BOYS BYE-WEEK BOUNCE BACK: Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants in week #7 division rematch | Dez out, Cassel confident | Your 2015 Dallas Cowboys gameday resources
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When: Sunday, October 25th, 2015 | Kickoff: 3:25 p.m. (Dallas time)
Where: MetLife Stadium | East Rutherford
Watch on TV: FOX | DirecTV
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Dez Bryant will miss fifth game
Dez Bryant is officially out of the lineup for today’s game with the Giants. The Dallas Cowboys have downgraded his status to out. Bryant will join the team to give his support from the sideline.
Without Bryant and Tony Romo, the Cowboys have lost three straight games, but will hope to break that trend at MetLife Stadium, where the Cowboys have won three straight games over the Giants.
The Cowboys will start Brice Butler opposite of Terrance Williams. Butler, acquired via trade the week after Bryant broke his foot in the season opener. His first catch as a Cowboy, a 67-yarder in the Superdome that remains the longest completion this season by the Dallas offense. Butler is back after suffering a hamstring injury in Week 4. Butler, a third-year veteran, already knew Cassel as a fellow former USC Trojan before this season.
“I have a decent rapport with him from before he came in,” Butler said. “You come into a new place and you don’t really know everybody and then you find out he gets traded a week after you, it brings you some type of comfort or peace just in case he went in. And he’s in now. I think we’ll be fine.”
The only other uncertain injury situation involves tight end James Hanna, who is questionable to play with an ankle injury. He missed the last game against the Patriots and if he doesn’t play again, rookie Geoff Swaim will get the nod again.
Rain expected, field position key
With rain in the Meadowlands forecast and Matt Cassel making his debut at quarterback, field position is one key area for the Cowboys against the Giants.
Currently tied with Jacksonville for last in takeaways (3), the defense will look to force their first turnover since Week 2. And on special teams, the Cowboys are seeking their first big kickoff or punt return of the season.
So far, the longest totals have been a 32-yard kickoff return from Lance Dunbar and a 12-yard punt return from Cole Beasley. Dunbar’s season ended in Week 4 when he tore his ACL on a kickoff return, leaving the Cowboys without their primary kickoff returner and part-time punt returner. Rookie Lucky Whitehead had the team’s only kickoff return the following week against the Patriots, and he and Beasley each had one punt return.
In the 30-6 loss to New England, the Cowboys’ average starting field position was their own 18-yard line. Those are long drives for an offense. Some shorter fields would help.
Assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia said the return game can improve. Part of it has been dealing with difficult field position against some good punters. Part of it is creating more room for the returners.
“It’s not always the return guy,” Bisaccia said. “I’ve said that for years. In the past we’ve had a good group of guys blocking in front and certainly a dynamic returner, and now we’re getting comfortable with the returns that we’ve used and getting a little bit better blocking up front.”
For the Giants, former Cowboys wide receiver/returner Dwayne Harris has held the same duties in New York. In four seasons with the Cowboys he scored two punt return touchdowns and averaged 11.1 yards on 87 returns. This year he’s averaging 7.4 yards on 16 punt returns and 27.8 yards on five kickoff returns.
GAMEDAY GUT-CHECK: Dallas Cowboys state-0f-the-star | Can America’s Team bounce back after the bye-week?
The Dallas Cowboys and Jersey Giants meet again for the second time in seven weeks. Dallas won’t have Tony Romo to lead them on another game-winning drive in the final seconds as he did in the opener. It’s Matt Cassel’s show today. The 11-year veteran making his first start at quarterback for America’s team with Romo (fractured collarbone) still out a few more games.
Here are the gut feelings from a few local insiders/writers:
Phillips: For two weeks everyone has debated the differences between Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel. Will Cassel take chances downfield where Weeden checked down? There needs to be a balance between conservative and plain risky, and Cassel has to find it Sunday. With Dez Bryant out against the Giants, Cassel is likely to see the Giants crowd the line the way opponents did against Weeden. He’ll need to hit open receivers when they’re there, but a bunch of turnovers on forced throws won’t help the Cowboys’ cause. I think Cassel will indeed be efficient and effective enough to win this game, and he’ll get help from the Cowboys’ defense ending its three-game takeaway drought. Dallas outlasts the Giants, 23-21, despite a 250-yard effort from Eli Manning.
Broaddus: Gut feeling this week is that Rod Marinelli goes back to his 3-2-6 defensive scheme to attack this Giants offense. There are two things that he gets out of it that can help this defense. First he gets the one-on-one matchups across the board to attack Manning, which puts pressure on the offensive line, but more importantly Marinelli gets extra defensive backs on the field. To win this game I believe the Giants are going to have to win the battles on the outside. If Dallas can hold up in the secondary, then it’s going to be a long day for the Giants. Look for Marinelli to mix and match his fronts and coverage’s but the 3-2-6 look being a go-to one in this game. Cowboys win, 19-17.
Helman: There’s just enough different about this team to make me feel optimistic. No, I don’t think Matt Cassel is going to make anyone forget Tony Romo, but I do think he’s capable of sparking a more explosive passing game. No, I don’t think Christine Michael is going to have a 100-yard day, but I do think he can contribute enough to get the ground game out of its funk. On the other side of the matchup, the Cowboys have an absurdly favorable look against a leaky Giants offensive line. I don’t know if they’ll get five sacks, but Greg Hardy, Tyrone Crawford and Randy Gregory should be able to make life difficult for Eli Manning. And if Manning is struggling to find time, that should make it hard for Odell Beckham to hurt the secondary. It’s not going to be easy – it never is at MetLife Stadium. But I think the Cowboys have changed enough to make a push, even as Dez Bryant doesn’t play. I really think they can pick up their game and get out of New York with a win – something like 24-20.
Eatman: While it’s easy to say the Cowboys have the Giants’ number up in New York – winning the last three games in the Meadowlands – you could also say that perhaps it’s Tony Romo that has it, and not the Cowboys. We know this team is not the same without him and Dez Bryant in the lineup, so I think you have to throw out the history here, even if it’s recent history. The Cowboys certainly don’t beat the Giants in Week 1 without Romo. But, that being said, I still think the Cowboys can and will win this game. I don’t know if Matt Cassel lights the world on fire but I think he plays well. They’ve got to figure out how to get Jason Witten going and I can see him getting at least seven catches. Brice Butler will make some plays down the field and I think the Cowboys get their first 100-yard rusher, and don’t be surprised if it’s Joseph Randle. This guy might not get all of the snaps but he’ll run well with the ones he gets and might even break off a long one. The Cowboys are healthier than the Giants, they’re more desperate than the Giants and I still think they’re a better team. Like all of these games, it’ll be closer but give me Dallas, 21-20.
