Preview: Dallas Cowboys vs. Houston Texans

Before we get to the preview, you might have noticed that Jerry Jones has a sense of humor after all. Here are two Papa John’s commercials that have aired recently:


And now to the preview of Saturday’s game:

Dallas Cowboys vs. Houston Texans
Saturday, August 25
7 p.m. CDT
Reliant Stadium, Houston
Television: Blue Star Media
Radio: Dallas Cowboys Radio Network (click here to find a station)
Spread: Dallas favored by 2 1/2
Over/Under: 44

The Cowboys and Texans face for the fourth time during the preseason, with Dallas leading the preseason series 2-1. There are quite a few news items out there, so I will try here to point you in the right direction.

Dallas Cowboys* Terence Newman, as you may know, will sit out for the remainder of the preseason with a heel injury. There is now more than a little bit of concern that this could cause major problems for the Dallas defense heading into the regular season.
* Blogging the Boys has a piece where Grizz poses five questions to a Texans blogger.
* According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Texans want bragging rights by beating Dallas. They need to be able to brag about something. Don’t they?
* has a piece about players trying to make the next roster cut.


Here is some garbage: Neither Bob Hayes nor Chuck Howley made the final cut for Hall of Fame consideration. Bull****

Former Cowboys Bob Hayes and Chuck Howley were not among those chosen Thursday for the two senior slots on the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2008 ballot.

Emmitt Thomas, who had 58 interceptions for Kansas City, and Marshall Goldberg, a standout two-way player for the Chicago Cardinals in the 1940s, were picked for the ballot.

Players must be retired from the NFL for 25 years to become eligible for seniors consideration. The two senior nominees will join the 15 modern-era candidates on a slate that will be voted on Feb. 2.

The Short History of the Revived Texas Governor’s Cup

Rick Perry Governor’s CupDallas travels to Houston on Saturday night to face the Houston Texans in the fourth sort-of-annual preseason game between the two squads for the Governor’s Cup. Although last season’s 34-6 win for Dallas was satisfying, it did not quite erase the heartache of the 19-10 Houston win in 2002. Thus, we will focus on the preseason games here.

2003: Dallas 34, Houston 6

Quincy Carter completed 10 of 17 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown in the Cowboys’ 34-6 preseason victory at Texas Stadium. Carter’s performance earned him another week to compete with Chad Hutchinson for the starting position.

2004: Houston 18, Dallas 0

A crowd of 70,431 taunted Jerry Jones as the final seconds ticked away in Houston’s shutout win at Reliant Stadium.

2005: Dallas 21, Houston 9

Drew Bledsoe completed 11 of 18 passes for 113 yards in the Dallas win at Texas Stadium.

Dallas Defense Is Still the Focus

Although Terrell Owens continues to be the center of attention (try running a search for “t.o.” on Google), and though Cowboys fans are still debating whether Julius Jones or Marion Barber should start, the primary focus is still on the Dallas defense. The video below shows an interview with Wade Phillips addressing his version of the 3-4 defense.

Wade Phillilps

I planned to provide a quote of the interview, but I am slowly learning that Wade isn’t the most quotable coach. Here is what I have from this interview:

Most 3-4s, because [inaudible]… a lot of them I see only play it one way. They just play it this way and that’s the only way you play it. You have to plug in a player that can play that way. Our’s– we have the players and we plug in and say Hey this is what we’re going to do with the 3-4

So we go from a highly quotable coach with a broken defensive system to an inaudible coach with a system that makes all the sense in the world. For more on this, Yahoo has a story about the new version of the 3-4, compared with Parcells’ version.

Last year’s first round pick, Bobby Carpenter, has made some news by showing versatility in playing inside and outside. I will eventually have to remove last season’s post entitled Find Bobby Carpenter’s Hair. Both and the DMN Blog have short pieces on Carpenter.


Incidentally, this blog is now exactly one year old. Here are the Sitemeter stats for the past year:

Total visitors: 68,646
Total page views: 124,169

Not the most visitors in the world, but it’s still fun.

Instant Trivia: Cowboys-Broncos

Here is this week’s entry of Instant Trivia, focusing on last Saturday’s game against the Denver Broncos.

Make your own Quiz!

Video: Roger Staubach Interview, 1975

I am suddenly (and stupidly) in the business of promoting the NFL’s website, but the video section there has quite a bit to offer. I have seen clips of Phyllis George’s interview with Roger Staubach in 1975, but I had never seen the entire interview. This is now available on the NFL’s site:

Roger Staubach

The highlights:

* Staubach discusses a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called against him in a 1975 game at Washington. Staubach threw a punch at long-time Washington cornerback Pat Fischer after the Dallas quarterback threw an interception. The Redskins went on to win 30-24 in overtime.
* “It’s a dog-eat-dog world . . . You can’t be a nice guy on the football field.”
* Staubach talks about being labeled a “square” for buying a station wagon instead of a sports car after Dallas won the Super Bowl in 1971.
* His famous comment about enjoying sex as much as Joe Namath. Although I am not sure what happened after the interview with Phyllis, I am pretty sure that Staubach has never tried to kiss Suzy Kolber.

