THE BOYS ARE BACK: Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles | America’s Team faces another evil division rival in week #2 | First 2015-16 road game this afternoon | Dallas Cowboys gameday resources
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DALLAS COWBOYS GAMEDAY PRIMER: The 2015 Bone Bowl–Broken Bryant and DeMarco’s Meat | Week #2 Practice & Injury Update | Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles
With the Dallas Cowboys All-Pro wide receiver Dez Bryant sidelined by foot surgery, there was no crowd around his empty locker. Instead, scattered groups were talking to his fellow receivers – the ones who will be asked to fill his shoes in Philadelphia. Continue reading →
COWBOYS VS. EAGLES GAME 16 VIDEO RECAP: Dallas Cowboys turnovers contribute to heartbreaker | 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys Highlights video | 5:16
The Philadelphia Eagles make a crucial stop late in the game clinch the NFC East and a playoff berth in a 24-22 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 17 of NFL action. (Watch this Video)
Jason Garrett Postgame Press Conference | 12:32
IT’S OVER … FAT LADY SINGS: Philadelphia Eagles end Dallas Cowboys 2013 season | Trifecta complete: All NFC East teams sweep Cowboys playoff hopes
ARLINGTON — Unexpectedly, drama filled AT&T Stadium. Hope – and the Cowboys — were alive with less than two minutes remaining in tonight’s season finale.
But backup quarterback Kyle Orton, subbing for injured Tony Romo, threw an interception with 1:43 left, clinching Philadelphia’s 24-22 NFC East-clinching victory over the Dallas Cowboys before a sellout crowd of 91,166.
The game was closer and more thrilling than expected, but result was all-too-familiar for the Cowboys. For the fourth straight year, they’ll watch the playoffs from home.
For the third straight year, Dallas lost a win-or-stay home regular-season finale and finished 8-8. Philadelphia, not Dallas, is the NFC’s No. 3 seed and will host New Orleans next Saturday in the first round of the playoffs.
The 25th season of Jerry Jones’ ownership, like so many others since the early ‘90s Super Bowl glory years, ended with a thud. The past 17 seasons have produced seven playoff appearances and one solitary postseason victory.
The current playoff drought is the third-longest in the franchise’s 54-year history, behind those incurred during the franchise’s first six seasons (1960-1965) and the five-year drought of 1986-1990.
Before this season, Jones hired a 73-year-old defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. Head coach Jason Garrett ceded play-calling responsibilities to Bill Callahan, but the Cowboys remained on a treadmill of mediocrity.
The Cowboys pulled within two points with 3:50 remaining when, on fourth and nine, Kyle Orton found Dez Bryant over the middle for a 32-yard touchdown pass.
NFL GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles | The Cowboys Eagles rivalry continues | 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys NFL Game 16
NFL FILMS COWBOYS EAGLES PREVIEW:
Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles
NFL Films previews the 2013-2014 NFL Season Week 17 matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles. (Watch the Preview)
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Trackers and Scoreboards
View NFL | Dallas Cowboys game stats and scores online while you watch or listen to the game.
Click HERE to choose from a list of popular online game trackers.
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Sounds of the game
Listen to the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys” Brad Sham on KRLD in Dallas.
or listen via the Dallas Cowboys Android App on your phone or tablet
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Watch the game
To watch on network TV, tune to:
KXAS-TV/NBC 5 Dallas Ft. Worth | WCAU-TV/NBC 10 Philadelphia
Out of market? Click HERE to (legally) watch online (NFL Sunday Ticket)
When: Sunday, December 29th, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. (Dallas time)
Where: Cowboys AT&T Stadium | Arlington, TX
Watch on TV: NBC | DirecTV
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: The Boys Are Back website
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GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Dallas Cowboys pregame/postgame shows
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THE COWBOYS – EAGLES RIVALRY CONTINUES! ENJOY THE GAME!
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COWBOYS VS. EAGLES GAMEPLAN: NFC East rivals clash tonight in Big D for division title | Pregame Scouting Report | Eagles @ Cowboys 2013 2014 regular season finale
Their Nemesis: DeMarcus Ware
In 16 career games against the Philadelphia Eagles, Ware has been a one man wrecking crew. He has accounted for over 90 tackles, 16 sacks, eight tackles for loss, 32 quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. There has been twice in his career where he has had 11 tackles in a game against the Eagles with the last one coming in 2011.
Ware also recorded four sacks in a game and that also came in 2011. Ware has also faced the Eagles in the playoffs, with five tackles, three quarterback pressures, a pair of sacks and a fumble recovery. Ware missed the game the first time that these two teams met earlier this year in Philadelphia, which was the first time that he missed a game.
Without Ware in the lineup that day, the Cowboys had their best defensive performance of the season in a 17-3 victory. But make no mistake about it, this Cowboys defense needs Ware this time around to attempt to slow down this Eagles offensive attack with Nick Foles at quarterback. Ware will get some opportunities to rush from both sides in this matchup.
I do feel like that he can break down Jason Peters, if the secondary can make him hold the ball a second or two longer. Where I really like Ware is on the opposite side in dealing with rookie Lane Johnson who on tape has had his share of troubles in trying to handle those power rushers.
Our Weapon: Orlando Scandrick
What Monte Kiffin and this defensive staff has shown the that they are not afraid to match their best corners on the opponents best threats. The way that DeSean Jackson has been playing this season, the Cowboys will need to match him with a corner that can play with quickness and straight line speed, Scandrick is that guy.
Where the Eagles might work their way around this is try and keep Jackson out of the slot which is where Scandrick does the majority of his work but Kiffin is in much better shape corner wise, then he was the last time these two team met. Morris Claiborne should be back and active but Sterling Moore is also in the mix and that will help. I believe that Jackson is too quick for both Brandon Carr and that presents a big problem when you match him on the outside.
With Jackson, there is that fear that he can score from anywhere on the field and that is why you need to match him with a player that has the ability to function under that pressure. He has been the best player in the secondary for Monte Kiffin and this defense despite having a couple of games against the Bears and Packers where I didn’t feel like he was at his best.
Orlando Scandrick also has faced DeSean Jackson enough in his career to understand how he needs to play him and that is very important when you are trying to match a player with this much talent, because he goes all over the field.
Under Their Radar: Jeff Heath
This will be a critical game on a couple of different fronts for these Cowboys safeties, especially Jeff Heath. Monte Kiffin with Sean Lee out of the lineup, is once again going to have to bring Barry Church down to help in the running game on LeSean McCoy.
That means that we are going to see plenty of single high safety and that is going to fall in the lap of Heath as that deep defender. Where Heath is going to need to be at his best is with all these routes that also go down the field in helping these corners. The Eagles like to get their receivers down the field on the outside and work their tight ends inside.
I expect that Kiffin is going to try and match his secondary on these receivers, so that will mean plenty of man coverage and that is the way he should play them. The more you can be physical with them, the better chance you have the chance to survive. It is going to be important that Heath is able to play with his eyes but also anticipate where the ball is going to be.
In the pocket, Foles will try and move the secondary with ball fakes, so Heath has to really be careful that he doesn’t get thrown off by this. Heath will need to make sure that he is in the proper position in routes but also in the running game because there will be plays that the Eagles break with McCoy or Jackson and a stop needs to be made right there.
Our Nemesis: DeSean Jackson
DeSean Jackson currently leads the Eagles in receptions with 79 and is tied with LeSean McCoy in touchdown with nine. Jackson is a perfect fit in the Chip Kelly offense because how Kelly likes to use his personnel all over the field in different formations either getting the ball on the move or vertically down the field.
