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The Battle Is On!

The Dallas Cowboys are known for signing undrafted free agents and making them Superstars.  They may have another  in the making when they signed former Oklahoma State standout kicker Dan Bailey.

The 2010 Lou Groza Award winner as the best kicker in college football, Bailey was tabbed as the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year.

Dan Bailey wears the #5, and was born January 26, 1988 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He attended Southwest Covenant school in Yukon, Oklahoma.  His frame is a good size for a kicker at  6ft and weighing in at 197 pounds.

He entered the OSU program as a walk-on and left as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 370 career points. He set a single season school record with 27 field goals.  Bailey ranked second in the nation in scoring his Senior year and set a school record by hitting his first 182 extra point attempts.

After not being drafted and months of down time he is now in training camp with the Dallas Cowboys trying to win the starting spot for the teams placekicker.  Bailey, who missed only two extra points during his career at OSU, appears ready to take on the challenge. ” I am excited,” Bailey said ” I think it is a good opportunity.”

With Brown being being cut that leaves Bailey and David Buehler.  Buehler struggled at times last season with field  goals inside the 40 yard line.

“If it works out, great,” Bailey said. ” If not, it’s still a great experience.”

In his first practice, he made 4 of 4 , but his 35 yarder hit the left upright and  went in when a rusher flew at him.

We all know kickers don’t get all the fanfare the other players get, but they suddenly become the single most important person in the stadium when the game is tied with seconds left on the clock.

A Folk’d Up Kicking Situation

After missing five field goals in the last four games, the Cowboys are starting to worry about their kicking situation. Nick Folk was automatic his rookie year making the pro bowl in 2007 and continued to shine in 2008. He had hip surgery in the offseason and didn’t resume kicking until training camp. This season Folk has missed 8 of 24 attempts.

It’s possible he’s just having an off year and after missing his normal offseason training and routine because of surgery it certainly explains why he’s struggling.

But its also possible that the misses aren’t completely Folk’s fault. As stated by the coaches, it could be a combination of things. Folk automatically gets the blame because he’s the kicker but there is also the long snapper and the holder in the mix.

“The hold, the snap, the kick, the coach,” special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said, including himself in the equation. “We’ve got to get it squared away.”

“I’m worried that it’s a combination of confidence more than anything,” Wade Phillips said. “They work all the time on it. Those guys spend a lot of practice time snapping and holding, snapping and holding. That’s what they do and kicking. I would feel like we would have more confidence than we’ve had. Whether it’s working into the kicker or the holder or whoever, we’ve got to determine what we need to do there and go forward.”

“I’m not losing any faith in Nick at all,” DeCamillis said. “I’ve been around this thing for 22 years, and I’ve seen them miss ‘em and I’ve seen them make ‘em. They go through stretches just like any other player. Unfortunately for him, it’s right out in the open for everybody to see.”

Both Wade Phillips and Joe DeCamillis are confident in Nick Folk’s ability so it doesn’t seem like any big changes are coming, but they will be working on some of the details and smaller aspects of the field goal unit.

Rookie kicker David Buehler is excellent on kickoffs but not as accurate or consistent when it comes to field goals.

Don’t expect to see any noticeable changes any time soon. It’s likely they will just practice more and try to correct the problem.

Hopefully the crowd can get back to cheering “FOLK YEAH!” very soon.

Injury Update: Felix Jones To Have MRI

Several reports coming in this morning about Felix Jones’ knee.

Adam Schefter posted this on twitter:

Jones told Werder the RB was unable to loosen his left knee after suffering a knee strain and the feeling now is that he might need an MRI.

Dallas Morning News’ Todd Archer is reporting that Felix Jones will have an MRI:

After suffering a strained knee on his 40-yard run in the third quarter, Felix Jones will undergo an MRI today at Valley Ranch.

It is standard fare for something like this and it’s the benefit of having an MRI facility on campus, so to speak.

Jones was fitted for a brace during the game and missed the next three plays of what turned out to be a field-goal drive. He returned for the next two plays of the following series – a pass to Roy Williams and a 10-yard run by Tashard Choice out of the Razorback formation – but did not get another carry.

Rob Phillips at dallascowboys.com:

Jones (eight carries, 94 yards) limped off the field following a 40-yard run that led to a Cowboys field goal. He put on a new knee brace and returned for two plays on the next series, then spent the rest of the game walking the sidelines.

Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips said Jones would be re-evaluated on Tuesday.

Pray for good news, but it’s not looking good. Hopefully Marion Barber will be 100% this week.

Weekly Game Balls: Preseason Week 4

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Kevin Ogletree.

In the finale of the short preseason, Kevin Ogletree once again impressed and pretty much locked in his spot on the 53-man roster. Rookie Ogletree made it easy for coaches to make the decision to cut Isaiah Stanback and go with him as the 5th wide receiver.

“Every ball is important to me, every down, every play,” Ogletree said. “So when you take that approach and you’re as hungry as I am to try to make the team, you do what you can.”

Ogletree caught two passes for a total on 14 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter before leaving last Friday’s game with an eye contusion.

Star50

This week’s defensive game ball goes to Pat Watkins.

Pat Watkins dominated the game last Friday proving he deserved his spot on the roster. The fourth-year safety made a clutch tackle on a fourth-and-one with 1:59 left in the first half that prevented a Vikings touchdown. Then he blocked a field goal with nine seconds left on the clock, to end the first half and prevent another Vikings scoring opportunity. Finally, he opened the third quarter with a a dazzling 23-yard interception return for a touchdown. It was a big day for the Cowboys’ backup safety.

