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FORWARD PROGRESS: Weapons Of A Different Breed

Forward Progress

Training camp is finally here! Rejoice Cowboys fans! Another beginning will soon be upon us, and this is the first step along the lengthy journey of the season. You win in December and in playoff games and in Superbowls by preparing both physically and mentally here in late July and August. I didn’t get a chance to hear much of the “State of the Cowboys” address by Owner Jones and Coach Wade, but let’s be honest, I don’t think I missed a whole lot other than some cliche’s and some hopeful optimism, not that there is anything wrong with that. I must admit that it is hard to be so close, yet so far away from real football. In a way, I am going to have to fight through a lot of the things that are going to be brought up and mused upon over the course of the next 3 or 4 weeks. You know, the usual suspects: Can Romo win in December? How will the offense perform without Terrell Owens? Can Wade get his players to stay motivated? Blah, blah, blah! I understand that the media has a job to do, but I am just not interested in the same ole, same ole.

Some of the things that I am looking forward to finding out over the course of training camp will be how the new additions to the defense are going to fit in, who will win the number two spot at wide receiver and maybe, just maybe, get a glimpse at how Jason Garrett plans to manage all of his unique weapons.

Ah yes, Mr. Garrett and his weapons. I can’t think of a Cowboys team in the past with a more unique set of offensive weapons than this 2009 outfit. It will be a challenge and a delicate balance to efficiently use all of the running backs and tight ends, as well as develop the chemistry and timing between Romo and Roy Williams and the rest of the receivers. I am excited to see what Garrett can do with this group. I still have confidence in Garrett, I think he did have some challenges and obstacles dealing with Owens last year and in the end I believe that it affected his play calling and game planning. That is just my opinion, nothing more, nothing less.

I think that the best thing for Garrett, Romo and the entire franchise would be to have the heart and soul and identity of this team actually be the running game. If you are able to establish the run week in and week out, then it makes everything else so much easier. You can control time of possession, and gain valuable field position by churning out those first downs. Honestly, if we are unable to establish THIS team’s running game than there will have to be major changes in many areas next off-season. The extremely well compensated offensive line, led by Leonard Davis, are just flat out going to have to open some holes and then let the three headed monster do it’s thing. We have 3 backs who could arguably be starters for almost 20 other NFL teams at least. There are other great backs in the league, but I can’t think of any teams who would turn down Marion Barber or Felix Jones, and very few who would not like to have a guy like Tashard Choice somewhere in the mix. All that being said, there are no excuses to not dominate in the running game this year.

Once we soften up the line of scrimmage, we can open up our can of beans and rice! We should be able to carve up the middle of the field as well as any team in the league with our dynamic tight ends. We have the top tight end in all of football in Jason Witten, who also will contribute to the running game with his solid blocking, and then the young, explosive Marty B as his sidekick. This will be one of the most exciting things to watch this year for me. It’s not exactly rocket science here. When it’s third down and six, look for Beans and Rice.

And then, when it’s time to really put it on them, as my boy Nate the Cowboy Ninja would say, just dial 9-11. Romo to Roy Williams, and don’t forget Miles Austin, Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd. This is where the majority of the big gains will and should come from and if the running game is established and the middle of the field has been softened up by the tight ends, it will be easy pickings for an accurate passer like Romo.

Man, just looking at all of the options gets me really excited, we have the weapons. It’s time to optimize them and, bottom line, that’s on the shoulders’ of the coordinator.

Cowboys Fan for Life – TD

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!

A Little Bit of WR News

The Jacksonville Jaguars and Torry Holt have agreed to a 3-year deal. The Jaguars now have a chance to make a position that has been considerably weak since Jimmy Smith left into a great strength of their team. The Jags sit at the number 8 spot and should be able to draft WR Micheal Crabtree from Texas Tech or speedster Jeremy Maclin from Missouri. The offensive attack in Jacksonville has a real chance to make some big noise this season watch out for this team.

Anquan Boldin  and the Arizona Cardinals are almost all done with the whole divorce. As reported by ESPN’s John Clayton, the Baltimore Ravens are willing to give a 1st round pick but not a 3rd for Boldin. However the deal could very well go through if the Cardinals want another member of the Ravens like a Todd Heap. This story is sure to get even more exciting the closer we get to draft day.

