Weekly Game Balls: Week 7

How ’bout them Cowboys! Huge win for our boys in blue and silver last Sunday.This win might be a sign of things to come.

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Miles Austin, again.

How can we deny another game ball to him two games in a row? Miles is proving why we got rid of T.O.

Austin has the game breaking speed and excellent route running that the Cowboys have been lacking for a while.

Austin finished the day with 171 yards on only six catches. He scored two touchdowns along the way. The speedster from little known Monmouth University has given the teams of the NFL a reason to take notice.

We should give Jerry Jones some credit for finding 2 diamonds in the rough. Miles and Tony.

Great work once again Miles!


This week’s defensive/special teams game ball goes to DeMarcus Ware.

The sack flood gates have opened!

The Cowboys sackmaster celebrated his new deal with two sacks and heavy quarterback pressure for the whole game.

Ware also had a forced fumble.

He is a leader on defense and deserved every penny Jerry paid for him.

DeMarcus also finished the day with 2 solo tackles. He is the cornerstone of the new improved defense.

All quarterbacks should be running for their football lives. DeMarcus is here to stay.


Congratulations to Austin and Ware for their great contribution to the victory.

Honorable Mention: Tony Romo, Mike Jenkins

Week 7: Cowboys 37 – Falcons 21

Cowboys take win #4 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Tony Romo went 21 of 29 for 311 yards and three touchdowns.

Miles Austin had another career game recording 171 yards on 6 catches and two touchdowns.

Patrick Crayton had one touchdown on offense and one on special teams after returning a punt for 73 yards.

Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick both had interceptions and Demarcus Ware had two sacks.

Full recap to follow.

Quotes: Coach and Players Reflect on Week 4

Wade Phillips: “Our team is going to stay together. Our team is going to keep fighting, keep working harder, keep trying to do the things it takes to get better, and we’re going to do that getting ready for this next ball game.

“This team has worked a long time and very hard to stop believing in what we’re doing, stop trusting each other. We’re going to work at it and get better and do something about it.”

Mike Jenkins: “After a loss like that it really hurts. It’s going to happen no matter what, the finger-pointing. Just don’t let it come out, and if you do, do it in a manly fashion. Go up to the person you think had a bad game or you think could have done better, and let them know it. Don’t do it by telling everybody and putting their business out there. At the end of the day you hug each other and still be brothers, and come back as a team.”

“I hope it doesn’t turn out like last year. The situation last year, just finger-pointing, everybody. Just come in, watch the film, everybody correct each other and don’t take it personally. That’s the main thing we need to do is not take it personally and just stick together.”

Jason Witten: “I think this team has done a great job of understanding and learning from that [last season]. Just stay at the grind. We still have a lot of football left and everybody’s playing hard.”

Patrick Crayton: “It’s time for us to really check ourselves now and say, `Hey, look here, regardless of what it’s going to take, we have to come out and we have to start winning these games ugly at the end and be consistent. We’ve got too good of an offense to even put our defense in a situations to where they’ve got to carry us.”

Patrick Crayton (as usual had a lot to say): “We’ve got five freaks of nature up front that are calling for us to run the ball, you would think you’d listen to those guys. We’re trying to grind it out and get an ugly victory. We’re on the road against a 3-0 football team with the No. 1 defense and we blew them out of the water to start the game off, don’t deviate away from that.”

Tony Romo: “When the game is in that situation at that time, we knew that our defense was playing great football and any kind of points would have helped out tremendously. It’s very frustrating not to be able to do that.”

Tony Romo: “It’s a long season. There’s going to be a lot of ups and downs along the way. You obviously want to have one of those streaks where you can run off six, eight wins in a row. Hopefully we can get that started this week.”

Ken Hamlin: “Who says we’re mediocre? Being 2-2 doesn’t mean you’re mediocre. I can go back in the past and go through teams who were 1-2 or 2-2 or whatever at this time and still went to the Super Bowl.”

Bradie James: “We still have a lot of ball to play. But next month, we won’t have a lot of ball to play. So we need to right some wrongs right now and find a way.”

And lastly, my personal favorite…

Keith Brooking: “We didn’t play good enough to win. It doesn’t matter what the offense did. We went into the half and it was our game to win. We were up 10-7 and if they don’t score anymore then we win. They had one long drive on us and one long play. I don’t care how good we played for 64-of-65 plays if there are 65 plays in the game you have to play well for 65 plays. I don’t want to hear the offense getting blamed. We win as a team and we lose as a team.”

