Daily Archives: September 22nd, 2012

NEW FACES IN FAMILIAR PLACES: McCray, Lissemore, and Orie Lemon will be starters tomorrow

Seattle Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch (24) rushes as Dallas Cowboys' Danny McCray - The Boys Are Back blog

A pair of third-year pros — Danny McCray and Sean Lissemore — are expected to get their first NFL starts in place of Gerald Sensabaugh and Kenyon Coleman, respectively.

Ryan Cook will get his second start in place of Phil Costa, who was injured in the opener. Josh Brent will replace Jay Ratliff, who has yet to play this season.

McCray, a member of Houston Westfield High’s 2004 Class 5A state title team, hasn’t started a game since his senior year at LSU.

“I’m excited,” he told reporters in Irving. “I’m trying to save it for Sunday.”

Lissemore played well against Seattle.

“I know he should have been starting forever — the kid made 10 tackles last week,” defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said.

Ryan discusses scheme in Seattle: Many observers were puzzled why the Cowboys didn’t blitz Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson more Sunday.

On Friday, Ryan offered an explanation that centered on the Seahawks often using multiple tight end formations.

“I know everybody was wanting to kill their quarterback,” Ryan said. “Believe me, I was wanting to hit the kid, too. They had a plan that wouldn’t allow us to do it: max protect.”

Wilson was 15 of 20 for 151 yards and a touchdown, but he took a backseat to a running game that generated 182 yards, including 122 from Marshawn Lynch.

“Any time people are running the ball downhill on you, it’s hard to do anything else until you get that run stopped,” Ryan said.

Ryan said it would be a mistake to believe he’s become conservative.

“We will pressure the quarterback,” he said. “We do play more three-man front football to go along with it, so the quarterback doesn’t know we’re just a blitz-a-thon like every junior varsity high school football team. We’re not doing that. We’re going to play the efficient way. We prefer efficiency over stupidity.”

EDITOR COMMENT: As mentioned earlier today, the Dallas Cowboys have elevated Orie Lemon from the practice squad to help in the special teams effort. Link below. What do you think of the new faces in familiar places?

RELATED POSTS ON THE BOYS ARE BACK BLOG:

Rob Ryan: “We all know DeMarcus Ware isn’t at full speed.” (Bonus Video)

ROSTER MOVES: LB Orie Lemon promoted from practice squad; Mario Butler waived

EXCLUSIVE: The Great Robbini’s BOLD predictions for Week #3

Regular readers already know that The Boys Are Back blog features the ALMOST WORLD FAMOUS predictions from The GREAT Robbini. Last week, the humidity in Seattle fogged up his crystal ball. We’re gonna let that one slide. Everyone (including the Dallas Cowboys) has a bad week! Right? Surely, the sunny skies in Dallas will help beam in some clear images!

The GREAT Robbini is psyched about the 2012-2013 Dallas Cowboys 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 – Week #3 predictions:

Cowboys continue the winning streak against Bucs with a win at home.

The Dallas Cowboys defense coordinator Rob Ryan flexes his 24-7 defense. DeMarcus Ware and the ‘boys mix it up against Tampa Bay, break the Bucs rhythm.

  • 5 team sacks, including:
  • 1 sack for Sean Lissemore
  • 2 sacks for DeMarcus Ware
  • Sean Lee gets a turnover
  • Bruce Carter leads in tackles
  • 1+ takeaways per half
  • 1 Morris Claiborne interception
  • Cowboys defend opening kick

The Dallas offense puts on a show in Big D, light it up on offense:

  • 3 Tony Romo TD’s, 400 yards passing
  • Dez Bryant TD
  • Jason Witten TD
  • DeMarco Murray TD, rushes for 100 yards
  • Dallas uses seven different receivers
  • Cowboys win by 7

The GREAT Robbini

Rob Ryan: “We all know DeMarcus Ware isn’t at full speed.” (Bonus Video)

DeMarcus Ware sacks Eli Manning in the Dallas Cowboys NFL season opener - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, TexasDeMarcus Ware didn’t have the field day against Seahawks backup left tackle Frank Omiyale that many expected.

Starting left tackle Russell Okung sat out with an injury, yet Ware didn’t register a sack against the Seahawks in a 27-7 loss last weekend. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan indicated Friday that Ware might not be 100 percent.

“We all know DeMarcus isn’t full speed,” Ryan said. “When he is, look out.”

Ware missed the rest of the preseason after tweaking his hamstring in the week leading into the second exhibition game against the Chargers. He finished with two sacks in the regular-season opener against the Giants, but was a limited participant in practice prior to the Seahawks game.

