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?
The Dallas Cowboys missed the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop watching NFL games.
Can home-field advantage can be established this year?
In the NFC, the 49ers and Saints are considered better teams than their home opponents, but both teams travel into tough weather conditions. In the AFC, the Colts were 6-2 at home in the regular season, but they’ve shown signs of being vulnerable.
And then there’s Green Bay. Since 2002, the Packers are 3-4 at Lambeau Field in the playoffs. That mark was 13-0 before ’02.
|KANSAS CITY CHIEFS||INDIANAPOLIS COLTS|
|NEW ORLEANS SAINTS||PHILADELPHIA EAGLES|
|SAN DIEGO CHARGERS||CINCINNATI BENGALS|
|SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS||GREEN BAY PACKERS|
So how wild will this weekend’s wild-card playoff games be?
A high-scoring game is expected Saturday night when the New Orleans Saints visit the Philadelphia Eagles. An Ice Bowl-like game is expected when the San Francisco 49ers visit the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Can the Indianapolis Colts repeat their 16-point win from Week 16 over Kansas City on Saturday in Lucas Oil Stadium? Anything can happen in the San Diego-Cincinnati game Sunday.
Which teams will survive the first hurdle in the race toward Super Bowl XLVIII?
A few thoughts from film study of defensive end Jarius Wynn, who the Dallas Cowboys added to their roster. Wynn played five games for San Diego this season before making his way to Dallas.
Jarius Wynn DT / DE 6-3 285 Georgia 5th Season
Games studied: San Diego vs. Dallas, Oakland, Philadelphia, Tennessee
- Wynn played both tackle and end in the Chargers’ 3-4 scheme, and he will see action at both spots for the Dallas Cowboys.
- He has a long, rangy build and plays with more strength than quickness, and he can hold the point of attack.
- Gets some push from the inside, had a nice sack by using power against Todd Herremans of the Eagles, who could not handle his movement down inside. He was able to finish the play on Michael Vick.
- Can work down the line and hold up blockers, but he needs to do a better job getting rid of those blockers quicker. Tends to get stuck.
- There were times where he tried to use counter moves as a pass rusher, and he had some success. But it needs to work more often.
- Wynn has used a quick swim move to free himself against Raiders and later against the Titans, along with a swat move as well that helped him in his rush.
- When he does free himself, he has a burst to chase the ball. His effort is good when trying to finish the play. Not a lazy player.
- Plays with power but, but I don’t like when he rushes down the middle. Brian Waters stoned him a couple of times on his rush in the San Diego game, and he was very unproductive.
- He will work to extend his arms to attempt to control his blocker, but he needs to use his hands quicker to get rid of that man.
- I was surprised he was able to hang in there taking on blocks, because he plays with a narrow base.
- I thought he was better when he was able to rush off the edge and try to get to the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle. He played with more quickness on the edge, whereas inside, it was more about power.
- Did not see much quick redirection in his game, but his effort is really good when it comes to chasing the ball.
The bottom line is that Wynn will give the defense some flexibility at two spots, but I would like to see if Rod Marinelli can get him to play with more quickness off the ball. The Cowboys’ 4-3 scheme could allow him to be better in that regard.
SAN DIEGO– Seven days ago, the Dallas Cowboys had one of the better games we’ve seen them play in quite a while. Offense and defense both dominated, prompting Jason Garrett, Jerry Jones and Tony Romo to describe it a team win.
Sunday afternoon in San Diego, this was equally … a team loss.
Everyone played a part in this 30-21 setback. And yeah, without a doubt this game – against that team and that environment with you-know-who coming to town next week – is a major setback for a Cowboys team that has lived in mediocrity for two years.
But we’ve got more time to get into the big picture. Let’s focus on Sunday’s meltdown in San Diego, where the Cowboys weren’t even facing a normal road environment. Considering the thousands among thousands of Dallas Cowboys fans in attendance, which seemingly gave the crowd a 50-50 split.
The Cowboys made a nice run in the second quarter. And when Jason Hatcher smashed Philip Rivers, forcing an interception to Sean Lee, who sprinted to the end zone for a 21-10 lead, I think most of us all thought this had the makings of a rout.
In a way, the rout was on. We just didn’t think it would be Rivers and his patched-together offensive that were about to do the routing. Yes, they have a future Hall of Famer in Antonio Gates, who certainly was the best tight end on the field Sunday, but Rivers was making Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen into household names.
A slow start on offense to open the game, coupled with a slow start on offense in the third quarter isn’t a good combination.
Add this all up and the Cowboys left San Diego with a 2-2 record and a butt-kicking that we really didn’t see coming.
Like all games, you can point the finger at something or someone. But in this case, we’ll need both hands to do it.
- Let’s start with the defense, because that is where this team was supposed to be the spot the Cowboys would dominate. The Chargers had three starters missing on the offensive line – both guards and a starting tackle. And then, another backup guard who started the game left with an injury. This team was down to playing a guy named Stephen Schilling at guard who was signed just this week. And still, the Cowboys couldn’t win that battle. Dallas had occasional pressure, but only one sack. The biggest shock was the second half and how Rivers and the Chargers were able to keep the pressure at bay with short, dink-and-dunk stuff that kept the Cowboys on their toes.
- How about the linebackers in coverage? Sean Lee had a great interception return on a deflected pass that went straight to him. Other than that, the linebackers had trouble keeping up with Gates and Woodhead. In fact, although defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said it was not the case, Bruce Carter appeared to be gassed after he allowed the second touchdown pass to Woodhead. Ernie Sims played most of the second half in the nickel defense. But everyone knows Rivers likes to go to Gates. He went to him 10 times and Gates called 10 passes. They had no answer for him, especially on the deep ball for the back-breaking score.
- Sticking with defense, Morris Claiborne just didn’t get the job done. Last year, he was solid, which makes you think he’d be closer to really good this year. And he looks worse, so far. Sunday, he gave up several big plays and just doesn’t seem to be playing with any confidence right now. He looks out of position too many times. It’s fair to wonder about his health, but if that shoulder is too much of a hindrance than it’s time to try something else. Makes you wonder if the move to start Scandrick wasn’t really about Claiborne’s injury but more about playing the better player.
- We’ve been giving plenty of praise to the defensive coaches – Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli lately. They should take some of the blame, too. And Kiffin admitted that after the game, saying the defense didn’t get off the field as much as they should have. Without a doubt, credit the coaches overall to the development of guys like Nick Hayden, George Selvie and Jason Hatcher’s improved play. But, on Sunday, the Chargers just seemed to have a better game plan. They exploited the mismatches of Woodhead against the linebackers and Gates against anyone who was on him. San Diego offset the pressure with a great mixture of runs, short passes and the occasional deep ball.
