Photo courtesy: Star-Telegram/Max Faulkner
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman (41) returns a Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) interception for a touchdown.
Terence Newman leads the Cowboys in interceptions and pass breakups, but he’s not calling this an “I-told-you-so” year after the Dallas Cowboys tried to sign the top free agent at his position in training camp.
Or maybe he is.
“A lot of people have doubted me, and I think when, you know, you’ve got people that doubt you, you go out and you try to prove people wrong,” the veteran cornerback said Thursday at Valley Ranch. “That’s what anybody would do.”
Newman hasn’t talked to reporters much this year because he’s not interested in talking about his health, or lack of it, or revitalized career. The nine-year veteran just wants to let his play speak for him.
“I just go out and play football,” he said. “That’s why I don’t really want to talk about it, because I don’t really care about injuries. I just want to go out and play football and have fun.”
Newman has four interceptions, seven pass breakups, 34 tackles and a fumble recovery. Last week against Buffalo, he had two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown.
How does he feel about his year?
“It’s not over,” he said. “That’s the way I feel. When it’s over, that’s when I’ll evaluate it. But there’s no halfway evaluation for me. Or this team.”
This weekend the Redskins play Dallas. Usually there’d be so much buzz and excitement in the city surrounding this game that I wouldn’t have to remind you.
That does not seem to be the case this week. It’s been just another week.
I can remember people driving around honking their horns, free meals from from restaurant owners who wanted us to win, banners everywhere and car flags–for both teams–on every other car. And that’s when I played. Hello–we weren’t very good any of my years here. But the excitement surrounding this game was always intense.
I mean seriously, a 1 p.m. game? This has always made at least 4 p.m. 1 o’clock games are usually considered appetizers for the later games.
Even after I left the game in 2006 and came back home, this game was the one that I’d watch at a sports bar. This may be the first year I won’t. I don’t feel the excitement. On my radio show we have barely touched on the game itself or even mentioned the rivalry. All the focus has been on the state of the team.
It feels to me like the ever-growing frustration of Redskins fans is beginning to show in ways like this.
The Cowboys do seem to be finding a stride as of late and could compete for the division title, which, in a conference this weak doesn’t mean much. The Redskins are facing the possibility of not winning another game this season.
Either way, both teams have struggled with identity problems over the last decade. Let’s face it, neither team has done much about making it to the playoffs or staying in them.
There’s usually a build up of mass proportions this week: Cowboys versus Indians, champion versus champion. My, how times have changed since the glory days of both of these franchises.
We won’t see Darrell Green battling it out with Michael Irvin Sunday. Troy Aikman isn’t playing either, trying to avoid being sacked by Charles Mann or Dexter Manley. We won’t see Ernest Byner taking a handoff from Mark Rypien, no Art Monk making a spectacular play downfield with the greatest of ease. No Emmitt Smith or Deion Sanders on Dallas or Monte Coleman or Gary Clark for the Redskins
Those days are long gone.
Once historically great and proud franchises have sunk so deep into mediocrity that it would appear that the prestige of this matchup is all but gone.
Courtesy: LaVar Arrington | The Washington Post
Somewhere in Washington, in a church basement amid a growing circle of men and women in folding chairs . . .
“Good evening. Welcome to the regular Sunday night meeting of Redskins-aholics Anonymous.
“The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop watching the team’s games when Mike Shanahan and his players make your life unbearable. There are no dues or fees in R-Anon; we only ask that the money you would have recklessly spent on tickets or DeAngelo Hall jerseys go to milk and shoes for your baby.
“With such a large meeting — this being Dallas week — please keep your shares to three minutes or less. . . .”
* * *
“Hi, I’m Georgette. And I’m definitely a ’Skins-aholic.
“I have been wearing a pink dress, a garden-party hat and a plastic pig snout since 1983. I have done this for charity and because me and several other men who dress up love this team and what it stands for.
“But this team now makes me sick to my stomach. I can’t even eat. Do you know how bad the Redskins have to be for a Hogette not to eat? We have no offense; we score less than Mel Gibson on JDate. And it’s my fault because I keep watching. Thanks for letting me share.”
* * *
PHILADELPHIA — Michael Vick has to watch his teammates play from home.
Vick won’t play when the Philadelphia Eagles visit the New York Giants on Sunday because of two broken ribs. He won’t even be on the sideline because injured players typically don’t make the trip.
Vick didn’t practice this week because he broke his two lower ribs on the second play in a 21-17 loss to Arizona last Sunday. He got up slowly after taking a hard hit to the side, but didn’t tell anyone the extent of the injury and played the rest of the game. He was off target most of the game and finished 16 of 34 for 128 yards and two interceptions.
Vick was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report, but was ruled out after Saturday’s walkthrough. Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin also won’t play because of shoulder and hamstring injuries.
