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San Francisco didn’t look great in defeating a poor Seattle team, while Dallas looked good for 3+ quarters in its loss to the Jets. It might seem that Dallas would be favored pretty big against the 49ers.
That’s not the case. Below is a look at some various simulations.
What If Sports? Dallas 25, San Francisco 21
Dallas managed to win 62.7 percent of the simulations, but the 49ers kept things close. The Cowboys had trouble with Frank Gore in these sims.
AccuScore: San Francisco 24, Dallas 23
In a bit of a surprise, the 49ers won nearly 52% of the AccuScore sims and edged the Cowboys overall.
AccuScore is forecasting a close game with the Dallas Cowboys winning 48% of simulations, and the San Francisco 49ers 51% of simulations. In close games, turnover margin is especially important. The Dallas Cowboys commit fewer turnovers in 42% of simulations and they go on to win 71% when they take care of the ball. The San Francisco 49ers wins 69% of the simulations in which they commit fewer turnovers. Tony Romo is averaging 278 passing yards per sim. If he can have a great game with better than average passing yards and at least a 2 to 1 TD to INT ratio (35% chance) then he helps his team win 58%. Frank Gore is averaging 47 rushing yards per sim. If he can have a great game with better than average rushing yards and at least a 1 rushing TD (19% chance) then he helps his team win 76%
Madden: Dallas 34, San Francisco 13
This is more like it. Romo tore apart the Niners according to ESPN’s Madden simulation.
Tecmo Super Bowl 2012: Dallas 28, San Francisco 15
That leaves the most important simulation: Tecmo Super Bowl 2012. Dallas overcame a slow start and an 15-7 deficit to beat San Francisco.
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By the way, tickets to the September 26 Dallas Cowboys-Washington Redskins game seem to be a little bit lower than normal. There are quite a number of tickets going for less than $100 in the upper levels, and even some of the lower-level seats are going for less than $200.
Several Cowboys players had decent fantasy games last week. Below is a summary of what the various players did and how they are projected to do this week. Points are based on standard scoring in NFL.com leagues. Rankings are based on the composite rankings available at FantasyPros.
QB Tony Romo
Last week: 18.58 points
Romo threw for 342 yards with two touchdowns, so even with a fumble and an interception, he put up good numbers.
Rank for week 2: 7th.
Most of the better experts expect Romo to have a solid game against the 49ers, who were poor against the pass last year.
RB Felix Jones
Last week: 10.60 points
Jones only managed 66 total yards, but his touchdown run helped.
Rank for week 2: 19th
Some experts have Jones ranked in the top 10 for this week, while others have him ranked lower than 30th. This will be an interesting game.
WR Miles Austin
Last week: 15.00 points
Austin had a good game with 90 yards and a touchdown. This was much better than several of his games from last year, where he often disappeared with Jon Kitna at QB.
Rank for week 2: 9th
Several have noted that if Austin can play well against the Jets while injured, he will do just fine against the 49ers.
WR Dez Bryant
Last week: 13.10 points
Bryant pulled in the other Romo score. He did all of his damage on the team’s opening drive.
Rank for week 2: 12th
Hard to say how many receptions Bryant will have. However, he is always a threat to break a long one, so he will likely get yards and is a good bet to score. He may not return punts, which hurts his value in league that include return yards.
TE Jason Witten
Last week: 11.00 points
Witten had a good game that could have been great with a TD. Had he cut back on the long pass in the fourth quarter, he might have scored.
Rank for week 2: 3rd
Although Romo notoriously does not look at Witten in the red zone, Witten is a big target who can put up yards. Even the better defenses have a hard time stopping him.
K Dan Bailey
Last week: 6.00 points
Bailey made a field goal with three extra points.
Rank for week 2: 27th
Bailey will not likely have value this year. David Buehler will probably get the nod for long attempts, so unless the Cowboys kick three or four field goals from inside the 40, Bailey will probably not get more than 10 points at the most.
Last week: 8.00 points
The Cowboys had four sacks, an interception, and a fumble recovery while giving up 27 points.
Rank for week 2: 7th
The high rank is more of a reflection of a bad San Francisco offense. However, Dallas did better against the Jets than most expected, so perhaps there is some value.
Other Offensive Players
Nobody. Kevin Ogletree might get 10 to 20 receiving yards. That is probably the best output anyone could expect from other members of the Cowboys.
Cowboys Individual Defensive Players Players
The big player on the IDP front for Dallas was linebacker Sean Lee, who had 10 tackles, 2 assists, and an interception. Had he score on the interception return, he would have had a 20-point game by himself.
Anthony Spencer had a decent game with three tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. DeMarcus Ware also had a good game with two sacks along with three tackles.
None of the other Dallas defensive players did anything worth mentioning.
As far as dejected looks go, few NFL quarterbacks can match Tony Romo’s.
We got to see it when Romo threw his first interception of the season, coming with 59 seconds left in a game that was tied at 24. Romo tried to hit Dez Bryant, who was suffering from cramps and who barely turned around to try to catch it. Darrelle Revis picked off the pass and returned it into Dallas territory. The play set up what turned out to be the game-winning field goal by former Cowboy Nick Folk.
The game marked the first time in team history that Dallas had lost a game that it led by at least 14 points in the fourth quarter. Al Michaels called the Jets’ win “improbable.”
We’ve seen losses that felt very much like this one, though. The opening-day loss to Washington last year comes to mind, but there are plenty of others. This one was supposed to be a statement game. That statement—the Cowboys still don’t know how to win.
For three quarters, this was a beautiful game from the Dallas perspective. The Cowboys opened by driving 74 yards. Bryant caught three passes, including a touchdown reception to give Dallas a 7-0 lead.
