An Early Look at the NFC

We have been waiting and waiting for months. Now the wait is just about over. The Cowboys report to training camp tomorrow and their first practice is Saturday. As the next week goes by all the other teams will also open up training camps and most will have their sights set on Super Bowl XLV in Cowboys Stadium next February. It’s the start of a new season with new hopes and dreams. So who are the favorites in 2010 and who will be the disappointments? Here is an early look at the NFC.

NFC Favorites

  1. New Orleans. The Saints need to be at the top of the list simply because they are the defending Champions. Someone needs to knock them off the top of the mountain. As far as talent and leadership the Saints are no different from last season. They are explosive on offense, which helps when it comes to their 25th ranked defense.
  2. Minnesota.They are rated above the Cowboys because of how easily they beat the Cowboys in the playoffs. Most people are tired of the so called “Favre Watch”, but if he comes back they will still have a potent offense. If Favre shocks everyone and retires, then the Vikings as a team fall a few spots in the rankings. Their defensive line is one of the best, if not the best in the league, but their secondary is suspect at times.
  3. Dallas. No major changes for the Cowboys during the off-season. They have the talent in place on offense and defense to go along with some playoff experience. Tony Romo had a great 2009 season, minus the Giants game early in the season. I think the offensive line will be fine with Doug Free taking over for Flozell Adams. The major question is how will Alan Ball be at safety?
  4. Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers has become one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He has a lot of offensive weapons to choose from as long as his offensive line can protect him. The defense played very well last season as they went from a 4-3 to a 3-4. A few losses in 2010 on defense like Johnny Jolly and Aaron Kampman may hurt them.
  5. NY Giants.I tried my best to find another team in the NFC I could put at number five, but I kept coming back to the Giants. Eli Manning seems to always find the open receiver when he needs a big play and they Giants have a lot of weapons at receiver. Was Brandon Jacobs really hurt in 2009? That will be the big question for this offense in 2010. The defense just seemed to give up last season as they allowed over 40 points in three of the last four games. That prompted the Giants to hire new defensive coordinator in Perry Fewell.



  1. Philadelphia.Franchise quarterback Donovan McNabb was traded in the off-season. No more Brian Westbrook in the backfield. I think the Eagles are going to take a step back in 2010. They are handing the offense to unproven quarterback Kevin Kolb. Their defense is not the force it once was as the Cowboys showed in beating them in back-to-back weeks, outscoring the Eagles 58-14.
  2. Arizona.The Cardinals lost their heart when Kurt Warner retired after last season. Matt Leinart has done nothing that says he can lead this team. They also lost dependable receiver Anquan Boldin to free agency. The defense lost a few pieces as well with the departures of linebacker Karlos Dansby and safety Antrel Rolle.
  3. Chicago.I’ve read a lot of good things about the Bears this off-season. How Jay Cutler is going to be better now that new offensive coordinator Mark Martz is there. How the signing of Chester Taylor and Julius Peppers has improved the team. But head coach Lovie Smith likes to run the ball and Mike Martz likes to throw the ball. Could be an issue as the season moves along and the winter weather enters the picture. The question is also whether Peppers really wants to be in Chicago or was it the money that attracted him there?


  1. Detroit.I’m interested in seeing the Lions this season. I know they have combined for only two wins the last two seasons, but this team has some talent. Especially on offense with Matthew Stafford going into his second season and Calvin Johnson becoming one of the best receivers in the league. Stafford also has a quality tight end in Tony Scheffler to go to now. The Lions drafted speedy Jahvid Best to ignite the running game. On defense they added cornerback Chris Houston, defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and defensive tackle Corey Williams through free agency. The Lions also added defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who was the second overall pick in the draft.

A Stranglehold On My Most Hated Team

Since becoming a fan of the Cowboys back in 1978 there has always been one team that I have hated more then any other in the NFL. Not the Redskins or the Eagles or the 49ers or the Steelers. That most hated team has always been the team from New Jersey called the Giants. It could be because I’m from the area and the Cowboys have always played them twice a season. It could be because they have had some really good players over the years and also some players that I’ve disliked. It could also be that I’m surrounded by their fans, some of which are Bandwagon Fans. I just can’t handle the majority of Giants fans and normally a day does not go by that an argument does not break out about the Giants and the Cowboys. There have also been some games over the years that have got under my skin. 

Sept, 1981 – The Cowboys beat the Giants 18-10. Yes, the Cowboys won, but not before I took a tumble down the steps in my house as I celebrated the Cowboys taking a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. I blame my fall on the Giants of course.

Dec, 1981 – The Cowboys lose to the Giants 13-10 in overtime in the final game of the regular season.

