UNITY UNIT UNITED: O-line is fine with current RB stables | Dallas Cowboys offensive line ready to gel with running backs | North Texas Food Bank benefit
The Dallas Cowboys offensive line sticks together, on the field and off it. Continue reading →
REAL BALLS, RED CARPET & RECORD BOOKS: Star-studded stadium stuffed–Guinness World Records set | 70,252 fans pack AT&T Stadium on ACM’s 50th anniversary | Tony Romo’s Real Balls | Dallas Cowboys Jason Witten & Troy Aikman
The roof was open and the stars were out for as The Academy of Country Music held its annual awards show live from AT&T Stadium last night. Continue reading →
COWBOYS PACKERS POSTGAME GUTCHECK: Dallas Cowboys surrender to Green Bay Packers
ARLINGTON, Texas – Three Dallas Cowboys writers share their initial feelings of the Cowboys’ 37-36 loss to the Packers at AT&T Stadium.
Helman: I thought perhaps Denver or Detroit would wind up being the most brutal loss of the 2013 season. But this one might take the cake, when you consider it was a home game against a backup quarterback and a dinged-up defense. I’m not a football coach, but the fact that the Cowboys handed the ball to DeMarco Murray just three times in the fourth quarter, while holding a lead for most of those 15 minutes, is almost unfathomable. The Cowboys got away from what worked, and it hurt them in the end. That goes for the defense, as well, as a solid performance in the first half was wiped away in the nightmarish second. The good news for the Cowboys is that Philadelphia’s loss to Minnesota keeps them in control of their postseason prospects. But it’s hard to feel great about that after what just happened in AT&T Stadium.
Kavner: The Cowboys lost to a team that was 1-4-1 previously without their starting quarterback, and the Packers looked like that type of team the first half of the game. Then it all imploded in a way that gave national pundits all the talking points they could possibly want to talk about, from late Tony Romo interceptions to questionable play-calling to a defense that couldn’t stop anything late. I said in my gut feeling the Cowboys shouldn’t lose this game, and they shouldn’t have. But they did, even with Dez Bryant going for 153 yards and DeMarco Murray going for 134 yards. It was as big as a collapse as a game can be when squandering a 23-point lead, emphasizing all of the many flaws this team has experienced in recent years. It’ll take a massive answer to get over the loss this week and the next for the Cowboys, who, despite the enormity of this loss, still have their playoff hopes alive after the Eagles lost to the Vikings.
Eatman: Until about 5:00 (CDT) it was looking pretty good. The Eagles lost, the offense was rolling and the defense was playing lights out with one pick already. Then, the Cowboys woke up and realized what they are – incredibly average. I mean, there’s no way they could be 8-6 right? They have to get back to the 7-7 level. Well, they did. And I don’t really care what Matt Flynn did or how he is. To me, the backups were a complete wash. What the Cowboys were rolling out there on defense is something you’d see in the fourth quarter of the fourth preseason game. So yeah, Flynn should be able to carve them up. But the Cowboys have no excuse for what happened on offense. They lost this game with about three minutes to go when they didn’t run the ball to the 2-minute warning. Instead, they tried to get greedy and it cost them. Tony Romo apparently checked out of the pass for the first interception. If that’s the case, then that’s inexcusable. He’s got to be smarter than that. Getting the Packers to use their timeouts and run out some clock is the top priority at that point. You don’t check from a run to a pass and throw a side-arm pick over the middle. But he did. He deserves blame for that and not getting the job done earlier to put this thing away.
WORLDWIDE EXCLUSIVE: The Great Robbini’s predictions for Game #14 | 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers
Regular readers know that The Boys Are Back website features the ALMOST WORLD FAMOUS predictions from The GREAT Robbini. Our “exalted one” predicts the fate of America’s Team with unprecedented precision and accuracy from week-to-week. Kinda!
Last week, there was a slight hiccup and malfunction issue with his crystal ball. Apparently, frozen (crystal) balls can lead to some very misleading signals. For safekeeping, he had put his powerful (and awe inspiring) crystal ball in his freezer to prevent his family cat (Katnip Kiffin) from playing with it in the middle of the night. Needless to say, he caused league-wide issues with frozen tundra last weekend! We feel it’s important to inform you that The GREAT Robbini feels personally responsible for the Chilled Cowboys embarrassing loss to the Chicago Bears.
This week, The GREAT Robbini has appropriately thawed his balls and envisions a complete contrast in Dallas Cowboys production leading into the matchup with those traveling Packers from Green Bay.
This afternoon, The GREAT ONE was able to sit down and put a seriously powerful rub on his magic ball. I’m told it was so vigorous, that his balls emitted images of a very determined (warm) Dallas Cowboys team and supportive home crowd sportin’ some Christmas magic. Obviously, he’s psyched about the Dallas Cowboys – Green Bay Packers 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 …
The GREAT Robbini’s – 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys game #14 predictions:
Not even I could see last weeks beating coming. Did you? I didn’t think so.
This game should go SLIGHTLY different. we ‘ll still see the 4 Cowboy touchdowns, and a field goal for good measure. This time its enough for a win. Without Sean Lee, the ‘Boys give up points, but the (pissed off) Rodger-less Pack can’t supply an upset. The Cowboys continue an impressive streak at home vs. Green bay.
Predictions for the Texas 2 Defense …
- 2 takeaways
- 4 sacks on QB
- 2 sacks Hatcher
- 1 sack Ware
- Fumble recovery Church
- Carr Interception
- T2D gives up 310 in the air
- T2D gives up 80 on the ground
Predictions for the offense …
- Romo 300 yds.
- Bryant Touchdown
- Witten Touchdown
- Murray Touchdown
- Austin Touchdown
- Murray/Randall 155 all purpose yards
- Austin 60 yards
- Dez 120 yards
- Williams 60 yards
- Witten 55 yards
- Cowboys receive second half kick
The GREAT Robbini
Remember, you read it here! The Great Robbini predictions for game #14. Feel free to leave your final score or predictions in the comment section.
Stats and predictions to be confirmed by:
RAIDERS AND BRAIDERS: Dallas Cowboys create a hair raising event on Thanksgiving Day inside AT&T Stadium
Photos courtesy, clockwise from top left: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports; John F. Rhodes/Special to the DMN; Brandon Wade/AP
Just for fun, here are some locks frozen in time by super fast shutter speeds during the annual Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving day game.
No words on what these players and performers were grateful for on the holiday. Good hair, I presume.
Whether blonde, brunette or somewhere in between, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have hair to die for.
Photo courtesy, Louis DeLuca | DMN | Thursday, November 28, 2013
Dallas Cowboys strong safety Danny McCray (40) and cornerback B.W. Webb (20) gave Oakland Raiders kick returner Taiwan Jones something to dread during the Dallas Cowboys victory at AT&T Stadium.
