Monday’s Lurker Summary: Debating Phillip Tanner vs. Lonyae Miller

Notable comments from my forum lurking…

dallasfan4lizife at Cowboys Zone has an opinion shared by many: Phillip Tanner has shown more than Lonyae Miller. dcbluestar at True Blue wrote of Tanner:

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.

* * *

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

* * *

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?

My reply:

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.

San Diego 20, Dallas 7: The Bad, the Good, the Bad

RB Phillip Tanner provided a highlight on Sunday night, running for what appeared to be a touchdown after he lost his helmet. The play was called back, though.

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.

How Many Dallas Cowboys Blogs and Sites Are There in 2011?

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

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.

Cowboys Nation

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.

True Blue Fan Club

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

ESPN Dallas Cowboys Blog

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.

Dallas Morning News Cowboys Blog

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.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Cowboys Blog

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.

San Antonio Express News Cowboys Blog

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

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.

Cowboys Gab

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.

Cowboys Sports Blog

Fairly new site with periodic updates.

Cowboys Locker

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.

CowboysBlog.Net

This site has been around on different platforms since 2003, and the authors have resumed posting recently.

Dallas Cowboys Books Blog

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.”

Dallas Cowboys Brasil

This is a blog based in Brazil. Wish I could read the entries without relying on an online translator.

Dallas Cowboys Nation

This site has been around for few years, and the author updated recently after a long break.

Dallas Cowboys–America’s Team

Poke’s site has been up since 2005, and he recently posted an update.

DCFanatic

No site offers more media than DCFanatic. He also has regular shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Defending the Star

Very good blog that launched in 2009.

Lone Star Struck

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.

Silver and Blue Blood

My favorite post from this site: JoneSpeak.

Under the Arches

This site includes regular updates (often in the form of AP stories) and also has a forum section.

Forums

Some of the fan forums have  shut down recently, which is unfortunate. Here is a list of those remaining:

Cowboys Zone

The Dallas Cowboys Forum

Dallas Cowboy Fans United

Cowboys Authority

YouTube

Here are a few channels that focus on the Cowboys:

The Dallas Cowboys Show (John Shango)

CowboyTD

True Blue Frog Show

Friday Fun: Ring of Honor Member Drew Pearson Jigsaw Puzzle

Below is a puzzle featuring a picture of one of the newest members of the Ring of Honor, Drew Pearson.

The picture was taken during a game against Atlanta. Can you guess the year? If so, what was the final score of this game?




provided by flash-gear.com


Pearson, Allen, and Haley Make the Ring of Honor

The three newest members of the Dallas Cowboys’ Ring of Honor: Drew Pearson, Charles Haley, and Larry Allen

The Dallas Cowboys of the 1970s would have had quite a different story were it not for Drew Pearson, and his induction into the Ring of Honor is long overdue. The wait is over for him, fortunately, now that Jerry Jones announced Pearson’s induction today.

There have been a bunch of other names thrown around as potential inductees, including Harvey Martin, Too Tall Jones, Charlie Waters, Darren Woodson, Daryl Johnston, Bill Bates, and so forth.

The second name added today was also among the names commonly thrown around. Larry Allen made the All-Decade teams for both the 1990s and 2000s, and I don’t think anyone would question that Allen is the best lineman in team history.

The third is a bit of head-scratcher. Haley was instrumental to the team’s success during the 1990s. Nevertheless, it’s hard to say that he meant more to this franchise than Martin (Super Bowl XII co-MVP and member of the All-Decade Team of the 1970s) or Jones (15 years in Dallas compared with 5 for Haley).

In any case, Pearson’s selection alone means that Jerry got this one right no matter whether we agree with the other selections. It’s a good day.

Wednesday’s What If…? Cowboys Hire Norv Turner (2007)

Weeks after losing to the Seattle Seahawks in the wild card round of the playoffs in January 2007, Bill Parcells resigned as head coach. The Cowboys spent several weeks tossing the names of different coordinators around to find replacement.

What if on February 7, 2007, Jerry Jones acquiesced to Troy Aikman and hired the team’s former offensive coordinator, Norv Turner?

Cowboy fans want nothing less than a Super Bowl title. Down seasons in recent years have been unacceptable, given the level of talent assembled.

In real life, Turner led the Chargers to an 11-5 during his first year in San Diego, and the Chargers made it to the AFC Championship Game. However, since that season, the Chargers have won just one playoff game, and that came after the team snuck into the playoffs win an 8-8 record in 2008.

Imagine that sort of finish in Dallas. An 11-5 record and two playoff wins would have been most welcome in 2007, given that not even Bill Parcells won a playoff game here.

