Cowboys Cowboys Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys lost in an ugly way to the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday.

I have been devouring all analysis of the game trying to get a feel for what the experts are saying for the past week. It’s negative. Negative. Negative. Negative.

Blame Game

ESPN Dallas writer, Calvin Watkins, and Mike Greenberg, of Mike and Mike in the morning, criticized Jason Garret. They believe that there should have been better clock management, Garrett should have had at least two plays called, and that the team should have been better prepared for an end of game situation.

Meanwhile Trent Dilfer and Colin Cowherd, ESPN analysts, put the blame on Tony Romo. Trent Dilfer said that he shouldn’t have thrown a short pass in the middle of the field with that much time left. Colin Cowherd said that time is way more important than completions.

I also saw columns blaming the wide receivers. Dez Bryant for dropping the two-point conversion. On the last offensive play of the game Kevin Ogletree and Miles Austin didn’t hustle back to the line of scrimmage while Bryant argued with the referee resulting in the Cowboys only running one play with 26 seconds left in the game and 1 timeout.

Dan Baily missed a 51-yard field goal that would have won the game (and shut the critics up). However I saw very few analysts blaming Dan Baily for the loss. Dan Baily has made a 51-yard field goal the year before, but pushed this one to the left. He is now 4 of 5 on game winning or game timing field goals.

There was plenty of blame to go around. Jason Garret, Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Special Teams, Olgetree and Austin, and the penalty plagued offensive line.

Hope

However, despite all those mistakes the Cowboys almost beat a 4-1 Baltimore Ravens team. They were physical and ran the ball right down the Ravens’ throat. The Cowboys used 4 different running backs and each one looked good. Dez Bryant had another great game and Jason Witten was excellent (again) in grabbing two fourth down completions.

On the second to last drive the Dallas Cowboys drove 80 yards, converting on two 4th and 10s and were even at 3rd and 27 at one point. Including penalties the Cowboys actually drove a 110 yards on what could have been a game tieing touchdown drive.

Where To Go From Here

There is no denying the Cowboys need to improve. However, the Cowboys do not need to acquire anybody to do it. They have the talent. Here are 5 keys need to follow to have a successful season.

  • Stop getting penalties – Jason Garrett was getting criticized early in the season for not running the ball, but anybody who was watching the game would tell you that running the ball was pretty much useless. Demarco Murray could barely make it back to the line of scrimmage and when he did there was almost always a penalty. It almost feels like the Dallas Cowboys are trying to move the ball against the opposing defense and their own offense most drives. Penalties are drive killers. The have the ability to stop a drive before it starts or halt a successful one. In order for the Cowboys’ offense to be successful they need be more disciplined and limit those penalties.
  • Stop turning the ball over – I am a Tony Romo defender because I know what its like to have a bad quarterback (Drew Bledsoe, Vinny Testaverde, Quincy Carter, Anthony Wright, Clint Steorner, Drew Henson, Ryan Leaf). However, Tony is having a rough year after coming off one of his best years. Nevertheless, he has got the skills and the smarts to be a top 5 quarterback, he is just not there at the moment. But to those who doubt his clutch gene. He has 13 game winning touchdown drives and he has the best 4th quarter QB rating in NFL history.
  • Get organized – Dumb down the playbook, make less audibles, or just get it together. The amount of time Romo has to waste fixing plays before they start is ridiculous, most of the problem is Dez, but I literally heard this conversation last game.
  • Tony Romo (calling an audible) “blue 140, blue 140”
  • Tyron Smith (Left Tackle) “What?”
  • Tony Romo “Go the right!”
  • Fire the special teams coach or simplify special teams – Dallas Cowboys’ special teams are a disaster. Lets review. Special teams has fumbled the ball to start the game, had their punt blocked (should have been twice), allowed a kick off return for a touch down, and missed a game winning field goal in 5 games. Most teams go a whole season without 2 of those happening.
  • Continue playing good defense – On paper it looks like the Cowboys are allowing a lot of points, but a lot of those points are coming when the defense isn’t on the field. This how many touchdowns the defense has allowed each game.
  1. NY Giants – 2 TDs
  2. Seahawks – 2TDs
  3. TB Buccs – 1TDs (after turnover, short field)
  4. Bears – 2 TDs
  5. Ravens – 3 TDs (1 after turnover)

That is 2 TD a game. That is solid, and they are doing this with a lot of injuries to key positions.