THE BOYS ARE BACK: New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys | America’s Team officially kicks off 2015-16 season tonight! | Dallas Cowboys gameday resources
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – With a 4-0 record in the NFC East, the Dallas Cowboys appear to be in control of the division, but Jerry Jones is not ready to order up any banners just yet.
“I know the caliber of the teams,” Jones said. “I see how close these games are. You see what you did within the framework of a ballgame and you know how close it is. But we’ve given ourselves a chance. We’ve got a short week, but Oakland does, too. We want to come back and make the most of this win.”
At 6-5, the Dallas Cowboys are atop the NFC East again and could take sole possession of first place with a win against the Raiders. Their 17-3 win against the Philadelphia Eagles gives them a tiebreaking edge heading into Thursday’s game.
Jason Witten has been around the Cowboys long enough to know one win — even one as satisfying as the 24-21 win against the New York Giants — does not a season make. He knows it will mean little if the Dallas Cowboys cannot follow it up with a win on Thursday against the Raiders.
“We needed to get this win on the road against a division opponent like this, but we’re 6-5, you know?” Witten said. “We’ve got a lot of football to play and we’re still right in the hunt. We’re one game above .500. We’ve got a lot more wins to get.”
NFL RIVAL NEWSPAPER HEADLINES: 2013 2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants postgame press | Jason Hatcher eats Giants video
Jason Hatcher with blood on his face: “I Just Ate A Giant”
Jason Hatcher speaks with the press immediately after his Dallas Cowboys win (holiday feast) over the New York Giants. (Watch Video)
PRYING EYES IN THE SKY: Communication tweaked in the Dallas Cowboys offense by Wade Wilson elevation
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — For all the discussions regarding Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett’s move to relay the offensive plays to quarterback Tony Romo for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants, it was all about improving communication and reiterating the value of quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson.
This season when Bill Callahan took over the play-calling duties, Wilson moved into the role of relaying the signals to Romo. But when Garrett decided to take over for the Giants game, Wilson moved to the press box and tight ends coach Wes Phillips moved to the sidelines.
Cowboys officials contend Wilson helped in the play calling by seeing the defense from the press box, in comparison from the sidelines because he can recognize defenses better.
“I thought it was an opportunity to get Wade upstairs to see the game that way,” Garrett said. “Wade has great eyes. He sees the game as well as anybody I know. Just getting him up there I thought was good for us. We brought Wes Phillips down and Wes does a great job just interacting with the players and I just thought the whole thing worked out well.”
The Cowboys’ offense wasn’t great, the windy conditions had something to do with it, but Romo threw for 250 yards and finished a solid game-winning fourth-quarter drive to help the Cowboys defeat the Giants, 24-21.
The rushing attack had a solid effort, gaining 107 total yards including 86 from starter DeMarco Murray. While the third-down issues continued, going 4-for-12 overall, the Cowboys needed to do something with the offense.
Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said the change wasn’t about Garrett or Callahan but more about Wilson helping the offense.
“That’s the wrong interpretation of the decision,” Jones said when asked whether it was about Garrett. “The decision was to give Wade, who is standing on the sidelines an aerial view of the field. It was all about that and it’s a skill that we’ve long [for], since [we] haven’t taken advantage of Wade Wilson. Wade Wilson is outstanding and can do a better job for us.”
Jason Garrett: Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants postgame press conference
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – He heard all the talk this week. He knew how important this game was to his team and he knew the individual challenge that was in front of him.
But not until Sunday morning in his hotel room did Orlando Scandrick officially get jacked up for the game.
No it wasn’t what Jason Pierre-Paul said or even Brandon Jacobs – or any a Giants player for that matter. So who managed to get the Dallas Cowboys corner so riled up? Hall of Fame player and coach Mike Ditka, who is now on ESPN’s pre-game show.
“He said the Cowboys don’t have a guy on defense that can stop Victor Cruz,” Scandrick said. “I just said ‘alright then.’ Coming from a guy who traded away his whole draft class for one player and got fired. But that got me going. He talked about Victor Cruz’s stats and probably just sees our ranking. But I took that personal.”
Scandrick played arguably his best game of the season, as he matched up stride for stride with Cruz just about every play. Even when the coaches tried to switch up the plan after Morris Claiborne left the game with a hamstring, Scandrick had to plead with the coaches.
“I begged them … Begged them to let me stay with Cruz,” Scandrick said. “I was just confident in the matchup. I knew I could stay with him. I’m glad they let me stick with him.”
Scandrick said this was the first time the coaches ever let him follow Cruz all over the field, both inside and outside.
“I’ve done with (Wes) Welker but the Patriots do things different because they’re always in 11 personnel. The Giants mix it up a lot. But I’m just glad they let me stay with him.”
Cruz finished the game with two catches for 27 yards but lost a key fumble on his first catch when Scandrick ripped the ball out, resulting in a 50-yard touchdown return by rookie Jeff Heath for the first score of the game.
“I really respect Victor Cruz and he’s a fun player to play against,” Scandrick said. “You want to play your best against a guy like that. He’s had some games but I feel like I’ve played well, too.”
Sunday was better than “well” for Scandrick. And it’s one if the big reasons the Dallas Cowboys flew home 6-5 and tied for first place in the division.
Some were billing this NFC East showdown as perhaps a turning point for the Cowboys this season.
Win and you move back into first place with a 4-0 mark in the division and a winnable game at home against the Raiders on Thanksgiving.
Lose and you not only drop into a tie for second with the Giants, but also suffer consecutive devastating defeats, this coming on the heels of a blowout loss in New Orleans.
Thank you, Dan Bailey.
In a game with plenty of drama, the Cowboys prevailed, defeating the Giants, 24-21, when Bailey was perfect on a 35-yard field goal as time ran out. He was only in that position because of a late New York rally that saw the opposition score 15 unanswered points to tie the score with just less than five minutes remaining. In the end, however, Dallas did what they needed to in order to win.
This was by no means a thing of beauty. The play was chippy throughout the day, as both teams finished with 11 penalties, the Cowboys flagged for 85 yards and the Giants 81. The stat sheet was similar in many ways. Dallas earned 327 total yards of offense while the Giants bettered them at 356. Each side also had one turnover and the time of possession was nearly even: New York, 30:39; Dallas, 29:21.
Tony Romo passed for 250 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Both of his scoring tosses went to Jason Witten, although Dez Bryant led all receivers with nine catches for 102 yards.
Dallas also showed signs of a running game as well, finishing with 107 yards overall. DeMarco Murray had 86 yards on 14 carries, while little used Lance Dunbar actually showed what he could do, carrying the ball three times for 20 yards with another two catches for 26 more.
Defensively, Monte Kiffin’s unit was able to twice keep the Giants out of the end zone when they were sitting at first-and-goal, New York settling for field goals in what was perhaps the difference in the game. Overall, the Cowboys struggled with the Giants’ ground attack, as the home side rushed for 202 yards. Andre Brown totaled 127 yards on 21 carries with Brandon Jacobs putting up 75 of his own on nine tries.
