A Baptism By Fire

I’m not gonna exert 500 words into a post about that ridiculous $55,000 dollar dinner the Cowboys hung on Dez Bryant the other night. With the economy still sagging and millions of families struggling, that’s the last thing anybody wants to hear about right now.

Instead, I do want to keep the spotlight on Dez, but I’d rather talk about what a great start he is off to in his NFL career.

Despite the occasional rookie mistake, Dez Bryant now has at least 50 receiving yards in each of the Cowboys’ first three games.

Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason Garrett calls it a significant accomplishment, but cautions that he still has a lot of work to do.

“He’s got a lot of steps to take. He’s transitioned well for a guy who missed most of training camp. To be able to perform as well as he has been very impressive.”

I agree with Garrett, and I look forward to watching Dez Bryant blossom into a future playmaker for the Cowboys and one of the NFL’s brightest stars.

Bryant has nerves of steel, thrives under pressure, and had oftentimes flashed his game-breaking speed and elusive moves.

“He’s not bothered by game situations,” Garrett said. “He embraces them. He loves to play, and he can make plays. We’ve tried to give him an opportunity to do that, and he has stepped up and responded.”

That’s the kind of story and the kind of quotes I would rather read regarding Dez Bryant… But that’s just me.

How Sweet It Is

Not only is it a sweet taste in my mouth to finally get our first win of this season, but the taste is so much sweeter when the win comes in the hands of what could become one of the best rivals there is. Yes we only play the Texans once every 4 years but that once is HUGE here in Houston. I was not fortunate enough to go to the game this time, but I was able to go to a sports bar and watch it with other Dallas fans. Of course the Texans fans outnumbered us, which made the win that much sweeter. As I was relishing in the win, I overheard a conversation that caught my ear. It struck me by total surprise of what I heard and I thought to myself, I did not just hear that. As I inquired, it came as a huge surprise to me that what I had heard was actually the truth. Reliant stadium, where the Texans play, during the fourth quarter after the game was basically over. There was a chant heard round the stadium. It got louder and louder, even to where I was told some fans outside the stadium heard what was being said.

LETS GO COWBOYS!   LETS GO COWBOYS!   LETS GO COWBOYS!

Are you kidding me? How awesome is that? Playing in a hostile environment, and then you hear your teams name being screamed by dedicated fans around the OPPONENTS stadium? If that does not make for a statement then what does? We go into our by week on a great win. We watched our team play together the way we all know they can. This is only the 2nd week that our starting offensive line was out there for the whole game, and that showed. I told several people last week, the way we win this game is if we dominate the offensive line. We did that, as well as every other aspect of the game. It was a great win for us, but It is only 1 win. We are still 1 – 2 and have a tough road ahead of us. Can we do it, OF COURSE WE CAN and we will. Now that our team is playing together and they saw along with us, what that can bring to the table.

lets feast on that, don’t worry our great new WR will pick up the tab!

DeMarcus Ware Named NFC Defensive Player Of The Week

Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware has been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.

Ware was at his personal best last Sunday and collected three sacks in a big win over the Houston Texans. He also led the team with three tackles for a loss and three pressures to go with his eight tackles. He was an unstoppable force and practically terrorized Texans quarterback Matt Schaub all day long.

For Ware, this is the fourth time he has been named Defensive Player of the Week in his career, and you can expect him to garner many more such honors before it’s all said and done.

Ware now has 68.5 career sacks, and nearly half of them have come on third down, which just shows you how clutch Ware can be when the pressure is on.

Sunday was the fifth time in Ware’s career that he had a three sack game and he is now tied with Randy White for the third-most multi-sack games in Cowboys history with 14. The record of 19 multi-sack games is currently held by Greg Ellis and Jim Jeffcoat.

A Baby Moose Is On The Loose!

When I watch rookie free agent fullback #44 Chris Gronkowski I see a young Moose.

He has his size and build, and he seems to have the same heart and determination that Daryl Johnston had.

Gronkowski seems to be fitting into the offensive unit very nicely. He blocks well and as we saw in his first start against the Chicago Bears he can get open for a touchdown. Actually, that is really amazing – his first NFL start and he gets a touchdown. Not to shabby for a undrafted free agent that had to fight to get onto the 53 man roster.

