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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.

Cowboys Extra Points: Tying Up Loose Ends

The NFL released dates today for all clubs. Here are the dates for the Cowboys Organized Team Activities and well as Rookie and Veteran Mini Camps

OTAs: May 17-19, May 24-26, June 1-3, June 8-10

Mini Camps: April 30-May 2 (rookies), June 11-13

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With the recent signings of Montrae Holland and Alan Ball, the Cowboys have only Miles Austin and Gerald Sensabaugh left to sign their tenders by June 15 or have a long-term deal in place. Last week, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters that “both are in line for a long-term contract”.

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Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland, has apologized to Cowboys first round pick Dez Bryant for asking whether his mother a prostitute. The apology came after it was learned that Ireland posed the question during a pre-draft interview with Bryant.

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In a complet about-face, undrafted tight end Scott Sicko reversed his position and has agreed to terms on a free-agent contract with the Cowboys, and will attend the team’s rookie minicamp this weekend. Sicko initially decided not to pursue any NFL offers when he failed to get selected in the NFL Draft, and was going to return to school. Jerry Jones can be very convincing when he wants something, huh?

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After the season DeMarcus Ware had surgery to remove a bone spur. When asked if he was 100% yet, he replied:

“I would never say 100 percent. I would say 94 percent. The surgery went well. I had a bone spur, and they just shaved it down. Now, everything is good.”

Gotta love Ware’s attitude and personality! We love you #94!

UPDATED: Tender Me This

With the deadline coming up in eight days, the Cowboys still have several players yet to sign their tenders. Several are unhappy and the rest have been very quiet.

Gerald Sensabaugh for example decided not to participate in the first offseason conditioning program this week. According to his agent he is not under contract but has been training six days a week on his own.

Marcus Spears and Steve Octavien signed their tenders yesterday. Cory Procter was the first to sign the tender back in March, which actually makes perfect sense.

I expect the remaining unsigned players will jump on board soon. I believe Miles Austin knows he will get his money eventually and hopefully it will all work out smoothly.

Interestingly enough, Alan Ball hasn’t signed his exclusive rights tender and with the release of Ken Hamlin he could be more essential than ever before.

Its been a slow and silent offseason regarding free agency and the Dallas Cowboys. With our rivals signing big names we have remained very conservative to say the least. Maybe that’s because we already have the players we need for a championship team. After the draft, hopefully we will have a few eager rookies who will complete this team that not only were the division champs, but also won their first playoff game in 12 years.

NOTE: We will update this post as the players continue to sign in the days to come.

UPDATE (4-7-10): Pat McQuistan has signed his tender.

UPDATE (4-8-10): Jason Hatcher and Junior Siavii have signed their tender.

UPDATE (4-9-10): Stephen Bowen has signed his tender.

Deadline: April 15th

Restricted Free Agents

Miles Austin, First Round Tender

Sam Hurd, Second Round Tender

Pat Watkins, Original Draft Pick

Duke Preston, Original Draft Pick

Gerald Sensabaugh, Second Round Tender

Stephen Bowen, Second Round Tender – SIGNED

Jason Hatcher, Second Round Tender – SIGNED

Junior Siavii, Original Draft Pick – SIGNED

Pat McQuistan, Original Draft Pick – SIGNED

Corey Procter, Second Round Tender – SIGNED

Marcus Spears, Original Draft Pick – SIGNED

Cletis Gordon – SIGNED 1 Year Deal

Shaun Suisham – NOT TENDERED

Unrestricted Free Agents

Montrae Holland, Unrestricted Free Agent

Exclusive Rights Free Agents

Steve Octavien, Exclusive Rights Tender – SIGNED

Alan Ball, Exclusive Rights Tender

Today Is Deadline For Tendering Offers To Restricted Free Agents

Today is a big day for the Cowboys as they must tender offers to their 13 restricted free agents by the 11:00 pm CST deadline tonight.

You can be sure that both wide receiver Miles Austin and safety Gerald Sensabaugh will both receive high tenders from the Cowboys and that neither will be going anywhere.

Clarence E. Hill of the Star-Telegram speculates that Austin will receive the highest tender possible — a one-year salary of $3.168 million and compensation of a first- and third-round pick if he signs with another team.

Sensabaugh will likely be tagged with the first-round tender of $2.62 million. If he signs with another team, the Cowboys would get a first-round pick in return.

