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The simulations of the Dallas-Oakland game heavily favor the Cowboys. This is hardly a surprise. However, thanks to consecutive seven-point scoring performances, few think that the Cowboys will cover the 14-point spread. Dallas managed to win by an average margin of 14 points in only one of the three simulations noted below.
AccuScore: Dallas 27, Oakland 13
The Cowboys won 83% of AccuScore’s 10,001 simulations by an average score of 27-13. This was the most optimistic of the three simulations.
The Cowboys offense has struggled and the past 2 weeks and they barely cracked 300 yards last week. If they are held to under 300 yards the Cowboys are still heavy 75 percent favorites against the Raiders because the Cowboys defense is expected to hold the Raiders to just 13 points. If Bruce Gradkowski throws no interceptions and the Raiders trio of RBs can average over 5 yards per carry the Raiders chances improve all the way to 46 percent. If the offense is good and they also hold Dallas to under 300 yards the Raiders are actually a 5 point favorite.
WhatIfSports: Dallas 25, Oakland 15
The Cowboys were less successful in WhatIfSports’ simulations, winning 72.3% of the games by an average score of 25-15. Tony Romo threw for fewer than 200 yards on average in these simulations. The Raiders averaged 300 yards in total offense, with 140 coming on the ground.
Madden Simulation: Dallas 23, Oakland 13
ESPN’s simulation of the game using Madden was similar to the WhatIfSports simulation.
The Cowboys matched their entire scoring output from their last game in their first drive against the Raiders, and they never looked back, winning their Thanksgiving showdown, 23-13.
Tony Romo completed 26 of 41 passes for 289 yards, including one touchdown and one interception. Marion Barber added 94 bruising yards on the ground as the Cowboys get their eighth win of the season.
The Raiders, meanwhile, drop to 3-8, although they look much more competitive on offense now that JaMarcus Russell watches the game from the bench.
My Guess (7-3 this season based on win-loss)
My wild guess last week accurately predicted that the Redskins would only score six points against the Cowboys. I never once thought the Cowboys would only score seven for a second consecutive week. Here was my prediction:
As for this week, I think Dallas will control the clock by using shorter passes and the running game. Romo may have a couple of big plays to Miles Austin to help set up scores, but the real story in this game will be the defense’s role in smothering the Redskins and the offense’s role in grinding out yards and keeping the ball out of Washington’s hands.
For the season, here is the record:
Week 1: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 24 (actual: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 21)
Week 2: N.Y. Giants 17, Dallas 14 (actual: N.Y. Giants 33, Dallas 31)
Week 3: Dallas 31, Carolina 21 (actual: Dallas 21, Carolina 7)
Week 4: Dallas 24, Denver 14 (actual: Denver 17, Dallas 10)
Week 5: Dallas 31, Kansas City 14 (actual: Dallas 26, Kansas City 20)
Week 7: Atlanta 28, Dallas 17 (actual: Dallas 37, Atlanta 21)
Week 8: Dallas 31, Seattle 17 (actual Dallas 38, Seattle 17)
Week 9: Dallas 23, Philadelphia 17 (actual: Dallas 20, Philadelphia 16)
Week 10: Dallas 31, Green Bay 20 (actual: Green Bay 17, Dallas 7)
Week 11: Dallas 20, Washington 6 (actual: Dallas 7, Washington 6)
Since I am going to the game, I refuse to believe the Cowboys are going to struggle against the Raiders, who have had problems putting together back-to-back wins. Dallas will jump out to a 16-0 lead thanks to three Nick Folk field goals. The Raiders will cut into the lead, but two second half touchdowns will put the game away for Dallas. The result:
Dallas 30, Oakland 13
If last week’s 17-7 loss to the Packers weren’t frustrating enough, the
Cowboys nearly managed to lose in the same manner to the Redskins. Like last
week, Dallas became frustrated after experiencing a couple of miscues and failed
to score in the first half. Like last week’s loss, Dallas trailed 3-0 at
halftime. And like last week, Dallas failed to score until the very end of the
The difference against the Redskins was that Tony Romo’s 10-yard touchdown
pass to Patrick Crayton wasn’t a score during garbage time like Romo’s TD pass
to Roy Williams last week. The Dallas score gave the team a 7-6 lead, and that
one point proved to be the margin of victory.
