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Three Things That Were Most Responsible For The Dallas Loss

I’ve cooled down, and I have not created a giant poster of Alex Barron’s image to throw darts at.

Now it is time for the fan to soothe his emotions and for James Williamson to tell you what went wrong.

Well, there are three things that made that opening game a horrendous nightmare for Cowboy fans and ruined my weekend.

First: THE MISS

I’m disappointed in David Buehler. He has to make those field goals when we need them bad. We were down by three, needed three to tie it up, and he misses it from 34 yards? That happened in the first quarter.

If he makes that field goal, Dallas can kick a second field goal and we go to overtime instead of having to force a touchdown. That’s mistake number one. If Buehler doesn’t get it together, we might need to pick up another kicker and limit Buehler to just kickoffs.

Second: THE MUSIC CITY MELTDOWN

In the 1999 playoffs, the Tennessee Titans lateraled a kickoff in the final seconds and beat the Buffalo Bills to win a playoff game and eventually to the Super Bowl. The play was called the Music City Miracle because it was in Nashville, and you just could not believe it.

Well, Dallas had the polar opposite. Four seconds left, and Romo finally pitches it to Tashard Choice, the running back, and he has the ball stripped and taken in for the touchdown.

Now, we can blame Tony Romo for not taking a knee, we can blame Jason Garrett for calling a play (even though I would’ve done the same thing), and we can blame Wade Phillips because he is the head coach.

However, in my eyes, the blame is not on one person, but the lion’s share goes to Tashard Choice.

I don’t care if the play was worthless. Romo wanted to try to make something happen, and a lot of times he has made incredible highlights with those kind of plays. This is on Choice because once you get the ball, your job as a tailback is to what is it?….

HOLD ONTO IT!

He didn’t hold onto it. He allowed himself to get stripped and it is his fault that they got six points. People don’t blame Tashard because the common fan is uninformed and only knows the quarterback.

The quarterback is like the president and the supporting cast are members of congress. You don’t see people calling out the Senator of Alaska, but they do call out President Barack Obama.

I’m not blaming the quarterback for that travesty. That belongs to Choice really.

Third: THE IDIOT AT RIGHT TACKLE

Five penalties, three holds, one that nullifies the winning touchdown pass to Roy Williams. Roy Williams makes a clutch play to help people realize that he’s not that bad, and Romo shows how clutch he can be.

And what happens? An idiot decides to practice his chokehold technique on Brian Orakpo. The flag was for holding, and it was the right call. If that had been Marc Columbo instead of Alex Barron, Dallas wins that game. I have no doubt about it.

It stinks worse than a males’ restroom in the desert, but it happened. We have to move on and keep the faith.

We do that by wearing our jerseys on  Mondays after we lose. We do that by refusing to be ashamed of our Cowboys because we love them, and we are proud of our team and our logo even if we lose.

I was in class (college student here), and I was wearing my hat proudly. People heckled me about Dallas, but I told them that I’m not embarrassed. I love my Cowboys, and I stand by what I told Jesse Holley at training camp this past year.

“Super Bowl or no Super Bowl, we love you.”

I love you my Dallas Cowboys.

Do you love them?

Random Observations

-Miles Austin is a GREAT receiver. He is elite. Period. Dez Bryant will make this offense unstoppable when he finally starts opposite Austin.

-2009 Ball State 3rd round pick Robert Brewster is still a year away from being an NFL caliber OT or G. Missing his rookie year due to injury, he just doesn’t have “it” yet. I would release him on the final cuts and try to get him back on the practice squad. If not, oh well. We need solid backups to survive this Super Bowl run.

-The tight end situation is terrible. It went from a strength on the team to a worry with John Phillips tearing his ACL. Although, if Sicko progresses this year, it gives us an out with Martellus Bennett should he continue his mundane play.

-Alex Barron needs coaching. Hudson Houck must change this guy’s bad habits or he will be a one and done as a Cowboy. You don’t pay good money for Pat McQuistan production.

