Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Favre's House of Pain

Today’s exercise at Bob’s Blog is to review the 0-8 record of Brett Favre at Texas Stadium. A couple initial thoughts; 1) Admittedly, odd numbers about a guy are generally irrelevant, but isn’t there something to 0-8? In an NFL Player’s career, 8 games is half of an entire season. That would seem to constitute a large sample size. 2) Texas Stadium was not his opponent, the Mid-90’s Cowboys were. They were one of the best teams in the history of the sport. You likely were going to lose to them no matter where you played. And 3) Past Performance is not indicative of future results.

Having said all that, there is no question that Texas Stadium is Favre’s house of pain. He has had some very bad days there. I think he is past the stage in his career of things getting in his head, but obviously, this is something he cannot check off his list unless he gets it done tomorrow night.

I was going to break it down game by game this morning, But, Tim McMahon did it for me …Good work, T-Mac…

Date: Oct. 3, 1993
Score: Cowboys 36, Packers 14
Favre's stats: 21-37, 174 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT
Story: Troy Aikman threw for 317 yards against a Packers defense focused on stopping Emmitt Smith, and Favre couldn't keep up. Only the Cowboys' red-zone inefficiency kept the game from being a total laugher. "We got beat by a real good football team," Packers DE Reggie White said. "They busted our butts out there."

Date: Jan. 16, 1994
Score: Cowboys 27, Packers 17
Favre's stats: 28-45, 331 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
Story: A sloppy performance was good enough for the Cowboys to advance to the NFC Championship Game to meet San Francisco for the second consecutive year. "The way we played today, there was no possible way we could have beat San Francisco," said Emmitt Smith, who rushed for 60 yards on 13 carries while still nursing a separated shoulder. Aikman threw for 302 yards and three TDs.

Date: Nov. 24, 1994
Score: Cowboys 42, Packers 31
Favre's stats: 27-40, 257 yards, 4 TD, 0 INT
Story: A third-string quarterback named Jason Garrett led the Cowboys to a franchise-record 36 second-half points on Thanksgiving Day, overshadowing Favre's four TD passes to Sterling Sharpe. Emmitt Smith aided the Cowboys' cause with 133 rushing yards and 95 receiving yards.

Date: Jan. 8, 1995
Score: Cowboys 35, Packers 9
Favre's stats: 18-35, 211 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Story: The Cowboys delivered a rather thorough playoff butt kicking. Troy Aikman completed 23 of 30 passes for 337 yards, highlighted by a playoff-record 94-yard TD pass to Alvin Harper that broke the game open. Michael Irvin, Jay Novacek and Harper all had 100-yard receiving games. But the Cowboys couldn't be too happy after the game, as Emmitt Smith aggravated a left hamstring injury, putting his availablity for the NFC Championship Game vs. the 49ers in doubt.

Date: Oct. 8, 1995
Score: Cowboys 34, Packers 24
Favre's stats: 21-41, 295 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, two carries, 25 yards, 2 TD
Story: The Triplets hit yardage milestones in the same game for the first time in their careers -- Troy Aikman passed for 300, Michael Irvin had 100 receiving, and Emmitt Smith rushed for 100. But they needed a clock-milking drive in the fourth quarter to prevent Favre from having a shot at finishing a comeback from three touchdowns down.

Date: Jan. 14, 1996
Score: Cowboys 38, Packers 27
Favre's stats: 21-39, 307 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT
Story: The Cowboys best defense was handing the ball to Emmitt Smith. They did so 35 times, and he responded by rushing for 150 yards and three touchdowns, allowing the Cowboys to control the ball for 39 minutes. Fifty of those yards and two of those TDs came in the fourth quarter, which began with the Cowboys trailing, primarily due to MVP Favre's brilliance.

Date: Oct. 18, 1996
Score: Cowboys 21, Packers 6
Favre's stats: 21-37, 194 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
Story: Chris Boniol tied an NFL record with seven field goals in a game dominated by the Dallas defense, which sacked Favre four times. "There's so much hype about Favre and the Packer offense that we wanted to prove we could go out and stop anybody," Cowboys cornerback Kevin Smith said. "We made the plays."

