Monday, November 24, 2008

Update on Preseason Mavericks

Our friends at Bulldog Maroon and White offered a nice update on former Mavs hopeful Charles Rhodes, who is now playing in Latvia. The game, as many know, is much different over there and can be a hard adjustment for American players to make--just ask Shaun Livingston, the new Greek god of basketball. Rhodes also illustrated this to us in his debut, fouling out in about 10 minutes and receiving a technical as well. But his coach likes his upside, and says he has some serious potential. We will keep you updated as the season progresses and hopefully he will return to Mavs training camp next year. Thanks again to Bulldog for their inside info.

Some other Mavs Training-Camper updates:

Shan Foster--Has played in 6 games for Italian squad Juve Caserta and is averaging 10.7 points per game in 29 minutes of action. Has a career high of 18 points in which he has 6-10 including 3-4 from beyond the arc.

JaJuan Smith--After being cut he signed with a Slovenian team, Union Olimpija. However, after only a week he left the team due to "personal reasons." It is not understood that Smith is a free agent.

Keith Mcleod is also a free agent, not opting to go to Europe, but holding out on an NBA team calling.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Don't Count Out Owens Yet, Dallas Morning News

The Dallas Morning News ran a column on Sunday morning which read: "Cowboys need to give Owens a lesser role." I would summarize it for you, but the writer did a masterful job with the title. Essentially, he proposed that Roy Williams should be given a more focal role in the offense; that it is time for him to slowly replace Terrell Owens. Well, the Morning News should have waited a day, to say the least. Owens exploded today as the Cowboys romped over the lowly San Francisco 49ers, 35-22. With 7 catches for 213 yards and a touchdown, Owens quickly returned to the T.O everyone remembers him as.

The author of the column (who shall remain nameless, since he clearly didn't see the degree to which T.O. would make him look shameful today), was quick to point out that Owens has put up "pedestrian" numbers this year. Not so fast. As he went on to advocate the ascension of Roy Williams, let's slow down and take a look at some facts. Since arriving in Dallas, Williams has been no more productive than Owens. He has accumulated 9 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown. In those same six games, Owens has 24 catches for 351 yards and 2 TDs. Advantage Owens.

Oh but DallasDedicated, Owens had an amazing game today and the article was written yesterday, so you can't count this game. Ok, fair enough, dissenting reader. Minus today's game, Williams is sitting at 6 catches for 74 yards and a TD; Owens is at 22 catches for 138 yards and a score. So, then, tell me who has pedestrian numbers? Tell me who should be in the subservient role?

Now, this is not meant to bash Roy Williams by any means. For one, he is still adjusting to a new offense, a new quarterback, and everything else that comes with a new team. Secondly, both players had to play under Brad Johnson, who should be named the "wide receiver statistics killer." Roy will blossom soon enough, so don't worry about him. However, to say that it is time for Terrell Owens to become the #2 is ludicrous.

The writer does, though, bring up a good point about Williams. He does need to be more involved. A talent such as he should not be consistently accumulating 3 catch games. Once the 'Boys figure out how to incorporate Owens and Williams, Dallas will have the most unstoppable WR duo in the NFL. Congratulations to Owens for disproving negative press with his play, not with his mouth. He even said after the game that "you guys [the press] have been waiting for me to blow up (side note: they have)." With his reputation, Owens is the object of every reporter's antagonistic desires. He has handled the onslaught very nicely, though. Hopefully his play can continue to back up what he believes.

Thumbs up to the Dallas defense. Finally, defensive coordinator Brian Stewart has everyone on the same page and performing at a high level. This has something to to with Wade Phillips being more involved, you say? Well, I agree. Phillips and his masterful defensive mind have combined with the coaching of Stewart to lead this defense towards its full potential.

Thumbs down to Felix Jones being done for the season. As always seems to be the case, promising rookies have a knack for lengthy injuries. We can only hope he returns to training camp next season as the same Felix the tore apart defenses this year. As well, thumbs down to Zach Thomas being robbed of a touchdown. The refs missed that one badly. But, being the classy guy he is, he just laughed it off and let the offense take care of it. We need more players like him.