-No way do you cut Deon Anderson. If you want Chris Gronkowski on the final 53, you must deplete another position’s depth and keep two fullbacks. Deon has been a fantastic blocker and a surprise threat out of the backfield as a receiver.

-David Buehler is doing a good job. Kickoffs, as usual, have been stellar. Touchback after touchback. Field goals have been good enough to keep believing in him. I love that he is working with Chris Boniol.

-Jon Kitna will be a solid backup should we, God forbid, need him to hold the fort for a few games.

-The linebackers on this team are off the hook. Our starters dominate. Bradie James and Keith Brooking will be the vocal leaders on this very strong defense. There are surprises such as Leon Williams that will make the final cuts a very hard job.

-Too much is being made of win/loss, Redzone failures and other trivial statistics in the preseason.

-5 preseason games could make you a tired team in January.

-Wade Phillips is awesome. His defense rocks and he has survived the headhunters of Dallas (media) through hell and back.

Good, Bad, and Ugly All Evident In First Preseason Game

Coaches and fans got their first look at the 2010 Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night against a highly touted Cincinnati Bengals club that many are predicting to be a Super Bowl contender this season. The Boys had an impressive showing for a preseason game, not allowing Cincinnati to score until the late 4th quarter. However, there were also some loose ends the Cowboys need to tie up before they take the field against Washington in the season opener. Let’s play a game of “Who’s hot, who’s not” to summarize the first preseason game.

Who’s Hot

*Tight end John Phillips. He took advantage of the absence of Martellus Bennett and showed great all-around ability throughout the night. He had a couple of superb catches, and also showed his blocking ability on several occasions. With Bennett’s problems of late, I would not be at all surprised to see Phillips get more playing time than Bennett when the season starts.

*Defensive end Stephen Bowen. He also took advantage of the absence of a fellow teammate (Marcus Spears), and was a force along the defensive line all night. He was constantly in the backfield and recorded a sack before his night came to an end. With Bowen, Spears, and Jason Hatcher all playing on one-year tenders, I expect the competition to continue between the three.

*Offensive tackle Doug Free. Though he only played one series, Free looked very comfortable at left tackle, and had his way with Bengals defensive end Antwan Odom in both passing and running situations. Free definitely looks to have a leg up on Alex Barron in securing the starting left tackle spot. It will be interesting to see how he performs the rest of the preseason against pass rushers like Shawne Merriman and Mario Williams.

*Backup linebackers. A solid night on defense was topped off by the impressive play of players like Brandon Williams, Victor Butler, Jason Williams, Steve Octavien, and Brandon Sharpe. Jason Williams, Butler, and Octavien all showed their ability to get to the quarterback with a sack each. Brandon Williams and Sharpe showed their abilities in coverage with an interception each, Sharpe’s going for the only touchdown of the evening for the Cowboys. The Williams boys and Butler are showing flashes of the abilities the Cowboys saw in each of them when they drafted all three last year. Keep an eye on the ‘backers again in the next preseason game, as Sean Lee should step on the field for the first time and show his skills, too.

Who’s Not

*Offensive lineman Robert Brewster. He looked simply horrendous playing both tackle spots, and gave Stephen McGee no time to throw the ball all night. It is safe to say the intent of the Cowboys to develop Brewster as a tackle has run horribly amok. His footwork is below average and his ability to get out of his stance is poor. If the Cowboys want to avoid missing on yet another offensive line draft pick, they should consider moving Brewster to guard, where his slow feet will be less noticeable.

*Backup running backs. In a virtually impossible battle for a roster spot at running back, Herb Donaldson and Lonyae Miller did nothing to prove they are even worthy of a spot on the practice squad. Donaldson fumbled the ball early, and Miller had less than one yard per carry. With Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice all locks to make the team, Donaldson and Miller will be nothing more than camp bodies for the duration of training camp.