Photo courtesy: Tom Fox | DMN
Singer, actress, and Grand Prairie native Selena Gomez’ hair was kinky and her skirt was stringy as she performed for philanthropy during the Dallas Cowboys vs.Oakland Raiders halftime show at AT&T Stadium.
Special thanks: Michael Hamtil | DMN
FEAST FROM THE EAST: 2013 Thanksgiving Day Showdown – Oakland Raiders vs. Dallas Cowboys
Their Nemesis: DeMarcus Ware
When you have been in this league as long as guys like Tony Romo and Jason Witten, you are going to get the opportunity to be in a lot of games. DeMarcus Ware is in that same category and like Romo and Witten, he has only faced the Oakland Raiders twice in his career. In those two games, Ware has recorded a sack in each of those meetings. For Ware and his teammates, it might not be so much about rushing Matt McGloin but having to slow down Rashad Jennings and this Raiders running game. The Raiders will do their best to try and protect McGloin, the best way they can and that will be trying to run the ball. It’s a physical rushing attack and Ware will be the key at the point of attack but also on the backside when that ball goes away. What would help Ware in this game, is if the Cowboys offense can put pressure on the Raiders to have to score right along with them, thus allowing Ware more chances to rush the passer. In this matchup, Ware could be facing Jared Veldheer who will be making his first start since the last time these two teams met in the preseason. Veldheer is coming off a triceps injury and in his place, Khalif Barnes has done a nice job and will draw the assignment of handling Ware.
Our Weapon: Tony Romo
Turn back the calendar to Thanksgiving Day 2009, when Tony Romo made his only career start against the Oakland Raiders at AT&T Stadium. For Romo, it was an efficient day throwing the ball going 18 – 29 for 309 yards and two touchdowns. For Jason Garrett and this offensive staff, they would take that exact same day from Romo when the Cowboys and Raiders again meet this Thursday. My film study leading up to the game, tells me that the Cowboys are going to have trouble running the ball and it will fall on Romo and these skilled players to have to make plays to move the ball and score points. I believe the key to this game is going to be how well the Cowboys can execute plays like they did last week against the Giants on that final drive. This offense is hard to deal with when that is the case. I believe the Raiders will come after Romo and not allow him to feel comfortable in the pocket with linebacker and secondary blitzes. Dennis Allen and Jason Tarver know that if Romo does have time and the rush does not get home, that their secondary would be under attack. The best way for Tony Romo to help his defense is to keep the pressure on this Raiders offense to have to score points. By doing this, Romo can make the Raiders one dimensional and put the pressure on Matt McGloin to have to come up with plays in the game.
Under Their Radar: Kyle Wilber
I keep talking about the Raiders and their desire to run the ball against the Cowboys on Thursday. Kyle Wilber will be making his second start at Sam linebacker, after really doing a nice job against the Giants last week. Wilber was up to the challenge on several plays when the ball came in his direction. For the Cowboys to have any success of slowing Rashad Jennings down, Wilber is going to once again have that same type of effort. For these Cowboys linebackers, it’s going to be about taking on blocks and getting to the ball. The Raiders are a physical team when it comes to running the ball and with the size of their backs plus how well their fullbacks attack the line, its going to be an all day chore. Like the Giants tight ends last week, I am not that impressed with what I have seen from these on the Raiders. Jeron Mastrud, Mychal Rivera and Nick Kasa are not great point of attack blockers and I expect Wilber to be able to control them and work to the ball. Where Wilber had his troubles when he was a defensive end was taking on offensive tackles and having to deal with that mass and power, against these tight ends, they are more of his size and it is easier for him to have to deal with them.
The Nemesis: Charles Woodson
When it comes to all time great players to line up and play in this league, there are none better than Charles Woodson and what he has done throughout his long NFL career. Woodson has faced the Cowboys on five different occasions with a 4 – 1 record. In those meetings, Woodson has recorded 15 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions. Woodson has returned the Raiders where he began his career after seven seasons in Green Bay. Woodson has made the transition from shut down corner to safety without any issues. He might not have the speed or quickness that he once had, in his early days with the Raiders and later with the Packers but he is still around the ball and has that ability to turn a mistake by the quarterback, into a turnover or pick up a fumble and score. Next to Rhonde Barber, he was one of the best slot blitzers that I had ever scouted. Woodson had a knack for not tipping off that he was rushing, then explode off the edge for a sack. Even at his age, he is still a physical tackler and can bring a ball carrier down in space. Where teams have had some success attacking the Raiders has been in the middle of the field but it appears that it is more about the other safeties than really his play.
Their Weapon: Rashad Jennings
This Dallas Cowboys defense has seen it share of outstanding running backs this season and this week is no different with Rashad Jennings. When you sit down and really study Jennings, you cannot come away not impressed with how he runs the ball. There is a violence in his running style that leaves you shaking your head in his ability to punish defenders. He is a load and whether they hand him the ball straight down hill or toss it on the edge, he is running until he feels contact, then he is going to give you a lot more. There is no secret in what you are going to get from him whether there is a hole or not. He is going to put his head down and carry bodies with him until they get him on the ground. He plays with really strong leg drive. For a big man, has a really nice burst. Doesn’t have great timed speed but when you watch him play, he is plenty fast. Has soft hands and looks very comfortable catching in them. Can take simple passes and make them large gains in the open field because of his running style. If he has a weakness, for someone his size, he is a poor pass blocker. He tends to try and cut instead of staying on his feet and taking on his man sqaure. If this game is close on Thursday, it will not favor the Cowboys because the Raiders will pound them with him. Need to get bodies to him quickly.
Under The Radar: Sio Moore
If you asked me the strength of this Oakland defense, I would say that it is their linebackers. I know that Lamarr Houston can be a problem off the edge but these linebackers can make some plays. Rookie Sio Moore, plays as the Sam linebacker in this scheme and he really is a good football player. He is not the tallest guy but he plays with outstanding quickness and lateral range. He can get to full speed very quickly and when he sees the ball, he is going to make a play. Can be an explosive guy when it comes to taking on blocks and shedding them. For such a young guy, he plays with really nice instincts and awareness. It was rare to see him get fooled on a play. He showed the ability to drop or handle his man in coverage. His best trait might be his ability to blitz. In 10 games this season, he has 3.5 sacks and that is because of his quickness. Was surprised at the power he was able to show when taking on blockers. Does a really nice job with his hands and plays with really good leverage. As mentioned, plays with a solid group of guys in Nick Roach and Kevin Burnett. Has a chance to really develop and become something special for the Raiders. Cannot leave him unaccounted for or unblocked because he will make the play. Should have been higher on his college grade in my report last spring.
