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Stacking up Roy E. and TO

December 17, 2009

Back in late October, Terrell Owens said in his media briefing that he wanted to beat the stats of Roy E. Williams.

I figured now is as good a chance as any to see how they’re stacking up. Things are a bit skewed, however, since the Bills bye came after the proclamation, and the ’Boys before.

Since then, Roy has scored 6 of the 7 touchdowns he’s posted for the year. TO has 3 in the same time frame.

Helped by his monster game against the Jags where he caught one of his touchdowns for 98 yards, TO has 463 with 26 receptions. Roy lags behind with 348 in 24 receptions.

For the season, TO’s line is 45/705/4. Roy E. has 36/478/6.

Roy’s role as a threat near the goal line has developed, while TO has been more over the field. Judging up to now, TO’s feeling pretty good about himself.

…Of course, that’s like Tiger Wood’s comparing his dates to Boo Weekley’s. And for the record, the record book has TO at 2-4 and Roy E. at 4-3

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If you had JJT and the Over

December 16, 2009

On Sunday, following the loss to San Diego I said the following: 

It’s far too easy to mention him in connection with the David Duval’s and Steve Sax’s of the sports world, so I’ll leave that to the JFE’s and Galloway’s of the media (if they already haven’t, that is.)

Today, Jean-Jacques Taylor had this to say:

Any coach who’s been in the NFL for more than 30 years should know it’s possible for kickers to lose it for no apparent reason the same way golfer David Duval lost it or second baseman Chuck Knoblauch lost it.

In JJT’s defense, I still read his opinions.  I haven’t read more than 2 paragraphs combined from Galloway or JFE in probably a year.  My life is better for it, but they may have beaten him to the punch.  I just don’t know.

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Oops. Under Construction

December 14, 2009

I know I said yesterday that I’d post something today – but I spent my writing time coming up with that bad-ass logo at the top.

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on Ware, Folk and December

December 14, 2009

I’ve seen DeMarcus Ware sack quarterbacks. I’ve seen him knife through defenses, wreaking havoc in the back field. I’ve seen him happy. I’ve seen him sad.

And today, I saw him on his back. On the ground, surrounded by teammates, doctors, first responders, Chargers and a head brace.

While CBS continued to clear their commercials, I reassured myself. Talking with my sister and my brother-in-law, I was trying to convince myself that he would be OK.

I’ve seen DeMarcus Ware talk to his daughter. As he laid there, that was the vision in my head. Him singing to his daughter on Hard Knocks.

I’ve seen Jay Ratliff celebrate. I’ve seen others imitate it. But when I saw him give the thumbs-up as Ware was being prepared to move, that’s when I think I celebrated the most about anything Ratliff has ever done.

There’s lots of things from this game relating to the outcome, to the future of this season, and to the future lives of many people. There isn’t much to celebrate as a Cowboy fan when it comes to the game. But as we analyze, blame and break down the contest – let us not forget to celebrate that Ware will be able to play peek-a-boo with his daughter.

I hope he makes it back on to the football field. That’s my connection to him. That’s me being selfish. Don’t forget, though, that there are many in this world with connections far more important than anything we’ve seen him do on the field.

Now, on to the game:

*Nick Folk was masterful today. Nailing, not one, but two 53-yard field goals to clinch the vict… wait. I guess I have to take the advice of many and forget the past. Nick Folk just doesn’t have it now, and the Cowboys can’t wait for him to figure it out.

The question now at Valley Ranch is does David Buehler have it?

Nick will land another job in the NFL, but he simply cannot keep this one. It has been a year across the league where many kickers have fallen pray to the yips. It’s far too easy to mention him in connection with the David Duval’s and Steve Sax’s of the sports world, so I’ll leave that to the JFE’s and Galloway’s of the media (if they already haven’t, that is.)

I said before the game that teams as evenly matched as this, that the winner would be the team who won in turnovers, special teams and keeping the quarterback clean. Romo and Rivers both had time today. The Cowboys were +1 on the turnover chart. Folk missed a kick, and gave the special teams win to the Chargers. They won by three.

* The Cowboys have pulled off something quite rare. Teams that finish on the plus side of the turnover chart have won 77% of the time this season. The Cowboys have now lost two in a row where they took more than they gave. Not easy.

*The Cowboys were near the top of the league before today in forcing the opposing offense to go three and out. They had 0 of them today. The Newman pick ended the only Charger drive of less than 6 plays in the game. Meanwhile, the Cowboys themselves had no three-and-outs.

