Happy Halloween Cowboys Fans!

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Halloween from all of us at Lone Star Struck!

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Sunday against the Rams there was was no need for a comeback. There was no huge lead that disappeared. It was just 60 minutes of solid football from the Cowboys as the offense was able to take control from the start and the defense continued to impress as they shut down the Rams offense and created turnovers. The result was a 34-7 victory over the St. Louis Rams. True, the Rams are one of the worst teams in the NFL right now, but at the same time in order for a team to get on a roll it has to start somewhere.

“You take each of them individually,” Jason Garrett said. “You play 16 games and count them up at the end. What we’re trying to do is get better every week and take advantage of our opportunity on Sunday.”

That roll started with rookie DeMarco Murray who took center stage as he rushed for a Cowboys record 253 yards on 25 carries and scored once. The touchdown came early in the first quarter when Murray ran through a huge hole from his offensive line and found himself in the Rams secondary and scored from 91 yards out. Murray’s 253 yards rushing broke Emmitt Smith’s single game record of 237 yards against the Eagles in 1993. It also broke Tony Dorsett’s rookie single game record of 206 yards also against the Eagles. It was the longest run for the Cowboys since Tony Dorsett ran 99 yards against the Vikings in 1982. Phillip Tanner added 34 yards of his own on six carries and scored his first NFL touchdown in the fourth quarter.

“I never thought in a million years that I’d ever have a day like this,” Murray said. “This is what I’ve been working hard for since my Pop Warner days.”

The Cowboys will most likely be without Felix Jones again this week. That means DeMarco Murray will once again be able to show that the Rams game was not a fluke and that he is the man for the job. They say everything happens for a reason and the Cowboys might have seen their future on Sunday with DeMarco Murray and Phillip Tanner running the ball.

Even Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett gave their congratulations to DeMarco Murray through their Twitter accounts.

“D.Murray congratulations on your performance today for the Cowboys,” said Dorsett.

“In order to be the best, you must be consistent for a long time. Hopefully this is the start of things to come.” said Smith.

As far as the passing game, Tony Romo only passed for 166 yards, but when the running game is as strong as it was against the Rams the passing game can take a backseat. Romo threw two touchdown passes as he found Jason Witten in the second quarter from one yard out and then Dez Bryant late in the fourth quarter from 20 yards out.

“It was nice to play a game like this,” said quarterback Tony Romo, who threw for just 166 yards. “We haven’t played in a game like that in a while where I felt like the game was decided toward the end. We did a great job in the run game. The defense played a great game. It just all came together.”

The Cowboys defense continued to impress as they held the Rams offense to just 265 yards. That includes the 40 yard run by Steven Jackson in the second quarter on their only touchdown drive. The defense also collected two turnovers as Abe Elam forced and recovered a fumble and Mike Jenkins intercepted his first pass of the season. The offense was then able to convert those two turnovers into 10 points.

“I thought we did well other than that one run,” Sean Lee said, referring to Jackson’s 40-yard scamper that led to their only touchdown. “We did a good job after that. We won the game, which is the most important. As a defense, we have to stop the run and we did that today.”

 

Rookie kicker Dan Bailey added two field goals in the game. One from 51 yards, which is a career long for him. Bailey has now made 16 straight field goals for the Cowboys and is 17 of 18 for the season.

“It feels good to hit a long one like that,” Bailey said. “They all count the same, of course, but that was a good kick. Hopefully they have more confidence in me now. But I know I just have to keep it going and keep focusing on each kick at a time.

The Cowboys are now 3-3 and sitting one game behind the division leading Giants. The victory over the Rams could be just what the doctor ordered and will hopefully send them on a run as the season continues on. Next up is an important visit to Philadelphia to take on the 2-4 Eagles who will be looking to save their season, but it could also be an opportunity for the Cowboys to hand their division rival a knockout punch.

Pictures provided by NFL.com

Make or break game for the Cowboys

With the Cowboys sitting at 2-3 and currently in 3rd place in the NFC East, what should be expected when they host the 0-5 St. Louis Rams this week? The Cowboys have lost games to the Jets, Lions and Patriots after blowing leads. Then they needed to come from behind against the Redskins and 49ers to win. Who are the real Cowboys? Who will show up on Sunday?