Dallas did not abandon the run against Washington, but the running game did
not prove to be the difference in the game. Part of the reason for that was a
Marion Barber fumble midway through the first quarter, ending a Dallas drive
after the team had moved inside the Washington 20. The play proved even more
disastrous when Romo injured his back trying to tackle DeAngelo Hall, who had
recovered Barber’s fumble.
Romo never missed any time, but his throws were off all game. He missed Roy
Williams on several occasions, and given that Williams does not catch balls that
aren’t thrown right at him (or on some cases, he drops those thrown right at
him), it was not a good game for the team’s "#1 receiver."
The Cowboys had a good drive in the final six minutes of the first half, as
the team marched 52 yards to set up a Nick Folk field goal attempt. But for the
second consecutive game, Folk missed the kick and killed any momentum the team
had built. Washington nearly took advantage of the mistake by driving into
Dallas territory, but Shaun Suisham missed from 39 yards out to leave the score
3-0 at the half.
The frustration continued in the third quarter, as Dallas managed just one
first down. The Redskins increased their lead to 6-0 with a Suisham field goal
in the final minute of the third quarter, and it appeared that the six points
may be too much to overcome.
Early in the fourth, Dallas drove to the Washington 38 and faced a 3rd-and-1.
The team tried to run Marion Barber to the right, but Andre Carter darted from
the left end position and ran Barber down, dropping Barber for a one-yard loss.
On fourth down, Romo tried to get a pass to Miles Austin, but Romo overthrew the
ball, and London Fletcher picked it off.
The Redskins had a chance to make it a two-possession game when they drove to
the Dallas 30 midway through the fourth. However, Suisham missed yet another
field goal, giving Dallas another shot. Starting at the Washington 40, Romo hit
on a series of passes to Jason Witten, Felix Jones, and Miles Austin, and Dallas
finally had a first-and-goal play from the Washington 9. A penalty on Witten
backed the team up five yards, but another pass to Austin left the Cowboys with
a second-and-goal from the 10.
On the touchdown pass to Crayton, Romo broke one tackle in the pocket and
then rolled to his left. Crayton found an opening in the zone, instead of
running the ball, Romo zipped the ball to Crayton to give Dallas the lead.
David Buehler nailed the kickoff into the end zone, and Dallas stopped
returner Devin Thomas inside the 20. Moreover, Washington was called for an
illegal wedge, backing the Redskins up to the 8. The Redskins moved the ball to
the 33, but on a first down play just after the two-minute warning, the Cowboys
forced Jason Campbell to roll to his left. Jay Ratliff tipped a pass attempt up
in the air, and linebacker Anthony Spencer came down with it. Dallas was able to
run the clock down to seven seconds before the Redskins got the ball back deep
in their end.
Spencer has missed several opportunities to make big plays this year, but he
has had back-to-back solid games. Against the Redskins, he had three solo
tackles and two assists to go along with his interception.
Romo broke a streak of seven consecutive games with 20 or more receptions, as
he completed only 15 of 27 pass attempts for 158 yards. His 69.7 passer rating
was his lowest since the Cowboys’ 17-10 loss at Denver in October.
The Cowboys now have a 7-3 record and retain a one-game lead in the NFC East.
Here is a video clip of the game:
In 2007, Jason Witten pulled in 96 receptions for 1,145 yards and 7 TDs. His
average per reception was 11.9. His presence over the middle helped to open
things up for Terrell Owens and Patrick Crayton, and few teams could slow him
down. He had six or more receptions in 10 of 16 games and had four games where
he gained more than 100 receiving yards.
Witten’s numbers in 2008 took a hit, but they were still respectable. He
finished with 81 receptions and had at least six receptions in 9 of the 16
games. His average per reception of 11.8 was nearly the same as it was in 2008.
His performance in 2009 has been another matter entirely. During a season
where Witten should have been a central focus of the offense, he has been
limited to 49 receptions for 438 yards, averaging only 8.9 yards per reception.
He has had exactly five receptions in five of the games this season, and he has
had more than five receptions in only two of those games. He has recorded just
one touchdown reception, and that came during the second week of the season.
Against the Packers, Romo tried to force the ball to Witten on a quick out near
the goalline, but Green Bay corner Charles Woodson stepped in front of the pass
and picked it off at the goalline.