Finally an off-season where the disgruntled receiver does not play for the Dallas Cowboys.

GO COWBOYS! See you guys draft day! =)

Wide Receiver, Sam Hurd Signs Cowboys’ Tender

According to the Dallas Cowboys’ official website, wide receiver Sam Hurd signed his one-year, $1.545 million tender on Monday, leaving Miles Austin as the Cowboys’ only remaining unsigned restricted free agent.

The Cowboys retained exclusive rights to Hurd and Austin last Friday when the NFL restricted signing period ended. Austin has yet to sign his similar one-year, $1.545 million tender, but teams no longer can pursue him as a free agent. The Jets visited with Austin earlier this month but decided not to risk yielding a second-round pick to the Cowboys, the required compensation if the Cowboys decided not to match an offer sheet.

If Austin remains unsigned by June 15, the Cowboys would be allowed to reduce his qualifying offer, but both scenarios are unlikely. Austin figures to be an important part of the offense without Terrell Owens and could be in line for an extension at some point.

It looks like the Cowboys will be playing with the cards that they were dealt,  as talk of adding another receiver has almost grounded to a halt. They may still add a receiver in the draft, but for those of you who were expecting a big free agent signing or trade after the team released T.O., don’t count on it.

Cowboys Cannot Afford to Release T.O.

Ok we have been talking about T.O. being released since the day the season was over; well here are my thoughts on the subject

T.O. is a solid number one superstar at wide receiver, and there are not many guys in the league that have his skills and that command so much attention from defenses. Just his presence on the field makes everyone he plays with better. It takes that one guy, that FREE safety away from say, Witten running down the seam or keeps him from coming up to help contain Barber from breaking a big run. It basically puts everyone man on man which I would take everytime. His attitude is what it is, we all know what happened in San Francisco and Philadelphia. But I have seen a more mature Terrell Owens the last couple of years, he wants the ball and wants to win! We see him barking on the sideline frustrated with the way things are going, let me ask you this, if that was Tony barking would he be called a cancer? Or would we all be happy that he is finally trying to lead his team? It is not a coincidence that the Cowboys scoring offense was ranked 25th and 15th the two years prior to T.O., then it jumped up to 5th and 2nd his first two years, it is real simple he makes the team better ! 

I think releasing Terrell would be one of the biggest mistakes in Dallas Cowboy history.  If you thought Galloway for two first round picks was dumb, that was absolute peanuts compared to this if they were to let him go, unless it was a trade for suitable replacement its just crazy talk.  Some of the wide receivers that are on the trading block are Plaxico, Ocho Cinco, and Anquan Boldin , the only one that would make any sense is obviously Boldin, but that is highly unlikely. You think T.O. gets bad press playing for Americas team, can you imagine what it would be like for Plaxico and Ocho Cinco.  

Roy Williams in my opinion is at best right now a 1a wideout.  He has the skills he just doesn’t command the same attention that Terrell does, now if Jerry made the mistake of letting him go and moved Roy to the one spot who’s our two?? Crayton? I think he has proved the last two years he is nothing more than a 3rd slot receiver at best. Are Austin or Hurd ready to jump up to two?? Don’t think they are just yet… The deep playmaking threat would be gone and we would have just a good offense, not a deadly one.

So where do we get his replacement, probably not a trade or within the team how about free agency? Well after T.J. Houshmanzadah the cupboard is bare, he is the only guy that could come close to filling T.O.’s shoes. The Bengals just franchised Scott Graham so this pretty much assures he will hit the market. I won’t even mention the draft because with our first pick being in the middle of the second round it is more likely that I will root for Tom Brady (which will never ever happen) than us finding Michael Crabtree or Percy Harvin in the mid second round.

So there we are. We let T.O. go and it would be one of the biggest mistakes in Cowboy history!

P.S Did I mention if Terrell was released it would cost the Cowboys over 9 million dollars against next years salary cap YIKES!!!!!!

Former Cowboy Wide Receiver Terry Glenn Arrested

Sporting News is reporting that former starter Terry Glenn was arrested last week for public intoxication and possession of marijuana.

The Dallas Observer reports Irving (Texas) police were called on January 25 after alleged reports came in that Glenn had been spotted roaming the halls of an Irving hotel naked.

The report indicates that he spent the night in jail and posted bail the next morning.

