NFL Preseason Preview: Cowboys vs. Dolphins

The NFL odds look to be in the Cowboys’ favor for their preseason finale against Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins, but stranger things have happened, especially in exhibition play.

Dallas is coming off a 20-19 win last week over the St. Louis Rams, though the score looked much closer than it really was. The Cowboys were actually up 17-3 after the first quarter and 20-6 at halftime, meaning it was a good day at the office for the starters.

Tony Romo looked especially strong, hitting 9-of-13 passes and finishing with 198 yards and two touchdown throws, both of which went to Dwayne Harris.

Out of the backfield, DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones had 61 yards on 11 combined carries.

It was a good defensive showing for Dallas as well as they held starting quarterback Sam Bradford to 6-of-17 passing for 64 yards and also limited Isaiah Pead to 22 yards on nine rushes.

With a regular season date with the New York Giants looming, the Cowboys would do well to close out the preseason with a dominant display. They may very well do just that against the struggling Dolphins.

Dallas has added some pieces to their secondary, their biggest area of concern last season, and improvements can already be seen. The Cowboys should be able to keep both Tannehill and backup Matt Moore in check, particularly since both quarterbacks have been struggling.

On the other side of the ball, the Dolphins have looked vulnerable defending the pass, and that’s no good when you’ve got two experienced quarterbacks in Romo and Kyle Orton coming at you. Orton’s one of the better backups in the NFL.

Taking Dallas’ recent success and Miami’s hard times so far in preseason in to consideration, you have to think the Cowboys are the way to go with your football picks.

Cowboys Updates

Jason Witten’s lacerated spleen is healing, but apparently, he still does not know when he will be cleared to play a game. Witten had a scan of his injured spleen Tuesday and learned that he can get some on-field work, with no contact, in the next few days, according to Stephen Jones. Witten still hasn’t been ruled out of the Giants’ game, but it seems more likely that the Pro Bowl tight end will return for the Sept. 16 game at Seattle given that he has another doctor’s appointment next week.

The Cowboys’ meaningless preseason finale Wednesday against Miami is anything but that for quarterback Stephen McGee. McGee’s future with the Cowboys — and perhaps his future as an NFL player — could come down to how he performs against the Dolphins with none of the Cowboys’ starters on the field. McGee has been the Cowboys’ third-string quarterback since they selected him out of Texas A&M in the fourth round of the 2009 draft. But his roster spot isn’t guaranteed with the final cut looming Friday. The Cowboys have to decide whether they want to keep three quarterbacks on the final 53-man roster or go with two to help bolster another position, such as keeping an extra running back, receiver or defensive lineman.

Looking Ahead: 2nd Annual LSS Rookie Of The Year Award

At the end of the 2011 season, Lonestarstruck started a new tradition with our first annual Rookie Of The Year Award.

We nominated the top five rookies we felt where deserving of the honor:

  1. Bruce Carter – linebacker
  2. Kevin Kowalski – center
  3. DeMarco Murray – running back
  4. Tyron Smith – tackle
  5. Dan Bailey – kicker

When writing the article, I thought to myself this would be an easy contest and that DeMarco Murray would win by a landslide. However, as many fans would agree after reflecting on the season, rookie free agent Dan Bailey won by a slim margin.  Bailey made the most of his opportunities ending the season with an impressive 86.5%  of his kicks.

With all the talent on our roster last season, you wouldn’t think of a kicker winning the award but when the game is tied with seconds left on the clock the kicker has the weight of the world on his shoulders.  Bailey proved be can handle the pressure and that he has the talent.

With pre-season almost coming to an end, we want you to keep an eye on the rookies and then chime in on who you think could possibly be nominated for our 2nd Annual Rookie of the Year award.


New to the Silver and Blue: Brandon Carr

When the Cowboys picked up free agent, corner-back, Brandon Carr, I knew nothing about him.  When they signed him to a 5 year, $50.1 million contract, I was shocked to say the least. After letting Newman go, we knew he would fill his spot on the roster. I was wondering if he would be able to. So far his preseason I’ve been extremely impressed with his talent. He seems to be fitting right in to the defense.

