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Morning Radio and the Joy of a Quiet Offseason

Driving into work this morning I was flipping between Fox Sports Radio and ESPN Radio on XM. Most of the talk was about baseball and March Madness, but for a few minutes I heard some ranting regarding the new Jets/Giants stadium and their dilemma about who will open the season in the new home. After a coin toss by the commissioner it was decided that the Giants will open the stadium on Sunday September 12th and the Jets will open on the following Monday night to the huge MNF crowd.

First of all, can you imagine your team sharing a stadium with another team, even if they were in the other conference? I still find it ridiculous that they aren’t even in the state of New York. I guess some could argue that the Dallas Cowboys don’t play in Dallas but Arlington is a hell of a lot closer than say Louisiana or Oklahoma.

Another topic discussed on my morning drive radio programming also featured the Jets and their newly acquired running back LaDainian Tomlinson. The poor guy has gone from being the best in the biz to being a 3rd string back that fans hope they never see on the field. I’ve always liked LT, and I find it really sad how the world of sports works sometimes.

It seems the Jets really are trying to make some noise this offseason, but none of their moves have impressed me yet. In case you missed it they grabbed former Cowboy Nick Folk to a one year deal back in February. Their veteran kicker Jay Feely isn’t worried at all and expects a new deal despite the signing.

As for the Cowboys, everything is really quiet right now. Next month comes the draft and the release of the 2010 schedule.

StarStruck Graphics

For now you can relax and enjoy Spring Break, only five or so months until Preseason football… ;)

Are You a True Fan?

First of all, I want to wish all my fellow Cowboys fans Happy Holidays! I hope you all get everything you wish for and more.

I’m going to tell you all what I consider to be a true fan. Some of you may agree, and some may not. This is just my opinion. To me, a true fan is someone who still loves their team even if they are 1-15….or 16-0. No matter how many senseless mistakes they make that cause them to lose a game, a true fan will love them regardless. It’s like your own children, no matter how much they screw up, you’ll love them no matter what. Well, that’s how I am with the Dallas Cowboys. Yes, I’d much rather see them win every game but that is next to impossible. Even the Patriots couldn’t do that a few years ago.

Any team can win at any time and our Cowboys proved they got the skill and heart to win last week against the previously unbeaten New Orleans Saints. Can they do it again? Sure they can! Will they? I think that remains to be seen. They need to win both of their remaining games in order to solidify a playoff spot. I don’t see much opposition coming their way from the Redskins but the Eagles are another story. I’m praying Denver can beat Philly today and Dallas beats Washington tonight. That will put our Boys back in a tie for 1st place in the NFC East. And we all know that the game next week will be a battle for sure. Gonna keep my fingers crossed!

Now, I’m going to address the situation with Nick Folk. I caught some flack a few weeks ago when I said that Dallas needed to let him go. Was it a smart decision? I think so. The poor guy just hasn’t been the same since his off season hip surgery. I was sad to see this happen to someone so young (26 years old) and who had made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season! Folk helped the Cowboys to alot of wins over the last couple years and yet he also cost them some games.

I’m rather nervous about whether or not Suisham will be able to step up to the plate but what’s done is done and there isn’t much we can do to change it now. I honestly don’t think the Cowboys will keep him unless he has a stellar performance during the next 2 games and possibly in the playoffs. And yes, I still think Jerry Jones should fire Wade Phillips. He just doesn’t seem to click well with the team. I’ve even heard talk about how Jason Garrett would make a better head coach than Phillips although I don’t necessarily agree. If Phillips remains in Dallas for another season, I’ll be truly surprised. You never know what Jerry Jones will do.

Folk Gets the Boot and Suisham Gets the Nod

Shaun SuishamAs reported by several local sources, Nick Folk has been cut by the Dallas Cowboys. Shaun Suisham has been signed. You might remember him from a few years back. Redskins recently cut Suisham after he missed a 23-yarder.

Its good the Cowboys made a move, I just wish there were more options out there. Let’s hope Suisham makes the most of it his second time around.

Many fans were calling for Folk’s head after his miss last Saturday night after he missed a routine 24 yard field goal. Folk has made only 18 out of 28 field goals this season.

Suisham had made 18 of 21 FG attempts before being cut by Washington two weeks ago.

