The Dallas Cowboys missed the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop watching NFL games.
There are four games on tap this weekend:
Will home-field advantage be established this weekend?
A thrilling Wild Card Weekend saw three road teams prevail in hostile environments — setting up another enticing batch of games. Noting the surprising success enjoyed by visitors this past weekend, which road team is most likely to prevail in the divisional round?
The divisional round pits eight of the best quarterbacks in the NFL against one another.
Drew Brees versus Russell Wilson. Andrew Luck against Tom Brady. Colin Kaepernick battles Cam Newton. To top it all off, Philip Rivers will once again take on Peyton Manning in the final game of the weekend.
Whether it’s two young quarterbacks battling to prove who is the better dual-threat signal-caller, a showdown of sophomores versus veterans or two of the most experienced minds in the game facing off, this weekend packs a lot of offensive punch.
Which teams will survive this hurdle in the race toward Super Bowl XLVIII 48?
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder in the first degree in the death of Odin Lloyd during his arraignment in Attleboro District Court on Wednesday.
Hernandez also faces the following charges: one count of carrying a firearm without a license; two counts of possession of a large capacity firearm; and two counts of possession of a firearm without a valid ID card.
Hernandez, who pleaded not guilty to all charges, will be held without bail at the Bristol County House of Correction and Jail. Hernandez also was ordered to appear in court for a July 24 probable cause hearing.
The murder charge was announced at 2:44 pm ET, roughly six hours after Hernandez was taken from his North Attleboro, Mass., home in handcuffs after being arrested by the Massachusetts State Police and North Attleboro Police. The Patriots released the fourth-year Pro Bowl tight end less than 90 minutes after he was taken by police.
After 17 grueling weeks, the playoffs are finally here. The seeds are set and the field is stacked.
A quick look at the 12 teams that survived to play another game. Here’s a case for and against each squad in the race to Super Bowl XLVII:
1) Atlanta Falcons (13-3)
How do they make a deep run? The Falcons continue to be an excellent home team. The running game provides just enough balance to complement a potent passing attack, and the defense routinely baffles elite quarterbacks, producing several turnovers.
How do they get eliminated? The Falcons struggle to rush the passer, and they become too one-dimensional on offense. In their three losses this season, they produced just two sacks and were out-rushed, 487-146. A team like the Seattle Seahawks or San Francisco 49ers could pose a huge problem.
2) San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1)
How do they make a deep run? The defense dominates the line of scrimmage and Colin Kaepernick produces three or four big plays per game. Receiver Michael Crabtree continues to emerge as a top-shelf talent, and the running game benefits from the fresh legs of rookie LaMichael James.
How do they get eliminated? The49ers’ defense can be attacked; the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks provided a blueprint for doing so in Weeks 15 and 16. The 49ers’ offense, meanwhile, is capable of stalling for long stretches of time. The poor play of kicker David Akers could also end up costing San Francisco a game.
3) Green Bay Packers (11-5)
How do they make a deep run? Led by Aaron Rodgers, the Packers’ passing attack gets hot and puts up huge numbers, outscoring every opponent. A different receiver steps up every week and a healthy Clay Matthews closes out games with pressures and sacks.
How do they get eliminated? The offensive line can’t protect Rodgers and the running game fails to provide the necessary balance. The Minnesota Vikings match up very well against the Packers; they’re fully capable of quickly ending Green Bay’s postseason.
4) Washington Redskins (10-6)
How do they make a deep run? The Redskins’ unique offense controls the clock, shortens games and piles up just enough points. The defense covers up some soft spots by sending lots of pressure and creating key turnovers. Relishing their postseason opportunity, steady veterans DeAngelo Hall and London Fletcher produce game-changing plays.
How do they get eliminated? Robert Griffin III’s knee injury makes the offense more predictable, and a talented defensive opponent manages to take away Alfred Morris. The Redskins’ defense struggles to create a pass rush, and the safety play is exposed by a top-notch quarterback.
5) Seattle Seahawks (11-5)
How do they make a deep run? They carry their momentum right through the postseason. Russell Wilson continues to play clutch, mistake-free football, while Marshawn Lynch grinds out tough yards. The defense continues to create high numbers of turnovers and finds the end zone a few times, as well.
How do they get eliminated? An opponent stacks the box to take away Lynch, and the athletic Wilson is contained. The lack of a true No. 1 receiver ends up being an issue, and the offensive production takes a nosedive.
