Jay Cutler caught an underhanded snap from Bears quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh early in practice Thursday. He dropped back to pass, shuffled right, then forward, then threw a 10-yard pass to his left.
The simple passing drill was a significant milestone for Cutler as he returned to practice for the first time since suffering a high left ankle sprain Nov. 10.
But the favorable news stopped there.
He will miss Monday night’s game against the Cowboys, his fourth straight on the sideline. Coach Marc Trestman on Thursday ruled him out 10 days after Cutler said on his radio show he “would be pretty disappointed if I wasn’t able to play for (the Cowboys) game.”
Trestman, however, reiterated his belief Cutler will play again this season, meaning the Bears should expect to change quarterbacks from backup Josh McCown to Cutler during the final postseason push this month.
“I know the type of fighter Jay is,” left tackle Jermon Bushrod said. “I have only been here for a few months, but I know the passion he has toward this game and toward this team. We want him to come back and be himself. But if things don’t work out, they don’t work out, and we’ll go hit it with Josh.”
Cutler quarterbacked the scout team during Thursday’s practice. He declined the Tribune’s interview request afterward.
Trestman was not sure of Cutler’s status for the Dec. 15 road game against the Browns, saying that will be evaluated next week. Cutler on his radio show Nov. 25 characterized a return for the Browns game as a worst-case scenario.
Trestman said Cutler was not deflated because he failed to meet his Dec. 9 target to return.
“Jay is very clear on where he is medically,” Trestman said. “He’s continuing to progress. We’ve been very, very clear that he has to be released by the doctors before he can play, and he has come to terms with that. He’s a strong-willed and strong-minded guy. He can’t control this decision on Monday other than to continue to work on his rehab.”
Cutler sprained his ankle late in the first half Nov. 10 against the Lions. He stayed in the game and played into the fourth quarter after Bears medical staffers expressed belief he could not damage the ankle more extensively.
Since then, the Bears have insisted Cutler did no additional harm to ankle by continuing to play.
Cutler on Nov. 18 created an air of mystery about the injury when he said on his radio show: “There are a couple of ligaments we’re a little bit worried about that are different than a normal high ankle sprain.”
Neither the team nor Cutler offered further details or explanation.
Cutler’s injuries have been a major subplot in the final season of his contract. He has not finished a game since the Oct. 10 victory over the Giants. He suffered a torn groin muscle against the Redskins on Oct. 20 and was sidelined for the Nov. 4 game against the Packers.
The Bears have won two of the four games Cutler has missed this season. McCown, who started all four of those, will start Monday.
Trestman, meanwhile, looks to Cutler’s return.
“I was encouraged today just by the work that he got in considering the injury wasn’t that long ago, so we’ll see where he is next week,” Trestman said. “But it was a good first day for him to come out and get some work. He threw the ball very, very well.”
Courtesy: Rich Campbell | Tribune reporter
COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE: With Jerry Jones running Cowboys, Dallas in for Doomsday | New York Daily News | Cowboys vs. Giants rivalry
The Boys Are Back editor comments: This is an example of the crap spread around by clueless so-called NFL experts. This homers point of view is complete with quotes and opinions from unnamed sources. It includes all of the standard talking points used by jealous and bias sports reporters jockeying for attention and headlines from more respected sports journalists.
A former NFL general manager who is identified as someone who helped his team to a Super Bowl told the New York Daily News reporter that Jerry Jones is a “horrific” GM who “undermines his head coaches with his antics.”
“What makes him bad is everything he does is based on perception, star power, making a splash. Fourth or fifth on the list is soundness. Everything revolves around him,” the unnamed GM said.
In the story, Daily News columnist Gary Myers suggests Jones should relinquish his GM duties and stick to his strengths as an owner and marketer, a common theme among pundits.
Dallas, who’s 5-5 this season, plays at the New York Giants (4-6) on Sunday at 3:25 p.m.
PHOTO: While the Cowboys owner is a shrewd business man, some of his football moves leave many scratching their heads. With owner Jerry Jones calling the football shots, it is no wonder the Cowboys struggle to regain their Super Bowl championship form of the 90s.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is an incredibly bright and creative businessman, a real marketing genius, and he has helped turn Dallas into the most valuable franchise in American sports. So many of his ideas have contributed to the NFL now being a $9 billion-a-year industry.
But if the Cowboys ever want to win their sixth Lombardi Trophy, then Jones must shake up his front office.
He needs to call himself in for a little talk.
“Sit down Jerry,” says Jones the owner.
“Yes, sir, Mr. Jones,” says Jones the GM.
PHOTO: Eli Manning and the Giants find much more success than their division rivals in recent years.
You’re fired,” says Jones the owner.
See, it’s that easy. Painless.
America’s Team is the best nickname in sports, but it no longer fits the Cowboys and needs to be revoked until they get back to a Super Bowl — if they ever get back to a Super Bowl.
Of course, they are worth $2.3 billion according to Forbes, the television networks can’t get enough of them, they have the best stadium in the world, but, as one executive with another team (who?) laughed Monday about the nickname, “America likes winners,” and the Cowboys just don’t win championships anymore.
The Dallas Cowboys will be at MetLife Stadium to play the New York Giants on Sunday in a game with big implications on the mediocre NFC East race. Dallas is 5-5, which is not unusual since they are 109-109 since the turn of the century. The Giants, after their 0-6 start, have won four straight as Tom Coughlin implores his players “to keep the dream alive.” They are both chasing the Eagles, who have won three in a row to get to 6-5.
PHOTO: Since taking over as GM, Jones has seen more than his share of flops from Tony Romo.
But, really, how ‘bout them Cowboys?
They have endured 17 consecutive seasons without making it to the Super Bowl after winning three in a four-year period. During the Dallas drought, the longest in franchise history, longer than its expansion years, 20 different teams have been to the Super Bowl, including the Patriots six times and the Giants, Steelers and Packers three times each. In that time, the Cowboys have made the playoffs seven times and have two wild-card victories.
I was there on Feb. 25, 1989, in the Cowboys team meeting room at their Valley Ranch headquarters, when Jones announced he had bought the team, fired the legendary Tom Landry and replaced him with Jimmy Johnson. It was called the Saturday Night Massacre and it was an unforgettable moment in NFL history.
The most famous line that came out of that news conference was when Jones proclaimed he would be in charge of everything from “socks to jocks.”
Maybe Jones was running just about every department including the laundry department back then, but Johnson was running the personnel department and he brought in enough great players to win the Super Bowl following the 1992 and 1993 seasons and then left when he and Jones fought over who deserved the credit. There was enough of the core remaining that the relatively clueless Barry Switzer came off his couch to win a Super Bowl with Johnson’s players in 1995.
PHOTO: Jason Pierre-Paul and the Giants should be happy to see the Cowboys late in the year.
Yet, once Johnson and then his players eventually departed, Jones was on his own to restock as the undisputed general manger. And while nobody in the NFL is better at making money, the Cowboys can’t compete in the front office. Jones hired a bunch of puppets as head coaches following Johnson — Switzer, Chan Gailey, Dave Campo, Wade Phillips and now Jason Garrett — with one exception.
Jones tried to get it right when he hired Bill Parcells in between Campo and Phillips, and he allowed Parcells more input in their four seasons together than anybody since Johnson. But he still forced malcontent Terrell Owens on Parcells and Dallas was the only one of Parcells’ four head coaching jobs where he didn’t win a playoff game.
It’s startling that Jones the owner has put up with Jones the GM this long.
“As a general manager, he’s horrific. Just horrific,” said a former GM who once helped his team get to a Super Bowl. “What makes him bad is everything he does is based on perception, star power, making a splash. Fourth or fifth on the list is soundness. Everything revolves around him. He undermines his head coaches with his antics. They don’t have a lot of real harmony and he creates a lot of the storms.”
Jones gave Tony Romo a six-year, $108 million contract in March even though he’s won just one playoff game in seven years as the starter. He dumped defensive coordinator Rob Ryan after last season and replaced him with Monte Kiffin, who was one of the best — 10 years ago.
After the Saints torched the Cowboys for 625 yards in their 49-17 victory with Ryan on the opposite sideline as the New Orleans defensive coordinator, Jones admitted the switch “doesn’t look good right now.” He initially called a 51-48 loss to the Broncos a “moral victory,” which was then refuted by his son Stephen, a team vice president, and Garrett.
