GAME PREVIEW: GIANTS @ COWBOYS

Giants (0-0) vs. Cowboys (0-0) Sunday, September 9, 7:15 PM CT on NBC

Week 1 Preview:

The Giants and Cowboys open up their regular season schedule when the two teams bang heads under the lights at Texas Stadium Sunday night.

Even though it is only the 1st game of the season, this game is huge.  Not only is it a divisional game, but it is Wade Phillip’s 1st year as Cowboys Head Coach and Tony Romo’s 1st full year as a starter in his contract year.

"At the end of the day, everybody, I don’t care who you are, has to come out and prove that they’re good again," Romo said. "I can remember still, Daunte Culpepper being second in MVP voting, and a year later after that he’s not with the team anymore.

"So each year brings about a whole new set of challenges, a whole new set of proving to your coaches, your fans, everybody, that you’re good enough to do it and you’re good enough to help your team win. That’s all you’re trying to do."

Hopefully he can perform well this year and earn a long term deal in Dallas.  I have complete confidence in him that he can do it.

On the injury front, Michael Strahan is expected to play for the Giants, but is only expected to be used in pass rush situations.  Sam Madison is probable for Sunday Night’s game after injuring his left hamstring last week.

On the Cowboys side, Terence Newman and Kevin Burnett are questionable, while Terry Glenn and Greg Ellis are out.  Expect Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd to step up in Glenn’s absence and Anthony Spencer for Greg Ellis.

This is what we’ve finally been waiting for.  The start of the regular season is finally here.  These games count in the standings!  Can’t wait for it!  Hope y’all enjoy it as much as I probably will.  So I have just one question for you.  Are you ready for some football????

GAME RECAP: VIKINGS 23 – COWBOYS 14

Cowboys Lose Pre-Season Finale to Vikings, 23-14 

The Dallas Cowboys dropped their final pre-season game to the Minnesota Vikings 23-14, finishing with a record of 2-2.  The Vikings improved their record to 2-2 to close out their pre-season.  The Cowboys will now travel back to Dallas to start preparing for their season opener next Sunday night against the Giants at Texas Stadium, while the Vikings will stay in Minnesota to prepare for their season opener at home against the Falcons.

As expected, most all of the Cowboys starters sat out for the whole game, as the players gunning for a spot on the 53 man roster were given a chance to prove their worth.

The Cowboys opened up the scoring early, as Jerheme Urban scored on a 96 yard punt return for a touchdown.  It was a ball that he should have never fielded, but was able to get to the sideline, barrel threough the punter, and cut back across the field for the final 40 yards for the TD.  Minnesota challenged the play on whether or not Urban stepped out of bounds, but the play stood as Dallas took a 7-0 lead.

Minnesota would later tie the game at 7 early in the 2nd quarter when Artose Pinner punched one into the end zone from a yard out.  The Vikings would later take a 14-7 lead after they were given great field position off of a fumble by Cowboys’ QB Mike Moore deep inside of his own territory.  Brooks Bollinger threw a 4 yard pass to Sindey Rice for the touchdown.

 The Cowboys took the ball late in the first half as Matt Moore drove Dallas 57 yards on 9 plays ending the drive with a 5 yard pass to Tony Curtis to tie the game at 14.  It would be Dallas’ last score of the game.  Minnesota tacked on 3 more field goals for the 23-14 final score.  The Cowboys finished with 5 turnovers that resulted in 17 points off of turnovers for the Vikings.  Dallas also committed 7 penalties for 45 yards.

The Cowboys quarterbacks did pretty good overall.  Brad Johnson completed 5 of 7 passes for 44 yards, while Matt Moore went 14 of 19 for 94 yards and a TD, but had 2 lost fumbles that the Vikings converted to 10 points.  It will be interesting to see what the Cowboys decide to do with him.  Richard Bartel completed 11 of 13 passes for 81 yards and an INT.   

