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A Win Is A Win…Right?

Dallas Cowboys 26 – Kansas City Chiefs 20, in OVERTIME. Yes I did say overtime, a place Dallas really should of never been in this game. I will give credit to the Chiefs for their hard fought part of the game, they came to play. But the lack-luster performance of the Cowboys still has me very concerned for any legitimate run at the Super Bowl. This turned out to be a classic example of how the Dallas Cowboys now play their games, ugly. By the end I had handfuls of hair on the floor to pickup, and heard inappropriate words coming out of my mouth I didnt even know I knew (sorry kids). But they did get the win which in the big picture is the most important thing and we will take it.

However it does bring up the fact that they still have a lot of work to do, and there are changes that need to be made. If you look at just the stats of this game, 498 total yards (348 passing, 150 yards rushing) you would think this team was a model of efficiency. But 119 of those passing yards came on two receptions to Miles Austin, one being a 60 yard touchdown and the other being a 59 yard touchdown and both mainly because of the yards after the catch Austin was able to get after breaking tackles. Miles did a great job filling in for the ailing Roy Williams who didnt even make the trip to Kansas City. Tashard Choice taking the extra carries that would of gone to Felix Jones (knee) also did a nice job when called upon. Choice had 92 yards and a touchdown on only 8 carries.

One statistic that really gets under my skin, and seems to be a staple in every Cowboys game and season is the amount of penalties they have. 13 penalties for 90 yards, 13 for 90?! How can you expect to win with that many penalties and that many yards? If this game was against a team even slightly better than the Chiefs the Cowboys would of lost this game, that is unacceptable and shows a huge lack of discipline. As I continue to watch Dallas games I am starting to see a few things that add to my concern for this team.

Wade Phillips is one of the concerns. I have no ill will towards Wade Phillips, seems like a nice guy, probably easy to get a long with, but he may be too nice. He doesn’t seem like the Head Coach type. Obviously I dont know him, I am not at team meetings or practices but I get the feeling he doesn’t know how to yell, or especially motivate. It seems that his personality actually carries over to the team which could be hurting them. Eventually owner Jerry Jones will make a change at Head Coach for his team, not sure when but it will happen, it has to. Another observation I really noticed in this game was lack of composure in Tony Romo. He seems to over throw, or throw behind players at even the slightest feeling of pressure. He is a quarterback and needs to be able to throw accurately while under pressure and then take a hit.

Like I said earlier, the Dallas Cowboys have a lot of work still to do. The good thing is the season is still young, and there is plenty of time to make the changes necessary to become a dominate team. But it seems to me that these issues are the same issues we have been talking about for the past few seasons with no better results. Stop the penalties, Romo stand and deliver, Wade Phillips grow a back bone and motivate or move on, and I think the rest will fall into place. We have a bye week next week so lets get healthy, then we come back and take it to the Atlanta Falcons in Dallas. This will be a good test for the Boys to see how far they have come, lets get another win, and this time make it an unquestionable one.

One Game Down, 15 To Go

The Dallas Cowboys went into week one with many questions, but the biggest probably being could they replace the big plays lost with the release of Owens? Well with a 66-yard TD to Roy Williams, a 42-yard pass to Miles Ausitin, and an 80-yard td to Patrick Crayton, I would say it was replaced this game.

Our 3-headed running attack looked really good also. Tashard Choice and Felix Jones were a very good change of pace to Marion Barber who racked up 79 yards.

I do have a couple problems with our defense. If we have safeties back helping deep what sense does it make to have our corners play almost 10 yards off the line of scrimmage every down? We are being killed in the flat and on short out and slant routes. This is partly because they are so far away that when the reciever catches the ball they have to fly up and usually miss the tackle. In my opinion this should be changed. It has been the same thing the last few years and it kills us.

But overall it was very impressive to see our team go down to Tampa and drop 34 points on the road. As the game went on, the defense did tackle alot better than in the first quarter.

It looks like we can definitely challenge for this division title.

Around the NFL

Mathew Stafford played his first NFL game yesterday and threw it alot. Unfortunately he threw it to the Saints defense three separate times and finished with zero touchdowns and only 205 yards. I think Stafford is realizing now that the NFL is a totally different beast than college. Calvin Johnson did have a pretty good day even though he was kept out of the endzone.

Mark Sanchez went down to Houston and systematically took apart the Texans defense. Even though he threw a pick, he also threw a TD and finished with 272 yards in his NFL debut.