Jones is ultra-competitive and is willing to spend to win. He is clearly one of the smartest people in the NFL. So why isn’t he smart enough to fire himself as GM and hire somebody as good at making football decisions as Jones is at making money? “His ego is so big,” one personnel director said. “He’s had so many chances to do it and won’t. He’s going down with the ship.”
How ’bout them Cowboys?
Written by: Gary Myers | New York Daily News
The one-year contract the Chicago Bears signed defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff to this week includes no guaranteed money or incentives.
His $840,000 annual salary is the minimum for a player with eight accrued NFL seasons. However, it counts only $395,294 against the salary cap because payments are divided by the 17 weeks of the regular season, and there are only eight weeks remaining.
Ratliff, who now prefers to be called Jeremiah instead of Jay, as he was known for his eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, did not practice this week. However, he attended last Friday’s session and had his helmet with him.
“It will be a week-to-week evaluation, or really day-to-day within each and every week,” coach Marc Trestman said. “We’ll see where he is next week when we come back to practice.”
Tony Romo has turned into a star after going undrafted 10 years ago. Romo’s spring of 2013 was a tad more lucrative than his spring of 2003.
Eight months ago, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback signed a six-year, $108 million extension with $55 million in guaranteed money.
And 10 years before that?
“I was a very sought-after [rookie] free agent,” Romo, tongue firmly in cheek, told Twin Cities reporters on Wednesday.
Romo said he had nibbles from 15 to 20 NFL teams immediately after the 2003 draft. Of course, as Romo noted, that interest level came from 15 to 20 teams, “that really didn’t like [me] enough the previous 48 hours.”
So, Tony, what did the Cowboys have to fork over to get the late-bloomer from Eastern Illinois? Five hundred bucks?
“Yeah, I made a little more than that,” he said. “I think it was 10 grand, actually, which felt like a year’s paycheck coming out of college. It was nice.”
Say what you want about Romo. He has been labeled as a guy who can’t win the big game. A guy who is prone to mistakes late in games. A guy who is 1-3 in the postseason. But there aren’t too many teams, the Vikings obviously included, who wouldn’t swap quarterbacks for Romo.
Heading into Sunday’s game against the Vikings, Romo ranks fifth in passer rating (101.7) behind only Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.
Romo is 59-42 heading into his 102nd NFL start. Among quarterbacks through 100 starts, Romo ranks No. 1 in completions (2,262) and passing yards (27,485). He also ranks third in touchdown passes (189) behind only Dan Marino (214) and Brett Favre (194).
In that 2003 draft, 32 teams made 262 selections. Thirteen quarterbacks were selected. Only one of them — Carson Palmer, selected No. 1 overall by the Bengals — ever made a Pro Bowl. Romo has made three.
The other quarterbacks selected in the first round that year were Byron Leftwich (seventh), Kyle Boller (19th) and Rex Grossman (22nd). Later rounds saw names such as Chris Simms, Senaca Wallace, Brian St. Pierre, Brooks Bollinger, Drew Henson and Kliff Kingsbury.
“I think more than anything, I was just very raw,” Romo said. “[The scouts] were all right. But at the end of the day, they just didn’t see the things that can separate you.”
Romo was asked what it is about quarterbacks and the draft selection process that can lead to No. 1 overall picks flopping and undrafted free-agents flourishing.
“I think sometimes only certain people can evaluate the quarterback position at a high level,” Romo said. “I think it’s a very tough thing to do because there are so many things that go into it. And I think it’s a difficult position to gauge. Just [the offensive] system alone dictates differing decision-making processes and I think that unless you’re really the guy coaching him and teaching him, you don’t necessarily know his strengths and negatives.”
So what’s the one trait Romo would look for if he were in charge of drafting a quarterback coming out of college?
“Instincts,” he said. “Just their ability to get through progressions at a fast rate. You can always work on accuracy, you can always work on footwork. You can get guys to do the right things and be leaders and all that stuff. But inherently what you can’t teach him is to see the field quickly, react quickly and get through stuff fast. That’s where I find that [teams] just miss the mark the most times with young guys.”
Courtesy: MARK CRAIG | Minnesota Star Tribune
COWBOYS RIVAL HEADLINE: Detroit Free Press | Lions QB Matthew Stafford’s 1-yard TD caps improbable comeback
Matthew Stafford was yelling, screaming like his house was on fire, and figuratively it was.
Riley Reiff was 30 yards downfield celebrating what he thought was a game-winning touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson as the precious final seconds ticked off the clock in a game the Detroit Lions couldn’t afford to lose.
Twenty-two, 21, 20 …
Stafford waved his arms maniacally for his starting left tackle, the one playing through a hamstring injury, to get to the line of scrimmage. He motioned with his right arm to spike the ball and told his offensive linemen — everyone within earshot, really — that he was about to do just that.
As Reiff raced into his three-point stance — “I think he probably ran a 4.3,” Reggie Bush said — Stafford surveyed a Dallas Cowboys defense trying to catch its breath, called for the snap from Dominic Raiola, climbed over his center’s back and extended his arms across the goal line as a few stunned linebackers made a last-ditch effort to swat the ball away.
The clock froze at 12 seconds and Stafford booked around left end into the middle of the end zone where he celebrated a touchdown so unexpected he had to explain what happened to several linemen in the locker room after the game with the most ferocious spike you’ve ever seen.
Ballgame. Lions win 31-30. Another amazing comeback complete.
“I told everybody I was spiking it,” Stafford said. “I was screaming clock, I was going to spike it. It was a feel thing. I was yelling, ‘Spike.’ They knew I was yelling spike. I saw linebackers kind of standing like this (back off the line of scrimmage). Our guys didn’t fire off, they just stood up but I looked down and we were that far, shoot I’m going to figure I’ll get that. So I just need to go — shoot, I don’t know, I was making a play, man. I was trying to help my team win and sure am glad I got across.”
Stafford, who now has nine fourth-quarter comebacks in his career, completed 33 of 48 passes for a season-high 488 yards and got plenty of help from Johnson and a costly Cowboys holding penalty that left the Lions enough time for the game-winning drive.
Johnson caught 14 passes for a Lions record 329 yards, the second-highest single-game total in NFL history, and had his way with Dallas’ $10-million-a-year cornerback, Brandon Carr.
He opened the scoring with a 2-yard touchdown catch and made another of his signature jump-ball grabs amid two defenders, but until the final minute it looked like his heroics might be lost in a crush of Lions turnovers.
Dallas led, 27-24, with 1:24 to play and had a chance to run out the clock after stopping the Lions (5-3) on fourth-and-12 at their own 31.
But DeAndre Levy and Stephen Tulloch stuffed Joseph Randle for a 3-yard loss on first down, Travis Lewis dropped Phillip Tanner for a 1-yard loss on second down, and after the Lions used their final timeout, Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith grabbed Devin Taylor for a holding penalty on third down that stopped the clock with 1:14 to play.
The Lions, who would have got the ball back with about 25 seconds left if not for the penalty, gave up a field goal and started their final drive at their own 20 with 1:02 on the clock.
“Our emotions, we were a little down, we were a little up. I think I experienced just about every emotion possible today,” Bush said. “Guys just keep fighting and then defense gave us a chance. When they got that holding penalty it stopped the clock and that gave us a chance. … Sometimes it just works out that way.”
Stafford completed 4 of 5 passes for 79 yards on the game-winning drive with one spike, and took advantage of a Dallas defense that lost starting safety Barry Church to a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter and played the entire day without its other starter at safety, J.J. Wilcox.
Kris Durham caught a 40-yard pass down the Lions sideline when backup safety Jakar Hamilton, who signed off the practice squad earlier in the week, was late helping Orlando Scandrick, and one play later Johnson split Hamilton and Carr down the right seam for a 22-yard gain to the Dallas 1.
Church said he felt “helpless” watching the final drive, and Lions coach Jim Schwartz said few quarterbacks other than Stafford could have engineered the series.
“We know what we got in him,” center Dominic Raiola said. “I just said earlier, Calvin had a huge day, player of the game and everything, but for Matt to come back and do what he did after what he went through early in the game it’s crazy. … I mean, what can you say about the guy? Love his toughness, love his moxie.”
Stafford threw two interceptions, both to Sean Lee, and all four of the Lions’ turnovers came in Cowboys territory.
