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Tony Romo should be the answer, not the question




Cowboys Blog - Tony Romo should be the answer, not the question

Where to begin?

How about I lighten the mood first with a little shtick? I could put on the juvenile hat I often see donned on blogs abroad and hence forth refer to Tony Romo as Tony Thromo Interceptions.  What, no love?  Weak, you say?

I could suggest that Romo must have been wearing extra Under Armour apparel, considering how many under-thrown deep balls he threw. Get it?  Still the sound of crickets and a leaky faucet drip on the other side of the house.  Okay, I think I can do better, just not in the sense Romo apparently meant it last week.  {Zing}

I could tell a story about how one day I offered Tony the rest of my box of chocolates but when he saw 8 in the box he instinctively responded, “Pass.” I’m not going to lie, I’m really proud of that last one.

Or I could simply employ a fantasy-anecdotal device and relate that were I the Head Coach of the Cowboys I would hand Tony Romo the game ball in the locker room after the game, yank it back and tell him, “you owe me two!”

The three unacceptable and inexcusable interceptions aside, there should and could have been more. By my count, there were two more that hit defenders in the hands only to be dropped and one that Dwayne Harris was able to win the jump-ball situation to prevent a fourth catastrophe in the game.

But out of all of these issues Romo experienced Sunday, perhaps the most unforgivable, absurd, rookie-like oversight came within 2 yards of the end zone on a day where Murray was averaging over 6 yards per carry during that same possession.

The Scenario:  It was 2nd and 1, meaning 1 yard yields 4 more plays, 2 yards yields the tying touchdown.

Romo checks out of a run play to a pass because the defensive alignment suggested the 49ers were expecting the run. I repeat, Romo read the defense and expertly deciphered they were expecting the run 2 yards away from pay dirt.

Really? Really? REALLY?

I could have been escorted to under center blindfolded and read that the defense was expecting a run in that situation.

Of course the 49ers were expecting the run!

That may have something to do with the fact that Romo could have literally taken the snap and leaned forward with the ball to make that first-down and potentially a touchdown. That was absolutely not a time to get cute and he simply outsmarted himself; which is ironic, because given his decision-making throughout the day, I would have never guessed he was smart.

The result:  A sack, due to a miscommunication between Romo and Tyron Smith and, ultimately a Field Goal.

Please do not misunderstand; I know he is intelligent, so to the Romo apologist, please save your defense armed with some of the emptiest misleading stats in quarterback history. Romo still gives the Cowboys the best chance to win, but with all of the question marks that still plague this team, the Cowboys can ill-afford for him to join those ranks of questionable.

Furthermore, given that offensive line and the caliber of weapons he is surrounded with, it is critical that he starts playing to live for another play as opposed to trying to win with every snap. The onus is no longer squarely on his shoulders to win games, but that defense is not good enough to weather his mistakes.

Romo is not the only one on my chopping block.  But with all of the negative press that has already been - and will be - hammered out, now would be a good time to hand out a few honorable mentions, despite the dishonorable results.

Rolando McClain – Given the relatively cheap price of a conditional 6th round pick, the Cowboys may have struck figurative gold with Rolando. He may not be Sean Lee, but I think most would agree he was far better than the alternatives and played like he truly wants to be here on Sunday – not for just this season, but also for the foreseeable future. He is the type of player that can infect and affect the play of his teammates. The question is where does he go when Sean Lee comes back?

Cole Beasley – He was not the star of any Fantasy League, in terms of stats, but he is proving to be the Jason Witten of slot receivers. Without the benefit of blazing speeds or ideal size, he gets open with crisp, on point routes and catches almost everything that touches his hands, even when Romo is not accurate with ball placement.

DeMarco Murray – Once the 49ers put up 28 points on the scoreboard, coach Harbaugh took his feet off the offensive gas pedal and dropped the defensive coverage back, allowing for much of Murray’s running room. Having said that, he ran with vision and authority, being the predominant reason the Cowboys were able to keep several drives alive. I am not a proponent of his consistently looking for contact to close his runs to darkness, but in games where the Cowboys hold a lead, that grinding style will come in handy.

Bruce Carter – Given the level of criticism and scrutiny this young man suffered through this off-season – with questions about his love of the game to his intellectual ability to grasp the game – Bruce Carter also played with both passion and instinct Sunday. He was all over the field, suggesting that once again a position group –linebackers - that was perceived to be a weakness when the season opened may actually prove to be a strength as the season progresses.

This game was hard to watch, but I trudged through it dedicated to dissecting both the good and the bad from my limited view through the television screen.

Stepping away from the sting of the loss, what particularly bothered me was the incomplete grade we were collectively able to ascertain from this game. The 49ers were to be the measuring stick that gave fans a true idea of the Cowboys identity. Instead, one player (Romo) failed miserably, placing the rest of the players in a situation that they could not overcome.