I also liked his comments on the Dallas Cowboy organization soon after signing. “From the moment they came and got me, to the moment I got to the stadium, it was just red-carpet treatment,” Carr said. “They showed me they wanted me. They were genuine with their words. That played a part in the process and my decision-making. The stadium is phenomenal-the best in the world. I’m excited to get in the uniform, get in the stadium and get to work.” Carr also said  he was ecstatic after signing his contract. “It’s been a long, long time, and I’ve been waiting for the opportunity.” Carr said, “To not only secure myself financially, but also to elevate my game to be at the highest level, which is the Dallas Cowboys. Now it’s time to turn my game up another notch.”  I think the work effort he put in at camp and his efforts in this pre-season so far proves he meant his words.

Carr was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fifth round in the 2008 draft. On the final play of the chiefs 2011 season, Carr intercepted a Tim Tebow pass, not a bad way to end your season and career in KC.

John L. Carr and Kathy Robinson Carr brought Brandon Carey Carr into this world May, 19th 1986 in Flint, Michigan.  He attended Grand Valley State starting 41 of his 49 games. He helped the Lakers win back-to-back NCAA Division II national championships.  Brandon also received the Defensive Back of the Year honor by the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference his senior year.

I think Brandon will improve the Dallas Cowboy defense and will be a stand out player for us for years to come. Newman was a solid player for many years. I hope Brandon Carr can be as large part of the team as Newman.

What do you think of Carr so far in this pre-season?

NFL Preseason Preview: Cowboys vs. Rams

The Cowboys will try to rebound after a tough loss to the San Diego Chargers last week by facing the St. Louis Rams at home this Saturday.

Dallas opened their preseason with a 3-0 victory over the Raiders in Oakland, but then fell to the Chargers 28-20 in California.

Four different quarterbacks saw action for the Cowboys in the loss. Tony Romo opened proceedings by completing 9-of-13 passes for 75 yards, before Kyle Orton stepped in and was 7-of-10 for 83 yards and an interception.

Then there was Stephen McGree (9-of-16 for 86 yards and an INT) and Rudy Carpenter (6-of-9 for 78 yards and a touchdown) who got some playing time as well.

Neither of the top two running backs for the Cowboys, DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones, got much action. They combined for six carries and 22 yards.

This weekend Dallas is rightly favored to take care of business against St. Louis. The Cowboys opened as touchdown-favorites but now they’re favored by 5.5 points at most sportsbooks. As far as NFL picks go, the home team should be a good bet.

The reason why? The Rams are still young and inexperienced. Plus, they’ve yet to play a team as good as the Cowboys so far in the preseason. They’ve battled it out with Indianapolis and Kansas City, which hardly gives us a clear indication of what they’re capable.

Playing a strong and deep team in Dallas will be a much better test.

Even with Dez Bryant having off-and-on the field troubles and both Miles Austin and Jason Witten dealing with injuries, the Cowboys are going to be just fine heading into the regular season. They’ve strengthened their secondary considerably and should have one of the better defenses in the league now.

Hopefully for Jerry Jones’ team, that translates into victories.

Cowboys Updates

Miles Austin – The two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver has missed part of training camp and six games last season because of hamstring issues. And he likely won’t play in any of the Cowboys’ preseason games this year because of another hamstring injury. The good news for Austin is that there hasn’t been a setback, according to Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.

Mike Jenkins – His surgically-repaired shoulder continues to improve but there is no timetable on when the Cowboys cornerback will be cleared to practice. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Thursday that Jenkins is gaining strength in his shoulder and getting better range of motion. However, his return can’t come until he meets with Dr. James Andrews, who performed the procedure. In regards to when that meeting might take place, Garrett said, “There have been discussions about establishing a date here over the next week or so.”