*Return specialists. The return game for the Cowboys was non-existent the entire night, with Titus Ryan, Jamar Wall, Bryan McCann, and Cletis Gordon sharing the duties. Ryan had a decent return to start the game, but left early with a broken thumb. Wall, McCann, and Gordon shared the punt return duties, but none of the three did more than fair catch and flirt with potential disaster when a return was possible. Gordon and McCann were also creamed on one of their returns, McCann’s coming on a terrible non-call in which he clearly called a fair catch.

Can You Replace a “Hotel” for Free?

One of the bigger questions we have heading into our quest for a sixth Lombardi Trophy is at one of the least heralded, yet most important positions on the gridiron. The quarterbacks blind spot is one of those positions that when a player is performing either at an acceptable to an excellent standard no one ever notices just how good of job they are doing. Alas, when said player is having more laundry thrown at them then the locker room towel boy or they are more jittery than a teenage boy on his first “non-parent” date everyone in the stadium and outside the stadium takes notice. In fact don’t be surprised to find out that some of the people sharing their opinions of how bad the player performed hasn’t even seen the game. Everyone becomes a critic at that point.

This off season though we were hoping to find a replacement for the “Hotel” either through the draft or even through free agency. Instead Father Jerry decided to see if we had the answer already on the roster. Granted there were some decent options in the draft but no one really at our draft selection that anyone would consider sexy. Time will tell whether or not Doug Free or the acquisition of Alex Barron will improve the situation any.

As far as Barron is concerned he is an option that might help us in possibly two or more spots. We traded away basically a player in Carpenter that had outlived his usefulness. He never really found his niche in Dallas after bouncing around all four linebacker positions in Parcell’s and Wade’s schemes. We have a handful of younger guys with some possibilities that basically made him very expendable. Barron needed a new place to hone his skills and Dallas not only gives him an opportunity to win the left tackle position but he can also have a chance at replacing Columbo on the right side as well. One important thing he will get is an above average offensive line guru in Hudson Houck. He has already proved he is pretty durable playing on a below average team in St Louis starting all but one game in the last four years. He has had less penalties over the last three years than Flozell has had by a margin of 8 to 13. That’s five less penalties a year averaging to almost a third less penalty than Flozell. As far as sacks go they are pretty much even six to five. He is younger and lets face it Flozell has lost a step and doesn’t have much left in front of him.

Free on the other hand looked great last year when replacing Columbo when he went down with injury he proved just how agile he was by running down field and throwing a block more than twenty yards down field. The part that worries me the most about him was when they put him in at left tackle in the Minnesota playoff game it all but sealed out demise. Columbo was a turnstile for Ray Edwards on one side and when Free came in Jared Allen was beating him like a rented mule. We were still in the game when Flozell went down but give up 20+ points without so much as a single point for your own to retaliate the effort can never give you hope to win a playoff game.

My thoughts going into the preseason are that Columbo is getting up there in age and frankly Free has already proven in my book that he can play that right tackle position well. Barron should be given every opportunity to win that left tackle position. If so with coaching like Houcks I think he will improve and be able to learn from not only one of the best coaches in the game but from the players around him. If he can stay steady with his stats its an improvement over last year but if he improves on those stats everyone will be saying … Flozell who?

Granted telling fans of opposing teams that your replacement at one of the most important positions on the field with words like Free and Barron might get a few chuckles out of them. That is of course until one or both of them are holding their teams top rusher in check for the entire game. On the other hand if neither pan out we could not only be kissing our chances of playing in a Super Bowl we host goodbye but we could also be checking out the left tackles coming out college come November, along with what coaches might be available to replace Wade as Jerry starts to clean house towards trying to rebuild.

Analyzing Alex Barron Trade; Keith Brooking Surgery Update

In the past few weeks, there has been a good deal of activity involving the Dallas Cowboys.

The first item of business is that Dallas traded inside linebacker Bobby Carpenter to the St. Louis Rams for offensive tackle Alex Barron.

