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Random Observations

-Miles Austin is a GREAT receiver. He is elite. Period. Dez Bryant will make this offense unstoppable when he finally starts opposite Austin.

-2009 Ball State 3rd round pick Robert Brewster is still a year away from being an NFL caliber OT or G. Missing his rookie year due to injury, he just doesn’t have “it” yet. I would release him on the final cuts and try to get him back on the practice squad. If not, oh well. We need solid backups to survive this Super Bowl run.

-The tight end situation is terrible. It went from a strength on the team to a worry with John Phillips tearing his ACL. Although, if Sicko progresses this year, it gives us an out with Martellus Bennett should he continue his mundane play.

-Alex Barron needs coaching. Hudson Houck must change this guy’s bad habits or he will be a one and done as a Cowboy. You don’t pay good money for Pat McQuistan production.

-No way do you cut Deon Anderson. If you want Chris Gronkowski on the final 53, you must deplete another position’s depth and keep two fullbacks. Deon has been a fantastic blocker and a surprise threat out of the backfield as a receiver.

-David Buehler is doing a good job. Kickoffs, as usual, have been stellar. Touchback after touchback. Field goals have been good enough to keep believing in him. I love that he is working with Chris Boniol.

-Jon Kitna will be a solid backup should we, God forbid, need him to hold the fort for a few games.

-The linebackers on this team are off the hook. Our starters dominate. Bradie James and Keith Brooking will be the vocal leaders on this very strong defense. There are surprises such as Leon Williams that will make the final cuts a very hard job.

-Too much is being made of win/loss, Redzone failures and other trivial statistics in the preseason.

-5 preseason games could make you a tired team in January.

-Wade Phillips is awesome. His defense rocks and he has survived the headhunters of Dallas (media) through hell and back.

Good, Bad, and Ugly All Evident In First Preseason Game

Coaches and fans got their first look at the 2010 Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night against a highly touted Cincinnati Bengals club that many are predicting to be a Super Bowl contender this season. The Boys had an impressive showing for a preseason game, not allowing Cincinnati to score until the late 4th quarter. However, there were also some loose ends the Cowboys need to tie up before they take the field against Washington in the season opener. Let’s play a game of “Who’s hot, who’s not” to summarize the first preseason game.

Who’s Hot

*Tight end John Phillips. He took advantage of the absence of Martellus Bennett and showed great all-around ability throughout the night. He had a couple of superb catches, and also showed his blocking ability on several occasions. With Bennett’s problems of late, I would not be at all surprised to see Phillips get more playing time than Bennett when the season starts.

*Defensive end Stephen Bowen. He also took advantage of the absence of a fellow teammate (Marcus Spears), and was a force along the defensive line all night. He was constantly in the backfield and recorded a sack before his night came to an end. With Bowen, Spears, and Jason Hatcher all playing on one-year tenders, I expect the competition to continue between the three.

*Offensive tackle Doug Free. Though he only played one series, Free looked very comfortable at left tackle, and had his way with Bengals defensive end Antwan Odom in both passing and running situations. Free definitely looks to have a leg up on Alex Barron in securing the starting left tackle spot. It will be interesting to see how he performs the rest of the preseason against pass rushers like Shawne Merriman and Mario Williams.

*Backup linebackers. A solid night on defense was topped off by the impressive play of players like Brandon Williams, Victor Butler, Jason Williams, Steve Octavien, and Brandon Sharpe. Jason Williams, Butler, and Octavien all showed their ability to get to the quarterback with a sack each. Brandon Williams and Sharpe showed their abilities in coverage with an interception each, Sharpe’s going for the only touchdown of the evening for the Cowboys. The Williams boys and Butler are showing flashes of the abilities the Cowboys saw in each of them when they drafted all three last year. Keep an eye on the ‘backers again in the next preseason game, as Sean Lee should step on the field for the first time and show his skills, too.

Who’s Not

*Offensive lineman Robert Brewster. He looked simply horrendous playing both tackle spots, and gave Stephen McGee no time to throw the ball all night. It is safe to say the intent of the Cowboys to develop Brewster as a tackle has run horribly amok. His footwork is below average and his ability to get out of his stance is poor. If the Cowboys want to avoid missing on yet another offensive line draft pick, they should consider moving Brewster to guard, where his slow feet will be less noticeable.

*Backup running backs. In a virtually impossible battle for a roster spot at running back, Herb Donaldson and Lonyae Miller did nothing to prove they are even worthy of a spot on the practice squad. Donaldson fumbled the ball early, and Miller had less than one yard per carry. With Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice all locks to make the team, Donaldson and Miller will be nothing more than camp bodies for the duration of training camp.

