There's something to be said for a player that owns up to his role on a team.
I mean each position has clearly stated duties and responsibilities at all times. A wide receiver has to run routes, break jams at the line, make cuts, get separation, focus on the ball and catch it, keep his timing right etc. etc.
There's a list like that for every position on the team, some longer than others, but all well defined and fairly standard on a position by position basis.
But these days it seems too common to get players like Owens who says, "give me the ball". Or players like Ellis who says, "I want to start". And even a player like Romo that just wants to have fun and enjoy what he does on the field.
All contract issues aside; there are several players on every team in the National Football League that wants particular things for personal reasons. And that should be fine; Owens wants the ball? Well, he makes plays so why not? It makes sense to get the ball to your play makers, and your play makers know it too so what's the big deal if they say something about it?
The desire isn't the problem, regardless of whether it's handled in the media or it's off the record, the desire of a player being too strong is rarely a problem. The problem lies more in the player feeling the need to air his concerns.
In a game, game management is a tremendous task, so much so that no player can handle it and the duties of their position at the same time. That's what coaches are for, to manage the games, to choose the plays and how each player is involved on every down. When a player like Owens goes into the media and says things like, "I can't throw the ball and then catch it too," it points out an obvious flaw in the modern day players' mind; If you can't do it, then why worry about it?
Does worrying about when he's going to get the ball help T.O. get open? No. Does it make him run any faster? No. Did it get him what he wanted when Anquan Bolden yelled at his OC during the NFC Championship game? No, the OC just yelled back and continued to call plays that didn't feature Bolden, just as he was doing to begin with.
It wasn't because Todd Haley was trying to send a message to Bolden that he isn't any good; the guy got a multi-year contract worth millions of dollars and has a starting job on a professional football team. He should know that's he good enough.
He got hung up though, hung up in the excitement of that game, hung up in the possible glory of helping his team reach the Super Bowl, hung up on his personal reasons, whatever they may specifically be.
But Haley had the right idea, he started using a part of his offense that he felt was the right choice, and he stuck with it. And the rest of the players went out there and performed their function in that chosen offense. The result? The Cardinals drove the field to score the winning touchdown and are going to Tampa next weekend to play in the Super Bowl. Simple, right?
My God it's such a simple concept; it really is a wonder why it's even an issue more than one time with any player. Once being all that's needed to see what kind of player he is, once being all that's needed to cut him loose, before he personal-agenda's his team into the ground.
But we can't do that, can't just cut a player because he wants to win, because he wants to compete. It's the nature of the business to want to compete, but what many players could benefit from is keeping it right at the front of their minds that winning is a team activity. It takes one guy to throw the ball, another to catch it, a few decoys to allow the catch, and few more to let that one guy throw the ball. There's no avoiding it.
That's where owning up to your position comes in. Give me a wide receiver that just goes out play after play, whenever he is called upon by the coach, and does everything he's been trained to do. Gets off the line, tries to break free from coverage, to get that crucial step needed to beat the coverage, and then, if the ball comes his way, catch it, secure it, and run as far as you can with it until either somebody throws him to the ground or he's running across white paint on the ground.
To do the job given to you, in this league, has become overrated. Very few players just go out and do what the play says they are supposed to do, and leave all their personal crap on the sidelines.
Players like Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Darren Woodson, and even DeMarcus Ware; they know what it means to be a football player. They get their assignment, study it, perfect it in practice, and then give everything they've got on the gridiron.
Here's hoping to a 2009 season full of people doing their damn jobs. Cheers.
The Brady Report: Cowboys’ Fast Start Dooms Eagles
It's been nothing but doom and gloom around the Dallas Cowboys in recent weeks. After a 3-0 start propelled them towards the top of the league's elite, three straight disappointing losses had fans wondering if it was time for a regime change at head coach.
They went into Sunday night's game with the Eagles needing a win to salvage hope at earning a playoff spot, and boy did they answer the bell. The Cowboys dominated the Philadelphia Eagles from the opening snap, routing their hated rivals 37-10 and improving to 4-3 on the season.
Let's get into my game notes from this overwhelmingly positive performance.
- Let's start with the quarterback. Dak Prescott was tremendous yet again on Sunday night, and we're getting to the point where his sample size of positive play is too large to ignore. Prescott was 21 of 27 for 239 yards and a touchdown (and an interception as well), but he also had a rushing touchdown to add to his totals. Prescott has complete control of the offense, and even checked out of a negative box count to exploit the Eagles blitz look down in the red zone. He leads the league in QBR this season, and he is the unquestioned franchise quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. As he should be.
- Sticking with praise on offense, Ezekiel Elliott looked like Zeke on Sunday night. From his very first carry you could tell Elliott was running with a different burst and energy than we'd seen in recent weeks, and he later ran right over Malcolm Jenkins to set up the team's second score of the game. Elliott was impossible to bring down all night, to the tune of 111 yards and a touchdown on 5 yards per carry.
- La'el Collins has been incredible this season, and Sunday was no different. The Cowboys recently extended right tackle shut Brandon Graham down for basically the entire night, and kept Prescott upright and comfortable in the pocket. Tyron Smith was clearly not healthy or himself on the other side, but the rest of this offensive line picked up the slack and had their best performance since the season opener.
- Connor Williams deserves a shoutout as well. He was getting off double teams to the second level and cutting linebackers off to clear rushing lanes for Zeke all night long.
- Defensively, the Cowboys had their best performance of 2019. They hadn't been able to force turnovers all season, but they came away with four in this week's win. Xavier Woods' interception of Wentz might've spoken the loudest, as it proved how good this defense can be when the game script is working in their favor. When things go according to plan early for this team, they have the talent to take total control and dominate.
