Jerry Jones: We Flipped A Coin
On Sunday, the Cowboys snapped a streak that went back even longer than the Patriots’ run of 13 straight games scoring 30 points or more.
But just like they were the ones limiting New England’s firepower, the Cowboys were themselves responsible for inflicting the damage to break this run of their own.
It had been 15 outings since the Cowboys last recorded double-digit penalties in a game, dating back to their 11-flag day at Minnesota last year. The Cowboys’ third game with at least 10 penalties in 2010, it forced the club to enlist local officials to monitor practices and point out fouls to help the team avoid them in games.
With 10 penalties a season-high 77 yards at Gillette Stadium, though, it’s apparent this week’s lessons didn’t travel with the team.
New England, by comparison, was penalized five times for 35 yards.
Anthony Spencer had three flags of his own, one for roughing the passer, one for running into the kicker, and another for being the 12th man on the field, when he couldn’t get to the sideline prior to the Patriots snapping the ball.
Offensively, the Cowboys were called for holding three times in the first quarter, and once more in the fourth, and twice were flagged for false start, one of which being the most costly penalty of the game.
In a third-and-13 situation, with 2:47 to play in the fourth, rookie tackle Tyron Smith moved before the snap, eliminating any possibility that the Cowboys would throw a pass to try to move the chains. They ran a draw, punted the ball back to New England, and Tom Brady drove for the game-winning touchdown.
“They stopped a few drives,” Tony Romo said. “I think it’s disappointing when you look back just because we hurt ourselves in a lot of different situations, and we had some opportunities that got called back, and when you’re behind the chains on the road, it’s a tough spot to be in and we had too many today.”
RELATED POST on THE BOYS ARE BACK: Click HERE to review the performance stats
The Dallas Cowboys play the St. Louis Rams in Arlington on Sunday. The Texas Rangers play the St. Louis Cardinals in Arlington on Sunday.
The result? One heck of a lot of cars in Arlington on Sunday.
It could mean a mad scramble for parking spaces, as baseball fans arriving for Game 4 of the World Series discover that Cowboys fans have yet to clear out of lots near Cowboys Stadium and Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
ST. LOUIS — Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (nicknamed Sammy the Rammy on The Boys Are Back blog) has a high left ankle sprain and is in a walking boot, leaving his status for this week’s game at Dallas in question.
Coach Steve Spagnuolo said Bradford had a noticeable limp when he reported for a team meeting Monday afternoon.
Backup A.J. Feeley likely will take the majority of the snaps with the first team when the winless Rams return to practice on Wednesday.
Bradford has been sacked 21 times the first five games.
Offensive tackle Rodger Saffold (ankle) and running back Cadillac Williams (thigh) were scheduled to undergo MRI exams.
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on Jerry Jones’ Monday Morning Quarterbacking: ‘He’s very emotional about the game’
IRVING — As the offensive playcaller for the most high-profile team in the NFL, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett knows he will be blamed when his best-laid plans go astray.
He is an easy target for Monday Morning Quarterbacks, a vocal group that includes the man who signs Garrett’s paychecks. On Sunday, after the Cowboys lost 20-16 to New England, team owner Jerry Jones second-guessed why Garrett elected to take a conservative approach and run the ball on three consecutive plays during a possession that preceded the Patriots’ game-winning touchdown drive.
Garrett seemed unfazed by Jones’ comments, saying they’re to be expected from an owner who regularly speaks his mind and is involved in the team’s football operations.
“Well, anybody who’s ever had the good fortune to work for Jerry Jones understands that he wants to win,” Garrett said. “He’s very passionate about it. And I’ve had that experience as a player, as an assistant coach and now as a head coach. Like I said anybody who’s been around him understands how much he cares about winning. That’s one of the things we love about working for this
organization. He’s very passionate about the game and he’s very emotional about the game.”
After the game, head coach and owner had a “good conversation,” as Garrett described it.
“When you lose a ballgame like that,” Garrett added, “sometimes things are said and you’ve just gotta kind of understand what the environment is, process it and move on.”
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Tim Tebow has lost his top target even before making his first start of the season.
The Denver Broncos traded Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Lloyd, the league’s leading receiver last year, to the St. Louis Rams on Monday for a conditional 2012 draft pick.
The move comes a week after Tebow supplanted Kyle Orton at quarterback and six days before Tebow’s first start at Miami.