*Return specialists. The return game for the Cowboys was non-existent the entire night, with Titus Ryan, Jamar Wall, Bryan McCann, and Cletis Gordon sharing the duties. Ryan had a decent return to start the game, but left early with a broken thumb. Wall, McCann, and Gordon shared the punt return duties, but none of the three did more than fair catch and flirt with potential disaster when a return was possible. Gordon and McCann were also creamed on one of their returns, McCann’s coming on a terrible non-call in which he clearly called a fair catch.

Cowboys Rumblings and Grumblings

It’s been pretty quiet this week as far as Cowboys news goes, but here’s a few things that might interest some of you.

To begin, the Oakland Raiders have released ex-Cowboy Greg Ellis after a dismal injury-plagued season. one-year stint on the West Coast. he still has some money coming to him from the guaranteed $10 million dollars he received from the Raiders. It looks like it might be the end of the road for Ellis who is still battling an arthritic knee.

Martellus Bennett continues to voice displeasure over his role with the Cowboys. In an interview which you could watch here courtesy of the DMN, he said,

“I think I could be one of the all-time greats. Probably the system has to change for me to produce. You’ve got to fit into the system. It’s not just all on the player. It’s different things that have to be done to put me in a position to make those plays.”

This isn’t the first time he has expressed his angst with his role on the team and his future with the organization.

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones, is not the least bit concerned with the team’s lack of movement in this years free agent market.

“We’re pleased with what we have in place with the Cowboys. But if you look at our past several years, we’ve never jumped right out there in free agency, and really, I don’t ever look at what other teams are doing. I look at what we’re about, and we have some places that we can improve our team in free agency just as we will in the draft, but there’s no angst about getting anxious here. We’re just watching it unfold.”

I really don’t see the Cowboys as major players in free agency this offseason. As a whole the roster is solid and only needs some shoring up depth wise and at the offensive line which they can easily do via the draft.

Three Players Most Likely To Become Ex-Cowboys

Looking ahead to next season, I wondered which of our players had a high probability of not being back with the team next season. It’s not a hate list by any means, just an objective look at who could be on their way out and why I feel that way about them.

1. Marion Barber RB – Many of you might be surprised to see Barber on this list, but the fact of the matter is that with Felix Jones and Tashard Choice on board, it would make sense to explore our options with Barber who still has some great trade value. The fact is that Barber’s 4.3 yards per carry, pales in comparison to Choice 5.5 YPC and Jones 5.9. We could easily get back a 1st and 3rd round pick for Barber and use them to beef up an aging O-Line.

2. Martellus Bennett TE – I don’t believe Bennett can live with the fact that he’s a back up to Jason Witten. He’s frequently crying about playing time on his website and bemoaning the fact that he isn’t a starter. He has the talent to be a starter, but unless disaster strikes and Witten was to miss significant time, will continue to be used in the same reserve role and frown about it. Bennett is just a spare part that can easily be replaced by up and coming John Phillips who is a team first guy and a real gamer. The Cowboys might be able to get a third or fourth round pick for Bennett or maybe even net themselves a number three or four type wide receiver with some upside.

3. Roy Williams WR – My inclusion of Williams on this list is probably more a case of wishful as opposed to a real chance Williams could or would get traded. Obviously, his trade value has taken a huge hit and he is overpaid as well. But at this point, and after waiting almost two seasons for him show profit, wouldn’t you say it’s time to cut our losses and move on? Kevin Ogletree has show the speed, the hands, and the ability to perfectly run his routes, and must be strongly considered for a move up the depth chart. If anyone is crazy enough to take Williams’ off our hands in exchange for a second round pick, I’d do it and never look back.

Balancing It Out

Yes there was only 1 football on the field at a time, but from the way Dallas looked this week and the way Tony Romo spread the ball around it sure didn’t look like it. Dallas had Seattle confused from the very beginning on what their game plan was and that was to dominate.

Tony Romo went 21/36 for 256 yards and 3 touchdowns with NO interceptions. Miles Austin had 5 receptions for 61 yards rushed for 11 yards and had a touchdown. Sam Hurd had just one reception but it went for 35 yards and a touchdown. Roy Williams finally had his first touchdown as a Dallas Cowboy with 2 receptions for 19 yards. Patrick Crayton had 39 yards receiving and returned a punt for a touchdown for the second week in a row. Jason Witten, Felix Jones, Kevin Ogletree and Martellus Bennett all had receptions for over 100 total yards.