So how much do the Cowboys love Chris Gronkowski? Well, just before the start of Sunday’s game, the Cowboys released fullback Deon Anderson to make room for tight end Scott Chandler. See ya, Deon…

Rookie Chris Gronkowski in now firmly entrenched into the starting fullback role.

Chris was born in Buffalo, New York December 26, 1986. Chris’s family have football running through their veins. His younger brother Rob and older brother Dan both play tight end for the New England Patriots and the Denver Broncos.

Chris played High School football at Williamsville North, where he lettered for three years in football and baseball. Chris then continued playing ball when Maryland recruited him to play fullback, but red-shirted his freshman year. Chris had the eighth highest strength index on the team which was the best among running backs.

In 2007 he transferred to Arizona where he played linebacker. He went back to the starting fullback position in 2008.

Chris did not attend the NFL Scouting Combine in 2010. He declared for the 2010 NFL Draft and was thought to be a high 4th round selection, but instead went undrafted. Chris signed with the Cowboys one day later. He started his first game September 19, 2010 to catch a one yard pass from Tony Romo for his first NFL touchdown.

The Cowboys have always been good at picking up talented undrafted free agents and making them a big part of the team. I think they have found another jewel in Gronkowski.

Chris loves the game of football and gives 110% every play.  So you see… We really do have another Moose!

On a personal thank you all for all the concern over my health issues. I am feeling much better and LSS readers I am back. Hugs to all of you!

Gameday Graphic: Cowboys at Texans

It’s time for the Showdown in Texas. The Cowboys attempt to go for their first win against the Texans in Houston today. Television coverage begins at Noon Central time on FOX.

The all new Lone Star Struck game chat will be open all day and we invite all fans to join us as we root for the Boys and share our game thoughts. Its a great experience with fans from both sides of the ball going at it, cheering for their team.

Enjoy the game – GO COWBOYS!

Flashback, Cowboys vs Cowboys

Normally I would write a Flashback post for the upcoming game, but the series between the Cowboys and Texans really has no history at all. They have met only twice in the regular season and have split both games.

With the Cowboys entering the game this week with a 0-2 record and staring at a possible 0-3, I don’t see it as the Cowboys against the Texans, I see it as the Cowboys against themselves.

This offense currently has no identity and no direction. The play calling seems to be all over the place at times. With the weapons the Cowboys have on offense they should have a lot of production if those weapons are used correctly. That is where a good offensive coordinator will shine. In my opinion Jason Garrett just does not know how to use his weapons at the right times during the game. I understand that I have never called plays before and that I’m only a fan, but to watch other teams use their weapons and use them in the right situations just shows me that I’m not far off in my opinions. It just seems like Garrett selects plays at random from his large play sheet, but there is no actual plan to what he is calling.  As I sit and watch opposing defenses preparing to blitz the Cowboys offense, but the Cowboys don’t seem to see it, I say that is a problem that I see it and they don’t. 

The defense has not been much better. They seem to be out of place at times and just confused other times. It also amazes me that turnovers just don’t come the Cowboys way week in and week out. I see other defenses that always seem to be around the ball and are there to get the turnover, but the Cowboys don’t seem to be that way. Why is that?  I see other defenses putting constant pressure on the quarterback, but when the Cowboys send blitzes they all seem to hit a brick wall.

Are the players to blame for poor execution or are the coaches for what they are teaching these players? I will say it again that I’m only a fan and have never coached, but it my opinion the Cowboys issues have to be put on the coaching staff. These players are following the game plan that the coaches put in place and it’s just not working at this point. This Cowboys team has too much talent not to be putting points on the board and making stands on defense. That is why I say it comes down to the coaching staff.

Is there time to correct it before the season is a total loss? At this point in time I’m not sure. I’m not sure the team knows that answer. Will they go out and play hard against the Texans? I’m sure they will, but that does not mean they will win. Especially if the play calling remains the same from Jason Garrett on offense and Wade Phillips defense remains out of position.

I can write about how I’m a die hard fan and how the Cowboys will be my team forever. I don’t need to write those things because I know what kind of fan I am. I’m also the kind of fan that tells it like it is and won’t sugar coat things. I’m not going to paint a picture that everything is all sunshine and rainbows for the Cowboys.

