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.


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 O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California.

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?

I want to be a Dallas Cowboys Geek

I want to be a Cowboys geekFor as long as I can remember, I’ve had the Dallas Cowboys in my life.  My father was a Dallas Cowboys fan, my grandmother was even a Dallas Cowboys fan, but at the time, I was too young to know what that meant.  I remember my grandmother, when asked her name, would always say “Irvin, like Michael Irvin, except no relation.”  I had no idea who he was, the Dallas Cowboys, or any of that.  I didn’t know what it meant to be a Dallas Cowboys fan, I just wore around a giant 88 jersey to school  because it had my last name on it.

Today, that’s going to change.  I have no idea what I’m going to get myself in to, but I’m very excited.  I suppose I’ll formally introduce myself…my name is Jonathan Irvin.  I’m new to the LSS team and I’m in charge primarily of the operations a.k.a. “the geeky stuff.”  Kelly and I are working on something special for the site and I hope you all will like it.  Aside from the teaser I left, I’ll be documenting my journey into the Dallas Cowboys fandom and sharing my perspective from, as Kelly describes it, “a football virgin’s eyes.”

I want to be a Dallas Cowboys geek.  I want to know what you all know and eventually I will make my pilgrimage to my first Dallas Cowboys game.  Oh yeah, I’ll  be writing about that as well.  In any regard, I look forward to get to know you all and learn what it truly means to be a Dallas Cowboys Geek.

An early look at the Cowboys 2012 defense

When it came to the Cowboys defense in 2011 not much could be counted on except for allowing fourth quarter leads to disappear.  There are big changes coming for the defense in 2012 as the Cowboys focused on rebuilding the secondary this off season.

The Cowboys were very aggressive in free agency this off season. Their first signing was cornerback Brandon Carr from Kansas City who will replace Terence Newman who was released. They then signed linebacker Dan Connor from Carolina and safety Brodney Pool from the Jets. Connor looks to do battle with Bruce Carter for other inside linebacker position next to Sean Lee. The Cowboys also decided to franchise Anthony Spencer, who will play the 2012 season without being offered a long term deal. In the draft they went heavy on the defensive side of the ball. In a move that surprised everyone the Cowboys traded up eight spots and grabbed cornerback Morris Claiborne from LSU. They also drafted defensive end Tyrone Crawford, linebackers Kyle Wilber and Caleb McSurly to go along with safety Matt Johnson. Time will tell if any of these draft picks will work out, but excitement is high and fans can’t wait to find out.

Looking at the new Cowboys secondary, Brandon Carr and Morris Caliborne take over at the corners. Adding to the depth at cornerback is Mike Jenkins who is trying to come back after off season shoulder surgery. Word out of Cowboys camp is that Jenkins would like to be traded, but Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett have made it clear that it’s not an option, at least not right now. Orlando Scandrick returns as the slot corner, but may face some competition from Jenkins once training camp starts if Jenkins is cleared by doctors to practice. The Cowboys were 23rd in passing defense in 2011 and opposing receivers seemed to have their way with the Cowboys on a weekly basis. Hopefully with all the changes to the secondary it will mean better coverage and more success. 

At safety Gerard Sensabaugh comes back after signing a contract extension. At the other safety spot it looks to be a battle with Brodney Pool and Barry Church. The Cowboys are also hoping that fourth round draft pick Matt Johnson from Eastern Washington can add some excitement to the safety position and hopefully develop into a starter.

As with any defense that plays the 3-4 alignment the Cowboys are stocked with linebackers. First and foremost they have DeMarcus Ware who seems to get better and better every season. On the other side is Anthony Spencer, with Victor Butler and Alex Albright as the backups right now. Add in the newest linebacker Kyle Wilber who the Cowboys selected in the fourth round from Wake Forest and looks to contribute this season. Inside will be Sean Lee who had a breakout season in 2011 and has become the team leader. Next to him is anyone’s guess at this point. Bradie James and Keith Brookings are gone and the Cowboys are looking to see who will step up to replace them. Bruce Carter is now fully recovered from knee surgery, but can he get back to where he was in college before the injury? Dan Connor was brought in and would like nothing more than to start alongside Lee who he played with in college at Penn St. Orie Lemon adds depth as well as rookies Caleb McSurdy from Montana and Adrian Hamilton from Prairie View A&M.

