Friday, October 17, 2008

Brave Knights

First, the gold of the gold.

Dan and Grubes are in love….

And now, a bunch of links because I don’t have much time.

Will Tony Romo play? …I say yes…

The mystery surrounding Tony Romo's broken finger captured all the attention Thursday at Valley Ranch. Even though Romo practiced, it's still unclear whether he'll play Sunday against St. Louis.

"It looks promising," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.

Romo's close friend Jason Witten said: "He's a competitor. He wants to play."
Coach Wade Phillips said he doesn't want to wait until Sunday before making a decision between Romo and backup quarterback Brad Johnson.

Will he announce the starting quarterback sometime Saturday?

"No. I'm not telling anybody," Phillips said.

And so the saga will continue for at least another day, keeping players, fans, the media and most notably, the Rams, in suspense.

Romo, who did not speak to the media Thursday, had his right pinkie finger secured with a splint and a protective wrap. The quarterback had no visible problems throwing deep balls during warm-ups, which were open to the media.

Romo caught simulated shotgun snaps alongside Johnson and third-stringer Brooks Bollinger and threw passes to various receivers. Most of Romo's deep passes reached their intended targets, but the balls wobbled slightly.

Johnson got most of the practice time with the first-team offense, Phillips said. However, Romo did take a limited amount of snaps with the unit.

Phillips said Romo did not attempt any handoffs, though. That may be a key determining factor in whether Romo plays. He must hand off to running back Marion Barber and tolerate any pain that comes with physical play.

"I could tell he wants to play, but if it's something that's too serious, they're not going to let him," guard Leonard Davis said. "But Tony's Tony. He's a competitor. He wants to be out there and do what he can do."

The real question becomes whether Romo should take the risk. The Rams have one of the worst defenses in the NFL.

By all accounts, Johnson is a veteran capable of taking the offensive reins. So, why not sit this one out and get ready for Tampa Bay on Oct. 26?

Romo has started 32 consecutive games. His idol, Brett Favre, has started 258 consecutive games. The two spoke earlier this week, and Favre said he told Romo that it's worth playing through the pain.

"I don't know if he will be back this week or not," Witten said. "But it's encouraging to all of us that he will be back sooner than later."

What role for Roy 11

The Cowboys are convinced that Roy Williams is a major upgrade at the No. 2 receiver spot. What do the FO statistical formulas say?

According to his performance in the Detroit offense, not really. Williams' DVOA is a mediocre -9.6%, 57th in the league; he's caught only 44% of the 39 passes thrown to him. Now, admittedly, Williams has had Jon Kitna and Dan Orlovsky for quarterbacks, so he should see some improvement.

That being said, it'd hard to see where Williams is going to steal passes from. The idea that Patrick Crayton wasn't a good enough #2 receiver is kinda silly; he was good enough last year, when the Cowboys had one of the best passing attacks in football, and his 17.8% DVOA is 22nd in the league so far this year. Williams moves Crayton into the third slot, which moves Miles Austin basically out of the picture altogether. Austin, as mentioned previously, has been fantastic when thrown the ball. It also means that Jason Witten will see fewer touches, and he's been the best tight end in the league for the past year and six weeks.

The Cowboys aren't going to entirely overhaul their offense and become a spread attack in the middle of the season, especially with Brad Johnson potentially at the helm. That's going to result in everyone taking fewer touches to accommodate each other's talents. I wonder who that won't go over well with.

The Stars are struggling badly

Poor goaltending. Poor work level. Plenty of mistakes.

The blame for the Dallas Stars’ woes is widespread. And on Thursday, it started in net and worked its way throughout the lineup.

Marty Turco allowed five goals on 18 shots before being replaced at the start of the third, and the rest of the Stars were just as dismal in a 6-1 loss to the Blues at Scottrade Center.

It was a forgettable showing for the Stars, who are still looking for two victories — or even two solid outings — in a row.

For Turco, the rough start continues. His 4.59 goals-against average and .822 save percentage speak volumes, as he’s allowed at least three goals in each of his four starts.

"When your team needs you most, you want to be there; right now, I’m certainly not," Turco said. "It’s a selfish position, and one that needs more of my attention, especially the way things are going."

Coach Dave Tippett said the blame doesn’t stop there.

"The goaltending has been poor and top players are not playing with the commitment we need to win hockey games," he said. "The goalie has to take a big responsibility because we rely on him to be one of our top players. But that doesn’t take the other 19 off the hook."

Indeed, it doesn’t. And with the Stars reeling and making mistakes, the Blues pounced and produced in every way possible: On the power play, off rebounds or broken plays, from the blue line; it didn’t matter.

The Stars had plenty of breakdowns and turnovers — three of the Blues’ goals were unassisted.

Meanwhile, there was nothing on the other end. Other than a shot here or there, the Stars didn’t make Blues netminder Manny Legace work very hard.

The Stars’ power play was once again futile; the Stars took most of their shots from the blue line, and had little traffic up front for rebound opportunities.

The frustration has more than set in now. It was only the fifth game, but it wasn’t the first in which Stars were wondering where their once-trademark work ethic has gone.

"Those are the answers we’re looking for," Brenden Morrow said.

"We got off to a bad start, got penalties and we couldn’t kill them off. Our passion wasn’t at the level it needed to be."

Jimmy Burch’s picks are pretty close to mine in the Big 12 …so I feel better…

Missouri at Texas: Two of the nation’s best quarterbacks face off, with one glaring difference. Missouri’s Chase Daniel, a Southlake Carroll graduate, must try and score against a stingy Texas defense. Texas’ Colt McCoy faces Mizzou’s inconsistent defense. Advantage, Texas. Pick: Texas 41, Missouri 31.

Other games

Texas Tech 49, Texas A&M 28: The Red Raiders reach 7-0 for the first time since 1976 with plenty of breathing room on the scoreboard.

Oklahoma 38, Kansas 24: Sam Bradford and the Sooners’ high-powered offense overwhelm the Jayhawks in the second half.

Belak vs. Boogaard - Gold

Staring at the Sun

No comments: