Monday, September 29, 2008

The Tom Brady Effect

In the wake of the Dallas Cowboy's 26-24 loss to the Washington Redskins, many weaknesses have come to light. The most notable was clearly the defense. This wasn't completely unexpected, as the D had not been sharp in the first three weeks, but terrible nonetheless. Terrance Newman was dreadful, but he wasn't the only one. However, I do not think the biggest problem with the defense is anyone or anything on the field. Yes, I would like to submit to you that the biggest problem is someone who is missing. That man is Roy Williams. I realize that at the start of training camp, I was on the bandwagon ready to get rid of Williams. But hindsight is 20/20, right? (Also, he is quite the character on Hard Knocks)After this loss, though, it is quite clear just how valuable Roy Williams is to the Dallas Cowboys. Never mind the dreadful play of Terrance Newman, the uncharacteristically bad run defense or the career day for Santana Moss, missing Williams is the cause of such a poor performance.

Call it the Tom Brady Effect: when Brady went down for the season in week one, many (half jokingly) believed that Brady should win the MVP Award, based on how much worse the team will be without him. In truth, there's a lot of sense to that. With Brady--as much as I hate admitting it--the Pats are a Super Bowl contender; without Brady, the Patriots are on the playoff bubble. That is a gigantic swing in performance due to one player. Thus, one could make the argument that Brady is more valuable than anyone one player in the League. A valid argument.

Dallas has this same problem, only on a smaller scale. Roy Williams, as we are finding out, is the glue to this defense. He may have certain deficiencies in pass coverage, but his ability to read the run, blitz the quarterback and just lay out receivers are way too valuable to miss.

--With Williams gone, a safety blitz--successful many times when he's healthy--is basically neutralized. Even the fear that he might blitz is enough to alter an offense's game plan. Something tells me that Jason Campbell isn't as worried when he sees Patrick Watkins blitzing. So without Williams,the opposing team need not worry as much about a safety flying up the gap at the QB. Which brings me to my next point...

--Without Williams, teams can run the ball more effectively. When Roy is lurking in the box before the snap, the offense knows that a run could prove to be somewhat futile. His ability is get to the runner is unmatched. With Patrick Watkins playing, the opposition knows that it will be one less man they will have to run against, as Watkins is more of a pass coverage, less physical safety. However...

--Roy Williams in pass coverage vs. Patrick Watkins in pass coverage yields little difference. This is not a knock on either player, but with Williams gone, the 'Boys are gaining minimal amounts against the pass. Coupled with the loss of talent against the run, it proves how valuable he truly is.

--The big hit effect. Nothing fires up the defense or changes momentum quite like a nasty hit from Roy. That is gone, as well.

--Lastly, the leadership is missing. The secondary is short their leader. Sure, Hamlin is a great player, but Williams is the player the rest of the defensive backs looked to.

The loss of Williams begins an awful domino effect on the defense, and it was very evident in Sunday's loss. Hopefully Dallas can rebound and tighten up the D until he can return. Without some extra hard work and many adjustments, expect the same rotten defense from the Cowboys. Oh, and hope that Williams heals quickly.

Up Next: A breakdown of everything (a big list) that went wrong on the offensive side of the ball during Sunday's loss. From Felix to Marion to Terrell, the offense could be in trouble.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Jonesin' For Some Felix

Quick trivia: Who is the only player in Dallas Cowboys history to score a touchdown in their first 3 games?
The same guy who is very quickly gaining popularity around North Texas, rookie running back Felix Jones.
In just 3 short games in the NFL, Felix has racked up 148 rushing yards in just 18 carries. That comes to an average of 8.2 yards per carry! Let us not forget what is becoming his specialty, kick returning. Not since Deion Sanders wore the infamous star on his helmet have we had a true kick returner call Texas Stadium home. Special teams was one weakness on the team last season, and having a special teams weapon in Felix will make Dallas all the more talented.

