Daily Archives: September 18th, 2011

EXCLUSIVE: The Great Robbini’s BOLD predictions for DAL@SF

Here are the BOLD predictions from Robert A Knight … A self-proclaimed Real Man of Genius (or whatever). He said his crystal ball was a little hazy last week … but, he’s cleaned it up nicely with some Windex. Let’s hope all of these come true!

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tony romo will have a great game in SF as he leads the cowboys to a solid win, all while breaking another team record. most consecutive games with a TD pass (20)

-tony romo will throw for 300yds + (345 yds with 2 TDs)

-romo will have 3 td passes (2)

miles austin and jason witten have a TD pass (Miles had 3, Witten none)

-miles austin goes 100yds+ (Miles has 9 catches for 143 yds, 3 TDs … excellent game)

-felix jones runs in a TD (no, not even close)

-felix jones 60yds rushing minimum (no, 9 carries for 25 yds … longest was 5 yds)

-demarco murray 35yds (6 carries for 21 yds)

-tashard choice 15yds (5 carries for 5 yds)

-no turnovers for the boys this week (3 fumbles, 1 recovered + 2 INTs)

-alex smith sacked 5x (six DAL sacks)

-demarcus ware 2 sacks (2 sacks)

-sean lee tackle leader (ILBs usually lead in tackles … Lee had 8 – 2 assists, good game)

-defense will force at least 1 turnover (Ball intercepted ASmith)

-SF will punt 9x (6 punts)

no special teams TDs for SF (Ginn limited to 4 returns for 45 yds)

there you have it. lets watch the boys light it up in the bay!

RECAP: Pretty good … about 50% this week on the predictions. DAL had a tough day running the ball. I honestly expected the trio to produce more yards. Robbie’s RB numbers were pretty average for a typical NFL team, yet DAL was not able to get the running game going. I thought we’d hit those RB numbers. Moving on … Romo started off terrible, but bounced back … leading the team to an overtime win with a fractured rib. Gotta love that kind of effort, especially after the first half numbers. The inexperienced OL really showed at times today. They didn’t open many running lanes and allowed way too much pressure to be placed on both DAL QB’s. Hopefully, they’ll turn the corner soon. They did hold back SF enough to allow for nearly 450 yards of passing between Romo and Kitna. They deserve some credit for that, but also think about the SF secondary weakness. The RB predictions will be easier once the OL gets on the same page. Let’s hope it’s sooner, rather than later.

Dallas Cowboys, 49ers face off again in storied rivalry

Cowboys helmet

Credit: WFAA

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JANIE McCAULEY – WFAA Dallas/Ft. Worth

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) —  Jason Garrett and Jim Harbaugh were NFL quarterbacks during some of the best days in the storied Dallas-San Francisco rivalry. Garrett witnessed it firsthand with the Cowboys, Harbaugh watched from afar.

The glory days of Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, and Roger Craig … Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith.

Epic NFC title matchups for a shot at the Super Bowl.

Now, Garrett and Harbaugh are two young coaches trying to make their own marks. Their teams face off Sunday at Candlestick Park in different positions: Harbaugh’s 49ers riding high after a commanding 33-17 win against division rival Seattle, and Garrett and his Cowboys trying to bounce back after blowing a late 14-point lead in a 27-24 loss to the Jets.

Back in the day, everybody enjoyed beating “America’s Team.”

“I  thought those were unbelievable games to be a part of,” Garrett said.  “Clearly one of the best rivalries of that generation, maybe any generation. Both those teams were so good during the 90s and it was also fun getting a chance to play against those guys. They had a team littered with Hall of Famers, as did we. Each of those teams won Super Bowls. You’re really getting the best of the best. I think each of the sides really enjoyed the competition playing against each other. The games were always great.”

Garrett played on three Super Bowl winners and won six division titles with Dallas. The Cowboys made him interim head coach midway through 2010 to take over a group that began 1-7 but bounced back to go 5-3 the rest of the way.

Garrett has reached out to fellow Dallas alums to help build the Cowboys back up, while Harbaugh had already established a solid Bay Area fan base after turning around the Stanford program right up the freeway from his current office.

He has his work cut out for him turning around this once-proud franchise.

These teams have faced off in the NFC championship game six times, with the winner going on to capture a Super Bowl title in five of those.