2013-2014 GAMEDAY WRAP-UP: Video recap after 2013 Dallas Cowboys defeat of the Minnesota Vikings in Game 9
Pregame Quick Snap: Minnesota Vikings vs. Dallas Cowboys
Follow the 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys during their week of preparation before taking on the Vikings at AT&T Stadium. (Watch Video | Play Audio)
First Take of the 2013-2014 Cowboys vs. Vikings from AT&T Stadium
Dallas Cowboys writers give you their first impressions of the Dallas Cowboys win over the Minnesota Vikings in Game 9 of the NFL 2013-2014 season. (Watch Video | Play Audio)
Minnesota Vikings vs. Dallas Cowboys Highlights
Adrian Peterson racks up a solid 140 yards on the ground but it’s not enough as the Dallas Cowboys defeat the Minnesota Vikings 27-23 in Week 9 of NFL action (Watch Video | No Audio)
Jason Garrett Postgame Press Conference
Head coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media following the Dallas Cowboys win against Minnesota Vikings at AT&T Stadium. (Watch Video | Play Audio)
Tony Romo Postgame Press Conference
Quarterback Tony Romo speaks to the media following the Dallas Cowboys win against Minnesota Vikings at AT&T Stadium. (Watch Video | Play Audio)
EDGE OF YOUR SEAT WIN: Dallas Cowboys come back to beat Vikings, 27-23
This was supposed to be an easy one. The 4-4 Cowboys against the lowly 1-6 Vikings? At home? Favorites across the board? Bring on the Saints.
In a game that wasn’t always pretty – face it, downright ugly – the Cowboys sent 85,360 fans home perhaps more relieved than happy with a 27-23 triumph over the Vikings. The Dallas Cowboys offense struggled to find any kind of consistency, but came up big when they needed to, as Tony Romo led the team on a game-winning drive, reaching the end zone with only 35 seconds left.
Despite the Cowboys running game totaling only 36 yards, the offense still finished the day with 350 total yards, thanks to Romo dinks and his 34-of-51 passing for 337 yards and two touchdowns. His main connection was tight end Jason Witten, who hauled in eight passes for 102 yards and a score, while Cole Beasley and Dez Bryant each caught six attempts for 68 and 64 yards, respectively.
Defensively, well, Adrian Peterson did what Adrian Peterson does, racking up 140 yards on 25 carries with another 37 yards on three catches. But overall, Dallas kept the Vikings aerial attack in check, quarterback Christian Ponder completing 25-of-37 passes for just 236 yards.
The first quarter was largely uneventful, as the two teams traded field goals, Dan Bailey kicking a 41-yarder for Dallas and Blair Walsh splitting the uprights from 23 yards to even the score 3-3.
Still, Dallas seemed to be building a little momentum in the second frame. Things got going with Minnesota on the move, the Vikings set up with great field position on the Cowboys’ 37-yard line after a 26-yard punt return by Marcus Sherels. But the visitors elected to go for it on fourth-and-1 at the Dallas 16-yard line, only to have Peterson stuffed for no gain.
The Cowboys then marched right back down the field on a 12-play, 58-yard drive that ate up 6:56 of the clock, the series eventually resulting in a 44-yard field goal by Bailey and a 6-3 lead.
But that momentum was temporarily lost before the half could end. Starting at their own 21-yard line, the Vikings mixed in a dose of runs and passes before Ponder scrambled in from the 6-yard line to give Minnesota the advantage at the break, 10-6.
Temporarily, however, was the key word. When the second half got underway the Cowboys immediately grabbed back said momentum in a big way. Taking first possession of the third quarter, Romo threw passes to Beasley for 11 yards, a short one to Terrance Williams for 4 and then back-to-back 26-yard strikes to Witten, the latter seeing the tight end rumble into the end zone of the score to take the lead, 13-10.
That was then followed on the ensuing kickoff by Vikings return man Cordarrelle Patterson muffing the ball out of bounds at the Minnesota 5-yard line. On the very next snap, Ponder dropped back to pass and was stripped of the ball by defensive end George Selvie with teammate Nick Hayden then pouncing on the fumble for the score. Dallas suddenly had a 20-10 lead less than four minutes into the second half.
But things never seem easy for the Cowboys. After seemingly having things well in hand, the defense couldn’t keep the Vikings from coming right back with a 77-yard drive of their own. This time Minnesota did their damage in the air, as Ponder completed passes of 27 and 12 yards during the series before finding tight end Kyle Rudolph down the right seam for a 31-yard touchdown, narrowing the score to 20-17.
The Cowboys had their chances to expand the lead, first when the team drove into enemy territory, reaching the Minnesota 34-yard line. But on third-and-15, Bryant was called for offensive pass interference. What made matters worse, though, was he pulled off his helmet to argue the call, an automatic unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. With the loss of 15 yards, any hopes for a lengthy field goal by Bailey were quashed.
Then, as the clock ticked over into the fourth quarter, the Dallas defense produced its second turnover of the game when Orlando Scandrick intercepted a deep attempt by Ponder down the left sideline. But set up at their own 47-yard line, Dallas managed to reach the Vikings 38 before another offensive pass interference call, this time on Witten, pushed them back to the 46. Once again, they were forced to punt.
This time, the Vikings’ workhorse took momentum into his own hands. Peterson first broke loose on a 52-yard scramble down the right sideline, then after Minnesota moved down to the Dallas 11, the future Hall of Fame running back kept churning, carrying a whole pack of Cowboys defenders – who seemed more intent on stripping the ball, than actually getting the man on the ground – into the end zone. Walsh somehow missed the extra point, but Minnesota had the lead, 23-20 with just over five minutes left in the game.
The Vikings then had a chance to salt the game away themselves when cornerback A.J. Jefferson stepped in front of a pass intended for Williams and tiptoed the sidelines for an interception at the Dallas 41. Thankfully, the Cowboys defense stood strong forcing a three-and-out, the offense taking over at its own 10-yard line after the punt with 2:44 remaining on the clock.
That was plenty of time for Romo, who hit Witten for 11 yards, Dwayne Harris for 6, and Beasley for 18. Then on second-and-10 at the Dallas 45, the quarterback found Bryant streaking across the middle, the wideout turning upfield for a big 34-yard gain to the Minnesota 21.
Three plays later, Romo stepped up in the pocket and darted one into Harris who lunged across the goal line for the game-winning score, 27-23.
With the victory, the Cowboys pushed their record back above .500 for the season, and assured their NFC East counterparts could gain no ground in the division race. They’ll now travel to New Orleans to face Drew Brees and the Saints in primetime next Sunday night.
LISTEN LIVE–RIGHT NOW: Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings postgame show
Dallas Cowboys Postgame Show
Dallas Cowboys Radio Network
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2013 COWBOYS GAME 9 RECAP: Dallas Cowboys offense does just enough to avoid embarrassing loss against Minnesota Vikings
IRVING — The Dallas Cowboys did what they needed to do today, they beat a bad team.
The Cowboys weren’t very impressive but they got the job done, improving to 5-4 with a 27-23 victory at AT&T Stadium.
Here are five thoughts on today’s game.
