Posted tagged ‘Dallas Cowboys’

Big Trouble in Big D? Are the Cowboys’ struggles exaggerated?

October 3, 2011

Four weeks into the 2011 NFL season and the Dallas Cowboys have blown two double-digit fourth quarter leads. Quarterback Tony Romo has faltered under pressure, something he’s been known to do in the past and has thrown four critical interceptions in games against the Jets and Lions to derail his teams chances at winning. For Cowboys fans, it’s more of the same as Romo has garnered a reputation for wilting under pressure and despite his impressive statistics and many broken franchise records, most fans are saying it’s time to move on from the inconsistent QB.

The problem though, is that it isn’t time. Not even close.

The Dallas Cowboys currently boast a 2-2 record, a record that by all means should be 4-0. But the reason that they should be 4-0 is the same exact reason they’re at .500, Tony Romo. When Romo is on point, it’s hard to argue that he is among the best gunslingers in the league. Since taking over the Cowboys in 2006, he’s led them to two division titles in the ultra-competitive NFC East and led the Cowboys to their first playoff victory since 1996 in the 2009 playoffs. Romo holds the single season franchise record for Cowboys QB’s in touchdown passes (36), passing yards (4,483), and completions (347).

However many, including Cowboys fans themselves, consider him to be a subpar competitor that chokes late in the season and lacks the mentality to lead his team to post-season success. In fact, I’d go as far as to call Tony Romo the most criticised franchise quarterback in the history of the NFL. It didn’t help matters last season when Romo led his team to 1-4 start before being lost for the entire season during a Monday night game with the division rival New York Giants.

Backup Jon Kitna took Romo’s place and lost his first two starts, including a humiliating beatdown at the hands of eventual Super Bowl Champion’s the Green Bay Packers before the Cowboys made the move to replace Head Coach Wade Phillips with Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett. Kitna would improve his play dramatically, leading the new head coach to a 5-3 record with all three losses by three points or less. This led to some ridiculous calls for Kitna, a 13-year veteran to replace Romo as the starting quarterback.

Heading into this season, Jason Garrett made sure to establish that Romo would remain the starting quarterback. Four weeks into the season and Romo has thrown for 1,200+ yards, 7 touchdowns, and 5 costly interceptions. Sloppy wins against the San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins have been sandwiched in-between meltdown losses to the Jets, and the Detroit Lions just this past Sunday. Although Romo has received all the blame for the Lions loss, I’m not so sure Jason Garrett should be let off the hook that easily.

Romo, who was playing with serious rib injuries, played about as good a half of football as you’ll ever see to open the game and lead the Cowboys to a 27-3 lead over the undefeated upstart Lions. The thing that doesn’t make sense, is that they kept passing the ball for.. no reason at all really. Despite having three quality running backs in Felix Jones, Tashard Choice, and DeMarco Murry at his disposal, Jason Garrett continuously called passing plays and Romo ended the day with 47 passes. 47 passes, after having a 24 point lead is an absurd number. Especially since the running game was working, Felix Jones was averaging 3.6 yards per carry and Tashard Choise 6.5!

Romo eventually threw 3 interceptions, 2 that went for touchdowns and the Lions pulled off a shocking second half comeback to give Dallas their second heart-breaking loss of the season. Things like this lead people to forget how good a team actually is, but with the Cowboys that shouldn’t be the case. The fact is, the Cowboys have played 3 bad quarters of football this season, only 3. There are a lot of coaches in the league who wish they only had 3 bad quarters so far this year, and this Cowboys team is as talented as they come.

The Cowboys defense limited the dynamic Lions offense to just 3 first half points, until turnovers forced them back onto the field constantly against the dynamic tandem of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson – something no defense in the league can stop as much as the Cowboys defense was asked too. You also have to remember that Romo is playing with broken ribs, broken ribs! Romo has made several bonehead mistakes that have cost the Cowboys, several this season already but he’s also put them in position to win every game they have played, he’s just struggled to consistently perform through 4 quarters each game. Remember, this is a guy who missed half of the season last year, and has been playing hurt for three weeks already this season.

And there’s another reason the Cowboys aren’t in trouble too. The NFC East, really isn’t that good.