6) Minnesota Vikings (10-6)
How do they make a deep run? Adrian Peterson continues to carry the entire offense, and Christian Ponder protects the football. Jared Allen gets hot; his pressures create sacks and turnovers. Kicker Blair Walsh hits a long, game-winning field goal along the way.
How do they get eliminated? An opponent sells out to slow down Peterson, and Ponder is unable to make them pay for it. Peterson puts the ball on the ground, and Ponder struggles to play from behind. The defense allows a mobile quarterback to create plays with his legs.
1) Denver Broncos (13-3)
How do they make a deep run? Peyton Manning will have two weeks to prepare for his first opponent. The Broncos are the NFL’s most complete team, ranking in the top five in virtually every important statistic. This balance will make Denver very difficult to eliminate. The pass rush can take over a game, giving Manning’s offense a short field and allowing the Broncos to pile up points quickly.
How do they get eliminated? If the weather is horrible in Denver and the Broncos’ rushing attack is unable to get on track, they could struggle offensively. A matchup against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the snow would pose a very formidable challenge.
2) New England Patriots (12-4)
How do they make a deep run? Recently returned tight end Rob Gronkowski sparks an offensive explosion. Brady benefits from a solid ground attack, utilizing his tight ends to produce chunk plays down the field. The young secondary allows some big gains, but comes up with a few key turnovers.
How do they get eliminated? A physical Baltimore Ravens team pushes around New England’s offensive line, or the Pats simply run into a red-hot Denver team on the road and lose a shootout. I don’t see any of the other AFC teams giving New England much of a problem.
3) Houston Texans (12-4)
How do they make a deep run? They forget recent struggles and recapture their early-season form. Arian Foster shoulders the load on offense, and the defensive line creates numerous sacks and turnovers. The secondary avoids giving up the big play.
How do they get eliminated? Matt Schaub fails to make enough plays to outscore either the Patriots or the Broncos. Facing constant double-teams, J.J. Watt is unable to dominate the game.
4) Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
How do they make a deep run? A well-rested Ray Rice carries the ball more than he has during the regular season, and the Ravens physically pound their opponents. Tight end Dennis Pitta and receiver Torrey Smith produce big plays in the passing game. The defense is sparked by the return of Ray Lewis. Paul Kruger plays the role of unsung hero, making several impact plays.
How do they get eliminated? The offense features too much Joe Flacco and not enough Rice. Baltimore allows too many sacks; opponents manage to strip the ball from Flacco in the pocket, creating turnovers. The defense struggles to contain the run.
5) Indianapolis Colts (11-5)
How do they make a deep run? Andrew Luck continues to excel on third down, and the veteran pass-rushing duo of Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis steps up to make several impact plays. Cornerback Vontae Davis keeps playing at an elite level, picking off a few balls.
How do they get eliminated? The offensive line is overwhelmed and Luck doesn’t get any time to throw the football. The defensive front is pushed around, giving up too many rushing yards to a back like the Ravens’ Rice or the Patriots’ Stevan Ridley.
6) Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
How do they make a deep run? Receiver A.J. Green gets hot, producing several big plays through the air, and the pass rush dominates on the other side of the ball. Geno Atkins finally gets credit for his outstanding play after collecting several sacks and tackles for a loss.
How do they get eliminated? The running game is unable to provide balance, and Andy Dalton turns the ball over too much. The defense is on the field too often, and the unit runs out of gas late.
The Dallas Cowboys announced today that they have placed DL Ben Bass, a rookie from Texas A&M, on injured reserve and signed CB Sterling Moore, a former SMU player, from the New England Patriots’ practice squad.
Moore (5-foot-10, 200 pounds) spent parts of the last two seasons with the Patriots. He had 12 tackles, one pass deflection, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery before he was cut in October. He started three games last year as an undrafted rookie. Perhaps his most notable play came in the AFC Championship game last season, when he denied Baltimore’s Lee Evans a touchdown catch that would have put the Ravens ahead in the late stages of a 23-20 loss to New England. The Cowboys will add a year to Moore’s deal, signing him through 2013. He will likely be available to play against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday night.
Moore has playing experience with the Patriots in their nickel defense for most of the games this season. For the Cowboys, he’ll likely be used on special teams, but could have a role in the nickel defense if he’s active.
Dallas needs reinforcements in the secondary. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick fractured his left hand Nov. 22 against Washington and could be out for the rest of the regular season. Safety Charlie Peprah, who is expected to need 2-3 weeks to recover from a foot injury.