Michael Vick might actually become the starting quarterback for Philly, a lot sooner than anybody expected. On a TD run in Carolina, Donovan McNabb slid into the endzone and got hit in his back. McNabb immediately started rolling in extreme pain. Broken ribs is the official word out of Philly and that just isn’t good news for a team who has Super Bowl aspirations.

Bucs Walk The Plank As Cowboys Sail To 34-21 Win

Cowboys Buccaneers FootballQuarterback Tony Romo threw three touchdown passes to lead the Dallas Cowboys to a 34-21 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday to open the season with a convincing win.

The offense was clicking on all cylinders as Romo did a fantastic job of spreading the ball around and taking advantage of some huge blown coverages by the Buc’s secondary. And for those of you who were worried about the loss of Terrell Owens, you can all breathe easy as Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton and Austin Miles each hauled in a touchdown in the game.

Romo completed 16-of-27 passes for 353 yards, a career high, and tossed three touchdown passes. It was the most yards he has ever thrown in his career. His first strike was to Miles Austin, a 42-yard touchdown catch in the final minute of the first half to put Dallas up 13-7 at halftime. It was a picture perfect catch and run for Miles. 

Romo threw his second touchdown pass, a 66-yard strike to Roy Williams, to give the Cowboys a 20-7 in the third quarter, and then found wide receiver Patrick Crayton with an 80-yard strike. Crayton had a huge day ringing up four catches for 135 yards. Tight end Jason Witten also had a fine day with five catches for 71 yards vs. the Bucs.

The Cowboys also were solid on the ground and racked up 118 yards led by Marion Barber who had 79 yards and a six-yard touchdown run.

Nick Folk had a busy day and got us on the board with two field goals in the first quarter, giving the Cowboys a 6-0 lead to get things started. Folk nailed a booming 51-yard field goal, and then followed it up with a 22-yard chip shot.

Defensively, they played cohesively and got the job done in the last three quarters after allowing the Bucs’ Cadillac Williams to run wild in the first quarter. There were a couple injury scares when both DeMarcus Ware and Gerald Sensabaugh got the worst of two tackles, but Ware came back in the game in the next series and Sensabaugh said he’s fine and suffered a sore rib. Sensabaugh had a key moment in the game when he blocked a Buccaneers field goal.

Matt McBriar was looking good, and the Cowboys had no turnovers in the game. They even held the penalties to just 4 for 41 yards.

All in all, it was a great victory so let’s enjoy it!

Go Cowboys!

Week 1 Preview: Cowboys at Buccaneers

The time has come my fellow football fanatics! Football season is officially here and the Cowboys first game of the year begins in less than an hour.

The anticipation has built up to the max and all we can do now is watch and cheer! I’ve been watching ESPN this morning, NFL Countdown. Don’t worry they still hate us. Funny how some things never change.

As for our team, everyone looks ready to go. Sam Hurd and Miles Austin are both ready to play and needed on special teams especially. That means that rookie Kevin Ogletree has been declared inactive for today’s game, after an amazing preseason I find that very odd.

The inactive list is as follows:

WR Kevin Ogletree
S Mike Hamlin
LB Jason Williams
G Montrae Holland
C Duke Preston
T Pat McQuistan
3rd QB Stephen McGee
OLB Curtis Johnson

There is a chance for rain today in Tampa Bay but the temperature will remain in the mid-80s. Unless thunderstorms strike heavy it should be decent weather.

We will be hosting a Live Game Chat starting at kickoff throughout the entire game. We invite you to join fellow Cowboys fanatics, LSS Staff and friends to discuss the game, cheer the Boys, and anything else that comes up over the course of 4 quarters.

My prediction: Cowboys 34 – Bucs 17

Cowboys News Heading Into Week 1 of 2009

Welcome to opening night of the 2009 NFL season. Sure it’s not the Cowboys, but it’s real football and I can not wait for it to start. The Cowboys have been quiet this preseason, except for the video board that took up the headlines for two weeks! I loved that the team was focused on football and there was no circus in town. The Cowboys have had so much negative headlines over the last few years, so it was nice that the main player in the news this preseason was Kevin Ogletree. Seems like everyone is doing the right things to get themselves better. And it’s also clear that they do not let what others (the media) say about them affect them. Sunday is fast approaching. Let’s get this season started the right way.

Here are some news and notes from today reported by DallasNews.com.

