This One Hits Home, Who Are We To Judge?

Josh Brent’s appearance in last Sunday’s game has media and fans in an uproar.  My opinion on this subject may surprise many people who know me personally, or it may not. I shared a good friend’s view of the subject matter on our Facebook page on Monday and it got a good share of responses for and against. At first I wasn’t sure about my stance on the situation. In case you’ve been living under a rock for 10 days or just not up on the times let me get you up to date.

Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent and practice squad player Jerry Brown were in a devastating car accident together on December 8th. Brent was driving under the influence of alcohol and wrecked the car, and his best friend Jerry Brown was killed. Brent has been charged with manslaughter. Surprisingly, Brent was spotted on the sidelines of the game on Sunday, Dec. 16 during the home game vs. Pittsburgh.

Now let me share with you my friend Nate Trumble’s status that I posted on Facebook and Twitter the day after the game:

Hey NFL, you trot rapists (Roethlesburger) dog killers (Vick) and murderers (Ray Lewis) out on the field every week. The Cowboys put Josh Brent on the sideline yesterday and you call it disgraceful??? It was his mother’s wish for the team to be with him…To support him…The kid needs family right now and the Cowboys ARE HIS FAMILY!!! It does not send a message to kids that drunk driving is ok…It says his family will support him through this awful tragedy…Brent made a terrible CHOICE…Im not saying what he did wasnt wrong, but some people need to get off their soap-box…It was the Cowboys family supporting one of their own…period…end of rant… – Nate Trumble Current Dallas Cowboys News and Discussion

Many people believe that we are condoning drunk driving. That is not the case at all. We are supporting family and friends and standing behind someone you love and care for in their most desperate time of need. Look, I’ve been on the outside looking in at close family members and friends who chose to drink and drive and had to face the consequences. I don’t drink and am strongly against anyone who chooses to get behind the wheel when they’ve been drinking or doing drugs. I am also a strict law abiding citizen and always follow the rules and believe heavily in karma. Not that I don’t make mistakes, but I always try to make the right and moral decision.

Getting in that car after a night of drinking was the wrong decision for both men. Jerry Brown lost his life [May he rest in peace] and Josh Brent lost his best friend, his career, everything. I want to make it clear that I am not sticking up for Brent. He is clearly guilty and in the wrong and will carry this for the rest of his life and beyond. I’ve read articles that say he will face prison and some say he could get off with probation. But I am not judge nor jury and my opinion is just that, my own. It means nothing. And if you’re a Christian or of a faith that believes in a higher power, you too know that his judgement day will come.

Tonight I read this article on CBS Sports that completely choked me up and provoked me to do something I haven’t done in quite some time, share my feelings here. I would like to share parts of it with you, and encourage you to go read it for yourself. According to this article Josh Brent will not be seen again on the Cowboys sidelines. Ever.

Brent deserves prison, but getting banned from sideline is cruel

Josh Brent won’t be on the sideline Sunday for the Dallas Cowboys’ home finale. Satisfied? That’s what you wanted, right?

That’s what the Cowboys reportedly want — they want Brent banished from the sidelines, hidden from nosy TV cameras and shrieking TV analysts. At least, I hope it’s what the Cowboys want. I hope they’re not merely bowing to pressure from people who don’t matter.

People like you. And me. This whole story is emotional and awful and centered around an issue, drunk driving, that affects many of us — but Josh Brent’s sideline plans aren’t my business. Or yours.

As Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett learned later, Brent was there because he’d been asked to be there by his teammates.

The author goes on to explain what he believes Josh Brent deserves…

For drinking and driving and killing one person and jeopardizing the safety of everyone who shared a road with him that night, Josh Brent deserves to go to prison.

He deserves other things as well. He deserves to be treated humanely, even kindly, especially by those who care about him. Look, few people in this world — Jerry Brown’s parents, but maybe nobody else — lost as much as Josh Brent lost on Dec. 8. He lost his best friend. He killed his best friend. He lost his dream career. He lost his freedom, most likely, after the courts are through with him. He lost his reputation. He lost damn near everything that night, and now we’re going to complain because he’s standing on the sideline a week later with his friends and teammates?

Brent was seen on the sidelines and called out by the game announcers and social media blew up!

The outrage was so loud and moving so fast, Brent heard it on the sideline … and left in the third quarter.

And now he won’t be back. The Cowboys have seen to that, though Brent probably wouldn’t have shown up Sunday against the Saints, not after what happened last weekend. But who knows? Maybe teammates were going to ask him, insist to him, that he come back. They’re closer to the situation than we are, and they know Jerry Brown’s parents would approve. Brown’s parents urged the Cowboys to support Brent in any way they see fit. Whatever Brent needs from the team that employed their son, Brown’s family wants the Cowboys to give it.

