Posts

Pro Bowl Profiles 2011

The 2011 Official Pro Bowl Program is a beautifully designed magazine that contains articles and player profiles. The program is available  for online viewing as well as download.

Below are the profiles for the five Cowboys originally elected to the 2011 NFL Pro Bowl. (Miles Austin was selected as an alternate therefore doesn’t have a profile in the program.)

The game between the NFC and the AFC will take place tonight at 6 p.m. CT at Aloha Stadium.

Two Draft Picks Signed Today

The Cowboys got to work signing their 2010 draft picks today with training camp only ten days away. Defensive end Sean Lissemore and offensive tackle Sam Young both signed four year deals.

During the teams OTA’s Lissemore practiced at nose tackle behind Jay Ratliff and Junior Siavii, as well as defensive end. Young practiced at both left and right tackle positions which could help with the depth on the line.

Now it’s onto the rest of the draft picks…Sean Lee (second round), Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (fourth round) and Jamar Wall (sixth round). First round pick Dez Bryant may take some time to sign due to the ongoing talks with the new CBA. Let’s hope Bryant doesn’t miss too much camp.

Updates to come as the other draft picks sign.

Ratliff Excited After Testing His Elbows

Nobody could argue that Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff had a tremendous season last year as one of the stars on the Cowboys defensive line, but what makes last season all the more impressive is that according to Ratliff, both of his elbows were ailing for most of the year.

It makes you wonder just how more impactful he could have been had he been healthy and pain-free.

Ratliff said that his pain was so bad at time that he was unable to bench press, and finally did so yesterday for the first time in over a year.

Ratliff had offseason surgery to remove bone spurs from both elbows and said he now feels great and better than ever.

“It was kept quiet because I never talked to anybody about it. When I told the trainers, nobody knew how serious it was until I asked them to do an X-ray and they saw the bone spurs. … Today was the first day that I benched press in two years, and it felt good. No pain at all. So I am excited about that.”

I’m excited too… Just imagine how much more dominating he will be playing with two healthy elbows.. Memo to opposing quarterbacks… Run for cover.

Win A Trip to See the Cowboys and Meet Jay Ratliff

Our friends at Jay Ratliff’s Official website have launched an amazing promotion for a chance to win a trip of a lifetime for any Dallas Cowboys fan.

The grand prize includes tickets to see a Cowboys game plus the wonderful opportunity to meet one the greatest guys on the team Jay Ratliff before the game. The deadline to enter is July 20, 2010. Two lucky winners will be announced July 22, 2010.

Please visit JAYRAT.com now for more information and to register for this incredible giveaway.

Be sure to tell ‘em Lone Star Struck sent ya!  Good luck and go Cowboys!

Jay Ratliff Goes One on One With Lone Star Struck

Recently, I had the great pleasure of having one of my favorite current Cowboys answer a few questions for me on behalf of this fabulous site, Lone Star Struck.

When I think of Jay Ratliff, words like amazing, clutch, tremendous, unstoppable and  fierce come to mind. He has become the heart and soul and driving force of our defense, and has played a great part in making it one of the best defensive units in the NFL. He has catapulted himself from a backup to a consistent Pro Bowl caliber performer who is now considered by many to be among the best at his position.

What many Cowboy fans may not know, is just how down to earth Jay Ratliff really is. He is a man of the people who takes nothing for granted and considers every day a blessing. He is a leader both on and off the field who always strives to be better and never settles.

Jay-Rat enjoys reaching out to his fans and started his own website aptly named JayRat.com .  It’s a great site that is loaded with information about Jay and includes plenty of stats and trivia, a great photo gallery, and news and notes about his goals, his outreach to kids, and his unwavering support for our troops. To sum it up in three words, it’s “Jay Ratliff Unwrapped”.

Jay was extremely generous of his time and kind enough to answer a few questions for me about himself, the Cowboys, and the upcoming season. I hope you enjoy it.

Joe D: Last season you were an absolute monster on the field and finished with 40 tackles, 6 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. You were rewarded by being selected to the 2009 NFL All-Pro Team as a first-team defensive tackle. What was it like to be honored like that? And how did it feel to prove the doubters wrong, who questioned whether you’d be successful switching from end to tackle?