In other news, the Mavericks are on a roll, winning four straight. Perhaps Carlisle's system has sunk in and the Mavs are ready to return to elite basketball. We're closely following the Jerry Stackhouse story and will be the first to let you know of any developments.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Clinging to Hope: Cowboys-Redskins Preview

The Dallas Cowboys have arguably the biggest game of their season tonight against the Washington Redskins. After Jerry Jones declared that Dallas would assuredly make the playoffs, the implications of this game are even higher. A loss here means much more than an uphill battle to the means a mountain climb. Not to mention the stamp of the "most disappointing team in NFL history." So, what is there to key in on tonight that will be deciding factors? We at DallasDedicated have the answer.

--How will the return of Romo help the 'Boys?

Everyone is hoping that Romo has the missing piece in these last few games, but analysts are quick to point out that the team was in trouble even before his injury. However, the defense has improved tenfold since then, and is now producing close to its potential. A depleted secondary has stepped up and the defensive line has now become dominant. So, we hope Romo can open up the offense, and can give either Owens or Witten a huge day. Really, really huge.

--How will the absence of Clinton Portis help the 'Boys?

Well, I'm glad you asked. Clinton Portis ran for 121 yards in the last meeting earlier this season. Without him, the passing game will not be as open, and hopefully the Dallas D can minimize the effect Santana Moss has on the game, as well. Let's not forget that the Redskins played a near perfect game and only won by 2 points. No Clinton Portis is a huge blow for the 'skins, and great news for Cowboys fans.

--How will Terrell Owens respond to the criticism he has received this season?

Hopefully Owens can respond with a huge game. I say this for two reasons: 1) Because the Cowboys need his output very badly, and 2) if he doesn't, it may lead to a post game blow up, especially if Dallas gets an "L". Owens success keys around the Dallas running game, which has coincidentally been sup-par during his sub-par games. A big game from Barber will open things up for Owens.

--What about Felix Jones?

Another great question, got to love our readers. Today was supposed to be the big return for Big Play Felix, too, but not yet, my friends. Jones didn't practice all week, and is listed as "questionable." Phillips didn't rule out playing him, but don't expect much, if anything. If Jones appears at all, you will most likely see him on a kick return, if they feel like his hamstring can hold up while he sprints at top speed.

--What ever happened to the Pacman Jones Situation?

Actually, Roger Goodell is going to review his suspension following Sunday's games. So, in an ideal world, Pacman would be reinstated soon, though I don't see how Goodell will be so quick to let him back in. Or that the Cowboys/Jerry Jones will allow him to return. If Newman doesn't look 100% in the next couple weeks (assuming he gets in today), I have a feeling Jones will be all over Pacman if possible.

Lastly, Wade Phillips knows that his job is on the line, so he will--hopefully--be coaching like it. Look to see a couple big plays and deep passes--a few more risks than normal. If Dallas loses this game, they will sit last in the NFC East and will need a miracle if they are going to catapult themselves into the playoffs. Quite a change from the preseason hype, but this is the new Dallas team we have to live with. Enjoy tonight. Pray for a victory.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Sun Is Shining Bright Over Mavsville

"The dark clouds have broken over Mavsville. Oh, and the sun is shining!"
That is what play-by-play broadcaster Mark Followill enthusiastically said as the first half ended Tuesday night with the Mavericks up by 18 points on the road against the most hated basketball team in DFW, the San Antonio Spurs. Dallas never looked back, as they maintained a decent lead throughout the game.

Just a couple of days ago, we here at DallasDedicated shared our disappointment with you in the way the sports franchises around here are playing. Maybe the Mavs read this site, because what I saw Tuesday night was something I haven't seen from the Mavs since early last season. The Mavs looked great, elite, unstoppable, even championship-worthy... is that enough superlatives?