Dec, 1985 – The Cowboys beat the Giants 28-21 to win the NFC East, but in the process the Giants knock Danny White out of the game as well as backup quarterback Gary Hogeboom.

Nov, 1986 – The Cowboys lose to the Giants 17-14 and also loses quarterback Danny White for the rest of the season with a fractured wrist.

Sept, 1988 – The Cowboys lose to the Giants 12-10 when the officials ruled a safety on the opening kickoff, but after the game said the play should have been ruled a touchback because the ball was muffed, not fumbled.

Nov, 1991 – The Cowboys lose to the Giants 22-9 in one of the worst officiating games in history. Four of the worst calls ever seen resulted in 17 points for the Giants.

Jan, 1994 – The Cowboys beat the Giants 16-13 in overtime. The game is known for Emmitt Smith winning the game with a separated shoulder. But it’s also the game that the Giants offensive line chop-blocked Russell Maryland and Leon Lett.

Oct, 2000 – The Cowboys lose to the Giants 19-14. Troy Aikman threw a career high five interceptions. The first interception coming on the very first play of the game. The worse part was that I was there in the Giants Stadium crowd to witness it.

Jan, 2008 – The Cowboys lose to the Giants 21-17. The Cowboys finished the season 13-3 and had home field advantage in the playoffs. Even through the Giants won, it was Patrick Crayton who helped the Cowboys to defeat.

Sept, 2009 – The Cowboys lose to the Giants 33-31. The Giants destroy the home opener for the Cowboys and their new Stadium.

I’m hoping in 2010 the Cowboys will get some revenge on the Giants for losing four of the last five meetings. The Giants are by far my most hated team when it comes to the Cowboys. Like I’ve said, it could be the team itself and the history with them. It could be because I’m in Giants country or it could just be because I am surrounded by their fans and I hear it year after year. The Giants winning the Super Bowl in 2007 after beating the Cowboys in the playoffs only increased my hatred for the team.

Recently I was in New York City with my family for the day. We ended up at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. Walking around I found myself in the sports room with Derek Jeter, Michael Jordan, Joe Namath and David Wright just to name a few. I then turned and found myself standing right in front of Eli Manning. I looked at my wife and then back at Manning. I knew what needed to be done, so I lifted both hands at the same time my wife lifted her camera. For Cowboys fans everywhere here is what I needed to do…

Can You Replace a “Hotel” for Free?

One of the bigger questions we have heading into our quest for a sixth Lombardi Trophy is at one of the least heralded, yet most important positions on the gridiron. The quarterbacks blind spot is one of those positions that when a player is performing either at an acceptable to an excellent standard no one ever notices just how good of job they are doing. Alas, when said player is having more laundry thrown at them then the locker room towel boy or they are more jittery than a teenage boy on his first “non-parent” date everyone in the stadium and outside the stadium takes notice. In fact don’t be surprised to find out that some of the people sharing their opinions of how bad the player performed hasn’t even seen the game. Everyone becomes a critic at that point.

This off season though we were hoping to find a replacement for the “Hotel” either through the draft or even through free agency. Instead Father Jerry decided to see if we had the answer already on the roster. Granted there were some decent options in the draft but no one really at our draft selection that anyone would consider sexy. Time will tell whether or not Doug Free or the acquisition of Alex Barron will improve the situation any.

As far as Barron is concerned he is an option that might help us in possibly two or more spots. We traded away basically a player in Carpenter that had outlived his usefulness. He never really found his niche in Dallas after bouncing around all four linebacker positions in Parcell’s and Wade’s schemes. We have a handful of younger guys with some possibilities that basically made him very expendable. Barron needed a new place to hone his skills and Dallas not only gives him an opportunity to win the left tackle position but he can also have a chance at replacing Columbo on the right side as well. One important thing he will get is an above average offensive line guru in Hudson Houck. He has already proved he is pretty durable playing on a below average team in St Louis starting all but one game in the last four years. He has had less penalties over the last three years than Flozell has had by a margin of 8 to 13. That’s five less penalties a year averaging to almost a third less penalty than Flozell. As far as sacks go they are pretty much even six to five. He is younger and lets face it Flozell has lost a step and doesn’t have much left in front of him.

Free on the other hand looked great last year when replacing Columbo when he went down with injury he proved just how agile he was by running down field and throwing a block more than twenty yards down field. The part that worries me the most about him was when they put him in at left tackle in the Minnesota playoff game it all but sealed out demise. Columbo was a turnstile for Ray Edwards on one side and when Free came in Jared Allen was beating him like a rented mule. We were still in the game when Flozell went down but give up 20+ points without so much as a single point for your own to retaliate the effort can never give you hope to win a playoff game.