- Jourdan Lewis was inserted into the starting lineup due to injury, and he was awesome from the opening snap. Lewis came away with a big sack on Caron Wentz and had 4 tackles overall as well. Byron Jones returned from the injury he suffered a week ago, and was back to his old shutdown ways. Jones is clearly the best cornerback on this team, and is one of the better corners in all of football. When he's healthy and playing as he did during Sunday's win, few have an argument over him.
- DeMarcus Lawrence also had his best game of 2019, creating consistent pressure on Wentz throughout the night. His biggest play, of course, was his sack fumble which set the Cowboys up for a 14-0 lead just two possessions into the game. Lawrence has been taking a lot of heat from the fanbase in recent weeks, but he responded in a big way on Sunday.
- Those are the linebackers I remember from 2018. Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch were all over the field during this game, and Sean Lee had a pretty nice game as well once Vander Esch went down. Lee and Smith each finished with 7 tackles, and Smith forced the Eagles' first fumble of the night on their opening drive. Lee made a nice play on the ball on a late fourth down throw that easily could've been an interception as well.
Cowboys K Brett Maher’s 63-Yard Field Goal Sets New NFL Record
After hitting a 63-yard field goal last night in the Dallas Cowboys' win over the Philadelphia Eagles, Kicker Brett Maher now owns the NFL record for most field goal made at 60 yards or longer. It was the third 60-plus FG of his career and second so far this season.
Maher hit a 62-yarder last week in Dallas' loss to the New York Jets. That kick tied him with Sebastian Janikowski and Greg Zuerlein for having two career field goals of 60 or more.
Now Brett stands alone in that category. Last night's kick also was just one yard shy of Matt Prater's record for the NFL's longest field goal; Maher hit from 64 yards in 2013.
If Brett Maher ever gets a chance to kick in Denver, he may have a great shot at breaking Prater's record as well. According to NBC's data from last night, Maher's kick would have been good from 66 yards out.
It was a good night overall for the Cowboys kicker. Maher had two other makes from 26 and 29 yards.
Despite his heroics at times, Brett Maher has been one of the least accurate kickers in the NFL the last two years. Even after last night Brett is hitting just 71.4% of his field goals so far in 2019; that ties him for 25th in the league.
The most puzzling aspect of all with Maher is how much he struggles with shorter range kicks. You almost have more confidence in him kicking from 60 yards out than attempting an extra point.
Few kickers could survive that kind of performance and uncertainty, but few can do what Maher can with his long range ability. It's a risk/reward situation that the Cowboys are continuing to work with.
For today, at least, Maher and his team are basking in the glory of a great game. Let's hope both can keep up the positive momentum.
Cowboys Defense Dominates in Crucial Win vs Eagles
Coming into yesterday's battle for NFC East supremacy against the Philadelphia Eagles the Dallas Cowboys defense was looking to regain some swagger. The Green Bay Packers were led by Aaron Jones who had a career day with 182 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns two weeks ago in a 34-24 beatdown of the Cowboys. Last week at Metlife Stadium, the New York Jets got a career day themselves from their former third overall pick in Sam Darnold who threw for 338 yards and two touchdowns in his return from Mononucleosis that kept him out since Week one. The Cowboys were handed their third consecutive loss 24-22 and their season was headed down the drain.
It would be paramount for the Cowboys defensive unit to set a tone and they didn't waste any time doing so. The Eagle's first possession would only last five plays as Jaylon Smith forced a fumble by Tight End Dallas Goedert that was recovered by Maliek Collins. Just two plays into their second drive, Carson Wentz was strip-sacked by All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence inside the Eagles own 15 which was recovered by Antwaun Woods. Both turnovers led to scores for the Cowboys as they took an early 14-0 lead in the games first six minutes.
After the Eagles scored on a seven-play 87-yard drive with a little over four minutes to go in the first quarter they would only run 12 plays the rest of the first half, and the Cowboys went into the locker room with a commanding 27-7 lead.
The second half would be a continuation of the first 30 minutes of play. After an exchange of field goals in the third quarter, the Eagles were simply out of their misery early in the fourth. Wentz was intercepted by Safety Xavier Woods and he committed his second fumble of the game on the very next drive. In the end, the Cowboys whipped the Eagles from start to finish 37-10 and claimed outright first place in the NFC East.
There were several encouraging signs defensively for the Cowboys vs the Eagles. Maliek Collins matched his season total with five tackles and also recovered a fumble. Both starting defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Robert Quinn each had a sack showing exactly why the Cowboys put this combo together, to terrorize quarterbacks. Cornerback Jourdan Lewis had four tackles and a sack, a great follow up to his four tackle performance with an interception a week earlier, further making his case to be the top guy at nickel corner in this defense. The old veteran Sean Lee didn't go unnoticed either as his seven tackles were tied for of the team lead. He got more snaps due to Leighton Vander Esch's early exit with a neck injury.
You expect an offense like the Eagles to make plays and score points eventually, but the Cowboys defense wasn't having any of it in this contest. In addition to giving up under 300 yards of total offense, they only allowed the Eagles to convert three third downs, go 0 for 2 in the red zone and forced four turnovers. That's a recipe for victory any Sunday.
Now, the Cowboys go into the bye week sitting on top the NFC East throne. This is the perfect time to get guys fully healthy with a clash against the New York Giants on the road awaiting them in two weeks. The Cowboys defense played with their backs to the wall and pulled out a big-time performance when they needed it the most. Consistency is what has kept them from looking like the top seven unit they were in 2018. Was this game the turning point? We shall see, but nonetheless, this showing by them was exactly what the doctor ordered.
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