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Pokes12 on CowboysZone asks whether there is any point to listening to Jerry Jones.
If you heard Jerry Jones during he Dolphins game you were told that M. Holland showed great and surprising stamina and would be a great contributor to the team this year.
Now he is gone. JJ has no clue about the team he is the Emperor and he hasNO clothes.
Our great GM missed numerous times to improve the team. Merriweather would have been an upgrade…..latest best available that JJ could not complete.
In the age of the Great Purge wouldn’t it be great to get rid of the biggest Pant Load of them all???
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A writer for Yahoo! pondered whether Jason Garrett could be on the hot seat if the team fails again this year. The Dallas Morning News then posted about it. A commenter going by Raz07 responded:
Yeah, this is what critics like this guy fail (or avoid) to look at…
There’s a ‘clean up’ phase that Cowboys have to go through. Maybe if there was a full offseason, they’d be past it, but it’s most likely going to last for much of this season.
And we may only be mediocre at best this year. But you know what? that’s what happens when you have to clean house a little bit and re-build your system (not talking about rebuilding the team).
If you ask me, this is about a 2 year project for Jason Garrett to get this franchise where it needs to be.
I know we’re in the “win now” league, but honestly the teams that have spent more than a season building their teams are the ones that stay on top for years and years.
And given the mess we’ve had for years because of Jerry, it’d be foolish for anyone to think we can fix everything and be in the same category as Patriots or Steelers after just one year.
Sorry. Reality Check.
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A relatively new blog known as ChiaCrack’s Cowboys Blog noted that Cowboys have signed former Atlanta and St. Louis receiver Laurent Robinson.
I have always been intrigued by Laurent Robinson, especially in fantasy football ( I know corny). He has good size and great speed, he ran a 4.38 40 at the NFL Combine back in 2007. He has had some injuries, a broken fibula in 2009 that set him back. He came back and had a decent season with the Rams last year, 34 catches 2 TD’s.
I love the signing because this gives a player the chance to succeed. Robinson is a guy who has a lot of talent (3rd round pick by the Falcons in 2007) and just has never lived up to his hype. I think in this system, he could become a big play guy. Somebody is in trouble, whether that is Jesse Holley or Kevin Ogletree we don’t know yet.
Love the signing Jerry, Stephen and Jason, great job guys. According to Robinson’s Twitter he is a Cowboy, I haven’t heard anything confirming it yet elsewhere.
It turns out, though, that the team is just bringing Robinson in for a workout. There had been talk that the Cowboys could bring in former first-round pick Donnie Avery, who is still a free agent.
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Here is the information:
All time record on opening day: 34-16-1 (.676 winning percentage)
Record By Decade:
2010 — : 0-1
Tom Landry: 22-6-1
Jimmy Johnson: 3-2
Barry Switzer: 3-1
Chan Gailey: 2-0
Dave Campo: 0-3
Bill Parcells: 1-3
Wade Phillips: 3-1
We won an astonishing 17 consecutive season opening games from 1965-81, and 21 out of 22 from 1965-86
During that 22 game stretch we outscored our opponents by a total of 643-285 (an average of 29-13 per game)
We are 7-1 in opening games in seasons when we played in the Super Bowl. The only loss came in 1993 when Emmitt was a holdout.
We are 14-2 in seasons where we played in the NFL (pre 1970) or NFC Conference Championship Game
In the 30 seasons where we made the playoffs we are 25-5 in the opener
Out of the 21 seasons we did not make the playoffs we are 9-11-1 in the opener
Our largest was margin of victory was against the Detroit Lions in 1968: 59-13
Our worst statistical loss was against the New Orlean Saints in 1989: 28-0
Our most embarrassing opening day loss (in my opinion) came in 2002 to the Houston Texans; their first ever NFL regular season game…maybe one of our worst non playoff losses ever
The most consecutive opening day losses was 5 from 2000 to 2004
Since 2007, we have won 3 out of the last 4 games
The Cowboys ended their preseason on Thursday night with a boring 17-3 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
You wouldn’t know it from the score, but the Cowboys had a fine game on paper. Dallas outgained Miami 389-278. Starting QB Stephen McGee hit 21 of his 25 passes for 233 yards. This included 48 yards on a screen pass to DeMarco Murray in the first quarter. Dallas also only had one turnover (a McGee interception early in the game that led to nothing) and only five penalties.