Ryan said the Cowboys will find out this week just how hampered Ware is by his hamstring.

“I know he’s improving,” Ryan said. “He’s working on it. When he’s full strength, I agree with you, he’s the best in the league, and he’s the best there ever was. But he’s still never gotten a sack when they run the football.”

In addition to his health, Ryan attributed Ware’s lack of sacks to the Seahawks’ propensity to use running back Marshawn Lynch. Seattle rushed 41 times and only threw 20 passes.

Whether or not he was limited, Ware still played and was credited with two solo tackles and six assists against the Seahawks. The Cowboys gave him eight solo tackles and five assists based on coaches’ film, his 13 total tying a career high.

Ryan said the Cowboys got away from their anticipated game plan after falling behind early. He said he plans to pressure the quarterback more, but wants to be more efficient than a junior varsity high school defense that sends a “blitzathon” at the opposing quarterback.

“I think we’re the fifth leading team at sacking the quarterback per pass attempt,” Ryan said. “We’re always up there because we do have great pressures, we do know when to pressure, we know how to pressure, we know how to attack protections.”

SOURCE: Rob Ryan press conference – Efficiency Over Stupidity

Video - Rob Ryan press conference - Week 3 2012 Season - The Boys Are Back blog

Rob Ryan: Efficiency over stupidity

Rob Ryan talks about last weekends game against the Seahawks and what they need to do to improve this week.

 

To watch video, click on picture or HERE. Enjoy!

RIVAL MEDIA: Bucs make changes with Dallas Cowboys looming (Video)

Video - Rival Media - The Boys Are Back blog

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Video - Rival Media 2 - The Boys Are Back blog

Rick Stroud and Stephen F. Holder discuss Demar Dotson’s promotion, Preston Parker’s release and what the Bucs must do to stop Tony Romo and the Cowboys.

ALTERNATE LINK: Click HERE to watch the short video

ROSTER MOVES: LB Orie Lemon promoted from practice squad; Mario Butler waived

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Orie Lemon interception return - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, Texas – In an attempt to bolster the special teams units for Sunday’s game with the Bucs, the Dallas Cowboys have signed first-year linebacker Orie Lemon from the practice squad.

Lemon will be active Sunday against Tampa Bay, making his NFL debut as he is expected to play on most special teams units. Lemon, who spent all of last year on the practice squad, led the Cowboys with three special teams tackles during the preseason. He also had an interception for a touchdown in the preseason finale against Miami.

Lemon will likely assume a lot of the special teams duties held by Alex Albright, who is out this week with a stinger injury. 

To make room for Lemon, the Cowboys waived cornerback/safety Mario Butler, who like Lemon, was also on the practice squad in 2011. Butler was on the 53-man roster for the first two games this year, and active in the season opener against the Giants.

He was expected to play some this week with Gerald Sensabaugh (calf) doubtful for the Bucs game and Barry Church (quad) also banged up. But it appears the Cowboys will go an alternate route for some backup safety help. Cornerbacks Brandon Carr, Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick have all received some work at safety this week in a nickel package and could provide some depth if needed.

Butler is still practice-squad eligible and it’s likely the Cowboys will try to bring him back on the eight-man squad.

Like Lemon, another linebacker expected to make his NFL debut on Sunday is fourth-round pick Kyle Wilber, who has been inactive the first two weeks. Wilber had a broken thumb that required surgery and now a soft cast. 

TEXAS SIZED TAILGATE: Pregame activities expand in Cowboys Stadium plazas

AT&T Stadium - Cowboys Stadium screen - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys games are no longer just four quarters of football. Going to AT&T Stadium is an all-day event, a celebration that starts hours before the first kickoff. Parking lots will fill, grills will be fired up, families and friends will unite as Arlington, Texas, becomes a canvas of blue and silver.

Kids Zone - family fun destination at Cowboys Stadium - The Boys Are Back blog

But the lots won’t be the only place fans can eat, drink and prepare for every home matchup this year, with pregame activities planned four hours before kickoff on the East Plaza and two hours before kickoff on the West Plaza.

“Everything out in both our plazas is free,” says Matt Coy, executive producer of event presentation for the team. “We don’t charge for anything except food and beverage. We make sure the East Plaza is more of a 21 and up, fun tailgate crowd. The West Plaza is more for families. That’s all ages. We have the Kids Zone out there.”