Moore, a versatile player, has been deployed at safety and cornerback since joining the Patriots in 2011. In 14 NFL games, the second-year veteran has made 20 tackles, forced a fumble and collected two interceptions.
Ben Bass suffered a sprained ankle in practice this week and was seen in a walking boot afterward. In limited playing time, Bass was credited with two tackles on the season. He spent most of the season on the practice squad until Kenyon Coleman was lost for the season with a torn triceps. Bass was called up to the active roster on Nov. 14.
With Sean Lissemore returning to action this week after missing nearly seven full games with a high-ankle sprain, Bass’ playing time would’ve likely diminished with a chance he could’ve been inactive this week.
The season is over for Bass, who had quite a journey to just stick around with the Cowboys, who invited him to participate in rookie minicamp on a tryout basis only. Bass was impressive enough to get signed to the 90-man roster but stuck around and made it to the practice squad and then the 53-man roster.
IRVING, Texas – Gary Guyton spent his first four seasons with the New England Patriots. He grew accustomed to a certain expectation of winning. He also grew accustomed to playing football for a living.
But when the Patriots chose not to bring Guyton back for the 2012-2013 season, he found himself looking for a job. But he knew that his experience, 229 tackles and 3 fumbles would come in handy for an NFL team eventually.
“I was just preparing myself,” Guyton said. “You never know what can happen.”
And sure enough, the Cowboys found themselves in need of a linebacker. After the season-ending injury to Sean Lee, the Cowboys also suffered injuries to Orie Lemon (placed on the IR) and Dan Connor. So this week they brought in Guyton.
“You just get the call and be ready to go,” Guyton said. “So I got the call saying ‘come in for a work out’ and I came and now I’m a Dallas Cowboy.”
Guyton has played in big games and understands the urgency. He wants to prove to the team that they went out and signed someone who was prepared for the opportunity.
“I’m just working out, running, doing the best I can. I (already) had my training in Atlanta. That’s where I stay.”
It’s not uncommon for a player who hasn’t been on an NFL team to struggle getting back into game shape when they are picked up. Even players that work out constantly learn that actual practices and games can be a whole different experience. Guyton claimed that there was one thing that he had to get used to, but it had nothing to do with being in shape.
“The helmet. My forehead is sore,” Guyton joked. “Just new people, new system. I’m just getting in here and working through it, working hard.”
Guyton was brought in not only because of his skills, but because he has four years of experience in a 3-4 defense. Since Guyton might be thrown into the fire early, it was important that there was not much of a leaning curve.
“It’s mostly similar so I’ve been through it,” Guyton said. “I’ve been looking through it. I understand the 3-4 defense and the basics of it.”
These few days of practice are very important for Guyton. The Cowboys would normally start Connor at linebacker in the absence of Lee, but Connor is still recovering from a neck strain and his limited participation in Thursday’s practice means that his status for Sunday’s game against the Eagles could be in jeopardy.
If Connor is to sit out, the Cowboys will be extremely thin at linebacker, meaning that they would need to give Guyton minutes as early as this Sunday.
Guyton understands that the he might play his first NFL game of the season in Philadelphia, but he knows not to get ahead of himself. A lot has to be done on his end before then just to be prepared.
“Just going through the basics right now and getting those down,” he said. “Just moving on through the playbook.”
With the Dallas Cowboys on the bye this week, these are a few of the NFL games that we can pay attention to. Primarily, sizing up the NFC East teams.
Philadelphia travels to Pittsburgh:
The Steelers are coming off a bye rested and getting healthier. Both teams struggle to protect the quarterback but the Eagles manage to run the ball better than the Steelers. The Steelers are an NFL best on offense in converting third downs while the Eagles are third in the league not allowing them. On the flip side to that, the Steelers really struggle with their own third down defense ranking 30th. This Eagles offense has been a turn over machine and the last thing Andy Reid and his offensive staff want to do is give the Steelers short field opportunities. If the Eagles manage to win this game, its bad news for the rest of the NFC East because they have already beat Baltimore at home which leaves just Cleveland and Cincinnati on the schedule and the real possibility of going 4 – 0 against the AFC North which is a feat in itself. Pittsburgh will not be able to run the ball so it will come down to their receivers having to win on the outside against these Eagles corners. If the Steelers can keep Roethlisberger up right, their chances of winning improve greatly but that is a big if. I have always believed in the NFL that the more desperate team finds a way to win. With the Steelers looking at the possibility of being 1 – 3 that thought has already begin to sink in as they were on their bye.
