Posts

Go Away! I’m Die-Hard & You’re Just a Hater

I’m not a trash-talker. I love Cowboys football but I don’t love getting into a pissing contest with a fan of a different team, especially if that team is a rival of my own. What makes it even worse is when that person isn’t as passionate about their team as I am about mine.

I was tagged in an image on Facebook not too long ago by a loved one. It was bashing the Cowboys and the person thought it was hilarious. Come to find out she doesn’t even watch football and her claimed team sucks worse than mine!

hatersIt is frustrating when my team is playing awful and losing games, but I have never once thought of abandoning them.

Is there anything that you have loved your entire life? Is there something that your family and friends see and are instantly reminded of you? Do you schedule your life around it? (Many of you are answering yes or you probably wouldn’t be reading this post.)

Maybe I’m just not up for ridiculous debate. Actually I’m all about standing up for things I believe in, but bashing something that I don’t even care about? Nah, that’s not my style.

But that’s my view on many things. I don’t attack people for their beliefs, whether its religion, politics, whatever. But some people will go out of their way to start trouble, and even some others that enjoy arguments. You know what, more power to them. Just leave me out of it, thanks.

I’ll just be over here in my little happy world smiling because your bullying antics aren’t going to work on this Cowboys fan. Keep it real people.

 

Frustrated But Still True To The Silver & Blue

Well, well, well… another December is here and while we still have a chance at the playoffs (I know I laughed too), many Cowboys fans are still singing the blues. Monday night was atrocious and I have found it really hard to express my thoughts since the game, it was beyond upsetting. We could go on about the injuries that continue to plague us, or maybe how the coaching is inconsistent, and if I hear one more “fire Jerry” rant I might explode. Of course if you are blaming Tony Romo for anything right now I’d like to personally revoke your fan card.

respect

Even after getting our butts handed to us several times this season, we remain in the race for the NFC East title. I can’t say how far we will go if we do win the last three games, because quite honestly I’m not sure I’m too confident right now. We’ve got Demarcus Ware and Sean Lee and still our defense stinks. Tony Romo is personally having a tremendous season, breaking records and putting up fantastic numbers; but if his receivers don’t catch the ball and his O-line doesn’t block for him, what can he really do for the team?

As the frustration continues to mount lets remember we still have three games left, and two of them are division games. Wouldn’t you know it, the schedule gods booked us with Philly once again for the final game of the regular season and our chances at postseason will likely come down to that very game. (Coincidence? I think not.)  Could this Cowboys team be headed to the playoffs? Hey, crazier things have happened. Sometimes they say you have to hit rock bottom before you can get back up to the top.

Addicted

Even after my little rant, I still believe in this team. I believe in Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. I have faith in Sean Lee, Jason Hatcher and Demarcus Ware. I would bet everything I had on Dan Bailey. Those are MY BOYS out there, and win, lose or draw I’ve got their back.

I wear the STAR proudly at all times. They can lose 45-28  and bring me to the verge of tears but I’ll still be seen in public in my Cowboys gear. They broke my heart but I didn’t take down my silver and blue Christmas tree. My home office surrounds me with Cowboys memorabilia, posters and figures but I’ll be damned if I’d have it any other way.

Tony Romo's autograph hangs above my computer where I sit every day.

Tony Romo’s autograph hangs above my computer where I sit every day.

I’m thinking about painting my office. The off-white paint just doesn’t say, “I’m a die-hard Cowboys fan!” but they do have this line of NFL team colors paint by Glidden that will scream it. I’d like to wait until the offseason before I start tearing my house apart. Lets just hope our Cowboys will postpone that project a little further into January and possibly February. Hey, I can dream can’t I?

NFL Team Colors at The Home Depot

I have been sponsored by  the Glidden® brand paint for PPG to write this post but the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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.

 

New to the Silver and Blue: Brandon Carr

When the Cowboys picked up free agent, corner-back, Brandon Carr, I knew nothing about him.  When they signed him to a 5 year, $50.1 million contract, I was shocked to say the least. After letting Newman go, we knew he would fill his spot on the roster. I was wondering if he would be able to. So far his preseason I’ve been extremely impressed with his talent. He seems to be fitting right in to the defense.