Marion “The Beast” Barber had only 14 rushing attempts but went for 53 yards and a touchdown. Felix Jones had 8 attempts and pounded out 39 yards. Tashard Choice got in on the action with 4 rushes for 11 yards. The offense went for a total of 26 first downs in the game, with 17 of those coming in the first half alone. 15 of those first downs by passing and 7 of them by rushing. Our third down efficiency was at 53% with a total of 362 net yards. Time of possession was an astounding 34:45

th_newman-1Keith Brooking continued to make his statement towards defensive player of the year with 8 tackles and forcing 1 sack. Demarcus Ware once again had a strong game with 2 tackles and a sack and Bobby Carpenter refused to be overlooked and got in with 3 tackles and a sack. Terence Newman and Bradie James both had good games each forcing a fumble that was recovered by Dallas. With a total of 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and only allowing 79 rushing yards by previous Dallas Cowboys RB Julius Jones, holding the Seattle offensive possession time to 25:15 and only 17 points, the defense made a statement once again.

You hear all this talk about what division is the toughest in the league. If you look at the numbers it is an easy decision to make. the NFC east is the only division in the league to have 3 teams with at least 5 wins on the season. With 5 out of the next 4 games being on the road you could make the argument that Dallas has the toughest schedule to finish out the season but with the way they are coming together on both offense and defense, bring on the competition.

Sunday night is going to be a true test for Dallas when we play Philly for first place in our division. After we win that game and silence all the critics we make our way north to Lambeau field for a battle against the Green Bay Packers before we come back home against our long time rivals (I cringe every time I even say their name) the STRUGGLING Washington Redskins.

Although we are looking very strong at home, we need to prove to not only ourselves but all the critics out there that we can win on the road. Once we win Sunday night and take over first place, then come home after winning in Green Bay with a 3 game winning streak, maybe, JUST MAYBE, everyone will see that this year DALLAS IS ON A MISSION!!!!!

LET’S GO BOYS!!!!!!!

I’m Ready For Some Marty B And Felix Jones

martellus1

Are you ready for some football!!!

I am so excited for our first pre season game against the Oakland Raiders. Last season seems like an eternity ago, but finally we can put all of that behind us and begin to focus on the here and now; a brand new Dallas Cowboys season!

There are two players I’ll be looking forward to see in action in the first pre season game; Martellus Bennett and Felix Jones.

I know the starters probably won’t play for more than a quarter, but I can’t to see how the Raiders will defend against both Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett lined up as receivers. I think it’s an incredible move to utilize the talents of both Witten and Bennett on the field at the same time.

According to Clarence E. Hill Jr., Martellus Bennett has been such a force in the off-season and training camp that the Cowboys plan to use the two-tight end offense as their primary formation. With Bennett on the field with perennial Pro Bowler Jason Witten, the Cowboys hope to keep opponents off balance and take advantage of obvious mismatches.

Felix Jones

In addition to Bennett, it will be great to see running back Felix Jones on the field again after missing most of the season due to injury last season. I’m hoping to see that same electrifying play that for a time made him one of the most exciting players on the team.

The Cowboys have made it no secret that they plan on opening up more opportunities for their young and versatile running back. They even plan to run some plays using the Razorback formation. Felix Jones can be an explosive weapon, especially when he gets loose in an open field where his speed makes him both dangerous and elusive. Wade Phillips and company are trying to figure out how to exploit that explosiveness, and just the mere thought of it makes my mouth water.

Before the toe injury ended his season last year, we got a glimpse of just how talented Jones was whenever he had the ball in his hands.  Jones made the most of his limited playing time in ‘08, and averaged 8.9 yards on 30 carries and returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown. He also had three touchdown runs of 20 yards or more, including a 60-yarder at Lambeau Field. Wow!

I expect we’ll see plenty of Felix Jones in the pre season starting with tonight’s game. Watching Felix Jones emerge as one of the NFL’s most exciting players will be one of my favorite parts of what is bound to be a fantastic season for the Cowboys.

It’s A Marty B TV Marathon!

Poor Marty B has been getting a lot of flack lately for his You Tube videos which he enjoys making and having fun with.

I don’t like all of them, but I don’t begrudge the guy for having some fun with his friends and family and being gracious enough to share his personal videos with us.

I wish they would just leave the guy alone, and let him be who he is. At least he’s not getting pulled over with a .45 under his car seat and bag of grass in the glove compartment, or shooting up strip clubs, or torturing animals. Give the guy a break… 

Here are some his latest videos (including the one everybody’s groaning about). He has dozens of videos on his site, so I picked out my four favorites. Which one do you like best?

How can you not like Mary B moving and grooving to the sound of the Temptations? This one may not be as funny as the other three, but I give it kudos for style.

This video was the second video to get Mary B in some hot water. He calls it the Black Olympics, but I call it two brothers (I’m talking real brothers Marty and Mike) goofing off and having a little fun at home. I find it very funny and if it were Bernie Mac and Eddie Murphy doing this skit, nobody would have a problem with it. (Except maybe Newt Gingrich and Bill O’Reilly) Here’s what Marty B had to say about it:

“I get criticized every day,” he said. “It was really nothing… We were in the kitchen eating chicken, watermelon. We had cornbread and we’re drinking Kool-Aid. We’re like man, we’re eating every stereotype. Let’s see who can eat the chicken the fastest… it was all fun and games.