Up front is where it should be interesting since there doesn’t look to be many changes compared to 2011. Jay Ratliff will be the man in the middle once again with Josh Brent backing him up. Jason Hatcher will most likely start on one end and as far as the other end it looks to be up in the air right now. Marcus Spears is still in the mix along with Sean Lissemore, Kenyon Coleman and Clifton Geathers. Add in rookie Tyrone Crawford from Boise State and the Cowboys have a lot of competition when it comes to the defensive end position.  

What it comes down to is that the Cowboys secondary has been rebuilt with youth and speed as Carr and Claiborne take over. With an improved secondary hopefully that will also create more pressure on opposing quarterbacks from the front seven and more turnovers. The defense should benefit from a full training camp learning Rob Ryan’s defense which was not possible last year due to the lockout. The Cowboys believe they have improved the defense and have corrected the issues that hurt them in 2011. Now it’s time to move forward and see if they are right.

An early look at the Cowboys 2012 offense

Let’s take a look at the Cowboys offense as we start getting closer to training camp. There are changes mostly to the offensive line, but will those changes make a difference? Let’s hope so because with improvement from the offensive line means the rest of the offense will start producing more.

Since the end of the 2011 season the focus has been to correct the offensive line issues. It’s been blamed for the running game not being effective and for Tony Romo running for his life. In the last year the Cowboys have said goodbye to older veterans Kyle Kosier, Marc Colombo, Leonard Davis and Andre Gurode. In their places are the younger Tyron Smith, Doug Free, Phil Costa, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Nate Livings, David Arkin, Bill Nagy, Kevin Kowalski and Ronald Leary.

Whatever the starting five turn out to be they are going to be counted on to get the Cowboys offense to the next level. Tyron Smith and Doug Free will be the starting tackles as they swap spots from last season. Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings who were signed through free agency will most likely be the guards considering the contracts they signed during the off season, but Bernadeau is still recovering from off season surgery on his hip. Chances are that Phil Costa will remain at center, but will face competition in camp from Kevin Kowalski and Bill Nagy.   

After so much work to rebuild the offensive line let’s hope that all the right moves were made. With an improved offensive line it will only help the running game of DeMarco Murray, Felix Jones and Phillip Tanner, with newly signed fullback Lawrence Vickers leading them. Of course with an effective running game it will open up the passing game for Tony Romo to find Jason Witten, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and whoever the third receiver ends up being. The Cowboys offense lost a lot of production when Laurent Robinson decided to leave through free agency and will be hard to replace. The Cowboys have a nice mix of receivers who will be fighting it out for that third spot. Players like Kevin Ogletree, Dwayne Harris, Andre Holmes, Raymond Radway, Cole Beasley and fifth round pick Danny Coale from Virginia Tech. Don’t rule out the Cowboys looking for a solid veteran as the season gets closer to fill that third receiver spot either.

The Cowboys offense has a mix of youth and experience that can only benefit the team.  Maybe some of the Cowboys undrafted free agents will also find a place on this team, like guard Ronald Leary, which will only add to the depth that is so important to any team. The Cowboys also improved the backup quarterback position with the signing of veteran Kyle Orton. He could be considered one of the best backups in the league, if not the best.

Looking at the Cowboys offense on paper there is excitement that they can be one of the top units in the NFL this season, depending on how well the offensive line plays. Time will tell whether or not the Cowboys have done enough this off season to improve, but hopes are once again high that the Cowboys have the pieces in place to get to that next level.


Cowboys’ Jerry Jones No Longer On Fire, NFL Still Feeling Heat

Hi Cowboy fans, good news for Jerry Jones.

A class action lawsuit filed against the NFL and the Cowboys over the 1,250 Super Bowl seats that were deemed unsafe before Super Bowl XLV has taken a turn.

According to sources, charges have been dropped against Jerry Jones and the Cowboys over the fiasco that left thousands of people outside, missing part of the game, and 400 didn’t get in at all, even though they had a ticket. The lawsuit will still continue against the NFL.

