Cowboys fan living in Chicago.
Ok I admit this is a semi-rant from a guy who's watched the Cowboys and Bears this season. I work in the news business and have colleagues on the sports desk for a major wire service (I'll leave it...
Looking forward to this Sunday's beat down of the Iggles BY Baltimore. The wounded Iggles have one of their starting WRs missing practice and the Ravens can shut down Shady McCoy and force Vick to try to beat them from the pocket. Graziano and the (B)SPN crowd still have the Iggles overrated and this game will expose them early in the season much like the Packers mauling of the Bears Thursday night killed the buzz around Cutler and Marshall here in Chicago.
How good are our Week 4 opponents the Chicago Bears? Let me put it this way -- I think we can take em' by ten points.
In part uno I gave a Cowboys 'fan's eye view' of our upcoming regular season opponents and how they played in Week 1. Given the long layoff of ten days between our Wednesday night opener and...
Week 1 of the NFL regular season is almost in the books. As many have pointed out here at BTB and other forums, before today there wasn't a heck of lot else to talk about since the Cowboys 24-17...
"There is no one pulling for us but us, the guys right here in this room...we know damn well the press has been against us forever so they're not pulling for us...we're going to do it for us." - Lee Roy Jordan, 1970 Ok this will be short and sweet. I'm tired of hearing about all the holes real and imagined on our team. Tired of hearing the sports writers pick the Eagles to win the NFC East damn near every season since Vick became their starter and starting his run of perrenial injuries. Tired of Andy Reid being called a genius when until last year he refused to run the damn ball and in recent seasons hasn't drafted a linebacker worth a flip. I'm tired of hearing about how much better Eli is than Romo. Tired of hearing about the Giants fearsome foursome and wanting to see Murray and Felix make them give chase like back in 2010 along with making their linebackers look silly (another weakness ready to be exposed by the return of Witten, No. 89 smacking guys around like Ditka, and even James Hanna torching Rivers in single coverage). Tired of nobody smacking Victor Cruz around at the line -- ready for Carr to manhandle him and then pick it off when Eli thinks his salsa dancer has a step. It's time to expose our rivals holes. It's time to run it down the throats of the Wide 9. Time to make Andy regret going so cheap at linebacker in so many drafts. Time to make the Giants pay for starting a guy off the Redskins rejects pile at right or left tackle, wherever Locklear will start. Time for Eli to get happy feet when he realizes he can't simply unload the ball on T. New's man and Locklear can't protect his edge. Time for Eli to not have a nice pristine pocket and instead see Crawford and Hatcher in his face. Time to make Eli eat some dirt. Time for us to hear about the Giants o-line getting old. Time to make the haters stand up and notice that we finally smacked a winning team, the defending Super Bowl champions no less, right in the mouth in their house with the whole country watching. We are the underdogs. We've lost 6 of our last 8 against these guys, including two games we had no business losing in the Cowboys Stadium opener and Game 1 of last year when we torched these guys. It's time to show a guy claimed off the Jacksonville Jaguars rejects pile is not better than Aaron Ross. It's time to expose our opponents weaknesses and for us to be the more physical team. It's time for us to play the underdog, us against the world card. Because this time it happens to be true.Page 55 of "Dallas Cowboys: The Complete Ilustrated History" by Jaime Aron
Baxter is a player me and a few other BTB commenters have linked to the Cowboys since they played and practiced against the Chargers in preseason. He's a third year man who was coached by Bill Callahan when he was with the Jets. Here's a link to Baxter's Wikipedia page which outlines his college career at Arizona where he made 49 consecutive starts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colin_Baxter Is Baxter better than David Arkin as a backup center at this point? Ryan Cook might enable the Cowboys to roll with just 8 OL for Week 1 or until Jason Witten comes back. But perhaps Callahan would rather have Cook concentrate on being the primary swing guard on game days and have Baxter active instead of Arkin (Baxter also provides some insurance against Costa regressing this year). That would mean cutting Derrick Dockery if we keep David, who in fairness didn't play too badly for having never snapped a ball before this preseason. But Arkin also doesn't yet have good anchor strength not to get knocked on his butt even while playing center. I'm not going to be torn up if Arkin gets cut but think he's played well enough to earn an evaluation for 2013. Picking up Baxter and keeping Cook also means perhaps closing the door on BTB favorite Montrae "Lumpy" Holland coming back after Week 2 when his contract isn't secured. As for the rest of our cuts, besides potentially losing OLB Adrian Hamilton to waivers I'm ok with them. There's a large glut of recently cut running backs and wide receivers looking for work this Saturday so I doubt we'll lose Lance Dunbar, Jamize Olawale or Danny Coale before they can be signed to our 8-man squad (the real question may be whether Coale is worth keeping over Saalim Hakim). I'm also waiting to see whether we'll continue to develop OG Ron Leary on the PS or move on.
