Saturday, August 30, 2008

Receiver Void in Big D?

The phone calls have been pouring in to Jerry Jones since word came that Sam Hurd's injury will keep him out at least the first week at Cleveland. However, a friend of a friend of DallasDedicated informed us that Sam Hurd is actually feeling better than reports have made it sound (that's right, we have connections). Still, as the season is about to begin, the recieving core seem to be the biggest area for concern. T.O is T.O, but only Owens and Crayton have extensive NFL experience and are healthy. Terry Glenn's release has already come back around to bite the Cowboys. Jerry Jones has recently ruled out signing a player out of the organization for fear of ruining chemistry between Romo and the receivers that was built during training camp and preseason. However, desperate times call for desperate measures. So, who could be available for the Cowboys to pick up before the September 7th opener against the Browns? DallasDedicated is here to set everything straight....

Freddie Mitchell
Mitchell's agent has been calling more than a crazy ex-girlfriend trying to get his client activated on the Cowboys roster. This could be the biggest longshot of them all, but Mitchell is only 29 years old and is still said to be in football shape. The real concern with this player is the fact that he hasn't played in an NFL game since the 2004 season, where he started in 9 games. That season he had 22 receptions for 377 yards and 2 TDs. Not bad at all, but I believe he would be at best the 4th receiever on this team. What the Cowboys need is a guy that has a lot of experience and will be able to handle the workload until the rest of the receivers get healthy.

Joe Horn

Yes, Joe Horn has some years on him (36 years old). However, he also has heart and team leadership. Last season in Atlanta, Horn played in just 12 games but still racked up 243 on 27 catches. He fought all season for the number 2 spot in Atlanta, and he has the skill to be the number 2 in Dallas. Jerry Jones has denied that Horn was a target last June when being interviewed at a Desperados game, but things have changed quite a bit since then. Horn would also sign for the veteran minimum of $800,000 dollars, which is a great deal for both sides.

Chad Javon Ocho Cinco
You may be confused, let me explain. Bengals reciever Chad Johnson has legally changed his name to Chad Javon Ocho Cinco. The players hate him in Cincy, the coaching staff hates him even more, and he is lying about his ankle bothering him to keep him on the sideline. Coach Marvin Lewis even went so far as to call him "Ocho Psycho." He wouldn't distrupt the Cowboys if we attempted to trade for him, because let's face it, it's the Cowboys. Deion Sanders was supposed to be a distraction, as well as Owens, Tank Johnson, and Pacman Jones. All have become quality players in a close-knit team that laughs at controversy. Chad Johnson, quite frankly, would fit right in. Could you imagine Romo lining up behind center with Barber behind him in the backfield, Witten at the tight end spot, and Johnson and Owens on each side. Ahhh, I can see it now! Chad Johnson would of course not come cheap, which is why this scenario will most likely not happen.

Terry Glenn
This is the best choice out of them all. Glenn has played 2 seasons with Tony Romo, and he knows most, if not all, of the offensive plays in the playbook. Terry Glenn could also be signed to the veteran minimum of $800,000 dollars, and if he was not up to par and forced to be cut, the consequences would not be severe. If the Cowboys organization truly believe that another wideout is needed, Glenn would definitely be the best (and cheapest option).

We will see how this all pans out as the 'Boys gear up for the road to the Super Bowl.

Next time: We will have an ode to Cowboys legend Larry Allen, who signed with the Cowboys just so he could retire as a member of America's Team.


Friday, August 29, 2008

"Fake Football" Fixings

The Cowboys finally finished off the "fake football" part of the year, as the last preseason game was won by the 'Boys 16-10 at Texas Stadium. Romo, Owens, Barber, Witten, and the rest of the starters did not play. However, there are still many positives we can take from this game:

-LB Bobby Carpenter has been criticized for his play (or lack there of) the past 2 seasons. Many people believed last night's game could be his last in a Cowboys uniform if he did not step it up. "Barbie" Carpenter, as he was called on Hard Knocks by DeMarcus Ware, played the entire game Thursday and finished as the team leader with five tackles and a pass deflection. That could be enough to keep him on the roster of the deepest team in the league. Carpenter could be quite a threat in the nickel/dime defense, and with Kevin Burnett coming off surgery, Carpenter will be needed on this Dallas defense. When the roster gets cut to 53 on Saturday, Carpenter should still remain standing.

-Tashard Choice had a great game as well, but do the Cowboys really need another running back? With Marion The Barbarian and Felix Jones getting all the carries, Choice could be the odd man out when it comes to roster cuts.

-Concerned about their depth at guard after losing starter Kyle Kosier with a foot injury, the Cowboys traded a 5th round pick in 2010 to Denver for Montrae Holland, a Texas native. Holland started all 16 games for the Broncos last season and looks as if he will fill Kosier's quite nicely. The only concern is if he will know the plays well enough for opening day against Cleveland. In other news, Montrae Holland will be competing against DeMarcus Ware, Flozell Adams, Tashard Choice, Orlando Scandrick, and Tank Johnson for "Most Badass Name" on the team.

-The feel good story on the team has been that of Richard Bartel, the Grapevine native that is gunning for the 3rd string QB spot. Bartel might not make the team, and sources say he most likely will not, but the greatest night of the young man's life happened last night when he got to start for the Cowboys. "I had the greatest time," said Bartel, who kept a game ball for himself. "I hadn't had that much fun in football in my life. I mean, c'mon, you're playing a whole game for the Dallas Cowboys. You get to run out of the tunnel. The experience was awesome for me." He completed 28 of 41 passes for 233 yards, and many of the coaches were impressed. It will be very difficult for one of the lone remaining spots going to an unproven rookie quarterback. We here at DallasDedicated are not too keen on the idea of Brad Johnson's becoming America's Quarterback if Romo goes down with an injury (knock on wood), and Bartel showed he has the poise to play in the NFL. Give the kid a chance Jerry!

