Another Day In Cowboy Land

For the Dallas Cowboys and their fans the crack of pads, the ear splitting screech of whistles followed by the hollering of instructions usually signifies the approaching end to summer and the beginning of a new season. We are well into training camp with one pre-season game under our belts (shhh lets pretend that didn’t happen).

Roy WilliamsAs is expected and normal across most camps, the Cowboys have had their share of bumps and bruises but (knock on wood) nothing serious. We all held our breaths with the news of Roy Williams’s wrist injury, but the sprain only kept him out of practice for a day. His status for Friday night’s second pre-season game is unknown right now, but I would be surprised if he doesn’t get in for a drive or two.

The secondary got stronger as well with Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins back in practice. Jenkins missed about a week with a sprained right ankle.

Sporting News Today is reporting that backup quarterback Jon Kitna and center Cory Procter have been having trouble with the snap through out camp and it actually carried over to the game against the Raiders which resulted in a 16 yard loss on one play, and a missed field goal on the drive. Obviously it is still early and is something they will continue to work on. Let’s cross our fingers and hope Kitna wont be needed this season anyway.

Bradie James is looking to become a nice compliment to DeMarcus Ware and help take some pressure of him when they attack the quarterback. The Dallas Morning News reports that James had two sacks against the number two offensive line and showed some speed in doing so.

With the dismissal of Terrell Owens the offense is looking to use a two tight end set as another weapon this season. We all know what Jason Witten can do, and now with second year man Martellus Bennett as the second tight end these two make it very hard for opposing defenses to cover. Bennett is a big strong target with good hands and knows how to block as well. This duo is going to be hard to stop, watch out!!

Let’s see how things fare for the Boys on Friday night in their new stadium against the Titans. It will bring us one step closer to the regular season and the hopes and dreams of the Super Bowl.

2009 Projected Offensive and Defensive Leaders

Hello again to everyone, I hope that you had a good week. We would all like to know how the Cowboys will do this year and I wanted to throw my predictions out there. Due to our inexperienced and young wide receivers, I believe that we will be focusing more on the run, especially since we have three healthy and good running backs. I think the Cowboys will be able to run the ball more and take a little pressure off of QB Tony Romo. If the offensive line can give us some good blocking on running plays we should have a great year. Here are my projections for the offense and defense for this year. Of course I could always be wrong, lets hope I am and they do better.

OFFENSE 24 pts per game

  • QB Tony Romo 24 TDs 10 INTS
  • RB Marion Barber 170 rushes 1,014 yards 10 TDs
  • RB Felix Jones 120 rushes 600 yards 7 TDs
  • RB Tashard Choice 60 rushes 270 yards 2 TDs
  • TE Jason Witten 80 receptions 900 yards 5 TDs
  • WR Roy Williams 75 receptions 1,040 yards 10 TDs

DEFENSE 56 sacks

  • LB Demarcus Ware 17 sacks
  • CB Terence Newman 5 INTs

It is fun to be able to try and predict what the Cowboys will do, so feel free to come up with your own projections. We should all be getting hyped up about the new season since training camp begins at the end of the month. GO COWBOYS!!!

MB3 Makes A Dream Come True

Michael Norris/Amarillo Globe-News

Michael Norris/Amarillo Globe-News

ESPN’s Sportcenter will feature it’s “My Wish” series July 5-9. Five children have been granted a wish to spend time with their favorite athlete. First up will be our very own Marion Barber. You can watch the segment Sunday, July 5th at 9 a.m. central time.

Ian Gregory from Canyon, Texas was just ecstatic to get the chance to meet his favorite player, Marion Barber. The six-year old Cowboys fan was diagnosed with T-Cell lymphoma on January 6th after passing out at daycare a day before.

ESPN took Ian by surprise when employees took him to play mini golf and gave him a DVD. The DVD featured Jason Witten asking Ian to come to Dallas for football practice.

Ian and his father and sister traveled to Dallas for the honor to watch the Cowboys practice. Ian got to watch practice and even participate in drills with Marion Barber. He also got to tour Jerry Jones’ office, touch a Super Bowl trophy and have lunch with the cheerleaders.

The experience really was a dream come true for little Ian. His favorite part was spending time with his favorite player Marion Barber but he will never forget June 17th, the day he got to spend with the Dallas Cowboys.

Watch part of Ian’s experience on Sunday on ESPN’s Sportscenter at 9am CST.