I also liked his comments on the Dallas Cowboy organization soon after signing. “From the moment they came and got me, to the moment I got to the stadium, it was just red-carpet treatment,” Carr said. “They showed me they wanted me. They were genuine with their words. That played a part in the process and my decision-making. The stadium is phenomenal-the best in the world. I’m excited to get in the uniform, get in the stadium and get to work.” Carr also said  he was ecstatic after signing his contract. “It’s been a long, long time, and I’ve been waiting for the opportunity.” Carr said, “To not only secure myself financially, but also to elevate my game to be at the highest level, which is the Dallas Cowboys. Now it’s time to turn my game up another notch.”  I think the work effort he put in at camp and his efforts in this pre-season so far proves he meant his words.

Carr was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the fifth round in the 2008 draft. On the final play of the chiefs 2011 season, Carr intercepted a Tim Tebow pass, not a bad way to end your season and career in KC.

John L. Carr and Kathy Robinson Carr brought Brandon Carey Carr into this world May, 19th 1986 in Flint, Michigan.  He attended Grand Valley State starting 41 of his 49 games. He helped the Lakers win back-to-back NCAA Division II national championships.  Brandon also received the Defensive Back of the Year honor by the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference his senior year.

I think Brandon will improve the Dallas Cowboy defense and will be a stand out player for us for years to come. Newman was a solid player for many years. I hope Brandon Carr can be as large part of the team as Newman.

What do you think of Carr so far in this pre-season?

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.

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.

2011RomoManning
Pass Attempts522589
Pass Completions346359
Completion Percentage66.361
Total Yards41844933
Touchdowns3129
Interceptions1016
Rating102.592.9

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.

OffenseCowboysGiants
Total Yards Gained60086161
Yards Per Game375.5385.1
Total Passing Yards42014734
Passing Yards Per Game262.6295.9
Total Rushing Yards18071427
Rushing Yards Per Game112.989.2
Points Scored369394
Points Scored Per Game23.124.6

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.

DefenseCowboysGiants
Total Yards Allowed54916022
Yards Per Game Allowed343.2376.4
Total Passing Yards Allowed39064082
Passing Yards Per Game Allowed244.1255.1
Total Rushing Yards Allowed15851940
Rushing Yards Per Game Allowed99.1121.3
Points Scored Against347400
Points Allowed Per Game21.725

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.

There’s No Vacation From America’s Team

I have always thought of the Dallas Cowboys as being America’s Team, but as many in Cowboy Nation know there are other NFL teams that want the title.

On my recent trip to Richmond, Virginia I proudly wore my Cowboy gear which I thought would bring up many conversations, you know since we were so close to Redskin Country.  To my surprise I met many Dallas Cowboy fans in many places.  One in particular was our tour guide while in a cavern tour, and another in a diner. I even met an entire family of die hard Cowboy fans.

We had many conversations about how we thought the team would do this season.  What did surprise me was how many men were surprised that at a woman really knew the game of football. During a discussion about the defense and the free agents we picked up one man said, ” Wow you really do know your Cowboys!”

While at the register in a sports shop, the man asked if I was shopping for Father’s Day. I laughed and replied, “No this is for me. I am  a southern girl and we know our sports.” Then he began to quiz me about the teams, college football, basketball and the Texas Rangers. I answered all his questions and he was amazed and replied, “I may have to head that way to find a wife.”  I just shook my head and laughed.

Even during offseason and on vacation, the ‘Boys are on my mind. That’s the life a die-hard Cowboys fan for ya!  

The Cowboys need to consider Donald Driver if he is released by the Packers

Last year the Cowboys went out and signed Laurent Robinson to be their third receiver and the results were 54 receptions for 858 and 11 touchdowns. Some might say that he was the Cowboys offensive MVP as he had an instant connection with Tony Romo. Having trust in your receivers is very important as well as knowing   that they can be counted on at the most important times is priceless. That is what the Cowboys had in Robinson and he will be missed. This off season Robinson earned the right to be a starter in the NFL and decided to sign with the Jaguars. Now the Cowboys look to the young and inexperienced receivers that are currently on the roster. Players like Kevin Ogletree, Dwayne Harris, Raymond Radway, Andre Holmes and Danny Coale will all be battling for that third receiver spot. Between all five of those players only Ogletree has caught a pass in the NFL.

