Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says the kneel-down to end a game should ... - New York Daily News

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning #10 takes a knee and Tampa Bay Buccaneers try to break through in the final seconds in the second half when the New York Jets played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, September 16, 2012 at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. New York Giants won 41-34. (Robert Sabo/New York Daily News) GIANTS V TAMPA

Robert Sabo/New York Daily News

Eli Manning ends up on his backside as he attempts to kneel down at the end of the Giants win over the Bucs Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

If the Cowboys are leading the Buccaneers by a touchdown on Sunday and Tony Romo gets laid out trying to take a knee on the final play of the game, you won’t hear any cries of foul play from Jerry Jones.

The Dallas Cowboys owner told the Dallas Morning News Tuesday that he thinks the kneel-down to end a game should be outlawed because it’s “a wasted play for our fans.”

“I don’t like it,” Jones said of the kneel-down when discussing the way the Giants’ 41-34 win over the Buccaneers, the Cowboys’ next opponent, ended on Sunday. With the Giants up by a touchdown, Eli Manning took the ball from center and was knocked onto his keister while trying to take a knee after Tampa Bay’s defensive line rushed an unsuspecting Giants o-line.

“Lamar Hunt tried several times to introduce a rule to have it voted on that you couldn’t kneel down, you had to run a play,” the 69-year-old Cowboys owner said. “Unless you were going to try to advance the ball, then you got a penalty and the time didn’t run off the clock. It’s not a good play.”

KNEELDOWN20S_2_WEB

Jerry Jones - Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Giants coach Tom Coughlin gave Bucs rookie coach Greg Schiano an earful when they met at midfield following the game, scolding the former Rutgers coach for violating an unwritten rule.

“You don’t do that in this league,” Coughlin, who was clearly furious, said after the game. “You jeopardize the offensive line, you jeopardize the quarterback. Thank goodness we didn’t get anybody hurt â€" that I know of.”

“I don’t know if that’s not something that’s done in the National Football League,’’ an unapologetic Schiano said. “What I do with our football team is that we fight until they tell us ‘Game over.’ There’s nothing dirty about it. There’s nothing illegal about it. We crowd the ball like a sneak defense and try to knock it loose.”

The NFL seemed to agree with Schiano, saying Monday that his Bucs didn’t violate any NFL rules by rushing the Giants on what has become a routine play to run out the clock in NFL games.

“If people watched Rutgers they would know that’s what we do at the end of a game,” Schiano added. “We’re not going to quit. That’s just the way I coach and teach our players.”

Giants players â€" including their anything-but-controversial quarterback Eli Manning â€" clearly disagreed with Schiano, calling the play a “cheap shot” and “bush league.” But Jones doesn’t seem to have a problem with what the play means to the players â€" he’s concerned about the fans.

“I’ve always thought (the kneel-down was) a wasted play for our fans,” he said.

What probably had the Giants even more chapped was the fact that Manning says he told the Bucs as he walked up to the line of scrimmage that he was taking a knee.

"I said as I walked up, 'Hey, we're taking a knee,' but obviously they were down and ready and I had a feeling they were about to fire off," Manning told Mike Francesa on WFAN Tuesday. "There's nothing I can really do about it. I have to make sure I get the snap and the only thing I'm worried about right there is securing the ball and making sure we get the win."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cowboys Will Spoil Doug Martin's Early Success - Bleacher Report

Sunday reminded Cowboys fans what a bad taste in the mouth is like.  After 11 days of over-exaggeration on opening day, reality creeps in and they realize that the stars haven’t just quite aligned for the Cowboys yet.

With 11 days off, it is hard to imagine that the meticulous Jason Garrett failed to prepare his Dallas Cowboys for their trip to the corner of the America.  Josh Ellis, (writer for Dallas Cowboys.com) tweeted, “I don’t think they were unprepared.  I think they got punched in the mouth.  As Mike Tyson said, everybody’s got a plan until they get hit in the mouth.”

With the honeymoon from the inspirational season-opening victory over, the Cowboys need to quickly figure out what went wrong on Sunday.  Specifically how they are going to stop rookie running back sensation for the Tampa Bay Bucs, Doug Martin. 