Would this game have ended any differently minus the horrible decision-making of Romo? Hopefully Romo gives the team a better chance to answer that question, one way or another, next Sunday.

I am 35, married and a father of 2 boys. I have been a Cowboys fan since Jimmy Johnson took over; not because I had anything against Tom Landry, but because it just so happens I was old enough to start following and understanding football right as that new era began. Since then, I haven't missed games if I could help it.


Star Blog

Did a Year Away Help Rejuvenate TE Jason Witten’s Game?

Brian Martin



Did a Year Away Help Rejuvenate TE Jason Witten's Game?

Jason Witten is 37 years old, retired from the NFL after the completion of 2017 season to try his luck as an announcer in the booth, but has now decided to come out of retirement to rejoin the Dallas Cowboys? It seems a little unrealistic to think he can come back after a year away from the game and pick up where he left off, but it sounds as if he's like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.

Jason Witten has been the talk of Dallas Cowboys OTA practices so far. These practices are unpadded and basically just an opportunity to do install some of the offensive and defensive plays, but that doesn't make them any less important. One of the things that has been somewhat surprising though is how talked up the future Hall of Famer has become.

Here is what Head Coach Jason Garrett had to say recently about Jason Witten's return:

“Yeah, absolutely. He’s been excited about every part of it ever since I met him and that hasn’t changed,” coach Jason Garrett said. “The work that he’s done in the weight room in the off-season program has been outstanding. His testing numbers and all of that are what they’ve been or even better. And he just has an unbelievable way about him. Tremendous passion for the game. And he demonstrates that every day. Witt looks good. He’s excited to be back and we’re certainly fortunate to have him back.”

The main thing that stands out from Garrett's quote to me is how Jason Witten looks just as good, if not better after not playing at all in 2018. To think that his testing numbers are possibly even better is unfathomable. We typically don't see NFL players in their mid-30s retire from the game and then return just as good, or maybe even better than they were before.

It's inhuman!

Jason Witten, Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten

Maybe that's just what Jason Witten is, a little inhuman. Maybe he's found the secret to turning the clock back just a little bit. Or, maybe he found the fountain the youth and didn't tell anybody. Regardless, there's no doubt Witten will be a welcomed addition to the Cowboys offense, especially if he's gained a step.

I don't know about all of you, but I'm hoping the year away from the game did him some good. I honestly thought he made the right decision to retire prior to the 2018 season. It just looked like father time was catching up to him in 2017. But, hopefully all he needed was a little time away from the grind he's been putting his body through for over a decade.

Whatever he's done hasn't gone unnoticed though. Even Quarterback Dak Prescott has noticed and said he's on to Witten's scheme.

“I guess the trick is to take a year off because he’s definitely gotten better, stronger and faster,” Prescott said. “He hasn’t lost a step.”

I'm not afraid to admit I wasn't too excited to see Witten come out of retirement and rejoin the Cowboys at first. I was skeptical he could be the player he once was after a year away from the game. But, all of this talk about him looking as good as he once was, perhaps better, has me really looking forward to seeing him on the field once again.

Do you think a year away has rejuvenated Jason Witten's game?

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Star Blog

Cowboys en Español: El Verdadero Cambio en La Ofensiva

Mauricio Rodriguez



3 Quick Fixes to Jumpstart Cowboys Anemic Offense

Los Dallas Cowboys tuvieron un interesante 2018. La ofensiva dejo mucho que desear toda la primera mitad de la temporada cuando carecían de un receptor número uno. No fue hasta media temporada cuando consiguieron a Amari Cooper de los Oakland Raiders, que la ofensiva comenzó a verse realmente amenazante. Siendo sinceros, el cuerpo de receptores de los Cowboys lucía muy débil al inicio y Michael Gallup aún no conseguía mucho tiempo de juego en el emparrillado. Incluso una vez en el equipo, a pesar de las grandes hazañas de Cooper en Dallas, la ofensiva no terminó de dar el siguiente paso.

Sí, con Amari en el equipo vimos un equipo de Cowboys que movía constantemente las cadenas e incluso se convirtió en una de las mejores unidades en tercera oportunidad en la liga, pero no fue suficiente. Los problemas en zona roja persistieron y continuamos viendo una selección de jugadas muy cuestionable semana tras semana.

Es por eso que al finalizar la temporada, la administración de los Cowboys finalmente tomó una decisión muy anticipada. El entonces coordinador ofensivo, Scott Linehan, fue despedido.