There are questions about each of the receivers that cannot be ignored. Olgetree has been given every opportunity to take the third receiver spot, but has been unable to produce and hold onto it. Radway is coming back from a broken leg he suffered last preseason that resulted in him missing the 2011 season. Harris had some chances in the return game last season, but not on offense. Holmes seems to be a fan favorite due to his speed and size, but he is still unproven. The same can be said as far as rookie Danny Coale, who is recovering from a broken foot and will miss out on valuable time with the offense.

Do the Cowboys continue to see what these receivers can do as they go into training camp? Will one of them rise above the rest and become the trusted third receiver? I believe it’s asking an awful lot from such a young and inexperienced group of receivers. It’s also asking a lot from Tony Romo on the trust level. Romo needs to know that his receivers are going to be where they need to be and even help him out if he gets into trouble. There is always the option of looking for a veteran receiver like the Cowboys did last year during training camp, to come in and hold down the third receiver spot like Robinson did.

Enter 13 year veteran Donald Driver. There are reports that the Packers might release Driver and if that happens I believe the Cowboys should go after him for many different reasons. I understand that his age of 37 might be a concern to some people, but with his track record and proven numbers during his career he just might be a good fit for the Cowboys. Driver brings with him the experience and leadership that can help a player like Dez Bryant who is still trying to establish himself in the league. Not to mention that Driver can really help the younger receivers that end up behind him and work with them to improve their game. He can be that leader on and off the field that will only help the Cowboys as a team. Driver has been a winner in the NFL for many seasons and the one person on the Cowboys staff who knows that is his former receivers coach and current Cowboys receivers coach Jimmy Robinson. Up to this point in his career he has 735 receptions for 10,060 yards and 59 touchdowns to go along with a Championship in Super Bowl XLV. Oddly enough that Super Bowl victory came in Cowboys Stadium.

Driver brings so much to a team in need of a solid third receiver, which brings me to another reason why the Cowboys should seriously consider him. Injuries happen every season and if something should happen to either Miles Austin or Dez Bryant are the coaches confident enough in any of the younger receivers to make them a starter? How comfortable would Romo be if someone like Radway or Harris was starting opposite Austin for a few weeks? If Driver was the third receiver on the Cowboys and an injury happened I don’t think anyone would have any doubt that Driver could step in as a starter and produce.

It’s something the Cowboys really should consider if Donald Driver is released by the Packers. It’s a win win situation for all involved. The Cowboys are looking for a Super Bowl Championship and there is nothing Driver would like more at 37 years old than to get another championship before he walks away from the game.

Flashback: Has it been 20 years already?

Anytime a team wins a Super Bowl it’s special no matter how they get there. The last two Super Bowl Champions didn’t make it into the playoffs until the final game of the season. The Packers got in back in 2010 as the 6th seed and won it all and the Giants got in last season as the 4th seed and won it all. I’m sure the fans of those teams loved every second of the postseason as their teams got hot at the right time. The Giants were 6-6 in 2011 at one point and were left for dead by most experts as well as their fans. The Packers back in 2010 needed to win in the last week of the season along with some help to back into the playoffs. All of the bad things from the regular season were forgotten once these teams won the Super Bowl. It’s rare to have one of those magical seasons from beginning to end, but when it does happen it’s the greatest ride ever.

I realized the other day that it has been 20 years since the Cowboys had one of those magical seasons and went on to win the Super Bowl. Back in 1992 the Cowboys were on a mission from the first game of the season right through the Super Bowl. It seems like just yesterday as I can remember every game they played and how they became more dominant as the season went on. It was Jimmy Johnson’s fourth season as head coach and the Cowboys had ended the 1991 season with a horrible playoff loss to the Lions, 38-6. Some thought the Cowboys were probably still a year or two away from seriously competing for a championship. The Cowboys thought differently.

The Cowboys fielded the youngest team in the NFL in 1992. They also had the top ranked defense in the league, but when it came time for Pro Bowl selections not one player from the Cowboys defense was selected. The defense did not really have house hold names other than Charles Haley, who the Cowboys traded for before the start of the season. Haley was looked at as the final piece the Cowboys needed for their Super Bowl run. Some of the others joining Haley on that top ranked defense were Russell Maryland, Tony Casillas, Jim Jeffcoat, Tony Tolbert, Leon Lett, Ken Norton Jr., Vinson Smith, Robert Jones, Larry Brown, Thomas Everett, Kevin Smith, James Washington and Darren Woodson.

