The Rematch

As I sit watching the replay of the Cowboys-Giants game from a few weeks ago on NFL Network, a few things are clear.

1. Terence Newman should have had a pick six early in the first quarter.

2. The Cowboys secondary played horrible.

3. Eli Manning had all day to throw.

6. The Cowboys defense seemed confused many times.

4. Felix Jones ran the ball very well.

5. Tony Romo played amazing.

6. The Cowboys receivers were open all night.

With the Cowboys and Giants knowing each other so well I don’t see either team changing much as the season finale approaches. The winner takes the NFC East division crown and the loser goes home.

In the first game between these two teams we can look back and see that the loss was on the shoulders of the defense. The Cowboys offense built a 12 point lead late in the fourth quarter and the defense could not stop the Giants offense when it mattered most. I understand that if Tony Romo and Miles Austin could have connected with just over two minutes to play it would have ended the game, but the game should have never come to that. Also, ten penalties on the Cowboys cannot happen again.

This game will be another NFC East battle as both teams exchange blows in this heavy weight fight.

Keys to the game for the Cowboys…

Defense

1. Pressure Eli Manning.

2. Don’t give up the big play.

Offense

1. Establish the running game.

2. Protect Romo.

Yes, all obvious things and yes, all things that are easy to write down. But as I sit watching the first game the Cowboys had so many opportunities to win the game. If the defense can get to Manning in this game (no sacks in first game) and cause him to throw before he wants to I think it will allow the secondary to be more effective. Let’s face it after allowing 400 passing yards to the Giants and countless big plays of 20 yards or more, can the secondary play any worse?

Felix Jones will be the key to the Cowboys offense. If he can be effective and get the running game going it will open up the passing game for Romo. I don’t believe the Giants secondary can slow down Austin, Bryant, Robinson and Witten. Also, with an effective running game it will slow down the Giants pass rush.

 Fasten your seatbelts and get ready for another wild ride in The Rematch.

 

New to the Silver and Blue: Kevin Kowalski

If you are a Dallas Cowboy fan, you know that a lot of the most productive players current and past aren’t drafted, but undrafted free agents.

Another free agent added to the team this season is rookie center Kevin Kowalski.

Kevin is 6’2″ weighing in at 200 lbs. and playing behind center Phil Costa. Kevin has played in five games so far this season. His first snaps with Tony Romo was in a pre-season game against Minnesota, in which he handled himself amazing well since Tony had barely met him before Kevin learned he was going to play in that pre-season game.

Our offensive line coach said in a past interview ” He’s is a guy that’s always prepared, If there is anyone that’s going to come off the bench and do well it would be the guy that’s in there doing extra work and studying the tape. That’s exactly what Kevin is. Always prepared, always knows what to do.”

Kevin Kowalski, #60, was born in Macedonia, Ohio on January 2, 1989 and attended Nordonia High School where he was named to the first-team Division II All-Ohio team as a senior.

Kevin attended Toledo College and earned a degree individualized Studies. He played right guard as a freshman and was part of an offensive line that allowed just 16, sacks, tying for 19th best in the nation. He was moved to center his junior year, starting all 12 games, and anchored an offensive line that ranked 16th in the nation in total offense and 18th in passing offense. As a senior he started all 13 games at center and was invited to play in the 2011 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.

Kevin wasn’t overwhelmed when he had to come in against the Giants after Costa suffered from concussion like symptoms. Since Tony and Kevin don’t practice during the week there where a few communication issues in the game. Kevin commented “It’s just something that’s kind of been expected since I’ve been here, from what happened in the preseason to early on in the season; I know that I’ve been in situations where I have had to be prepared.”

“He did a great job coming in, not having had reps with me,” quarterback Tony Romo said. “I was proud of him.”

After 15 games why should we believe things are going to be different going into the 16th game?

The 2011 NFC East title will come down to the last game of the season between the Cowboys and the Giants. The NFL has moved the game to Sunday Night Football on NBC as well. What will happen in this game is anyone’s guess.