The East Plaza at the stadium will feature a “Cowboys Tailgate Party,” with food and drink discounts and specials, including $4 sausages and hamburgers, $3 hot dogs and $3 beers and bottled waters to wash them down.

The Dallas Cowboys Kids Zone is the home for all kids on gameday

Fans can get autographs and photos with the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and enjoy performances by the cheerleaders, the Rhythm & Blue Dancers, the Rhythm & Blue Drumline and the Rhythm & Blue Break Boys Dancers.

“We program out there four hours before kickoff, until kickoff,” Coy says. “Then we have a DJ out there. Sometimes we’ll play PlayStation and Madden on one of the four big screens.”

Sybil Summers from 105.3 FM “The Fan” hosts the Cowboys’ entertainment stage, which will feature DJ SC and special guest entertainers and performers.

Prizes, including game-used helmets and jerseys, will be doled out to winners of games and contests. Fans can compete in a bag-toss tournament, washer tournament, karaoke contest, dance contests and more.

The Dallas Cowboys Kids Zone offers free face painting - The Boys Are Back blog

Of course, the pregame festivities aren’t limited to adults. The Kids Zone in the West Plaza allows children the opportunity to receive free face painting and balloon animals. And, the games aren’t limited to adults in the East Plaza, either. The West Plaza’s Kids Zone offers six free inflatable rides and games, including a quarterback toss, field goal kicking game, obstacle course and bounce houses.

Stilt walkers and jugglers will demonstrate their skills, and Rowdy will even make his way over. While beer will be available in the East Plaza, kids can sip on free hot cocoa for cold days or cold water on hot days on the West side.

Coy says the event presentation team amped the pregame activities up last year, and are continuing to expand and develop new ideas and activities this season.

“This year, we’re adding two new things,” Coy says. “We’re adding two zip lines, so any family members, kids or older, can go on a zip line across the plaza for free. Then we’re also adding a mechanical bull ride for all ages that’s also free.”

The cheerleaders will also sign autographs and take photos with the kids in the West Plaza, though they likely won’t be trying the zip line.

Dallas Cowboys Kids Zone - The Boys Are Back blog

Every home contest for the Cowboys will include a different theme, with corresponding games and activities, including a U.S. Apache helicopter, a tank and flight simulators for the Military Appreciation Game on Nov. 18.

Dallas Cowboys mascot Rowdy gets the fans fired up at Cowboys Stadium - The Boys Are Back blog

The season began with a celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month for the home opener, while the Week 4 matchup against the Bears is promoting Breast Cancer awareness. The list goes on as the season progresses, the themes also featuring Halloween (Oct. 28), Thanksgiving (Nov. 22), First Responder Appreciation (Dec. 2), an NFL Hall of Fame Ceremony (Dec. 16) and the holidays (Dec. 23).

“We’ve got Santa Claus, reindeer, elves and photo opportunities and gifts for the kids,” Coy says of the team’s plans for the final home game. “We do a bunch of stuff on Christmas. The other games, like the Military and the First Responder Appreciation games, those we have a lot of static displays.”

Whether fans choose to partake in the contests, games, drinks, food, prizes or pregame entertainment, there will be plenty of fun available in the West and East plazas throughout the season.

OVER REACTION: It’s too early to be jumping to conclusions

OVER REACTION - It’s too early to be jumping to conclusions - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, Texas – OK, look, let’s cut through all the baloney that has been floating around out there all week.

You know what I mean, all the sweeping assumptions being thrown down ever since the Cowboys’ 27-7 clunker last Sunday in Seattle that a whole lot want to insist has minimized their 24-17 season-opening victory over the New York Giants. Seriously? Minimized? Why, if they had not beaten the Giants the Cowboys would be going into their home-opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers noon Sunday at Cowboys Stadium at 0-2 instead of 1-1.

Let’s see, there has been this entire Felix Jones brouhaha taking place. Just cut the guy because he fumbled the opening kickoff in the Seattle game, and is struggling to get any kickoffs back to the 20-yard line. Too slow. Doesn’t care. Come on, this is why the Cowboys are 1-1, why they lost to Seattle?

Well, check this out. The Cowboys average starting point after 10 opponent kickoffs is the 19.7-yard line. That means they are one of 21 teams whose average starting point ranges between the 21.9 and the 15. Guess who was at 15? The undefeated Houston Texans. Guess who is right below the Cowboys at 19.6? It’s the undefeated San Francisco 49ers.

Also, the Cowboys just aren’t physical enough, and this just one week after the Cowboys put up 143 yards rushing against those defensive Giants of New York when many were remarking how physical the Cowboys were. Now it’s, “they just let Marshawn Lynch push them all around.”

