Perftect Time for the Bye

The Dallas Cowboys have reached the bye week in their 2008 season, and it could not have come at a better time.  As we have talked about seemingly at length on this blog the 2008 season has not been anywhere near close to what the Dallas Cowboys wanted.  This week some of the Cowboys will leave Texas and get away while others will remain in town to complete their stints in rehab.

Once Dallas is through their bye week they will travel to Washington D.C. to take on the Washington Redskins.  There is no doubt the Washington game will be a watershed momoent in the Dallas Cowboys season.    November 16 is the schedule date for nearly a half dozen Cowboys to return to action.  Everyone of those players will be needed to help right this ship.  The Dallas Cowboys have no room for era.  They need to go out and win.


Somethings Got To Change

The Dallas Cowboys were blown out this past Sunday when they traveled to take on the New York Giants.  The lost dropped the Cowboys to last in their division, and they are now facing an uphill crawl just to make the post season. To say the least, the current situation in Dallas does not look good.

Granted the Dallas Cowboys went into Sunday’s game without their star quarterback, Tony Romo, but the problems the Cowboys experienced on Sunday go farther than a missing quarterback.  The Cowboys lost Sunday’s game 34-14 and the play at the QB position was poor, both Bolinger and Johnson were unable to generate any offense on Sunday.  It is difficult to watch a team play so poorly with two backups and then turn around and watch the Pittsburgh Steelers thrive when they turned to their back up QB.  

Granted the quarterback play was not great on Sunday but is more disappointing is the lack of pride this team has shown.  An Oline that seemingly has Pro-Bowlers across the board has allowed their starting QB to go down with injury and have all but shut down in the last two weeks.  A defense that is stretched has simply stopped playing to any level of potinetial.  Wade Phillips has become a lame duck coach and has no control over his players.

I could ramble on for pages about how this Dallas team has been  a complete failure and an absolute disaster, but that would mean I am just rehashing everything that every sports show in the nation has gone over since late September.  The bottom line is this team has disappointed everyone to date, and nothing short of a miracle  will save them.  This is a sad sad day. 


Keys To Victory Against the New York Giants

The Dallas Cowboys have a huge game coming their way on Sunday evening. When they travel East to New Jersey there will be plenty to worry about when they take on arguably the best team in the league.  However, bellow I have outlined a couple simple keys the Dallas Cowboys need to follow if they want to emerge victorious.  

1) The Oline must play better:  The Giants have one of the best the D-Lines in the league.  They will bring pressure on the Cowboys all day long.  Pittsburgh could not stand up to the pressure (but their O-Line is not that good).  The Dallas Cowboys O-Line has had trouble protecting the quarterback all season (there’s a reason why Romo got hurt).  Brad Johnson cannot run to save his life, the Cowboys will need to protect him all game long.

2)Pressure Eli: The Cowboys need to rattle Eli Manning.  Everyone in the league knows he can be rattled, don’t let his recent outtings fool you.    He does not like to run and he does not want to take a hit.  Hit him early and you can disrupt the New York Giants game.

3)Establish the Run: Marion Barber III needs to step up and have a big game.  Brad Johnson cannot throw the ball down the field so the box will be packed with Giants.  Marion Barber will need to run to hard and be strong to break open a couple holes. It is a shame Jones won’t be available.  

4) Let the Secondary Show Up: It’s no secret that the Dallas Cowboys secondary has been a joke all season.  They will have to stay strong and play hard on Sunday to keep the Giants in check.  The Cowboys secondary needs to keep up with a pretty talented Giants receiving core.  The secondary will also need to keep their heads on a swivel and be ready to help against the run.

5)Show the Vertical Game:  Yes the Cowboys need to run the ball well, but Brad Johnson has to be able to stretch the field.  It is the only way to keep the Giants honest.  In addition throwing the ball down the field will give the Cowboys use of their entire playbook.  Right now the Dallas Cowboys are playing with one hand behind their back with Brad Johnson running the show, but he must show up and play to his potential. 


Checking in on the Injury Situation

By now everyone knows the Dallas Cowboys have been ravaged by injuries.  Going into Sunday’s big game against the New York Giants injuries will impact how the Cowboys set up their game plan to take on the defending Super Bowl Champions.  So with that being said, let’s take a look at what the injury situation is. 

Jason Witten (ribs): Witten broke his ribs during last weeks game and missed the second half.  Currently he is being called a game-time decision.  He has not practiced all week.  In all honesty if his ribs are hurting him that badly that he cannot practice and has to wait til game time to know make a choice about playing, then the smart choice is to sit him.  The Cowboys season is not tanked yet, and there is a lot of football to play in the months of November and December.  Let Witten rest and get healthy.