But while Giants quarterback Eli Manning did have two touchdown throws, he was largely held in check by the Cowboys. He finished with just 174 yards passing, completing only 16 of 30 attempts.
There was some bad with the good, though. Special teams ace Dwayne Harris and cornerback Morris Claiborne both left the game with what has seemingly become the Cowboys’ yearly nemesis – the dreaded hamstring injury. They were to be re-evaluated on Monday, but with the quick turnaround, their availability on Thursday seemed doubtful.
Playing through freezing temperatures and a stiff wind, it took awhile for both sides to get going. The Cowboys couldn’t do much offensively in the first quarter, as they failed to get out of their own end of the field on two possessions. Fortunately, the defense kept the Giants bottled up early before then giving Dallas an early lead.
On first-and-10 at the Giants’ 45-yard line, Manning threw out to the right sideline to Victor Cruz, who was quickly corralled by linebacker Kyle Wilber. But with the receiver still fighting for yards, cornerback Orlando Scandrick came in and stripped the ball away from Cruz, which flew right into the waiting arms of safety Jeff Heath. The rookie then turned and ran 50 yards untouched for his first career score and a 7-0 Cowboys lead.
The Giants’ next possession saw the home team get on the scoreboard, thanks in large part to Cowboys penalties. On third-and-5 at the New York 28-yard line, Manning’s pass to Cruz fell incomplete, which would have forced a punt. Instead, defensive end Jarius Wynn was called for illegal use of hands, which provided the first down.
Shortly thereafter, on the first play of the second quarter, cornerback Claiborne was called for pass interference, which set the Giants up with a first-and-goal. But the Cowboys defense kept New York from crossing the goal line, the Giants having to settle for a 21-yard field goal on a drive that went 74 yards on 10 plays and ate up 6:37 of clock.
Dallas needed half the time to more than double the points on its next drive, though. And they did so using their running game. Murray had a run of 14 yards and then came right back and took off for a 30-yard gain. After a screen to Dunbar produced another 17 yards, Romo sold the play-action, the linebackers biting to open up the middle deep, which Witten exploited to haul in a 20-yard touchdown for a 14-3 advantage.
New York went on another extended 8-play drive that chewed up an additional 4:19 off the clock, but again were able to get only three points out of the series, this time on a 23-yard field goal, so despite the Giants leading the time of possession on the stat sheet, 18:16-11:40, the Cowboys were ahead on the scoreboard, 14-6.
Of course, the gifts the Dallas defense gave the Giants through penalties earlier in the game were repaid in full by New York’s defense on the Cowboys first drive of the third quarter.
Romo and Co. had worked their way from their own 35-yard line to the New York 37. Facing a third-and-6, the quarterback hit Cole Beasley across the middle, but the receiver fumbled the ball, which the Giants recovered. Except New York was called for roughing the passer, giving Dallas new life.
Then on the very next play, Murray went around the right end, and as he was running out of bounds, was hit late by safety Antrel Rolle, which set Dallas up with a first-and-goal at the Giants’ 6-yard line.
That left things to Romo and Witten, who once again connected for the score, and in the process, both reached personal milestones. In going up 21-6, Romo threw the 200th touchdown pass of his career, while Witten recorded his 50th career touchdown catch.
New York responded quickly, though, and closed the Cowboys’ lead to 21-13, their touchdown coming when Manning through a pass down the left sideline to Brandon Myers. But after the tight end fell to the ground making the catch, neither linebacker Bruce Carter nor safety Jeff Heath touched him, allowing Myers to get up and waltz into the end zone.
Things then only went from bad to worse. After the Dallas offense was unable to do much on two straight possessions, New York took over on its own 42-yard line and quickly marched down the field, a 22-yard pass from Manning to Cruz reaching the Cowboys 5. Two plays later, Manning hit Louis Murphy in the end zone for the six points. The Giants then went for the two-point conversion and Brown rumbled in to tie the score at 21-21 with just under five minutes left in the game.
That’s when Romo went to work. Mixing up his options, he threw passes to Gavin Escobar, Miles Austin, Beasley and, of course, Bryant on a drive that ate up the rest of the clock. Facing a third-and-10 at the New York 28, he darted a quick out to Beasley for 15 yards to New York’s 15-yard line.
With only 1:17 left in the game and the Giants out of timeouts, Romo simply took two knees and then turned it over to Bailey. The surefooted kicker split the uprights from 35 yards out as time expired, giving Dallas the 24-21 victory.
The win pushed the Cowboys’ record back above .500, their 6-5 mark equaling the idle Eagles atop the NFC East. Dallas now has a quick turnaround, as they’ll host the Oakland Raiders in four days for their annual Thanksgiving game.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — A few thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys’ 24-21 win against the New York Giants this afternoon.
What it means for the Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys find themselves back in first place in the NFC East with the win thanks to the tiebreaker over the Philadelphia Eagles and can claim an outright share of first place in the division with a win Thursday against the Oakland Raiders.
The Cowboys are 4-0 in the NFC East and swept the Giants for the first time since 2007. It is the fourth time since 1989 the Cowboys have started out 4-0 in the division.
With two weeks to stew over the worst loss of the Jason Garrett era (49-17 to the New Orleans Saints in Week 10), the Dallas Cowboys were able come up with a drive that led to a 35-yard game-winning field goal by Dan Bailey.
A loss would have been traumatic for a team that would have started its traditional December slide a month earlier. Now the Cowboys figure to find themselves in the race for the rest of the season. They all but eliminated the Giants, who entered on a four-game winning streak.
Stock watch: Tony Romo responded on the Cowboys’ final drive, completing 6 of 9 passes to set up the winning kick. Two of the incompletions were drops by Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. With everybody wondering what Romo would do in a big moment, he came up big.
Clutch late: Before the final drive of the game for the Cowboys the only third-down conversion was Jason Witten’s third-quarter touchdown. On the winning drive, the Cowboys converted three times on third down.
Bryant had a 19-yard grab after a third-and-7 following a Tyron Smith false start penalty. Bryant converted on third-and-5 with an 8-yard grab from the slot. On third-and-10, Cole Beasley picked up 13 yards to set up Bailey’s game-winner.
Still can’t stop the run: The Cowboys have been historically bad with their pass defense through 10 games, but what was lost in the New Orleans game was just how poor their run defense was.
The Saints ran for 242 yards against the Cowboys. The Giants ran for 202. Andre Brown had 127 yards. Brandon Jacobs had 75 yards.
The Cowboys missed Sean Lee badly. Ernie Sims was consistently out of position but the defensive line didn’t do much to help the linebackers either.