Nick Folk never really did get to prove anything on the field tonight.  He did handle the kickoff duty but didn’t have any field goal attempts.  He made both extra points. 

Some players that I thought made a good impression were Jerheme Urban, although did have a lost fumble, did have that 96 yard punt return for a TD.  I wouldn’t count on seeing him returning punts and kickoffs regularly if he makes the team though.  Tony Curtis caught 5 passes for 44 yards and a TD and looked very good.

On defense, Remi Ayodele had 5 tackles and Stephen Bowen had 3 tackles and a sack.  Courtney Brown had an INT to go with one tackle at CB.  There are going to be some interesting and difficult decisions to be made by Wade Phillips and the Cowboys’ coaching staff.

So the pre-season is finally over, and it is time to get ready for the regular season.  These games actually count toward your record.  Players who we saw in the pre-season won’t be here by the Saturday deadline to cut the team down to the 53 man roster.  Now begins the what will seem like  a forever 10 day wait leading up to the Sunday Night Fooball season opener for our Dallas Cowboys.  The pre-season records mean nothing, and the stats mean nothing.  Now lets wipe the slate clean, and get off to a great start against the Little Giants September 9th.  Can’t wait for it!  Looking forward to a great season!  Go Cowboys!!!

 

GAME PREVIEW: DALLAS AT MINNESOTA

Cowboys (2-1) vs. Vikings (1-2), Thursday, August 30, 7:00 PM CT, CBS 11

Pre-Season Week 4 Preview:

Both the Cowboys and Vikings will play their final pre-season game when the two teams battle at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Cowboys are coming off a somewhat humiliating 28-16 loss to the Texans while the Vikings lost to the Seahawks 30-13 in their last game.

The two teams met in the pre-season finale last year at Texas Stadium.  The game ended in a 10-10 tie.  Something tells me that it won’t be happening this year.

Since there are some position battle yet to be determined, you should only expect to see most of the Cowboys starters in for only a series or two, if that.  Expect all of the starters that have been injured for most of or all of pre-season to sit out this game too, giving more younger guys to opportunity to make an impression on the team.

"I’m looking forward to this ballgame to end the preseason," Phillips said. "I think we certainly need it. We have a lot of evaluation to do. We do have a lot of guys to look at. I am worried about our roster overall – who fits where and who our best players are."

"Really, the only way to tell is to play in a ballgame. You can evaluate them in practice certainly and their character and work habits are important and a factor. But, still, the determining factor is how well they play in a game. We’ve got to give a lot of guys an opportunity to play in a game, so they can show us what they can or can’t do."

There are two homecomings in this game.  Brad Johnson spent nine years with the Vikings in Minnesota while Marion Barber III was a standout at the University of Minnesota and all-state performer from Wayzata High School in Minnesota.  Both players have ignored the hype and downplayed the situation. 

Martin Gramatica has a hamstring injury that will likely keep him off the field for tonight’s game.  That will give rookie kicker Nick Folk to opportunity to prove that he belongs on this team.  Gramatica says that he should be ready for the season opener if he makes the roster.

It will also be very interesting watching the battles at cornerback and fullback in the game against the Vikings as well. 

Hopefully these positions will be filled by the time that the Cowboys cut their roster down to the standard 53 players by Saturday, but if not maybe other teams players could help us. 

If there’s one thing that I really want out of this game, it wouldn’t be the win, although it would be nice, but hopefully for everyone to get out of the game injury free.  There have been a lot of costly injuries to teams this pre-season. 

Game Recap: Houston 28 – Dallas 16

Well, sooner or later, you knew it was going to happen. The opposition finally broke through the Cowboys starting defense and scored a touchdown for the first time this preseason. In fact they threw for two scores.

The Cowboys suffered their first loss of the preseason, when the Houston Texans upended Dallas by a score of 28-16.

The Texans came out of the gate with a fast-paced offense that featured pinpoint passing and a power running game. The Cowboys were simply not ready.

