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Written by Darren | 18 October 2010

There are reports that  Kyle Kosier could miss 2-3 weeks with a strained Achilles' tendon. Kosier has been suffering through a string of injuries recently, and ended up coming out of the game at the half. Montrae Holland stepped in as his replacement, like he had to do earlier this season.

This isn't good news for a Cowboys offensive line that is getting pretty thin, especially coming up against a Giants team that has had recent success of getting to the QB. Giants are also a team that I would like to see the Cowboys run the ball up the gut against but I am not sure how realistic that is.

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Written by Darren | 18 October 2010

Another week, another loss. The Cowboys shot themselves in the foot again yesterday. A 1-4 start is not something to be proud of and yes, I would have to agree with the masses that this season is quickly slipping away, if 1-4 isn't already too late.

For one, the kickoff coverage team better practice all week because for the second week in a row, their mistakes proved to be costly. Last week they let Tennessee have a huge run late that put the Titans in a very good position to win the game. Yesterday, they let Minnesota right back into the game by opening the 2nd half with a kickoff return.

Some other points I wanted to make note of from yesterday:

Celebration Penalty - I blame the coaches. Seriously, why not teach your guys to hand the ball to the ref after scoring. DON'T DO ANYTHING ELSE!!

Mike Jenkins - 3 more PI penalties? Are you kidding me?? Sit your ass down, I am serious. You obviously don't understand how to cover people without hanging all over them. Your services aren't need when you're responsible for giving the other team huge chunks of yardage for doing something so stupid. You clearly didn't learn anything from last week.

Miles Austin - You didn't even need to push off on that play. It was a dumb thing to do and we really could have used those points. Other than that, you're one of the best guys out there.

Alan Ball - His holding penalty wiped out a 37-yard punt return by Dez Bryant. These are the dumb mistakes that this team has made week in and week out that have cost the Cowboys games.

Jason Garrett - Aikmen let Romo off the hook for his second interception but he shouldn't have, Romo should have seen Henderson BUT that play shouldn't have even happened. Barber was a perfect 5-5 on third and fourth down conversions at that point in the game so why did Garrett not call on Barber again??

Roy Williams - He has certainly become a go to guy as of late but honestly, I'd rather have sucky, drop the ball Roy Williams and start winning some games.


Same story.  Same mistakes.  Same excuses. Same dumb look on Wade Philips face.

So here we are, 1-4 and getting ready to host the Giants on Monday Night Football next week, a very good and underated Giants team I might add. Should Dallas lose to the Giants and go 1-5, this season, if it isn't already, should be dead and buried along with the entire coaching staff.

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Written by Darren | 17 October 2010

The Cowboys lose to the Vikings 24-21 and by doing so have pretty much dug themselves into a hole that they probably won't be able to dig themselves out of. The same stupid football was played where the Cowboys committed 11 penalties.Dallas dominated the game in stretches but ultimately beat themselves again this week. What can I say? This wasn't how the season was supposed to go. I will have my full thoughts up tomorrow morning but for now, I am going to drink..heavily!! no comments

Written by Darren | 15 October 2010

The last time the Cowboys made the trip to Minnesota, the Vikings crushed them. Vikings defenders got to Romo 6 times while cruising to a 34-3 rout in the NFC divisional playoffs. It was thought by many that these two teams would meet again come playoff time this season but both are off to disappointing starts.

Against the Titans last week, the Cowboys had a 400-yard passer, a 100-yard receiver and a 100-yard rusher but the 12 penalties, 3 turnovers, 6 sacks and 1 missed FG allowed Tennessee to steal a win despite being dominated in the stats book.

The common thought in games like this is that the most desperate team is usually the one to win. The question in this game is who plays better desperate football? Last season, the Cowboys played extremely desperate to make the playoffs. Then the Cowboys played desperate football to help Tony Romo get his first playoff win. The Cowboys, for all of their faults and problems, respond very well to pressure. When Minnesota desperately needs a win, they should place the ball in Peterson’s hands and let him do what he does best but with Favre there that doesn't always happen

So how do the Cowboys win?