To be sure, Witten’s numbers have not quite reverted to pre-2007 numbers. In
2006, for instance, he averaged only four receptions per game and never
had more than six receptions in a single game. His average in 2006, however, was
11.8 yards per game. In fact, the only season during which Witten has averaged
less than 10 yards per game was 2003 when he averaged 9.9 yards on 35 receptions
as a rookie.
Here’s a look at his performances in 2009:
vs. Tampa Bay: 5 rec., 71 yards
vs. N.Y. Giants: 5 rec., 33 yards, 1 TD
vs. Carolina: 9 rec., 77 yards
vs. Denver: 4 rec., 31 yards
vs. Kansas City: 5 rec., 47 yards
vs. Atlanta: 5 rec., 53 yards
vs. Seattle: 4 rec., 36 yards
vs. Philadelphia: 7 rec., 43 yards
vs. Green Bay: 5 rec., 47 yards
So, these stats raise some questions: are Witten’s skills starting to decline? Is this a symptom of a problem with the Dallas offense?
Marion Barber is frequently compared with the likes of Yankee closer Mariano
Rivera, and for good reason. Since Barber arrived in the league in 2005, he has
frequently been called upon to put games away for the Cowboys in the fourth
quarter. Some of these games were very tight, including the Cowboys’ 20-16 win
over the Eagles on Sunday. Others were blowout wins, where Barber was used to grind it out
to kill the clock.
Here’s a look at the games where Barber has been used as the team’s
Oct. 30, 2005: Dallas 34, Arizona 13
Filling in for an injured Julius Jones, Barber carried the ball 27 times for 127
yards in a 34-13 win over Arizona. With the Cowboys leading by at least two
touchdowns, Barber touched the ball 14 times in the fourth quarter.
Oct. 29, 2006: Dallas 35, Carolina 14
The Cowboys had a 21-14 lead in the fourth quarter when safety Roy Williams
picked off a pass in Carolina territory. The Cowboys alternated between Barber
and Julius Jones, but it was Barber who found the end zone twice in the final
three minutes to put the game away for Dallas.
Nov. 12, 2006: Dallas 38, Arizona 10
Dallas dominated the Cardinals in Arizona, taking a 20-3 lead late in the third
quarter. In the final 17 minutes of the game, Barber touched the ball 10 times
and scored a short run to increase the lead to 27-3 early in the fourth quarter.
Nov. 23, 2006: Dallas 38, Tampa Bay 10
In another blowout, Dallas held a 35-10 lead in the third quarter. In the final
18:36, Barber ran the ball 11 times and helped to set up the final field goal.
Dec. 16, 2006: Dallas 38, Atlanta 28
The Cowboys had a narrow 31-28 lead at Atlanta when the Falcons punted with 8:58
remaining. Barber took over from there, catching one pass early in the drive and
then running six consecutive times. The sixth rush was a three-yard touchdown,
securing the Dallas win.
Sept. 9, 2007: Dallas 45, N.Y. Giants 35
In a wild season opener, Dallas took a 45-35 lead late in the game when Tony
Romo hit Sam Hurd on a 51-yard touchdown. The Giants punted the ball back to the
Cowboys with 2:08 remaining. From there, Barber ran the ball five straight
times, helping Dallas to run out the clock.
September 16, 2007: Dallas 37, Miami 20
The Dolphins would not give up in the second week of the 2007 season. After
cutting the lead to 30-20 with 3:26 remaining, the Dolphins tried an onside
kick. Dallas recovered, and on the next play, Barber raced 40 yards for the
final score of the game.
September 23, 2007: Dallas 34, Chicago 10
In another surprising blowout in 2007, Dallas held a 27-10 lead in the fourth
quarter and took the ball over with 8:53 remaining. Barber touched the ball
eight consecutive times on a 78-yard drive, which Barber capped off with a
one-yard touchdown run.
Oct. 21, 2007: Dallas 24, Minnesota 14
The Cowboys took a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. In the final eight
minutes of the game, Barber carried the ball 11 times, putting the game away.
Nov. 11, 2007: Dallas 31, N.Y. Giants 20
With Dallas leading 31-20 in the fourth quarter, Barber touched the ball eight
times, helping the Cowboys to a key win at the Meadowlands.
