This week, Drew Bledsoe, who had been a main reason this team was in a position to win the division, played easily his worst game of the season. And the Cowboys still won.
Face it. This team is pretty good.
In fairness to Bledsoe, if that was your worst game of the season, a game in which you didn’t throw an interception, you must be having quite a season. He is. But yesterday, he was throwing balls behind receivers, bouncing balls to receivers, and just flat out missing anything that resembles accuracy in his game.
But they didn’t need him like they will on Thanksgiving Day.
The Cowboys won yesterday based on two things: A solid running performance and another effort from the defense that held the opposition to very little.
The defense is the reason this team is so dangerous. They just don’t seem to get beat very much anymore. Since losing to Oakland on October 2nd, the Cowboys have played 6 games. During that stretch they have given up 76 points total; basically, 12 points a game. You combine that to an offense that has shown what it is capable of, and you can understand the optimistic feelings around here for the first time in a long time.
This game was easily one of the more difficult games to watch. The Lions have very little again this year (almost 50 years in a row now) and the Cowboys knew that the only way they lose is if they give it away. But, they did not.
Denver awaits on Thursday. They are 8-2 and will not be a pushover.
Cowboys appear to be for real …
Although he has made it a point not to publicly discuss his expectations regarding the 2005 Cowboys, Parcells didn't complain about wins in 2003 because this franchise had just suffered through three consecutive 5-11 seasons. And he didn't complain about wins last season because they were few and far between.
He complained Sunday because the Cowboys surpassed last season's win total on a day when they didn't come close to playing their best football.
He trusts quarterback Drew Bledsoe and likes the combination of Jones and Marion Barber (53 yards and two touchdowns). The defense ranks among the best in the league, and the NFC does not have a dominant team.
Clearly, Parcells thinks this team is a contender.
"It's just me. It's not them. My standard is different," Parcells said. "I want them to play up to my standard."
Lions lack of discipline cost them a chance …
The Lions couldn't match up with the Cowboys, but they helped beat themselves with 17 penalties for 129 yards. Seven penalties gave the Cowboys first downs.
"It's hard to beat them when we beat ourselves at the same time," linebacker Donte Curry said.
There was nothing fancy or particularly dramatic in the way the Cowboys attacked the Lions. They used a conservative offense, knowing the Lions' offense has trouble moving the football, and kept mistakes to a minimum.
It was obvious the Cowboys knew they were too good for the Lions. Only the Cowboys could beat the Cowboys -- and they didn't let that happen. They committed only five penalties, and none gave the Lions a first down.
Did you like Charles Rogers yesterday? He will be available this winter:…
Charles Rogers is done in Detroit.
Sure, there are still six games left. But Rogers, a former Michigan State receiver who was the second pick overall in the 2003 NFL draft, doesn't appear to have any chance to return to the Lions next season.
Especially since the Lions want their money back from him.
The Lions confirmed a report, by Fox on its pregame show Sunday, that they have filed a grievance with the NFL seeking the return of $10.41 million from Rogers' $14 million signing bonus.
According to the report, a clause in Rogers' contract permits the forfeiture of money for a violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy.
Beckett deal done??…
There is a possibility that the deal could be resolved today, although it's likely that Beckett would have to pass a physical before any trade becomes official.
The main focus of the trade continues to be the Rangers acquiring Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell for third baseman Hank Blalock and young pitching.
The Rangers had been reluctant to give up Danks or Diamond. But, realizing this could be their best chance at a No. 1 starter, they told the Marlins on Sunday they were willing to include one.
Rangers officials also made it clear this was the best offer they're going to make. One problem is Florida owner Jeffrey Loria is traveling in Italy and has to sign off on any deal.
The Red Sox were offering minor league shortstop Hanley Ramirez and a pitcher, but the Rangers felt they had the better offer. If the Red Sox, who are still without a general manager, increase their offer, that could leave the Rangers empty-handed.