Atlanta travels to Washington:
I have always felt like that if you take Atlanta out of the Georgia Dome, you had a great chance to defeat them but the Falcons made a cross country trip and slapped around a pretty good San Diego squad. The Redskins had a physical game last week in Tampa and managed to come away with a victory. The Falcons stole a game from the Panthers that they had no business winning but to their credit, they did. The Redskins really struggle to put pressure on the quarterback and without Brian Orakpo that job has become even more difficult. Matt Ryan and the talented wide receiver core for the Falcons of Roddy White and Julio Jones will make it difficult on the Redskins back end. Where the Falcons struggle is playing run defense and Mike Shanahan knows this and will use Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III to try and control this game much like he was able to do against the Saints opening day. The Falcons are 29th in the league on third down defense and ranked 31st in the red zone. The Redskins have more than enough talent to play with the Falcons but if it turns into a tight, tough game, their kicker Billy Cundiff is one of the worst in the league when it comes to connecting on kicks, just something to keep on eye on.
Denver travels to New England:
There has been a ton of talk in NFL circles that Peyton Manning is playing with limited arm strength and opponents are game planning for that. The Broncos have a real weapon in receiver Demaryius Thomas and how the Patriots play against him will tell you a lot of how they really feel about Manning’s arm strength. Denver’s offensive line is ranked 10th in the league in protecting Manning while the Patriots are ranked 25th in the league at sacks per attempt. So if Manning gets time, there could be some plays made down the field. Throughout his career Bill Belichick has been able to defense Manning like no others. On the other side of the ball, Tom Brady has the Patriots offense humming and with Steven Ridley running the ball with effectiveness it has taken pressure off Brady. You could say that this game could come down to turnovers but Brady doesn’t make those mistakes and the Broncos don’t intercept many passes. The Patriots do a great job of holding the ball and converting third downs where the Broncos have struggled on third down defense. I have a feeling that both quarterbacks will be protected, but this game will come down to who is better in the secondary.
And if you’re REALLY bored:
The New York Giants play Cleveland
A Sept. 2012 team marketing report from fancostexperience.com indicates that the Dallas Cowboys have the NFL’s highest fan cost index to attend a game.
The report describes fan cost index as follows: The Fan Cost Index™ comprises the prices of four (4) average-price tickets, two (2) small draft beers, four (4) small soft drinks, four (4) regular-size hot dogs, parking for one (1) car, two (2) game programs and two (2) least-expensive, adult-size adjustable caps.
The Cowboys’ FCI is $634.78. The New York Jets’ FCI is $617.25. Only four teams – the Cowboys, Jets, Bears and Patriots – have FCIs of more than $600.
Those same four teams, plus the New York Giants, are the only franchises with an average ticket price of more than $100.
The reason the Cowboys – and not the Jets – have the highest FCI is parking. The report lists parking at Cowboys Stadium at $75. Parking for Jets’ games is listed at $25. The report lists no other NFL team with parking that costs as much as $50 (Chicago Bears, $49).
The NFL average FCI is $443.93. The Cowboys’ prices for beer, soft drinks and hot dogs are pretty much in line with the other franchises.
Here are the FCIs for the Cowboys’ NFC East rivals: Giants, $592.24; Eagles, Redskins, $461.53 and Eagles, $397.48.
Philadelphia is one of only 11 teams with FCIs that come in below $400.
The lowest FCI? That would be the Jacksonville Jaguars at $342.70.
You get what you pay for I guess.
The Dallas Cowboys are the NFL’s first and only $2 billion franchise, Forbes Magazine announced today as it released its annual team value list.
Michael Ozanian, Forbes’ executive editor, said the Cowboys’ value, which the magazine tabs at $2.1 billion, is "a conservative estimate."
Ozanian said the magazine took into account the Cowboys’ $80 million in sponsorship income, their state-of-the art stadium and the fact that they are the only team in the NFL that distributes its own merchandise to retailers.
Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys in 1989 for $140 million. That’s roughly a 715 percent increase to today’s value, factoring in inflation.
While the Cowboys stood atop the list for the sixth consecutive year, the New England Patriots (worth $1.63 billion) passed the Washington Redskins ($1.6 billion) for the second spot.