They looked very soft in all aspects of their game. Take a look at some of these key stats and you’ll see what I mean…

Rushing
Julius Jones and Marion Barber combined for 16 carries and 48 yards rushing, and that includes a 12-yard run by Julius. Their average gain per rush was only 2.7 yards. Brutal…

Kicking
Martin Gramatica missed a key extra point after the Cowboys first touchdown, that was sort of a glimpse into what kind of a game lay ahead for the Cowboys. With the miss, Gramatica may have just handed over the place kicking job to rookie, Nick Folk. (something that was predicted right here back in March)

Offensive Line
Their 3rd down efficiency was a very soft 5-11, and the one time they went for it on 4th down, they didn’t make it. The quarterback was sacked three times.

Passing
Tony Romo wasn’t really that bad, but he clearly needs to be sharper and make better decisions if we are to be ready for the Giants on opening day. He finished with 14 completed passes on 22 attempts, and threw for two touchdowns and an interception. Brad Johnson wrapped it up completing 5 of 6 passes.

Special Teams
Allowed a first possession touchdown on a 91 yard punt return. Our total punt return yardage was only 2 yards, compared to 105 yards for the Texans. Ouch!

Defense
The Texans were 3-3 (100% Efficiency) in the Red Zone. By the end of the second half, the Texans had already put up 21 points. Allowed an alarming 144 yards rushing to an aging Ahman Green and company. They did not force a fumble or an interception, in fact they were never anywhere near the ball when Houston had possession.

The Cowboys also drew seven penalties in the game for a loss of 48 yards.

OK, there were some positives in the game as well…

I gotta give credit where credit’s due. Sam Hurd looked absolutely amazing in the field and proved that he can be as elusive as any of the elite receivers. He led the team in receiving with 68 yards on 4 catches, and he may have moved up in the depth chart after an impressive performance.

Terrell Owens had only 1 pass, but it was good enough for the Cowboy’s first touchdown of the game. He was the victim of constant double and sometimes triple coverage, and it was clear that Houston’s game plan was to take him out of the game.

Jason Witten also grabbed a pass for a TD and finished the day with 3 catches and 47 yards.

Matt McBriar was his usual dependable self, and had a nice game too.

Bottom Line:

It’s preseason, and this game doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. What’s important is that the Cowboys learn something from this and apply it towards their next contest. I expected to see a much more vaunted defense from a Wade Phillips coached team. The Cowboys have the players and the talent to keep the pressure on opposing offenses, but that clearly wasn’t the case in this game.

The offensive line struggled and drew far too many penalties in the game. You could blame them for the soft numbers compiled by the usually effective tandem of Jones and Barber.

I am absolutely certain that next week, these same Cowboys will be a much more focused team with a nose for the ball on defense, and a nose for the end-zone on offense.

You just wait and see…

Game Preview: Dallas at Houston

Cowboys (2-0) vs. Texans (1-1) Saturday, August 25, 7:00 PM CT, CBS 11
 
Pre-Season Week 3 Preview:

 
The Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans will bang helmets Saturday night when the two teams meet at Reliant Stadium. The Cowboys are coming off of an impressive 31-20 victory over the Broncos while the Texans used the 3rd quarter to fly by the Cardinals 33-20.

This game may not be as big since it is just pre-season, but don’t let that fool you. There are so many things that make this game big.
 
This will mark the return of Wade Phillips since he served as an assistant from 1976-80 under his legendary father, Bum Phillips. This is also an in-state rivalry, which means both teams want to win no matter what.
 
"It’s a big deal for us as far as a preseason game, and being the third one, you want to do well out there," Phillips said. "I think there’ll be a big crowd, I think they’ll be into it, and that will help their team some as far as motivation in the game and those kinds of things, and I want to see how my team reacts with that.
 
"It’ll be a good experience for this team to see where they are."
 