Who are we to say it’s wrong?

And here is where I started to choke up. Because he’s right!

I hear the “it sends the wrong message” argument, but think it through. If Josh Brent were on the sideline again Sunday, people would be talking about his story — which means talking about the dangers of drunk driving. That’s a conversation that can save lives. Maybe your kid’s life, years from now, if he were to ask you, “Why does everyone care if that man is on the sidelines?”

You could have told your kid why, and talked about what Josh Brent did Dec. 8. About drinking and driving. About the friend he killed.

And you could have told your kid about Josh Brent’s other friends, the ones supporting him through his lowest moments. That’s a great story, but one that will go untold.

We all have our opinion, and thanks to the internet and social media its broadcast loud and clear. Was Josh Brent’s appearance on the sideline wrong? It’s not really for me to say. I was definitely surprised and initially wasn’t sure what my opinion was about it. When I learned that Jerry Brown’s mother forgave Josh Brent, first I had much respect for her ability to forgive, God knows I probably couldn’t find the strength to find forgiveness that soon. Secondly, I felt pride in my team and their love and support for one of their own. Lastly, I felt sad for the player who would never take that field, would never wear the helmet with that beautiful star again, who’s life was taken way to soon.

Tragedies are way too common for the Dallas Cowboys and their fans. We will get past this one, as we have many others, and go on to enjoy life and the game of football but Jerry and Josh won’t. May God bless their loved ones and be with them both. Let Him be the judge.

Please, don’t drive if you’ve been drinking. Go Cowboys!

 

Another week, another bright side for the Cowboys, maybe!

I’m not about to write something that we as fans don’t already know. The 2012 season has been filled with disappointments when it comes to the Cowboys. Just when fans get a little excited about a Cowboys victory, the Cowboys turn around and lay an egg and fans lose hope again. This week is no different as they prepare for the Eagles Sunday night with their playoff lives on the line…again. It’s another roller coaster season for the Cowboys.

Let’s look at the season up to this point.

Week 1: Up week as the Cowboys beat the defending Super bowl Champion Giants. 1-0

Week 2: Down week as the Cowboys lose to the Seahawks. 1-1

Week 3: Up week as the Cowboys beat the Buccaneers in their home opener. 2-1

Week 4 and 6: Down weeks as the Cowboys lose to the Bears, then to the Ravens after their bye week. 2-3

Week 7: Up week as the Cowboys even their record by beating the Panthers. 3-3

Week 8 and 9: Down weeks as the Cowboys lose to the Giants and then lose to the Falcons. 3-5

Week 10 and 11: Up weeks as the Cowboys beat the Eagles and the Browns. 5-5

Week 12: Down week as the Cowboys lose to the Redskins. 5-6

Up and down, up and down just like a roller coaster. Just when we think the Cowboys  are going to make a move there is another dip in their season. It’s almost as if the Cowboys can’t over the hump and make a move. Whatever the reasons are it seems to be a constant in recent years.

That brings us to Week 13 against the Eagles. If the trend stands true then the Cowboys will win and get to 6-6. Now even before the Cowboys take the field Sunday night against the Eagles, the Cowboys may be looking at another bright side to their season. Look at the teams ahead of them right now in the playoff race. The Seahawks, the Buccaneers and the Vikings are all 6-5. If those teams all lose Sunday, then they will drop to 6-6. The Seahawks play at the Bears, the Bucs play at the Broncos and the Vikings play at the Packers. If they all lose and they could, it would benefit the Cowboys of course. Provided the Cowboys take care of their own business against the Eagles and let’s face it the Cowboys never do anything the easy way.

The Redskins and the Saints are both 5-6 along with the Cowboys. The Redskins play the Giants on Monday night and the Saints play at the Falcons on Thursday night. If they lose then its good news for the Cowboys, but if they both win it still won’t be bad news as long as the Cowboys take care of business against the Eagles because the Cowboys still have games against the Saints and the Redskins this season.

1. Falcons, 10-1

2. 49ers, 8-2-1

3. Bears, 8-3

4. Giants, 7-4

5. Packers, 7-4

6. Seahawks, 6-5

7. Buccaneers, 6-5

8. Vikings, 6-5

9. Redskins, 5-6

10. Cowboys 5-6

11. Saints, 5-6

Sooooo. My point is that this week could be one of those bright side weeks for the Cowboys and for their fans to believe that they could still make a playoff run in 2012 provided they win. Of course if they beat the Eagles and fans become hopeful again, then following the trend, the next game against the Bengals will be a down a week. At this point nothing should be a shock to Cowboys fans.