In Mavs news:
Bob Ortegal is back on television! DallasDedicated's favorite commentator will be making his way back to the visual side of sports with good buddy Mark Followill. On thing missing from that broadcast will be the energetic Laura Green, who is heading to Portland to cover Greg Oden's knee.

As for that man that just keeps on giving, Jason Kidd announced that he is leaving Nike to join the Chinese sportswear company, Peak. The tagline for Peak Sportswear..."I can play." Really? What marketing genius came up with that? The nerd in gym class wearing the new Peak shoes will have so much confidence in himself.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Quick Hits

Here's a little bit of sports news circulating the DF-Dub:

--The Rangers continued the re-building process by shipping reliever Eddie Guardado to Minnesota for minor league pitcher Mark Hamburger. No, that is not a type-o, it's Hamburger, like the favorite American meal. This is a great move, though, regardless of his name and the ribbing from fans he will receive. At only 21 (compared to Guardado's 37, almost 38), he played this season in the Rookie league, where we was named Closer of the Year. Impressive. This ballplayer looks to have a lot of potential, let's hope the Rangers can cultivate it into something special.
After the deal, Texas called up left-hander Bill White from AAA.

--The Cowboys had to trim their roster down to 75 earlier this week (Oh no, how tragic). No notable players were cut.

--Third string QB Richard Bartel is getting the nod for the preseason finale this week. With Wade Phillips openly tinkering with the idea of keeping just two QB's, this is do or die for the Grapevine product.

--For a talented team, the 'Boys sure have a lot of injuries. Kyle Kosier is the latest starter to take a bow...a 4 to 6 week bow after it was reported he had a hairline fracture in his foot.

--Dallas Morning News penned a great article about new parent DaMarcus Ware. I hear nothing makes you happier than a child, and I would say that applies here. Curiously, the daughter's name is Marley. I'm sure it's after Damian or Stephen, though. Surely not after Bob.

--Jason Kidd continues to shock us all with his niceness and friendly behavior. Is this the same guy who was once accused of beating his wife? As if the stories about his huge tipping on US basketball restaurant trips and showing up alone to Misty May-Treanor's volleyball games because she was a huge fan of his growing up weren't enough, Kidd fulfilled a "promise" to Casino lady Elaine Wynn of giving her his Gold Medal to show appreciation for the way she treated him and his family last summer. The rest of us are nice to guests and get sticks of gum. Crooked world.

--DMN blogger Mike Heika believes Dallas will be 4th in the West this season, a few points short of division winner Anaheim.

--FC Dallas looks poised to make the playoffs, after the acquisition of striker Jeff Cunningham makes him and Kenny Cooper one of the most feared duos in the league.

--Former Cowboys QB and Jerry Jones infatuation Drew Henson has resurfaced by signing with the Detroit Lions. He has been out of the NFL since leaving the Cowboys. Minnesota signed him last season and cut him after training camp. You know, though, third time's the charm. And the Lions must be desperate.


Friday, August 22, 2008


This upcoming year is going to be an exciting one for Dallas sports fans (which is good for us, because no one wants to read about sucky teams). The Cowboys have Super Bowl expectations, the Mavericks are out to prove they are still elite, the Stars are close to returning to the Stanley Cup Finals, and the Rangers have an exciting future, building upon this season's improvement. So, we at Dallas Dedicated thought it would be fitting to formulate some odds of what the future holds for these area teams. Go ahead and check your bank account, call up the bookie (don't tell anyone we gave that advice), and put some money on these odds:


The Cowboys Win the Super Bowl: 3-2

In a perfect world, the Cowboys should win the Super Bowl. However, as the 'Boys found out last year, it is not a perfect world. The Patriots (and an aging defense) are still looming in the AFC, and no one can count out the division-rival Giants, seeing as they are returning champs. On paper, though, the Cowboys are the best team in the League. No really, even Madden '09 (with the roster updates) has the Valley Ranch squad as the number one team. Arguably the Cowboys have no weaknesses other than the wide receiver position. The team is motivated after two seasons of disappointing playoff outings. Jerry Jones has such a deep roster that, for the first time in years, he had the luxury of drafting solid backups. Dallas is returning more Pro Bowlers than any other team. Jason Garrett passed up heading coaching jobs to remain an assistant (and, of course, win a Super Bowl). And all of these are better reasons than Mike Fisher wrote on his "turned down ESPN" Cowboys preview with Deadspin.


The New Orleans Hornets are now the frontrunners, Houston can't be counted out after picking up Artest for absolutely nothing, and the san antonio spurs, though aging, are still a threat. The Mavs re-tooled the roster a tad, which will hopefully give them that small push needed to regain their Finals-form of three years ago. A young slasher (Green) and a second threat at center (Diop) gives the Mavericks the winning formula established over the past five seasons. The only difficulty will be overcoming CP3 and the Hornets and coping with the addition of Ron-Ron to the Rockets.

Mike Modano is still undecided on whether he will be retiring. However, the signing of Sean Avery has definitely beefed up the forward lines. The defense is filled with veteran talent, but also has young players that got serious playing time in the playoffs and showed promise (Mark Fistric, Matt Niskanen). As for goaltending, Marty will be Marty. All in all, it should be a fun season. If Dallas can win the tight head-to-head matchups against division rivals San Jose and Anaheim, the Stars could quite easily win the Pacific. The real roadblock for Dallas to have the best record in the Western Conference is the team from Detroit. The Red Wings seem to always have the advantage when up against Dallas, and for some reason always seem to shake the nerves of Turco. If Dallas keeps their composure and makes Detroit doubt themselves a little, the conference title could be captured by the Stars.