I’ve said it many times before that I tell it like it is when it comes to the Cowboys. Other than being a loyal fan and sticking with your team what reasons do fans have to believe that the Cowboys will finally put it together against the Giants? Every time the Cowboys have had a chance to take control this season they have failed to get it done.

The Cowboys have not beaten a quality team all season. Their only victory over a team with a winning record was against the 49ers, but that was also way back in Week 2. The Bills can be thrown in there when they were 5-3, but does anyone truly believe the Bills were as good as their record?

When the Cowboys had a chance to improve to 3-1 they gave away a 27-3 second half lead to the Lions. With a 16-13 lead against the Patriots they were not aggressive and gave the ball back to Tom Brady who drove the Patriots to a 20-16 victory to drop the Cowboys to 2-3.

The Cowboys first big division test came in Philadelphia on October 30th. The Eagles went ahead early and led the Cowboys 24-0 at halftime. They went on to take a 34-0 lead before the Cowboys scored in the fourth quarter. The Eagles won the game 34-7, dropping the Cowboys to 3-4.

After losing to the Eagles, the Cowboys won four in a row to improve to 7-4.  The Cowboys then had a golden opportunity to put a strangle hold on the division title in the 12th game of the season. The Giants lost to the Packers and dropped to 6-6. The Cowboys had a chance to take a two game lead, but they lost in overtime to the 4-7 Cardinals and fell to 7-5 on the season. 

Then a week later another opportunity presented itself for the 7-5 Cowboys when they hosted the 6-6 Giants in prime-time. The Cowboys held a 12 point lead late in the fourth quarter and ended up losing, 37-34.

Now with both the Cowboys and Giants tied at 8-7 they meet again, this time at MetLife Stadium in NJ next Sunday night in a battle for the NFC East. The winner will host a Wildcard playoff game and the loser will pack up their stuff and head home for the offseason.

So I will ask once again. What reasons should Cowboys fans have to believe this team will pull it all together in the final week of the season? The defense has been less than impressive all season under Rob Ryan. They can’t seem to get constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The secondary seems to always be out of position and gets beat for big gains. 

On offense Tony Romo has been having a good season with 29 touchdown passes and only nine interceptions and close to 4,000 yards passing. His season seemed to improve when rookie DeMarco Murray became the starter and finally gave the Cowboys an effective running game to take the pressure off Romo. With Murray on IR the running game went back to Felix Jones who was coming back from his own injury. But now Jones is dealing with a bad hamstring so the Cowboys running game falls on 12 year veteran Sammy Morris who had not played all season until being signed before the Tampa Bay game. Add practice squad player Chauncey Washington to the running game and there is a huge drop off for the Cowboys.

After losing to the Eagles on Christmas Eve the Cowboys learned that they will be without starting left guard Montrae Holland due to a partially torn left bicep. Veteran Derrick Dockery will replace Holland in the offensive line. Sean Lee is dealing with a strained hamstring, but it’s being reported that he will play against the Giants.

Standing in the Cowboys way of a division title are the NY Giants. If the Cowboys can’t get their running game going, then it will fall into Tony Romo’s hands. If that happens it’s the Giants defensive line that becomes a problem. They can get a lot of pressure on Romo with just rushing four. If the offensive line can give Romo time and he will find his receivers. History also shows that when Romo tries to do too much he makes a lot of mistakes. The X factor in this game will be how effective Felix Jones will be in the running game. With the Cowboys defense not responding when it counts this season this game may end up as an offensive shootout with the last team having the ball winning the game.

So as a writer who tells it like it is I don’t see much as far as promise for the Cowboys going into this do or die game. The Cowboys have many injuries and have been inconsistent all season. But as a fan I will be cheering for them as they take the field Sunday Night against the Giants with another NFC East title in reach. 

 

 

Do or Die Next Week… Again…

With the relevancy of the Cowboys-Eagles game reduced to an exhibition game yesterday afternoon, the Cowboys decided to take Christmas Eve off in what I still considered to be the tune up to Armageddon next week against the Giants.

The Cowboys have now lost three of their last four games after their 20-7 loss to the Eagles, the Cowboys also lost to the first meeting with the Eagles 34-7.