My thoughts going into the preseason are that Columbo is getting up there in age and frankly Free has already proven in my book that he can play that right tackle position well. Barron should be given every opportunity to win that left tackle position. If so with coaching like Houcks I think he will improve and be able to learn from not only one of the best coaches in the game but from the players around him. If he can stay steady with his stats its an improvement over last year but if he improves on those stats everyone will be saying … Flozell who?

Granted telling fans of opposing teams that your replacement at one of the most important positions on the field with words like Free and Barron might get a few chuckles out of them. That is of course until one or both of them are holding their teams top rusher in check for the entire game. On the other hand if neither pan out we could not only be kissing our chances of playing in a Super Bowl we host goodbye but we could also be checking out the left tackles coming out college come November, along with what coaches might be available to replace Wade as Jerry starts to clean house towards trying to rebuild.

We Will Be Back

I am a very analytical ‘stats’ kind of fan.  I like to learn from the past to predict where we may go in the future, so please bear with me as I ramble on in my blogs.  I ended my last blog wanting to talk about the offensive line and the defensive secondary – and that I will.

2010 will mark 15 years since the Cowboys last hoisted the Lombardi trophy.  Let’s analyze then and now:


1995 produced four Pro Bowl offensive linemen (arguably it could have been five).  Names like Erik Williams, Larry Allen, Ray Donaldson, Nate Newton, and Mark Tuinei should bring a smile to any die-hard Dallas fan!  1995 also produced a line that gave up only 14 sacks for the entire season for a drop-back, pocket passer that would only scramble if there was a single, female country singer within his view (yes, I will give credit where credit is due to the slant route and to Emmitt).


2009 produced two Pro Bowl offensive linemen, Gurode and Davis; however, this line allowed 34 sacks for a scrambling quarterback that could give Houdini a run for his money.  Yet, this line produced 4.8 yards-per-carry for arguably one of the best three-headed running attacks in the league.  Hmm?


Arguably one of the best shut-down cornerbacks of all time basically cut the field in half (Deion Sanders) allowing Larry Brown, Darren Woodson, and Brock Marion to flourish; with Woodson having a Pro Bowl year.


2009 produced two Pro Bowl corners in Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins; but the safety positions remain in question.

So my first question – with names like Kosier, Gurode (Pro Bowl ’09), Davis (Pro Bowl ’09), Free, Colombo, Barron (who by all accounts is just another Flozell), and 7th round pick Young, can they keep Romo healthy enough (and calm enough in the pocket) to hit our targets?  We know they can run block, but can they protect the QB?

My second question – do you feel that the defensive line and the linebacker core are strong enough (which by all indications they are) to be left alone, or will they end up, more times than not, leaving Newman and/or Jenkins alone in space as they keep a safety in the box?  What are their names?  Ball, Church, Hamlin, McCray, Owusu-Ansah, and Sensabaugh.  You be the coach, what lineup do you go with?

In this writer’s opinion, the offensive line (particularly the left tackle) and the safety positions will determine the fate of this upcoming season.

LSS Extra Points: One Goodbye and Many Excused Absences

As any Cowboys fan knows, the dog days of offseason are long and boring. Nearly every day you seek any news or rumors about your team and rarely come up with anything. Today I spent time with family and had a lazy day and what do you know, the Cowboys go and make a little rumble.

I know at least a handful of people who will be happy to hear this news…

The Cowboys have released Cory Procter. The 27-year old backup offensive lineman has been with in Dallas since 2005, though didn’t debut in the NFL until 2007. He only started in 13 career games, 11 of those in 2008 while filling in for the injured Kyle Kosier. How dare they break up the band, eh, who needs offensive line depth anyway?

In other news, Sam Hurd and Patrick Crayton both missed OTAs on Monday. Hurd was on scene but out while recovering from offseason thumb surgery. Crayton is still demanding a trade, but no one seems to be interested. Have you Hurd Crayton wants out of the big D?

Marcus Spears also missed the practice because of a scheduling conflict according to several sources. Whatever that means?

Keith Brooking, Stephen Hodge and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah are all recovering from surgeries while Sean Lissemore and Scott Sicko are finishing up at college. Yes, okay they are excusable.

These workouts are voluntary but Coach Phillips made a good point saying… “Your competitors at your position are all here.” Okay so he’s no philosopher but you understand what he’s saying.

You can argue either way, veterans can miss the practices because they know the drills but at the same time the new guys, younger guys are there practicing, busting ass to steal your place on the roster. Practice makes perfect!