About My Wish

For the fourth straight year, ESPN will present its critically acclaimed SportsCenter’s “My Wish” series, which chronicles sports-themed wishes granted to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Stephanie Druley, senior coordinating producer, ESPN, and David Williams, Make-A-Wish Foundation of America president and chief executive officer, announced today that the series will air Sunday, July 5, through Thursday, July 9.

The series, presented by ESPN, is sponsored by The Walt Disney Company. As part of the series, ESPN will help grant sports-related wishes with leading sports figures to five children referred through the world’s largest wish-granting charity, Make-A-Wish Foundation. Each wish will be the subject of one SportsCenter feature segment.


Ultimate Cowboys Showdown – Jason Witten vs Jay Novacek

Lately, all the talk has been about the Dallas Cowboys Top 50 with several posts and articles dedicated to it including on, and even right here on Lone Star Struck courtesy of Rob V.

It has been fun reading all the varying opinions and comments, hearing the debates about who is better than who, and which player needed to be ranked higher or lower. It also got my creative juices flowing, and the result is…

The Ultimate Cowboys Showdown!

This new exclusive series will pit two all time Cowboys who were the best at their position, and and put them in a head to head battle in a good old fashioned death match. Only the strong will survive!

Our Ultimate Cowboys Showdown features three rounds of fist-pounding, gut wrenching, nail-biting action, as two ultimate warriors get in the ring and duke it out until only one Cowboy is left standing. This is certainly not for the squeamish and parental discretion is definitely advised.  

This first battle showcases two of the greatest tight ends in Dallas Cowboys history, and of course we are talking about Pro Bowlers Jay Novacek and Jason Witten.

Ding, Ding, Ding.

Round One – The Tale of the Tape

witten novacek

Round Two – Awards, Accomplishments, Recognition

Pro Bowls
Jay Novacek – 5
Jason Witten – 5

All Pro Selections
Jay Novacek – 1
Jason Witten – 1

Super Bowl Rings
Jay Novacek – 3
Jason Witten – 0

Round Three – The Final Verdict

Can you believe these guys have both played exactly six years and 95 games? And what about the fact that each had 5 Pro Bowl selections and one All Pro selection…

This was the perfect head to head showdown because their careers were so remarkably similar, but it also made this a tough battle to decide.

Both these players were the ultimate warriors in every sense. Each of them were very intense and had a nose for the ball. Both of them were tough as nails and didn’t shy away from laying down a punishing hit when they had to, and both were known to shrug off nagging injuries and play hurt.

There’s a school of thought that subscribes to the notion that winning is everything, and if that was the only deciding factor than Jay Novacek wins this contest hands down simply because of his post season accomplishments. Novacek was a key contributor for Dallas during their 1990s glory years, and helped them to win three Super Bowls in four seasons. In those games, he recorded a combined total of 17 receptions for 148 yards and two touchdowns.

However, if you go simply by the numbers, Jason Witten wins this one by a slight margin. The touchdowns were very close, but Witten edged Novacek by three touchdowns. However, we have to remember that Troy Aikman had so many more targets to throw to than Romo did. He was able to spread the ball around between a few different current and future Hall of Famers. Had Novacek played for this current Cowboys team, he may have outscored Witten by a larger margin and been one of the primary options.

Witten also had the edge on yards, but again that was tied to the number of receptions.

In the final analysis, I have to proclaim Jay Novacek the Ultimate Cowboys Tightend.

Jason Witten may eventually catch Novacek in the years to come, but for now, Novacek stands alone.

Ultimate Cowboys Tight End

Jay Novacek - Ultimate Cowboys Tight End

Happy Father’s Day

Lone Star Struck would like to send a message out to all of the wonderful fathers out there.

When I created this website I dedicated to my father. I grew up in Dallas, Texas. I would not be a Dallas Cowboy fan if it weren’t for my dad. Although we may have drifted apart in my adulthood, one positive memory I have and one thing we will always share is love for Dallas Cowboys football.

I can remember my father missing important family holidays such as Thanksgiving, to be at a Cowboys game. I also remember getting to stay up late when the Cowboys played in the Super Bowls back in the 90s.

I rarely see my father these days, but when I visit Dallas for Thanksgiving I see him, and the one thing that’s never awkward to talk about is football.

Sending well wishes and happy thoughts to all the dads out there. I’m sure some of you can relate to my story and I hope this bring you wonderful memories with your father.