Sadly, we’ve all seen how the Cowboys usually handle these must win – do or die games before… They fold like a cheap chair.

What will they do next week?

Will Tony Romo finally get over the hump and win a big game?

Will Felix Jones finally play like the No. 1 running back he was expected to be when he was drafted?

Will Rob Ryan finally have the defense – especially the secondary – firing on all cylinders?

Will Jason Garrett make any bone-headed moves that will prove costly?

These are all legitimate questions for these Cowboys who continue to frustrate fans with their inconsistent play and poor performances when the games matter most.

Hopefully, they have learned from the ups and downs of this season and learned a valuable lesson for next week – and that is that the team that want’s it the most always proves victorious.

So how bad do you want this game Tony? DeMarcus? Miles? Felix?

Seriously – how bad do you want to win this blood-match against the Giants?

Are you ready to elevate your level of play and give the fans and this team the best performance of your careers? Is that too much to ask?

We’ll all soon find out, but here’s something for you to chew on, Garrett…

Boomer Esiason predicted that the losing coach of the Cowboys-Giants game would be fired. I agree.

Do or die game for the playoffs, yes. But it’s also do or die for Tony Romo and Jason Garrett. Both of them have their butts on the line on Sunday and depending on how the Cowboys fare, both could be ex-Cowboys in the long, cold offseason.

Tight end Jason Witten said understand the stakes are high, “We will have to play our best football. It’s on the road. It’s going to be tough. But that’s the environment you have to take.”

Lets Go Cowboys!

The Truth Hurts

I am not ashamed to express my “not so great” feelings for our owner Jerry Jones. I lost 90% of all respect for him when he bought the team and treated our legendary coach Tom Landry like, in my opinion, “a piece of meat”. The way that he would come to the sidelines half-way thru a game and make decisions about the game that should have been left up to the coach. I could go on and on about the screwed up things he has done. The poor decisions he has made and how he has made the Cowboys organization a “laughing” matter in the past 15 years.

I said all that to say this. How many of us “die hard” fans out there are NOT worried about this game Sunday VS. the Eagles? First they blow us out of the water earlier this year. Then we come out against the Giants and decide that our defense was going to watch the game from the stands. Then against the Bucs, yes we won, but if you look at the 3rd and 4th quarters of that game. Josh freakin Freeman was tearing our secondary a new one with his passing game.

So Jerry comes out and says:

“There is obviously a thrill to dream about what can be out here, the success,” Jones said during one of his regular weekly radio appearances this week. “But I’m also, because it is the Eagles, after the butt-kicking they gave us up in Philadelphia, I’m scared.”

Truth hurts doesn’t it? There is no way ANYONE can come out right now and say with 100% CONFIENDENCE you are not in some way “scared” of this game Saturday against the Eagles with the poor defensive performances our team has put up in the past few games. I am TERRIFIED of what is going to happen. The Eagles beat us down earlier in the season and the Giants tore our defense up.

I AM SCARED TO DEATH!!!!

Do not take me being scared as I don’t think we can win the game. I ABSOLUTELY believe, just like every single week of the season, every time the Cowboys take the field I BELIEVE we can win that game. I BELIEVE we WILL win that game. But I am also realistic. We have 2 very critical games coming up, and we need to win to make the playoffs. I truly believe we will do it, however, I am scared!

GO COWBOYS!!!!!

Here they come around the final turn!

The Cowboys and Giants head into the last three weeks of the 2011 season with a lot on the line. The NFC East division title is still up for grabs. I was looking at the NFL tie breakers and added where both the Giants and Cowboys stand as of right now.

The Cowboys and Giants are tied in the NFC East with 7-6 records. Of course the Giants are ahead due to their victory last weekend in Dallas. Here is the breakdown of the tie breakers.

1.Head-to-head (best won-lost-tied percentage in games between the clubs).

Giants 1-0 vs Cowboys

Cowboys 0-1 vs Giants

Both teams play each other the last week of the season

2.Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the division.