The thing that really makes one scratch their head is the fact that Felix Jones has not started in a football game since when he was a high school phenom at Booker T. Washington High in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It wasn't even until he was a freshman at the school did he know that football could be part of his future. Basketball was always his passion ever since he was a young child, and his parents believed basketball would be the way they could afford to get their child into a good college. Many mid-major colleges were interested in the young Felix Jones to be a part of their basketball program, until the football coaches at Booker T. Washington got a hold of him. His sophomore year, the starter was suspended for violating team rules. Felix was given the starting spot and never looked back. He had 120 yards that night and started the rest of his high school career. As the rest of the state began to take notice, Jones gained 2,282 yards with 48 touchdowns in leading his team to the state championship game. Over 11 yards per carry earned him "Mr. Football" in the state of Oklahoma and college offers from all over.

Felix chose Arkansas, despite the fact that coaches told him he might never get to start a single game. This shows just how unselfish Jones is. Despite playing in the permanent backup role behind the two-time Doak Walker award winner Darren McFadden, Felix Jones was named to the All-American team as a kickoff returner in just his first year. In all, he rushed for 2,956 yards and 20 touchdowns, including 8.7 yards per carry as a junior. Despite playing in McFadden's shadow, Felix was still drafted in the 1st round by Arkansas-obsessed Jerry Jones.

It's a rare treat for a player as young as Felix Jones (just 21 years old!) to make such an impact in his first few games as a rookie. Felix has done just that, despite once again playing the role of backup. Jones just enjoys playing the game of football, and we here at DallasDedicated are just going to sit back and watch the Cowboys running game take control. While Marion Barber uses his power and contact to get past defenders, Felix Jones uses his speed and agility to get to the end zone. Both backs are game changers, and it is just one great weapon the explosive Cowboys offense has.

In random news that is unrelated: A crazy thing happened following the Sunday night game last week in Green Bay. As you may know, NBC uses a overhead camera that is run on a wire over the field. As the NBC crew began to pull the camera back up to the rafters, a cameraman on the field got tangled in the wires and began to rise up to the rafters with the camera. The operators in the truck outside Lambeau Field were not aware of the situation. Before they realized, the cameraman fell from over 30 feet in the air and was badly injured. We here at DallasDedicated can't get the image of a man strangled to wires above Lambeau Field looking like Peter Pan. Too bad we couldn't get a press pass for that!

Later this week we will discuss Terrell Owens, where despite having just 2 catches for 17 yards last week against Green Bay, we believe it was his best game. Also, is wide receiver Roy Williams heading to Dallas this offseason? Explanation coming soon!


Monday, September 22, 2008

Stars that shine, and those that newly form

On the heels of an impressive 27-16 win at Lambeau Field (the FIRST time ever), the Cowboys have the fear of every NFL team. Partly because this victory was so convincing, yet they were not at their best. The offense struggled to find any kind of rhythm--this was even pointed out by the astute John Madden--in the first half, and T.O. was held completely in check by a good Green Bay secondary. However, the Cowboys showed the world the value of the "big play factor". Drives were seemingly going nowhere and then...BOOM! (another shout out to Madden) a big play dissolves the gaining confidence of the Packer's D. With the neutralization of Terrell Owens, Dallas would need other guys to step up and fill the void, and did they ever. On the offensive end, a few stars of the evening:

--Marion Barber. The most obvious--he was the "Horse Trailer" player of the game. The Barbarian pillaged the defense of Green Bay, racking up a career high 142 yards rushing. The also got his customary touchdown. In fact, he played so well that no one remembers/cares that he fumbled the ball. Give props to the offensive line (no, as in zero, false starts for Flozell tonight! Amazing) and to the skill players who put up some great blocks to spring Barbs--most notably Terrell Owens, Jason Witten and Tony Curtis.

--Miles Austin. Tonight we saw what everyone became so excited about during the preseason. This guy is good. Apparently fully recovered from his injury, Miles scorched the defense on only 2 catches. Quickly Dallas is developing into a team who has solid receivers, don't forget about Sam Hurd, who was inactive today. But do, my friends, forget about that awful dropped pass that Patrick Crayton had. Also, be kind of forget that Crayton did not register a catch tonight. That hurts my argument about improving receivers.

