RAIDERS AND BRAIDERS: Dallas Cowboys create a hair raising event on Thanksgiving Day inside AT&T Stadium
Photos courtesy, clockwise from top left: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports; John F. Rhodes/Special to the DMN; Brandon Wade/AP
Just for fun, here are some locks frozen in time by super fast shutter speeds during the annual Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving day game.
No words on what these players and performers were grateful for on the holiday. Good hair, I presume.
Whether blonde, brunette or somewhere in between, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have hair to die for.
Photo courtesy, Louis DeLuca | DMN | Thursday, November 28, 2013
Dallas Cowboys strong safety Danny McCray (40) and cornerback B.W. Webb (20) gave Oakland Raiders kick returner Taiwan Jones something to dread during the Dallas Cowboys victory at AT&T Stadium.
Photo courtesy: Tom Fox | DMN
Singer, actress, and Grand Prairie native Selena Gomez’ hair was kinky and her skirt was stringy as she performed for philanthropy during the Dallas Cowboys vs.Oakland Raiders halftime show at AT&T Stadium.
Special thanks: Michael Hamtil | DMN
WORLDWIDE EXCLUSIVE: The Great Robbini’s predictions for Game #9 | 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings
Regular readers know that The Boys Are Back website features the ALMOST WORLD FAMOUS predictions from The GREAT Robbini. Last week, our “exalted one” predicted a big win … and was almost correct!
This week, The GREAT Robbini expects a heavy dose of Marinelli Misfits setting the pace defensively and Tony Romo to repeatedly fire that cannon through the Vikings hull!
Recently, the GREAT ONE was distracted by a house full of little women hopped up on Halloween candy. Finally, the dust (and wrappers) has settled, and the GREAT Robbini is the only one left in the house wearing a costume. Tonight, he was able to sit down and put a seriously powerful rub on his magic ball. I’m told it was so vigorous, that his ball actually emitted purple.
Clearly, he’s psyched about the Dallas Cowboys – Minnesota Vikings vibe… and ready to share his prognostications that we all count on from week-to-week. Without further delay, it’s time for The GREAT Robbini’s predictions …
The GREAT Robbini’s – 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys game #9 predictions:
Above .500 yet again
The Dallas Cowboys offense continue with the overall improved play of last week, as far as points on the board. The nagging issue was capitalizing on their chances given by the defense. This will improve somewhat against a hungry, but overwhelmed Vikings defense. Mark this one in the W column, and take it for what it is. Wins may not be so easy to come by in this months slate of games.
Predictions for the Texas 2 Defense …
- 3 takeaways
- 4 sacks
- 1 sack Jason Hatcher
- 1 sack Jarius Wynn
- 2 sacks George Selvie
- Sean Lee/Bruce Carter lead tackles
- Jason Hatcher fumble recovery
- Brandon Carr secures a takeaway
- Dallas Cowboys injure Vikings player
- Adrian Peterson out at least one drive
Predictions for the offense …
- Tony Romo 330 yards, 4 TDs
- Dez Bryant 100 yards, TD
- Jason Witten 65 yards, TD
- Terrance Williams 110 yards, TD
- Cole Beasley 45 yards
- DeMarco Murray TD
- Rushing committee 110 yards
- Cowboys receive second half kick
The GREAT Robbini
Remember, you read it here! The Great Robbini predictions for game #9. Leave your final score or predictions in the comment section.
Stats and predictions to be confirmed by:
NFC BEAST OF THE EAST: Review of the Dallas Cowboys division at the halfway point in the 2013-2014 NFL season (Special Feature)
The focus of this article is on the NFC East as a whole. Outside of the enormous popularity of the Dallas Cowboys, the division features some pretty prominent, popular franchises in their own right – and there’s the undeniable truth that all three are in the way of a Dallas Cowboys playoff berth.
NFC East: Analyzing The Importance Of November
It’s not October anymore. When the ball kicks off this Sunday for our three fair NFC East contestants, we’ll be into the second half of the season. The temperatures are starting to drop, and the games that determine the playoff picture are about to begin.
With that in mind, lets take a look at a stat that Dallas Cowboys fans should be well-familiar with by now, considering it’s one of Tony Romo’s most impressive numbers. As it’s been documented, since he took over starting duties for the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 29, 2006, Romo has a staggering 21-4 record in the month of November.
That’s a statistic the Cowboys would desperately love to keep in line with. Dallas has four games sandwiched around a bye week this month – Minnesota tomorrow, at New Orleans in a week, at New York after the bye and home for Thanksgiving against Oakland.
That’s a combined record of 12-17, with the Saints comprising 50 percent of that win total. Take the current NFC No. 2 seed out of the equation, and the other three opponents are just 6-16. With outdoor road trips to Chicago and Washington, not to mention a home date against Green Bay, looming in December, a winning mark in November would be huge for Romo and Co.
It’s even more important when you look at the upcoming slates for the rest of the division.
The Redskins, captained by Robert Griffin III, actually begin their six-game win streak and eventual march to the playoffs in November last year. They’re going to need him to improve on his 2-1 November mark to remain in the hunt, as they host the white-hot Philip Rivers this weekend before making back-to-back road trips to Minnesota and Philly, and then finishing the month off with a Monday night game against San Francisco.
Philadelphia has the last bye week in the league, with the final weekend of November the goal for a much-needed rest. In the meantime, they also have back-to-back road trips, to Oakland and Green Bay, before facing the Redskins at home. Nick Foles is winless in November, with an 0-2 mark. The Eagles would love to have Michael Vick back – though his career November record of 12-12-1 is hardly awe-inspiring.
Expect the upcoming month to sink both Washington and Philadelphia’s playoff hopes. Ironically enough, however, this 11th month of the year just may give a fighting chance to the once-buried Giants.
The much-needed bye week falls on the Giants this weekend. After a reprieve and a chance to get some guys healthy, they don’t have to leave the confines of MetLife Stadium until Dec. 1. During the three-game homestand, they’ll host the Raiders, Packers and Cowboys.
Despite the Giants’ run of postseason success, Eli Manning’s November record sits at just 13-19. In fact, New York is just 2-6 in November since 2011.
Does any of that mean anything? It’s hard to say for sure. It’s hard for some to take Romo’s winning ways in November too seriously when he hasn’t guided a team to the playoffs since 2009.
We didn’t decide much in this division in the first eight weeks – other than the fact that there isn’t a dominant team among the four.
Whoever manages the best over the next four or five weeks may find themselves in an enviable position when December starts.
NFC East: Burning Questions At The Halfway Point
Can we just chuck the first half of the season out the window? Is there a fan base in the NFC East that would really mind?
The array of mediocre traverses the entire spectrum among the NFL’s most volatile division. This is a group that’s had four different champions in the past four years, and it’s certainly playing up that moniker of parity.
Division leader Dallas has four wins – just two games ahead of cellar-dweller New York at the halfway point of the season. What’s the worst predicament?
Cowboys fans will tell you they should probably be 6-2, but you could make an easy argument the team has come painstakingly close to winning all eight games – refer yourself to the total margin of defeat of 14 points.
The Giants, continual contenders in the NFC with two Super Bowls in the last six seasons, plummeted to an 0-6 start – their worst such start to a season in 37 years. The division’s middling middle, Philadelphia and Washington, will go the way of their dynamic but injury-riddled quarterbacks.
It has all combined to give the NFC East the worst win total among the NFL’s eight divisions – 11-20. That’s one win more than the AFC South, which boasts a 10-19 mark thanks to hapless Jacksonville, but it’s also one more loss.
Go figure, the league’s western half – the AFC and NFC West, which boast four of the best teams in football in Denver, Kansas City, San Francisco and Seattle – are running away with collective records of 22-8 and 20-12, respectively.
In those divisions, and in several others, things are beginning to settle. We have a good idea of what’s going to happen in four or five of the league’s divisions.
But that’s not so in the NFC East, where the first half of the season hasn’t determined much other than that all four teams are equally flawed.
So what storylines are going to dictate the stretch run and the eventual division champion?
Dallas Cowboys: How well can they weather the injuries?
It sounds like a copout, because there’s a lot to be said about the shakiness of the Dallas offense, not to mention late-game decisions in all four Cowboys losses.
But as of Monday, they have lost starting right guard Brian Waters, likely for the year. Starting cornerback Morris Claiborne is also out for at least a handful of games with a bad hamstring. Starting safety Barry Church may also be iffy with a hamstring.
Don’t forget to factor those injuries in with the prior ones suffered by starters DeMarco Murray, DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin and J.J. Wilcox. All four players are expected back soon, but as of yet, we don’t know for sure when that will happen.
Don’t count on many teams stringing together wins with as many as six or seven starters missing from the lineup. The Dallas Cowboys need the bye week to get here, and quickly.
Philadelphia Eagles: What is Michael Vick’s status for the last eight games?
Michael Vick tried to give it a go on his injured hamstring last week against New York. It didn’t work out quite as well as he’d hoped – he completed 6-of-9 passes for 30 yards and a pick before exiting prior to halftime.
It doesn’t look likely he’ll be ready for this weekend’s trip to Oakland, and that’s a problem for the Philadelphia offense. Yes, the Eagles romped over winless Tampa Bay with Nick Foles at the helm. But it’s becoming increasingly more evident that as Vick goes, so goes the Philly attack.
In the four full games that Vick played before injuring the hamstring in the first game against the Giants, the Philadelphia offense was averaging 458 yards per game. In the three games since the injury, the average has plummeted to 300 yards per game.
Yes, the Eagles’ defense is atrocious, and it has cost them opportunities at a better record. But Chip Kelly’s offense has not hummed without his starting quarterback behind center. With a bad defense, they’ll need a strong offense to earn wins.
They need Vick.
Washington Redskins: Can RG3 rediscover his mojo?
It’s a pretty similar situation in D.C. as it is in Philly. The Redskins are an average team with a bad defense. They need a strong performance from their leader and pace-setter of a quarterback if they’re going to match last season’s division championship.
It seemed like Griffin had turned a corner after a slow start to 2013. He threw for a combined 544 yards in Weeks 6 and 7, and he led the Redskins to a last-minute victory against Chicago.
More notably in that, he rushed for a combined 181 yards in those two games after totaling just 72 yards on the ground in the first month of the season. He was beginning to look comfortable using both of his skillsets.
That all derailed in Sunday’s blowout loss to Denver. Griffin managed just seven rushing yards on five attempts, and he completed 50 percent of his passes for just 132 yards. He left the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent knee injury, though he has since been declared OK.
The fact of the matter is that Griffin is slumping across the board in his sophomore season. His completion percentage after seven games is at just 59 percent. He’s actually on pace to throw for 1,000 more yards than his 3,200 yards last season, but he already has eight interceptions in seven games, where he threw just five picks his entire rookie campaign.
The running issues are well-documented. Griffin is averaging roughly 34 yards on the ground to this point, and he hasn’t found the end zone as a runner yet.
These are the pressures that go with being a No. 2 pick. The Redskins need to win at least six of the last nine games, and they won’t do it unless Griffin’s play improves.
New York Giants: Can the lines continue to improve?
Sunday’s win against Philadelphia was not pretty, but it saw two significant improvements for the New York Giants.
Firstly, the offensive line won the day. The Giants weren’t great running the ball, with just 88 total yards, but they outrushed an Eagles rushing attack that has been tops in the league for most of the year. It also gave Eli Manning time to the make decisions, which allowed him to put together his second-straight interception-free game.