There have been some times this season where Kelly lines him up in the backfield and runs him on routes from there. What makes him so difficult to deal with is the speed and quickness in which he plays with. Jackson is one of those players that if you play off coverage on him, he is going to eat up your cushion in a hurry.
He is on you right now and if he is on you, he is by you. There have been days though where Jackson has been his own worst enemy with drops. As many times as I have seen him catch the ball on the move, there have been times where he has appeared to hear footsteps and drop ball of two that he should have made a play on.
I would not say that he has the most consistent hands and there are times where they have let him down. Jackson still is an unique talent that has rare ability. I expect Monte Kiffin’s answer to dealing with him in this game will be to walk Orlando Scandrick up on him and let him carry him all over the field.
Their Weapon: LeSean McCoy
Nervous as this Cowboys defense is about playing against DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy presents an even more difficult problem. This Chip Kelly offense is perfectly tailored to his running style. McCoy is one of those backs that can take simple plays and make them into huge gains. Did doesn’t matter if it is a hand off out of the read option or a screen pass in the flat, he is going to be hard to handle. He has the unique ability to make the first man miss, then get in the open field and make others miss.
He is an explosive runner that when he can turn his shoulders and go downhill, he can be tough to bring down. The best way to slow him down, is get him going sideways and not allow him to turned up the field.
Makes some violent cuts in the way he runs the ball. Can plant his foot in the ground and explode off it. Will take the ball off the read option, allowing the line to get into their blocks, then hitting it to the back side as the defense over runs the play.
Unique talent that has that ability to make you miss. Plays with outstanding hands, rare to see him drop a pass. Has a feel for how to work himself open, secure the catch and head up the field. Hard player to completely shut down.
Cowboys did a really nice job of getting off blocks the last time these two teams played and were able to get to McCoy before he was able to get going.
Under The Radar: Mychal Kendricks
The Eagles have several good, young players on their defensive roster, but one guy that really caught my eye was linebacker Mychal Kendricks. He was a 2nd round selection by the Eagles in 2012 and right now, he looks like a quality pick. The first thing you notice about him is how quick he plays. He is very active and is a difficult guy to block when he is on the move.
Looks like a nice scheme fit for this 3 – 4 defense because he can get away from blocks. Is physical short, but does play with some pop at the point of attack. Will be used on blitzes to attack the pocket. Can be a relentless guy when it comes to rushing the passer.
Does a really nice job of chasing the ball. Strong enough to play off blocks. Can be physical when he needs to be. Is a very good tackler in space. Hard guy to get away from when he has the ball carrier wrapped up. Can really close when he sees the ball, has a burst and some explosive traits.
Showed the ability to carry the back out of the backfield. Moves with ease and it able to stay in position while playing the route. Is one of those defensive players you have to be aware of and make sure you get a hat on him at all times.
KEY GAMEDAY MATCHUPS: Cowboys have to pressure Foles | Rookies in trenches
Cowboys C Travis Frederick vs. Eagles NT Bennie Logan
This will be an interesting matchup between two rookies that are both helping their teams with a high level of play.
Travis Frederick has been rock solid in the middle for the Cowboys since he was put in the lineup as a Day 1 starter. He has not always been perfect, but for a young guy to handle all the things that have been thrown his way speaks volumes for the type of player that he is.
He will be battling one of my favorite players from the 2013 NFL Draft in Bennie Logan. There have been plenty of questions about the lack of drafting defensive linemen on this team, and I have to admit I was surprised that Logan didn’t get more consideration from this scouting and coaching staff. LSU has put several defensive linemen in this league with some with mixed success, but in my view, Logan was different.
Where Frederick has improved over the season has been against the 3-4 nose men that play with power. Logan will be a strong test in this area for Frederick because he does play with power and can be difficult to handle on the move. Where Frederick is going to have to be at his best is when the ball is stretched to the edge, that he maintains his position throughout the block and not allow Logan to penetrate and be disruptive to the play.
Frederick must find ways to finish his blocks both run and pass.
Cowboys Defensive Line vs. Eagles Offensive Line
The last time these two clubs met in Philadelphia, I thought the game was won up front for the Cowboys with the amount of pressure that they were able to apply — not only in the passing game but how they were able to handle things in the running game.
For this squad to get a victory Sunday night, they are going to need that same kind of effort, and they’ll need to find ways to play on the Eagles’ side of the line of scrimmage. As bad as Nick Foles was in that game last time, it was the defensive line that caused him the issues.
Monte Kiffin and this defense need to attack this Eagles offensive line and make them have to scramble to sustain their blocks. To this point in time this season, that was the best game that they’ve played as a group when it came to getting off blocks and being where they needed to be with their responsibilities.
They are going to need that same kind of effort again on Sunday night. For the Eagles, it is real simple: they have to do a better job of not allowing this Cowboys defensive front control the game like they did last time out. The Eagles have some talented players on their offensive line and it is going to be a battle up front.
Jason Kelce, Evan Mathis, Jason Peters are quality players, with rookie Lane Johnson improving. Keep an eye on how this matchup progresses throughout the night because I believe this is where the game is going to be won or lost once again.
EAGLES @ COWBOYS GAMEDAY GUT CHECK: Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles | 2013-2014 NFL Game 16 regular season finale
IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys and Eagles … winner takes it all.
That’s where we are once again. The Dallas Cowboys are no strangers to this game, having faced the Giants and Redskins the last two years in Week 17 finales with the NFC East title on the line. We know how the Cowboys fared in those games but even without Tony Romo and Sean Lee, can the Cowboys turn the tide this year?
Here are the gut feelings for insiders Nick Eatman, David Helman and Rowan Kavner.
Helman: The one thing I’ve learned about the Dallas Cowboys this season is to expect the unexpected. I’ve seen too many crazy things to write this game off just because Tony Romo is missing. In fact, I think the Dallas offense is going to be just fine with Kyle Orton in charge. Orton’s going to throw three touchdowns and an interception, and if the Cowboys are smart they’ll lean on DeMarco Murray – who certainly has another 90-yard game in him. Unfortunately, it’s going to be the defense that sinks the upset bid. The Cowboys might slow down LeSean McCoy, or they might make life difficult for Nick Foles, but I don’t think they can do both without Sean Lee. Philadelphia is going to have 500 yards before it’s over, and they’ll clinch the division in a 42-28 win.
Kavner: There’s never been more question marks about this team, and it just so happens that it’s in Week 17 of a third straight win-or-go-home season finale to decide the NFC East. For that reason, it’s difficult to pick the Dallas Cowboys in this one with any confidence. It’s a shame Tony Romo doesn’t even have the chance to reverse his legacy after getting the Cowboys in with a game-winning drive, but this will be Kyle Orton’s ship to sail the rest of the way. There are worse options around the league that a team would have to turn to. The loss of Sean Lee, who was instrumental in the teams’ first matchup, can’t be stressed enough. I don’t believe anyone saying the Cowboys just have no shot, but they’ll need to find a pass rush if they’re to survive. I think Orton looks to Jason Witten a ton, DeMarco Murray goes over the 100-yard mark for the third time in four games and a Dallas safety gets a pick, but the Cowboys fall by a touchdown late.
