Posts

An Early Look at the NFC

We have been waiting and waiting for months. Now the wait is just about over. The Cowboys report to training camp tomorrow and their first practice is Saturday. As the next week goes by all the other teams will also open up training camps and most will have their sights set on Super Bowl XLV in Cowboys Stadium next February. It’s the start of a new season with new hopes and dreams. So who are the favorites in 2010 and who will be the disappointments? Here is an early look at the NFC.

NFC Favorites

  1. New Orleans. The Saints need to be at the top of the list simply because they are the defending Champions. Someone needs to knock them off the top of the mountain. As far as talent and leadership the Saints are no different from last season. They are explosive on offense, which helps when it comes to their 25th ranked defense.
  2. Minnesota.They are rated above the Cowboys because of how easily they beat the Cowboys in the playoffs. Most people are tired of the so called “Favre Watch”, but if he comes back they will still have a potent offense. If Favre shocks everyone and retires, then the Vikings as a team fall a few spots in the rankings. Their defensive line is one of the best, if not the best in the league, but their secondary is suspect at times.
  3. Dallas. No major changes for the Cowboys during the off-season. They have the talent in place on offense and defense to go along with some playoff experience. Tony Romo had a great 2009 season, minus the Giants game early in the season. I think the offensive line will be fine with Doug Free taking over for Flozell Adams. The major question is how will Alan Ball be at safety?
  4. Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers has become one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He has a lot of offensive weapons to choose from as long as his offensive line can protect him. The defense played very well last season as they went from a 4-3 to a 3-4. A few losses in 2010 on defense like Johnny Jolly and Aaron Kampman may hurt them.
  5. NY Giants.I tried my best to find another team in the NFC I could put at number five, but I kept coming back to the Giants. Eli Manning seems to always find the open receiver when he needs a big play and they Giants have a lot of weapons at receiver. Was Brandon Jacobs really hurt in 2009? That will be the big question for this offense in 2010. The defense just seemed to give up last season as they allowed over 40 points in three of the last four games. That prompted the Giants to hire new defensive coordinator in Perry Fewell.

 

Disappointments

  1. Philadelphia.Franchise quarterback Donovan McNabb was traded in the off-season. No more Brian Westbrook in the backfield. I think the Eagles are going to take a step back in 2010. They are handing the offense to unproven quarterback Kevin Kolb. Their defense is not the force it once was as the Cowboys showed in beating them in back-to-back weeks, outscoring the Eagles 58-14.
  2. Arizona.The Cardinals lost their heart when Kurt Warner retired after last season. Matt Leinart has done nothing that says he can lead this team. They also lost dependable receiver Anquan Boldin to free agency. The defense lost a few pieces as well with the departures of linebacker Karlos Dansby and safety Antrel Rolle.
  3. Chicago.I’ve read a lot of good things about the Bears this off-season. How Jay Cutler is going to be better now that new offensive coordinator Mark Martz is there. How the signing of Chester Taylor and Julius Peppers has improved the team. But head coach Lovie Smith likes to run the ball and Mike Martz likes to throw the ball. Could be an issue as the season moves along and the winter weather enters the picture. The question is also whether Peppers really wants to be in Chicago or was it the money that attracted him there?

Interesting

  1. Detroit.I’m interested in seeing the Lions this season. I know they have combined for only two wins the last two seasons, but this team has some talent. Especially on offense with Matthew Stafford going into his second season and Calvin Johnson becoming one of the best receivers in the league. Stafford also has a quality tight end in Tony Scheffler to go to now. The Lions drafted speedy Jahvid Best to ignite the running game. On defense they added cornerback Chris Houston, defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and defensive tackle Corey Williams through free agency. The Lions also added defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who was the second overall pick in the draft.

LSS Extra Points: The Best and the Rest

The Dallas Morning News is putting 16 Cowboys head to head to find out who is the BEST Dallas Cowboys player according to fans.

Vote for the best Dallas Cowboys player here.

