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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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Star Blog

Could Loaded FA Safety Market Drive Down Earl Thomas’ Value?

Brian Martin



Could Loaded FA Safety Class Drive Down Earl Thomas' Price Tag?

It's no secret the Dallas Cowboys and Earl Thomas share a mutual interest in one another. Thomas has publicly stated his desire to join America's Team and the Cowboys did their darndest to make that happen last offseason. Nothing ever materialized a year ago, but it's looking as if the stars have finally aligned and a union between the two could merely be just weeks away.

Surprisingly enough, the Dallas Cowboys may have dodged a bullet last year when the Seattle Seahawks refused to part ways with their All-Pro safety. Not only would they have had to surrender a high draft pick, but they would've also had to extend Thomas' contract. Fortunately, timing is everything and now the Cowboys might just have to do the latter.

A potential contract between the Cowboys and Thomas is of course what I want to dive in today. I'm not going to get into numbers right now, because it's nearly impossible to project any kind of contract for any safety this offseason, especially for the former Seahawk, Earl Thomas.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Right now, it's a little difficult to know who might have the advantage in contract negotiations, Earl Thomas or the Dallas Cowboys. A lot of times the one that has the leverage, however slight, is the one that gets the better of the deal. As surprising as it may be, the Cowboys might just have the advantage here and I'll tell you why.

First off, this year's market for free agent safeties is pretty stacked with starting caliber players. See below:

  • Earl Thomas
  • Landon Collins
  • Lamarcus Joyner
  • Tyrann Mathieu
  • Adrian Amos
  • Clayton Geathers
  • Ha-Ha Clinton Dix
  • Glover Quinn
  • Tre Boston
  • Kenny Vaccaro
  • George Iloka
  • Jimmie Ward
  • Adrian Phillips

Earl Thomas is obviously the headliner here amongst the free agent safeties, but having so many starting caliber players available could drive down Thomas' market value just a bit. This is especially true when you take into consideration the market for FA safeties just a year ago. It was almost a complete standstill last year, with only Kurt Coleman signing a three-year $16.5 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Not even the "Honey Badger" Tyrann Mathieu could get more than a one-year deal.

With all of these safeties available in free agency, we could be looking at another stingy market. This of course could be good or bad news for the Dallas Cowboys, especially as it pertains to Earl Thomas. Since he is the top FA safety available, everything could once again be at a standstill until he is signed.

Earl Thomas

Free Agent FS Earl Thomas (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Of course, we all know this will ultimately come down to determining Earl Thomas' market value. There is no denying he is still arguably the best free safety in the game today, but there are concerns about his age (30) and the two lower leg injuries he's sustained in the past three years.

Even with the loaded free agent market of starting caliber safeties and Thomas' age and recent injury history, he's still likely to receive a contract that earns him $10 million annually, give or take. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he gets another four-year deal worth $40 million, $25.7 million guaranteed, with a $9.5 million signing bonus like he signed with the Seahawks back in 2014.

The Cowboys of course would probably find a four-year $40 million deal for Earl Thomas acceptable. They would more than likely frontload the contract with a lot of protection in the details. They have the cap space to make this happen and still be able to sign their own, so money shouldn't be a problem.

Now, whether or not Thomas' market value may dip a little due to all of the above mentioned reasons will be something we will have to wait and find out. Regardless, I'd be a little shocked if Earl Thomas doesn't finish his career with the Dallas Cowboys.

Do you think Earl Thomas' market value will take a little hit this offseason?

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Star Blog

Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors



Acquiring Brown Will Give Dallas Twin Turbo Terrors

What a difference a receiver makes, right? As Dallas fans, we know the impact of a player who can shake coverage, get open, and catch the ball. How was the season going before the Cowboys pulled the trigger for Amari Cooper in the deal with the Raiders? Cooper proved to be the lightning rod and a turning point in a season that was growing increasingly dismal. Dak Prescott and Cooper went together like peanut butter and jelly, while the Cowboys stormed to a division title and a postseason berth.

Now, imagine all of that times two… maybe even two and a half if Antonio Brown could be had from the Steelers. Scary right? We understand there’s only one ball to go around but that didn’t stop Kevin Durant from joining the Warriors, did it?