The New York Giants, valued at $1.46 billion, landed in fourth while the Houston Texas rounded out the top five at $1.3 billion.
Despite playing in the same stadium, the magazine estimated the net worth of the New York Jets at about $200 million less than the Giants.
"We have the Giants bringing in $27 million more in revenue, plus they’re getting the Super Bowl bump on ticket prices," Ozanian said.
Despite the threat of concussion litigation that could eventually cost the NFL billions of dollars, the magazine doesn’t have a single franchise losing value from last season.
"There wasn’t any loss of value reflected in the recent Cleveland Browns sale," Ozanian said. "The investment bankers we spoke to told us that prices haven’t dropped in terms of what people are offering for small or large shares of teams."
Forbes stated that 20 NFL teams are worth more than $1 billion, the most of any league. That number is up from 15 teams last year.
The Cincinnati Bengals, worth $871 million compared to $875 million last season, are the only team that lost value.
Forbes projects only two teams had operating losses last year — the Pittsburgh Steelers ($1.1 billion), due to a higher payroll, and the Oakland Raiders ($785 million), thanks to having the lowest revenues in the league.
The magazine concluded that the two teams that had the biggest jump in value were the Minnesota Vikings ($975 million) and the San Francisco 49ers ($1.17 billion), whose values jumped 22 and 19 percent, respectively, as a result of their new stadiums being built.
The Cowboys’ $2.1 billion value matches that of the Los Angeles Dodgers purchase by Guggenheim Partners. Forbes says only Manchester United is worth more. The magazine said the soccer team was worth $2.23 billion, but the team’s recent offering on the New York Stock Exchanged valued it at $2.9 billion.
Former Cowboys receiver Jesse Holley has found a new home. The New England Patriots announced Monday that they have signed the North Carolina product.
The Cowboys allowed Holley to become an unrestricted free agent this off-season by not tendering him a deal as an exclusive rights free agent.
Holley recently participated in a Cowboys charity basketball game at Carrollton R.L. Turner, playing on the team that featured current Cowboys player and Terrell Owens.
Holley, 28, is a veteran of two NFL seasons with the Cowboys (2010-11) and has played in 28 NFL games with seven receptions for 169 yards. Holley (6-2, 200) originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Cincinnati out North Carolina in 2007 and spent two weeks on the Bengals’ practice squad before being released.
After being out of football in 2008, he was awarded the final spot on the 2009 Cowboys training camp roster after finishing as the winning contestant on former Cowboy receiver Michael Irvin’s national broadcast reality television show, “4th and Long.” Holley spent the entire 2009 season and the first part of the 2010 season on the Cowboys’ practice squad before being signed to the 53-man roster.
IRVING, Texas – A few of you waving #BobbyCarpenter hashtags have disagreed with me on Twitter already, but I would be glad to see former Dallas Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells back on an NFL sideline.
By my estimation, the Big Tuna is one of the most fascinating personalities in the history of not only football, but sports in America. The 2012 season would be better, more interesting, if Parcells were involved. And while the New Orleans Saints haven’t officially reached out to Big Bill as an organization, Parcells’ quote to Newsday that "Everything is hypothetical at this point" makes it pretty obvious that he’s interested in what Sean Payton has been selling.
It sounds like the kind of thing he was saying about the Cowboys job right at the end of the 2002 NFL season, after reports emerged that he had met with Jerry Jones on the owner’s private jet at Teterboro Airport.
If the memory of that news doesn’t make you appreciate Parcells, you’ve obviously forgotten just how bad the Cowboys had it before he got here. After three straight 5-11 seasons, he came in, kicked the players’ butts and led a team quarterbacked by Quincy Carter to the playoffs.
Allow me to repeat myself. He led a team quarterbacked by Quincy-freaking-Carter to the playoffs. It’s got to be one the greatest coaching jobs in league history.
There’s something wrong with any Cowboys fan who doesn’t have great respect and admiration for what Parcells did here. Nevermind the fact he rode Troy Hambrick and Richie Anderson into the postseason, but in the process he built a team that had been in the hunt, if nothing else, since he left.
It makes no sense to hold Carpenter and Julius Jones over Parcells’ head when during his tenure the Cowboys added Tony Romo, Marion Barber, Miles Austin, Jason Witten, Jay Ratliff, DeMarcus Ware, Terence Newman, Bradie James, Marc Colombo, Kyle Kosier and Mat McBriar among many, many other crucial parts of these teams. And no, the Cowboys haven’t won a Super Bowl with the group Parcells assembled, but he at least turned the thing around. For the first time since Jimmy Johnson left, the arrow for this franchise began to point up as soon as Parcells arrived.