Eatman: Glad the Romo news came out when it did, because my gut would’ve said something about Romo finding a way to play. All week I had a hunch he would at least try to play. So right there, I’ve already admitted my gut is a little off. Or, maybe I’m due to even it out. So Romo is out, Sean Lee is out. Those are your offensive and defensive quarterbacks. Ware didn’t practice, Dez has a back issue, too. Kyle Orton hasn’t started in two years and the Eagles just scored over 50 points on a team that whipped the Cowboys two weeks ago. So … give me Dallas in a wild, crazy game that makes no sense. I don’t have great logic here. But personally, come Monday morning, I don’t think the season will be over. I think there is still stuff for this team to do. I think the defense gets turnovers and finds a way to slow down the train. Jason Witten will be Kyle Orton’s best friend and catch 10 passes and DeMarco Murray, who didn’t play the first game with the Eagles, has another big-time performance. The Cowboys will win this game 38-34 and will face … San Francisco in the playoffs next week.
WORLDWIDE EXCLUSIVE: The Great Robbini’s predictions for Game #16 regular season finale | 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Regular readers know that The Boys Are Back website features the ALMOST WORLD FAMOUS predictions from The GREAT Robbini. Our “exalted one” predicts the fate of America’s Team with unprecedented precision and accuracy from week-to-week. Kinda!
Last week, eerily donning his old Jon Kitna jersey and a handful of Doan’s back pills, The GREAT Robbini correctly predicted a Dallas Cowboys win over the NFC East division cellar dwelling Washington Redskins. It was a close game … full of dramatic Cowboy mystic on the back (literally) of Tony Romo grit and determination. That rematch was a must-win game and ended with a Romo last minute do-or-die drive! It set up this NFL flexed Sunday Night primetime showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Kelly green bunch from Philadelphia are full of confidence and strutting like the only cock in a packed hen house. Well, let’s just say … it’s yet to be determined just WHO will be circling WHO in this final battle! Dallas does have the philanthropic math teacher from Washington back on the roster, in case there is a true blue quarterbacking emergency!
Tonight, The GREAT Robbini has eagerly stroked his balls and envisions a complete Viking-like transformation behind the leadership of Kyle Orton, the X-Factor Dez Bryant, and Marinelli’s Misfits anchored by world-class sackmaster DeMarcus Ware. Let it be known, the aging Robbini is drawing on decades (maybe centuries) of crystal ball and leather ball waxing and rubbing. Do NOT take his predictions lightly! As you can see from his glaring-eyed, younger than Monte Kiffin’ish reflection above, he’s drawing on some serous vibes (and possibly indigestion or constipation issues)!
The GREAT ONE was able to shoot me an email with some astonishing sights and stats. His glossy ball emitted images of a very determined Jason Garrett lead Dallas Cowboys team and supportive home crowd sportin’ some Christmas and New Year playoff magic. Jerry Jones’ five dollar Miller Lite’s will help.
Obviously, he’s psyched about the Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles rematch with Chippy the Hippy… and ready to share his prognostications that we all count on from week-to-week. Without further delay, it’s time for The GREAT Robbini’s predictions …
The GREAT Robbini’s – 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys game #16 predictions:
The 2013 Dallas Cowboys become the unlikely division winner. If that isn’t enough don’t forget that the Cowboys now have the distinction of twice sweeping the division. Something no other team in the NFC East has ever pulled off.
Do you wanna know how they do it? Its quite simple.
Without Tony Romo, the tattered Dallas defensive unit comes in ready to play. Knowing they now have to force stops, make tackles, and take away balls. In a measure of self-preservation, the NFL’s worst ranked D steps up to the challenge.
In the absence of Tony Romo this offensive line goes into beast mode. For the sake of Romo (and the season) and in a showing for Kyle Orton and D Murray, these guys play precision football. Dez and Co. dedicate an All-Star showing to their fallen general by lighting an offensive fire before the home crowd’s eyes. Jason Garrett’s Dallas Cowboys rise up on Sunday night and make a statement.
These guys play as a team. They have to. The only shame is having to wait until now. That it had to come to this. With plenty of excuses, this team very well could’ve ended it 12-4 and clinched a birth weeks ago. Missing personnel, bad planning, and premature celebrations. We’ve seen it all. Well, on Sunday Night Football you’ll see something else. Something you can be proud of.
Predictions for the Texas 2 Defense …
- 2 takeaways
- 3 sacks on Foles
- Foles fumbles the ball
- 2 sacks Hatcher
- 1 sack Ware
- fumble recovery Church
- D gives up 310 in the air
- D gives up 110 on the ground
- Foles rushes for 20yds
Predictions for the offense …
- Orton 300 yds.
- Bryant Touchdown
- Beasley Touchdown
- Witten Touchdown
- Murray Touchdown
- Austin Touchdown
- Murray/Randall 155 all purpose yards
- Dez 150yards
- Witten 50yards
- Cowboys receive second half kick
The GREAT Robbini
Remember, you read it here! The Great Robbini predictions for game #16 regular season finale. Feel free to leave your final score or predictions in the comment section.
Stats and predictions to be confirmed by:
IRVING. Texas – The sun was shining brightly late morning on Friday, Dec. 27, out here at The Ranch.
But that menacing cloud seemingly hanging over the Dallas Cowboys’ heads since the start of training camp this 2013 season, similar to that ubiquitous dirt cloud over the head of Peanuts character Pig-Pen, still was there during this final regular-season workout.
No Tony Romo, done for sure following what seemingly was becoming inevitable back surgery all week long, performed sooner on Friday morning rather than later, like after the game if he could possibly play.
No Sean Lee, a sprained neck ligament doing him in, knowing he cannot take any chances until fully healed.
The two most important players for their respective units definitely out for what becomes the most important game of the season, Cowboys-Eagles, 7:30 p.m. Sunday at AT&T Stadium, the winner claiming the NFC East and the automatic playoff berth that comes along with it. The loser left to contemplate one too many losses over the course of the 16-game season – the Cowboys, in particular, having lost three of four one-point decisions, not to mention the three-pointer to Denver after scoring a 33-year-high 48 points way back in October, the most points ever scored in a loss.
Not only that, no DeMarcus Ware, having suffered a hyperextension on Thursday to the same elbow he hyper-extended last year, though he vows to play just the same after having an MRI.
And, even defensive line coach Rod Marinelli was hobbling around practice with the use of a crutch.
You’d have thought the Dallas Cowboys were preparing to cross the Delaware on Sunday instead of bumping into the Eagles (9-6), backs to the wall and staring down the common sense barrel of fate from the wrong end.
So there they were on Friday, the 8-7 Cowboys, quietly going through their pre-practice passing drills, the only voice heard over there on the field with the offense being that of head coach Jason Garrett during the skeleton passing drills, imploring them to keep the ball off the ground.
And in front of him, throwing the passes for the drill just three days before the next biggest game in a season seemingly loaded with big games were …
Kyle Orton, who has not started a game in the NFL since 2011 and has thrown only 15 passes this year, all during mop-up time, and …
Jon Kitna, who has not played a game of NFL football since that 2011 season himself, last throwing to his high school scout team back in Tacoma, Wash., this football season.
What a sight to see.
Now, you go win me a football game.
Talk about dabbling in next-man-up extreme.
Of course, the easy, most logical thing for the Dallas Cowboys to do going up against the Philadelphia Eagles, who have won six of their past seven games, is to feel sorry for themselves, just throw in the towel like most everyone else. Yet such logic has no room in a competitor’s mind.
There did not seem to be any towels strewn on the practice field Friday, nor wet ones dampening enthusiasm in the locker room afterward. The only inordinate sight was those blue T-shirts hanging in everyone’s locker after practice, inscribed with white lettering “Deep In The” and then, under the symbolic state of Texas white outline which included a Cowboys Star right in the middle, “Of Texas.”
The subliminal message being “Heart.”
Brother, the Cowboys will need all they have of this organ of fortitude.