The Eagles (3-6) desperately need a victory over the first-place Giants (6-3) to avoid being all-but-mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. The defending NFC East champions began this season with Super Bowl aspirations, but have failed to live up to those enormous expectations.
Vick’s inconsistency is among the reasons the Eagles have underachieved. Vick has hardly resembled the guy who was an MVP candidate and Pro Bowl starter last season. He’s already thrown 11 interceptions in nine games. He had six picks all of last season.
Young was 30-17 as a starter and went to two Pro Bowls in five seasons with the Tennessee Titans. He was one of several high-profile players Philadelphia signed after the lockout. So far, Young’s only contribution was labeling the Eagles a “Dream Team” at his first news conference at training camp.
It’s been a nightmare season instead.
Second-year pro Riley Cooper will likely start in Maclin’s place. Cooper doesn’t have any catches this season.
Courtesy: Associated Press via The Washington Post
Photo courtesy: Khampha Bouaphanh
The league on Friday announced that Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and Raiders running back Michael Bush were the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Week for Week 10.
Romo completed 88.5 percent of his passes – including 13 in a row to start the game, with three touchdowns – and 270 yards in a route of the Buffalo Bills. His 148.4 quarterback rating was the highest for a single game in franchise history.
The second Cowboys player to win the FedEx award this year – DeMarco Murray won it for his 253-yard game against St. Louis – Romo earns a $2,000 donation for the Dallas chapter of Junior Achievement.
To win the honor, Romo beat out big passing days by Tom Brady of New England and the Saints’ Drew Brees.
The Eagles fans I’ve met personally don’t so much hate the Cowboys as it’s more of strong dislike or distaste, often simply out of peer influence. Now I’ve never been to Philly, only known out-of-state Eagles fans in New York and Virginia, so maybe I’m out of touch on this. But it’s just my experience.
The Giants are even more distant, and many seem to hate the Eagles more, especially after a 6-game losing streak to them. New York fans, in my experience, tend to be more about priding themselves about how the Cowboys supposedly “suck” than about real hatred, especially since their 2007 Super Bowl run.
Redskins fans, however, have a genuine, real hatred of the Cowboys that’s longstanding. This is helped by the fact that Washington has been 7-20 against Dallas since 1998.
Packers and Steelers fans obviously have more pressing rival teams on their minds, such as the Bears and Ravens, than the Cowboys. I threw that in there just for the sake of it.
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Photo courtesy: Star-Telegram | Max Faulkner
Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, John Phillips, and Martellus Bennett have taken fullback snaps this week to cover for Tony Fiammetta illness.
IRVING, Texas — The Cowboys will not make a roster move today to promote fullback Shaun Chapas from the practice squad with Tony Fiammetta out of Sunday’s game against Washington because of an illness.
Coach Jason Garrett said a call up of Chapas was possible, but the Cowboys will go with the tight ends as the lead blocker for tailback DeMarco Murray. Tight end John Phillips has handled that job mostly, but Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett have also taken fullback snaps.
Fiammetta has been a big part of the running game’s success. He took part in a limited portion of Wednesday’s practice but did not practice the next two days and was ruled out by Garrett. The coach said it was too early to know of Fiammetta would be able to play against Miami on Thanksgiving.
The Cowboys had made Saturday roster moves the last two weeks to promote punter Chris Jones and wide receiver Akwasi Owusu-Ansah because of injuries.
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman has four interceptions, one shy of his career high, and he has a good chance for more this week, judging by his history against the Washington Redskins.
Newman has nine interceptions in 16 games against the Redskins. He had three in one game as a rookie against them in 2003. For his career, he’s made 67 tackles and broken up 15 passes against the NFC East rivals.
“I don’t know what it is,” he said. “I guess I’m just lucky. They say it’s better to be lucky than good. I guess I’m kind of lucky against them. I don’t know.”
Newman said he expects a tough game Sunday against the Washington Redskins, despite the Redskins’ five-game losing streak and offensive struggles.
“Hopefully we can put some things together and come out with another win,” he said. “They’ve always played us tough. I don’t think I remember a game where we’ve blown them out, but we’ve been blown out by them. So we can always expect their best.”
Receiver Dez Bryant didn’t want to return punts the last two games because of the depth issues at receiver with Miles Austin sidelined with a hamstring injury.
But that may change this week as Bryant has worked on kickoff and punt returns in practice. He said he is a possibility for both.
“I might be doing it,” Bryant said. “We’ll see.”
Bryant understands that the Cowboys don’t want to chance him to injury especially since they are already playing without Austin. But he says he may have to go do some lobbying to coach Jason Garrett.
“I think I am this week cause I’m feeling it,” Bryant said.
Bryant was lost for the season on a kickoff return against Indianapolis last season when he fractured his right fibula. He has not returned a kickoff this season. He has four punt returns for 27 yards with a long of 12 this season after averaging 14.3 yards a return with two touchdowns on 15 punt returns last season.
