Run Baby Run

Tashard ChoiceThe Cowboys offense did something last night that has not been done since 1979, they ran for at least 200 yards in two consecutive games.

Last night they rushed for 214 yards and that was without Marion Barber. Felix Jones was also hurt in the third quarter, but Tashard Choice kept the ball running and RUN he did.

The Cowboys’ offense was still lacking in the receiving area. Jason Witten caught the majority of passes.

I believe the Cowboys have found the running game and some say they should have kept running last week and maybe they would have beaten the Giants.

They did great despite not being able to convert twice inside the 2 yard line. The defense came up big in this game, recording 3 sacks, 2 interceptions and a fumble recovery. Terence Newman took one back for six in the middle of the 4th quarter.

Now the Cowboys are 2-1 and maybe they have found their mojo.

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.


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.


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.

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!!!

Trading for Kitna Was Just a Bad Move

I am hearing alot of people excited about the Cowboys trading for John Kitna, my question is why?

Kitna who will be 37 a month into the season is only a year younger than Brad Johnson was when he signed in Dallas back in 2006. Yes he has put up gawdy passing numbers in Detroit, but lets take a look at that.

In ’06 and ’07 he threw for more than 4,000 yards, pretty good numbers right? Well lets dig a little deeper, in 2006 the Lions were ranked 32nd in the league in rushing and in 2007 they were 31st. In 2006 only 2 other teams had attempted more passes than the Lions, and in 2007 only one other team had more attemps than the Lions. Do you see where I am going with this? Any average NFL quarterback can throw for 4,000 yards when your team’s running game is terrible and all you’re doing is chucking the ball up to guys like Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson, and Mike Furrey. When your team is down that’s all you do is throw the ball and thats all Kitna did.

Not convinced yet? Ok how bout this, in 2006 Kitna was sacked 63 times, and in 2007 51 times. Just to give you a little comparison in 1990 Troy Aikman’s first 15 plus start season he was only sacked 39 times. In 2005 Drew Bledsoe seemed like he was being sacked at least once every series, and has always been known to take too many sacks, was sacked only 49 times. Kitna is not very mobile and more importantly not a smart quarterback with pressure heading his way.

Not convinced yet?? Well here is my final stat for you. Kitna has played 14 or more games in seven seasons, how many times do you think he has thrown more touchdowns than interceptions? Give up? That would be two! Only in 1999 in Seattle and 2003 with the Bengals has he done this.

What would be the reason we traded a starting defensive back for Kitna is beyond me. To save cap money? It was only a little over two million saved, so we would not get into a bidding war WHEN he was released? There are many back up quarterbacks out there that are just as good and a whole lot younger.

Pushing Tony for his position? Kitna has no prayer to start over Romo, if we wanted someone to push him we should have gone with Garcia.

We lost a starting defensive back (which we will have to replace with another veteran) for a late thirties average quarterback who was going to be released by the worst team in football.

Kitna is a Cowboy and I will root and love him just as I have for every player who has worn the star on his helmet, but god Tony please stay healthy!  

Am I Just a Confused Cowboy Fan or Just a Confused Writer?

For 30 years I have been following the Dallas Cowboys and last Sunday, I just became confused a little I think.

Was it just me, or did it seem like the Buccaneers morphed into their own version of the Dallas Cowboys? Those penalties at the end of the half that allowed the Cowboys to stay alive on their way to a touchdown is exactly what we Cowboys fans have been witnessing for a while now.

It was refreshing to see it could happen to another team!!

I can’t remember the last time I saw a Dallas Cowboys team that fired up, emotional and intense. They were close last year against the Packers but weren’t able to maintain it through the second half. Last Sunday, the Cowboys kept that intensity up for almost the entire game, but this is what really counts: At times they executed on offense most of the time and the defense led by a “bunch of no names” were on a mission! You can be the most fired up and crazy team in the league but it doesn’t matter if you aren’t executing throughout the game. Sunday they were very close to playing a complete game.

Even though he failed to register a sack, DeMarcus Ware was a beast on Sunday. He was a force against the run and consistently putting Jeff Garcia on the ground. The only reason the Cowboys didn’t have more sacks was because of Garcia’s freakishly quick release, which most of the time was flinging the ball into nowhere. Perhaps the most amazing part of Ware’s day was the effect he had in pass coverage. Several times Ware dropped back in coverage to take away the quick slant across the middle and twice he made a play on the ball, once almost nabbing an interception. The fact that Ware played every single down on defense makes his day look that much better, especially considering he was still getting good pressure on the final drive.