With so much depth in the outfield to use as trade bait, we can try to overlook the Rangers great knack for giving away pitchers who later blossom and their inability to pick up reliant slingers. Without the depth in outfield, it could be hopeless that the Rangers will improve their staff. Year after year this has been the huge problem holding back the team...and it still is. No improvements have been made. Hope for this to change in the offseason. However, there is hope in 2009!


We all want to say she is, but, in reality, she has not even been present at the heart-breaking losses (Seattle two seasons ago, New York last season). Some say her escapades with Tony in Cabo were a distraction, but we cannot forget fellow teammate Jason Witten was there, too. No one likes a girl who shoves a star QB into the gossip column limelight, but a curse? No, not yet, at least.


Sadly, the Mavs continue to make move after move signifying that Rhodes is not apart of the future of this team. The only hope is that Charles decides to go to training camp (and not Europe), and drastically outperforms James Singleton or Kieth McCleod. Though he is more talented than both, it is yet to be seen if the front office will be willing to take the talent for the cost of cutting Singleton's guaranteed contract, or going down another point guard.


Why go by Adam when your nickname is Pacman? Who doesn't like Pacman? No one. Everyone does, which is why he is surely regretting hearing "Adam Jones with the tackle" over the loudspeaker. Now, if he were Tank Johnson (real name Terry), don't expect a change.

At this rate, the pitching staff is so awful, the Rangers will have no choice but to call up the boy wonder from single-A as soon as they can. Which would most likely lead to the destroying of his confidence and the degradation of his game, but oh well, that's the Rangers' way. Of course, it is quite possible he would be better than half of the rotation after only one start.

The 'Boys are in action tonight in the I-45 rivalry with the Houston Texans, and are looking to win the Governor's Cup. Awards for pre-season games? Really?

Be on the look out for more coverage of this game in the days to come.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mavs Full House

Throughout this offseason, we here at DallasDedicated have given you our reasons why the Mavs should sign Summer League signee Charles Rhodes and draft pick Shan Foster. After confirming that Foster is headed to Italy for the year, signing Charles Rhodes would have been the next option for the final roster spot. We know that Rhodes will be part of the Mavs training camp, but that could be the last time he wears a Mavs uniform. The 15th and final roster spot has just been given to Devean George. The Mavs re-signed George to a 2-year deal yesterday that is worth $4 million. Devean George does fit well with the team, but is he worth having over rookie Charles Rhodes?

Charles Rhodes has done nothing but up his value after performing well on the Summer-League, even getting many offers from European teams. If Rhodes does indeed not get picked up by this Mavs team (which now looks likely), another NBA team will definitely put him on their roster. Rhodes is a powerful rebounder and defender, not to mention the 64 percent shooting he displayed this summer. Devean George is a proven vet, but let's face it: His most memorable moment was originally blocking the Jason Kidd to Dallas trade back in February. Rhodes might have made little impact this season on the deep Mavs bench, but Rhodes over George in the long run seems like a lot better of a move.

What were the reasons the Mavs decided to do this? Rick Carlisle visited George at his home in Minnesota a couple of times this summer to talk to him face-to-face about how the 6-8 veteran would fit in his system with the Mavs. George's agent cited multiple teams that were all interested in his client, but in the long run, "playing with Jason Kidd for the entire year won him over." The deal does make sense for Carlisle, George is a proven three-point shooter that can play 3 positions and defend the perimeter. If Rick Carlisle believes that George is the best option left for the final spot, then we here at DallasDedicated must trust him. However, many fans have been waiting for a trade or signing that will up the level of excitement for the upcoming regular season, and the signing of George is a "been-there-done-that" move that will certainly not have any fans throwing a party about.

The real underlying issue about this deal is the fact that we now have ANOTHER player who's deal runs out on June 30, 2010. That means that other than Dirk, Terry, and Diop, every other player's contract will be up in the 2010 offseason. I'm already developing a twitch thinking about this. In the 2011 season, who knows what the roster will even look like. It could be Dirk, LeBron (free agent in '10), and Diop leading the way at the AAC in 2 years. could be explosion time. If Mark Cuban was ever going to rebuild and start over, the 2010 offseason would be the perfect time for him. Can't you just picture Cuban sitting in his office contemplating all the possibilities? It's a scary thought, and we here at DallasDedicated will be losing sleep because of this image in our minds....


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Looking Ahead: Rangers in 2009

The Rangers blew another lead last night, only to have their comeback hopes fall short. The usually composed Scott Feldman had a great game through six innings, but things quickly got ugly in the seventh inning. Texas went on to give up 8 total runs in the seventh and eighth, and lost 8-7 in another close one. The real bad news came after the game: Excellent lead-off hitter and all-star Ian Kinsler is on the disabled list and could remain there for the rest of the season. Initially, doctors have told him that he has a sports hernia and will most likely need surgery. Kinsler is seeking a second opinion. This officially ends all playoff hope, yet there was little left after being swept by the Red Sox two weeks ago.

