Cowboys Extra Points: Starters, Backups and Poison Ivy?

extrapts2Duke Preston is on his way to Dallas, and pending a physical could be the team’s new backup center behind Andre Gurode as reported by Nick Eatman on the Cowboys’ official site.

Preston was released by Green Bay on Tuesday after being with the team since March. The veteran could provide depth to the O-line as he can play center, tackle and guard. Preston spent the last four years with Buffalo.

Possibly one of the biggest battles this preseason has been (as expected) between Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick at cornerback. Wade Phillips said both are doing so well and it’s a tough decision, one that he probably won’t make until the season opener. Scandrick is expected to start this Saturday and Jenkins in the final preseason game.

Now here’s a doozy… Bobby Carpenter did not participate in practice today. According to Tim MacMahon at DMN Carpenter got poison ivy in his eye and it was swelled shut.

Roy Williams continues to receive criticism from the media, including former Cowboy greats, but he isn’t letting it get to him.

“It doesn’t fuel me. Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders, Darren Woodson — I love it, I appreciate it.

“I appreciate it because if you sit around and have to hear how good you are all the dang time, you have to have that Jerry Rice mind-set of, ‘I’m not good enough.

“When I have guys, especially NFL greats and the greatest that played here in Dallas, saying that I can’t get the job done, and I’m not a No. 1, it makes me feel good.

“It makes me want to go out there and prove to them and everybody else across the world who listens to those guys because, obviously, everybody thinks they know it all, that I can do my job.”

Breaking Camp And Ready For Some Football

The Boys have left the Alamodome and are now preparing for some football in their new home. The consensus among the players is that this years camp was much tougher, and more focused than years passed, especially after last years circus.

Gone are the likes of Terrell Owens, and Adam “Pacman” Jones who always brought their own distractions wherever they went. And lets not forget about Jessica Simpson … or actually maybe we should. With her around it was clear to every fan that Romo’s head was never truly in the game. Hopefully this year he has his priorities straight, and his focus on the Lombardi Trophy. Oh yea and I almost forgot that other distraction that followed the entire team around last year, the HBO show “Hard Knocks”. It was fun to watch as a fan but if you think what it must of been like for the players being followed around all the time and every detail filmed. “It was a drama-free three weeks in San Antonio” reports, which is what we like to hear.

“This camp has been like two of the other camps put together. I haven’t heard anyone call this one cupcake,” linebacker Bradie James said.

Coach Wade Phillips wanted to push the team a bit more this camp, making sure they stay focused and to help them get stronger as a team.

“I am trying to do what helps this team. It’s a long season and the mental toughness is part of it,” Phillips said. “I say the mental part of it. When you get tired, that’s when the mental process comes in. I thought it was good for our guys. I think they have come through it well.

Phillips will have even more on his plate this season as he is also the teams defensive coordinator.

With camp ended the Cowboys stayed fairly healthy. They will be without Fullback Deon Anderson for some time after he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee last week. But both corners Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman who have been a little banged up returned to practice and are set to go. Roy Williams wrist is improving and barring any set backs he should be fine as well.

Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will have a three headed monster in Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice to get the ball to. The idea is that Barber with use his brute strength to soften and beat down the defense, then have Felix use his speed to fly by and around them. Choice will get a few carries a game as well to give Barber and Jones a break. Garrett is looking to get the ball to Felix 12-15 times a game and doesn’t care if its by air in the passing attack or handing it to the speedster.

With so many weapons, and as long as everyone can stay healthy, the tougher camp and the time spent together could push the Cowboys back into the elusive playoffs, then watch out!!

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!

Protect That Ball!

One thing the Cowboys and Tony Romo are concentrating on in training camp this season is cutting down on his turnovers, especially his fumbles. Romo’s case of Slippery Pigskin syndrome last year made any fan cringe at the sight of him carelessly running around the pocket with the ball unprotected in one hand trying to make a play. Don’t get me wrong we love the heart and effort, but he has to recognize when to eat the ball or throw it away.

So now if he can take what he is working on in camp into games he should be able to cut down on the 21 total turnovers he had last season, 14 being interceptions, 7 LOST fumbles and another 6 that were recovered by Cowboys.

It really hurt Dallas last year in the last game of the season against the Eagles with the winner heading to the playoffs. Romo fumbled twice in that very important painful game, and one of them was returned for a 73 yard touchdown.