1.) Not many folks probably left the stadium feeling like they got their money’s worth. The Cowboys played to the level of the one-win Minnesota Vikings and barely pulled it out. Every week it becomes more apparent that this is nothing better than a .500 team. Enjoy the victory. But expect nothing more than a “win one- lose one” product the rest of the way.
2.) Dez Bryant was showing his passion again. This time it cost the Cowboys 15 yards. Bryant was called for offensive pass interference in the third quarter and then took off his helmet to argue with an official. Bryant was booed after dropping his second pass of the game a few minutes after he was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. He’s the team’s best playmaker, so you have to take the good with the bad. Bryant made a key play later in the game.
3.) So that’s why the Detroit Lions doubled Jason Witten so often last Sunday. The Pro Bowl tight end was the Cowboys’ best player against the Vikings. Witten caught eight passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. He dropped a pass early but Witten remained Romo’s favorite target. When he didn’t get the ball, Witten was still making an impact by attracting double teams, which is exactly what led to Dwayne Harris’ game-winning score. The 31-year-old won’t wow you with his athleticism but he’s still as consistent as they come.
4.) Dallas rushed nine times for 36 yards.
5.) The defensive meetings this week will be about missed tackles. Jeff Heath, Barry Church and Ernie Sims all were abused multiple times. The offensive meetings will emphasis dropped passes. Dallas receivers dropped eight, which included Witten, Bryant and Terrance Williams.
UGLY, BUT IT’S A WIN: Dallas Cowboys offense struggles until fading moments against lowly Vikings
ARLINGTON, Texas — A few thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys’ 27-23 win against the Minnesota Vikings:
What it means for the Cowboys: They didn’t make it look easy, going down to the final minute before dropping the one-win Vikings.
Tony Romo’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Harris won the game with 35 seconds to go and kept the Cowboys in first place in the NFC East with a 5-4 record. They also continued a trend of beating teams .500 or worse under Jason Garrett. The Cowboys are now 17-1 since 2011 against the bad teams.
The win was the Cowboys’ fourth at AT&T Stadium, matching their home win total from a year ago.
It was an ugly win, but Garrett will undoubtedly say winning in the NFL is a hard thing to do. It’s even harder when you let bad teams stick around.
Stock watch: After an ugly :58 minutes, and with the game on the line, Romo responded with a game-winning drive after throwing what could have been a crippling interception. Romo completed 7 of 9 passes on the 90-yard drive.
Forget the ground game: The return of DeMarco Murray was supposed to bring some sort of renewed emphasis of the running game, but it never happened.
The Cowboys chose to attack through the air against the 29th-ranked defense, but it’s not as if Minnesota has a great run defense. In the second quarter, the Cowboys got to the Vikings’ 12 and did not even give a pretense of running the ball with back-to-back plays out of an empty set and a three-wide receiver formation. The result was a drop and two sacks, forcing the Cowboys to settle for a Dan Bailey field goal.
Murray, who was playing after a two-game absence with a knee injury, finished with four carries for 31 yards and the Dallas Cowboys had just nine carries for the game.
Seeing stars: Last week the Dallas Cowboys couldn’t stop Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who had 329 yards. This week it was Adrian Peterson.
It wasn’t a historic day for Peterson, but he had some vintage moments when it mattered most on his way to 140 yards rushing. He busted free for a 52-yard run at the Minnesota 28 and then scored the go-ahead touchdown with 5:40 to play when he ran through safety Jeff Heath and linebacker Justin Durant for an 11-yard score on fourth-and-1.
What’s next: The Dallas Cowboys travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints next week. This was a game New Orleans defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has had circled since he joined the Saints after he was dismissed as the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator last January. The Cowboys have lost seven of their eight games to the Saints. Their only victory came at the Superdome in 2009, 24-17, when New Orleans was undefeated.
NFL GAMEDAY RESOURCES: 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings
Following a crushing defeat to Detroit, the Cowboys return home to face Minnesota on Sunday. The Vikings are bad. They are 1-6, having been victimized by poor quarterback play and a porous pass defense. Not even Adrian Peterson, the league’s best running back, has been able to put a charge in the listless Vikings. As a result, Vegas has the 4-4 Cowboys as 10 ½-point favorites in this game. Dallas can’t afford to lose this with a game against New Orleans looming. Here is a look at how the Cowboys and Vikings match up:
When the Cowboys run
DeMarco Murray appears ready to return to action. He’s listed as probable. But at this point it’s hard to invest any faith in the Cowboys’ running game. Dallas produced only 62 rushing yards last week in a loss to Detroit, a team that was surrendering the highest average yards per carry before Week 7. The Cowboys feature the sixth-worst ground attack in the NFL and the loss of guard Brian Waters won’t help their effort to improve.
When the Cowboys pass
Since throwing for 506 yards against Denver, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has played average football. In the last three games, he has completed just 56.1 percent of his attempts and posted a 79.7 passer rating. The Cowboys need better production out of Romo and they could get it this week against a Minnesota defense giving up an average of 287.9 yards per game through the air.
When the Vikings run
The Vikings have Adrian Peterson, one of the best runners the NFL has ever seen. But the Vikings’ ground attack is producing 103.3 yards per game, the 18th-highest average in the league. Early deficits and the absence of a legitimate passing game have conspired against Peterson, who is still the fifth-leading rusher in the NFL. This will be a tough test for the Cowboys after Detroit averaged 4.9 yards per carry against Dallas last Sunday.
When the Vikings pass
No team this season has given up more yards through the air than the Cowboys. But they should be able to limit Minnesota’s unimpressive passing offense. Christian Ponder, who will start Sunday, has been unimpressive, throwing two touchdown passes and five interceptions this season. While the Vikings feature a playmaking receiver, Greg Jennings, they don’t pose the type of threat that Denver, Detroit, San Diego and the New York Giants do. All of those teams roasted the Cowboys. It’s not expected Minnesota will do the same.
The battle that could develop between Dwayne Harris and Cordarrelle Patterson could be an interesting one. Patterson, a rookie, has become one of the most dynamic specialists in the game. This season, he’s scored twice on kick returns, including one of 109 yards that resulted in a touchdown last week against Green Bay. Harris, meanwhile, is second in the league in kick return average, just behind Patterson. But unlike Patterson he’s one of the NFL’s best punt returners, too.
The Cowboys suffered a crushing defeat last Sunday and it’s uncertain if the team has gotten over it. Now they face the Vikings, who have won seven of the last eight games they’ve played against Dallas. While Minnesota is 1-6 this season, the Vikings still have Adrian Peterson, the Texas native who should be motivated in his return to his home state. He could do damage to a Dallas team still smarting from its loss to Detroit.
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Trackers and Scoreboards
View NFL|Dallas Cowboys game stats and scores online while you watch or listen to the game.
Click HERE to choose from a list of popular online game trackers.