The Rams come to Texas Stadium with the 23th ranked rushing offense and the 25th ranked passing offense. You would think the Cowboys defense would be able to dominate the Rams offense with their number one ranked rushing defense and 14th ranked passing defense. Steven Jackson should be the Cowboys main focus as he is the Rams primary threat.  Sam Bradford now has Brandon Lloyd to throw to, but he has only three touchdown passes in his first five games and has also been sacked 21 times. The Cowboys defense should be able keep Bradford under control and hopefully create some turnovers.

If the Cowboys cannot get their 27th ranked rushing offense jump started against the NFL’s worst rushing defense in the Rams, then the problem is even bigger than most think. With Felix Jones out with an injury DeMarco Murray will get his chance to show himself off in front of the home crowd. Maybe it’s the spark the Cowboys running game needs to go along with the added experience on the offensive line with Montrae Holland taking over for injured rookie Bill Nagy. Miles Austin and Dez Bryant are now healthy and should be able to stretch the Rams defense. Add the surprise of Laurent Robinson to the mix and the Cowboys should be able to put up some points Sunday.

It’s understood that these are just numbers and rankings and they mean nothing once the game starts. But I see this as the Cowboys opportunity to put a complete game together for the first time this season and get themselves to 3-3 before a very big divisional game in Philadelphia on October 30th. The NFC East is a very close race right now and the Cowboys still have five more games to play against their division rivals. That is what makes the game against the Rams so important for the Cowboys. With the Giants and Eagles having their bye week and the Redskins traveling to Carolina with quarterback questions, the division might get even closer come Sunday night.

If the Cowboys are to make something of this season then this has to be the game that gets them going. Falling to 2-4 cannot be an option. If there is such a thing as a must game, then this is it for the Cowboys. It’s time to put the three horrible losses behind them and move on. But if they lose to the Rams it may be the start of a free fall similar to 2010 that they won’t be able to recover from. Even though the Rams are 0-5 they are still a team hungry for a win. The Cowboys cannot look past the Rams with the Eagles next on the schedule. They need to hit the Rams with everything they have. They need to come out and make sure the Rams go home with their sixth loss of the season. The Cowboys can’t feel like they can dodge the Rams game and move on. So, like the Dodge saying goes…

“If you can’t Dodge it, Ram it!!”

 

 

 

 

Call Him Mr. Glass

As I pointed out on September 29, we need a workhorse every-down running back and Felix Jones, who I referred to as Mr. Glass in that post only proved what I said all along.

Jones has been placed in a walking boot this week and is expected to be out anywhere from two to four weeks according to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News.

Jones suffered a high ankle sprain in the second quarter of the team’s loss to New England and didn’t return.

Jones has fought through a dislocated shoulder to stay on the field this season. He won’t be able to do that with this injury.

Jones will miss the St. Louis and Philadelphia games at a minimum meaning he won’t return to the field until November.

We’ll save a drumstick and some pecan pie for you, Felix.

Fans Need to Give Romo and Young Team More Slack

Let me first start off by saying that the Dallas Cowboys proudly stake claim to the most loyal and passionate fan base in all of sports.  No team’s fans can sniff the enthusiasm that Dallas Cowboys fans have, and that reigns true throughout the entire country.  But lately, I have become a bit agitated with our fans and the things I have heard them say about this team.

“Trade Tony Romo.”  “Fire Jason Garrett.”  “(Somehow) get rid of Jerry and Stephen Jones.”  These are some of the solutions I have heard lately from fans who are inherently intolerant of a young, talented, inexperienced football team.

Tony Romo has made some inexcusable mistakes in the first five weeks, and that’s a fair criticism.  But before we go shipping him off to another team for peanuts and give Stephen McGee the keys to the offense, let’s consider a few things here.

Over the course of five weeks, Romo has had a nearly non-existent running game.  Both Dez Bryant and Miles Austin have missed games.  At one point, his starting receivers were Jesse Holley, Laurent Robinson, and Kevin Ogletree.  Prior to the bye week, he was playing with broken ribs and a punctured lung.  The average age of his starting offensive line is twenty-five, and three of those starters have been rookies.