Ironically, Suisham will get to return to FedEx Field Sunday when the Cowboys travel to Washington.

***

Our own Joe D. predicted there would be open tryouts on Monday, great call!

Hat tip to TD and Nate the Cowboy Ninja for promptly shooting me the news.

Dallas Signs New Kicker, Plus Injury News

It is being reported by ESPN that the Cowboys have signed Shaun Suisham to be their new kicker. Suisham kicked in six games for the Cowboys in 2005-06. His most recent kicking job was with the Redskins this season. With the Redskins Suisham was 18 out of 21 on field goals, but his three misses were in games the Redskins could have won. One was against the Saints a few weeks back which caused his release and two were against the Cowboys when Dallas pulled off the victory with a last minute touchdown and won 7-6.

Now Suisham gets to return to FedEx field this Sunday night to go against the Redskins. It is not yet known what will happen to Nick Folk. I’ve heard reports that the Cowboys may put Folk on IR because of his off-season hip surgery. The Cowboys may know something that others do not concerning the hip and would rather not release him knowing how automatic he once was at still a very young age. In recent weeks the Cowboys have replaced holder Matt McBriar for Tony Romo in hope that it would help. In the Saints game we all must have felt a little better when Folk kicked a 44 yard field goal in the second quarter. But then in the fourth quarter Folk missed a 24 yard field goal that would have sealed the game.

Injury Update

Looks like offensive tackle Marc Colombo could be making his return this season. If the Cowboys earn a spot in the playoffs Colombo could make it make back for a Wildcard game.

Colombo is trying to come back from a fractured fibula and torn ligaments in his left ankle suffered against the Packers. Colombo also said that it wouldn’t be pain that stops him from returning, but it would be strength. He has been working out and rehabbing since his surgery. If he regains his strength it looks like he will try to play again. If Colombo can’t come back, then Doug Free will continue to be the starter. Free has done a very nice job as the starter the last five games.

Bringing The Heat

Before I get into my thoughts on the game and what it means for us, I want to make one small point.  FIRE NICK FOLK!!!!!!!!!!!. I am so sick and tired of them making excuses for him. He has lost his edge. They showed footage of pre game warm-ups by Nick Folk. If I am correct I believe they showed 7 attempts WITHOUT a holder. How many of those attempts did he make? NONE!!!!!!! How can you sit back and watch your “struggling” kicker  miss several warm-ups before game and then when the game is on the line, put him in??  That makes absolutely no sense to me. I am also totally against Romo holding kicks. What other team in the NFL, NCAA, High school or any other league you want to bring up has their starting QB holding kicks? None!!! When Kris Brown of the Texans missed those critical field goals for the Texans this year, did Kubiak think, hey I have an idea; let’s put Matt Schaub back there to hold the kicks so that Kris Brown can make them, no he did not. Again, FIRE NICK FOLK!!!!!

As for what this game means for us this season, we are one step closer to the playoffs. We need help from SF this weekend by taking down the Eagles. Also, being the die hard Cowboys fan that I am, it makes me sick to my stomach to even think about saying this, but we really need the Redskins to beat the Giants. Wow admitting that I want the skins to win is even hard to type but it has to be said.

Now for the game. YEAH BABY!! WOOOHOOOO!!! WAY TO GO BOYS!!!! Ok got that out of the way. We finally got to see the FULL potential that the cowboys have on the field each and every week. Romo and the offense looked flawless. The defense was brutal. The game was AMAZING. On the field Romo was the better of the 2 quarterbacks going 22/34 for a total of 333 yards and 1 touchdown with ZERO interceptions or fumbles and his ability to avoid the rush was able to get him 4 rushes for 21 yards. Our #1 receiver Miles Austin once again showed us why letting T.O. go was the best option for the team with 7 receptions for 139 yards and a touchdown. Jason Whitten had a good game with clutch catches when it mattered most, as he usually does, going for 44 yards on just 5 catches. Romo also distributed the ball well to several other options, giving the rest of our receivers and our running backs a total of 10 catches for 129 yards. Once again proving that the Dallas passing game is a force to be recon with.