Jay Ratliff: Thanks. It was a blessing to me, but I never really even thought about it. I only thought about some of the goals I didn’t accomplish. No matter what I’m honored with I think I’ll still be upset about my draft day experience. Weird I know, but it’s what drives me.

Joe D: By now you already know that Super Bowl XLV will be hosted at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011. First, tell us what this means for the city and the Cowboys fans in general, and then I want you to tell me what the odds are that you’ll be on that field with the rest of your teammates on that day? How’s our chances?

Jay Ratliff: Well I know it is a huge deal for our city and fans worldwide as we are constantly reminded every day. It’s going to be tough like every season is, but we have to be even more focused mentally. However, I feel we have a shot.

Joe D: One thing I know for sure, is that the Cowboys aren’t going anywhere without you. You have become such a tremendous part of the fabric of this team, and in my opinion one if its core players and inspirational leaders both on and off the field. You recently had surgery on both of your elbows. Please tell us how that went, and where you now stand as far as your rehab goes and whether you’ll be 100% ready for training camp?

Jay Ratliff: Thanks for the kind words. My surgery went very well. I went to Dr. Andrews who is one of the best in the business. Right now I have full range of motion and my press is getting better. I should be ready for training camp.

Joe D: Draft day is right around the corner… What particular areas would you like the team to focus on and strengthen?

Jay Ratliff: Personally I feel like we have what we need. It’s all about just getting it done now.

Joe D: We are so fortunate to have such a great player like you on our team and comprising one of the best defensive units in the NFL. Tell me what it’s like to be a part of this team, and dealing with all the ups and downs and rigors of an NFL season. How important is it to have good chemistry in the locker room? Do you consider yourselves to be a band of brothers?

Jay Ratliff: I love the guys we have on this team. There are so many different personalities, but we all get along and work well together. I feel that chemistry is the most important thing in a locker room. If a team does not have that, believe me, it shows on the field and they fall apart at critical times. So yes I do feel like we are a band of brothers.

Joe D: I think it’s great that you’ve started your own website (JayRat.com), and that you are so willing and committed to reaching out and communicating with so many of your diehard fans. Can you tell us how important it is for you to have that connection with your fans?

Jay Ratliff: Simple. If it was not for the fans we could not do what we do. You guys help put food on our tables. It is very important to me to try and reach out and communicate with every fan to show you all how we appreciate you and thank you. We owe it to you.

Thanks so much to Jay Ratliff and Jamie Tebbe, for allowing us the priveledge to have Jay answer a few questions for us. We look forward to seeing Jay-Rat back on the field real soon, sacking the opposing quarterback and thrilling us with your signature roar.

I encourage you all to check out JayRat.com.

Your 2010 Pro Bowl Cowboys

Sadly, the 2009 season ended for the Dallas Cowboys a couple of weeks ago, but this weekend when the Pro Bowl kicks off you might reconsider tuning in. In addition to the six Cowboys elected and Terence Newman who was added last week, two more will join the Cowboys coaching staff on the NFC roster. Andre Gurode will not be playing because of knee surgery.

Tony Romo and Mike Jenkins will play in the game due to injury of the elected starters. Romo was chosen to replace Brett Favre (ankle injury). Jenkins will replace Antoine Winfield (foot injury).

That makes a total of nine Cowboys attending this year’s Pro Bowl in Miami. Philadelphia is tied with Dallas for having the most players at the game. It is also the sixth most selections in franchise history.

StarStruck GraphicsYour 2010 Pro Bowl Cowboys:

Miles Austin, wide receiver

Leonard Davis, guard

Andre Gurode, center (injured)

Mike Jenkins, cornerback

Terence Newman, cornerback

Jay Ratliff, interior lineman

Tony Romo, quarterback

DeMarcus Ware, outside linebacker

Jason Witten, tight end

Head Coach Wade Phillips and his staff

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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?

Now They Fear the Star

I just read this interesting article over at NFL.com and thought it was worth sharing with our readers. Its nice to see the Cowboys are finally getting some much deserved respect in the league.

NFC Fear Factor: Cowboys are conference’s most dangerous team

1. Dallas Cowboys (11-5, No. 3 seed)

Beware of this red-hot team, winners of three straight and five of their last seven. Dallas has shown to be the most physical team in the postseason on both sides of the line.