Giants are 2-2 vs NFC East. Home games vs Redskins and Cowboys are left

Cowboys are 2-2 vs NFC East. Home game vs Eagles and away game vs Giants are left

3.Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games.

Giants are 5-2 vs common opponents

Cowboys are 5-3 vs common opponents

Giants have Jets left as a common opponent

Both beat the Rams

Both beat the Bills

Both beat the Dolphins

Giants beat the Cardinals. Cowboys lost to the Cardinals

Giants beat the Patriots. Cowboys lost to the Patriots

Giants lost to the Seahawks. Cowboys beat the Seahawks

Giants lost to the 49ers. Cowboys beat the 49ers

Giants play the Jets in 2 weeks. Cowboys lost to Jets

4.Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.

Giants are 4-6 vs NFC with Redskins and Cowboys left

Cowboys are 5-4 vs NFC with Buccaneers, Eagles and Giants left

Seems confusing, but it’s very simple for the Cowboys. Win all three games and they are NFC East Champions.

Let me add one more possibility to the NFC East battle. If the Cowboys, Giants and Eagles all finish the season with 8-8 records the Eagles would win the NFC East based on sweeping the Cowboys and having a better division record than the Giants.

Here they come around the final turn! The Giants are ahead of the Cowboys by a length with the Eagles close behind. And the winner is….?

It Was Not Romo’s Fault

Ok I have read the past few posts of my fellow fans and bloggers. One thing is really starting to bother me about this sunday’s game. That you are blaming Romo for this loss. It was NOT Romo’s fault we lost this game. He got the job done. When we needed him too, he drove the team down the field, made the plays and got HIS job done. How is throwing for 321 yards with 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions his fault??? SERIOUSLY???

IT WAS NOT ROMO THAT LOST US THIS GAME!!!!!! It was our defense, OH WAIT we decided that during this game we would not even play defense. Our lack of defense in this game was the cause of our loss. I mean we had a 12 point lead with just over 5 minutes left in the game. All we had to do was stop them ONE TIME..ONCE!!!! and we did not do that. Rob Ryan is to blame. Our safety coach is to blame. Our defensive backs coach is to blame. Our linebackers coach is to blame. Our defensive line coach is to blame. Our ENTIRE defense is to blame. I don’t even think that this time we can put blame on the head coach, or any of the offense AT ALL. OUR DEFENSE IS PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!!!!

BOTTOM LINE ENOUGH SAID.

I will FOREVER be a fan of our Cowboys, but am willing to tell the truth when it needs to be done. If we get LUCKY enough to make it to the playoffs, our defense will lose us another game with the elite teams in the playoffs unless there is a DRAMATIC change made.

GO COWBOYS

It Takes More Than Sexy Stats To Be A Warrior

I warned about this in my post yesterday in which I wrote:

The NFC East title is at stake tonight and for either the Giants or Cowboys, their season is at stake as well.

A loss for the Cowboys will be a devastating blow to their season and they’ll have nine months to lick their wounds if that happens.

The best bet for the Cowboys, is to take Eli Manning out of the game.

Manning is 2-0 in his last two games at Cowboys Stadium and has completed 68.5% of his passes for 636 yards and 6 TDs. He has beaten the Cowboys in five of their past seven meetings.

He Must Be Stopped!

Manning is a closer… That means he can engineer a 4th quarter rally with the best of them. No 4th quarter lead under 15 points is safe with Manning.

The Cowboys defense cannot fall asleep at the switch in the fourth quarter. In fact, I believe this game will be won by the team that wins the fourth quarter no matter what the score is going into it.

There’s no room for unnecessary penalties… No blown coverages in the secondary or missed tackles behind the line of scrimmage where Manning is elusive and dangerous.

This is a winner takes all game…

Prophetic, huh?

This Cowboys team lacks killer instinct. That is why they always implode in December when games mean the most. They are never hungry enough or motivated enough to win the games that count the most.

Romo is a nice quarterback, but in big must win games he is 1-13 in his career. That tells you all you need to know about Romo.

