Ah, the first Friday of football season, and we have panic in Cowboys land. Terry Glenn could be out for a long time…not good at all. I like Crayton and Hurd, but not as replacement’s to Glenn. This is potentially a very bad hit for the Cowboys, and reminds me of April when I was fully expecting the Cowboys to go get a WR early in the draft.
My Picks for this week:
Cowboys 24, Giants 20
Texas 28, TCU 17
Oklahoma 31, Miami 23
Glenn gone? …
Terry Glenn will not be in the lineup when the Cowboys open the season Sunday against the New York Giants.
According to several sources, the veteran wide receiver reinjured his surgically repaired right knee and will miss one game, if not more. Glenn's agent, Jimmy Gould, said no decisions have been made, and Glenn will seek advice from several doctors.
Efforts to reach Glenn were unsuccessful.
The Cowboys' official Web site initially reported that Glenn would miss the season, quoting owner and general manager Jerry Jones. But shortly thereafter, the Web site amended the story to say Glenn will be sidelined at least two weeks.
The Cowboys were preparing for Glenn to play against the Giants after he missed the four preseason games following surgery Aug. 1 to remove a cyst.
Glenn began running routes Saturday and worked his way into a full practice Wednesday, but his knee swelled, and he was held out of Thursday's practice. The current injury is not believed to be related to the earlier surgery.
Earlier Thursday, coach Wade Phillips remained hopeful that Glenn could play against the Giants. Without Glenn, Patrick Crayton would start, and Sam Hurd would take over as the No. 3 receiver.
"We're preparing for a game, and we've got to go forward with that," Phillips said. "I hope all the guys play, but I have to be realistic. If they're not going to play, we've got other guys."
Losing Glenn is a blow to the Cowboys' deep passing game. Glenn has had two straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons with 132 catches and 13 touchdowns. With Terrell Owens and Glenn, the Cowboys had one of the best receiving tandems in the league, even as they enter their 12th seasons.
The Cowboys kept six receivers on the 53-man roster after their final cuts, including Glenn, Hurd, Crayton, Owens, Miles Austin and Isaiah Stanback, a fourth-round pick. They have one receiver, Mike Jefferson, on the practice squad.
Gramps on Wade’s self image …
If you can believe Phillips is a "great defensive coordinator," that he's the master of "instant results," and that he's a "Mr. Fix-It" (all quotes from Wade himself), then the Cowboys are going to the Super Bowl right here, right now, as a new season opens locally Sunday night.
Admittedly, Phillips' confidence in himself as a defensive guru made me pause, and re-think all opinions on the Cowboys.
Is he right? Previous history backs him up a bit, and Wade is not backing off his high opinion of himself, even with strong health doubts about linebacker Greg Ellis or just how close to 100 percent cornerback Terence Newman will be now and later, or just how deep in talent the defense is at linebacker, the prominent element of the "Phillips 3-4."
(When Wade speaks of the "Phillips 3-4," it's almost in the same hushed tones as "Doomsday," "Steel Curtain," "Fearsome Foursome," "No Name." etc. This guy is a hoot.)
We all know there is not much to beat in the NFC East or in the NFC, period.
But until Thursday night, we also thought the Cowboys would be strong offensively, and then came the news on receiver Terry Glenn -- out for the first two games, maybe longer, and possibly gone for the season with a knee injury suffered in San Antonio.
This is the first major confirmed blow of the entire training camp/exhibition season process. Ellis, however, could be the next long-term casualty.
Despite Phillips being so seemingly sure of himself on defense, the offensive side easily had the fewer doubts. Sure, there are plenty of people, nationally and locally who still have reservations on Tony Romo, and because of the ongoing debate on him, no quarterback has been, or will be, more scrutinized than Tony.
Colts are still pretty good ….
All those fireworks, all that bombast. The N.F.L. season opener has become a second-only-to-the-Super Bowl spectacle. But for part of Thursday night, it seemed as if all the fireworks had been used up before the defending champion Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints could even kick off.
Then, as comforting to Indianapolis as the championship banner fluttering from the RCA Dome ceiling, the Colts’ offense unfurled itself, producing two quick third-quarter touchdowns that ensured the result, if not always the tactics, would look familiar: Colts 41, Saints 10.