While it may be a little too soon to be discussing next season, we here at DallasDedicated can't help but get excited of what things could be in the Texas Rangers 2009 season. We all know pitching was dreadful, especially in the starting rotation. What you may not know is that next year's pitching group is, dare I say, looking pretty solid. With the young pitchers on this team and the veterans becoming healthy, it is not a reach at all to put Texas in World Series contender talks for next season. Let's take a look at what the ideal starting pitching rotation should be next season:

Kevin Millwood: Yes, Millwood is only 6-7 this season with a 5.58 ERA. What you have to keep in mind is that he has been troubled with injuries all year long and his played has been effected by it. Kevin came into this season as the ace of the club and the number one spot, and the Rangers organization still feels that way about him. He is a veteran pitcher who knows how to shorten innings and get batters to swing at things they normally would take. A healthy Kevin Millwood has not been seen since mid-season last year.

Vicente Padilla: Although he struggled on rare occasions, Padilla has proven to his teammates that he has grown quite a bit since Texas took a chance on him in 2006. His ERA may be at a sub-par 4.85, but his record stands currently at 12-6 heading into tonight's matchup against ex-Rangers prospect Armando Galarraga. The reasons for his struggles last season were his lack of commitment in the offseason and his shakiness as baserunners emerged. He not only worked on his off speed pitches in the offseason, but also he worked on meditation and not becoming frustrated late into innings. It has been quite beneficial, as he has seemed to get out of tight innings with runners on by taking his time between pitches. He can only improve this offseason on these things to becoming even greater of a pitcher.

Brandon McCarthy: Rangers fans have not yet seen this highly rated pitcher, as the last two seasons have come and gone with McCarthy lingering around on the disabled list. The wait could be over soon, as reports are coming in that McCarthy will be added to the rotation in a couple weeks. Brandon has been trying to get the rust off as a part of the triple-A minor league team Oklahoma Redhawks from surgery and countless injuries the past two seasons. In 5 starts in the minors, he has been great at times (2 straight games pitching 13 scorless innings) and rusty (9 runs in 8 innings pitched in 2 games). At only 25 years old, the effects of injuries should not linger like they do with older veterans. A healthy McCarthy will definitely improve this Rangers pitching core.

Matt Harrison: A inexperienced rookie pitcher will always have his share of problems, and Matt Harrison has just that in his first month's work as a MLB pitcher. With 24 innings pitched in July, Harrison gave up 20 runs (7.40 ERA). In August however, Harrison has been pretty spectacular. Against great teams like the Yankees and Rays, Harrison has settled down and has an ERA of 3.72 this month. Saturday night, Matt Harrison showed Arlington just how great he can be. In 8 innings of work, Harrison had 8 strikeouts and no runs against him. In a year where rookie after rookie has been called up and cracked under pressure, Harrison has earned a spot on next year's rotation.

Who will earn the 5th spot on the rotation? It is becoming clear that the pitching will dramatically improve, but 5 quality starters is beneficial. Having one spot open once the season begins hurts any chance of playoff baseball in Arlington. Here are a few players that will be gunning for the final spot on the rotation:

Neftali Feliz: Right-hander Neftali Feliz is 8-5 with a 2.80 ERA in Class A and Double-A this season. The only issue is this: Feliz has a great fastball but he lacks a Major League breaking ball and changeup. He must work on these pitches if he has any shot of leapfrogging past Triple-A and into the majors.

Elizardo Ramirez: With already 145 innings under his belt for Triple-A Oklahoma this season, Ramirez has 10 wins with an ERA of 4.21. He was given one start for Cincy in 2002, and after a miserable game, he was released. Texas found something in him and have given him quite a chance in the minors.

Any starter currently with the Rangers has a chance as well, all that it would take would be improving on the ins and outs of ball control in the offseason. Dustin Nippert, Eric Hurley, Scott Feldman, and Luis Mendoza are all possible solutions. Whatever the case may be, this Rangers team will be better on the mound and be a playoff contender come 2009. Just wait and see, you can thank DallasDedicated later...


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Faith in the Preseason? Hopefully Not.

The Dallas Cowboys came up short again in their second of too many preseason games last night against Denver. Outclassed from the beginning, the 'Boys lost 23-13. The first team--which looked stellar against San Diego last week--gave up 14 points against the Broncos, while not scoring any. Needless to say, there were not many positives the coaching staff will take away from this game. (But there's always the cheerleaders...)

Tony Romo played a solid game, and was able to connect with Terrell Owens multiple times. The two of them on the same page already is a great sign of things to come. Surprise standout Miles Austin continued his impressive outings...until he was injured. The report on Austin is a sprained MCL, and he will be out the rest of training camp, and possibly even week 1. This is great news if you are Sam Hurd, but if you aren't, this is a minor setback. Overall, every drive stalled and the unit was unable to put anything tangible together.

As well, return defense continues to haunt Dallas. Missed tackles are plaguing special teams. Return defense was again pitiful; however, Stanback and Scandrick both produced returns of 35+ yards.

The defense was sub-par, to say the least. A complete 180 from last week, the "D" was slow, sloppy and not together. Adam Jones was a lone bright spot, his performance dramatically improved from last week--as he said it would.

The question on every fan's mind, now, is how indicative are the preseason games of regular season performance?

Past Performances:

2007: Preseason: 2-2
Regular Season: 13-3

2006: Preseason: 3-0-1
Regular Season: 9-7

2005: Preseason: 3-1
Regular Season: 9-7

2004: Preseason: 3-1
Regular Season: 6-10

Thus, recent Cowboys history proves that the season-before-the-real-season is essentially meaningless. It will have no carry over affect on the team. If that isn't enough to convince you, look at the dominant teams from that past few years:

-Similarly, last seasons undefeated (until the Super Bowl) New England Patriots went 2-2 in the preseason, dropping their first two games (noticing a correlation?).
-In 2006, the Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts went 1-3 in the preseason.
-2004 champs New England went 1-3.