Dallas came out firing on all cylinders (53 percent), getting hands in the faces of jumpshooting Spurs (SA shot under 42 percent), and making sure that they were not out-rebounded (Mavs won the boards battle 45-34, first time this season). But, more importantly, the Mavs kept up the intensity in the final quarter. When the Spurs cut the lead to 8 and the crowd got back in the game, the Mavs made sure they got to the basket. The biggest problem thus far has been the Mavs' 4th quarter play. Monday night against Cleveland showed us all how bad things can get for this basketball team when the shots are not falling and the Mavs are refusing to get to the basket. On Tuesday night, this was not the case. Despite only getting to the free throw line 5 times (I see the NBA still loves those Spurs), Dallas made sure to get to the basket and keep the fast break alive despite San Antonio's efforts to slow the game down.

Jason Terry has been, to put it nicely, struggling. The starting shooting guards have been struggling also, and Rick Carlisle couldn't seem to find the right mix of starters yet. Carlisle went with Jet at the starting 2 guard spot Tuesday night, and that may be his decision for the rest of the season. Jason Terry is a very streaky shooter, and when he comes off the bench, it seems like he can't get into the kind of rhythm that works for him. Tuesday night this was not a problem, as Terry started and had 29 points on 62 percent shooting. Not only was he on fire throughout the game, but he also had 6 assists and 3 boards. While Dirk overshadowed his scoring by putting up 30 of his own, Terry was by far the player of the game. If Terry is indeed given the starting spot permanently, this offense will cause many problems for opposing teams.

This season won't be so frustrating after all if the Mavs can develop some consistency game after game. The next test will be Friday night in Denver, where the Mavs get the pleasure of getting to be part of the Chauncey Billups debut.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Cowboys, Stars, and Mavericks...let's all give a collective sigh.
The Mavericks are off to a rough start, as well as their arena-sharing Stars. The Mavs are only 3 games in, but things are looking as if it could be a long season. The Allas Stars (because there is no 'd' in Dallas) have played in 4 times more games, and the defense and goaltending is looking dreadful. Could we be in for a depressing season from both franchises that call AAC home?

As for those Dallas Cowboys, never has there been more hatred for a player by Cowboys fans than the lynching demanded for Brad Johnson. It has gotten so bad that DallasDedicated has done research to see what Quincy Carter and Chad Hutchinson have been doing lately.

And let's not even discuss the Texas Rangers and FC Dallas, who are both on long vacations without even a chance for playoff runs. It seems as if everything we root for here at DallasDedicated ends up losing (which is not good news for John McCain, who just-so-happens to call himself a Maverick). Get into some comfortable attire, make some tea, and sit back as we all do some constructive criticism of all things sports around this cursed city they call Dallas, Texas...

The Cowboys were almost a unanimous favorite by everyone in America to be the team to come out of the NFC as a Super Bowl candidate. Dallas came out strong and dominate early on this season, and they became admittedly overconfident. Then...Romo, Felix, T-New, Roy 31, and others went down with injuries, Backup Brad entered the game, and now the Cowboys stand last in the NFC East with a must-win on their hands coming against Washington in 2 weeks. While the Cowboys have been pretty bad before Tony Romo and T.O. entered our lives, this would be by far the most disappointing season if the 'Boys come out against Washington looking like the same, lackluster, defenseless team we saw even before Romo's pinkie-ache.

Wade Phillips and the rest of the Dallas coaching staff seem to not be as worried as they should be. There is a "flip the switch" attitude that the team seem to have. The Cowboys organization seem to think that once the team becomes healthy again everything will be just fine, and that the dominance they had early this season will return. This kind of attitude scares me. You would think that after all the humiliation America's Team has gone through, that they would not take any game or upcoming opponent for granted. Dallas MUST win the next game against Washington, or else the Cowboys will sit at .500 with just 6 games ahead of them. 10-6 is the worst possible record they can get to recieve a wild card playoff spot, and this team must buckle down, get focused, and begin to play to their potential. Romo, Terence Newman, and Felix Jones will all be back in the lineup, but will the team respond positively to adversity?

