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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.

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Cowboys Defense is Ready to Win Now, Time for Offense to Prove the Same

Sean Martin



Cowboys Defense is Ready to Win Now, Time for Offense to Prove the Same
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

The Dallas Cowboys lead the NFC East at 1-1, and have a favorable schedule ahead of them. With such an inexperienced roster, early season growing pains were expected, and likely should be still as the team comes off their first win to play in Seattle on Sunday.

Through a season opening clunker in Carolina and hard-earned divisional win against the Giants, the Cowboys have exceeded already high expectations on defense.

With the currently 0-2 Seahawks, Lions, and Texans awaiting Dallas, the time is now for Scott Linehan's offense to hit their stride. It will take more than a five week assessment to determine if the Cowboys are truly playoff contenders for 2018, but it could take even less than that for Cowboys Nation to realize this team is fighting an uphill battle at QB and WR.

Following Dak Prescott's 64-yard touchdown pass to Tavon Austin against the Giants, the Cowboys punted on four of their remaining seven drives. The Cowboys did a better job mixing up their early down play calling to remain ahead of the chains for most of the night, but even still their execution was lacking. Finishing three of ten on third downs, the Cowboys didn't sustain the type of originality on offense that earned them an early cushion.

Thankfully, the Cowboys turning back the clock to 2016 on a clinching touchdown drive of 14 plays would be all the defense needed. Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott would both convert a pair of first downs on the ground. The Cowboys took a 20-3 lead, and more importantly the game clock down to 5:45 with an eight minute and 23 second march.

As such, the Cowboys offense is an enigma. With the return of Brice Butler, the team is currently carrying seven wide receivers and four tight ends.

On defense, the Cowboys are expecting reinforcements in Xavier Woods, Randy Gregory, and David Irving to further bolster this aggressive, blitzing unit in the coming weeks. For the offense, Dallas must make the most out of the unknown depth they have, without any drastic change in style around the corner.

The Cowboys record under Prescott proves they're at their best when Dak is efficient. The ceiling for a new-look Cowboys offense built for Dak is not as high for this reason. Through just two weeks, it's clear that the Cowboys offense will be as good as the sum of its parts - instead of relying on any individual talents.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Cowboys' record when Dak Prescott ... Doesn't throw an interception: 20-4 Records at least a 100.0 passer rating: 15-1 Commits no turnovers: 18-1

After a strong preseason from rookie Wide Receiver Michael Gallup, the third-round pick has played less than half his team's offensive snaps through two games. Cole Beasley has seemed to regain his connection with Prescott, snagging a team high nine catches so far. Terrance Williams has been a non-factor, and the same is surprisingly said about FA acquisition Allen Hurns.

Regardless of what the Cowboys do over the coming weeks, a few narratives and lingering questions about the team feel evident. With the defense set to tee off against the Seahawks sub par OL this week, Rod Marinelli's unit will still likely not receive the credit it deserves heading into week four.

With the task at hand being maintaining their standing atop the division, the Cowboys must also be out to prove they can sustain success without a consistent passing game.

All of this to effectively say, the Cowboys are going to Seattle expecting to control the game on defense. To finish off Russell Wilson in his home opener (already at 0-2), it will take a sharper performance for a full four quarters on offense too.

A win at the Seahawks might not mean as much as it has in past seasons, but in improving the Cowboys record to 2-1 on the way back to AT&T Stadium, it could be all the confidence they need to understand the NFC East is theirs for the taking while continuing to truly find their identity.

2014 NFL: Week 6 Cowboys vs. Seahawks highlights

Week 6 Own by nfl

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Defense is Ready to Win Now, Time for Offense to Prove the Same" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Star Blog

Cowboys Defense So Far So Good as Seahawks Up Next



Cowboys Defense So Far So Good as Seahawks Up Next

Dallas may only be 1-1 on the season, but the Cowboys are officially tied for first-place in the NFC East, and fresh off a workmanlike victory over divisional rivals, the New York Giants. It was a game they should have won, and did win, but the takeaways so early in the season are that, although the offense has not clicked on all cylinders, the defense is getting high praise.

The Cowboys sacked New York’s Eli Manning six times and limited the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft, Saquon Barkley, to a mere 28 yards rushing. It was also a night in which Dak Prescott not only out-gained Barkley by 17 yards on the ground, but torched the Giants’ secondary on a 64-yard touchdown strike to Tavon Austin which proved New York’s Safety Landon Collins wrong when leading up to this game he remarked that the key to a Giants’ victory would be getting Prescott to throw. When Prescott was made aware of the comment in a midweek interview he replied, "…challenge accepted," and the third-year veteran made good on his word leading to the 20-13 victory.

However, Prescott ended the night with just 160 yards passing yet the ankle injury he sustained in Week 1 showed no signs of rearing its head as Prescott moved seamlessly in the pocket and ran the ball well.