Ok I'll make this quick and dirty since many BTBers are getting tired of seeing 53s...barring a stunning cut of Dan Connor or cutting BOTH veteran DLs Kenyon Coleman and Marcus Spears, here's what we seem to have. Again this is based not necessarly on talent but on who can get through waivers (maybe) and who won't:
2 QB Romo, Orton
4 RB/FB Murray, Jones (KR), Tanner
6 WR Dez (PR), Miles, Ogletree, Harris (KR/PR), Beasley (slot), Coale (R - ST/emergency punter)
3 TE Witten, Phillips, Hanna (R)
4 OT Smith, Free, Parnell, McQuistan
5 IOL Livings, Costa, Bernadeau, Arkin, Colin Baxter (C - acquired from SD's cuts -- it seems easier to find young, cheap veteran C prospects than OG/RTs off other teams' cuts)
6 OLB Ware, Spencer, V. Butler, Albright, Hamilton, Wilber (R)
4 ILB Lee, Carter, Connor (keep him for ST), Lemon (ST)
6 DL Hatcher, Ratliff, Lissemore, Crawford (R), Brent, Callaway (4-3 looks DT),
5 CB Carr, Claiborne, Scandrick, Jenkins, M. Butler (ST)
5 DB Church, Sensabaugh, McRay (STG), Silva (STG), Johnson (R)
K Bailey, P C. Jones (or bringing back McBriar), LS LaDouceur
Practice Squad - 6 Offense
QB Carpenter, RB Dunbar, FB/RB Olawale, 2 WR Holmes, Hakim, OG Leary (R)
Practice Squad - 2 Defense
1 DL Bass (R) (I'm annoyed to find out Callaway like Geathers is NOT PS eligible, probably means he's gone unless both Spears and Coleman get cut or traded to save cap room in 13')
1 CB L. Smith (R)
PUP K. Kowalski - I'd like to see Killer K back but Baxter or another young veteran C is insurance if he's put on IR.
I'd like to claim G.J. Kinne off the New York Jets cuts for Carpenter's slot on the practice squad as our season is probably shot anyway if our emergency QB is starting, but former NFL third string QB Jason Garrett may not agree.
In the last FanPost on this topic, we looked at the starting offensive line of the New York Giants on their 2011-2012 Super Bowl championship team, and compared how that unit was constructed to our...