The Giants are 2-0 in games where Manning hasn’t thrown a pick. In their previous six, all losses, he threw 15 balls to the other team.
Secondly, the Giants’ defense managed four sacks against the Eagles after notching six combined sacks in the seven previous games. It’s a long way to go before anyone believes New York has re-discovered its pass rushing reputation, but it’s a start.
No team has ever started 0-6 and reached the playoffs. But in this division, the Giants now just sit two games out of first. If they can keep people away from their quarterback, and keep finding ways to reach opposing quarterbacks, they have a chance.
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HIGHLIGHT HYPE: Dallas Cowboys Touchdown Song
CHANNELING THE X-FACTOR: Jason Garrett has talk with Dez Bryant; team appreciates his passion and emotion (Special Feature)
Jason Garrett talked to Dez Bryant after Sunday’s game, encouraging the receiver to put his passion and emotion to better use than with sideline outbursts.
“You talk to him very direct, man-to-man and you just say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to get locked in on what’s happening,’” Garrett said on his weekly radio show on KRLD-FM 105.3. “We appreciate the passion, the enthusiasm. That’s what we want from all of our players. The great players have that, the great teams have that, but you just have to focus it and channel it. He understands that.”
Since Bryant received national headlines for his behavior on the sideline Sunday, including criticism from analyst Brian Billick during the telecast, the Cowboys repeatedly have defended Bryant, insisting his emotional outbursts are not a distraction.
TV cameras twice caught sideline rants by Bryant. In the third quarter, Bryant appeared to be expressing his displeasure at not getting the ball more. Tony Romo targeted Bryant six times in the game, with Bryant catching three passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns.
After the Lions scored with 12 seconds left, Bryant had a heated exchange with teammates Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware, who said they were trying to calm down Bryant and get him focused for the final play.
“I know everybody wants to read into Dez’s emotion on the sidelines, but contrary to popular belief, he’s not as negative as you would think over there,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said on his radio show on KRLD-FM 105.3. “He’s not every time that happens, saying, ‘Give me the ball! Give me the ball! Give me the ball!’ He’s encouraging in his way. Obviously, everyone has their opinion, and they’ll have that. But Dez will be fine.
“…It’s not an issue. The only thing Jason Witten was telling him, ‘Get your mind right here. We may have to get back out and try a Hail Mary.’ …Dez is highly competitive. He really wants to win the game. Winning is important to him.”
Editors note: Bill Billick was selected in the 11th round of the 1977 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers but was cut by the 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys, and never played in the NFL. Billick coached for the Minnesota Vikings from 1992-1998, and was the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens from 1999-2007.
RELATED: Dez Bryant explains his sideline emotions
Dez Bryant wants to make it perfectly clear: He is a team player who wants nothing except to win.
Bryant talked for some 15 minutes Monday, explaining his sideline behavior that drew national attention during the Dallas Cowboys’ 31-30 loss tot he Lions. He said he is misunderstood outside the locker room.
“I think for the most part, all of my teammates, they know,” Bryant said. “They know how much I love this game. They know we compete; we battle; we go hard. It’s all about wanting to win. But I honestly feel – me speaking for myself – that’s the kind of attitude you have to have to try to get where you want to go.”
The Cowboys have defended Bryant, whom TV cameras caught ranting on the sideline twice.
The first came in the third quarter after a Tony Romo incompletion on a pass intended for Dwayne Harris on third down, leading to a field goal and a 13-7 lead. Bryant yelled at Romo, receivers coach Derek Dooley and head coach Jason Garrett, none of whom seemed to pay him much attention.
Bryant said he was not demanding the ball, though he had only two catches for 22 yards to that point.
“It wasn’t directly to [Romo],” Bryant said. “It was like, ‘Our defense, they’re getting turnovers. We’ve got to help them out.’ I’m saying that to everybody, including myself. We’ve got to help them out.”
After the Lions scored to take the lead with 12 seconds remaining, Bryant and tight end Jason Witten were seen yelling at each other with defensive end DeMarcus Ware stepping in calm Bryant. Witten and Bryant both said the tight end was trying to get Bryant to focus on the task at hand, which was a final offensive play.
Bryant said his relationship with Romo and Witten remains solid.
“All Witt was doing was trying to get me focused and get me ready for the next play,” Bryant said. “I was just kind of heated, because they scored. As far as Romo, I know you all got sound bites and stuff on these cameras, I mean, or whatever, if you go back and look at it what I was saying to Romo, Terrance [Williams] just scored a touchdown and I was like, ‘They’re going to play him like that, keep throwing him the ball.’ From all the good stuff that was going on, go look at it. I had the same demeanor, the same demeanor. It was just one of those guys to where you know, we’ve got to win this game.”
Jason Garrett talked to his fourth-year receiver about Bryant better channeling his emotions.
“We love the passion,” Garrett said Monday. “We love the enthusiasm. Just got to keep the focus. We addressed it with him during the game. We addressed it with afterward. And he is going to be ready to go.”
Bryant said he has no regrets and will continue to wear his emotions on his jersey.
“No regrets,” he said. “It’s all love. Like I said, I know it looks crazy, but I promise you all it’s not.”
RELATED: Dez Bryant passionate about winning
Dez Bryant is not going to apologize for his antics on the sidelines. He’s a passionate and emotional player who is driven to win. Something, he said, that has been going on since he first stepped on a football field.
So, yes, he’s going to get into animated and sometimes heated conversations. He had a couple with quarterback Tony Romo and tight end Jason Witten in the second half of the Cowboys’ 31-30 loss to the Lions on Sunday afternoon at Ford Field.
And there will be more throughout his career.
“I love this game. I love my teammates,” Bryant said. “That’s what it is. It’s going to forever remain the same. It started in Pop Warner, went to middle school, went to high school, went to college, and it’s here. It’s going to stay that way. It won’t change.”
Nobody in the Cowboys’ locker room has any issues with Bryant wearing his heart on his sleeve. Jerry Jones, Jason Garrett and his teammates all approved of it in a positive light, saying passion is necessary to succeed in the NFL.
Here’s some reaction on Bryant’s sideline antics:
Jason Witten: “He has more passion than anyone I’ve ever played with. That’s a good thing to have. With 12 seconds left, we were all upset but there was still time left. I tried to communicate that. There was more football to play. We were going to get the ball back and the play we had drawn up, he was a big part of that play. We were trying to get him to calm down because we were going to try to get him the ball on that play.”
Tony Romo: “He’s a competitive guy. … He’s never complained to me about getting the ball. He knows the ball is going to where it’s supposed to. He knows that. I think more than anything it’s about him willing the team. When you guys see emotion sometimes from Dez, it’s just rah rah more than it is being a me guy. That’s not who Dez is. I think that would be completely out of character for him for it to be a me situation. He does a great job…sometimes, it’s come on guys, we’re better than this, really emotionally. But he’s never a selfish guy.”
Jason Garrett: “Dez is a very passionate player. He is a very competitive player. He gets a lot of attention from the opposing defenses. He wanted the football. We want guys who want the football. Dez has never been a distraction to our team. He is a really positive asset to our team on the field and off. The way he works. The passion for the game. That is good stuff.”
Jerry Jones: “That’s emotion and I don’t place any issue on his demeanor or his sideline activity. He’s a very emotional player and this was a tough game for him to compete in because he wanted to really contribute and do everything he could for the team and to win. I have no issue at all in terms of criticizing him for sideline demeanor or sideline behavior.”
Related: Dez Bryant sideline audio (1:53) – (Watch Video)
Want to find out what Dez Bryant says during his sideline appeals vs. the Detroit Lions? Watch and listen as he interacts with quarterback Tony Romo, players, and Dallas Cowboys coaches.
Dez Bryant spoke to the media on Monday for an extended period of time to try to clear up what happened on the sideline on Sunday.
Regular readers already know that The Boys Are Back website features the ALMOST WORLD FAMOUS predictions from The GREAT Robbini. Last week, our “exalted one” predicted a big win … and was correct!
This week, The GREAT Robbini is on a heavy dose of Marinelli sauce and excitement this week! He even boosted his pregame commentary about this game. Last week, the GREAT ONE was distracted by a house full of women, clamoring for his mystical tunic, scarves, and head wrap. This weekend, he was able to escape their advances and sit down long enough to pound his thumbs on the keyboard for a little longer.
After putting a world-class rub on his magic pumpkin, he was able to conger up visions of a Dallas Cowboys Hallowin.
Overwhelmingly psyched about the Dallas Cowboys – Detroit Lions incoming vibe… and ready to share his prognostications that we all count on from week-to-week. Without further delay, it’s time for The GREAT Robbini’s predictions. OK, here we go …
The GREAT Robbini’s – 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys game #8 predictions:
Dallas Cowboys win. Players will be dinged up on both the Lions and Cowboys. A well played offensive game comes back for Dallas. Don’t turn away from this game before the clock stops ticking.
Predictions for the Texas 2 Defense …
- 3 takeaways (2 INTs/2 FFs)
- 4 team sacks
- 1 1/2 sacks Hatcher (had 1, close enough)
- 2 sacks Selvie
- Lee/Carter lead tackles (Carr/Church)
- Hatcher fumble recovery (Church/Heath had 1 each)
- Carr interception (Lee had 2)
- Claiborne secures a takeaway
- Reggie Bush injured (shoulder stinger, came back in)
Predictions for the offense …
- Romo 330 yards (206 yards, completed 14 of 30 passes)
- Romo 4TDs (3 TDs)
- Dez TD (Had 2 TDs today)
- Witten TD
- Randall TD
- Williams TD (Dallas rookie record, 1 TD four consecutive games)
- Rushing committee 90 yards (62 yards combined)
- Dez 100 yards (3 catches for 72 yards)
- Williams 110 yards (2 for 64 yards, plus 5 rushing (on the reverse)
- Witten 65 yards (2 catches for 15 yards)
- Beasley 45 yards (1 catch for 8 yards, last catch of the day)
- Cowboys receive second half kick
The GREAT Robbini
Remember, you read it here! The Great Robbini predictions for game #8. Leave your final score or predictions in the comment section.
Stats and predictions confirmed by:
DALLAS COWBOYS RISING STAR: Marinelli Misfit George Selvie making a name for himself in Texas-2 Defense
IRVING, Texas – You know that half-a-sack George Selvie was credited with this past Sunday in Philadelphia, the one he shared with the just-arriving Jarius Wynn?
Well, upon further review, Selvie was credited with a full sack. That then officially gave him two sacks in the game.
In turn, that now gives him five sacks in seven games.
Let that sink in: George Selvie, now officially the leader of “Them Other Guys,” is second on the Dallas Cowboys in sacks, just one behind Jason Hatcher, who’s having a Pro Bowl start to this 2013 season.
Why, Selvie has one more sack than DeMarcus Ware, at this point likely to miss his second game in a row Sunday after having played in every one of the first 134 of his career.
Those five Selvie sacks, they would have been the third most on last year’s Dallas Cowboys team – for the entire season.
Five sacks. Until last year that total was just one less than Anthony Spencer’s career-high over his first five years in the NFL, and until this year one more than Hatcher’s previous seven-year career-high.
Five sacks. Just one less than the team’s previous high by a player not named DeMarcus Ware from 2009-2011, and just three less than what Greg Ellis and Bradie James posted in 2008.
And on July 25, three months to the day this Friday, with all 32 NFL training camps in full swing, this very guy, George Selvie, was sitting at home in Pensacola, Fla., out of work, having been released by Tampa Bay back on May 6.