The Dallas Cowboys are not far from being a scary team. If their offensive line can continue to make Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar look good while keeping penalties to a minimum then the Cowboys are a playoff team. However, if they continue to make stupid mistakes then Cowboys’ fans should prepare for another long year and another high draft pick.

~DallastalksDallas

NFL Refs seem about the same

Am I the only NFL fan that is actually alright with the current referees? I mean I know they have messed up some things, but I don’t think they have cost anybody more games than the normal refs.

Yes. Yes I did watch last night’s game, at least all that I could. I did not see the game ending catch live, but I saw plenty of replays. That is exactly why you are supposed to bat down the ball as a defender, not catch it.

I actually agree 100% with NFL’s official statement:

“While the ball is in the air, Tate can be seen shoving Green Bay cornerback Sam Shields to the ground.  This should have been a penalty for offensive pass interference, which would have ended the game.  It was not called and is not reviewable in instant replay. When the players hit the ground in the end zone, the officials determined that both Tate and Jennings had possession of the ball.  Under the rule for simultaneous catch, the ball belongs to Tate, the offensive player.  The result of the play was a touchdown. Replay Official Howard Slavin stopped the game for an instant replay review.  The aspects of the play that were reviewable included if the ball hit the ground and who had possession of the ball.  In the end zone, a ruling of a simultaneous catch is reviewable.  That is not the case in the field of play, only in the end zone.Referee Wayne Elliott determined that no indisputable visual evidence existed to overturn the call on the field, and as a result, the on-field ruling of touchdown stood.  The NFL Officiating Department reviewed the video today and supports the decision not to overturn the on-field ruling following the instant replay review. The result of the game is final.” (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/09/25/nfl-statement-result-final-tate-should-have-been-flagged/

             Did you see that Aaron Roger’s got sacked 8 times? Does a team that allowed 8 sacks have any business blaming the refs for their loss? I don’t think so.

This kind of attack on the refs shifts the focus away from the subpar performance by the Green Bay Packers. When I was in middles school playing basketball for a team that constantly lost, I used to complain about the refs, but then my dad told me two things. 1) “Sometimes you have to beat the other team and the refs.” 2)”More often than not it’s the losers who are complaining about the refs.” Losers always blame the refs.

I can scream all I want about how terrible the refs were in the 2006 finals (Heat vs Mavs), but in the end the Heat were the champs and there is nothing we can do about it, except take responsibility for our own team’s play. Mavs played terrible defense, made poor late game decisions, and missed free throws. Mavs couldn’t beat the other team and the refs and so they were losers just like Green Bay. It sucks. I know. But that’s life.

I hate when someone whines about something and then get’s their way. I was not happy when the owners inevitably got their way and I hope the normal refs don’t get their way. I actually hope they are replaced. Better yet, the NFL outsources and gets the Chinese to do the officiating.

I know the refs have been good or decent for the Cowboys so I may be bias, but these refs are doing a decent job. If the NFL just leaves them alone, most of them will be NFL caliber by the end of the season. The best ones are good enough to be NFL refs and that is who they will choose for the playoffs.

So stand tall NFL. Fight to death. Ignore ESPN’s stupid talk about this game ruining your image. You really think people are going to stop watch football after one game! That is ridiculous!

~Dallastalksdallas

Offseason Changes

Last year after the season I was very depressed about the Cowboys, but I sucked it up and was able to write a bit about what I think the Cowboys should do. So let’s see what we did during the offseason.

Here is a list of players I would cut.
– CB Frank Walker
– CB Alan Ball
– QB John Kitna
– TE Martellus Bennet
– WR Kevin Ogletree
– WR Jesse Holley

These are all players that I think can be improved on in free agency and drafting. I would also be alright with us getting rid of some of our older linebackers as long as were to find a replacement for them on the field and in the locker room.