The Bears came out sharp in the first quarter with Jay Cutler hitting Brandon Marshall for a touchdown and stuffing the run, while not managing much pressure on Eli Manning (has anyone pressured Eli since the NFC title game against the 49ers?). However the Giants dominated the 2nd quarter after shutting down the Bears running game. While Jay Cutler was not quite 'running for his life', he never got comfortable and finished 9 of 21 for less than a hundred yards and a touchdown before sitting in the third quarter. The Bears badly need a true blocking fullback like Lawrence Vickers, their rookie H-back from Temple (Rodriguez?) had no chance to block Mathias Kiwanuka on one play and probably would get quickly embarassed by the much quicker Bruce/Lee duo. Cutler simply looked out of sync with his receivers not named Brandon Marshall in the 2nd quarter, including Cowboys offseason free agent target Kellen Davis drawing Cutler's ire after a blown route. I'm personally glad the Boys didn't sign Davis even with the injury to Witten as he doesn't seem to be a better receiving tight end than John Phillips despite being a better blocker. On the other side of the ball, Dallas is in for a tough game on September 5th. The G-men's offensive line protection was more than adequate, slightly better than what Romo received from our unit against the Chargers starting defensive line. Giants rookie RB David Wilson is a much more formidable home run threat at tailback than the oft-injured Ahmad Bradshaw. He looked stellar tonight against a pretty good running defense and could've finished with 200 total yards at his first half pace. Wilson gives Eli Manning some badly needed check down relief when Eli cannot step up into a pristine pocket like last year thanks to our DL. Speaking of the two time Super Bowl winner, he still looks like a Pee Wee 5th grader when he scrambles yet always manages to avoid the sack or big hit with his superb pocket mobility. Victor Cruz and fourth year big man Ramses Barden have looked sharp against the Bears smallish starting corners. Barden's ability might help the Giants not to rush Hakeem Nicks back from a broken foot as he just started practicing on Tuesday. If we have Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten healthy in Week 4 I don't see any reason we can't beat the Bears by eight points after abusing (5"9 1/2) Tillman and the (5"8) Jennings. The rest of Chicago's pass rush besides Julius Peppers has been unimpressive and the performance of 1st round draft pick OLB/DE tweener Shea McClellin has been a hot topic for Bears fans on sports talk radio up here. I don't think the Bears will get as many hits or sacks on Romo as I first feared in my preseason prognostications. On the posiitve side the Bears much maligned offensive line while it can't run block or pull very well gave Cutler mediocre protection against a Giants' pass rush without Jason Pierre Paul or former Cowboy Chris Canty. With those two in the line up the Bears o-line still would've likely played better than in 2010 when they surrendered 10 sacks in one game to Big Blue. In Chicago hope springs eternal with just modest OL progress and plenty of max protect provided by Michael Bush, Cutler should be a solid no. 2 fantasy football quarterback this year. He has two big red zone targets in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey that can score a lot of TDs against the Lions and Vikings overmatched secondaries twice a year. The 6"4 rookie from South Carolina played well against the Giants' smaller backup corners in the 3rd quarter. Cutler also got some dunk-and-dink short yardage passes going against the Giants' 2s in the 3rd quarter before backup Jason Campbell took over. The former Washington Redskins starter threw the winning touchdown pass in garbage time against Giants 3rd string corners who're likely to be cut next week (who incidentally still looked better than AOA or Teddy Williams). With the starters in on the offensive line the Boys should be able to move the ball well in between the 20s against the Giants, the problem as always will come in the Red Zone in Week 1. The key for Dallas in Week 4 should be keeping Cutler and Marshall out of the red zone by stuffing the Bears' run game as the Giants did with ease and attacking their suspect secondary early. If Cutler is playing catch up he tends to throw far more picks than Tony Romo. On the down side for our chances in Game 1, I don't see the Giants missing Hakeem Nicks too much if he's not ready to go or needing a big game from ex-Cowboy Martellus Bennett to beat us (Tellus stats for the night, 3 for 3 on targets for 15 yards). Clearly their offensive coordinator's focus will be on hitting Wilson in the flats (to keep Sean Lee and Bruce Carter from A-gap blitzing) and/or crossing routes and stretch plays. Although the Bears safeties prevented the long ball to Cruz in the first half, I don't doubt the Giants would love to get rookie deep threat Reuben Randle matched up with little to no safety help against rookie Mo Claiborne. Unfortunately for our chances as well, Eli will be well aware that he's no longer throwing into a