Update on DeMarcus Ware

Ware’s agent Pat Dye met with Stephen Jones this afternoon to discuss the new contract. Progress was made, but it’s unsure how much progress. Ware is scheduled to make $1.005 million and without a collective bargaining agreement he would become a restricted free agent after the 2009 season. There does not seem to be a deadline in getting a new deal done and both sides are determined not to let this become a distraction.

“I don’t want it to be and I know they don’t want it to be a distraction for DeMarcus,” Dye said. “Up to this point, it hasn’t been, and we’ll do our best not to let it be.”

“It was very, very cordial,” Dye said. “They made some significant moves in certain components of the contract and we made some significant moves on certain components of the contract. I think it was a very constructive discussion, but until you reach a result or have a result, how do you measure progress?”

“I wouldn’t say anything is closer,” Ware said, “but I would say the process is still going. We’re still trying to get some things done. They’re trying to show they want me here and I’m trying to show them I want to be here.”

In 2008 Ware recorded 20 sacks to lead the NFL. He also had his first 100 tackle season along with eight tackles for losses and six forced fumbles. Ware would like to get another 20 sacks in 2009.

“That’s always motivating but at the end of the day your goal is to try and get it again, but you’ve got to look at ‘how effective can I be?’ ” Ware said. “Can I be more effective than I was last season? I feel like with what I’ve done and what we do now, I can be.”

Team Captains announced

The Cowboys announced four full-time Captains for the 2009 season: Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Bradie James and DeMarcus Ware. Sounds like the right choices since these four are the veteran leaders on offense and defense. There will also be a fifth Captain every week for special teams which be different for every game. For the Tampa Bay game it will be Matt McBriar. Ware will be the only new Captain out of the four this season.

“He works hard all the time, and he has a great attitude,” Phillips said. “That’s the kind of captain you want. By his actions certainly and the way he works, he’s a great example.”

Miles Austin and Sam Hurd

Miles Austin  and Sam Hurd have announced that they should be fine for the Tampa Bay game on Sunday. Austin tested the hamstring during practice yesterday and said he had no issues with it.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Austin said. “I’m ready to play.”

The Bookends

We all know how great of a player DeMarcus Ware is and because of that fact we should listen when he says that Anthony Spencer is ready for a breakout season in 2009. Spencer has been playing behind Greg Ellis since being drafted in 2007. Now that Ellis is no longer with the team Spencer has his chance to show everyone what can do. And Ware believes he will.

“I’m really looking forward to it. You know how they always say, can he fill Greg’s shoes? Everybody’s going to stop talking and they’re going to see him putting pressure on the quarterback, stopping the run, still being able to drop. He’s a smart guy. In practice, he’s hardly making any mistakes. And he’s getting pressure on that quarterback, too.”

Emmitt’s prediction

The other day all-world running back Emmitt Smith said that the 2009 Cowboys would win seven games. That did not sit well with Tony Romo. I believe his response shows his maturity as a player and as a leader.

“People outside of this locker room, they don’t affect this football team,” Romo said. “We’ve really narrowed our focus. We don’t have time to discuss what different people might be saying or talking about our team, because it really doesn’t come out any way. It’s about the game. It’s about beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“This week, we’ll be able to go out and hopefully improve and get better. All we can do is do that. Whatever people might say or might not say, that’s for those people to talk about. But all we think about is the game and getting better today.”

Falling Miles Behind?

Miles AustinConflicting reports across the Cowboys media outlets have me concerned about Miles Austin. The wide receiver who was expected to step up this season hasn’t really given anyone reason to believe he can do his share for this team.

During the offseason Austin visited the New York Jets and fans were concerned about him possibly leaving the team. Turns out in hindsight that might not have been such a bad idea.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Miles Austin ‘hater’, I really like the guy and we’ve seen his potential and his smile lights up the stadium when he’s hauling in touchdowns. However, can he stay healthy?

Well, now they say Austin should be back to practice on Wednesday after being sidelined and missing numerous practices due to a sore hamstring. He was out last season, and this isn’t what you would call a nice start to a fresh new season.

The same thing can be said of Sam Hurd. Even our new number one Roy Williams has already been injured. These guys are way too young to be hurt so much, so early.

I should mention that Hurd and Williams did practice fully on Monday. I’m pretty sure Roy will be A-OK. Oh, and as for our youngest and newest receiver – Kevin Ogletree’s eye contusion seems to be all better as well.