It was the third time the Cowboys have allowed 200 yards rushing in a game. The Washington Redskins had 216 on Oct. 13.
What’s next: The Cowboys have a quick turnaround with the Oakland Raiders visiting AT&T Stadium on Thursday for the annual Thanksgiving Game. The Cowboys have lost two of their past three games on Thanksgiving, but beat the Raiders 24-7 on Nov. 26, 2009
COWBOYS VS. GIANTS GAME PRIMER: Jason Garrett press conference | Thursday practice | 2013 Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett had the expected response when told owner Jerry Jones guaranteed his return for next year.
The man, who preaches “process” and taking it “one day at a time, one game at a time”, said his focus is only on Sunday’s game against the Giants.
“We’re talking about practicing well today,’’ Garrett said. “That’s what we’re going to focus on, and that’s something we emphasize to our team. That’s something we have to live as a coaching staff. We understand we have a great challenge this week and we’re trying to get ready for it.’’
As a long-time player and son of a former coach and a scout, Garrett understands the nature of the business. No matter what Jones says, he knows that if the Cowboys don’t get in the playoffs, anything could happen. His approach of always doing your best every day has been the same since he took over the Cowboys and it won’t change now with Jones’ vote of confidence.
“I think it’s the nature of the league,’’ Garrett said. “You have to focus on what you’re doing each and every day to play your best football on Sunday. That’s what the focus is.’’
Garrett certainly has the support of the Cowboys locker room. The players greeted news of Garrett’s job security with excitement.
Said quarterback Tony Romo of Garrett’s impending return: “It’s good. I think he is a fantastic coach. We are lucky to have him. He is doing a great job here right now. We’re continuing to try and win games and Jason’s done a great job putting us in position to have that opportunity and I think he’s done a great job. Anytime that happens, it’s always just a positive.”
Receiver Dez Bryant was in full agreement, saying Garrett is the best coach he has been around.
“He’s the guy. Coach Garrett is the guy,” Bryant said. “This stuff is a process. Don’t count us out quick, because we’re still here. We believe we’ve got a shot at doing something good this year. Coach Garrett does a great job. I pay attention to him. I listen to him. I love him. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever been around.”
Jason Garrett: Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants practice (8:18)
- Matching intensity of the outspoken New York Giants players
- Preparations for playing in windy, cold environments this time of the year
- Linebackers DeVonte Holloman limitation and addition of Orie Lemon
- Precautions with DeVonte Holloman’s neck injury
- Expectations for 3-4 LB Orie Lemon coming back to play in Dallas’ 4-3 scheme
- Dez Bryant’s handling of the New York Giants comments in the past week
- Troy Aikman’s radio comments about line of scrimmage delay’s vs. Saints
- Mindset of the New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys mindset this week
- Tailored player motivation through overcoming adversity and rewards for playing time
- Running short high percentage plays to Witten/Dez in slumps; vs. broad list plays
- How the recent NY Giants have changed their attack; two-back base offense
- DeMarcus Ware and Morris Claiborne’s practice yesterday
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COWBOYS GIANTS GAMEDAY PRIMER: Jersey boys want to give Dez Bryant some of his own medicine | 2013 Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said the game is “like a Super Bowl to us,” which actually kind of makes sense. At 4-6, the Giants are working with a razor-thin margin of error. It’s not win-or-go-home, though it might as well be.
Yesterday, Giants safety Will Hill turned his attention to Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant. Hill offered up the defense’s strategy on how to unsettle the All-Pro.
“Get your hands on him,” Hill said, via NJ.com. “He doesn’t like to be touched, like most receivers in this league. But really him. He doesn’t like to be touched.”
“You just have to be physical with him,” cornerback Prince Amukamara agreed. “He’s a big guy. You just have to use his medicine against him. I think that is the key.”
Consider Bryant a sleeping giant right now. The Dallas Cowboys targeting their best player a grand total of two times, in what should have been a shootout with the New Orleans Saints.
You can safely assume coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Bill Callahan have drawn up a game plan this week that calls for Tony Romo to look Bryant’s way early and often. We’ll see if the Giants’ handsy game plan has any effect.
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
COWBOYS VS. GIANTS GAMEDAY PRIMER: Jason Garrett press conference | Wednesday practice | DeVonte Holloman | Miles Austin
The Dallas Cowboys aren’t going to hold back on rookie linebacker DeVonte Holloman this week. They need him to play, and now that he’s healthy, he’s going to play.
“We feel good about where he is physically. We’re going to let him go,” coach Jason Garrett said (see below). “We’re going to let him practice and see how he responds.”
Holloman was sidelined by a spinal contusion for five weeks. He returned to practice last week.
“Even when you’re in those shell-type practices, there’s a physical nature to those, and he seems to be pretty comfortable,” Garrett said.
Holloman is expected to play some at middle linebacker in the nickel defense and at strong-side linebacker in the base defense as he and veteran Ernie Sims try to make up for the absence of Sean Lee and Justin Durant.
“He’s an inexperienced player. He hasn’t played that much for us,” Garrett said. “But when he’s played, he’s done some good things, you know, as a special teams guy, spot play on defense. Has a good instinct for playing. Seems to be around the ball and makes a lot of plays.”
Holloman has four tackles in the regular defense and four on special teams, plus a fumble recovery. In preseason, the Dallas Cowboys sixth-round NFL Draft pick out of South Carolina had 15 tackles, a sack, two interceptions and two pass breakups.
Jason Garrett: Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants road game (15:28)
- (David Moore missing from media room)
- DeMarcus Ware and Morris Claiborne practice status
- Differences in NY Giants scheme as compared to earlier in the season
- Ernie Sims evolution into the Texas 2 defense
- Intangibles that veteran LB Ernie Sims brings to the team
- Confidence level in rookie LB DeVonte Holloman
- Concerns about Holloman’s spinal contusion
- What will Miles Austin bring to the offense that Terrance Williams could not do
- A trait in rookie WR Terrance Williams that makes him a special player
- How NFL teams change when the weather changes
- Mackenzy Bernadeau progress and consistency
- Has Tony Romo’s mechanics played a part in reduced completion percentage
- View on returning defensive players compared to new concerns in the middle
- J.J. Wilcox development and film takeaways
- Weather satisfied with the physical effort from the team this season
- How losing a player like Brian Waters has affected the team / locker room
- Orlando Scandrick chip on his shoulder; matchup with Victor Cruz
- Difference between NFL game smarts and raw instincts
- (David Moore enters room)
- Teams value on Scandrick as a slot CB and how he’s skilled up as outside CB
- How does Victor Cruz success impact Orlando Scandisk’s mindset and confidence
- Difference in covering Victor Cruz compared to players like Wes Welker
- With Sean Lee out, what opportunities are there for Bruce Carter
- What’s been seen on latest film with Eli Manning compared to early in season
- Ex-Cowboy Will Allen’s comments about alleged micro-managing by coaches
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NEW ERA – THE 12th COWPOKE: Rowdy Dallas Cowboys fans create home field advantage at AT&T Stadium (Special Feature)
IRVING, Texas – A Dallas Cowboys team that forced takeaways, held onto an early lead and found its star tight end in the end zone looked almost like an impostor Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
It was another close finish in the opener against the New York Giants, but practically everything leading to the one-score game appeared different from years past. The Dallas Cowboys never trailed Sunday, marking the first time since Week 15 they were tied or led the entire way.