The other Cowboys restricted free agents include:

DT Stephen Bowen
G Cory Procter
G Duke Preston
DE Jason Hatcher
NT Junior Siavii
WR Sam Hurd
S Pat Watkins
OT Pat McQuistan
DE Marcus Spears
PK Shaun Suisham
CB Cletis Gordon

Of those eleven, I suspect that 3-4 of them may not be returning next season including Suisham and Gordon.

I was very surprised when the Cowboys decided not to place the franchise tag on Miles Austin last week which would have paid him a guaranteed one-year, $9.52 million deal that would’ve required another team to give up two first-round picks as compensation for signing him to a non-matching offer sheet.

I was a little worried that we might be exposing Miles Austin to a slight risk of employment elsewhere if another team should beat the Cowboys tender, but felt more at ease after reading this in the Dallas Morning News.

Not many teams in league history have been willing to relinquish a first- and third-round pick for a restricted free agent. Almost none, in fact. In 1998, Bill Parcells brought restricted running back Curtis Martin with him from the Patriots to the Jets. The Patriots were unwilling to match the Jets’ six-year, $36 million offer sheet and took a first- and third-rounder in return. Eighteen players received the high tender over the next 10 years. None were pried away by a rival’s offer sheet.

Good to know…

Cowboys Free Agents for 2010

I know it’s been a little over 24 hours since the Cowboys season ended. And I know most of us probably need a break from the long season, but a wise person once told me that the season never ends on LSS.

Here is a list of the Cowboys Free Agents for 2010.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT
OG Montrae Holland

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
WR Miles Austin
DE Stephen Bowen
CB Cletis Gordon
DE Jason Hatcher
WR Sam Hurd
OT Pat McQuistan
C Duke Preston
C Cory Procter
S Gerald Sensabaugh
NT Junior Siavii
DE Marcus Spears
K Shaun Suisham
S Pat Watkins

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENT
CB Alan Ball
LB Steve Octavien

I’m sure we will all agree who should be at the top of the list to sign. I’m also trying to get a list of the 2010 Free Agents from the other NFL teams.

Here are my thoughts on the Cowboys list of Free Agents.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENT
OG Montrae Holland, Depth on the line. Maybe

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
WR Miles Austin, Of course we need to sign him. He has earned it
DE Stephen Bowen, Sign him. I like his upside
CB Cletis Gordon, Don’t know much about him
DE Jason Hatcher, Sign him. Like Bowen I like his upside
WR Sam Hurd, Decent receiver, but nothing special
OT Pat McQuistan, If we can find better in FA or the draft then say goodbye
C Duke Preston, Never really got a chance to see him
C Cory Procter, Goodbye
S Gerald Sensabaugh, Need to sign him. Loved his play this season
NT Junior Siavii, Could go either way. Need a backup for Ratliff
DE Marcus Spears, Have never been a fan. I like Bowen and Hatcher better
K Shaun Suisham, After Sunday. Goodbye
S Pat Watkins, Great special teams player and decent safety

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENT
CB Alan Ball, Needed depth in secondary
LB Steve Octavien, Never really got a chance to see him

In other news today it has been reported by many people that Jerry Jones will keep Wade Phillips as the head coach. After how the team played this season, especially the second half of the season I think this was a good decision. No word on any other coaches which includes Jason Garrett. I have mixed feelings on Garrett, but since Phillips is staying on my thought is that Garrett will stay as well.

Will there be trades involving the Cowboys this off-season and before the draft? We all heard that before the trading deadline in 2009 that Cincinnati wanted Martellus Bennett. Could this still be a possible trade with John Phillips developing into a good tight end? If not to Cincinnati maybe another team?

What about Tashard Choice? Please don’t kill me on this thought because I love him on the Cowboys, but maybe it might be a good idea to explore the possibility. Kind of like striking while the fire is hot. Choice could start for a lot of teams in the league. Marion Barber and Felix Choice are the main backs in the Cowboys offense. Just a thought.

Cowboys Extra Points: Bring on the Noise

Defensive stars Jay Ratliff and DeMarcus Ware were named to the All-Pro Team earlier this week. The Associated Press names 12 players to the NFC team. This is Ratliff’s first time to be named the honor and Ware’s fourth time. Center Andre Gurode was named to the 2nd All-Pro Team.

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Cowboys Defensive line coach Todd Grantham has accepted a job as the defensive coordinator for the University of Georgia. The Cowboys have already found their replacement, former assistant coach Paul Pasqualoni. Pasqualoni, who was on the Dallas coaching staff from 2005-2007, was recently let go by the Miami Dolphins and was readily available. Both coaches are expected to travel to Minnesota this weekend.