Of course he did have a broken Pinkie finger part of last season that may have attributed to some of the fumbles but prior to that he had already lost 3 in the six games before his injury. The seven lost fumbles last season was more than he had as a starter in his first season and a half so I am willing to put most of the blame on that little broken digit.

The Associated Press reported on Sporting News that “early in off season workouts, Romo started talking about cutting down on risky throws and being quicker to take a sack or throw the ball away. He also said he was serious about getting a better grip on the ball while scrambling”.

This became evident on one play in practice when “surrounded in the pocket on one play, he pulled the ball in tight until just before throwing a completion. Romo did the same thing while rolling out to his right near the goal line a few snaps later, instead of holding the ball away from his body with one hand while running like he so often has done in the past”.

Head coach Wade Phillips is pleased on how his quarterback is progressing with this, as well as how he is maturing as a player.

“He’s a natural. He sees so many things and he has such a quick release, and he’s so accurate,” Phillips said. “He just makes fantastic plays. We see it every day on tape. … He makes a throw that you say, `Wow, what a play.’ That’s what the great ones do.”

Its a long season, but lets see how he does this Friday night against Tennessee in the Cowboys new stadium. We should see him play a few more series than he did in the Raider game, which will help him get ready for the games that count.

News and Notes Heading Into Second Preseason Game

So we all could not wait for the first preseason game this past Thursday. It would be the first time watching them play since the embarrassment of the Philadelphia game. We all watched the pregame warm-ups and interviews. And then we all sat and watched and chatted with each other as the game moved along. We saw some good things from our offensive weapons in Romo, Jones, Barber, Bennett, Williams and of course Mr. Dependable Jason Witten. We saw some flashes of what Hurd can do, if he can stay healthy. We also saw that same terrible penalty monster that is the Dallas Cowboys. And we saw the Raiders, yes the Raiders do some good things to the Cowboys and beat up on them 31-10. Next game is this coming Friday night against Tennessee in the new Cowboys Stadium. The game is on National television to show off the new stadium. So those of us who watched the Raiders game on the Web do not need to worry about the delay in action on the field and having someone who is watching it on TV tell us that the field goal by Folk is no good before we even saw him line up. Just kidding Kelly.

Here are some of the latest things coming from Cowboys camp.

Anderson released

Defensive tackle Tim Anderson who was signed January 26th has been released according to He played against the Raiders with his injured ankle and did not record a tackle. That leaves Junior Siavii and Jonas Seawright as the backups to Jay Ratliff right now.

Newman and Jenkins

It’s been reported by that Wade Phillips said most of the injured players from last week will be back at practice this Monday. That includes Terrence Newman and Mike Jenkins. That is very good news for the Cowboys secondary.

Carpenter not to blame

Wade Phillips is not pointing the finger at Bobby Carpenter for bad play against the Raiders as reported by

“He made a lot of plays. He was in the right places a lot,” Phillips said. “He made a nice play on the play play where he broke up the tight end going down the middle, he covered well. I thought he played well in the game. Now the group didn’t play well that he was playing with, but he made plays all over the field, and he played like he’s been practicing.”

Jones feels like a rookie

Felix Jones is very happy to be back on the field again after a not so special 2008 season. For those of us who remember the excitement we felt in 2007 when Marion Barber came off the bench. We now have that same feeling now with Felix Jones. There is a feeling that great things will happen whenever he gets his hands on the ball.

“There’s something about him. He’s a gamer,” tight end Jason Witten said after practice Saturday. “You see him in practice, he looks good. But when he gets in games, he makes a lot of big plays. He’s a huge part of this offense that a lot of times we don’t think about.”

“His approach, he’s just kind of quiet,” Witten said. “He let’s his actions speak louder than his words.”

“He makes people look like they’re out of position when they’re in position. He’s just very effective,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “He really is instinctively clever.”

“I worked very hard the whole offseason to prepare for my rookie year. It kind of got my head right and pointed in the right direction,” Jones said. “After getting hurt, it kind of got me thinking I need to get my mental part right as well. Now, I feel like everything is clicking the way it should be.”

“It was an amazing feeling. This is what I live for, what I practice so hard for,” he said, recalling the time spent rehabilitating his injuries. “Thinking positive, knowing I’m going to be back on the football field one day kind of helped relieve a little bit of the negative thoughts that I had.”

“Sometimes, I kind of get treated like one too, but it’s OK, comes with the territory. I haven’t played a full season,” he said. “But I think it’s going to get better for me.”

Quote of the day

Asked if the team received any injuries from the Raiders game Wade Phillips said.