Tony Romo completed just 14 of 30 passes for 206 yards for the Cowboys and threw second-half touchdowns of 50 yards to Dez Bryant and 60 yards to Terrance Williams.
Johnson’s 329 yards were the most ever by a receiver in regulation in NFL history. Flipper Anderson had 336 yards receiving in 1989, but 40 of those yards came in overtime.
Courtesy: Dave Birkett | Detroit Free Press
Detroit — Just another game, huh coach? Just one of 16? Not this one.
“Yeah, I might rethink my mantra on this one,” coach Jim Schwartz said after the Lions staged a thrillingly improbable 31-30 comeback victory against the Cowboys. “This was a big win for us. Going into the bye week at 5-3 instead of 4-4, I don’t care how you look at it, 5-3 is a successful first half of the season.”
The Lions were down 30-24 with 62 seconds left. They were 80 yards away from the winning score with no timeouts.
“People were leaving the stadium,” Calvin Johnson said. “Nobody thought we could pull it off in one minute. But we’ve got some firepower over here.”
Indeed. Quarterback Matthew Stafford (33 for 48, 488 yards and one touchdown) shook off two earlier interceptions and started dissecting the Cowboys’ injury-depleted secondary.
Stafford connected with Johnson for 17 yards, Kris Durham for 40 yards and then Johnson again, splitting two defenders, for 22 yards to put it at the 1 with the clock ticking down inside 15 seconds. Here’s where it got interesting.
First left tackle Riley Reiff, thinking Johnson had scored, was 40 yards behind the play celebrating as Stafford hurried to set the offense.
“He about gave the head coach a heart attack there,” Schwartz said. “He’s going to pay for that somewhere down the line.”
Once set, Stafford called out “spike, spike,” meaning he was going to clock the ball. Everybody on the field, offense and defense alive, thought he was going to spike the ball. Stafford didn’t spike the ball.
“It was a feel thing,” he said. “I was yelling spike. They knew I was yelling spike. I saw their linebackers standing still. Our guys didn’t fire off (the line). They just stood up. But I looked down. We were that far (inches); shoot, I’m going to get that. Just trying to make a play to help us win.”
Stafford stuck the ball over the goal line and for good measure rolled off the stack and ran it in. Replay upheld the winning score.
“He kind of caught us off-guard,” Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher acknowledged.
“This is an amazing win today,” said running back Reggie Bush, who had 92 yards rushing. “It’s a testament to the character of the guys on the team. We kept fighting. I think we made about every mistake possible in that game, but we kept fighting until the end. We just kept telling each other to keep fighting, keep going. Matt was amazing today.”
The Lions became the first team since 2007 to win a game with a minus-four turnover ratio. All four turnovers came in Dallas territory. Stafford threw two interceptions early, both to linebacker Sean Lee. Lee returned the second one 74 yards to set up a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dez Bryant.
Bush fumbled. Johnson fumbled.
The Lions gave up a 60-yard touchdown pass to Terrence Newman and a 50-yard touchdown pass to Bryant – in the fourth quarter.
“Our team has been resilient through a lot of things, and they needed to be today,” Schwartz said. “We certainly didn’t make it easy for ourselves.”
The Lions responded to every punch the Cowboys threw. Johnson caught 14 passes for 329 yards — the second most in a single game in NFL history.
“He had his way,” Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr said of Johnson. “And, we couldn’t find a way to keep him from rolling.”
“Just wait until he’s 100 percent,” Schwartz joked.
Joique Bell scored on a 1-yard run. Bush had a 1-yard touchdown run set up by a 54-yard pass to Johnson.
Still, with 1:07 left in the game, the Lions looked dead in the water. They were down 27-24. Their previous drive had stalled at their own 31. The timeouts had been exhausted. The Cowboys were called for holding rookie defensive end Devin Taylor on a third-and-14 run play.
That holding call probably saved the day for the Lions because it stopped the clock.
“If we don’t get called for a penalty, I think they probably had 20 seconds or so left,” Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said.
“We had 40 more seconds than we were planning on at that point,” said Schwartz, who declined the penalty and allowed kicker Dan Bailey to make it 30-24 with a 44-yard field goal. “I thought that was a really key point in the game. Any time you got a minute, you got our offense, we like the odds that we can go put that ball in the end zone.”
Never a doubt, joked Stafford.
“I know it’s a tall order,” he said. “Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I was sitting there comfortable in my boots like, ‘Oh, here we go, no timeouts and we got to go 80 against that defense.’ But there’s always a chance. Our guys believed, they battled, they made some great catches and plays.
“We won the game and that’s all that matters now.”
Courtesy: Chris McCosky | The Detroit News | Associated Press contributed
RIVAL POSTGAME LOWLIGHTS: Philadelphia Eagles local coverage following loss to America’s Team (New Feature)
Philadelphia Eagles offense reflects on performance (2:17)
Week 7 – Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles Highlights (3:56)
The Eagles fell to the Dallas Cowboys, 17-3 (Watch Video | No Audio)
Postgame Press Conference – Eagles head coach Chip Kelly (9:16)
If you like this new feature, please use the SHARE buttons below
Photo: The Cowboys’ Terrance Williams dives in for a touchdown as Eagles cornerback Bradley Fletcher defends on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. (Matt Rourke/AP)
Opportunities to take first place in the NFC East and for Nick Foles to push to become the Eagles’ starting quarterback were both spoiled in a 17-3 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
The Eagles’ offense struggled in the team’s ninth consecutive loss at Lincoln Financial Field, and Foles appeared overmatched before leaving the game with a head injury at the end of the third quarter. Matt Barkley replaced Foles and proceeded to throw three interceptions.
Foles started in place of Michael Vick, who missed his second consecutive game with a pulled left hamstring. Vick never looked so good as he did when compared to the performances of Foles and Barkley.
One week after Foles starred in a win over the Buccaneers, Foles went 11 of 29 for 80 yards. Barkley finished 11 of 20 for 129 yards and three interceptions.
The running game did not help, either. LeSean McCoy was limited to 55 rushing yards. DeSean Jackson was held to three catches for 21 yards, shut down most the game by Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr and the ineffectiveness of the Eagles’ quarterbacks.
The offense’s issues overshadowed a relatively impressive game from the defense. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo threw for 317 yards and one touchdown. He also had two interceptions. But most of his damage came in the second half, and the Eagles’ defense kept the team in contention.
The first quarter served as an insult to offensive football. Neither team could find the end zone, and there were six combined punts.
It didn’t get much better in the second quarter. There were seven more punts in that period, with the only score a 38-yard field goal by Dan Bailey as Dallas took a 3-0 lead.
The Eagles drove the ball to the Cowboys’ 42-yard line with 20 seconds remaining when Foles tried throwing a deep ball on third-and-1. It was incomplete, and Kelly elected to attempt a 60-yard field goal instead of going for fourth down. The Eagles had one timeout at the time. Alex Henery missed the field goal.
The Cowboys opened the second half by going 66 yards on 10 plays to take a 10-0 lead. On third-and-goal from the 4-yard line, cornerback Bradley Fletcher wrapped up Dez Bryant and was flagged for the pass interference to give the Cowboys a new set of downs. They scored on a 1-yard rush one play later.
The Eagles could not gain any momentum until late in the quarter, when DeMeco Ryans intercepted Tony Romo’s pass at the Eagles’ 34-yard and returned it 36 yards to the Cowboys 30. But Foles struggled throughout the drive, underthrowing a wide-open Jason Avant in the end zone and struggling to make decisions. On third-and-goal from the 9-yard line, Foles was sacked and the back of his head was knocked against the turf.
Foles was examined on the sideline and tried jogging around before he was taken to the locker room and declared out for the game. That’s when Barkley entered the game, and the struggles only continued.
Following a Cowboys touchdown drive to take a 17-3 lead, Barkley threw an interception. On the next drive, he threw another interception. He added his third interception late in the fourth quarter to ensure the Eagles would not score a touchdown.
The health status for Vick and Foles is unknown for next week’s game against the Giants.
Courtesy: Zach Berman | Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer
Photo: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles is sacked by Dallas Cowboys defensive end George Selvie as defensive tackle Jason Hatcher helps on the play. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
The Eagles’ quarterback controversy has turned into a quarterback conflagration. This, on the afternoon when Michael Vick could not play because of a pulled hamstring; Nick Foles could not play, period (and left the game at the end of the third quarter with a head injury, besides), and Matt Barkley finished up the game by throwing three interceptions that counted and another that did not (because of a penalty).