However, both David Buehler and Dave Rayner missed field goal attempts from beyond 50 yards, and Rayner missed a 36-yarder from the dirt in the infield late in the game. Buehler gave the team its only points on a 20-yard attempt at the end of the first half. Dallas will have a kicker, but good luck guessing who it is.
Murray had more than a quarter of the team’s yardage, gaining 32 on the ground and another 64 in the air. Phillip Tanner added 28 on the ground. Owner Jerry Jones said during the game that Tanner had made the squad, which was good news.
Bad news was that after a good preseason and a good game against Miami, Raymond Radway appeared to suffer a broken ankle or leg. He was jumping up to catch a pass in the end zone but came down very awkwardly on it. He was on the field for several minutes and was carted off with his leg in an inflatable cast.
So that does it for preseason. The team will make its final roster cuts on Saturday.
One of the knocks on DeMarco Murray when he came out of Oklahoma was that he had more of an up-and-down running style and would have to rely on his speed to be successful as a pro back. Here is one scouting report from before April’s draft.
Acceleration/burst/quickness: Murray can get to the edge and out run linebackers but he isn’t going to out run the defensive back angles. As far as explosion goes Murray is a 2 stepper that can get up to his top speed in a hurry. Murray doesn’t explode off his cuts which slows his progress through the hole. His non explosive cuts in the backfield limit his change of direction skills. Murray appears stiff and this is attributed to his up and down running style. His Pad Level is less than ideal and too high. The high pad level impacts his balance and allows defenders to easily make tackles. His lack of balance slows his lateral movement.
Elusiveness: Lack of elite lateral mobility impacts Murray’s ability to consistently make defenders miss at the line of scrimmage. However, he does have some wiggle and can make a defender or two miss. Murray runs with a high pad level which gives defenders clean shots at his legs. Murray is most effective when he is in open space. When in a phone booth he struggles to make defenders miss.
The highlight clip below demonstrates some of these concerns:
We finally got to see Murray in action last night, and though his long run was only eight yards, he managed to lead the team with 32 yards on seven carries. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but this doesnt’ look like an up-and-down running style to me:
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Although these numbers are probably meaningless, Murray fared well at the combine compared with another Oklahoma alum named Adrian Peterson.
For part of Saturday night’s game against the Vikings, the Cowboys offered a look from a year ago. That was, of course, the Year of Can’t Stop Anyone.
Minnesota’s first drive featured runs by Adrian Peterson for 4, 11, 7, 2, and 5 yards. Then receiver Bernard Berrian ran right past safety Gerald Sensabaugh, and though Abram Elam was in position to break up the long pass from Donovan McNabb, the ball went right over Elam’s hands and into Berrian’s arms for a 49-yard touchdown.
The Dallas starters on offense looked solid, though both first-quarter drives fell short of the end zone. Tony Romo completed 15 of 20 passes for 141 yards, with Dez Bryant catching five of those passes for 67 yards. The second Dallas drive led to a Dan Bailey field goal.
During the second quarter, Sensabaugh made two of the biggest defensive plays of the game. On the first, he leaped over the Minnesota center to block a field goal attempt, and corner Alan Ball picked up the loose ball and returned it for a touchdown to give Dallas the lead.
On the next Minnesota drive, the Vikings moved to the Dallas 30, but Jason Hatcher tipped a McNabb pass, and Sensabaugh made a shoestring catch to pick the pass off.
The Sensabaugh pick led to an 11-play drive that went 77 yards. Romo completed six of eight passes, including two nice throws to Dez Bryant and another to Jesse Holley. From the Minnesota 5, Felix Jones found the end zone to extend the Dallas lead to 17-7.
