Sunday, October 19, 2008

How 'Bout Them Cowboys!!!

I guess the 'Boys really do miss PacMan. Or Dat Nguyen. Or Deion Sanders. Maybe Ken Norton, Jim Jeffcoat, Randy White, Everson Walls, and/or Bob Lilly. Dallas defense was putrid against the Rams. They put the "oooh" in St. Louis.

If you recall Week 2, the Eagles played at Dallas. The score at halftime was PHI 30 and DAL 24. One of ESPN's intrepid sideline reporters asked Wade Phillips at halftime what he thought needed to be done to fix the defense. He replied that there was only a couple of mistakes and that the defense was fine overall. Up in the booth, Ron Jaworski asked what game Wade was watching. I sat in my living room and asked what drugs Wade was on and whether they were available to the general public.

The defense has had some really good moments. They were ranked 10th in the league in yards allowed coming into Sunday. However, they were only 20th in scoring. The Arizona game was a metaphor for the whole season. The Cardinals only gained 276 yards on Dallas, but scored 24 offensive points. They got TDs when they did get into the Red Zone.

Fast forward to Sunday. The 'Boys went to St. Louis to face the Rams. All the focus was on QB Brad Johnson, filling in for Tony Romo, and newly acquired WR Roy Williams. Could the backup QB and new weapon help Dallas to a win? How well would they play?


Veteran QBs are supposed to be reliable backups. Brad had a bad game. He threw 3 INTs. I saw the Rams drop a handful of potential picks. Brad was making bad reads and poor throws. He doesn't have the arm to force balls into tight windows. To be fair, Brad did lead the Cowboys right down the field to a TD that put them up 7-0.

The problem is that the Rams didn't back down. And the Cowboys defense didn't show up. You have to come up big when your offense is down. The team has to step up its overall level of play.

The Eagles and Rams played a similar game in 2002. That was AJ Feeley's first ever NFL start. The Eagles had lost Donovan McNabb and Koy Detmer. The offense was not going to put up a bunch of points with a young guy making his first start. The team knew they had to help the kid out. The defense came up with 8 sacks, harassed Kurt Warner all game, and only allowed the Rams 3 points. Philly won the game 10-3. That was a team win.

The Dallas defense was shredded. Steven Jackson ran 25 times for 160 yards. Marc Bulger was 14 of 19. 4 of his 14 completions went for 16 or more yards. Rookie WR Donny Avery caught a 42-yard TD pass. The Rams had the ball 5 more minutes than Dallas did. DeMarcus Ware did his part. He had 7 tackles and 3 sacks. He truly is a great player. I'm not sure about the rest of the D. Jackson's long run was especially troubling. It looked like several defenders had a shot at him but couldn't get off blocks, took poor angles, or just couldn't make the stop. You cannot give up plays like that in a game like that.

Tough situations call for tough teams. Dallas wasn't close to tough on Sunday. I talked about the problem with the Roy Williams trade in a recent post. It seems as if Jerry Jones was trying to solve problems by acquiring more talent. The NFL doesn't work like that. The coaching staff has to get with the players and get them to step up. You overcome adversity with hard work, focus, and leadership. Jerry Jones had great intentions, but I think the Williams deal was a bad move for the 2008 team. It will certainly help when TO moves on in the future.

A lot of people are going to start predicting gloom and doom for the Cowboys. Don't buy that stuff quite yet. They still have a lot of talent. Romo will do everything in his power to play next week. Roy Williams will have a full week of practice as a Cowboy and will have a better feel for the playbook. Veteran leaders like Greg Ellis and Zack Thomas need to get the defense re-focused. I'd certainly love to see the Cowboys unravel, but I think they will right the ship. I don't see this group winning the Super Bowl, but I also don't see them becoming a full-fledged mediocre team.

I had a friend suggest that Jerry Jones will fire Wade Phillips if there is another bad game. I don't see that happening. I do think that Phillips is a big part of the problem. I have a lot of respect for Wade, but his laid back style of coaching is not what this team needs. They need a leader, not a cheerleader. You know that locker room is a volatile place right now.

What do Martellus Bennett, Jason Witten, Miles Austin, and Patrick Crayton have in common? They all had more catches or more receiving yards than Terrell Owens. I'm sure that fact isn't lost on #81. Will he take it like a man or does he turn into Mt. St. Helens? You know the press will be all over the Cowboys this week. I just don't know if TO can stay quiet in that situation.

Whatever happens, it will be interesting to watch.


The Redskins and Giants both won. The Redskins tried to let Cleveland win the game, but the Browns refused. Despite sloppy play and questionable coaching, Cleveland had a chance to tie the game late. Naturally, they missed a long FG. No one misses against the Eagles so they have to miss against our division rivals.

New York was just too much for the Niners.

The bye week was nice...I guess. I didn't want to break anything today. Sorta nice to have a Sunday where anger management isn't a major issue. That said, I'm ready for next Sunday to hurry up and get here.

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