By some odd, unexplainable force, the NFL preseason gives the fan no inside view on what the regular season may hold. When teams ride high in the preseason, fans love to point out that it is a sign of things to come; when a team is not so successful, fans are quick to point out that the preseason holds no meaning. So, until the season kicks off, the speculation must be put on hold.

In other news, we here at Dallas Dedicated would like to congratulate Michael Phelps on his amazing feat of 8 gold medals, solidifying himself in Olympic lore for generations to come, and passing the great Mark Spitz.


Friday, August 15, 2008

From Beijing to Big D: Playing Catch Up

Let's look around the Dallas sports world and get everybody caught up with everything going down:

-A great article in Slam Magazine online with one of DallasDedicated's favorite Mavericks, Brandon Bass.

-The Spanish men's national team took a team photo for the Olympics doing a slant-eye pose. This has caused quite a stir in Beijing, also within the Team USA inner-circle. Team captain Jason Kidd told Yahoo Sports that the photo is uncalled for, and if anyone on the USA team would have done that, suspensions and/or fines would have been handed out. It is a double standard, and I'm not guessing that any Chinese fans will be cheering for Pau Gasol anytime soon. USA faces the controversial squad tomorrow morning, it should be a good one.

-Dirk Nowitzki and the rest of the German team fell to Spain on Thursday, 72-59. Up next is China, who's record stands at 1-2, same as Germany. "It's a must-win situation for us if we're to make it to the quarterfinals," Nowitzki said. "They all shoot extremely well. [China] should have beaten Spain. It will be a tough game with the home crowd but it will be fun."

-The Mavs preseason schedule has been released:
Oct. 7, Washington, 7:30 p.m., American Airlines Center
Oct. 9, at Chicago, 7:30 p.m., United Center
Oct. 10, at Milwaukee, 7:30 p.m.,La Crosse Center
Oct. 15, at Indiana, 6 p.m., Conseco Fieldhouse
Oct. 16, at Detroit, 6:30 p.m., Palace of Auburn Hills
Oct. 18, Sacramento, 8 p.m., American Airlines Center
Oct. 21, Chicago, 7:30 p.m., American Airlines Center
Oct. 23, Indiana, 7:30 p.m., American Airlines Center

In case you missed it, the regular season schedule was posted earlier this week as well.

-The Texas Rangers chances for a playoff spot are all but over after getting swept by the Boston Red Sox. The starting rotation ERA for the season now stands at 5.80. Even more shocking is what the starter's ERA was on the 6 game road trip, where Texas went 1-5: 17.62! However, the cliche phrase "There's always next year" does actually apply for this baseball team. Not too long for now DallasDedicated will explain why this Rangers team will be a playoff contender next season! You heard it here first!

-No big news in the hockey world, other than the fact that four Dallas Stars games during the 2008-09 season were selected by VERSUS as national broadcasts, while the Stars will also appear four times on national television in Canada (CBC's Hockey Night in Canada, TSN). The Stars' full television schedule is expected to be released in the next week. Below are the eight games that were selected as national broadcasts:

Dec. 3 at Edmonton, TSN
Jan. 3 at Edmonton, CBC
Jan. 12 vs. Detroit, VERSUS
Feb. 23 vs. San Jose, VERSUS
Mar. 17 at Vancouver, TSN
Mar. 18 at Calgary, TSN
Mar. 30 at Phoenix, VERSUS
Apr. 7 at Minnesota, VERSUS

-Practice this week has been with the Denver Broncos, the same team that they will face Saturday night in their second preseason game. Apparently, it can’t get here quickly enough for either team. Flozell Adams got into a pushing match with Broncos defender Marcus Thomas, ripped his helmet off and began flinging it at Thomas as they were engulfed by a pile of players from both teams. A friendly workout instantly became ugly, as it seems like both teams are tired of seeing each other's faces. This makes for a great heated match tomorrow.

-Linebacker Kevin Burnett will undergo arthroscopic surgery today on his sprained right knee. The surgery is said to just be a minor cleanup by the Cowboys, who expect Burnett to miss no more than two weeks. He should be ready for the season opener Sept. 7 at Cleveland.

-Hard Knocks has been nothing but entertaining, and we are just 2 episodes in. If you have not yet checked out this show I highly recommend it! Here are brief highlights of Episode 1 and Episode 2.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Going Down Swinging

When this Texas Ranger team officially waves the white towel regarding their now faint playoff hopes, everyone will know the reason. The pitching has always been pretty dreadful in Arlington, but it has become a whole new category of bad this season. Last night's game in Boston proved that no matter how explosive this offense is, it will be for nothing. No matter how many base hits, homeruns, and comebacks this Rangers offense can bring, it will not change the fact that this baseball team is helpless in watching their pitching give up run after run.

The Cowboys weren't playing the Patriots, yet the scoreboard read 19-17 as the Rangers lost yet again last night, despite staging a display of comebacks and explosive offense that we have seen all season long. This loss was like nothing seen before, even from a franchise that has always had the reputation of great offense and questionable pitching. Only one other time have the Rangers come back from being 10 runs down in a game to take the lead. They did that in 2004 against the Tigers. Texas won that game.

Now, The Rangers have fallen eight games behind the Red Sox in the wild-card standings and may have fallen back even more in the mental playoff race. Marlon Byrd put it best after the game when he said, "I just don't know how many times we can do this," who went 5-for-5 and reached on an error in his sixth at-bat. "To be 10 runs down, to come back to take the lead and then to lose, it's just too mentally and physically draining. It gets old."