One thing I have noticed from watching the Giants vs Bucs game is this kid’s spin move. Wow.  Martin has good burst, and is excellent at finding the hole and running North-South.  Not much dancing, and not much East-West action.

To stop Doug Martin, the Cowboys need to make the Bucs one-dimensional, which they have the personnel and talent to do so. Along with the current personnel, Jay Ratliff should  be ready to go after sitting out the first two contests with an ankle sprain. 

The Bucs operate a ‘run-first’ offense which thrives off the play-action pass. Against the Giants, even Josh Freeman was able to exploit their depleted secondary.  When Martin touched the ball, he showed excellent burst, but not a punishing style like the Cowboys faced with Marshawn Lynch.  This is to the Cowboys advantage, as their team speed is excellent.

With Romo’s tremendous record against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this week looks to be a fresh glass of mouthwash.  An early lead by the Cowboys will keep the Bucs out of their comfort zone and force Josh Freeman to air it out 45-plus times. 

The Cowboys cornerbacks are physical and will match up well against the Bucs receiving corps, helping Rob Ryan call defenses against a desperate offense. 

Stopping Doug Martin will be difficult if the Cowboys allow the Bucs to stay in the game. Multiple interceptions by Eli Manning kept the game closer than it should have been. 

Look for the Cowboys to score early and often and keep this game out of reach of the up and coming Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Also look for the Cowboys to have something special set up for their victory formation; just in case.

Another win this week will lead to more knee-jerk reactions regarding how "amazing" the Cowboys are. If you subscribe to the knee-jerk reactions such as "canning" Felix Jones, firing the non-blitzing Rob Ryan, and believing that the sky is falling, remember we are only two games into the season and nothing is set in stone.

Dallas Cowboys Mired in Mediocrity: Fan Opinion - Yahoo! Sports

When I said before the season that the Dallas Cowboys would finish 7-9 I was accused of not being a "real" fan. Let me say that I am a real fan but I'm also a realist. I look at stats. I see where improvements are needed. I don't simply base my sports opinions on the "eye" test. I believe the Texas Rangers will return to the World Series because they are that good. I knew that the Dallas Mavericks wouldn't repeat as NBA champs due to the fact that they had let the wrong players go. And as much of a fan of the Cowboys that I am I do not see any way this team makes the playoffs.

Yes the Cowboys opened the season with a thrilling win over the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants but it was an injury weakened Giants team and when you think about it they were just a 9-7 team last year. Yes they won the Lombardi trophy but it was a matter of them getting hot at the right time. And I still believe that Eli Manning is overrated and will never be as good as his older brother. Well at least Peyton before the neck injury.

I actually thought that Dallas would beat Seattle but didn't realize just how good that Seahawks team is especially on defense. The Cowboys were outmatched on both sides of the ball. So where are the problems?

First and foremost is the lack of an offensive line. Too often Tony Romo is forced to scramble and unable to rest easy in the pocket. The poor O-line also has the Cowboys ranked 21st in team rushing. If you can't run the ball effectively that's going to lead to a pass heavy team and take away the ability to use the play action pass. This severely limits your offensive production. Not to mention the fact that every coach in the NFL has Jason Garrett's bland play calling figured out.

Second is the wide receiver unit. Dez Bryant has done nothing so far this season, Miles Austin is overrated and Kevin Ogletree is this year's Laurent Robinson. Even Jason Witten has looked unimpressive especially this past Sunday.

Third is special teams play. I realize that Garrett has said that Felix Jones will not return kicks anymore but I'll believe that when I see it. Felix is one of Jerry Jones' boys and will never go away. And to think, we could have had Rashard Mendenhall.

Defensively I can't complain. The Cowboys currently rank ninth in total defense. The only improvement Dallas made in the offseason was upgrading the secondary and it's paid off so far. There are just too many other areas where the team is lacking and it all starts with Jerry Jones as the GM.