Finally, the Cowboys and Texans will be competing for th Governor’s Cup, awarded to the winner of every game, pre-season or regular season. The Texans won the first meeting 19-10, while the Cowboys won the match-up last year with a strong 34-6 victory. The Governor’s Cup was also awarded back when Houston was still called the Oilers until they moved to Tennessee in 1997. The Cowboys won the series 5-3.
 
Tony Romo, who already looks to be in mid-season form, will try to turn in his 3rd straight solid performance. He has completed 21 of 29 passes for 219 yards and an INT through his 1st two pre-season games. Look for most of the starters to play into the 3rd quarter on Saturday.
 
"There’s still a evaluation here and especially the guys that they call ‘on the bubble’," Phillips said. "We need to see guys playing special teams because that’s a real important part of making the team. I’d like to see some of these guys get some playing time. We won’t get as much this game with those guys I don’t think, but maybe the last game some of the guys.
"We want to see if they can really play in the NFL and we’re going to give them a little more time."
 
Greg Ellis (foot), Terence Newman (heel), and Terry Glenn (knee) are out and are expected to be out until the regular season begins. Greg Ellis’s injury will probably linger into the regular season though, but hopefully will be worth the wait.

Game Recap: Dallas Over Denver 31-20

Cowboys Whip Broncos En Route to 31-20 Victory!

The Dallas Cowboys had plenty of things to be excited about as they cruised in their 31-20 crushing of the Denver Broncos.  The Cowboys improved to 2-0 on the pre-season while the Denver Broncos dropped to 1-1.  It really wasn’t even that close though.  As expected, most of the starters for both teams went for the entire 1st half. 

It all started early for the Dallas Cowboys.  Although the opening drive started slowly,  Tony Romo converted a 3 & 10 and navigated the ‘Boys down the field all the way from his own 20 to the Denver 33 yard line without a hitch.  Martin Gramatica missed a 51 yard field goal that sailed just wide of the right upright.  This drive didn’t get to the Cowboys though, as they scored on every possession that followed in the 1st half.

After the Cowboys defense forced a 3 and out and Denver punter Todd Sauerbrun shanked a 15 yard punt to the Dallas 40, Tony Romo worked his magic.  He marched the Cowboys down the field on a 12 play, 60 yard drive taking 6:08 off the clock that ended in a Marion Barber TD to give the Cowboys a 7-0 lead.

On the 3rd play of Denver’s ensuing possession, Travis Henry fumbled the ball on 2nd & 20.  It was recovered by Marcus Spears at the Denver 7 yard line.  Just two plays later, the Cowboys would capitalize off the mistake as Julius Jones powered his way into the end zone for a touchdown to give the ‘Boys a 14-0 lead. 

After yet another Denver punt, Dallas had the ball again.  However, 4 plays into the Cowboys’ next drive, Romo’s pass intended for Miles Austin would be intercepted by Dre Bly after Austin slipped and couldn’t get back to the ball in time.  Bly returned it to the Dallas 37.  The Cowboys defense stiffened up once again, and held Denver to only 3 points, cutting the Dallas lead to 14-3. 

The Cowboys answered immediately, as Romo wasn’t phased by the pick.  He orchestrated a brilliant 6 play 69 yard drive that chewed up only 2:22 off the clock.  The drive ended with a 5 yard TD plunge by Marion Barber, his 2nd of the game and pre-season that gave the Cowboys a 21-3 lead.. 

The Cowboys got the ball back again, just hanging on to a punt that was muffed by Patrick Crayton.  On the next play though, Sam Hurd fumbled a completed pass by Tony Romo that was recovered by Nick Ferguson at the Dallas 28.  The ‘Boys 1st team defense once again toughened up and held Denver to only a field goal to cut the lead to 21-6.

Dallas kicker Nick Folk was able to nail a 52 yard field goal with just 25 seconds left in the 1st half to give the Cowboys a 24-6 lead heading into halftime after Tony Romo executed a nice 30 yard two minute drill.

Tony Romo wasn’t nearly as accurate against the Broncos as he was against the Colts, but still had a solid performance.  He completed 11 of 18 passes for 122 yards with one INT.