That would be Week 15 of the 2011 season.
The (Texas 2) defense caused turnovers and the Cowboys’ offense only committed one of their own. A Dallas defense that finished with just 16 takeaways last season notched three on its opponents’ first three possessions of the season and finished with six total.
That constant defensive pressure kept the crowd in it throughout. Fans at AT&T Stadium aren’t accustomed to getting an early lead and holding onto it, and they’re also not known for creating an electric atmosphere. That was far from the case Sunday night.
Cowboys towels spiraled and rotated through the wave of fans, most of whom were on their feet, particularly as the game wound down. It wasn’t a smattering of cheers. It was a real home field advantage.
“I just want to say that was as good as I’ve seen our home stadium,” said quarterback Tony Romo. “The crowd was exceptional. They were outstanding from the moment we started until the end of the football game. If they continue to do that, this is going to be a tough place to play. I was just really excited about the way they brought the energy and the noise level that that was throughout he football game. That was awesome to see.”
That’s what happens when the team holds onto a lead against a division opponent. The Cowboys trailed at some point in every game last season. In only took one game in 2013 to stop that trend.
It’s tricky for a team to break out when it’s trailing and needing to mount a comeback. That typically will lead to a .500 finish or worse. The Cowboys staged a 23-point comeback to make it a game and still lost to the Giants when they came to Arlington last year.
But the teams reversed roles entirely to start the 2013-2014 season Sunday.
It’s a much more comfortable position to be leading the whole way and holding on late than hoping for a miraculous finish. Eli Manning and the Giants found out Sunday what the Cowboys’ offense found out so often last season. The Cowboys weren’t used to being in that spot and allowed too many big plays Sunday to let the Giants back in, but past Cowboys teams would have relinquished that lead and folded. This one didn’t.
Few things remained the same as they had throughout the 8-8 seasons of the past. One area that did look similar was in the red zone, where problems were still apparent. The Cowboys can’t expect to go 50 percent when they get inside the 20 and expect to win consistently.
On the other side, though, they found a red zone target in Jason Witten they couldn’t find at all last year. That will make teams think twice about doubling Dez Bryant the way the Giants did throughout Sunday’s game.
It’s only one game, and as the Cowboys found out at the beginning of last year, things can change quickly without a repeat performance a week later. But any change from the status quo should be recognized, and it was applauded by a noticeably rowdy crowd at AT&T Stadium on Sunday night.
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The Dallas Cowboys open the 2013-2014 season against an old and familiar nemesis, the New York Giants. Dallas had a busy off-season, overturning its coaching staff, giving quarterback Tony Romo a contract extension, reshuffling its offensive line and switching play-callers. All in hopes of getting the Dallas Cowboys over the hump of consecutive 8-8 seasons.
Here is a look at the Dallas Cowboys’ keys to victory:
Invade the backfield
Eli Manning has his share of success against the Cowboys in the past. But in 2012 his stat line and 77.6 passer rating against Dallas were fairly pedestrian, in part, because the Cowboys’ defense was able to apply pressure – sacking him four times. The Giants’ line has been weakened by injuries to center David Baas and right tackle David Diehl. That will affect a team that had the fewest negative plays in the NFL last season. The Cowboys’ patchwork defensive front needs to take advantage.
When the Cowboys dumped defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and replaced him with Monte Kiffin, they made it known that the move was born out of the desire to force more turnovers. Last season, the Cowboys generated 16 takeaways. Only three teams had fewer. Dallas’ defense has spent the preseason trying to create more game-changing plays. They need to be opportunistic against the Giants, who coughed up the football 21 times last season and had the ninth-fewest giveaways.
Jump out to fast start
Last season, the Cowboys’ offense procrastinated, waiting until a decent chunk of time had expired before kicking into high gear. Only three teams scored fewer points in the first halves of games in 2012 than the Cowboys, who were notorious slow starters. Case example was a loss to the Giants last October, when Dallas trailed 23-0 early in the second quarter before staging a furious comeback that ultimately fell short. On Sunday, the Cowboys will have to get on track early against the Giants.
Get running game going
The Cowboys spent the off-season and training camp trying to resuscitate a running game that was historically bad in 2012, when Dallas rushed for 1,265 yards – a franchise low for a 16-game season. The Cowboys have installed zone-blocking schemes and stretch plays designed to boost the ground attack. Tailback DeMarco Murray is confident the changes will help as he tries to bounce back from a disappointing season. He’ll find out Sunday while facing the team that was the opponent in the last game he accumulated 100 or more rushing yards.
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When: Sunday, September 8th, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. (Dallas time)
Where: AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium), Arlington, Texas
Watch on TV: NBC’s Sunday Night Football; check local listings
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Regular readers already know that The Boys Are Back blog features the ALMOST WORLD FAMOUS predictions from The GREAT Robbini. Last season, the predictor disappeared for several weeks. While the exact age of The Great Robbini is unknown, it’s widely believed that he was experiencing some kind of midlife crisis.
It has been a very productive offseason. As promised, it became ‘uncomfortable’ for last years Dallas Cowboys. Jason Garrett delegated offensive play-calling duties to Callahan, new defensive coaches and scheme (the Texas 2 defense), more gameday planning from quarterback Tony Romo, and Cowboys Stadium has been renamed. Jerry Jones is younger, Stephen Jones has secret sauce, and Jay Ratliff isn’t playing (ooooh, that’s the same). The Great Robbini is geeked! He has tuned his crystal ball directly to the AT&T network! We expect that his apparatus is beaming signals loud and clear!
The GREAT Robbini is psyched about the 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys incoming vibe… and ready to share his prognostications that we all count on from week-to-week. Without further delay, it’s time for The GREAT Robbini’s predictions. I’m sure you’ll agree … a lot of these will come true. OK, here we go …
The GREAT Robbini’s – 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys week #1 predictions:
Cowboys roll over the Giants! Dallas Cowboys start it off right in newly named AT&T Stadium.
It seems that “in the Garrett era” that consistently, the top division rival has been the uhhhh …New Jersey Giants. Mostly for the way they’ve taken a W out of the past four Cowboys Stadium contests. Usually a close game leaving bitterness in the mouths of us all. This time around the ‘Boys take Eli & Co. out in an execution style massacre in Arlington.