*Let the talk continue. The Cowboys can’t win in December. Tony Romo can’t come up big when it counts. You know the things that have been said. I’ll say my peace about them tomorrow. I also talk many of you off the ledge. There’s plenty to still be excited about over the next three weeks. Not the least of which is DeMarcus Ware lifting his baby girl over his head.

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How to beat the Chargeboys

December 12, 2009

The dichotomy in December. This week much has been made about the Chargers ability to win in the final month of the season. The Cowboys… you know the tale.

“It’s a different year, a different team,” you can attribute that quote to basically any Cowboy. Each has said something similar in every interview. So what do you do to make this a different game? Right now, the Chargers are playing consistently better than any other team in the league (sorry Saints, Vikes, Colts).

But what are they doing that is winning games instead of losing them? Seven in a row, three losses total. One of the things that stands out, and gives credence to the thought they’re playing consistently better than any other team is that there’s no obvious button that they pushed. No obvious anything that just clicked for a 2-3 team that turned them into a 9-3 team.

LaDainian Tomlinson has been able to find the end zone more consistently, with 8 of his 9 touchdowns on the season coming in the streak. However, his yards per carry vary between 1.83 and 4.00 during the streak. He didn’t just flip the switch.

Antonio Gates has had good games, and not-so-good games.

Perhaps their defense tells the story? Possibly, in each of their losses they allowed over 30 points. In their 9 wins, no team has eclipsed that number. In fact, over the last 7 games they are allowing just under 14 points per game.

That’s the trouble. There is no obvious deficiency to exploit.

Can the Cowboys put up 30 points? Perhaps. If you follow the Cowboys, you surely know that they have not had their best output against teams running the 3-4 defense this season. Peculiar since the offense faces it every day in practice. You also, then, know the importance of the outside backers. Both Shaun Phillips and Shawne Merriman are nicked up headed into the game.

Safety Eric Weddle also is feeling the length of the season, and as a Cowboys fan, you know that defective safety play can result in bad things happening to the defense.

That is part of the lesson from this game. These teams are quite similar. Constructed similarly. This week you’ve heard plenty of Norv v. Wade talk.

In the streak, they have kept Philip Rivers clean. They have given up just six sacks in the last 7 games. In the losses – 10.

Can the Cowboys get to Rivers? Calling for five sacks is probably a bit much, but shutting out the Cowboys on the pass rush is probably too much for the Chargers to ask.

Turnovers. Same story. One in the last four weeks, and a +9 mark in the streak.

The opponents? Well, two victories against the NFC East, four against the little sisters of the NFL and a first-place showdown with the Broncos. Not a list of exceptionally great opponents, but nothing that is out of the ordinary that says another good team would easily be 7-0 over the same stretch.

Consistently good. That’s the only way to describe the Chargers for the last 2 months. Not great. Good.

The Chargers only have the 12th most yards in football. They have the third most points. The inverse of the Cowboys, who are third in yardage, but barely crack the top 10 in points. That suggests a

I started this exercise today hoping to find the silver bullet. Hoping to find something in the minutiae that the Cowboys could exploit. Even a tidbit. There’s nothing there. Score 30 points. That’s what teams did to beat San Diego this year. That’s not exactly great analysis.

Of course, the good news from a Cowboys perspective is that a similar study from the Chargers perspective doesn’t yield any better results.

So how do the Cowboys win on Sunday? Well sometimes the obvious is over looked in football discussion because of the consistency of results. The Cowboys are a good team. The Chargers are a consistently good team. When you have a match up such as this, the game comes down to who can do the best job in three areas: Win the field position battle. Get more turnovers. Get to the quarterback.

That’s what makes the NFL great. For all the big plays, broken tackles and crushing hits; To win, you have to do those three things week-in, week-out.

Prediction: Cowboys 31 – Chargers 28

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Don’t eat the cheese, pick the fruit

November 17, 2009

Grab the low-hanging fruit.  It’s a simple concept.  Why climb the tree to get an apple when you can reach one from the ground?  On Sunday Jason Garrett continually told the offense to climb the tree.

I think Rafael Vela did a good job at Blogging the Boys demonstrating that the Cowboys didn’t stop running because they were getting too cute with the play calling.  They stopped running because there aren’t many runs designed for 2nd and 19.

Bill Parcells was of the belief that you just had to qualify for the tournament, then let the chips fall.  I still think the team is in a position to make the tournament, and from there every win is harder.  Not just the final score, but the wins inside the game.  The little wins that add up to make the final score.

For the Cowboys, I hope that as the offense gathered at the Ranch on Monday, they saw that they didn’t pick the low-hanging fruit.