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Sounds of the game
Listen to the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys” Brad Sham on KRLD in Dallas.
Click HERE. Don’t live in the Dallas area? Click HERE.
or listen via the Dallas Cowboys Android App on your phone or tablet
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Watch the game
To watch on network TV, tune to:
KDFW-TV/FOX 4 Dallas | KMSP-TV/FOX 9 Minneapolis
Out of market? Click HERE to watch online (NFL Sunday Ticket)
When: Sunday, November 3rd, 2013 at high noon (Dallas time)
Where: AT&T Stadium | Arlington, TX
Watch on TV: Local FOX affiliate | DirecTV
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: The Boys Are Back
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GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Dallas Cowboys pregame/postgame shows
Dallas Cowboys Pre-game/Postgame Show
Note: The pregame show starts about two hours before kickoff. The postgame show starts approximately 30 minutes after the game is over.
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LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION VIDEO: Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium Gameday Spectacle of Light
GAMEDAY LIGHTS: Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium comes alive (1:06)
Watch as the the lights of Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium come alive. Song: Shut Em Down by Cell Dweller. Courtesy of Fixt/Position Music. . (Watch Video | Play Audio)
DALLAS COWBOYS AT&T STADIUM: GAMEDAY EXPERIENCE | 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys host Minnesota Vikings
WHAT: Minnesota Vikings (1-6) at Dallas Cowboys (4-4) WHEN: Sunday, Noon (CST)
WHERE: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas TELEVISION: Fox
The Dallas Cowboys fifth home game of the 2013 season will feature the reigning NFL MVP in Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson.
While the Cowboys will be looking to get back over .500 with a win tomorrow, there will be several festivities taking place long before the kickoff, which is scheduled for Noon. (Don’t forget to set the clocks back for Daylight Savings).
Here are some things to look for:
New Style Lounge
This Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys are hosting the NFL’s style lounge on the Ackermann platform near the escalators on the 400 level. This pop-up store will feature a variety of fashion and accessories, targeted the female football fan.
This year’s lounge is sponsored by Covergirl, who will provide complimentary fanicures, featuring team-nail art.
Other items at the lounge include a wide range of products such as hand bags, glitzed-out watches and affordable vintage style t-shirts and chic jewelry.
Did You Know:
- The roof and the doors are expected to be open for this game. Please note that this can change up to 90 minutes prior to kickoff.
- Dr Pepper is pleased to provide Dallas Cowboys Bandanas to the first 50,000 fans to the game.
- Dallas Cowboys Alumni will be signing autographs in the club areas one hour prior to kickoff.
- Main Club Home : Preston Pearson
- Main Club Visitors : Walt Garrison
- Silver Club Home : Pettis Norman
- Silver Club Visitors : John Gesek
On the Plazas
Other forms of entertainment will abound at Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium on Sunday.
- On the West Plaza around 11: 25 a.m., the Cowboys are giving away a free Harley Davidson motorcycle to one fan. Three lucky contestants will get the keys, but only one will get to drive away with their new ride.
- Also on the West Plaza at 11 a.m., the Air Force will conduct an enlistment ceremony.
- Former tight end Billy Joe DuPree will be the featured guest for the alumni interview.
- The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders will split their squad in half for pregame performances on both the East and West Plazas at 10:35 a.m.
- Rhythm & Blues Dance Team, Rhythm & Blues Drum Line and Rhythm & Blues Break Boys will each perform on both East & West plaza before the game.
- There will also be a free Kids Zone, complete with mechanical bull, rock climbing wall and zip line. There will also be NFL Play 60 games, face painting and balloon animals.
- There will also be giveaways like official game-used merchandise, CD’s, and much more on each stage in the plazas for games like Karaoke Contest, Ladder Golf, Bag Toss and Dance Contest
- There will also be Plaza food and beverage discounts1: $2 12oz. soda & bottled water $5 12oz. Miller beer, as well as discounted hot dogs, burgers and sausages.
- Trumpeter Freddie Jones will once again perform the national anthem Sunday, as he is scheduled to do for every home game this fall. Jones’ instrumental anthem was wildly popular at the Dallas Cowboys’ season opener.
- During the anthem, a full-field American flag will be presented by the US Army 470th Military Intelligence Brigade, ROTC cadets and personnel from the Wounded Warrior Project.
- Sunday’s halftime show will feature a Dr. Pepper Tuition Toss, where two lucky fans have a chance to win a $10,000 scholarship. And in honor of Military Night, Dr. Pepper will match this donation for two military representatives as well.
Looking For 20
All season long, Dallas Cowboys fans attending home games will be hoping for at least 20 points. This year, Papa John’s has partnered with the Cowboys for the ultimate fan promotion. Any game in which the Cowboys get at least 20 points, all fans in attendance will get 50 percent off their entire order the following day at papajohns.com with promo code COWBOYS20. Offer valid for regular-priced menu items and only at participating stores.
New Bag Policy
Fans are reminded to remember the NFL’s new bag policy, which will be in effect at every Cowboys home game this season.
Only hand-held purses will be allowed into the stadium, along with clear plastic tote bags that do not exceed 12”x6”x12” inches.
Items such as backpacks, coolers, large purses, camera bags, diaper bags, fanny packs and seat cushions are not allowed into the stadium under the new NFL safety rules.
Traffic & Parking:
- It’s recommended to use the Dallas Cowboys interactive parking site for all travels to AT&T Stadium. This website provides the best routes from point of origin to the pre-purchased or selected cash parking lot.
COWBOYS VS. VIKINGS GUT-CHECK: Dallas needs to parlay emotion into a win in game 9
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys are 4-4, halfway to their regular-season record of the past two years. With the Saints coming up next week, this matchup with the Vikings seems crucial for the Cowboys to get back over .500.
Here are the gut feelings for beat writers Nick Eatman, Bryan Broaddus, David Helman, and Rowan Kavner.
A home game against a 1-6 squad with a struggling defense and no clear answer at quarterback. Basically, this is the easiest game remaining on the Dallas Cowboys’ schedule, in my humble opinion. It’s not must-win in an immediate, win-or-go-home sense, but they certainly can’t afford to drop a game to a team that will be in contention for the top pick in the draft. And I don’t think they will. The Cowboys have been excellent at starting well this season, and I think they’ll have 10 or 14 points by the end of the first quarter. An early deficit will make it hard for Minnesota to pound the rock with Adrian Peterson, and it should lead to more pass attempts. Pass attempts mean interceptions. I think the Cowboys get two, with one of them coming from Jeff Heath. It’s not going to be a high-flying beatdown, but I think Dallas works its way to an efficient, one-sided, 27-13 win.