That’s all for now. Only 117 days until the 2010 season kicks off!

Admitting Depression Is The First Step To Recovery

  Well after what has seemed to be an eternity, I have decided to crawl out of my off-season hole and get back into the real world. I apologize to my co-writers and to our Lone Star Struck fans for not blogging about our Cowboys. Ever since that loss to the Vikings, I have been in, what I did not want to believe, a depressed state of mind. I have finally realized that loss affected me more than I thought it did. I said right after the loss, just like most of us did, its ok we got our first playoff win in 12 years. We had a great season and this season was a step forward. While all of that is true, that loss devastated me. Not because it was such a great season and I know we have the team to go all the way, but because the way we lost that game.

 We were the better team going into that game and EVERYONE knew it. The Cowboys were FINALLY getting the credit they deserved. A stout defense, an offensive line that protected and made holes for 3 GREAT running backs. A TRUE CONTENDER! I do not know what happened that dreadful day but I am now admitting it is eating me apart from the inside out. That is all I can think about and the only way to get back to myself is to write about it.

 As for the upcoming season. Free agency has just started and what an active season it is. The SECOND and maybe even third best defensive end in the league, Julius Peppers, has gone to Chicago. Of course the first being Demarcus Ware and second Anthony Spencer. Although I think we might all agree that Spencer needs a year or two more experience! With all the free agents out there and all the teams that need help in their areas, I have not heard much talk about the Cowboys needs. To me, that means we don’t have any real “needs”. We have what we need to take this team to the next level. We are a championship team.

A Tough Loss To Take In

Well, 3 days later and I am finally writing an article. It was hard to take in that loss. Not because we got beat 34 – 3 but because, just like James said, we did not choke. We got beat by a team that just simply wanted it more. I am still confused because going into that game, not only did I believe we were the better team but it was being said everywhere I watched and read. writers and analysts were saying Dallas is a better team, Broadcasters on Sports center were saying Dallas was a better team. They were playing “together” just like a championship team should. But watching the game, we simply got outplayed.

Romo did not have his best game by far but this loss was not even close to being his fault. The offensive line fell apart, the defensive line got played, simply put the Dallas Cowboys got outplayed. Don’t get me wrong I am just as much of a fan today as I have been my whole life. I stuck by them when they went 1-16. I was there with them when Tom Landry got treated like a red headed step child and DID NOT deserve it. I was there when they won 3 out of 4 super bowls in the 90’s. I will be with the Cowboys until the day I die.

Looking back at this game if I did not see the score I would never think that they got beat that bad. Let me prove my point.

Time of possession in the game was extremely close. Dallas had the ball for 30:34 and Minnesota had it for 29:26. Dallas had 16 first downs in the game with Minnesota only have 15. Dallas had only 2 penalties all game for a minimal 10 yards. Minnesota had 8 penalties for 50 yards. Minnesota only had 17 more rushing yards than Dallas but the average yards per rush was Dallas 3.7 Minnesota 3.3. Minnesota only converted one more third down that Dallas did.

Looking at those stats makes me feel better about the loss. Do I feel good about it, of course not who does or would feel good about a loss. But I know that Dallas did not choke, as a matter of fact they played a half way decent game.

This year Dallas got a HUGE monkey off their backs. After a 13 year drought, they finally won a playoff game. No we did not advance to the super bowl like we all had hoped but we made a huge step forward in our progress to becoming a championship team once again. We will learn from our mistakes and come back next year stronger faster and more hungry. Thank you Dallas Cowboys for a great season. Let’s do what we have to do this off season to keep our star players and draft some soon to be pro bowlers, and come back next year ready and raring to take on the world.

Back To Reality

Dallas Cowboys Green BayWell Cowboys fans, it looks like we were hit with a dose of reality Sunday in Green Bay. The Cowboys offense did not show up to play and once again we are left wondering why?

It seems that when the Cowboys play teams they are supposed to beat, the other teams ends up looking like world beaters.

We had no running game to speak of (gaining only 61 yards) and Tony Romo went 24 for 39 passing, for only 251. We were left wondering what happened to Miles Austin (4 catches for 20 yards). We seen Roy Williams have his best day statistically as a Cowboy yet we seen him fumble on a 42 yard completion and he dropped another pass that he should have caught down the sideline.

We had an injury on the offensive line as Columbo went down to a broken fibula and high ankle sprain, Mike Jenkins went out with a deep bicep bruise and Ken Hamlin was lost to a high ankle sprain as well.

The day was not a good one, but now we have to regroup and beat the Washington Redskins this weekend.