“I had a feeling like I was going to have a good game, and I had a couple people send me text messages with predictions,” Watkins said. “Someone predicted six tackles and an interception. Somebody else predicted eight tackles. So after that maybe I need more predictions to help me out.”

Whatever it takes Watkins, keep up the good work!

Star50

Congratulations to Kevin and Pat for their outstanding play.

Runners-up: Steven Octavien for his 44-yard interception returned for a touchdown and Jesse Holley for his brave 82-yard punt return for a touchdown that in turn won the game.

What Team Do We Hate The Most?

What team do we hate the most?  The Redskins, Eagles, Giants, or some other team? After my last blog was ambushed by an Eagles fan it made me wonder what team do we dislike the most? I have contemplated back and forth of which team. Maybe all of them (just kidding). In my opinion, I say the Washington Redskins.

The Washington Redskins have been our rival from the beginning. Over a song. Every game we play against them is intense. Plus I think Redskins fans are obnoxious. Last year the Deadskins got a cheap win. They missed a field goal when the judges called it good. I dont know if that changed the season outcome or not, but the win-loss record would have been changed and the Eagles game wouldn’t have mattered.

Speaking of the Phliadelphia Eagles… I cant stand them either. I will make this short with them. When you win even just ONE ring then we will talk. Till then shut up and hope your team does well this year without a good defense.

The New York Football Giants… I really don’t have too much of a big beef against them. I will admit they are a talented group, but Eli looks like a poster child for retardation, the way he holds his mouth open. My girlfriend and I make fun of him and the way he looks. Two years ago when they won the Super Bowl, that was a hard year. The Cowboys being 13-3 going into the Giants game. If we could learn how to tackle the outcome would have been different. I keep replaying in my mind the missed tackle of Plaxico. You know which one I am talking about. Also the dropped pass to Crayton. Oh well, that was 2 years ago.

Then there are other teams. Pittsburgh, since they have 6 rings now. Or maybe the Patriots, with Brady back now watch out for them. Are there other teams I left out? Yeah, I did. But if it comes down to it, the Redskins I can’t stand.

When my little bundle of joy is born, I have an onesie that will say, “I have been just been born and I already hate the Redskins” – very funny. Until then – How ’bout them Cowboys!

Cowboys News: Gramatica Released

The Cowboys released Martin Gramatica today after spending less than a month on the Injured Reserve list. Gramatica injured his hamstring during the third preseason game in Houston and was placed on the IR to open a spot on the 53-man roster.  

Gramatica can sign with another team at this time, but if he does he risks any grievance pay from the Cowboys. He received a $200,000 signing bonus in the offseason.

During Training Camp and Preseason, Gramatica had some competition for starter kicker with rookie Nick Folk. Nick Folk has been amazing in his first 3 starts, completing 6 of 7 field goal attempts (his only missed field goal was blocked).

After the failure of Mike Vanderjagt last year, Gramatica came to be a Cowboy, and with him brought hope. We wish you the best of luck Gramatica and thanks for your hard work!

Football Season’s Over? Yeah Right!

 

 

Well, I guess it’s safe to say that the football season is officially over… yeah, right! Who am I kidding? Football season is never over for a Cowboys fan, it’s a 24/7 365 days a week job staying on top of everything the team does, because it’s all about the "silver and blue" baby!

Let me be the first to say that our Pro Bowl Cowboys didn’t disappoint us in the least. Despite the loss, the only fighting chance the NFC had was due to our beloved Cowboys, and everybody knows it. I was totally impressed by Tony Romo, and I was happy to see him shake off the dust of that muffed field goal. We need Romo to get passed all that and it looks like Tony Romo is going to be just fine. And speaking of Tony Romo, several sources are reporting that Jerry Jones is going to sign Romo to a brand new contract extension and is 100% committed to Tony Romo leading the Dallas Cowboys for the rest of the decade.

As I look at the team now, I certainly have a few concerns, or should I say questions. Here are my top 5 questions for Dallas Cowboys as they enter into the new season.

1. I love both Julius Jones and Marion Barber equally, but both of them want to start and yet only one of them can. How does this situation resolve itself next season?

2. Wade Phillips is certainly the main man on the sidelines for the Dallas Cowboys, or is he? Can the laid back style of Wade Phillips be enough to temper the enigmatic Terrell Owens, or will the combination end up being lethal for one of them?

3. Can Wade Phillips rebuild the confidence of a defense that had a major meltdown during last 6 games of the season, and can he take players like DeMarcus Ware and Bobby Carpenter to the next level?

4. Speaking of defense, something’s gotta give in the secondary. There are too many questions regarding the effectiveness of Pat Watkins and Keith Davis. There are rumblings that Roy Williams may be asked to switch positions too. Should the Cowboys draft the best safety available in the NFL Draft?

5. What about all those Bill Parcell’s players like Aaron and Terry Glenn? Will they still be with us when the new season opens?

Sure there are many more questions than these to ponder for next season, but these are the ones that concern me the most right now. Yes, I also wonder if Martin Gramatica will be re-signed or do the Cowboys draft a kicker or, I shudder to think this, sign the best kicker in the free agent market?

We’ll see how it all plays out in the coming weeks, but rest assured I’ll be keeping my eyes open and my ears peeled for all the latest rumblings and grumblings from Valley Ranch.

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