Daily Archives: September 7th, 2011

Predictions: Who wins each division?

AFC

East North South West
Buffalo Baltimore Houston Denver
Miami Cincinnati Indianapolis Kansas City
New England Cleveland Jacksonville Oakland
N.Y. Jets Pittsburgh Tennessee San Diego

NFC

East North South West
Dallas Chicago Atlanta Arizona
N.Y. Giants Detroit Carolina St. Louis
Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans San Francisco
Washington Minnesota Tampa Bay Seattle








Mike Jenkins, Tyron Smith injuries could keep them out 2-4 weeks

IRVING, Texas — Dallas Cowboys starting cornerback Mike Jenkins and starting right tackle Tyron Smith both suffered knee injuries and will undergo MRIs, the team said.

Smith, the team’s first-round pick who was projected to start, suffered a hyperextended knee, a source told ESPNDallas.com. The injury normally takes 2-4 weeks to recover from.

Jenkins’ status for the opener Sunday is uncertain. He missed the entire preseason with an injured neck, suffered during training camp.

If Smith can’t play then Jermey Parnell would start. The Cowboys do not have another true tackle on the 53-man roster.

“We certainly are content with Parnell as our backup tackle at this particular juncture,” owner Jerry Jones said Wednesday.  “Hope we don’t have to see him very early, but still, we’re comfortable there.”

Smith is one of two rookies the Cowboys were preparing to start on the line. Seventh rounder Bill Nagy is the starter at left guard. Center Phil Costa returned to practice after missing two weeks with a sprained knee.

 

Jones also said Terence Newman, who is nursing an injured groin, likely would not play in the season opener against the New York Jets, which sources had told ESPNDallas.com on Tuesday.

“I thought he’d be ready by now,” said Jones, who added there’s a chance the team might start the season with three cornerbacks. “He’s a guy that has to have it just right and we need to get it just right. We’re not considering him available for the Jets.

“We’ve got (Alan) Ball, who we feel real good about out there, who can go with (Orlando) Scandrick.”

Cowboys brace for emotional night – Dallas honored to be part of 9-11 tribute

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was a backup quarterback for the New York Giants during the 2001 season. He recalls flying into Newark, N.J., on Sept. 11, hearing the endless wail of sirens from his Manhattan apartment, and witnessing the city’s response. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images / Getty Images North America

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was a backup quarterback for the New York Giants  during the 2001 season. He recalls flying into Newark, N.J., on Sept. 11,  hearing the endless wail of sirens from his Manhattan apartment, and witnessing  the city’s response. Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

IRVING — The Dallas  Cowboys have played in plenty of high-profile season openers, but nothing in their history will compare to Sunday’s game against the New  York Jets.

A prime-time affair that should generate sky-high ratings, it will be played  against the emotional backdrop of the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks. The site of the game is MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., just a few miles from Ground Zero.

Anything that happens on the field will take a back seat to the pregame commemorative ceremonies, as well as the ones at halftime.

“I don’t want to get too philosophical here,” Cowboys coach Jason  Garrett said. “I think everyone is optimistic about the start of the season. But certainly all across the world, in our country and up in that region of the country, it’ll be a very emotional time.”

That will be especially true when bagpipers from the Fire Department of New York, the New York Police Department and the Port Authority Police Department perform “Amazing Grace” shortly before the 7:20  p.m. kickoff.

Shortly thereafter, a full-field American flag will be unfurled and held alongside the teams by members of the U.S. military, FDNY, NYPD, and PAPD.

The scene is sure to produce an emotional response from Dallas defensive  coordinator Rob Ryan, who remembers the anger he felt upon learning terrorists had crashed jetliners into the World Trade Center towers.

“Like every red-blooded American, I wanted to punch (Osama  bin Laden) in the face, and we eventually did,” Ryan said.

Ten years ago, Ryan was an assistant with New England. On Sept. 11, he was  helping prepare a game plan when a stunned fellow assistant said, “Oh, my God. Look at this.”

“From then on,” Ryan said, “there wasn’t a whole lot of preparing done.”

Ryan remembered how his thoughts quickly turned to his cousin, an FDNY fire marshal in the Bronx named Matthew  Russo. Despite holding a desk job, Russo volunteered for about 300 hours to search for victims at Ground Zero, according to the New York Post.