“Remember two great football teams going at it,” Harbaugh said. “It seemed like yearly, like the way the Cowboys and the Dolphins used to go at it and the Steelers and the Packers, those two teams were ones that were meeting at the end of the year to  decide who was going to the Super Bowl.”

They met in three straight NFC title games from 1992-94, with Dallas beating the Niners on the way to back-to-back Super Bowl wins in 1992 and ’93 — then San  Francisco returned the favor in ’94 en route to the title. The Cowboys won it all again in 1995, getting through Green Bay that year.

Of the Cowboys’ 14 NFC championship games, the six meetings with the Niners are their most against any opponent. Dallas is 4-2 in those games.

Perhaps the most memorable Cowboys-49ers matchup came in the 1981 NFC championship game. The Niners trailed 27-21 with less than 5 minutes to play and Montana drove his team 89 yards for the go-ahead score — a high pass to the back of the end zone on third down that Dwight Clark leapt to retrieve in his fingertips for a touchdown with 51 seconds left.

“The Catch” as it so famously became known. It’s considered among the greatest moments in NFL history.

“I obviously came out after the stuff in the old days but I know I love reading about the game and hearing about the history,” Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said. “I know all about the great games in the 80s and 90s. Hopefully we’ll be able to resurrect that one day.”

Sunday’s game hardly can compete with some of the history-making performances of the past. But players on each side still appreciate this longtime rivalry and the history behind it.

Quarterback Alex Smith and San Francisco’s offense likely will have to do a lot more this time. The 49ers beat the defending NFC West champion Seahawks in Week 1 getting Smith’s short touchdown run, four field goals by David Akers and two long kick returns by Ted Ginn Jr. — a 102-yard kickoff return for a TD and then a 55-yard punt return for a score.

“I feel like it’s a Monday night game. We get to play the Dallas Cowboys. Everybody loves the Dallas Cowboys,” 49ers tight end Vernon Davis said. “It’s going to be a good one.”

Romo  is ready to make things right for his team after last week’s collapse.  He arrived home Monday morning at 5:15 a.m., then was back at work by 10 a.m. preparing for the 49ers.

Romo went 23 of 36 for 342 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 but lost a crucial fumble that aided New York’s comeback.

“I  have to come out and play my best game this week and make sure that what happened last week doesn’t happen again, and I’ll do that,” he said.

The Cowboys will stand for nothing less than getting back on track with a key road win — an 0-2 start wouldn’t be acceptable. The 49ers haven’t been to the playoffs or had a winning record since 2002.

Dallas, meanwhile, hasn’t dropped its first two games in consecutive seasons since 2000-01.

“I’m pretty sure they’ll be pretty mad,” 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald said. “I only saw highlights of it. Dallas is a good team and they’re going to come here ready to fight.”

HOMERS: 49ers seek what Dallas Cowboys have: definite answers at quarterback and stadium

The Dallas Cowboys have a state-of-the-art stadium and a franchise-defining quarterback. The 49ers’ search party is still out on those fronts.

“It’s a lot easier to get a new stadium than to get a franchise quarterback,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a phone interview Friday.

The Cowboys will return Sunday to the 49ers’ seaside shack known as Candlestick Park, site of many epic battles between both franchises.

A common hope among frustrated 49ers fans: success is a lock once the franchise’s stadium and quarterback quandaries are solved.

It has yet to work out that way for the Cowboys.

They opened their $1.2 billion stadium in 2009, but they were nowhere in sight when the Super Bowl and an ice storm invaded Arlington in February. In the wake of Sunday’s 27-24, season-opening loss to the New York Jets, Jones had to defend quarterback Tony Romo’s worth after the Cowboys blew a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead.

The 49ers, meanwhile, are some 15 years into their search for a new stadium. As for the quarterback hunt, Alex Smith is a contractual lame-duck once again, and he started off this campaign with a 33-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

The stadium-quarterback riddle casts a huge shadow. Jones’ Cowboys have moved past that.

“Both are challenges that are at the top of any list I’ve had in my life,” said Jones, who also is the Cowboys’ president and general manager. “We’re really proud of our Cowboys Stadium, and we got it built in probably the hardest economic times anyone on this planet has ever seen.”

