Very few of the Cowboys starters (six, in fact) took part in the preseason finale for the Cowboys, which resulted in a 23-14 loss to the Vikings. Five Dallas turnovers contributed to the loss, including four fumbles, and the Dallas defense displayed some very poor tackling. Fortunately, three of those fumbles were by backup quarterbacks Matt Moore and Richard Bartel, and few of those who missed tackles will be on the roster when Dallas faces the New York Giants on September 9.
Jerheme Urban had one of the most exciting returns I’ve seen in a long time, returning a punt 95 yards in the first quarter. [Let’s just forget that he might have stepped out of bounds.] Below is an animated version of the play.
Brad Sham: “Can you make the team with a play like this?”
I should note that Urban later fumbled, prompting Sham to say, “That play wasn’t really urban. It was suburban.” Bad.
Despite the loss, there were a few highlights:
*Punter Mat McBriar continues to amaze, booting two punts longer than 60 yards.
*Cornerback Aaron Glenn had a couple of good plays early in the game, which is a better sign than what he showed against Houston.
*Tight end Tony Curtis continues to impress, catching five passes for 44 yards. He runs some very nice routes as a receiver and has proven that he deserves a spot on the team.
*Moore looked pretty good and could develop into a solid second-stringer. His fumbles, though, certainly weren’t pretty.
*Guard Leonard Davis had a pretty good game and was featured on the local coverage.
We now have 10 days to wait for the Cowboys’ season opener against the Giants on Sunday, September 9 at Texas Stadium. More to come…
Dallas Cowboys vs. Minnesota Vikings
Thursday, August 30
7 p.m. CDT
Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minnesota
Television: Blue Star Media
Radio: Dallas Cowboys Radio Network (click here to find a station)
Spread: Minnesota favored by 2.
Dallas travels to Minnesota on Thursday for the final preseason game. You might recall that this time last year, Dallas was 3-0 and trying to go undefeated for only the third time in franchise history. Instead, Mike Vanderjagt missed two field goals in overtime, and the team settled for a tie with the Vikings.
One year later, it looks as if another veteran kicker may be on his way out, as Martin Gramatica’s missed extra point, coupled with Nick Folk’s relatively strong preseason, may very well mean that Dallas has a rookie kicker this year.
DallasCowboys.com has a piece about Folk’s chances, as well as other roster spots up for grabs. Other positions to watch are corner, tight end, nose tackle, and fullback.
Associated Press has an article about how the Cowboys are handling their defensive options. Perhaps more interesting is the piece focusing on the rumor that the Cowboys do not think that Julius Jones is very special.
Lastly, the Vikings cut one-time Dallas quarterback Drew Henson, who was also cut last year by the Vikings.
I am a couple of days late with this, but here is this week’s Instant Trivia, featuring ten questions about the Cowboys-Texans game last Saturday.
This is day-old news, but here are the nine players who were cut yesterday to allow Dallas to reduce its roster to 75:
RB Jackie Battle
NT Ola Dagunduro
LB Dedrick Harrington
T Jason Hilliard
LB Alex Obomese
WR Jerard Rabb
WR Jamaica Rector
WR Jamel Richardson
NT Montavious Stanley
DallasCowboys.com has more.
I have not hidden the fact that I am not a big fan of Terrell Owens, but his catch and run against Houston on Saturday was enough to make anyone to jump out of their seat. Even the post-touchdown celebration was subdued (notwithstanding Mickey Spagnola’s on-air comment that Owens should get further into the end zone before putting the ball on the ground). Here is an animated version of the play:
NFL.com has more Romo highlights. Just follow the link below:
*Terence Newman’s injury continues to be a concern. Both the Fort Worth Star-Telgram and the San Antonio Express News have had pieces on it.
*The Fort Worth Star-Telgram item also noted that kicker Martin Gramatica pulled his hamstring on a kickoff. His missed extra point may (and should) mark the beginning of the end for him in Dallas.
*Greg Ellis reportedly could miss the first half of the season. This is not much of a surprise, and Dallas has been using Bobby Carpenter more on the outside lately. Anthony Spencer was able to get some pressure on the quarterback in the Houston game, and I have a feeling he may be more effective than Ellis would be, given the injury that Ellis suffered.
Houston jumped out to a 14-0 lead and held on to take the Governor’s Cup from the Cowboys as Dallas fell 28-16 in Houston on Saturday night. Dallas has never won in Reliant Stadium.