On offense it seemed as though the Cowboys were unstoppable most of the time. It started up front with Erik Williams, John Gesek, Mark Stepnoski, Nate Newton and Mark Tuinei. From there defenses had to deal with Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Alvin Harper, Kelvin Martin, Jay Novacek and Daryl Johnston. With Norv Turner running the offense the Cowboys developed a balanced attack that opposing teams had a hard time defending them at times.

The Cowboys finished 1992 with a 13-3 record. There best record since going 12-2 back in 1977 when they went on to win Super Bowl XII. They were 7-1 at Texas Stadium in 1992. Their only loss was to the LA Rams 27-23. On the road they went 6-2 with losses to the Eagles 31-7 and the Redskins 20-17.  They beat out the Eagles for the NFC Eastern Division Championship, but came up short for home field advantage to the 49ers.

Here are a few games that will always stand out from that magical 1992 season.

Week 1: The Cowboys opened the season in Texas Stadium against the Redskins who were defending Champions. Issiac Holt Blocked a punt that went out of the end zone to give the Cowboys an early 2-0 lead and they never looked back. Emmitt Smith rushed for 140 yards and a touchdown and Kelvin Martin added a 79 yard punt return in the third quarter. The Cowboys went on to win 23-10.

Week 2: The Cowboys traveled to New Jersey to take on the Giants. It seemed to be no contest as the Cowboys jumped out to a 34-0 third quarter lead. The Giants scored twice before the end of the third quarter to make the score 34-14. What I remember most is that the scoreboard operator changed the score to show that the Giants had won the game 35-34 during the fourth quarter. The Giants did make it interesting, but the Cowboys held on for a 34-28 victory.

Week 9: Just a few weeks earlier the Cowboys were crushed by the Eagles 31-7 in Philadelphia. In the rematch the Cowboys defense took a stand and dominated as they only allowed 190 yards to the Eagles offense. Emmitt Smith rushed for 163 yards as the Cowboys won 20-10 and improved to 7-1.

Week 10: The Cowboys ended the 1991 season with a 38-6 loss in the playoffs to the Lions. In 1992 the Cowboys made a return trip to Detroit, but this time it would end much different. Emmitt Smith scored three touchdowns and Michael Irvin had 114 yards receiving and a touchdown. The Cowboys defense only allowed 201 yards to the Lions offense as they cruised to a 37-3 victory.

Week 13: It was Thanksgiving at Texas Stadium and the Giants were coming for a visit. Unlike the first match-up with the Giants this time it would not be close. The Cowboys defense once again dominated as they collected four sacks and only allowed 207 yards to the Giants offense. Emmitt Smith rushed for 120 yards and scored twice, which included a 68 yard score in the third quarter. The Cowboys improved to 10-2 with a 30-3 victory.

Week 16: The Cowboys traveled to Atlanta for a Monday Night game looking to lock up the NFC East title. The game included one of the most incredible runs in Emmitt Smith’s career. He seemed to get stopped by a wall of Falcon defenders, but then he bounced away and broke free down the right sideline as he beat Deion Sanders to the end zone for a 29 yard touchdown run. Smith added another 29 yard score and rushed for 174 yards. Troy Aikman completed 18 of 21 passes and threw three touchdown passes. The Cowboys won their first NFC East title since 1985 as they beat the Falcons 41-17.

Divisional Playoffs: For the third time in 1992 the Cowboys would be playing the Eagles and for the second time at Texas Stadium. It was also the first playoff game at Texas Stadium since 1983. Once again the Cowboys dominated the Eagles and won 34-10. The Cowboys defense only allowed 178 yards to the Eagles offense and sacked Randall Cunningham five times. Emmitt Smith added 114 yards and a score.