All that being said, if you would have told me that the Cowboys would be 2-2 heading into their bye week, with the two losses by a grand total of seven points, I would’ve taken it in a second.

Now I challenge anyone to find any quarterback in the league not named Brady, Manning, Brees, or Rodgers that could have done a better job quarterbacking the Dallas Cowboys given those sets of circumstances.  The mental errors Tony Romo makes are correctable, unlike athleticism or talent, which he has.

Fans have to understand that this is a young team.  Any time you release the amount of underachieving veterans that the Cowboys did in the offseason and replace them with younger, inexperienced players, you will undoubtedly experience growing pains.  The same thing happened in 1990 under Jimmy Johnson.

Fans also have to remember that the Cowboys are astronomically magnified by the local and national media more so than any other NFL franchise.  Tony Romo throws thee interceptions, two of them pick-sixes, to help the Lions come back and win, and he’s absolutely thrashed by the media for two weeks.  Yet the next week, Eli Manning throws three interceptions, Michael Vick throws four interceptions, both the Giants and Eagles lose, and neither quarterback is administered comparable treatment.  Yesterday, Rex Grossman threw four interceptions to help the Redskins lose, and almost no attention has been given to his inability to play quarterback.  That’s even after a certain familiar analyst (Deion Sanders) proclaimed Rex Grossman as the best quarterback in the NFC East.  Shouldn’t he get comparable treatment to Romo if that’s the case?

Have some patience with this team.  They are two or three plays away from being 4-1 or even 5-0.  The teams they have lost to (Jets, Lions, Patriots) are pretty good.

The last ten games the Cowboys have played have been decided by four points or less.  To me, that means this team is grinding the ax and trying to find ways to win close games.  That’s a good thing.

I’ll take a team whose last ten contests have come down to the very last drive, win or lose, compared to a team that exerts no effort, like the one we saw during Wade Phillips’s last moments as head coach.

 

Going For The Kill

Anybody who knows me personally, understand my outlook on football and baseball; GO FOR THE KILL NO MATTER THE SCORE!

My buddies and I also refer to it as PLAYING FOR BLOOD!

I have long killed the Cowboys for this basic lack of KILLER instinct. For the better part of the decade this ultimate level of competitiveness has been widely unseen. And that explains all the late game and late season collapses. Only The Strong Survive!

Color me shocked when I read owner Jerry Jones comments after another heartbreaking loss on Sunday.

First of all, this is what he said from the owners box when the Cowboys punted the ball back to the Patriots with more than 3 minutes left on the clock.

“They’re gonna get at least a field goal,” Jones grumbled in his luxury suite after the Cowboys, clinging to a three-point lead with less than three minutes remaining, punted the ball back to the Pats following three consecutive running plays. “We’ll be lucky to get to overtime.”

I grumbled EXACTLY the same words, and of course the inevitable happened leading Jones to say this:

“When you get in a situation like that, you’ve got to go for the kill.  I felt like we could’ve been more aggressive. Our defense had been good all day, but you knew Brady had a length-of-the-field drive in him – so it didn’t surprise me at all when he took them down at the end.”

Wow, is Jerry Jones finally coming around and to his senses? Did he really say we had to go for the kill? I guess Hell has freezed over – now if only he could preach that message to Tony Romo and the rest of the team.

Go For The Kill Cowboys! Don’t Just Say It – DO IT!

Things May Look Bleak For America’s Team, But There’s Still Hope

    Tom Brady #12 Of The New England Patriots Shakes

Many fans question just what it means when analysts refer to a professional sports team as “America’s Team.” This is a label that at different times has been placed on different teams. However, it is perhaps most closely associated with the Dallas Cowboys. Basically, this means that the Cowboys are the most beloved team in the country, or at least have been at times. While most teams have fans primarily within their own home cities, the Cowboys are different, with fans from Dallas, to other major cities, to states like Idaho that lack their own teams. These fans across the country commonly tune in to direct Tv to keep tabs on the Cowboys each NFL season.