“This is why we do it, starting a long time ago, to be in this opportunity,” says Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, never one to let down his guard, and especially not now with everything on the line.
The Eagles, well, see they’re doing some talking, right, running back LeSean McCoy runnin’ his NFL leading-rusher mouth, saying to the Philly fans on WIP, “Sunday night just relax. Turn on the channel, watch your Birds manhandle the Dallas Cowgirls. Let’s go. Merry Christmas,” another indication the Eagles are feeling full of themselves after putting that 54-11 beating on the Chicago Bears this past Sunday. Sort of like the Giants before them when facing a Cowboys team that had beaten them, too, the first time around.
The Cowboys, well, there is nothing wrong coming in with a little quiet humility, flying under the radar, with everyone else giving up on them now that Romo and Lee are definitely out of this game, combined with sporting the league’s 32nd-ranked defense and 31st-ranked pass defense.
But to me, out at practice Friday there seemed to be this quiet focus, understanding something big was about to take place; understanding they were without their general; understanding each and every one of them had to be at their best, no matter if it’s rookie DeVonte Holloman about to start only his second game at middle linebacker or Dwayne Harris returning after missing the past three games or Orton starting his first game for the Cowboys in the two years he’s been here or Morris Claiborne finally getting back on the field after a month’s injury absence or Kyle Wilber starting just his fifth NFL game at strong-side linebacker.
Hey, if Romo can play nearly a full half of football with a back in need of surgery five days later to win GMAC’s Never Say Never Moment of The Week Award, no excuses.
“Everyone just needs to do their jobs as well as they can do it,” Garrett says.
Now, of course, all of this is fine and dandy, but you have to be good enough to win, something the Cowboys were not the past two years they were in this same exact win-and-you’re-in predicament, losing in order to the Giants in 2011 to finish 8-8 and to the Redskins in 2012 to finish 8-8.
Although, this time there is something extremely different: The Cowboys are playing an NFC East opponent in the final game of the season that they have already beaten once this year – heck, they’ve won all five of their NFC East games this season – at home, at The AT&T.
With a friendly roof over their heads and what’s expected to be 90-some-thousand towel-waving, screaming fans surrounding them, likely popping some goose-flesh and maybe some Eagle eardrums – can you hear me now? – since those folks will have all day to get ready for the game, if you know what I mean.
A difference? Hmmm, got any other logical reason why the Eagles, winners of five straight, went under the dome in Minneapolis two weeks ago and got spanked, 48-30, by the now 4-10-1 Vikings who were playing with basically their third-string quarterback and third-string running back?
“We know how difficult it is to play on the road when the crowd is into it, and it’s loud,” Garrett pointed out, likely remembering the playoff loss at Minnesota following the 2009 season or being told of the playoff loss following the 1991 season to the Lions at the Silverdome just before he got here as a player.
Hey, it’s the NFL, right? The Nothing Furshur League, and this is a playoff game, no? This is it.
Now common sense suggests the Dallas Cowboys have no chance in this game, and that is OK for you or even me to believe. But for this team, these players who somehow have muddled through this season of heartbreak, injury and resurgence, showing uncommon resiliency all season long, to stand 8-7 with a shot at the division title, they must keep the faith, gotta believe as former Cowboys safety Charlie Waters once told Cowboys long-time radio voice Brad Sham during the broadcast – Charlie was out with a broken leg – when the Cowboys trailed the Redskins 34-21 in the final minutes of the final game of the season, the Cowboys needing to win – they did in the final seconds – to claim the East title over Washington.
There is this line from the movie Miracle On 34th Street. You know, the one about the guy who believed with all his might he was Santa Claus: Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to.
Well, who is to say a national TV audience won’t be witness to The Miracle on Randol Mill?
IRVING, Texas – Dez Bryant’s going to play tomorrow night.
That was his message as the receiver, who was limited two days in practice this week and missed another day with a back injury, stood in front of his locker room and discussed how the team has to play for injured quarterback Tony Romo.
“Look how I’m standing,” Bryant said, as he stood straight up at his locker. “That should tell you enough. I’m ready to go. I’m good. I’m ready.”
For the first time this season, Bryant will be hauling in passes from a quarterback not named Romo. Bryant said everyone else has to step their game up more with Romo out.
“This is for everything,” Bryant said. “We’ve got to go out there and fight. We’re going to go out, lay it all out on the line and get this ‘W’ for Tony.”
Bryant said coach Jason Garrett’s rule is the next man up has to step up, and he’s confident the Dallas Cowboys will rally around Kyle Orton and do their best to get a victory and get into the playoffs, but he added that he feels for Romo, who’s his guy right now and will always be his guy.
“I want him to hurry up and get well, hope he has a speedy recovery, which I know he is,” Bryant said. “I’m going to try to get this W for him.”
Orton and the players around him have all expressed their confidence in his ability to get the job done. Bryant said he’s comfortable with Orton at quarterback and it shouldn’t be a huge issue.
With Bryant’s back, Sean Lee’s neck, Ernie Sims’ groin, DeMarcus Ware’s various injuries and a number of hamstring problems throughout the team, the Cowboys once again find themselves in a tough spot health-wise for their season finale.
Bryant said of course he’d like to be going into this one full strength, but this situation’s a reality the group has to accept and move on from.
“It’s something we have to deal with,” he said. “Just get in that treatment room and get better and come back on Sunday and get ready to play.”
COWBOYS AT&T STADIUM GAMEDAY EXPERIENCE: Dallas Cowboys hope to capture division title vs. Philadelphia Eagles in final home game of 2013-2014 season
WHAT: Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) at Dallas Cowboys (8-7)
WHEN: Sunday, 7:30 p.m. (CST)
WHERE: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
TELEVISION: NBC (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya)
If you’re planning to attend Sunday’s game, here are some other things to look for before, during and after the game.
Did You Know:
The roof and the doors are expected to be closed for this game. Please note that this can change up to 90 minutes prior to kickoff.
The key times for Sunday’s game include:
Parking Lots open at 1 p.m.
Plazas open at 4:30 p.m.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.
To create an intimidating atmosphere for the game, rally towels will be placed on every seat in the stadium.
Pregame ceremonies will be held to commemorate the following awards: High School Coach of the Year, Community Quarterback Award and Bob Lilly Award.
There will also be a commemoration of the United Way’s 40th anniversary in Dallas-Fort Worth.
On the Plazas
Other forms of entertainment will abound at AT&T Stadium on Sunday.
Dallas-area rapper Dorrough will perform on the East Plaza from 6:35 p.m. until 6:55 p.m.
East Texas country band Westbound 21 will perform on the West Plaza from 6:30 p.m. until 7 p.m.
Starting at 4 p.m., Randy Lann, the Official Grill Master of the Dallas Cowboys, and Joe Cahn, the Commissioner of Tailgating, will be heading out into the parking lots with the Tailgate Nation crew. Find out where they’re at by following @CowboysTGN on Twitter or liking them on Facebook at Dallas Cowboys Tailgate Nation for updates.
Rhythm & Blues Dance Team, Rhythm & Blues Drum Line and Rhythm & Blues Break Boys will each perform on both East & West plaza before the game.
There will also be a free Kids Zone, complete with mechanical bull, rock climbing wall and zip line. There will also be NFL Play 60 games, face painting and balloon animals.
There will also be giveaways like official game-used merchandise, CD’s, and much more on each stage in the plazas for games like Karaoke Contest, Ladder Golf, Bag Toss and Dance Contest
There will also be Plaza food and beverage discounts: $2 12oz. soda & bottled water; $5 12oz. Miller beer, as well as discounted hot dogs, burgers and sausages.