“Stereotypes are something we deal with every day. If we make a joke about it, that’s even funnier.”

Here’s a video that’s great for any time of the day especially when you’re getting ready for breakfast, or in Marty B’s case, lunch. This video isn’t as spicy as his other ones, but it does have some nice texture and crunch to it.

Marty B goes shopping for some new equipment to deck out the new studio he’s building in his house. Listen to him free-styling about 2 minutes in, pretty damn good for freestylin’ on the fly. I think it’s great that Marty B has something to fall back on just in case his football career goes belly up. (Just kidding Marty B, I’m keepin’ it real just the way you like it!)

So which one is your favorite?

Check them all out on Marty B TV.

Cowboys Extra Points: Hurd, Austin, Bennett…

extrapts2Is anyone else becoming concerned about the health of wide receivers Sam Hurd and Miles Austin? I read on Matt Mosley’s blog on ESPN that Austin did light running because of a hamstring injury while Hurd is still missing time because of a quad injury. We all know that both players were out last season but we are relying on them this upcoming season more than ever. I hope they can heal and get back to work fast!

No need to worry about those Pacman Jones rumors from earlier this week. Even though Pacman still lives and Texas, that doesn’t suggest he’s coming back. Plus Jerry Jones said Monday afternoon, “I have no plans to bring Adam back.” Even though we know how Jerry can easily change his mind I don’t think this is one of those occasions.

I wonder if the young DB’s took that Pacman nonsense to heart because they had a hell of a practice today. As previously reported by Rob V., the defense has been extremely impressive. Everywhere I look for Cowboys news is reporting that the defense was on fire today. Now that’s news I like to report!

I continue to read wonderful things of Martellus Bennett‘s talent. Word is that Bennett will be incorporated more in two tight end sets this season, as the Cowboys plan the 22-year old a bigger role. His speed and strength continues to impress and draw attention. However, he will still be second string behind veteran Jason Witten.

Cowboys fans aren’t as patient as DeMarcus Ware regarding a new contract and securing the priceless player for years to come. Jerry made a comment about Ware’s future deal as posted on ESPN last week:

…the Cowboys don’t necessarily have to get something done with Ware because of the potential of an uncapped year in 2010. But Jones said Thursday that he’s not factoring that into negotiations with Ware.

“I don’t think that’s a factor,” said Jones. “We’ve already made plans to get things done.”

That’s good news, I guess.

Chiefs Sign Former Cowboys TE Tony Curtis

As reported by dallascowboys.com, The Kansas City Chiefs have signed Tony Curtis to fill in a roster spot left open when they traded Tony Gonzales to Atlanta.

The Kansas City Chiefs announced the signing of former Cowboys tight end Tony Curtis today. Curtis was one of five restricted free agents for the Cowboys this season, but the team did not submit a tender offer for the former undrafted free agent.

Curtis came to the Cowboys after the 2005 draft and spent more than a year on the team’s practice squad. He had a short stint on the active roster in 2006, then went to NFL Europe in 2007.

A 6-5, 251-pound project out of Portland State, Curtis may best be remembered for his three catches in 2007, all of which went for touchdowns. He proved versatile as a blocker this season, filling in for injured fullback Deon Anderson against Green Bay in Week 3.

It was Curtis who blew his assignment on the blocked punt against Arizona that not only cost the Cowboys the game, but put Mat McBriar out for the season. He began the season as the usual No. 2 tight end, but eventually saw his playing time decreased as rookie Martellus Bennett matured in the offense.

The Chiefs had previously met with Cowboys unrestricted free agent safety Keith Davis this off-season, but the special teams captain left without an offer.

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.

Cowboys Extra Points: Moving Forward

Dallas Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett has joined the blogging world on the Dallas Morning News website. He will be taking the place of former Cowboys linebacker Kevin Burnett. You can visit Marty B’s blog here.

Outspoken wide receiver Patrick Crayton is getting some heat about comments he has made recently. However, I find this one quote to be rather refreshing:

“It’s time to move forward, nothing we can do about last year. Once it became Jan. 1, 2009, you can’t go back. Our deal is 2009.”

Cory Procter signed a $1.545 million 1-year deal today with the Cowboys. The offensive lineman will backup at guard and center and be ready to go should there be any injuries.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

The Titans have asked the NFL to investigate the Redskins about violating NFL tampering rules. The Redskins signed former Titan Albert Haynesworth to a monster deal the minute free agency began.

Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth has formally been charged with DUI manslaughter. Stallworth hit and killed a 59-year old man in Florida last month while under the influence.

Jay Cutler seems to be the talk of the sports world this offseason. The Broncos have confirmed they will trade him. They are asking for two first round draft picks.