Jason Witten and his young son
Jason Witten and his young son
DeMarcus Ware and his baby daughter
DeMarcus Ware and his baby daughter
Jerry Jones and son Stephen Jones
Jerry Jones and son Stephen Jones

SS Sensabaugh A Favorite Of Campo

Since this off-season began I was predicting my home town player Gerald Sensabaugh to join my other home town player Jason Witten in Dallas my friends were saying theres no way Gerald would be a Dallas Cowboy. I debated and argued all the way until that faithful day when the Cowboys signed him. I though my arguments were over but no everywhere I looked it seemed like every Cowboys fan I talked to was doubting what Gerald could do, so I just said wait and see.

Now according to writer Mickey Spagnola Sensabaugh is one of Secondary Coach Dave Campo’s favorites. Here is what Mickey’s article said.

You might say for the majority of his years with the Cowboys, Dave Campo, first secondary coach, then defensive coordinator and then head coach before returning as secondary coach in 2008, was spoiled at the safety position. During his previous 14 seasons, he mostly had the likes of Ray Horton, James Washington, Thomas Everett, Darren Woodson, Brock Marion and George Teague back there. He even enjoyed a rather nice rookie season out of Roy Williams.

So last season probably was a little bit of a shellshock for Camps, who returned for a 15th season. Heck, even over his three years as head coach, when Woodson remained healthy, he had Woodson and Teague back there. Injuries and performance made last year somewhat of a crap shoot.

That’s why I said to him, with the addition of Gerald Sensabaugh and all the young guys brought in, this might be the best the safety position has looked since, well, Woodson was playing.

He laughed, saying it was funny I’d bring up Woodson, “because when I got to Jacksonville (2005) I remember saying Sensabaugh (a rookie then) had the kind of burst Woodson had. Now I’m not saying he’s Woodson.”

Of course not, and he’s probably 10 to 15 pounds lighter. But Campo was trying to make a point about Sensabaugh’s ability to cover, not only from the deep safety spot, but also going inside to the weak linebacker spot on the nickel, where Woodson spoiled the Cowboys his entire career with an ability to cover even receivers in the slot.

Who Should Be In the Ring of Honor Next???

I have tried to debate this for awhile now with people that I know, but can’t seem to get anyone to bite back. Maybe now is the time. Who should Jerry Jones put in the Ring of Honor in the new stadium? It has been a long time since the Triplets where inducted into it. I have my opinions, which I don’t think a lot of people will agree on, but it is my opinion. I will throw out a few names for you and see if you agree.

My first choice is Danny White. Yes, I know he never took the team to the Super Bowl but he had some really big shoes to fill with the retiring Roger Staubach. He did take them to some Championship games but never really over the hump. He also played another role in punting for the Cowboys. I think he has been given a bad rap for not getting the boys the Super Bowl. But most people think, Danny will always but the butt of jokes for not being the QB that Roger was.

My second choice is Drew Pearson, the original 88. I kind of forgot about him but the Top Ten Cowboys List on NFL Network reminded me that he isn’t in the Ring of Honor. Who was Roger’s go-to guy? Drew. Who made the most famous Hail Mary catch? Drew. When Roger needed some yardage good ole 88 was there. Shoot, I think he should be in the Hall of Fame. What a great talent he was.

Who would you choose for the Ring of Honor with the current roster? Tony Romo, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware? Who knows. Tony won’t if he doesn’t win it all, just like Danny. That’s why I hear some fans put Tony and Danny in the same sentence. Jason is a solid TE for the Boys. If he keeps playing the way he has it shouldn’t be a debate about that one. And then there is DeMarcus ‘Sack Master’ Ware. Out of the three he should be the next great who is put up around the ring of the stadium.

You could agree or disagree with some of my choices or have some of your own. But in the end we have had some great teams and players throughout the years. Enjoy the memories and the future seasons to come. And last but not least – How ’bout them Cowboys!!

Tuesday’s OTA Notes

Here are a few updates from Tuesday’s practice.

Jason Garrett seems to be a little different during practice so far in 2009. Yesterday he actually got mad at Jason Witten when he had a false start, yelling…

“get me another tight end!”

The same thing happened when a false start was called on Leonard Davis.

 “Get me a new right guard!”

It was reported that Davis walked over to Garrett and said something, but Garrett just ignored him. Wade Phillips pulled Davis from the first team for one play because of the false start.  There is something about this that I like. Many people have said that this team is too soft and we all know how many penalties they have been called for in recent years. Most of those penalties were at the worst possible times.

Although it has been reported that Tony Romo and Roy Williams have been working a lot together. In yesterday’s seven-on-seven drills they were not on the same page as they missed on several passes. Looks like they need to keep working. Which is what these OTA’s are all about.