Game Notes: Dallas vs. Denver

Before we get to the second preseason game, I have to admit that I like the new Great video features and a good in-game mode. Here is the new graphic for the NFL Game Center:

Dallas Cowboys Denver Broncos

The Cowboys’ starters played the entire first half, leading Dallas to a 24-6 lead. Most of the major players on both sides of the ball had some nice plays, and the team continued to look sharp for this stage of the preseason. The Cowboys went on to a 31-20 win.

Below are some notes about the game.


* Flozell Adams and Marc Columbo started at tackle. Both missed last game.
* Lousaka Polite started at fullback due to an injury to Oliver Hoyte.
* Tony Romo had a nice pass to Patrick Crayton on the Cowboys’ opening drive of the game. Crayton ran a deep out to the right side and found a hole in the coverage. The play went for 30 yards.
* Crayton had another long reception in the second quarter, which set up the third Dallas touchdown of the first half.
* Julius Jones had a couple of nice runs to the outside on the first couple of drives, showing some patience.
* Jones and Marion Barber had some nice runs on the Cowboys’ first scoring drive in the first quarter.
* Barber continued to show that he is the more effective goalline back, with two touchdowns in the first half– although Jones also scored from short yardage.

* On a 3rd-and-9 play from the Denver 44, Romo hit Sam Hurd on a 20-yard play. Hurd made a nice catch between two defenders. Later in the first half, though Hurd fumbled after catching another pass.
* Terrell Owens ran an end-around for nine yards. Owens did not have a rushing attempt last season. In his career, he has rushed 25 times for 159 yards and two touchdowns.
* Romo threw a pick in the second quarter trying to get the ball over the middle to Miles Austin. Dre Bly stepped in front of it. The interception led to a Denver field goal.
* Backup tight end Tony Curtis saw some action in the first half, catching an 11-yard pass from Romo.
* Tyson Thompson showed some great speed on a 21-yard run in the third quarter. He later had a 22-yarder on a 3rd-and-1 in the fourth quarter, followed later with a 15-yarder.
* Fourth-round pick Isaiah Stanback saw action for the first time. He caught a 15-yard pass in the fourth quarter. He then scored on a 15-yard pass on a corner route in between three defenders.


* Ken Hamlin had his first start of the preseason after sitting out the opener against Indianapolis.
* Terence Newman sat out with a heel injury.
* The defensive line pressured Jay Cutler several times in the first half. On a 3rd-and-4 play in the first quarter, Chris Canty and DeMarcus Ware forced Cutler to step up in the pocket, and Jason Ferguson recorded the sack.
* Defensive end Marcus Spears later recovered fumble deep in Denver territory, which led to the Cowboys’ second touchdown. The fumble was a muff by Cutler on an attempted handoff.
* First-round pick Anthony Spencer was involved in an odd play in the second quarter. The linebacker followed tight end Daniel Graham downfield and tipped the ball straight up in the air when it got there. However, Graham came down with the catch. Later in the drive, Spencer forced Cutler to throw the ball away on a bootleg.
* Bobby Carpenter, last year’s first-round pick, made a great interception late in the game.

Special Teams

* On the Cowboys’ opening drive, Martin Gramatica missed a 51-yard field goal attempt, pushing it right.
* Rookie Nick Folk showed his leg strength at the end of the first half, nailing a 52-yarder.
* Gramatica had a nice kickoff into the end zone in the first quarter.
* Folk later had a kickoff to the Denver goalline.
* Mat McBriar placed two punts inside the Denver 10-yard line in the second half.
* Late in the second quarter, Thompson had a good-looking 35-yard kickoff return following Denver’s second field goal.

Noteworthy Stats:


Romo– 11-18, 122 yards, 0 TD, 1 Int.
Brad Johnson– 6-9, 56 yards, 1 TD


J. Jones– 9 att., 31 yards, 1 TD.
M. Barber– 11 att., 57 yards, 2 TD
T. Thompson– 16 att., 75 yards


Crayton– 3 rec., 61 yards
Hurd– 3 rec., 36 yards
Owens– 1 rec., 11 yards
I. Stanback– 2 rec., 30 yards, 1 TD

Preseason Game 2: Cowboys-Broncos Preview

Denver Broncos vs. Dallas Cowboys
Saturday, August 18
7 p.m. CDT
Texas Stadium
Television: Blue Star Media
Radio: Dallas Cowboys Radio Network (click here to find a station)
Spread: Dallas favored by 5
Over/Under: 35 1/2

The Cowboys play their second and final home preseason game on Saturday against the Denver Broncos. According to the Dallas Morning News, starters are expected to play the entire first half. If nothing else, that should be good news for those looking at that over/under.