Glenn played for the Cowboys from 2003-2007 and is currently a free agent.

Fitzgerald Having Amazing Playoff Run

All I can say is that I have been totally stunned at Fitzgeralds perfomance during the playoffs so far. I was browsing the NFL site and saw these stats and facts and thought i would share them with you all. As a Cowboy fan it sickens me to see two of the teams that knocked us out of playoff contention in the Super Bowl this year. But I will have to say go Cardinals and I also have to admit that Fitzgerald is my favorite Non-Cowboy player in the NFL.

Arizonas Larry Fitzgerald is on a Playoff run that matches any other wide receiver in NFL playoff history.

Fitzgerald followed up two 100-yard receiving games in the Cardinals’ first two playoff games with another outstanding day in the NFC Championship Game against the Eagles, finishing with nine receptions for 152 yards and three touchdowns.

His prolific run during his first postseason puts Fitzgerald in exclusive company. Fitzgerald’s 419 receiving yards during the 2008 playoffs are the most in a single postseason, since 1970, as well as the most by any player in NFL history during his first three career playoff games.

Most receiving yards, single postseason
YearPlayerTeamGamesYards
2008Larry FitzgeraldCardinals3419
1988Jerry Rice49ers3409
2003Steve SmithPanthers4404
1983Charlie BrownRedskins3401

The rest of Fitzgerald’s 2008 playoff numbers also stack up against the best. His five touchdown receptions rank second all-time (behind Jerry Rices’ six during the 1988 playoffs), and his 23 receptions are tied for third all-time, trailing New England’s Wes Welker (2007) and Carolina’s Steve Smith (2005), who each totaled 27.

Fitzgerald has one more game to reach the top of each of these lists. So lets all root for Fitzgerald on Feb.1 to get all these records. Also for the Cardinals to stomp Pittsburgh into the ground.

GO CARDINALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It Is Not Time to Panic Cowboy Fans

Good Afternoon Cowboys Fans:

I am over the initial shock now of last weeks “drubbing” at the hands of the St. Louis Rams, a team in all actuality should not have been on the same field with the Cowboys.

I sometimes think expectations are a little high in Dallas from the fan base and especially from Jerry Jones. At the start of the season all the NFL analysts, “armchair quarterbacks” and sports reporters across the country had already penciled in the Cowboys to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. They got off to a fast, 3-0 start and everyone was on the bandwagon. Then the Redskins came to town in week four and kind of humbled us. Two weeks later, the Cowboys went to the desert to play the Arizona Cardinals and quite frankly I think were beaten in all three aspects of the game (offense, defense, and special teams)… and the Cardinals’ played with much more intensity.

After the shameful exhibition the Cowboys put on last week in St. Louis, there has many a doubt surfaced as to whether the Cowboys can even make the playoffs, much less fulfill the pre-season Super Bowl expectations. All the people want to talk about is the plethora of injuries, a cancer at corner and a ticking time bomb at wide receiver, and most skeptics do not believe the Cowboys can overcome all this adversity and once again climb that mountain to become a Super Bowl contender. I am not one of those skeptics… and here are a few reasons why:

Brad Johnson even though he did not show it in St. Louis last week is not a typical back-up quarterback. You will not see him panic under pressure and run out of the back of the end zone for a safety. He will be the first to admit his arm strength and some of his talent has eroded over the course of his 17 year tenure, but I think he can still manage a game as good as anyone. I think if Cowboy’s Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett will not take as many “shots” down the field, but instead put Johnson in position to make plays and minimize the risk. We have to live with the fact Romo is hurt right now and get past the next 2-3 weeks. Johnson has a Super Bowl ring and still knows what it takes to win.

MB3 what can you say? He truly is a work of art and shows the heart of lion every time he straps on the star. Barber does not have the size of a Larry Johnson, (Kansas City) or a Frank Gore, (San Francisco). He is certainly not the fastest back in the NFL, but no one plays with as much heart as MB3. At this point in the season, Barber is my odds on favorite for MVP of the Cowboy’s offense.