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The Cowboys injured starting running back (knee) Marion Barber practiced Thursday and was expected to practice Friday as well. Coach Phillips was encouraged by Marion’s progress and will be monitoring him close up until game time to decide whether he will be effective enough to play in Sunday’s game.

Also, Pat Watkins who has been out for a month practiced fully this week and has a good chance to return to the field this week.

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The Cowboys practiced in Cowboys Stadium on Thursday due to the weather conditions, and I have to say it was a great idea to blast crowd noise to prepare the players for Minnesota. They overcame the noise in New Orleans and Minnesota will be just as loud, if not worse. I think the Cowboys and fans alike have learned a lot about the effect of crowd noise level this season.

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With all the trash talk going on lately, mostly from our opponents I’d like to through this at ya, from Gerald Sensabaugh in response to Favre saying he’d be shocked if Minnesota didn’t win:

“We’d have to beat ourselves to lose. The way we’re playing right now, I don’t think we can be beat.”

Personally I liked it better when our ‘Boys were keeping their mouths shut until the job was done, but hey we’ve heard worse things coming from cocky Dallas players in the past… ha ha.

On another note: Is anyone else sick and tired of hearing about Romo facing his childhood hero?

And So Another December Starts… Badly!!

So the Cowboys stood at 8-3. A two game lead over the NY Giants with an opportunity to send the Giants to a 6-6 record and pretty much end their season. We all know the December history with this team over the last three seasons and we have all heard the talk this past week. The Cowboys then open a 10-0 lead on the Giants late in the second quarter and well…that’s where it kind of ended.

The Cowboys took a 10-0 lead on the Giants with a nice Romo to Williams touchdown pass. They had the Giants just were they wanted them. The once mighty 5-0 Giants now at 6-5 and little or no confidence in the way they were playing. So what does the Dallas defense do when they have the Giants down? Well, you would think they would step on their throats and end it for them. But no, they allow the Giants to drive down the field and score to tighten the game to 10-7 and give the Giants some life.

Next possession for the Cowboys with a little over a minute left in the first half. The Cowboys try to answer the Giants touchdown, but then Marion Barber fumbles. The Giants take full advantage of the turnover and score the go ahead touchdown right before halftime. Dallas had the Giants on their knees begging for mercy, but just like in past seasons the Cowboys let a team off the hook and gave them life.

Third quarter…Romo leads the offense to the go ahead score on another touchdown to Williams, 17-14. You think the Dallas defense would try to respond once again. But….it took the Giants only one play to take the lead back. A short pass to Jacobs resulted in a 74 yard go ahead for good touchdown. Here is my question. How does the defense let something like this happen? I honestly thought the Dallas defense was still on the sideline after the kickoff. But then I saw Anthony Spencer, Bradie James and Gerald Sensabaugh. But Spencer might have well been on the sideline as Jacobs ran away from him like he was standing still.

Onto the fourth quarter as the Cowboys held the Giants to an all important field goal to keep the Giants lead to only seven points, 24-17. Although I must say that it really had nothing to do with the Dallas defense on the third down play as Steve Smith clearly beat Scandrick (That’s a surprise!!!), but dropped the pass.

Ok, you would think the Cowboys are in good shape as they are only down by seven points with a lot of time left in the game. So they get the ball back and what happens? Yes, three and out as Barber gains three yards on first down, Romo get an intentional grounding penalty which results in a lost down. And on third and 17 they can only manage a short gain to Witten.

Punt formation!!!! Ok, punt the ball and let’s get the ball back with plenty of time left. Nope!!!! Not going to happen. Hixon gets the ball and after three missed tackles (well, I kind of stopped counting at that point and proceeded to destroy my living room), Hixon scores on a 79 punt return to put the Giants up 31-17.

Once again the Cowboys get the ball back and start driving. They get to the Giants 36 yard line where Williams is beyond wide open down the right sideline and what does Romo do? He misses him on what would have been a touchdown. And two plays later they fail on a fourth down attempt.

Yes, Romo once again drove the Cowboys down the field for a score at the end of game that was already over, but it was just too late at that point. The Cowboys once again just gave up too many big plays and were not able to respond when they needed too. So, December of 2009 is underway and the Cowboys are now 0-1. They have fallen to 8-4 and are tied with the Eagles for first place with the Giants now only one game back.

What is ahead for the Cowboys. Oh, not much. Just four teams playing at the top of their game. Yes, even the Redskins who lost today, but still played one hell of a game against the Saints. Here is the rest of the schedule for the Cowboys….