As far as this Cowboys fan is concerned I HATE roller coasters and can do without the wild ride year after year because at this point I’m very close to throwing up!!

Cowboys Face Crucial Stretch of Season

Usually by this point in the season, the Dallas Cowboys know who they are. You already know if the late game on Thanksgiving is one that’s worth watching, or one that’s only worth having on in the background while you spend time with your family. This year though, the 5-5 Cowboys are mystifying, which is going to make this battle on the NFL odds against the Washington Redskins all the more intriguing.

Which Dallas team is going to take the field on Thursday? Is it the team that was dominated by the Seattle Seahawks in a 27-7 romp? Or the one that beat up the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium to start the year?

Of course, the answer could very well be both as well. Take last week, for example. The Cowboys were hideous in the first half against the Cleveland Browns. In the second half, they stormed back from a 13-0 deficit to force the game into overtime, where the Cowboys would eventually win the game. Dallas was in the same type of situation against the Giants a month ago. The team was a wreck offensively to start, and QB Tony Romo ended up throwing for over 400 yards in the game and was literally a few inches away from pulling out the game in the end.

Dallas has played six teams (seven games) this year against teams that are above .500, giving it one of the toughest schedules in the game. The club is just 2-5 SU and 2-5 ATS in those seven games. Against the rest of the league, the Cowboys are 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS.

Up next are three teams that are at or below .500 and are likely going to stay that way for the rest of the year, and the first two are going to be played here in Arlington.

Dallas is -3 ½ on Thanksgiving Day against the Redskins, and it should be favored next week against the Philadelphia Eagles as well.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

The Coalter Report: Dallas vs. Eagles

What Went Right

            We won. The Dallas Cowboys went to Eagles territory and came home with a much needed win. Dez Bryant had a solid game with a clutch “touchdown.” Despite the fact that the laces rolled, I will still take the chance to mention around the Eagles fans I see. Jones showed up and showed some explosiveness and ability to make the first guy miss. Witten once again was Romo’s plan B, and had some solid blocks that set the edge for our running backs. Brandon Carr shut down Desean Jackson and Maclin, when they were his responsibility. Ratliff put the pressure on Foles in the forth like a Elmer Fudd hunting Bugs Bunny. Bruce Carter dominated the Eagles backfield, wrapping McCoy up in hugs all game long.

What Went Wrong

            The offensive line are still having issues with the players lining up opposite of them. They are less like quarterback protective walls, and more like Wal-Mart door greeters. Clairborne was literally holding on to dear life as Eagle receivers flashed by him. His holding penalties did not end up costing them the game, but I doubt it will go unnoticed by Rob Ryan this week.

Final Thoughts

            Well a win is a win, any way you look at it. We did not play perfect, but we played better than the opponent and that’s all we have to do week in and week out to be successful. As the Browns come to town, look for the matchup between Joe Thomas and Demarcus Ware. Thomas is about as good a lineman as Cleveland has ever had, and he is going up against the premiere pass rusher in the NFL. Also, watch for Romo to dial up Austin and Bryants number for some deep balls, as the Cleveland secondary is full of holes without Haden.

A win is a win, but we’ve been down this road before with the Cowboys

The Cowboys earned an important division win on the road against the rival Eagles yesterday. It may have also been a victory that saved their 2012 season as they move forward. The Cowboys currently sit at 4-5 and in second place with five of their final seven games at home. Not to mention that they don’t have to go on the road for the next month with the Browns, Redskins and Eagles next up before a trip to Cincinnati in mid-December.

Although it was a nice win against the Eagles, I’m not about to get all warm and fuzzy considering how the Cowboys have been playing and their history of losing in December. Let’s not forgot that the game yesterday was 17-17 going into the fourth quarter. If not for Dwayne Harris’ punt return and Brandon Carr’s interception return this game could have gone either way. These Cowboys teams have let us fans down way too many times for me to get all excited because they finally broke a two game losing streak. If they are the truly the team that they keep telling everyone that they are then they will take advantage of the situation that is in front of them get on a roll now.

What bothers me is that once again the Cowboys committed 13 penalties yesterday. Many were offside penalties from the defense on third down that allowed the Eagles to keep their drive going. Morris Claiborne had his worst game in his short career, but he is a rookie and is going to have some growing pains. These are things that can be corrected which are good signs for the defense. One the positives coming out of yesterday’s win is how Bruce Carter is growing into an elite middle linebacker. He has taken control of the defense with Sean Lee out and has shown what kind of player and leader he can be for the Cowboys.