This team better correct what is wrong fast because the schedule doesn’t get any easier with teams like the Titans, Vikings and Giants coming up. If they continue on this path it won’t be long before they start wondering if they will have a top ten pick in next Aprils NFL Draft.

Come tomorrow afternoon the Cowboys will up against themselves more then the other team from Texas. That’s a scary thought, but it’s the truth.

All Hope Is Not Lost Cowboys Nation

I think we can all agree it’s been a rough two weeks for Cowboys fans abroad. We’ve had our hearts broken twice and have yet to see a “W”. We’ve seen some nice catches and one sweet return and a whole mess load of mistakes. Discipline has never been the Cowboys’ stronghold, at least not since Wade Phillips took over. So you want to blame Wade? Or is it Jason Garrett’s head you want on a platter?

I’ve heard a little too much of the blame game in the last two weeks. The first week it was Alex Barron. Yes, he made a bonehead mistake and even I wanted to tear him a new one after the first game, but was it his fault we were in the hole in the first place?

I don’t think there is any one solution to this mess. A successful team in any sport is when the team as a whole is working together towards one goal. If it’s true that you are only as strong as your weakest link, we are in a lot of trouble my friends.

The fact is, we are fans of the Dallas Cowboys. We experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. There is rarely an in between.

We could easily get back on track and start a nice winning streak or we could end up 0-3 heading into a week 4 bye. Right now anything is possible. They say our chances of making the playoffs if we go 0-3 is only 3%. So what, when have the Dallas Cowboys ever been conventional about anything?

As we head into the weekend my die hard Cowboys fan instinct tells me, my team is going to win. Yes, I know how good the Texans are – I am well aware of their record. But in my heart of hearts I believe that the Dallas Cowboys will win this game because as a fan, thats all I will allow myself to believe. Yeah, that’s naive – I know. But you don’t declare war with no hope or belief that you have a chance to defeat the opposition. This is why they play the games.

I am not giving up on this team, not now – not ever. I will admit that my optimism has not been shining like it usually does, but that has nothing to do with my Cowboys pride I promise you that.

It would be nice to see the Cowboys come out Sunday in full force, no holds barred. Give us 110% for four full quarters, fight for blood. Play smart, play tough. Play with your heart, mind and soul.

I’d like to know what Jerry or Wade have planned to say in the locker room before the game. Give these guys some motivation, they need it. Give them the old Jimmy Johnson give-it-your-all speech. Pull out some Tom Landry inspiration, “A winner never stops trying”. Although Landry says he didn’t believe in motivation, he believed in being prepared and being confident. I still believe he had the ability to motivate and inspire his team without even knowing it.

True Cowboys fans know and believe this team can win and as for the rest, this is the chance to prove them wrong.  I know it’s hard to keep the faith in times like these, but you must realize its time like these that we need faith more than anything.

GO COWBOYS!

StarStruck Graphics

Week 3 Preview: Cowboys at Texans

Who’s ready for the Gunfight at OK Corral this Sunday at High Noon when the slick shooting Cowboys take on the gun-toting Texans in Houston?

Both teams will be taking the field with a lot to prove this weekend as the Cowboys try to prove they are far better than their 0-2 record, while the Texans seek to prove they are every bit as good as their 2-0 record.

So far this season, the Cowboys have had more excuses than you can shake a stick at, and they have certainly earned their first two losses with their shoddy, unmotivated and uninspired play on the field. The penalties that plagued them in the last two seasons are now worse and more blatant than ever, but what would you expect after adding the NFL’s most penalized player (Alex Barron) to the NFL’s most penalized team (yours truly).

The concerns over the offensive line this offseason were clearly justified, and how bad is it when your own quarterback starts to suggest going back to a run-oriented offense?

One building across the street from Reliant Stadium has hung a broad sign from their rooftop welcoming the Cowboys to Houston. It reads, “The Circus Is In Town.”

Yes these days, Big D stands for “Big Disappointment” and unless this overpaid and under-performing collection of would-be NFLers start playing up to their potential, Big D will soon be come Big Zzz’s.