Guess who is no longer on the team

  • CB Frank Walker
  • CB Alan Ball
  • QB John Kitna
  • TE Martellus Bennet
  • WR Jesse Holley
  • ILB Bradie James
  • ILB Keith Brooking

The oldest linebackers on the team are Demarcus Ware (30) and Anthony Spencer (28). I still think we could have improved on Ogletree in the draft or free agency, but the management decided to improve on the defensive backs instead. They did an excellent job giving us two quality corners.

I would like to draft Defensive Backs (preferably safeties), Offensive Line, and Defensive Line. In that order. I DO NOT WANT US TO DRAFT DENORIS JENKINS (CB).

Good Draft Picks
– CB Dre Kirkpatrick
– Safety Mark Barron
– CB Alfonzo Dennard
– CB Stephon Gilmore

I am actually for the Cowboys getting a Safety, but if Dre Kirkpatrick is available by the time the Cowboys pick they should probably pick him up.

The Cowboys drafted

Round Position Player
1 CB Morris Claiborne
3 DE Tyrone Crawford
4 OLB Kyle Wilber
4 SS Matt Johnson
5 WR Danny Coale
6 TE James Hanna
7 ILB Caleb McSurdy

It is too early to say if our draft was a success. I would have liked to draft offensive lineman early on in the draft, but I think we had to sacrifice in order to get Morris Claiborne.

Dre Kirkpatrick was taken with the 17th pick by the Bengals. He is a guy, like Quentin Jammer and Steven Jackson, that we should watch and hope that we got the better guy from the draft.

Barry Church is our current starter at Safety and I do not trust him and think he may be weakness, but our secondary seems solid so far this season.

Finally, Jerry Jones should fire Joe Decamillis. Our special teams was pathetic this year, One punt was blocked by a guy running right through the middle of the line. One punt was nearly blocked because of bizarre coverage scheme. There was also a field goal block as well, once again up the middle.

This is especially easy to defend after this past week. Another blocked punt, plus a fumble on the kick off. This guy has to go. Less than 5 minutes into the game the Cowboys were down by 10 to a good running team. The game was literally doomed from the start. The Cowboys should have fired Joe in the offseason. I just hope that he doesn’t negatively impact the Cowboys season more than he has already.

For the most part the Cowboys did what I wanted them to do. I think there is improvement in roster and in attitude. The Cowboys looked really strong against the Giants and really weak against the Seahawks. I think mighty momentum got the best of them and they could never turn it around. All they can do now is look forward to and prepare for the next game against the Buccaneers.

~DallastalksDallas

Yu Darvish

A while ago I was asked to a spot on Yu Darvish and I thought that would be a good idea. For those who are completely out of the loop Yu Darvish is a baseball pitcher from Japan who currently plays for the Texas Rangers. He was acquired this offseason by the Rangers after bidding 51.7 million dollars just for the right to offer him a contract. Rangers won and offered him around 60 million dollars for a 6 year deal.

Yu’s parents met at college in Florida. His father is Iranian and his mother is Japanese. He started playing baseball in the second grade where he immediately took his team to the quarterfinals in the national tournament in Japan.

He has received many awards in Japan including MVP, Best Nine Award, Golden Glove Award, & more. He is a 3-time strike out winner and 2-time ERA winner. He has also appeared in 5 All-star games. Keep in mind that these awards were all given to him the Japanese league. He was also named ace of the Japanese national team during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Yu Darvish is divorced with 2 children. He founded a humanitarian organization that develops structures to help people in third-world countries get water to his villages. Every regular season win he donates a 100,000 Yen (about $1,200) to the effort.

During Yu Darvish’s visit to DFW this January the Rangers really got a feel for what kind of person Yu is. One of the things that sold Nolan Ryan & Jon Daniels on Yu was his work ethic. He is so committed to his workouts that during the middle of the tour of the Ball Park in Arlington, Yu Darvish took a break to workout.