--Felix Jones. One stat says it all: he averaged 12.7 yards per carry tonight. Need i say more? Well, I can. Quickly becoming the King of the Big Play, Felix has scored a TD in all three of his NFL appearances. How long will this streak last? I predict week 5. It's as if he tries his absolute best to overshadow Barber, yet he can never do enough. The result: beyond amazing production from the running backs...and 217 yards rushing for the 'Boys tonight.

The Defense was stellar tonight, turning out a very solid performance and holding the Cheese to field goals in their first three trips to the red zone. The D-line was impressive, notching 3 sacks (2 more came from Anthony Henry). However, there was only one "star" on this side of the ball tonight. It was none other than:

--Adam Jones. Tonight, he truly played like Pacman. Always first to everything, he was gobbling up Packers like he was in a Nintendo system. On Green Bay's first run from scrimmage, Jones forced and recovered a fumble. He also racked up a team high 8 tackles. No big deal. It was only a year off.

Some others deserving recognition:

--Tony Curtis. Tonight, Curtis was asked to do something rather odd for a tight fullback. Yes, with Deon Anderson out, the coaching staff turned to the next best thing: the third string tight end. It wasn't bad, either. Curtis did a solid job as Barber's lead blocker. Not many players can play out of position as well as he did tonight.

--Martellus Bennett. The Aggie had a catch the went for 37 yards. If you saw it, it most likely looked like a promo video, seeing as no one else was on the screen. (That's a joke about how open he was...I have other ones, tell me which one is best). If you saw it, you might have seen a tumbleweed, but that's about it. If you saw it, you might have mistaken it for a recently harvested corn field, only with no dreams (see: Kevin Costner).

--John Madden. Please, keep making me laugh. Some people say you are old, senile, and not up for the job anymore, but i disagree. There is not a more unintentionally funny commentator in sports.

--Isiah "Stanback! I'm trying to catch this kickoff" did just that tonight...but only returned it 9 yards.

--Did anyone notice Roy Williams missing? I surely didn't. Either I should extend a "great job" to Patrick Watkins, or a "wow, he really is on the downward" to RW. Everyone likes Williams, so props to Watkins.

3-0. 13 left. Bring on Washington. Later this week: a profile on the new big name in Dallas: Felix Jones. Get the scoop here, on DallasDedicated.

Also, We want to say "Thank You" to all the readers who continue to support this growing site. We would love to hear what you have to say. Leave a comment or send an email:


Friday, September 19, 2008

No No, J-Ho

"The Star-Spangled Banner's going on right now and I don't celebrate that shit. I'm black." – Josh Howard

That was the phrase that will haunt Josh Howard for at least the rest of the NBA offseason. His comment was not only naive and ignorant, but just plain unnecessary. Why Josh, after all the incidents this past postseason and offseason, would you look at a camera and make these comments? Since the playoffs began against the New Orleans Hornets last April, Josh Howard has done the following:

Played dreadful in the opening series against the Hornets, going 29 percent from the floor (including just 10 percent from behind the arc) in just 12 points per game. One could previously argue that while Dirk is the face of the franchise, Howard could possibly be the most valuable player. That argument is long forgotten, as J-Ho refused to drive to the basket and continued to miss jumper after jumper. Playing poorly in a playoff series happens to the best of the best, but noone ever tried to use this excuse: "You can't control what the ball do. It's crazy. Ya'll hilarious, man!" What Howard did off the court during that series got more negative attention than his play on the court...

