How about a look at the bowl picture?
Barnhouse says …
Dec. 19 Poinsettia San Diego TCU vs. Northern Illinois
Dec. 28 Texas Houston Texas Tech vs. Rutgers
Dec. 28 Holiday San Diego Texas A&M vs . California
Jan. 1 Gator Jacksonville, Fla. Clemson vs. Texas
Jan. 1 Cotton Dallas Nebraska vs. Arkansas
Jan. 1 Fiesta Glendale, Ariz. Oklahoma vs. Boise State
Meanwhile, it must be “write a story about Dampier” day:
Art Garcia …
Dampier's primary responsibilities, reiterated by coach Avery Johnson, are rebounding, blocking shots, setting strong picks and being a force inside. That hasn't changed.
The offensive production isn't being ignored. Dampier is averaging 9.3 points -- 11.3 in the last eight games -- after averaging just 5.8 in his first two seasons with the Mavs.
One of the reasons is an emphasis in practice on building a rapport between Dampier and point guards Devin Harris, Jason Terry and Anthony Johnson. Developmental assistant Popeye Jones, a former power forward, has worked extensively with Dampier on footwork and hand-eye coordination.
"Damp is finishing better this year inside than he ever has here as a Maverick," Avery Johnson said. "He's becoming a little bit more of a presence down there. He's catching the ball, he's finishing better, he's a threat and guys are looking for him. That's something we didn't have last year."
Dampier doesn't have the best hands and is still prone to fumbling away bunnies under the basket. Once he does get control, his dunks are as menacing as any in the league.
"When I'm involved in the pick-and-rolls a lot, I know where to expect it," Dampier said "Guys are looking for me around the basket. I just try to catch it and finish."
Dampier does have limitations. Avery Johnson put it best: Don't ask him to nail a 3-pointer with the game on the line and don't expect Dampier to just make something happen with the ball.
"For years we never really had a post presence at the center spot," Johnson said. "That's why we brought him here. Not that we can throw him the ball like the Hakeem [Olajuwon] and [Kareem Abdul-Jabbar], but just be a presence. Guys are getting more confidence in him, he's getting more confidence in spots where I need him to be."
And, JJT …
Finally, it appears Johnson is getting the player he lobbied Don Nelson and Mark Cuban to sign before the 2005 season. In doing so, he linked his future to the stoic, 31-year-old whose pride, not his paycheck, motivates him.
Dampier, benched for the first time in his career last year, downplays his strong performance this season. Says it's simply a matter of his teammates giving him the ball more often. Says his approach hasn't changed from last season. Says people have a short memory because he averaged 12.3 points and 12.0 rebounds in his last season with Golden State.
He's not telling the whole story.
Dampier has earned his teammates' trust by consistently catching the ball thanks to some technical changes suggested by assistants Popeye Jones and Del Harris. His teammates think good things will happen when he gets the ball, so they're giving it to him.
He leads the league in field goal percentage (67.9 percent), which is significant considering he's never shot better than 55 percent from the field. Teams often double-team Nowitzki and Terry when they're on the perimeter, so when Dampier catches their passes and converts it makes everyone's lives easier.
Tony Romo on the hype …
Tony Romo made an odd admission Tuesday.
"I don't really like cheese," the Cowboys quarterback said.
Remember this is a man who grew up in Wisconsin, the land of cheese.
"It's an oxymoron, I know," he said.
And the brand of cheese Romo has zero affinity for is the kind that is available throughout Cowboys nation. It's the type of cheese that's aged about one month.
The winners of four out of their past five games, including the past three, the Cowboys are not only America's Team again, but a chic pick by an adoring national media to win the NFC.
The trick for the Cowboys is to not bite into it. Any of it.
blogging the Boys has this nugget…
The Cowboys have five different players leading the NFC in statistical categories, including Romo, who tops all quarterbacks with his 110.8 QB rating. Marion Barber leads the NFC in touchdowns with 11, Terrell Owens is tied for first in receiving touchdowns with eight and punter Mat McBriar continues to lead the conference with a 48.8-yard average. And despite being on injured reserve, Tyson Thompson still leads the NFC with a 26.0-yard kickoff return average.
Eli played well; just ask him …
Eli Manning says he has no doubts about his play of late.
In fact, the quarterback defended his performance Sunday, saying he had a good game until his disastrous game-costing interception at the end against Tennessee.
"I do not doubt myself," Manning said yesterday at Giants Stadium. "I thought I played pretty well for the most part and then had a bad last play. That is the way football goes."
Whether Manning has doubts about his top wide receiver is another matter. Manning subtly expressed disappointment in Plaxico Burress not going all out on a deep pass along the sideline that resulted in Manning's first interception in the fourth quarter. The play set up Tennessee's first touchdown in the Titans' shocking 24-21 win.
"You hope the ball gets knocked down or you fight for it a little bit," Manning said when asked about Burress stopping on the play when the ball sailed over his head. "The last thing you expect is an interception. (Burress) didn't want the guy to intercept it. The corner (Pacman Jones) did a good job of knocking him off his route and cutting him out. It is disappointing the way it happened."
Manning repeatedly credited Jones for making a play, but when pressed further about Burress, he said the Giants have to go all out to make plays of their own.
"It is a matter of everybody doing the right thing and competing and working hard," Manning said. "If one person does something just a little bit wrong or off it affects the whole play. You are not going to always call the perfect play but you can hope for perfect execution. You can expect guys to do the right thing.
"I don't know if it would have been a completion but hopefully knock it down or get called for interference," Manning added. "Do something - an interception is the last thing that you want."