secondary with Abe Elam and Terence Newman and won't just chunk it up for Cruz only to see Carr or Church come down with it. I expect a more-run friendly game plan from Coughlin with play action bombs to test our secondary deep on September 5th. Unfortunately for us, New York's defense if anything looks more formidable than what we faced in both games last season when Romo's excellent performances were wasted by our horrible secondary play. If Romo can escape the twists and stunts by Kiwanuka and Umenyora though either Dez or Miles should be wide open against Bruce Johnson and Cory Webster. Prince Akukamara is likely to miss Game 1 and possibly several weeks with a high ankle sprain suffered tonight, while Terrell Thomas may not be back until after the bye week if not headed for injured reserve. The Giants' injuries at corner also mean that their rookie Jayron Hosley (whom some BTBers wanted us to draft) will likely be matched up on Cole Beasley or whoever we line up in the slot (UPDATE Hosley has turf toe, it could be Michael Coe or another Giants back up we're not as familiar with in Game 1). Hopefully we can try Miles Austin in the slot with Tree on the outside to create a size mismatch. In any case whether it's Austin or Beasley in the slot you'd have to say advantage Dallas. I think Jason Garrett won't give up on the run the first few times the G-men stuff Murray, but will allow Vickers to wear down the dinged up Giants backers. Remember while the Bears have some maulers up front their interior OL is arguably weaker than ours if Bernie and the Bengal are both healthy, and they don't have a true fullback on the roster. Garrett must also force Keith Rivers and his cohorts to cover the flats with quick outs to Murray/Felix. Slipping Cole Beasley behind the Giants' midfield-clogging zone coverage for big gainers will also get their corners and backers frustrated early. The main thing working in the Boys' favor are the injuries at corner for Big Blue. The G-men know Johnson and Hosley can't match up with our receivers man to man and they have to rely on zone coverage with their pass rush to get pressure early and often. When the pass rush didn't get there in Game 1 last year Romo absolutely torched the Giants secondary and had this team up by nine headed into the 4th quarter -- a game this year's Cowboys defense surely would've found a way to put away. In fact, thanks to the Giants' injuries this may be the first time Dallas is bringing the better trio of starting corners into the New Meadowlands than the home team since 2007. Game 1 last year also showed that so long as Murray and Felix both stay healthy we can stay in the game, keep Eli off the field, and wear down the Giants backers if not their front four. Keeping their backers alert for the run means they'll be a step slow on the fake draw play when Romo delivers a dagger to Dez or Miles down field after Johnson, Coe or Hosley blow coverages in the 4th quarter. I expect a prize fight. If we had the Senator and Jenkins healthy I'd pick Cowboys 26-Giants 23. Since Eli is so hard to sack and/or force into fumbles it's going to take plenty of tipped balls and forced picks for us to come out on top. Right now I'd give us a 40% chance of upsetting the Super Bowl champions in their house. But on the positive side even if we narrowly lose the opener at New York I expect us to beat the Bears by eight to ten points as Chicago continues to look far from dominant in rushing or on defense.
Is it time to deal Mike Jenkins now that he's likely to miss Game 1 and the Colts owner is talking about giving up a high pick?
Darrell K. Royal once said dance with the one that brung ya but the ones that are supposed to block for the Cowboys remain dinged up. The Cowboys Front Office may be willing to sign Montrae Holland but based on history and money it won't be until after Week 2, which could mean an ugly season debut up in New Jersey against the Jersey Blue Giants. Raf over at Cowboys Nation, however, suggests that the depth this team has at D-line could be leveraged into a trade for badly needed depth along the offensive line and possibly at tight end. Scouring other teams depth charts over at OurLads.com, I noticed that the AFC Champion New England Patriots have 34-year-old Ty Warren still on the roster at DL. He seems a possible cut in favor of a more youthful Marcus Spears or even the 32-year-old Kenyon Coleman, whether a trade can be worked out or not. Alternatively and more likely, New England would be interested in one of our younger prospects such as former Detroit Lions DT Rob Callaway, a player who's a good fit in both the 3-4 and 4-3 and who gives their d-line rotation more youth. Losing three out of the four of Spears, Coleman, Callaway and Brent would still leave us with Hatcher, Rat, Lissy, Crawford, Geathers and Bass. So most likely we trade one veteran DT (Callaway, considering how cheap his deal is compared to Spears' and Coleman's modest veteran deals), cut another (Coleman) and keep two others (I lean toward Spears AND Brent). It's going to be nigh impossible to keep 7 DL, 4 TEs with a veteran to spell Witten for a game or two, a