“He lost a lot of good friends, as did everybody probably,” Ryan said. “Everybody lost somebody, at least that’s just the way it seems in one of the most horribly coward acts.”

Garrett was a backup quarterback with the Giants. He recalled they played in Denver the night before and returned to Newark  International Airport around 4:30 the morning of 9-11.

A few hours later, United 93 left from the same airport with terrorists on board who crashed the plane into a Pennsylvania field after passengers rushed the cockpit.

Garrett left the airport listening to sports radio chatter about Michael  Jordan’s expected NBA comeback. He returned to his apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side to try to get some sleep alongside his wife, Brill, but the fire trucks racing by their window kept him awake.

“There were sirens, and you put the pillow over your head, and you wake up and say, ‘What the heck is happening?’” he said.

Then the phone rang. It was former Cowboys tight end Eric Bjornson calling from California.

“He said, ‘Are you guys all right?’” Garrett said. “We said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘Turn the TV on.’”

That’s how Garrett learned of the attacks on the World Trade Center, a mere 5 miles from his apartment.

“It was a day like none other for anybody in our country,” Garrett said. “And for us, being there close to it, it was an emotional day, and one I will never forget.”

Cornerback Mike  Jenkins remembers a high school teacher turning on the TV. Rookie Tyron Smith, who was 10 at the time, remembers being sent home from school.

Tony Romo, then a junior at Eastern Illinois, learned of the attacks when he turned on his TV after waking up.

“At first, it was, ‘Wow, something happened,’” Romo said. “Then it kept getting bigger and bigger.”

The weekend after the attacks, Garrett and other Giants were at Ground Zero distributing water and greeting rescue workers. He remembers the Yankees’ World Series run served as a welcome distraction.

“We went to a number of games, and the great Bob Sheppard would introduce the bald eagle Challenger coming from center  field,” Garrett said. “It would come in, and they’d do Kate Smith’s ‘God Bless America,’ and there would be the Harlem Boys Choir and the Irish tenor Ronan Tynan singing.

“I just can’t describe to you how emotional that whole thing was for so many people.”

Many of those same emotions will surface again Sunday.

“It’s a big, significant event in our country’s history that goes well beyond football,” Garrett said. “We’re excited to be a part of this night.”

Cowboys safety George Teague takes the field Sept. 23, 2001, after the NFL postponed play for a week. Photo: Paul Buck/AFP/Getty Images / AFP

Cowboys safety George Teague takes the field Sept. 23, 2001, after the NFL  postponed play for a week. Photo: Paul Buck/AFP/Getty Images

KRLD-FM highlights: Jerry Jones

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones joined KRLD-FM 105.3 on Tuesday. Here are some highlights.

How concerned are you with the kicking situation?

Jerry Jones: Well I really feel like that Buehler is quite a weapon for us. He can and will, with that strong leg (that was the reason we drafted him), put that ball in and through the end zone on kickoffs. That’s a big deal. That will give us field position. You start them on the 20 every time and that’s a tremendous advantage. From the standpoint of field goals, it was kind of a flip of the coin for us as we looked at last year. He made some significant field goals for us and missed some field goals.  I think we’ll be OK; we’ve had good competition. Dan Bailey has passed the test. He’s been out there day in and day out. He was an outstanding kicker at Oklahoma State. I think that gives us a real good kicker. I certainly feel comfortable going with him.

What are  your key matchups against the Jets in the opener?

Jerry Jones: I think you want to see Felix Jones  playing well. Certainly, we’d like to see our key guys, Miles Austin, Jason Witten, Dez, Felix. Those are the guys on offense you want to have big games over on offense. Over on defense, I think it is important that we mix it up, get some pressure on these guys. They’re a good team, no doubt about it. We’ve got our hands full.

What are the Jerry Jones superstitions, Game 1?

Jerry Jones: Over the years, I’ve worn those outfits out, worn every combination you can see. I have some cufflinks I had given my father, almost 40 years ago, 45 years ago. When he passed, my mother gave them back to me. I always have those cufflinks, at least one of them, with me whether I’m wearing french cufffs or not. That’s a staple for me.