Trumpeter Freddie Jones will once again perform the national anthem Sunday, as he is scheduled to do for every home game this fall. Jones’ instrumental anthem was wildly popular at the Cowboys’ season opener.
The night’s halftime entertainment will be a show by the Kilgore Rangerettes.
The Cowboys will honor their 2014 Pro Bowl selections with a video during the game.
Looking For 20
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.
New Bag Policy
Fans are reminded to remember the NFL’s new bag policy which will be in effect Sunday night and at every Cowboys home game.
Only hand-held purses will be allowed into the stadium, along with clear plastic tote bags that do not exceed 12”x6”x12” inches.
Items such as backpacks, coolers, large purses, camera bags, diaper bags, fanny packs and seat cushions are not allowed into the stadium under the new NFL safety rules.
Traffic and Parking
Fans are recommended to use the Dallas Cowboys interactive parking site for all travels to AT&T Stadium. This website provides the best route from point of origin to the pre-purchased or selected cash parking lot.
The I-30 HOV lane is being converted to a managed toll lane. As a result, HOV lanes from west of downtown Dallas to the Tarrant County line will not be available. However, you can access the HOV lane that serves the left exit to Legends/AT&T Way, as it will continue to be open for in-bound and out-bound needs.
Lamar Avenue in Arlington is under construction and has been reduced to one lane from Collins to Ballpark Way.
Tailgating is permitted in designated tailgating spaces located along the perimeter of each of the AT&T Stadium and Rangers parking lots. The spaces are available on a first come, first served basis.
There will be no early admittance into parking lots.
Parking privileges can be revoked at any time for failure to follow parking guidelines.
EAGLES @ COWBOYS PRIMER: Jason Garrett press conference | Tony Romo back surgery | 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys game 16
Jason Garrett Press Conference: Cowboys vs. Eagles | Friday Practice (7:55)
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media as his team continues preparation for Sunday’s game with the 2013-2014 Philadelphia Eagles (Watch Video | Play Audio)
- Tony Romo IR and back surgery announcement
- Specifics of Romo’s back surgery; asked if it was related to herniated disc
- Estimation of when Romo will be able to return to team activities next season
- How the Romo injury has influenced Orton’s reps in practices all week
- Difficulty of Romo coming to grips on the necessity to have season ending surgery
- Two back surgeries in eight months a concern for the team going forward
- Did the back injury occur in last weeks game vs. Washington Redskins or earlier
- Teams plans to fill Romo’s roster spot for remaining games.
- How Romo responded to treatment attempts this week
- When was the final determination made to move forward with the surgery
- How do you prepare Romo’s teammates with the news of Romo being out indefinitely
- Was there any lingering issues from Romo’s surgical procedure earlier in the year
- How has Orton’s practices gone this week and in prior practices this season
- If Jon Kitna (Kit’s) up to speed with offense and new twists added in his absence
- What is the most difficult part of backup QBs adaption to gameday action
- Dez Bryant progress with his back injury; prognosis for upcoming game vs. Eagles
RELATED: Dallas Cowboys Kyle Orton steps in with confidence
IRVING, Texas – The preparation may not change much, but the circumstances certainly have for Kyle Orton as he prepares to make his first start for the Dallas Cowboys for the injured Tony Romo.
Orton’s taking practice reps with the first team offense for the first time this year as the Dallas Cowboys get ready for their most important game of the season in a win or go home matchup at AT&T Stadium against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 17.
“Just excited, you know, just to be able to get some practice reps,” Orton said. “It felt good today, just kind of see how it plays out throughout the week, but it really doesn’t change my preparation at all. Just get the added benefit of getting some reps during the week, which was good.”
Orton, who’s been the backup in Dallas the last two years, is their go-to guy. They also added Jon Kitna for further depth.
Orton’s thrown a pass in just two games the last two years, going 3-for-5 for 40 yards against the Bears this year and going 9-for-10 with a touchdown against the Bears last year.
Prior to joining the Cowboys, he made 69 career starts in stops with the Bears, Broncos and Chiefs. He said the feeling is excitement, not pressure, getting to throw to Dez Bryant and Jason Witten and hand the ball off to DeMarco Murray in this situation.
“I fall back on my experience,” Orton said. “I’ve played a lot of games in this league and I’ve had some success. Just excited. The group of guys I’ve got around me, I don’t really feel like I’ve got to go out there and do too much – get the ball to the playmakers and give it to 29 and 82 and 88 and let those guys go to work.”
Orton emphasized the importance of not trying to do too much. His plan is to get the ball out as quickly as possible to the open receiver, and he believes the Cowboys have multiple options who know how to get free and make plays.
Though Orton hasn’t worked with the first team during the regular season, he did get to work with the team’s top offensive players while Romo was out in the offseason, particularly during Organized Team Activities.
“Any time you’re a backup, all the reps you can get with the guys are important,” Orton said. I was kind of fortunate to get a lot of the reps during OTAs. That’s a long time ago, but I’ve practiced hard throughout the whole year and really feel like my game’s in a great spot right now and I’m really confident heading into the week.”
It’s beneficial for Orton that he’s had two years now to learn the playbook.
Even if his first start comes 16 games into the season, he’s confident he can step in, and the offensive linemen in front of him share that feeling. Orton complimented what the line’s been able to do, and the success of the line in recent weeks gives Orton even more confidence he can step in quickly.
“I think the whole offensive line’s played great,” Orton said. “Obviously in the run game to have a 1,000-yard rusher going into Week 17 is a great deal and what they’ve done pass pro-wise has been really good.”
Both center Travis Frederick and guard Mackenzy Bernadeau said not much will change for them and how they block, regardless of which quarterback’s behind them.
“Kyle knows the offense,” Bernadeau said. “He’s been with this system for a while. Just calling the plays in the huddle, his demeanor knowing the offense, calling the protections, making the mike points, the sight adjustments and hot adjustments that he reads, I’m very confident. I know that he knows the offense. So when we communicate and talk up front, we’re thinking what he’s thinking. It meshes real well. I have all the confidence in his ability.”
Orton said when Romo got injured late against the Redskins, he saw the situation as everyone else did.
Romo didn’t say much about the injury to his teammates as he battled out to the end of the game. Orton didn’t realize at the time what was to come based on Romo’s reaction. He complimented the starter’s ability to finish the game the way he did.
“I think Tony played a great game in Washington,” Orton said. “Obviously, dealing with what he dealt with toward the end of the game there was great stuff. I know if he can be out there playing, he’ll be out there.”
If Romo can go, Orton knows he’ll probably be relegated back to the bench. But with Romo’s playing status in serious doubt, Orton’s ready for the opportunity in front of him.
“No doubt I’m excited,” Orton said. “We’ll see how Tony heals up. He’s a great quarterback, he’s had a great year and I know he wants to finish this thing out. But as a backup, that’s your job to be ready to go whenever it is. I think the guys have got a lot of confidence in me, I know I’ve got a lot of confidence in myself, and I’m excited to play.”
With quarterback Tony Romo sidelined with a back injury and backup Kyle Orton set to start in his place, there is no question the Dallas Cowboys will lean heavily on the running game in Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Running back DeMarco Murray, who is in the midst of the best stretch in what has already been the best season of his career, said he is ready and willing to carry a bigger load.
“If they do, then great,” Murray said. “If they don’t, then so be it. I’m preparing like I do any other week. I’m working hard, making sure I know my assignments and knowing my keys and things of that nature, so I’ll be ready.”
Murray has 1,073 yards in 13 games, becoming the first Dallas Cowboys running back to top 1,000-yard mark since 2006.