One of the more interesting aspects of this game is the comparison of the two young quarterbacks: Tony Romo and Jay Cutler. Both of them looked sharp in their preseason openers last week. Although the NFL copyright hounds have been earning their $350 an hour to remove NFL highlights from YouTube, at least the new has some nice features. The videos there are actually very good quality. We can’t embed them, but at least we can make it look like we are:

Here is a link to highlights of Romo in last week’s win over the Colts:

Tony Romo Highlights

And to compare, here are Cutler’s highlights from last Monday’s game between Denver and San Francisco:

Jay Cutler


Some other news:

* Did you hear that Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens showed up late for practice? He did, by twenty minutes.
* Nick Eatman has a good piece about Cowboys cornerback Terence Newman wanting not only to become equal to Champ Bailey, but also to become better than the Denver cornerback.
* Hail to the Deadskins has a piece about this week’s game, including a prediction that the Cowboys and Broncos will meet in the Super Bowl. That is interesting. The odds of the Cowboys winning the NFC Championship are about 6 to 1. Denver’s odds are 12 to 1. The odds that either team wins the Super Bowl are about 20 to 1. I think it is bad luck to bet on the Cowboys, but I only need to look back at this post come February to realize that I could have made a pretty good return should both teams end up in Arizona.

Hayes and Howley are Hall of Fame Finalists

Chuck HowleyThe Dallas Morning News has reported that Chuck Howley and Bob Hayes have been named as two of the finalists for the senior slots of the Hall Bob Hayesof Fame. Both of these players are members of the Ring of Honor, and both are very deserving of selection. Thus, this is very good news for Cowboys fans.

This is from the DMN piece:

Bob Hayes and Chuck Howley, two mainstays on the Cowboys in the 1960s, are among the 17 finalists for the two senior slots in the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2008.

Players must be retired from the NFL for 25 years to become eligible for seniors consideration. The two senior nominees will join the 15 modern-era candidates on a slate that will be voted on Feb. 2. As many as eight of the 15 candidates – six modern-era and two seniors – could comprise the Class of 2008.

Rayfield Wright was inducted into the Hall of Fame in the Class of 2006 as a seniors candidate, and Bob Hayes was an unsuccessful seniors candidate in 2004. The seniors committee will select the two finalists next week at a meeting in Canton, Ohio.

Hayes is in a small handful of players in NFL history to average 20 yards per catch, and he scored a touchdown every 5.2 receptions. Howley was the MVP of Super Bowl V and went to six Pro Bowls in his 15-year career.

I am not at all sure how Cliff Harris was left off the list this time. By my calculations, Drew Pearson and Harvey Martin should become eligible for seniors consideration next year, since both retired after the 1983 season. You might be able to tell that I am not giving this up any time soon.

Welcome to the New-Look ‘Know Your Dallas Cowboys’

Here’s a short lesson in choosing a hosting company for your blog. Consider these two options:

Hosting Company #1
Fee: $47.20 annually
Disk space: 300 Megabytes
Data transfer: 15 GB/month
Max domains: 3
Email accounts: 20
Down time experience: The site went down at least a couple of times per month. Moreover, the site seemed to go down most frequently when I actually had pretty good traffic. For instance, I had about 2,000 visitors last year on the day when Deadspin linked to my Dallas Cowboys Christmas video. It would have been about 3,000 had the site not continued to go down all day.

Hosting Company #2
Fee: $71.40 annually
Disk space: 300 GB
Data Transfer: 3,000 GB/month
Max domains: Unlimited
Email accounts: Unlimited
Downtime: I have a few periods of downtime, but no more than 10 minutes or so.

I also decided to go with a new format, because as my wife said, the old one looked like it was trying to cater to a teenaged crowd. And when you are including posts with stats and trivia from the 1970s, it probably isn’t a good idea to try to cater to a teenaged crowd. Anyway…


A few stories in brief:

* Brad Sham has a good piece about new cornerback Joey Thomas’ second chance. Thomas was a second-round pick by Green Bay in 2004 but was released midway through the following season. He was out of football in 2006 before Dallas signed him in January.
* According to Calvin Watkins, Julius Jones is out to prove that he is an elite back. I tend to think he will prove that is a valuable back, but I’ve been very wrong before.
* I’ve been concerned all off-season about the Cowboys’ lack of depth at wide receiver (though, of course, Dallas has some raw talent there). However, the bigger concern may be the lack of depth at nose tackle, given that Jason Ferguson is the team’s only experienced player.
* According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Terence Newman has been practicing at wide receiver.
* And lastly, you’ve probably seen the story that former Cowboys coach Barry Switzer is joining Fox to spar with Jimmy Johnson during the pregame show. If only Hall of Fame voters liked former Cowboys the way that Fox does…

Ranking Greg Ellis with the Best Defensive Ends in Team History

Greg EllisWord on the street is that outside linebacker (and former defensive end) Greg Ellis is mulling whether to retire. While this would cause some problems on the team’s current roster, our issue for today is how Ellis ranks among the best defensive end in team history.