He had just turned 26, released for the fourth time since he was a seventh-round pick in 2010 out of South Florida, and his mind was understandably beginning to wonder, “What do I do now? What do I do after football?”
Please don’t pinch the dude. Let him be.
Selvie, the guy who had never started even once over his 36-game NFL career the previous three seasons – drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2010, released on the final cuts of 2011, claimed by Carolina only to be released four weeks later, then signed by Jacksonville five weeks later, playing 16 games over two seasons with the Jaguars before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2013 and signed a month later by Tampa Bay this offseason – now is tied for 12thin the NFL with those five sacks. He’s in the same company with the likes of Cameron Jordan, Ryan Kerrigan, LaMarr Woodley and a half-sack behind Elvis Dumervil.
To further appreciate what Selvie has done so far this 2013 Dallas Cowboys season, a flashback to this summer is necessary, back to when the Dallas Cowboys called, more so out of necessity. Remember, the Cowboys lost Tyrone Crawford for the season the first practice of training camp (torn Achilles) with Spencer having his knee scoped about a week later.
They were simply looking for warm bodies at that time, defensive end types who were athletic, had high motors, could play the strong side, all with a decent amount of speed and … out of work. The list of candidates Will McClay’s pro scouting department had handy kicked out one George Selvie.
“I was coming to training camp like, they probably just think of me as a [camp] body,” said Selvie during his interview this week that can be heard in its entirety on the Jason Garrett Show, locally at 11 p.m. Saturday on CBS-11. (Watch Video | Play Audio)
Understand, camp body is a derogatory term, meaning a guy simply needed to fill out the 80-man roster and help facilitate training camp practices at minimum wage then discarded before the final 53 is assembled. The percentages are against these guys, especially coming into camp a week late, with no OTA practices or minicamps under their belt.
And in Selvie’s mind on his way to the West Coast, this just might be his last call.
“I’m going to go out here and try to prove myself,” he said of his thinking when getting the call and traveling all the way from Pensacola that same day to Oxnard, Calif., jumping into practice the very next day. And stuff just fell in place.
“I was blessed to be in the situation I’m in now, just fell in place for me – but I am where I am.”
Fell in place? More like crashed down in place. Ten days after arriving in Oxnard, Selvie demonstrated he was more than a camp body in the Pro Football Hall of Fame preseason game, recording five tackles, two sacks, three quarterback hits and two tackles for losses against Miami.
Come on, was this for real or one of those one-time wonders?
Judging from emails and phone calls to Talkin’ Cowboys, fans would have just as soon left Selvie in Canton, Ohio, to be measured for his yellow jacket. There actually were questions about the possibility of trading Spencer. Just let Selvie take his place and grab $10.6 million in cap relief.
So there we were, on the tennis courts at training camp, interviewing Selvie on Talkin’ Cowboys, letting him know of his new-found celebrity, but quickly finding out, as Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett likes to say, he is the right kind of guy.
“It’s just been crazy,” he said at the time, “because Twitter and stuff. I was like, got my phone, ‘I don’t want no part of that.’ I got a lot to do, you know what I’m sayin’, I got a lot to do.
“People are like, ‘Great start …’ but I still got … look I know the feeling.”
And he then began earning his eventual nickname coined by defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, who Selvie readily credits for much of his success: Bricklayer. You know, come to work every day, work hard and lay those bricks down one at a time.
And yes, things fell in place. Obviously, Crawford was done for the season. Spencer was on his way to being done for the season. Ben Bass, a guy who could play defensive tackle, defensive end, was headed for injured reserve, too. Suddenly, he looked up one day and basically when it came to defensive ends, it was DeMarcus Ware, Kyle Wilber and … George Selvie.
Man, after never starting in any of those first 36 games he played in the NFL, there he was, under the glare of Sunday Night Football at AT&T Stadium, starting. Starting, mind you, for the first time in his career, no more than six weeks removed from wondering just what he would be doing for the rest of his life.
Nearly two months later and now Selvie is a fixture in the Dallas Cowboys lineup, having started all seven games and now standing second on the team in sacks, tied for second in tackles for losses (3) and third in quarterback pressures (11) behind some guys named Ware and Hatcher.
Meteoric rise would be an understatement, and not likely in his wildest dreams …
“No, I couldn’t have imagined it,” says Selvie when thinking back to those lonely moments in Pensacola, having trudged back home after Tampa Bay released him to contemplate his future.
“But this is the best football I’ve played, the stats show those are the facts, and I’ve had the opportunity to go out there and play, rush the passers, actually get out there on the field. I never had that [opportunity] in the past, but now I do.”
And aren’t the Dallas Cowboys darn glad he does, too.
So don’t even think about it, no pinching allowed.
George Selvie 1-on-1 interview with Mickey Spagnola (3:10)
Mickey Spagnola sits down for a 1-on-1 interview with Dallas Cowboys DE George Selvie.
X-FACTOR VS. MEGATRON: Comparison of Dallas’ Dez Bryant and Detroit’s Calvin Johnson | The Best Receivers in the NFL
Both players on the rise, but Dez hasn’t declined at any point in his career
While both stats are impressive, Dez Bryant has three years to top Calvin Johnson on this one.
Both receivers are among the top echelon in the NFL. Dez Bryant belongs in this discussion.
Recent player quotes from Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant and Lions receiver Calvin Johnson
The Jason Garrett Show – Megatron vs. X-Factor; Detroit Lions weapons (2:43)
Photo: The Cowboys’ Terrance Williams dives in for a touchdown as Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher defends on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. (Matt Rourke/AP)
Opportunities to take first place in the NFC East and for Nick Foles to push to become the Eagles’ starting quarterback were both spoiled in a 17-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
The Eagles’ offense struggled in the team’s ninth consecutive loss at Lincoln Financial Field, and Foles appeared overmatched before leaving the game with a head injury at the end of the third quarter. Matt Barkley replaced Foles and proceeded to throw three interceptions.
Foles started in place of Michael Vick, who missed his second consecutive game with a pulled left hamstring. Vick never looked so good as he did when compared to the performances of Foles and Barkley.
One week after Foles starred in a win over the Buccaneers, Foles went 11 of 29 for 80 yards. Barkley finished 11 of 20 for 129 yards and three interceptions.
The running game did not help, either. LeSean McCoy was limited to 55 rushing yards. DeSean Jackson was held to three catches for 21 yards, shut down most the game by Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr and the ineffectiveness of the Eagles’ quarterbacks.
The offense’s issues overshadowed a relatively impressive game from the defense. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo threw for 317 yards and one touchdown. He also had two interceptions. But most of his damage came in the second half, and the Eagles’ defense kept the team in contention.
The first quarter served as an insult to offensive football. Neither team could find the end zone, and there were six combined punts.
It didn’t get much better in the second quarter. There were seven more punts in that period, with the only score a 38-yard field goal by Dan Bailey as Dallas took a 3-0 lead.
The Eagles drove the ball to the Cowboys’ 42-yard line with 20 seconds remaining when Foles tried throwing a deep ball on third-and-1. It was incomplete, and Kelly elected to attempt a 60-yard field goal instead of going for fourth down. The Eagles had one timeout at the time. Alex Henery missed the field goal.
The Cowboys opened the second half by going 66 yards on 10 plays to take a 10-0 lead. On third-and-goal from the 4-yard line, cornerback Bradley Fletcher wrapped up Dez Bryant and was flagged for the pass interference to give the Cowboys a new set of downs. They scored on a 1-yard rush one play later.
The Eagles could not gain any momentum until late in the quarter, when DeMeco Ryans intercepted Tony Romo’s pass at the Eagles’ 34-yard and returned it 36 yards to the Cowboys 30. But Foles struggled throughout the drive, underthrowing a wide-open Jason Avant in the end zone and struggling to make decisions. On third-and-goal from the 9-yard line, Foles was sacked and the back of his head was knocked against the turf.
Foles was examined on the sideline and tried jogging around before he was taken to the locker room and declared out for the game. That’s when Barkley entered the game, and the struggles only continued.
Following a Cowboys touchdown drive to take a 17-3 lead, Barkley threw an interception. On the next drive, he threw another interception. He added his third interception late in the fourth quarter to ensure the Eagles would not score a touchdown.
The health status for Vick and Foles is unknown for next week’s game against the Giants.
Courtesy: Zach Berman | Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer
Photo: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles is sacked by Dallas Cowboys defensive end George Selvie as defensive tackle Jason Hatcher helps on the play. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
The Eagles’ quarterback controversy has turned into a quarterback conflagration. This, on the afternoon when Michael Vick could not play because of a pulled hamstring; Nick Foles could not play, period (and left the game at the end of the third quarter with a head injury, besides), and Matt Barkley finished up the game by throwing three interceptions that counted and another that did not (because of a penalty).
Other than that, things went well.
The Dallas Cowboys played like garbage for much of the afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field and still beat the Eagles, 17-3, which pretty much tells you how the Eagles played. A decent defensive effort against Tony Romo and the fellas was completely wasted by an offense that was neutered by the Dallas Cowboys and by Foles’ ineffectiveness.
Before he suffered the injury, which could conceivably keep him out for next week’s game against the Giants, Foles was indecisive and erratic. On a day when many believed he had a chance to win the starting quarterback job, he played his worst minutes of the season, going back to training camp. The numbers: 11-for-29 for 80 yards and a poor 46.2 passer rating.
Slow on the trigger, missing open receivers — it was Foles’ worst nightmare. This was a clear opportunity for him to make a statement, and the statement he made was an emphatic, “Not yet.”
Others will say that it was, “Not ever.”
Now we prepare for a week in which the injury report will be the most important news. Last week, Vick sounded a bit skeptical about being ready to play next Sunday against the Giants. We will see now how the imperatives of the situation affect the healing process. More than that, though, the conversation about who should be the quarterback when Vick gets healthy has been silenced.
The truth was, Foles had an opportunity against an iffy Dallas secondary — but he needed to grab it. A lot of people, including me, figured it was going to take a big number to beat the Cowboys — but the way the game turned out, as an early punt-fest, ended that thinking. Instead, it was just going to take a good second half. For Foles, the opportunity was still there, even as he struggled. There was risk but there also was reward if he came through.
He did not come through, and he got hurt besides. He held the ball forever on the last play of the third quarter, was sacked and driven into the ground. He got up slowly, tried to shake it off on the sideline, but was eventually led to the locker room by the medical staff. That is how it ended, with a slow, sad walk.
And now, besides the ending of the quarterback controversy, there also will be a pretty significant burial of the talk about winning the NFC East. Because the truth is, the Cowboys did not play very well and still won the game handily. The Cowboys are 4-3 now and the Eagles are 3-4, but the distance somehow seems greater than that.
Courtesy: Rich Hofmann | Philadelphia Daily News
Regular readers already know that The Boys Are Back blog features the ALMOST WORLD FAMOUS predictions from The GREAT Robbini. Last week, our “exalted one” predicted a big win … and was correct!
This week, The GREAT Robbini can barely contain his excitement, as you’ll see from his exhaustive pregame commentary about the game. I get the distinct impression that either the GREAT One was distracted by a house full of women this weekend, or he left his magic ball out in the trunk of his car again! It’s ok, that happens from time to time.