***

NFL Analyst Vic Carucci has the Cowboys winning the division:

The case for the Cowboys: They should be even stronger than the team that won the division in 2009. Tony Romo continues to make strides as a top-notch quarterback. He’s more mature and focused, and was able to blossom last season as the unquestioned leader of the team. Much of the offseason discussion has dealt with the expected game-breaking complement that first-round pick Dez Bryant will provide established receiving star Miles Austin and tight end Jason Witten. But the Cowboys have much more than an explosive passing attack. Their running game is among the best in the league and they have a championship-caliber defense.

***

Ex- Cowboy Flozell Adams worked out with the Steelers yesterday. The Steelers lost their starting right tackle Willie Colon after he suffered an Achilles injury on Monday. However there is no deal and according to NFL.com:

The Steelers got the impression Adams is not ready to make a decision, and money could be an issue as well. Adams, who was scheduled to earn over $7 million with Dallas prior to his release, is looking to earn $4 million for 2010, according to the source. The Steelers were hesitant to go that high.

Umm, Flozell give it up buddy you aren’t worth the big bucks anymore.

***

If you love the Cowboys and enjoy writing, consider blogging for one of the best Cowboys fan sites on the net, Lone Star Struck. We have plenty of roles available and all you need is your passion for the Cowboys and basic writing skills. For more information click here.

“WOW” What A Weekend

Although I am VERY excited the NFL draft is over and all the analysts saying over and over and over and over (you get what I mean) and over again about who goes where, who is number one, who should pick who, one word says it all. WOW!!!!!!! This has got to be one of the most active NFL drafts I have ever seen. There were trades galore and picks that shocked everyone. Top prospects going before during and after what they were projected to go. In a nut shell, a GREAT football weekend in the middle of the off-season.

First off Kelly did a good job on breaking down who we drafted this year. Although we got a great WR in the first round I kind of wish we would have gone with a little more focus on O-line to start the draft and other positions after that was solidified since we did lose Flozell Adams. But I do think we had a great daft and I am looking forward to an OUTSTANDING “championship” season. With that said, this draft to me seemed much more “emotional” than drafts in the past. As a writer for NFL.COM says, it was the “year of the hug”. There were more players hugging Commissioner Roger Goodell as they came on stage than in years past. Tears flowed, emotions ran high and dreams were fulfilled.

As we all know, Sam Bradford, QB for Oklahoma went number one to the Rams, the best defensive player in the draft, Suh went 2nd to the lions and from then on, it was GAME ON. Out of the 32 teams in the NFL, the draft was pretty well split down the middle between offensive and defensive players. 17 defensive players taken vs. 15 offensive players taken. What really came into play this year was the trades. Before the draft, the Eagles officially became the most ignorant franchise in NFL history trading a top 10 QB to a DIVISION opponent, the Washington Redskins. “BIG BEN” did what he does best and rubbed his name in the dirt just a little more showing his off the field behavior deserves NO respect, causing trade talks. In the end, the Steelers decided they were going to keep him and let his play on the field overlook his pathetic decisions off the field. With the Bears grabbing the best free agency out there in Peppers, they continued to focus on their defense drafting 3 more defensive players and 2 offensive players.

Seattle’s new head coach and former USC head coach Pete Carrol brought back familiar faces in acquiring RB LenDale White from the Titans and traded with the jets getting all pro RB Leon Washington to compliment that backfield. The Raiders decided that the Skins no longer needed Jason Cambell and took them off of their hands. We all know, just like in past drafts, the Patriots were going to be wheeling and dealing. Well coach Bill Belichick boosted up their defense and stealing veteran DT Gerad Warren from the Raiders. This acquisition, along with free agents WR Tory Holt and Defensive Lineman Amon Gordon and their TWELVE (12) picks in this year’s draft improved their team dramatically.

As I research the trades that went on this weekend, I realize I have taken on a task that would take me much more precious time than I thought, and besides, my blog would be 5 pages long. I found a link here that shows all the trades that happened during the draft this year.

http://www.nfl.com/draft/story?id=09000d5d817b4621&template=with-video-with-comments&confirm=true

With just the information that I’ve shared, you can easily see that this off-season is one of the most active ever. Free agents, trades, and a draft that in my opinion lasted WAY too long. Finally the draft is over, and the training camps can get underway. The newest “Boys” can start to show us what they have. Before we know it pre-season hits us and then, LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!!!