“We’re done with the first quarter of the season. The ball game’s tied up. We’ve got to win the next three quarters. It’s the only way I know to look at it.

“We win the next three quarters and we’re going to be where we want to be.”

***NOTE: These quotes were taken from,, Yahoo! Sports, and

Secondary- What Is Wrong?

Wide receiver Steve Smith dives in for a fourth-quarter touchdown as the Giants spoil the opener of the Cowboys's new stadium.

After watching the first two games of season I have to admit, I am not sure that our secondary is taking this seriously. I understand that Gerald Sensabaugh is new to the team, and that Jenkins and Scandrick are now rotating starts, and Terence Newman has had some injury issues, but come on. We gave up 300 plus passing yards to Tampa Bay and another 300 plus to the Giants.

Something is wrong with this picture. I watched both games and I’ve seen things such as playing 10-15 yards off the line of scrimmage. That allows the receiver to come out and makes an easy catch. Sometimes the corners are playing as if they have safety help, but the help never shows up.

According to head coach Wade Phillips we are playing more man coverage, yet how do we let receivers made easy catches time after time? If the D-line and linebackers do not get pressure on the QB the secondary cannot cover all day, but a lot of the yards are not due to this. Yes it may take some time for the secondary to gel and understand what their responsibilities are, I just hope it does not take until late in the season otherwise we will be again sitting at home for the playoffs.

We have good corners and Sensabaugh is supposed to be a coverage safety, so lets hope that they get it together soon.

Defense Adjusts In Second Half

On Sunday the Cowboys played the Buccaneers and in the first half, the Cowboys defense looked a little lost to me. They were giving up gains of 7-yards,14-yards to Tampa’s running back “Cadillac” Williams. I was not sure what the defense was doing.

C. Williams gained almost 80 yards in the first half and frankly, I was a little bit worried. I do not know what the problem was, but Tampa Bay was ripping off big gains in the running game and almost the same in the passing game.

The secondary had quite a few blown coverages. Even though Mike Jenkins was solid, he did give up some big gains. On most of them it seemed as though he thought he had help. He was not playing the right technique which allowed the receiver to get inside for easy catches.

In the second half the defense clamped down on the running game, however the secondary still gave up some big catches.

The coaches really have to look at this game and see what was going on. The Giants are next and we really need to be able to shut down the run and pass.

All in all the defense did enough to help us win, however we need some big improvements.

Poll Results: Key Position Battles

At the beginning of Training Camp we asked this question:

Which of these key position battles do you think will be the most interesting?

Poll ResultsThe results were a dead heat between Jenkins/Scandrick (38%) and Crayton/Austin (38%).  In third place was the battle at offensive guard position with Kyle Kosier and Montrae Holland who received 15% of the votes. Finally, linebackers Bobby Carpenter and Jason Williams received a measly 8%.

This poll is full of so much irony. In the end Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick have been told they are both starters who will alternate starts and playing time. Miles Austin didn’t really show us that he deserves to start over vet Patrick Crayton. Kosier and Holland?… boring. Bobby Carpenter and Jason Williams, well that was easily answered when Williams got injured.

Maybe we should have had a 5th choice between Isaiah Stanback and Kevin Ogletree, but who knew?

New poll: What are your expectations for the upcoming season?

Cowboys Add DBs to Roster; More Rookies Out

As reported at the Cowboys added two defensive backs today. DeAngelo Willingham was claimed off waivers from the Tampa Bay Bucs and Jeremy Haynes was also picked up.

Willingham was cut by Tampa Bay following its last preseason game. He played cornerback and safety in college at Tennessee.

Haynes played at wide receiver his first two years at McNeese State before moving to cornerback. He was cut by the Titans during training camp.

It’s clear both positions were in need of depth.