Jason Witten – The next step in Jason Witten’s recovery from a lacerated spleen will be a visit to a doctor Tuesday. “Hopefully, he can get an OK from that but this is all normal within the process of what we thought right from the outset,” coach Jason Garrett said. “Everything that has come back has been positive for him and we’re hopeful he can return sooner rather than later.”  The Cowboys have not put a timetable on a return for Witten but have not ruled him out of the Sept. 5 season opener at the New York Giants. He suffered the injury Aug. 13 at Oakland and went to the hospital the next day.

NFL Preseason Preview: Cowboys Visit Chargers, Aiming To Stay Healthy

The Dallas Cowboys have been held back by poor offensive line play over the last few years and even though they made it a priority this offseason, it appears the team – at least temporarily – is back to square one. You can expect that to directly affect their game plan as they prepare for the San Diego Chargers in Week 2 of the preseason.

Dallas Cowboys @ San Diego Chargers

The Cowboys are without their top three centers on the offensive line and that was evident in their first preseason game. Quarterback Tony Romo was under a ton of pressure in the short period of time that he played and took a pretty big sack (by preseason standards) from Oakland Raiders lineman Tommy Kelly.

Phil Costa, Bill Nagy and Kevan Kowalski are the three centers who were missing in action and the two guards that the Cowboys signed in the offseason – Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau – have missed the first couple of weeks of training camp.

Ideally, the Cowboys would love to get everyone on the field together and see this unit start to gel but at the same time, they also don’t want to see Romo get hurt behind a wonky offensive line.

For their upcoming contest in Week 2, don’t look for the Cowboys to be overexerting themselves. They have a veteran lineup in place and they don’t need to prove much to the Chargers. If anything, the Cowboys will be looking to see what kind of depth they have on their front five with players like Derrick Dockery and Jamaal Jackson.

The Cowboys need to get out of the preseason as healthy as possible. They know they’re a Super Bowl contender and they’d rather not hurt their NFL odds of attaining those goals with a key preseason injury.

Injury Update:

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has suffered a lacerated spleen in Monday’s 3-0, preseason-opening win at Oakland. Speaking at a news conference in Oxnard, Calif., coach Jason Garrett on Wednesday called the injury “very serious” and confirmed the seven-time Pro Bowler will miss the rest of the preseason.

“We’re really taking this thing day by day,” Garrett said. “He has to be very still and idle for the next week to 10 days.”

Although he said it’s premature to discuss Witten’s status for the opener, Garrett said surgery is an option if there are no signs of improvement.

It was good to see the Cowboys back on the field, but there is still a lot of work to do!

The time finally arrived last night. It was a long wait, but we finally got to see the Cowboys play their first preseason game of 2012. So what can someone really take out of the first preseason game? It was a game that many starters didn’t play in and many of those who did play won’t even make the team come the final cuts. So, do we go crazy that the offense couldn’t do anything or that the defense gave up some big plays early? Is it a big concern that the Cowboys had 12 penalties for 91 yards?

What we did see was an offensive line that was, well…offensive. There were no signs of a running game and all four quarterbacks were under pressure. The offensive line is by far the number one priority for the Cowboys and it needs to be straightened out before the start of the season. There are lot of injuries to the offensive line and because of that there is no chemistry. But again, this was the first preseason game so I wouldn’t go into panic mode just yet. I did see plenty of times where Doug Free and David Arkin were beat at the snap of the ball. Will the Cowboys continue to look for a veteran center this week? Conflicting reports say that former Cowboys center Andre Gurode may be coming in for a workout. What is certain is that offensive line coach Bill Callahan has his work cut out for him.

A few players who stood out were new starting safety Barry Church and third receiver hopeful Andre Holmes. Church seemed to be around the ball a lot and also showed some speed as he closed in on plays. Holmes caught 3 passes for 40 yards and looked good as he used his height to grab a few passes.