The Dallas Cowboys should win this one. It’s the first and last time I’ll say that this year, given the rest of games on their schedule. I don’t call it a “must-win” like some games have been labeled before. They just should win it against a one-win team that doesn’t know their starting quarterback on any given week and boasts a struggling defense. The Cowboys’ defensive injuries could make this interesting, though. I think after a couple down weeks, Jason Witten finds the end zone, as does Terrance Williams to give the rookie five straight scoring games. DeMarco Murray also adds another, while either B.W. Webb or Micah Pellerin picks off a pass en route to a two-score win.
This is one of the games where we won’t really find out if the Dallas Cowboys can be contenders. But we’ll find out for sure if they aren’t. If they lose to the Vikings or even play down to their level, it won’t be a good sign, considering they’ve got some tough games coming up. I see this one playing out like the Rams game a few weeks ago. The Cowboys are that much better and they’ll show it. I see a big day from Jason Witten, who hasn’t done much in recent weeks. I don’t see Terrance Williams extending his streak of touchdown grabs, but he’ll play well. I do see the Cowboys out-rushing the Vikings, but in a collective effort. And Brandon Carr bounces back this week with at least one interception, but I’m thinking he might get two. I’m seeing a 17-point win by the Cowboys at least.
When you team is 1 – 6, not much is going right for you but if there is a bright spot on this Vikings defense, it is the play of Jared Allen. No matter what the score or situation, Allen is going to give you everything he has. He is a relentless player in every sense of the word and there is no quit to his game . Tyron Smith was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys to play against guys like Allen and keep them from being that disruptive player. Despite what happened with the holding call last week against the Lions, Smith has brought his “A” game each week. He has been consistent with his technique and finish which has allowed him to be rock solid on that left side. My gut tells me that Tyron Smith finds a way to pitch a shutout in his matchup with Jared Allen this Sunday.
NFL Films Preview: Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys (2:01)
NFL Films previews the 2013-2014 week 9 matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys. (Watch Video | No Audio)
RIVAL HEADLINE–PHILLY: Why do YOU hate the Cowboys?
THERE IS a great Christmas song that proclaims, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” While I love the season from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day because people are actually nice to each other and concentrate on things that are most important – family and friends – it is not the most wonderful time of the year!
That’s actually October, if you are a sports fan.
There is a plethora of football to watch, both college and pro. The baseball playoffs are in full swing, culminating with the World Series and all its tension and excitement. Hockey season has begun in earnest and the NBA launches at the end of the month.
To cite one example of how great October can be, consider if you lived in Boston. Last Sunday was a day you would never forget – unbelievable comebacks by the Patriots and Red Sox in big games. Yes, October is the most wonderful time of the year – the only month all four major sports are going on at the same time.
This year, October is even more special because tomorrow the Eagles play the Cowboys at home with first place in the NFC East at stake. Good god, I hate those Cowboys!
On Wednesday, I was on the train coming back from New York and I was sitting with my cousin Steven, a brilliant psychiatrist, his aide, Marguerite, and two rambunctious women named Sarah and Jennifer. We had a great time as they helped me create the “Top 10 Reasons I Hate the Cowboys.” Though they were my reasons, the crew helped me put them in descending order. It was great fun and I strongly recommend you do it with your friends. We share many of the same reasons, but ranking them as to which make you hate the ‘Boys the most is a hoot.
So here’s my Top 10:
10. The Star – What unbelievable conceit to make a star the symbol of your team and paint it right smack in the middle of the field. How did that star look at the end of the pickle-juice game (the 2000 season opener when the Eagles consumed pickle juice to combat dehydration from the 109-degree game-time temperature and beat the hosts, 41-14)?
9. Jimmy Johnson’s hair – Gelled and lacquered into a steel-like, immovable ‘do, and harder than those obnoxious Cowboy helmets. (I must admit to a tad of envy here.)
8. Cowboy (or AT&T) Stadium – A gaudy, incredibly extravagant mausoleum to Jerry Jones’ ego. Hey, Jerry, with Texas having the highest percentage of people without healthcare coverage of any state in the nation, couldn’t you have thought of a better use for your money?
7. Troy Aikman on TV – This ex-Cowboys QB has never gotten over the physical and scoreboard beating administered to him by the Buddy Ryan-led Birds. He takes it out on the Eagles every chance he gets with his slanted, hateful anti-Eagles commentary.
6. The “Don’t Mess With Texas” attitude – Everything is bigger and better in the Lone Star state, or so they think. Rick Perry as governor? Not so much. Cowboy Stadium is a great example of this. One thing that’s for sure: Everything is more arrogant in Texas, especially if it has anything to do with this football team!
5. Conceited, cocky, arrogant stars, past and present – Michael Irvin, Neon Deion, Tony Romo, Dez Bryant: I can’t stand any of them. (Jason Witten is an exception, but he should have been an Eagle. Remember, we picked L.J. Smith in the draft when Jason was still available.)
4. No cheesesteaks, hoagies, soft pretzels or Tastykakes are sold at Cowboy Stadium – Hard to believe, but true. I went to see the Birds play in Dallas once and sat in Ross Perot’s box. There was white wine, caviar, smoked salmon, Brie and crudités served with nary a soft pretzel to be found. They wouldn’t have lasted 5 minutes in the 700 level at the Vet!
3. Jimmy Johnson’s favorite phrase, “How ‘Bout Them Cowboys?” – I’m sick and tired of hearing it! Hey, Jimmy, how ’bout the fact that “Them Cowboys” have only won one playoff game (the dreaded “air guitar” game vs. the Birds, unfortunately) in more than a decade?
2. Jerry Jones – Need I explain? This unbelievably arrogant owner is the epitome of the conceit, braggadocio and excess that makes us hate the Cowboys.
1. “America’s Team” – Aaaaagh!! Who would have the gall to call themselves America’s Team? Who nominated them? Did we get to vote on this? This self-proclaimed title has inspired many faux fans around the nation to claim to be Cowboy rooters, but they all probably think a rollout is what you do with toilet paper and that the wildcat formation is found at the zoo.
So that’s my list. Have fun coming up with yours. To sum it up: “Cowboys suck,” and with injuries to Ware and Murray, the Birds win easily, 34-23.
Courtesy: Edward Rendell | The Daily News
Editors comment: Pretty lame article, granted. Not much creativity in Philly. After all, why remain bitter about Jimmy Johnson (and his hair) 25 years later? Seems like a “if you can’t beat ‘em … bash ‘em” mentality in the City of Brotherly Love (and resentment). Still, take a moment to vote in their poll. As you’d expect, it’s tilted towards a Philly win on Sunday. Let your voice be heard! While we’re at it … how ‘bout serving cheesesteak on Texas Toast with BBQ sauce for your gameday tailgate? Cheesesteak is basically shaved Texas beef brisket! Go Cowboys … hard pretzels, star and all!!
DALLAS’ TWO-TRICK PONY: Cowboys LB Kyle Bosworth working double time
Kyle Bosworth had been practicing with the offense in short-yardage and goal-line situations for a few weeks, but it wasn’t until Sunday that he got to play on that side of the ball. Bosworth, who makes his living as a linebacker, got to play three snaps at fullback against the Washington Redskins.