The other big concern is of course the rushing attack, has anybody seen it? I’ve looked everywhere and it’s no where to be found. And yes, the kicking problem that was apparently going to be solved by David Buehler, IS STILL A PROBLEM!

Hey I wish our Cowboys all the luck in the world this Sunday against the Texans. But it’s going to take a lot more than just luck to beat them at home. Listening to all the interviews from Wade, Jones, Romo, Austin and Ware this past week hasn’t made me feel any better the team. They can talk all they want about hoping to do this and hoping to do that, but like I’ve said before and I will say it again, HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY!

Here is the Tale of the Tape:


Dallas Cowboys
0-2-0

Houston Texans
2-0-0
OFFENSE Cowboys Texans
Points/Game 13.5 32.0
Passing Yds/Game 325.5 283.0
Rushing Yds/Game 69.5 157.5
DEFENSE Cowboys Texans
Points/Game Allowed 20.0 25.5
Passing Yds/Game Allowed 215.5 411.0
Rushing Yds/Game Allowed 63.5 31.0
RANKING Cowboys Texans
Total Offense 395.0 440.5
Total Defense 279.0 442.0

Do Bad Things Happens In Three… Weeks?

Alright I am back. After having watched the very first two weeks of the NFL season. I can’t exactly say I am thrilled. The team seems to have so much inconsistently I am actually starting to think they might be bipolar or have some sort of multiple personality disorder. There is a multitude of things that are morphing what was initially was expected to be a fairy tale season into a greek tragedy. The good thing is that the issues themselves can be fixed. The bad thing is… they have to fix enough of it to get a win this week. Usually I don’t try to put too much in a now or never scenario too early in the season but, after checking the history books of the NFL I have some startling news for my fellow Cowboy fans. No team has ever… I mean EVER!! won the Super Bowl starting the season with an 0-3 record. IN fact there is only four team that have started the season 1-2 and won the Super Bowl. This obviously a very short list that includes the 1981 san Francisco 49ers, the 1993 Dallas Cowboys, the 2001 New England Patriots and the 2007 New York Giants.

Granted there is a some good news about how some of the players have performed but there is also some bad news. The biggest problem is these bad news players are bringing the team as a whole down to a level that none of us fans thought they would be at after two weeks. The defensive backfield and the ability to cover and create turnovers is a big problem. A defense needs to have the ability to create turnovers. We have had this same issue the last couple years espescially when it comes to getting interceptions. We played the Chicgao Bears last week. The same Bears team that has Jay Cutler at the helm on offense. Mr Interception himself! I figured we would at least walk away with two inteceptions. We walked away instead with a big goose egg. This can not happen. In fact the secondary seems to almost look lost when teams start throwing down the field on the them. When I say down the field I mean over ten yards. In fact our two pro bowl cornerbacks from last year seem to be getting burned on a regular basis.

Its one thing to say that the defensive front needs to put pressure on the quarterback in order to help out the secondary. We are getting pressure but it seems that opposing offense has been tearing us apart. The Chicago Bears game I believe we may have blitzed too much. We should have left some of the pressuring the quareterback to the defensive line and the two rush linebackers. We sold out on some of these blitzes and left Greg Olson open for long run after catches. I do believe if we can cause some turnovers though that this will help out our defense and also put our offense in position to score. This week though we are going up against a team that beat the team we lost to in week one. A team known for throwing the ball… ALOT!

Our offense on the other hand seems to be lacking the one thing that we should be excelling at… running the rock. We have what a lot fo people believe to be the best running back trio in the league. So why can’t we seem to create a running game that other teams will fear? Seriously we rank 28th in the league in rushing. Thats out of 32 teams folks. We also seem to hit the 30 yard line of the opponent and Garrett suddenly decides to put a clamp on the offensive play calling. It’s like we hit a wall or something. We move down the field at break neck speed but hit the other teams 30 yard line and then we turn into the Cleveland Browns. The worst part about it happening there is that most teams feel comfortable kicking a field goal from there. Not us our field goal kicker is still finding his rhythm on that aspect of his game.