Sam Hurd was the latest to hit the injury list with a sore quadriceps muscle. It is not believed to be anything serious. This goes along with injuries to Isaiah Stanback (torn meniscus), Rodney Hannah (broken finger), Tim Anderson (toe), Jason Hatcher (knee), Kyle Kosier (foot) and Nick Folk (hip).

Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick received first team reps opposite Terrence Newman. Mike Mickens has yet to attend the OTA’s until he officially graduates. DeAngeloSmith has worked at corner and safety. Newman broke up multiple plays on Tuesday while also coming close to intercepting a Romo pass that could have gone for a touchdown. Fifth round pick safety Michael Hamlin has been getting praise from coach Brett Maxie for his play and he also calls him a sponge. Everything that is asked of Hamlin, he then takes it onto the field and performs at a high level. 

The Cowboys released cornerback Tra Battle and defensive tackle Casey Tyler on Tuesday.

A new twist to the Cowboys offense was when the first team scored in the red zone on a Marion Barber halfback pass to Patrick Crayton.

It’s still early, but I’m starting to like many of the things I’m reading about the Cowboys. I especially like the toughness from Garrett and Phillips. I think that is what this team needs. They need to be coached and praised when everything is working, but also called out when things are not working. I really hope that not being in the spotlight (Hard Knocks) this season will help them. Keep working guys. It will all pay off in the end.

Cowboys Extra Points: SCORE, Parking and RFA’s

Restricted free agent Stephen Bowen signed his $1.545 million tender offer. The defensive end had 17 tackles last year and will play behind Igor Olshanksy and Jason Hatcher.

There are only two restricted free agents remaining. Wide receivers Sam Hurd and Miles Austin have not signed their tenders. Free Agency ends on April 17th.

Cowboys star tight end Jason Witten was recently honored with a $20,000 grant from NFC Charities. Witten’s foundation named S.C.O.R.E. Foundation works with shelters for battered families.

The Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers have come to an agreement regarding parking spaces. Cowboys fans will be allowed to park in the Rangers parking lots on gamedays. This should ensure that all fans will be able to park no further than a mile from the stadium. The Rangers will keep nearly 100% of the revenue from their lots.

Dates to remember:

A rookie minicamp is set for May 1-3, just a week after the 2010 NFL Draft (April 25-26).

Organized team activity days are set for May 19-21, 26-28, June 2-4 and 8-10.

A mandatory minicamp will be June 16-18.

Jason Garrett Needs To Be The Cowboys MVP

Here we are, three weeks before the draft and unless we make a blockbuster trade to move up or sign Holt or Harrison our offense right now is probably the offense that will start the 2009 season.

Now that we cut loose our most explosive offensive weapon (which I still believe is a huge mistake) we need to focus on what we need to get that sixth title.

Jason Garrett in my opinion needs to be the MVP of this team in order for the Cowboys to compete. MVP meaning… the most valuable play-caller.

He wowed us in 2007 when the offense racked up huge numbers, but once teams caught on and took away THE PLAYER, the offense was average at best. Garrett’s play calling was way too predictable  last year, I mean think back at all the times we had an incomplete pass on first down, then a one-yard run on second, and then a five-yard completion on third, and finally a punt. That scenario played out so many times last season… too many to remember.

Even with THE PLAYER gone, this offense is loaded with talent ranging from the three headed monster in the backfield, to Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton and Miles Austin downfield, to Mr. Reliable himself, Jason Witten who I believe will suffer most due to The Player’s departure. I just see him drawing that extra man from the defense which could and should open up Martellus Bennett to have a decent season.

If Garret can use the talent he has and accounts for the defensive adjustments during the game, there is no reason we shouldn’t be able to put up 30 passes per game in 2009.

Here is my gameplan…

First, he needs to find a way to get Tashard Choice, Felix Jones, and Marion Barber into the game as much as possible whether its throwing Felix out in the slot or even loading up  the backfield with all three… he needs to get creative with these three.

Second, lots of screen passes is a must. Get the ball in these guys hands and make the defense stop them.

Third, once you establish to the opposing defense that they need to come up and stop our three backs, this will free up Witten and Bennett in the middle of the field for some nice chunks of yardage.

Fourth, they need to throw downfield more. If the Cowboys accomplish the first three items on this list, it should leave our receivers in one on one coverage. With Williams’ height and ability, coupled with the speedy Austin Miles, it could be a potent combination.

Finally and most important, the offensive line needs to have that killer instinct. Whether its run blocking or protecting Tony, they need to step up and show that they are not only the biggest but also the baddest group in the league. Mark Colombo, Leonard Davis, Andre Gurode, Kyle Kosier and Flozell Adams are all locked into long deals and for decent chunks of Jerry Jones’ money. They need to play with that swagger we often hear so much about.