While many were making a big deal out of Burress' play, it had nothing to do with Manning's interception with 23 seconds left and the game tied at 21. Inexplicably, Manning rolled right and dreadfully underthrew a pass intended for David Tyree. Jones made a leaping interception that set up the 49-yard field goal by Rob Bironas that completed a colossal meltdown by the Giants.
Manning has come under siege for not throwing the ball away. The quarterback has not thrown more than one touchdown in a game in his last five outings. During that stretch, he has four TD passes and seven interceptions.
"I don't think I'm in a slump," Manning said.
The NY Times spends time overthinking the Giants …
The Giants are still in contention for the playoffs. They have a 6-5 record and can improve their fortunes with a victory on Sunday against the Cowboys, their chief division rival. But if they fail to snap their slump, Coughlin could lose his job and Manning could lose his standing among the game’s top young quarterbacks.
Manning, the son of the former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning and the brother of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, was picked first in the 2004 draft and is being paid $54 million to lead the Giants regularly into the playoffs, if not to a Super Bowl.
No one questions Manning’s arm strength or his bloodlines, but his subdued demeanor has prompted concern about his leadership. In his third pro season, he still does not often come across as one of the guys.
“Manning is like a movie star,” Fiel said. “He seems sort of elite, detached, above everything. I think he’s an introverted, locked-up guy, not very connected to the others. Nobody speaks to him. He acts so alone.”
The Giants are not rushing to his aid. When Manning overthrew Plaxico Burress in the fourth quarter, Burress could have helped his quarterback by trying to make a play on the ball. But Burress stopped running his route, allowing the Titans’ Pacman Jones to intercept the pass.
Burress watched as the interception led to a touchdown and eventually a loss. “It was an indication he had given up,” Reiman said. “It was such a lack of effort, a lack of spirit. I didn’t understand it.”
DR Z on Eli …
In other news, MCNabb may not be ready next year …anyone recall Culpepper stories along these lines last year?
Donovan McNabb could be sidelined between eight and 12 months after having surgery Tuesday to repair a torn knee ligament.
McNabb, a five-time Pro Bowl quarterback, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the second quarter of the Eagles' loss to Tennessee last week. It was his third season-ending injury in mid-November in the last five years.
Renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews performed the reconstructive knee surgery in Birmingham, Ala. Head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder said McNabb also needed expected repairs to his meniscus. He added there was a "good" chance McNabb will be healthy for Philadelphia's season opener, which would be about nine months.
"Donovan, with all his injuries, he works hard and expedites it," Burkholder said. "We're setting it up so he can be back for training camp."
Romo rated #5 QB in the league …
He has only started five games, but he looks like a 10-year veteran. He shredded a proud Bucs defense on Thanksgiving day. He threw a team-record five TD passes (mostly on short passes) and he continues to manage the game well. He is playing almost mistake-free football and he has energized this franchise.
If you have not read it, Here is a fabulous story on Bradie James from Barry Horn that was printed on Thanksgiving…
How did the Blue Jays agree with Barajas; agree with Zaun; disagree with Barajas? The Toronto scribe breaks it down …
How Zaun's deal got done
Two weeks back, during the general managers meetings at Naples, Fla., the Jays, besides signing Frank Thomas, hold at least two sessions with representatives for Texas free-agent catcher Rod Barajas. They also have an offer on the table for their own free agent, Gregg Zaun.
A week ago Monday, Zaun confirms he has had two offers from the Jays for "a hair above" the $5.25 million (all figures U.S.) over two years the Cubs will pay Henry Blanco to be their backup catcher. The deal at the end is supposed to be worth $6 million.
The next day, Barajas' agent, Terry Bross, says he has received a two-year offer from the Jays, believed to be for $5.25 million.
Friday, Zaun tells the Star there's a lot of posturing going on and that it's too early to act on what he calls a still-emerging market.
Sunday, reports surface Barajas will accept Toronto's offer and fly in Monday for a physical to complete the deal.
On the weekend, Barajas has second thoughts, decides he's uncomfortable about the deal, fires his agents and replaces them with Dan Lozano.
Early Monday afternoon, Lozano advises the Jays that Barajas will not be coming to Toronto and would like to re-open talks.
The Jays refuse and re-open talks with Zaun, whose agent was headed to New York Tuesday for talks with the Yankees about Zaun becoming the back-up there.
By about 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, the Jays and Zaun agree on a two-year deal for $7.25 million with an option on 2009 for another $3.75 million.
Did Skin blog about little ol us? Don’t click here …
Intern Phil ran the numbers of Longhorn vs. Aggie for the record books:
ok here's more...
overall Longhorn is 73-34-5.
san antonio 3-0-1
Longhorn biggest road win was 1969 (49-12)
home win was 1970 (52-14)
road loss was 1925 (28-0)
home loss was 1984 (37-12)
Aggie beat Longhorn in all but 3 of the first 13 games (1915 to 1939) in
College Station (Longhorn won in 23, and ties in 21 & 33). Their longest
streak in Austin is 3 games (1984-88)
Texas won the first game in 1894 in Austin. they didnt play again till
1898. Texas won all austin games from 1916 to 1978 except 1922, 1956, 1976.
Their longest streak in CS is 7 (53-65)
texas' longest streak is from 1957-64. a&m's is from 1984-89.
hope you enjoy
Tell me this isn’t funny …
Family Guy – Ding Fries are done
To Catch a Predator (careful)
Vick’s moment that cost him cash