Avery Johnson was not happy with the play of his team following the Game 1 loss in New Orleans. Avery Johnson specifically asked the team to not go out on the town. He needed his troops fresh and ready for the crucial Game 2. Howard went directly behind his coach's back and threw a birthday party for himself as previously planned. Then, on the morning of Game 3 in Dallas, Josh Howard volunteered to be on ESPN Radio's Michael Irvin Show to talk about "marijuana, his foundation, and basketball." Isn't that nice, mixing charity with pleasure all in the same radio interview. Not only did J-Ho decide to tell everyone about his illegal activity, but he also went so far as to say that "I think that everybody in the media world and in the sports world knows that NBA players do smoke marijuana. We all do it. "Most of the players in the league use marijuana and I have and do partake in smoking weed in the offseason sometimes. I mean, that's my personal choice and my personal opinion, but I don't think that's stopping me from doing my job." Not focused on the game, check...making sure the world knows he likes to get high, check...being a snitch, check. Why in the world would a sane professional athlete who has played so poorly go out of his way to admit to drug use before a must-win playoff game?

Fast forward to August 1st. Josh Howard seemed ready to change his ways. He had previously apologized for going public on the subject of drug use, and he was running his yearly basketball camp at Winston-Salem, North Carolina that week. On the way home, cops pulled Howard over and immediately arrested him for reckless driving to endanger, speeding, and drag racing. Charged with a criminal offense, check. Josh Howard once again mixed charity work with pleasure, and the entire country only grasped hold of the negative parts of that week's events.

Now we can add one more item to the list: being unpatriotic and coming off as anti-American, check. For a man that has said many time his proudest accomplishment in life was graduating with a degree at Wake Forest University, this guy is not very smart. Josh Howard has obviously not learned his lesson, and still we have yet to see an apology for his national anthem antics. Dallas is a city that is very patriotic and does not take something like this lightly. Mark Cuban has come to the defense of his starting small forward time and time again, and Cubes did the same thing this week. However, you can see the signs that this is starting to get to the owner. Cuban is a businessman first, and when his product (Howard) is getting under the buyer's skin (Mavs fans), things can quickly turn sour. Cuban told the media that he will be requiring all of his players to attend "Advanced Communications Training" during upcoming training camp. While I respect Cuban for not calling out his player individually, we all know what this training session should be called: "Shut the **** up Josh" training. How many more incidents is it going to take before Mark is forced to really enforce a penalty? A fine, a suspension, anything.

Get your act together Josh, before the loyal Mavs fans turn on you. We here at DallasDedicated defended you when many wanted you traded for Ron Artest. Now I don't even know who is the stupidest between the two of you. You have quickly become untradeable due to your playoff woes and offseason antics. So step up, pay attention in communications class, keep your voice out of the papers, and do what you get paid to do. Play basketball. All eyes will be on you next time the national anthem begins to play.


Next time: We will take you on a journey through the life of a new DallasDedicated favorite, Cowboys running back Felix Jones

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Diamonds and Rhinestones: All-time Cowboy draft heroes and busts

There is nothing more unpredictable than a professional sports draft. Scouts spend months to years analyzing players, hoping to find the one with the necessary skills to make the team better. However, it seems this research is like playing a slot machine: no one really knows what is going to happen. Sometimes the best flame out; sometimes the average become great. The unpredictability is what makes drafts so much fun for the outside observer (certainly not for Jerry Jones, I imagine his face droops more after every draft). Let's go back and look at the Dallas Cowboy's all time diamonds in the rough, along with the biggest busts. We will give the top 5 for each; to quailfy as a "diamond in the rough", he must have been selected in the 4th round or later. The lower the round taken, the better his career needs to be. To qualify as a "bust", he must have been a first round pick or the team's first overall pick, coupled with very dismal returns.


5) Patrick Crayton, 7th round (216) 2004 draft. From unknown Northwest Oklahoma State, Crayton has turned into the #2 receiver, as well as voluntary team trash talker. Had 50 receptions and 7 touchdowns last season.

4) Marion Barber, 4th round (109) 2005 draft. Though only in his third season, Barber makes this list because of what he has yet to do. He already has one Pro Bowl appearance--without being the feature back. A 4th round pick with the future that he has warrants his placement on this list.