The Stars, after a suprisingly nice playoff run last season, decided to add some young prospects in Fabian Brunnstrom and Krys Barch. Both scored in their NHL debutes (Brunnstrom scored 3 times that night) to show promise for this season. While the offense has been strong in most games, the other team's offense has been better.
For Turco's career (even at the University of Michigan), Turco's Goals-Against-Average has been no worse than 2.6 goals per game. Marty this season currently sits at 4.34 for his GAA and a save percentage of just .837. Those numbers are dreadful, and not even Marty seems to have an answer as to why. The defense hasn't helped Turco out at all during this slump, as they have also made many mistakes. The penalty kill has been subpar, and countless turnovers in their own zone have caused Turco to face more scoring oppurtunities than ever before. The Stars currently sit at 4-6-2; they must turn this around before the season gets any older. Seven times in 12 games this season Dallas has given up five or more goals, one shy of the number of five-goal games the Stars allowed in the entire 2007-08 season. Will having nearly a week off before the game Friday against the first-place Ducks help mentally prepare the Stars to become more focused on the defensive end?

On to the team that is the biggest mystery thus far, the Mavericks. We've all heard what the critics have to say, and the Mavs are ignoring that. What the Mavs are also ignoring is getting to the basket in crunch time. A very scary trend is going on with this Mavericks team, and Rick Carlisle must address this now. The fast break is working very well, but when the game slows down in the 4th quarter and half-court sets become the only offensive action, the Mavericks completely avoid getting to the basket and shoot jumper after jumper. It's shocking that this continue to happens. If the entire crowd at the AAC can see the problem, why can't the coaching staff?

Rick Carlisle continues to tinker with the lineups, which is understandable, considering he is a new coach. However, the West is better than ever, and there is no window to be experimenting. Inconsistency within the lineup has us at DallasDedicated scratching our heads. Antoine Wright starts Game 1, yet gets a DNP the next game in Minnesota. Wright is then placed back in the starting lineup last night versus Cleveland, yet Stackhouse gets 0 minutes after getting the start the previous game. JJ Barea and Gerald Green see no action in the home opener against Houston, yet twice last night Rick Carlisle went with a lineup of Barea, Terry, Green, Bass, and Diop. Jason Terry hasn't found his shooting, Stackhouse has lost his since last season, and Bass has only been solid during short spurts. Jason Terry put it best when he said last night, "I’ll tell you which lineup I like. I like the winning lineup." Hopefully Carlilsle finds the right mix of players fast. Like I said last week, even the year that the Mavs had 67 wins they began 0-4, but last night's effort really made me less confident in this Mavs team. Tonight should be no easier, where the Mavs are on the road against the desperate 0-2 Spurs (who haven't started 0-3 since they were an ABA team).

It is surely no time for panic yet here in Dallas, as things can quickly turn positive. The Cowboys are just one winning streak away from becoming the favorites again, and the Mavs and Stars are just getting started in their long seasons. However, we here at DallasDedicated are hoping we won't have to change our site name to how we are feeling at the moment...DallasDisappointed.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Dr. Diary: Cowboys vs. Giants

The second installment of our "Dr. Diary" series, NFL style.

3:03 - Great, the Titans missed the field goal to win the game, which means overtime. Which also means a possible delay on the Cowboys game. Someone score, fast!

3:07 - My pregame excitement just tapered off, as i remembered Brad Johnson is our starting QB...

3:12 - Man, the oddsmakers must be Cowboys fans--the line is only 8 points. Defending Super Bowl Champs at 6-1 against the struggling Cowboys with Johnson at QB...and it's only an 8 point line. Interesting. And a small confidence boost. If Vegas believes, so do I!

3:18 - Did anyone else notice the Giants don't have their logo at midfield; instead, they have the NFL logo. Suck ups.

3:25 - Touchdown, New York. Thumbs down to the pass coverage on that drive. 7-0 Giants.

3:28 - First offensive play from scrimmage goes as everyone assumed. Johnson can't escape the pressure and throws it into the ground. Jolly.

3:34 - Defense steps it up and forces the Giants to punt. Which was an awful, awful, high school worthy punt. But of course the Cowboys were offsides, so scrap that and let's do it again.

3:40 - What a catch by newcomer Roy Williams! A great one-handed snag, and, i have to admit, a nice throw.