Yu apparently understands English and is learning Spanish, which shows that he is a real team player and is making an effort to know his teammates.

After searching the Internet I had problems finding anything else on Darvish’s personality. I can only infer from his quotes and his general perception in the media. He seems to have a very likeable personality and is very comfortable with the media. When addressing the media he comes off very professional, but his true personality shows when talking about specific plays. He told one reporter that a ball that hit off the wall in centerfield wasn’t really hit that hard; it was the thin, desert air that carried it so far. So to me he comes off very confident in himself, maybe to the point of arrogance.

I am really excited to see what Yu Darvish becomes. If all the reports are true than I think he could be legitimate star. He has 7 pitches and according to the scouts they are 7 good pitches. He might have some problems early on adjusting to the slightly bigger ball used in the MLB. However, he is a hard worker so I think his adjustment will come quickly and from there he will only get better.

~DallastalksDallas

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yu_Darvish

http://espn.go.com/dallas/mlb/story/_/id/7480693/texas-rangers-did-their-homework-went-extra-mile-yu-darvish

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/al/rangers/story/2012-03-07/yu-darvish-debut/53407580/1

http://www.wfaa.com/sports/baseball/rangers/140170593.html

What the Cowboys Need To Do

It’s hard to say what the Cowboys need, I’m tempted to say just scrap the whole thing and start over, but I think that is the frustrated fan in me and not the logical football analyst. The truth is the shortened offseason really hurt the Cowboy’s Defense because they didn’t have enough time to prepare.

I asked my brother who was to blame for this season. He said that there wasn’t anybody on the Cowboys to blame. He blamed the fans for having too high of expectations.

Which I must admit, that argument does have merit. Is it fair to expect a Super Bowl from a team with new coaches and practically no offseason?

Well anyways. Here is a list of players I would cut.
– CB Frank Walker
– CB Alan Ball
– QB John Kitna
– TE Martellus Bennet
– WR Kevin Ogletree
– WR Jesse Holley

These are all players that I think can be improved on in free agency and drafting. I would also be alright with us getting rid of some of our older linebackers as long as were to find a replacement for them on the field and in the locker room.

I would like to draft Defensive Backs (preferably safeties), Offensive Line, and Defensive Line. In that order.

I DO NOT WANT US TO DRAFT DENORIS JENKINS (CB). This guy was caught with weed in college, he screams trouble maker! Hasn’t Jerry Jones learned his lesson yet? Don’t pick up trouble makers! Also, my Dad will get confused if we have 2 corners named Jenkins, he won’t know which one to like or dislike!

Good Draft Picks
– CB Dre Kirkpatrick
– Safety Mark Barron
– CB Alfonzo Dennard
– CB Stephon Gilmore

I am actually for the Cowboys getting a Safety, but if Dre Kirkpatrick is available by the time the Cowboys pick they should probably pick him up.

Finally, Jerry Jones should fire Joe Decamillis. Our special teams was pathetic this year, One punt was blocked by a guy running right through the middle of the line. One punt was nearly blocked because of bizarre coverage scheme. There was also a field goal block as well, once again up the middle.
I don’t think there is a lot that needs to change in terms of roster. I would like to see and adjustment of attitude. I would like to see and aggressive and physical Cowboys team, but I don’t think that will happen. As of now I will pick the Cowboys to go 8 – 8 again, but we’ll see how I feel after a few preseason games.

~ DallastalksDallas

P.S. The Cowboys defense allowed 21.7 ppg this year compared to 25.9 ppg last year while the Cowboys offense scored 23.1 ppg this year compared to 25.9 ppg last year.

Playoff Predictions

Here’s what my bracket looks like! Feel free to print out your own at http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/843695/NFL2012Bracket.jpg

Rounds
Wildcard
AFC
– I will take the Steelers over the Broncos. The Broncos have been struggling of late and the Steelers are always good this time of year.
– Bengals over Texans. The Texans cannot keep their quarterbacks healthy and their consequence will be a quick exit from the playoffs.
NFC
– Giants over the Falcons. The two hottest teams match up in this showdown. The Giants are starting to look scary. Their defensive line are starting to dominant and that is going to cause problems for Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons.
– Saints over Lions. The Lions are young and inexperienced while the Saints are well polished and are looking very strong.

