Cowboys – Falcons Notes

The Dallas Cowboys are slowly getting healthy. Early on this season we have seen our share of injuries for the Cowboys but none major and it is something every team deals with. I would love to say that all the bumps and bruises are healed and everyone is 100% for this weekends up coming game against the tough Atlanta Falcons but alas that is not the case. However it does appear Running Back Felix Jones will be back in the huddle after dealing with a sprained knee. It remains to be seen how much he will be given but it will be nice to see the youngster out there. He will be wearing a knee brace for the game and has practiced with it all week so he should be fine. Coach Phillips Said Jones “Looks Fast” during practice.

Jones running mate Marion Barber and his banged up Quad are improving each week and should be the Cowboys number one back this weekend even though he has a broken thumb. He will wear a brace on that thumb and the good thing is it is not his main ball carrying hand. This will be the first time in a few weeks the Boys will have all three of their backs healthy enough to play together with Tashard Choice picking up the slack.

Newly signed Allen Rossum will get his first action in a Cowboys uniform this weekend as he will return both kicks and punts on Sunday. The return game has been an adventure early on this season and the Cowboys are hoping Rossum can turn it around and give them a new weapon on special teams. ESPN is reporting that having Rossum as an active player puts the Cowboys in a tough situation for the 45 man roster because they will have too many bodies and not enough spots. Safety Mike Hamlin’s broken wrist is healthy enough for him to play on special teams but Coach Wade Phillips is not sure if he is going to activate him. Dallas will use five of their roster spots on special teamers Rossum, punter Mat McBriar, Kicker Nick Folk, L.P. Ladouceur, and David Buehler.

Wide Receiver Roy Williams says he will play but is listed as probable on the injury report. Coach Phillips said he is “concerned for Williams health” and has been playing with discomfort in practice this week due to his bruised ribs. If he is able to go he will be wearing some kind of padding on his boo boo ribs, but I expect to see Roy out there.

Outside Linebacker Demarcus Ware did all the necessary individual and team drills this week but did skip a few because of the stress fracture he is dealing with in his left foot. “We don’t want to overdue it with him,” coach Wade Phillips said. And last but not least we are all tired of the Patrick Crayton Miles Austin controversy. Both will play but Austin surely earned the spot of the number 2 receiver and Crayton will just have to stop whining about how Phillips may or may not have handled it. Wth the team getting stronger lets go out and “Earn” a big win against one of the NFC’s better teams.

When The Game Was Fun

As we huddle up behind the green car our star quarterback calls out the plays. You go to the fire hydrant and stop, you go to the driveway and then cut 5 yards in and you just go straight for the touchdown.  That was the play calling we used to make as kids standing in the streets for hours and hours in front of our houses. Calling out as we run down the street to pass the stop sign for a touchdown, he’s at the 15 the 10 the 5 TOUCHDOWN COWBOYS!!!!

th_celebrateRemember those days? I sure do. Back when football was fun for everyone. That was when nothing else mattered. Then you make it to high school. The dream of playing in the NFL is out there for the taking. Standing on the field and looking over to see your family cheering you on in the bleachers. Going out after the game and celebrating a great win. Hearing the horns honking at you as you sit outside the local burger joint. Cheers come from passing cars, smiles and laughfter everywhere.

Next thing you know your standing at the mailbox, waiting for the mailman to bring that “letter”.  As you see him round the corner, you glance back into your house, seeing your parents watching you thru the front window. You are handed an envelope, You stand there for what seems like forever just staring at it. As you open it, tears fill your eyes. Then it hits you, YOU GOT IN!!!! You jump for joy and go screaming into the house.  Jumping into your dads arms, screaming I DID IT I DID IT, I GOT IN. That letter from college saying, you have been given a scholorship. You are now going to play college football. STILL HAVING FUN?

What happened to those days? If we go back and look down the street, we will still see those kids in the street, those horns honking by the local burger joints and that kid standing by the mailbox. So why not think back to then and realize how much fun the game was. How we used to dream to be where we are now, playing football in the NFL.  Take this bye week to reflect back to the days growing up and dreaming to be here and realize it was fun. Start having fun again, and the sky is the limit on where we could be standing next season.