Other than that, things went well.
The Dallas Cowboys played like garbage for much of the afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field and still beat the Eagles, 17-3, which pretty much tells you how the Eagles played. A decent defensive effort against Tony Romo and the fellas was completely wasted by an offense that was neutered by the Dallas Cowboys and by Foles’ ineffectiveness.
Before he suffered the injury, which could conceivably keep him out for next week’s game against the Giants, Foles was indecisive and erratic. On a day when many believed he had a chance to win the starting quarterback job, he played his worst minutes of the season, going back to training camp. The numbers: 11-for-29 for 80 yards and a poor 46.2 passer rating.
Slow on the trigger, missing open receivers — it was Foles’ worst nightmare. This was a clear opportunity for him to make a statement, and the statement he made was an emphatic, “Not yet.”
Others will say that it was, “Not ever.”
Now we prepare for a week in which the injury report will be the most important news. Last week, Vick sounded a bit skeptical about being ready to play next Sunday against the Giants. We will see now how the imperatives of the situation affect the healing process. More than that, though, the conversation about who should be the quarterback when Vick gets healthy has been silenced.
The truth was, Foles had an opportunity against an iffy Dallas secondary — but he needed to grab it. A lot of people, including me, figured it was going to take a big number to beat the Cowboys — but the way the game turned out, as an early punt-fest, ended that thinking. Instead, it was just going to take a good second half. For Foles, the opportunity was still there, even as he struggled. There was risk but there also was reward if he came through.
He did not come through, and he got hurt besides. He held the ball forever on the last play of the third quarter, was sacked and driven into the ground. He got up slowly, tried to shake it off on the sideline, but was eventually led to the locker room by the medical staff. That is how it ended, with a slow, sad walk.
And now, besides the ending of the quarterback controversy, there also will be a pretty significant burial of the talk about winning the NFC East. Because the truth is, the Cowboys did not play very well and still won the game handily. The Cowboys are 4-3 now and the Eagles are 3-4, but the distance somehow seems greater than that.
Courtesy: Rich Hofmann | Philadelphia Daily News
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!!
ARLINGTON, Tex. — If the Washington Redskins thought their bye week would cure what ailed them in the season’s early stages, they were mistaken. They emerged from their time off resembling the same struggling team they’d been beforehand. Breakdowns on special teams proved particularly costly and the Redskins lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 31-16, here Sunday night.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III had his best running game of the season, rushing for 77 yards. Tailback Alfred Morris had a long third-quarter touchdown run. But the Redskins too often settled for field goals by place kicker Kai Forbath and their record plummeted to 1-4.
The Cowboys gave owner Jerry Jones a victory to celebrate on his 71st birthday and evened their record at 3-3, putting them in a first-place tie with the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East. Dwayne Harris had a touchdown on an 86-yard punt return in the second quarter, and added a 90-yard kickoff return in the third quarter to set up a touchdown pass from quarterback Tony Romo to wide receiver Terrance Williams.
Tailbacks DeMarco Murray and Joseph Randle had rushing touchdowns for the Cowboys, with Randle’s one-yard run all but sealing the outcome with just less than nine minutes remaining after Griffin lost a fumble on a sack at his 3-yard line. Griffin threw an interception to end the Redskins’ next drive.
Romo threw an interception and managed a relatively modest 170 passing yards for the Cowboys. But that was enough for a win one week after he passed for 506 yards and five touchdowns in a 51-48 loss to the Denver Broncos. Romo threw a late interception in that game that led to the Broncos’ winning field goal and that, to some observers, raised all of the old, familiar questions about his ability to produce in crunch time.
The start was not particularly promising for the Redskins, as their defense had no answers for Romo and the Cowboys on the game’s opening drive. Romo had a key third-down completion to tight end Jason Witten and Murray got the touchdown on a four-yard run.
Griffin was sharp at the outset, with a 19-yard completion to wide receiver Leonard Hankerson and a 15-yard run on a scramble on the Redskins’ first two offensive plays of the night. Rookie tight end Jordan Reed had a pair of catches on the Redskins’ opening drive and they moved quickly into scoring position. But Griffin was stopped two yards shy of the end zone on a third-and-goal run on a quarterback draw from the Dallas 9-yard line — a play call from which the team seemed to shy in the season’s first few games as Griffin worked his way back from knee surgery in January — and the Redskins were left with the first of Forbath’s three field goals.
The Redskins generated a second-quarter turnover when blitzing cornerback Josh Wilson batted a pass by Romo into the air and linebacker Rob Jackson, playing in his first game of the season after serving a four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, grabbed the ball on the deflection for an interception. But the Redskins failed to convert, punting on each of their next two possessions.
The second of those punts resulted in Harris’s touchdown. The Redskins initially had the Cowboys backed up in their own territory but had to re-punt because of an illegal-motion penalty on their first attempt. This time, Harris caught Sav Rocca’s punt at his 14-yard line, weaved his way through would-be tacklers and sprinted along the sideline to the end zone as the Redskins’ Darryl Tapp and Jerome Murphy collided with one another while in pursuit. The Redskins also received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when special teams coach Keith Burns, standing on the sideline, made inadvertent contact with one of the officials who was running to try to keep up with the play.
The Redskins regrouped and used Griffin’s 29-yard completion to Reed to set up Forbath’s 32-yard field goal as time expired in the first half. Forbath connected again, this time from 33 yards, after Griffin’s 26-yard run on a scramble, plus 15 additional penalty yards for absorbing a late hit out of bounds, early in the third quarter.
No matter. Harris took the kickoff after that field goal and, from five yards deep in his own end zone, sprinted practically the length of the field before being knocked out of bounds by the Redskins’ E.J. Biggers at the 15-yard line. On second down from there, Romo eluded the blitzing Wilson and lofted a pass in the corner of the end zone to Williams, who made the grab and stayed in bounds for the touchdown.
Morris, given little running room to that point, had a swift reply by cutting across the field on his way to a 45-yard touchdown dash. But Forbath missed from 49 yards early in the fourth quarter and the Cowboys got a 30-yard field goal by their kicker, Dan Bailey.
Courtesy: By Mark Maske | The Washington Post
For millions of folks around the D.C. area, Sunday night can’t get here soon enough, and not because they just can’t wait to go to work the next morning — or not go to work, still, for too many of us.
No, Sunday night is anxiously awaited because, of course, it’s Redskins vs. Cowboys! There are so many questions posed by this game (and it’s just a darn shame we’ll be forced to suffer through seven-plus hours of other NFL action before we get to it, right?). Questions such as: Coming out of a bye week, will Robert Griffin III regain the stellar form he showed in last year’s trip to Dallas? Can the Redskins solve the Cowboys’ new 4-3 front? Will Tony Romo pick up where he left off against the Broncos, and strafe Washington’s secondary? Or will Duffy’s Irish Pub run out of Jameson?
But while we wait for those questions to be answered, I have one this morning: Would you trade Dan Snyder for Jerry Jones? It’s no secret that Snyder hasn’t exactly been the most beloved team owner this part of the world has ever seen, but would the Cowboys owner be preferable?
First, a little tale of the tape:
- Age: Snyder, 48; Jones, 70 (71 on Sunday!)
- Net worth (according to Forbes): Snyder, $1.2 billion; Jones, $3 billion
- Made fortune in: Snyder, marketing; Jones, oil
- Owned team since: Snyder, 1999; Jones, 1989
- Regular season winning percentage since purchase: Snyder, .447; Jones, .535
- Team success: Snyder, two division titles; Jones, eight division titles, three Super Bowl wins
Snyder was born and largely raised in the D.C. area, while Jones is from Arkansas, so that deep local connection might be the trump card for many of you.
The wealth factor certainly favors Jones, but Snyder’s never been shy about splashing around cash (albeit often with unfortunate results), so that’s probably a wash.
Snyder obviously is a much younger man, so if you’re worried about your favorite team’s owner turning into a crazy old man, a la the late Al Davis, then Snyder would be your choice. But at the risk of getting morbid, if you’d much rather have an entirely different owner, then you might vote for Jones, who’s that much closer, one presumes, to the ultimate skybox.
