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Cutting The Fat

With just mere hours until teams need to cut rosters to 53 for the season, Dallas and Wade Phillips will have some tough choices to make. I dont envy Phillips or any head coach this time of year for what they must do in cutting the fat and forming a team that will start the season. But like it or not, it is part of the job and part of the business.

Rookie Linebacker Stephen Hodge is one of those players fighting for a roster spot. However for Hodge his chances are slim and the options that the coaching staff have for him will result in another tough decision no matter what they choose. During the offseason Hodge had his knee scoped and has not been able to practice much because of it. That makes it tough for someone to make a team if he cant be evaluated properly. His persistent swelling in his knee is really complicating matters. Dallas can protect his rights by placing him on injured reserve and shutting him down for the season in hopes that he can be ready for next season. They can take a chance and release him hoping no other team picks him up, and then resign him to the practice squad. But because there are a few other injured players Dallas is waiting on, the chances of Hodge making the roster is slim. This is the tough side of the business.

Now on the other hand Dallas claimed Linebacker Curtis Johnson off waivers after the Colts cut him because of an injured hamstring and there is a good chance he will make the 53 man roster without ever getting on the field for the Cowboys because of the injury. He will not play in Fridays last preseason game. They really like the former Colt who played as a 4-3 defensive end but will be converted to an outside linebacker in the 3-4. “We knew about him coming out of college” Phillips said of Johnson who played 7 games with the colts last season. There is no way Dallas would pickup an injured player a few days before cuts if they didnt know what they where getting. They are high on his special teams abilities and after putting LB Brandon Williams on injured reserve, and LB Jason Williams nursing a high ankle sprain that will keep him out 4-6 weeks, Johnson should be back soon and should make the roster.

Wide Receiver Travis Wilson who has been on injured reserve was released and given an injury settlement… Backup offensive lineman Cory Proctor’s roster spot may be in jeopardy after Dallas signed 5 year veteran Duke Preston who plays the same positions. And it was Preston during practice snapping to Quarterback John Kitna not Proctor who didnt even get any work in during the drill… Fourth round pick Quarterback Stephen McGee is also sitting on that bubble. He is nursing a strained MCL and has been considered OK at best when he is able to participate and healthy. One thing going for him is the fourth round choice the Cowboys used on him, that may get him a spot for a little while anyway.

Lets see what happens in the next few days when the fat is cut, because a lot of the guys we have been watching in preseason wont be there for long, and you know there will be some surprises.

Cowboys Make Moves for 75 Man Deadline

Watch out for several moves today around the league as the 75-man roster deadline looms.

The Cowboys have already made their transactions.

Rob Phillips reports,

The Cowboys trimmed their preseason roster to an NFL-mandated 75 players on Tuesday by releasing rookie WR Julian Hawkins, placing rookie LB Brandon Williams (torn ACL) on injured reserve and placing rookie OL Robert Brewster (torn pectoral muscle) on the physically unable to perform list.

Nothing really unexpected or controversial there.

Deadlines

September 1 — Roster cutdown to maximum of 75 players.

September 5 — Roster cutdown to maximum of 53 players.

Finding That Blue And Silver Lining

There are times, in life, when things aren’t going exactly as you would hope. In those times it is difficult to remain positive. Focusing on the negative just seems so much more natural. I know it sure is true in my case. I can’t speak for you of course. We all handle things in our own way. Some manage to look on the bright side no matter what. I, for one, could learn a lot from these people.

The one thing that 99.9% of visitors to this site have in common is obvious. Our love for the Dallas Cowboys.

Being the cynic that I am I tend to look at negative things in life and take for granted all the good things going on. Looking back on the 2008 season I’ve focused on lack of discipline, lack of leadership and a general sense of discord with the Cowboys organization as a whole. But there were some amazing moments this year. New faces emerged and old reliables continued to amaze us.

Felix Jones

How many of us saw this guy coming? His incredible burst and open-field speed left friend and foe alike wide-eyed with mouths hanging open in amazement. Not to mention you would be hard pressed to ever see him without a smile on his face. This young man has a very bright future ahead of him and I know we all look forward to watching him grow into the elite running back he obviously has the potential to be. I have no doubt that had he not gotten injured and subsequently put on injured reserve he would be the 2008 NFL Rookie of the Year.