On offense it’s another story. I heard this description of this Cowboys offense yesterday. It was called a “Grab Bag” offense, which fits them perfectly. This unit, led by Jason Garrett has no identity at all. They don’t know if they are a running offense, passing offense or even somewhere in the middle. It just seems as though Garrett uses his play sheet as a grab bag during the game. Before every snap he reaches into the bag and whatever he pulls out is what they run. It has created issues all season for the Cowboys offense and will continue to cause issues as the season moves on unless something is done. Maybe things will improve once DeMarco Murray returns from his foot injury, which is hopefully very soon. Although Felix Jones did play a very nice game yesterday, he still needs to prove he can do those things week after week. Tony Romo’s security blanket continues to be Jason Witten with eight receptions against the Eagles. Romo needs to open it up more with his other receivers and bring this offense to another level, but that in the hands of Garrett as he struggles with an identity for this Cowboys offense.

The time is now for Garrett to decide what he wants to do with this offense. If he wants it to be a pass first offense then he needs to start getting more creative with his offensive weapons. Start creating more plays for Cole Beasley in the slot. Maybe more plays for Romo to roll-out to create something down field. If Garrett wants to run the ball first then he needs to start using Lawrence Vickers more. He has proven that he is a quality fullback and can lead the other runners to daylight. I think the problem is that Garrett doesn’t know how to put his offensive players into position to have success.

With the win over the Eagles yesterday and with the Giants struggling, the Cowboys have a great opportunity to make a move and possibly make a run at the division title. The question is can they correct the things like penalties, poor tackling and lack of identity so that they can take advantage of the situation that’s in front of them? The defense is going to continue to improve. I have no doubt about that. It’s the offense that worries me. Even with how bad they have been playing recently they have a golden opportunity to make something of their season. I’ll be watching, but will hold off on the warm and fuzzies for a while until I see some changes, especially from Garrett and his grab bag offense.

 

Cowboys Need To Figure Things Out On Offense

Contrary to what everyone was saying at the beginning of the season, this is not the Cowboys year to win the Super Bowl.

After a massive win against the New York Giants in the first week of the season, the Cowboys took a quick fall and have lost four of their last five games.

While their defense has stayed relatively consistent throughout the year, their offense needs to get on track if they want to start winning games.

The biggest problem with their offense this year is their discipline.  They have dropped multiple passes throughout the year that could have helped the team pick up much needed wins.

Dez Bryant arguing with an official made it so the Cowboys did not have enough time to get into field goal position to win the game against the Baltimore Ravens.

On a Monday Night Football game earlier in the season, Tony Romo threw five interceptions to the Bears defense.

Basically, no matter what the Cowboys do during a game, they find ways to blow it and ensure they do not come out with a win.

They need to cut down on turnovers and penalties if they want to get a win this week against division rivals the Philadelphia Eagles.  If they cannot do this, the Eagles defense will surely walk all over them.  If they can, the Cowboys not only have a good chance with the NFL odds that have them at +2.5, but they will have a great chance of winning the game.

The Cowboys need a win big time this week if they want to have a chance of making the playoffs this year.  If they cannot start turning their season around, there will surely be some releases coming soon on the teams coaching staff.  A team of this caliber should be winning much more than it has been.

The Coalter Report: Dallas vs. Falcons

What Went Right

The defense once again was solid this week. Ware got pressure constantly and made sure to leave Matt Ryan’s face print onto the field before the game was over.  Ratliff showed signs of him old self and until his injury, he was walling off the middle to Michael Turner and charging into the pocket consistently.  McCray has shown that he may be a legitimate option to start. If nothing else, he is definitely exceeding the expectations set for an un-drafted free agent.

                On offense Ogletree is finally following up his season opener performance with a solid game. He showed athletic ability on his touchdown grab. Witten, to no surprise, surpassed Irvin’s record for franchise receptions, and was Romo’s security blanket throughout the night. Cole Beasley finally found himself in the action, and made a decent reception.

What Went Wrong

                Play calling was, in my opinion, the greatest handicap on this offense. Garrett seemed to have put training wheels on his nine year veteran quarterback, not allowing him many opportunities for deep throws and big plays. I do not see how calling a conservative game plan with this team, would ever put them above the Falcons electrifying play-makers.

                The offensive line struggled once again with penalties and pass rushers. It seems like this “rebuilt” offensive line, may not be the upgrade Jerry Jones had in mind, but more of a lateral move. Our interior still can’t push defenders out of the way, and the edge blockers give up too many sacks and drive killing penalties.