As far as team stewardship goes, Jones had huge success almost immediately, but one could argue that Jimmy Johnson deserves most of the credit for that. In fact, Jones’s desire for greater control over the team’s personnel moves is widely cited as the reason Johnson left the team in 1993. Jones has operated as the Cowboys de facto general manager since then, but his teams have never been as good as the ones Johnson helped build. Snyder, on the other hand, seems to have stepped back a bit from his early, heavy involvement with the Redskins. He has had three head coaches over the past 10 seasons, as compared to five in his first five seasons.
Then there’s the controversy over the team’s name. If you’re looking for someone who’ll swear allegiance to the name “Redskins” through thick and thin, you can’t do better than Snyder. Jones recently offered his own defense of the name, but it was far more half-hearted, and you’d have to think that, without Snyder’s emotional attachment, Jones would elect to move in whichever direction the prevailing winds were blowing, especially if he thought they were blowing toward a big pile of cash.
So who ya got? Snyder or Jones?
And what vote-swaying distinction between them have I failed to mention?
Courtesy: Desmond Bieler | The Washington Post
Editors comment: Same question can be reversed … would you trade Jerry Jones for Daniel Snyder? Would you trade Jerry Jones for any other NFL owner? If so, who … and why?
2013-2014 PREGAME MEDIA DAY: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins coaches and quarterbacks speak to opposing media
|Tony Romo speaks with Washington Media.||Robert Griffin III speaks with Dallas media.|
|Watch Video | Listen Audio||Watch Video | Listen Audio|
Spread the word about The Boys Are Back blog! Please use the SHARE buttons below!
Photo: The Broncos wore their alternate blue uniforms in 2012 — for a 30-23 victory over the Chargers in Denver. (Joe Amon, The Denver Post)
Luckily for those who like to see their favorite NFL team mix up its wardrobe, America’s Team prefers to wear white at home.
The Broncos play at Dallas’ AT&T stadium this Sunday and with the Dallas Cowboys wearing white, the visitors from Denver will wear their alternate blue jerseys and blue pants.
It’s the only time this season the Broncos will wear something other than white jerseys on the road and orange jerseys at home.
Navy blue was the Broncos’ home jersey color from 1997 through 2011.
The Broncos switched back to orange as their predominant home color in 2012. The team had used orange home jerseys from 1962-96.
Courtesy: Mike Klis | The Denver Post
Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan officially announced that Robert Griffin III will be under center when the defending NFC East champions open their 2013 season against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday.
Griffin, the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, sat out the entire preseason while recovering from surgery in January to repair both the lateral collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments in his right knee. The standout quarterback sustained the LCL injury in a win over Baltimore in December, then tore the ACL in Washington’s loss to Seattle in the NFC Wild Card Playoffs.
The former Heisman Trophy winner was cleared to play by renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews last week, and Shanahan confirmed the expected during his Monday press conference.
“I feel very good where Robert’s at, and he’ll be our starter on Monday night unless there’s some crazy setback that we don’t anticipate,” said Shanahan.
Shanahan also reiterated that Griffin, who also tore his ACL in the same knee during his sophomore season at Baylor in 2009, will not be under any restrictions.
“If we didn’t feel like Robert was full-go and he wasn’t ready to play and do all the things that you ask a guy to do, then he would not be playing in this game,” he stated. “We believe he can do everything that a quarterback is asked to do and if that’s sprinting out, if it’s running the option, if it’s dropping back, we think he can do all those things because he’s proved it to us in practice, and there hasn’t been a setback so that’s been a great sign.”
Courtesy: Mike Jones | The Washington Post
Photo courtesy: Jonathan Newton | The Washington Post
PHOTO: A.J. Green jokes around with the other Bengals receivers prior to their preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys – The Enquirer – Jeff Swinger
ARLINGTON, TEXAS — Since returning to practice on Aug. 14, A.J. Green has looked like he barely missed a step after missing two weeks due to a bruised knee.
In his first preseason action on Saturday, Green got some game action in and finished with 3 receptions for 42 yards.
“I felt good out there. It was good to get back and get my wind back,” Green said. “I was a little tired out there at the beginning. Once the second half came, I got my second wind and I felt good out there again.”
Green got involved early. He caught the first pass on a little slant for a 9-yard completion on the second offensive play. His best play was a 26-yard reception off play action during the third quarter to move the Bengals into the red zone.
Later in the drive, Green appeared as if he got a touchdown after outmuscling Cowboys corner Micah Pellerin in the right corner of the end zone, but the official ruled that Green had one foot out of bounds. On replays it appeared as if Lewis could have challenged the call (see notes below). That later resulted in a Quinn Sharp 28-yard field goal to bring the Bengals within 14-10.
Said Green of the play: “I thought I did but it was toe-heel. It all can’t be in one motion. I need to work on just getting the toe down and just falling out of bounds.”
Dalton was happy to have Green back but also noted of his performance that it is what he expects. The first offense is likely only to get a series or two of work in Thursday’s preseason finale against Indianapolis.
TACKLES ANGST: Right tackle Andre Smith injured his left knee during the second quarter, which caused some nervous moments for those who were starting to envision what life might be like without both starting tackles for the Sept. 8 opener at Chicago.
Smith though appeared to be fine in the locker room after the game as he was walking normally and smiling (see notes below).
“He should be ready to go for Chicago,” coach Marvin Lewis said.
Left tackle Andrew Whitworth did not make the trip to Dallas as he is still coming back from offseason knee surgery He has been limited throughout camp and there are some increasing concerns on if he will be ready for the opener. Whitworth comes into the season with the longest starting streak on the team at 67 games, including the postseason.
Anthony Collins got the start in place of Whitworth while Dennis Roland saw increased snaps at right tackle after Smith left.
BAD NIGHT FOR KIRKPATRICK: Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick led the Bengals in tackles with eight but that’s the only good thing you can say about his game.
Kirkpatrick had his problems going up against Dez Bryant during the first half and gave up the Cowboys first touchdown, which was a 5-yard completion to Bryant early in the second quarter. Kirkpatrick was also called for pass interference twice in the first half.
To say it was a learning experience for Kirkpatrick would be kind.
“That’s what he needed to have,” Lewis said. “They got to put in battle still – Brandon Thompson, Margus Hunt, Devon Still, that group of backup players needs to be pushed into the action like that. That was good.”
Kirkpatrick was unavailable for comment after the game as he was being treated for concussion symptoms.
WELCOME BACK: Defensive end Margus Hunt, who played at Southern Methodist, got his first NFL sack in the third quarter when he took down Alex Tanney for a 7-yard loss.
“The first half was difficult because of the way the tackle played. He was really physical and I wasn’t able to compete with that. It took me awhile to get into the groove,” said Hunt, who had 3 tackles, including the sack. “Eventually in the second half I was able to take what we have practiced all week and put it into the game. I was able to put pressure and punch away.”
Running back Rex Burkhead, who is from Plano, had 2 carries for 8 yards and 2 receptions for 14 yards.
SACK MASTER: Defensive end Dontay Moch got his second sack of the preseason and has 5.5 in the past seven preseason games. It might not be enough though to make the 53-man roster in what is a pretty deep defensive line group.
Moch though does have a chance to come back via the practice squad if he can clear waivers.
“You know, honestly, it’s not really up to me. It’s just how the coaches feel about my performance and where I can contribute as a player to this team. As of right now, I just feel like I’m making those steps to show that I can be a factor.”
INACTIVES: Defensive end Carlos Dunlap returned to practice this past week after missing the last two weeks due to a concussion. Dunlap though is still working his way back and was held out of Saturday’s game.
Preseason injuries have hampered Dunlap throughout his career. He missed two games in 2010 due to a concussion and knee strain. In 2011, a knee strain forced him out of the entire preseason and last year he only saw a couple series in the preseason opener before suffering a knee injury. Out of 16 preseason games, Dunlap has played in only four.
Wallace Gilberry got the start in place of Dunlap.
The other listed pregame inactives were QB Zac Robinson (PUP/elbow), WR Andrew Hawkins (ankle), CB Brandon Ghee (concussion), RB Bernard Scott (PUP/knee), FB Chris Pressley (PUP/knee), S George Iloka (wrist), LB Brandon Joiner (knee), LB Sean Porter (shoulder) and OG Otis Hudson (foot).