Quietly, he is psyched about the Dallas Cowboys – Philadelphia Eagles incoming (mostly numeric) vibe… and ready to share his prognostications that we all count on from week-to-week. Without further delay, it’s time for The GREAT Robbini’s predictions. OK, here we go …
The GREAT Robbini’s – 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys game #7 predictions:
Cowboys win (<—Pardon Robbini, while he rambles on and on)
Predictions for the Texas 2 Defense …
- 2 takeaways (3 INTs on Barkley)
- 4 sacks (close, was 3 total)
- 2 sacks Hatcher (1 for Hatcher this week)
- Lee/Carter lead tackles (Lee, Church, Carr)
- Hatcher fumble recovery
- Carr interception
Predictions for the offense …
- Romo 330 yards (317, close enough)
- Romo 4TDs (1 TD to Williams)
- Dez TD (Williams had the lone WR TD)
- Austin TD (Williams had the lone WR TD)
- Randall TD (Ouch, Tanner spiked the rock)
- Rushing committee 55 yards (75 combined)
- Dez 80 yards (8 for 110 yards)
- Williams 110 yards (6 for 71 yards)
- Witten 80 yards (4 for 48)
- Eagles receive second half kick
The GREAT Robbini
Remember, you read it here! The Great Robbini predictions for game #7. Leave your final score or predictions in the comment section.
Stats confirmed by:
ARLINGTON, Tex. — If the Washington Redskins thought their bye week would cure what ailed them in the season’s early stages, they were mistaken. They emerged from their time off resembling the same struggling team they’d been beforehand. Breakdowns on special teams proved particularly costly and the Redskins lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 31-16, here Sunday night.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III had his best running game of the season, rushing for 77 yards. Tailback Alfred Morris had a long third-quarter touchdown run. But the Redskins too often settled for field goals by place kicker Kai Forbath and their record plummeted to 1-4.
The Cowboys gave owner Jerry Jones a victory to celebrate on his 71st birthday and evened their record at 3-3, putting them in a first-place tie with the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East. Dwayne Harris had a touchdown on an 86-yard punt return in the second quarter, and added a 90-yard kickoff return in the third quarter to set up a touchdown pass from quarterback Tony Romo to wide receiver Terrance Williams.
Tailbacks DeMarco Murray and Joseph Randle had rushing touchdowns for the Cowboys, with Randle’s one-yard run all but sealing the outcome with just less than nine minutes remaining after Griffin lost a fumble on a sack at his 3-yard line. Griffin threw an interception to end the Redskins’ next drive.
Romo threw an interception and managed a relatively modest 170 passing yards for the Cowboys. But that was enough for a win one week after he passed for 506 yards and five touchdowns in a 51-48 loss to the Denver Broncos. Romo threw a late interception in that game that led to the Broncos’ winning field goal and that, to some observers, raised all of the old, familiar questions about his ability to produce in crunch time.
The start was not particularly promising for the Redskins, as their defense had no answers for Romo and the Cowboys on the game’s opening drive. Romo had a key third-down completion to tight end Jason Witten and Murray got the touchdown on a four-yard run.
Griffin was sharp at the outset, with a 19-yard completion to wide receiver Leonard Hankerson and a 15-yard run on a scramble on the Redskins’ first two offensive plays of the night. Rookie tight end Jordan Reed had a pair of catches on the Redskins’ opening drive and they moved quickly into scoring position. But Griffin was stopped two yards shy of the end zone on a third-and-goal run on a quarterback draw from the Dallas 9-yard line — a play call from which the team seemed to shy in the season’s first few games as Griffin worked his way back from knee surgery in January — and the Redskins were left with the first of Forbath’s three field goals.
The Redskins generated a second-quarter turnover when blitzing cornerback Josh Wilson batted a pass by Romo into the air and linebacker Rob Jackson, playing in his first game of the season after serving a four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, grabbed the ball on the deflection for an interception. But the Redskins failed to convert, punting on each of their next two possessions.
The second of those punts resulted in Harris’s touchdown. The Redskins initially had the Cowboys backed up in their own territory but had to re-punt because of an illegal-motion penalty on their first attempt. This time, Harris caught Sav Rocca’s punt at his 14-yard line, weaved his way through would-be tacklers and sprinted along the sideline to the end zone as the Redskins’ Darryl Tapp and Jerome Murphy collided with one another while in pursuit. The Redskins also received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when special teams coach Keith Burns, standing on the sideline, made inadvertent contact with one of the officials who was running to try to keep up with the play.
The Redskins regrouped and used Griffin’s 29-yard completion to Reed to set up Forbath’s 32-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. Forbath connected again, this time from 33 yards, after Griffin’s 26-yard run on a scramble, plus 15 additional penalty yards for absorbing a late hit out of bounds, early in the third quarter.
No matter. Harris took the kickoff after that field goal and, from five yards deep in his own end zone, sprinted practically the length of the field before being knocked out of bounds by the Redskins’ E.J. Biggers at the 15-yard line. On second down from there, Romo eluded the blitzing Wilson and lofted a pass in the corner of the end zone to Williams, who made the grab and stayed in bounds for the touchdown.
Morris, given little running room to that point, had a swift reply by cutting across the field on his way to a 45-yard touchdown dash. But Forbath missed from 49 yards early in the fourth quarter and the Cowboys got a 30-yard field goal by their kicker, Dan Bailey.
Courtesy: By Mark Maske | The Washington Post
As we all know, Peyton Manning used his ‘once every five-year” quarterback keeper to score against the Dallas Cowboys last week. Let’s take a look at the play …
Denver in I-formation with a wide receiver set left
Receiver shifts to right side, Dallas defense adjusts
Play in motion, Manning fake handoff to running back, Ware in pursuit, secondary set for run defense
Bruce Carter breaks free, heads toward Manning. Church recognizes play, but is out of position.
Bruce Carter and Barry Church in pursuit as Peyton Manning approaches goal line
Manning crosses into end zone, Carter pulls back
Peyton Manning scores touchdown on quarterback keeper.
The play, from the end zone …
Carter sees Manning rolling out towards the end zone
Manning scores one of the key plays in the game.
See it for yourself … check out NFL Game Rewind
The Dallas Cowboys look to get back to .500 this week with the Washington Redskins coming to town tonight.
Keys To The Game
Redskins Win If:
Like the Cowboys, the Redskins have had their share of issues, not specifically run or pass, but playing complete team defense. As much as Kyle Shanahan needs to help this defense with his game plan, it is going to be up the Jim Haslett and his troops to apply pressure on Tony Romo and Bill Callahan.
When I study their scheme the one area where I feel like the Redskins should have an advantage is with their pass rush. If Callahan becomes one dimensional and decides he just wants to put the ball in the air, this could present a problem for him.
I understand the numbers say that the Redskins struggle badly against the pass, but they do have players along their front that, if not handled well, will find ways to get to Romo and get their defense off the field. It starts with Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan off the edge. There have been times this season where Haslett has brought them both off the same side to try and create problems with the opponent’s blocking scheme. How well Tyron Smith and Doug Free play in this game will be critical because there will be plenty of times where they are just matched up one-on-one with these rushers because of some of the games that Haslett plays inside with his tackles and linebackers.
Last season, where Haslett hurt this Cowboys scheme was with his twist stunts and then later in the season with the linebackers through the “A” gap. Disruptive pressure gives them a chance in this game.
Cowboys Win If:
For the last two weeks, Monte Kiffin and his defense have heard nothing but negative talk about how poorly they have played. This week against the Redskins, it gets no easier.
For the Cowboys to win this game on Sunday, it’s not going to be about their offense scoring 48 points but about how they respond defensively to what the Redskins are doing on offense. Playing against this read-option attack requires discipline and focus, which has not been a consistent trait for this Cowboys defense.
You can talk about ways to slow down this offense but if you are not playing the defensive call correctly, there are going to be problems. I believe Washington offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is going to attempt to strive for balance in this matchup, and if that is the case, DeMarcus Ware, George Selvie, Sean Lee and Bruce Carter had better be in position to handle the situation when the ball is handed to Alfred Morris or when Robert Griffin III takes it out of his belly and circles around the end.
The numbers say that both Morris and Griffin have not been as productive carrying the ball, but with the shape the Redskins defense is in, Shanahan does not want to get in a shoot-out with Tony Romo. This Cowboys defense cannot allow Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris to control this game on the ground and keep their offense off the field. Discipline and focus are absolute musts.
Cowboys OT Doug Free vs. Redskins LB Ryan Kerrigan
In this matchup between the Cowboys and Redskins, there are several ones along the offensive and defensive lines that can shift the direction of this game either way. DeMarcus Ware vs. Trent Williams and Tyron Smith vs. Brian Orakpo are all worthy of our thoughts, but the one that has my attention, deals with Doug Free vs. Ryan Kerrigan.
As much as I have seen Orakpo play, I believe that Kerrigan is just as dangerous. He plays both the run and pass with equal effort and skill. Kerrigan is one of those players that keep coming after you. There is no give-up or quit in his game. Just when you think you have him blocked, he gets you with that burst of extra effort and gets a sack or a tackle for loss. Where Free has to be careful, is not allowing him to finish plays, because that’s his best trait. Kerrigan has good football strength and he will use it to his advantage. Free has been playing at a high level this season and he will need to continue to do so if he is going to be able to counter from what I have seen in Kerrigan.
Free’s technique has improved to the point, where it has allowed him to just play with ease and there has been far less struggle in his game than what we had seen the past two seasons. This is one matchup where Doug Free cannot have an off day or there will be trouble for this Cowboys offense.
Cowboys LB Sean Lee vs. Redskins RB Alfred Morris
Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has been 58 percent pass to 42 percent run through four game this season. As talented as Robert Griffin III is throwing the ball, I believe that is the balance that Shanahan doesn’t want. The Redskins have struggled on defense this season and have been behind in the majority of their games and have to throw to get back in them. If Shanahan can play with a lead or be equal in a game, I can see him trying to use Alfred Morris in a way to control the game like he was able to do against the Cowboys last year.
There is no secret that Monte Kiffin and his defense has struggled with the pass but he needs to worry about Morris running the ball downhill at him. Morris is one of those backs that can wear you down as the game moves along. When you play a read option, you need to have defenders in place to handle all the options. If you don’t, there will be problems. What I have noticed on tape is that you still see the “Pistol” or “Ace” formations, so the threat is still there to run the ball but it hasn’t been on the legs of Griffin III or even Morris that much.
If Shanahan does strive for that balance, look for Morris to get plenty of opportunities and this is where Sean Lee needs to be at his best to stop Morris before he has a chance to get going. There will be some serious collisions between these two tonight.
Players to Watch
Their Nemesis: Jason Witten
In 20 games played against the Washington Redskins, Jason Witten has caught 94 passes for 1,060 yards and six touchdowns. Throughout his long career, Witten has always been a thorn in the side of the Redskins, who have found it very difficult to match his ability to get up the field. In this game on Sunday, Witten should once again get those opportunities to find space in this secondary who will most likely have to use their safeties to help in coverage on Dez Bryant and Miles Austin.
With Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan coming up with schemes that get multiple receivers on the field, as we saw in the Broncos game, it stretches the defense horizontally and it creates space for Witten to work underneath and up the field. It will be interesting to see if the Redskins treat Witten like a receiver and match him that way or does Brandon Merriweather and Bacarri Rambo draw that assignment. I believe that Rambo would be more physical in coverage than Merriweather but because he has more experience than the rookie in these situations that he will most likely get that call. Regardless, I expect a big game, once again from Witten.