- On offense, you have to wonder – once again – why they didn’t stick to the running game. DeMarco Murray had 14 carries for 70 yards. You’ll take that 5.0-yard average all day. 13 first-down runs – 12 by Murray and one by Lance Dunbar – and the Cowboys were averaging 4.6 yards a carry on first down. Think about that, Murray had 12 of his 14 carries on first downs and picked up about four yards on average, yet they didn’t go back to him very often. Once again, that’s an issue. They went away from the run on second down, forcing too many third-downs and the Cowboys were just 3-of-9 on third-down efficiency. Who knows who to blame about that anymore – Bill Callahan for the calls or Tony Romo for checking out, or maybe Jason Garrett for not overseeing it better. Either way, you can’t make the argument the Cowboys weren’t running it effectively.
- This team missed Miles Austin. The Chargers did a nice job of blanket coverage on Dez Bryant and the combination of safeties and linebacker on Jason Witten was also great. When that happens, they go to Miles Austin. Rookie Terrance Williams isn’t ready for that role. Williams did a nice job bouncing back from the early drop to get some confidence going. He finished with seven catches for 71 yards, but that costly fumble near the goal line will ultimately be his most memorable play of the game.
- Frankly, you can pretty much put a dropped pass on all of the receivers at some point in the game. Dwayne Harris had one early, as did Williams. Jason Witten had one over the middle and Dez Bryant couldn’t come up with one near the sideline, which of course would’ve been a great play. The ball hit both hands as he’s trying to get his feet in bounds. Like the rest of them, that was a drop. If the Cowboys are going to be a team that consistently has a pass-run ratio of 37-16, then the receivers can’t be having costly drops.
- The offensive line struggled early, picked it up later on, but then had costly mistakes. Travis Frederick and both guards had trouble with Corey Liuget. He was a beast inside for the Chargers. Romo was sacked three times overall and had constant pressure. Overall, you need better play from the line.
- Since we’re doling out some blame, let’s put some on the kicking game. And no, I’m not referring to Dan Bailey’s miss, although that will fall on other shoulders in a moment. But punter Chris Jones didn’t have his best game at all. His five punts averaged just 40.6 yards with a 34.2 net. His first punt traveled just 33 yards when the Cowboys were in need of flipping the field position. And his drop-kick punts that turn end-over-end aren’t consistently getting to the 10-yard line range, but closer to the 20, where punt returners have no problem fielding. He wasn’t horrible, but they need him to be better.
- And lastly, you have to put some blame on the entire coaching staff, which goes to Garrett. The one decision that potentially hurt this team was attempting the 56-yarder by Bailey. Sure, he had a wind to his back but that’s a long way to split the uprights. The Cowboys had the momentum again and finally some good field position after Dwayne Harris’ nice return. But they gave it right back with that missed kick. It allowed the Chargers to play the next possession downhill and they got a field goal. The fact the team started out sluggish in the first and third quarter usually shows a lack of preparation, focus or intensity or just something missing.
So if you’re playing the blame game after this one, there’s plenty to go around.
The Cowboys lost to a team that just out-played them on Sunday. It wasn’t one key play that did them in. It wasn’t one player that hurt them. Chalk this one up as a team loss. That’s pretty demoralizing considering you’ve got a lot of things to fix and only the NFL’s best team and hottest quarterback coming into town this week.
IRVING, Texas – After a closer look at Sunday’s loss, here are some thoughts from the film room at Valley Ranch:
Take What Is There — TWIT
The execution of the offensive game plan by the San Diego Chargers was outstanding. From the press box, it appeared very simple and after studying the game, it was. It was tailored to not put Philip Rivers in any poor situations because of the condition of his offensive line. Going into this game, it was clear that if Monte Kiffin did not put pressure on Rivers, his defense could struggle no matter who was blocking for him or catching the ball.
Given the time that Rivers had to work with, he made this Cowboys defense pay. When Kiffin played his normal zone coverage, Rivers found answers underneath with quick, simple throws to Antonio Gates, who was 10-for-10 on targets and receptions. When Kiffin tried to adjust to handle plays underneath and in the middle of the field, Rivers worked the ball in the flat to Ryan Mathews or Danny Woodhead, who found themselves in space with no defender to contest the play. For every adjustment that Kiffin tried to make Mike McCoy and Philip Rivers were just better.
On the second touchdown to Woodhead, Rivers in the shot-gun is reading the defensive alignment and noticed where the safety is playing and understands that Bruce Carter is going to be in one-on-one coverage to his left. Rivers moves Woodhead from his right to his left, to take advantage of the matchup. On the outside to the left, the Chargers receivers come off the line running routes like they have not one clue what Rivers is trying to do but Woodhead does. As the play develops, Woodhead starts up the field on the wheel route. Carter as of the majority of the day was late to adjust and Woodhead gets separation instantly, then it became a simple game of pitch-and-catch for the touchdown.
The Chargers despite being short-handed at several positions, did a much better job of playing to the strengths of what they had to work with. There protection along the offensive line at times was not perfect and at times was boarder line, criminal in the way they held on plays but where they were perfect was in the way that their star players did play and that was the biggest difference in this loss for the Cowboys.
Need MO confidence
All the great cornerbacks speak about how you have to play with confidence each and every play. Skill and ability are important but if you do not believe you can succeed, you will fail. We have seen Morris Claiborne play with that skill and ability but right now, he is a lost football player. Even when he is in position to make a play, something bad happens to him. Not matter how hard he tries, it’s just not good enough and that is hurting this defense.
Mentally the breakdowns that he has struggled with in coverage and the penalties are taking their toll on him. Each snap that he takes, has made him a shell of the player he once was when he lined up at LSU. Keenan Allen is a nice player but there is no way on a 3rd – 8, that he should catch a jump ball for 31 yards to keep a drive alive. Those high point balls are what made Claiborne the player he was at LSU. I cannot tell you how many times, I have seen him defend that pass either knocking it away or grabbing an interception. Instead, he is off balance with no clue where the ball is.
It has not mattered, off or press you name it, he has struggled to play it. Cornerbacks live on the edge each play, you are out there for all to see and that’s Claiborne’s problem. Opponents are not seeing him make any plays and he does nothing to dictate, that quarterbacks needs to go the other way. There were times in that Chargers game where Claiborne, was not even in the same area code as the receiver. Is that the sign of a confident player?