San Diego, 8-3

at New Orleans, 12-0

at Washington, 3-9 (record will not matter)

Philadelphia, 8-4

At this point I honestly do not know what will happen the rest of the season. The way I am feeling right now (frustrated), I can take a guess, but I would rather not because it just makes me sick to my stomach. I would say I’m speechless, but I just read my own post and I guess I’m anything but speechless.

Injuries Will Make Things Interesting

Tomorrow the Cowboys face Redskins in Dallas for their first matchup of the season. The Skins will be missing some big names in their lineup including Chris Cooley and Clinton Portis. While the Cowboys will be without starters Ken Hamlin and Marc Colombo.

Washington may be banged up and they may only have a record of 3-6 but you can’t count this as a win just yet, as we’ve learned already this season.

The Cowboys have to hope that Doug Free is ready to fill in for Marc Colombo, otherwise the Cowboys offense could suffer severely. Alan Ball will be starting in Ken Hamlin’s place at free safety.

As always expect a great game between one of the biggest rivalries in football at “The House That Jerry Built” tomorrow at noon (central time).

Cowboys Injuries for Week 11
NamePositionInjuryPractice StatusGame Status
Marc ColomboTAnkleDid Not Participate In PracticeOut
Ken HamlinSAnkleDid Not Participate In PracticeOut
Allen RossumCBHamstringDid Not Participate In PracticeOut
Marion BarberRBThumbFull Participation in PracticeProbable
David BuehlerKright ToeFull Participation in PracticeProbable
Mike JenkinsCBElbowFull Participation in PracticeProbable
Gerald SensabaughSThumbFull Participation in PracticeProbable
DeMarcus WareLBFootFull Participation in PracticeProbable
Redskins Injuries for Week 11
NamePositionInjuryPractice StatusGame Status
Chris CooleyTEAnkleOut (Definitely Will Not Play)Out
Clinton PortisRBConcussionOut (Definitely Will Not Play)Out
Eddie WilliamsRBAnkleOut (Definitely Will Not Play)Out
Albert HaynesworthDTAnkleDid Not Participate In PracticeQuestionable
Mike WilliamsTAnkleDid Not Participate In PracticeQuestionable
Stephon HeyerTKneeLimited Participation in PracticeQuestionable
Ladell BettsRBAnkleFull Participation in PracticeProbable

Injury Report from NFL.com

Getting Healthy for Atlanta and a Trade Offer?

The Cowboys have made it past their bye week and now they are getting ready for the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. It’s a very important conference game and the Cowboys need to come out ready to play. First order of business is getting the injured players back on the field. Felix Jones, Roy Williams and Gerald Sensabugh all practiced Wednesday and should be ready for the Falcons as reported by DallasNews.com.

Gerald Sensabaugh will wear a cast on his thumb on Sunday, but believes it will not affect him.

“I can play like this,” Sensabaugh said. “It felt good today. I did all the drills. They padded it up a little bit so I wouldn’t hurt anybody, which is what they have to do for the game … I was able to catch some balls. I dropped some too.”

Felix Jones said he is still feeling some pain, which is a concern. But should also be ready come Sunday.

“It’s still there (pain in knee) a little bit, but if feels a lot better,” Jones said after Wednesday’s practice. “One day at a time is all I can do.”

“I’m getting there,” Jones said. “That’s all I can go by right now.”

Roy Williams seems to be ready to go also. I guess you can tell by what seems to be sarcastic comments to reporters.

On how does it feel to be back – “It’s all the same. Nothings changed.”

On his bruised ribs – “It’s all the same. Ain’t nothing changed.”

On if he’s excited to be back – “I’m excited. There’s only 1,696 of us that get to play this game so every week is a good week.”

Other Injuries

In other injury news DallasNews.com is reporting that both Marion Barber and DeMarcus Ware are suffering from fractures that will not keep them from playing Sunday. Barber suffered a fractured left thumb during the Kansas City game and Ware has a stress fracture in his foot. It was not reported when Ware suffered the injury.

Crayton Upset

Now that Miles Austin has been promoted to the starting lineup against the Atlanta Falcons as reported by DallasNews.com. That means someone has been bumped from the starting lineup. As we all know, that player is Patrick Crayton. I find it amazing when reading the articles about this story that no one seems to be on the same page. Crayton says he wished someone has approached him to tell him the news and Phillips said they did speak to Crayton about it. Does anyone really know? Who do you believe?

“Miles Austin will be starting,” Phillips said. “It’s obvious, the guy had 250 yards receiving in one game. It’s hard to say you’re not going to play the guy.”

