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Don’t let the Philadelphia Eagle game fool you, the Dallas Cowboys still have plenty of issues

The Dallas Cowboys traveled to Philadelphia yesterday. Both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys are licking their wounds. Neither team was playing well. Both teams had huge problems on their offensive lines. Both Tony Romo and Michael Vick have been turning the ball over so frequently you have to wonder if there are bonus incentives in the contract to do just that. In my mind, the question wasn’t who was going to win this game. The question was who wasn’t going to lose.

Going into this game, I was highly critical of the Dallas Cowboys special teams. They’ve been especially awful. On Sunday, they turned in a mixed performance. DeWayne Harris ran back a punt. The special teams made a positive play, a welcome surprise. Brad Sham, long-time voice of the Cowboys, said that the Cowboys were first in the league at covering punts. Okay. That’s probably exactly right. Sham is rarely wrong, but we continually have kick returners fumbling the ball. On Sunday, it was no exception. Right after the defense gave up a cheap touchdown to Jeremy Macklin, Dunbar fumbled the subsequent kickoff. The Cowboys were lucky and were able to recover it. We simply can’t have that. Our punter shanked not one, but two punts. That’s not winning football.

Our number one draft choice, Morris Claiborne, was singed last week by Roddy White and Julio Jones. One would figure that he would try to make up for last week’s performance by playing a solid game this week. You would be wrong. Claiborne committed six penalties! Offsides and defensive holding were his specialties. Offsides? Seriously? I don’t get it. Continue reading Don’t let the Philadelphia Eagle game fool you, the Dallas Cowboys still have plenty of issues

A Win for the Dallas Cowboys Means Nothing

Yesterday, I was talking with my brother, who is an eternal optimist. We were talking about the Dallas Cowboys. My brother, who has an astonishing, voluminous vocabulary, was running out of adjectives to describe the abysmal performance of the Dallas Cowboys this season. All I could do was listen as he compared this year’s team to those led by Quincy Carter and the early years of Troy Aikman/Steve Walsh (1-15).

Although beating the Philadelphia Eagles would be satisfying, it might mean absolutely nothing. The Eagles are struggling. The magic that Michael Vick had just 18 months ago seems to be gone. The one bright spot of the Dallas Cowboys can brag about would be Rob Ryan’s defense. They have played well despite a number of key injuries.

This afternoon, I will be scrutinizing special teams and the offense. So far this year the offensive line play has ranged anywhere from mediocre to awful. If they can’t keep Tony Romo in his comfort zone, the Cowboys will lose. If Tony Romo has an interception-o-rama, the Cowboys will lose. If Dez Bryant can’t run the correct routes, the Cowboys will lose. I have no idea how the Cowboys are going to run the ball, which they sorely need to do. Demarco Murray is out. They have no healthy running backs who can actually run the ball. Felix Jones is done. When he was drafted, he was one of the fastest guys in the NFL. He ain’t that guy now. He hasn’t shown the ability to fake anybody out or break tackles. He doesn’t have blazing speed any more. He has turned into Julius Jones (he also has Julius’ fumbling problem). I still haven’t figured out who or what Phillip Tanner is. All I know is he doesn’t look like the answer.

I will not even mention the Dallas Cowboys’ special teams.

The Cowboys need to start building on something. They need to show that they want to play football. They need to show me that they deserve their huge salaries. They need to show me something. So far this year it’s been all down hill since the opening game of the season. (BTW, whatever happened to Jason Garrett, the offensive genius?)

NFL week 8: hits and misses

Hits
Cincinnati Bengals – Did you know that the Cincinnati Bengals are 5-2? Andy Dalton is playing just well enough with a quarterback rating of 82.7. It is their defense that’s keeping them on the field. Cincinnati is ranked fourth in overall defense. They are second in stopping the run.

Philadelphia Eagles – Every time I try to write off Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles, they do something spectacular. Towards the end of last season and now for most of this season, we haven’t seen the pinpoint accuracy that Michael Vick showed in the middle of last season. Well, that pinpoint accuracy came back and dissected the Dallas Cowboys. Andy Reid had a genius game plan. He took advantage of a extremely aggressive DeMarcus Ware and pulled a tight end to block him out of the play as the Eagles successfully ran trap play after trap play.

Pittsburgh Steelers – After the Pittsburgh Steelers were destroyed on opening day by the Baltimore Ravens, everybody, including myself, wrote them off. Well, Mike Tomlin is proving to be a very resilient coach. He’s got the Pittsburgh Steelers playing at a high level. The Steelers play ball control offense and really controlled that game from the opening snap and kept the Patriots defense off-balance. Ben Roethlisberger played extremely well. This was probably his best game of the season.

Misses
Dallas Cowboys – It’s okay to get beaten on national TV. It’s not okay to get spanked by a division rival. The Dallas Cowboys were never in this game. Not for a minute. I watched this game a couple times. The Cowboys could not stop the run and they couldn’t stop the pass. On offense, they made several mistakes early, resulting in penalties and sacks. Once they punted the football to Philadelphia the first time and Philadelphia scored again, the game was over (14-0). Brad Sham and Babe Laufenberg, long-time Dallas Cowboys announcers, stated that the Cowboys needed to forget this game and move on. I don’t think so. I think the Cowboys need to study this game. I know the rest of the league is studying this game and trying to figure out how they can replicate some of the plays. If the Dallas Cowboys defense doesn’t get this fixed, it’s going to be a long season.

Washington Redskins – What happened? As bad as the Dallas Cowboys were beaten, you could probably argue that the Washington Redskins were beaten even worse. Their offense was inept. Their defense was ineffectual. Their defense, as with the Dallas Cowboys, was supposed to be the strength of the team. Fred Jackson, arguably one of the best running backs in the league, ran for 120 yards. It was an embarrassing performance by the Redskins. I’m still confused as to why Mike Shanahan thought that Rex Grossman was the answer. Maybe he looks really, really good in practice.

New Orleans Saints – Just as I’m ready to jump on the New Orleans Saints bandwagon and was beginning to believe that they’re playing good football, they lay an egg. What was that? They made the St. Louis Rams look like a playoff team. St. Louis was beating them on both sides of the football. It was ugly. Drew Breeze had absolutely no time to look over the field. He seemed to be sacked about 100 times (it was only six). The Saints have some issues. They’ve got to get them fixed if they’re going to make a run for the playoffs.

Honorable mentions – I’m still not believing in Tim Tebow. As a quarterback in this league, you have to be able throw the ball accurately… He can’t or hasn’t. BTW, this has nothing to do with believing in him. It has to do with the hard work that it takes to throw the ball accurately. Eli Manning played well but I’m not sure why the Giants had to struggle to get a win over the Miami Dolphins. I don’t know what to think about Joe Flacco. I know that he has to play well in order for the Ravens to win. When you’re looking at Andy Dalton, Tim Tebow and some of these other young quarterbacks, you should compare them to Cam Newton, who is playing some really fantastic football. I’m not sure that San Francisco is as good as some people say their are. Let’s wait a couple weeks before we crown them, but I do tip my hat to anyone who’s played as consistently well as they have. I’m not sure what to make out of the Kansas City Chiefs. I do know that the San Diego Chargers are not playing that well.