The fans are seeking $5 million from the NFL, which does not include recouping their losses from the tickets and legal fees. Apparently, the Cowboys and the NFL knew about the temporary bleacher seats being inadequate weeks before the big game. The Cowboys notified the NFL days before the game, but the fans didn’t find out about the fiasco until they were already inside.

Honestly, the Cowboys did no wrong here and all they could do was inform the NFL officials which they did as soon as they became aware of the the problem.

Even though the fans were compensated, the lawsuit claims it was not enough, because the NFL breached their contract with the ticket holders. Over 2500 fans were delayed seeing the start of the game, and they were offered face value for their tickets. Of the 400 people who didn’t get a seat, they were offered $2400 plus a ticket to the next season’s Super Bowl, along with airfare and a four-night hotel stay. They could have also chosen a check for $5000 along with their expenses being covered.

This was a dark day for the NFL and the Cowboys, but at least Dallas fans can relax that their rich owner is in the clear, for now.

If the Cowboys don’t make the playoffs, he might have traded a lawsuit for a Super Bowl ring. We may not agree with everything Jones does, but nobody could argue his thirst for another Cowboys championship and I respect him for that. He wants one so bad he might just trade his soul for another ring, but hopefully it don’t copme to that. 🙂

I like our chances this season a lot and with NFL odds makers listing “America’s Team” at +2500 to take the title, the Cowboys might not be a bad bet to bring home the title.

Lets Go Cowboys!

Tony Romo vs. Eli Manning, It’s not all about the stats

Here we go again! It’s time for Tony Romo vs. Eli Manning. The experts like Ron Jaworski have Romo ranked as the 10th best QB in the NFL. He has not ranked the top five yet, but Manning will do no worse than number five on his list. The NFLN recently completed their list of the top 100 players as voted by the players and Romo is ranked 91st and Manning is ranked 31st. What bothered me most about the top 100 players is that Romo was 91st and Tim Tebow was 95th. In my opinion that means players believe there is not much difference between Romo and Tebow, which I would completely disagree with. When it comes to Romo and Manning the comparison has gone on for a while now. Do titles mean everything? Do great stats make a difference? Down by five with a minute and a half to go who do you want with the ball? Romo has the better stats compared to Manning to this point in his career, but Manning has the hardware to go along with his MVPs. I guess it all depends on how each person wants to look at things when it comes to ranking players.

Let me make one thing clear. This is not a Romo bashing article. I wrote an article a few months back that many people took the wrong way and thought I was bashing him when I was not. I was having a little fun with my analogy in the article while also trying to make a point about Romo the quarterback. First and foremost I’m a Cowboys fan and want nothing more the for them to do great things every season, but at the same time I consider myself a writer and I try to have an open mind when it comes to discussions like these. There is no denying that Romo and Manning are both excellent QBs, but it’s also a fact that Manning has come up big more times than Romo in recent seasons.

Tony Romo puts up some really good numbers almost every season. He is exciting to watch and seems to make things happen at times. He also seems to come up short in big games up to this point in his career. I understand about his 102.5 QB rating in 2011 compared to Eli Manning’s 92.9 QB rating. I understand that Romo threw more TD passes (31) than Manning (29) and less interceptions. But when the stats are put aside it’s Manning who is the one who rises up in big games when things are on the line. Sitting at 6-6 in 2011, Manning won three out of the last four games to win the NFC East, which included two wins over the Cowboys. With the Cowboys sitting at 7-5 in 2011, Romo could have sealed the first meeting against the Giants as well as the division title, but ended up over throwing a wide open Miles Austin at the end of the game. Did Austin lose the ball in the lights of Cowboys Stadium? I see little evidence in watching the replay that will make me believe that. Getting back to the stats, Romo and Manning’s 2011 numbers are very similar.

2011 Romo Manning
Pass Attempts 522 589
Pass Completions 346 359
Completion Percentage 66.3 61
Total Yards 4184 4933
Touchdowns 31 29
Interceptions 10 16
Rating 102.5 92.9

When it comes to the Cowboys and Giants offensive units, both had their struggles last season. They both had a hard time establishing the running game with the Cowboys finishing 18th and the Giants finishing dead last in the league. In total offense the Giants ranked 8th and the Cowboys ranked 11th in the league. Actually, if you look at the offensive numbers in almost every category both teams were very close to each other. So it’s not like one team had a major advantage over the other.