The big news before the game was that the team kept Andre Gurode from playing for “business” reasons. Many believe that the Cowboys will now trade Gurode, while others think that the team is just protecting him. With Phil Costa injured, rookie Kevin Kowalski played the entire game at center.
Eleven different players had at least one rushing attempt for the Cowboys. DeMarco Murray saw his first preseason action and gained 31 yards on seven carries to lead the Cowboys. Phillip Tanner saw action in the fourth quarter and again looked strong, gaining 25 yards on five carries.
The team’s young receivers also looked good. Holley made three nice receptions for 52 yards, while Manuel Johnson and Kevin Ogletree had two receptions each. Raymond Radway also had a catch late in the game. Dwayne Harris did not have a catch, but he returned a punt in the fourth quarter and ran a reverse for 11 yards.
Bailey connected on both of his field-goal attempts, including a 40-yarder with just over a minute to play. That kick extended the Dallas lead to 23-17. Shayne Graham hit on his only attempt.
Jay Ratliff returned to the field, as did Keith Brooking. The Dallas defense settled down after Minnesota’s first couple of drives (meaning after giving up 81 yards on the ground by Peterson). Other than Sensabaugh’s interception, the biggest defensive play came late in the first half. With the Vikings driving at midfield, Anthony Spencer came on a blitz and sacked McNabb for an 11-yard loss. Minnesota punted two plays later.
Tight end Martellus Bennett injured his ankle and may have suffered a high ankle sprain. However, losing him is hardly a meaningful loss. He dropped a pass that hit him square in the hands, and he finished the game without a reception.
Ball and Orlando Scandrick were also banged up, though they could have returned if necessary.
Dallas will close out its preseason schedule on Thursday against Miami.
Notable comments from my forum lurking…
I can’t help it… this kid is something.
He fights for yards. I love it.
I wake up early in the morning put my jersey on & hit someone up side the head, say whats up… PHILLIP GOING HAMMER, TANNER TANNER TANNER.
If his two-game performance hasn’t been enough, check out his highlights from Middle Tennessee State:
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The rumor floating around Cowboys-Forum.com (though many don’t believe it) is that Andre Gurode could be on the trading block. A poster named inwittenitrust doubts the news is true:
We won’t trade Gurode. As much as we like Costa, there’s no way we go out there with a rookie/2nd year LG, OC, and RT. Too many question marks. Gurode was good last season and he’ll be good this season. I just don’t see this trade unless someone offers something crazy like a 2.
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Jack Wagon at SI’s Fan Nation foresees a 7-9 season.
1 9/11 @ NYJ — Loss (away game and the jets are better)
2 9/18 @ SF — Loss (away game)
3 9/26 vs. Was – Win (yes shannahan and this team are that terrible)
4 10/2 vs. Det – Win (home game for the cowboys but could turn into the coming out party for the lions)
5 Bye Week
6 10/16 @ NE — Loss (like the team has enough heart to win in Boston … yea right)
7 10/23 vs. StL — Win (Same as DET game … could be a loss)
8 10/30 @ Phi — Loss
9 11/6 vs. Sea — Loss ( I think Pete Carroll and his group are ready to make noise in the NFC)
10 11/13 vs. Buf — Win (just cause the Bills are aweful)
11 11/20 @ Was — Win (yes shannahan and this team are that terrible)
12 11/24 vs. Mia — Win (Home game and the dolphins have no weapons and no QB)
13 12/4 @ Ari — Win (I dont think Az has a D or an Offensive line)
14 12/11 vs. NYG — Loss
15 12/17 @ TB — Loss (good young team)
16 12/24 vs. Phi — Loss
17 1/1 @ NYG — Loss
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Charles Haley’s selection into the Ring of Honor has sparked debate. maynardblackoak at True Blue wrote a common opinion:
No doubt that Pearson and Allen belong. Haley only played 3 of his 13 seasons in Dallas. Though his contributions were immeasurable, should the ROH be intended for those players who made their greatest impact in the game while wearing the star?