Next Week’s Focus

                I feel like the focus of next week’s game should be on the play of our offensive line, and the offensive play calling. We should hope to see our big men pushing the Eagles D-line like they’re on skates, as well as giving Tony Romo enough time to check down through his receiver’s. With Jerry Jones wanting big plays, we should see Jason Garrett dial up Dez Bryant’s number a few more times, answering with a touchdown or two.

The Coalter Report: Dallas vs. Panthers

What Went Right

The Cowboys on Sunday against the Panthers displayed the ability to overcome diversity. This is a trait that every great team in the last decade has shown, and it is great to finally see a glimmer of it in our team. As Sean Lee came out of the game with an ankle injury, we lost not only our leading tackler, but our defensive general as well. However, Dan Conner stepped right up to the plate and managed to stifle the Panthers running game while maintaining the middle of the field. When our unlucky center left to the sidelines, previous offensive line savior, Ryan Cook filled his teammate’s huge shoes and bulldozed a pathway for Phillip Tanner and Felix Jones to run through. In previous seasons, an injury to either position would throw us into chaos, but not this year. We have the deepest team we have been able to field in years, with young players full of potential playing behind proven veterans.

What Went Wrong

Carr was beat all day by both Brandon LaFell and Steve Smith. He seemed to be a step behind every route ran his way and was never in a position to make a play on a ball. Romo started out with a hot arm, but was quickly cooled by the Panthers pass rush, and was unable to be consistently accurate. Our offensive line continues to be manhandled by any and every defensive lineman lined up opposite of them. Doug Free is still regressing, and it is only a matter of time before Jerry Jones moves on to a younger player with more potential.

Player of Focus

Jason Witten:

After watching Witten play for years, it still blows my mind how team after team, year after year, cannot cover him. He is not the most physically talented tight end in the league. He could make a race against a glacier competitive, and runs his routes as curvaceous as Jennifer Lopez. Yet despite this, he has not only become the most prolific pass catcher in Dallas Cowboys history, but has maintained a presence as one of the better blocking ends in the last decade. He may not be the flashiest at his position, and may never lead the league in touchdowns or average 15 yards a catch. However, I would take his well-balanced, and team inspiring toughness, over any of his younger one dimensional counterparts.

Is Jason Garrett more Princeton material then NFL head coach material?

After two days I’m still trying to figure out what the Cowboys were doing when trying to set up for the potential game winning field goal against the Ravens. Does the blame fall on Jason Garrett or Tony Romo or maybe both of them? I saw no sense of urgency from the Cowboys offense after Dez Bryant caught the one yard pass with 20 seconds left and one timeout remaining. I saw players standing around, I saw Bryant arguing with the official. To me it seemed as though everyone was looking towards the sidelines wondering what to do next. In that situation I wish Romo would have either got the offensive unit up to the line to clock the ball or call the timeout right away instead of letting it run down to three seconds. Even if the offense didn’t have another play ready (which they should have) the smart thing would have been to rush the players to the line so that Romo could spike the ball. Then there is probably about 15 seconds left and the Cowboys still have their one timeout left. Then they could run almost any play they wanted to get Dan Bailey closer. It was poor clock management by Garrett and there are no excuses in my opinion. Garrett says that Ogletree and Austin ran vertical routes and it would have taken them longer to get back to lineup. Then that falls on Garrett for calling a horrible play with so little time left on the clock. I want Romo as the true leader of the offense, with the game situation at that time to take control and know what to do instead of looking towards the sidelines for answers from Garrett. I’m not really blaming Romo since he is only doing what the coaches tell him to. In those situations I wish Romo would just stand firm no matter what the coaches will think and quickly make a decision on his own instead of waiting for his own coach to make a decision as the clock to running down. Seriously, what’s going to happen? Does anyone believe that Garrett would bench Romo for making a quick decision like that?

It’s almost as though Garrett coaches scared sometimes. I would hope his only thought in that situation is to get his team closer for the field goal attempt and not thoughts of an offensive penalty or a sack or a turnover. As the head coach you not only have to be aware of the situation, but you also need to be aggressive and be ready. There is no time for Garrett to be learning on the job for the Cowboys. He needs to be prepared no matter what situation comes up.

“We had the one time out, so we had the ability to throw the ball inside,” Garrett said. “Tony was going to get them on the ball as quickly as he could, knowing that we had that one in our hip pocket, and try to get a play run, knowing that we could throw the ball anywhere we wanted with the timeout. It just took too long for everybody to get un-piled. It got down to the single digits, so we said ‘take it down to four seconds and bang the timeout.”

Un-piled? Where exactly did Garrett see a pile? There was never any pile after the Bryant completion.

“The urgency to get back is critical in that situation,” Garrett said. “We have to do a better job in that situation, and it starts with me.”