3) Brock Marion, 7th round (196) 1993 draft. Marion spent 5 seasons in Dallas, including a 100-tackle season in 1997. The safety retired in 2004 with 3 Pro Bowl appearances and 31 career interceptions. Is third because he spent a relatively short time in Dallas.

2) Chad Hennings, 11th Round (290) 1988 draft. Hennings, though drafted in 1988, didn't make his NFL debut until 1992 after he fulfilled his commitment to the U.S. Air Force. Even with starting his career at age 27, Chad emerged as a great pass rusher, and finished with 27.5 sacks over nine seasons.

1) Leon Lett, 7th round (173) 1991 draft. Lett is more famous for his two of the biggest blunders in sports history than he is for his stellar career. We all remember Super Bowl XXVII (except YouTube, apparently) when Lett recovered a fumble and was about to score when he was run down by a Buffalo Bill and stripped of the ball as we began to celebrate before crossing the goal line. Oops #1. Oops #2 was a season later, when Lett tried to unnecessarily recover a blocked field goal and muffed it, allowing Miami to recover it at the 1 yard line and win the game. Yes, these are quite comical and hard to forget, but Leon Lett's career was overlooked. After two Pro Bowl appearances and 22.5 career sacks, its safe to say Lett exceeded expectations.


5) Quincy Carter, 2nd round (53) 2001 draft. Carter was hailed by Bill Parcells as the successor to Troy Aikman, but was released before he was able to blossom, due to drug-related offenses. Started one full season in which he threw 14 TDs and 21 INTs. In the season prior to this, he was supposed to be the starter, but lost the job halfway through the Chad Hutchinson.

4) Dwayne Goodrich, 2nd round (49) 2000 draft. Goodrich is in prison. That says enough. After his rookie season, he was charged in a vehicular manslaughter case and sent to prison and 2003 for a 7.5 year sentence. As if that wasn't bad enough, in 2006, five additional years were added to his sentence. I'm sure he's training in the join for his tryout with the Cowboys in 2015.

3) Rod Hill, 1st round (25) 1982 draft. Played only two seasons for Dallas, and never started a game. After bouncing around the league as a return man, Hill joined the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL. He holds the franchise record for most interceptions. Very prestigious, Rod.

2) David LaFleur, 1st round (22) 1997 draft. An All-American out of LSU, LaFleur never transferred his success to the pro game. He only lasted four seaons with Dallas (and in the NFL), and never had a season with more than 322 receiving yards. Thank goodness Witten fell in our laps.

1) Billy Cannon, Jr., 1st round (25) 1984 draft. This pick was a disaster on all accounts. A promising linebacker, Billy was drafted and given a large contract. He was also advised to sign an insurance premium in case of injury, which he declined. Of course, as fate would have it, Cannon suffered a serious spinal injury halfway through his rookie season. This ended his career. If that isn't a big enough of a "bust" for you, this gift kept on giving. Upon finding out his career was over, Cannon did what every one who didn't sign an injury settlement would do...sue the Cowboys for negligence. This multi-million dollar suit was finally settled in 1992.

Oh yeah, and his dad, Bill Cannon, Sr., won the Heisman Trophy in 1959. Great, right? No. His dad washed out of the NFL, was later convicted of counterfeiting and sent to prison for almost 3 years. Plus his he sold his Heisman Trophy for some extra cash.

In other news, Josh Howard has done it again. Another terribly dumb comment has left reporters and fans alike shocked at the things he says and does. Much more on that coming real soon.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Monday Night Classics

What is it about the Dallas Cowboys and Monday Night games of late? Along with last year's overtime thriller with Buffalo, this game was another instant classic. Dallas is single-handedly giving Mike Tirico, "Jaws", and Tony Kornhieser reasons to live. I'm not saying they're depressed people, but if they were, they can find happiness in these games. Who else was screaming in elation when T.O. caught the 72 yarder from Romo? (And who else thought--for a split second--that he might drop it?) Who else ran two or three laps around his (or her, women support this site, too!) living room when Felix Jones took back the kickoff for a TD? Interesting side note: You have to go back to the 2003 season for the last time a Cowboy returned a kickoff for a TD, and that was the infamous "tricky" onside, by none other than Philly. 2002 was the last time a legitimate kickoff was returned for a TD.