There are some differences, but I still put Haley in a category with Herb Adderley. Without Adderley, there was a good chance the Cowboys didn’t make it to Super Bowl V, and perhaps they don’t win Super Bowl VI. He was a winner who helped to teach Dallas how to win.
But he was here three years, and he was first and foremost a Packer. And under no circumstance should he be a ROH member while the likes of Cornell Green (5X Pro Bowl selection, 3X All Pro selection– all with the Cowboys) isn’t.
In Haley’s case, Woodson was a better represenative from the 1990s, and Haley did not achieve more as a member of the Cowboys (other than that the team won more Super Bowl titles) than Harvey Martin and Too Tall Jones. Haley was a 49er, proven not only by the six years he played there before coming to Dallas but also proven by the two years he played there in the late 1990s.
The Chargers took a 17-7 lead at halftime and cruised to a 20-7 win over the Cowboys on Sunday night.
Parts of tonight’s game against the Chargers might remind us of 2010. Neither Philip Rivers nor Billy Volek had trouble passing the ball, and several Dallas defenders looked a bit lost on a few plays. Of course, the Cowboys were without corners Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins, so who knows how much success Vincent Jackson would have against the real first-team defense.
There were fortunately some highlights on defense. Safety Barry Church had the first. With the Chargers facing a 3rd and goal from the 7, Rivers tried to hit Randy McMichael over the middle on a slant. Church was able to slip a hand in to break up the pass.
However, San Diego moved the ball effectively late in the first quarter and throughout the second quarter. One drive ended on a touchdown pass from Rivers to McMichael where no Dallas defender was within five yards of the Charger tight end.
On a later drive, San Diego drove 80 yards on 11 plays, capped off by a 15-yard touchdown run by Ryan Matthews.
The Dallas offense likewise had positive moments, but those moments were too often sandwiched between negative plays.
After punting on their first drive, the Cowboys started moving the ball during the middle in the first quarter. However, on a second-and-three play from the San Diego 49, Tony Romo tried to hit Kevin Ogletree coming across the middle of the field. Safety Eric Weddle stepped in front of the route to pick the pass off, ending the drive.
Romo rebounded on the next drive, leading the Cowboys to their only touchdown. Felix Jones had a nice 22-yard run early in the drive, and Romo found Jason Witten in the middle of the end zone to give Dallas the touchdown.
Jon Kitna only played one drive late in the first half. Stephen McGee played the rest of the game and threw for 157 yards.
Several receivers made some nice catches in the second half. These include Jesse Holley, Manuel Johnson, Martellus Bennett, and Kevin Ogletree. The hero of last week’s game, Dwayne Harris, did not catch a pass.
Lonyae Miller again struggled on the ground, gaining only 9 yards on 6 carries, and he fumbled the ball in San Diego territory in the third quarter. Nevertheless, he had a great block on defensive back Dante Hughes.
The more impressive back was Philip Tanner, who looked as if he had scored a touchdown on a 23-yard run during which he lost his helmet. However, a rule change this year meant that he was down when the Charger player removed Tanner’s helmet, and the Cowboys were called for an illegal shift anyway.
Two plays later, McGee fumbled the ball, so the Cowboys were left without a score.
Five years ago today was a Sunday, and the Cowboys were preparing to play the New Orleans Saints at the Independence Bowl in Shreveport the next day. Several of us on the old forums at DallasCowboys.com had become engaged in a trivia contest, which prompted an idea—how about a Dallas Cowboys blog that focuses entirely on trivia questions?
Figuring this *great* idea would last about two weeks or so, I moved forward with it.
Understanding that nobody cares, that was the origin of Know Your Dallas Cowboys, which launched on WordPress.com five years ago on August 20. Two days later, I registered the domain name, and this site has been up since then.
So how has it gone? The good part includes 881,000 page views over five years, meaning an average of about 14,700 page views per month. That pales in comparison to many of the largest sites, but it’s more than I would have figured five year ago.
I’ve had 3,274 comments on the site, but that’s actually the bad part. That means for every 269 page views, I get one comment. Not exactly stats of a successful site, but whatever. I didn’t say it was a successful site. I just haven’t ever killed it.