So there it is my plan for Garrett to become the Cowboys MVP in 2009.

If I am right and Garrett can use that Princeton education of his to establish a smarter, creative and more efficient playbook, then hopefully we’ll be celebrating our sixth ring in Miami in February of 2010.

Edited by Joe D.

Witten Speaks Out

jason-witten.jpegAccording to a article in the Star Telegram by Clarence E. Hill Jr., Jason opened up about how he feels about the team, and of course, he was asked about TO being released. They just can not let the whole TO thing drop.  Of course, with Jason’s joking personality, when asked about roster changes, his reply: “We made roster changes? I didn’t hear about that.” 

When he got serious, he said he was disappointed his name got dragged into the muck last season when stories were written about infighting between him, Owens and Romo. He wishes TO good luck in Buffalo and said he was a great player for the Cowboys.
Witten said the Cowboys main focus now is putting last year in the past and moving forward as a team.  “I think more than anything being 9-7 is unacceptable with this team. When you talk about change, you want to find a way to get more wins.”
When asked if he agreed with Jerry Jones about getting rid of TO makes Romo better and the locker room better he replied, “I don’t know. A lot is made of chemistry. Chemistry is good when you win. For all of us it’s something we have to evaluate and understand. I don’t want to look at it and say we are a better locker room. We got a lot of good football players. I do think that. We got to go show it. We got to stop talking about it.”
When asked how the offense will change without Owens, this is what Jason had to say, ” Roy has proven himself. He is a good player. He is a proven player. Tony is a great quarterback. It’s not just them . We got a lot of other guys. Felix is a big key in that. Getting him back, what a weapon he can be along with the other guys like Marion, myself, Martellus Bennett, Miles Austin and Patrick. We need to stop talking about the playoffs and Super Bowls and just become a better football team.”
I have to say that I agree with Jason.  The Cowboys have all the weapons they could want on offense, but unless they come together as a team all the talent in the world doesn’t matter.

Terrell Owens: Should He Stay Or Should He Go?

 The nine million dollar question was being asked almost instantaneously after the Cowboys’ futile attempt to make the playoffs. Cowboys fans had not even had a chance to absorb the epic collapse that was the 2008 season and the question was already swirling. Will T.O. be back next year?

My question is this. Should T.O. be back next year?

The cons to a Terrell Owens 2009

Of course the number one thing that comes to mind is distractions. Players dismiss the notion of distractions affecting their performances during games. Well that’s what they say during the season anyway. But how could it not be a distraction?

T.O.’s presence alone can be a distraction. Is that fair? I personally say yes, it’s fair. We all knew when Owens was signed by Dallas in 2006 what we were getting.

The guy simply can’t help himself. He has to have attention. We all know his history and I will not bore you with rehashing all the details. He has been labeled a “cancer” in the locker room. Part of me feels this label is justified.

Take the whole tiff with Jason Witten thing earlier this year. Anytime your three top wide receivers have a closed-door meeting with your offensive coordinator, validity can be given to reports of discord in the locker room. Then suddenly there were grumblings of a “snitch” in the midst. I personally feel like this entire episode was perpetuated by Terrell Owens.  The guy simply can’t help himself.

Whether it’s working out in his driveway, riding a stationary bike in a Lance Armstrong outfit, an alleged overdose, crying, no, weeping after a playoff loss, whining to Deion Sanders on national television or wearing a silly flashing red nose during locker room interviews. The guy simply can’t help himself.

I personally think he needs psychological help.

The pros to a Terrell Owens 2009

Terrell Owens is a phenomenal athlete. A physical specimen. A game changer and a playmaker. He had over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2008. Used properly, Terrell Owens is as good as they get.

There is a sense if comfort knowing T.O. is on the field. You know he can make the difference at any given moment. He can make the best cornerbacks in the game look silly. The man  plays with passion and great enthusiasm. 

I’m pretty excited to see how deadly a Roy Williams/Terrell Owens combo can be with a full training camp behind them. It could be very scary. Well for other teams that is. I get almost giddy thinking about how strong this team can potentially be with Owens and Williams together, and on the same page with Tony Romo.

I’m sure this didn’t clear up the issue any more for you than it did for me. I want to trust T.O.. I want to believe in this guy. But right now I don’t and I don’t. If I honestly thought Roy Williams could shoulder the load I would say trade T.O.. You can’t cut him. The $9 million salary cap hit is just too big. But there are teams that would make the trade.

What’s your opinion? T.O. or not T.O.? Give us feedback.