I know the Redskins and Giants are 3-1, but neither team has exactly lit the world on fire. The Eagles dream team hype is but a distant memory, as they coughed up a big lead of their own in San Francisco to fall to 1-3. The Redskins offense, despite being better than expected with Rex Grossman, Tim Hightower, and Ryan Torain surprising most with their production still is not a threat to the better teams in the league – teams like Dallas. Although they play excellent defense, until they figure out the quarterback situation I don’t believe the Redskins are a contender in the NFC East. The Giants on the other hand have the opposite issue, they have been dynamic on offense so far this year with Eli Manning playing some of the best football of his career. If the Giants defense didn’t have somebody else dropping every other day, they would probably be a contender but they are far too banged up to consistently beat the better teams in the league. It took them a late comeback to beat the below-average Cardinals just this past Sunday.

And then the dream team, probably the most ill-fated nickname in NFL history barring a dramatic change in fortunes. Michael Vick and co. are getting beat up, Vick has been injured twice already and they are suffering just as many mental miscues as the Cowboys. While it’s hard to write them off just yet with so many games left to be played, with the poor protection/decisions of Michael Vick it’s hard to imagine him leading them to many wins this year.

And then there are the Cowboys. America’s team, led by the most criticised, polarizing quarterback in the league today. The Cowboys’ offense is nothing short of dynamic, albeit banged up as well. They lead the league in completions of 40 or more yards with 5, but Romo’s ribs are still hurting, Felix Jones has been beat up most of the year, Dez Bryant has struggled to stay in practice, and Miles Austin is currently out with a hamstring injury. They also have probably the best tight end in the game today, with Antonio Gates struggling with injuries, Jason Witten. We’ve seen how explosive and dynamic the Cowboys offense can be, it’s just a matter of them staying on the field and putting it together.

The defense, spear-headed by the explosive DeMarcus Ware, currently 3rd in the league with 5 sacks, which has quietly opened up as the fourth ranked defense in the league, and the best against the run. The Cowboys will enter this week on a well-timed bye, getting a chance to rest up some of their banged up starters and prepare for a huge showdown in Foxborough against the Patriots.

Tony Romo and the Cowboys are down at the moment, but a manageable schedule coupled with a struggling division could be just what the doctor ordered for America’s Team.

What are the average players in the NFL doing with their life?

April 20, 2011


You might be thinking: I’m on the owners’ side in this lockout mess because NFL players are all spoiled, hat-backward millionaires who will no more miss a year’s salary than they’ll miss their eighth Lexus.

OK, but maybe you should meet …

Brian Schaefering, Cleveland Browns defensive lineman.

He has a wife, three kids — all 8 and under — and a rented house. He doesn’t have a shoe deal or a Lloyd’s of London policy or a super agent willing to float him till this is over.

Yeah, he’s got a safety net — himself.

“I’ll do anything,” says Schaefering, 27. “If I have to work for UPS, I will. I got a family to feed. I’ve paved roads, fixed roofs, done landscaping. I’m not better’n anybody else. I don’t want any handouts. I’d be happy with $12 an hour if I could get it.”

You hear anything about Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wanting to run a road paver lately?

“The problem is,” Schaefering says, “who wants to hire a guy who may have to pack up and leave [for the NFL] a month or two into it?”

So Schaefering and his wife are cutting back. They slashed their cable and cell phone bills and chopped their weekly date nights considerably. They used to get a babysitter, then catch dinner and a movie. “Now, it’s put the kids to bed and slap in a DVD.”

You might be thinking: What the hell has he done with his money he has made so far in the NFL?

Well, he went undrafted in 2008, barely made the practice squad in ’09 and finally started nine games for the Browns last season, making $395,000. He says he netted just over $200,000 after taxes. And he had plenty of bills to pay going into last year.

“I hear people joking around about this thing, but it’s no joke,” he says. “If this goes into the season, my wife might start panicking a little.”

You might be thinking: What about these $60,000 checks that went out this week to the players from the NFLPA’s lockout war chest? That should pay for a few babysitters, right?

True, but maybe you should meet …

… former Air Force star Chad Hall, Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver.

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)

Hall, 24, isn’t getting any $60,000. Since transforming himself from an F-16 mechanic into a modern-day “Invincible” with the Eagles, 5-foot-8 Hall hasn’t exactly hit the Lotto. He was on the team for only 11 games, so he got the minimum salary, prorated. The most he’ll get from the lockout fund is “about $10,000,” he says.

Now, he’s training friends’ kids for whatever they want to pay him — “I don’t really charge a set fee” — and trying to open a wings restaurant in Atlanta with his sister’s boyfriend, Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford.