The offense had one more good drive in the first half, as Dallas moved to the Jet 16. That drive resulted in a field goal to increase the lead to 10-0.
The Jets managed to close the gap to three late in the first half, and it appeared that New York might take the momentum. But Dallas came out in the second half and drove to the Jet 36. From there, Romo threw the ball toward Miles Austin, who practically stole the ball from Antonio Cromartie and rolled into the end zone for a touchdown.
The Jets cut the Dallas lead to 17-10 after the next drive, and then the Jets held the Cowboys.
When New York got the ball back, Sanchez went to work by hitting Plaxico Burress. However, on the next play, Sean Lee dropped into coverage and made a great play on a pass over the middle. Lee returned the ball for what appeared to be a touchdown. Later review showed that he stepped out at the one, but Felix Jones scored early in the fourth quarter, giving Dallas a 24-10 lead.
The Jets took advantage of injuries to the Dallas secondary, which featured Alan Ball and Bryan McCann. New York marched on an 84-yard drive that took less than three minutes to play.
Dallas could have put the game away on the next drive. Romo found Witten on a deep slant, and Witten raced all the way to the Jet 3. Two plays only yielded one yard. On third down, Romo moved to his right and then tried to drive for a touchdown. He was stripped of the ball, though, and lost the fumble.
The Jets moved the ball to Dallas territory, but Danny McCray stripped Sanchez on a sack. Lee recovered the fumble, which gave Dallas the ball at the Jet 47. The Dallas offense, though, moved backwards thanks to two penalties.
Mat McBriar had dropped two punts inside the 20, but he didn’t get a chance. Joe McKnight split the line and blocked McBriar’s punt, and Mardy Gilyard took the ball 18 yards to score and tie the game at 24.
The Cowboys needed a hero. Nobody stepped up.
Dallas moved the ball 20 yards and faced a 2nd and 2 from the Dallas 40. Runs by Jones and Tashard Choice failed miserably, and Dallas had to punt.
The Cowboys defense did step up, making a key stop to force a punt. Dallas got the ball back at the Jet 41.
Then Romo did his magic. Bryant had not caught a pass since the opening drive, and he was obviously having trouble running his routes. Romo’s pass never had a chance to hit anyone other than Revis, who put the Jets in position to win.
The Cowboys caught the injury bug this week, and even before that happened, most predicted that Dallas would struggle against the Jets on Sunday night.
AccuScore: Jets 22, Dallas 20
In the AccuScore simulations, the Cowboys had trouble running the ball. Felix Jones managed only 40 rushing yards on average. Meanwhile, the Jets used a strong running game to win 54.9% of the simulations.
AccuScore is forecasting a close game with the Dallas Cowboys winning 45% of simulations, and the New York Jets 55% of simulations. In close games, turnover margin is especially important. The Dallas Cowboys commit fewer turnovers in 39% of simulations and they go on to win 67% when they take care of the ball. The New York Jets wins 71% of the simulations in which they commit fewer turnovers. Felix Jones is averaging 40 rushing yards per sim. If he can have a great game with better than average rushing yards and at least a 1 rushing TD (14% chance) then he helps his team win 67%. Shonn Greene is averaging 67 rushing yards per sim. If he can have a great game with better than average rushing yards and at least a 1 rushing TD (25% chance) then he helps his team win 76%.
What If Sports: N.Y. Jets 26, Dallas 20
The Cowboys didn’t fare much better in the What If Sports’ simulations. Jones only averaged 38.6 yards in the simulations, forcing Tony Romo to throw an average of 40 times per game. The Jets outgained Dallas 131 to 55 on the ground, helping New York win 67.1 percent of the contests.
Tecmo Super Bowl 2012: Dallas 28, N.Y. Jets 14
Fortunately, the Cowboys fared better in the most important and most accurate simulation: the 2012 version of Tecmo Super Bowl for the NES.
Dallas jumped out to a 21-0 halftime lead and then held on for a 28-14 win. Here are the highlights:
The Cowboys were a 6-10 team last season, and at times the team looked like it firmly belonged among the worst seven or eight teams in the league. Dallas signed some of its own important free agents, let go of aging and declining players, and brought in new defensive coordinator Rex Ryan.
The result from the power rankings perspective is that most think Dallas falls somewhere right in the middle.
The exception: Pete Prisco of CBS, who put Dallas at #7.
We’ll start with him.
Prisco has the usual teams in the top six—Green Bay, New England, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, San Diego, New Orleans. You might expect to see Philadelphia, Baltimore, or either of the New York teams next.
However, Prisco put Dallas at #7.
They have Tony Romo back and they will have an improved, aggressive defense under Rob Ryan. The offensive line is young, but there is talent to overcome it.
This was posted on September 6, before Tyron Smith went down with a knee injury. The likely starter at right tackle: Jermey Parnell.
ESPN’s take on the Cowboys is more consistent with most opinions.
With no offseason to speak of, it might take awhile for the defensive players to get used to Rob Ryan’s schemes. Once they do, the Cowboys could be scary good on defense. (Fox)
Scary good is…well, good.
I was not aware that Billick wrote anything for Fox, but he wrote this week’s power rankings. One thing that plays in the Cowboys’ favor: their schedule.
Will talent finally prevail? I’m worried about keeping Tony Romo healthy, with raw rookie right tackle, Tyron Smith. He has all the skills, but he’ll experience a noticeable learning curve. Their schedule, including the anemic NFC West, will help.
Some bad news if WhatIfSports is accurate at all. According to the simulations run by that site (and published on Fox), Dallas only ranks 21st.
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.