He has rushed for 376 yards the past three games combined, averaging a whopping 6.4 yards carry during those contests.
“We’ve been really jelling together,” Murray said. “I think the offensive line, they’re doing a great job of blocking and I’m doing a great job of running and making guys miss …. Since I’ve been here this is the best [it’s been].”
Coach Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan are both on record saying they are not going to change up the offense much with Orton at helm. But both acknowledge that balance is important and being successful on the ground would be a great help to a new quarterback, especially one with only five pass attempts this season and just 15 the past two seasons combined.
Again Murray said he is ready for whatever. His only goal is a successful game plan to win the game and reach the playoffs.
“I just want to win, run the ball or not,” Murray said. “I just want to win the game.”
There are reasons that teams try and protect themselves with players at certain positions throughout the season. This team has had a history of carrying extra players on the roster just in case they had to deal with an injury or two. There is no question that the investment that Jerry Jones made in Kyle Orton two seasons ago, was clearly in mind for the situation that they are now dealing with Tony Romo.
There are important positions that you must have backups on your team but to go short at quarterback, you are just asking for disaster. To Kyle Orton’s credit, he put aside his feelings and desires to compete as a starting quarterback, for an opportunity to sit behind Tony Romo and be ready if he is called on. What do you get from Kyle Orton against the Eagles on Sunday? Here are my thoughts:
- Is ready at a moment’s notice. Regardless of what people might believe, Orton gets no reps in practice with the first offense. When the team practices on offense, whether it is 8 to 10 plays, Romo takes all the snaps, it’s just the team’s way of getting Romo ready to play. Orton will get reps with the receivers, tight ends and backs when he throws drills during 1-on-1 or 7-on-7, but that is largely where he gets work with Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, or DeMarco Murray.
- Where Orton is completely different from Romo is in the area of mobility, so those 2nd chance throws that we see from Romo where he buys time with his feet, you will not see those types of plays. Orton has to play with his smarts in this area by knowing where to go with the ball.
- Orton like Romo, is just as willing to take a chance on a tight window throw. Orton does play with a great deal of confidence in his ability to put the ball right on the receiver. I have seen him make throws where the receiver is completely covered, but he somehow managed to fit the ball right in there. Not afraid to rip the ball down the middle of the field.
- In the times that I have seen Orton work, have always been impressed with his smarts when it came to reading the defense and getting rid of the ball. Knows he has to be smart in setting the protection and making the right reads because of his lack of foot quickness. Is more likely to hang in there and deliver the ball but you know it is coming out of there. Does a really nice job of keeping his eyes down the field.
- Throws a very catchable ball. Has some power on it but he is one of those quarterbacks that doesn’t make his receivers have to work for it. Can hit receivers stationary or on the move. Knows how to throw them open. Doesn’t put his guys in bad spots. Ball will arrive on time, not the type to throw it late. Does a nice job of reading coverage and going the right direction.
- Would not say that he is the ball handler or faker of Romo. Not going to completely sell the fake but more likely to hit it quick, then get the ball down the field.
- Has really nice touch for screens and check down passes. Threw one of the prettiest touch passes I had ever seen to Cole Beasley in a game during the preseason against the Raiders for a touchdown that was just right over the top of the defender.
- Do not see the offense changing much with him at quarterback. Still can run your scheme because he has the experience and ability to make plays. Do not have to hold things back because of him.
Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Dallas Cowboys Analyst/Former Scout
THE OLE BOY IS BACK: Dallas Cowboys sign veteran Jon Kitna as emergency quarterback | Kitna donating game check to school
IRVING, Texas — In a move reminiscent of their 2010 season, the Dallas Cowboys signed veteran quarterback Jon Kitna to help offset an injury to Tony Romo.
The team made the move official Wednesday morning. Kitna rejoins the Dallas Cowboys as an emergency quarterback behind Kyle Orton.
Veteran return man Michael Spurlock, who had a 62-yard punt return in the win against the Redskins, was cut to make room for Kitna.
The Dallas Cowboys called the 41-year-old Kitna sight-unseen from his retirement as a math teacher and football coach at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Wash., after working out several other quarterbacks on Tuesday — David Carr, Tyler Thigpen, John Skelton, and Richard Bartel.
Kitna arrived in Dallas on Tuesday night in order to undergo a physical on Christmas Morning. The Cowboys are scheduled to practice Wednesday afternoon in a schedule somewhat altered to let the players and coaches spend the morning with their families.
This will be Kitna’s second stint in Dallas. He backed up Romo from 2009-11 and started nine games in 2010 when Romo went out with a broken clavicle. He retired after the 2011 season, which paved the way for the Cowboys to sign Orton in March of 2012.
Unlike that 2010 season, Kitna would not be the starter against the Eagles, but an insurance policy for Orton. The Cowboys have only carried two quarterbacks on their roster since Alex Tanney was signed off their practice squad by Cleveland on Nov. 26.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said adding another quarterback helps the team in practices.
Kitna played 15 NFL seasons prior to his retirement. He played for Seattle from 1996-2000, Cincinnati from 2001-05, and Detroit from 2006-08 prior to joining the Cowboys.
Jerry Jones said the Dallas Cowboys gave Orton a three-year, $10 million contract in 2012 for this exact situation.
“We’re in as good of shape under these circumstances as you possibly could be in,” Jones said. “I have every reason to think Kyle Orton could step out there and do a really good job for us. We’ve planned on that very event.”
RELATED: Dallas QB Jon Kitna to donate his game check to Lincoln High School
IRVING, Texas – Lincoln High School’s student-athletes in Tacoma, Wash., may benefit more than the Dallas Cowboys with Jon Kitna rejoining the team.
Kitna, who teaches and coaches at the school, said he’ll be donating his game check to the school’s booster program, which his wife runs.
He said he didn’t have a second thought than to give the money to the program to help out and get protein for the students. Kitna said 85 percent of the student population is below the poverty line, and his family’s dedicated itself to helping out.
“My wife runs our booster program and spends roughly $25,000 a year feeding this young men and things like that in a lot of different avenues. One of the things we committed to this year for our booster program was our first $25,000 that we raised we were going to use on protein for the young men,” Kitna said.
Kitna and his family started a foundation specifically for what he’s doing now, giving young men the opportunity to grow in school and on the field.
“Unfortunately with the market dropping, all that stuff, when things when under, the foundation did too,” Kitna said. “But it’s what my wife does. She started a booster program along with my sister. They spend about $25,000 a year just feeding the young men.
“Then for us, we feel like we have some Division-I talented young men in our program that are doing great, but they need some supplement to their diet. One of the things we’re going to do is use money that we raised, and we’ve had a lot of donations and things like that, to get protein for these young men so that their body gets what they need.”
Kitna said whether it’s his teacher’s salary – he was an algebra teacher for two years at the school – or this player’s salary, he’s dedicated to helping out the school. He previously gave his teacher’s salary to chip in before adding this money on top.
“That’s what we do,” Kitna said. “I’ve lived a great life.”
DALLAS COWBOYS SCHEDULE UPDATE: NFL flexes Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys to SNF for NFC East title game
The Dallas Cowboys are headed back to “Sunday Night Football” for another win-and-in Week 17 showdown.
The NFL announced Sunday night that the game between Dallas and the Philadelphia Eagles to decide the NFC East title was flexed into prime time. This is the third consecutive season that the Cowboys have played in the Sunday night regular-season finale, and this will be their third different divisional opponent. The host Cowboys are looking for their first division title since 2009.
The Eagles and Cowboys played in a similar do-or-die game to make the playoffs in 2008, with Philadelphia coming out on top.