“We didn’t really play hard enough to get any injuries”

Second Verse, Same As The First

Cowboys Raiders Football

For those of us who expected to see a new and energized Cowboys team on the field last night, what a let down the first pre season game was. It seemed remarkably similar to the beating we got in Philadelphia to end last season. Sure, many of the faces were different, but the results were shockingly familiar as the Silver and Black pounded the Silver and Blue 31-10.

Usually, I don’t get too riled up over the results of a pre season game, especially the first one of the season, but last nights embarrassment had too many instances that brought back the failures and missteps of last season.

To begin, our defense allowed 456 total yards including an un-godly 280 yards rushing. Wow, you can’t really get much worse than that. And yes, our starters only played in one quarter, but when the Raiders piled on in the second half, it was mostly their third team players. That was totally demoralizing to say the least.

And what the hell was all those penalties? I thought Phillips said he was going to focus on minimizing the penalties? The Cowboys lost over 100 yards on 11 penalties last night.

There were plenty of positives to take away from this game and most of them were on offense.

Felix Jones is absolute gold and an electrifying presence when he’s on the field. He had a pass and one rush for 29 yards, and had a key block that setup the Cowboy’s lone scoring drive.

Sam Hurd had a fantastic day and hauled in five catches for 79 yards. If I am Miles Austin, I’d be worried right about now. Austin looked slow and had a dropped pass in the game. If he expects to be the third receiver, he may wants to take lessons from Sam Hurd.

I don’t know how to read Tony Romo’s performance. He had one terrible drive followed by one impressive scoring drive. After a three and out, he came back the second time around and engineered a picture perfect drive which included utilizing all of his weapons. The touchdown strike to Witten capped a drive that featured Martellus Bennett, Roy Williams, Marion Barber and Felix Jones. It’s all part of the new philosophy of spreading the ball around.

The first team offense only played the first quarter, but in those 15 minutes they showed glimpses of what could be one of the top offenses in the league in 2009.

Special Teams continues to struggle. Last night seemed like we were watching replays from last season; bad coverages, dropped balls, missed field goals, poor returns, and a muff that led to a Raiders touchdown. Ummm… I hope this wasn’t the improvement that Wade Phillips has been yapping about.

Overall, it was a lackluster performance that left much to be desired. I’ll give Top Gun performances to Sam Hurd, Felix Jones, Jason Witten, Gerald Sensabaugh, Jay Ratliff and Marty-B. On the other hand, these guys need to step it up and get their asses in gear; Stephen McGee, Orlando Scandrick, Miles Austin, Bobby Carpenter, Kyle Kosier, and Isaiah Stanback to name a few.

Anthony Spencer may have been on the field physically, but mentally he simply mailed it in. It was as if he wasn’t even there. He blew at least three easy coverages and then got burned for an 18-yarder he should have easily snuffed out. He never even got a whiff of the raiders quarterback. Terrible job.

Bobby Carpenter just needs to go. Even against third teamers he is a non-factor and has been absolutely worthless since the day he got drafted.

Wade Phillips was clearly pissed off after the game and when asked whether the Cowboys suffered any significant injuries, he he threw his team under the bus.

“We didn’t really play hard enough to get any injuries.” 

Ouch! I guess that says it all.

We’ll try to turn things around against the Tennessee Titans next week when we take the field in our new home. Until then, Go Cowboys!

T’was the Night Before Camp Opens and…

Wade Phillips showed some fire during today’s press conference with owner Jerry Jones. Hopefully Phillips fire was real and not just some smoke.

“We were knocked down some last year, and we’re gonna get back up,” he said, smacking the Built Ford Tough podium for emphasis. “We’re gonna get back up fighting!”

“We’re winning, but we’re not winning enough,” he said. “That’s the step we want to take.”

Here is a shortened video of the press conference posted by

Jerry Jones informed the audience at the press conference today that Wade Phillips is the only choice for the Cowboys and that the team will benefit from him. Although, if that is true than why hasn’t Wade been signed to a contract extension since he is entering his final year? My guess is that Jerry Jones is waiting to see the results from 2009.

“I want to emphasize this,” Jerry said. “I’m so solid in my thinking that by having Wade Phillips as our head coach and what he brings with his experience and what he brings to the table with his experience as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, with his full perspective of his first year as head coach and his second year as head coach, I like that mix. I like that combination of not only his skill but what he brings to the table, and I like what our players see when he steps up there as our head coach.”