Once again this season, the Cowboys entered the year with plenty of hype, with analysts and writers constantly addressing the question of how far this year’s team could go. For the past several years, the Cowboys have been seen as a very talented team with a roster that is fully capable of reaching and competing in the playoffs. However, Dallas has consistently underachieved in recent years, largely thanks to the up-and-down play (and questionable clutch ability) of quarterback Tony Romo. In fact, the Tony Romo situation is beginning to become baffling. The quarterback is continually counted among the top in the NFL, despite the fact that he does not consistently put up top numbers, and cannot seem to keep pace with other “elite” quarterbacks.

So far, the Cowboys are off to a bit of an average start, going 2-3 over the course of the first 5 weeks (with one bye week). They opened the season with a close loss on the road to the Jets, then rolled off back-to-back wins against two surprisingly good teams in the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins. In week 4, the Cowboys suffered a loss to the Detroit Lions, who are one of only two remaining unbeaten teams. On Sunday, the New England Patriots, led by Tom Brady, gave the Cowboys another sobering and crushing defeat in 20-16 loss that came in the final seconds of the game. Ultimately, the season is still promising, however, as the schedule has been difficult and the team is still technically alive in a division that is, so far, underperforming.

It will definitely be interesting to see where the Cowboys go from this point in the season.

Our next contest is against the 0-5 St. Louis Rams followed by the last place Philadelphia Eagles and the 2-3 Seattle Seahawks. After that we have a tough, but not that tough, game against the Buffalo Bills and after that things get really interesting as we play four of our last seven games against division rivals.

Things haven’t been easy for the Cowboys thus far, but from this point forward the schedule becomes easier for the most part, and the Cowboys may still end up in good position to compete for a playoff spot. Either way, we can be sure of one thing: America’s Team will certainly be covered closely over the course of the coming months.

Remember the blue jersey jinx?

With the Cowboys preparing to play the Patriots this week and with the news that they will be wearing their blue jerseys for the first time in 2011, it got me thinking about “the jinx”. The story of the Cowboys blue jerseys being bad luck was mostly heard in the 1970’s and into the early 1980’s.

 

 

The curse of the blue jerseys dates back to 1968 when the 12-2 Cowboys were upset in the playoffs by the Cleveland Browns, 31-20. It then moved onto Super Bowl V in 1970 when the Cowboys lost to the Baltimore Colts, 16-13. The Cowboys were forced to wear their blue jerseys in the game because they were designated the home team. Back then it was an unofficial rule that home teams needed to wear their colored jerseys in the Super Bowl.

Through the 1970’s teams like the Giants, Redskins and Eagles and Rams would normally force the Cowboys to wear their blue jersey’s while on the road in hopes that the there was something to the jinx. It worked for the Eagles as they beat the Cowboys 20-7 in the 1980 NFC Championship game.

At the start of the 1981 season the Cowboys showed off their new blue jersey design to go along with their new pants that showed the players number on each hip. Even with the new design the jerseys bad luck continued as the Cowboys lost again in the 1982 NFC Championship to the Redskins.

 

The lone time that the blue jerseys were not bad luck was in the 1978 NFC Championship game when the Cowboys beat the LA Rams in Anaheim, 28-0.

 

As the 1980’s moved on the talk of the blue jersey jinx seemed to go away. Then into the 1990’s and 2000’s the new blue jerseys started to be worn with the stars on the shoulders at first, then on the sleeves.

The Cowboys haven’t worn their blue jersey’s much in recent years. This is due to the fact that most teams wear their colored jerseys at home, while the Cowboys continue to wear their white jerseys at home.

Whether you believe in the blue jersey jinx or not, there are many defeats back in the 70’s and 80’s that support it. And even though the Cowboys don’t wear their blue jerseys much anymore it’s nice that they are so much better to look at than the old ones from way back when.

 

 

Ready And Willing, Yes, But Able?

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 02:  Jason Witten #82 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

After a much needed bye-week to lick their wounds and contemplate their collapse against the Lions, the Dallas Cowboys have returned to practice and are saying they are healthier than they were at the start of this season.