The league also announced that both the Buffalo Bills-New England Patriots matchup and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-New Orleans Saints game were moved to 4:25 p.m. ET. The NFL tries to ensure there are no competitive advantages based on time of game in Week 17, and thus, attempts to create a situation where every team has something at stake.
The Patriots game’s change means that the Denver Broncos can’t clinch home-field advantage in the AFC until they face the Oakland Raiders in the late afternoon. The final NFC playoff wild-card spot also will not be decided until the 4:25 p.m. ET games end.
As a result of the Bears’ loss to the Eagles on Sunday, Chicago’s Week 17 game against the Green Bay Packers will also move to 4:25 p.m. ET. The Bears-Packers clash will decide the NFC North.
No division titles have been clinched in the NFC.
AROUND THE NFC EAST: 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles set up for a December to remember
The Dallas Cowboys sat alone atop the NFC East for three days, but it wasn’t meant to last.
Although it’s true the Cowboys still own the tiebreaker against Philadelphia, it’s fair to say Dallas was hoping for a little help from the Arizona Cardinals, who traveled to Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday afternoon.
It didn’t happen, as the Eagles outlasted the Cardinals, 24-21, to improve to 7-5 and tie the division standings heading into the final month of the season.
You could argue that late penalties negated a crucial interception from Nick Foles, or point out that another flag allowed Philadelphia to run the clock out when they seemed poised to have to give the ball back to Arizona.
It’s immaterial at this point. Foles played another fantastic game, and the Eagles are once again breathing down the Cowboys’ necks.
The idea of a Week 17 meeting between Philadelphia and Dallas for the division championship is starting to materialize.
Each team has three games remaining before that point, but it’s pretty easy to imagine both squads sitting on seven or eight wins when the Eagles come to AT&T Stadium on Dec. 29.
The interesting notion, at this point, is the improving prospects of the NFC East. The Giants and Redskins are in trouble, yes. New York rallied from a 14-0 deficit Sunday night to defeat Washington, 24-17.
The loss drops the Redskins from 2012 division champions to 3-9 in 2013 and a non-factor in the playoff race. The Giants are still alive with a 5-7 mark, but to say they’ll need some help is generous.
But even if it’s a two-team race after Week 13, the NFC East doesn’t seem like the laughing stock it was in September and October. Dallas wins the tiebreaker with the Eagles based on head-to-head record, but Philadelphia sits just outside the NFC’s second wildcard spot.
At this point, we’re a San Francisco loss and an Eagles win from having both Philadelphia and Dallas in the playoffs. As long as Chip Kelly’s crew keeps winning, they’ll be a factor in both the division and wild card race.
Of course, there’s still a long way to go. Philadelphia hosts NFC North leader Detroit next weekend, and the Cowboys travel to play 6-6 Chicago in the cold.
But even if it’s a two-team race, the NFC East looks much more interesting than it did just a month ago.
Regular readers already know that The Boys Are Back website features the ALMOST WORLD FAMOUS predictions from The GREAT Robbini. Last week, our “exalted one” predicted a big win … and was correct!
This week, The GREAT Robbini is on a heavy dose of Marinelli sauce and excitement this week! He even boosted his pregame commentary about this game. Last week, the GREAT ONE was distracted by a house full of women, clamoring for his mystical tunic, scarves, and head wrap. This weekend, he was able to escape their advances and sit down long enough to pound his thumbs on the keyboard for a little longer.
After putting a world-class rub on his magic pumpkin, he was able to conger up visions of a Dallas Cowboys Hallowin.
Overwhelmingly psyched about the Dallas Cowboys – Detroit Lions 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. OK, here we go …
The GREAT Robbini’s – 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys game #8 predictions:
Dallas Cowboys win. Players will be dinged up on both the Lions and Cowboys. A well played offensive game comes back for Dallas. Don’t turn away from this game before the clock stops ticking.
Predictions for the Texas 2 Defense …
- 3 takeaways (2 INTs/2 FFs)
- 4 team sacks
- 1 1/2 sacks Hatcher (had 1, close enough)
- 2 sacks Selvie
- Lee/Carter lead tackles (Carr/Church)
- Hatcher fumble recovery (Church/Heath had 1 each)
- Carr interception (Lee had 2)
- Claiborne secures a takeaway
- Reggie Bush injured (shoulder stinger, came back in)
Predictions for the offense …
- Romo 330 yards (206 yards, completed 14 of 30 passes)
- Romo 4TDs (3 TDs)
- Dez TD (Had 2 TDs today)
- Witten TD
- Randall TD
- Williams TD (Dallas rookie record, 1 TD four consecutive games)
- Rushing committee 90 yards (62 yards combined)
- Dez 100 yards (3 catches for 72 yards)
- Williams 110 yards (2 for 64 yards, plus 5 rushing (on the reverse)
- Witten 65 yards (2 catches for 15 yards)
- Beasley 45 yards (1 catch for 8 yards, last catch of the day)
- Cowboys receive second half kick
The GREAT Robbini
Remember, you read it here! The Great Robbini predictions for game #8. Leave your final score or predictions in the comment section.
Stats and predictions confirmed by:
NO “I” IN TEXAS-2 DEFENSE: Sean Lee believes other teammates more deserving of Defensive Player of the Week Award
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee doesn’t think much of being named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Philadelphia Eagles. He led the team with 11 tackles and recorded an interception.
Lee said it didn’t have a perfect game and that other teammates were more deserving. Mostly, his focus on helping the Cowboys continue to improve defensively rather than an individual award, while pointing out that they are just two games removed from giving up 51 points in a loss to the Broncos.
“I think there are guys on our defense who played better than I did who probably could have gotten that award instead of me,” Lee said. “It was a great team effort and great win. The key for us is to continue cause you look back two games ago and we gave up 51 points. We still have room to improve.”
PHILADELPHIA – The first three rounds occurred not on only the West Coast, but actually in college football.
The only thing relevant about Monte Kiffin vs. Chip Kelly is what happens at this level. The USC-Oregon stuff was an interesting side note, but doesn’t mean anything – and never did – when it comes to these two squaring off in the NFL.
Clearly, because Round 4 went to Kiffin. In fact, this was a knockout.
Say whatever you want about the up-tempo, fast-paced offense that Kelly brought from Oregon to the Eagles, but the Cowboys not only slowed it down, but shut things down Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. And they did this without their best defensive player in DeMarcus Ware, who missed the first game of his career with a quad strain.
No Ware, no problem. The Cowboys had guys like Jason Vega, Kyle Wilber, Caesar Rayford, Drake Nevis and Jarius Wynn on the defensive line, and they still managed to shut down the NFL’s leading rusher, LeSean McCoy, and the Eagles’ attack.
This game of chess between Kiffin and Kelly was pretty much one-sided from the start. Sure, the Eagles were in the game mainly because their defense kept the Cowboys offense at bay for most of the afternoon. It was a punt-fest for a while, but make no mistake, Kiffin had his bunch of “no-names” swarming to the ball left and right and shutting down whatever the Eagles threw at them.
And before anyone plays the Nick Foles card, just remember this one – nobody cares. Nope, not after Peyton Manning torched the Cowboys three weeks ago and scored 51 points. And before that, it was Philip Rivers doing the same. No one seemed to care back then when two of the NFL’s best, including arguably the best of all-time was picking the Cowboys defense apart. Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that Kiffin said to put the Denver loss on him? Well, this one is also on him.
Kiffin’s defense was ridiculed plenty when they couldn’t stop Danny Woodhead or Knowshon Moreno. So what about McCoy?