Peyton Manning was 18 for 30 for 288 yards and 3 touchdowns.
“Our offense in the first half was off a little bit,” Coach Tony Dungy said.
“I thought it was going to tough to hold these guys down,” Dungy said. “I didn’t envision holding them to 3 points.”
The Colts’ defense was a constant storyline during their championship season, largely because of its staggering struggles trying to stop the run. It was transformed during the playoffs, and picked up where it left off Thursday night, offering swarming, swirling coverage that stifled the Saints.
Quarterback Drew Brees was 28 for 41 for 192 yards, but he was picked off 2 times.
The Saints’ Reggie Bush was held to 38 yards on 12 carries.
How is Randy Moss these days? …
Maybe it has something to do with winning three Super Bowls since 2001. Or perhaps it's the team photo sprinkled with at least six or so future Hall of Famers.
Whatever it is, the New England Patriots aren't easily impressed by the new guys who arrive each offseason looking for their piece of NFL history.
But on Aug. 1, things were a little different on the three practice fields just outside of Gillette Stadium. The Patriots were impressed. Really impressed.
Randy Moss, the immensely talented receiver who has carried personal and professional baggage of nearly equal size from Minnesota to Oakland and now back across the country, was showing off. In a good way.
"You should have seen him," Patriots cornerback Randall Gay said. "He was showing us some of that speed everybody always talks about. So deceptive. So smooth. He's like a horse or something."
He's also 30. And that, too, was painfully apparent on Aug. 1. Later in the practice, on a deep pass from Tom Brady, Moss tweaked a hamstring that has nagged at him often since he crumpled to the turf as a Viking inside the New Orleans Superdome the night of Oct. 17, 2004.
Moss missed a month's worth of practice and all four preseason games before finally returning to the field five days ago. His status for Sunday's season opener against the New York Jets is uncertain.
So here we are, still wondering how this odd marriage between the enigmatic receiver and the unyielding throwback coach (Bill Belichick) will work. Did the Patriots land the steal of the offseason and the final piece they needed to wrest control of the powerful AFC back from Indianapolis? Or did they ship a fourth-round pick to Oakland for an aging, ailing superstar whose volatile attitude could threaten the revered "Patriot Way"?
"Here's what I think," said Moss' former Vikings coach Mike Tice, now a Jacksonville Jaguars assistant. "I think being in that organization is a perfect situation for Randy. I think you will see Randy Moss' return to greatness."
We'll see. Moss was supposed to be a perfect fit in Oakland, where Raiders owner Al Davis has worshipped the deep pass since, well, forever. And remember how happy Moss was initially when he arrived there from the Vikings in March 2005 in exchange for the seventh overall draft pick, linebacker Napoleon Harris and a seventh-round pick?
Two dysfunctional years later, Moss is coming off an injury-marred season in which he posted career lows for receptions (42), receiving yards (553) and touchdowns (three). Moss' reputation as a selfish player also resurfaced often as the Raiders flopped to a league-worst 2-14 record.
Finally, after unsuccessfully shopping Moss to the Packers, Davis decided to cut his losses in a late-night conversation with Belichick following the first day of the 2007 draft. Essentially, it was Davis siding with his 32-year-old head coach, Lane Kiffin, who couldn't coexist with Moss.
Here is a brand new Cowboys blog: Cowboyshub.com ….
Weekly Burch Big 12 Insider ….
Back in a darker stretch of the Mack Brown era, before everything started coming up Rose Bowls, the Texas coach sought to play up the positives from a season when the Longhorns had no titles to claim.
Steamrolled 65-13 by Oklahoma, the Big 12 South Division champion, and dusted in a bowl game by Washington State, the Longhorns declared themselves the 2003 "Texas state champs" because they swept four matchups against schools from the state: Rice, Baylor, Texas Tech and Texas A&M.
They commemorated the accomplishment with rings, complete with colored stones representing each of the four fallen opponents from within the state borders. Outside the Longhorns' locker room, the rings were greeted primarily with rolled eyes. Especially by those who noticed that TCU, at 11-2, posted a better record that season than Texas (10-3).
That was then. This is now: No. 7 Texas (1-0) is dusting off its "state champs" theme for Saturday's showdown with No. 19 TCU (1-0). But without any jewelry involved. Instead, it's about validating the Longhorns' status as the top-ranked college football team in Texas.