Some might argue that Romo is not the savior to the Cowboys’ quarterback situation. But Jones is financially and strategically committed to him.

“For the last several years, we knew we had a quarterback who could evolve and had the talent who could get us where we want to go,” Jones said. “We went a lot of years when we didn’t have that.”

Like the 49ers’ plight after Steve Young, the Cowboys have struggled following the retirement of a Hall of Fame quarterback. Troy Aikman, Jones’ first draft pick in 1989, led Dallas to Super Bowl wins in the 1992, ’93 and ’95 seasons. Interrupting that Super Bowl run was a NFC Championship Game loss at Candlestick on Jan. 15, 1995.

“I’ve cried about three ballgames in my 22 years, and that was one of them,”Jones said of that 38-28 defeat to the eventual Super Bowl-champion 49ers.

Jones is not adverse to traveling this way. His daughter Charlotte attended Stanford. He’s done oil and gas business in Sacramento. And he’s had fonder moments at Candlestick, such as a 1993 NFC Championship Game victory that propelled the Cowboys to their first Super Bowl title under Jones.

Jones was generous in his flattery for 49ers owner John York and his son, Jed, the 49ers’ chief executive officer and president.

“Of course I’m good friends with John York, and I have all the respect in the world not only for the family but their ability to manage,” Jones said. “Jed is the absolute future of the NFL.”

Jed York, who turned 30 in March, began working in the 49ers’ front office in 2005 and took over as president on Dec. 28, 2008.

“(Jed) is just extremely informed and very committed,” Jones added. “He’s hands-on management and I believe in that. When you can do that, I think it’s great. … Looking at his age from my vantage point, there’s great stability with him.”

Jed York is spearheading a drive to open a $987 million stadium in 2015. The project is not as gaudy or pricey as Jones’, but its realization would boost the 49ers’ coffers.

Forbes magazine’s annual NFL rankings peg the 49ers’ worth at $990 million, the 17th best among the NFL’s 32 franchises.

The Cowboys rank as Forbes’ most valuable NFL team for the fifth straight year, worth $1.85 billion.

Money, stadiums or quarterbacks can’t necessarily buy postseason bliss. The 49ers and Cowboys have only one playoff win apiece since 1999. A regular-season win Sunday will boost one team’s image.

Said Jones: “It’s going to be a real battle.”

That certainly has been the case in the 49ers’ stadium and quarterback projects.

SOURCE: Cam Inman of the Oakland Tribune – Bay Area News Group

OL Derrick Dockery getting first-team reps

IRVING — The Cowboys had three starters along the offensive line listed on the injury report on Wednesday: Tackle Tyron Smith (knee), guard Bill Nagy (neck) and center Phil Costa (knee).

Smith and Costa were full participants in practice but Nagy’s injury is new and it’s possible his health forced the Cowboys to give Derrick Dockery some first-team reps. The Cowboys have been positive when talking about Nagy’s efforts in the Week 1 loss to the New York Jets, but Dockery has started 111 games at guard in his career and having an experienced player at that spot could help the offensive line.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for me. I want to take full advantage of it,” Dockery said. “We’re playing a talented tough team in San Francisco, so it’s going to be a very tough matchup first game. I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”

Dockery was signed Sept. 5 and he’s still learning the Cowboys’ offensive scheme. The last two seasons in Washington, Dockery played in Denver’s one-cut zone blocking scheme whereas in Dallas he plays in a traditional zone scheme.

“It’s coming along,” Dockery said of learning the scheme. “I’m in my playbook every day, every night. It’s coming to me pretty easily. I’ve been in a similar offense before, so the terminology is the same. Little wrinkles here and there. I’m just right now talking to Tony [Romo], [Doug] Free, [Kyle Kosier] and seeing as far as the snap count some of the little details that might help me while I’m out there playing.”

Offensive line coach Hudson Houck said he’s not sure if Dockery will start on Sunday.

It doesn’t appear the Cowboys want a rotation with their linemen because communication is important and they don’t want to mix and match players during a game.

“You want to have guys who can communicate together,” Houck said. “Communication sometimes on the right side is different than communication on the left side. You need guys in there who can work together in any environment, whether in an office environment, whether in a family environment, communication is pretty important.”

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