The good news and yes I said good news is…  We are one game out first place. Thats right the other NFC East teams having been doing a whole lot better. Because of that I believe we are not as far in the whole as a lot fo these NFL “experts” have made us out to be. If we show up and become the team that all of us believe we can be I think  We can cover Andre Johnson and let D-Ware do what he does best… eat a quarterback for lunch. The offense needs to committ to the running game and use it help open up the passing game and drive us beyond that 30 yard line barrier that has become our line in the sand.

Keeping The Faith

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I love the game of football so much. On Friday September 17th, I realized why. That evening, I attended the Emotion Bowl which is a huge rivalry between Idaho Falls High School and Skyline High School. I had attended IFHS for high school so of course, I was cheering for them.

These 2 teams have to share a stadium so there is even more of a rivalry than most cross-town teams. The winner of the Emotion Bowl gets to paint the goalposts their school colors! At one point, IFHS was down 20-6 and things were looking pretty bleak. As I sat there watching those kids playing their hearts out down after down and never once giving up, I realized why I love the game. A Skyline player got injured and was down on the field. Even though he was on the opposing team, all the players on the Tigers team took a knee as a sign of respect. Once the injured player was finally able to get up, the Tigers stood up and cheered as he was taken off the field. It’s not about scoring touchdowns, field goals, and winning (although many will argue this with me). It’s about being part of a team, working together, and most importantly……HAVING FUN. Winning is just an added bonus.  Which, IFHS did manage to come back and do 26-23.

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering what any of this has to do with the Dallas Cowboys. As I’m sure you all know, the last couple weeks have been less than stellar for the Cowboys with back to back disappointing losses to teams that we should have walked all over. That has caused alot of fans to question their faith in our team, myself included. I know we have the talent to get the job done but for some reason, they’re just not doing it. Anyhow, all this uncertainty had me questioning why I love the game so much. Then I got thinking about that game I attended for my old high school. It’s been 20 years since I went to that school (yes, I know I’m old) and yet I was still there cheering for them. I almost left when they were down 20-6 but I told myself “You’re not a true fan if you leave just because they’re down”. I kept the faith, they pulled it together, and managed to win the game. I know the Dallas Cowboys may not be doing so well right now, but they can…..and WILL improve their game and start kicking ass like we all know they can. If we give up on them, they’ll give up on themselves. Just gotta keep the faith…….

Nothing Is Working Right Now

Todd Archer of the Dallas Morning News writes that at some point today when Wade Phillips meets with the media, he will extol all of the positives put forth by the Cowboys in Sunday’s 27-20 loss to Chicago.

Positives? Which ones exactly?

Archer points out that he may mention the defense holding the Bears to only 38 rushing yards and one measly third-down conversion. He may mention the offense putting up 410 yards and holding the ball for 33 minutes, 40 seconds.

Just reading that only makes me feel worse, not better. It shows that we are good at running the ball down field, but still failing to execute in the long run and put points up on the board. Those red zones problems are still rampant.

As Terence Newman would say after the game,

“We’ve got to do something better than what we’ve been doing, I can tell you that. It ain’t 0-2 that bothers me. It’s about going 0-3 and 0-4, that’s what bothers me … With the way we’re going now, everybody can stop talking about the Super Bowl and about this and that. We’ve got to talk about next week.”

Doesn’t it just drive you crazy at how the Cowboys always seem to wait until the fourth quarter to really pour it on instead of playing each quarter hard and consistently?

It simply bugs the hell out of me because it always comes out looking like they were mailing it in for three quarters and then going into hyper-drive to try and catch up and win. The hurried offense leads to taking more risks, and more risks increases the likelihood of turnovers and failure.

Why can’t the offense be aggressive for all four quarters?

Until the Cowboys can look in the mirror and answer that question, their may not be a post season this year, and 0-4 is as real as it could get.

Gameday Graphic: Bears at Cowboys

It’s time for the Cowboys home opener and more importantly time to prove they are a winning team as they face the Chicago Bears in an early matchup. Television coverage begins at Noon Central time on FOX.

The all new Lone Star Struck game chat will be open all day and we invite all fans to join us as we root for the Boys and share our game thoughts. Its a great experience with fans from both sides of the ball going at it, cheering for their team.

Enjoy the game – GO COWBOYS!