It’s the first time the Plano West graduate has been on offense since high school.
“It was a great experience,” Bosworth said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve played fullback. I know they want me to be versatile and as a utility player as possible. It was just the next step in the process. It was really exciting I got the three plays.”
The Cowboys lack a true fullback on their roster after cutting Lawrence Vickers in the off-season. Bosworth is a perfect fit in the team’s jumbo package, which also utilizes an extra offensive tackle in Jermey Parnell.
“I think we had three short-yardage plays in the game, and he did a good job,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of Bosworth. “He’s learning. He hasn’t really done it before. But I thought one was particularly good. I thought a couple of other runs were OK. I think he’s just learning how to do it. He’s not afraid to stick his nose in there. We know that. That’s a positive thing.”
The Cowboys converted on all three plays Bosworth played. DeMarco Murray had a 1-yard run on third-and-one on the fourth snap of the game. On the Cowboys’ second drive, Murray followed Bosworth into the hole for a 2-yard gain on third-and-one. Then, on their third drive, Phillip Tanner gained 2 yards on a third-and-1 behind Bosworth.
“I was pleased with the second and third [plays],” Bosworth said. “The first one could have been better. But I was 3-for-3 in getting the first downs, so that’s good.”
Bosworth laughed when asked if he’d start lobbying to get a pass thrown his way.
“Man, I have great hands,” he said. “I know coach throws me a lot of balls when we’re in scout team and stuff like that, and I haven’t dropped one yet. Knock on wood. But progression. I hope that comes, because that would be just unbelievable. But in time. I’m good with blocking right now.”
Bosworth played three plays on offense, 19 on special teams and none on defense against the Redskins.
NFC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Dwayne Harris earns his second special teams award
In the least suspenseful announcement of the week so far, Dallas Cowboys kick returner Dwayne Harris was named NFC special teams player of the week.
It is the second time this year and the third time in his career that Harris has won the award.
The third-year receiver had an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 90-yard kickoff return against the Washington Redskins Sunday night. The punt return was the fifth-longest in team history and his second punt return for a touchdown. He finished the game with 109 punt return yards, seventh-most in team history.
The 90-yard kickoff return, to the 15-yard line to set up a touchdown that put the Cowboys ahead 21-9, was the 10th-longest in team history.
He finished the game with 222 combined return yards, fourth-most in team history.
He also had two tackles on special teams and leads the 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys in special teams tackles.
RELATED: Harris takes home NFC special teams award for 2nd time
IRVING, Texas – For the first time in 10 years and just the third time in franchise history, a Cowboys’ player has won NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time in a season.
To no surprise, Dwayne Harris won the weekly honor for his performance in Sunday’s 31-16 win over the Redskins. Harris’ 222 return yards outgained the Cowboys’ entire offense by nine yards.
His 86-yard punt return for a touchdown broke the game open in the second half and his 90-yard kickoff return led to another touchdown.
Back in Week 1, Harris won the award for his coverage skills in a win over the Giants. He had three tackles and was involved in a fumble recovery on the punt team. The last time a Cowboys player won this award twice in one season was Billy Cundiff in 2003, when he had two big games against the Giants, kicking a combined 11 field goals. Cowboys kicking coach Chris Boniol also won the award twice in the 1996 season, although the second award was for his performance occurred in the Wild Card win over Minnesota.
Along with this weekly award, Harris also achieved some milestones as well. He now has 623 punt return yards to move into ninth place in Cowboys history.
The 86-yard return was the fifth-longest in franchise history and he became just the third player in club history to have a 90-yard kickoff return without scoring a touchdown.
And his 222 total return yards ranked fourth in club history for a single-game. Mel Renfro holds the club record with 273 against Green Bay in 1964.
CARR ON COURSE: Dallas Cowboys corner continuing to evolve in Texas-2 defense
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr playing without putting pressure on himself, unlike last year.
Brandon Carr, coming off perhaps his most impactful game with the Dallas Cowboys since signing his $50.1 million free agent contract.
“I don’t feel pressure any more,” the veteran cornerback said Monday at Valley Ranch. “I put it on myself last year. It’s a new year. I’m still working, still trying to get better. I’m going to continue to evolve as a player. I’m not going to put pressure on myself. I’m going to continue to have fun and show the passion I have for this game and make plays.”
Carr had six tackles, a tackle for loss, and three pass breakups against the Redskins on Sunday. Instead of playing just one side of the field, he stayed with the Redskins’ No. 1 target, Pierre Garcon, and limited him to six catches for 69 yards on 15 targets.
“You can call it what you want to call it,” Carr said. “I’m going to go out there and do my job wherever they match me up, or on the side I play. I’m going to try to shut it down. It’s a compliment to me and a great challenge for me. I have been working to get to this level for six years now.”
Carr said he still sees himself developing.
“I’m still a work in progress, but I’m down for any task or challenge they present to me,” Carr said. “Any receiver they tell me to go out and cover or give them my best shot, that is what I’m going to do every Sunday.”
PUP AND CIRCUMSTANCE: NBC’s sideline reporter predicts Jay Ratliff’s fate
ARLINGTON, Texas – It looked for all the world that there had finally been a break in the curious case of Jay Ratliff.
NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya spoke with Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones about the Pro Bowl defensive tackle on Sunday ahead of the Cowboys’ primetime game against Washington. Based on talking to Jones, Tafoya was not confident that Ratliff would be returning to the team’s roster this week after his six-week stay on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.
Said Tafoya: “My interpretation, based on Jerry Jones’ body language and his tone, is that Jay Ratliff will not be playing for the Cowboys anymore.”
In the scrum of the Cowboys’ post-win locker room, though, Jones said he wasn’t ready to agree with Tafoya’s assessment.
“I’m not familiar with that report. I didn’t hear it. Our plans are to visit, not only with him but medical and see what we’re going to do with our timing on any PUP or IR considerations,” Jones said. “But we’ve still got a lot of work and decisions to make. But I didn’t hear that report.”
It’s just the latest twist in a long and winding road for Ratliff in the past year. The eight-year veteran missed 10 games in 2012 with a litany of injuries, and injury issues have followed him into 2013. Ratliff missed all of the Cowboys’ summer training camp with a hamstring injury, reportedly suffered during his pre-camp conditioning test. When the team’s preseason ended, Ratliff was placed on the PUP, making him ineligible through the first six games.
The Cowboys’ 31-16 win against Washington on Sunday night got them through the first six weeks with a 3-3 mark, but Ratliff’s future doesn’t seem any clearer. Jones said those conversations will start happening this week as Dallas prepares for a road game against Philadelphia.
“Let’s just see how the week goes and see where we are,” he said. “We’re looking at what the prospects are of him being active, and we just have to see how that goes. I think I’ll have a better, more accurate reading on that for you as the week goes on.”