So there you have it. I am a fan but I know a mediocre team when I see one and this Dallas Cowboys team is mediocre. Who knows, maybe they'll turn things around and win the NFC east as surprise me. But until that happens I will still watch the games with a bit of caution.

Until next time, I'll see you in the cheap seats!

James Holland has been a fan of the Dallas Cowboys since birth. He survived the Danny White years, celebrated during the Aikman era and suffers once again. You can follow him on Twitter @SDIJamesHolland.

Sources:

http://nfl.com

http://teamrankings.com/nfl

Dallas Cowboys Fantasy Football Week 3: Fan Preview - Yahoo! Sports

Note: The opinions expressed here are my takes on the Dallas Cowboys' key players during the 2012 fantasy football season. As always, use your best judgment and conduct your own research on who to start or bench each week. You know your individual team and/or league situation better than anyone else. All statistics and point totals are based on Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football standard scoring system.

Tony Romo, QB

Romo finished the week earning just 12.94 fantasy points against the Seattle Seahawks. This week he faces a Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense that allowed 29.20 fantasy points to New York Giants' quarterback Eli Manning last week. If Romo can rebound from his disappointing performance last week look for him to put up his standard minimum of 18.00 fantasy points this week.

DeMarco Murray, RB

Like Romo, Murray had a disappointing week earning just 7.50 fantasy points against the Seahawks. This week he faces a Tampa Bay defense that allowed just 3.80 fantasy points to running backs all season. This statistic is frightening to Murray owners who must now make the decision to sit or start. My recommendation would be to evaluate Murray against your bench and the waiver wire if you are uncertain about this unfavorable matchup.

Dez Bryant, WR

Bryant had an abysmal fantasy point performance against the Seahawks last week scoring just 1.70 fantasy points. This week he faces a Tampa Bay defense that allowed a mind boggling 49.80 fantasy points to New York's Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. If Murray is shut down on the ground, look for Romo to air the ball benefiting Bryant. Look for a strong rebound and at least 10.00 fantasy points this week.

Miles Austin, WR

Despite the struggles of the entire Dallas offense last week, Austin came through with 12.30 fantasy points. This week he shares the very favorable matchup with Bryant and an expectation of at least 12.00 fantasy points against Tampa Bay.

Jason Witten, TE

Witten finished the week earning 5.80 fantasy points on four catches against the Seahawks. A major concern coming out of last week was his four dropped passes. This week he faces a Buccaneers' defense that allowed 13.20 fantasy points to Giants' tight end Martellus Bennett last week. Much like the receivers, if Murray is shut down, look for Witten to receive increased targets provided he does not have an early repeat of multiple dropped passes. Look for 8.00 fantasy points this week.

Defense

The Cowboys had a horrible week scoring just 2.00 fantasy points against the Seahawks. This week against Tampa Bay, they face another tough matchup having allowed just 8.00 fantasy points all season. I would recommend looking for a more favorable matchup this week or settle for around 6.00 fantasy points at best.

View last week's Dallas Cowboys' Fantasy Football Preview here.

Sources:

All data provided by Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football

Paul Rados is an avid fantasy football participant and a Featured Contributor for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @PSRados or leave him a message on Facebook.

Dallas Mavericks 2012-13 Season Preview - Bleacher Report

2012 Results

Record: 36-30

Seed: 7th

Playoffs: Swept in first round by Oklahoma City Thunder

Offseason additions

Draft picks: Jae Crowder, Jared Cunningham, Bernard James

Signings/trades: O.J. Mayo, Chris Kaman, Darren Collison, Dahntay Jones, Elton Brand

Subtractions

Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, Ian Mahinmi, Yi Jianlian, Brian Cardinal, Brendan Haywood

Projected starting lineup

C - Chris Kaman

PF - Dirk Nowitzki

Hi-res-115951522_crop_exactMarion is one of only three players remaining from the Mavs' title team.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

SF - Shawn Marion

SG - O.J. Mayo

PG - Darren Collison

What to expect

Two years removed from their first NBA championship, the Dallas Mavericks enter the 2012-13 season looking absolutely nothing like they did during that magical run. Gone is the mainstay and fan favorite Terry, and Kidd went cross-country to sign with the New York Knicks. Of course, last year, Tyson Chandler also inked a deal with the Knicks. Now, only Nowitzki, Marion, and Rodrigue Beaubois remain from that banner-winning ballclub.