“There was no wavering because I know it’s the best thing for the Dallas Cowboys to have Wade Phillips as our head coach,” Jerry said.

“I don’t worry about my job,” Phillips said. “I worry about the job I’m doing.”

Nothing new to report on the new contract for DeMarcus Ware. Reported by…

“It’s still a top priority for us,” said Stephen Jones, who declined to comment specifically about the negotiations with Ware’s agent, Pat Dye Jr. “Our hope would be that we’ll get something done.”

“From what I’ve seen, he can compartmentalize his business both on and off the field,” Jones said. “I feel comfortable that he’ll be just fine with that.”

We have all seen DeMarcus Ware develop into one of the top defensive players in the NFL. In my opinion Ware is the best in the NFL. And when other players threaten to stay away from camp over contracts and even hold out from camp, Ware is a professional and is preparing himself for the season and not wanting to let his teammates or coaches down. GET DEMARCUS WARE SIGNED NOW, PLEASE!!!!!

No Overweight Cowboys At Camp This Year

According to Aaron Wilson of, the Cowboys are continuing the trend of getting tough with their own players. Not only have they rid themselves of the “bad eggs” on the team, they are now imposing large fines for players showing up to camp overweight.

Says coach Wade Phillips, “I expect them to be in the best shape they’ve been in. That’s part of being accountable, not only to their teammates, but to themselves.”

The new fine equals the league’s maximum allowable amount, equalling $453 for every pound the player is overweight come training camp.

With this amount being very public now, I’m sure every player on the current roster is well aware of the weight they are supposed to be come late July and will make darn sure they show up ready to go. The media embarrassment would be far greater punishment than the monetary fine imposed should such infraction occur.

The new look and tough attitude continues to make me proud. We’re gettin there Cowboys fans…We’re gettin there…

Felix Jones Wild About New Formation


Several sources have reported that the Dallas Cowboys unveiled a new “Wildcat” offense during organized team activities Thursday at Standridge Stadium.

The one difference is that they changed up the name a bit and referred to it as the “Razorback” in honor of running back Felix Jones, who helped make the formation famous as running back for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

“Man, it was great,” Jones said. “It brought back old memories. It’s just the first day. I believe we can get a lot better at it. You’ll see a lot more of it, I’m hoping, when the time comes.”

While it will be fun to watch as a change of pace every now and then, don’t expect it to be incorporated as major part of the offense, not as long as Tony Romo is under center.

“We’re looking at it a little bit,” Phillips said. We’ll see if it goes any further than that. It depends on what we can do, certainly.”

The one thing this signals is that the Cowboys have every intention of making Felix Jones a bigger part of the offense. And that my Cowboys friends, is perfectly fine by me.

I think Felix Jones is going to emerge as one of the most exciting players in the game this season.

Tuesday’s OTA Notes

Here are a few updates from Tuesday’s practice.

Jason Garrett seems to be a little different during practice so far in 2009. Yesterday he actually got mad at Jason Witten when he had a false start, yelling…

“get me another tight end!”

The same thing happened when a false start was called on Leonard Davis.

 “Get me a new right guard!”

It was reported that Davis walked over to Garrett and said something, but Garrett just ignored him. Wade Phillips pulled Davis from the first team for one play because of the false start.  There is something about this that I like. Many people have said that this team is too soft and we all know how many penalties they have been called for in recent years. Most of those penalties were at the worst possible times.

Although it has been reported that Tony Romo and Roy Williams have been working a lot together. In yesterday’s seven-on-seven drills they were not on the same page as they missed on several passes. Looks like they need to keep working. Which is what these OTA’s are all about.

Sam Hurd was the latest to hit the injury list with a sore quadriceps muscle. It is not believed to be anything serious. This goes along with injuries to Isaiah Stanback (torn meniscus), Rodney Hannah (broken finger), Tim Anderson (toe), Jason Hatcher (knee), Kyle Kosier (foot) and Nick Folk (hip).

Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick received first team reps opposite Terrence Newman. Mike Mickens has yet to attend the OTA’s until he officially graduates. DeAngeloSmith has worked at corner and safety. Newman broke up multiple plays on Tuesday while also coming close to intercepting a Romo pass that could have gone for a touchdown. Fifth round pick safety Michael Hamlin has been getting praise from coach Brett Maxie for his play and he also calls him a sponge. Everything that is asked of Hamlin, he then takes it onto the field and performs at a high level. 