Date: Nov. 14, 1999
Score: Cowboys 27, Packers 13
Favre's stats: 26-50, 260 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT
Story: OK, this was the one Cowboys team Favre faced in Texas Stadium that wasn't pretty damn good. The Triplets were all spectators for this game, but Jason Garrett (199 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT) outplayed Favre. Favre had a chance to tie the score in the final minute, but ex-Packer George Teague picked off a pass and returned it 95 yards for a door-slamming TD.

It is all about the pass rush for the Cowboys ….

The Dallas Cowboys know that if they can't make Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre uncomfortable in the pocket Thursday, their secondary is in for a long night.
The question is, how much do they dare blitz?

"I don't think you can just let him sit back there all day and let him throw it," said Cowboys coach Wade Phillips. "That's the cat-and-mouse game or the chess game or whatever you want to call it."

Phillips' 3-4 defense is ranked seventh in the NFL and one reason is that the Cowboys have gotten to the quarterback. Outside linebackers DeMarcus Ware and Greg Ellis have nine and 8 1/2 sacks, respectively, and Ware leads the team with 20 quarterback pressures.

The problem facing the Cowboys is that Green Bay has been so effective with its multiple-receiver formations that Dallas won't be able to stay in its base defense and leave four linebackers on the field. Then the challenge will be to get pressure on Favre, with or without the blitz.

"Of course, (Favre) can recognize the blitz better than some quarterbacks so he knows to get rid of it," Phillips said. "He knows what's coming and where to go with (the ball). But you've still got to try to put pressure on him."

Disrupting Favre is a priority because if Dallas has a weakness, it's coverage downfield. Last week, when the New York Jets opened the game with three wide receivers, the Cowboys took out four-time Pro Bowl strong safety Roy Williams, ending his streak of consecutive starts at 90.

"Whatever needs to be done to help the team, I'm all for it," Williams said. "No complaining from me. It is what it is. It wasn't explained to me. It doesn't really need to be explained to me."

When the Packers go with Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and James Jones, the Cowboys' secondary will consist of cornerbacks Terence Newman, Anthony Henry and Jacques Reeves and free safety Ken Hamlin.

"Let's not make something out of nothing," Phillips said of Williams' demotion. "If they put five wide receivers in there, you might have to put all corners in there. We're just reacting to what the other team does."

No matter how many cornerbacks the Cowboys deploy, somebody is going to have to get to Favre. Phillips noted that Favre has completed more passes of 40 yards or longer than any quarterback in the league.

"He's going to go back and throw some deep ones," Phillips said. "He doesn't throw those off three-step drops every time. He's going to sit back there and wing it, so you've got to get some pressure on him. But that's a problem. That's the challenge for us."

If defensive ends Chris Canty and Marcus Spears and nose tackle Jay Ratliff can't get to Favre, the Cowboys are going to have to blitz.

"It's been hard for guys to get to him because they do so much quick stuff," Ware said. "Those receivers, they have it rehearsed: if my guy is coming (on a blitz), I'm just going to turn around. Brett will just throw it to him or find the open guy.
"So you've got to get to him and when you get there, you've got to be able to get him down."

Phillips was joking when he said he warned his players not to ask for Favre's autograph before the game. But he underscored the point that Favre is a future Hall of Famer who is having one of the best seasons of his career.

How healthy are the Packers? …not very…

The Green Bay Packers cheered positive developments on the injury front Tuesday regarding defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, safety Nick Collins and tackle Mark Tauscher, fretted about tight end Bubba Franks and still weren't sure about cornerback Charles Woodson and safety Aaron Rouse.

One thing is certain. The Dallas Cowboys, with 52 of 53 players available, will be healthier than the Packers when the two teams meet Thursday night at Texas Stadium.
"Our guys will be ready to play," coach Mike McCarthy said. "There's a lot of activity in the training room. I think it just shows you the spirit of the individuals who are trying to play."

Woodson (toe), Gbaja-Biamila (ankle) and Rouse (knee) were listed as questionable. The Packers will categorize other injured players today.

On Tuesday, Woodson observed the early portion of practice and then participated in a jog-through to familiarize himself with the game plan.

"He's improving," McCarthy said. "He's dealt with this injury before. He's making progress."

During his career in Oakland, Woodson said he took a painkilling injection and played with a similar injury but to his other big toe.

"I've never been shot up but I've never been injured like that," linebacker Nick
Barnett said. "I'm sure he'll go if he possibly can run even 80%."

Said cornerback Al Harris: "I don't know what's going on right now. But me knowing 'Wood,' if he can go, he's going to go. But any kind of a foot, ankle, toe, that's hard for a corner."