It looks like cornerback Orlando Scandrick returned to practice and will most likely play on Sunday against the New England Patriots. We hadn’t heard from him since he sprained his ankle during the season opener. Scandrick’s return means that the Cowboys will have all their top cornerbacks, Scandrick, Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman, on the field together for the first time this season.

The receiving corps will also get a big boost as both Miles Austin (hamstring) and Dez Bryant (quad) are feeling good and will also play on Sunday.

Will any of this translate into a win on Sunday?

I still can’t the last game out of my mind… I hope the players did, they are paid to focus on the here and now and put the past behind them, that’s not so easy for diehard fans to do.

All we have to judge this team by is a 2-2 record that could have easily been 0-4 if not for a couple of late game comebacks. But the sad part is they could have likewise been sitting at 4-0 if they had simply shown some more heart and grit and toughness, especially mental toughness.

Too often this team simply mails it in and no matter how big their early lead, they find away to let their opponents back in the game and all over their faces.

They make dumb mistakes… They fold like a bad hand in poker far too easily… They run out of gas before the game runs out of minutes… They are always out of sync…

Will a healthier team change anything?

Jason Garrett complimented his team on Monday for battling through some of the injuries. I’d rather seem them get complimented for battling on the field.

“I think it’s important to recharge your battery and get away from it a little bit,” Garrett said.

That’s nice, Garrett… Real nice… Word of advice…

If you don’t get your act together starting this Sunday against the Pats, and if you don’t start executing on the field and improving this teams performance on both sides of the ball… You’ll have another 36 weeks to recharge your batteries come Winter… Only this time, fans won’t be as forgiving as they were last offseason.

Time to go back to your roots Monday Night Football

Since 1991 Monday Night Football has opened with Hank Williams Jr, singing “Are you ready for some football?” After some controversial comments by Williams this week ESPN has decided to part ways with Williams and his song. Even if ESPN wanted to keep the opening song they could not because Williams owns the right to his song.

So what should ESPN do now? How should they open the show? Maybe another celebrity should come up with a song just like Faith Hill on Sunday Night Football on NBC. ESPN will always have their viewers just like they’ve had since 1970, but they need to recapture the magic of their opening. So what to do?

In this fans opinion there is only one way to go and that is to go old school. Monday Night Football needs to go back to their roots. Go back to their old openings. They could even alternate between a few of their openings each week. When I think of the old openings I think how exciting Monday Night Football was as a child.  It brings me back to when football was new and how much fun it was to watch the Cowboys and stay up late when I wasn’t supposed to.

Give it some thought ESPN. It’s time to turn back the clock and recapture the opening Monday Night Football greatness.

http://youtu.be/m8fkMkE2Yjg

http://youtu.be/m52uM1h0FJ4

 

Robinson Always Wanted To Be A Cowboy

Brandon George of Dallas News writes that wide receiver Laurent Robinson has admitted that he’s always wanted to play for the Cowboys.

Robinson is quickly gaining popularity among the fan base especially after his big day last Sunday when he caught seven catches for a career-high 116 yards in the Cowboys’ 34-30 loss.

George quotes Robinson’s mother Linda Brown, who said her son called her after his visit to Dallas while still with the Chargers.

“He said, ‘Mom, I would love to play for the Cowboys,'” Brown said. “I said, ‘I don’t want to even hear it. You’re a Charger!’ I was thinking in my mind that it’s never going to happen. And now it’s all worked out for the best. He loves it in Dallas.”

Robinson is making his way up the team’s depth chart and has now moved into the team’s third receiver spot -after vaulting ahead of Kevin Ogletree who continues to struggle.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett spoke glowingly about his new-found talent at wide receiver:

“I thought he played really well in this most recent game. I thought he got off to a really good start in the Washington game for someone who hasn’t been with us for training camp and was on and off our roster in the early part of the season. He really stepped in and understood what to do and how to do it.”

“The quarterbacks have a real comfort level throwing the ball to him. I think has the ability to run past defenders but also make some plays underneath. I think he’s played well and he’s only going to improve. He goes about it the right way, works very hard. We’re excited to have added him to our team.”

A lot of things went wrong on Sunday… Laurent Robinson wasn’t one of them. I look forward to seeing him continue to grow and take on a more substantive role on the team.