DeMarcus Ware

Just when you think this guy couldn’t get any better what does he do? He gets better. His athleticism and sheer determination are something to behold. This man is a game changer. A difference maker. One of the greatest linebackers I’ve ever seen play the position and I’ve seen plenty. My personal choice for Defensive Player of the Year. I have no doubt he will be a Hall of Famer. First ballot. Bank on it. And he’s a Dallas Cowboy baby!

Jason Witten

Can you have a more solid teammate than Jason Witten? The greatest tight end in the game today, bar none. He’s always willing to give a little extra. Even with injuries that would have sidelined most players, Witten never relented, always stayed focused on the task at hand and never let anyone down. A warrior.

Tashard Choice

If you haven’t seen it yet check out the Georgia Tech locker room speech video of Choice posted on youtube. This video alone makes you well up with pride that he wears the blue and silver. His running style and ability to find the hole and to get extra yards where most players wouldn’t reminds me so much of Emmitt Smith. This guy is a legend in the making.

Bradie James

James is emerging as a true leader on the defensive unit. This diamond in the rough is only going to get better. I mean.. 116 tackles and 8 sacks at inside linebacker. Are you freaking kidding me? Should be a Pro Bowler. I have the upmost respect for Bradie James. He’s a great interview and has no problem telling it like it is.

These are just a few of what was arguably the largest collection of talent on any team in the NFL. Yeah, as a whole this team underachieved. But they will be alright. They will right the ship. Nothing comes easy in the NFL. Chalk 2008 up as a learning experience. What’s done is done. Time to move on.

On this day on January 28, 1996 the Dallas Cowboys beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. Number 5. They were not and are not done. Not by a long shot.

The destiny of the Dallas Cowboys is the same as it has always been. Greatness. Some things never change, my friend. I’ll never stop believing in this team. Many, many great men have donned the blue and silver. More have arrived and more will follow. No team does greatness-knows greatness-like the Dallas Cowboys. Glorious battles and future gold are just over the horizon. All we have to do now is wait for the clouds to break and follow the stars.

Giants and Cowboys Have an Appointment With Destiny

The New York Giants defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today in the NFC wildcard game, advancing the Giants to the next round. The G-men will travel to Texas Stadium to face the #1 seed Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Divisional Playoffs. The game will be Sunday at 3:30 p.m. central standard time.

The Cowboys and Giants have met twice this year, both times resulting in Cowboys’ wins. The two teams started off their seasons with a rivalry match-up on the first NFL Sunday Night game of 2007. The Cowboys came away with a huge victory, 45-35. The 90 points scored were the most in a Giants-Cowboys match-up in history. In addition, Dallas scored the most points in a season opener since 1971, a year in which the Cowboys won their first Super Bowl Championship.

The second game played by the two teams the Cowboys also came away with the "W" with a score of 31-20. Dallas scored a touchdown in every quarter plus a field goal in the 2nd quarter. The Giants had the ball nearly 10 minutes longer than the Cowboys but just couldn’t seem to click.

On December 17th the Giants suffered a huge loss when Jeremy Shockey was placed on injured reserve ending his season. They also have 9 other players out for the year plus 10 more on the injury report this past week. They will need to really focus and bring their top game if they plan to match up against the Dallas Cowboys.

On the other hand, the Cowboys need to come into this game level-headed and full-hearted. Other than determining home field advantage and bracket spots, the playoffs give every team a clean slate. Tony Romo needs to play like he did early in the season and prove to the nation that he is among the big game quarterbacks.

If the ‘Boys do everything right and play like they did all season, with exception of the last 3 games, they’ve got it in the bag. The Dallas Cowboys have the opportunity to go all the way, it just depends on how bad they want it as a team. I have a great feeling they want it so bad they can taste it! Go Cowboys!

 

Injury Report: Week 10

Game Status:

Out
WR Terry Glenn (Knee) 

Doubtful 
N/A

Questionable 
WR Isaiah Stanback (Shoulder)

Probable
FB Oliver Hoyte (Neck)
CB Anthony Henry (Ankle)
S Pat Watkins (Ankle)

Rookie wide receiver Isaiah Stanback had his first start in the NFL last week and ended up suffering a shoulder injury that will likely leave him out for this game. It has not been announced if Tyson Thompson will get his kick return job back or if Miles Austin will get his shot.