Predictions for the Texas 2 Defense …
- 4 sacks on Eli Manning
Sean Lee forced fumble
JJ Wilcox INT
DeMarcus Ware 2 sacks
Victor Cruz Injured
Bruce Carter/Barry Church lead tackles
Predictions for the offense …
- Tony Romo 3 TDs
Dez Bryant 2 TDs
Gavin Escobar TD
DeMarco Murray TD
RB committee 130 yds. +
Dan Bailey 2 FGs
Miles Austin 60 yds.
Dez Bryant 100 yds.
Cole Beasley 30 yds.
Terrence Williams 30 yds.
Jason Witten 45 yds.
Gavin Escobar 25 yds.
Tony Romo sacked twice
The GREAT Robbini
Remember, you read it here! The Great Robbini predictions for week #1. Leave your final score or predictions in the comment section.
Texas Country chart-toppers and CMT superstars Whiskey Myers will perform a pregame concert at the East Plaza before kickoff.
WHAT: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
WHEN: Sunday, 7:30 p.m. (Dallas)
WHERE: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
It has been seven long weeks since the Dallas Cowboys first reported to training camp, but the regular season is finally here. The Cowboys open the 2013-2014 season on Sunday Night Football against the division-rival New York Giants, who they are 6-0 against on opening day.
Here are some things to look for as the Cowboys kick off their latest campaign:
Country music icon George Strait will be on hand Sunday night as an he joins the Dallas Cowboys as an honorary team captain for the game’s coin toss. This is Strait’s second trip to AT&T Stadium – he performed there in 2009 as the first event to be hosted at the venue.
Following the game, Strait is expected to hold a press conference regarding his 2014 The Cowboy Rides Away Tour.
New Bag Policy
Fans are reminded to remember the NFL’s new bag policy, which will be in effect Sunday night and at every Dallas 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.
When To Get There?
AT&T Stadium opens at 5 p.m. (CDT)
Plaza opens at 4 p.m.
Parking lots at 3 p.m.
Party On the Plazas
More than just the Cowboys-Giants game on the field, there is plenty of entertainment for the fans before, during and after the game.
Rhythm & Blues Dance Team, Rhythm & Blues Drum Line and Rhythm & Blues Break Boys will each perform on both East & West plaza before the game.
The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders will split their squad and half and give performances in both the East and West Plazas at about 6:25 p.m.
Cowboys Cuties, a collection of local youth dance kids from the Dallas-Fort Worth area will perform in the West Plaza before kickoff.
In the Kids Zone, free games and activities such as a rock-climbing wall, mechanical bull, face painting, balloon animals, trampolines and Play 60 Games are featured.
East Plaza Food & Beverage discounts include: $5 Miller Lite until 5:30 p.m., $2 12 oz. bottled water and soda and discounted hot dogs, burgers and sausages.
This is the 103rd meeting between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants. Dallas leads the series, 57-43-2, though New York has won three of the last four matchups.
The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders (DCC) will do their normal routine approximately 20 minutes before kickoffs. Trumpeter Freddie Jones will perform the national anthem this week and at every Cowboys home game this year. Jones will be honoring longtime Texas Stadium trumpeter Tommy Lloyd.
At halftime, the TCU marching band will perform a rock and roll inspired set.
DCC Performance – 1 performance in the East Plaza around 5:45 PM
R&B Dance Team – 2 performances in the East Plaza and 1 performance in the west plaza
R&B Drum Line – 1 performance in the East and 1 performance in the West
R&B Break Boys – 1 performance in the East and 1 performance in the West
Cowboys Cuties – 4 performances in the West Plaza – a collection of local youth dance kids from the Dallas-Ft.Worth Metroplex
Kids Zone – mechanical bull, rock climbing wall, Play 60 games, face painting, balloon animals, trampoline
$5 Miller Lite on the plazas until 5:30 p.m.
Parking Lot Patrol – 50 members will be distributed in the parking lots greeting fans and starting rally chants, giving away small items to super fans.
Looking For 20 or more
All season long, 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.
About The Game
A win against the New York Giants would give the Dallas Cowboys consecutive opening day victories since 2008-09.
Sunday is the first time since 2007 the Cowboys are opening their season at home, making this the first Week 1 opener at AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys are 15-7-1 all-time in season openers played at home.
Cowboys linebacker Kyle Bosworth was a member of the Giants a week ago. Bosworth was released by New York last weekend when NFL teams cut their rosters to 53 spots. The Cowboys claimed Bosworth off waivers just a day later to help with their special teams.
Dallas leads the NFL in appearances on Sunday Night Football with 46 – the Giants are second with 41. The Cowboys are 21-25 all-time in those appearances. No team has more wins than Dallas’ 21 – Green Bay is tied with the Cowboys for first.
HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE: New York Giants undefeated at Cowboys Stadium; New era begins today at AT&T Stadium
The Giants are 4-0 at Cowboys Stadium. They know that. The Cowboys know that.
It’s not a pretty stat.
Some Cowboys players look at it in the face and stare back. Some ignore it.
But just about everyone interviewed this week was asked about it. Here are some of the reactions from the week at Valley Ranch:
Dez Bryant: “You just brought it back to my attention. That’s in the past to me. It’s what’s going to go down on Sunday, that’s what we’re looking forward to. All that stuff about them being undefeated in the past, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about Sunday, and we can’t wait.”
DeMarco Murray: “Are they? I don’t know. Maybe they like it here. We definitely got to make sure we change that around a little bit.”
DeMarcus Ware: “I look at it as it’s time to have a turnaround. They’ve won every game here at our stadium. It’s all about image, how you want to build your image in that first game. Why not go out there and have a good game against a great team?”
Jason Witten: “Obviously you get upset about that. It’s disappointing more than anything, just that division opponents handled you that way. But every year is different, and so the games, when you look at them, they all came up different ways. I don’t think you can allow that to affect you. Regardless of where we’re playing, this is a big game.”
Jason Hatcher: “You want to protect your house. You don’t want nobody to come in here and kick your butt in your own house. But at the same time, we’ve got to go out there and play great football. We be the team we’re supposed to be and play like we’re supposed to be, doing what we did in training camp, Sunday’s game, we’ll come out with a win. We can’t just forget about what we did in training camp, how hard we worked, and go out there and play like crap, like we did the last couple years. That ain’t going to get it.”
Tony Romo: “Obviously, they’ve done a good job recently playing at the stadium. More than anything, we need to make sure that we create a home-field advantage. Our fans have done a great job. We need them to be at their best on Sunday night. When they are, they’re very tough to deal with here in Dallas. I expect them to be like that on Sunday, and I think that will help us gain a big advantage if we get that.”