To his credit, Claiborne has not used injury or physical pain as an excuse for his play. I believe the coaching that he receives from this staff is putting him in positions to attempt to make plays as we all know, the problem is finishing those opportunities. Opponents have figured out real fast to put three receivers on the field and attack this defense that way and until Claiborne plays better, that is the hand they will be dealt. Regardless, you don’t throw your hands up and say we quit. Morris Claiborne still has the confidence of the front office and the coaching staff despite the fact that he is playing like he is struggling with his own. Making consistent plays should help both parties in that regard but it needs to start now.
Carter lost in space
There have not been many days in his young career where you can say that Bruce Carter did not play his absolute best. Against the Chargers, he had one of those rough days. Sean Lee is the best linebacker in coverage on this team but Carter was right there with him. Whether the ball was going to the flat or like Sunday where the ball was going up the field. Carter had always played with the correct technique. He was often quick to read and put himself in position in the route to make the play.
There is nothing more difficult for a linebacker to have to deal with than man-coverage in space. It is where offensive coordinators and quarterbacks live to create those matchups. On both of the touchdown passes to Danny Woodhead, the Chargers were able to create these types of situations. Carter was left on Woodhead, when Rivers sent Antonio Gates to the outside which caused Carter and Orlando Scandrick to have to trade the coverage. I understand how they were trying to defend this because of the threat of Gates down the field so putting Scandrick on him was the best option. The second touchdown, was just an adjustment made by Rivers when he saw how the safeties were aligned and was able to get Woodhead up the sideline and on Carter.
There was also a post route run by Gates where he started from the right and went across the field left. Both Carter and Lee were on deep drops but Lee was more to the inside which left Carter to handle Gates who was behind him and just in front of the safety. Rivers was able to correctly read the depth of the linebackers’ drops and float to the ball right over the top of Carter, who was unable to make the play. After the play on tape, you see Carter clap his hands upset he didn’t make the play but you also see Lee turns to look at him in a way like they missed one there.
Carter was later replaced in the lineup by Ernie Sims, who responded with six tackles which was good to see but this is Carter’s job. Where these Cowboys linebackers have had their issues this season playing this scheme, is with their drops in pass coverage. Sean Lee has stood before us in the media and said that he has to even get better if this defense is going to improve. Bruce Carter had a terrible day coverage wise but we have also seen him play at a very high level in this league.
Improved rookie on his own
This was the second time in three weeks that Travis Frederick had the opportunity to line up and play against a 3-4 defense and his level of play was night and day from what we had seen in Kansas City. Frederick will not face another odd front until the trip to New Orleans in November. Where Frederick made his biggest improvements was how he was able to handle blocks one-on-one without help from Ronald Leary and Brian Waters.
There were several plays where Frederick was able to snatch his man on a front side reach or cut off block. He played with solid power and did not get compressed or worked back into the play. He was able to work his body and feet in a way that allowed the ball to be taken to either side. He played on his feet and he did not struggle to sustain his blocks. His second level blocks improved to the point where you did not see his man in on the tackle like we did in Kansas City. In pass protection, when uncovered in nickel front, he was solid in the front of the pocket. He showed the ability to sit down on rushers and not give up ground inside. There appeared no mental busts or problems with his assignments.
Coming in this season, there were questions about his ability to play against power and have that guy on his nose the entire game. Against Kansas City, there were some issues but he was able to put that behind him and have a solid, productive game against the Chargers, where he can take some confidence from it.
The Dallas Cowboys lose 30-21 to the San Diego Chargers in week 4 of the 2013-2014 NFL season.
Dallas head coach Jason Garrett talks to the media following the Cowboys loss to the Chargers.
Dallas QB Tony Romo talks to the media following the Cowboys loss to the San Diego Chargers.
Nick Eatman, Rowan Kavner, and Bryan Broaddus following the Dallas Cowboys loss to the San Diego Chargers as they bring you First Take presented by Nationwide Insurance.
Heading into their matchup at San Diego, the Dallas Cowboys knew that if they were going to be considered a legitimate contender in 2013-2014, this was the type of game they needed to win.
They didn’t, losing 30-21 to the Chargers in front of what seemed like a partisan Cowboys crowd, Dallas’ record for the season falling to 2-2, the third straight year and fourth time in five years that they’ve been at .500 a quarter into the schedule.
And the game seemed to be in their grasp, at least late in the second quarter when they went up by 11 points, 21-10. But San Diego then reeled off 20 unanswered points, simply dominating the Dallas defense in the second half, and in particular the third quarter, to send the Cowboys home in defeat.
Making matters worse, an already thin defensive line for the Cowboys took another blow. Earlier in the week, Anthony Spencer was placed on injured reserve, lost for the season. Then against the Chargers, his replacement, George Selvie, left late in the game due to injury, while DeMarcus Ware, who battled a plethora of injuries last season, was in and out of the lineup for much of they day due to a stinger in his neck and shoulder.
Still, other than a stretch in the second quarter, the Cowboys really had no answer for Philip Rivers, as the Chargers quarterback threw for 401 yards, completing 35-of-42 passes with three touchdowns and one interception. Dallas had trouble containing Antonio Gates, the tight end hauling in 10 passes for 136 yards and a score while running back Danny Woodhead caught two touchdowns as well, contributing 86 yards from scrimmage.
Continuing with his dink-and-dunk strategy, Tony Romo connected on 27-of-37 for 244 passing yards and two touchdowns. Dez Bryant led the team with 81 receiving yards on six grabs, including the two scores, with rookie Terrance Williams, who was starting in place of the injured Miles Austin, setting a career high with seven catches for 71 yards. On the ground, DeMarco Murray rushed 14 times for 70 yards, averaging a respectable 5.0 yards per carry.
Overall, San Diego finished with 506 yards of total offense to the Cowboys’ 317 and held the time of possession advantage, 34:03 to 25:57.
The Cowboys troubles began right from the start, as they punted on their first three possessions, only picking up one first down in the process. Meanwhile, the Chargers reached the end zone on their second drive, Rivers throwing an over-the-shoulder pass to Woodhead from 26 yards out to put San Diego up 7-0.
But as the clock turned over to the second quarter, the Cowboys’ fortunes seemed to change, as Dallas outscored the Chargers 21-6 to go into the half with an eight-point lead. Leading the way was the team’s defense, as well as the ever-potent combination of Romo to Bryant.
On the team’s first touchdown, which came on a nine-play, 85-yard drive, Romo basically threw a 5-yard jump ball to Bryant on the right side of the end zone, the team’s all-everything receiver simply out-muscling the defender to come down with the prize and tie the game, 7-7.