Flozell and Hamlin to Be Released

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that veterans Flozell Adams and Ken Hamlin will be released by the Cowboys today.

Flozell Adams has been with the Cowboys since he was taken in the second round of the draft in 1998. The 6 ft. 7 in. offensive tackle is a five-time Pro Bowler. At the age of 34 it’s hard to say what’s in store for Big Flo now.

Ken Hamlin was signed by the Cowboys in 2007 to a one-year contract. He made a great run in 2007 and was elected to his first and only Pro Bowl. In 2008 the Cowboys placed the franchise tag on Hamlin and later that summer signed him to a six-year deal. Since signing the deal Hamlin has had only one interception.

This morning Hamlin announced his release via Twitter stating:

“I would like to say to all of my fans that I appreciate all the love that you have showed me in Dallas. It was a good run….. Thanks”

***

I think the draft may just get interesting now…

Fast Starts and False Starts

One of the things the Cowboys need to do is get some momentum going again. There’s all kinds of momentum and it doesn’t just happen on the field of play. I’d like to see the Cowboys get out there and start making some noise by signing some of their key players and getting that rumor mill churning as they look toward the draft and potential free agents and trades. When the new season begins, I’m looking for the ‘Boys to bust out of camp oozing with confidence and getting off to a fast start.

From fast starts to false starts…

The Dallas Morning News had an interesting take on one of the Cowboy’s big problems last season; the offensive line.

They believe That Marc Colombo is getting a free pass while Flozell Adams catches all the heat regarding the excessive amount of false starts.

Adams has 24 false-start penalties in 48 games during the last three regular seasons. Marc Colombo, who mans the right side, has had the same problem at nearly the same rate. He has 20 false-start penalties in 41 games during the last three regular seasons.

Add one mistake by Doug Free last season, and the Cowboys have 45 false-start penalties by their tackles in the last three regular seasons. Only one team has had more false starts by its tackles in that span: dreadful Oakland, with 47.

Penalties have haunted this team for a few seasons now. Each time training camp opens, we’ll hear how they plan to focus on reducing the penalties, but the fact is nothing really changes. Hopefully this year will be different.

One of the problems is that our O-Line is getting older, and to compensate for the reduced burst in their first step they move too early. Flozell will be 35, Colombo is 31, Gurode is 32, Davis is 32, Kosier 31. That may very well be one of the oldest lines in the NFL.

I wonder if this becomes one of our primary objectives in the NFL Draft?

Inefficiency – Offense and Defense

wadepAs I watched the Cowboys squeak by the winless Kansas City Chiefs, I could see that my prediction was coming true. I told all of my coworkers that this game would probably turn out like this. It seems that for the last couple of years every time the Cowboys play against a team they should beat, that team looks like world beaters and that they could win the Super Bowl. I am not sure what it is, but it should not be this way. We should be able to beat teams like this, everyone else does so why not us?

This year it can be explained by inefficiency on both the offense and defense. I am not sure what is wrong with the offense, some of it is untimely penalties, you know the ones that come in the redzone or after we make a big play. Penalties are really killing us. It seems that the coaches do not make the players accountable.

After Flozell Adams’ third or fourth false start or holding call, I don’t see Coach Phillips get mad or anything. Matter of fact, what coach is yelling at him? No one that I can see. Flozell is a good player, but he has been the most penalized player in the last two years and probably will be again this year. It makes no sense to me at all and if it is not a penalty he is getting beat. I think he should be benched, but the coaching staff obviously does not feel the same way.

Then there is the defense. I have seen in the last couple of years, every time we go down and score the defense just lets the other team come right back down the field and score themselves. I just knew when we scored on Sunday that the Chiefs would be able to march back and tie the game, I just knew it.

The defense is preventing us from winning. The defense has been inconsistent just as much as the offense has. Yes, Miles Austin was able to get 10 catches for 250 yards, but we did not do much for the first three quarters of the game. It seemed fumbles and punts were all that we were good at.