Last week, after the loss to Tennessee, I highlighted a quote by Keith Brooking where he said  "We played really stupid football." Statistically speaking, Phillips’ team has been excellent, featuring the NFC’s best offense (421.5 yards per game) and fourth-ranked defense (304.8 ypg) but the Cowboys have been done in by 9.5 penalties per game and a minus-4 turnover margin - 29th in the league. Brooking hit the nail on the head.

So the answer for the Cowboys is easy, stop giving the refs a reason to throw the flag.

When it comes to the offense, I would like to see the Cowboys take a more balanced approach to the game. Romo threw for a career-high 406 yards against Tennessee on 46 attempts, but he was sacked six times and threw three interceptions. Dallas is 8-13 with Romo as a starter when he attempts more than 35 passes, while it’s 31-7 otherwise. The Vikings run defense hasn't been great this season so lets get the ball to our backs more often.

Playing in the Metrodome is a huge advantage for the Vikings. If you look at the game last January, Marc Colombo struggled to hear the snap count in passing situations, which gave Ray Edwards a jump on getting to Romo. If the Cowboys are going to have success in passing the ball, they will need to deal with this problem because Ray Edwards and Jared Allen are both very good pass rushers. Viking have the 3rd fewest sacks this season so you know this is something they want to change ASAP, especially against Dallas where sacking Romo so often last game proved to be an effective way into getting inside Romo's head.

The Dallas running game actually showed life against the Titans as Felix Jones got the bulk of the work and ran for over 100 yards. He is expected to be the featured back again this week and hopefully will find some success against a defense that allowed the Jets to run for over 150 yards last week.

On the otherside of the ball, the Cowboys need to create turnovers. For some reason, this team doesn't seem to do that but this is Brett Favre, he loves throwing to the other team at key moments in the game. For the second time this season, the Cowboys defense will face an elite running back. Adrian Peterson is explosive, powerful and difficult to bring down one-on-one in the open field. Peterson can run the ball inside but is at his very best when he gets the ball on the edge.

Dallas held Adrian Peterson to 63 yards on 26 carries in last season’s playoff meeting, but it may need to pay more attention to Moss on Sunday. The four-time All-Pro has averaged more than 100 yards receiving and scored 11 touchdowns in seven career games against the Cowboys - all wins. Moss's presence on the field could also open up oppurtunities for Percy Harvin, Visanthe Shiancoe and Adrian Peterson so the Dallas D will certainly need to pay attention.

To summerize, my three main points to a Cowboys victory would be:

1) Run the ball more. Nobody in the NFL runs fewer times on 1st Down than the Cowboys or runs fewer times overall than the Cowboys.
2) The OL will need to protect Romo. They allowed 6 sacks last week and it was the main reason the Vikings destroyed the Cowboys last January.
3) Don't give the refs a reason to reach for the yellow flag.

Any team can win any game, any where in the NFL. So, can the Cowboys win in Minnesota? Of course. But, it will require a big effort from the offense, one that does not include a multitude of "minus" plays. The giveaways have to be non-existent and Romo has to be the best QB on the field.

If they do all this, then there is no reason Dallas should start the season at 1-4. 

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Written by Darren | 14 October 2010

So here we go, the Cowboys are getting ready to face the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. When the Cowboys schedule came out, most fans probably circled the October 17th matchup against the Vikings because it would be a chance for revenge since this was the team and the place where the 2009 season came to an end. (Have you gotten over that clip of Brett Favre singing "Pants on the Ground" in the post-game celebration yet??) I don't think anyone could have predicted that when these two teams would face each other this season, it would be with identical losing and disappointing records. The thing is, both these teams have the talent to turn those records around.

With the Vikings coming up, I decided to tune into the Vikings/Jets game last Monday and a few things were very obvious after that game was finished. The first, ESPN  will do and say anything to make Favre look good. He didn't look good in that game but ESPN tried hard to make you think otherwise, especially watching highlights the next morning. The second, Favre's elbow was seriously bothering him and definately hurting the team and the third, Nick Folk...SERIOUSLY!!?? He hit a career-high 5 FG's that earned him AFC special teams player of the week. The guy was horrid in Dallas last season.