I refuse to go crazy after the first preseason game. I understand that many things did not look good against the Raiders, but there is time to get the injured players healthy and back on the field. Over the years I have put less importance on winning preseason games. I look more at the players and the execution as a team. I understand that offense; defense and special teams did not play well for the most part, but let’s see if there is any improvement going into the next few games. In the end the Cowboys did beat the Raiders 3-0, which is always nice, but the team has a long way to go before the start of the season.


The Most Important Question of the Day


The Cowboys first preseason game kicks off tonight (8/13/12) at 7:00pm CDT against the Oakland Raiders. The game will be broadcast on ESPN’s Monday Night Football from Coliseum in Oakland, California.

Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Updates: Romo Extension, Witten Is Fired Up, Crawford Is Turning Heads

While it is a bit too early to decide whether or not to take the Cowboys in any NFL odds for 2012, we can start to discuss the possibility of Dallas either extending Romo’s contract, or letting him walk after his final year. Technically, Romo is signed through 2016, however, the Cowboys restructured his deal, and the final three seasons can be void because of it. If that indeed holds true, Romo will only be a Cowboy through this season, unless they work out an extension.

I know Cowboys fans are split on this, considering Romo hasn’t had the postseason success that most would have hoped for. However, Romo is still a top 10 quarterback, and his numbers do not lie. He was top five in almost every offensive category last season, and throughout his career, he has put up solid numbers.

In 2011, Romo threw for over 4100 yards and had 31 touchdowns to just ten interceptions. This is almost certainly his best season ever.

I know what you are thinking, what about the playoff loss to Seattle, or his countless golf outings when he “should,” be thinking about football? It’s no denying that Romo enjoys the life of being an NFL QB. A lot of NFL quarterbacks do. The only difference between him and Tom Brady is a little talent and a few Super Bowl rings.

I fully believe the Cowboys should work out an extension for Romo. He is better than anyone Dallas could bring in to win right away, considering their window with DeMarcus Ware and others are closing. Romo may never win a Super Bowl, but he is closer than any rookie they draft, anyone else on their roster, or any one they could bring in with a big contract. He is 32 years old, but he never saw the field until his fourth season, so he is still fresh. Either way, Dallas needs Romo as much as Romo needs Dallas.

Training Camp Briefs

Brandon Carr

Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr is one of the NFL’s true Iron Men and he  spoke to DMN’s Steve Dennis about his 64 consecutive games played streak.

I’m blessed. My work ethic was instilled in me at a very young age. Just that grinder’s mentality to stay humbled and stay focused at the same time. … Football didn’t become a part of my life, I didn’t have the light bulb go off over my head until the 11 grade. I played basketball my whole life, but it kind of hit me – would you rather be a 6-foot point guard or a 6-foot corner? So football was my ticket out of Flint, Michigan. I’ve just been blessed in my career to stay healthy and be available to the coach whenever they call my number.

Carr told Dennis that his goal is to become the best cornerback in the NFL, point blank, and to “get some Super Bowls on the way.”

Jason Witten

If you were giving out awards for who has the biggest chip on his shoulder in training camp, Jason Witten wins in a landslide. In his 10th training camp with the Cowboys pro-bowl tight end is done being Mr. Nice Guy.

“I’m just being sick and tired. Sick and tired of what happens to our team season after season. Sick and tired, actually, of all the talking. Forget the public comments about what we think we can do this season, or what we will do. By now, after all these seasons, the talking is hollow. Shut up, and let’s go out and see if we can put up. It’s time, obviously, for us to put up.”

Tyrone Crawford

ESPN’s Dan Graziano, who was very critical of Cowboys third-round pick Tyrone Crawford, is starting to see the light and is finally coming around after saying Crawford would have no value to the team this season.

“Watching him in drills against the likes of Tyron Smith — it’s easy to see how the Cowboys could indeed find a role for him this year as a situational pass-rusher in nickel or dime packages . . . So keep an eye out for how they deploy him on third downs. Could be that I was (hope you’re sitting down!) wrong about that one.”

