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Weekly Game Balls: Preseason Week 4

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Kevin Ogletree.

In the finale of the short preseason, Kevin Ogletree once again impressed and pretty much locked in his spot on the 53-man roster. Rookie Ogletree made it easy for coaches to make the decision to cut Isaiah Stanback and go with him as the 5th wide receiver.

“Every ball is important to me, every down, every play,” Ogletree said. “So when you take that approach and you’re as hungry as I am to try to make the team, you do what you can.”

Ogletree caught two passes for a total on 14 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter before leaving last Friday’s game with an eye contusion.

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This week’s defensive game ball goes to Pat Watkins.

Pat Watkins dominated the game last Friday proving he deserved his spot on the roster. The fourth-year safety made a clutch tackle on a fourth-and-one with 1:59 left in the first half that prevented a Vikings touchdown. Then he blocked a field goal with nine seconds left on the clock, to end the first half and prevent another Vikings scoring opportunity. Finally, he opened the third quarter with a a dazzling 23-yard interception return for a touchdown. It was a big day for the Cowboys’ backup safety.

“I had a feeling like I was going to have a good game, and I had a couple people send me text messages with predictions,” Watkins said. “Someone predicted six tackles and an interception. Somebody else predicted eight tackles. So after that maybe I need more predictions to help me out.”

Whatever it takes Watkins, keep up the good work!

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Congratulations to Kevin and Pat for their outstanding play.

Runners-up: Steven Octavien for his 44-yard interception returned for a touchdown and Jesse Holley for his brave 82-yard punt return for a touchdown that in turn won the game.

Weekly Game Balls: Preseason Week 3

Introducing a new feature at Lone Star Struck – Weekly Games Balls. Every week we will choose an offensive and defensive star of the game.

This week’s offensive game ball goes to Felix Jones.

Felix JonesOne of the most exciting things to come out of Dallas in recent years is the young and talented Mr. Felix Jones. Every time Jones takes the field it’s like a whole new ball game and what’s intriguing is he’s not even the starting running back. Some have dubbed Felix “The Cat” because of his speed. Once he breaks into the open field he revs it up, leaving the competition in the dust. While he’s still new and fresh, he gives the Cowboys faithful something to believe in and hopes that it will last for years to come.

In last week’s preseason game against the 49ers Felix Jones was the only Cowboy to reach the endzone. Jones appeared in only two quarters of the game had five carries for a total of 23 yards averaging 4.6 yards per carry. While those are low numbers keep in mind it’s preseason. Jones’ longest gain was a 13 yard run that in turn lead to the lone touchdown of the night eight minutes later.

We expect great things from Felix Jones this season after being cheated out of his ‘rookie of the year’ title last season due to injury.

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

Jay RatliffJay Ratliff has to be one of the most underrated defensive players in the game. The Cowboys’ nose tackle had a career high 7.5 sacks last season earning himself his first Pro Bowl appearance. Ratliff became the starter in 2007 when Jason Ferguson went down with injury. Ferguson was later traded, Ratliff permanently took over and the Cowboys never looked back.

Jay “The Rat” Ratliff is coming off his best season to date and there is no doubt that he is looking to return with the same aggresive attitude. At only 28 years old and a contract through 2012, expect to celebrate many more tackles and incredible sacks by The Rat, as he slams his fist to the ground and howls at the moon.

In his appearance in last week’s game Ratliff completed two tackles, both solo, and a sack, only a taste of what is to come this season.

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Congratulations to The Cat and The Rat for their great play. There is no doubt we will have these two superstars featured again this season.

Cowboys-Rams: A Fan’s Agony To Receive One Gift and Have Another Taken Away!

Good Morning Cowboy fans:

As the Cowboys enter week 7 of the NFL season, I am somewhat of a “train wreck” over everything we as fans have had to endure this week. I have been on vacation the last two weeks so I have definitely had some time to reflect and “arm chair quarterback” some ideas in my mind if Jerry decides to call.

As my week began on Monday, I was still smarting from the fact we had just literally gave a game away in Arizona to drop to 4-2, when the news began to trickle in.