The Cowboys released cornerback Tra Battle and defensive tackle Casey Tyler on Tuesday.

A new twist to the Cowboys offense was when the first team scored in the red zone on a Marion Barber halfback pass to Patrick Crayton.

It’s still early, but I’m starting to like many of the things I’m reading about the Cowboys. I especially like the toughness from Garrett and Phillips. I think that is what this team needs. They need to be coached and praised when everything is working, but also called out when things are not working. I really hope that not being in the spotlight (Hard Knocks) this season will help them. Keep working guys. It will all pay off in the end.

Tragedy in Dallas: Team Scout Paralyzed

The Cowboys issued a release moments ago announcing that Rich Behm, a scouting assistant, sustained a fracture to the thoracic spine that caused a severing of his spinal cord and permanent paralysis from the waist down. Behm underwent surgery Saturday night and  remains at Parkland Hospital in stable condition, according to reports.

Jerry Jones and coach Wade Phillips spent a large part of Saturday night/Sunday morning with the Behm family. More coaches and players visited the hospital today.

Jones released this statement:

“To the Behm family we extend our love, comfort, and the full support of every person and resource within the organization, Rich is a courageous member of our family and someone for whom we care deeply. We ask for all friends and fans of the Dallas Cowboys to join us in embracing him and his family with their thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time.”

Very sad news for the Cowboys family.


Five Reasons for a Special 2009 Season

There are still many months before the Cowboys kickoff the 2009 season, but is there ever a wrong time to write about America’s Team? The Cowboys just went through one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory. The hopes were high for the team and the fans that 2008 was going to be their season to get back to the top of the league once again. I try my best to forget what happened during the 2008 season. I hope the Cowboys themselves also forget about what happened and move forward.

I’ve thought of five simple reasons why the Cowboys can make a run for the title in 2009. Yes, it’s easy for me to say simple reasons considering I’m not going through anything the players and coaches will be going through during a long season. This team has the talent to do great things, but it takes more then talent. It takes heart, it takes a spark, and it takes the players believing in each other and the system they are playing in. I believe in this team and what they can do and hopefully will do.

1. Wade Phillips will be running the defense full-time this season. Wade knows defense and can take the Cowboys defense to the next level.

2. No distraction of Hard Knocks. In my opinion this took the focus away from what the Cowboys needed to do in 2008. On my superstitious side, nothing good ever comes from teams appearing on Hard Knocks.

3. The TO Circus has left town. Yes, I know TO put up great numbers with the Cowboys and had some great plays. I can not deny that. But I’m one of those who are glad he is gone. He always seemed to be in the middle of things that divided the team.

4. Hopefully the dreaded injury bug is gone. I think the Cowboys had their share in 2008. Tony Romo, Kyle Kosier, Flozell Adams, Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Jason Witten, Mat McBriar, Terrence Newman, Roy Williams, San Hurd, Miles Austin just to name a few. Did I miss anyone??

5. This is now Tony Romo’s team. He needs to step up and lead them this season and I think he will because of one reason. See reason 3 listed above. Also when it comes to Romo I think of a quote from what some people may think is a strange movie that has no connection to football, but it fits Romo well with everything he has gone through since that playoff game in Seattle. In the movie Meet the Robinsons it was said…”From failing you learn, from success not so much”. Learn Mr. Romo from everything you have gone through the last 2 ½ seasons and get the Cowboys to where they want to be in 2009.

The 2009 version of the Cowboys will not be Super Bowl favorites, division favorites or even a Wildcard team to the so-called experts. This team needs to ignore the media the best they can this season and keep everything behind closed doors. In my opinion most of the media wants the Cowboys to fail because they are the Cowboys.

Wade Phillips can put the pieces together to get this defense to be one of the best in the league and to attack week in and week out. He has a nice combination of veterans with DeMarcus Ware, Bradie James, Terrence Newman, Greg Ellis, Ken Hamlin and young players like Mike Jenkins, Orlando Scandrick and Anthony Spencer to get the job done.

On offense, Jason Garrett’s only problem should be that he has too many weapons and can attack defenses in many different ways. With Tony Romo running the show and hopefully a healthy offensive line, they can pass or run whenever they choose. Players like Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Tashard Choice, Jason Witten, Martellus Bennett, Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton, Miles Austin and Sam Hurd.

Let’s move forward Cowboys and show the world what you can do. Forget 2007, Forget 2008. It’s a new season, a new hope. It’s time to Forget, Focus and Finish in 2009.