Nov. 22, 2007: Dallas 34, N.Y. Jets 3
In a blowout win, Barber touched the ball 11 times in the final 10:47 to help
the Cowboys run out the clock in a Thanksgiving Day win.
Nov. 29, 2007: Dallas 37, Green Bay 27
With the Cowboys holding on to a one-touchdown lead with 5:03 left, the Cowboys
turned to Barber. He carried the ball seven times for 26 yards to help set up a
field goal that iced the game for Dallas.
December 22, 2007: Dallas 20, Carolina 13
The Cowboys’ held a one-touchdown lead with about three minutes remaining.
Needing at least a first down, Barber came through with runs of 9 and 11 yards
to help secure the win for Dallas.
Sept. 15, 2008: Dallas 41, Philadelphia 37
Barber did not put the game away against the Eagles in the second week of the
2008 season, but his one-yard touchdown run was the game winner in an early
Oct. 5, 2008: Dallas 31, Cincinnati 22
With the Cowboys barely holding on to a 24-22 lead with 7:39 remaining, the
Cowboys turned to Barber, who gained 20 yards on the team’s final scoring drive
that put the Bengals away.
Nov. 16, 2008: Dallas 14, Washington 10
The Cowboys were holding on to a 14-10 lead over the Redskins when the Cowboys
stopped a Washington drive in Dallas territory. In his greatest effort as a
closer so far, Barber touched the ball 11 straight times. His last run on a
fourth-and-one play put the game away for the Cowboys.
Nov. 23, 2008: Dallas 35, San Francisco 22
With the Cowboys having trouble putting the 49ers away, Dallas turned to Barber
on two fourth quarter drives. He touched the ball eight times, helping the
secure the win.
Sept. 13, 2009: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 21
The Cowboys had trouble putting the Buccaneers away in the opening game of the
2009 season. On a late scoring drive, highlighted by a 44-yard pass play from
Romo to Patrick Crayton, Barber ran the ball four times and scored from six
yards out, helping the Cowboys to a win.
Nov. 8, 2009: Dallas 20, Philadelphia 16
The Eagles cut the Dallas led to 20-16 with 4:27 remaining in a key NFC East
game on Sunday night. With the Cowboys needing first downs, Dallas gave ball to
Barber, who gained 23 yards on three consecutive carries. Since the Eagles were
out of timeouts, a third down conversion on a pass from Romo to Jason Witten put
the game away.
Following the Cowboys’ 17-10 loss to Denver, Tony Romo’s popularity sank to Drew Bledsoe-like levels. Two games later, and Romo is once again the quarterback who can make plays out of nothing, which what made Romo so much better than Bledsoe in the first place.
There are a couple of fan videos showing Romo’s Houdini act against Atlanta. Here’s one of the better ones:
If you weren’t aware,
balloting has begun. Given Romo’s many problems this season, you might think
that he would be completely out of the running for a spot on the NFC’s Pro Bowl
team. Not so fast. Consider Romo’s stats compared with other NFC quarterbacks,
ranked in order of passer rating.:
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay: 121-184 (65.8%),
1,702 yards, 11 TDs, 2 Ints., 110.8 Rating. Record: 4-2.
Drew Brees, New
Orleans: 132-197 (67.0%), 1,698 yards, 14 TDs, 5 Ints., 106.9 Rating. Record:
Brett Favre, Minnesota: 157-228 (68.9%), 1,681 yards, 12 TDs, 3 Ints.,
102.2 Rating. Record: 5-1.
Tony Romo, Dallas: 117-194 (60.3%), 1,652 yards, 9
TDs, 4 Ints., 94.7 Rating. Record: 4-2.
Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia: 63-110
(57.3%), 768 yards, 6 TDs, 1 Int., 93.3 Rating. Record: 3-1.
Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants: 120-203 (59.1%), 1,633 yards, 12 TDs, 6 Ints., 92.3
Rating. Record: 4-2.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta: 120-191 (62.8%), 1,360 yards, 11 TDs, 6 Ints., 90.2
Rating. Record: 4-2.
Kurt Warner, Arizona: 158-237 (66.7%), 1,672 yards, 9 TDs, 6 Ints., 89.1
Rating. Record: 4-2.