Anthony Henry (quadriceps) – Despite suffering what was called a slight quadriceps tear that knocked him out of the Tampa Bay game, Henry went through a limited portion of practice on Wednesday and appeared to be running really well in the portion open to the media. Phillips said Henry has improved in the past couple of days, and does have a “chance” of playing against the Giants. If he can’t go, rookie Orland Scandrick would start in his place at right corner. Once again it would be a good choice to let Henry rest especially with the Cowboys D showing improvement.

Anthony Spencer (hamstring) – The hamstring strain that limited him to just six plays against Arizona and caused him to miss the next two games apparently has improved enough for the backup outside linebacker to participate in Wednesday’s practice on a limited basis. Phillips seemed encouraged by Spencer’s progress, and said he, too, has a “chance” of playing against the Giants.

Tony Romo (finger) – The Cowboys starting quarterback will not practice this week, and Phillips already has ruled him out of the Giants game with the fracture fifth finger on his right (throwing) hand that has caused him to miss the past two games. Brad Johnson will start a third consecutive game and Brooks Bollinger will be the No. 2 guy. There is still hope Romo will be able to return after the Nov. 9 bye. The Dallas Cowboys will need him on the field if they want any chance at making a run at the post season or dare I say a Super Bowl.

RB Felix Jones (hamstring) – Continues to miss practice with the hamstring tear he suffered early in the third quarter against Arizona. Jones will miss his third consecutive game this Sunday, but Phillips said he has a good chance of returning after the bye. Jones joined Newman off to the side doing rehab work with the trainers during Wednesday’s practice.

Those are the major injuries the Cowboys are dealing with.  In addition Terrence Newman, Kyle Kosier, Pat Watkins are all out till at least after the bye week.


And The Injuries Keep Coming

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The Dallas Cowboys Pro-Bowl Tight-end Jason Witten suffered a broken rib during Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buc’s.  This is just the most recent of a rash of injuries, the Dallas Cowboys have had to deal with.

Originally it was thought that Witten would be out til the game against the Washington Redskins, however, upon a second opinion the Cowboys are hoping to have the pro-bowler back in action this coming Sunday when they take on division leading New York Giants.

The Dallas Cowboys will need the services of Jason Witten if they want to win their next game.  Brad Johnson is a shaky quarterback at best, and he has taken a liking to throwing to his check down receivers.  Witten is a big target that Johnson (or Bollinger) could use as a safty net.  While Wittens replace is solid, he is still learning and is not ready to step up and fill the very large shoes Witten would leave if out on injury.


Quarterback Contraversy Again

Even when the Dallas Cowboys manage to get their act together and come away with a win on Sunday they still have contraversy surrounding them.  In a conference on Monday head coach Wade Phillips left the door open to the idea of benching current starting quarterback Brad Johnson.  This would force the Dallas Cowboys to turn to their third string quarterback Brooks Bollinger.  

The Cowboys got a win on Sunday  but their offense was horrible.  Brad Johnson went the ultra safe route choosing to throw short passes and not risk tossing any interceptions.  He went 19-33 on Sunday which was an improvement over his game last week but still nothing to throw a party over. His overall performance led the Cowboys to accumulate only 172 yards total offense which simply wont get the job done in the average game.    

The Dallas are taking on the NY Giants next weekend, and they will need to bring their “A game” if they want to beat the Giants and remain a contender in their division.  I’m not sure that Brooks Bollinger is the Dallas Cowboys “A game”but if he can get the Cowboys to 2-2 over this current stretch then that will be enough.


Tony Romo Out On Sunday

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Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo hinted to news outlets on Tuesday that he would not be able to play in Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bucs.  Now on Wednesday morning he Romo has confirmed he will sit out on Sunday and there is a chance he will sit out next Sunday’s game against the New York Giants.

According to Romo he can throw a ball just fine, and he has accuracy.  However, catching a ball and then being able to quickly grip it and rip it so to speak is very painful.  As it currently stands Tony Romo cannot take snaps under center because the ball comes back too quickly and it is like getting punched in his broken finger each time.  This limited him taking snaps out of the shotgun.  That is bad because it virtually cuts out the short game, and a large ammount of the playaction sets. Both spell out trouble for a struggling squad. This means he is making the right choice sitting out next week.  