Our Weapon: Dan Bailey
It would have been real easy for me to talk about Dez Bryant, DeMarcus Ware or Tony Romo for the weapon here but if you take a closer look at the numbers in the last 10 meetings between the Cowboys and Redskins, five of those games were decided by three points of less and this is where Dan Bailey comes it. Bailey has attempted 12 field goals in his career against the Redskins and he has yet to miss. In 2011, Bailey was even a perfect six-for-six, which accounted for all the points in a victory over the Redskins 18 – 16.
Where Bailey has been automatic, his work as a kickoff man, has been flawless. In 30 kick off opportunities, opponents have only been able to return the ball eight times for an average starting field position of 20.5. Bailey’s kick offs last week against the Broncos was one of the deciding factors that held the dangerous Trindon Holliday in check only allowing him 24 yards a return. Despite what we have seen from both the Cowboys and Redskins through five games, I believe that this will be another tight game and will most likely come down to three points which I would happily put on the toe of Dan Bailey.
Under The Radar: Orlando Scandrick
The Washington Redskins are going to throw the ball 58% of the time on first down. How this Cowboys secondary plays on those downs, will be vital to their success on Sunday night. There has been less running by Robert Griffin III and more of him making throws from the pocket. The last two weeks, pressure from this Cowboys defensive line has struggled to get home and something needs to be done about it.
The most consistent player on this defense has been Orlando Scandrick whether he has played outside in the base or out of the nickel. Where Scandrick can help this defense the most is not only in his coverage but as a slot blitzer to create some problems for Griffin III in the pocket. Monte Kiffin has used Scandrick in that role that he once had for Ronde Barber and he has had some success. Of Scandrick’s 6.5 career sacks, two of them have come against the Redskins. Scandrick has a really nice feel for how to attack the pocket and do it in a way not to draw a penalty on his blitz. I would not be one bit surprised to see Kiffin take advantage of bringing Orlando Scandrick off the edge.
Our Nemesis: Robert Griffin III
There are very few quarterbacks in the National Football League that can say they have never lost to the Dallas Cowboys, but Robert Griffin III is one of those. Though his sample size is only two games, his play against them in my view, was the difference in those games. What is different about Griffin III from what I have seen from last season to this, is more of a willingness to make throws from the pocket. I am not saying that, Griffin III is Peyton Manning back there, because you will see him move and buy a second or two more to get the ball down the field.
The Redskins will still line up in “Ace” formation and go through all the play action reads, which is a strength of Griffin III. For a young quarterback, he is one of the best that I have seen handling the ball on the move. He is extremely smart and it is rare that you see him make a poor or bad read, when running the read option. When throwing the ball, he is going to look down the field first. He looks more comfortable throwing the ball in the middle of the field than anywhere else, which is where the Cowboys have had their troubles.
Their Weapon: Pierre Garcon
If I were on the Cowboys defensive coaching staff, I would be very concerned about how we were planning on how to deal with Pierre Garcon in this game. Offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan has done a really nice job of creating plays to get the ball in Garcon’s hands and allowing him to do the rest. There has become a really nice bond between Garcon and Griffin III, to the point where Griffin III will just throw the ball in the general direction of Garcon with the understanding that he is going to make the play regardless where the ball is.
What has been impressive about Garcon is how much power that he plays with when they get him the ball. You will see him catch a quick screen and he explodes up the field, leaving tacklers in his wake. Garcon likes to also work the middle of the field and not just on simple routes, but those deep crossing routes between the linebackers and the safeties. He is not afraid to catch the ball in traffic and will compete, if he has too. When you play Garcon, you have to be physical with him because if you don’t, he will try and beat you up. Tough matchup.
Under The Radar: Jordan Reed
The Redskins like to use their tight ends on game day and all of them play a role. There was a time where Fred Davis was the lead dog in the sled for the Redskins offense, but Logan Paulsen has taken a lot of his responsibilities when it comes to being the only tight end on the field. Matter of fact, the Redskins most successful passing formation is when Paulson is on the field, with three other wide receivers.
But keep an eye on rookie Jordan Reed, who has had two weeks to recover from a deep thigh bruise that he suffered in the Lions game. What I have seen from Reed is a player that is more of a route runner than he is a blocker. Very good on his run after catch and with 4.71 speed, can be a matchup problem for linebackers and safeties to have to deal with. Has made 13 catches in three games with one touchdown.
The Redskins like to move their tight ends around the formation and line them up in different spots and this is to take advantage of players like Reed to get him in space off play action fakes. Reed can be a mismatch player for a defense that has struggled in coverage with the tight end position the last two weeks.
Regular readers already know that The Boys Are Back blog features the ALMOST WORLD FAMOUS predictions from The GREAT Robbini. Last week, our “exalted one” wasn’t able to enlighten us. He kept getting mixed signals on the winner … along with what seemed to be out of this world stat vibes from both teams! He thought his ball was shorting out, so he remained silent and gave his ball a week to cool off.
This week, The GREAT Robbini is psyched about the Cowboys – Redskins incoming vibe… and ready to share his prognostications that we all count on from week-to-week. Without further delay, it’s time for The GREAT Robbini’s predictions. OK, here we go …
The GREAT Robbini’s – 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys game #6 predictions:
Kiffins’ Beast from the East awakens…
…the Texas 2 Defense. With an abysmal showing against Denver the Dallas Cowboys defense finally snaps back. What seemed to be the more dominant defense in a dubious NFC East will get back on track against the Redskins. DeMarcus Ware, General Lee, and the ‘boys take a stand against porous Washington. Cowboys shut ‘em down like food stamps.
Predictions for the Texas 2 Defense …
- 3 takeaways
- 4 sacks
- 2 sacks Ware
- Lee/Carter lead tackles
- Griffin out at least one drive
- Hatcher fumble recovery
- Carr interception
Predictions for the offense …
- Romo 300 yards
- Romo 3 TDs
- Dez TD
- Austin TD
- Murray TD
- Rushing committee 140 yards
- Dez 100 yard game
- Williams 60 yards
- Witten 60 yards
- Cowboys receive second half kick
The GREAT Robbini
Remember, you read it here! The Great Robbini predictions for game #6. Leave your final score or predictions in the comment section.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Support fundraising efforts by buying NFL Pink products at NFL Shop and bidding on pink items at NFL Auction.
Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders perform for NFL’s Breast Cancer Awareness during halftime show
IRVING, Texas – Not many figures in the NFL landscape are more familiar with the importance of “winning the big one” than Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan.
As offensive coordinator, and eventually head coach of the Denver Broncos, few people were closer to Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway during his struggles and eventual success in winning a championship.
It makes sense then that Shanahan would field questions this week about the comparison of Elway, now the executive vice president of football operations for Denver, to Tony Romo. In the moments following Dallas’ 51-48 loss to the Broncos on Sunday, Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones compared Romo’s hardships in delivering big victories to Elway’s career.
Said Jones: “The guy standing over on the other sideline or up in the box, John Elway, had those things said about him his entire career. He was a great player and we all know that, and he ultimately got his Super Bowls and they don’t say that about him anymore.”
Shanahan said today that the comparison was a fair one.
“I don’t think there’s any question about it. That’s everybody’s goal, to win the Super Bowl, and unless you do it, you’re always going to have people second-guessing yourself,” he said. “John had that as well, and when he did win the two his last couple years, back-to-back, that quickly goes away. But until you do it, you’re always going to have that tag.”
Elway was the poster child for big game disappointment for much of his legendary career. Prior to winning two Super Bowls in his final two seasons, he managed a so-so 7-8 postseason record for the Broncos.
Most notable among those eight losses were a trio of lopsided Super Bowl defeats. Elway led Denver to the Super Bowl after the 1986, 1987 and 1989 seasons, where the Broncos were defeated by a combined score of 136-40.
Shanahan was Elway’s offensive coordinator for the first two Super Bowl losses, and he was the Broncos’ head coach for the two wins, after the 1997 and 1998 seasons. (Editors comment: Think of Jason Garrett’s legacy with his ‘potential’ comparison to Shanahan. Garrett has been Tony Romo’s offensive coordinator and/or head coach from the beginning of Romo’s career).
“I think the people that see Tony practice every day and the teammates know what he can do. But you do it as a team. Everybody’s got to do it together,” Shanahan said. “When I was with John, going into the 15th, 16th year, you had the same people saying that he couldn’t do it throughout his whole career. Then when he does do it, everybody says ‘Ah, yeah. We knew he could do it.’ I mean, it’s the same old thing.”
Of course, Romo still has a bit of catching up to do. The Cowboys’ quarterback has appeared in just four playoff games with one victory, and consequently has not reached the Super Bowl. That said, Shanahan said the process remains the same.
“You’ve just got to fight through it, you can’t listen to the critics and you’ve got to believe in yourself, and I’m sure that’s what Tony’s doing,” he said.
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IRVING, Texas – Talk about a Texas-sized order for these Dallas Cowboys.
Why, the Denver Broncos are coming to AT&T Stadium Sunday afternoon with a 4-0 record.
They haven’t been beaten in their past 15 regular-season games.
During this franchise record 15-game winning streak, no one has even come within seven points of the Broncos, which is one game shy of the Chicago Bears NFL record set in 1941-42, if that’s even possible to comprehend. Heck, in the four games this season, no team has come within the 16 Oakland has.
This also means the Broncos have tied their franchise record with seven consecutive road victories, no matter if they have been playing at the world champion Baltimore Ravens or in the supposedly indomitable collegiate atmosphere of Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium last year, or at MetLife Stadium (Giants) this season.
They are currently averaging 44.7 points a game, as if they are some Alabama playing a bunch of directional schools to start the season. And to think, the Cowboys have already given up thirty-something twice this season: 31 to the now 0-4 Giants and 30 this past Sunday to the then 1-2 Chargers.
The quarterback, The Peyton Manning, leads the NFL in nine of 10 statistical QB categories, most importantly a ridiculous 138 passer rating. Not to mention averaging 367.5 passing yards a game. And just think what that average might be if the Broncos were not winning each of these four games so far by an average of 22 points.
Considering opposing quarterbacks in three of their past six games, stretching back to last season, have thrown for more than 400 yards: Drew Brees (446), Eli Manning (450) and, most recently, Philip Rivers (401). Which brings to mind that the franchise record for most passing yards by an opposing quarterback is 486, set back in 1962 by Chicago’s Billy Wade.
Oh, if this all is not enough, the Broncos kicker, Matt Prater, has not missed a field-goal attempt yet (6 of 6) and their return specialist, Trindon Holiday, has just been named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month, mostly for his 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and 81-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Beaten team walking?
Well, as a public service announcement, don’t try peddling any of this overwhelming evidence to these underdogs out here at The Ranch, an inherent danger to yourself yesterday, a danger today and even more dangerous come Sunday before the 3:25 p.m. kickoff that is being preceded this season with a little Texas Stadium old-school trumpet-playing of the national anthem.
“We ain’t scared of nobody,” a defiant Jason Hatcher said this week.
“I’m sick of hearing about Peyton Manning this and that and that,” said starting linebacker Ernie Sims of the Dallas Cowboys nickel defense Sunday, which might as well be called their base defense since the Broncos are expected to do exactly what Rivers and the Chargers did this past Sunday: Go three-wide, hurry-up.
Well, you wanted to know what the mood has been out here at The Ranch, didn’t ya?
Testy, for sure.
And that’s certainly a good thing. I mean, you don’t want this 2-2 team coming into a game like this, especially at home, meekly tiptoeing around, as if being led down a gangplank.
