Friday, November 23, 2007
Another Week, another performance where very little went wrong, as the Cowboys celebrated Thanksgiving with a win. 9-1 becomes 10-1, and now the stage is set for the game that lies ahead.
The Jets are not a very good team. In fact, the Cowboys have now completed their run through the AFC East, and in a year where that division could produce the first undefeated team since 1972 AND the first winless team since 1976 it is easy to see why. The Jets, Dolphins, and Bills are awful. So, to suggest the Patriots are 6-0 before the season starts is a fair statement. Perhaps the fact that the Dolphins are so bad that they can lose to the Jets and Bills all 4 times is more of a shock. Regardless, in 2007, I am tired of hearing about the big, bad AFC, and then the corresponding theory that the NFC is sad. The AFC has many dogs in it. We have seen them up close. The Jets are not winning games in the NFC either.
Are the Patriots the best team in the league? Surely. Are the Colts great? Absolutely. But after that, don’t you have to question of a Steelers team that loses to Denver and the Jets and the Cardinals? And what about the Chargers who have lost at Minnesota and Green Bay? Sorry. Dallas is as good as anyone other than the Patriots, and the Packers likely belong in the Top 5, too. So, let’s stop with the idea that some of my colleagues have thrown out there that the 5th best team in the AFC could win the NFC. Don’t think so.
The following are my notes and observations from an easy win at Texas Stadium.
• It wasn’t much, but when we saw snow at the stadium yesterday, we couldn’t help but consider the Miami “Leon Lett” game of Thanksgiving 1993. The snow yesterday was certainly far more minimal, but I don’t care who you are and where you are from: There is something special about being at a football game and seeing snow. It is just about as good as it gets.
• Good to see the Boys run the football again with some effectiveness. 174 yards on the ground almost totally matched the 180 total yards of the Jets. That is something you don’t see in the NFL very often. Also, Dallas owned a 15 minute advantage in time of possession. Seriously, the offenses that the Jets, Bills, and Dolphins have surely are 3 of the worst offenses the Cowboys have played in years.
• I think we all saw something great on the Terrence Newman interception return for a touchdown – Tnew has got his wheels back, eh?
• I really don’t think Nick Folk is kicking the ball very well on kickoffs anymore. This puts a ton of pressure on the coverage teams to always make the first tackle. That in turn will put more pressure on the defense when they take the field around the 40 or 50. It all starts with Folk. And they need to see the reemergence of his thunder foot that was there in San Antonio.
• It could all be a coincidence, or part of the gameplan against the Jets, but we sure didn’t see much of the shotgun yesterday, eh? The Gurode crazy snaps of Sunday may have scared off Jason Garrett for now.
• I have never thought a whole lot of Miles Austin at Wide Receiver. I just thought his hands were not very impressive in the pre-season, and really am more interested in Isaiah Stanback as the project at the position, but Austin really showed me some nice speed burst during his two completions. Perhaps he is developing into something.
• I guess Julius Jones won the battle of the brothers by almost mere default. Without any sort of fear of Kellen Clemens, the Cowboys made Thomas Jones earn every single inch yesterday.
• Thursday’s laugh out loud moment was of course the extra soft high 5 that Tony Romo offered Wade Phillips after the touchdown down the seam to Jason Witten. We certainly aren’t going to injure anyone’s soft hands with that. I really enjoy Romo’s humor, and the fact that it seems like he can play an NFL game and think of goofing around all at the same time.
• Chris Canty is really emerging as a player. His Joey Galloway celebration flex works, too.
• Did you know the Cowboys had not won consecutive Thanksgiving games since 1997? I guess times have been tough around here. But is there any doubt that the Cowboys are ready to end the playoff drought? I feel it is only a matter of time.
• I didn’t realize this until I read it at NFL.com, but since the start of 2006, there has been no touchdown combination that has scored more than Romo to Owens. Keep in mind that Romo did not get the job until the 7th game in 2006, and consider what that says. Wow. 23 times they have hooked up already. And there is more on the way.
• I think the Cowboys let a good safety and special teams player get away when Abram Elam left. The Jets look like they are ok at that spot now with him.
• When you win 34-3, it is nit-picking to point out that Romo should have had a few more Touchdowns. On the Interception, Owens was open. And he also underthrew an open Witten on another play. Both were scores normally. That is right, I am saying the Cowboys won 34-3 and did not play very well at times. They could have and should have had 50 yesterday.
• Initial thoughts on Green Bay week? The Packers had a lot of important pieces get hurt yesterday. How many can play will largely affect their firepower. Driver, Woodsen, KGB, and Tauscher all left the game with something health-related. Also, Brett Favre knows that Texas Stadium is one of the very few places he has never won. It is clearly his house of pain as no other stadium has seen his years crash and burn like Texas Stadium in 1993, 1994, and 1995. He is 0-8 all time here, and that alone should give anyone pause before picking Green Bay to win (considering his all-time winning percentage, 0-8 is beyond a coincidence). But, does the Dallas defense have a way to match up against the 5 WR set the Packers have? Newman on Driver? Fine. Henry on Jennings? Ok. Reeves has Jones? Who then covers Koren Robinson and Ruvell Martin? Roy or another safety? Meanwhile, How does Tony Romo respond to playing against Brett? You have to understand of all of the mind bending situations he has been in, the prospect of dueling against his hero in a game of this magnitude should be really cool. Even cooler is the idea that I believe regardless of the result, these two teams shall meet again. Thursday will only serve to determine where that 2nd meeting is likely played. This is going to be fun.