Those were the moments that made the average fan excited about this season's prospects. There were, however, some moments that made one's insides churn...and they all happened within a couple minutes. Tony Romo did a great job of evading the sack, but, in his Brett Favre-esque manner, threw an interception which set up a touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, Isiah Stanback muffed the ball and was tackled at the 5. Directly after this, the ball apparently turned into a bar of soap and twice Romo lost it in the endzone, resulting in another Philly TD.

And this was all in the first half.

The frenetic pace slowed in half number two, but the emotional roller coaster did not. Plagued by numerous, numerous penalties, the 'Boys extended many Eagle drives. The offense, fortunately, was up to the task. The secondary looked very shaky at times, though this could have been due to Roy Williams' injury, which forced an inexperienced Patrick Watkins to fill in. (By the way, Williams has a fractured forearm, and will miss at least 3 weeks. Just as he was starting to regain his form...)

Jason Witten not only had a huge day--7 catches for 110 yards--but did it with a separated shoulder which he suffered in the first half. The NFL needs to honor him with some type of Warrior award. First the helmet-less, bloody face sprint last season, and now this. Give the guy some props, Goodell...or at least Berman.

Jerry Jones is on the road to looking like a genius if his two first round picks--Felix Jones and Mike Jenkins--keep playing the way they have in these first two games. Jones will undoubtedly be the talk of the town tomorrow. Every time he touches the ball there is that sense that he could soon be in the end zone wondering why everyone playing defense is so slow. Incidentally, Ron Jaworski is already on the "Felix bandwagon". During the game he mentioned that he always though Jones to be a better prospect than McFadden. Right. Him and Felix's mother. But at DallasDedicated, we are glad that Jones was looked over and McFadden was given the nod by the scouts.

So, the Cowboys wrap up win number 2 of 16 in a resourceful manner. Another classic game that is already the talk of the NFL. Wade Phillips should have the troops fine tuned for next week's matchup against the Green Bay Packers. It's been a long time since a Cowboy's game has provided so much excitement: from the scoreline, to the star players, to the impressive rookies and, of course, the new stadium. America's Team is assuredly back.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Is the sky the limit?

In the wake of all the preseason hype and the convincing performance against Cleveland last weekend, the question begs: just how good are the Dallas Cowboys? The talent is there, it has been there for the past two seasons--it is now a matter of putting the final piece in place and finishing the puzzle that is the Super Bowl. It may be fitting that the roof in Texas Stadium has a hole, because the Cowboy's potential this season has no limits. Let's break down exactly why the Cowboys should be the most feared team in the league:

--The Patriots are done. An obvious help to the 'Boys come Super Bowl time. You never like to wish injury on anyone, but why not let it be the biggest potential threat to a Championship?

--Tony Romo. Romo played a near flawless game in week 1. After the playoff loss to the Giants, as well as the public, tabloid lifestyle he enjoys leading, many people were quick to dismiss him as a legitimate standout QB in the NFL. Criticisms of his work ethic and focus should be put to rest now. Busted chin and all, Tony set the tone for success this year, and undoubtedly has his whole team behind him.

--Donovan McNabb sportingly tried to point out last season that the "NFC East title goes through Philadelpiha" before playing the 'Boys. The response? Dallas clipped the wings of the eagles, 38-17. This year? McNabb has much more to be scared about, and trust that he knows he should be frightened. This week he went on record saying that "there's a reason they [Dallas] won 13 games last season." Hmmm, quite a different approach, wouldn't you say? Seems like sportswriters aren't the only ones who believe in Dallas.
Then, of course, he slipped up, stating that "every time we play it kind of goes to the wire somewhow." Really, Donovan? 38-17. Must be a huge wire.