That’s why I am not one subscribing to this theory of playing some cozy, ball-control offense, as if the Cowboys should set up in some Carolina Four Corners from back in the day when shot clocks were an NBA thing.
Run the ball, absolutely, all you can – all you need to – but you can’t go into some offensive shell just to keep Manning off the field. You’ve got to go into offensive overdrive. You’ve got to score points. You’ve got to take some shots at the bow. Let your hair down and take some chances
Doggoneit, be aggressive, and same on defense. You can’t just sit back passively on defense, giving ground in fear of giving up a big play, betting Manning and this high-powered Broncos offense won’t execute like 12 plays to cover 80 yards. Ha, do so and you’ll be the one executed.
This all brings back to mind 1991, when the 6-5 Dallas Cowboys, losers of consecutive road games marching into Washington D.C. to play a third against the 11-0 Washington Redskins, who by the way were on their way to winning a Super Bowl title that season.
And just might have done so as the first 19-0 team had the overwhelming underdog Cowboys not kicked their headdress feathers, 24-21, that Sunday before Thanksgiving.
Did they come in playing conservatively, just trying not to lose?
Oh, contraire. On this day they were swashbuckling roughriders, then head coach Jimmy Johnson deciding before the game that they would not cower to a soul nor any Redskins.
Afterward, here is what Jimmy stated he said beforehand:
“I told the players, ‘Don’t ever hit a guy lightly. If you have a big ol’ gorilla in front of you, you don’t tap him on the shoulder.’ And I threw a punch at [guard] John Gesek, and I told them, “If I hit him lightly, I’ll get killed. I’d better take my best shot.’
“Teddy Roosevelt said one time, don’t ever hit lightly.”
OK, Jimmy had a master’s in psychology, not history, sort of twisting Roosevelt’s line about “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”
But you get the idea, right? Don’t be taking a twig into a shootout.
That day the Cowboys went for it on fourth down three times. They eschewed a 51-yard field goal at the end of the first half for a “Hail Mary” into the end zone that Alvin Harper pulled in for a touchdown. They successfully executed an onside kick. And defensively, they did not sit back in fear of a Redskins offense that had scored 97 points the previous two weeks, coming with blitzes and stunts they had not shown the entire season.
Oh, and did I mention that even after Troy Aikman went down early in the third quarter with a sprained knee, offensive coordinator Norv Turner did not baby backup Steve Beuerlein, having him immediately firing aggressively down field, even without the services of injured tight end Jay Novacek and injured guard Nate Newton. They even had the audacity to attack Pro Bowl corner Darrell Green, wide receiver Michael Irvin burning his man-coverage with nine catches for 130 yards and a huge 22-yard scoring grab from Beuerlein to provide clinching separation late in the game.
And get this, Cowboys linebacker Jack Del Rio at the time, eerily now the Broncos defensive coordinator, said afterward, “I was just happy we didn’t go into a shell and play conservatively.
“We attacked, gave them everything we had.”
Shhhh, don’t tell Jack. Don’t remind him of the gorillas and the stick and the “best shots.”
And please don’t tell him “Hatch” has been doing a slow burn all week in continued defiance, insisting as he was stewing, “We’re not a pushover team at all. We’re definitely ready to play.”
So, almost time to sound that trumpet, sing the anthem and aggressively barge onto the AT&T Stadium field with them big sticks.
Don’t you think?
President Barack Obama says he would “think about changing” the Washington Redskins’ name if he owned the football team as he waded into the controversy involving a word that many consider offensive to Native Americans.
Obama, in an interview with The Associated Press, said team names such as the Redskins offend “a sizable group of people.” He said that while fans get attached to the names, nostalgia might not be a good enough reason to keep them in place.
“I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things,” he said in the interview, which was conducted Friday.
An avid sports fan, Obama said he doesn’t think Washington football fans are purposely trying to offend American Indians. “I don’t want to detract from the wonderful Redskins fans that are here. They love their team and rightly so,” he said.
But the president appeared to come down on the side of those who have sharply criticized the football team’s name, noting that Indians “feel pretty strongly” about mascots and team names that depict negative stereotypes about their heritage.
Other professional sports teams have Indian names, including football’s Kansas City Chiefs and baseball’s Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians.
Numerous colleges and universities have changed names that reference Native Americans. St. John’s changed its mascot from the Redmen to the Red Storm, Marquette is now the Golden Eagles instead of the Warriors and Stanford switched from the Indians to the Cardinal.
The Redskins’ name has attracted a fresh round of controversy in recent months, with local leaders in Washington calling for a name change and some media outlets refraining from using the name. The name is the subject of a long-running legal challenge from a group of American Indians seeking to block the team from having federal trademark protection.
Congressional lawmakers have introduced a bill seeking the same goal, though it appears unlikely to pass.
Opponents of the Redskins name plan to hold a protest Monday outside the NFL’s fall meeting in Washington.
Team owner Dan Snyder has vowed to never abandon the name. But NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last month that the league should pay attention to those offended by the name — a subtle change in position for Goodell, who had more strongly supported the name in his previous statements this year.
Despite the controversy, an AP-GfK poll conducted in April showed that nationally, “Redskins” still enjoys wide support. Nearly 4 in 5 Americans don’t think the team should change its name, the survey found. Only 11 percent think it should be changed, while 8 percent weren’t sure and 2 percent didn’t answer.
TEAM RESPONSE: The Washington Redskins released a statement through their attorney in response to President Obama’s comments:
“As a supporter of President Obama, I am sure the President is not aware that in the highly respected independent Annenberg Institute poll (taken in 2004) with a national sample of Native Americans, 9 out of 10 Native Americans said they were not bothered by the name the ‘Washington Redskins.’ The President made these comments to the Associated Press, but he was apparently unaware that an April 2013 AP poll showed that 8 out of 10 of all Americans in a national sample don’t think the Washington Redskins’ name should be changed.
“The Redskins respect everyone. But like devoted fans of the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Blackhawks (from President Obama’s hometown), the fans love their team and its name and, like those fans, they do not intend to disparage or disrespect a racial or ethnic group. The name ‘Washington Redskins’ is 80 years old – its history and legacy and tradition. The Redskins’ fans sing ‘Hail to the Redskins’ every Sunday as an expression of honor, not disparagement.”
By now, everyone is familiar with the red blotch that appears on Peyton Manning’s forehead after he removes his helmet. Obviously, these blotches appear because of the padding inside Manning’s helmet (or does it?).
Just for fun … let’s get some wagering into precisely what time we’ll see this mysterious red forehead blotch appear during the Dallas Cowboys vs. Denver Broncos broadcast on Sunday. I’m thinking … early in the second quarter.
I have a theory … along with several questions. Is it possible that Peyton Manning’s brain actually grows during the course of a game? Does his helmet have a pump for inflatable pads? Does it glow in the dark? Does it get redder as Eli gets more overshadowed? Is he able to communicate with aliens? Does he emit radiation for opposing players? Does he have a twin that’s trying to escape from within?
I digress. Back to my theory. Bare with me. I think this relates to the Big Bang, somehow. Sure scientist have their version, but let’s consider this. I believe that there is a unique combination of molecular activity (accelerated by beer/hotdog expulsion gasses) that occur during every football game. All we need is a trigger! Some kind of spark. Some kind of conduit. Anything could set it off! Let’s say some foreign imbalance of gases enter the AT&T Stadium atmosphere. For example, Jerry Jones dressing up as a concessions vendor … selling a $7 hot dog in the stands, could trigger something! JJ does love money! We know this! It could emit some kind of super-human testosterone gas when he jubilantly sticks the tax-free cash in his pocket! Atoms smashing … neutrons and electrons flowing like a mofo! Then, you add this renegade molecule into the Jerry’s sealed off dome! Holy shit!!!
I sense some apprehension from you, the reader. Let me back myself up with some facts (or reasonable facsimiles). Governments have spent billions on super-conducting super-colliders. Clearly, there is something to this atom smashing thing! All the while, Peyton Manning’s brain cells have been on a superhuman evolution course all by themselves. Evidence has been present since his final days in Indianapolis. Since then, the blotch is getting bigger! It’s getting redder! It’s probably getting hotter! Did the Colts organization suspect and cover-up any of this? Note the devilish facial expression! Pure evil! The Colts moved on, mysteriously, and ended up with the franchise savior … Andrew Luck.
Then, there’s this. The year he disappeared! What’s up with that? Was he transported somewhere? Did he have intrusive or exploratory brain surgery? Was ‘something’ injected into his super brain? After all, he can read defenses! This is a superpower that no other NFL quarterback posses! We’d hear about it if other quarterbacks had this mysterious power!
Was he probed? If so, did he like it? Did they also capture Eli? Was his little brain gene injecting into Peyton skull? Think about it. Eli has struggled this year! Doesn’t seem quite like himself. Hmmmm.
Moving on. If my theory is right, stuff will happen “Under the Dome” on Sunday afternoon! AT&T has connections! AT&T is powerful too! Jerry Jones knows this! He accepted millions of dollars recently for the stadium naming rights! Jerry resisted other suitors for years! Called it Cowboys Stadium to throw us all off his grand scheme. Then, suddenly … in the same exact year that Peyton Manning’s superhuman, super-colliding, super-conducting brain was scheduled … pooff, we have a deal! Coincidence? I think not!
Now, for the meat of this article. I believe AT&T has sponsored Peyton Manning’s forehead. That’s right! You read it here first!
Manning is notorious for his commercial ventures! This is a fact that you cannot deny! I truly expect the AT&T logo to emerge from Peyton’s forehead. I don’t know if it’ll be neon, just saying … it’s happening! If you’ll just for once, rethink possible! Just look at the red splotch. It fits perfectly!
It could get worse. If the gases and molecules collide in some unthinkable combination, like never before … Peyton’s super-colliding super-conduction superhuman brain could merge with the telephone giant! Don’t be surprised if you see lightning come from Jerry’s huge stadium monitor and start the whole damn thing! There will be a BIG BANG! The stage is set. The world is watching. All of Peyton Manning’s thoughts (or his aliens leaders) will then be broadcasted on that big ass monitor! Inside, thousands upon thousands, of Dallas Cowboys fans fall victim. FOX’s conspiracy theorists will be in heaven! Your smartphone will actually get smarter! Jerry Jones will sell Peyton Manning super-colliding, super-conducting, superhuman brain t-shirts. (They’re probably already printed).
Dallas, with all of it’s might, have only one chance to foil this plan. The Dallas Cowboys must defeat the Denver Broncos! They can stop this madness! DeMarcus Ware must sack the superhuman and ground his super-colliding, super-conducting, superhuman brain to the brand new negative charging super-turf at AT&T stadium. Dez, on his way to the end zone, can throw a cup of Tom Brady’s neutron spiked Powerade on Peyton Manning’s forehead. Jay Ratliff could turn off the electricity to that big ass monitor! He’s not doing anything else, right? Denver has not played in a dome this season. Let’s hope someone opens the rooftop this Sunday! Just in case. This could neutralize the whole damn thing! A parody, of course.
Comments are welcome.
Regular readers already know that The Boys Are Back blog features the ALMOST WORLD FAMOUS predictions from The GREAT Robbini. Last week, our “exalted one” was pretty much dead-on with his predictions.