He did the same thing for the Cowboys, the Jets, the Patriots and the Giants. Rescue ops have been his specialty, so it would be really intriguing to see what he could with a team that actually has talent when he arrives.
Though New Orleans has a ton of good players, the team is a mess right now in the wake of this bounty situation. If Parcells were to come in and quickly do what he’s done four times already, you’d have to think it would erase any doubt about his candidacy for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Not that putting him into the Hall should’ve been much of a question, anyway.
Courtesy: Josh Ellis
Here are 15 things to know about Sunday night’s Philadelphia Eagles – Dallas Cowboys matchup:
1. The Eagles are going to have their hands full with Diamond Dez Bryant. The second-year receiver has 19 catches for 339 yards in five games. He’s averaging 17.8 yards per catch and has scored four times. Bryant has six catches of 25+ yards, tied for seventh-most in the NFL, according to STATS.com. And that doesn’t mean it’s just Tony Romo taking shots deep down the field with Bryant. Yards after the catch are a big part of the equation. Bryant is tough to bring down, and if the Eagles’ defensive backs don’t tackle, Bryant will pile up the YAC. Bryant caught one ball against the Rams at the St. Louis 37. Quintin Mikell met him 6 yards later, but couldn’t bring him down. Bryant broke the tackle and scampered all the way to the 21 for a 34-yard gain, which included 16 yards after the catch. The previous week, against the Patriots, he turned a 5-yard catch into a 33-yard gain, juking two New England defensive backs to the ground.
Rob Ryan (born December 13, 1962 in Ardmore, Oklahoma) is the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League. He is the son of former defensive coordinator and head coach Buddy Ryan and the twin brother of current head coach of the New York Jets, Rex Ryan.
When his parents, Doris and Buddy Ryan, divorced in 1966, Rob and his twin brother Rex, moved with Doris to Toronto. In 1974, they moved back to the United States to live with their father. He attended Stevenson High School in Linconshire, Illinois.
Ryan was a graduate assistant at Western Kentucky in 1987 and at Ohio State in 1988. Ryan then spent 5 seasons at Tennessee State, where he coached running backs (1989–91), wide receivers(1992) and the defensive line (1993). He served as defensive coordinator at Hutchinson Community College in 1996, where they led the nation in total defense (228 yards per game) and in sacks (56). His defense also set a national record by forcing 49 turnovers. Ryan originally entered the NFL coaching ranks in 1994 as defensive backs coach on his father’s staff at Arizona Cardinals. He also coached Cardinals cornerbacks and safeties in 1995. With Ryan as his position coach, cornerback Aeneas Williams earned two trips to the Pro Bowl in 1994 and 1995. In 1995, the Cardinals led the NFL with 32 interceptions and 42 total takeaways. The 1994 Cardinals ranked second in the NFL total defense, second in run defense and third in pass defense. From 1997–99, Ryan was the defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State, where the Cowboys defense continually ranked among the best in the nation, also he was named Coordinator of the Year by The Sporting News in 1997.
As NFL.com’s Michael Lombardi points out, teams are 3-9 coming off their bye week this season. That would include the Dallas Cowboys’ 20-16 loss at New England in Week 6, for which they had two weeks to prepare.
The old assumption that extra time to rest and get ready for an opponent is beneficial may not be holding true this year because of a change in the league’s CBA which mandates players be given at least four consecutive off days during the open date. Combined with no offseason and jam-packed training camps, the thought is that teams and players are letting their fundamentals get away from them during the extra time away from the practice field.
Unlike the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia entered their bye on a positive note, earning a gut check win over Washington to get to 2-4. But having those good vibes extended may not make a difference.
As opposed to playing an unfamiliar team coming out of the bye, like the Dallas Cowboys going to New England, the extra time to prepare for the Cowboys probably won’t have an effect for Philly. They know the Dallas Cowboys as well as any team in the league, and the Cowboys are just as familiar with Andy Reid’s bunch.
Receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said if Dez Bryant isn’t getting much action in the second half, it’s not surprising in the NFL.