There was no urgency from anyone. That is the main concern. Why did it seem like everyone was looking towards the sidelines for what to do next?

“They chose to bring pressure and we got the ball out quickly to Dez,” Garrett said. “The initial thought process was try to get everyone back on the line of scrimmage as quickly as we can and, at minimum, clock the ball. And if everyone gets back quickly, we can call a play and then we’ll save the timeout for the final kick. Having said that, when you have those combinations up and you have some people running away from the line of scrimmage, it’s going to take them longer to get back. When I look at that as a coach, I say, ‘OK, I like the answers, but one of the issues is we have two receivers running vertically down the field and it’s going to take too much time for them to get back.’ So that’s my responsibility. I made that play call and I’ve got to do a better job of that.”

“You keep working on it and keep learning from it,” Garrett said. “I think we won four of five games last year in the last second or overtime, in similar-type situations, so the idea is to handle them that way every time. Those guys get paid on the other side too, and we’ve got to make sure we handle situations when we think we’re going to be able to get this.  To be able to make a good play, you have to respond better. The more you put your team in that situation in practice, the more you learn from not only your game experience, but the situations that happen around the league, the better your going to get at it.”

Right now the Cowboys are 2-3 and are last in the NFC East. Next week they travel to Carolina in what can only be seen as a must win game. Falling to 2-4 will be crushing for the Cowboys with teams like the Giants, Falcons and Eagles coming up.

At this point I don’t see Garrett progressing as a head coach. Maybe he will, but how many more games will the Cowboys lose at the expense of Garrett not doing a better job when it comes to clock management. Maybe Garrett was Princeton material, but right now I don’t think he is NFL head coach material. I was going to say that I don’t believe Garrett is in any jeopardy of losing his job after this season if it ends badly, but after reading Jerry Jones latest quote I’m not so sure anymore.

“We know that you want your team as healthy and as in sync as it can be as we get on in to the end of the season. We know that we’ve played one division game and won it. We’ve got those guys, the Giants, coming back in here. We know that’s going to be a big game for us. All of those things give us a chance to take a team that is evolving into — if you look at the pluses yesterday — evolving into a team that can be a team that can compete for the championship. Not next year, this year.”

Wait, compete for the championship this year?

“Correct,” Jones responded. “Correct. Let me emphasize that. I’m not into everybody getting better, learning for years to come. It’s this year.”

Like I said in my last article, there is a common thread over the last few seasons as players and coaches continue to say they need to learn and get better. At this point I’m still waiting for that to happen and I guess so is Jerry Jones!

 

A new season brings the same old story for the Cowboys

So who are the 2012 Dallas Cowboys? Currently they sit at 2-2 after a Monday Night beating by the Bears 34-18. They now enter their bye week with games against the Ravens, Panthers, Giants, Falcons and Eagles coming up. With the way they are playing they could easily go winless against those teams as they go into the middle of November.

Once again I find myself scratching my head trying to figure this team out. I have the same questions I’ve had every season since 2008. They are the model of inconsistency. They go out week one and play a great game against the defending champion Giants and then go to Seattle and get crushed. Then they win a close game against the Buccaneers and then of course the loss to the Bears last night. Once again it looks to be another roller coaster season for the Cowboys. Are they just an average team with a few above average players who have a good game every now and then? Maybe they are just not good enough to deal with the elite teams in the NFL on a weekly basis.

What is wrong with this team and why do they seem to go through the same things year after year? Other teams in the league seem to put everything together with far less talent. Is it the players, coaches, owners?? Is it a combination of everything in the Cowboys organization? What is certain is that there is a black cloud hovering over this team that just won’t go away. As a fan I can only write about what I see and what I’ve seen are the same things that have plagued the Cowboys year after year recently. It just always seems to be the same story with this team as each season passes.

Here is what I see from the Cowboys. And keep in mind this over the last five seasons, not just this season…

– Lacking intimidation on offense, defense and special teams

– Conflicting comments coming from the head coach and the owner as well as players

– Unable to play four quarters consistently

– Dropped passes

– Penalties

– Over throws, fumbles and interceptions

– Lack of focus

– No imagination on offense

– No identity on offense

– Confusion on defense

The 2012 season can easily spiral out of control in the next month and a half. I understand that many teams go through a lot of the things that I have listed above about the Cowboys, but I’ve also seen a lot of those teams work through their issues and move on to compete for championships. With the Cowboys it’s always the same old story. Learn from things that happen, improve and get better is what the team says. But how many years can that be said before they finally learn and get better? When is it time to do it instead of saying it year after year? I for one am sick and tired of it being said over and over again. What is stopping this team from getting over the hump and competing for a championship?