NFC Championship: Leading up to this game there seemed to be two stories. One was the last time the Cowboys played in San Francisco for the NFC Championship back in 1981, which ended with “The Catch” by Dwight Clark. The other was the muddy field conditions after a week of soaking rains. None of that mattered to this Cowboys team as they showed no fear against the 14-2 49ers led by Steve Young and Jerry Rice. What always comes to mind was early in the game Kevin Smith left the field for a play with a shoulder injury. On the next play Young connected with Rice on a long touchdown as he beat Issiac Holt who replaced Smith. But the 49ers were called for holding and the touchdown was called back. It seemed as though from that point on the Cowboys had the upper hand. The Cowboys defense controlled the 49ers offense and the Cowboys offense was able to move the ball and control the clock as they built a 24-13 fourth quarter lead. Young was able to bring the 49ers to within 24-20 late in the fourth quarter and most thought that Jimmy Johnson would try to get a few first downs and run out the clock. On the first play after the ensuing kickoff Troy Aikman connected with Alvin Harper across the middle as the defender fell down. Harper broke free and was finally taken down at the 49ers ten yard line after a 70 yard gain. From there Aikman sealed the game with a short touchdown pass to Kelvin Martin. The Cowboys beat the 49ers 30-20 to advance to Super Bowl XXVII. It was the first Super Bowl for the Cowboys since 1978. It was also the game that will be known for Jimmy Johnson yelling in the locker room “How bout them Cowboys!!”

http://youtu.be/6EL55yXzqVM

 

Super Bowl XXVII: My first ever Cowboys game was Super Bowl XII against the Broncos back in 1977. I can’t really say I knew what was happening, but I remembered the star on the helmet. Now 15 years later I was enjoying every second of the Super Bowl including all the pregame leading up to it. I couldn’t wait to see the Cowboys name in the end zone as well as watching the player introductions. I took it all in and remember it like it was yesterday. I also remember the Cowboys being down 7-0 to the Bills after getting a punt blocked, which led to a Thurman Thomas touchdown. From that point on it was all Cowboys as they outscored the Bills 52-10. The Cowboys defense recovered five fumbles and collected four interceptions for a record nine turnovers in the game. The defense also scored two touchdowns by Jimmie Jones and Ken Norton Jr. It could have been three touchdowns and a Super Bowl record 59 points, but we all know what happened when Leon Lett celebrated too soon on his fumble return. Troy Aikman earned the game’s MVP as he competed 22 of 30 passes for 273 yards and four touchdowns. Emmitt Smith added 114 yards and a touchdown and Michael Irvin added two touchdowns. All the great numbers aside, what really meant the most was the incredible journey from that 1992 season and then seeing the team holding the Lombardi Trophy and celebrating. It was a feeling unlike any feeling I have ever felt as fan.

It’s just so hard to believe that it has been 20 years since that magical season of 1992. The players have long been gone, but will never be forgotten. Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin have all entered the Hall of Fame. Watching Jimmy Johnson every Sunday on Fox always brings back great memories. Charles Haley has been helping out the Cowboys defensive linemen recently as well as waiting for his own name to be called for the Hall of Fame. We also remember Mark Tuinei who passed away too soon back in 1999.

The 1992 Cowboys will always be remembered as one of the great Cowboys teams of all time as well as one of the great NFL teams of all time. Their magical season will never be forgotten.

“How bout them Cowboys!!”

 

 

So many questions and concerns when it comes to the Cowboys offensive line

One of the biggest concerns after the 2011 season was the state of the Cowboys offensive line. On many occasions last season it seemed as though opposing teams were in the Cowboys backfield more than the Cowboys were. Without a solid offensive line the running game suffers which then leads to problems with the passing game. Even with all the moves the Cowboys have made with the line this off season there are still so many questions and concerns about whether or not the line will be improved in 2012. The Cowboys announced that Tyron Smith and Doug Free will be switching sides at tackle and then they went out and signed guards Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings through free agency. There is also a question about the center position as well and if Phil Costa, who struggled at times in 2011 will hold onto the job. Should Cowboys fans really expect improvement in 2012 with all these questions still out there or should it be considered a work in progress? With so many changes coming there has to be a level of concern.

Let’s start with the tackles. Tyron Smith had a solid rookie season playing on the right side and now the Cowboys believe he is ready to move to the left side to protect Tony Romo’s blind side. That means Doug Free who struggled at times in 2011 will move back to the right side where he played in 2010. Can Smith, who is only 21 years old be expected to adapt quickly to the left side after being in the NFL for only one season? Will Free get back to how he played back in 2010 on the right side? Even though the tackles are set for the Cowboys offensive line there are still questions that can’t be ignored.