3:41 - Take it all back. A horrid throw by Johnson is picked off. Thank goodness for Patrick Crayton for saving a touchdown. Thousands of fans across the Country are throwing their remotes at the TV while screaming "Give Bollinger a chance!" Or let Romo throw left handed at this point!

3:48 - 14-0, Giants. I don't want to talk about it.

3:58 - I receive a text message from a friend simply says "put [explicative] Bollinger in!" after Johnson was unable to outrun a 350 pound fatty. My sentiments exactly.

4:03 - Yet ANOTHER offsides penalty against the 'Boys. The 4th already. Unbelievable. On the other hand, Bollinger is WARMING UP! Who ever knew I could say that with such excitement.

4:06 - Graphic comes across the scream saying Plaixco Burress has just made his 500th career reception. Are the Giants going to fine him for that too?

4:08 - Cowboys recover a Manning fumble! Now, barring a turnover, we will get on the board.

4:11 - How ironic am I? Cowboys turn it over. You can't really blame Owens, it was his first ever fumble as a Cowboy. The last time he coughed up the ball was in 2004 with the Eagles. Really bad timing, however.

4:17 - Mike Jenkins! Mike Jenkins! Mike Jenkins! Mike Jenkins! The rookie gets his first NFL interception and takes it to the house. 14-7 Giants. Back in the game thanks to the ever-improving defense.

4:26 - We get more penalties than a sorority flag football team that doesn't know what "flag guarding" is.

4:30 - Joe Buck and Troy Aikman got me all excited about Bollinger warming up and about to go in, yet Johnson comes back out onto field. I'm approaching a whole new level of depression.

4:32 - Guess what? Another INT for Brad "I suck at QB" Johnson. My astute girlfriend notes that "He sucks balls! He's old, get him a walker!" She's learning well...

4:43 - "I'm sure there are Dallas Cowboys fans across the country wondering what does it take to get Brooks Bollinger into the game? I think they've had enough of Johnson." The best comment I've ever heard from Joe Buck--and he's a good commentator. What's the worst that could happen?

5:04 - Finally, Bollinger enters the game. Don't get too excited, his first throw was intercepted. This is a living nightmare.

5:20 - New question: What on earth is wrong with the offensive line? Cannot protect or run block whatsoever.

5:25 - Good news, we recover a NY fumble. Bad news, it doesn't matter.

5:27 - If I'm Marion Barber, I'm pissed. He hasn't gotten one block this entire game. Every run is going to end in Barber being swarmed by defenders at the line of scrimmage and there's nothing he can do about it.

5:29 - Good news, a Dallas first down. Bad news, it was from a NY penalty.

5:30 - The lone bright spot today: Martellus Bennet. Two solid catches this half, and stretched nicely to get a rare first down. Next play= Barber getting stuffed again, no thanks to any of the other 10 guys on the field. Oh, and Leonard Davis got hurt, too.

5:35 - Tashard "The Right" Choice bursts for a twelve yard run despite Aikman's jinxing of Dallas' drive. Aikman is probably just giving me false hope to latch on to with his comments about a Dallas touchdown putting us back into the game. It doesn't make sense to me, but I'm intrigued.

5:41 - It's official, Bollinger is better than Johnson. This is based solely on completing a pass that wasn't a dump down.

5:45 - Oh my, a touchdown! Bollinger to Owens. A very nice drive. It's good news, but the real good news is that the new James Bond movie comes out in 2 weeks.

5:51 - Is anyone else sick of the new '09 Ford F-150 commercials yet?

6:20 - Game over. Finally. That was painful to say the least. Thank goodness for the upcoming bye week and the (hopeful) return of Tony Romo for the next game against Washington, a must win game.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Good News/Bad News in the Mavs Home Opening Loss

With the Mavs 112-102 loss to the Rockets, critics around the Dallas area are already down on this season. Randy Galloway of ESPN radio and the Fort Worth Star Telegram claims that while the Mavs will be a lot of fun to watch through the first 3 quarters, 50 wins at best will be the result. We here at DallasDedicated want everyone to take a deep breath, as we play "Good News/Bad News"...