Rookie fullback Deon Anderson was placed on thje Injured Reserve on Monday after a season ending rotator cuff injury incurred last Sunday. FB Oliver Hoyte is expected to play after missing the last six game with a neck injury.

Safety Pat Watkins sprained his ankle last week in the fourth quarter against the Eagles and has had limited practice this week.

 

Cowboys News: Tank In, Anderson Out

Tank Johnson is finally off suspension and has been activated by the Cowboys. Tank will be ready to play his first game as a Cowboy Sunday against the Giants. He will probably not start but is expected to give Jay Ratliff some relief, especially in run situations. 

The Cowboys didn’t have to cut anyone to make room for Tank because of an injury that occurred Sunday night. Fullback rookie Deon Anderson suffered a torn rotator cuff injury and has been placed on Injured Reserve. Because of the injured Oliver Hoyte, Anderson received alot of additional playing time. Hoyte has been cleared to play but Coach Phillips doesn’t want to activate him until he is 100%. The Cowboys could make a move for another fullback.

Isaiah Stanback and Pat Watkins were also injured during the game against the Eagles. Stanback injured his shoulder and Watkins sprained his ankle. Both injuries are minor and they had an extra day to rest. We will know more when they return to practice on Wednesday.

You may have noticed that Tyson Thompson was absent Sunday. Isaiah Stanback was activated in place of Thompson. Coach Phillips decided to try something different on kick returns.

"We were trying to get a spark there," Phillips said of the change. "We had been doing OK with it; it was just for a change of pace. We wanted to see what he could do there. (Stanback) has a lot of ability and he’s been showing up in practice as a receiver and we wanted to try to get him to the game and see what he could do in the ball game."

 

 

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!

Injury Report: Week 2

Game Status:
Out:

LB Greg Ellis (Achilles)
WR Terry Glenn (Knee)

Questionable:
LB Kevin Burnett (Ankle)
CB Terence Newman (Foot)

Its pretty much the same as last week. However, Terry Glenn opted for the arthroscopic procedure and now may be able to play sometime around midseason.

Good luck Glenn! We wish you the best with your recovery and hope to see you soon.

Terence Newman will be a gametime decision again this week. He has participated in practice this week and is showing progress. Greg Ellis on the other hand will not play, he just hasn’t practiced enough to be active in a game. He hopes to play a limited role soon and go from there.

Jason Ferguson was placed on the injured reserve list on Tuesday ending his season. He tore his right bicep during the first half of Sunday’s game. Ferguson will undergo surgery on Friday.

 

 

A Texas-Size Running Back Controversy

Even before the Philadelphia Daily News posted the rumor that Julius Jones could be traded for the right price, we were talking about the Cowboys running back dilemma. Right after the season ended we asked this question:

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?

We didn’t get many responses, I think alot of people didn’t consider it an issue. Think about it though, we have two starters but only one of them can actually start. Yes, Marion Barber got most of the touchdowns, an impressive 16. Julius Jones only had 4 TDs but he racked up 1084 rushing yards in 2006. It was a nice 2-back system Parcells was running. But alot has changed since last season ended, and even more will change before training camp comes around. And don’t forget about Tyson Thompson. Tyson was placed on injured reserve after breaking his ankle in Week 8 last season. Prior to his injury he was turning a few heads with his kickoff returns and his speed. So we may see him in the mix in 2007.

I think with the success of the Dallas running game in 2006 it would be ideal to keep the 2 back system intact. In fact, Jerry Jones was quoted saying, "It’s likely that we’ll be going with the running back group we ended the season with," Jones said. "Hopefully we can have (Tyson) Thompson there that could give us a third back." I would love to see this happen. I think if Barber and Jones only improve during the off-season, they will be unstoppable together next season. It will all come down to how they handle the situation. If Jones accepts Barber gets most of the TDs, and Barber accepts that Jones is the starter, then its smooth sailing ahead; but if not, we will have ourselves a Texas-size running back controversy.