Now I have to say Cowboys fans, we are faced with the very real possibility of having Mike Jenkins, Orlando Scandrick and Alan Ball as our top three cornerbacks next week. If Anthony Henry is ruled out against the Giants it is almost guaranteed that we will sign a corner during the week for depth purposes. Just don’t put all your hopes on Ty Law, which is a name getting thrown around. He wants starter money to play and you can’t pay someone that much to be a depth player, no matter what his pedigree may be. Jerry does do some crazy things though.

Marion Barber may not have had a great day statistically, but he almost singlehandedly willed this offense forward. Imagine what he might be able to do if the offensive line decided to actually start blocking for him.

Brad Johnson. Watching him play you have to question the play calling and offensive scheme. Defenses’ are stacking the box against the run, knowing that right now Johnson doesn’t have the ability to get the ball to his receivers downfield. So you ask yourself why not more slants, comebacks, dink and dunk stuff? Well for one, he hasn’t been accurate on those either. I do know this: If I can guess that we are about to run a screen or dump off to Barber on third and long, I’m pretty sure the defense can as well.

How much of difference would Felix Jones make if he came back this week? It will make defenses play a whole lot different that’s for sure.

I am not really getting my hopes up on that though!

Sunday was a perfect example of why Wade Phillips is a great defensive coordinator and just a decent head coach. Now we will never know the extent of how much control Wade took from Brian Stewart but there was definitely a difference in how the defense looked. Still hate seeing those corners’ playing so far back.

Sunday’s performance is why Zach Thomas was brought in, as he played an outstanding game. If we don’t make mistakes and the defense comes to play?

21-20 Cowboys!!



Veteran Star, Rookie Pro Bowler

Prior to this past season Greg Ellis never finished a season with more than nine sacks. Despite coming off a big injury in 2006, Ellis had an astonishing performance finishing with 12 1/2 sacks in 2007. He was awarded NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year for his amazing year that didn’t even begin until week 4.

During the off season last year, a lot of people wondered about Ellis’ allegiance to the Cowboys. He complained openly about wanting a contract renegotiation. Initially, he did not get his wish but right before his debut since his injury, $2 million was added to Ellis’ contract.

In his ten years with the Cowboys Ellis has had some bumps along the way, but in the end he has always come through as a dedicated player. He is known as a mentor and a role model on the field and in the locker room.

You’ve got to give credit to a veteran who can come off an injury like he did and have his best season as a professional football player. Ellis was honored to be finally be selected to play in Hawaii.

"It’s a great feeling to be honored, to be going to the Pro Bowl," Ellis said. "You can’t put too much on it. A lot of guys like myself that have never been and they should’ve gone, in my opinion. But when you’re number is called to go, it’s a tremendous honor."

Once again, congratulations to Greg Ellis, its been a long time coming!


Check out this video clip of Ellis and Williams, the 12th and 13th Cowboys selected to this year’s Pro Bowl.

NFL Network talks with Cowboys LB Greg Ellis and S Roy Williams

Legends of the Star – Ed “Too Tall” Jones

Standing six-feet, nine-inches tall, defensive lineman Ed "Too Tall" Jones was very deserving of his nickname. However, it was his skills as a football player that Cowboys fans will remember most. In high school he played basketball and received 52 college scholarships, but he decided instead to play football for Tennessee State. It was a decision he would never regret as he led Tennessee to an almost perfect record during his 3 years with them, losing only one game in those 3 seasons.
His performance at Tennessee State caught the eye of the Dallas Cowboys’ recruiting staff, and in 1974 Jones became the number one pick in the NFL draft. Some of the experts said the Cowboys wasted their number one overall pick on him because he was too tall to play football, and the name stuck.
"Too Tall" Jones won acclaim for his role in the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive line-up during the 1970s and 1980s, playing for a franchise record 15 years. During his first five years with Dallas, the Cowboys played in the Super Bowl three times, following the 1975, 1977, and 1978 seasons. He was a tenacious defender with a knack for going after the opposing quarterback causing them to rush their throws and upsetting their offense. Along the way he piled on agreat deal of sacks. He reached his record high in 1985, sacking the opposition’s quarterback 13 times.
Jones shocked his coaches and teammates at the end of 1979 when he announced he would not be returning to Dallas the following season to pursue a career in boxing. He did exactly that and after one year he retired undefeated, and re-signed with the Cowboys and played with them until his retirement in 1989.
He was named All Pro in 1981 and 1982, played in the Pro Bowl three times, and was named Most Valuable Player in 1982.
Legends of the Star is an exclusive weekly feature found only on StarStruck. Each week we will profile one of the many interesting personalities that have played for the Dallas Cowboys.