En cuanto a talento, los Dallas Cowboys no verán un cambio mayor en su ofensiva. Cole Beasley, uno de los mejores WR slot en la NFL, firmó con los Buffalo Bills durante la agencia libre. A pesar de la llegada de Randall Cobb, la ofensiva probablemente extrañará bastante a Beasley. Además está el regreso de Jason Witten al campo, quien se repartirá el balón mucho con los jóvenes del equipo, principalmente con Blake Jarwin. Por último, Travis Frederick podría estar de regreso como el centro titular. Fuera de eso, no se anticipan cambios de jugadores en la ofensiva.

Y a pesar de esto, la afición de los Cowboys espera ver un cambio grande entre la ofensiva del 2018 y la de 2019. Si las cosas salen bien, así será. Pero más que por el talento del equipo, que ya está ahí y es un muy buen talento, deberá ser por el hombre al mando.

Kellen Moore

Kellen Moore ha tomado las riendas como el nuevo coordinador ofensivo y finalmente podremos ver su potencial. Muchos han criticado a Moore, en gran parte por nunca haber sido un quarterback exitoso en la NFL. Sin embargo, hay muchas razones por las cuales deberíamos estar emocionados.

Desde que Moore salió de la universidad de Boise State, se le veía como un prospecto muy inteligente. Incluso analistas como Jon Gruden (en ese entonces conductor del programa de ESPN Gruden's QB Camp) mencionaban que Moore probablemente no sería un gran mariscal, pero que tenía la mente de un coach.

En Boise, Moore trabajaba con la ofensiva del actual coach de los Washington Huskies, Chris Petersen. Esta ofensiva es una muy complicada que le exige al mariscal saber casi tanto como un jugador profesional. Muchos han descrito a Moore como un genio ofensivo que será un gran coach en el futuro.

Para los Cowboys, Kellen Moore será una pieza clave en 2019. Si vemos una ofensiva realmente diferente, será gracias a su creatividad y filosofía que implementa a un grupo bastante talentoso en Dallas. Los jugadores están ahí, ¿sabrá el coordinador ofensivo de 30 años aprovecharlos?

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: El Verdadero Cambio en La Ofensiva" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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Star Blog

NFL to Study Marijuana Use, Will It Impact Randy Gregory’s Status?

Mauricio Rodriguez



Cowboys Headlines - Rubbing Salt In The Wound That Is Randy Gregory

The NFLPA and the NFL have reached an agreement to research alternative pain-management tools for the players. They'll form joint medical committees to study different strategies, among which will be the use of marijuana. It's important to make it clear that said committees will not be exclusively about marijuana, but a lot of different issues related to pain-management in the league. However, it'll likely be one of the most important aspects of their work.

Marijuana continues to be a highly debated topic and it's no different when discussing the NFL. Dallas Cowboys fans should be very familiar with the situation. Earlier this year, David Irving "quit" on football during an Instagram live stream while smoking weed. In the video, Irving talks about how he thinks it's better to be addicted to marijuana rather than certain medications used by NFL teams to treat their players.

Although David Irving is not an authority on substances, that is where all of this debate centers around. Throughout the league, players are given strong medication to deal with injuries and the physical pain of playing pro football. I'm not an expert either, but it's more than fair to say there's a strong argument here. Specially in a country where marijuana has already been legalized in 10 states and the trend points toward legalization continuing.

The current CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) between the NFL and NFLPA will expire after the 2020 season and how the league's drug policy looks like in the new agreement will be a huge factor for reaching a satisfactory CBA for both sides.

Of course, the fact that the NFLPA and the league are working together on such an important task doesn't mean we will see any immediate changes or that the NFL's ban on marijuana will be lifted anytime soon. Many big question marks will have to be answered before we hear about teams implementing this substance as a pain management tool.

For the Dallas Cowboys, this will be a relevant narrative down the line. Pass rusher Randy Gregory was reinstated after serving an indefinite suspension due to substance abuse prior to the 2018 season. After a dominant year, Gregory was suspended again by the NFL and it all points toward him sitting out this upcoming season and perhaps even more.

Even still, the Cowboys are still standing behind their 2015 second round pick. If the league ends up lifting its ban on marijuana, they'll have to decide what they will do with players already serving a suspension for this reason. Guys like Randy Gregory, for instance. If it's decided they'll be reinstated to the NFL, the Cowboys will sure be glad to have supported Gregory all throughout the process.

Last year, the pass rusher proved how effective he could be even with a short period of time training. Hopefully, the Cowboys are able to get him back on the field eventually, where's been consistently dominant. In the meantime, we'll see how recently acquired Robert Quinn does in Dallas.

The NFL won't be lifting its ban anytime soon, but it's good to know they're at least open minded to changing the league's policy and consider alternatives that could benefit the players' health. We'll see how these new medical committees work and keep you updated here at Inside The Star.

Tell me what you think about "NFL to Study Marijuana Use, Will It Impact Randy Gregory’s Status?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

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