That seems hard to believe based on recent history, however. The Cowboys haven’t been able to clearly update Ratliff’s injury status since training camp, and the veteran hasn’t been much of a presence around the team’s Valley Ranch training facility. Despite that, Jones said the Cowboys have been in contact with Ratliff on a consistent basis, and he added that Ratliff will be present at the facility in the coming week.
“We’re communicating. He’s in and out – we have communication,” Jones said. “But it’s not that type of issue with him – in any way not being what we want him to be. We want him to be healthy, and he wants to be healthy. But we’ve got to take a look at his progress.”
Jones said it’s not that uncommon for veteran players to rehab from injuries away from the day-to-day activities of the team – provided they’re communicating with the coaching staff. Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders and Pro Bowl tight end Jay Novacek are two “name players” Jones listed as doing such.
“Deion did that some. Deion did that when he was here – had combinations of trainers and workouts,” Jones said. “But he recognized the order of things and recognized the need to do it on a team basis. But we’ve had several name players that would show that they respected what the coaches want and respected what we want, but they would also go at their own pace with strength and conditioning. Novacek was one of them.”
However murky the situation has been this season, Jones said the Cowboys have some decisions to make this week – decisions that may bring some clarity to the issue, with Ratliff or without him.
“We’re going to kind of look at a lot of things here this week, and probably have something to give everybody a better direction on,” he said. “You have a right to know, don’t get me wrong, but we’ve just got to decide what we’re going to do in the short and the long term.”
LONE FLASH OF BRILLIANCE: Tony Romo didn’t have to be the Dallas Cowboys star, for once
ARLINGTON, Texas — A wry grin broke out on Tony Romo’s face when asked to describe what happened on his spectacular touchdown pass Sunday night.
“I would normally ask you which one,” Romo joked after the Dallas Cowboys’ 31-16 win over the NFC East rival Washington Redskins, “but I think I know.”
Yep, there was only one, just a lone flash of brilliance from Romo. And the Cowboys won anyway.
After a week of discussion about how much blame he deserved for a loss in which he threw for five touchdowns and broke the franchise record for passing yards, Romo didn’t need to be a superhero to give the Dallas Cowboys a chance to beat the Redskins.
Not with a defense that had been dreadful the previous two weeks bending but not breaking, giving up 433 total yards but only allowing Washington into the end zone once. Not on a night that Dwayne Harris produced more yardage on returns than the Cowboys did on offense, scoring on an 86-yard punt return and setting up a touchdown with a 90-yard kickoff return.
Dwayne Harris returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown and also had a 90-yard kickoff return.
“Dwayne did a great job and almost allowed us to kind of just sit over there as an offensive unit and rack up all his yards as if we did it without doing much work,” Romo said.
Romo’s work for the night: 18-of-30 for 170 yards and a touchdown with an interception. For his fantasy football owners, it was Romo’s worst performance of the season, not that any of the Dallas Cowboys were complaining.
Maybe the football gods owed Romo one after he ended up being the goat despite one of the greatest statistical performances in NFL history during the previous week’s shootout loss to the Denver Broncos. The Dallas defense definitely owed Romo one.
“Last week, the defense lost the game by not being able to get a stop,” said linebacker Sean Lee, who led the Cowboys with 10 tackles, including a touchdown-saving stop of Robert Griffin III on the Redskins’ first series. “When your offense plays as well as it does, putting up 48 points, and Tony plays as well as he did, you have to win those games if you want to be a good team, if you want to win Super Bowls. The defense let everybody down. We knew it, and we knew we had to find a way to bounce back this week.”
The reality is this kind of win is rare. The Cowboys usually need their franchise quarterback with the nine-figure contract to play up to his paycheck to be in position to pull out a victory.
That could be especially true over the next few weeks if injuries that knocked running back DeMarco Murray and defensive end DeMarcus Ware out of the game linger. Murray suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee; Ware strained his quadriceps. Their statuses for next week’s game in Philadelphia are uncertain.
The Dallas running game is a rumor without Murray. That’s evident by the 19 yards on 12 carries the other tailbacks generated against the Redskins.
The pass rush had been a problem even with Ware coming off the edge. The Cowboys managed to get three sacks and pressure Griffin several other times Sunday night, but it’s a stretch to see that happening consistently if Ware isn’t a major factor.
All of which means the Cowboys could be asking Romo to put up big numbers without the benefit of a balanced offense.
With road trips to Philadelphia and Detroit coming up, it’s probably a safe assumption that the Cowboys will need the spectacular version of Romo to return back home over .500.
They’ll need more plays like the only pass he completed in the third quarter, when he somehow made a clean-blitzing cornerback miss before perfectly dropping the ball to Terrance Williams in the back corner of the end zone for a 15-yard score, stretching Dallas’ lead to double digits.
“He shows that ability really on a consistent basis, week in and week out,” coach Jason Garrett said. “But I tell you what, that was a heck of a play.”
Added owner/general manager Jerry Jones: “That throw he made to 83 in the end zone after getting flushed out, that’s his A game.”
On this night, a flash of that was enough for the Cowboys. That’s reason to smile, an exception to the rule.
SEVENTY-WON YEARS OLD: Dallas Cowboys wrap up birthday win for Jerry Jones
ARLINGTON – The Dallas Cowboys did what they were expected to do tonight, defeat a struggling Washington Redskins team at home.
Here are five thoughts on the Cowboys’ 31-16 win over the Redskins on Jerry Jones’ 71st birthday.
1.) It didn’t look like it for the first three quarters, but overall the Cowboys played above the level of their competition. A week after matching arguably the best team in the league, Dallas played around with a sub-par Washington group for three quarters. To their credit, they separated themselves when it mattered.
2.) Give that man the game ball. Dwayne Harris was the game’s MVP. Harris’ 86-yard punt return for a touchdown and his 90-yard kickoff return that set up Terrance Williams’ TD. The 26-year-old continues to makes plays when given the chance. As Jerry Jones would say, Harris’ arrow is pointing up.
3.) The worst news of the night was that DeMarco Murray (ankle) and DeMarcus Ware (quad) spent the entire second half wearing baseball caps and shorts on the sideline. If their injuries keep them out for an extended period of time the Cowboys are obviously in trouble.
4.) Give the defense a little credit. Yes, they didn’t play a great opponent, but they bounced back — and did it without Ware. Jason Hatcher, Sean Lee, Kyle Wilber, Orlando Scandrick and Brandon Carr all made big plays when needed. Monte Kiffin’s scheme still has holes that make it difficult to believe that they can contain the league’s top offenses.
5.) Even in a poor division, a win over an NFC East opponent is still valuable. If the Cowboys win the games they are supposed to win – like they did tonight – a division crown and home playoff game seem likely. After six weeks, the Cowboys are tied for the division lead at 3-3.
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