To put it plainly, it doesn't appear that the Mavericks have enough to go on the type of journey they did in 2011, but they should have enough to make the playoffs. Also, given the fact that they were swept by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the postseason this past year, you have to give a lot of credit to Mark Cuban and the rest of the Dallas front office for doing a very admirable job in putting together a solid roster this summer.

I love the acquisition of Collison, as the Mavs didn't really give up anything of extraordinary value (Mahinmi) and got back a point guard with great potential. Let's remember that Collison is someone who put together a monster run with the New Orleans Hornets when Chris Paul went down with an injury during the 2009-10 campaign. From February right through the end of the season that year (a total of 35 games), he averaged 19 points and 8.6 assists per contest.

Hi-res-144699662_crop_exactCollison will be vital to the Mavericks.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Mavericks also signed a shooting guard with prolific scoring ability in Mayo. Mayo never really got the chance to truly shine with the Memphis Grizzlies, as he was upstaged by Rudy Gay and defensive wizard Tony Allen. In Dallas, the floor will be all his at the wing spot, and I expect him to feed off of Nowitzki and have a very impressive 2012-13 season.

One other thing I like about the Mavs heading into this year is their depth. By signing Brand and bringing back the likes of Vince Carter and Delonte West, they have a pretty reliable and experienced bench. They also have players such as Brandan Wright and Beaubois to provide a nice spark when needed.

Key player: Collison

I could have just copped out and said Dirk here, but I'm not going to do that.

Cuban went out and got Collison for a reason: he likes his potential. The 25-year-old will be the player who determines how far the Mavericks are going to get in 2013. While Nowitzki may not be the player he once was, you know he is still going to bring it and be good for 20+ points every night. With Collison, no one is too sure yet.

Is Dallas going to get the Collison everyone saw in New Orleans when he was doing his best CP3 impression, or is it going to get the one that was just traded for Mahinmi? That is the key to the Mavericks' 2012-13 campaign.

Hi-res-150637344_crop_exactCrowder could end up being a steal.
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Sleeper: Crowder

A rookie out of Marquette, Crowder may end up being one of the biggest steals of the 2012 NBA Draft.

The Mavs were able to snag him at No. 34 overall, and one can make a legitimate argument that the forward is a first-round talent.

Just look at his numbers.

The 6'6" Crowder averaged 17.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in his final year at Marquette, shooting the ball at a 49.8 percent clip in the process. He also displayed decent range, hitting on 34.5 percent of his three-point attempts.

People call Crowder a "tweener," but I don't think he'll have any problems consistently playing the small forward position on the NBA level. While not overly athletic, he certainly has the physical tools to stay with some of the quicker small forwards in the game, and he undoubtedly has the strength to match up with the bigger ones, as well.

Crowder is one of those players who does everything well but nothing great. Due to his versatility, look for him to contribute on Dallas this season.

Projections

Record: 46-36

Seed: 6th-8th

Playoffs: One-and-done

Final thoughts

The Mavericks will be one of those teams none of the upper echelon squads want to face in the first round of the postseason, but regardless, they just don't have enough to upend any of such clubs.

Dallas is in a pretty tough position right now. Nowitzki is 34, so it's not like it can just say, "Well, let's just wait until next year." Also, given that the Mavs will likely make the playoffs, they won't end up with a very good first-round draft pick.

Does Cuban make a move around the trade deadline to acquire another star to put alongside Dirk in the hopes of making another run? It remains to be seen. Nowitzki does have two years left on his contract, after all, and I just can't envision him demanding a trade from the Mavericks should things start going sour. He is too close with Cuban and too loyal to that organization for that to happen.

The Mavs will be an interesting team to watch this season. That's for sure.

Where are the Dallas Cowboys After Two Weeks? Right in the Middle - Rant Sports

Tony Romo Dallas Cowboys

Steven Bisig-US Presswire

So, are the Dallas Cowboys as good as they looked in beating the New York Giants to open the NFL season, or are they as bad as they looked against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2?