Well, the Cowboys dominated him Sunday. McCoy is a great player and we saw him slice and dice through the Cowboys defense two years ago up here. But on this day, it was different. McCoy had 81 total yards on 24 touches (18 carries, 6 receptions). It’s still respectable numbers, considering what the Cowboys are used to. But for the NFL’s most dynamic back, especially with Foles playing for Michael Vick, the Eagles simply needed more.
And they didn’t get it.
This defense wasn’t just fast to the ball on Sunday, they were sound in their techniques. They stayed in their running lanes all day. I thought Brandon Carr was great in coverage, but he seemed just as dominant in run support. How many times did we see McCoy trying to stretch a running play outside, but Carr wouldn’t let him have the corner? He forced several running plays back inside where it seemed like Sean Lee was usually there to stuff the play.
It wasn’t just those two. Bruce Carter was all over the field, and did a great job in coverage. The defensive linemen up front were creating a push up the middle, and came off the edge with force. The Cowboys looked like a defense that has played together for years – or even months.
For some of them, it’s only been days or weeks. Wynn got here Monday. Nevis has been here three weeks. Vega got here when the season started but only on the practice squad. Sunday was his first game. We all know about George Selvie showing up in the middle of camp as a body to fill space. And let’s not forget Nick Hayden got here this summer and Kyle Wilber didn’t play much last year on defense.
These defensive misfits came together Sunday and shut down what was supposed to be next big thing in the NFL. Chip Kelly and his rock-and-roll offense never got going on this day.
Sure, Foles looked pretty bad at times. And yes, it’s now clear that Michael Vick will get his job back when he returns from injury. But this was the same Foles who lit up Tampa Bay last week and looked like he was ready to turn that proverbial corner. Instead, he was rushed and flustered all day by a Cowboys’ pass-rush that only had one starter who was projected to be there when training camp began.
Now, that one guy, Jason Hatcher, was all over the place. Last year he said the Cowboys needed more leaders. This year, he’s not only had a team meeting after practice, but he’s starting to perform like a leader, too. Hatcher already has a career high in sacks with six, and he played like a player possessed on Sunday. And, he had plenty of help. Even though none of them are household names.
But they came together Sunday under Kiffin’s guidance.
The veteran coach was supposed to be out of his league when it came to facing Kelly. While there is a rematch to be played in the season finale, it was pretty clear on Sunday that Kiffin won this battle. And the Cowboys picked up a huge road win because of it.
NO SHAME IN NO-NAME: Dallas Cowboys Texas-2 Defense holds NFL’s third-ranked offense out of the end zone
PHILADELPHIA – With his game-sealing pick, Brandon Carr waved goodbye to the departing Eagles’ crowd and the shared division lead all at once.
The Dallas Cowboys’ defense, including a horde of “no-name” linemen who were forced into action with DeMarcus Ware out, held the league’s top rusher in check and forced three interceptions against the Eagles as they soared past Philadelphia for sole possession of first place in the division with a 17-3 win.
Just two weeks removed from the 51-points yielded to the Broncos, the Cowboys have allowed just 19 combined points their last two weeks to the Redskins and Eagles. Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin believes seeing less can be a good thing and contributed to those performances.
“When you become a good defense, you play fast and you know what you’re doing,” Kiffin said. “Like I say, see a little or see a lot. When you see a lot, you see nothing, and we were seeing a lot earlier in the year. When you just see a little bit and you read your keys, you’ve got a chance.”
The defense gave the Cowboys more than just a chance. They solidified the win by holding the league’s third-ranked offense out of the end zone entirely.
“It’s very encouraging to see our defense play as well as it played today and fundamentally that was the plan from the word, ‘Go,’” said owner/general manager Jerry Jones. “We played well. There wasn’t a lot of confusion out there.”
The victory moved the Cowboys to 3-0 in the NFC East for the first time since 2007 and marked their first road win of the season. They did it all without their all-time sack leader, who missed the first game of his career with a thigh injury.
With Ware battered up, the Dallas Cowboys needed all the help they could get on a defensive line comprised of players no one would recognize before the season began, outside of Jason Hatcher. The Cowboys signed defensive end Jarius Wynn this week and made him active. They brought up defensive end Jason Vega from the practice squad and made him active, as well.
The line already featured a defensive tackle in Drake Nevis who was signed just weeks prior, and a defensive end in Caesar Rayford who came to the team after the preseason.
At least on Sunday, none of that mattered, thanks in large part to tremendous coverage on the back end that allowed consistent pressure from the front four.
“It’s what football’s about,” said defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. “At the end of the day, it’s still a blue collar game. The men who want to go out and work, fight, compete get opportunities.”
The Cowboys bothered Nick Foles all day, led by a player who joined the team in training camp. George Selvie finished with 1.5 sacks to notch the first multi-sack game of his career. He shared a sack with Wynn on the last play of the third quarter, which knocked Foles out of the game.
Hatcher also added a sack in his dominant start to the year, giving him six now for the season. He said he didn’t even think the defense played as well as it should, yet the Cowboys still held the Eagles to three points. Hatcher credited Marinelli for having the ability to plug and play new people the last couple weeks without any ill effects.
“He cares about you, unlike some coaches that just care about their job, he cares about you as an individual,” Hatcher said. “He’s an awesome guy to play for.”
It helped that Foles was wildly inaccurate, completing just 11-of-29 passes for the Eagles before going down. It only got worse for Philadelphia’s offense later, as Matt Barkley came in and threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter, with Sean Lee, Barry Church and Carr all securing one apiece.
Carr’s pick sealed the deal, and the corner was stellar throughout, giving DeSean Jackson fits on the outside. He helped to hold the speed threat to just three catches and 21 receiving yards on eight targets, and he finished with an interception, two passes defended and a tackle for loss.
“Me and Orlando (Scandrick) had the task of following him around the field,” Carr said. “It’s just one of those matchups where you’ve got to stay on him for 60 minutes. A guy with that speed, it’s easy for him to slip past you. You don’t want to be in a foot race with him.”
Perhaps even more impressive was what the defense did to the Eagles’ other primary playmaker, LeSean McCoy, who led all NFL running backs by 99 rushing yards entering the game. McCoy averaged just 3.1 yards per carry, running 18 times for 55 yards, and averaged 4.3 yards per catch Sunday.
It wasn’t always pretty football for either team. The vaunted Eagles offense was forced to punt nine times after going 4-for-18 on third down. The Cowboys also punted nine times but took advantage when they moved down the field, scoring both times they got inside the 20. The Eagles went 0-for-2 in red zone efficiency.
Despite scoring just 17 points, the Cowboys’ offense still included three players with at least six catches and 50 yards apiece. Dez Bryant led all players with eight catches for 110 yards and had a game-high 16 targets.
There were major contributions from Terrance Williams, whose fourth-quarter touchdown reception gave the Cowboys a 14-point lead and marked the rookie receiver’s third straight game with a touchdown, and Cole Beasley, who was a mismatch once again in the slot with six catches for 53 yards.
Rookie running back Joseph Randle got his first start of his career, rushing for 65 yards on 19 carries and catching three passes for 28 yards. Phillip Tanner went in at the goal line to bowl in for the Cowboys’ only rushing touchdown and first score of the game.
That touchdown by Tanner in the third quarter alone would have been enough to win the game on a day where the Dallas defense dominated to put the Cowboys atop the division. Still, Hatcher isn’t yet satisfied.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Hatcher said. “We didn’t play as well as we should tonight, but we held them to three. It’s kind of scary when you look at it. We’ve just got to be more consistent.”
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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