As an opposing Defensive Coordinator, I would lose some sleep at night trying to come up with a game plan to stop the Cowboy’s offense. With T.O., Patrick Crayton, and now newly acquired Roy Williams, the Cowboy’s should have the best 3 receiver combination in the league. Now throw in Jason Witten and when the opposing Defensive Coordinator does get to sleep, it turns to nightmares. Over the next 2-3 weeks until Romo gets back and playing Brad Johnson, who has weaker arm strength, the long ball is not as big a factor. I am still convinced if Jason Garrett and Brad Johnson control the game clock with long time consuming drives and big doses of Barber, while complimenting him with 15-20 yd outs to the receivers and some across the middle plays to Witten, the Cowboys can play with almost any defense in this league. When Romo returns then “hell’s fury” will be unleashed in Dallas again!!

It was tough losing Felix Jones for a few weeks to the hamstring, but Cowboy fans don’t count out Tashard Choice. I had the brief opportunity to watch Choice when he was at the University of Oklahoma. Unfortunately, he transferred shortly after when it was apparent the writing was on the wall. A RB named Adrian “AD” Peterson came to town and Choice’s chances of playing the next 2-3 years at OU were going to be almost non-existent. He transferred to Georgia Tech and became a 3 year star. I think Choice was a steal in the 4th round and will produce big numbers for yrs to come in Dallas. Choice does not have the blazing speed or pass catching ability of Jones, but he has better vision and lower body strength. Combine that with the power of MB3 and they should beat, bruise and batter any defense.

Jason Witten has always been Tony’s security blanket and for next few weeks he should be the same for Brad Johnson. I think he is the best TE in the game today. I think linebackers and safeties don’t have the agility to stay with Witten and I am convinced most corners do not have the size or certainly the strength to matchup with him either. If they slow down the game with Johnson, I think Witten will be a major player in the next few weeks until Romo returns.

After Romo took a beating at the tune of 20 times in Arizona and broke his finger, everyone started pointing their fingers at the Cowboy’s offense line. However, no one pointed at the receivers for getting locked up in coverage or Romo for double-pumping to many times in the pocket. I did not see Tony one time in that game just take off and go get a 1st down.

The Cowboys have some Pro-Bowlers (Andre Gurode, Leonard Davis and Flozell Adams) on their offensive line, and the entire unit going into the St. Louis game had only given up 7 sacks. Keep in mind too, that the Cowboys have lost starting LG Kyle Kosier for most of the season. Even though Proctor has done well, he is still not a healthy Kosier.

Defensively DeMarcus Ware is a beast and despite drawing double teams all the time still leads the team in sacks with six (6), and is second on the team in tackles (32). What is so impressive about Ware is that he can play from the left side or the right side. In addition, he has the ability to rush the passer, defend the run and run with backs and tight ends in pass coverage. 

In addition, I have always believed the best way to protect a weak secondary is to blitz, rush the corners, blitz and rush the corners some more. Just the other day, I was talking to my good buddy, BIG, which incidentally besides me, just might be the biggest Cowboy fan I know! He said we have to keep pressure on the opposing quarterback and force turnovers. With the depleted secondary, the DEs’and LBs’ have to step up and make the big plays. I believe that other than long 3rd downs, we are foolish to sit back and play zone coverage. The Cowboys only have 15 sacks for the season and with that kind of talent up front they should be way ahead of that total.

D.Ware has a third of them himself and he is always double-teamed. Chris Canty and Marcus Spears have to collapse the pockets which should allow Greg Ellis and Kevin Burnett to blitz more. Heck I am not even opposed to seeing Zach Thomas or Bradie James blitz some from the inside linebacker position. I would think that would be some kind of a secret weapon, because I doubt many Defensive Coordinators expect to see a blitzing Zach Thomas.

The indefinite suspension of Adam “Pacman” Jones was kind of sad, but a hell of a lot more embarrassing in my opinion. Not to mention a major distraction to the team this early in the season. I don’t think that it is nearly as significant as the lingering injuries to Terrence Newman though, who is expected to be out at least another month. I do think when he returns (if it is not too late), the Cowboys will be ready to make the run.

A lot of people don’t like Anthony Henry, but he is a big and certainly physical corner, and I think Mike Jenkins has shown some promise already. I watched Jenkins many times in college and he is a “big time” playmaker. He just needs time to graduate from the college to the NFL level and that kind of leap takes time.