“If we don’t have a season, I’ll be waiting tables and bartending there,” he says. “Plus, my uncle says he has a plumbing job for me. Pays $15 an hour, so that’s not bad.”

You think Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen will be asking “BBQ or teriyaki?” anytime soon?

You might be thinking: I’m supposed to feel sorry for these guys? At least they had a year of making $400,000. Try making $40,000!”

I guess so, but maybe you should meet …

… University of Wisconsin All-American lineman John Moffitt.

(Matt Fleming/2009)

Moffitt is a projected early- to middle-round draft choice, a can’t-miss NFL starter who “will make plenty of Pro Bowls once he’s signed,” says his agent, Mike George.

The problem is, what if he never gets signed?

“I saw some Girl Scouts selling cookies the other day,” Moffitt says. “Maybe I could try that?”

Moffitt’s got no job and no endorsement deals — “Nobody wants to see my face on anything,” he says — and “my parents stopped sending my allowance.” So George is paying for training and living expenses until something breaks.

After that?

“Well, my dad paints houses in Guilford, Conn.,” he says. “I think he’d maybe take me on doing that. But it’s kind of hard right now. I hope it doesn’t come to that.”

You hear anything about any NFL owners hitting up their dads lately?

Plus, staying in top physical shape is a full-time job. “It’s not like they can do that and work at Macy’s at the same time,” George says.

They might have to. Eagles lineman Winston Justice has opened a coffee shop. Teammate Owen Schmitt might student teach. Browns backup WR Rod Windsor is playing for the Arizona Rattlers of the Arena Football League, where some players are making as little as $400 per game. That barely covers the Advil.

And then there’s this: recently reported that an estimated 180 NFL players might have signed for “lockout loans,” at rates that can climb over 30 percent upon default, to make ends meet.

Not just dumb, desperate.

You might be thinking: So throw these guys a freaking telethon! I don’t care. Tell them to stop bitching. The rest of us have real jobs!

I guess. But remember, the players aren’t the ones bitching. Among the four big pro sports in this country, these guys picked the one that pays the least money, lasts the fewest years and wrecks the most bodies. They’re fine with that.

It’s the owners who have taken the football and gone home. It’s the owners who want a billion dollars back from the deal they have now. It’s the owners who want two more games from the players for nothing. And not a single owner is contemplating roofing at $12 an hour.

So, if you’re still thinking you’re on the owners’ side in this?

Then you’re not thinking at all.

This is the most interesting thing I have read all week because it speaks about how much the NFL Labor union is going to affect the younger, no name players in the NFL. Just because you play in any sport doesn’t make you a multi-million dollar player and I think that conception of fans needs to change. There are so many players who have off-season jobs coaching, teaching, and working in shopping stores just to make money to provide for their family. It’s just sad to see this happening because you have players like Matt Stafford and Jamarcus Russell who are making bank and have only played 2 years in the league. These other guys are playing their hearts out and won’t make the money they have until their 5th or 6th season. So in the end, this article is to prove to the American population that not everyone in football makes the big bucks and a lot of the players are struggling to make money and support their families in this time of struggle around America. Hopefully this lockout doesn’t last any longer…

Want to get away?

September 27, 2010

Being a referee in the NFL is a hard thing to do. But to mess up a big call in an NFL Stadium and on National TV is pretty embarrassing. For Carl Cheffers, he “Wanted to get away” as the Southwest Airlines commercials would state. The game was the Houston Texans agains the Dallas Cowboys in the 4th quarter. After a kick off return by the Cowboys, there was a flag thrown. Here is the call:

To Note: There were three fouls on the play, and they offset each other. The unnecessary roughness calls against Dallas linebacker Leon Williams and Houston linebacker Kevin Bentley, and holding on Dallas long-snapper L.P. LaDouceur (the hold was offsetting, but enforced).

Here is an original Southwest Airlines commercial:

…I think the guy did the right thing and didn’t embarrass himself completely. I have seen this done before. I remember the Giants vs. Redskins in 2008 and the guy Ed Hochuli completely botched the call (VIDEO BELOW). I think it is hard to be an NFL referee and cut this guy some slack. What stunk was the guys commentating for FOX in the booth were laughing really hard and made it seem like a joke. It was funny don’t get me wrong, but I would like to see anyone try to go out and do it. It is definitely hard. One lesson learned from today. After a moment like that, you definitely want to get away…