While the trade provides opportunities for young receivers Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Matt Willis, it also opens the organization to increased scrutiny in the midst of its 1-4 start.
“We think it’s a position of strength,” Broncos coach John Fox said of his receiving corps. “We’ve got some guys coming back — Demaryius Thomas, Eddie Royal — and (we like) the emergence of Eric Decker.”
Lloyd said the trade was a mutual effort. He said he wanted to be a featured receiver in a more pass-oriented offense and thought his departure was best not just for his own career but for those of the receivers he left behind.
And Lloyd stressed his desire to leave Denver was unrelated to the Broncos’ quarterback switch last week.
“This had nothing to do with Tim,” Lloyd told 104.3 The Fan radio station in Denver. “I’m like everybody else, I find it hard not to like the kid and I have a lot of respect for him and a lot of respect for what he wants to accomplish in his career.
Coach Mike Shanahan indicated Monday that Chris Cooley’s season might be over after the tight end broke the left index finger in Sunday’s 20-13 loss to Philadelphia.
Cooley will have surgery Wednesday. After that, the Redskins will get another opinion on the sore knee that has hampered him all season.
Cooley wasn’t subtle in his criticism of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo earlier this season, finding his collapse against the Lions amusing “It’s amazing, AMAZING to watch him choke like that,” Cooley said. He explained his statements later in an interview with Jim Rome. “I just can’t apologize for being happy in seeing them fail,” Cooley said.
The Cowboys play the Redskins on Nov. 20.
As if the running game wasn’t hurting already, but the loss of running back Felix Jones for at least a game or two, is yet another blow for the Cowboys’ offense.
Jones suffered the injury against the Patriots on Sunday and missed the entire second half. He was in a walking boot on Monday at Valley Ranch and it’s uncertain just how long he will be out.
Coach Jason Garrett didn’t have specifics to Jones’ timetable for a return.
“We’ll evaluate Felix day-to-day, but sometimes those are hard to get your arms around initially,” Garrett said of this injury. “It’s described as a high ankle sprain but we don’t know the extent of it.”
What Garrett does know is that it’ll open the door for players such as DeMarco Murray, who had a career-high 10 rushing attempts on Sunday against the Patriots, for just 32 yards. Still, Garrett said he can see improvement in Murray.
“I thought it was encouraging to see what he did as a runner and receiver. I think he’ll get more and more comfortable in our offense,” Garrett said of Murray, who was slowed in training camp with a hamstring injury. “He missed a lot of time in the preseason and add that to the time he missed because of the lockout. He’s been behind. For him to integrate himself into the offense in the first month of the season and to get the opportunity he had yesterday, I think it was a positive thing. You want to give him more opportunities.”
Murray could end up replacing Jones this week as the starting tailback, with Tashard Choice remaining the team’s third-down and goal-line back. Choice had five carries for 14 yards and a lost fumble on Sunday.
Rookie Phillip Tanner might also have a bigger role in the offense. The undrafted free agent from Middle Tennessee State has been active the last few weeks, but only on special teams.
FOXBOROUGH – Vince Wilfork knew something was up with the Cowboys’ offense.
Guarding a 13-13 tie with just under six minutes left in yesterday’s game, the Patriots’ defense was put to the test.
With the Cowboys facing third and goal from the New England 5, Wilfork alerted his teammates that something different was coming, he just didn’t know what.
The big tackle warned the defense. Linebacker Brandon Spikes picked up on Wilfork’s signal. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo then tossed a shovel pass to Tashard Choice and Spikes bolted through the line and dropped the running back for a 3-yard loss that forced the Cowboys to settle for a 26-yard field goal.
It was the first of two critical stops in the final minutes for the defense.
For all of the holes in the defense this season, the group banded together to give the Patriots a chance to win yesterday, finding ways to pressure Romo, make stops, and force turnovers in a 20-16 victory at Gillette Stadium.
This afternoon on 105.3 The Fan, Cowboys radio analyst Babe Laufenberg said that against the Patriots yesterday,
“The offensive line was awful to a man.”
He mentioned Kyle Kosier’s painful Plantar Fasciitis and the overwhelming inexperience of rookies Tyron Smith, Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski as well as novice second-year pro Phil Costa.