Now, Bobby Carpenter is the only high draft pick made in the Bill Parcells era that truly was disappointing. He was a highly admired linebacker out of Ohio State, which is one of the premier college football programs.

Yet, in the four years he was here, he never was good enough for the coaches to give him the starting job. Some fans might say that Dallas never gave him a chance, but I disagree. You don’t draft a guy in the first round and not give him a chance. He had plenty of chances in preseason, in training camp, or in games where he had playing time.

There were questions about him being aggressive enough when playing. I can’t explain why he didn’t turn out to be a great player, but things like that happen.

I knew he was on his way out when Dallas drafted Penn State linebacker Sean Lee in the second round of the 2010 draft this past April.

Carpenter will get a chance to revive his career in St. Louis, while Dallas gets key offensive line depth.

I have every confidence in our offensive line, but the fact remains that if you don’t have a backup plan in the NFL, you are risking your team’s future.

The Dallas starters from left to right are: Doug Free at left tackle, Kyle Kosier at left guard, Andre Gurode at center, Leonard Davis at right guard, and Marc Columbo at right tackle.

However, our backups in Cory Proctor, Pat McQuistan, and Robert Brewster are either weak replacements or in Brewster’s case, unproven.

Dallas cut Flozell Adams this offseason due to his age, and the impact his salary would have this year. They have given Doug Free the chance to start at left tackle, but Jerry Jones, while he is a gambler at times, isn’t stupid.

Jones drafted offensive tackle Sam Young in the sixth round this past draft from Notre Dame, and completed the Carpenter trade for Alex Barron.

Barron was a first round draft pick for the Rams in 2005, one spot before Dallas’ Marcus Spears as a matter of fact, and he’s been solid. He has started in 74 out of 76 games he’s played in, and hasn’t been injured.

He’s 6-7, around 320, and tough. The problem he had last year was he was worse than our own Flozell Adams at false start penalties. He’s had 43 false start penalties in the pros. That is 215 total yards lost because this guy is moving before the ball is snapped.

Now, there may be some instances where a defensive lineman actually encroaches and Barron is wrongfully flagged, but not 43 times.

Still, Dallas is giving him a chance, and Barron has promised to stop the false starts. I don’t know if he’ll start. I doubt it unless he really shows up to training camp and just dominates the line of scrimmage because Free has earned his shot really, and I think Jerry Jones just wants to address depth.

In the end, I think the trade is a win for Dallas because even with his mistakes, I’d rather have Barron than the depth we have now starting in case a lineman gets hurt, and Bobby Carpenter was just going to waste away here.

Jerry Jones made a good trade here for the team.

Brooking’s Surgery

To view the lstest update on Keith Brooking’s knee surgery, please go here.

Bobby Carpenter Officially An Ex-Cowboy

According to ESPN.com, the Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis rams have made it official and the rumored swap of linebacker Bobby Carpenter for offensive tackle Alex Barron is now a done deal.

Carpenter was the 18th pick of the 2006 draft for the Cowboys and was a big favorite of former Cowboys coach Bill Parcells. However, he never lived up to his top billing and many Cowboys fans had soured on him over the years, although in my opinion, last season was the best he ever looked performance wise.

Many say he fell victim to playing at inside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme and that he was more suited to play the middle linebacker position in a 4-3 alignment.

Calvin Watkins writes that Carpenter’s best game might have come in the 2006 playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks in which he started and had five tackles — including one for a loss — and deflected three passes. But when the Cowboys drafted Penn State’s Sean Lee in the second round earlier this month, it signaled that Carpenter’s time in Dallas was coming to an end.

Alex Barron, also a first round pick, was pretty much in the same situation as carpenter; never living up to expectations in St. Louis despite starting in 74 of 76 career games since being drafted. Last year, he led the NFL with five holding calls.

Barron will most likely get the chance to challenge Doug Free for the starting left tackle spot.