By the way, I think this is a trade you must do. It is nearly impossible to get a 25 year old front-of-the-rotation guy to Arlington, and frankly, I began losing faith in Hammering Hank about a year ago.
Take a look at Beckett’s numbers : The ERA is wonderful, and that proves that his stuff is dominating (also a World Series MVP is not a bad thing, either). But two things. #1) If you think he is a 20 game winner, you need to check his win totals his four years in Flordia’s rotation:
2002 = 6, 2003 = 9, 2004 = 9, 2005 = 15
That is the right direction, but one 10+ win season requires one to “tap the breaks” on 20 wins.
And #2) despite what I heard this weekend on my station, the premise that he is a 200 inning horse is also an optimistic appraisal of his first four full seasons:
2002 = 107, 2003 = 142, 2004 = 156, 2005 = 178
He has had chronic blister issues, which are certainly not a high level concern, but they are a decent clue as to why he averages about 25 starts and not the 33-35 that a horse makes.
All that being said, you must still do this deal. Cross your fingers that the Red Sox don’t screw up this deal.
Jimmy Burch On the controversy in Lubbock …
Three plays in the final 27 seconds of the Texas Tech-Oklahoma game went to the replay booth, all of them with game-deciding implications and bowl ramifications riding on the verdicts.
When it was over, the winning coach -- Tech's Mike Leach -- said he departed Jones SBC Stadium after a 23-21 victory with "mixed feelings" about the value of the replay system. In the losing locker room, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops hailed the fact that replay made a gut-wrenching loss easier to stomach.
"I feel better knowing there is a system in place [where controversial plays] are all looked at and you are going to get the correct call," Stoops said.
Not necessarily. Yes, the close calls will be reviewed. And one egregious error --
an on-field touchdown call while Tech receiver Joel Filani bobbled the ball -- was corrected with nine seconds remaining Saturday.
But determining the correct call in every situation comes down to having officials positioned properly on the field, with videotape replays from enough different camera angles to provide conclusive evidence.
Personally, I was amazed at the final 30 seconds on Saturday. Were it high school football, we would no doubt be talking about the fact that the umpire was an uncle of the Tech RB and that the head linesman lives in Lubbock, and all of the other favorite “home cooking” conspiracies. How that referee could blow that Filani catch that bad was shocking. Also, the spot of the ball on that 4th down was generous to say the least.
I picked the Red Raiders to win this game, but there is something that feels dirty about that outcome on Saturday. Nevertheless, Tech has earned a Cotton Bowl berth, and for that they should be congratulated.
NFL Network dude thinks Cowboys will get T.O. …
Amphetamines and the Texas Rangers …
In fact, one player (who is not named in the report) told federal investigators that the illicit use of speed is "part of the baseball world." The athlete added that he even steered clear of clubhouse coffee for fear that teammates had spiked it with amphetamines. "I can guarantee you there has [sic] been players, when a team is struggling or a team is going through a bad streak, they will spike the coffee," the player told House officials. Dan Wheat, a former Texas Rangers head trainer, told probers that the use of speed was "prevalent" among big leaguers and he considered it a bigger problem than steroids. The report quotes Wheat recalling how he once asked a player, "Of the nine players on the field, how many took greenies today?" Wheat said that the athlete responded, "eight."
Hopefully, you are familiar with our intern, MLB Pitcher Mike Bacsik …Well, he is a huge Mavericks fan, and this year he has been given the enormous responsibility of tabulating the +/- numbers of the individual Mavs. Hopefully, you understand +/- (if you don’t, it is basically the score while you are playing). So here are his numbers so far as he attempts to play catch up.