Unfortunately, that good will was almost spoiled when head coach Jason Garrett made the questionable decision to try for a 56-yard field goal on the Chargers 38-yard line instead of either punting it away or going for it on fourth-and-6. The kick had the distance, but sailed wide, and with the ensuing good field position, the Chargers quickly worked into Dallas territory, eventually attempting their own field goal, this one good from 36 yards out to move back in front, 10-7.
The Cowboys took back control, however, and on their next possession, Romo and Bryant connected again, this time the quarterback hitting his target over the middle. Bryant showed off his speed by splitting the defense and racing to paydirt for a 34-yard score, the Cowboys jumping out to a 14-10 advantage.
And then the defense did its part. On second-and-3 from near midfield, Rivers dropped back to pass and was hit by charging defensive tackle Jason Hatcher just as he was making his throw. The fluttering ball was corralled by Sean Lee, the linebacker then racing down the right sideline with a whole convoy of teammates in front of him, going 52 yards for the score.
The Cowboys couldn’t quite make it into the half at 21-10, as the Chargers had plenty of time to work into field goal range, reaching the Dallas 24-yard line where kicker Nick Novak split the uprights on a 42-yarder to narrow the gap to 21-13 at the break.
This game is all about adjustments, though, and apparently during the half, the Chargers seemingly made theirs while perhaps Dallas didn’t, as San Diego came out and simply dominated the third quarter.
The Chargers took the opening possession of the second half and swiftly marched 80 yards on 10 plays, eating up 5:28 of the clock. Rivers completed passes of 9, 8, 28 and 14 yards before lofting a 7-yarder to Woodhead who was wide open on the left side of the end zone, 21-20. The score marked the first two-touchdown game in Woodhead’s career.
That was then quickly followed by another lengthy drive by the home team. The Chargers took over at their own 11-yard line with 6:09 remaining in the third quarter, and finally saw Novak chip in a 23-yard field goal at the 14:50 mark of the fourth to take the lead, 23-21.
Soon enough, that advantage was pushed to 30-21, as the Dallas offense could get little going. Forced to punt, the Cowboys defense then couldn’t get the stop they needed as Rivers continued to pick them apart. Tight end Antonio Gates got behind Lee deep down the middle, breaking free for a 56-yard touchdown with just under seven minutes remaining.
The Cowboys tried to get back in the game and were knocking on the door, driving all the way down to the San Diego 7-yard line. But on second-and-goal, Terrance Williams caught a pass across the middle and then tried to stretch the ball out over the goal line as he was being tackled. Instead, the ball was knocked loose, bouncing into the end zone where cornerback Richard Marshall recovered it, ending any hopes of a comeback for Dallas.
Despite the loss, the Cowboys are benefiting from a weak NFC East and remain in first place. But, they’ve got a tough job ahead of them now to avoid falling below .500, as they’ll face the red-hot Denver Broncos next Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
SAN DIEGO – Initial thoughts on the Dallas Cowboys’ 30-21 loss to the San Diego Chargers.
What it means for the Cowboys: Once again the Cowboys let slip away a golden chance to show they were more of a team to watch in the NFC than just a team that can compete in a bad NFC East.
Dallas had an 11-point lead with 1:19 left in the first half, but allowed 20 straight points to the Chargers, leaving with another loss to an AFC West foe. And it doesn’t get easier with another AFC West foe, the Denver Broncos, visiting AT&T Stadium next week.
Cowboys lost 17-16 in Week 2 at Kansas City in a game they could have won, but the offense was unable to sustain any momentum. Today, the defense could not come up with any crucial stops after Sean Lee’s interception return for a touchdown.
Stock watch: Falling — Morris Claiborne. He is playing with a dislocated shoulder, but this was nothing to do with his ability to tackle. He was poor in coverage against Vincent Brown and rookie Keenan Allen. Philip Rivers continually went at Claiborne (as well as Bruce Carter, who could not stick with running back Danny Woodhead).
Can’t get off the field: After Lee’s second career pick-six, and the third defensive touchdown of the season, the Cowboys’ defense had no answers for Rivers, who was playing behind a line filled with backups.
After the Cowboys took that 21-10 lead, the San Diego offense ripped off 20 straight points with 310 yards on 37 plays. The Chargers only got to third down five times on those 37 plays, and converted three times against the Cowboys zone.
Rivers was hardly pressured, and he was able to toy with the secondary with receivers Allen, Brown, Royal, Woodhead (two touchdowns) and Antonio Gates (56-yard touchdown).
Can’t stay on the field: Offensively the Dallas Cowboys ran just seven plays in the third quarter.
Their second possession of the second half lasted only seven plays because a Ronald Leary holding penalty negated a first-down catch by Cole Beasley at the San Diego 32. Two plays later Jason Witten couldn’t hold on to a seam throw from Tony Romo and the Cowboys were forced to punt. The Chargers answered with Gates’ back-breaking touchdown.
The Cowboys’ third possession of the second half ended at the Chargers’ goal line when rookie receiver Terrance Williams fumbled, ending any chances for a miracle comeback.
What’s next: Peyton Manning visits AT&T Stadium for the first time when the Denver Broncos come to town, and it is only the second time Manning will play in the area as a pro. Manning brought the 9-0 Indianapolis Colts to Texas Stadium on Nov. 19, 2006, and lost 21-14.
Regular readers already know that The Boys Are Back blog features the ALMOST WORLD FAMOUS predictions from The GREAT Robbini. Last week, our “exalted one” was pretty much dead-on with his predictions.
Last weeks win over the ‘other’ Missouri team gives us die-hard Cowboys fans (and Demarco Murray) reason to celebrate. We’ve seen the sudden emergence of a running game and a havoc causing Texas-2 defense coming into their own identity. Today’s game in San Diego should feel like a Dallas Cowboys home game with the heavy fan base in sunny Southern California. Bruised Romo should be in better shape this week. While Miles Austin sits on the bench with his hamstring, Jason Garrett will ask next-men-up Terrence Williams, Dwayne Harris, and Cole Beasley to take up the slack. In the trenches, right guard Brian Waters is expected to start … and Mackenzy Bernadeau will be suited up as backup for both guard positions. The Dallas front-four will be without Anthony Spencer for the remainder of the 2013-2014 NFL season … but, Marinelli’s hungry linemen have shown they are up to the task through the first three games.
The GREAT Robbini is psyched about the Cowboys – Chargers 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 week #4 predictions:
Cowboys set up shop in San Diego, Qualcomm stadium looks like ‘home away from home’
The Dallas Cowboys, on a mission to fuel up their game before hosting “unstoppable” Denver, get behind the wheel in Norv’s old town. They’ll head back to Big D, with plenty in the tank and a ‘W’ in the trunk. Expect a high octane performances from Dez, Demarco, TE group and Kiffin’s boys.
