Three Phrases of the Game

To be a champion caliber team you must be consistent in all phrases of the game. We all know about Dallas’s offense, Tony Romo with all his weapons, Barber and Jones’s running attack behind our fantastic offensive line. The defense is getting more respect and recognition as they improve every week (not counting the Lions game.) Phrase three is Special teams. I don’t feel like our kick return team gets the credit they deserve.

Miles Austin in his second year makes you sit on the edge of your seat every time he gets the ball. His long return is sixty yards. I just know he is going to break one all the way. Austin is averaging twenty-six yards on eighteen returns.

Tyson Thompson shows he is a talent with his return ability also. Tyson’s average is a little lower than Austin’s at twenty-three.six, but his long return is seventy-two yards.

I look forward to seeing rookie Isaiah Stanback come back from his injury. I have to agree with the Cowboy staff that Stanback is exciting to watch. His long kick return is thirty-five yards but he has only had three returns with a average of twenty-six yards.

Between these three and more recently Miles Austin, the Cowboys have had good field position on most possessions. Of course, it would be a dream come true if we only had punt returns meaning our defense didn’t allow a score! WOW!

With Patrick Crayton and Terence  Newman returning punts, we haven’t had stunning returns but, they average twelve yards per return that equals our opponents. Even though we haven’t returned a punt or kick return for a score with all the talent we have on special teams it will come. They are saving it for the playoffs!

Although special teams need to improve in some areas they show improvement each week just as the offense and defense.

What I respect about the 2007 Cowboys is the way coach Phillips has blended all three phases to work together as a team. The media and fans shine the light on certain players but, they know that it takes every player in the locker room to win and that is why we are the NFC East Champs!

 Contributed by Raina Middleton


Where Have All the Cowboys Gone

It’s funny how people get so offended and hurt when the team loses (understandably, I’m one of the guilty). It’s a preseason game, not a playoff game. The good thing is we can learn from the experience and it isn’t going to hurt us one bit. Of course it’s nice to win every game no matter the caliber, but sometimes it helps not to go into the season with a "big head" or overblown confidence when you start playing teams like New England and Chicago just to name a few.

I do believe that Gramatica has lost his job as starting kicker, especially if the rumors are true that he pulled a hamstring Saturday night. Missing an extra-point kick is really not the way you impress your coach when you’re battling for the starting position. Of all teams, we certainly know how much a missed kick can hurt!

If you’re wondering when to expect Greg Ellis back on the field, good luck finding the answer. No one knows or can even speculate when to expect the veteran linebacker’s return. Jerry Jones is determined that Ellis will be back, at least that’s what he is saying in front of the cameras. I’ve heard a third medical opinion is being sought. Expect to see rookie Anthony Spencer on the field in his place when the season kicks off.

Several other injured Cowboys missed the game on Saturday. Anthony Fasano, Terence Newman and Terry Glenn did not participate but are all expected to start in the season opener. Terence Newman will likely feel pain throughout the season after being diagnosed with a torn plantar fascia in his right heel. Anthony Fasano is sitting out after receiving a sprained shoulder in the second preseason game. And last but certainly not least, Terry Glenn is still recovering after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery during Training Camp.

As the Cowboys prepare to travel to Minnesota for the final preseason game, we should keep a close watch on the roster. Several players will be cut tomorrow, bringing the roster number down to 75. I don’t think we will see much from the first string on Thursday because September 1st the team will be trimmed down to the standard 53-man roster. It’s always interesting and certainly unpredictable to see who will go and who will stay.