The Cowboys have a lot of work to do and someone needs take this seriously, especially the penalties. Hold players accountable for mistakes.

Friday’s Cowboy Notes

Here it is Friday, a couple days before game time. This is usually the time where Cowboys fans, or football fans in general begin to get that itch, to get that feeling as the excitement starts to build for the upcoming battles of the weekend. Statistics are showing that interest in the sport are the highest they have been in twenty years or so, and you can feel it and see it everywhere you look. Right now Cowboys fans still have this feeling, but I think it is a bit more subdued as we are unsure of which way our team is going to go. We seem to be on the apex of our season right now and we are only four games in, teetering on the point where if it gets worse we will slide back down to another disappointing season. But if they are able to turn it around and take care of business the point at which they sit can become just a step as they climb back up to the top where we know they can and should be. It NEEDS to start this weekend against the the Kansas City Chiefs. A loss against this team can and probably will force the Cowboys down to another dreadful season.

Injuries are obviously a part of the game, and Dallas has had their share early on. Wide Receiver Roy Williams and Strong Safety Gerald Sensabaugh will not practice Friday and their status for the game this weekend is doubtful.

“We’ll wait and see [up until] the last minute on all those guys,” Phillips said before Friday’s practice. “They haven’t gotten a lot better, so you want to be well enough to play. You don’t want to play with injured players … and they haven’t gotten to the point, right now, where it looks like they will be ready.”

Miles Austin will take Roy Williams starting spot in the likely event he will not play, and as Kelly mentioned earlier in the week Safety Patrick Watkins would replace Sensabaugh in the secondary. Running Back Felix Jones also will not practice and has been ruled out for this weekends game, while Center Andre Gurode has improved and will most likely play. Tackle Flozell Adams and Running Back Marion Barber were full participants in practice, and the Barbarian should have a big day against the suspect Chiefs defense.

With Barber coming back we really need Tony Romo to step it up. We all know his play the last couple games (I hate to say it) has been horrible. We need him to be confident in his ability and in his team and try to stretch the field against the Chiefs. Tony is only 1-7 for 80 yards, a touchdown and an interception on pass attempts of 21 yards or more on the season. That is not good and it has to change and if he is able to do this it should open up the running game for Marion Barber and Tashard Choice.

You wouldn’t know it but the Cowboys are tied for fourth in total offense (3rd rush, 13 pass) and 26th in total defense (18th rush, 29th Pass). I think the lack of defense is what jumps out to me, that too has to change. So fans dont give up yet. The Cowboys are 8 1/2 point favorites as of right now and have a very winnable game this weekend. So before you jump off lets wait and see if the Boys can do what they are supposed to do to the Chiefs, and if for some reason they dont, I will be the first to clear the way down.

Flozell Gets A Kick Out of the NFL

FlozellFlozell Adams has been fined by the NFL for the third week in a row. The latest fine for kicking Julius Peppers during the Monday Night Football game against the Panthers.

Game 1 – $5,000 Unnecessary Roughness

Game 2 - $12,500 Kicking (2 separate incidents)

Game 3 – $7,500 Kicking

Head coach Wade Phillips had this to say about his veteran left tackle:

“He’s a very good football player. He’s aggressive … He just wants to protect the quarterback.”

Well, at this point would the Cowboys be better off if he went back to the habitual false starts? I’m sure Tony Romo appreciates the support.

Adams Fined, Barber Fine

For the second week in a row a Cowboy has been fined by the league for a penalty. Turns out that Cowboy is Flozell Adams. Surely you remember the tripping penalty, well Adams was fined $12,500 for sticking his foot out and tripping Justin Tuck in the second quarter, and also Osi Umenyiora in the fourth quarter. Tuck criticized Adams for the move that placed him on the sidelines.

Last week Adams was fined $5,000 for a hands to the face penalty. He plans to appeal the fine.

Hey, we wanted him to stop the false start penalties but not if it means he is going to get even bigger infractions.

