Mondays during the Cowboys’ season this space on the web will be a ton of Cowboys discussion and analysis, but fewer links than the normal day. So, let’s get started:
Random Observations from Jacksonville 24, Dallas 17:
- Be Honest: 99% of us had never heard of Paul Spicer before this week. Last year he had 8 sacks for the Jaguars, and has been in Jacksonville since 2000. I did not know the guy from Adam. Well, guess what. Flozell Adams now knows his name. The utter domination by the Jaguars DL was impressive, but in my opinion Spicer’s beating of Adams leads us to assume 2 things: 1) Spicer is good. 2) Adams is struggling still.
- The Cowboys problems can be traced back to their turnovers. And the turnovers must be traced back to the QB, Drew Bledsoe. Bledsoe was under duress all afternoon, but he still has to make composed decisions. He was terrible. At the worst time yesterday, he locked on to Terry Glenn for way too long, and former Giants LB Nick Greisen stepped right in the path for an easy interception. Bledsoe is a player that makes interceptions when he tries to do too much. (Actually, almost every interception thrown in the NFL is the result of a QB trying to do too much). They must take care of the ball, and 3 giveaways on the road against an opponent of that caliber is death.
- Nothing gives ammunition to disgruntled fans like play-calling issues. Why did the Cowboys have 10 points in the first quarter; nothing for the next 48 minutes – and then march right down the field when it was too late for a consolation touchdown? Was it play calling? Was it being conservative for the expressed purpose of keeping the QB out of situations where he wants to do too much? I tend to think it was to keep Bledsoe from getting killed by the pass rush, but regardless – 10 points doesn’t win at any level of football.
- I am one of the people that thought the Cowboys defense could be dominant this season. That is lofty praise, right? I thought they could get stops and win games on their own. It is only one game, but when you get to the 4th Quarter at 10-10, I really don’t think a dominant defense allows Jacksonville to drive 74 yards in 11 plays and then 60 yards in 5 plays for two touchdowns when the game is on the line. Suddenly, Anthony Henry and Terrence Newman are repeatedly beaten; one time Newman was turned all the way around by Reggie Williams. When it was time to get stops, this Cowboys defense was hardly dominant.
- I said this all week: the worst time to play Jacksonville is Week 1. Their fragile QB and fragile RB will both be healthy and raring to go. It looked like Fred Taylor was 25 again.
- Why can’t Jacksonville sell out its stadium?
- Nothing can replace the adrenaline rush in my life of a great battle in the NFL. I missed it so much. Welcome back sweet NFL. Of course, I much prefer winning.
- Terrell Owens is amazing. He does not appear to be in shape, and he doesn’t appear to be in concert with his QB yet. And still, he had a huge impact on the game. I think the coaching staff would be wise to figure out how to use him early and often, because nobody can defend him man to man.
- It is only the first weekend of the season, but I am already tired of the coach who half-heartedly throws his little red challenge flag right before the ball is snapped and then blames the refs for not watching his fat rear rather than that play that is happening right in front of their eyes. Look, Bill, if you want a challenge, hit a ref in the side of the head and you will get their attention.
- Roy Williams: Plenty of good, plenty of bad.
- Byron Leftwich’s 2nd half had to impress you. His ability to throw fast balls on the money and leave the Cowboys DBs frustrated is not something I thought could happen. He got better as the game went on, and was surely the better QB on the field by virtue of minimizing his mistakes as the game went on. Of course, it should be noted that besides DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys pass rush was extremely rare.
- The game turned on a Bledsoe pass in the first half, but it wasn’t an interception. It actually happened early in the game when on the same drive, Bledsoe and Owens missed twice on a chance to score touchdowns. The first pass was so underthrown that Owens actually drew a pass interference call on Rashean Mathis. The 2nd was poorly overthrown at the 10 yard line. You certainly would love to wonder if Owens and Bledsoe had worked together in the preseason more if they would have their timing down better. But, as it stands, Bledsoe missed him terribly twice. And that changed the game, because the offense went into hibernation for the next 3 quarters.
- Rashean Mathis is quality. In the pregame show, Larry Brown was trying to sell me on Mathis being a top corner in the league. I am now a believer. Not sure where exactly he rates, but a top 10 CB in the league rating seems reasonable.
- Julius Jones looked pretty solid. I need to see plenty more from him, but he ran better than I thought in week 1.
- Admit it. When Shaun Suisham hit the upright completely flush, you knew it wasn’t going to end well.
- Overall, let’s simmer down on our knee-jerks. 1 game is just 1 game. Surely, we must let them play 3 or 4 games before we jump to conclusions. Spank Washington this week, and it is all good. Losing to a 12-4 team on the road is not something that should shipwreck your season.