Crawford has been one of the most impressive players in camp.

Four more days!

With the Cowboys dealing with so many injuries is it too soon to talk about the 53 man roster?

As the Cowboys move on with training camp 2012, they are preparing for their first preseason game against the Raiders next Monday night. The injury bug has hit the Cowboys hard since training camp opened to the staggering amount of 18 players. Some of the injured players are day to day while others could be out a few weeks. Since it’s so early in training camp there is no need to panic at this point. Hopefully these players can recover quickly and get back out on the field.

As of right now here are the Cowboys injured players per the Dallas Morning News.

CB; Mike Jenkins; Shoulder; Placed on PUP list

G/C; Kevin Kowalski; Ankle; Placed on PUP list

S; Matt Johnson; Hamstring; Day-to-day

NT; Jay Ratliff; Foot; Out indefinitely

OLB; Anthony Spencer; Hamstring; Day-to-day

G; Nate Livings; Hamstring; Out indefinitely

DE; Jason Hatcher; Groin; Day-to-day

RB; Lance Dunbar; Hamstring; Day-to-day

DE; Marcus Spears; Concussion; Day-to-day

TE; John Phillips; Ankle; Day-to-day

CB; Morris Claiborne; Knee; About one week

WR; Saalim Hakim; Finger; One to two weeks

RB; Phillip Tanner; Hand; Out indefinitely

CB; Teddy Williams; Concussion; Day-to-day

WR; Miles Austin; Hamstring; About one week

G/C; Bill Nagy; Ankle; Out at least two weeks

G; Mackenzy Bernadeau; Hip, Knee; Out indefinitely

WR; Danny Coale; Foot; Expected to return this week

With so many injuries it gives other players a chance to show their stuff to the coaching staff in hopes of making the team. I was able to watch the entire Blue-White scrimmage from Sunday, even though it was hard to see some of the plays due to bad camera angles. I saw some good things from certain players like Rudy Carpenter, Ronald Leary, Orie Lemon and Mario Butler.

The Cowboys released safety Brodney Pool on Monday, which means that Barry Church has done enough for the coaching staff to think he can be a quality starting safety for them. It also didn’t help that Pool came into camp and failed his conditioning test. It was also reported last night that Mike Jenkins was not cleared to practice by Dr. James Andrews who performed his surgery. Depending on how things go the rest of the month, Jenkins could end up missing the first six games of the season.

Looking over the current Cowboys roster I tried to do what I do every year and pick the final 53 players. Keep in mind that I’m never right and I just do it for fun. Jenkins injury will play a big part in the selection of backup cornerbacks. Also, out of every position I think the wide receivers are the hardest to select outside of Austin and Bryant. Like last year I don’t believe the Cowboys third receiver is currently on the roster.

The X denotes the starters.