RELATED: Nagy injury forcing Dallas Cowboys to look outside
The fractured ankle of rookie guard Bill Nagy, combined with veteran Derrick Dockery still not seemingly ready to return from his leg/knee injury, is putting the Cowboys on search for some outside help at guard. Nagy is expected to go to injured reserve this week, which will open the roster spot for another interior lineman.
With Tuesday being the regular day off for the Cowboys, it’s often a time to look at other player for a possible workout. The Cowboys will likely bring in a few potential signees at guard, and don’t rule out a player or two who has spent time with the Cowboys before.
The fact this team is looking outside, suggests it doesn’t believe rookie David Arkin is ready for a starting role at guard, or even Kevin Kowalski, who was active for the game Sunday and filled in for Nagy on the final two drives.
One scenario could be to sign a center or use Kowalski there, and slide Costa to the left guard spot.
Either way, the Cowboys need some help on the line, particularly in the running game, which ranks 27th in the league, averaging just 69.6 yards a game. That will likely take another hit this week now that Felix Jones is out with a high-ankle sprain.
Rookie linebacker Bruce Carter is eligible to return from NFI (non-football injury) list this week, but the Cowboys won’t have to immediately make a roster spot open for him. By league rules, Carter can practice with the team for two weeks before a decision has to be made to put him on the 53-man roster or injured reserve. If Carter practices this week, but the Cowboys don’t deem him ready enough to contribute against the Rams, even on special teams, then finding a roster spot for him right away wouldn’t make sense.
The Boys Are Back note: After Jerry Jones’ comments immediately after the Dallas Cowboy loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday night … this article (see post below) from the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, and many more like it, sparked a wave of controversy over the airwaves and in print.
Against Detroit, the aggressive playcalling was criticized for days and days and days! The mental bug was in place … be conservative. Fast forward. Now, against New England, conservative playcalling is being criticized! Being conservative, or by contrast, being aggressive with Romo’s free-spirited style of plays are really not the issue! Offensive success boils down to two areas … time and opportunity to get the playmakers in position (OL) … and sheer determination and physical/mental ability to execute the play. Every call in a playbook can be successful … if you have the talent to set up and execute the play! Doesn’t matter if it’s conservative … or aggressive.
Please enjoy the post below, read the commentary that follows, and feel free to leave your comments.
October 16, 2011
After trying his best not to second guess Garrett, owner Jerry Jones spoke at length about not going for the dagger late in the game.
He thought this could have been a big win for the Cowboys and would have preferred to try to make touchdowns and first downs rather than play conservatively.
Jones lamented the decision to run it three times before giving the ball back to Tom Brady for the game winning drive.
“It could have been a tremendous boon for us,” Jones said. “That is the whole point. This is the kind game you throw off the goal line like we did in the championship game against San Francisco. You don’t usually make that call. But it won us the game. It was very similar situation in my mind.”
You have to excuse Jones some times because he has those three Super Bowl titles of the 1990’s still dancing his mind _ even though the Cowboys have a 124-121 record since the last title in 1995.
But he is right about one thing, if you are going to make a statement on the road against a supposedly superior opponent, you don’t go in playing patty cake with them.
Remember then coach Jimmy Johnson’s quote following the aforementioned 1992 title game victory against the favored 49ers?
“When you go up against 600 pound gorilla, you don’t hit him lightly, you hit him with all you got,” Johnson said triumphantly.
Well Garrett went up against the gorilla in the future Hall of Fame coach Bill Belichick and Brady who may go down as the best to ever play and hit them ever so lightly.
But again this is maybe what Romo’s penchant for mistakes in crunch time has wrought.
This was the first game since the three interception meltdown in the 34-30 loss to the Lions when the Cowboys blew a 24-point lead, the largest in team history.
It didn’t help that Romo threw an interception on the opening series of the game, either.
But the devil is in the details.
Consider the third quarter series in which the Cowboys, down 13-10, had a first and goal at the seven. A first down pass in the flat was dropped by rookie running back DeMarco Murray. Romo was sacked on second down, then short pass to running back Tashard Choice before settling for a 22-yard game tying field goal.
Not one pass was thrown into the end zone.
Certainly the sack set them back but the Cowboys were already in field goal range, why not throw one in the end zone?
It’s the same second guess in the fourth quarter when following a Sean Lee interception, the Cowboys drove to the New England 10-yard line.
A five-yard pass to tight end Martellus Bennett on first down was followed by an incomplete pass to Choice.