Dallas looked sloppy on both sides of the ball, although the passing game still looked pretty good. The defense failed to get much pressure, and the secondary looked weak. The starters on both sides of the ball played most of three quarters.
*Unlike the previous two games, Dallas did not throw the ball in Terrell Owens’ direction in the opening drive of the game.
*Dallas looked better on its second offensive drive of the game, but two penalties on Leonard Davis and a fumble off of a snap by Tony Romo killed the drive. Julius Jones had a couple of good plays on the drive, and Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd both made nice catches for first downs.
*In general, the Cowboys’ offense looked much more sloppy than it did in the first two preseason games.
*Owens had a great touchdown catch and run in the second quarter. From the Houston 35, Dallas lined up in trips bunch, and Owens caught a pass on a slant. He split three defenders and broke a tackle en route to the end zone.
*The Dallas starters played into the third quarter, and the Cowboys had a nice drive early in the third quarter. Dallas went 86 yards on 11 plays, ending the drive with an 18-yard touchdown from Romo to tight end Jason Witten.
*Romo badly underthrew Owens late in the third quarter on a deep pass in Cowboys territory.
*Brad Johnson’s first pass in the fourth quarter was picked off, but the play was negated by a penalty. It was still not a good play by Johnson.
*Johnson looked better after the interception, hitting Tony Curtis on a 33-yard pass on a deep flag pattern and driving the team to a field goal to cut the Houston lead to 21-16.
*Johnson threw an interception on the final series of the game for the Cowboys.
Romo– 14 of 22, 197 yards, 2 TD, 1 Int.
Johnson–5 of 6, 56 yards, 0 TD, 1 Int.
Jones– 10 att., 34 yards, 0 TD.
Barber– 6 att., 14 yards, 0 TD.
Thompson– 4 att., 9 yards, 0 TD.
Hurd– 4 rec., 68 yards, 0 TD.
Witten– 3 rec., 47 yards, 1 TD.
Owens– 1 rec., 35 yards, 1 TD.
Crayton– 2 rec., 26 yards, 0 TD.
Curtis– 1 rec., 33 yards, 0 TD.
*Linebacker Kevin Burnett had a nice sack in the first quarter.
*Houston quarterback Matt Schaub and running back Ahman Green diced up the Dallas defense late in the first quarter on the Texans’ first offensive touchdown drive. The Cowboys demonstrated horrible tackling on a 46-yard run by Green (which was followed by a bogus personal foul call on DeMarcus Ware for a horse collar).
*Aaron Glenn did not look good. The veteran corner gave up a touchdown to Andre Johnson in the first quarter and missed a tackle on Johnson late in the second quarter.
*Schaub had all day to throw on his second touchdown pass late in the second quarter, finding rookie Jacoby Jones in the end zone for 19-yard touchdown.
*The first-teamers on defense stayed in the game for part of the third quarter, but Dallas continued to have problems putting pressure on the quarterback on a regular basis.
*Jacques Reeves had a pass interference penalty in the fourth quarter that allowed Houston to continue its drive that resulted in the game’s final touchdown.
*Seventh-round pick Alan Ball was beaten on Houston’s final touchdown play, a 17-yard pass from Sage Rosenfels to David Anderson.
*Jacoby Jones of the Texans returned a long punt by Mat McBriar 91 yards for a touchdown early in the first quarter. Jones needed only to make one move and then sped past the Dallas punt team for the score.
*Martin Gramatica did not help himself by missing an extra point in the second quarter.
*Nick Folk hit a chip-shot field goal in the fourth quarter.
*The Cowboys’ kickoff coverage looked good, pinning Houston inside the 20 at least twice.
Jerry Jones’ Halftime Notes:
Here are a few notes that Jerry Jones made at halftime:
*He is not concerned about Terence Newman’s heel injury and expects the corner to be ready for the season opener on September 9.
*He expects Greg Ellis to play this season. Jones says that Ellis is getting a third opinion on his Achilles injury.
*He said that the team is taking a close look at the backup corners and nose tackles and may consider looking at the waiver wire for some other backups.
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
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.
* 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?
* DallasCowboys.com 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.
Dallas 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.
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.
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 DallasCowboys.com 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.
Here is this week’s entry of Instant Trivia, focusing on last Saturday’s game against the Denver Broncos.
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:
* 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.