Game 1 Win Mavs vs. Suns
Terry +14, Christie -1, Howard +8, Nowitzki +5, Dampier -2
Harris -15, Van Horn +9, Diop -3, Daniels -14, Armstrong +14
Game 2 Loss Mavs vs Jazz
Terry -13, Christie -16, Howard -16, Nowitzki -15, Dampier -14
Daniels +5, Van Horn -2, Diop +12, Harris +4 Armstrong 0
Game 3 Win Spurs vs. Mavs
Terry 0, Christie +18, Howard +14, Nowitzki +32, Dampier +3
Daniels +9, Harris +19, Van Horn +7, Diop -7
Game 8 Win Hawks vs. Mavs
Terry +4, Daniels +12, Howard +12, Nowitzki +4, Dampier -1
Van Horn -2, Harris +4, Diop +12
Danny Devito to soil solid new show …
Danny DeVito will co-star in FX’s It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia next season, the network said Wednesday.
The series’ second season is set for a June debut.
FX president and general manager John Landgraf was partner and president of DeVito’s Jersey Television prior to joining the cable network.
“Danny is one the funniest and most acclaimed actors in the business, and his decision to join the cast of cast of Sunny is a tremendous boost for the series,” Landgraf said in a prepared statement. “Danny’s return to regular series television in Sunny speaks volumes about the quality of the show and the talents of the creative team behind it.”
Fun with Hockey Players Opinions:
I enjoyed my weekend hockey reading this morning, but thought I would make sure this blog’s readers saw that two of the greatest hockey players of our generation apparently don’t see “My NHL” the same way.
Steve Yzerman told the Detroit Free Press:
"Everybody keeps saying this is great. It's not great," Yzerman told the Free Press. "It's not hockey."
"There are penalties all over," he told the newspaper. "I'll just use Mathieu Schneider's penalty as an example. He steps up and takes his guy out, and his stick gets caught and the crowd cheers so the referee puts his hand up. There has to be some discretion. The referees have to use some judgment on what is a penalty and what is not. They've taken judgment out of it and I think it's somewhat made it easy on the referees just to call anything, because there is no judgment.
"Good referees used to have good judgment. Now they've taken that out of the game. I'm not saying I'm blaming the referees for it, I just feel the whole thing has to be adjusted and they have to look at this seriously. They can't continue to call irrelevant things that have no business being called."
Meanwhile, Joe Sakic told this to Eric Duhatschek:
"a lot more fun" playing this year, following the end of the lockout.
"The game is what it was supposed to be a long time ago," said Sakic. "It's the way it was when I first broke in --a lot more flow, a lot more exciting for the fans. We're enjoying ourselves a lot more.
"The most important thing is, we finally corrected it and it's going well and everybody's enjoying it."
There are some who would suggest the game isn't physical enough any more, but Sakic disputes that.
"I still find it physical," he said. "All you're not seeing is the hooking and holding and who wanted to see that anyway? Without the hooking and holding, guys should be able to skate in there a little harder and make the bigger checks. I'm seeing big checks, especially out here in the West. It's intense."
The bottom line remains that this is still a transition process. The hockey appears better, but Yzerman is an awfully big fish to be disavowing what we are watching. It will be interesting to see how many follow him, or Super Joe.
In other news, I saw Paul McCartney last night. I enjoyed it for sure. I would say it was somewhere between very solid and solid. Perhaps the close proximity of his visit to that visit a few weeks ago by U2 have left me thinking I wish these two acts would have come to town in the opposite order so that I might have ended on a high. But, all of that being said, I am now proud to say that I saw McCartney live, and there were several moments I really loved.
To see Hey Jude, Eleanor Rigby and Penny Lane performed in person were wonderful. But I kept catching myself wondering things about Paul rather than just enjoying the show. I realize it is not his fault that I could not focus, but I was wondering several things while sitting there:
Is he the most famous human alive? I figure yes, but Muhammad Ali and Michael Jackson might have something to say about it.
Why does he still tour? I am happy he does, but what is in it for him?
How many times has he had to sing, Hey Jude?
Will he hold his guitar over his head after every song? Yes.
But, again, I am happy I saw him. Good times.
Philpot’s review …
UFC 56 minute by minute review ...
I will try to write more about UFC 56 tomorrow, but for now, Rich Franklin is a bad man.