I just don’t know and I won’t pretend that I do. What I do know is that as a fan it’s beyond frustrating to watch the Cowboys play the same way in recent years and then be told that they will learn from what is happening, they will get better and they will make sure it doesn’t happen anymore. Enough already!!! It’s like swinging a hammer and hitting your hand. You know it hurts every time you hit your hand and you express that something needs to be done about it, but you keep doing it. When does it finally get through to you that maybe, just maybe if you stop hitting your hand then it will stop hurting!!

Just look at some of these quotes I found over the last few seasons. It may seem that I’m picking on Romo considering most of the quotes are from him, but I’m not. It just seems like he is the main player who keeps saying it.

After losing to Chicago 34-18 this season.

“I’m going to have to reassess a couple of things that are happening and make sure that they don’t happen again,” Romo said. “We just have to make a conscious effort to make sure and control that aspect, and saying that I can’t try to do too much. I think that I tried to do that tonight, and going forward, I just have to do my job and I will.”

After  losing to Seattle 27-7 this season.

“You’ve got to be able to learn. This is all part of that process. Coach Garrett said it today, today’s an important day of never really getting too high after a big win or too low after a loss. You’ve got to be critical of yourself, evaluate it – win or loss – and get better.”

After losing to New England 20-16 in 2011.

“This team is continuing to grow and get better,” Romo said. “We just need to finish a game like today and we will I think.”

After losing to Detroit 34-30 in 2011.

“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.”

After losing to the Giants 33-31 in 2009.

“I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to play up to the level the rest of the other guys did,” Romo said. “I have to get better at the mistakes I made and I will.”

This is just a small sample, but it’s something that has bothered me the last few years. It’s almost like the movie Groundhog Day. It’s the same story over and over again and it gets to be too much after a while. I want nothing more than for the Cowboys to achieve greatness again. It’s been too long since the glory days when the Cowboys won three Super Bowls in four years back in the 90’s. After the Cowboys bye week the next five games will tell a whole lot about how the 2012 season will play out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They’re Back! Official Referees Return Tonight

Time to celebrate – the official referees will replace the replacement referees in tonight’s Thursday Night Football game. After three weeks of bad calls and confusion the league and Referee’s Association have agreed to terms on an 8-year deal.

The NFL reports:

The NFL reached an eight-year agreement with the NFL Referees Association on Wednesday night to end the lockout, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the refs will be back on the field starting Thursday night.

The new collective bargaining agreement is the longest between the league and game officials in NFL history.

“The long-term future of our game requires that we seek improvement in every area, including officiating,” Goodell said in a statement released by the league. “This agreement supports long-term reforms that will make officiating better. The teams, players and fans want and deserve both consistency and quality in officiating.

“We look forward to having the finest officials in sports back on the field, and I want to give a special thanks to NFL fans for their passion. Now it’s time to put the focus back on the teams and players where it belongs.”

Goodell temporarily lifted the lockout so officials can work Thursday night’s game between the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens (8 p.m. ET on NFL Network). Officials will vote on the agreement Friday and Saturday in Dallas, and a clinic for them will be held after the vote.

NFL.com

Of course Cowboys’ fans will remember when Kevin Ogletree slipped on a referee’s hat in the endzone, that very well could have cost them a touchdown in the game against Tampa Bay. Who knows if it would have been a touchdown but fortunately the Cowboys beat the Bucs 16-10 and Ogletree was not injured.

The league released the following terms of the agreement:

» The current defined benefit pension plan will remain in place for current officials through the 2016 season (or until the official earns 20 years of service). The defined benefit plan then will be frozen.

» Retirement benefits will be provided for new hires, and for all officials beginning in 2017, through a defined contribution arrangement, which will have two elements: an annual league contribution made on behalf of each game official that will begin with an average of more than $18,000 per official and increase to more than $23,000 per official in 2019, and a partial match on any additional contribution that an official makes to his 401(k) account.

» Apart from their benefit package, the game officials’ compensation will increase from an average of $149,000 per year in 2011 to $173,000 in 2013, rising to $205,000 by 2019.

» Beginning with the 2013 season, the NFL will have the option of hiring a number of officials on a full-time basis to work year-round, including on the field.

» The NFL will have the option to retain additional officials for training and development purposes and can assign those additional officials to work NFL games. The number of additional officials will be determined by the NFL.

Excitement and concern as the Cowboys enter the 2012 season

With the Cowboys preseason over and the 53 man roster set, it’s now time to get the 2012 season started. With every season comes new hope and excitement. This season is no different. I’m excited for some of the new players like Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr, Cole Beasley, Tyrone Crawford and Kyle Wilber. The 2012 Cowboys have a nice mix of experience and youth. Of course the core players of Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Miles Austin, Jay Ratliff, DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee are still in place and are ready to make a run at a championship. The excitement level is high and I can’t wait to see what kind of team the Cowboys will be in 2012.