Garrett then called a shovel pass to Choice that was stuffed for a loss of three. The Cowboys had to settle for a Bailey field goal, this one was 26 yards, giving them a 16-13 lead.
Not one pass was attempted into the end zone. Not one high ball to receiver Dez Bryant against the miniature Patriots defense backs.
The killer for Jones however came two series later after the Cowboys defense held Brady and the high-octane offense down again, forcing a punt with 3 minutes, 46 seconds left in the game.
The Cowboys had a first down at their own 28 and this is when Jones wanted to throw and give the Patriots the dagger like they did against the 49ers so many years ago.
Garrett however called three straight runs against a defense they had mustered nothing on the ground against all game. Of the team’s 77 rushing yards, 17 came from Romo on a scramble. The running backs gained 60 yards on 23 carries.
“Well, you always want to as a quarterback, but once again, you do a lot of game planning and film and things that you feel comfortable with,” Romo said when asked if wanted to throw a pass in that situation. “As a competitor, you always want be in a situation to have a chance. At the time of the game, I can understand definitely why we did that.
Garrett said it was about managing the game, running clock and trusting a defense that held the Patriots under 30 points for the first time 14 games dating back to last year.
Jones would have preferred to go for it rather than put the back in Brady’s hands.
“Last week we didn’t go conservative and we second-guessed that,” Jones said. ” This week we went conservative and we’re going to second-guess that. I would have like to have seen him go for the first down. We bet he couldn’t take the ball the length of the field and he did. We are here like we are because we thought we could pull another stop. That is asking a lot of the defense to pull another stop.”
The Boys Are Back commentary: While this is a compelling subject, it is not the ‘be all, and end all’ on the subject. Conservative playcalling, while frustrating at times, is only as detrimental as the athletes that are executing the plays! Or in this case, the lack of execution. If you’ll think back to the 90’s Dallas Cowboys … remembering the architects of this Dallas Cowboy offense … with the likes of Ernie Zampese, then Norv Turner. On the sidelines was the young influential Jason Garrett. You’ll recall that the Cowboys made a living at being conservative late in games. They ate up the play clock … which took the wind out of their opponents! Opposing teams stood on their sidelines, helpless and disappointed as they watched. Those roles were reversed yesterday, as the Dallas Cowboys watched Tom Brady and the Bill Belichick offense in the final two minutes. Jason Garrett made note of this philosophy and success … it was affirmed yesterday, just as it was many times during his quarterbacking days.
The difference in 2011? The offensive line (OL) primarily. I’m not saying that Felix Jones is Emmitt Smith … nor am I implying that Tony Romo is Troy Aikman. I’m simply saying that the bulk of the blame should not be placed on playcalling. This Dallas Cowboy OL is VERY young and inexperienced. I do agree, with that premise in mind, that Jason Garrett should be using more playaction … more Tony Romo rollout and runs … and more shoring up his green OL with RB, FB, and TE blocking assists. The offensive line will come together. It’s going to take time, and unfortunately, patients on our part. We, as fans, want a winner NOW! Be assured that Jerry Jones feels the same way … as do, Jason Garrett and Rob Ryan … the players, and the entire Dallas Cowboy organization! Jerry Jones will sit down with Garrett … and his feelings will be expressed. It may have already happened! All of this Romo bashing, and now Garrett bashing, will come to an abrupt halt once the offensive line reaches the turning point. As we all should realize … deep down inside … games are won in the trenches … it has ALWAYS been that way! Sure, each teams Superstar’s make significant contributions. I’m simply reminding you that … it all starts and ends with the meat and potatoes … the usually unsung hero’s … linemen!
I’m asking you to consider other factors. For example, Rob Ryan’s Dallas defense allowed New England to march 80 yards down the field on the final drive! I absolutely agree that his exciting defense was dominate for 58 minutes. Yet, when it came down to stopping Tom Brady … in the final two minutes … it didn’t happen! An interception was dropped by the Dallas D … that would have sealed the deal!