After All These Years…Everyone Still Talks About “The Catch”…

The six most important yards in 49er history were gained in a way that was awfully close to poetic. Even a cynic would have to admit that much.

Joe Montana rolled right, holding the ball, tapping it once or twice. You’ve seen it, over and over and over. Dallas Cowboys linemen in pursuit, the fans in the orange Candlestick background standing with their mouths open and their hearts firing like a Briggs and Stratton.

It was called Sprint Right Option, and it was third and three from the six-yard line, with less than 90 seconds to play in the 1981 NFC championship game. The 49ers trailed the Cowboys by six points, and Montana was rolling out so deliberately that the sideline became a concern.

To the untrained eye, it appeared Montana was wandering right, hoping more than devising, maybe even looking for a way out. But by that time, with Montana and the 49ers proceeding deep into their first — and most improbable — Super Bowl run, everybody had learned to admire and not question.

He threw it, finally, off his back foot and slightly across his body. His flamingo legs scissored a little from the torque, and it looked for the entire world like a throwaway, with everybody walking back to the huddle to confront fourth down.

But Dwight Clark caught it. He reached above the unfortunate immortality of Everson Walls and caught the ball in the back of the end zone. Those faces in the stands thawed into a delirium of incredulity and joy. Back then, the idea of a Super Bowl was new and unexpected. 

Clark seemed to spike the ball before he landed. Clark later said “his mind raced with disbelief and excitement”. “The thought that we were going to the Super Bowl was incredible”. He was so excited that he didn’t realize they had to kick the extra point to win the game. He just figured they had scored and it was over.

At the time, no one had any idea what it would come to mean. Nobody did. Nobody realized how bitter the San Francisco fans were toward the Cowboys. No one paid any attention to what happened in the early 1970’s.

There was some history lurking in the background of “The Catch”, as well. In the 1980 regular season, the Cowboys beat the 49ers 59-14, scoring until they simply could not score again. Then, in the ’81 regular season, the 49ers beat the Cowboys 45-14, prompting the Dallas players to say the real Cowboy team didn’t show up.

The Cowboys were looking forward to seeing the 49ers again. Once again it was the same result.

Clark was not the primary receiver on what became the signature play of the Montana legend. In fact, the 49ers had scored a touchdown in the first quarter on the very same play — Sprint Right Option — when Montana hit Freddie Solomon, the first option. But this time Solomon slipped coming off the line of scrimmage and Montana’s assignment — as per the intricate dealings of Bill Walsh — called for him to continue to roll out, and continue to hold the ball until Clark could slide into position.

The play was designed so that by the time he threw it, the ball either goes out of bounds or is caught. The now 49ers’ Director of Player Personnel has been asked many times. “Was Montana trying to throw the ball away”? Clark simply answers, “No, it was a spectacular throw, made under duress.” “It was thrown exactly where it needed to be thrown”.

When Montana threw the ball, Walls had to think it was out bounds. When Clark slid back there, Walls was right beside him, in the only spot he could have been.

Walls ended up being helpless, both then and on the cover of Sports Illustrated. In much the same way as “The Catch” is seen as the catapulting force for the 49ers dominance in the ’80s, Walls’ helplessness is seen as the symbolic anchor drop of the Cowboys’ fall.

Mostly forgotten is the drive that preceded “The Catch”. It started at the 49er 11-yard line and began with just under five minutes to play.

During the TV timeout, the 49ers didn’t know if they had time for it. They just kept saying “we can do it”!  

So, I wonder if after all these years, you think new head coach Mike Singletary will show the team the clip of “The Catch”.

After all these years there is still some legend. The drive ended with Clark and Montana covering the six most important six yards ever traveled by the 49ers. You could make the case that those six yards made everything that followed possible.

“I think that whole season was the end of the bad old days”, Clark says. “And judging from the way it’s still re-lived, that one play is seen as the culmination”.

Go Cowboys!!

Cowboys 31-14