Last weeks win over the ‘other’ Missouri team gives us die-hard Cowboys fans (and Demarco Murray) reason to celebrate. We’ve seen the sudden emergence of a running game and a havoc causing Texas-2 defense coming into their own identity. Today’s game in San Diego should feel like a Dallas Cowboys home game with the heavy fan base in sunny Southern California. Bruised Romo should be in better shape this week. While Miles Austin sits on the bench with his hamstring, Jason Garrett will ask next-men-up Terrence Williams, Dwayne Harris, and Cole Beasley to take up the slack. In the trenches, right guard Brian Waters is expected to start … and Mackenzy Bernadeau will be suited up as backup for both guard positions. The Dallas front-four will be without Anthony Spencer for the remainder of the 2013-2014 NFL season … but, Marinelli’s hungry linemen have shown they are up to the task through the first three games.
The GREAT Robbini is psyched about the Cowboys – Chargers incoming vibe… and ready to share his prognostications that we all count on from week-to-week. Without further delay, it’s time for The GREAT Robbini’s predictions. OK, here we go …
The GREAT Robbini’s – 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys week #4 predictions:
Cowboys set up shop in San Diego, Qualcomm stadium looks like ‘home away from home’
The Dallas Cowboys, on a mission to fuel up their game before hosting “unstoppable” Denver, get behind the wheel in Norv’s old town. They’ll head back to Big D, with plenty in the tank and a ‘W’ in the trunk. Expect a high octane performances from Dez, Demarco, TE group and Kiffin’s boys.
Predictions for the Texas 2 Defense …
- 3 takeaways
- DeMarcus Ware 3 sacks
- J.J. Wilcox 1 sack
- Brandon Carr INT
- Jason Hatcher 2 sacks
- 6 team sacks
- Carter/Wilcox lead tackles
- 1 San Diego Charger injured
Predictions for the offense …
- Tony Romo 300 yards, 4 TDs
- Dez Bryant 75 yards, 2 TDs
- Williams 50 yards
- Beasley 30 yards
- Jason Witten 65 yards, TD
- Gavin Escobar 30 yards, TD
- James Hanna 15 yards
- Demarco Murray TD
- Rushing committee 150 yards
- Offensive line 3 penalties
- Cowboys receive opening kick
- Offense starts game with possession
- Cowboys control time of possession
The GREAT Robbini
Remember, you read it here! The Great Robbini predictions for week #4. Leave your final score or predictions in the comment section.
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys are getting exactly what they want out of their new defensive coaching additions, while the defensive mind they let go is excelling elsewhere. Consider that a win through three weeks for both parties.
The Dallas defense resides in the top 10 in the league in sacks and takeaways led by new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, while the coordinator the Cowboys let go has shifted New Orleans’ putrid defense of last year to the No. 5 total defense in the NFL this season.
In the minds of some, former Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan didn’t do a lousy job in Dallas last year. Fact remains, the Cowboys weren’t happy with the lack of pressure and thought they should upgrade.
The front office (Jerry Jones) stressed an emphasis on takeaways after creating just 16 all of last season. They now have seven through three games with Kiffin and Marinelli, due in large part to the havoc created by the defensive line, as the Cowboys sit atop the NFC with 13 sacks. They’re also tied for sixth in turnover differential at plus-3 with a top-10 scoring defense.
Kiffin and Marinelli insisted they didn’t need a defensive lineman in the draft to conjure the kind of pressure they needed on their defense. Even without Jay Ratliff or Anthony Spencer, they’ve been exactly right. DeMarcus Ware is back to his old form and the switch to defensive end may even help him reach the quarterback more often.
The defensive coaches continue to get elite play at defensive tackle out of Jason Hatcher, who’s tallied a sack in each of the team’s first three games, while turning Nick Hayden and George Selvie into legitimate starters.
Selvie said he feels he has a coach in Marinelli who believes in him, and that coach is getting the best out of his group. It’s obvious, and head coach Jason Garrett sees the same thing.
“He’s just an excellent football coach and teaching is a big part of that, inspiring is a big part of that, seeing the real positive traits in people and getting them into situations where they can be successful,” Garrett said. “(Marinelli) helps them be successful by how he teaches them technically, how he teaches them physically, how he teaches them emotionally.”
The Cowboys’ three interceptions may not seem like much, but that’s three times as many as they had through three weeks with Rob Ryan last season.
The colorful, boisterous defensive mind has to be a revered character in New Orleans, demonstrating his worth by changing the culture of the Saints’ defense. New Orleans allowed 440.1 yards per game and 28.4 points per game last season, and those numbers are down to 295.7 yards per game and 12.7 points per game so far.
Both sides are getting exactly what they wanted by fixing the problems of the past. It’s a small sample size, but the Cowboys and Saints are reaping every benefit they could have hoped for with their offseason defensive changes.
This should create quite a buzz (and another comparison) going into week 10 …
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The Arizona Cardinals will take on the New Orleans Saints on Sunday without starting defensive tackle Dan Williams, who is dealing with a terrible personal tragedy.
Team spokesman Mark Dalton told The Associated Press that Williams was excused from the game due to the death of his father, who was killed in a car accident. Williams’ sister and mother also were in the car, but Dalton said they were expected to recover from their injuries.
Dalton told The AP that Thomas Williams was en route from the family’s home in Memphis, Tenn., to New Orleans to watch his son play. The accident occurred near Jackson, Miss.
It’s a heartbreaking story. Our condolences go out to Williams and his family.
Regular readers already know that The Boys Are Back blog features the ALMOST WORLD FAMOUS predictions from The GREAT Robbini. Last week, our “exalted one” was pretty much dead-on with his predictions . We’re not sure if he spent extra time waxing his ball in the offseason, or exactly what happened! Quite impressive! Those results will be available by clicking HERE in the very near future.
Last weeks win over the evil arch rival New York Giants gives us die-hard Cowboys fans reason to celebrate. We’ve seen the sudden emergence of a takeaway happy defense, TE Jason Witten twice reacquainted with the end-zone, and offensive line that doesn’t make us quiver with every snap. Today, uppermost in our minds is the 450 yards the Texas 2 defense yielded to the New York Giants offense … and three banged up cowpokes from last Sunday. Bruised Romo, Dez, and Mo are expected to take the field against Andy Reid’s Chiefs … and put on a show for that sea of red at Arrowhead Stadium. When the fat lady sings, one of these teams will be kicking off the 2013-2014 NFL season at 2-0.
The GREAT Robbini is psyched about the Cowboys – Chiefs incoming vibe… and ready to share his prognostications that we all count on from week-to-week. Without further delay, it’s time for The GREAT Robbini’s predictions. OK, here we go …
The GREAT Robbini’s – 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys week #2 predictions:
‘Boys take names at Arrowhead
Dallas Cowboys mount up and head to K.C. with a wagonload of momentum. The ‘boys take out the big chief in a tough battle. When the smoke clears, they ride out with the W.
Predictions for the Texas 2 Defense …
DeMarcus Ware 2 sacks
Sean Lee INT
Jason Hatcher 1 sack
Church/Carter lead tackles
Alex Smith sacked 4x
Texas 2 Defense gives up 23 points
Texas 2 Defense shuts out Chiefs in one quarter
Predictions for the offense …
- Tony Romo 330 yards
Tony Romo 3 TDs
Dez Bryant TD
Miles Austin TD
DeMarco Murray TD
Lance Dunbar TD
Gavin Escobar 30 yards
Dez Bryant 70 yards
Jason Witten 35 yards
Williams 45 yards
Miles Austin 70 yards
DeMarco Murray fumble
Rushing committee 110 yards
Tony Romo sacked 3 times
Offense starts game with possession
The GREAT Robbini
Remember, you read it here! The Great Robbini predictions for week #2. Leave your final score or predictions in the comment section.
Fred Thompson’s character Arthur Branch once said in an episode of Law and Order that “If it wasn’t for that sonuvabitch Bin Laden, we’d only remember September 11 as Bear Bryant’s birthday.” Today, many people throughout the world of college football—and especially in Alabama—will make Branch proud by not letting Bin Laden spoil the centennial celebration of Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant’s birthday.
While working on Mama Called, a new documentary of Bryant’s life, I found myself pondering a question which I had asked myself many times over the years: Was Bear Bryant the greatest college football coach of all time?
In the time since his death in 1983, it has become more and more obvious that he was. Two other coaches of major college football teams passed him up in the all-time victories list—Joe Paterno (409) and Bobby Bowden (377) won more games in the major college ranks—but Bryant’s won-lost percentage is considerably higher (.780 to Paterno’s .749 and Bowden’s .740). Bryant won more national championships (six) than Paterno and Bowden combined (four). And for what it’s worth, Bryant was 4-0 in head-to-head matchups with Paterno.
Bryant’s stature in college football is so great that there’s really only one other football coach since World War II whose reputation compares—Vince Lombardi, another man whose 100th birthday was commemorated this year. I once asked Bart Starr, who had known Bryant for years and who won five championships under Lombardi at Green Bay, if he thought Bryant was the Vince Lombardi of college football. Starr said, “At the least. Some people might call Coach Lombardi the Bear Bryant of pro football.” (More on that comparison later.)
Paul Bryant coached at four universities and completely turned their football programs around for the better. Maryland was 1-7-1 in 1944, and then, in Bryant’s first and only season as head coach, went 6-2-1. Kentucky was 2-8-0 in 1945; in Bryant’s first year, 1946, the Wildcats were 7-3. In 1953, the Texas A&M Aggies were 4-5-1. When Bryant got there the next year, he gutted the entire squad and rebuilt it practically from scratch; the Aggies finished just 1-9 in 194, but Bryant’s labor bore fruit the next year, when they jumped to 7-2-1, and in 1956, they were the Southwest Conference Champions at 9-0-1. The Alabama Crimson Tide were 2-7-1 in 1957 to 5-4-1 in 1958 under Bryant, and, of course, the rest is history.
Bryant is the only coach to have achieved greatness in both the era of limited substitution (when all players had to spend some time on both offense and defense) and the era of unlimited substitution, the modern era of football when players specialized at just one position.
Bryant coached 133 games against 25 men who were eventually voted into the College Football Hall of Fame; in those games, Bryant was 85-42-6. He also coached against 11 of his former players and assistant coaches, with a record of 45-6. LSU’s longtime coach Charlie McClendon once ruefully exclaimed, “He taught me everything I know, but not everything he knows.”
The vast majority of college football historians have also overlooked the fact that Bryant is the only coach to have achieved greatness in both the era of limited substitution (or one-platoon football, as it was called, when all players had to spend some time on both offense and defense) and the era of unlimited substitution, the modern era of football when players specialized at just one position.
Bryant coached for 38 seasons, and his career breaks right down the middle between the eras of one-platoon and two-platoon ball. The difference was probably best summed up in a comment Bryant once made to me during an interview: “In the old days, you spent more time coaching football. Nowadays [with expanded staffs and larger rosters] you spend more time coaching the coaches.”
From 1945 t0 1963, his record was 141-49-13 for an excellent .727 win-loss percentage, while from 1964-1982 he was 182-36-4 for an awesome .829. No other football coach who had to make the adjustment from limited to unlimited substitution in the game even begins to compare.
However, Benny Marshall a longtime columnist for the Birmingham News, tapped into one of the most important, fascinating sets of parallel stories in sports history when he drew the comparison (if an overblown, rather unflattering one) between Bryant and Vince Lombardi—going so far as to refer to Lombardi as “a poor man’s Bear Bryant.”