We started to get word late Wednesday afternoon that Favre's elbow might be bad enough that he misses his first game in nearly 20 years. Favre told the media while he's not certain the tendinitis will just "go away", he also thinks that perhaps "the most important thing is rest." Of course, we've seen Brett Favre do this song and dance before so until I see him standing on the sidelines without his pads on while his team plays,I am not going to believe Favre sits this one out. This game is too important anyway.

Some News and Notes Going into the Vikings/Cowboys Game:

The Cowboys have their own injuries to worry about. Alan Ball (shoulder), Dez Bryant (ankle, ribs), Bradie James (knee) and Igor Olshansky (knee) all missed Wednesday's practice. Martellus Bennett was able to practice despite an ankle injury.

It is expected that all players should be ready to play on Sunday against the Vikings but there is some concern about Alan Ball. Should Ball not be able to play, that would leave three rookies to play safety.

***

The Cowboys are currently carrying 52 players on their active roster because they have not replaced safety Mike Hamlin, who was cut Tuesday.

One option could be wide receiver Jesse Holley. During Wednesday's portion of special teams practice Holley was working with the first unit, a sign of a possible call up. Holley was the winner of the reality TV show, 4th and Long but has since been on the practice team.

***

While his play hasn't been contageous, lets hope Demarcus Ware's attitude is. Ware has no doubt beenthe best overall player on this team and today, Ware acknowledged that the Cowboys are in a very tough spot and that from this point forward every game must be approached like a playoff game.

There is popular belief that the loser of this game can probably kiss their season goodbye. I'm not buying it for either team. Yes, both need to play with their backs against the wall because the loser will come under great pressure and scrutiny but both play in divisions that are still within their grasp and both have a lot of games to play within their division. Over the last 20 years, a 1-4 team has gone on to make the playoffs 5 times, so it can happen and does about once every 5 years.

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Written by Darren | 10 October 2010

Lets sum up the day with a quote from linebacker Keith Brooking. "We played really stupid football." Conerback Mike Jenkins set the tone with two pass interference penalties on the Titans' opening possession that cost the Cowboys 48 yards. Quarterback Vince Young then hit with wide receiver Nate Washington on a 24-yard touchdown during which cornerback Orlando Scandrick appeared to interefere.

To kill Jenkins just a little bit more, it appeared to me that he didn't even want to try and cover his man. They were awful penalties to start a game. More frustration would continue throughout the game, like when the Cowboys stopped the Titans on third down but a Stephen Bowen hands to the face penalty allowed the drive to continue, and the Titans eventually scored a touchdown. Or a good run by Barber was wiped out by a  Marc Colombo personal foul. Mile Austin had a nice deep catch but that was brought back by a Doug Free hold.

The mistakes would return to Cowboys Stadium. David Buehler missed a 44-yd field goal, which isn't too surprising. Dallas wasted a timeout because they couldn't get set on offense. Jenkins was victimized on a 52-yard pass late in the third quarter that put the Titans in position to take a 20-17 lead. They did have a nice drive  to the Titans redzone late in the game but Tony Romo forced a pass high into traffic that tipped off Martellus Bennett's hands for a Titans interception in the endzone. Romo would end up with 3 picks on the day.

Even with the mistakes so far, Dallas rallied, drove down the field and tied the game at 27 when Romo hit Witten in the endzone and then to quote Keith Brooking again, "We played really stupid football." Witten gave the ball to Colombo who spiked it, resulting in a celebration penalty. The penalty was enforced on the kickoff, meaning Buehler kicked from the 15-yd line. The Titans took advantage and returned the ball to the Cowboys 5-yd line, and scored the game-winning touchdown.

After the game, Phillips pointed out how the Cowboys outgained the Titans by nearly 200 yards, but honestly, what does that mean? Giants coach Tom Coughlin was saying the same thing two weeks ago when the Titans found a way to overcome the stat sheet in a 29-10 win. New York responded with two wins, but I don't sense a similar turnaround coming for the Cowboys. The bottom line is that Keith Brooking is right, the Cowboys play stupid football. Like the game in Washington, stupid penalties late in the game cost them the win.

When Jerry Jones isn't available for comment after a game, you know it's bad. Panic time has once again arrived in North Texas.  We will just have to wait and see if it has staying power.