But expectations would have been sky high in 2008 (as they were in real life). Think the Cowboys’ 9-7 record in 2008 was bad? It was better than the Chargers’ 8-8 finish that season.

Recall Wade Phillips’ biggest failure—watching his 13-3 team fall apart to a New York team in the playoffs at home in 2007?

Turner’s Chargers in 2009 managed to finish with a 13-3 record before falling apart to a New York team in the playoffs at home.

Turner’s Chargers followed that up by going 9-7 and missing the playoffs in 2010, which sound quite similar to the Cowboys’ finish in 2008.

The bottom line is that Tony Romo and the Dallas offense would not likely be much better under Turner than it has under Jason Garrett. Both the Cowboys and the Chargers have ranked in the top half of the league in offensive yards. Philips Rivers has developed at a similar pace compared with Tony Romo, though Romo has suffered more injuries.

The Cowboys would have to find a different defensive coordinator, and perhaps Turner’s fate would have depended on who the Cowboys could bring in as a defensive coordinator.

Ron Rivera? Mike Singletary?

Anyway, my bet is that Turner would not have lasted past season #4 in 2010.

Tuesday Trivia: Bill Parcells’ Last Preseason in Dallas (2006)

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.

Most of the news about the 2006 training camp focused on the Cowboys' signing of Terrell Owens. What were the terms of his contract?





Terrell Owens suffered an injury during training camp in 2006. What did he injure?





One of the 2005 draft choices had to retire because could not recover from a knee injury. Who?





The Cowboys signed kicker Mike Vanderjagt in 2006, but he suffered through injuries during training camp. Who handled kickoffs during preseason games?





The Cowboys had a chance to go undefeated in the preseason but ended up tying the Minnesota Vikings. When was the last time the Cowboys went unbeaten during the preseason?







Dallas Cowboys Forum Opinions

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.

 

It Happened Then (1986): Herschel Walker Joins Cowboys Amid Fanfare, Controversy

The 1985 Dallas Cowboys were probably the most overachieving squad in franchise history. The team relied heavily on its aging veterans of Tony Dorsett, Randy White, Danny White, and so forth, along with an opportunistic defense. However, the team had not brought in solid talent from the draft in several years.

Enter Herschel Walker, whom the Cowboys had taken in the fifth round of the 1985 draft with an eye toward the future. On August 7, 1986, Walker announced that he would leave the USFL and join the Cowboys.

Tim Cowlishaw of the Dallas Morning News wrote that by signing the 24-year-old Walker, “the Cowboys’ sixth Super Bowl appearance probably drew one step closer.”

More facetiously, Skip Bayless of the Dallas Times Herald announced:

Trumpets, please. On Monday, Aug. 18, 1986 A.D. (After Dorsett?), Herschel Walker first practiced with the Dallas Cowboys.

Someday, ninth-graders will have to know the date for a U.S. history pop quiz. Question 1: When was the Declaration of Independence signed? 2. When was Pearl Harbor bombed? 3. When did Herschel Walker first practice with America’s Team?

Someday, some ninth-grader will answer that Herschel signed the Declaration at Pearl Harbor.

(I didn’t know who Skip Bayless was then. I would have hated him just as much as I do now).

Dorsett was schedule to make less than $500,000 in 1986. Walker signed a five-year deal worth $5 million. After Dorsett criticized the signing initially, most thought the two would have trouble sharing the same backfield.

Walker gained 2,411 yards in an 18-game schedule with the New Jersey Generals in 1985. However, it took him longer to get going in Dallas. He rushed for only 737 yards (compared with Dorsett’s 748), though Walker added a career-high 12 rushing touchdowns. Walker also led the team with 837 receiving yards.

The clip below shows some great highlights. It’s somehow easy to forget how good this guy was.

Career Statistical Milestones: Jason Witten

Tight end Jason Witten has been one of the most consistent performers in team history since he joined the Cowboys in 2003. He became a full-time starter in 2004, and since then he has never had fewer than 64 receptions or less than 754 receiving yards in a season. He has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark three out of the last four seasons.

Heading into the 2011 season, Witten trails Michael Irvin for most career receptions by 133. If Witten has typical seasons in 2011 and 2012, he will surpass Irvin sometime next year.

He is not likely to catch Irvin in terms of receiving yards, but by gaining 1,022 yards in 2011, Witten will move into the #2 slot. With 6,967 yards, he trails Irvin (11,904), Tony Hill (7,988), Drew Pearson (7,822), and Bob Hayes (7,295) in receiving yards.

Witten is pretty far behind the pack in receiving touchdowns. However, with three touchdowns he will pass up Terrell Owens (38), and with six touchdowns Witten will pass up Billy Joe DuPree (41).

Below is a list of the top 50 Dallas receivers according to career receptions.