"I thought it was good tonight," Romo said. "We moved the ball pretty good. I thought we put a lot of points on the board in the first half and that was good to see. You have to give Denver credit, too. They have a really good secondary. They’re going to be a good team this year. You can see that."   

Marion Barber had 11 carries for 57 yards to go with 2 TD’s while Julius Jones carried the ball 9 times for 31 yards with a TD.  Overall, the Cowboys had a great night running the ball, accumulating 190 yards.  The Broncos only rushed for 35 for the whole game.  The Cowboys had 368 total yards in offense compared to the Broncos 269 yards.

"I think we gave another good effort," Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips said in his post-game press conference. "In the first half, I thought our offensive line and defensive line, at key times, made some good plays. They asserted themselves a little bit. We held a really good running team (to) not much rushing yards. I was a little worried about that."

Although the Cowboys 1st team receivers didn’t score a touchdown, they still made their presence felt.  Patrick Crayton had 3 receptions for 61 yards while Sam Hurd had 3 receptions for 36 yards.  Terrell Owens had 1 reception for 12 yards and even had a rush for 9 yards on a reverse play.

The ‘Boys converted 6 of 7 3rd downs in the first half and were 10 or 16 converting 3rd downs for the game.  The Cowboys 1st team didn’t commit any penalties in the 1st half, but the 2nd and 3rd teams committed 6 for 71 yards.

Jay Culter didn’t have a very good night, completing only 7 of 13 passes for 58 yards.  Patrick Ramsey did a much better job leading the Denver offense in the 2nd half, completing 11 of 21 passes for 178 yards with 2 TD’s and 1 INT.  

Ramsey threw a 90 yard strike to Brian Clark to make it 24-13 and a 15 yard pass to former Cowboy Quincy Morgan to make it 31-20, but it wasn’t enough.

Rookie WR Isaiah Stanback caught his 1st touchdown at the NFL level when Brad Johnson made a great thread the needle pass to him towards the corner of the end zone.  That made it 31-13 Cowboys at the time.  The final score was 31-20 Dallas.

"Overall, I look at the things we did well tonight," Phillips said. "I’m looking at the individuals and how they played. But as a team, it’s early in preseason. But as a team, we played well overall."

Brad Johnson completed 6 of 9 passes for 56 yards and 1 TD.

Cowboys CB Terence Newman didn’t play tonight due to a bruised right heel. Dallas also lost TE Anthony Fasano due to a sprained right shoulder.

After the Cowboys 31-20 win over the Broncos, they head down to Reliant Stadium next Saturday to take on the Houston Texans (1-1).  The Denver Broncos return home to Invesco Field to battle the Cleveland Browns (1-1) the same day.

I hope everyone enjoyed the game.  The defense was stellar and the offense was able to march down the field once again.  Bobby Carpenter picked one off too. I’m liking the way that things are going.  Go Cowboys!!! 

Game Preview: Denver at Dallas

Broncos (1-0) vs. Cowboys (1-0), August 18, 7:00PM CT, CBS 11

Pre-Season Week 2 Preview:

The Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos, both 1-0 on the preseason, will both play their 2nd preseason game of the year when the two teams clash at Texas Stadium this Saturday. It will be the Cowboys final home game until the regular season opener September 9 against the New York Giants. The Broncos will return home to Invesco Field for their final two pre-season games after Saturday night’s game against Dallas before opening up their season on the road against the Buffalo Bills September 9.

Denver came from behind to beat the San Francisco 49ers 17-13 at Bill Walsh Field at Monster Park. This was the 1st game there since the passing of Hall of Fame and legendary 49ers Head Coach Bill Walsh due to leukemia at the age of 75. The Cowboys stomped on the Indianapolis Colts early and never let up in route to a 23-10 victory at Texas Stadium.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the Broncos met the Cowboys at Valley Ranch for joint practices in the triple-digit heat. The two teams practiced four times in th two days. Head Coach Wade Phillips said that it would likely be the end of the two-a-day practices, which the Cowboys receivers were glad to hear. Now they are ready for the game. Expect most starters to play about a half in this game.