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Written by Darren | 08 October 2010

The bye week is in the review mirror and it is time for the Dallas Cowboys to get back to playing some football on Sunday. Two weeks ago, the Cowboys went into Houston and "saved their season" for now but the Cowboys face another big task this weekend as they host a good Tennessee Titans team with a chance to get back to .500 and hopefully back into the NFC East picture.

I do find it amazing that the Dallas Cowboys are currently being overshadowed by the Texas Rangers. I don't think anyone I know would have predicted that in the beginning of the baseball season but the Rangers could possibly host the Rays on Sunday afternoon if they don't close out the series tomorrow evening. I personally, think the focus being off the Cowboys is a good thing. We need a win this weekend because it will prove to a lot of people that the Cowboys aren't out of this (I can't believe I have to type that going into week 5!!) A loss will have the doom and gloom gang circling and pointing at this team once again but at least the media can't be putting too much pressure on the Cowboys because they are busy talking about the Rangers.

After the jump I discuss my keys to the game for the Cowboys against the Titans.

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Written by Darren | 07 October 2010

If there is one game that stands out in my mind from last season, it would be that week 5 match up against the Kansas City Chiefs. That was the week that Miles Austin became a full-time starter. Up until that point he only made a few appearences per game and most people probably called him Austin Miles.

Can you imagine what this team would be without Miles Austin? Since that Week 5 game last season, no receiver has been better, statistically or even in general. Austin has 1,547 yards in the year that he has been a full-time starter. The next closest would be Andre Johnson (1,488), Wes Welker (1,424), Roddy White (1,396) and Reggie Wayne (1,321). When it comes to catching the football, Austin is fourth with 98 receptions and has 11 TD's with is fifth on that list.

Should I remind you that he played college ball at Monmouth University who plays schools like Robert Morris, Old Dominion and Wagner. Not exactly a powerhouse when it comes to NFL talent.

If there is one negative that I can say about Austin, since I don't want say that Cowboys players can't do anything wrong is that if he wants to have the rest of the league view him as an elite WR, then he is going to have to push through the double coverage more often.

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Written by Darren | 06 October 2010

The bye week is over for the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys get back to playing this Sunday as Chris Johnson and the Tennessee Titans come to town. The good news for the Cowboys is that they could walk away from the quarter mark of their season with a 2-2 record. Ok, so that's not something to jump up and yell about "HEY!! We're 2 and 2!!" but after starting 0-2 and having everyone in the world handing Wade Philips and Jason Garrett pink slips, I can think of worse things. Plus, have you looked at the NFC East, the entire division, with the exception of the Cowboys are stuck at a mediocre 2-2, meaning the division is still anyones to win.

The Titans are a team thais having its own struggles this season. We've already seen Vince Young get the bench for half a game, a coach get issued a huge fine and the entire team be accused of "playing dirty."

If the Cowboys come out with the right game plan, they have a real oppurtunity to get something going because we all know that Cowboys schedule is anything but a cake walk. Momentum would be real nice, especially since Randy Moss and his new Vikings team will be waiting for us next week but lets not get ahead of ourselves. The Titans are a good team. Just remember, a lot of people were counting on Dallas to lose to the Texans 2 weeks ago and start the season 0-3 but the Cowboys did all the right things.

Some Notes on the Game:

Titans - Believe it or not, they have won 10 in a row against the NFC and Vince Young is 11-2 against the NFC.. Yikes!! That doesn't make me feel so good...Chris Johnson is looking for his 7th straight 100 yard game. He has averaged 131 rushing yards in the last 6 games. WR Kenny Britt is has a TD in his last 2 games averages 20 yards per catch in his career when playing an NFC team.

Cowboys - Romo is looking for his 5th straight win against the AFC. In the past 4 games, he has just under 1200 yards and 8 TDS with ZERO picks. WR Miles Austin is averaging 102.7 yards per game this season. WR Dez Bryant has 50+ yards in each of his 1st 3 games. DeMarcus Ware had 3 sacks in Week 3 which tied a career high of sacks in a game for Ware.

So what do you think, do you like our chances on Sunday?
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