Before the game, things were looking up. The Rangers offense was out of their mini-slump after putting up 15 runs against the Baltimore Orioles Sunday night. The 4 games before that Texas averaged only 1 run, even getting shutout twice. Texas was now entering a 3-game series against their wild card foe, in a perfect opportunity to gain ground in the playoff hunt. Scott Feldman, one of the few positive players in the rotation, was given the nod to start. Needless to day, Feldman was terrible. He gave up 10 runs in the first inning and 12 in the first three innings. Feldman called his play "embarrassing" after the game, which is how the Rangers pitchers have probably felt all season long. The staff ERA now stands at 5.37, the worst in the AL by more than half a run. The starting rotation ERA is 5.63; since 1900, only 14 teams have finished a season with a higher rotation ERA. It is truly remarkable that the same team that has the best offense in the majors also has the worst pitching. I still can't believe this team has a winning record.

The only positive thing that can be taken from last night's melee was that this Rangers team sure doesn't give up very easily. "I think everybody in the stadium and in Massachusetts thought it was over when they got up 10-0," Ron Washington said. "But one thing I can say about my guys is they never stop fighting. I'm proud of that. We never stopped fighting, but we just couldn't stop them tonight." Scoring 17 runs is pretty impressive in a baseball game, and to do it against the Boston Red Sox on the road makes the feat seem greater. However, all they had to show for it was another loss. The 36 runs scored tied an American League record for most runs in a game. The Rangers are the first AL team in at least 50 years to score 17 runs in a game and lose. Texas did at one point have a 16-15 lead when manager Ron Washington gave the ball to Francisco, his most reliable reliever over the last two months. Francisco gave up 4 runs in the bottom of the 8th to finally seal the Rangers' fate.

Emotions after the game from the team ran from prideful in the way the offense refused to give up to stunned in how the loss played out. Texas is not mathematically out of the wild-card race at all, but chances sure are sure looking slim. The Rangers MUST win these next 2 games against Boston to have any chance at all. We know Texas can put the run support up, but who knows how much the pitching staff will give up. We need a miracle in Texas, and we need it now.


Monday, August 11, 2008

High Points and Low Points: Cowboys Vs. Chargers Wrap Up

The Cowboys finally returned to action Saturday in their first of four preseason games. Though the scoreline didn't end favorably--a 31-17 loss--the 'Boys will be able to take away many positives from this outing.


#1: Starting offense: Drove right down the field on their only possession and made the Chargers "D" look like water. Tony "Tabloid" Romo was 3-3, Patrick Crayton had a nice 16 yard grab, and Marion Barber continued where he left off last season.

#2: Starting Defense: If you went to the bathroom after Dallas kicked the ball off to the Chargers, you would have come back to Tony Romo and the offense driving down the field...that's how quick the defense silenced San Diego. The Defensive line provided suffocating pressure on Rivers, the great LB corps stopped the run very effectively and Anthony Henry reminded us all why he is a starting cornerback.

#3: Felix Jones: Jerry Jones looks like a genius thus far, after drafting fellow Razorback Felix Jones. Not only did he display his bursting speed with 5.3 yards per carry, but also had a 28 yard reception on a screen pass. He effortlessly weaved through the defense like he had been in the league for years.

#4: Miles Austin: Sam Hurd is the player most mentioned as the new #3, but Austin showed on Saturday that he is going to make it a tougher decision for Wade Phillips. With 5 catches for 64 yards, he kepy many drives alive. Known more for his speed than his ability as a possession receiver, he displayed his versatility and played very physical and very solid. Many of his catches were not easy, either.

#5: Bobby Carpenter: The lineback from Ohio State had a sub-par season last year, but clearly showed he has since rebounded. He led the defense after the first team exited, and recorded a game-high 9 tackles. Had great reads and also showed pretty solid pass coverage.

#6: Rookie Conerbacks: Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick both played well. Jenkins got a little first team action, and played tight defense on the San Diego Wideouts. Broke up a nice pass, and had wonderful recovery speed. Scandrick was good in coverage, too. He also had a great hit on QB Charlie Whitehurst, though it gave him a temporary shoulder injury.

#7: Tashard Choice: a bit of an afterthought after Felix Jones' performance, but impressive nonetheless. He had 7 carries for 40 yards, including a 19 yard touchdown run. Choice is rumored to be playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, as he was upset about going in the 4th round of the draft after leading the ACC in rushing his final two years. We at DallasDedicated like when players want to prove their worth.


#1: Return Game: This was the biggest weakness during Saturday's outing. Danny Amendola lost a fumble on a punt return, Isiah Stanback almost was obliterated after hurdling a player on a kick return...and that was just on our side of the ball. The return defense was even worse. The Chargers had four punt returns in the game and averaged over 20 yards a return. This obviously gave them much better field position and put the defense against the wall every time. Missed tackles were everywhere, and it seemed effortless for a returner to bounce outside and turn the corner.

#2: Adam Jones: We are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, here, since he has been out of action for over a year. However, his pass coverage was sub-par and his tackling was even worse. Two missed tackles--completely missed, as in tackling the air--and a costly pass interference penalty made it a rough outing for Pacman. But, as he plays more and gets reacclimated to professional football, he will be fine.

#3: Martellus Bennet: This one will come with a grain of salt, as well. Really, he was only thrown to twice and caught one very difficult ball. The other, though, is one that sticks out in memory, since we are used to Pro Bowler Jason Witten making similar catches all the time. Bennet had the ball, but it was jarred out by a Chargers defender--something a tight end of his size should not let happen. was his first game in the NFL, and he was the first to admit his mistake in a post-game interview. So we'll let it slide.