This would have been a great day to get a win as the Eagles lost to San Diego and the Giants were on a bye week, however we are left with the fact that we are still in first place for now.

Lets just hope that the Redskins do not look like super bowl champs this coming weekend and leave us again wondering why?

All Work and No Play Makes Wade A Dull Boy

The Boys had their final Alamodome practice yesterday and will be heading back home to Cowboys Stadium for the second preseason game against the Tennessee Titans.

Word has it the starters could play into the third quarter. Nick Eatman at gives good reasons for this unusual plan and it makes complete sense to me.

1. The Cowboys first game in the new stadium. It’s going to be one heck of a celebration.

2. It’s the Titans third preseason game so they are in that mode.

Eatman says Wade Phillips didn’t say how long the starters would play, just that it would be a lot more than last week’s game.

Another interesting story that caught my attention was Wade complaining about the running race between David Buehler and DeAngelo Smith. As posted earlier this week, the two rookies ran a foot race and DB Smith was burned by K Buehler in a 50 yard dash.

Coach surprisingly put his foot down and decided he was not going to allow any more “extracurricular activity” for fear of an unnecessary injury.

Not sure how to feel about that one. I agree we don’t want any injuries from horsing around, but these are athletes and competition is always a good thing. I think I will stay neutral on this because I can understand both sides.

Finally, ESPN’s Matt Mosley posted Three and Out: Cowboys over at this NFC East blog, basically only stating the obvious.

1. Get ready to hear a lot about the two-tight end offense.

2. The Cowboys could be in big trouble if there’s an injury on the offensive line.

3. The Cowboys could have 63 sacks if everything goes as planned.


We have been blessed with two amazing tight ends and we sure plan to use them to the best of their abilities.

O-line, ugh. What can you say? No depth.

Sacks for everyone! Roll call – Ware, James, Spencer, Ratliff…!


Big (preseason) game tomorrow! Everyone get your game faces on and hope our ‘Boys break in the new stadium with a outstanding win to remember. I let my boss know that I needed to get done early nearly two weeks ago, and I told him why. I’m setting the DVR anyway but you can imagine how mad I’ll be if I don’t make it home for a live kickoff. The Boys Are Back in Town!

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.

Answers Needed From The 2009 Training Camp

Well, training camp is here as it started yesterday. The Cowboys enter this year’s training camp with a lot of unanswered questions. We all are seeking answers to the following questions:

Who will be the number 2, 3, & 4 wide receivers?

Who will be the starting right cornerback?

Will LB Bobby Carpenter be playing a more active role this year?

How will we ensure that all three of our running backs get carries?

Will the offensive line be able to provide better pass and run blocking?

Will wide receiver Roy Williams be able to put up comparable numbers to that other wide receiver we had?

Will Jason Garrett’s offense be able to get back to where it was two years ago?

Will the special teams be able to perform better under Coach DeCamillis?

These are some of the many questions that training camp should help to provide and yes some of the questions we will not know until the season begins. I believe that this year’s camp will be harder and more will come out of it than did last year. I believe the Cowboys have learned that you get what you put into it.

Yes, last year we started out okay, but we did not finish okay and I believe that training camp instills that work ethic that can carry you through the year. The young players on the team need to step up and play big and I think that will. I hope that we start strong out of the gate and do not let up until we have won the Super Bowl!

2009 Projected Offensive and Defensive Leaders

Hello again to everyone, I hope that you had a good week. We would all like to know how the Cowboys will do this year and I wanted to throw my predictions out there. Due to our inexperienced and young wide receivers, I believe that we will be focusing more on the run, especially since we have three healthy and good running backs. I think the Cowboys will be able to run the ball more and take a little pressure off of QB Tony Romo. If the offensive line can give us some good blocking on running plays we should have a great year. Here are my projections for the offense and defense for this year. Of course I could always be wrong, lets hope I am and they do better.

OFFENSE 24 pts per game

  • QB Tony Romo 24 TDs 10 INTS
  • RB Marion Barber 170 rushes 1,014 yards 10 TDs
  • RB Felix Jones 120 rushes 600 yards 7 TDs
  • RB Tashard Choice 60 rushes 270 yards 2 TDs
  • TE Jason Witten 80 receptions 900 yards 5 TDs
  • WR Roy Williams 75 receptions 1,040 yards 10 TDs

DEFENSE 56 sacks

  • LB Demarcus Ware 17 sacks
  • CB Terence Newman 5 INTs

It is fun to be able to try and predict what the Cowboys will do, so feel free to come up with your own projections. We should all be getting hyped up about the new season since training camp begins at the end of the month. GO COWBOYS!!!

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