You know Dom Capers is bringing heat.  You know that the pocket isn’t holding up.  You know that Romo is getting killed.  At 3-0, you know you’re one play from taking the lead, and there’s few better at making that one play.

Of course, that’s the razors edge.  When the Cowboys say that they’re willing to let the game rest on getting the one big win, they also let the other team get the game from one big win.

The problem is, that’s Memphis basketball.  Fire away from behind the arc and hope to make enough plays, or get rebounds with easy put-backs (I guess that would be pass-interference calls in this analogy.).  It’s also Eagles football, which we saw Dallas stop just one week prior.  It’s trying to get the final win, without little ones stacked up in a pile.

The Utah Jazz, on the other hand, liked to turn to the pick-and-roll.  Bare bones, basic, and – when they had Stockton and Malone running it – damn near impossible to consistently stop.  It was instant points for the Jazz.  It’s little win that add up.

Inferior teams can’t stack up the little wins against the Cowboys.  Good teams have trouble doing it.  Yet, on Sunday, the Cowboys let Green Bay get little win after little win.

Win on first, then win on second.  Win on second, get a new first.  The Cowboys had no flow on offense after they left points on the field in the first.  They didn’t have it the week before the Eagles, either, for the the most part.  They just got that big win in the form of a Miles Austin double move.  They beat the Eagles at their own game.

It’s the low hanging fruit that gets little wins.  It’s Jason Witten, engaging and releasing at the line, and running a curl that is on his hands when he comes out of the break.

Tony Romo was under pressure.  Heavy pressure.  Witten is his security blanket.  That’s the moment when you need it most.

Pick the low-hanging fruit this Sunday, take the little wins.  After all, Jason Witten has made a career out of taking little wins, beating a defender, and turning them into big wins.

 

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Party Pass Problems

September 23, 2009

You can make some of the people happy all of the time, and all of the people happy some of the time…but you can’t make all of the people happy all of the time. 

 

I was a party pass partygoer on Sunday in Cowboys Stadium.  Yes, I did have my issues.  For instance, using a borrowed GPS to navigate Dallas for the first time ever, it told me to take the Tollway.  Well, I’d heard about parking, and didn’t want to run out of cash to park.  So I took a nice short cut through the Airport to get to the stadium.  I blame Jerry, he should have painted yellow lines to the stadium throughout the Metroplex. 

 

Discover put a fraud alert on my card because I used it at a 7-11, rendering it useless to me at the stadium.  I blame Jerry for this as well, since he made that deal with Visa back in the 90s, I think it was Discover being punitive to the Cowboys. 

 

Alas, my parking fears were unrealized.  Fifteen bucks.  Was it a hike?  Yeah.  I was over by the Lexus Valet lot for the Rangers.  However, I still had time to walk to the stadium, wait in line to buy my merchandise, walk back to stash it, and walk back to the stadium.  I finally got into the stadium at about 5:30. 

 

I received an email last week that had the following details:

 

  • Some party pass areas of the stadium may fill to capacity. When that occurs, you will no longer be provided access to those specific areas. In such an instance, you may be asked to move to an area with available space (including the plazas). With that in mind, we have designed outdoor bars and very large video screens with live broadcasts of the game on the plazas just outside the party decks. 

 

So, after waiting in line for what had to be 5 mintues, I got in, and immediately was disappointed.  Jerry, you should have had a 60-yard screen in the end zones, too.  I figured if I was going to be distracted by a huge television, I was going to be distracted by THE huge television.  So, I moved.  

 The horrible sight-lines provided to me led to this obstructed view for the star unveiling and opening quarter of the game: 

0_IMAG0226

Then, after a few minutes more of rude ushers allowing me access to various concourses to take pictures, I was directed to the areas of the stadium where my party pass was designated for use. 

 Here’s another picture of where I watched the final 3 quarters of the game:

1_IMAG0239

 

Keep in mind, this is after watching the first quarter from mid-field.  Unacceptable. 

 

The usher there was completely power crazy.  At one point, he hit me.  Hit me square on the hand.  He did it to about 4 or 5 others that were in the area, too.  Just because the Cowboys scored didn’t give him the right to celebrate with us!  Jerry, why didn’t you hire the dudes with the furry hats from England to stand all stoic and silent?  Another egregious violation of my fan rights. 

 

So, at the end of the night, for almost 30 (THIRTY!) dollars, I was forced to watch the game from the end where the winning kick went through.  I had to see it happen from far too close of a vantage point. 

 

All in all, Jerry, you’re to blame.  Your ego obviously outweighs the stadium.