#4: Turnovers: Two key turnovers led to Charger touchdowns: Brad Johnson's interception and Danny Amendola's fumble. Without these mental errors, it is a tie game.

#5: Penalties: A huge thorn in the side from last year carried over to this game. The Cowboys were flagged 7 times for 96 yards as opposed to San Diego's 1 for 10 yards. There were two crucial pass interference pentalites (Jones and Hamlin) that put the Chargers inside the 5 yard line both times.

Overall, not a bad outing by Dallas. The squad dominated in total yards, but had too many penalties and costly turnovers. Expect both of these mishaps, along with the poor return game, to improve for the next preseason game on August 16 at Denver. Keep in mind, too, that the starting lineups effectively dominated the Chargers, who appeared in the AFC Title game last season. A much crisper, less nervous second team will surely be on display on Saturday.


--Rangers closer CJ Wilson is having season-ending elbow surgery. It was clear his arm was in issue, as his ERA ballooned to 13 over his last 11 games.

--The Rangers are 6.5 games out of the wild card race, and open a crucial three game series at Boston on Tuesday. If Texas can win the series, their hopes may still be alive; if not, the Red Sox may be too hard to catch.


Michael Phelps continued his race for 8 gold medals, as he won gold in the 4X100 Freestyle relay last night (or day, in China). It was truly one of the best races in olympics history. The French, who were favored heavily, made a huge mistake by saying they were "going to smash [the U.S.]". Jason Lezak, the final leg swimmer, made them pay and set the best split ever in a 100 meter relay (46.06).


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Cowboys Closing Statements

As the Dallas Cowboys begin the start of their "Run to the Super Bowl" season tonight against San Diego in the first of four preseason games, Dallas fans are feeling a level of excitement and anitcipation that has not been felt since the mid '90s. Everyone within the Cowboys organization claim that anything short of a 6th Super Bowl trophy on Jerry Jones' mantel equals a disappointing season. While last season's 13-3 regular season seemed magical at times, the ending result causes concern.

The Cowboys had a 12-1 last season heading into Week 15 against division rival Philadelphia. The only loss at that point had come against the then-undefeated New England Patriots, who the Cowboys played relatively well against the entire game. It seemed as if the Cowboys would never lose, even beating Buffalo on a last second field goal despite the fact that Tony Romo had an incredible 5 turnovers. What transpired Week 15 was a win by the Eagles, who held the explosive Cowboys offense to just 6 points. That gave Dallas their second loss of the season. In the last 2 games of the season, Dallas had an ugly win over Carolina and then again failed to get a touchdown against Washington, losing 27-6. That put the Cowboys at 1-3 for the finish of the 2007 season, destroying any and all momentum they had built up during the entire season.

We all know what happened in the first round of the playoffs, as the Giants picked apart the Cowboys defense and got the upset win, 21-17. The Giants went on to become champs while the Cowboys again had a long offseason to think about what went wrong. The Cowboys have not won a playoff game since the 1996 season, and the only real explanation for the very winnable games that resulted in the Cowboys defeat the last two playoff games is the fact that all mometum built up in the regular season had depleted come playoff time. Let's look at the past five years and how Dallas has finished the regular season:

2003: Started 7-2, finished 3-5
2004: Started 5-7, finished 1-3
2005: Started 7-3, finished 2-4
2006: Started 9-6, finished 0-2
2007: Started 12-1, finished 1-3

This is a trend that must be reversed this season for the Cowboys to have any chance at making a run for the Super Bowl. The 2008 Boys certainly appear to have the most overall talent since the Aikman-glory days, so the Cowboys must focus on sustaining the high level of play they usually start the season with through the end and into the postseason.

Some of the blame must go to America's quarterback, Tony Romo. Tony was cheered for his 97.4 passer rating in last year's regular season, but the numbers could have been better had it not been for those last 4 games. He had a career-worst 22.2 rating in that Week 15 home loss to the Eagles. Fans quickly ignored that performance until Romo then completed only 7 of 16 passes with a pick in just a half of work in Washington (a 34.9 rating) for the season finale. Both seasons of being the starting Cowboys QB, Romo's passer rating has dropped for the final few games of the season. In the 2006 season, Romo's rating for the season was 95.1 but just 75.5 the last 5 remaining games. The interceptions have also increased in the latter part of the '06 and '07 seasons.

The Cowboys have a great chance to overcome these dismal regular season closing statements. The team has not lost anyone significant, and the additions of Zach Thomas, Adam Jones and Felix Jones can do nothing but help this already stacked team. As long as head coach Wade Phillips keeps the consistency alive throughout the regular season, this Cowboys team will be quite a handful come playoff time.

In other Dallas sports news:
-Dirk Nowitzki looked like the happiest man in Beijing last night in the Olympic opening ceremonies as he held the German flag in front of the millions watching around the world. One Maverick (or should I say ex-Mav) who was most likely not happy was draft pick Shan Foster, who was told that he would not make this year's team. Foster has since signed a one-year deal with a team in Europe. We here at DallasDedicated hope that he comes back to the U.S. next off-season as a better basketball player ready to impress the Mavs staff.

-Jerry Jones is contemplating having the HBO Hard Knocks cameras stay around for the entire regular season. Hopefully having even more cameras in the faces of the Cowboys during the regular season does not distract the team from the task at hand.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Movin' On Up

Like The Jeffersons, DallasDedicated is moving on up. We are slowly gaining popularity, and we couldn't be more thrilled...

