There are two signs that the Cowboys can actually assemble a winning streak.
Sign No. 1: The schedule.
The Cowboys have made it through the hard part. Five of their final seven games are at home.
"We are fortunate," Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said. "But we don't have any easy schedule."
Sign No. 2: The quarterback.
In winning two of his first three starts, all on the road, Romo has helped the Cowboys shed the turnover problem that dogged them through the first six games.
The Cowboys were tied for 21st in the NFL with a minus-2 turnover margin after six games.
But they have committed only one turnover in Romo's three starts.
And after allowing 18 sacks in the first six games, the Cowboys have given up four with Romo as the starter.
He's the first Cowboys quarterback to pass for more than 250 yards in three consecutive games since Troy Aikman did it in 1993. And his play even has his toughest critic pleased.
Or close to it.
"I'm generally happy, you know that," Parcells said.
Parcells' happiness is tempered, however, by a player he sees doing some things that
haven't bitten him just yet. And when the mistake bites, everyone will feel the pain.
But most of the signs suggest Romo can lead the Cowboys to something longer than a one-game winning streak.
Now that Greg Ellis is down, what are the replacement options? Here is Todd Archer with more…
With Greg Ellis out for the season with a torn left Achilles', the Cowboys could turn to a number of players to fill his role. Staff Writer Todd Archer assesses the possible replacements:
Pro: This is why he was drafted in the first round. He showed at Ohio State he could handle the strongside spot and rush the passer.
Con: With Ellis handling the switch with ease in training camp, Carpenter was moved inside and has not had as much practice time outside in the base defense.
Pro: He has a wealth of experience and started seven games last year at strongside linebacker. With him, the coaches know he will always be in the right spot.
Con: He has only 3 ½ sacks in his career and does not bring much as a pass rusher, making him a first- and second-down player.
Pro: He's extremely athletic and can hold up against the run against the tight end and has developed into a decent pass defender.
Con: By moving him outside, he would be taken out of his comfort zone in the nickel defense as an inside linebacker.
Pro: He showed in the preseason he can be a pressure player, with two sacks and two forced fumbles, but he got caught up in a numbers game and was released.
Con: He has not played in a regular-season game as a linebacker and spent time on Pittsburgh's and Baltimore's practice squads as a defensive end.
In Peter King’s MMQB, Kevin Gogan gets the quote of the week …
Quote of the Week
"They need to change their sponsor to Prozac. It's week to week with these guys. They're up, they're down, they're hugging, they're kissing. Like a bunch of ladies watching a soap opera. I don't know what it is. Last week they're all making out on the sidelines and this week they're killing each other.''
-- Former Dallas guard Kevin Gogan, on his NBX.com podcast, regarding the '06 Cowboys.
Uh-Oh, Another wild incident for Bob Knight …
As Bob Knight moved one win closer to catching Dean Smith, his temper flared once again, when he used his hand to push a player's chin during a timeout, as if to make him look the coach in the eye.
With more than 4 minutes to go in Texas Tech's 86-74 victory over Gardner-Webb on Monday night, Red Raiders forward Michael Prince was called for a foul. During the ensuing timeout, Knight approached Prince, and as the player lowered his head, the coach made contact with his chin.
Knight gave a brief statement at the postgame news conference then answered one question before exiting the room. The incident with Prince was never addressed.
It was win No. 871 for Knight, who is five away from passing Adolph Rupp for second place on the all-time list. He needs nine more victories to surpass Smith for the most wins in Division I history.
Knight's career has featured three national championships, all at Indiana, and plenty of temper outbursts, including run-ins with players.
In 1992, Knight kicked a chair on the bench while son Pat, then a player for him at Indiana and now his assistant and successor-to-be at Texas Tech, was sitting in it. When fans behind the team bench booed, Knight turned and responded with an obscenity.
I vote it is not his fault.
Mavs have the Bulls, tonight but the refs policy is still center-stage …
Because of the NBA's new rule that penalizes players for excessively complaining to referees, technical fouls and ejections are up, causing players and coaches to wonder if the league is trying to snuff out the game's natural emotion.
"I would hate to see emotions taken out of the game, because you can ask me a question right now and I can be pretty emotional," said Mavericks coach Avery Johnson, who has been hit with three technical fouls this season, including an ejection in a Nov. 6 loss to Golden State. "But that doesn't mean you're going to give me a technical, or you won't interview me anymore. Sometimes people get emotional."
Despite criticism from players about the new rule, league officials insist it's not a zero-tolerance policy and that it doesn't prevent players from being emotional.
They say the rule has been grossly misinterpreted, and that misinterpretation has taken on a life of its own.
"It's the 'Respect for the Game' rule," NBA spokesman Brian McIntyre said. "We're not saying players can't be emotional. They can express displeasure with the calls as long as it's done in a respectful manner."
The league sent a memo to all 30 teams before the season notifying them of the rule change and what players were permitted to do. In part, the memo states that the emphasis is "designed to reduce the amount of complaining about officiating that players engage in during games."