When I launched the blog, the two big private blogs were Blogging the Boys and The Boys Blog. Rafael Vela of The Boys Blog moved to Blogging the Boys for a time before setting up a new site at Cowboys Nation. The latter site quickly asserted itself as a major go-to source for Cowboys analysis.
Social media was not as big in 2006 as it is now. Few used MySpace to draw traffic, and micro-blogging had not yet taken off. A big source of traffic for smaller blogs was through the various forums. A common practice was, and is, to slip a link to an article in the signature area or to include the link in a post itself. It was a good way to draw the ire of forum moderators, and I assume it still is (I’ve since reformed).
Most newspaper articles and columns were available online, but since 2006 several have added blogs in addition to what is available in the newspaper. This has been true of the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, and the San Antonio Express News. ESPN also now has a site devoted exclusively to Dallas, and that site includes a blog about the Cowboys.
In 2007, I posted an article asking how many Dallas Cowboys blogs there were. I included 18 private blogs along with blogs from the Dallas Morning News Cowboys blog and the blogs from the official Dallas Cowboys site.
I have updated my list of links to include new blogs and to remove defunct blogs. It is difficult to say, however, how many blogs there are now because some appear exclusively on Facebook or on similar platforms. It is also not as easy to distinguish between a blog and a forum because in several instances, sites function as both.
Anyway, here is my effort to summarize the state of the Dallas Cowboys blogosphere (using a 2006 term) as of 2011.
The Big Boys
Blogging the Boys was big in 2006 and it has continually grown since then. Even minor posts on the site will attract dozens of comments, while more popular posts attract hundreds. Moreover, individual fans are able to write their own blog posts, and those blog posts also attract many visitors. If a little blog wanted to compete with BTB…
Well, a little blog can’t compete with BTB. In fact, I am not sure how well mainstream media blogs (ESPN, DMN) compete with BTB. According to Compete, BTB has averaged 290,660 visitors per month during the past year.
Moreover, BTB to an extent has become mainstream media. Contributors on the site write the preview magazine for the team from Maple Street Press, and it might be one of the best preseason sources available.
I’m avoiding too many comparisons here, but while Blogging the Boys sets the standard for blogging as a site, Vela sets the standard for individual bloggers anywhere. Quite frankly, none of the big names in the media come close to providing the insight that Vela provides.
Case in point: In 2009, the Cowboys started using an unusual defensive alignment. My little brain saw that the linebackers were stacked in an unusual manner, but I didn’t know what the team was trying to do. Vela then wrote a post explaining that the team was using a form of the old 46 defense that Wade Phillips had learned from Buddy Ryan in Philadelphia. None of the media guys caught this, nor did any of the commentators on the official team site.
His stuff is always must-read.
The team revamped its forums in 2008 to develop the True Blue Fan Club. Most posts will attract dozens or hundreds of comments, and the conversations in the comments section are usually the most interesting. The forums are heavily moderated, but few sites have as many comments.
Professional Newspaper Blogs
Just when you thought ESPN could not steal another former Dallas Morning News reporter, Jean-Jacques Taylor jumps ship to join Calvin Watkins, Todd Archer, and Tim McMahon.
The defection of the aforementioned reporters from DMN has really hurt the quality of the DMN Cowboys blog. Posts by Rick Gosselin and Tim Cowlishaw (and perhaps David Moore) are worth reading, but I could do without several of the others.
The Startle-Gram blog isn’t bad, but it also doesn’t invite commentary in the same way that the newspaper’s columns do. Clarence Hill is a good writer, though, so the blog is worth reading.
Tom Osborn’s blog is much like the one from the Star-Telegram.
Private Network Blogs
Another way to boost site traffic is to join a network of blogs. I tried it with Most Valuable Network, but that experiment failed miserably. Others seem to have had more success.
The Landry Hat at one time had a single author. It has since grown to several authors, and it appears to be the biggest site on the FanSided network. It has grown tremendously in the past couple of years and now attracts about 16,000 visitors per month, according to Compete. That is bigger than all of the private sites other than Blogging the Boys.