Orlando Scandrick: “They only played in it what, three times? Yeah, I mean we need to go out and protect our home turf. I mean, people got to feel like when they come to Dallas to play it’s going to be a tough environment, that these guys play hard at home, that they play hard all the time.”
Jason Garrett: “The Giants are a good football team. We have had some great games with them and we’ve gone out there and played some great games with them. They have come down here and played some great games. They always seem to be close. They are always competitive. It’s an outstanding organization. It’s been a great organization for a long time. Their head coach is outstanding. He is a Hall of Fame coach. And they’ve got a lot of really, really good football players. So regardless of where you play them, it’s going to be a great challenge. We have great battles with them in both stadiums.”
And, the Giants, too, were asked about it in a conference call with DFW reporters …
Tom Coughlin: “Well, both teams play extremely hard. We’ve been fortunate enough to win them at the end.”
Eli Manning: “I don’t think there’s anything to it. We’ve had some tight games. Last year, literally a game of inches where the receiver had a pinkie out of bounds on the last play. A few years before that, we’re down 12 with five minutes and fought back for a win. There’s just been some games over the years, and so hopefully we can just find a way to hang in there and put ourselves in a situation to win the game at the end.”
Leary, who had knee surgery on Aug. 15, is on track to start at left guard in the season opener against the Giants on Sunday. But the others, notably Spencer, are unlikely to play. The Cowboys are holding out hope that Spencer, who had knee surgery in July at the start of training camp, can get in the game for spot duty on Sunday.
For the Giants, three players did not practice. Center David Baas (knee), tight end Adrein Robinson (foot) and tackle David Diehl (thumb) sat out. Limited in practice were receiver Victor Cruz (heel), fullback Henry Hynoski (knee), defensive end Damontre Moore (shoulder) and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (back).
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett gave up play-calling duties this year, and Giants coach Tom Coughlin said there are benefits.
“There was a point in time for me, I just said, ‘You know what? I’ve got to be the head coach of the entire team.’ ” Coughlin said in a conference call with DFW reporters Wednesday, asked about the change in Garrett’s duties. “I thought I was spending so much time trying to be prepared for the play-calling duties, that I felt like it was maybe closing some doors of opportunity for me to be involved in motivation of our players, the management of our players, to a better extreme. So that was the reason for me.
“I do think that it does allow you to become very, very familiar with the opponent. It does allow you to be in position perhaps to be a situation or a play or a series ahead from where you might be if you were the play-caller. It also allows you, I think, to get more involved in special teams, which is so critical.”
Coughlin said he gave up play-calling when he came to the Giants from Jacksonville, and he said he had been “back and forth on it” when he was with the Jaguars.
“I think it’s an individual thing,” Coughlin said. “There’s no general statement about how it should be done. People have obviously done an excellent job of coaching their team and still being the defensive play-caller or the offensive play-caller. I do think it’s an individual- and situational- and knowledge-of-your-franchise-type of decision.”
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media as his team begins their preparations for opening night with the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium. Garrett discussed:
- Spencer and Leary’s (injury and) practice update
- How conditioning factors into gameday decisions
- Jones and Bosworth Special Teams, expected impact
- Lissemore trade and appreciation for his contributions
- Aspirations for the post-season
- Transition to regular season from offseason
- Selvie and Spencer rotation
- Doug Free commitment, regardless of role
- Running scheme changes with different linemen
- Decision behind keeping six safeties on roster
- Safeties role on Special Teams, next man up when needed
- Adjusting to all of the changes on offense and defense
- Claiborne decision on playing time
- TE Smith becoming more rounded
- Excitement around 53-man roster and setting practice squad
- New York Giants record at Cowboy Stadium
- Improvement of team over last season during offseason
- Frederick’s quick grasp of center position
- B.W. Webb overcoming ups and downs
- Spencer, committee approach until he’s in condition
- DTs opportunities and expectations of young players
- Motivation and drive of veterans for playoff run
- “Make today important” approach to preparation and winning
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Two big bits of injury news pertaining to the Cowboys’ season opener is grabbing attention.
As many people no doubt saw on Saturday night, the Giants lost safety Stevie Brown for the season during their loss to the New York Jets. Brown made a textbook interception of an awful pass thrown by rookie quarterback Geno Smith, and he tore his ACL while being tackled on the return.
It’s a devastating blow, especially as the Giants were so close to wrapping up their final test of the preseason. However, since the loss of Brown, the team has received several bits of good news in anticipation of the opener against the Dallas Cowboys in 13 days.
Safety Antrel Rolle and cornerback Corey Webster are slated to return to the field this week ahead of New York’s preseason finale against New England. It’s pretty crucial timing, as the Giants were set to take the field without three of their starting four defensive backs.
Rolle rolled his ankle – no pun intended — several weeks ago, but he has been adamant he would be fit for the start of the regular season. Webster has been battling groin and MCL injuries for most of training camp, but Giants coach Tom Coughlin told reporters on Sunday he would return this week, as well.
Perhaps the bigger news coming out of New Jersey on Monday is that injured defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, whose return from back surgery has dominated Giants training camp headlines, was activated from Physically Unable to Perform list Monday.
Pierre-Paul doubtless has plenty of work to do before he’d be cleared to line up against the Cowboys on Sept. 8, but with 13 days to spare, he can now begin that process.
It’s a bit of the opposite scenario for the Cowboys. Starting cornerback Morris Claiborne returned to practice on Monday, which further solidifies his confidence that he’ll be good to go for the opener. With any luck, the Cowboys just might have four healthy starters in the secondary to start the year.
On the other hand, defensive end Anthony Spencer and defensive tackle Jay Ratliff – particularly Ratliff – don’t look like the locks for Week 1 action that they once were. Neither player has returned to practice, but Spencer said last week he has not yet started running on his convalescing knee.
Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones has typically been steadfast in his belief that Ratliff would be ready for the Giants game. But Jones didn’t sound so sure when asked about it on Saturday night after the Bengals game.
It’s not quite September yet, so there’s still time for more developments for both teams. But the window of recovery time is closing rapidly.
IRVING, Texas – We’re at the halfway point in the regular season and obviously the Dallas Cowboys aren’t happy with a 3-5 record. The talk of head coach Jason Garrett’s future has been a topic, albeit one that owner Jerry Jones has dismissed.
The Cowboys haven’t been able to close out games this season, but the schedule might turn in their favor for the final eight games, where only one team with a winning record exists.
The DallasCowboys.com staff of Bryan Broaddus, Rowan Kavner and Nick Eatman weigh in with their assessment of the season’s first half.
Bryan: The victory on the road against the Giants on opening night. It was a game that nobody had them winning. Might be the only time they have really played a complete game.
Rowan: Winning the opener in New York. The Cowboys felt a victory against the Super Bowl champion Giants might be a statement win and one that could propel them going forward. It turned out to be one of the few positive moments from the first half of the season.