The odds are good that third-string quarterback Stephen McGee will be active this week. Jon Kitna missed his second consecutive practice with a bad back.
It gave McGee two days of work with the scout team. Normally, the third-string quarterback works with the scout team only on Thursdays.
“I’m ready for whatever situation occurs, and that’s my role,” McGee said Friday. “I’m just going to continue to try to get ready as much as I can emotionally, and certainly mentally, and be ready to go in case Kitna can’t.”
McGee has been active on game day only three times this season. Two came in the games immediately after Tony Romo fractured a rib and punctured a lung in a Week 2 victory over the 49ers. McGee has not appeared in a game this season.
“It’s life in the NFL as a backup quarterback,” McGee said. “Opportunities are random. You never know when they’re going to come, how they’re going to come, what the situation is, where it’s going to be. You’ve just got to always go about your business the same way. Your approach has got to be the same. I think if you do that, then when it does happen, you’re as best ready as you can be.”
McGee played against the Cardinals last season after Romo was lost for the season and Kitna was injured during the game. McGee then started the season finale against the Eagles. He completed 22 of 44 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns in those two outings.
NEXT MAN UP: Shaun Chapas ready for opportunity to block for running backs DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones
Rookie fullback Shaun Chapas may get the opportunity he’s been working hard for all season. The Cowboys could move Chapas to the active roster, coach Jason Garrett said Friday. Starting fullback Tony Fiammetta will miss Sunday’s game against the Redskins with an illness.
“I’ve just been working hard ever since I got here and waiting for the opportunity,” Chapas said. “If it’s this week, I’m looking forward to it, and if it’s not, I’ll just keep working.”
Chapas was a seventh-round draft pick out of Georgia. He did not make the roster out of training camp but was re-signed to the practice squad. He said he is more familiar with the playbook and comfortable in the offense now than he was when he reported to training camp in late August.
“It’s definitely helped being here [at Valley Ranch] for 10 weeks now, nine weeks, something like that,” Chapas said. “I feel a lot more comfortable with everything than I did right out of training camp.”
In the three games Fiammetta was either not on the roster or inactive, the Cowboys used tight end John Phillips in their two-back sets. Fiammetta has drawn praise from the coaching staff, getting credit for the team’s resurgent running game with DeMarco Murray.
The Cowboys lost the three games Fiammetta didn’t play, averaging 3.3 yards per carry and 84.7 yards rushing per game.
Cowboys linebacker Bradie James doesn’t have to worry about getting into the game this week. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said the Redskins are going to “play football” – line up with running backs and run the ball – which means James is going to play football.
“When the other team is going to play football, Bradie is going to be out there,” Ryan said.
James got into only one play last week against Buffalo. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the Bills’ four- and five-receiver sets kept the Cowboys out of their base offense, which is where James contributes most.
That’s not what Ryan expects from the Redskins and coach Mike Shanahan, who built his reputation in the NFL with strong running teams in Denver.
“We know Shanahan is going to run his stretch plays, he’s going to run his boots,” Ryan said. “We don’t know what formation or personnel groups they’re coming from, but they’re coming. When it’s all lined up and they’re playing the game of football as we know it, Bradie James is going to be right there.”
James has been the Cowboys’ leading tackler the past six years. But this year, his role has been far reduced by the emergence of second-year linebacker Sean Lee, who leads the team in tackles. James is eighth on the team with 30 tackles.
“He’d be one of the first picks you’d take from the whole roster,” Ryan said of James, a nine-year veteran. “You’d go, ‘Hey, I want him, I want him.’ He’d be out there. This should be one of his types of games. Last week was definitely not.”
Running back Felix Jones was limited in practice again Friday and is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Redskins, according to the team’s official injury report. Left guard Kyle Kosier (foot) also was limited and is questionable for the game.
Backup quarterback Jon Kitna (back) is doubtful after missing practice Thursday and Friday. Stephen McGee is expected to serve as the team’s backup to Tony Romo.
Receiver Miles Austin (hamstring), fullback Tony Fiammetta (illness) and cornerback Mike Jenkins (hamstring) are out of this week’s game.
Linebacker Sean Lee said he again will play with the large cast that covers his entire left hand, protecting his dislocated wrist.
Yes, Rob Ryan watched the Broncos play the Jets.
No, the Cowboys defensive coordinator didn’t like what he saw. For one, it was a loss for the Jets, who are coached by his brother Rex. For another, the Broncos won it with an offense he doesn’t like.
“I don’t like it because it’s college football,” Ryan said Friday at Valley Ranch, entertaining reporters during his weekly media session. “We’re getting a lot of two tight ends blocking for empty sets. Who would have ever thought that? This is the NFL. Those teams don’t win.”
Well, Denver did win. Tim Tebow ran 20 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
“Thanks for pointing that out,” Ryan said. “The guy made a hell of a play, though, didn’t he?
“Just a second. I’ll take a knee myself.”