 Cornerback Depth Chart

Terence Newman, Mike Jenkins, Orlando Scandrick, Alan Ball, Mike Mickens

Safety Depth Chart

FS – Ken Hamlin, Courtney Brown, DeAngelo Smith

SS – Gerald Sensabaugh, Pat Watkins, Michael Hamlin


Class of 2009

 No. 69 (third round) – OLB Jason Williams – Western Illinois – Out 4-6 weeks
 No. 75 (third round) – OT Robert Brewster – Ball State – Out for the Season
 No. 101 (fourth round) – QB Stephen McGee – Texas A&M – Out 3-6+ weeks
 No. 110 (fourth round) – OLB Victor Butler – Oregon St.
 No. 120 (fourth round) – DE Brandon Williams – Texas Tech – Out For the Season
 No. 143 (fifth round) – CB DeAngelo Smith – Cincinnati
 No. 166 (fifth round) – S Michael Hamlin – Clemson – Out 6+ weeks
 No. 172 (fifth round) – K David Buehler – USC
 No. 197 (sixth round) – S Stephen Hodge – TCU – KNEE (due back this week)
 No. 208 (sixth round) – TE John Phillips – Virginia
 No. 227 (seventh round) – CB Mike Mickens – Cincinnati
 No. 229 (seventh round) – WR Manuel Johnson – Oklahoma


Cowboys Extra Points: Starters, Backups and Poison Ivy?

extrapts2Duke Preston is on his way to Dallas, and pending a physical could be the team’s new backup center behind Andre Gurode as reported by Nick Eatman on the Cowboys’ official site.

Preston was released by Green Bay on Tuesday after being with the team since March. The veteran could provide depth to the O-line as he can play center, tackle and guard. Preston spent the last four years with Buffalo.

Possibly one of the biggest battles this preseason has been (as expected) between Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick at cornerback. Wade Phillips said both are doing so well and it’s a tough decision, one that he probably won’t make until the season opener. Scandrick is expected to start this Saturday and Jenkins in the final preseason game.

Now here’s a doozy… Bobby Carpenter did not participate in practice today. According to Tim MacMahon at DMN Carpenter got poison ivy in his eye and it was swelled shut.

Roy Williams continues to receive criticism from the media, including former Cowboy greats, but he isn’t letting it get to him.

“It doesn’t fuel me. Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders, Darren Woodson — I love it, I appreciate it.

“I appreciate it because if you sit around and have to hear how good you are all the dang time, you have to have that Jerry Rice mind-set of, ‘I’m not good enough.

“When I have guys, especially NFL greats and the greatest that played here in Dallas, saying that I can’t get the job done, and I’m not a No. 1, it makes me feel good.

“It makes me want to go out there and prove to them and everybody else across the world who listens to those guys because, obviously, everybody thinks they know it all, that I can do my job.”

Storylines Aplenty As 2009 Season Approaches

There is certainly no absence of story lines as 2009 training camp comes to an end in the Alamo City.  Position battles, new faces, and players past are but a few of the most popular headliners going into this year.  The house-cleaning done by Jerry and Stephen Jones in the off-season has left several important positions vacated and free for the taking.  And with that, here are a few positions to keep a watchful eye on as pre-season play progresses. 


Wide Receiver

Wide receiver is, without a doubt, the unprecedented position of interest heading into this year.  The most popular topic is obviously the departure of Terrell Owens, who spent the last three seasons as the most productive receiver the Cowboys have had since Michael Irvin.  Owens’roy-williams-hookem departure means that Roy Williams will take the reigns as the number one receiver in the Dallas offense.  Many are quick to scrutinize the unproductive season Williams had last year, but nary a soul remembers that Williams did not arrive in Dallas until the week six bye, and had very little time to learn the playbook.  Many also forget that nagging injuries hampered Williams for most of the season and affected his speed, quickness off the line, timing with Romo, etc.  With Williams at full health this year, look for him to give the Cowboys good production as the number one receiver.  Also look for Patrick Crayton to regain the number two receiver spot that he held two years ago.  Many also forget that Crayton posted stellar numbers as the number two receiver in 2007.  The Cowboys also went without Sam Hurd for a good portion of last year, and were without Miles Austin’s services for several weeks, as well.  Look for the Cowboys to use Mile Austin’s size and speed to stretch the field, and look for Hurd to be used in multiple receiver formations.  The fifth wide receiver position will likely be up for grabs between Isaiah Stanback, Manny Johnson, and Jesse Holley, who won the final roster spot on 4th and Long.  Youngsters on the outside looking in include Mike Jefferson, Travis Wilson, Kevin Ogletree, Julian Hawkins, and Willie Reid.  For what it’s worth, I asked Isaiah Stanback via Twitter if he thought Jesse Holley was any good, to which he replied simply, “I’m better.” 