As we move ahead to the Cowboys meeting in Seattle, we take a quick check over to one of the most reputable online sportsbooks in the industry - Intertops according to the reviews - where we can monitor the line on this pivotal NFC clash as the week progresses.

Seattle boasts a talented quarterback of their own in Russell Wilson but one who will find the sledding tough if the Dallas defense continues to shut down All-World wide outs like Odell Beckham Jr. and contain future rushing stars like Saquon Barkley. Outside of Wilson, Seattle is not loaded offensively, with their biggest target, Doug Baldwin, ailing with a knee injury and a backfield which consists of two young rushers in second-year man Chris Carson and a first-round rookie in Rashaad Penny who dealt with nagging injuries throughout the preseason and looked unsettled in Seattle’s 27-24 loss to the Broncos.

The Cowboys defense has already proven its worth in Carolina with Cam Newton under center and again last week against New York. The unit is surrendering an average of 14 ½ points per game and is incorporating more blitz packages than we’ve come to expect.

The difference this year is that the players they have on defense are capable of getting to the quarterback quick enough so that the coverage linebackers and secondary aren’t alone on an island for too long. The one concern is the status of Linebacker Sean Lee, who checked out of the game in the fourth quarter Sunday night and brought to mind his hamstring issues of a year ago, but apparently it was in fact cramping, and not straining, of the hammy which allowed Lee to return.

The bottom line in terms of the Cowboys' upcoming matchup on Sunday afternoon is that they will get the Seahawks coming off a short week, as Seattle played on Monday night and should be relatively healthy for the contest.

Dak Prescott may not have the formidable offensive line that he has had in the past, nor a top-tier arsenal of receivers, but he does have the elusive Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield and is capable of extricating himself from pressure situations when no target is available.

If the Dallas defense continues to play at the current level, it will not only be limiting the opposition on the scoreboard but putting its offense in good field position throughout. So check out Intertops, one of the most trusted and reputable online sportsbooks, to see where this line goes because a Dallas win and an ATS cover are just days away.

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Taco Tuesday: Cowboys DE Taco Charlton Starting to Dominate?

Brian Martin



Taco Tuesday: DE Taco Charlton Starting to Dominate?
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

There has been quite a bit of talk about what a bad decision it was for the Dallas Cowboys to draft Taco Charlton with their first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Nearly everybody wanted someone different, not a player that needed time to develop.

Well, fast forward a year later and it looks as if the Cowboys made the right decision.

Don't look now, but Defensive End Taco Charlton is starting to live up to that first-round pedigree. In the first two weeks of the 2018 season, Charlton has already looked like a much improved player from what we saw a season ago. Imagine that, a little bit of time to develop and he's turning into a solid player.

I know I may be getting a little bit ahead of myself, especially suggesting that he is starting to dominate, but I can't help myself. I'm that excited about how much he has improved in one offseason. I may be alone here, but I have high hopes he could turn into something special.

In 2017, Taco Charlton failed to start a single game for the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie. That's not really what you want from your first-round draft pick. To makes matters worse, in 16 games he only registered 25 total tackles, four QB sacks, two passes defensed, and one forced fumble. As you can imagine, it didn't sit well with most Cowboys fans.

Luckily, it looks as if Charlton's offseason in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program has paid off. Already in 2018 he has accumulated six total tackles, one QB sack, one pass defensed, and recovered a fumble. If he keeps this pace up, we could be looking at #97 reaching double-digit sacks this year.

Taco Charlton

Dallas Cowboys DE Taco Charlton

Now, I wouldn't call what Taco Charlton has accomplished so far this season dominating, but he is proving to be a starting quality DE along the Cowboys defensive line. It's a unit that has looked really good in the first two weeks of the season and is expected to be even better once Randy Gregory and David Irving are able to return to the field.

In the meantime, the Dallas Cowboys are happy to get plays like this from Taco Charlton.

Taco Charlton Eli Manning sack

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

This is a play Charlton is expected to make. He was left unblocked, but we've seen players left unblocked before not make the play. So, it may not be as impressive as some QB sacks. But, I'll take the routine tackle any day over someone trying to make a splash play and failing.

If you're looking for an impressive play from Taco Charlton, take a look at what he was able to do against Odell Beckham Jr. in the passing game.

Taco Charlton covering Odell Beckham Jr

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

In case you're wondering, that's Taco Charlton in OBJ's hip pocket 15 yards down the field in pass coverage. It looks as if that's where Eli Manning was wanting to go with the ball, but tight coverage by the Cowboys, and Charlton, across the board ended up resulting in a QB sack.

If you don't find that impressive, I don't know what will. A 275 pound DE covering arguably the best and highest paid wide receiver down the field is almost unheard of. I would count that as impressive.

What do you think of Taco Charlton's play so far in 2018?

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