Gbaja-Biamila ran through some individual drills, worked with the trainers during practice and then declared himself fit.

"I'm ready to go 100%," Gbaja-Biamila said. "It's a big game and I want to be in it. It's a coach's call, but I feel good."

And now, the latest on the hottest topic in the land: Does Tony Romo idolize Brett Favre? …Seriously. This is out of control. He is denying it this week. He has said in the past that he was a huge fan. But, who cares? I think he is playing this the only way he can, as the last thing you want to do is fuel the fire by admitting that you are playing your hero. I do wonder if Romo’s head will be as cool as it usually is, or will he be forcing the ball into coverage. We will know soon enough…

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has done everything he can this week to downplay his admiration for Packers quarterback Brett Favre while growing up in Burlington, Wis.

However, for all he says about Joe Montana and Michael Jordan, Romo can't fool Cowboys teammates who know him well, such as tight end Jason Witten.

Witten has been to Burlington with Romo to take part in a football camp run by Romo's former high school coaches.

"The truth is, he loved (Favre)," Witten told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "He can imitate him, he can do all that stuff. He's done a good job of relaxing and understanding where he's at. I think he's playing it off pretty good. But that's his hero."

Romo has been playing down admiration for Favre because the two will be locked in an important game Thursday night featuring the NFC's two best teams, both 10-1.
He presumably doesn't want to come off as too much of a Favre fan when his job is to beat him.

For instance, Romo told reporters in Dallas this week that he "can understand the (Favre) angle and it's nice and it's fun, but I have to beat the guy this week."
In a teleconference Sunday with reporters who cover the Packers, he was asked about growing up in Burlington and watching Favre and the Packers.

"I really was a basketball fan growing up, honestly," he said. "Football was obviously a big thing to everyone, but I was more of a basketball guy growing up. Football was just something to do on Sundays.

"As the Packers got better, it was (more fun) to watch. Brett was obviously a big part of that."

But in the conference call with reporters in Wisconsin, Romo gave at least a hint of what he thinks of Favre when said he didn't try to emulate the Packers' quarterback while playing in high school and college.

"No, Brett's Brett," Romo said.

"At the end of the day, anybody trying to pretend there's another Brett is just kidding themselves. That's like saying you've got the next Jordan. That's just what people want to talk about. The reality is, he's one of a kind and there will never be another one like him. It's just neat to be able to watch him from time to time."

Great Video of Romo not loving

Now, on to the sad tragedy of Sean Taylor. Someone pointed out that it was odd that Taylor does not lead off the blog each day. I suppose you are right, it is a human life, but this blog is generally all about Dallas and that is why the Cowboys game has been the lead the last few days…that being said, Michael Wilbon has a very intriguing column on Taylor’s death ….

I wasn't surprised in the least when I heard the news Monday morning that Sean Taylor had been shot in his home by an intruder. Angry? Yes. Surprised? Not even a little. It was only in June 2006 that Taylor, originally charged with a felony, pleaded no contest to assault and battery charges after brandishing a gun during a battle over who took his all-terrain vehicles in Florida. After that, an angry crew pulled up on Taylor and his boys and pumped at least 15 bullets into his sport-utility vehicle. So why would anybody be surprised? Had it been Shawn Springs, I would have been stunned. But not Sean Taylor.

It wasn't long after avoiding jail time and holding on to his football career that Taylor essentially said, "That's it, I'm out," to the world of glamorized violence he seemed comfortable negotiating earlier. Anybody you talk to, from Coach Joe Gibbs to Jeremy Shockey, his college teammate, will cite chapter and verse as to how Taylor was changing his life in obvious ways every day. He had a daughter he took everywhere. Gibbs said he attended team chapel services regularly. Everybody saw a difference, yet it didn't help him avoid a violent, fatal, tragic end.

Coincidence? We have no idea, not yet anyway. Could have been a random act, a break-in, something that happens every day in America, something that could happen to any one of us no matter how safe we think our neighborhood is. Could have been just that. But would it surprise me if it was more than that, if there was a distinct reason Taylor was sleeping with a machete under his bed? A machete. Even though his attorney and friend Richard Sharpstein says his instincts tell him "this was not a murder or a hit," would it stun me if Taylor was specifically targeted? Not one bit.
You see, just because Taylor was changing his life, don't assume the people who pumped 15 bullets into his SUV a couple of years ago were in the process of changing theirs. Maybe it was them, maybe not. Maybe it was somebody else who had a beef with Taylor a year earlier, maybe not. Maybe it was retribution or envy or some volatile combination.