Predictions for the Texas 2 Defense …
- 3 takeaways
- DeMarcus Ware 3 sacks
- J.J. Wilcox 1 sack
- Brandon Carr INT
- Jason Hatcher 2 sacks
- 6 team sacks
- Carter/Wilcox lead tackles
- 1 San Diego Charger injured
Predictions for the offense …
- Tony Romo 300 yards, 4 TDs
- Dez Bryant 75 yards, 2 TDs
- Williams 50 yards
- Beasley 30 yards
- Jason Witten 65 yards, TD
- Gavin Escobar 30 yards, TD
- James Hanna 15 yards
- Demarco Murray TD
- Rushing committee 150 yards
- Offensive line 3 penalties
- Cowboys receive opening kick
- Offense starts game with possession
- Cowboys control time of possession
The GREAT Robbini
Remember, you read it here! The Great Robbini predictions for week #4. Leave your final score or predictions in the comment section.
After the Dallas Cowboys played a pre-season game in San Diego last summer, the team stayed in southern California an additional three days to work out against the Chargers. San Diego did the same the previous year after a pre-season game in Dallas.
That won’t happen this year.
Mike McCoy has replaced Norv Turner as San Diego’s head coach. While he’s receptive to practicing with the Cowboys or any other team during camp, it’s not in the works.
“It’s something we always explore,’’ McCoy said. “We don’t have plans of doing that right now.’’
The Cowboys will have five pre-season games since they will face Miami in the Hall of Fame Game. The team will open the pre-season in Canton, Ohio, return to California for two pre-season games then break camp and return to Cowboys Stadium for their final two games.
LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE: 2013 Dallas Cowboys schedule includes Denver, New Orleans, Chicago, Detroit, Minnesota, St. Louis, and Green Bay
The Cowboys’ loss put them in third place in the NFC East, leaving them to play play third-place teams St. Louis (at home) and New Orleans (on the road) next season.
The rest of the Cowboys’ home schedule next season includes the Giants, Redskins and Eagles from the NFC East, plus Green Bay, Minnesota, Denver and Oakland.
The remaining road games for the Cowboys next year are at the Giants, Redskins, Eagles, plus Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City and San Diego.
Black Monday has arrived, and it has brought a lot of change and bad news for many coaches and general managers around the NFL.
We’ll have all the big moves covered, and this post will be a one-stop shop for all the latest news.
Here’s what we right know:
Buffalo Bills: Coach Chan Gailey was let go after three seasons that went nowhere in Buffalo. The defense and quarterback play never improved. It’s unclear if general manager Buddy Nix will remain.
Chicago Bears: In the first mild surprise of the day, coach Lovie Smith was fired after three playoff appearances in nine years. General manager Phil Emery took the job last year and will hire his own man.
Cleveland Browns: The team announced Monday morning that coach Pat Shurmur and GM Tom Heckert are both out. They never had much of a chance once new owner Jimmy Haslam bought the team.
Kansas City Chiefs: Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt announced the team has parted ways with coach Romeo Crennel. The team said it has not made a final decision about GM Scott Pioli’s status.
Philadelphia Eagles: Owner Jeffrey Lurie confirmed Monday morning that coach Andy Reid is out after 14 seasons in Philadelphia. The Eagles won’t waste any time starting a coaching search.
San Diego Chargers: The Chargers announced both coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith have been let go. Ron Wolf has been brought in as a consultant to help search for the next leadership group.
Up in the air
Carolina Panthers: Ron Rivera has struggled to win close games during his tenure and isn’t a natural in game management. A four-game winning streak to end the season could save his job. The Panthers will hire a new GM.
Chances of a change: Strong. The next GM will decide Rivera’s fate.
Detroit Lions: Jim Schwartz and GM Martin Mayhew pulled off one of the best rebuilding efforts of all time after taking over the 0-16 Lions. And then the bottom fell out for a talented roster this year.
Chances of a change: Growing. Multiple outlets said earlier in the week that Schwartz was safe, but Lions ownership is disturbed with the team’s culture, it could make a change. Schwartz is signed through 2015.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Mike Mularkey was hired just last year, but his boss, GM Gene Smith, was fired Monday morning. Mularkey wasn’t able to develop young quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
Chances of a change: Good. Mularkey told players in a team meeting that he’s still the head coach after talking with the owner Thursday and Monday. Mularkey’s fate ultimately will be decided by the next GM. Mularkey will have to wait and see.
Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones intimated throughout the process that he hasn’t even thought about changing head coaches. NFL Network contributor Jay Glazer first reported that coach Jason Garrett was safe two weeks ago. Garrett could be asked to hire an offensive coordinator that calls plays.
New York Jets: The Jets announced that GM Mike Tannenbaum was let go Monday morning. But they also announced Rex Ryan will stay on as coach. It’s an awkward arrangement for whomever the Jets hire to run the personnel department.
Tennessee Titans: The Tennessean reported Monday that coach Mike Munchak will keep his job despite a 6-10 record. Personnel executive Mike Reinfeldt is out, though.
The NFL is thinking about flexing the Dallas Cowboys INTO another Sunday Night Football game.
The Cowboys currently have one more NBC Sunday night game on the schedule,, Dec. 2 when the Philadelphia Eagles visit. That would be their fourth prime time game this season. The NFL allows six.
The fifth could come Sunday Dec. 23 when the New Orleans Saints come to Cowboys Stadium. Currently penciled in for NBC that night is the disappointing San Diego Chargers at the horrible New York Jets. The NFL and NBC would like to get out of that mess.
I know the Cowboys and Saints are both 4-5 but they have upsides. The Cowboys have a four winnable games coming and the Saints have Drew Brees who can carry a team. Not saying it’s a lock but it’s a definite maybe.
DENVER (AP) — The days of lugging around 500-page playbooks and stacks of DVDs are over for half of the players in the NFL.
Their teams have gone digital, replacing the old-fashioned thick paper playbooks with iPads that put everything from X’s and O’s to notifications, scouting reports and video cut-ups at their fingertips.
"Technology is taking over the world and we’re just trying to keep up with it," Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Graham Harrell said.
The number of teams using iPads for playbooks and game film has increased this season from two to 14. In the NFC, the Bears, Cardinals, Cowboys, Lions, Packers, Panthers, Redskins and Seahawks are using the tablets as are the Bengals, Broncos, Chargers, Colts, Dolphins and Ravens in the AFC.