--Running Backs. Marion "The Barbarian" is going to be great. We know that. Healthy? That may be a different story. But don't fear, Dallas fans, we now have Felix Jones. After Sunday's game, he is already drawing comparisons to Brian Westbrook (courtesy of Tim McMahon). A one-two punch such as this could be lethal.

--Cleveland pulled out all the stops in an attempt to stop (ironic?) the Dallas pass rush. Sometimes leaving 7 men to block, it seemed they had figured out the Cowboys rush. However, this only seemed to be the case in theory. The Defense only registered one sack, but was able to disrupt Anderson enough that he was often hurried. If Dallas continues to get that much pressure against a 7 man front, watch out. A good passing offense last season, the Browns were completely thrown off their game, only completing 11 passes and 114 yards.

--Tony Romo and Terrell Owens couldn't be getting along any better. No, seriously. Earlier this week Romo admitted to reporters that "He [Terrell] bought me dinner a couple of times and so we just went from there. Now we're dating." I wonder what Jessica thinks about this? On a serious note, though, it's nice to see that the two players have a good relationship that is solid off the field as well. That creates the proper chemistry it will take to win a Super Bowl.

--Pacman is confident. In a press conference he was asked about the eagle's performance last week and his response was simply, "They played the Rams, dude." I like it. Call it cocky, or a locker room rally for philly, but Mr. Jones now feels a part of the team, and clearly feels like they will back him up. Trust like that is going to show in his improving play over the next few weeks.

--And finally, ESPN the Mag did a nice comparison of Bill O'Reilly to none other than....Terrell Owens. Hate it or love it, both are on top of their game, and know what it takes to win, per say.

So, folks, I think it is pretty clear that the rest of the League should be quivering at this perfect storm that is quickly becoming the Dallas Cowboys. The only remaining question is, though, can they win the big games? (i.e. playoffs) This year, there should be no disappointment.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Bloody Chins, Bruised Ribs & B.O: 'Boys Win Week 1

The Cowboys got the season started with a bang, as they threw and ran their way right through Cleveland in dominating fashion. The final score read 28-10, as the offense racked up nearly 500 yards of offensive force despite the "Dawg Pound" trying to do anything they could to distract. A few important points we here at DallasDedicated want to go in depth on:

-Is Marion Barber's injury a telling reminder if his risky running style?
Yes, Barber's injury is not serious. However, what worries me is that this will happen more often. Barber is getting more carries than last season now that he is the lone starter, and his powerful running style makes him far more prone to injury than most backs in the league. He loves contact, and he loves hitting even more. Let's just hope this is a separate, random case and Barber will be fine. The good news is this...

-The backup of all backups: Felix Jones
He was impressive in preseason, but the Razorback rookie was remarkable yesterday. After Barber was put on the bench in the 3rd quarter, Felix Jones earned that rookie signing bonus. His very first drive of his NFL career was an 11-yard touchdown run. He finished with 9 carries for 62 yards. While Barber is a power back that stiff arms and bulldozes his way down the field, Jones cuts and jukes past defenders who barely see him flash by. Not many teams have tandem backs that play so well off each other. The red-headed playmaker Jason Garrett's mouth must have been salivating as he watched the first of many Felix Jones' highlights. Felix will certainly get more carries Monday night against Philly with the coaching staff being safe with Barber's injured ribs.

-Tony, Tony, Tony
Romo matched the hype surrounding him, as he went 24-of-32 for 320 yards. Not only that, but he was sacked zero times and had countless plays where he had all day in the pocket to pick apart the Browns. The offensive line let up a little after halftime, and Romo's chin paid for it. After being sandwiched between two defensive backs, it appeared at first as if Romo might have to be taken out. He grimaced, stood up, and continued to dominate. After the game, where Romo received 13 stitches, Jason Witten called Romo's play "the best game the QB has played in his 3 years as a Cowboy." While bumps and bruises have made their way into the Cowboys locker room, let's look at the big picture. Nate Burleson is out for the season, Vince Young is out 2-4 weeks, Brodie Croyle is out indefinitely, and pretty boy Tom Brady suffered what could be a season ending injury. Just to be safe, the Cowboys signed quarterback Brooks Bollinger, giving the 'Boys 2 solid passers behind Romo in case of a dreaded injury.