The above average Felix Jones was on the sidelines during much of the game, and replaced with hardworking running backs that produced very average numbers. Murray was averaging 3.2 yards per carry. On the drive in question, Murray lost two yards (resulted in 2nd and 12, which indicates pass) … then Choice lost one (resulted in 3rd and 13, which indicates pass) … then an OL penalty (3rd and 18, indicates pass) … followed by a generally successful screen that resulted in a lower than usual 8 yards. I’m not going to beat Jason Garrett for running-back plays when passing plays are generally expected by the opposing defense! I do think play-action short passes would have been a better choice … in hindsight. If Murray get’s his 3.2 on the first carry, that changes the whole dynamic of the final moments … and plays that would have followed.
Tony Romo is still playing injured, with little mention of this from the general press. Have you thrown a 50 yard bomb with fractured ribs while wearing a restrictive vest? It takes more time to execute a successful moderate-to-deep pass. If Romo doesn’t have time to make the read, setup for the pass, then the pass play we dream about … can’t always happen. Rushed passes lead to interceptions! Miles Austin’s return was helpful, but he’s not yet at his usual playing form. Give him another week. Romo threw to ten different receivers. That’s a good sign … upcoming defenses need to prepare for that! Diamond Dez Bryant is starting to put his footprint on this team, but hasn’t stepped up in the second half of games. Our gifted Diamond Dez is improving, but needs to master the playbook! He is in the wrong place at the wrong time on way too many occasions! Wrong routes lead to interceptions!
Bottom line: There were 60 minutes of opportunities … and we’re basically dwelling on one drive during that period. Don’t let the media fool you. Hype sells newspapers … hype sells advertising … hype brings in listeners. We’ve lost three games by a combined 11 points. We’ve played highly successful, playoff contending teams! We’ve done this with a young and inexperienced offensive line. Looking back, considering all of the factors … I’m convinced more than ever, that … The Boys Are Back. Reread this article in week 9 … week 12 … and once the playoff race truly begins. I think you’ll agree … that it all comes down to what’s happening in the trenches! The inexperience of an offensive line is most apparent in red-zone, goal-line, and in the running game stats! When you’re going up against 600 pound gorillas, you need zookeepers (offensive line) that can take charge. Jimmy Johnson had that with his pro-bowl linemen. Give Jason Garrett time.
The St. Louis Cardinals weren’t even sure there was a spot for them in these playoffs heading into the final day of the regular season.
But, here they are back in the World Series for the third time in the last eight seasons, as they kick off the 107th Fall Classic against the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium on Wednesday.
The Cardinals, though, went 23-8 to close the season and secured the wild card when the Philadelphia Phillies completed a three-game sweep of the Braves with a dramatic extra inning win on the final day of the season.
“I just know that we hung tough when a lot of things were going against us, and then we put together this run,” said manager Tony La Russa. “And even in this run, we had some losses that will break your heart. And the next day they came out [saying], ‘Hey, let’s go get ’em again.’ … We had some help here and there, but we made a lot of it ourselves.”
St. Louis then shocked the baseball world by taking out the 102-win Phillies with a heart-pounding 1-0 win in a decisive Game 5 at Citizens Bank Park, as Chris Carpenter tossed a three-hit shutout to outduel Roy Halladay.
The Boys Are Back note: Out of respect, the above video does not show the wreck or any graphic details. If you’d like to see more video coverage, please click HERE. You’ll be rerouted to a longer video that includes a tribute.
LAS VEGAS — Dan Wheldon, the 2011 Indianapolis 500 winner and one of the most popular drivers in open-wheel racing, died Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in a horrific multi-car crash on Lap 11 of the IndyCar Series season finale.
Officials decided to call the race, but the drivers, many sobbing openly, did a five-lap tribute to Dan Wheldon. IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard made the official announcement of Wheldon’s death without further comment.
“IndyCar is very sad to announce that Dan Wheldon has passed away from unsurvivable injuries,” Bernard said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family today. IndyCar, its drivers and owners, have decided to end the race. In honor of Dan Wheldon, the drivers have decided to do a five-lap salute to in his honor.”
Dan Wheldon, 33 and the 2005 series champion from Emberton, England, was competing in only his third IndyCar race of the season, trying to win the race and earn a $5 million bonus that was part of a league promotion for driver who didn’t compete full-time in the series this year.
Wheldon was the only driver to accept the challenge. This year’s Indy 500 was the second time Wheldon had won the prestigious event. He also won it in 2005.
Wheldon was expected to replace Danica Patrick next season in the Go-Daddy-sponsored car for Andretti Autosport. Patrick is moving to NASCAR full-time in 2012.