Tired of riding the Romo Coaster!

I was all prepared to write a post about how things have gone so far for the Cowboys in the first quarter of the 2011 season. But after the epic collapse to the Lions on Sunday I have changed my mind.

As a writer I try to keep the writer in me separate from the fan side of me. I try to be professional and think things out. With this particular post I can say that the fan in me has won out over the writer. I can also say it was a landslide.

How much longer can I go on supporting Tony Romo as the quarterback of the Cowboys? Well, I’ve supported him a lot in his short career and I’ve also expressed my concerns about him. I’ve made excuses when he has played bad. I’m here to say I will no longer support Romo as long as he is the quarterback of the Cowboys. I simply can’t do it anymore. Year in and year out Romo shows how careless he is with the football. He makes bad decisions at the worst possible times. From the botched snap in Seattle in 2006 to blowing the lead in Pittsburgh in 2008 to the loss to the Lions in which he threw three interceptions that led to 21 points for the Lions. Two of those scores were returned for touchdowns by the Lions defense. In between Seattle and Detroit Romo has had many good moments, but the one constant is that he is careless with the football and has cost the Cowboys many games along the way. It’s back and forth with Romo as well as up and down. Kind of like a roller coaster. I guess we can call it the “Romo Coaster”. My point is that I’ve been watching him do the same things since 2006 and I don’t see it ending because it’s how he plays the position.

Then of course after these losses we have to hear Romo saying that he needs to evaluate the film, learn from his mistakes, get better and make sure it doesn’t happen anymore. As a fan I’m tired of hearing it time after time. I’ve questioned in the past that maybe Tony Romo is who he is and no more. Maybe he’ll never reach another level as far as an NFL quarterback. With Romo it’s usually two steps forward and ten steps back. I can’t name any other team that has a quarterback that loses as many games as Romo does because of their decision making and carelessness with the football over so many years.

“The games turn on turnovers. It’s the most important stat there is in the game,” Romo said. “It’s my No. 1 job and I didn’t do a well enough job of that today.”

“Today and over the next week or two, it’s going to be difficult to look back at it, but at some point here, we’re going to move on,” Romo said. “There’s a lot of guys doing a lot of good things. We’ll evaluate it and get better from it.”

As a fan I’m just tired of seeing Romo being careless with the football as he loses games for the Cowboys. I’m also tired of him saying he will learn and get better. He became the quarterback of the Cowboys in 2006 and now in 2011 can we say things are any better as far as him being careless with the football? Every season something bad seems to happen. It’s like the bad luck follows Romo each and every season. As a fan I’ve had enough of it. We as fans loved Tony Romo from his very first game because he was that breath of fresh air considering what we had gone through with Drew Bledsoe, Quincy Carter, Chad Hutchinson, Drew Henson and others. All I know is that the Cowboys are not about to give up on Romo, especially when it comes to owner Jerry Jones and that concerns me. 

“We didn’t get it done, but we’ve got a lot of faith in Romo,” team owner/general manager Jerry Jones said. This doesn’t touch that.”

“What can you say when you blow a lead like this? But we must and will look ahead.”

“If you’re going to try to make the plays, then you’ve got a chance to have some bad plays,” Jones said. “However we go, we’ll go with Tony. As Tony goes, we’ll go.”

“There’s no issue about faith in Romo at any place in this organization, period, any place,” Jones said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “There’s no issue regarding Tony. I had all the confidence in the world in him on the last drive. He has the ability and gives us the best chance to go down and score a touchdown. We didn’t get it done, but we have a lot of faith in Romo.”

Again I will remind everyone that I’m writing this post as a fan. And as a fan I can say that I’m officially done supporting Tony Romo as the quarterback of the Cowboys. Every season I hope that something will change as far as Romo being careless with the football, but nothing has changed and that is what has pushed me over the edge as far as my support for him. I truly believe that nothing will ever change with Romo. He is who he is. I heard a saying years ago that has always stuck with me…Once is an accident, twice is a trend and three times is a problem. With Romo we are well beyond three times and I see no reason to believe that after six seasons as the starter in Dallas that he is now going to change how he is with the football.