Divisional
AFC
– Patriots killing the Bengals. The Bengals struggled to beat quality teams, especially in their own division. Patriots will be coming of a bye and Belichick will be well prepared for the game.
– Steelers over Ravens. The Ravens love playing the Steelers, but I do not think they can beat the Steelers in the post season.
NFC
– Giants over Packers. Teams that come in this good of a record rarely do well. Also, they rested their quarterback in week 17 which is something that the “football gods” frown upon. Packers’ offense will look rusty early on and will have to play catch up against a good defensive line. That is a recipe for a Giants victory.
– Saints over 49ers. I am just not a believer in the 49ers. Their run seems like more of a fluke to me. I expect to see the Saints take this game by 10+.

Conference Championship
AFC
– Patriots over Steelers. I don’t think the Steelers defense will be able to slow down the Patriots offense enough to keep up with them.
NFC
– Giants over Saints. I believe the Giants will have better play in the trenches which will allow them to win, even if the game turns sloppy.

Super Bowl

I will take the Patriots over Giants in a Super Bowl rematch. The Patriots will be licking their chops at an opportunity to send home the Giants with the same amount of disappointment they felt 5 or so years ago after winning 18 straight and losing to a hot Giants team in the Super Bowl

Check in next week to see what the Cowboys need to do in order to be an actual contender.

~DallastalksDallas

Quarterback Thoughts

Unlike my usual quarterback ranting I will not include Tony Romo, instead I will talk about two quarterbacks who did and are playing their college career in Texas: Kevin Kolb, who played at University of Houston, and Robert Griffin III, who plays a Baylor.

Kevin Kolb

I saw Kevin play for the first time since he has been a Cardinal, and it was shockingly bad. Yes, I know he is coming off an injury, and I am aware that there could have been some genuine rust, but he looked like a second string quarterback last Sunday.

I saw several opportunities, especially on third down, that were blown by arrant throws. I, devoted Cowboys fan, was filled with fits of terror at seeing wide open receivers, but breathed sighs of relief after pass after pass landed nowhere near the open receiver.

Cowboys deserved to lose that game, but they deserved to lose it by much more. Take an average quarterback, Cutler for example, and play him instead of Kolb and the Cowboys secondary would have been eaten alive like it should have been.

Maybe Kolb isn’t always like this. Maybe Kolb had a bad day and usually he does complete passes to open receivers, but I think he might be just as bad as we saw last Sunday. I feel sorry for the Cardinals and the Cardinal’s fans. The team gave up too much for Kolb and now they are stuck with a mediocre quarterback destined to get mediocre results.

Robert Griffin III

Robert Griffin III, also known as R-G-3, is a Heisman leading candidate from Baylor University in Waco Texas. I got the pleasure to watch him play on TV once this season vs TCU and he was fun.

Robert is fast and mobile, but he’s also football savy. Robert is different though, unlike most fast quarterbacks Robert is a passer first… and a good one.

I remember tuning into the pregame of TCU vs Baylor and hearing all the hype about a Baylor quarterback, which was shocking to me (I can’t remember a time where Baylor football was any good). They said he was a track star, so I expected to see a Vick type quarterback, but that’s not what I got.

Time after time I saw RG3 drop back, step into the pocket and deliver a rocket… on target… in stride. It was beautiful. Even when RG3 was forced out of the pocket he was always looking down field, running was his last resort, but it was spectacular last resort.

My point is I like RG3. He is fun to watch and I actually have a pretty good feeling about him in the NFL. He is a pocket passer with Vick speed. I think there is room for that on at least one roster in the NFL, maybe a team like the Cardinals.

~DallastalksDallas

P.S. I just noticed that Dallas teams can beat any team named the Cardinals