Detroit Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace, who leads the league in technical fouls this season with four, said he believes the new rule targets specific players.
"You saw me laugh last year [in the playoffs] when we played Cleveland, and [I] got a tech," Wallace said. "I already know I'm Public Enemy No. 1. I'm on that blacklist."
Those involved with the league don't want the NBA to become like the NFL, which earned the nickname the "No Fun League" because of its efforts to tone down player celebrations and antics. Some NBA players are adjusting by coming up with imaginative plans to steer clear of the referees' wrath.
"I guess you've just got to act like there's an imaginary friend out there and act like you're talking to yourself," Mavs center Erick Dampier said. "Don't even look at the refs. Just act like you're talking to yourself. Then, who are they going to give the 'T' to? What are they going to tech you for? You're talking to yourself."
Weekly Buccigross with an excerpt of Keith Jones new book …with plenty of good Lindros stuff…
Eric is getting worse and I call Worley again and reach him around 7:30 or so in the morning. He has just gotten back from a sleepless night at the hospital with Recchi. So, he says he just wants to clean up and he'll be up to the room after getting his bearings back. I know John is going to come and see Eric, so I go down and have some breakfast in the hotel. I come back up and Eric is back in the tub, pale and in even worse shape than he had been. I say to him, "Something is wrong here. Maybe it's something internal. I'll go get John right now. I think we got to get you to the hospital."
I then go to find Worley. As the elevator opens, John is there on his way to our room. Meanwhile, the team is getting ready to leave for Boston. So, I take Eric's stuff down to the bus and that's the last I see of anybody in Nashville.
While we are heading to Boston, they take Eric to Baptist Hospital in Nashville. When we land in Boston, we find out that Eric had punctured his lung in the Predators game, the lung filled with blood and collapsed. He had surgery in the emergency room. Later, it was determined that if Eric had flown with us to Boston, he could have died. Who knows?
His condition was so bad, there is no way he was even going to get dressed and drive to the airport much less get on our plane. The more he was around the medical staff, the more it was obvious he was going to go to the hospital. After Eric had his surgery and everything was going to be fine with his health, he held a news conference.
The first thing he says is, "I want to thank Keith Jones for saving my life." Oh, boy. Bob Clarke just looooves hearing that.
Did I save his life? I don't know. I just noticed he wasn't looking good and left it up to the medical staff to take care of it. I get a lot of credit for something that I'm not sure I deserve. I guarantee you everyone's intentions were to make sure the right thing was done to help Eric. What was already a bit of a circus involving Eric, his parents, and the Flyers inflated to Big Top status.
As players, we just go about our business. Eric was hurt and you move one. That's what you do in professional sports. As players, we don't talk about injuries or injured players because we are only one hit from having something happen to us. So, as a result of his punctured right lung, Eric misses the final seven games of the 1998-99 regular season, and the playoffs, as well. I think it would be the end of the Lindros-Flyers soap opera. But the best, or worst, was yet to come.
Colt McCoy doubtful for Aggies Game …
Texas quarterback Colt McCoy suffered a stinger injury to his neck and shoulder in the No. 11 Longhorns' 45-42 loss at Kansas State on Saturday, UT officials said Sunday.
McCoy's status for UT's game Nov. 24 against Texas A&M remains in doubt, though early signs are promising.
The type of injury McCoy incurred — a pinched nerve, in layman's terms — is considered to be minor, and he will have nearly two weeks to heal.
"The off week couldn't come at a better time," McCoy said.
McCoy's mother, Debra, who earlier in the day confirmed the nature of her son's injury, said she was optimistic he could return to practice soon.
"I'm hoping it will only be two or three days," Debra McCoy said.
His Mom is the medical expert in this case?
More issues for Fran …
Franchione failed to silence his critics the last two weeks. Now he'll have to listen to those who doubt he can take the program to the next level.
He's now 2-10 in November, 4-15 against Top 25 teams, and 1-12 against Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas and Texas Tech combined.
Those are the same kind of numbers that got former coach R.C. Slocum fired.
Slocum ended his career 7-7 against Texas and Tech, 5-4 against OU, and 1-3 against Nebraska. But he was 3-8 in bowl games, and in his last four years he was 4-13 combined against those teams and in bowls.
Fans didn't give Slocum credit for beating the likes of Tulsa, Wyoming, Rice and North Texas, and now the fans aren't giving Franchione credit for beating Kansas, Army, Arkansas State or Louisiana Tech.
Athletics director Bill Byrne and every Board of Regent can come out in support of Franchione daily, and list a multitude of things he's doing well. But with each loss to OU, Texas, Nebraska and Tech, the grumbling will increase.
Redskins hope for their Romo with Jason Campbell starting …
Twenty-eight games into his NFL career, Jason Campbell will make his first start at quarterback Sunday in Tampa, with Mark Brunell demoted to the backup role.