“I don’t think there’s any conspiracy going on, first of all, that we haven’t gotten him the ball as much as we’d like to or he’d like for us to,” Robinson said Thursday. “But this is the way it is in the National Football League, quite honestly. Some weeks you
get it a lot. Some weeks not as much. Sometimes it comes early. Sometimes it comes late. It doesn’t always come steady throughout the whole game. Sometimes it doesn’t come at all. And if you’re a receiver in the National Football League, you realize sometimes it rains, and sometimes it pours, and sometimes there’s a drought. It’s just the way it goes.”
Bryant caught four passes in the first half last week against New England but none in the second half. It was the third time in the four games Bryant has played this year that he hasn’t caught a pass in the second half.
Robinson said the Patriots didn’t try to double-team Bryant.
“I think teams do what they do most of the time,” he said. “If it happens that their coverage doubles him sometimes, then I don’t really honestly see an awful lot where they’re trying to do something to Dez and not to someone else. I think we have too many
weapons for them to try to do that. Some teams will try to double two guys. They can’t double everybody.”
The Boys Are Back comment: I think this article opens up a can of worms. When you have a hot hand, you stick with it until the other team stops it. I’m all for mixing it up and love it when we have completions to multiple receivers … but, if something’s working … stay with it. Dez and Austin are our “stretchers” … we need a reasonably steady dose of them downfield … going for the long ball (or the defensive pass interference). If Dez is hot … teams WILL double-team him. That’s one of the things we want … both Austin and Dez double-coverered! That opens up a tremendous opportunity for the other elements of the offense. If either are NOT double-teamed … we sure as hell ought to be throwing to them!!!
IRVING, Texas — Over the course of a game certain plays will stand out more than others and some huge plays often go unnoticed.
Here’s one that flew under the radar Sunday at Gillette Stadium: Bradie James’ forced fumble on Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez and Terence Newman’s fumble recovery.
Newman picked up the loose ball at the Dallas 16 with no New England player in front of him. But running back Danny Woodhead, whom Newman was covering in the flat, was able to grab the cornerback’s ankle for the tackle.
“There was nobody who was going to catch me,” Newman said. “Just just grabbed my leg and ripped my shoe off. It was half on and half off and I couldn’t get going after that. It was a touchdown for sure.”
The Cowboys ended up punting on the ensuing drive. Of the Cowboys’ 10 takeaways this season they have answered with three touchdowns. Of their 12 giveaways on the year, the opponent has five touchdowns.
IRVING, Texas – Orlando Scandrick’s performance might have been the most encouraging thing about the Dallas defense’s impressive effort against the Patriots.
In his first full game after signing a five-year, $27 million deal, Scandrick looked like he was worth the money.
Wes Welker had his least productive game of the season with Scandrick spearheading the coverage against the on-record-pace Patriots wideout. Welker, who averaged nine catches for 148 yards in New England’s first five games, had six catches for 45 yards and a score.
“It’s not so much what I did,” said Scandrick, who had been sidelined since the first quarter of the season opener with a high ankle sprain. “We had a great scheme in place, and I just executed the scheme. I had other people helping me. It shows what I can do week in and week out if I stay focused and put my mind to it.”
It’s proof that Scandrick fits as well in Rob Ryan’s scheme as the Cowboys believed he would when they paid their third corner starter money.
Jerry Jones: We Flipped A Coin
FOXBOROUGH – Vince Wilfork knew something was up with the Cowboys’ offense.
Guarding a 13-13 tie with just under six minutes left in yesterday’s game, the Patriots’ defense was put to the test.
With the Cowboys facing third and goal from the New England 5, Wilfork alerted his teammates that something different was coming, he just didn’t know what.
The big tackle warned the defense. Linebacker Brandon Spikes picked up on Wilfork’s signal. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo then tossed a shovel pass to Tashard Choice and Spikes bolted through the line and dropped the running back for a 3-yard loss that forced the Cowboys to settle for a 26-yard field goal.
It was the first of two critical stops in the final minutes for the defense.
For all of the holes in the defense this season, the group banded together to give the Patriots a chance to win yesterday, finding ways to pressure Romo, make stops, and force turnovers in a 20-16 victory at Gillette Stadium.
This afternoon on 105.3 The Fan, Cowboys radio analyst Babe Laufenberg said that against the Patriots yesterday,
“The offensive line was awful to a man.”
He mentioned Kyle Kosier’s painful Plantar Fasciitis and the overwhelming inexperience of rookies Tyron Smith, Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski as well as novice second-year pro Phil Costa.