“I would have loved it,” Crayton said of being informed. “It would have been real stand-up. That’s not what happened. … Nothing was explained to me. I had the dropped pass and I had the muffed punt. Maybe that was it. … This thing is not about fair. That’s what you come to realize. Life is not fair. You’ve just got to roll with the punches.”

Said Phillips, “We discussed it with him, I have no doubt about that. I think Patrick will take it the right way and do his best. I expect nothing less from him. He’s a big part of this team.”

Also reported by DallasNews.com, that Crayton will get the start opposite Miles Austin only if it’s decided that Roy Williams is not ready.

Trade Turned Down

Jerry Jones spoke about a major trade that was presented to the Cowboys before the trading deadline on Tuesday. No player names were mentioned, but it was said to be someone who would have made a major impact right away.

“I feel as good about what we can do this year as I did last year when I traded for Roy Williams,” Jones said as reported from DallasNews.com

“We had a significant offer for a key player that we turned down, and turned down in getting in more extended dialogue for,” Jones said. “So we did have that kind of activity … but I shouldn’t name the player or the team. It was a very firm, significant offer for one of our young players that we had a chance for a lot of consideration if we had wanted to take it, and we didn’t.” Reported by Star-Telegram.com

Also reported by Star-Telegram.com that when Jerry Jones was asked if Tashard Choice was part of the trade offer Jones said no. But said the Cowboys were offered a first day draft pick in 2010. Jones declined the trade offer because of how important the Dallas player is for the team this season.

“We could have probably made a “now” impact and just bolstered a position and significantly, and obviously we would have had a takeaway since it’s a young player for the future,” Jones said. “By the same token, and I’m talking about the type of consideration, first- or second-round type consideration, but the bottom line is this, had I not thought that we needed that player right now as opposed to pushing forward in consideration for picks in the future, then I would have taken the pick option on it rather than the player.”

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.

Cowboys Extra Points: Injuries Are Contagious

Gerald Sensabaugh is out indefinitely after having surgery to repair his broken thumb. Sensabaugh will likely miss 2-4 weeks. Pat Watkins will be called upon to fill in at safety.

Center Andre Gurode underwent an MRI Monday after spraining his right knee during the game last Sunday. According several sources the sprain isn’t anything to be concerned about, however the Cowboys could rest Gurode this Sunday with a bye to follow.

Roy Williams could miss Sunday’s game after a rib injury that sidelined him for the final drive of the game.

“Never in my life have I been hit like that, from Pop Warner through my six years in the league. I’m 5,200 feet above sea level with asthma so I was obviously hurting.”

Coach Phillips said during a press conference that Williams suffered three bruised ribs and cartilage damage. If Williams sits out, the Cowboys could activate rookie Kevin Ogletree, who turned heads in his very impressive preseason performance.

The Cowboys cut running back Chauncey Washington on Monday. While it hasn’t been formally announced most sources believe Felix Jones will not play in Week 5. Marion Barber should be okay to play after experiencing tightness in his previously injured quad.

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I don’t think I have to remind you how deadly injuries are to a team, especially one that needs to toughen up and fix mistakes all over the board. Let’s hope these key players can heal fast, and get back in action ASAP. Luckily the Cowboys have a bye week following this next game against the Kansas City Chiefs to rest, heal and get their minds straight and get focused.

Secondary- What Is Wrong?

Wide receiver Steve Smith dives in for a fourth-quarter touchdown as the Giants spoil the opener of the Cowboys's new stadium.

After watching the first two games of season I have to admit, I am not sure that our secondary is taking this seriously. I understand that Gerald Sensabaugh is new to the team, and that Jenkins and Scandrick are now rotating starts, and Terence Newman has had some injury issues, but come on. We gave up 300 plus passing yards to Tampa Bay and another 300 plus to the Giants.

Something is wrong with this picture. I watched both games and I’ve seen things such as playing 10-15 yards off the line of scrimmage. That allows the receiver to come out and makes an easy catch. Sometimes the corners are playing as if they have safety help, but the help never shows up.

According to head coach Wade Phillips we are playing more man coverage, yet how do we let receivers made easy catches time after time? If the D-line and linebackers do not get pressure on the QB the secondary cannot cover all day, but a lot of the yards are not due to this. Yes it may take some time for the secondary to gel and understand what their responsibilities are, I just hope it does not take until late in the season otherwise we will be again sitting at home for the playoffs.

We have good corners and Sensabaugh is supposed to be a coverage safety, so lets hope that they get it together soon.