Other teams, such as the Chiefs, Titans and Saints, are using iPads for some things but haven’t completely abandoned three-ring binders, and the Bills are considering switching over next year, when the NFL makes game film available in high definition, coach Chan Gailey said.
The Ravens and Buccaneers were the first teams to go digital last year, although Tampa Bay returned to the traditional playbooks this season under a new coaching staff.
The top model iPads that feature 64 gigabytes of data and retail for $829 each are loaded with about $700 worth of programming, and most teams issue them to roughly 120 players, coaches, scouts and other personnel. That works out to roughly $180,000 per team.
Broncos video director Steve Boxer figures it will take about a year to begin realizing a cost savings from ditching the paper playbooks that consumed trees, money and manpower and kept copy machine repairmen on speed-dial.
Daily itinerary updates, diagrams and video are automatically pushed to each iPad so a player can have the video clips of a practice or game downloaded by the time he gets out of the shower. Because the video isn’t streaming, he can watch it on the airplane or at his apartment, whether or not he has a Wi-Fi connection.
Apps developed by PlayerLync in suburban Denver or Global Aptitude out of Baltimore allow players and coaches to highlight sections in yellow on the tablet’s touchscreen and to write notes with a stylus just as they would with a pencil on paper playbooks. Those notes are saved on servers and can be downloaded again at any time for future reference.
"I don’t think there’s any minuses unless you lose it and have to pay that fine," Dallas defensive end Marcus Spears said.
Running back Lance Dunbar returned to practice Monday after missing two weeks with a hamstring. He missed the first two preseason games, so the Cowboys hope to see him Saturday at Cowboys Stadium against the St. Louis Rams.
“He’s mentally into what we’re doing. He understands what we’re doing. He has a good feel for our offense,” running backs coach Skip Peete said after the work at Chargers Park against the San Diego Chargers. “We just have to, obviously, give him the opportunity to get in there and get the work as a runner – carrying the ball, running routes, catching the ball. But he was doing fine before he got injured.”
The former North Texas and Haltom High standout has fallen behind another North Texas product, running back Jamize Olawale, but still remains high in the coaches’ minds.
“He’s a talented runner,” Peete said. “He’s a much better protector than I anticipated, being a guy of his size. So that’s a plus that was very impressive the first couple of days of practice. He’s a very explosive player and very dangerous. I’m excited to see what he can do in a preseason game.”
Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings were signed two days apart in March to be the Cowboys’ right and left guards, but they had not been on the field together until Monday.
Five months is a long time to wait, but injuries to Bernadeau’s hip and knee kept him out for the entire offseason and early part of camp, while a hamstring injury knocked Livings out for about two weeks in camp.
Monday’s work against San Diego was their first time in the huddle together.
“I felt synced in,” Livings said. “You know how you sync your phone to your computer? I felt like we were in sync. We’ve got a ways to go, but it’s all about getting better every day. That’s what I try to do when I’m on the field. You’re either getting better or getting worse. Today I felt I got better.”
Livings took most of the first-team work against the Chargers, but veteran Derrick Dockery also got some work as the athletic training staff wanted to ease Livings back into his return.
Livings is hoping to play Saturday vs. St. Louis.
“Most definitely,” Livings said. “That’s what I’m here for. I’m here to play ball. I’m not here to be on the sidelines watching my teammates play. I’m here to play and compete. That’s what I want to do. That’s the only way we can get better as a team.”
The line was not complete, however, with center Phil Costa sitting with a lower back strain. He will not practice Tuesday either.
Dan Bailey has had a perfect preseason – 3-for-3 on field goals, 2-for-2 on extra points – and he drilled a 49-yard field goal Saturday night against the Chargers.
So he’s ready for the regular season, right? Surely he doesn’t need to kick any more in preseason.
“I just enjoy playing,” he said. “So any opportunity I can get out there, it’s fun for me. It’s also good to get the game experience. I like it. … You can always get better, so I don’t know if there’s really a benchmark that I’m hoping to achieve, necessarily, to get myself ready for the season. My idea is to just improve each game throughout the whole year. It’s good to get some attempts now, early on, especially a long one like the kind I had tonight.”
Bailey said the long kick was into the part of the stadium where the wind was pushing the ball, and the kick drew back left on him. But he said he struck it well, and it felt good off his foot.
Bailey also credited the work of long snappers Charley Hughlett and L.P. Ladouceur and holder Chris Jones. Hughlett, a rookie, was the snapper for the field goals, and he and the veteran Ladouceur each had one of the PAT snaps.
“The operation’s been great,” Bailey said. “Everybody worked really hard in the offseason. I think it’s just really been a smooth process. Everybody’s locked in and focused. It’s been a pretty easy transition coming back into this year.”
Now it’s time to go back to turf. The next two games are at Cowboys Stadium, then the Cowboys go to MetLife Stadium (Giants) and CenturyLink Field (Seahawks) before coming home for two more home games.
“I don’t think about it too much,” Bailey said. “Especially Cowboys Stadium. That’s like a kicker’s paradise there. We’ve been fortunate enough. We’ve had pretty good grass in Oxnard, and the grass was good here tonight.”
An MRI on Dez Bryant‘s injured knee revealed patellar tendinitis, according to a source, which should only require rest before the star receiver can return to practice.
Bryant hurt his knee Monday practicing against the Chargers when he slipped coming out of a break. The MRI revealed no major structural damage and provides a much less severe diagnosis than originally feared when Bryant limped off the field. It’s unknown at this time how long Bryant will be out.
Patellar tendinitis is also known as "jumper’s knee," and occurs most frequently in athletes who jump routinely, as Bryant did when he soared into the air to snag a ball in the back of the end zone Saturday.
The Cowboys are short in receiving threats, with Miles Austin and Jason Witten both sidelined. A spleen injury to Witten and a lingering hamstring issue for Austin raised the dependence on Bryant in the passing game. Bryant was one of the few starters not dealing with an injury in training camp, besides missing the end of a practice in Oxnard, Calif., with a sore hamstring.
The receivers finished Saturday’s preseason game healthy against the Chargers, but they couldn’t stay on the field in Monday’s practice against San Diego, as Bryant, Andre Holmes and Donavon Kemp joined the injury list.
Kemp also suffered a knee injury and Holmes left with a sore back. Wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said he knew Holmes’ tight back flared up on him, but he didn’t see what happened to Bryant, who slipped coming out of a break and limped off the field.
“Hopefully it’s not anything too serious,” Robinson said.
Bryant’s been on point with Tony Romo throughout the preseason, making athletic catches routinely, including a one-handed grab in the back of the end zone against the Chargers that was called back for a penalty and ruled out of bounds. Bryant didn’t play much against the Chargers, catching two passes for 15 yards on three targets.