The offensive front is road-grading, giving its trio of tailbacks room to run and allowing quarterback Tony Romo time to make the right decisions. Defensively, Dallas is making life troublesome for opposing quarterbacks with Jay Ratliff, Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware living in the backfield.

Romo has been the main ingredient for the team’s solid late-season play. He seems unflappable, which has been a huge departure from his past. He relies heavily on tight end Jason Witten and No. 1 wideout Miles Austin with good reason. Romo is taking few gambles with his throws, and that ball security has been a big reason for Dallas’ late-season success.

It’s a deep run through the playoffs — or bust — for this evolving team.

Weekly Game Balls: Week 13

Unfortunately I’ve had to say this before, sometimes its hard to choose players worthy of game balls after such a devastating loss. This week the offensive game ball was a given but the defensive game ball took some thought.

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Jason Witten.

Jason Witten never fails us. Even though it had seemed he had slowed down for a few games, Witten excelled during his second consecutive 100+ yard game.

Witten had a career day last Sunday in New York. Not only did he catch his 500th catch for the Cowboys but his 14 receptions for 156 yards also set a career high for the veteran tight end. He has also moved up to second place behind Michael Irvin in Dallas receiving of all time. That’s pretty impressive!

The Cowboys didn’t come away with the win on Sunday, but this wasn’t due to lack of performance from Mr. Clutch by any means.

Way to go Witten!

Star50

This week’s defensive/special teams game ball goes to Jay Ratliff.

As stated above, this was a tough decision and not for a good reason this time.

However, the only defensive play that stood out and made a difference was Ratliff’s forced fumble and recovery.

The play lead to the first touchdown during the second quarter. I won’t go into what happened after that, but at the time Ratliff created a game-changer and for that he deserves props.

Star50

Way to go to Witten and Ratliff!

Honorable Mention: Tony Romo ( 41-55, 392 yards, 3 TDs – a career/franchise high in receptions), DeMarcus Ware (lead the team in tackles and had the one and only sack)

Cowboys Fall to the Giants 31-24

Wade PhillipsDallas went to New York with high hopes and fell short, a touchdown short to be exact. Giants (7-5) walk away with the win and are only one “W” out of  first place. The Cowboys (8-4) now share the division lead with the Eagles. Never a dull moment in the NFC East.

Early on the Cowboys seemed to be controlling the game with a score of 10-0 up until the two minute warning. Then all of a sudden the Giants scored two touchdowns in less than two minutes right before halftime.

Tony Romo put up good numbers, but that just proves that stats don’t win games. Romo went 41/55, 392 yards, three touchdowns and ZERO interceptions. Romo’s 41 receptions set a new franchise record.

Roy Williams collected two touchdowns and had six receptions for 60 yards. Jason Witten came away with a career high 156 yards on 14 carries. While, Miles Austin had 10 receptions, 104 yards and one touchdown.

Romo and the receiving corps played great but those numbers mean nothing though when you lose to a division rival. And, it certainly didn’t help that the ground game never showed up. Between the three backs, Dallas only had 45 yards on the ground. All three lacked explosiveness and ran tentatively.

Nick Folk missed two field goals, and to be honest may not be a Cowboy for much longer. The Cowboys need a winner and Folk is definitely struggling lately. Many games come down to field goals and when you are in a run for the playoffs you need to be sure your kicker can make those shots.

On the defensive side of things, highlights include Jay Ratliff’s forced fumble and recover, Mike Jenkins’ interception and DeMarcus Ware had one sack. Other than that, mistakes, penalties and missed tackles were abundant.

This one is on the defense and special teams.

Jason Witten, who should have been celebrating a career best day and his 500th career catch said it best…

“We’ve got to challenge ourselves and find a way to play. We have to get back to it and forget all this December stuff. I’m not trying to avoid it or say it’s not true. We’ve got to put it away. You let another one slip and you’re really in trouble.”

***

Things we kept waiting for but never happened:

1. Massive Sack Attack from DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer

2. Deep Passes to Miles Austin

3. The Three-Headed Monster to Wake Up

4. Urgency From the Cowboys

Fans prepare yourself, because its going to be a long week of hearing about the Cowboys record in December. The schedule doesn’t get any easier either. Coming up: Chargers, Saints, Redskins, Eagles.