LB James Harrison, DE Robert Geathers and CB Adam Jones, who did not practice for much of the week, also got the night off.
RARE PRESEASON TRIP: The trip to Dallas marks the furthest trip out west for a preseason game for the Bengals since they faced Arizona in 1996.
Courtesy: Joe Reedy | Bengals beat-writer | Cincinnati Enquirer
The Boys Are Back editor comments: A.J. Greens foot was clearly out of bounds. It was not by a heel … more than half of his foot was on the white chalk. Green didn’t outmuscle Cowboys corner Micah Pellerin (who injured his hand on the play by nudging Green out of bounds). A Lewis challenge would have resulted in a Bengals lost timeout.
Bengals right tackle Andre Smith (along with their backup Dennis Roland) had his hands full with DeMarcus Ware, followed by emerging Cowboys DE Ben Bass.
When your leading tackler is a cornerback (Dre Kirkpatrick), that’s what you call “a bad day at the office”! That’s not a good thing. That honor (in a winning effort) usually goes to a linebacker. Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant owned Kirkpatrick during this game. Kirkpatrick has a ton of upside, but this was not his day.
Young Cincinnati DE Margus Hunt had a hard time with Dallas’ recently activated right tackle Jermey Parnell paired with (last years starting right tackle) Doug Free at right guard. His sack came against the Dallas Cowboys third-string unit lead by QB Alex Tanney.
To me, it’s amusing to refer to practice squad hopeful DE Dontay Moch as your sack master!
The Bengals lost to the (at the time, another NFC East team) Arizona Cardinals 13-10 on Saturday 08/10/1996. Something happens when they cross the mighty Mississippi River!
ARLINGTON, TEXAS — After solid victories in the first two preseason games, the Bengals looked like they were roaring along as they went into Saturday night’s contest against Dallas in what is commonly known as the dress rehearsal game.
Instead, the Bengals put on a display that brought their roar down to a meow. Maybe, the DJ at AT&T Stadium was on to something when they played the Meow Mix theme as the Bengals came on the field before the game.
The 24-18 loss to the Cowboys also reinforced an old equation – when you commit four turnovers and your defense can’t get off the field on third down, you aren’t going to win many games.
“Now, we can quit having all that smoke puffed up our butts and we can get to work,” coach Marvin Lewis said after the game. “There were some bright spots during the game. We did some things well but not enough, long enough.”
Two of the turnovers were committed by the first team offense. Marvin Jones fumbled deep in Dallas territory on the opening drive and Andy Dalton threw his first interception of the preseason on a deep ball intended for Mohamed Sanu.
Dalton and the first unit were in for 28 plays (16 pass, 12 run). He finished 12 of 16 for 113 yards and a subpar passer rating of 68.0. The running game generated only 44 yards with 30 of that coming on the third-quarter drive that led to a Quinn Sharp 28-yard field goal. The first team was 0 for 2 scoring touchdowns in the red zone and their lone points came courtesy of a Quinn Sharp 28-yard field goal on their last series of the night.
“The fact we hurt ourselves is the biggest thing,” Dalton said. “You can look at all the bad but there are still some good stuff mixed in there. We did move the ball well, but didn’t get the points to show for it.”
Defensively, the Bengals (2-1) forced only two three-and-outs in 10 possessions. The Cowboys (2-2) were 9 of 16 converting third downs and all three of their touchdown passes came on third down – two by Tony Romo and one by Kyle Orton.
Dallas ran 75 plays and ended up having the ball for 39 minutes, 31 seconds.
“I don’t know if it was a lack of focus for us. We had some good plays, but on third down we just couldn’t get them off the field,” linebacker Vontaze Burfict said.
Added Lewis: “We’ve got to get to work and get our guys wind going to get ready for the opener. I thought it was a positive for the defense as they had to stay out there for a couple of long drives. Hopefully those are good opportunities for our defensive players to blow their pipes out pretty good.”
Tony Romo was 13 of 18 for 137 yards and two touchdowns in a half of work while Dez Bryant (6 receptions, 54 yards) and Miles Austin (4 receptions, 59 yards) each had a touchdown.
On the opening drive, Dalton and the offense looked like they were going to pick up from where they left off in the Tennessee game. Dalton completed his first six passes for 56 yards and got A.J. Green quickly involved on the second play with a 9-yard completion on a slant pass. Green finished with 3 receptions for 42 yards.
The drive ended without points though when Brandon Carr forced Marvin Jones to fumble after a 14-yard completion to the Dallas 4. It was the Bengals’ third lost fumble of the preseason.
On the ensuing drive, Dallas moved the ball to their own 30 when the Bengals got their second punt return touchdown of the preseason, this one by Brandon Tate.
Tate’s 75-yard punt return came courtesy of something that you only get at AT&T Stadium. On Chris Jones’ first punt he hit the giant scoreboard that hangs above the field, which brought about a rekick.
“(Special Teams Coordinator) Darrin (Simmons) always tells us that nothing good happens for the punt team on a re-kick, and we made them pay,” Tate said. “I give all the credit to the other 10 guys out there with me. Everybody blocked it perfectly, and all I had to do was find the hole and shoot through it. Nobody really had a good shot at me.”
After that, Dallas started to get things in gear. The Cowboys went on a 12-play, 87-yard drive which culminated in Romo’s first touchdown pass of the preseason, a 5-yarder to Bryant, who dominated Dre Kirkpatrick on the drive. Romo was 6 of 6 on the drive and Bryant had 5 receptions for 53 yards.
Dallas would take the lead late in the first half when Austin got past Taylor Mays in coverage and caught it in the back of the end zone. In the second quarter Romo was 8 of 13 for 98 yards and two touchdowns and the Cowboys were 4 of 6 on third-down conversions.
After Sharp’s field goal, Orton came on for Dallas and led a 14-play, 86-yard drive that culminated in a 7-yard touchdown pass to DeMarco Murray where there were a litany of missed tackles.
Josh Johnson came on midway through the third quarter and led the Bengals to a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, a 4-yard completion to Cobi Hamilton that was the final play of a 14-play, 60-yard drive. Ryan Whalen caught a two-point conversion from Johnson to bring the Bengals within a field goal. Hamilton atoned after he turned the ball over in the third quarter on a fumble after running a reverse for a 18-yard gain.
Dan Bailey added a 26-yard field goal to put the margin up to six with 52 seconds remaining. After a Dane Sanzenbacher return gave the Bengals good field position, they drove the ball to the Dallas 49 before Johnson was picked off by Xavier Brewer. Johnson was hit by Landon Cohen as he threw the ball.
Courtesy: Joe Reedy | Bengals beat writer | Cincinnati Enquirer
POSTGAME VIDEO LINKS FROM CINCINNATI:
It will be wheels up this afternoon for Team Enquirer as photographer Jeff Swinger and I head to Dallas for tomorrow night’s game against the Cowboys.
This will be my second trip to JerryWorld. Yes, it is an impressive stadium and you can catch yourself watching most of the game on the big screen instead of down on the field. When it comes to sheer size and scope, it is tops in the NFL but if you are grading it on fan experience and watching a game, to me it would be fourth. I think Seattle, Kansas City and Baltimore are better.
Weather wise, this should be a better trip compared to two years ago when I went to Dallas for the Super Bowl. During the early part of Super Bowl week, the Dallas-Fort Worth area was hit with snow and ice storms, which made the highways treacherous. That wasn’t good since it was billed as a North Texas Super Bowl and everything was far flung.
ONE NOTE ABOUT SATURDAY
Due to our deadlines, the game will not be completed in time for Sunday’s paper. A game story and notebook will be available on Cincinnati.Com following the game and there will be more coverage in Monday’s paper.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH ON SATURDAY
How much will A.J. Green play? Probably not as much as the rest of the first unit. As Lewis noted on Thursday, he has a number of snaps in mind for each position group depending on the depth and a player’s experience. Plus, Green doesn’t need much work in game conditions. Just kick the tires, get out there for a couple series, catch a pass or two and call it a day.
Can the first-team defense get a sack? There hasn’t been much pressure on the quarterback during the first two games. Geno Atkins has applied some pressure but they have yet to get a sack. The line though has not been at full strength in the preseason, particularly at defensive end. Carlos Dunlap has missed both games and Michael Johnson was out against Tennessee. Both should play against the Cowboys but Robert Geathers has not practiced this week.