Our beloved Cowboys were beginning to crumble at our feet. First it was the news that our field general Tony Romo had broken a finger on his throwing hand and would be out up to four weeks. Shortly thereafter, it was learned that Felix Jones would miss two weeks with hamstring issues and finally the news began to trickle out that “Pacman” Jones would be suspended by the Commissioner of the NFL for four games due to his after hour activities which was deemed detrimental to his probation placed on him by the NFL Commissioner when he was reinstated a little over 6 weeks ago.

Adam Jones has or had a very good opportunity to be one of the premier defensive backs in the league and a real gift to the Cowboys. I really felt that when Terence Newman returned to the lineup the Cowboys had two Pro bowl caliber “shutdown” corners. Now that gift has been taken away from the team and us as fans all because of his foolish decisions.

So, with all that said it has not been a good week for Cowboy fans!

I do feel confident in Brad Johnson to lead the team while Romo is out. With the injuries to Terence Newman and Felix Jones, and the verdict still out on Adam Jones, the younger players like Michael Jenkins and Tashard Choice will have to step up and play key roles in the Cowboy’s defensive and offensive game plans.

Well Jerry Jones has never one to be out-done on any deal. After all the bad news we could endure so far, Jones came out of the NFL meetings with a gift to replace the one that had been taken away. The Cowboys announced on Tuesday that they had reached a lucrative deal with former Detroit Lions wide receiver Roy Williams. I for one am ecstatic that Williams is coming to Dallas. Jerry Jones’ pursuit of Williams was almost as ardent as that of Adam Jones’. The Cowboys owner had attempted to trade for Williams over the last two years but could not get the Lions to agree.

So, with just a few hours before the 3 p.m. trade deadline Jones began earnest negotiations with the Lions to bring Williams to Dallas. With at least nine selections in next year’s draft, the Cowboys felt comfortable in giving up their first-, third- and sixth-round picks in return for Williams and Detroit’s seventh round pick. The Cowboys immediately worked out a contract extension to keep the Odessa, Texas native and University of Texas star in Dallas through 2013. The deal said to be in the 45 million dollar range will more than likely give Williams’ a chance to finish his career as a Cowboy.

Williams came in to the league in 2003 as the Lion’s first pick and went to the Pro Bowl in 2006. Since that time his numbers have fell off considerably due in part, to many quarterback and coaching changes that also resulted in many different offensive schemes as well.

When Williams was drafted by the Lions, all they could talk about was his great character and the talent he possesses. Now he joins Terrell Owens to form a dynamic duo at receiver that will feature not only good size but game breaking speed. That combination should play havoc on any opposing secondary.

Thanks Jerry, I am feeling better already!

Brad Johnson is on the spot this week. So are T.O. and MB3 on offense and DeMarcus Ware and Greg Ellis on defense. Pro Bowl players must perform at a Pro Bowl level to help the Cowboys overcome the loss of Romo and the others when the Cowboys travel to St. Louis on Sunday to play the Rams. I think the two players that will have the biggest impact on this weeks game is Miles Austin and Patrick Crayton. Both play wide receiver, but they will be filling different roles against the Rams. With Adam Jones gone, Crayton will be handling the punt return duties and without Felix Jones on kickoff returns that will be the responsibility of Miles Austin. The Cowboys have to maintain good field position. Johnson is not Romo. He has neither his arm nor his mobility. So sacks figure to increase and big plays decrease with a 40-year-old quarterback at the controls. The Cowboys will need more plays to cover more yards to fuel scoring drives.

Field position will be critical Sunday against the Rams. The longer the kickoff and punt returns by the Cowboys, the shorter the field for the offense. With Felix Jones out, Austin figures to return kickoffs and with Adam Jones out, Crayton figures to return punts.
The Rams are strong in the kicking game and we will need long kickoff and punt returns to shorten the field for Johnson and the offense. I think the game will be slowed down considerably compared to what we normally see with Romo. Johnson will be a lot more deliberate with his decisions on the field, I am sure a very good run oriented offense has been put into place this week. That will allow Johnson and the offense to control the clock and have very few mistakes.

In the end the Cowboys will do just fine and get out of St. Louis with a win. My prediction is Cowboys 28-17.