-The defense
Terence Newman was out, Pacman Jones was in his first game since December of 2006, yet the defense stood strong. The score at one point was tied at 7 and things looked like they were heading towards a shootout. Yet, the defense got their act together and quickly ended all confidence Cleveland had. The Browns ended the night with under 100 yards rushing and only 114 yards passing (compared to 167 and 320 for Dallas). The biggest key to the defense was how they shut down wideout Braylon Edwards, who had just 2 catches for a measly 14 yards. Edwards recently signed a contract extension and is said to be the most important piece to the Browns' offensive puzzle. Dallas didn't let anyone get in their way.

-Owens has a body odor problem?
Back in 2004, some Cleveland fans from New York came up with the genius sign that read "T.O. has B.O." when Owens played for Philly. T.O. torched the Browns that day, even slamming the football against the sign after a touchdown reception. Cleveland fans thought they should try again. The sign was back yesterday, and Owens once again had a great game. Not only do the Browns have the most uncreative mascot and logo, the fans are even more lame.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Coming Tomorrow...

The regular season is finally here!

Tomorrow, DallasDedicated will give you our extended thoughts on the Cowboys game versus the Browns.

Also this week, we will catch up with some of the Mavs summer league players.

Enjoy the game! Until then, here's a quick video of how Dirk spends his off-season. While a lot of NBA stars party and go on vacations, Dirk does what he does out and plays basketball. Imagine that!


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Larry Allen: A Tribute To The Best (and Strongest)

LARRY ALLEN, Cowboy Great, and perhaps one of the best offensive lineman in the history of the NFL, signed with the 'Boys last week to a one day contract in order to retire with his Team. Allen spent the past two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, but wanted to hang up his cleats with the team that he helped become legendary. In light of this, we at DallasDedicated felt it was necessary to formulate a tribute to Mr. Allen, the bench pressing, pass blocking, pancaking lineman.

A Few Great Larry Moments:

2006 Pro Bowl-- 43 reps of 225lbs!

And Kevin Durant couldn't even do one rep of 185.

The Famous 700 pound press

Also, please appreciate the athleticism of Joey Galloway leaping over Allen. It doesn't look like he made a safe landing.

Larry attended Sonoma State University, where he was the first player ever to be drafted in the NFL. Impressive.

Many (older) readers will remember the 1994 game against the New Orleans Saints in which Allen ran down a Saints cornerback after he had intercepted a Troy Aikman pass, saving a touchdown. Strong and speedy!

Notable Achievements:

--A 10 time Pro Bowler, only Bob Lily appeared in more Pro Bowls than Allen in Cowboys history. No offensive player in Cowboys history had more appearances. Added an 11th selection while with the 49ers.

--Also was a 7 time All-Pro selection.

--In 206 career games, Larry started 197 of those. Seems safe to say he made an immediate impact out of college.

--Won a Super Bowl (XXX).

--Was named to the 1990s All-Decade Team, along with former teammates Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Mark Stepnoski and Deion Sanders.

Always a classy guy--as exhibited by his disagreements with Bill Parcells that you probably never heard about--Allen was, in every way, what a professional football player should be. Mark "the Gentle Giant" Tuinei, a great friend and teammate of Allen, passed away in 1999 after a more than successful career in Dallas. Larry never forgot him, and when he moved to San Francisco in 2006, changed his number from 73 to 71 in remembrance of his late friend. This story exemplifies what Allen was about: always the friendly, peaceful teammate whom everyone got along with. Now that this chapter in his life is passed, we are counting down the years until his 2013 Hall of Fame enshrinement will most certainly come. Until then, thanks for the memories, Larry.