At this point, Rodgers, Brees, and Favre would easily be the front-runners
for the three Pro Bowl spots, but things could change very quickly.
If the Packers lose again to the Vikings, Green Bay’s record will drop to
4-3. This Green Bay line has not been able to protect Rodgers all season,
allowing 25 sacks. By comparison, Romo has been sacked only 11 times.
Favre often plays well late in the season, but that’s not always the case. It
certainly wasn’t last year, when Favre suffered through a shoulder injury and
the Jets lost four of their final five games. Easy to assume that since he is
healthy that he will be strong all year, but he’s also 40.
As for the other four, each has had his moments, but each has also struggled,
especially recently. None has played as well as Romo has in the past two games
(thanks, of course, to Miles Austin).
* * *
Anyway, just for curiosity sake, if you had to select one player on the
Dallas offense to make the Pro Bowl this year, who would it be?
The Cowboys had a better defensive performance last week, but it did not help the team in terms of the defensive rankings. The Cowboys still have the 22nd
ranked defense in terms of total yards, while the offense is still ranked second in total yards per game.
Tony Romo’s performance against Atlanta resulted in his passer rating increasing from 86.5 to 94.7, which was significant. The team’s (i.e., Romo’s)
rating was ranked 17th last week, the current rating is ranked 10th.
Offense (NFL ranking in parentheses)
Total yards/game: 419.3 (2nd)
Yards/play: 6.8 (1st)
Passing yards/game: 266 (9th)
Passer rating: 94.7 (10th)
Rushing yards/game: 153.3 (4th)
3rd down %: 38% (17th)
Penalties: 45 (24th)
Penalty yards: 381 (28th)
Time of Possession: 30:27 (15th)
Turnover ratio: -2 (20th – tie)
Points for/game: 26.5 (10th)
Total yards allowed/game: 347.8 (22nd)
Yards allowed/play: 5.4 (18th)
Passing yards allowed/game: 238.5 (22nd)
Passing rating, opponents: 90.0 (21st)
Rushing yards allowed/game: 109.3 (16th)
Sacks: 14 (16th – tie)
3rd down %, opponents: 33.3% (6th)
Points allowed/game: 19.8 (14th)
Several experts this week have taken the Atlanta Falcons to down the Dallas
Cowboys, even though the Cowboys are considered the favorites by oddsmakers and
are playing at home after a bye week. Five of the eight experts at
ESPN took Atlanta,
while half of the staff members at the
Dallas Morning News (including Jean-Jacques Taylor and Tim Cowlishaw) took
the Falcons. Two of the simulations, though, disagree with these experts. Here’s
Accuscore: Dallas 28, Atlanta 23
Accuscore apparently likes the Cowboys, because Dallas seldom seems to lose
any predictions on this system. The Cowboys won 65.6% of the predictions on
Accuscore by an average score of 28.3 to 23.2. The summary:
Both the Cowboys and Falcons have had plenty of big offensive plays this
year, but at times both have struggled to put together long, sustained
drives. The winner of the game will likely be the one who can run the ball
effectively on 1st down and in short yardage situations. Michael Turner is
only averaging 3.7 ypc in simulations. If he has 4.0+ ypc the Falcons
chances improve from 33 to 44 percent. If Turner can run for at least 2
explosive plays of 20+ yards and has 5+ ypc the Falcons are 52 percent
favorites. On the flip side, if Tony Romo plays well with at least 250 yards
and no turnovers the Cowboys control the game with a 79 percent chance of
WhatIfSports: Dallas 23, Atlanta 21
Dallas also edged Atlanta in
WhatIfSports’ predictions, winning 51.3% of the games by an average score of
23-21. Interesting note: Michael Turner will have more than 100 yards rushing if
the simulations are accurate, while nobody in the Cowboys’ trio of Marion
Barber, Felix Jones, or Tashard Choice manages more than 60 yards.
Simulation: Atlanta 27, Dallas 14
According to ESPN simulation of the game on Madden, the Cowboys will have
turnover problems and lose to the Falcons, 27-14.