I’m not saying that our season is over, I’m not saying we can’t still win the division. All I’m saying is it won’t be easy.

This loss pissed me off more than any of the others this season. Usually I get sad, but not necessarily mad. It’s passion-driven anger. It’s uncontrollable and I shouldn’t let it get the best of me. I apologize to anyone who I offended or attacked during or after this game.

Don’t worry, I will pull myself together. I’ll get over it and look forward to the next game. The team should do the same thing. I hope they take this loss personally and take it out on the next team in line.

Packers Break Cowboys’ Winning Streak, Dallas Loses 17-7

The Cowboys winning streak came to a halt today as the Packers beat the Boys 17-7. It was a strong defensive game on both sides but penalties, injuries and missed opportunities ruined the day.

green bay dallas

The most painful thing to come from this loss will be the hole that Marc Colombo leaves on the offensive line. Colombo went down in the first quarter and later it was learned that he suffered from a broken fibula. Doug Free came in to replace Colombo and immediately failed to protect Romo.

There was an injury scare with Bradie James who returned to play, and Ken Hamlin left the game with an ankle injury.

Another stinger was an arm injury to corner Mike Jenkins. He returned to play but left again for good after a few minutes.

Tony Romo also took a beating from the Green Bay defense taking five sacks, while Aaron Rodgers was sacked 4 times by Dallas. Romo ended the day 24 of 29 completions, 251 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Roy Williams caught 5 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Sounds good right? No, not really. He also fumbled what would have been a 41-yard completion along with a dropped pass that could have been a game changer.

Luckily the Cowboys were able to score a touchdown in the final seconds to avoid getting shutout for the first time since December 14, 2003.

The running game was basically nonexistent. The three-headed monster combined for a measly 45 yards.

Defensively things were looking pretty good, just not good enough when your offense can’t produce and injuries sideline your starters. DeMarcus Ware had two sacks and Bobby Carpenter and Stephen Bowen recorded one sack each. Jay Ratliff was quiet, however Anthony Spencer stepped up and made several great plays.

Dallas has to pray that their injuries aren’t as bad as they seem. Of course Colombo is likely out for the season, but Jenkins and Hamlin should be able to return.

The Cowboys move on with a 6-3 record, still leading the NFC East and come back home to play the Washington Redskins for the first time this season.

Weekly Game Balls: Week 9

Riding high on a four game winning streak feels pretty good, doesn’t it! What a great game last Sunday night, it was a perfect example of a team coming together for a victory against an intense rivalry. The teamwork executed by the Cowboys made it even harder to choose game balls this week. Of course, that’s a great problem to have. In the words of Coach Phillips, “Everybody made plays when the game was on the line.”

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Marion Barber.

Marion Barber only rushed 12 times for 50 yards, but the true reason he is receiving this week’s game ball is for what he did in the last offensive drive of the game.

According to a story told by Keith Brooking, Barber came up to the defensive players on the sidelines and said:

‘I got this, the last offensive series. Don’t you worry guys.’

He was telling his teammates that he was going to seal the deal. He knew they had worked hard and he was guaranteeing them their work was done and the win was secure.

Barber did as promised and ran three consecutive plays accumulating 23 yards.

Now that may not do anything for his fantasy ratings but in my book that makes him clutch.

Thanks for your hard work Barber!

Star50

This week’s defensive/special teams game ball goes to Jay Ratliff.

Can you say BEAST?

Jay Ratliff finished the day with 5 tackles and 2 sacks for losses of 17 yards.

I also enjoyed the story about him getting into it with Wade Phillips.

Wade Phillips told reporters a story from halftime…

“At halftime, we came in and he says, ‘My fault on the running game,’” Phillips recalled about Ratliff. “And I said, ‘No it isn’t your fault.’ He jumps back at me and said ‘ITS MY FAULT’ I said, ‘Ok it’s your fault.’ But he said he would get it corrected. And sure enough they had 16 yards rushing in the second half, so it wasn’t all his fault, he played some things different second half than he did in first half.”

Keep howling J-Rat!

Star50

Way to go to Barber and Ratliff!

Honorable Mention: Roy Williams with 5 catches and 75 yards, Gerald Sensabaugh with 6 tackles and an interception, and Mike Jenkins for just being awesome and making me shout ‘JENKS’ several times each game after he makes an amazing play.