This site was launched in 2007 and is part of the Sports Gab Network. The authors typically update it once a day.
Blogs by Individuals and Small Groups
As I noted, individual blogs come and go, but several of us have stuck it out for several years. I am not going to comment much about the blogs below, but I have verified that they are all still posting actively. I am listing them in alphabetical order.
Fairly new site with periodic updates.
This blog has been around for some time, and it is part of a network that includes blogs from every team. The site does not list an author, though, so it is not clear who creates the content.
This site has been around on different platforms since 2003, and the authors have resumed posting recently.
Fred Goodwin has what must be one of the largest collection of Cowboys books anywhere, and he has had blogs on several platforms. His site on Facebook has more than 2,000 “likes.”
This is a blog based in Brazil. Wish I could read the entries without relying on an online translator.
This site has been around for few years, and the author updated recently after a long break.
Poke’s site has been up since 2005, and he recently posted an update.
No site offers more media than DCFanatic. He also has regular shows on Blog Talk Radio.
Very good blog that launched in 2009.
This site first made its mark with its graphics designed primarily for MySpace. The site has a number of features, including Legends of the Star.
My favorite post from this site: JoneSpeak.
This site includes regular updates (often in the form of AP stories) and also has a forum section.
Some of the fan forums have shut down recently, which is unfortunate. Here is a list of those remaining:
Here are a few channels that focus on the Cowboys:
The Dallas Cowboys Show (John Shango)
Most had expected Bill Parcells to turn the Cowboys into contenders by 2005. However, the team had made the playoffs only once under Parcells, and the 2006 squad got off to a shaky start during preseason. Here are five questions about that preseason.
Used to do this a few years ago and decided to start up again. Below are a few thoughts presented by fans in the various Cowboys forums.
Schmoopy at Dallas Cowboy Fans United notes that Tony Romo has been on fire during camp:
Tony Romo has reportedly been “on fire” over the last five days at Cowboys training camp.
Romo said earlier in camp that he’s “throwing the ball as well as he ever had in his career,” and he’s tearing it up in scrimmages and practices. With two No. 1-caliber wide receivers and the best all-around tight end in football as his weapons, Romo is setup for a huge year. Before his injury-ruined 2010 campaign, Romo had three straight seasons of top-nine fantasy QB stats.
couchcoach at True Blue Fan Club thinks that Jason Garrett’s playcalling is still suspicious:
…Garrett’s play calling [is] suspect. And I remember some posters supposing he might make a better HC than OC. I believe the thinking was let’s promote him and get another OC. But, therein lies the rub. He’s both and answers to himself.
And now he’s got his favorite toy back and a bunch of good receivers.
I know it’s early and we haven’t played our first one yet but don’t you have a little nagging thought rolling around in there about his playcalling? I sure do and now that he answers to himself, think anyone is going to point out those RBs can run the ball as well as catch it?
CrazyCowboy at Cowboyszone noted that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan complimented cornerback-turned-safety-turned-cornerback Alan Ball:
Can you believe Rob Ryan said this?Quote:
Ball, who started at free safety last year, has impressed defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.
“He looks like a natural out there,” Ryan said of Ball, who had an interception against Denver wiped out because of a penalty
I know, Ball is not playing safety but, I was convinced that Ball would be cut from the team.
Guess I will need to eat some CROW, as I was dead wrong about Ball.
Anyone feel the same?
darthseinfeld at Cowboys-Forum.com likes what he sees from this year’s draft class:
I know its very early to judge, but so far the 2010 rookie class is looking strong with Smith having a solid start to preseason and some late picks fighting for big roles already. Lets have a look at what we have
Tyron Smith- Has looked good so far at RT
Bruce Carter- We’ll have to wait on this
Demarco Murray- Ditto
David Arkin- Could very well be a day 1 starter.