Everyone knew the skills Romo had in the draft, but every single team passed on him because he lacked the killer instinct you LOOK FOR IN A QUARTERBACK.

That is why Romo went un-drafted and the Cowboys signed him as an un-drafted free agent.

The best players in the draft don’t just have sexy stats, they usually come from winning college teams – big teams – championship teams.

You can have a guy like Romo and still win, but only if you have someone else on offense that is a show stopper and a “play for blood” type player. An all out  high intensity type player who oozes with the killer instinct and HATES to lose.

It takes more than good numbers in meaningless games to win a Super Bowl. It takes a warrior’s mentality who attacks the gridiron like a battlefield leading his men to war and ultimately victory.

You don’t win Super Bowls when you can’t win in December. Last night you saw why I called Eli Manning a closer yesterday… Last night you saw what I meant when I refer to a warrior’s mentality.

The Cowboys should have never given the ball back to the Giants after their last possession. A great quarterback would have known that and would have never allowed that to happen. You NEVER give the football back to Eli Manning with more than two minutes on the clock. NEVER.

When the Giants converted that 2-point conversion – that was a warning. The Giants were sending the Cowboys a message. What they said is “we’re coming at you and we’re gonna rip your freaking hearts right out of your chests and leave your battered and bloodied bodies all over your shiny new stadium.”

And that’s exactly what they did.

How can the Cowboys ever win another Super Bowl, when they can’t even get passed Eli Manning?

So now what happens?

Now what happens with the Cowboys? How many times can we watch these Cowboys lose these kinds of games? The Cowboys looked like they were heading towards a division championship as they led the Giants 34-22 with five minutes to go in the game. Then once again as has been the case this season and in past seasons the Cowboys defense allowed a team to drive down the field and score. Then with the Cowboys leading 34-29 all Tony Romo needed to do to seal the game was connect with a wide open Miles Austin for a first down and the game was over. Then the ball sailed over Austin’s head and the Giants got the ball back. Can anyone say that they were confident that the defense was going to make a stand? Right down the field the Giants went and took the lead.

Yes, I understand that Romo brought them down the field to set up a game tying field goal attempt that ended up being blocked to end the game. But does that drive really make anyone feel better about the game?

This team needs major changes from the owner to the coaches to the players. Since we all know that Jerry Jones isn’t going anywhere then it’s the current coaching staff that needs to go along with many of the players. Maybe it really wasn’t all Wade Phillips fault last season. The last I checked the Houston Texans had the best defense in the league and were division champions. And this without their best player, Mario Williams. Maybe a lot of the blame needs to go on these players and the fact that they just can’t seem to get the job done.

*Tony Romo just can’t get the job done and hasn’t over the years. How many more years can he say that he needs to learn from losses and get better?

*The offensive line gets pushed all over the field and it seems like defenders are in the Cowboys back field more than the Cowboys are.

*Any time the defense blitzes you can get bet there is going to be a big completion. For whatever reason when the Cowboys blitz they seem to hit a brick wall.

*Orlando Scandrick has to be one of the worst cornerbacks to ever play the game, but Jerry Jones gives him a contract extension. He is beaten every single week by every receiver that lines up opposite him.

*Penalty after penalty which has been the case for years now. Can anyone name another team that gets penalized as much as the Cowboys at the worst possible times in games?

*Where is this great Rob Ryan defense? I don’t care what they are ranked in any category. Make a stop!!!

I just don’t get it. I don’t understand it. These Cowboys are supposed to be loaded with talent. So why is it that they can’t get the job done? Especially in what was the biggest game of the season.

“This is going to hurt, it’s going to sting,” Romo said. “But we need to figure out how to do some things a little better, come back better next week and play our best game of the season.”

“You have to put your head down and keep playing games,” Romo said. “For us it is about us coming back and figuring out some detail things that we can use from this game to improve and using that. Getting better as a team and playing our best game next week.”

Wasn’t the Giants game the biggest game of the season? What about the Cardinals game when the Cowboys could have taken a two game lead on the Giants last week? The Cowboys had the division title in their hands and just could not get it done. How is it that a team (Giants) that had lost four in a row is now in first place with a division title and the playoffs right there in front of them? There seems to be so many excuses, but there comes a time where the excuses need to stop.