THE GOOD NEWS: If Game 1 of the long season taught us anything, it was that Jason Kidd is no overrated joke. Not only did he put up 12 assists, but he also racked up 7 boards and 7 points on 50 percent shooting. Not to mention his 2 impressive steals and short stints on guarding T-Mac.
THE BAD NEWS: Jason Kidd is 35 years old, and he will obviously not be able to play all 48 minutes. This means that a player off the bench will have to play backup point, a job that seems to be Jason Terry's this season. The offense looks so stagnant when Kidd sits, forcing the Mavs to force jumpers or just go to Dirk on every possession. And when Dirk AND Kidd sit....ugly.

THE GOOD NEWS: The fastbreak looked very efficient and impressive as the Mavs nearly doubled the Rockets in FB points throughout the night. 33 points in the first quarter!
THE BAD NEWS: 33 points in the first are indeed impressive, but Houston scored 32. Want some more bad news? 16 points were all that was scored by Dallas in the final quarter on 20 percent shooting, and it was because the tempo of the game became slower. This is typically what happens in the final minutes of NBA games, and we here at DallasDedicated hope that this does not become a trend within this team. The Mavs have been nearly unbeatable over the last 3 seasons when Howard scores over 20 AND the Mavs score over 100. J-Ho had 28 points, the Mavs got to 102, but Houston managed to score 112 of their own.

THE GOOD NEWS: Dirk and Josh Howard reminded us all just how important they are to this Mavs team. Dirk played great, as he had 36 points (including 14-14 from the free throw line). Josh Howard shot over 50 percent with 28 points, including 11 rebounds in 41 minutes of action. During one point in the third quarter I texted by co-blogger Patrick with the following message: "Dirk is unbelievable!"
THE BAD NEWS: Howard and Nowitzki combined for just 3 points in the final quarter, and nobody else took the initiative of stepping up and picking up the slack. The plus-minus totals for the Mavs' reserves pretty much sum up how bad the bench was:
-Jason Terry -- minus-16 in 30:56
-Brandon Bass -- minus-14 in 24:14
-Jerry Stackhouse -- minus-21 in 17:47
-DeSagana Diop -- minus-18 in 10:52
The bench must improve or else this season will be a LOOOOONG one.

THE GOOD NEWS: T-Mac was held to just 16 points on 3-10 shooting. Antoine Wright was given the starting job and his first assignment was to cover McGrady.
THE BAD NEWS: McGrady's bad game was not at all because of Wright's defense. Houston's coaching staff admitted after the game that McGrady's health status was at best 80 percent, and it showed throughout the game. T-Mac sat for the entire 4th quarter and watched his Rockets go on a 16-2 spurt without him. As for Antoine Wright, he was dreadful on offense (1-6 from the field) and a non-factor on defense. He only played 17 minutes, and most of the defensive matchup assignments throughout the game for T-Mac and Artest were done by Howard, Stackhouse, and Kidd. Rick Carlisle must get more production from his shooting guards. Wright showed everyone in the preseason that he is fully capable of being the elite stopper of this Dallas team, so hopefully this was just a bad game. We will see soon if Terry gets put back into the starting spot or if Gerald Green is given minutes.

THE GOOD NEWS: It is only one game. Everybody needs to take a deep breath and relax. The Mavs lost, but many parts of their game looked promising. Jason Terry said after the game, "We played well in stretches, we just didn’t sustain it to beat a good team. We’ll get there. We’re not there yet." Jet is exactly right, and Rick Carlisle will make sure that this team improves on the defensive end and on closing out the game. Keep in mind, 2 seasons ago when Dallas won 67 games, they began the season 0-4.
THE BAD NEWS: It is only one game. This could be a long season if the Mavs don't figure out how to play defense down the stretch and get to the basket. Closing out games has been the biggest headscratcher since the arrival of Jason Kidd, and the Western Conference is too good to be losing close games down the stretch. Let's see how the Mavs look tonight on the road against Minnesota.

Coming tomorrow: DallasDedicated will bring you the second edition of our running diary, but this time it will be of the Cowboys game against the New York Football Giants. Stay tuned! Also, next week we will discuss the Dallas Stars, who are having a rough start of their own.