November 23, 2014

Behind the Star: The Latest on the Dallas Cowboys

For those who were wondering why there was no column last week, my family and I didn’t have power for approximately four days after Hurricane Sandy hit Long Island.  Now all of those horror stories you’re reading about in newspapers and online and seeing on television are from the south shore of the Island, I live on the north shore, so outside of the power outage and the gas shortage I really have no complaints.

 

As for Cowboys football, they also seem to run out of power Sunday night versus Atlanta, offensive power.  Have to settle for field goals on their first two drives when they were inside the red zone instead of touchdowns seemed to set the tone for the game.  Several dropped passes on 3rd downs didn’t help any either.  The play calling as always seems to leave something to be desired.  It’s pretty stale, very basic.  Rarely does Dallas throw in a wrinkle, they don’t even throw the ball deep into the secondary all that often.  Dez Bryant who was questionable coming into the game with a hip injury only had one reception for 15 yards although he as open several times.  Were plays just not designed to go his way?  Was Tony Romo not looking his way?  Who knows.  The offense did seem to move easily down the field when they went into the no-huddle, scoring their only touchdown of the game.  Now on one is saying Dallas should use this offense full-time, but why doesn’t coach Jason Garrett use it more often than just in the two-minute offense?  Would be nice to shake things up a bit, wouldn’t it?  The lack of a running game doesn’t help any either.  DeMarco Murray missed yet another game with his injured foot and the Felix Jones/Lance Dunbar/Phillip Tanner trio doesn’t scare anyone, they are backups for a reason.

 

The Defense seemed to play a bend but don’t break kind of game, allowing plenty of yardage but generally keeping the Falcons out of the end zone.  However, there were plenty of problems.  Once again the defense could not come up with a turnover.  Sure they stopped the Falcons from scoring, but generally they don’t get three and outs, they allow a couple of first downs, and when the opposition punts, the pin the offense inside the 20.  Doesn’t make life any easier to score.  Would be nice if the offense had a short field to go every now and again.  As for other problems, I know NT Jay Ratliff sprained his ankle at the end of the first half, but in that situation he has to do everything he can to get off the field.  By lying down, he gave the Falcons a free timeout.  This enabled Atlanta to kick a field goal at the end of the half, those points proved costly at the end of the game.  Orlando Scandrick didn’t help matters any either at the end of the game.  With the Cowboys needed a defensive stop to get the ball back, and have a chance to win, Scandrick twice came up small on third down.  First he missed an open field tackle that would’ve forced the Falcons to punt, than was caught holding WR Roddy White which also extended the drive.  DeMarcus Ware also missed an open field tackle on WR Julio Jones which would’ve made Falcons head coach Mike Smith think twice about going for a field goal, as it would’ve been a 52 yarder.  In the end, the defense played well, but came up small when it counted.

 

This week the Cowboys play the Eagles in Philly.  Both teams are 3-5 and reeling.  The winner of this game could possibly save their season, while the loser can more than likely look forward to nothing but rumors and speculation about what will go on the remainder of the season.  The Eagles will most certainly fire Andy Reid but Jason Garrett could be safe unless the Cowboys free fall, which of course is a distinct possibility.  Things could even get more dicey if Saints suspended coach, Sean Peyton, is truly a free agent at the end of the season.  He coached in Dallas once before, and has a house in the area.  I believe he is the only coach that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would fire Garrett for.  This is all fun to talk about, but in the end, have to believe Peyton goes back to New Orleans.

 

After watching Eagles QB Mike Vick get pummeled by a Saints defense that couldn’t stop a pee wee team this season, you have to think defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is licking his chops to get his shots at him.  Still though, Vick is extremely dangerous.  He will take his hits, but probably make big plays as well, and you can’t forget about RB LeSean McCoy.  Haven’t seen a back with his ability to stop on a dime and go in a different direction since Barry Sanders, he is scary good.  DeMarco Murray is unlikely to play once again this week which means the pressure will be on Romo as always to deliver in the clutch.  Dallas may be the best 3-5 team in the league, but not sure they can pull out a win against a division rival on the road.  Philadelphia 23  Dallas 20

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