Hmmm. Did you realize last year in a 23-13 victory over the Seahawks, Lynch rushed for 135 yards and the Seahawks for 162? Heck, if the Cowboys had simply executed the defense properly or had Rob Ryan not called a safety blitz coming in from the Cowboys right when the Seahawks handed off on the run going left, Lynch would not have set sail on the back-breaking 36-yard run. Take that run away, and he goes for 86 yards on 25 carries. That’s not getting pushed around in my book, and far from getting punked.

Then there is this missing identity thing taking just two games to resurface. As in, who are these Cowboys? What are these Cowboys?

Again, seriously, after just two games? Other than being defending Super Bowl champions, who were the New York Giants after two games before ripping Carolina Thursday night? The team that was whupped by the Cowboys in their own stadium? The team that opened the game against Tampa Bay with three interceptions to trail 27-14 at home late in the third quarter? Or the team that ended up passing for 510 yards and recovering for a 41-34 victory over the Bucs?

Let’s see, there also has been talk like Jason Witten is over the hill, same ol’ Dez Bryant, no pass rush and, love this one, Cowboys just can’t stand prosperity, as if winning just one game is prosperity.

Has anyone considered the Seahawks just might be pretty good? And who knows for sure, and maybe we find out a little more Monday night when they play Green Bay at CenturyLink. Look, I know the Cowboys beat the Seahawks 23-13 last year, but did you realize they finished 2011 with a 7-9 record, just one game behind the 8-8 Cowboys? And did you realize they were throwing for the end zone in the final seconds at Arizona in a 20-16 loss to the Cardinals, the same team that went to New England a week later and won?

Ya know. Goodness, hope so many don’t make such knee-jerk assumptions in real life on more important matters. Let this season breathe just a little. Let’s see, cuz I’m not saying any or all of these two-game assumptions are wrong, but just don’t know yet that they are accurate, especially after playing the opening two games on the road, going from the Right Coast to the Left Coast. Not easy. And Tampa gets a taste of that this Sunday, getting ready to play back-to-back road games.

So really, let’s not be afraid of the truth, of worrying about what needs some worrying over.

Bottom line from the Puget Sound: The Cowboys scored seven darn points, and not too many times will you win a game in the National Football League with seven darn points. Hey, they score seven Sunday and I’m guessing you’d bet the house (your house, not mine) they emerge at 3 p.m. with a 1-2 record. Don’t be clouding the issue with rhetoric.

Here is the issue, first and foremost heading into the Tampa Bay game: Hold on to the darn football. You can’t drop five passes, as they did against Seattle, and then on top of that fail to hang onto at least two or three other throws that would have qualified as big-time NFL catches, and expect to win.

You can’t fumble the opening kickoff, and then on the one time you have a chance to return a punt, you double-dribble the ball and have to end up falling on it, forfeiting an opportunity to gain like the 15 to 20 yards that were out there ahead of Dez Bryant, and expect to win. Ball security is important.

So is securing your quarterback. While Tony Romo has been sacked just twice in two games, too many times he’s being forced to improvise in the pocket because of pressure. Those spin-o-rama moves he continues to make are cute, but also out of necessity because of poor protection. To me, that was a huge cause for the loss to Seattle, in spite of spotting the Seahawks those opening 10 points.

Hey, they had recovered somewhat from the disastrous start, trailing 10-7 at one point, and then 13-7 at halftime. Still, score one touchdown, and you wipe away all the bad and lead 14-13. How’d that make Seattle feel if they think they had dominated the first half, look up early in the third and were trailing?

But no, the Cowboys, after the defense forced a half-opening punt, can only gain 13 yards that first possession and have to punt. Then, even after Seattle scores, thanks to that 36-yard Lynch run and busted coverage on the 22-yard touchdown pass to Anthony McCoy, they only gain 16 yards on the ensuing possession and have to punt again.

Had the offense at least scored those 24 points they did against the Giants, life would have been more difficult on the Seahawks. They would have forced them to play offense. But the Cowboys offense couldn’t move, and too many times the pressure was coming up in the middle in Romo’s face. Too many times blitzes were causing him to alter or force throws.

Remember, the offensive line was a concern heading into the season, and after two games there still should be concern. That five-some is a work in progress, but its work needs to progress at a faster rate, otherwise …

So let’s just see before you start jumping overboard. Isn’t there some sort of saying about better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.

What if you jump into the freezing cold water below, and then the ship doesn’t go down?

Patience, just a little, OK.

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