Thank God we have a killer running back squad and arguably the best tight ends in the league, or I might be a little bit worried about our offense. Crazy thing is, there are people that have been arguing this point since the release of ‘you know who’ and I’ve ignored it and stood up for the WRs.

But you know what, maybe finally letting go of Isaiah Stanback is a sign that the ‘Boys have no more patience for lingering injuries…

Honestly, I hope they all recover and have a great year. That may be too optimistic but hey that’s what fans do!

P.S. Stay safe and healthy Patrick Crayton!

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?

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.

Cornerback
MIKE JENKINS VS. ORLANDO SCANDRICK
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
PATRICK CRAYTON VS. MILES AUSTIN
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
KYLE KOSIER VS. MONTRAE HOLLAND
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.

Linebacker
BOBBY CARPENTER VS. JASON WILLIAMS
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.

Dallas Cowboys Receiver Situation

In my opinion, the Dallas Cowboys did a good thing by releasing Terrell Owens earlier this year. Yes he scored touchdowns, but he also had a lot of crucial dropped passes. By releasing him they have now made way for the younger receivers to show what they can do.

We will now rely on WR Roy Williams who did a lot of great things while in Detroit. He will be the number one receiver. We also have Patrick Crayton. In my opinion, Crayton will only be an average receiver because he tends to make crucial mistakes.

It’s time that our young receivers step up and show that they have made progress since they have joined the Cowboys. Miles Austin has shown flashes of being a good receiver; he has speed and can make the clutch catch. Sam Hurd had made catches, although he is not that fast and he has been hurt. So far, he has not really convinced me that he will be great.

Then we have the often injured Isaiah Stanback. I believe the Cowboys should go ahead and let this guy go. He has tried to make the switch from QB to WR. While he may have been successful, with him being injured every year, it’s hard to say if he could pull it off. We could release him to make room for another receiver or at least another player that could help us now.

It remains to be seen whether these young receivers will fulfill the promise they have shown. If not, we may be looking for a couple more receivers later this year and another average season may be what we get.

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.

Miles Austin Doesn’t Get Big Contract, Yet

The Cowboys have signed Miles Austin to the $1.545 million,1-year tender offer he was given in free agency.

It’s a pretty smart move in my opinion. Why hand him a huge contract before he delivers? Not to say I don’t have confidence in Austin because I really like him a lot. It’s just that sometimes when you hand out a ton of money, players don’t work as hard. If that makes any sense.

“On your second contract, you get paid off what you’ve done, not what you might do,” Stephen Jones said.

See Stephen knows.

At least we won’t have a hold out with any of our receivers.

Draft Day Fast Approaching

As the 2009 NFL Draft fast approaches, I have read many articles about what the Cowboys will do with their first pick. All of these are opinions of course which is what makes draft day so much fun. Do they go best talent on the board no matter what position? Do they go for best talent in the most needed positions? Do they try to get back into the first round? Will Jerry Jones make a move that will change the whole look of the Cowboys draft? The Cowboys have 11 draft picks this year and I think it’s a great opportunity to add talent, depth and maybe even find those gems in the later rounds.

I would think Safety would be the Cowboys first concern with the release of Roy Williams and the options they currently have to play alongside Ken Hamlin. They have Keith Davis, Pat Watkins and newly signed Gerald Sensabaugh on the roster, but if either Louis Delmas from Western Michigan or Patrick Chung from Oregon are still available at pick 51 I would think it would be hard to pass them over. Both are excellent Safeties and should be able contribute early for the Cowboys and maybe even become a starter.

Then there is the question of Wide Receiver? What happens if there is still a top receiver on the board come pick 51? What if players like Hakeem Nicks or Brian Robiskie is still available for the Cowboys? You can’t have too many weapons on offense if you ask me. The Cowboys have Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton, Miles Austin and Sam Hurd, but if we can add a game breaker at wide receiver it will be hard to pass up.

There are so many options and only a few minutes to make the pick. I’m sure whatever the pick is it will be debated by all. Come pick 51 I’m not sure I would want to be Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips. I believe they will have a lot of options and directions they can go to add more talent to the already talented Cowboys roster. When it comes to Jerry Jones anything is possible. Draft Day is like Christmas morning…you know you’re going to get things, you just hope they are things that will be great! Will the players selected be the missing pieces to the Cowboys puzzle? Time will tell. All I know for sure is that I will be sitting, watching and waiting this weekend as I always do.