It seems like the secondary tops these lists every year for one reason or another, and this season is no different.  Watchful eyes will be locked on the secondary this year to see if the departures of several key veterans will pay dividends.  Gone is safety Roy Williams, 547186who since 2002 had been a staple in the Dallas secondary.  Though he had several outstanding years with the Cowboys, Williams seemed to fall off the map the past several years.  He became a severe liability in pass coverage, and his run support also became less effective.  To replace Williams, the Cowboys signed Gerald Sensabaugh from Jacksonville.  Sensabaugh is better known for his coverage skills, having also played stints at cornerback for the Jaguars.  Also gone is cornerback Anthony Henry, who was traded to Detroit in exchange for Jon Kitna.  Looking to fill Henry’s shoes are second year players Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick.  Jenkins would seem to have the edge because of his first round draft status.  But Scandrick, who looks to be the steal of the 2008 draft, showed last year that he is also worthy of the starting job.  It will be interesting to see how the Cowboys will split time between these two young talents, if that is the approach they decide to pursue.  I personally believe the Cowboys have three very talented rookies in Michael Hamlin, DeAngelo Smith, and Mike Mickens.  Both Mickens and Hamlin were both projected to go as high as the second round in this year’s draft, and it will be exciting to see if they live up to their pre-draft stock.  Eyes will also be upon Pat Watkins to see if he can be a key contributor in the secondary after a nagging neck injury last season landed him on injured reserve. 



With Greg Ellis little more than an afterthought in Dallas, outside linebacker will also be an area of interest heading into the season.  The Cowboys drafted Anthony Spencer (A fellow Boilermaker) several years ago with the intent of grooming him to replace Greg Ellis.  To answer the qFALCONS SAINTSuestion that my favorite Smiths song asks, the time is certainly now for Spencer.  He has undoubtedly shown signs of being DeMarcus Ware’s counterpart the last two seasons, but has been somewhat inconsistent due to a few injuries and playing behind Ellis.  At full health this year, Spencer will benefit from the constant attention that DeMarcus Ware demands from offenses, and will compliment him well on the opposite side.  The Cowboys linebacking corps will also have a new face in the middle, with Keith Brooking arriving from Atlanta.  He should be a much better fit next to Bradie James than Zach Thomas was last year.  The Cowboys also have four talented rookies joining the linebacker corps this year in Jason Williams, Victor Butler, Brandon Williams, and Stephen Hodge.  With Greg Ellis gone, look for Butler and Brandon Williams to shoulder the backup outside linebacker duties.  Jason Williams will be battling for playing time at nickel linebacker with Bobby Carpenter, and Hodge will provide depth at middle linebacker.  Look for all of these rookies to contribute heavily on special teams, as well.  One linebacker everyone should have on their radar is Bobby Carpenter.  He has not exactly lived up to expectations since arriving in 2006, but it is much too early to toss him onto the scrap pile with a bust tag.  Carpenter has gotten less than a fair shake since arriving in Dallas, having been moved around to different linebacker spots multiple times.  It would appear, for now at least, that Carpenter has found a home at nickel linebacker, a title previously held by Kevin Burnett.  If Carpenter excels at the nickel linebacker spot early on, expect him to get more playing time in other packages, as well. 

As the start of another football season grows closer with each passing day, the chills of autumn grow more intense as they go up and down my spine.  Hold onto your hats fellow Cowboys brothers and sisters, for this season promises to bring much excitement.  I can feel it in these silver and blue bones of mine. 



In the past couple of weeks, I have done quite a bit of networking with several Cowboys players on Twitter, routinely chatting with names like Martellus Bennett, Isaiah Stanback, Gerald Sensabaugh, and Jason Williams.  Having the opportunity to network with men that I call my heroes is truly amazing.  As a boy knowing I wanted to “do John Madden’s job,” I never would have fathomed that I would be able to chat with players from my favorite team with the mere click of a button.  I want to thank these gentlemen for taking time out of their hectic schedule to network with fans such as myself.  Keep it real Cowboys fans.

Breaking Camp And Ready For Some Football

The Boys have left the Alamodome and are now preparing for some football in their new home. The consensus among the players is that this years camp was much tougher, and more focused than years passed, especially after last years circus.

