Random Observations

Miles Austin is a GREAT receiver. He is elite. Period. Dez Bryant will make this offense unstoppable when he finally starts opposite Austin.

-2009 Ball State 3rd round pick Robert Brewster is still a year away from being an NFL caliber OT or G. Missing his rookie year due to injury, he just doesn’t have “it” yet. I would release him on the final cuts and try to get him back on the practice squad. If not, oh well. We need solid backups to survive this Super Bowl run.

-The tight end situation is terrible. It went from a strength on the team to a worry with John Phillips tearing his ACL. Although, if Sicko progresses this year, it gives us an out with Martellus Bennett should he continue his mundane play.

Alex Barron needs coaching. Hudson Houck must change this guy’s bad habits or he will be a one and done as a Cowboy. You don’t pay good money for Pat McQuistan production.

-No way do you cut Deon Anderson. If you want Chris Gronkowski on the final 53, you must deplete another position’s depth and keep two fullbacks. Deon has been a fantastic blocker and a surprise threat out of the backfield as a receiver.

David Buehler is doing a good job. Kickoffs, as usual, have been stellar. Touchback after touchback. Field goals have been good enough to keep believing in him. I love that he is working with Chris Boniol.

Jon Kitna will be a solid backup should we, God forbid, need him to hold the fort for a few games.

-The linebackers on this team are off the hook. Our starters dominate. Bradie James and Keith Brooking will be the vocal leaders on this very strong defense. There are surprises such as Leon Williams that will make the final cuts a very hard job.

-Too much is being made of win/loss, Redzone failures and other trivial statistics in the preseason.

-5 preseason games could make you a tired team in January.

Wade Phillips is awesome. His defense rocks and he has survived the headhunters of Dallas (media) through hell and back.

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…

Some Players Are Worth The Gamble. Emmitt Sure Was.

The 52-17 drubbing of Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVII wasn’t as close as the score indicated. It should have been 59-10. Buffalo’s Frank Reich was beyond the line of scrimmage when he released the ball completing the pass to Don Beebe for 40 yards and a touchdown. Beebe later stripped Leon Lett of the ball at the last second on a 64 yard fumble return. The ball rolled through the end zone for a touchback. Dammit.

The offseason between ’92 and ’93 was pretty sweet. Cowboys fans were smiling and smiling big. Super Bowl XXVII was in the books, the Cowboys were on top again. The planets were finally aligned once again. There was no doubt this team would repeat. Who could possibly beat them?

In 1993 Free Agency was a new thing. I don’t think fans had a real grasp on how it would change the game. Most players no longer spent careers with one team. But rest assured agents DID know how Free Agency would impact things, especially their own bank accounts. A bitter contract dispute between Emmitt Smith and Jerry Jones was immanent. Most headlines read things like "Trouble In Paradise" and basically predicted a team headed for self-destruction. Smith was offered $2.2 million. He wanted $4 million. He held out. There were rumblings about egos. Mainly Jerry Jones’ and Jimmy Johnson’s egos. Out of the gate Dallas was 0-2. How could this be happening??

January 2, 1994. Anyone remember that day? Last game of the 1993 regular season. Giants vs. Cowboys. Meadowlands. Winner is NFC East Champs. Ring a bell yet? In the second quarter Emmitt separated his shoulder after a long run. I think it was about a 40 yarder. None of us knew the severity of the injury at the time. But as the game progressed it was very obvious. He couldn’t even get up after a tackle without help from his teammates. He was in tears on the sideline. His arm just hung beside his body. He never stopped running. He never stopped fighting.

At the end of that game Emmitt Smith had taken over the game offensively. My memory of that day is pretty vivid but I could be wrong about exacts. I’m sure I have it on video somewhere. Bottom line is, Emmitt was a warrior. The game went into overtime because of Emmitt. The game was won because of Emmitt. The Cowboys didn’t lose another game that year(actually they didn’t lose another game after Thanksgiving). They started 0-2 WITHOUT Emmitt.

I remember 3 years earlier, Emmitt Smith, the rookie, was holding out in training camp. I sent a letter to The Dallas Cowboys Weekly saying things like "Who does this guy think he is??".. "He’s unproven!" You get the gist of it. At the time it felt totally justified. He WAS unproven! Sure he broke like a million records as a Florida Gator but this was the NFL baby! He was not worth the money he was asking! Obviously I didn’t have a crystal ball. The letter was printed in the following week’s "Letters to the Editor". Therefore I’m immortalized, IN PRINT, saying Emmitt Smith isn’t worth the money.

Well, 18,355 yards and 164 touchdowns later, I’m pretty sure Emmitt Smith was worth the money.

The moral of this story is this:

We’re now asking ourselves is Marion Barber worth the money. Again, I have no crystal ball. I can’t compare him to Emmitt Smith. That’s not fair to Marion. Smith is a once-in-a-lifetime back. But Marion Barber has earned respect of Cowboys fans across the nation. His reckless style is both scary and inspiring to watch. His desire is unquestionable. His refusal to go down without a serious fight deserves recognition.

Is Marion Barber worth more than $30 million? I don’t know. But I don’t think the Cowboys can win that 6th trophy without him. With him, I think the Cowboys can not only win a 6th, but probably a 7th as well. Would that be worth more than $30 million? We would all ,in unison, say "YES!!". But Jerry Jones has the bankbook. What we should do as fans is not speculate what Barber is "worth" and just hope an agreement is met and we have "The Barbarian" for many years to come.