corner to fill in for Mike Jenkins in game 1, and a 10th offensive lineman. Something's got to give and most likely it would be that 10th o-lineman or the 6th corner. What could the Pats offer in return? They just signed free agent tight end Visanthoe Shancoe for insurance in case either of their Pro Bowl-caliber tight ends goes down. Maybe they'd be willing to part with him so we get a rental for one season against the scary prospect of Jason Witten having spleen surgery. Shancoe though would likely be a 'progress stopper' for James Hanna and John Phillips and hence may be a no go. But New England has a back up Center we could probably use. To pick another franchise that could use some younger DL depth, we need look no further than our preseason opponents the San Diego Chargers. They're also getting older along their defensive front, with 31-year-old Antonio Garay at the nose and 30 plus year old Aubrayo Franklin in reserve. Unlike the Patriots the Chargers also have a 3rd string rather than 2nd string Center who might be better than Costa, and one Jason Garrett and his staff should get a look at this week. Unfortunately for our prospects of pulling off a player for player trade, the Chargers already drafted Kendall Reyes (a guy many BTBers coveted when they'd never heard of Tyrone Crawford) to play DE so they're likely to be less interested in a Rob Callaway or Clifton Geathers than the Pats. Finally there's one other team off the top of my head I can think of that has some need at DL and runs a similar defense to plug and play our players into -- the New York Jets. Jersey Green's massive NT Sione Pouha has knee issues this preseason. Would Josh Brent be a young, cheap injury replacement? Would the Jets be willing to part with their backup center who's stuck behind Nick Mangold for Brent plus send us a 7th rounder? We shall see. All I can say is that Rob Ryan is showing us more 4-3 looks that don't demand a large NT for a reason. If you'll notice, the guys we're more likely to keep are the smaller, quicker hybrid linemen while the ones most likely to be let go are the big Parcells-type run stuffers.
In response to some of the other fan posts and fan shots complaining about how Dallas has gone cheap at offensive line in the last several drafts, I've decided to take a look at the starting...
In my previous FanPost taking a long look at this team's most urgent 2012 injury needs at (respectively) cornerback, interior offensive line, we looked at how this team is likely to respond to this...
A more detailed look at the Cowboys looming roster cuts and why they'll go with youth, extra bodies at corner and more pass rushers.
Ok I've looked at the Training Camp opening power rankings and with the exception of a few, I'm hoping Coach Jason Garrett plays the 'no respect' card and gets this locker room motivated to go out...
My brief thoughts on the Dez situation: 1) K.D's right. Let the situation develop and let Dez have his day in court or at least a hearing. 2) The non-Dez haters are right that this is minor compared to the Aqib Talib (on the other hand, he may be out of the NFL soon) charges, Big Ben Roethlisberger getting accused of rape, or Dave Diehl's DUI crash. But we're the Dallas Cowboys, we had lotsa frequently arrested bad boys in the 1990s, so we're always going to get more press. 4) The charges likely will be dropped. 5) Dez needs a stern talking to from Michael Irvin or any of the other mentors in his life...support his mother, but stay the hell away from her and any cousins other relatives that want his money. And stay the hell out of clubs where lotsa thugs are hanging around waiting to provoke NFL players into fights. Party at your own home and invite a few people over, if that. 6) If the above seems overly harsh or cynical, remember this is the same lady that got Dez asked if his father was a pimp. Not judging, just saying. 7) The Cowboys need to get Andre Holmes, Danny Coale and Cole Beasley as many reps with Romo as possible in training camp.
In part 2 of Hamiltons and Franklins, we wrap up the case of why TE, S and OLB are this franchise's top priorities in 2013, and give food for thought in discussing which of those three should be the highest priority in the 2013 NFL Draft.
The Cowboys franchise future depends on a managing a stagnant salary cap, with Franklins and...Hamiltons?
It's that time of year, as Tom Ryle says, when fans starved for news prior to Oxnard do their best to peer into the crystal ball and come up with a forecast for their Cowboys. Given the current...
A question for OCC, CotySaxman, and other BTBers overseas...how do you catch Dallas Cowboys games online? Is there a website you can go to where it's pay per game? Also if anyone knows how to watch NFL games on Roku boxes using Hulu or other Roku features, please enlighten the BTB faithful. More than likely I'll be overseas come playoffs time. Thanks.
This is my first FanPost attempt at Blogging the Boys. I've been reading BTB for three years now, and started following the blog closely during the dismal season of 2010. I'm a transplanted Texan...
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