1.      Tony Romo, X

2.      Kyle Orton

3.      Rudy Carpenter

Running Backs

1.      DeMarco Murray, X

2.      Felix Jones

3.      Phillip Tanner


1.       Lawrence Vickers. X

Tight Ends

1.       Jason Witten, X

2.      John Phillips

3.      James Hanna

Wide Receivers

1.       Miles Austin, X

2.      Dez Bryant, X

3.      Kevin Olgetree

4.      Raymond Radway

5.      Cole Beasley


1.       Ronald Leary, X

2.      Nate Livings, X

3.      Bill Nagy

4.      Derrick Dockery


1.       Tyron Smith, X

2.      Doug Free, X

3.      Jermey Parnell

4.      Pat McQuistan


1.       Makenzy Bernadeau, X

2.      Phil Costa

Defensive Ends

1.       Jason Hatcher, X

2.      Sean Lissemore, X

3.      Tyrone Crawford

4.      Marcus Spears

5.      Clifton Geathers

Defensive Tackles

1.       Jay Ratliff, X

2.      Josh Brent

Outside Linebackers

1.       DeMarcus Ware, X

2.      Anthony Spencer, X

3.      Victor Butler

4.      Kyle Wilber

5.      Alex Albright

Inside Linebackers

1.       Sean Lee, X

2.      Dan Connor, X

3.      Bruce Carter

4.      Orie Lemon


1.       Gerald Sensabaugh, X

2.      Barry Church, X

3.      Matt Johnson

4.      Danny McCray


1.       Morris Claiborne, X

2.      Brandon Carr, X

3.      Mike Jenkins

4.      Orlando Scandrick

5.      Mario Butler

Long Snapper

1.      LP LaDouceur


1.      Chris Jones


1.      Dan Bailey

Cowboys Dealing With Minor Injuries, But There’s Plenty Of Positive Vibes In Camp

Gerald Sensabaugh: July surgery on right knee has held him back from full workouts, but his recovery is coming along nicely and he’ll be ready for season opener.

As the Dallas Cowboys continue their way through training camp, optimism high in Irving. The offense seems to have plenty of pieces in place to play at a Super Bowl level while the defense isn’t expected to lag behind so much now that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has the physical cornerbacks he needs.

But if there is one thing that can torpedo a season above and beyond any other one factor in the NFL, it’s injuries and the Cowboys already have some minor nicks and cuts to deal with.

On offense, wideout Danny Coale, center Kevin Kowalski and guard Mackenzy Bernadeau have started training camp on the physically unable to perform list. Coale, a fifth-round pick out of Virginia Tech, is recovering from April surgery on his right foot. Meanwhile, Bernadeau, who is expected to start at guard and possibly fill in at center this season, is coming off hip and knee surgeries and is also finishing up his recovery.

On defense, the Cowboys have a few bumps and bruises with safeties Matt Johnson and Gerald Sensabaugh also on the PUP list.

Safety Brodney Pool failed his conditioning test and Barry Church has stepped right in and is impressing everyone through the first two days of camp. He’s working with the starters at the moment and either Pool or rookie Matt Harrison will have to beat him out for the starting job.

The good news for the Cowboys is that none of these injuries are serious and none of the players hurt here are named Tony Romo or DeMarcus Ware. At the same time, the Cowboys have under achieved the last couple of seasons and if they are to put everything together to make a run, they can afford to have nagging injuries hampering their depth.

Of the lot, the biggest concerns should be about the offensive line with two players banged up, although the injuries are quite minor in nature.

The Cowboys enter the season at 23/1 on the NFL odds to win Super Bowl XLVII and we’ll get our first official look at the 2012-13 team when they visit the Oakland Raiders on Monday, August 13th for their first preseason game.

I’ll leave you with this positive note my Cowboys friends. There’s a lot of positive energy in camp, so much so that tight end Jason Witten feels this is the Coboy’s time to shine.

“It goes fast and I will be damned if I let this opportunity slip away and not come away with a championship,” Witten told the Dallas Morning News.

“It has been a heck of a run. But it’s time we grab it. That goes for all of us, the core group of us. That is what coach Jason Garrett has talked about. This group is trying to do it.”

That’s music to any Cowboy’s fans ears.

Bare Necessities (of being a Dallas Cowboys geek)

Bare Necessities

(c) Disney 1967

We should all remember the song from that famous Disney movie.  After all, it was made in 1967.  It got me thinking.  What are the bare necessities of being a Dallas Cowboys geek?  I understand that I may not know all the player’s names or numbers.  I don’t have stats memorized or even the years in which the Dallas Cowboys won the Super Bowl (be easy, I’m new).  Sure, I can Google that information in a second, but if I want to be a fan, I should know those things.

Expanding the idea further into my journey into Dallas Cowboy geekdom, I wondered what other prerequisites are in order to establish myself as a Dallas Cowboys geek.  Well, what better way to entertain that than to ask other Dallas Cowboys geeks.

What defines a Dallas Cowboys geek?
What should every Dallas Cowboys fan know?
What are some items every Dallas Cowboys fan should have?