"Anytime you’re competing, that’s what we want to see," said Phillips, who typically plays his starters about a half in the second preseason game. "We want to see how you do when you compete in a ball game and in this situation, see how they compete against other people."

Denver should prove to be a pretty good test for the Cowboys Saturday night. The Broncos were 9-7 last season while just missing the playoffs as a wild card last year. Jay Cutler looked good in his first start, completing 1 of 2 passes for 24 yards in his pre-season opener.

Tony Romo looked very sharp and showed no signs of a hangover after the heartbreaking loss against Seattle in the Wild Card Round where the ball slipped out of Romo’s hands on a chip shot field goal attempt that would have likely won the game for the Cowboys. Romo picked up the ball and ran with it but was about a yard shy of the first down. He completed 10 of 11 for 93 against the Colts in his first game after the unfortunate event in Seattle.

Tony Romo was at one point almost a Dever Bronco. He said that it was down to Denver or Dallas, and he said that he chose Dallas because he he that he thought that he would have a better chance of making it their. That turned out to be a great decision on Romo’s part.

T.O. will play against the Broncos in the 2nd pre-season game despite being late to practice Thursday, and is expected to line up against Champ Bailey. Last time he played against Bailey, he caught the longest touchdown pass of his career, a 91 strike while he was still with the Philadelphia Eagles.

"I love it. He’s one of the best in the game and you don’t get to see that every day," Bailey said Thursday. "Why not take advantage of that opportunity to go against one of the best?"

With Greg Ellis still sidelined due to his foot injury, the 26th overall pick of the 1st round, Anthony Spencer, will get the starting nod at outside linebacker.

Post Game Recap: Cowboys 23 – Colts 10

New Cowboys Head Coach, Wade Phillips had plenty to smile about tonight as the Cowboys overpowered the defending Super Bowl Champions, Indianapolis Colts 23-10.

The Cowboys drew first blood when Tony Romo commanded an opening drive that led to a field goal to put the Boys’ up 3-0. Romo also had another long scoring drive end in a field goal in his second and final series of the game for him. On the night, Romo completed 10 of 11 passes for 93 yards, but he missed a couple of huge opportunities by failing to see a wide-open Jason Witten and Anthony Fasano. During the game Pam Oliver asked both Jerry Jones and Tony Romo about his contract status, but both sides were very noncommittal.

The Cowboys first string defense did a fantastic job of keeping Peyton Manning at bay. The only touchdown the Colts scored came late in the game, long after the first and second string players were off the field. The defense also scored the Cowboys’ first touchdown of the game when safety Keith Davis intercepted QB Jim Sorgi and ran it back 41 yards for a TD.

The Cowboys scored another touchdown when running back Tyson Thompson pushed his way into the endzone on a 2-yard run putting the Cowboys up 20-3 at the time.

Some of the players who really shined tonight include tight end Anthony Fasano who mad a great impact with his pass catching skills and his ability to get open. Marion Barber got off to a rough start, but turned it around in the second quarter and finished the night with 48 yards on 12 carries. Rookie QB looked impressive while racking up 88 yards on 7 of 9 completions. On defense, Pete Lougheed stole the show with 5 tackles, an assist, 2 sacks and forced fumble in limited play. He is definitely someone to keep an eye on.

Terrell Owens caught a pass but only played one series. Brad Johnson looked pretty bad tonight and was not able to mount any significant drive in two series. He also fumbled in his last series.

All in all, there were a lot of positives in this first of four preseason games. The win will do much to boost the confidence of the team moving forward. Next up for the Cowboys will be the Denver Broncos in Texas Stadium.

It was so good to chill out and watch a football game again! I hope that most of you got a chance to watch and root for our team. GO COWBOYS!