Kevin Ogletree took a majority of the first-team snaps in practice after Bryant’s departure. He said Bryant “became a man” this offseason and preseason with his consistent play.
Ogletree also didn’t see the play that forced Bryant to the sidelines.
“We all know his talents and how hard he works and his determination and drive and competitiveness,” Ogletree said. “You can give a bunch of words to describe his role on the team and how important he is to us. He’s a leader, one of our best players and I’m praying for him. I’m sure he’ll be fine. He’s a strong kid.”
The injury to Austin already bumped Ogletree to the starter opposite Bryant. His practice reps increased more when Bryant left Monday.
He said the practices at the end of training camp are essential with the Sept. 5 opener against the Giants looming in a couple weeks.
“It was a great opportunity for myself and some of the other young guys to get some extra practice reps with some unfamiliar corners and secondary’s and defenses,” Ogletree said. “It’s something I think we took advantage of as a group today.”
Despite watching three receivers, including starter Dez Bryant, leave the practice field with varying injuries in today’s joint practice with the Chargers in San Diego, Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he likes what the team accomplished in the session. The teams work together again Tuesday before the Cowboys return to Texas.
Bryant (right knee) and Donavan Kemp (left knee) both left the practice with knee ailments and were scheduled to undergo MRIs. Andre Holmes departed after his back stiffened during drills.
Garrett cited a “similar value system” between the two franchises that enables Dallas and San Diego to benefit from the shared practice with a minimum of chippiness during drills.
“We as coaches try every day to create competitive situations for our guys. Whether it’s one-on-one, two-on-two, seven-on-seven or 11-on-11,” Garrett said. “We’re always trying to do that and that’s an important part of growing as an individual player and as a team. That happens really naturally when you’re working against other teams.
“We have a real similar value system, the Cowboys and the Chargers. I’ve been around (Chargers coach) Norv (Turner) for a number of years … We both know what we want out of these practices. We had great work with them last year. We were dying to do this again this year because the work was so good against them last year (in Dallas). We practice hard. We compete. We’re not going to have a lot of fights. We understand what we’re trying to get out of it. Throughout the practice, the 1-on-1’s, they were competitive, but I think everybody understood there was a healthy respect for each other. Tomorrow’s going to be a little more situational. We’re going to move the ball a little bit. We’re going to have some two-minute, do a little red zone. We’ll have some more competitive situations but the tempo’s right. I think both teams are getting a lot out of it.”
The Dallas Cowboys could get several injured players back next week for practices with the San Diego Chargers.
Guard Nate Livings (hamstring) is expected to return to practice Monday and there’s a good chance three defensive starters could join him.
Nose tackle Jay Ratliff (foot), defensive end Jason Hatcher (hamstring) and outside linebacker Anthony Spencer (hamstring) could all return.
Ratliff and Hatcher got some work during the pregame warm-up Saturday but didn’t play.
"We certainly want to get them some work this week if they’re able to do that," coach Jason Garrett said. "Again, working against another team just livens things up and makes it more competitive."
The Cowboys were missing 19 players from their 89-man roster due to injury for Saturday’s game against the Chargers.
And that number could have been 20 if not for the team waiving injured guard/center Bill Nagy last week. Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware tweaked his hamstring during Thursday’s practice and missed the game. If this would have been the regular season, Ware said he would have played. But the Cowboys are being cautious with injured players, especially those suffering hamstring issues.
One player who won’t return fully this week is wide receiver Miles Austin (hamstring). It appears he will miss the third preseason game, although he is running well during rehab work.
"Done a good job the last few days in his rehab," Garrett said. "I don’t know if he’s going to fully practice (this upcoming week) but we want to ease him back into it. He made some strides last week and he looked good."
RELATED: Nate Livings will practice Monday, inching Cowboys OL closer to health
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said offensive guard Nate Livings will practice Monday.
It will be the first padded work for Livings since the third day of camp, when he suffered a hamstring injury. He and Mackenzy Bernadeau, signed as free agents to be the starting guards, have not practiced together yet.
Starting center Phil Costa is still expected to miss a little time, but it’s a start toward health for the offensive line the Cowboys envisioned – left tackle Tyron Smith, left guard Livings, center Costa, right guard Bernadeau and right tackle Doug Free.
The Dallas Cowboys face the San Diego Chargers in the second game of the preseason. Here’s a preview:
Who’s not playing: It would take you an hour to figure out who’s not playing for the Cowboys. We give you the highlights: OLB DeMarcus Ware, OLB Anthony Spencer, WR Miles Austin, TE Jason Witten, G Nate Livings, NT Jay Ratliff and C Phil Costa are the projected starters who will miss the game.
The starters play how much, again?: Jason Garrett wanted the first-team offense to go about 8-to-10 plays in the preseason opener at Oakland. Tonight, maybe into the second quarter, with center David Arkin expected to go into the third, maybe fourth quarter. When Arkin comes out, expect Harland Gunn to take over the center snaps. With second-team tackle Jeremy Parnell out, Jeff Adams slide in and take some snaps. Safety Barry Church played with the second team a little bit at Oakland. It could continue again.
Who needs to play well: It’s easy to say everybody, but based off the Raiders game and the last two days of practice, we’ve come up with a few names: WR Raymond Radway, CB Morris Claiborne, DE Marcus Spears, DE Kenyon Coleman, CB Mario Butler and G Ronald Leary.
Mo debuts: First-round pick Morris Claiborne will make his NFL debut at the Chargers. He’s not sure if he’ll start, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the Cowboys come out in a three-cornerback setup with Orlando Scandrick and Brandon Carr alongside Claiborne. The rookie needs the snaps against different competition and he might play the entire first half. He’s battled Dez Bryant, Kevin Ogletree among others for nearly two weeks of practices, when he’s been healthy, so it will be interesting to see him against someone else.
About the series: If you’re scoring at home, this is the 14th meeting between the teams. Dallas holds the preseason series advantage at 7-6. The Chargers won the last meeting, in 2009, 20-17.
RELATED: Five players to watch vs. San Diego Chargers
Preseason game No. 2 kicks off tonight at Qualcomm Stadium against San Diego Chargers and for some players their time to make an impression is running out.
Here is a look at five guys to watch:
Alex Albright – He was everywhere against Oakland on Monday, credited with a game-high nine tackles, and he will start tonight because of DeMarcus Ware’s absence due to a slight hamstring strain. Albright is a virtual lock to make the team, but he can show he can be a regular contributor on the defense with a good performance. He will also play some inside linebacker again, which would help the team’s ability to carry more players at other positions when they make the final cuts.