When the Falcons traded for Tony Gonzalez, a lot was said about the tight
end being past his prime and how Atlanta made the wrong move. But after
another strong game from the future Hall of Famer, the Falcons look like
they in fact got the steal of the offseason. Matt Ryan found his big tight
end seven times for 110 yards, including the go-ahead touchdown as the
Falcons beat the Cowboys 27-14. Tony Romo, meanwhile, threw three
interceptions for the Cowboys, fumbling twice more as Dallas stayed within
striking distance for three quarters, but in the end couldn’t overcome the
five turnovers to beat a very good Falcons team.
My Guess (4-1 based on win-loss).
I predicted a 31-14 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, so I wasn’t close at
all in terms of the final results. I was sort of correct, though, about the role
that Tashard Choice would play:
I think the Cowboys are going to continue their see-saw season, much like
they did in 2005 and 2006. I think this week will be a big win, giving us
false hope for two weeks. Marion Barber will play, but I look for Tashard
Choice to have a bigger game, running over the Chiefs in the second half.
I predicted a 31-14 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, so I wasn’t close at
all in terms of the final results. I was sort of correct, though, about the
role. Choice was one of the sparks that helped the Cowboys to come back against
the Chiefs, but I had no idea that the game would be so close. I also don’t
think anyone could have predicted what Miles Austin did. My predictions thus
Week 1: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 24
(actual: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 21)
Week 2: N.Y. Giants 17, Dallas
14 (actual: N.Y. Giants 33, Dallas 31)
Week 3: Dallas 31, Carolina 21
(actual: Dallas 21, Carolina 7)
Week 4: Dallas 24, Denver 14
(actual: Denver 17, Dallas 10)
Week 5: Dallas 31, Kansas City
14 (actual: Dallas 26, Kansas City 20)
This week, I don’t think the bye week will help the Cowboys. I tend to be more
optimistic when making these picks, but immediately after the Cowboys’ last win,
I thought the team is set up for a letdown against a superior Falcon team. It’s
possible that Dallas could get on a November roll (as usual) before having to
face a tough December (again), but I don’ t think the winning will start against
My guess is Atlanta 28, Dallas 17.
In 2009, a few of the Cowboys will have opportunities to move up in the career rankings in franchise history. Here is a look.
Romo is currently fifth in most of the main career passing categories. In three years as a starter, he has completed 831 of 1307 passes for 10,562 yards with 81 TDs and 46 interceptions. His career passer rating of 94.7 is the best in team history as of right now.
Romo isn’t likely catch Aikman, Staubach, White, or Meredith in any category in 2009, except for the possibility of surpassing Meredith for career completions. Meredith completed 1170, which is 339 more than Romo. Romo completed 335 passes in 2007, so it is possible for him to reach this number. However, with the offensive changes in 2009, it is not likely.
With 3,052 yards on 715 carries, Barber currently ranks ninth in team history in rushing yards and attempts. His 36 career TDs is fifth in team history. He will likely be higher on both lists during 2009. Barber is tied for tenth for career touchdowns with Billy Joe Dupree and Dan Reeves. With only four touchdowns in 2009, Barber will jump all the way to eighth.
Barber could be as high as sixth in rushing yards by the end of the season. Here is a look:
5. Robert Newhouse – 4,784
6. Walt Garrison – 3,886
7. Herschel Walker – 3,491
8. Julius Jones – 3,484
9. Marion Barber – 3,052
Barber is a little bit further behind in terms of attempts.
5. Newhouse – 1,160
6. Garrison – 899
7. Jones – 885
8. Walker – 818
9. Barber – 715
Barber isn’t going to catch Emmitt Smith or Tony Dorsett, but he may very well be #3 on the list by the end of 2009.
1. Emmitt Smith – 153
2. Tony Dorsett – 72
3. Don Perkins – 42
4. Calvin Hill – 39
5. Marion Barber – 36
1. Emmitt Smith – 164
2. Tony Dorsett – 86
3. Bob Hayes – 76
4. Michael Irvin – 65
5(t). Tony Hill – 51
5(t). Frank Clarke – 51
7. Drew Pearson – 50
8(t). Calvin Hill – 45
8(t). Don Perkins – 45
10(t). Billy Joe Dupree – 42
10(t). Dan Reeves – 42
10(t). Marion Barber – 42
Witten ranks fifth in career receptions (429) and sixth in receiving yards (4,935). His 25 career TDs only ranks tenth, however. With 61 receptions in 2009, Witten will jump all the way up to second in team history, trailing only Michael Irvin. He will also likely surpass Frank Clarke in receiving yards. Willen currently trails Clarke by 279 yards.