As of this writing, the best online sportsbooks like Intertops, are dealing Dallas as the seventh of 16 choices to win the NFC championship at odds of 12-1. Imagine how those odds would shrink if Brown wore a Cowboys uniform next season, giving Prescott the luxury of not one upper echelon wideout but that plus an elite receiver. Hut, hut, hut and a few clouds of smoke later the Cowboys would be moving the chains or celebrating in the endzone.

Brown and Cooper would be a devastating combination with Ezekiel Elliott coming out of the backfield. Brown was made for Dallas, it gives him an even grander stage than the one he shared with Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh.

Despite the fact that the 'Boys haven’t won a Super Bowl since Barry Switzer was roaming the sidelines in the mid-90s, America’s Team still resides in Dallas. But we need a game-changer and Brown is just such an athlete. But what do we give in return and will that cost be worth whatever productive years Brown has left after this one? Let’s not forget that the mercurial Miami native will be 31 when the season begins and men who make a living with their legs don’t get better at that age. But Brown is so good and so unique that, even if he drops half a click, he's still amongst the best in the game.

That level of talent is hard to replicate and it could be the missing piece which allows Dallas to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender next season and the year after.

However, up to this point, we’ve been very good at dreaming of a Brown to Dallas trade but haven’t quite worked out the details. It takes two to tango and if we expect to get the Steelers’ attention we need to give them something valuable in return. Dallas surrendered their first-round pick (27th) this season when they traded for Cooper so that’s no longer an asset.

Pittsburgh would be vying for a first-round pick (and likely more) for Brown's services but some have speculated Dallas would consider dealing rookie-standout Leighton Vander Esch.

Wait... what? We know, you’re clutching your pearls, and the words are stuck in your gasp. We get it. The kid was a home run this past season, leading the Dallas defense in tackles and earning a Pro Bowl invitation in his inaugural NFL season. But this would be a Faustian deal.

The Cowboys give up a player who is poised to be a stud for years to come for a playmaker in Brown that could render a Super Bowl in the immediate future. Brown's expiration date will surely turn his milk sour sooner rather than later, but in the here and now, Antonio Brown could be the bell cow who leads the Cowboys to the promised land before he’s put out to pasture.

Just something to think about...

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Star Blog

2018 In Review: CB Anthony Brown Bounces Back

Kevin Brady



Anthony Brown's Resurgence A Great Sign for Cowboys Defense
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

To say it's been an up-and-down start to the career of young cornerback Anthony Brown would be an understatement.

As a sixth round pick in 2016, everything Brown contributed during his rookie season was a plus. Due to injury he was asked to step into a greater role as the season went on, and he performed well enough to make the front office comfortable allowing multiple veterans to walk for nothing in free agency the following Spring. Brown looked like a legitimate starting cornerback in the league, and when Dallas brought in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis during the next draft, the young secondary seemed set.

Then 2017 happened. And Anthony Brown struggled. Really struggled.

These struggles, coupled with the emergence of both Lewis and Awuzie during their own rookie seasons, made Brown's status heading into 2018 rather uncertain. Some wondered if they would trade him for a day three pick, others thought Brown could even end up being cut. Jourdan Lewis and Anthony Brown were slated to compete for the nickel cornerback job in training camp, and as it turned out, all Brown needed was that one extra chance to compete.

Brown won the job outright during the preseason, and began 2018 as the starting nickel. A fan favorite, most thought Lewis would reclaim his rightful spot on the depth chart sooner or later, but Anthony Brown's play (and Kris Richard's preferences) kept Lewis on the bench for much of the season.

Simply put, Anthony Brown balled in 2018, and was the Cowboys' second best corner for most of the year. By the end of the season Chidobe Awuzie had regained form, but Brown and Byron Jones were the most consistently reliable corners on the roster all of 2018.

Brown tallied 44 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception in 2018, and finished third on the team in pass breakups with 8. As the slot corner Brown had an excellent season, especially for a former sixth round pick.

Now he enters a contract year, and with the Cowboys having so many guys to pay over the next two offseasons, he could find himself as an unrestricted free agent in 2020. And if he can keep up his play from last year moving forward, he could be in for a nice payday that Spring.

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