Mario Butler – After a so-so offseason, Butler has done much better when the pads came on. He is not the fastest or quickest, but he has a knack for being in the right spot at the right time. He understands his limitations and stays out of trouble. He can play in the slot some and has taken some turns at safety. As the Cowboys ponder how many corners and safeties to keep, Butler could be that swing guy the way Alan Ball was a swing guy for a few seasons.
Ronald Leary – He came in with a lot of acclaim as an undrafted free agent but he has leveled off over the last week of camp. Against Oakland he tired and did not fire off the ball as well as he had been earlier in camp. The Cowboys have guaranteed him $214,000, a high number for an undrafted player, so he should make the team, but with a good showing tonight he could still work his way into the starting lineup or at least one of the active offensive linemen on Sundays.
Kevin Ogletree – Nobody likes hearing this but Ogletree has had a nice camp. Of the guys competing for the No. 3 receiver spot he has the most ability to play as a starter should something happen to Miles Austin or Dez Bryant. He does not help much on special teams but if he can prove to be reliable and make plays regardless of the quarterback tonight, he can cement a spot on the roster. Even with Andre Holmes good outing vs. the Raiders, Ogletree is still the leader for the No. 3 spot.
Mana Silva – He was a late-season pickup in 2011 after he was signed of Buffalo’s practice squad and had four special teams’ tackles. He had an interception to clinch the win at Oakland on Monday and Rob Ryan is intrigued about this prospect. Silva, however, will need to make his mark on special teams to make a dent because the Cowboys still like Matt Johnson’s potential even though the fourth-round pick has taken part in one full-padded practice in camp.
OXNARD, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys first-round pick Morris Claiborne, who missed the preseason opener with a sprained MCL, said Wednesday he expects to make his NFL debut on Saturday against the San Diego Chargers.
The cornerback wore a sleeve over his left knee as he practiced in full pads Wednesday with the first-team defense.
"I’m supposing to be playing this week," Claiborne said after Wednesday’s practice.
Claiborne said he’s not sure if he’ll start Saturday. Orlando Scandrick and Brandon Carr started the preseason opener at Oakland.
Claiborne missed the entire offseason as he recovered from wrist surgery. After he was cleared for training camp, he suffered the knee injury.
Claiborne returned to the practice field in a limited role late last week.
Team executive vice president Stephen Jones said last week on KRLD-FM that, "Mo Claiborne’s got to get out there. The times he’s been out there, it’s been impressive."
Claiborne said he had no problems with Jones’ comments.
"I understand where he’s coming from," Claiborne said Saturday. "Anytime you put that much money in somebody to go out and play, you want them out on the field playing. I understand exactly where he’s coming from."
PHOTO: Line judge Shannon Eastin, left, takes the field prior to an NFL preseason football game between the San Diego Chargers and the Green Bay Packers, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, in San Diego. Eastin is a replacement line judge who will make her NFL debut in the exhibition game. The regular officials are locked out by the league after their contract expired. Photo: Denis Poroy / AP
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Shannon Eastin has become the first woman to officiate an NFL game.
Eastin broke the NFL’s on-field gender barrier Thursday night, serving as the line judge for a seven-man crew working a preseason game between the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers.
The 42-year-old from Tempe, Ariz., was dwarfed by the players as she lined up in front of San Diego’s sideline and had a camera following nearly every move just before kickoff. She seemed at ease in the spotlight and had at least two players shake her hand.
She is among a group of replacement officials working NFL games while the regular refs are locked out.
Eastin is a referee in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, college football’s second-highest level, and a 16-year veteran of officiating.
The cap she is wearing will be sent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Courtesy: JOHN MARSHALL | AP Sports Writer
NFL official Shannon Eastin works during the Seahawks’ NFL football training camp in Renton, Wash. The Associated Press examines six of the top questions that will be answered in the preseason starting on Thursday, Aug. 9, including how replacement referees will perform while traditional officiating crews are locked out due to labor negotiations. Photo: Seattle Seahawks, Rod Mar / AP
The Cowboys are headed back to California for the start of training camp and it’ll be one of the longer visits out west this team has had in a while – staying 25 days.
For the seventh time in the last 12 years, the Cowboys are heading back to Oxnard, Calif., where they will stay and train at the Marriott Residence Inn (2101 West Vineyard Ave., Oxnard, CA 93036).
Here’s a look at the tentative daily practice schedule.
The team will depart for Oxnard on July 28, with the first practice beginning Monday, July 30 at 2:30 p.m. (PDT).
Because of the changes in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams can only practice once a day and must have a scheduled day off within a seven-day period.
Therefore, most practices will occur at the same 2:30 time slot, including a Blue-White controlled scrimmage on Sunday, Aug. 5.
Aside from a Monday night game in Oakland on Aug. 13, the Cowboys will be in Oxnard through Friday, Aug. 17, when they depart for the second preseason game against San Diego.
After the Aug. 18 game with the Chargers, the Cowboys will stay in San Diego and practice against the Chargers at their practice facility for two days before heading back to Dallas on Aug. 22. As always, the practice schedule is subject to change.
2012 Tentative Practice Schedule for Dallas Cowboys Training Camp
City of Oxnard Fields next to the Marriott Residence Inn
2101 West Vineyard Ave., Oxnard, CA 93036
Schedule is subject to change (all times Pacific Coast time)
|Monday, July 30th||2:30 p.m. – Practice|
|Tuesday, July 31st||2:30 p.m. – Practice|
|Wednesday, August 1st||2:30 p.m. – Practice|
|Thursday, August 2nd||No practice|
|Friday, August 3rd||2:30 p.m. – Practice|
|Saturday, August 4th||2:30 p.m. – Practice|
|Sunday, August 5th||2:30 p.m. – Blue-White Scrimmage|
|Monday, August 6th||2:30 p.m. – Practice|
|Tuesday, August 7th||2:30 p.m. – Practice|
|Wednesday, August 8th||No practice|
|Thursday, August 9th||2:30 p.m. – Practice|
|Friday, August 10th||2:30 p.m. – Practice|
|Saturday, August 11th||2:30 p.m. – Practice|
|Sunday, August 12th||TBA – Walk-Thru|
|Monday, August 13th||
No practice – Preseason Game – Dallas @ Oakland
|Tuesday, August 14th||No practice|
|Wednesday, August 15th||2:30 p.m. – Practice|
|Thursday, August 16th||2:30 p.m. – Practice|
|Friday, August 17th||TBA – Morning Walk-Thru