Rushing rushing rushing. There is not much more to say about our ground game than, MARION BARBER!!!!!!! That man is a beast and was not going to be denied. Although he only had 17 rushing attempts he went for a hard fought 62 yards and 2 touchdowns. Felix Jones made his presence known not only on his 14 carries for 58 yards but also in the return game averaging 30 yards with one return of 41 yards. Let just say this is one ground game that was not going to be denied.

Ok, say it with me, DEFENSE!!! DEFENSE!!! DEFENSE!!! Wow what a performance our defense put up. Anthony Spencer is coming into his own and making all teams account for him. Our secondary is making other teams passing games quiver. Our linebackers are making running backs think maybe we should pass the ball more often. And then there is the man. The best defensive player in the league. The man that gets thru double teams to force QB’s to make errant throws, picks and run for their lives. Of course, you know I am talking about Demarcus Ware. After last week when all of our hearts stopped and the city of Dallas came to a complete stop and everyone was holding their breath, while Ware was being carted off the field, no one knew if he would play this week. Well, as we all know he did play and once again he dominated. He had a total of 2 sacks with 2 forced fumbles, and of course the key forced fumble at the end of the game with ten seconds left in the game to seal the victory for the Cowboys.

The Cowboys as a whole during the game Dominated every aspect of the game We had more first downs, 24 to 23, more total net yards, 436 to 336.  Rushing yards were to our advantage 145 to 65. Our defense held the high powered offense of the Saints to only 3 points in the first half and 17 points in the game with Drew Brees passing for under 300 yards and only touchdown. A very big key to the game was third down efficiency.  While Dallas went for 8 of 15 attempts on third down with a 53% efficiency rate the Saints only converted 1 third down during the game with an efficiency rate of only 14%. Once again proving that our defense is one of the best defenses in the league. Let’s take this win and this momentum that we know have, and bring it to the next game when we go to Washington and show them that the December curse is now OVER and we are making our run to the SUPERBOWL!!!

Cowboys Hand Saints Their First Loss In 24-17 Thriller

Wow what an incredible finish to an incredible game, and quite possibly some the best drama we’ve seen all season.

The Cowboys did the unexpected and beat the previously undefeated New Orleans Saints 24-17 in a hard fought battle that kept most Cowboys fans on the edge of their seats right up until the final seconds of the game.

Tony Romo and Miles Austin lit up the sky and the scoreboard once again on offense, while Marion Barber and Felix Jones kept the ground game churning and burning.

However, it was the defense who stepped up the most and found a way to stop the juggernaut from New Orleans.

DeMarcus Ware

DeMarcus Ware was back and made some key plays including a sack of Drew Brees and a forced fumble with 10 seconds left on the clock and the Saints moving the ball. The Cowboys recovered and the rest as they say was history.

Anthony Spencer and Mike Jenkins had huge efforts on defense, and as for Spencer, he is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with on defense.

The only bad note to the game was the continuing struggles of Nick Folk who missed a chip-shot field goal that the Cowboys needed to put the Saints away for good. There”s no way the Cowboys don’t replace him next week.

This was the first December win on the road since 2007 for the Cowboys.

The victory may have put a final nail in the Giants coffin, but keeps us alive and well for a play off spot as we inch closer to the final game of the season against the much hated Eagles at Cowboys Stadium. What a game that will be!

Merry Christmas everybody!

Enjoy this gift from the Cowboys!

December Tumble Continues, Chargers Zap The Cowboys 20-17

Before I get into my little tirade, let me first begin by saying how relieved I am that DeMarcus Ware only suffered a sprained neck. Seeing him lying on the ground like that sent chills down my spine and I’m sure all of us collectively held our breaths waiting for DeMarcus to show some movement and give us a sign he was okay. When he gave that thumbs up it felt like the weight of the world was immediately lifted off of our shoulders.

As for the game, if you want to call it that, what can I say that you haven’t already heard every December for the last three seasons?

The Chargers made themselves right at home in Cowboys Stadium and beat us 20-17 in front of packed house of 90,000+ fans.

The Chargers have now won 16 consecutive December games, while the Cowboys still struggle to put a couple of wins in a row together in what has become their death knell. The Cowboys may have produced more first downs (22 to 21) than the Chargers, but it’s points scored that matter the most in the NFL.