I think it is only fair to compare Ellis with defensive ends playing in the 4-3 defense, which Dallas ran in different forms from 1960 to 2004. According to my figures, a majority of the 22 players who were full-time starters during those years only started a year or two, so other than mentioning them below, I did not consider them as candidates for this list. I also excluded Bob Lilly, who started at defensive end from 1961 to 1963, because he was so much better as a defensive tackle.

Another problem is that defensive ends are often ranked by sacks, but that statistic was not available officially until the 1982 season. Thus, we do not have complete statistics for four of these players.

Here they are, in reverse order:

8. [tag]Larry Cole[/tag]: Full-time starter at DE from 1968 to 1974; 176 total games; four career interceptions.

Cole was a solid defensive end for several years, though he was overshadowed by Lilly and George Andrie early in his career, and then by Randy White, Harvey Martin, and Ed Jones later in his career.

7. [tag]Greg Ellis[/tag]: Full-time starter at DE from 1998 to 2005 (Dallas ran the 3-4 in 2005); 124 total games at DE; 52 sacks at DE (4.5 as OLB).

Ellis never recorded as many as 10 sacks in a season and has never been named to a Pro Bowl. He showed great athletic ability over the years, but he was not always consistent in getting pressure on the quarterback.

6. [tag]Tony Tolbert[/tag]: Full-time starter from 1991 to 1997; 144 total games; 59.0 career sacks.

A fourth-round pick in 1989, Tolbert was named to one Pro Bowl in his career. As a left defensive end, he was more responsible for run defense than to provide pass pressure, but he was certainly a presence no matter what his role was.

5. [tag]Jim Jeffcoat[/tag]: Full-time starter from 1984 to 1991; 227 total games; 102.5 career sacks.

Jeffcoat was in a position similar to Ellis when the former was drafted in the first round in 1983. He came along as the team started to experience its decline in the 1980s, and he was forced to play much of his career for bad Dallas teams. Although he recorded double-digits in sacks five different times, Jeffcoat never made the Pro Bowl.

4. [tag]George Andrie[/tag]: Full-time starter from 1964 to 1971; 141 total games.

Andrie was part of the original Doomsday defense in the 1960s, and he made the Pro Bowl five times during his career. A sixth-round pick in 1962, he was a starter on two Super Bowl teams, including the Cowboys’ win in Super Bowl VI.

3. [tag]Too Tall Jones[/tag]: Full-time starter from 1975 to 1978 and 1980 to 1989; 224 total games; 57.5 official sacks (1982-1989 only).

A first-round pick in 1974, Jones was an important part of the dominant Cowboys defense of the late 1970s. His stock as an all-time great would probably be better if the NFL had kept official stats in two categories: (1) sacks, which were not tallied officially until 1982; and (2) passes knocked down. With respect to the first category, Jones had 57.5 sacks later in his career, including 13 in 1985. In the latter category, few in NFL history have been more effective at knocking passes down, though few ends have been 6’9, either.

2. [tag]Charles Haley[/tag]: Cowboys’ full-time starter from 1992 to 1995 (and part of 1996); 63 total games; 34 sacks.

Haley is the only player on this list who was not originally picked by the Cowboys in the draft. However, he still deserves to be ranked this high, for the Cowboys may not have had three Super Bowl titles in the early 1990s without him. Haley made two Pro Bowls in his five seasons with the team.

1. [tag]Harvey Martin[/tag]: Full-time starter from 1975 to 1983; 158 total games.

Martin was another player who would have benefited from official stats for sacks. He was a four-time Pro Bowler, the defensive player of the year in 1977, a Super Bowl co-MVP in 1977, and was a member of the All-Decade team for the 1970s. How he is not in either the Pro Football Hall of Fame or the Ring of Honor is a travesty.

Other Full-Time Starters at Defensive End (with years as starters): Nate Borden (1960-61), John Gonzaga (1960), Bob Lilly (1961-63), Larry Stephens (1964), Maury Youmans (1965), Willie Townes (1966-67), Pat Toomay (1972-74), Daniel Stubbs (1990), Shante Carver (1996-97), Kavika Pittman (1998-99), Alonzo Spellman (2000), Peppi Zellner (2001), Ebenezer Ekuban (2002-03), Marcellus Wiley (2004).