“This is like the playoffs for us,” inside linebacker Bradie James said. “It’s sudden death. We have to win the next three to give ourselves a chance. But we knew this one (was) a big one, too.”

And even if the Cowboys somehow pulled out a victory against the Giants would anyone had felt good about it? Would anyone think that this team could deal with the Packers or Saints in the playoffs?

“The nature of our team is we’ve played a lot of close games,” Garrett said. “We’ve won maybe half of them and we’ve lost some other ones. You have to look at situations, see what happens, process it, learn from it and hopefully go forward.”

Once again it’s time for changes, but since Jerry Jones is running the show I can’t say that the future looks bright for the Cowboys. I can’t even say next week in Tampa looks bright. This team could be headed towards a collapse of epic proportions.

So now what happens?

Tony Fiammetta – Large Part Of Running Game

It has been a up and down season for fullback Tony Fiammetta.  The 2009 4th round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers was waived September 3, 2011, after battling concussion issues.  The Cowboys claimed him September 4, 2011, but was waived just four days later.  Then he re-signed with Dallas on September 13th.

We know as Cowboy fans, that to have a solid running game a fullback is needed.  A good example is Emmitt Smith and Moose Daryl  Johnson.  DeMarco Murray ackowledged the improved running game when he’s behind him.  ” Tony does a great job and I’m looking forward to having him back this week.”

In four games behind Fiammetta, Murray rushed for 611 yards. In the last three games that Tony was out due to illness with a inner-ear infection his running game fell to 198 yards.  Yes, it could be due to the teams we have played, but I think having a good fullback makes a large difference no matter what defense we are facing.

It is interesting that both Fiammetta and Moose attended Syracuse.  I am not going to quote stats like I usually do because as we all know, a fullback’s most important job  – his blocking isn’t listed in the stats.    Pro Football Weekly did name Fiammetta as their first team All-American fullback.  He also participated in the 2009 Senior Bowl.

As I do research for these articles what I find most interesting is their pre-college history.

For example Tony’s full name is Placido Anthony “Tony” Fiammetta.  He was born in Kaneohe, Hawaii August 22, 1986 to parents Vince and Esther Fiammetta. He was raised in Maryland where he attented Walkersville High School. He played both football and lacrosse all four years, and wrestled for one year. His Senior year he played one game , and  broke his leg after recording 144 yards and had three touchdowns on 19 carries.

Who thinks the Cowboys will have a better running game with Fiammetta tonight?

Or do you disagree with me and think the Cowboys don’t need a fullback like they did earlier this season?  Let me know.

Cowboys Need To Take A Giant Step Tonight

I’m still besides myself over last week’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals, but hey every journey has a few bumps along the way. What really irks me more than the losses themselves is the fact that so many of them were completely avoidable and unnecessary.

Anyway, here it is… The biggest and most important game of the Cowboys’ season is tonight at 8:20 pm.

The NFC East title is at stake tonight and for either the Giants or Cowboys, their season is at stake as well.

A loss for the Cowboys will be a devastating blow to their season and they’ll have nine months to lick their wounds if that happens.

The best bet for the Cowboys, is to take Eli Manning out of the game.

Manning is 2-0 in his last two games at Cowboys Stadium and has completed 68.5% of his passes for 636 yards and 6 TDs. He has beaten the Cowboys in five of their past seven meetings.

He Must Be Stopped!

Manning is a closer… That means he can engineer a 4th quarter rally with the best of them. No 4th quarter lead under 15 points is safe with Manning.

The Cowboys defense cannot fall asleep at the switch in the fourth quarter. In fact, I believe this game will be won by the team that wins the fourth quarter no matter what the score is going into it.

The Giants offensive line is hurting right now. We have to take it to them… We have to take it to Eli Manning.

There’s no room for unnecessary penalties… No blown coverages in the secondary or missed tackles behind the line of scrimmage where Manning is elusive and dangerous.

This is a winner takes all game…