Josh Thomas- Could start the season as the NCB (until Newman comes back)
Dwayne Harris- Could start the season as the #3 WR
Shaun Chappas- A possible starter at FB
Bill Nagy- very strong contender to make the 53. Going to get some work at OG
A recent post from a relatively new Cowboys site called Cowboy Sports Blog notes that several starters could lose their positions during the season. This includes Montrae Holland (to Phil Costa), Chris Gronkowski (to John Phillips), Marcus Spears (to Kenyon Coleman), Keith Brooking (to Sean Lee), Igor Olshansky (to Jason Hatcher), and David Buehler (to someone). Perhaps the most interesting conversation focuses on whether Victor Butler may start over Anthony Spencer:
It’s never a good idea to hop on player bandwagons but Butler is the real deal. Every time he has played for extended periods, he has produced. In only 1 start over two years, Butler matched Spencer’s sack total over his last 16 starts. Spencer is going into a contract year. If it’s clear that he’s not getting the job done early, Butler should be groomed as his replacement. In just one preseason game Butler has confirmed what many already assumed. He’s a darn good football player. He recorded 5 tackles, 1 for a loss, he helped on a sack, and made a tackle from the nose tackle position.
Some random predictions about the Cowboys’ record in 2011 at the Dallas Cowboys Forum at ESPN.com: 10-6, 8-8, 9-7, 7-9. That about covers it.
With 31 seconds remaining in the Cowboys’ first preseason game against Denver, third-string quarterback Stephen McGee was dragged down for a sack and an eight-yard loss. The Cowboys trailed 23-16 and faced a fourth-and-goal from the 13.
On the fourth-down play, McGee lobbed a pass to the middle of the end zone, where rookie Dwayne Harris brought pass down for a touchdown. It cut the Denver lead to 23-22, and the Cowboys decided to go for two rather than settle for the tie. McGee gave Dallas the win when he rolled to his right and found fourth-year tight end Martin Rucker in the end zone.
The Cowboys first-and second-stringers did little to impress, but the younger players showed promise later in the game.
Harris was the most impressive, showing some serious speed. He took a short pass from McGee earlier in the fourth quarter and sprinted past everyone for a 76-yard touchdown.
Another promising rookie, Raymond Radway, also had a touchdown reception. However, he had some trouble on a few routes, and his touchdown reception was his only catch.
The most significant rookie was tackle Tyron Smith, who started at right tackle and played throughout the first half. He provided good protection for the most part, though it is hard to gauge his overall performance because the Denver starters were out after one series.
One big disappointment came in the running game. Lonyae Miller was suppose to challenge Tashard Choice for a roster spot, but Miller only managed 11 yards on 9 carries. Rookie Philip Tanner looked better, showing a burst and gaining 44 yards on 9 carries.
Defensively, Victor Butler was impressive throughout the first half. On one play, he took on a double team while rushing Denver QB Tim Tebow. Although Tebow broke through to scramble, Butler ran him down from behind. Butler also had a tackle for a loss and nearly had a sack.
The Dallas secondary has suffered through a number of injuries, and Denver had some success through the air. The Denver starters also had a relatively easy time running the ball against the Dallas starters. Denver opened the game with a 13-play drive, and Knowshon Moreno and Willis McGahee combined for 40 rushing yards on only six attempts. Denver had to settle for a field goal on its opening drive, though, giving the Broncos a 3-0 lead.
The Dallas starters answered by driving 56 yards. The biggest play was a screen pass from Tony Romo to Felix Jones that went for 16 yards. Dallas will apparently use its more athletic offensive line to feature more screen passes this season.
Denver led 9-3 at the half, as both Jon Kitna and McGee had trouble moving the Cowboys consistently. McGee gave Dallas a 10-9 lead in the third quarter by driving the team 64 yards, capped off by the touchdown pass to Radway.
Denver answered early in the fourth on a touchdown run by Jeremiah Johnson, but Harris’ long catch-and-run allowed Dallas to answer. However, long snapper Cory Adams’ snap was off-target on the extra point, and kicker Dan Bailey was unable to give the Cowboys a lead because the Cowboys had to abort the attempt.