1. Michael Irvin – 750
2. Drew Pearson – 489
3. Emmitt Smith – 486
4. Tony Hill – 479
5. Jason Witten – 429
4. Bob Hayes – 7,295
5. Frank Clarke – 5,214
6. Witten – 4,935
Ware has already passed the likes of Randy White and Harvey Martin in official stats, though to be fair to those players, the league did not calculate sacks officially until 1982. Ware will likely pass Too Tall Jones and Tony Tolbert in official sacks in 2009.
1. Jim Jeffcoat – 94.5
2. Greg Ellis – 77
3. Tony Tolbert – 59
4. Too Tall Jones – 57.5
5. DeMarcus Ware – 53.5
Folk’s 86.8% field goal percentage is second in team history, trailing only Chris Boniol’s percentage of 87.1. Folk’s 46 field goals ranks seventh in team history, trailing Billy Cundiff by 14 field goals.
Newman’s 20 interceptions ranks 13th in team history, just one behind Mike Gaetcher. Newman could rise as high as ninth on the list by picking off just five passes in 2009.
8. Cliff Harris – 29
9. Chuck Howley – 24
10. Darren Woodson – 23
11. Don Bishop – 22
12. Mike Gaetcher – 21
13. Terence Newman – 20
The Cowboys were apparently concerned about adding depth and a bunch of special teamers in this draft. With seven picks in the final three rounds, the Cowboys took some backup-quality defensive backs, a potential third tight end, a potential slot receiver, and a 227-pound kicker.
5th round (143rd overall): DeAngelo Smith, CB, Cincinnati
The Cowboys must have loved the University of Cincinnati’s defense last year, because the Cowboys snapped up both of the Bearcats’ corners. Smith is supposed to be good in the zone and could be a nickel or dime corner.
5th round (166th overall): Michael Hamlin, S, Clemson
Not to be confused with the Dallas safety who forgot how to tackle last year, Michael Hamlin could join Ken Hamlin as a starter next season.
5th round (172nd overall): David Buehler, K, USC
The only guess about this pick that makes sense is that Buehler will serve as a kickoff specialist.
6th round (197th overall): Stephen Hodge, SS, TCU
Hodge was a special teams ace at TCU, so this may have been a decent pick.
6th round (208th overall): John Phillips, TE, Virginia
With Tony Curtis leaving for Kansas City, Phillips will have a chance to make the team as the third tight end.
7th round (227th overall): Mike Michens, CB, Cincinnati
Michens’ name was being thrown around much earlier than the 7th, for Dallas to get him here was great. Michens led the NCAA in interceptions last season.
7th round (229th overall): Manual Johnson, WR, Oklahoma
The Cowboys finally picked up a recevier in the 7th round. Johnson isn’t big, but he could turn out to be a quality slot receiver.
So much for the Cowboys addressing needs at safety or wide receiver. Alabama safety Rashad Johnson was available in the third round (either pick), but Dallas decided against selecting him. Nevertheless, the Cowboys found several backups in the third and fourth rounds of today’s draft. The four picks:
3rd round (69th overall): Jason Williams, OLB, Western Illinois
Williams is known for his speed and quickness. Williams impressed many with his Pro Day performance at Western Illinois. He may move to ILB, even though he is known for his ability to rush around the edge.
3rd round (75th overall): Robert Brewster, G/T, Ball State
Brewster will probably be moved to guard in Dallas. The DMN already asked whether Brewster is another in a long line of offensive line draft busts.
4th round (101st overall): Stephen McGee, QB, Texas A&M
The last time the Cowboys selected a QB in the draft was Isaiah Stanback, who was converted to receiver. The last time the Cowboys picked a QB to play QB was Quincy Carter in 2001. (Before that? Bill Musgrave in 1991).
4th round (110th overall): Victor Butler, DE, Oregon State
He is listed as an undersized pass-rush specialist. At 248 pounds (just a little bit bigger than Williams), he will likely be moved to outside linebacker.
4th round (120th overall): Brandon Williams, DE, Texas Tech
At 6’5″, 252 lbs., he has better size than Butler, but he’s still pretty small for a 3-4 defensive end. He led the Big 12 in sacks in 2008.