It seems that whether they are on the road or at home, where they never seem to have any advantage, the Cowboys are always behind and have to play a vicious game of catch-up. In fact, do you know that the Cowboys have not had one touchdown drive on their first possession in over a year? The other team almost always strikes first blood and that’s not really a lasting formula for success..

The turning point of the game came just before the end of the first half when on first and goal and on the one yard line, Marion Barber failed to get in the end zone.

The Chargers defense was impenetrable as Barber failed to break through again and again and again including on fourth and goal. Barber got the hand-off on that final attempt, but the Chargers got penetration and dropped Barber once again for no gain allowing San Diego to take over on downs at their own one. It was as deflating a series as we’ve seen all season long and just humiliating and brutal to watch.

They went into halftime trailing 10-3 despite running an unbelievable 28 plays in Chargers’ territory. That is such an epic fail on so many levels, it’s almost hard to believe a team can be that futile and impotent.

And even when they did recover the ball after those failed Marion Barber attempts at the one yard line, Nick Folk missed a 32 yard field goal that would have made it 10-6.

There seemed to be no sense of urgency, and I took issue with the fact that Wade Phillips didn’t use up any of his timeouts to stop the clock and give his offense a few more shots to get some points on the board. Also, with 4 seconds left in the half, Romo took a knee rather than attempt one final pass if only to give the perception that there was some fight left in this team.

You could have turned your sets off right there. It was apparent that the San Diego Chargers were doing everything they could to win, while the Cowboys did everything they could to lose.

The second half only confirmed our first half fears.

So now the Cowboys have tallied consecutive losses for the first time this season, and head to New Orleans to face the undefeated Saints on Saturday night.

With the loss, Dallas falls to 8-5, and pending the outcome of tonights game between the Eagles and Giants, they will either be in second place, or in a three way tie for first. The thing about ties is this, the Cowboys have the worst record in the division and would lose any tie breaker.

How many days to the NFL Draft?

Wade Phillips wants Tony Romo to “Hold” onto 2006

It was reported by ProFootballTalk.com today that Wade Phillips is thinking about giving Tony Romo his old job back. What job is that?? Being the holder for Nick Folk’s field goal attempts. How can anyone not think back to the playoff game in Seattle when Romo dropped the snap on a field goal that could have won the game. During Wednesday’s practice Romo was holding for Nick Folk.

“We feel like we need to do something, whether it’s the whole operation itself or some of the parts,” head coach Wade Phillips said.  “We’ve got to get more confidence from our kicker. We need to do better. There’s a possibility we’ll make a change this week as far as the holder is concerned.”

What does Wade mean “the whole operation”? The way I read it is that Wade is giving Folk one more chance. If he is still inconsistent then it will be the kicker who is changed. It was also reported that punter Matt McBriar has mishandled a few snaps, but I’m not sure if that is the case or if there is something wrong with Folk. Is it confidence or could it still be effects from his off season surgery.

In other news reported by DallasNews.com is that Flozell Adams has been fined $50,000 by the NFL for his dirty hit from behind on the Giants Justin Tuck. Adams also received a letter from the NFL saying that another incident could result in a suspension.

Martellus Bennett and Deon Anderson did not take part in practice Wednesday. Bennett suffered a concussion during the Giants game and Anderson has a bruised knee. Also, Terrence Newman had an MRI done on his knee, but took part in full practice.

A Folk’d Up Kicking Situation

After missing five field goals in the last four games, the Cowboys are starting to worry about their kicking situation. Nick Folk was automatic his rookie year making the pro bowl in 2007 and continued to shine in 2008. He had hip surgery in the offseason and didn’t resume kicking until training camp. This season Folk has missed 8 of 24 attempts.

It’s possible he’s just having an off year and after missing his normal offseason training and routine because of surgery it certainly explains why he’s struggling.

But its also possible that the misses aren’t completely Folk’s fault. As stated by the coaches, it could be a combination of things. Folk automatically gets the blame because he’s the kicker but there is also the long snapper and the holder in the mix.

“The hold, the snap, the kick, the coach,” special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said, including himself in the equation. “We’ve got to get it squared away.”

“I’m worried that it’s a combination of confidence more than anything,” Wade Phillips said. “They work all the time on it. Those guys spend a lot of practice time snapping and holding, snapping and holding. That’s what they do and kicking. I would feel like we would have more confidence than we’ve had. Whether it’s working into the kicker or the holder or whoever, we’ve got to determine what we need to do there and go forward.”