Here's something we know: People close to Taylor, people he trusted to advise him, told him he'd be better off if he left South Florida, that anybody looking for him could find him in the suburbs of Miami just as easily as they could have found him at the U a few years ago. I'm told that Taylor was told to go north, to forget about Miami. I can understand why he would want to have a spot in or near his home town, but I sure wish he hadn't.

The issue of separating yourself from a harmful environment is a recurring theme in the life of black men. It has nothing to do with football, or Sean Taylor or even sports. To frame it as a sports issue is as insulting as it is naive. Most of us, perhaps even the great majority of us who grew up in big urban communities, have to make a decision at some point to hang out or get out.

The kid who becomes a pharmaceutical rep has the same call to make as the lawyer or delivery guy or accountant or sportswriter or football player: Cut off anybody who might do harm, even those who have been friends from the sandbox, or go along to get along.

Mainstream folks -- and, yes, this is a code word for white folks -- see high-profile athletes dealing with this dilemma and think it's specific to them, while black folks know it's everyday stuff for everybody, for kids with aspirations of all kinds -- even for a middle-class kid with a police-chief father, such as Taylor -- from South Central to Southeast to the South Side. Some do, some don't. Some will, some won't. Some can, some cannot. Often it's gut-wrenching. Usually, it's necessary. For some, it takes a little bit too long.

Mavs Central looks at the Mavs start compared to last season ….

Cowlishaw wonders about the Stars streak

They were trudging along at 7-7-3 and had just suffered a terrible loss in Los Angeles when owner Tom Hicks fired Armstrong. It was an unusual move to ignite a team, replacing a general manager instead of a coach.

The team picked up a point in an overtime loss to San Jose, then reeled off six straight wins. Suddenly, this team is scoring.

Suddenly, Mike Modano is unburdened by the pursuit of a scoring mark and is playing more like he is 27 than 37.

And, suddenly, the Stars own the third most points in the NHL, right behind Detroit and Ottawa.

Is another Pacific Division title just around the corner with long overdue playoff success to follow?

I still don't see it.

Much of the Stars' success is attributable to increased scoring, the product of a power play clicking along at 24 percent. We know that doesn't last.

And the fact that Mike Smith has outplayed Marty Turco remains a disturbing sign.
We know Turco is the goalie come playoff time. He has earned that through the years and put a stamp on it with three shutouts of Vancouver in last year's playoff.
But his 2.59 goals against average is the highest of his career. Like the power play, we know that shouldn't last, either.

I think whatever energy the club has derived from the management change will wear out along the way. It's hard to see this roster outplaying Anaheim or San Jose over 82 games though the Ducks lost a lot when Scott Niedermayer didn't come back (at least he hasn't yet) and the Sharks have been inexplicably awful at home.

Jere gone until February

Right wing Jere Lehtinen will have sports hernia surgery after all, Dave Tippett said Monday. Lehtinen could be out 8-10 weeks.

"They found some inflammation and wanted to make sure that wasn't the cause of the problem," Tippett said. "They've ruled that out now."

Stars co-general manager Les Jackson said the team will look from within to fill voids.

"If we go along the trail and see something that makes sense, we'll act," Jackson said. "But we got a lot out of guys in our [injury] situation last year, so we're hoping to get the same results."

Guerin a fine choice to be Islanders Captain

It was all there on a silver platter for Ryan Smyth last summer. Captain Canada could have become Captain Long Island, but he took slightly less money to play second banana to buddy Joe Sakic in Colorado.

It was a blow to the hopes of Islanders general manager Garth Snow and coach Ted Nolan, whose emphasis on leadership in the locker room was underlined earlier in the summer when they convinced owner Charles Wang to buy out captain Alexei Yashin, whose legacy ultimately was his lack of passion for the job. The void at the top had Islanders fans in an uproar in the early days of the free-agent market.

Enter Bill Guerin. Signing a 36-year-old player to a two-year deal worth $9 million was panned widely in the NHL media as a desperation move. But Snow and Nolan knew what they were doing when they immediately handed the "C" to the newcomer.