The answer is, “somewhere in the middle,” just like most of the other 19 teams that are 1-1 after two weeks. In Dallas, like just about any other NFL city, the tendency is to overreact, either positively or negatively, after each and every game. But that extreme perception isn’t anywhere close to reality, especially after only two games have been played.

For a lot of fans, the Cowboys’ Week 1 win over the Giants is nothing but a distant memory as they choose to believe Dallas is more like the team that was drubbed in Week 2 than the one that shocked nearly everyone by taking down the champs in the opener. But don’t start kicking the dog or slapping around the cat, and don’t look for the nearest ledge to jump off of. Seriously, if the Cowboys do make the playoffs, will anybody really remember what happened in Seattle? Not that I’m putting Dallas in this team’s class by any means, but will any New England Patriots fan look back at the shocking Week 2 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in January when the Patriots are getting ready for another run to the Super Bowl?

Of course not.

I’m definitely not claiming that everything is great, and that there’s no reason to be concerned. The mental lapses early in the game, such as the fumbled kickoff and blocked punt, were a huge problem and obviously need to be corrected immediately. The defense was chewed up and spat out in the second half by a relentless Marshawn Lynch, and that’s a huge concern. If starting safeties Gerald Sensabaugh (calf strain) and Barry Church (quad strain) are either out or limited this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, that is going to be another substantial problem.

But at the same time, the offensive line, a huge question mark going into the season, is actually showing signs of possibly being a halfway decent unit (they only allowed one sack against Seattle). Tony Romo will be going up against a Buccaneer pass defense that, to put it mildly, was absolutely shredded by Eli Manning. DeMarco Murray is averaging 5.5 yards per carry. There is an outside chance that Jay Ratliff could return from a sprained ankle, possibly helping shore up the middle of the defensive line and making it tougher for opposing run games.

Beat Tampa Bay and the Cowboys will be at 2-1 and everything will be OK for another week. Lose and the panic level will be at red alert, making this week’s reaction look incredibly tame by comparison.

If they do lose I’ll be one of those people starting to scout out available ledges around town â€" and I’ll have a lot of company.

Dallas Cowboys: Week 2 Roster Rankings - ESPN (blog)

IRVING -- With one excellent performance and one raggedy performance this season, there’s quite a bit of movement in the roster rankings, including a new No. 1.

Each week, during the season, I’ll rank my top 10 players on the roster based on their performances this season.

1. Anthony Spencer: Although he wasn’t blocked on either sack attempt, no one will remember at the end of the season. Plus, he had a tackle for loss and two other hits on QB Russell Wilson.
Last Week:2

2. DeMarcus Ware: His streak of 11 consecutive road games with a sack ended, but he did have eight tackles, including one for a loss.
Last Week: 3

3. Tony Romo: His BFF Jason Witten betrayed him at least three drops, and the offensive line wasn’t much better. He failed to find a rhythm all day.
Last Week: 1

4. Sean Lee: Recorded a team-high 14 tackles and missed only two plays after the devastating hit Golden Tate delivered. The epitome of toughness.
Last Week: 5

5. DeMarco Murray: With only four second-half carries, he didn’t get a chance to inflict much damage
Last Week: 4

6. Bruce Carter: Continues to play well as a starter and tied for the team lead with four solo tackles in addition to a tackle for loss. The dropped interception in the first quarter hurt.
Last Week: 10

7. Brandon Carr: Tate and Sidney Rice combined for six catches and 71 yards. Pedestrian.
Last Week: 7

8. Miles Austin: Scored a touchdown for the second consecutive game, but caught only 5 of 10 passes thrown his way. He finished with 63 yards and no drops.
Last Week:NR

9. Sean Lissemore: Finished with 10 tackles, an absurd number considering he played only 38 snaps. His high motor is evident each week.
Last Week:NR

10. Tyron Smith: The only offensive lineman who didn’t have that many issues much of the day. His false start penalty was a big one.
Last Week:NR