Searching for an Answer

Everyone in Cowboy nation is still hurting as a result of Sunday’s train wreck and the list of possible solutions to the Dallas Cowboys problems appears to be as long as my arm.  However, what fans need to remember is a knee jerk reactions will not fix the flaws on this team.  The Cowboys need to choose their next move very wisely.  Here are a couple solutions that have been presented to me in the last 24 hours, and here is my response to those solutions.

Bring in help on defense.  The two names I have heard are Ty Law, and John Lynch:  My answer to both of those names is no.  John Lynch is obviously past his prime, why else would the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots pass on him during the summer.  Even in his later days in Denver, Lynch the actual impact Lynch had  on a game was limited.  It is a lot easier to play strong saftey when you have Delta O’Neal and Champ Baily playing corner in front of you.  

The same goes for Ty Law.  Law played his best days with the Jets, so he is well past his prime. 

The poor performance in the Dallas secondary is not due to a lack of talent.  It is due to a lack of experience.  Mike Jenkins was a first round draft pick and as he learns he will adjust and improve.  The same can be said for Orlando Scandrick.  The Cowboys secondary is by no means deep at this point, but its not horrible time will heal those wounds.  

Also remember Newman will play football again this year. So if this team can hold on, he will be available to help make the playoff push.

 Fire Wade Phillips: Now this is an idea that I can get behind, but you have to pull the trigger on it for the right reasons, and at the right time.  It’s pretty obvious that no one saw Wade Phillips as a legitimate head coach.  He is merely a place holder till Jason Garrett is ready to become a head coach.  The problem with firing Phillips right now or during the bye week is Garrett is not ready to step in as the head man in Dallas.  Truth be told Garrett has not been a great signal caller through this point of the season.  Putting him in as head coach of this train wreck would be season and career suicide.  Firing Philips would show the world that the Dallas Cowboys have pushed the panic button and there is no return.  Do not force Jason Garrett to be the man responsible for pulling that ship back on course.  Wait till the end of the season and give him a chance to ease into the position and assemble the guys he wants.

The team needs a leader: Now this is an idea that I cannot agree more with.  The 2008 Dallas Cowboys are one of the most talented teams I have ever seen assembled. However, they have no direction and no leadership.  This team reminds me of the 99 and 2000 Washington Redskins when Dan Snyder first bought the team.  He assembled one of the greatest collections of talent ever, but they never had any “True Redskins” as Joe Gibbs called them.  As a result those teams stunk for years till Joe Gibbs put them on the right path.

The Dallas Cowboys are having the same problems.  Tony Romo is not ready to lead, T.O. is not a leader neither is Marion Barber.  Roy Williams was a leader on the team for a while but his erroding pass coverage skills have caused others around him to lose respect in his abilities.

The man I would like to see step up into that roll is DeMarcus Ware.  He has been on this team for several years now, and has emerged as the most talented player on either side of the ball.  He plays his heart out on the field, and leads by example but he needs to step up and begin to lead with his voice.  Help organize a defensive unit that is splinter.  If the defense gels together and begins to play well, there is no doubt that the offense will soon follow.


Unacceptable

The Dallas Cowboys went on the road today to take on the St. Louis Rams. What resulted was complete embarrassment.  Dallas came out with a solid opening drive, but did nothing after that.  Now, I am not about to break down the game because honestly there is nothing to talk about.  The Cowboys were not together at all in any way on either side of the ball.  There was no communication and at last look it was 31-7 going into the fourth QT. 

Now the Rams are better team right now than they were a month ago, but by no means are they a solid team yet.  The Dallas Cowboys laid down on the pitch and let the Rams smack them in the mouth.  It was horrible.  Wade Phillips needs to get a hold of his team now because their play in the last two weeks was horrible and this team will miss the Super Bowl and the post season if they don’t change their ways.


Tony Romo Channels His Inner Brett Favre

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\According to reports coming out of Dallas late Wednesday afternoon, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, has told coaches he feels he can play this weekend against the St. Louis Rams.  This comes just two days after doctors diagnosed him with a broken pinkie and stated he would be out four weeks with the injury.

Tony Romo who did not participate in practice on Wednesday did go through throwing drills on the sidelines.  According to sources he did not seem to lose much velocity or accuracy on his throws.  Also Romo said he felt good and the pain was minimal.

While it would be great to see Romo suit up on Sunday and get to work building a relationship with his new weapon Roy Williams, one has to think this is just too soon.  Especially considering the opponent.  The St. Louis Rams are coming off an upset victory against the Washington Redskins last week, but they cannot be expected to maintain their current winning ways.  This is the perfect game to let Romo rest and heal that finger a little bit longer.  Let him sit and bring him back the next week.