Opening game … Sunday night … 9-11, Jerry, with everything surrounding this … do you feel extra pressure with the stage you’re on?

Jerry Jones: No pressure, but certainly a reverence. It’s surreal, still, for me. It really is an honor. If  you’re gonna play in New York, which is not a place I recommend having your opening game. If you’re gonna do it, do it around the recognition of what 9-11 meant to our country. If you’re going to be on the road, against a good team, I think that’s the way to do it.

9-11, what were you doing and what do you specifically remember?

Jerry Jones: Well, I was in Dallas. Like millions, was made aware of the tragedy early. I was watching television and sharing the horror of what transpired there. It never occurred to me that I’d never get to see those twin towers. As much of my life as I’ve spent in and out of New York. It’s a real ache, especially since them not being there meant the loss of thousands of lives.

LAME: Group plans to protest before Cowboys game in New York

The Westboro Baptist Church plans to picket Sunday night’s game between the Cowboys and the New York Jets.

The anti-gay religious group, which is famous for picketing military funerals, said in a press release that “the entertainment industry is a microcosm of the people of this doomed nation: hard-hearted, Hell-bound, and hedonistic to the max. … You have no proper thoughts of the God that created you, but we’ll be there to make sure you don’t forget when we haul your rebellious carcasses into the New Meadowlands Stadium to watch God-hating fools do their shtick (sic).”

Apparently the NFL is a type of entertainment that the group does not approve of.

The Jersey Journal obtained the press release and reported the story on Wednesday.

TBAB COMMENT: Yes, this is lame. It’s a FYI thing … in case it’s mentioned before the game

WTF: Fiammetta Released; Robinson Signed

Fullback Tony Fiammetta’s stint with the Cowboys was a short one. The Cowboys waived the third-year pro on Wednesday to make room for fifth-year wide receiver Laurent Robinson on the 53-man roster.

Robinson becomes the sixth receiver on the squad and the fact the Cowboys decided to sign him this week, which guarantees his roster for the entire season, it signals he could be active for Sunday’s game with the Jets.

Robinson, who worked out with the Cowboys on Tuesday, has played two years with the Falcons and the last two with the Rams, but was released after the preseason by the Chargers. The Cowboys got a close look at Robinson for three days when San Diego practiced against the Cowboys twice and then played them in the preseason on Aug. 20.

As for Fiammetta, the Cowboys might end up re-signing him down the road, seeing as they will enter Sunday’s game with the Jets without a fullback.

Related: Cowboys add WR Laurent Robinson

The Cowboys continue to massage their 53-man roster leading up to Sunday’s opener.

Wide receiver Laurent Robinson signed with the club this morning. The club created a spot for him with the release of fullback Tony Fiammetta, who spent a grand total of two days at Valley Ranch.

Robinson gives the Cowboys six receivers on the active roster and immediately jumps to second in terms of experience, behind only Miles Austin. This is Robinson’s fifth season in the league _ two with Atlanta and the last two with St. Louis. He has caught 89 passes for 1,000 yards and four touchdowns in his career.

INJURY UPDATE: Austin, Spears & Costa Back, But Not Newman

The Cowboys were back to work at Valley Ranch on Wednesday, their midday practice featuring the return of several players who had been dealing with injuries, and at least one notable absence.

Cornerback Terence Newman (groin) continued to sit out. Jason Garrett said he would have to practice to play, which leaves only two opportunities before the final injury report of the week is released on Friday. Also out was tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle).

Returning to practice were several guys who sat out considerable portions of the preseason as well as Monday’s bonus session in preparation for New York.

Defensive end Marcus Spears worked back into the mix coming off a groin injury, and new starting center Phil Costa was suited out as well. Receiver Miles Austin (hamstring), who had dressed for Monday’s workout but did not participate in all the drills, was back on the field Wednesday, as was linebacker Bradie James (foot), who spent at least part of Monday performing a rehab assignment with athletic trainers.

The Cowboys will release their first injury report detailing player participation in Wednesday’s practice later in the day.