Even with the excitement and all the talent the Cowboys have on their roster and the new players with so much potential, there is also concern. My first concern is how the offensive line will come together this season. With two new guards in Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau, center Phil Costa who has been less than impressive and tackles Tyron Smith and Doug Free switching sides, it’s something that will be looked at early and often. I think Costa will benefit from having Livings and Bernadeau on each side and he won’t struggle like he did in 2011. The one player I worry about is Doug Free. If preseason is any indication he is going to be the weak link on the Cowboys line and he should be watched closely. If these chosen five players do come together and become a solid unit the first player who will benefit from it is Tony Romo who seemed to get hit throughout the 2011 season.

In 2011 Romo seemed to be under constant pressure, but was able to put up some good numbers despite the offensive line. With a solid offensive line in front of him Romo will have the time to find his weapons in Jason Witten, Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. It seems as though Kevin Ogletree has become the Cowboys third receiver and that worries me. Ever since joining the Cowboys Ogletree has been inconsistent at best. Dwayne Harris once again has shown signs of being a really good receiver during the preseason, but he showed those same signs in the 2011 preseason and then did nothing in the regular season. The player I’m really hoping gets a chance to play is rookie Cole Beasley. To me if Beasley is given the chance can own the middle of the field. He seems to catch everything thrown his way and can take a hit as well. I believe he can also be a difference maker as the Cowboys punt returner. But he needs to given the chance and I’m hoping Jason Garrett will give it to him.

The running game now belongs to DeMarco Murray who rushed for 897 yards in 2011 before being lost for the season with a broken ankle. Murray has shown no signs that his ankle will affect him in 2012 as he showed great quickness and speed in the preseason. Felix Jones will be the change of pace back and Cowboys fans are hoping he can stay healthy for a full season. Jones will also most likely help out on kick returns as well. Phillip Tanner is back from injury and will be the short yardage back. Free agent fullback Lawrence Vickers is going to greatly improve the running game with his toughness and leadership.

Some say that defensive line pressure will make a weak secondary look good. With the Cowboys I believe it’s the exact opposite. The Cowboys secondary has been rebuilt with new corners Brandon Carr and rookie Morris Claiborne. Gerald Sensabaugh is back at safety and will be joined by Barry Church who has been promoted to a starter. I’m also hoping that Mike Jenkins can come back from his shoulder injury and be given the chance to play some in the slot. My reason for wanting this is because I believe Orlando Scandrick is the weak link in the secondary. He seems to always give up the big play or ends up being called for a penalty. If the rebuilt Cowboys secondary can do a better job in coverage compared to 2011, when they were ranked 23rd and opposing receivers seemed to always make a big play, it’s going to greatly improve the defense and allow more pressure on opposing quarterbacks..

The only constant pressure in 2011 seemed to come from DeMarcus Ware who collected 19.5 sacks. The Cowboys need to do a better job getting to the quarterback. Last season opposing quarterbacks had way too much time to set up and make a play. I think this season will be a big year for Jason Hatcher who had 4.5 sacks in 2011 and I’m hoping that rookie Tyrone Crawford is everything the Cowboys think he is when they drafted him in April. As far as stopping the run, the Cowboys defense was ranked 7th in 2011 and I believe in 2012 they will once again be in the top 10 as far as rushing defense. The Cowboys need Jay Ratliff get healthy and stay healthy so that he can clog up the middle and disrupt the running lanes, which will allow Sean Lee, Dan Connor and Bruce Carter to get the job done in the running game.

When it comes to the kicking game I don’t think there is a Cowboys fan alive that doesn’t feel like Dan Bailey will miss when he lines up for a field goal attempt. Bailey made 32 of 37 field goals in his rookie season, which included 26 straight at one point. Bailey picked up where he left off last season as he made all three of his field goal attempts in the preseason. The punting job has been given to Chris Jones as the Cowboys said goodbye to Matt McBriar. This preseason Jones averaged 45.8 yards on eight punts and also kicked four of them inside the 20 yard line.

So there are my thoughts as the Cowboys get ready for the 2012 season. Even with my concerns about the offensive line and defensive line I’m excited to get this season going. I’m excited to see the veterans continue to grow and get better and I’m excited to see the new players get out on the field and show what they can add to the Cowboys. I want nothing more than to beat the Giants come next week. Beating them will do a lot for the Cowboys as a team and set the tone for the season.