At last, they had the kind of captain they wanted, a take-charge type who would be a stand-up guy in the locker room and on the ice. While the goaltending of Rick DiPietro has provided the foundation for the Islanders' 10-6 start, people from one end of the organization to the other credit the subtraction of Yashin and the addition of Guerin for creating a new sense of togetherness and purpose.

"He's been great in our locker room," said enforcer Chris Simon, who is close to Nolan and understands better than anyone what kind of leadership is required to play the coach's style. "Billy's play speaks for itself," Simon said. "He plays in the hard areas. He's not a perimeter player. When a guy plays the way he does and carries himself the way he does, everybody listens from young guys to older guys. That's a real good thing."

Since being named captain, Guerin hasn't made a false step. The ink barely was dry on his contract when he and fellow newcomer Mike Comrie told the club they wanted to donate tickets and game transportation to kids who otherwise would have little opportunity to attend a hockey game. At training camp in Moncton, New Brunswick, Guerin was everywhere signing autographs, working with alternate captains Mike Sillinger and Brendan Witt to organize team events and making sure all his teammates got to know him.

"The biggest thing to me was the chemistry and the camaraderie on the team, making sure everybody wanted to be there and wanted to be a part of the Islanders," Guerin said yesterday. "I think we have that. We've got a great group of guys. We support each other, and we're trying to make it like a family.

"Ted's a big camaraderie guy, as well. He made a point to Brendan, Mike and myself that, as captains, it's our job to make sure the guys are spending time together and that their families know each other. So get the wives involved. Things like that definitely translate to better play on the ice because you care more about each other."

The death of the goal judge is underway

Lou Lamoriello, the Devils’ chief executive, president and general manager, considers himself a hockey traditionalist, which should come as no surprise to those who have watched the teams he assembled win three Stanley Cups.

“I’d still like to see the boards white,” he said with a chuckle not long ago.
The boards at arenas are covered with advertisements these days, and now Lamoriello has to deal with another change in tradition: When the Devils moved to Prudential Center in Newark this season, the goal-judge booths did not make the trip.

The N.H.L. still has goal judges, but they do not all still sit in Plexiglas boxes behind the end boards in back of the goals. In at least 20 of the 30 arenas, the judges sit in the lower stands or in press boxes.

After 90 years, goal judges were moved for two reasons:

¶With instant replay available and a second referee next to the goal, goal judges are not exactly judges. They still push a button to turn on a light to let the crowd know a goal was scored, but they and the referees can be overruled by conclusive replay evidence. “People want to see the right calls made,” Mike Murphy, a former player and coach who is the N.H.L.’s vice president for hockey operations, said in a recent telephone interview from his office in Toronto.

¶The second reason, not surprisingly, was money. The booths took up space that could be filled with seats — choice seats that can fetch high prices. At Prudential Center, for instance, the Devils can sell six extra front-row tickets at $200 each.
At Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, where the goal judges sit in the press box, 12 goal-judge seats — 6 at each end of the rink — are sold for at least $500 apiece, far more than the $89 face value of all the other lower-bowl seats.

“Any time we can add a new experience or create a new product, it generates fan exposure and enhances the product,” said Shawn Tilger, the Flyers’ vice president for marketing and communications.

At Nassau Coliseum, the booths were in front of the first row of seats, but they were taken out because they obstructed fans’ views. The judges now sit in boxes at the top of the lower bowl, the same area they occupy at Madison Square Garden.
“We know it’s a tradition, and it was not something we take lightly, but in the end, we decided it was better for the customers,” said Chris Botta, an Islanders spokesman.

Lamoriello said he was disappointed to see the booths go. But he understood the economics behind the N.H.L.’s decision to recommend relocating the judges. He also understood that TV cameras could do what the judges did, only better.

“With modern technology and television available, we’d be under so much criticism if there were mistakes made if we didn’t use these things,” Lamoriello said.

This is from a good, strong p1. I think you will like it. It is a ticket-based crossword puzzle …see how well you can do…

Sean Avery vs. Darcy Tucker (with Don Cherry)

Dog likes Alabama


The Rice Man said...

Wilbon was spot on about Sean Taylor. What a tragedy. It does invoke very bad memories about the Great Leonard Bias. It's been over 21 years and as vivid a recollection as i could have.

Stay Hard Sean...and Hail to the Redskins

BACM said...

So the police dog doesn't like the black man or just Auburn?

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