RELATED: Jenkins injured in practice

IRVING — The Cowboys could go into the regular-season opener Sunday night at the New York Jets without starting cornerbacks Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins available. Jason Garrett confirmed Jenkins has a knee injury and will have an MRI today. Jerry Jones also said that Newman, who is out with a pulled groin, won’t play Sunday against the Jets.

Jason Garrett added that starting rookie RT Tyron Smith injured his knee in practice and will have an MRI today.

If Jenkins doesn’t play, that’ll leave the Cowboys starting Orlando Scandrick and Alan Ball at cornerback with Bryan McCann also available. Jones said the Cowboys could make a roster move soon if Jenkins is ruled out for the opener, likely bringing up cornerback Mario Butler from the practice squad.

Jones said he’s not sure when Newman will be ready to return.

“That’s hard to tell,” Jones said. “I thought he’d be ready by now. He’s a guy who has to have it just right and we want him to be just right.”

Jones also said that tight end Martellus Bennett, out with a high ankle sprain, is doing better today. Jones said the Cowboys aren’t sure yet if Bennett will be able to play against the Jets.

Should ‘Boys Be Nervous About Young O-Line?

IRVING, Texas — Let the gamesmanship amongst the Ryan brothers begin.

When asked via conference call about the Cowboys’ reworked offensive line with three first-year starters, Jets head coach Rex Ryan delivered this jab: “Against our defense, I’d be nervous.”

Maybe “nervous” isn’t the right word. “Guarded” might be better. The Cowboys’ young linemen (second-year center Phil Costa and rookies Tyron Smith and Bill Nagy) performed well in preseason, but now they’re facing a pressure-packed Jets defense. Since 2009, opposing passers have completed an NFL low 51.2% of their passes against the Jets and sacked 72 times, tied for 12th-most over the span.

Rex Ryan said he expects a shorter passing game to counteract the Jets’ rush. And there’s no question the line of scrimmage will be critical to the Cowboys’ success.

ILB Depth: Possible move coming

IRVING, Texas — The Cowboys went light with only three healthy inside linebackers on the 53-man roster: Bradie James, Keith Brooking and Sean Lee. But the team could be adding another soon.

Owner/GM Jerry Jones said rookie outside linebacker Alex Albright has taken inside reps in practice. They also could sign an inside linebacker from the practice squad by the weekend, which would require another roster cut.

Isaiah Greenhouse, who moved to fullback in preseason, appears to be a likely option. Rookie Orie Lemon is also on the practice squad.

Second-round draft pick Bruce Carter is starting the season on the Non-Football Injury list while he continues rehabbing last December’s torn ACL.

INJURY UPDATE: Tyron Smith Injures Knee

IRVING, Texas — Rookie offensive tackle Tyron Smith left Wednesday’s practice with a knee injury and will undergo an MRI, head coach Jason Garrett said.

Smith has been penciled in as the starting right tackle. The Cowboys have one backup tackle, Jermey Parnell, and he’s still developing after playing only one year of college football as a defensive lineman.

Team owner/GM Jerry Jones said they’re comfortable with Parnell as the swing tackle, but it wouldn’t be ideal to play him this early in the season. Former 2010 draft pick Sam Young was released and claimed by Buffalo.

Rex has confidence in brother Rob, Jason Garrett

IRVING — When the Cowboys hired Rob Ryan to become the defensive coordinator this spring the biggest issue was how would his personality go with head coach Jason Garrett.

Garrett, Ivy league bred, is a steady and firm influence, who believes in consistency, he wears the same colors to practice every day.

Rob Ryan has long gray hair with a goatee, who is from Southwestern Oklahoma State, and isn’t guarded with his comments about anything.

Rex Ryan, the twin brother of Rob, who coaches the New York Jets doesn’t think the two would have any issues.

“It’s going to work,” Rex Ryan said on a conference call with reporters on Wednesday morning. “Jason wants to win. I remember when he came to interview for the Ravens job I met him. He is an impressive guy, obviously had that job offered to him and the Falcons job offered to him, the two jobs I was going for.”

When Rob Ryan called the Eagles the “all-hype” team during training camp, it did create a stir and it prompted the defensive coordinator to avoid speaking about the issue after the stories came out. Garrett downplayed Ryan’s comments and if he was upset he handled it in private.