***

Marion BarberMarion Barber practiced on Wednesday after an apparent injury to his quad during last Sunday’s game. Several media outlets believed Barber could miss the game Monday night but according to Barber,

“I’m good . . . I’m good today. If I’m good today, I’ll be good tomorrow and I’ll be good for Monday.”

“Just like a bad cramp. I’ve felt it before. It’s happened to me before. It’s sore. It felt real similar. But I’m treating it like I should. I’m feeling good.”

The Cowboys have an extra day since they are playing Monday and are not required to put out an injury update today. Luckily the Cowboys are deep at the running back position and Barber can share the load with Felix Jones and Tashard Choice.

The Cowboys posted this on their website,

RB Marion Barber – quad (9/20) – After his 35-yard run in the fourth quarter, Barber came up holding his left quad. He never returned to action Sunday night, and MRI results on Monday revealed a strained quad. Barber was dressed out Wednesday and took part in light individual drills during the brief media portion of practice. But because they don’t play until Monday, the Cowboys aren’t required to release an official injury report until Thursday, and head coach Wade Phillips was tight-lipped about Barber’s status. The starting back said he plans to play against Carolina, however. If not, or if he’s limited, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice will fill in.

***

Cowboys Free Agents Update

Of 15 Free Agents, only 4 are left to question their future. Three players left the team, four were signed, three were tendered and one was franchised.  

Unrestricted Free Agents (6)

  • LT Flozell Adams  – SIGNED
  • S Ken Hamlin – FRANCHISED
  • RB Julius Jones – WENT TO SEATTLE
  • S Keith Davis – WENT TO MIAMI
  • CB Jacques Reeves – WENT TO HOUSTON
  • CB Nate Jones *UPDATE* – WENT TO MIAMI

Restricted Free Agents (5)

  • RB Marion Barber – ISSUED HIGHEST TENDER
  • DE Chris Canty – ISSUED FIRST-ROUND TENDER
  • LS L.P. Ladouceur – SIGNED
  • RB Tyson Thompson
  • OL Joe Berger – ISSUED TENDER

Exclusive Rights Free Agents (4)

  • DE Stephen Bowen – SIGNED
  • OL Cory Procter
  • CB Evan Oglesby
  • TE Tony Curtis – SIGNED

 

Flozell Will Finish His Career a Cowboy

A few more hours and his fate could have been much different, but now Flozell Adams’ career is set in place. Adams signed a 6-year deal worth around $42 million on the last day before free agency signing began. The new contract includes $15 million in guaranteed money and about $13 million in signing bonus.

Flozell Adams was drafted by the Cowboys in the second round of the 1998 Draft. He is a 4-time Pro Bowler and also selected All-Pro second team in 2007.

Adams told the press that he was happy to be in Dallas and never thought of leaving. He will turn 33 in May, so this deal ensures he will finish his career as a Dallas Cowboy, exactly where it began.

Player News: Marion’s Got Protection, Flozell Signs

Restricted free agent Marion Barber has been tendered for $2.562 million. Any team looking to propose an offer to Barber would also have to give up a first and third round draft pick if the Cowboys failed to match the offer. I think that pretty much ensures Barber will be a Cowboy next season. The Cowboys will probably offer the Pro Bowl running back a long-term contract after free agency.

Chris Canty was also tendered for $2.017 million, any team going after Canty would have to give up a first round draft pick in the deal. Canty is a 3-year veteran who had an impressive year in ’07. I would like to see him remain in Dallas.

Guard Joe Berger received the $927,000 tender.

Irving native Tyson Thompson was not offered a tender and therefore will probably no longer be in Dallas.

Fullback Oliver Hoyte was waived today. He spent alot of time injured and never really brought anything to the table. His football career may come to an end.

Unrestricted free agents include Julius Jones, Keith Davis, Flozell Adams, Nate Jones and Jacques Reeves. The Cowboys may go up until the 11pm deadline negotiating with Flozell Adams. I wouldn’t be surprised if Keith Davis ends up in Miami. As for Julius, Nate and Jacques, good luck out there guys!

***UPDATE: The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Flozell Adams has agreed to a multi-year contract, terms to be announced tomorrow.***