Recently Most Valuable Network e-mailed us and asked if we wouldn't mind giving our Mavs expertise on some related questions. We obliged and this is all that went down in the exclusive interview:

MVN: I've read where Charles Rhodes is likely to be invited to training camp, but is not a lock. What do you think?
DallasDedicated: I think that as long as he does not decide to go to Europe, he is a lock for camp. Hopefully he doesn't chase that very enticing Euro. He has gone from being a forgotten and un-drafted rookie to a guy with a legitimate shot at being in the rotation on a title contending Dallas Mavericks team.

MVN: Does the presence of Brandon Bass (an SEC product out of LSU) hurt Rhodes' chances? The Mavericks offered Bass and Jerry Stackhouse to Sacramento for Ron Artest, but the Kings chose to send Ronnie to another team in Texas, which leads to my next question......
DD: Bass and Rhodes are very similar, which in the long run could end up hurting one or the other--obviously at this point most likely Rhodes. But last season, the front line was very thin and another Bass-like player could do nothing but help. One thing that critics say hurts the Mavs team is that they do not have enough tough inside presence, which Charles Rhodes can definitely help provide.

MVN: What's Bass' trade value and are you willing to give him up? If it's your opinion that the Mavs must make a move to get back to the NBA Finals, what would be a reasonably hypothetical dream trade scenario?
DD: Obviously, if the right deal came about, we would have to part ways with Bass. He still has a lot of potential and could develop into a very good player, but he still will play behind Dirk. A strong two-guard with nice range would be about the only offer for Bass that could improve the team...especially if Rhodes proved he could take Bass' spot.
Jason Kidd should be much better under Rick Carlisle--freedom to do what he does best: run the break. That should cover the one, three (Howard) and four (Dirk) spots. A move like Terry/Stackhouse and a reserve for someone like Corey Magette or Monta Ellis would be solid. Ideally, an upcoming free agent after this season (LeBron, Wade, etc.) would be a finals-clinching pick up. Then the only weakness would be at the five. Good centers are a rare commodity, and if Diop and Damp can play strong together, then that would be an ideal squad. But, the fact alone that we offered Bass in a trade for Artest shows that the Mavericks organization thinks of him as expendable.

MVN: From watching Rhodes, what's your opinion of his NBA-level strengths and weaknesses?
DD: He shoots a very high percentage, and even has a pretty decent mid range jumper. Though he is relatively short for a power forward, he rebounds adequately, similar to Bass. His post defense has been impressive, but he is not a big shot blocker and can get in foul trouble quickly. His biggest improvement will need to be overall basketball IQ, which many rookies need work with. He is a very raw scorer, and can easily be molded into a power force. He has nothing but potential, which I know Rick Carlisle and the Mavs assistants could turn into more strengths.

MVN: James Singleton or Charles Rhodes: who do you pick? (factoring in Singleton's guaranteed contract)
DD: Charles Rhodes and James Singleton are too much alike to give both contracts too, especially when factoring in that Brandon Bass will already consume most of the backup power forward minutes. While Singleton's contract is guaranteed, GM Donnie Nelson has already made it clear that buying out a player's contract that is guaranteed is not out of the question. Also, Singleton is coming off major knee surgery and has had multiple shots at the NBA-level. Rhodes over Singleton easily.

MVN: The Mavs have another Mississippi State product in Erick Dampier, who led the Bulldogs to the Final Four in 1996. What do you like, and dislike about his game? Was signing him to a 7-year, $63 million contract in '04 a mistake? Is Erick Dampier a center the Mavs can win a championship with? And, are we looking at a time-share at center between Big Damp and the returned DeSagana Diop?
DD: Dampier is an up and down player. He doesn't have to score a lot of points, and gets a lot of buckets from working the offensive glass. When he wants to be, Damp is one of the best rebounders in the league, especially on the offensive end. Also, his scoring has improved since Jason Kidd's arrival. However, he tends to get into early foul trouble too often and sometimes plays soft. While Dallas let Steve Nash go and used the money saved to sign Erick Dampier, his contract in '04 was not a mistake. He was coming off of a career year of (12 points and 12 rebounds per game in '03) and the Mavs had been lacking a good center for many years (see Shawn Bradley). The way Dallas is most effective is a split between Damp and Diop. This eliminates the worry of foul trouble and they are able to play tougher defense. Together, when on their games, they can rival many centers in the league, and proved it in the '06 Finals run. Damp did not have any competition for minutes after Diop was traded, and having Diop back will motivate Damp to play and practice hard or else Diop becomes the starter. Not many teams have two legitimate centers, and I believe the Mavericks have that again with the signing of Diop.

We want to thank Kyle at MVN for thinking highly enough of our opinions to ask us for an interview. Take some time to check out Kyle's homepage at MVN's site.

In Rangers news: The Rangers could not get the rally going last night, as they lost to the Yankees 5-3. To make matters worse, David Murphy collided at the plate with Ivan Rodriquez and hurt his knee in the 2nd inning. The early prognosis is that the rookie will be out 2-4 weeks. Texas can still get the series win tonight, as Scott Feldman takes on Mike Mussina on the mound.

Speaking of the Mavericks, the season schedule is out! Opening night is October 30 against Ron-Ron and the Rockets. That should be a very interesting matchup. I can't wait to hear the sweet voice of Mark Followill coming out of my television.
Dirk is the official flag-bearer for Germany, and assuming by his haircut, I think he is pretty excited!

Next time: It's football time in Texas again! The Cowboys play Saturday in their first preseason matchup versus the San Diego Chargers. We will bring you all the latest from training camp and give you our thoughts on what it will take for the Cowboys to not just get past the playoff win drought, but also earn a trip to Tampa Bay for the Super Bowl.