AUDIO: Ben & Skin – listen to Emmitt Smith

Ben & Skin: Emmitt Smith

NFL all-time leading rusher and ESPN Dallas Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith joins the Ben and Skin Show to discuss the Cowboys-Jets matchup in Week 1.

Click on the button above to listen

LOOKING BACK: The reshaping of America’s Team

2/25/1989 – New owner fires Tom Landry

Landry_page_medium

In his first day as the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, billionaire oilman Jerry  Jones announced that he had fired head coach Tom Landry. University of Miami  coach Jimmy Johnson, who played with Jones at Arkansas, was announced as his replacement.

The sacking of a legend like Landry was giant news throughout the state of Texas. He had been the Cowboys’ coach for 29 years, their only coach in franchise history. With him at the helm, the Cowboys won two Super Bowls, 13 division championships, and posted a winning record in twenty consecutive seasons. Landry, with his trademark fedora and suit, was a driving force behind Texas’ fanaticism with professional football.

As the 80’s dragged on, Landry’s position with the team seemed to be in doubt. After making the postseason in 1985, the Cowboys posted three consecutive losing seasons, including a 3-13 disaster in 1988. Some wondered if Landry was losing his touch. With the team’s owner, H.R. (Bum) Bright, set to sell the team, the Landry era appeared to be at an end.

”I’ll step down when I feel like I’m ready, when I can’t do the job I want to do,” Landry said in November 1988. ”It could be any time, or it could be a while.”

Less than two weeks before Bright sold the team, Landry fired the team’s defensive and pass coordinators and showed no signs of relenting control. “I have no intention of retiring unless it is forced upon me,” he said.

Star-divide

Jerry Jones then bought the Dallas Cowboys for $140 million, the first time a sports team surpassed the $100 million plateau. He told Landry face-to-face that he had been replaced, but by immediately announcing Johnson as the coach within minutes of his opening press conference, Jones drew the ire of many die-hard Cowboys fans. Jones later admitted that Landry’s departure could have been done more gracefully.

“I’ve never been one to get that upset, because I accept people as they are,” said Landry, who gave a tearful goodbye to the Dallas players a few days later. ”Sure, the firing could have been handled better, but I won’t get upset over it. I wouldn’t think I would coach again, because it would just be hard, not being in the Cowboys’ blue.”

It didn’t take long for Jones to establish himself as a hands-on owner. He quickly fired general manager Tex Schramm, drafted UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman with the No. 1 pick, and traded star running back Herschel Walker to the Vikings for five players and six draft picks. Aikman was horrendous in his rookie season, losing all eleven games he started while throwing twice as many
interceptions as touchdowns. The Cowboys finished 1-15 in 1989, a new low for “America’s Team.”

Following Dallas’ one-win season, Jerry Jones was absolutely despised by Cowboys fans. It was bad enough that an Arkansan had bought the team and replaced Tom Landry with Jimmy Johnson, but now Jones appeared to be driving the team into oblivion. Herschel Walker was considered one of the greatest college running backs of all time; simply giving up on him was not a popular decision in Big D.

As time passed, Jones’ moves gradually became acceptable as the team started to win. Dallas went 7-9 in 1990, 11-5 in ’91, and 13-3 in 1992. Troy Aikman went from being a linebacker’s punching bag to a six-time Pro Bowler and a first-ballot Hall of Famer. While Walker was productive with the Vikings and later with the Eagles, he failed to live up to his massive expectations. Two of the draft picks Dallas got from the Walker trade turned out to be Darren Woodson, who became a five-time Pro Bowl safety, and Emmitt Smith, who utterly surpassed Walker by becoming the NFL’s all-time leading rusher and setting the single-season touchdown record.

At Super Bowl XXVII, the Cowboys destroyed the Buffalo Bills 52-17 (only four years after Jones took over). The Cowboys went on to win three Super Bowls in four years and reestablished themselves as the face of the NFL. Jerry Jones, whose decisions created one of the greatest NFL teams of all time, was completely vindicated in his firing of Tom Landry. At the same time, the trade that brought in Emmitt Smith and Darren Woodson, once thought to be a horrendous decision by Jones, is now considered one of the most lopsided trades ever — in favor of the Cowboys.

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