Offense Cowboys Giants
Total Yards Gained 6008 6161
Yards Per Game 375.5 385.1
Total Passing Yards 4201 4734
Passing Yards Per Game 262.6 295.9
Total Rushing Yards 1807 1427
Rushing Yards Per Game 112.9 89.2
Points Scored 369 394
Points Scored Per Game 23.1 24.6

There will also be the argument that the Cowboys had one of the worst defenses in the league in 2011 and that worked against Romo getting the job done. It’s very true that the Cowboys defense lost some games last season as well as putting them in some difficult situations. But just as both offenses were similar, so were the defensive units for the Cowboys and Giants. In many ways the Giants defense was actually worse than the Cowboys. The Cowboys ended the season ranked 14th and the Giants ranked 27th in the league.

Defense Cowboys Giants
Total Yards Allowed 5491 6022
Yards Per Game Allowed 343.2 376.4
Total Passing Yards Allowed 3906 4082
Passing Yards Per Game Allowed 244.1 255.1
Total Rushing Yards Allowed 1585 1940
Rushing Yards Per Game Allowed 99.1 121.3
Points Scored Against 347 400
Points Allowed Per Game 21.7 25

I can write about all the stats in the world when it comes to Tony Romo and Eli Manning as well as both teams until both of my hands cramp up and fall off, but it’s not really going to make any difference. Each fan base is loyal to their QB for the most part and will defend him to the end. When all the numbers are set aside and you look at both Romo and Manning as they are right now, Manning has to come before Romo as far as getting the job done. When Giants fans are watching Manning in a big spot they have no reason to believe that he won’t get the job done because he has done it time and time again recently. When most Cowboys fans are watching Romo in a big spot they are hoping he will get the job done, and at the same time praying that he won’t make that mistake that seems to have followed him up to this point in his career. I believe that is the bottom line between Romo and Manning. Up to this point one has got the job done when needed and the other has not. It’s not always about numbers and stats. It’s also not always about the number of championships. It’s about being able to lift yourself and your team to that next level when things are on the line.

As a Cowboys fan I can only hope that Romo gets to where Manning is currently and that is a championship QB. Until he starts to rise up and win as the games get bigger during the season he will continue to look up at Manning on the QB charts. Can Romo elevate himself to elite status? Only time will tell, but until then perception is reality and the when it comes to Tony Romo the perception is that he is not a big game QB.

Will Upgraded Secondary Prove To Be Just What The Cowboys Needed?


Morris Claiborne: Just what the doctor ordered?

Are the Cowboys going to be a profitable team to back with your free NFL football picks? We give you an update on how things are shaping up for Dallas.

The Cowboys suffered another late-season collapse in 2011.

They got off to a fast start as they were 7-4 after Week 12, and that included a hard-fought 27-24 road win over the San Francisco 49ers.

However, the wheels completely fell off over the last month of the season. Dallas lost four of their last five, including both games against the eventual champion New York Giants.

A significant reason for the collapse was a god awful secondary which was torched week after week.

The Cowboys did an excellent job at addressing that need over the offseason, though. They went out and got Brandon Carr and then drafted Morris Claiborne and those two will immediately step in and start.

A fully functioning secondary will help the Cowboys defend the pass, with DeMarcus Ware still wrecking havoc closer to the line.

Offensively, those that were injured, namely Tony Romo and DeMarco Murrary, are back and if they remain healthy Dallas is going to be a dangerous team offensively. Dez Bryant, who also dealt with injury problems in an excellent first season, and Miles Austin form a deadly receiving duo for Romo to work with.

Murray was spectacular in his rookie campaign last season, recording 5.5 yards per carry, and he’ll be sharing duties with Felix Jones, another explosive back.

The theme is a common one: the Cowboys have one of the most talented rosters around, but it seems they always fail to fulfill expectations whenever that’s the case.

Is this season going to be different? Will everything finally fall into place? It’s about time Dallas returned to the fold.