RELATED: Nagy injury forcing Dallas Cowboys to look outside
The fractured ankle of rookie guard Bill Nagy, combined with veteran Derrick Dockery still not seemingly ready to return from his leg/knee injury, is putting the Cowboys on search for some outside help at guard. Nagy is expected to go to injured reserve this week, which will open the roster spot for another interior lineman.
With Tuesday being the regular day off for the Cowboys, it’s often a time to look at other player for a possible workout. The Cowboys will likely bring in a few potential signees at guard, and don’t rule out a player or two who has spent time with the Cowboys before.
The fact this team is looking outside, suggests it doesn’t believe rookie David Arkin is ready for a starting role at guard, or even Kevin Kowalski, who was active for the game Sunday and filled in for Nagy on the final two drives.
One scenario could be to sign a center or use Kowalski there, and slide Costa to the left guard spot.
Either way, the Cowboys need some help on the line, particularly in the running game, which ranks 27th in the league, averaging just 69.6 yards a game. That will likely take another hit this week now that Felix Jones is out with a high-ankle sprain.
Rookie linebacker Bruce Carter is eligible to return from NFI (non-football injury) list this week, but the Cowboys won’t have to immediately make a roster spot open for him. By league rules, Carter can practice with the team for two weeks before a decision has to be made to put him on the 53-man roster or injured reserve. If Carter practices this week, but the Cowboys don’t deem him ready enough to contribute against the Rams, even on special teams, then finding a roster spot for him right away wouldn’t make sense.
INJURY REPORT: LG Bill Nagy is out for the year | Felix Jones high-ankle sprain | DeMarcus Ware back spasms
Left guard Bill Nagy broke his ankle in the fourth quarter. He will miss the rest of the year, according to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
The rookie from Wisconsin started the season opener but was replaced by veteran Derrick Dockery in practice the following week before Nagy injured his neck. Nagy missed the 49ers game, with Dockery making the start. But Dockery broke his tibia and sprained a knee against the 49ers. Dockery has been out since, with Nagy starting the past three games. The Cowboys hope Dockery can get healed by this week. He said last week he was close to returning. The only other guard is rookie Kevin Kowalski, who also is the backup center.
Dallas might have to seek a backup guard. They released veteran Montrae Holland after training camp. He has yet to sign with another team. Leonard Davis also is on the free agent market.
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Running back Felix Jones sprained his ankle, which will keep him out at least one game and likely longer. Jerry Jones said he is “concerned” about his starting running back’s availability for the short-term. It is a high-ankle sprain, the same injury that kept cornerback Orlando Scandrick out three games.
Without Felix Jones, the Cowboys turned to rookie DeMarco Murray, who finished with 32 yards on 10 carries. The Cowboys, who came in with the league’s 26th-ranked rushing offense, finished with 77 yards on the ground, including a 17-yard scramble by quarterback Tony Romo. In a key situation, the Cowboys couldn’t run the ball to produce a first down. Holding a 16-13 lead
with 3:36 left at their 28, the Cowboys ran for a loss of 2, a loss of 1, took a penalty for 5 yards and ran for 8 yards before punting.
“We’ve got to be more consistent with it,” tight end Jason Witten said of the running game. “They are big up front. We knew that. But we have to be better at it. There are no excuses. You have to find ways to run.”
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he liked the way Murray ran. “I thought he finished runs well,” he said. “He made people miss a little bit. And again, we weren’t running it great, but I thought he was making the most of some of the opportunities that he got.” Murray said he is ready to assume a bigger role with Felix Jones on the sideline. “When I get an opportunity when I’m in there, I’m just going to try to make plays and continue to work hard,” he said. “I think Felix is going to make a full recovery. I think he’ll be fine. He’s tough. He’s a fighter.”
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DeMarcus Ware had perhaps his best game of the season with five tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries, but the Pro Bowl outsidelinebacker was walking gingerly after the game.
After his second sack of New England’s Tom Brady, he suffered some back spasms but he did not miss a play. “I thought it was going to get better,” Ware said, “but it got worse.”
Sunday marked the 20th multi-sack game of Ware’s career, which is a franchise record. Jim Jeffcoat and Greg Ellis had 19 multi-sack games in their careers with the Cowboys.
Dallas Cowboys AT New England Patriots Highlights
New England Patriots Postgame Press Conference
|Dallas Cowboys (2-3-0)||New England Patriots (5-1-0)|
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