Nick: There’s only been three wins and it’s not going to be beating Tampa Bay or Carolina. Has to be the opener against the Giants when they took it to the defending champs from start to finish. Kevin Ogletree had a career night and the Cowboys kept answering the bell.
Bryan: The last 5:21 of the game against the Falcons. If the defense gets a stop there, Tony Romo has a chance to once again try and score with a no-huddle offense that had previously moved the ball well for their only touchdown of the day. Instead, the offense gets the ball with 22 seconds left and no chance to win the game.
Rowan: When Dez Bryant was called out of bounds on a miraculous catch in the back of the end zone at home against the Giants. Not only would that have given the Cowboys a winning record at the time, and their biggest comeback in franchise history, but it would have also been one of the few breaks for both Romo and Bryant, who’ve had their struggles at times.
Nick: Without a doubt, hearing the referee say, “After review, the receiver’s hand landed out of bounds” following Bryant’s near catch against the Giants. That was a killer for this team. They could’ve had the biggest comeback in Cowboys history from two players, Dez and Romo, who needed a boost like that. While it was still a classic, it would’ve probably been the best game I’ve ever covered had it not been for a few inches.
What They Do Best:
Bryan: Cover punts. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Chris Jones or Brian Moorman, Joe DeCamillis has this unit ranked among the best in the NFL. Rarely do you see their gunners out of position and when given an opportunity to make a tackle, they get the job done. It’s a sound group.
Rowan: Stop teams from driving the field. The defense has played significantly better than the offense this season, particularly in limiting teams from gaining chunks of yardage. The offense continually puts the defense in rough spots with turnovers, and for the most part, the defense has held its own.
Nick: Other than find creative ways to lose games? This team is pretty good at defending the pass. What’s really frustrating is if you would’ve heard two weeks ago that neither Eli Manning nor Matt Ryan would throw a touchdown against the Cowboys and their offenses would only get one each, you never would’ve thought the Cowboys would go 0-2 in those games. But, the Cowboys have had a good pass rush and played well in the secondary, ranking fifth overall on defense.
Where They Struggle The Most
Bryan: Finishing games. Look at the way this team has lost games and that will tell you all you need to know.
Rowan: In the red zone. Not a lot of teams will be able to score in there with a rushing attack as feeble as the Cowboys’, which ranks 30th in rushing average. Dallas scores a touchdown only 44 percent of the time it reaches the red zone and 50 percent of the time it gets inside the 10-yard line.
Nick: It’s the offensive line. That hasn’t changed really since last year, other than probably regressing some. Romo is always running for his life and they can’t run the ball in the red zone, a sure sign this offensive line can’t generate a good enough push when needed.
Best Offensive Player:
Bryan: Jason Witten. Nobody has played with more toughness and skill than him.
Rowan: Witten. The man who is now the team’s all-time leader in receptions has been one of the few reliable targets for Romo this year. After a slow start coming back from a spleen injury, Witten has recorded at least six catches in the last five games, including a 13-catch performance and a record 18-reception outing.
Nick: The wording of this category is tricky. The football player might be Dez. The most valuable is probably Romo because when he’s on they always have a chance, and when he’s not, they have none. But the best offensive player through eight games has to be Witten. Who would’ve said that after those first three games when he wasn’t 100 percent? But, he’s been fantastic of late. Then again, when your best player is a tight end, it’s hard to be successful on offense.
Best Defensive Player:
Bryan: Week in and week out, Brandon Carr has been asked to cover the opponent’s best receiver, plus line up at safety. Carr has been a stable, steady player, which is something you need when trying to match up against different schemes.
Rowan: No player on this defense would cause the kind of commotion and alterations needed after Sean Lee was lost for the year. He had about as productive a start to the season as anyone could ask for and will continue to be the leader of the defense for years to come.
Nick: Sure, I’d like to be cute here and find another worthy selection, but you really can’t. DeMarcus Ware has been the most productive and most durable defensive player on this team for a while. Ware has played in all 120 games of his career, missing just one start, and that was the Saints game in 2009 when he was heroic in a huge upset win. He’s been great again this year and gets my vote.
Editors Pick: Bruce Carter
Best Special Teams Player:
Bryan: It’s amazing that Danny McCray’s special teams play hasn’t suffered because of all the time he’s seeing with the defense as a starting safety. His ability to read schemes, beat blocks and finish plays gets him noticed a lot on tape.
Rowan: It’s Dan Bailey. The only area he’s not automatic is over 50 yards, which is understandable for any kicker. When the Cowboys get in legitimate field goal range, he’ll put it through almost every time.
Nick: It’s too easy to go with Bailey, but what about the snapper L.P. Ladouceur, who has been virtually perfect again this year. He’s the most consistent player on the team. With so many players shuffling in and out of the special teams units, they’ve had little consistency, but Ladouceur is the normal exception.
Don’t Forget About …
Bryan: As much as I wanted to get rid of Phil Costa, he does play on his feet in securing blocks and getting on the second level. Is he great? No, but he is able to do things that Ryan Cook can’t scheme-wise.
Rowan: All the injuries this team has endured. The Cowboys lost their two best young players at different points and for different durations in Lee and DeMarco Murray, not to mention their starting safety in Barry Church and nose tackle Jay Ratliff for the beginning of the year. Health going forward will be crucial.
Nick: The Cowboys have been a different team when DeMarco Murray is in the game, and if he can return soon, possibly even this week, the offense has a chance to turn things around in a hurry.
Bryan: The way this team loses games. It really has been a throw here, a catch there or a key stop not made that’s kept the Cowboys from having a much better record.
Rowan: There have been quite a few disappointments, from a meager rushing attack to a shaky offensive line to a hoard of penalties every other week. But turnovers, particularly interceptions, have kept this Cowboys team from being above .500.
Nick: Since I was preaching back in June how important the Seattle game would be, I’ll stick with that. After winning in New York, the Cowboys simply got manhandled against the Seahawks in Week 2, which gave us a preview of how they would lose the physical battle up front in other games, too.
Bryan: Need to focus and find a way to get on a little four-game winning streak, the game at Philadelphia and then three in a row at home. If this team is going to do anything productive this second half of the season, it starts against the Eagles on Sunday.
Rowan: While the lousy start wasn’t expected after a win in New York, it should get easier for the Cowboys the rest of the way. They only play one team with a winning record, so there’s no excuse to go 3-5 again in the second half of the season.
Nick: We knew all along the Cowboys might have an easier road in the second half of the season than in the first, and that should be the case. But the question was always the same: Will it be too late? The Cowboys are 3-5, and although just one of their last eight opponents currently has a winning record, it’s hard to think they will be consistent enough to make a serious playoff run. I still think 8-8 will be the final verdict.