Does Shawn Williams emerge at safety? With George Iloka doubtful for tonight’s game, Shawn Williams and Taylor Mays will get another prime opportunity to show what they can do. Williams led the Bengals with 10 tackles last week and continues to show progress. Mays has had flashes of good play but also some painful lapses in coverage. Iloka still has the advantage for the starting spot at strong safety, but the gap is starting to close.
Offensive Bubble Player to keep an eye on: Running back Rex Burkhead grew up in nearby Plano and is used to playing in AT&T Stadium. Burkhead is averaging 5.5 yards per carry and has two runs of 15 yards or more during the preseason. He remains in a battle with Dan Herron for the final running back spot but might the edge based on if Burkhead were to be waived, the odds are pretty good that he would get claimed by another team.
Defensive Bubble Player to keep an eye on: Cornerback Chris Lewis-Harris has had a good training camp, but the highest exposure he has received came during the fourth quarter of last week’s game when he bit on a double move by Michael Preston that resulted in a 46-yard touchdown. If the Bengals keep 10 defensive backs, it will likely come down to which DB plays best over the final two games – Lewis-Harris or Mays.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Dallas Cowboys
Kickoff: 8 p.m., AT&T Cowboys Stadium – Arlington, TX
Local TV: WKRC-TV (Channel 12)
Local Radio: WCKY-AM (1530), WEBN-FM (102.7).
Series: Second preseason meeting. Dallas won the 2010 Hall of Fame Game 16-7.
Note: Bengals are 22-20 in preseason games under Marvin Lewis.
Not expected to play: OT Andrew Whitworth (knee), DE Robert Geathers (unspecified), CB Brandon Ghee (concussion), LB Sean Porter (shoulder), WR Andrew Hawkins (ankle), FB Chris Pressley (PUP/knee), QB Zac Robinson (PUP/elbow), HB Bernard Scott (PUP/knee).
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Taylor Mays has had plenty of camera time on Hard Knocks as he faces another reality — life on the roster bubble.
There is something of interest related to Adam Jones’ case. The attorney representing the alleged victim in the case was indicted by a federal grand jury on Thursday.
Coming Sunday, Paul Daugherty tells the story of Reggie Williams who, after 24 knee surgeries and years of pain, won’t accept losing his leg.
Courtesy: Joe Reedy | Cincinnati Enquirer
(Photographs courtesy: Cincinnati Enquirer)
About Joe Reedy
Joe Reedy took over as The Enquirer’s Bengals beat writer in 2009 after covering the University of Kentucky and doing an NFL picks column. Reedy’s previous NFL experience includes covering the Jets for The Post-Star in Glens Falls, NY (1997-98) and Jaguars for The Gainesville Sun (1999). The Youngstown native lives in Burlington and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Board of Selectors.
In this June, 1949 photo, St. Louis Cardinals player Stan Musial kissed his wife, Lillian, at the ballpark in St. Louis. The Cardinals said Lillian Musial died on Thursday, May 3, 2012. She was 91.
Editors Note: Occasionally The Boys Are Back blog will feature a special post not directly related to the Dallas Cowboys. Stan Musial was an unusual personality in the sports world. His passing marks an end to a truly remarkable era. Mr. Musial was a class act, on and off the field.
Courtesy: Mark Feeney | Boston Globe | January 19, 2013
Stan Musial, “Stan the Man,” who was the National League’s preeminent player in the decade after World War II and whose 22 seasons playing the outfield and first base for the St. Louis Cardinals earned him a place in baseball’s Hall of Fame, died at his home in Ladue, Mo., at the age of 92, according to the Cardinals.
“We have lost the most beloved member of the Cardinals family,” said William DeWitt Jr., chairman of the St. Louis Cardinals in a statement posted on the team’s website. “Stan Musial was the greatest player in Cardinals history and one of the best players in the history of baseball.”
In a 1952 article, the legendary Hall of Fame outfielder Ty Cobb wrote, “No man has ever been a perfect ballplayer. Stan Musial, however, is the closest to being perfect in the game today.”
For all that Mr. Musial may have approached perfection, he never had a mystique, the way his slightly older counterparts Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams did, or the somewhat younger Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. Mr. Musial played far from the New York media spotlight. He had no hallowed statistic attached to his name, like DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak or Williams’ .406 batting average in 1941.
Mr. Musial, the sportswriter Jimmy Cannon said, “plays ball with a methodical gaiety and does not surrender to the moods which govern the other great ball players.” Among those alien moods was anxiety. An enthusiastic harmonica player, Mr. Musial performed the national anthem at opening day in St. Louis in 1994 with the conductor of the St. Louis Symphony’s pops concerts. Mr. Musial confided to him it was the first time he had ever felt “nervous on the field.”
The most distinctive thing about Mr. Musial was his batting stance, a coiled crouch once compared to “a man peeking around the corner.” What made Mr. Musial extraordinary was what he did, not who he was. There was nothing flamboyant or colorful about him, either on the field or off. It was no small irony that “Stan the Man” inspired one of the most memorable baseball nicknames of the 1970s when a teammate dubbed the notably eccentric relief pitcher Don Stanhouse “Stan the Man Unusual.”
RIVAL HEADLINE: Here comes the mystery team – Dallas Cowboys still a puzzle as finale vs. Redskins approaches
ARLINGTON, Tex. – They were playing this week to decide the meaning of next week, and it’s now clear that it will be winner take all when the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys meet for the NFC East title. The next question for the Redskins is, which outfit should they scout with the playoffs on the line: the Cowboys who can’t solve the riddle of their dazzling but often fatally confused personality, or the terrifying Cowboys who know exactly who they are?
Do you expect the perplexing, dumbfounding Cowboys who suffered yet another upset loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in overtime, 34-31? Or the touchdown-a-minute monsters who almost won a game that seemed unwinnable? Do you plan for the team that can look like a still life? Or the one that can leave you thunderstruck with feats like two touchdowns in the final 3 minutes 35 seconds against the Saints?
Do you expect the strangely complacent team that allowed the Saints to possess the ball for a staggering 41:59 out of more than 64 minutes? Or do you brace for the biting, snap-jawed team that is never, ever out of a game with Tony Romo, who threw for 416 yards and four touchdowns and can make so much happen in such a short period of time? Their late fourth-quarter drives took just 1:10 and 1:14, respectively, the second one ending with Romo’s 19-yard zing to Miles Austin on fourth and 10 with just 15 seconds remaining to force overtime.
“We had a lot of good plays,” Romo said. “But we didn’t get off the field on third down, and didn’t stay on the field enough on third down, and that’s not a good recipe. . . .We didn’t make a play or two that can determine it.”
The New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys will meet for the first time since 2010 Sunday. The surging Cowboys (8-6) are in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC East and have won three straight games. The Saints (6-8) snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday. The Saints have had their way with the Cowboys lately, having won six of the last seven meetings. The Saints took the last meeting 30-27 in Cowboys Stadium.
RIVAL HEADLINE: Cowboys are ‘pageant beauties’; Dez Bryant makes his baby-sitter proud (Washington Post)
ARLINGTON, Texas — Let’s keep this in perspective. They beat a bunch of pageant beauties in the Dallas Cowboys, a team with more dimples than substance. Nevertheless, how often does a crowd at Cowboys Stadium chant for the Washington Redskins quarterback, while booing their own team off the field at halftime? How often does a team get a performance in a must-win game like we saw from Robert Griffin III, so predatory and timely?
It’s hard to believe these words are landing in hard type: The Redskins are clearly the second-best team in the NFC East. That’s now established, and the division lead is actually in sight. For all of the holes in their defense, for all of Mike Shanahan’s throw-in-the-towelness, they are alive, and not just breathing through a tube either. This was a status report game, a where-do-we-stand diagnostic. Had they lost, Shanahan’s towel would have stayed thrown. But they’ve won two division games in five days, and not by a little — by a lot. They’ve put up more than 30 points twice in a week. Pick up the towel.
"It just felt like we were out there showing not only ourselves, but the Cowboys, and everybody, what we were capable of," Griffin said. "Everybody showed up today ready to go, even with the short week. This is what we have to do: Be ready to play. I couldn’t be more proud."