Gone are the likes of Terrell Owens, and Adam “Pacman” Jones who always brought their own distractions wherever they went. And lets not forget about Jessica Simpson … or actually maybe we should. With her around it was clear to every fan that Romo’s head was never truly in the game. Hopefully this year he has his priorities straight, and his focus on the Lombardi Trophy. Oh yea and I almost forgot that other distraction that followed the entire team around last year, the HBO show “Hard Knocks”. It was fun to watch as a fan but if you think what it must of been like for the players being followed around all the time and every detail filmed. “It was a drama-free three weeks in San Antonio” reports, which is what we like to hear.

“This camp has been like two of the other camps put together. I haven’t heard anyone call this one cupcake,” linebacker Bradie James said.

Coach Wade Phillips wanted to push the team a bit more this camp, making sure they stay focused and to help them get stronger as a team.

“I am trying to do what helps this team. It’s a long season and the mental toughness is part of it,” Phillips said. “I say the mental part of it. When you get tired, that’s when the mental process comes in. I thought it was good for our guys. I think they have come through it well.

Phillips will have even more on his plate this season as he is also the teams defensive coordinator.

With camp ended the Cowboys stayed fairly healthy. They will be without Fullback Deon Anderson for some time after he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last week. But both corners Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman who have been a little banged up returned to practice and are set to go. Roy Williams wrist is improving and barring any set backs he should be fine as well.

Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will have a three headed monster in Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice to get the ball to. The idea is that Barber with use his brute strength to soften and beat down the defense, then have Felix use his speed to fly by and around them. Choice will get a few carries a game as well to give Barber and Jones a break. Garrett is looking to get the ball to Felix 12-15 times a game and doesn’t care if its by air in the passing attack or handing it to the speedster.

With so many weapons, and as long as everyone can stay healthy, the tougher camp and the time spent together could push the Cowboys back into the elusive playoffs, then watch out!!

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.

Here Are Your Key Position Battles

Former Dallas Cowboys beat writer, Tom Orsborn, takes a look at some of the key position battles heading into training camp.

The battle for the cornerback spot opposite Terence Newman took a strange twist late last month when Jenkins declared via his blog that he’s the starter heading into training camp. The truth is the spot is up for grabs and that the two second-year players likely will slug it out well into the preseason. Jenkins is the better athlete and was the higher draft pick last year, but Scandrick’s confidence and football smarts make everyone wonder why he lasted until the fifth round.

Wide receiver
After getting most of the reps in the offseason, Crayton is the frontrunner for the No. 2 receiver job behind lead dog Roy Williams. But Jerry Jones loves Austin’s speed and potential and has even mentioned he believes Austin could approach Terrell Owens-like production. One problem, though: Austin has yet to prove he can stay healthy. His latest injury was a strained hamstring that sidelined him during minicamp.

Offensive guard
One of the biggest question marks entering camp is whether left guard Kosier can return to form after foot surgery. His injury problems were a big reason why the offensive line struggled at times last season. The Cowboys acquired Holland in a trade with Denver last preseason and he was slow to learn the offense. But the native of Jefferson, Texas, filled in for Kosier late in the season and could make a strong bid to unseat him.

Widely viewed as a first-round bust, Carpenter has a chance to shine as the replacement for nickel linebacker Kevin Burnett, who signed with San Diego in free agency. Carpenter’s finesse style makes him a natural to defend on passing downs, but Williams is a superb athlete with blazing speed. Still, it will take time for the third-round pick to learn the pro game, the main reason why Carpenter is favored to win this fight.

Here are a few other situations that bear watching.

We drafted kicker David Buehler in the fifth round and I’m sure he’ll be cutting into somebody’s time. I don’t see the wisdom in carrying three kickers on the team between Buehler, McBriar and Folk.  One of them could be traded.

Jerry Jones loves exposure, so don’t underestimate the presence of Jesse Holley in training camp. Not only will his success usher in a new breed of Cowboys fans courtesy of the reality show 4th and Long, but sales and marketing would get a huge boost in revenue if Holley were to make the team. Sam Hurd better be looking over his shoulder.

Lastly, who will replace the departed safety Roy Williams? Who will pair up with Ken Hamlin in the secondary? Some might think that Gerald Sensabaugh is a lock, but the Cowboys have not given up on Pat Watkins yet, and they did select DeAngelo Smith out of Cincinnati in the NFL Draft. I’m thinking that the ending to the story at safety hasn’t been written just yet.

Any way you look at it, there will be no shortage of battles and story-lines at this year’s training camp. So strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.