At the guard positions the Cowboys had players like Kyle Kosier, Montrae Holland, Bill Nagy and Derrick Dockery playing in 2011. All are gone from the team except for Nagy. With the contracts that Bernadeau and Livings signed one would think they would be stepping right in at the tackle positions. But hold on a minute, it was just announced that Bernadeau just had hip surgery that will keep him out until the middle of August if not longer. He is going to miss important time with the rest of the offensive linemen in the  OTAs and training camp. Although Bernadeau is a four year veteran how can he not fall behind the others and once he gets back on the field how fast will he be able to catch up? Livings is a four year veteran just like Bernadeau and will most likely start at the left guard position. Behind Bernadeau and Livings are players just waiting to show they can start for the Cowboys. There will be competition throughout camp between Bill Nagy, who only played in four games in 2011 before getting injured, David Arkin who was inactive all of 2011 and undrafted rookie free agent Ronald Leary. There is so much inexperience between those three players that it has to be a concern for the Cowboys.

Phil Costa started all of 2011 at center and looks to keep his job in 2012. But Jason Garrett has let it be known that the competition will be open. That means players like David Arkin and Kevin Kowalski will be given every opportunity to win the job the job at center. There was also reports that Bernadeau and Nagy were going to be tested at center, but now with Bernadeau’s injury that may not happen. As with the tackles and guards there are questions at center as well.

With this group of players who are either new to the team, inexperienced, playing different positions and not having played together, it’s going to be very interesting to see how things shape up for the Cowboys offensive line. For an offensive line to become solid they need to play together so that they can get to know each other and their tendencies. Whichever players become the starting five it’s going to take time for them to jell together. Time will tell if the Cowboys have made the right decisions heading into the 2012 season. New offensive line coach Bill Callahan has his work cut out for him as he tries to shape a line that will hopefully get the Cowboys to the next level. The Cowboys have a mix of players with experience like Free, Costa, Livings and Bernadeau and others who are young and inexperienced like Smith, Nagy, Arkin and Leary. Now it’s a matter of getting the right combination together to form the starting five. Hopes may be high with this group of players, but with so many questions and so much uncertainty it’s hard not to be concerned as the Cowboys move closer to the 2012 season.

Mike Jenkins needs to be a big part of the Cowboys secondary in 2012

When the Cowboys signed free agent cornerback Brandon Carr, many spoke about how improved the secondary would be as long as Mike Jenkins came back healthy in 2012. Now with the Cowboys trading up eight spots in the first round of the draft to select Morris Claiborne, some believe that Jenkins is the odd man out. There are even reports that the Cowboys have been looking to trade Jenkins in hopes of getting something for him since he becomes a free agent at the end of 2012. I think it would be a mistake to trade Jenkins at this point. He may choose to leave next off season, but for 2012 I believe he needs to be an important part of the Cowboys secondary.

When he is healthy, Jenkins is one of the top corners in the league. I understand that he has had some injuries recently, but those injuries occur because of how many times he gives up his body to make a play. Jenkins adds important depth and experience to the Cowboys secondary, which is needed for the long NFL season. He needs to be on the field helping the Cowboys. But how is that possible with the additions of Carr and Claiborne?

My question is can Jenkins play the slot position for the Cowboys? Will the Cowboys even consider that if he is not traded? I ask these questions because I believe that Orlando Scandrick is the weak link in the Cowboys secondary. From what I’ve seen over the last few seasons is that Scandrick is constantly getting beat by opposing receivers. And other times he is called for penalties because he is beaten on the play.  I think it was a mistake to sign Scandrick to such a long contract extension last season. And now with Carr and Claiborne on the team it magnifies that contract mistake even more because it might come at the expense of Jenkins leaving. Jenkins can help the Cowboys defense get to the next level, but he can’t do anything if he is sitting on the bench. With his talent he can’t be the odd man out.

The Cowboys secondary can be completely transformed in 2012 and become a force in the NFC East with Carr and Claiborne starting, Jenkins in the slot and Scandrick and Mario Butler as backups. I don’t know if the Cowboys would even consider trying Jenkins in the slot, but that is how I envision the secondary for 2012 being the most effective. Jenkins is just too good to be traded and also too good to be sitting on the bench. With the NFL being a pass happy league teams need at least three quality corners that can make plays. I guess the Cowboys could have worse problems than dealing with a bunch of cornerbacks that they believe should be on the field making a difference for the team.

Portfolio Items