Campbell, who was selected 25th overall in the 2005 draft, has been listed as inactive for 27 straight games as a Redskin. Brunell, who has started every game dating from Week 2 last season, including two playoff games, has struggled this season. At FedEx Field, fans have been screaming for Campbell to replace Brunell, with the offense producing just 16 touchdowns in nine games.
Coach Joe Gibbs said he agonized over the move and seemed pained at times when speaking about the change during his news conference yesterday at Redskins Park. Gibbs told each of his quarterbacks individually of the decision yesterday afternoon following a full team meeting. It is the third straight season in which Gibbs has made a quarterback change in-season -- Brunell was benched in favor of Patrick Ramsey during the ninth game of the 2004 season, then took over for Ramsey during the opening game last year.
Alonzo Spellman, MMA fighter? …
Alonzo Spellman was once one of the most feared defensive ends in the National Football League. He put fear into the hearts of quarterbacks and the linemen charged with protecting them.
After doing battle in the trenches of the NFL for nine seasons he is getting ready to tackle a new game.
Following a tough stretch of time, Spellman is looking to evoke some comparisons from his football days to his new chosen profession as a mixed martial artist. The former Chicago Bear standout returns to the Windy City this weekend when he makes his MMA debut against Antoine Hayes on Saturday’s XFO card at the brand new Sears Centre.
Spellman may best be known for the public battle he has waged with mental illness. Manic episodes cost him his football career and in 2002 it cost him his freedom.
An All Big-10 defensive end for Ohio State, Spellman was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison after an outburst on a flight from Cincinnati to Philadelphia just months after the September 11 attacks.
Earlier this year Spellman claimed that the time he spent incarcerated had a profound affect on his view of the disease that robbed him of his career and liberty.
“Handcuffs, shackles, an orange suit, dark room, that you can't control the light — yeah, that'll pretty much put it in perspective for you,” he told ESPN.com
Having served his prison term, during which Spellman was under court order to take medication for bipolar disorder, the physical specimen — a 6’ 4”, nearly 300-pound monster with a 29-inch waist who ran a sub-5-second 40-yard dash — says he found new outlook on life and plans to make the most of a career in combat sports.
Call Richard Seymour …
Wondering how Richard Seymour feels about sitting out most of the fourth quarter Sunday afternoon? Ask him yourself.
In a move at once perplexing and yet strangely commendable, the superstar defensive end has begun carrying a second phone that serves as his fan hotline. Just dial 401-464-1194, and there’s a chance the four-time All-Pro could answer.
“It’s just my fan number,” he said. “It’s my fan hotline. They can call me. From time to time, I might let Rodney (Harrison) or Tom (Brady) answer, one of those guys. I thought it would be something fun for the fans to have.”
Seymour announced the number yesterday on WEEI, and his phone almost immediately started ringing. Within 15 minutes, the voicemail was full.
He conducted a 12-minute interview with reporters yesterday and the phone rang pretty much constantly, making more racket than a 2-year-old demanding attention.
Seymour was asked if his home number will soon be fair game, too.
“It’s not my personal line,” he said. “I’m not that crazy.”
This story regarding the Cowboys secondary is worth a read. KC Joyner is one of the few football writers who has some gold in his bag. KC and Goose are the two writers I respect the most…Sorry, Peter King.
Side note; Bradie James looked like a bust after 3 years, but now his play and maturity has exceeded Ware, Whitten, Burnett, Spears, Al Johnson and Williams. These names are supposedly the Cowboys future, but they have not played to their paper or draft order. Jerry has extended two players to big money and both of them have shown no return on Jerry’s investment. Where is the production? Where is the outrage? Roy Williams is the Teflon Don of Dallas..Why? We run up the flagpole, the offensive line woos for the 4 hundredth time, but the first day draft picks get a past game after game and year after year.
Bob, I was with you on draft day, why are the Cowboys not drafting offensive lineman. The reality is, regardless of the selection, all the first day picks have been under achievers for the last 4 years. Cowboy Nation has given a pass to all the players drafted by Parcells and its time to cut the umbilical cord. Vinnie, Ritchie and now Drew are out of the picture, its time these kids grow up and carry the Cowboys franchise. If they don’t; Cowboy fans will not see a playoff win anytime soon.
When Parcells came to Dallas there was no leadership and four years later the only visible leader is Bradie James…..Sometimes, when things go bad; you have to stand up and say we suck and we are going to fix it. These guys only point the finger. Have you heard anything like that since Michael Irvin retired? Let there be no mistake about it, Michael was the heart and sole of those Super Bowl Teams and leadership wins championships.
Sorry about the length…
Check out the website of American Soccer Historian Dave Brett.com …it is solid if you love the good ol days and the odd off-sides line…
Matthew dances for us …
Film Critic review of Open Water …the movie I tried this weekend that I thought had a very promising premise, only to disappoint…
What is authentic in Borat? …
Even I can appreciate High Schooler Sam McGuffie!