anyway but you can imagine how mad I’ll be if I don’t make it home for a live kickoff. The Boys Are Back in Town!

Protect That Ball!

One thing the Cowboys and Tony Romo are concentrating on in training camp this season is cutting down on his turnovers, especially his fumbles. Romo’s case of Slippery Pigskin syndrome last year made any fan cringe at the sight of him carelessly running around the pocket with the ball unprotected in one hand trying to make a play. Don’t get me wrong we love the heart and effort, but he has to recognize when to eat the ball or throw it away.

So now if he can take what he is working on in camp into games he should be able to cut down on the 21 total turnovers he had last season, 14 being interceptions, 7 LOST fumbles and another 6 that were recovered by Cowboys.

It really hurt Dallas last year in the last game of the season against the Eagles with the winner heading to the playoffs. Romo fumbled twice in that very important painful game, and one of them was returned for a 73 yard touchdown.

Of course he did have a broken Pinkie finger part of last season that may have attributed to some of the fumbles but prior to that he had already lost 3 in the six games before his injury. The seven lost fumbles last season was more than he had as a starter in his first season and a half so I am willing to put most of the blame on that little broken digit.

The Associated Press reported on Sporting News that “early in off season workouts, Romo started talking about cutting down on risky throws and being quicker to take a sack or throw the ball away. He also said he was serious about getting a better grip on the ball while scrambling”.

This became evident on one play in practice when “surrounded in the pocket on one play, he pulled the ball in tight until just before throwing a completion. Romo did the same thing while rolling out to his right near the goal line a few snaps later, instead of holding the ball away from his body with one hand while running like he so often has done in the past”.

Head coach Wade Phillips is pleased on how his quarterback is progressing with this, as well as how he is maturing as a player.

“He’s a natural. He sees so many things and he has such a quick release, and he’s so accurate,” Phillips said. “He just makes fantastic plays. We see it every day on tape. … He makes a throw that you say, `Wow, what a play.’ That’s what the great ones do.”

Its a long season, but lets see how he does this Friday night against Tennessee in the Cowboys new stadium. We should see him play a few more series than he did in the Raider game, which will help him get ready for the games that count.

Kickers Get No Respect…Or Do They?

Rookie kicker David Buehler wears many different hats for the Cowboys. He has all but secured a spot on the roster with his kickoffs into the end zone. Something that the Cowboys were lacking the last few seasons. Nick Folk is a great kicker and the confidence is high whenever he lines up for a FG attempt, but his kickoffs were just not good enough. Buehler has also become part of the special teams unit and even was credited with two tackles against the Raiders last week.

Now Buehler has added racing to his resume. This afternoon he faced off with rookie S/CB DeAngelo Smith. And as reported by DallasCowboys.com Buehler didn’t just beat Smith he smoked him by about three yards. Holding out his arms in victory as he finished the race.

“There was a lot of trash-talking in the locker room,” Buehler said. “DeAngelo’s pretty confident in his speed. I knew I was fast, so I decided to challenge him.

“I just got in the locker room today and I felt like racing somebody. All these guys talk about how fast they are, and I just wanted to compete.”

“I was talking trash,” Smith said. “He beat me fair and square . . . He had fresh legs and everything, but there’s no excuse, I should be winning anyway. We’re going to race again, though.”

No camp cupcake

If anyone mentions camp cupcake to Bradie James this training camp he will be the first to disagree with you.

“It was a tough camp. I want everyone to know that,” James said. “We had a whole bunch of practices.

“This camp has been like two of the other camps put together, you know what I mean? I haven’t heard anyone call this one Cupcake. We pretty much put a lot of work in this. Now we are ready to come together and see how it pays off.”

“Look at the practices. Before he was a guy you could go and say we might be tired,” James said. “But he challenged us from the jump, saying no complaining, no excuses. So there’s no need to go in there and ask not to have a two-a-day. This was the last work day, but we still had a two-a-day. It was on the schedule. He’s pretty much sticking to his guns, so that’s been different.”

Switching numbers

Some of the receivers and running backs are having some fun this week as they switch jerseys during practice.Yesterday Roy Williams came out for practice in the morning with Marion Barber’s 24 jersey. Wade Phillips said Williams and Romo had their best session to date. In the afternoon Williams came out for practice with Mike Jefferson’s 81 jersey. Which bought back memories of another 81 who shall remain nameless. Williams and Romo continued to connect with each other during the afternoon practice.

“Once I got 81 on, I got about 50 balls today,” Williams joked.

In other news

Recently waived Mike Hawkins has been claimed by Tampa Bay.

Defensive end Marcus Dixon suffered a strained groin and missed the afternoon practice.

Running back Alonzo Coleman cleared waivers and the Cowboys are looking to work out an injury settlement with him.