Besides being born in the same year, Bryant’s and Lombardi’s lives shared an amazing number of similarities. Both men married young and stayed married to the same woman their entire lives. Both had two children, a son and a daughter, —and both sons were named after their fathers. Their football mentors—Jim Crowley at Fordham for Lombardi and Frank Thomas at Alabama for Bryant—learned the game under Knute Rockne at Notre Dame. Both won their first championship in 1961. They each developed close and lasting relationships with rebellious prodigies—Lombardi with Paul Hornung, Bryant with Joe Namath. And both, of course, were uncompromising taskmasters who stressed fundamentals and discipline.
They nearly played against each other when Alabama met Fordham at the Polo Grounds in New York in 1933; Lombardi was ineligible for Fordham’s varsity squad but was in the stands that day.
Lombardi’s impact on pro football has faded; he has no protégés or disciples still in the game. But The Bear’s influence still pervades every level of the game, from small colleges to the pros. Joe Namath, his most famous recruit, helped bring out about the merger of the American and National Football League. Ozzie Newsome, one of Bryant’s first black All-Americans, is currently general manager of the Baltimore Ravens. John Mitchell, the first black player to start for the Crimson Tide and Bryant’s first black assistant coach, is now in his 20th season as defensive line coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. And Sylvester Croom, who starred at center and later served as an assistant coach for Bryant, became the first black coach at a Southeastern Conference school, Mississippi State, in 2004, and is the new running backs coach for the Tennessee Titans.
Bryant’s domain, I would argue, was larger than Lombardi’s or any other pro football coach’s. For nearly four decades Bryant was the dominant figure in what the great sportswriter Dan Jenkins called in his book, Saturday’s America, “the world of small towns and college communities that, from Labor Day through New Year’s, gives unqualified devotion to college football, displaying the kind of unbridled enthusiasm that can only be faked or imitated in pro football stadiums.”
Courtesy: Allen Barra
Allen Barra writes about sports for the Wall Street Journal and TheAtlantic.com. His next book is Mickey and Willie–The Parallel Lives of Baseball’s Golden Age.
NEW ERA – THE 12th COWPOKE: Rowdy Dallas Cowboys fans create home field advantage at AT&T Stadium (Special Feature)
IRVING, Texas – A Dallas Cowboys team that forced takeaways, held onto an early lead and found its star tight end in the end zone looked almost like an impostor Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
It was another close finish in the opener against the New York Giants, but practically everything leading to the one-score game appeared different from years past. The Dallas Cowboys never trailed Sunday, marking the first time since Week 15 they were tied or led the entire way.
That would be Week 15 of the 2011 season.
The (Texas 2) defense caused turnovers and the Cowboys’ offense only committed one of their own. A Dallas defense that finished with just 16 takeaways last season notched three on its opponents’ first three possessions of the season and finished with six total.
That constant defensive pressure kept the crowd in it throughout. Fans at AT&T Stadium aren’t accustomed to getting an early lead and holding onto it, and they’re also not known for creating an electric atmosphere. That was far from the case Sunday night.
Cowboys towels spiraled and rotated through the wave of fans, most of whom were on their feet, particularly as the game wound down. It wasn’t a smattering of cheers. It was a real home field advantage.
“I just want to say that was as good as I’ve seen our home stadium,” said quarterback Tony Romo. “The crowd was exceptional. They were outstanding from the moment we started until the end of the football game. If they continue to do that, this is going to be a tough place to play. I was just really excited about the way they brought the energy and the noise level that that was throughout he football game. That was awesome to see.”
That’s what happens when the team holds onto a lead against a division opponent. The Cowboys trailed at some point in every game last season. In only took one game in 2013 to stop that trend.
It’s tricky for a team to break out when it’s trailing and needing to mount a comeback. That typically will lead to a .500 finish or worse. The Cowboys staged a 23-point comeback to make it a game and still lost to the Giants when they came to Arlington last year.
But the teams reversed roles entirely to start the 2013-2014 season Sunday.
It’s a much more comfortable position to be leading the whole way and holding on late than hoping for a miraculous finish. Eli Manning and the Giants found out Sunday what the Cowboys’ offense found out so often last season. The Cowboys weren’t used to being in that spot and allowed too many big plays Sunday to let the Giants back in, but past Cowboys teams would have relinquished that lead and folded. This one didn’t.
Few things remained the same as they had throughout the 8-8 seasons of the past. One area that did look similar was in the red zone, where problems were still apparent. The Cowboys can’t expect to go 50 percent when they get inside the 20 and expect to win consistently.
On the other side, though, they found a red zone target in Jason Witten they couldn’t find at all last year. That will make teams think twice about doubling Dez Bryant the way the Giants did throughout Sunday’s game.
It’s only one game, and as the Cowboys found out at the beginning of last year, things can change quickly without a repeat performance a week later. But any change from the status quo should be recognized, and it was applauded by a noticeably rowdy crowd at AT&T Stadium on Sunday night.
Regular readers already know that The Boys Are Back blog features the ALMOST WORLD FAMOUS predictions from The GREAT Robbini. Last season, the predictor disappeared for several weeks. While the exact age of The Great Robbini is unknown, it’s widely believed that he was experiencing some kind of midlife crisis.
It has been a very productive offseason. As promised, it became ‘uncomfortable’ for last years Dallas Cowboys. Jason Garrett delegated offensive play-calling duties to Callahan, new defensive coaches and scheme (the Texas 2 defense), more gameday planning from quarterback Tony Romo, and Cowboys Stadium has been renamed. Jerry Jones is younger, Stephen Jones has secret sauce, and Jay Ratliff isn’t playing (ooooh, that’s the same). The Great Robbini is geeked! He has tuned his crystal ball directly to the AT&T network! We expect that his apparatus is beaming signals loud and clear!
The GREAT Robbini is psyched about the 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys incoming vibe… and ready to share his prognostications that we all count on from week-to-week. Without further delay, it’s time for The GREAT Robbini’s predictions. I’m sure you’ll agree … a lot of these will come true. OK, here we go …
The GREAT Robbini’s – 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys week #1 predictions:
Cowboys roll over the Giants! Dallas Cowboys start it off right in newly named AT&T Stadium.
It seems that “in the Garrett era” that consistently, the top division rival has been the uhhhh …New Jersey Giants. Mostly for the way they’ve taken a W out of the past four Cowboys Stadium contests. Usually a close game leaving bitterness in the mouths of us all. This time around the ‘Boys take Eli & Co. out in an execution style massacre in Arlington.
Predictions for the Texas 2 Defense …
- 4 sacks on Eli Manning
Sean Lee forced fumble
JJ Wilcox INT
DeMarcus Ware 2 sacks
Victor Cruz Injured
Bruce Carter/Barry Church lead tackles
Predictions for the offense …
- Tony Romo 3 TDs
Dez Bryant 2 TDs
Gavin Escobar TD
DeMarco Murray TD
RB committee 130 yds. +
Dan Bailey 2 FGs
Miles Austin 60 yds.
Dez Bryant 100 yds.
Cole Beasley 30 yds.
Terrence Williams 30 yds.
Jason Witten 45 yds.
Gavin Escobar 25 yds.
Tony Romo sacked twice
The GREAT Robbini
Remember, you read it here! The Great Robbini predictions for week #1. Leave your final score or predictions in the comment section.
Texas Country chart-toppers and CMT superstars Whiskey Myers will perform a pregame concert at the East Plaza before kickoff.
WHAT: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
WHEN: Sunday, 7:30 p.m. (Dallas)
WHERE: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
It has been seven long weeks since the Dallas Cowboys first reported to training camp, but the regular season is finally here. The Cowboys open the 2013-2014 season on Sunday Night Football against the division-rival New York Giants, who they are 6-0 against on opening day.
Here are some things to look for as the Cowboys kick off their latest campaign:
Country music icon George Strait will be on hand Sunday night as an he joins the Dallas Cowboys as an honorary team captain for the game’s coin toss. This is Strait’s second trip to AT&T Stadium – he performed there in 2009 as the first event to be hosted at the venue.
Following the game, Strait is expected to hold a press conference regarding his 2014 The Cowboy Rides Away Tour.
New Bag Policy
Fans are reminded to remember the NFL’s new bag policy, which will be in effect Sunday night and at every Dallas Cowboys home game this season.
Only hand-held purses will be allowed into the stadium, along with clear plastic tote bags that do not exceed 12”x6”x12” inches.
Items such as backpacks, coolers, large purses, camera bags, diaper bags, fanny packs and seat cushions are not allowed into the stadium under the new NFL safety rules.
When To Get There?
AT&T Stadium opens at 5 p.m. (CDT)
Plaza opens at 4 p.m.
Parking lots at 3 p.m.
Party On the Plazas
More than just the Cowboys-Giants game on the field, there is plenty of entertainment for the fans before, during and after the game.
Rhythm & Blues Dance Team, Rhythm & Blues Drum Line and Rhythm & Blues Break Boys will each perform on both East & West plaza before the game.
The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders will split their squad and half and give performances in both the East and West Plazas at about 6:25 p.m.
Cowboys Cuties, a collection of local youth dance kids from the Dallas-Fort Worth area will perform in the West Plaza before kickoff.
In the Kids Zone, free games and activities such as a rock-climbing wall, mechanical bull, face painting, balloon animals, trampolines and Play 60 Games are featured.
East Plaza Food & Beverage discounts include: $5 Miller Lite until 5:30 p.m., $2 12 oz. bottled water and soda and discounted hot dogs, burgers and sausages.
This is the 103rd meeting between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. Dallas leads the series, 57-43-2, though New York has won three of the last four matchups.
The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (DCC) will do their normal routine approximately 20 minutes before kickoffs. Trumpeter Freddie Jones will perform the national anthem this week and at every Cowboys home game this year. Jones will be honoring longtime Texas Stadium trumpeter Tommy Lloyd.
At halftime, the TCU marching band will perform a rock and roll inspired set.
DCC Performance – 1 performance in the East Plaza around 5:45 PM
R&B Dance Team – 2 performances in the East Plaza and 1 performance in the west plaza
R&B Drum Line – 1 performance in the East and 1 performance in the West
R&B Break Boys – 1 performance in the East and 1 performance in the West
Cowboys Cuties – 4 performances in the West Plaza – a collection of local youth dance kids from the Dallas-Ft.Worth Metroplex
Kids Zone – mechanical bull, rock climbing wall, Play 60 games, face painting, balloon animals, trampoline
$5 Miller Lite on the plazas until 5:30 p.m.
Parking Lot Patrol – 50 members will be distributed in the parking lots greeting fans and starting rally chants, giving away small items to super fans.
Looking For 20 or more
All season long, Cowboys fans attending home games will be hoping for at least 20 points. This year, Papa John’s has partnered with the Cowboys for the ultimate fan promotion. Any game in which the Cowboys get at least 20 points, all fans in attendance will get 50 percent off their entire order the following day at papajohns.com with promo code COWBOYS20. Offer valid for regular-priced menu items and only at participating stores.
About The Game
A win against the New York Giants would give the Dallas Cowboys consecutive opening day victories since 2008-09.
Sunday is the first time since 2007 the Cowboys are opening their season at home, making this the first Week 1 opener at AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys are 15-7-1 all-time in season openers played at home.
Cowboys linebacker Kyle Bosworth was a member of the Giants a week ago. Bosworth was released by New York last weekend when NFL teams cut their rosters to 53 spots. The Cowboys claimed Bosworth off waivers just a day later to help with their special teams.
Dallas leads the NFL in appearances on Sunday Night Football with 46 – the Giants are second with 41. The Cowboys are 21-25 all-time in those appearances. No team has more wins than Dallas’ 21 – Green Bay is tied with the Cowboys for first.