“I’m not losing any faith in Nick at all,” DeCamillis said. “I’ve been around this thing for 22 years, and I’ve seen them miss ‘em and I’ve seen them make ‘em. They go through stretches just like any other player. Unfortunately for him, it’s right out in the open for everybody to see.”

Both Wade Phillips and Joe DeCamillis are confident in Nick Folk’s ability so it doesn’t seem like any big changes are coming, but they will be working on some of the details and smaller aspects of the field goal unit.

Rookie kicker David Buehler is excellent on kickoffs but not as accurate or consistent when it comes to field goals.

Don’t expect to see any noticeable changes any time soon. It’s likely they will just practice more and try to correct the problem.

Hopefully the crowd can get back to cheering “FOLK YEAH!” very soon.

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.

Feasting On Thanksgiving Day; Cowboys 24 – Raiders 7

Miles AustinFirst of all I want to wish everyone out there a very happy Thanksgiving. Hope everyone had a great day with family and watching some Dallas Cowboys football. Just like Kelly said, thanks to all of our troops out there serving our country, we all thank you very much.

As for the game, the Cowboys got back to the way they should be playing. They had a decent game and pulled out a vicory. Was it an astounding victory, no but they did look so much better this week than they have in the past 2 weeks. One question that has to be addressed. Is Nick Folk a concern? In the past, Especially last year when we played Buffalo, Nick was a sure thing we could count on every time. This year is not the same story, and watching the Texans go down like they did due to Kris Brown missing those field goals twice in 3 weeks, we HAVE to keep an eye on him.

As for the rest of the game Romo was back to his self going 18/29 for 309 yards 2 touchdowns and NO turnovers. Miles Austin once again showed he is the number 1 reciever with 7 receptions for 145 yards and a touchdown. Jason Whitten had his best game of the year with 5 receptions for 105 yards. Roy Williams had another touchdown in his 2 catches totalling 15 yards. Our running backs had a really great day with Barber and Jones having a combined 4 catches for a total of 42 yards.

Our rushing attack was once again proven to be one of the best in the league. Felix Jones carried the ball only 7 times but had 68 yards, including a 46 yard run for a touchdown. Tashard Choice took a wild cat snap and ran it for 66 yards. And our Beast of a running back Marion Barber had 14 carries for 61 yards.

Our defense did not look their best, especially against the run. They allowed a total of 124 yards on 24 carries for the Raiders. Gradkowski went 18/35 but only had 200 yards passing and 1 touchdown but scrambled for 30 yards on the ground. Demarcus Ware was making his presence known all game long, and even though he only had 1 tackle with 1 sack, the Raiders offensive line had to double team him allowing Anthony Spencer to have a good game with 6 tackes 2 assists and 2 sacks.

In total Dallas had a total of 494 yards in the game with 195 of those yards coming on the ground with a total of 25 rushing plays. Penalties once again were a concern but down a bit from recent games with 6 penalties for 48 yards. Better but not good enough. We had a total of 18 first downs to Oaklands only 14 first downs. Time of possession was also in our favor 31:14 to 28:46.

All in all it was a good game on a great day. Once again I would like to say to all the fans out there happy thanksgiving and hope you all had have and continue to have a great holiday season.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING MOM!!!!!

Dallas Injury Report: Buehler Might Need MRI

Add another injury to the list. Kickoff specialist David Buehler has a a bruised pinky toe.

The report comes from Nick Eatman at dallascowboys.com:

If the injuries weren’t enough from Sunday’s game, now it appears that kicker David Buehler has a bruised pinky toe on his right foot. He suffered the injury while covering a punt.

Head coach Wade Phillips said the team is aware of the injury, which occurred when the rookie was stepped on during the play.

Buehler was noticeably limping in the locker room on Monday and said it’s a painful injury. There’s a good chance he could have an MRI to check for a fracture.

While Buehler is right-footed, he said the injury would’ve been worse on his left plant foot.

If for some reason he doesn’t play, the Cowboys would at least have Nick Folk to handle the kickoffs.

Hat tip to Nate the Cowboy Ninja for the news.