"That's another Texas team coming in here. That gets our attention," said receiver Nate Jones, noting that it will be "real exciting to see two Top 25 teams from Texas collide" in Austin for the first time since 2005, when then-No. 2 Texas buried then-No. 10 Texas Tech 52-17.
Earlier this week, TCU coach Gary Patterson downplayed the rivalry aspect of Saturday's matchup by noting that the teams compete in different leagues and have not played since 1995. Texas defensive tackle Frank Okam, on the other hand, worked the R-word into his thoughts about the Horned Frogs, who enter as 9-point underdogs.
"This is an in-state game. You could call it a rivalry, of sorts, because of that," said Okam, dismissing any concerns about an unemotional effort from the Longhorns. "It's definitely something we're not taking lightly."
Okam's rivalry take is interesting because it comes from a player whose team has won 27 of the last 28 meetings between the schools. But it speaks volumes about the Longhorns' desire to elevate their energy level after last week's lackluster 21-13 victory against Arkansas State.
TCU will arrive with BCS bowl dreams and a desire to post a sixth consecutive victory against the Big 12, the league that shunned it when the Southwest Conference broke up. To TCU fans, Saturday's meeting is more than a football game. It's a crusade, one that TCU players are expected to embrace.
"The one thing you don't want to get caught doing is playing against somebody who thinks it's their Super Bowl and you don't play like it's yours," Texas center Dallas Griffin said. "We know TCU will come in here fired up. Attitude-wise, I'm not looking to match them. As a team, we're trying to be higher than anybody else could be. That's always the goal."
For the Longhorns, maintaining the right to call themselves Texas' best college football team comes down to matching or topping TCU's intensity level Saturday. Even without the lure of postseason jewelry.
TCU at Texas: Expect a low-scoring slugfest when these former Southwest Conference rivals meet as ranked opponents for the first time since 1984. Each has a defense well-suited for stifling the other team's offensive strength. Most Top 25 showdowns go to the team with the supportive home crowd or the veteran quarterback. In this case, Texas has both.
Pick: Texas 24, TCU 17
Texas A&M 38, Fresno State 16: A&M clears its tallest nonconference hurdle before a Sept. 20 statement game at Miami.
Oklahoma 27, Miami 14: Another defensive gem for the Sooners, helping minimize the pressure on young QB Sam Bradford.
Psycho Ag is back! Here is his Weakly Retort on the Tech Website ….Good stuff…
Jayson Stark’s weekly column …
Roger Federer love in the NY Times …
When Roger Federer had finished dissecting the game of another player who had spent the last several years trying not to get dissected every time they met, Federer shrugged off his mastery with as deft a touch as he puts on any of his shots.
Yes, he had beaten Andy Roddick on Wednesday night at the United States Open for the 14th time in 15 meetings. And yes, he had left Roddick with no clue how to turn that tide. But Federer steadfastly refused to claim any dominance. In Federer’s view, he was a few tie-breaker points from losing the match.
“There was nothing I could do on his serve for two and a half sets,” Federer said. “I didn’t see a break point. That shows you obviously how good a returner he is.”
Federer then promptly swept away the idea that Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, his semifinal opponent tomorrow, would have as futile a quest as Roddick. Federer is 9-0 against Davydenko.
“I think he’s a fantastic player,” Federer said. “He is totally underrated still sometimes from the media. Even though I have a great record against him, I’m aware of his ability.”
This is perhaps the part of Federer that frustrates his opponents most. He takes none of his success for granted. He saw Roddick not as someone who has driven himself to near distraction in Federer’s considerable shadow, but as a dangerous player with a huge serve and a home crowd on his side.
Some might sit around and bask in a 50-6 match record this year, or 188 consecutive weeks at No. 1, or any of the other signs that Federer belongs with the greatest players in tennis history.
Andre Agassi, a guest analyst for USA Network on Wednesday night, piled praise on Federer. When told on court after the match that Agassi was impressed with his game, Federer’s first response was to say how nice it had been to see Agassi in the locker room before the match.
One of Agassi’s more forceful points about Federer is that Federer is the best in the world at probably five aspects of the game, and that it takes being the best at two aspects to create a dominant player.
Kansas State Promo Video….wow
Terence Newman at K-State