Their status is now this: They are poised for a strong last third of the season. They are healthier than they have been: wide receiver Pierre Garcon’s foot was well enough for him to finally be a factor, and their offensive line is whole. They’ve put up 295 points, more than they scored all of last season (288). And there is not much separating them from the division-leading New York Giants — not much at all. The last time they met, remember, the Giants needed an on-the-money 77-yard scoring pass from quarterback Eli Manning with a 1 minute 13 seconds to go, for a 27-23 victory.
It’s not yet time to anoint the Redskins a sure playoff contender; they aren’t even a .500 team. But they are certainly a tighter, more disciplined, more self-believing and ascendant team than either the Giants or the Cowboys. And to be honest, after watching the slack, careless, profligate play of the Cowboys for most of three quarters, it’s hard to imagine them recovering from this loss. They are not a team that radiates confidence or consistency; it’s a team of flash powder.
The Cowboys had a golden opportunity to knock out the Redskins, their biggest emotional and division rival, and get to 6-5. A Thursday game at home on Thanksgiving invariably and heavily favors the host, and the Redskins hadn’t won a turkey game since 1973.
But is there a team in the league that annually squanders more talent and opportunity than the Cowboys? Quarterback Tony Romo is all ambling casualness, grinny and impossibly wasteful. Dez Bryant is so gifted it makes his baby-sitter proud. The shiny-haired Jason Garrett applied his Princeton University degree to the problem of how to attack the Redskins’ vulnerable secondary. Instead, Romo throws a bunch of short lobs over the middle. One of which resulted in that second-quarter interception by DeAngelo Hall that set the Redskins up at the Dallas 23, and led to the Redskins’ 28-point explosion.
The Cowboys always look so good, don’t they? Romo was 37 of 62 for 441 yards, numbers that are gaudy on paper. Romo’s numbers were deceptive: He started slow and played leisurely, unable to answer for long stretches while his team fell two, then three, then four scores behind. On one series in the first quarter, they took a false start, and then a delay-of-game while Romo fussed around hitching his shoulders; maybe he was trying to get the line of his jersey right. They moved 10 yards backward without even getting a snap off.
"Too many bad sequences, didn’t play well on offense and didn’t play well on defense, and didn’t do a good job in the kicking game as well," Garrett said.
That about covered it.
You want to see a good quarterback, one with flash and beauty, and substance, and urgency? Griffin, who has thrown eight touchdown passes against just nine incompletions in this week’s two games combined, has become the prettiest piece of wallpaper in the league. He is so dynamic, threatens to make so much happen on every play, that he covers up for all of the Redskins’ weaknesses. He bails them out of even the worst situations — such as Brandon Banks deciding to field a booming 67-yard punt in his end zone, after backpedaling two yards deep, to put the Redskins on their 5-yard line.
It was nothing that couldn’t be cured by Griffin’s eye and arm meeting Aldrick Robinson’s legs for a 68-yard score. Robinson jumped off the line and sprinted past Brandon Carr by 10 yards, and Griffin threw it absolutely as far as he could — fully 60 yards in the air — and at first, it looked like he put too much on it. Actually, he knew his customer. Robinson ran a 4.35 in the NFL combine, and somehow he covered enough green to run under it, and caught it, never slowing.
Among Griffin’s many, many gifts is his ability to summon his sharpest performance when he most needs to. It’s the hallmark of a great player, and it is beginning to imbue the entire organization, on both sides of the ball. One of these days, when the Redskins have become the winner that every arrow is suggesting they will be, they will look back over their shoulders to this week, when they beat two division rivals like a drum, and say it started here.
"Everything seems better when you win," Redskins linebacker London Fletcher said, "Whether it’s the food, the Thanksgiving dinner we eat, it tastes a lot better. Injuries heal up a lot faster when you win. It was a good win for us."
Source: Sally Jenkins | The Washington Post.
YACHTING WITH THE ENEMY: Jerry Jones says his friendship with Dan Snyder enhances Cowboys – Redskins rivalry (Rival Newspaper)
Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder are friends. They do things like ride on yachts together, and film pizza commercials together. Some D.C. fans have reacted negatively to this friendship, worrying that a Redskins owner can’t dream of squashing the Cowboys while simultaneously being close friends with their owner.
Turns out Jones was actually asked this week if the Redskins can still be a bitter rival, despite his friendship with Snyder.
“They are, yes, they are” he said on his weekly radio appearance with New School on 105.3 The Fan. “My friendship with him has NOTHING to do with that. As a matter of fact, have we not all had brothers, sisters, friends where the rivalry or who gets it is more intense than if you were NOT friends? That becomes the case here.
“First of all, this rivalry [began] long before him and long before me. Secondly, it’s bigger than both of us put together. So having said all of that, I just want to figure out a way for the Cowboys to beat the Redskins. Of course if it were the Giants or the Eagles, those are big too, but this Redskins thing is something that’s got more stories, and so storied.”
Jones also talked at length about the threat posed by Robert Griffin III, and the improvement Washington’s offense has enjoyed this season.
“My goodness, with their quarterback and what they’re doing offensively…we’re gonna have to work to come out of here with a win,” Jones said. “I see a guy that is very aware and has the ability to put such pressure on the defense, because he prefers to make time, buy time to throw the ball. They’ve not only coached him to do that, but he prefers it. He’s not a preferred runner, like Michael Vick. He’s a guy that’s using all that skill, all that quickness, all that speed to basically get an opportunity to throw the ball, and that’s what you want.
“He’s really MORE than I think anybody would have thought he would be coming out. The Redskins have a really top quarterback. We know about him here in Texas, we all do. He’s a good one right now, and will make a HUGE difference in our game Thursday….To contain him with his quickness and speed and yet at the same time try to keep his receivers covered is a huge challenge. He really has an accurate arm and a good arm. It’ll be a big challenge.”
Courtesy: Dan Steinberg | Washington Post
Photo: Magic Johnson, Jerry Jones, and Daniel Snyder
Photo: Trent Richardson named SEC Player of the Week
BEREA, OHIO — Trent Richardson attended the same high school as Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith. The talented rookie also owned a No. 22 Cowboys jersey with Smith’s name on it.
Photo: Trent Richardson, talking with high school students
On Sunday afternoon, Richardson hopes to play in front of his idol for the first time as a professional when the Browns travel to Dallas.
“I’m one of Emmitt’s biggest fans, so it would mean a lot to me if he’s at the game,” Richardson said Wednesday following practice. “He’s someone who I’ve gotten to know pretty well and he’s a great man.
“We talk probably two or three times a month, and the thing I appreciate the most is he’ll be straight with you. He’ll tell me exactly how I’ve been doing and what I need to do to get better.”
Smith regularly attends Cowboys home games and resides in North Texas, but team officials couldn’t guarantee his attendance this weekend. The Pensacola Escambia High graduate is completing on the all-star edition of “Dancing With The Stars,” which airs live from Hollywood each Monday.
Not surprisingly, Richardson said he is tuning in each week to watch Smith strut his stuff in the ballroom.
“Definitely, he got moves, man,” the third overall draft pick said, laughing. “He’s a champion in all phases; dancing, playing football, everything.”
Smith still sits atop the NFL’s all-time rushing list with 18,355 yards (eight years after his retirement), while Richardson leads Cleveland with 575 yards through nine games this season.
Though Richardson is quick to say he hasn’t earned the right to be compared to his mentor, it’s worth noting that he is on pace to eclipse Smith’s rookie rushing total of 937 yards with Dallas in 1990.
“He’s the person I wanted to be like the most when I was growing up,” Richardson said. “I watched him all the time, just like I go back and watch tapes of Walter Payton and Jim Brown.
“How can you be a great running back if you don’t watch tapes of guys like that to learn from?”
Photo: Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith – NFL’s all-time leading rusher
Richardson added that his ailing ribs feel much better after the Browns’ bye week, but he still isn’t close to 100 percent healthy. The 5-foot-9, 230-pounder suffered torn cartilage during Cleveland’s Oct. 14 victory over Cincinnati.
“He says he’s healthier, but I haven’t like punched him in the ribs or anything to check,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur joked. “But he’s going to be out there practicing and said he feels good. That’s a positive sign for our team.”
Courtesy: Brian Dulik | Chronicle-Telegram (Ohio)
Editors Comment: It should be noted that while Emmitt Smith is his idol and mentor, Cleveland’s stud running back Trent Richardson sports a jersey of another famous Dallas Cowboy … Tony Dorsett.