Where I think we are hurting in the secondary is in the nickel and dime corner package. I think if they would utilize Orlando Scandrick more and continue to get more help from the blitz packages; it will in turn make that part of our defense even better. Losing SS Roy Williams was a blow because he is also such a “run stuffer”, but injuries are part of this game and Pat Watkins, Pro Bowl FS Ken Hamlin will have to step up and make big plays. Something I would like to see more of is too is punishing the opposing receivers more after the catch. I think this secondary has lost a lot of respect, especially because the secondary is giving up way to many balls over the middle. In the past, when an opposing receiver came over the Cowboy’s middle, they became a sacrificial lamb! 

The bottom line is this Cowboy fans:

“Don’t Panic”!

We will still make the Playoffs!!

I am more concerned in getting that “monkey off our back” and winning that playoff game once we get there. Have a great Sunday everyone and GO COWBOYS!!

Remembering Buddy Dial

January 17, 1937 – February 29, 2008

Gilbert Leroy “Buddy” Dial passed away on Friday, February 29th, at the age of 71.  Dial was a star wide receiver who played 8 years in the NFL, first for the Pittsburgh Steelers and then for the Dallas Cowboys.

Dial played with the Steelers from 1959-1963 and was then traded to the Cowboys per his request in 1964 and remained with the Cowboys until his retirement in 1966.  During his career Dial made 261 receptions for a total of 5,436 yards and 44 touchdowns.  His best year was in 1963, with the Steelers, when he caught 60 passes for 1,295 yards and 9 touchdowns.  His per catch average remains the second-highest in NFL history at 20.8 yards per catch.  Dial made the Pro Bowl in 1961 and 1963, and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the National High School Hall of Fame.

The bulk of Dial’s productivity came during his years with Pittsburgh. In his final three years with Dallas, Dial was not as productive due to nagging injuries that eventually left him largely disabled after his football career was over.

Dial passed away Friday, February 29th in a Houston Hospital after being recently admitted for treatment of cancer and pneumonia.

Eleven Cowboys Headed to the Pro Bowl

What a magical year for the Dallas Cowboys. America’s Team will be sending 11 of its top players to Hawaii to be honored at the Pro Bowl. This will tie the franchise record which was set back during the 90s dynasty years.

STARTERS

Flozell Adams, offensive tackle

Leonard Davis, guard

Andre Gurode, center

Jason Witten, tight end

Terrell Owens, wide receiver

DeMarcus Ware, linebacker

Nick Folk, kicker 

BACKUPS

Tony Romo, quarterback

Marion Barber, running back

Ken Hamlin, safety

Terence Newman, cornerback

 

Injury Report: Week 10

Game Status:

Out
WR Terry Glenn (Knee) 

Doubtful 
N/A

Questionable 
WR Isaiah Stanback (Shoulder)

Probable
FB Oliver Hoyte (Neck)
CB Anthony Henry (Ankle)
S Pat Watkins (Ankle)

Rookie wide receiver Isaiah Stanback had his first start in the NFL last week and ended up suffering a shoulder injury that will likely leave him out for this game. It has not been announced if Tyson Thompson will get his kick return job back or if Miles Austin will get his shot.

Rookie fullback Deon Anderson was placed on thje Injured Reserve on Monday after a season ending rotator cuff injury incurred last Sunday. FB Oliver Hoyte is expected to play after missing the last six game with a neck injury.

Safety Pat Watkins sprained his ankle last week in the fourth quarter against the Eagles and has had limited practice this week.

 

Injury Report: Week 1

Game Status:
Out:
LB Greg Ellis (Achilles)
WR Terry Glenn (Knee)

Questionable:
LB Kevin Burnett (Ankle)
CB Terence Newman (Foot)

Greg Ellis and Terry Glenn will not play Sunday, that much is for sure. Terence Newman and Kevin Burnett are both gametime decisions.

Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd need to step it up and show that they can cover for Terry Glenn’s absense. I believe Glenn will be missed but I also think the Cowboys other weapons are powerful and will fill the hole left by the injured wide receiver.

I hope that Newman can play, but at the same time I hope he’s ready to play. Playing with an unhealed injury can cause more damage than good. But then again they are saying he will have to play with this injury for the entire season. I think it depends on how much pain he can tolerate. With the release of veteran Aaron Glenn, Jacques Reeves will take Newman’s place.

I heard a player say that there is a difference in playing hurt and playing injured… I don’t know about that but as much as they get beat up on the field I imagine its gotta hurt even when you aren’t injured!