Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Trade + suspension = another Tuesday in Dallas

The Dallas Cowboys aren't a roller coaster. They're a bungee cord.

With so many ups and downs in just the past week, it's been hard to keep up. And just when things seemed to be coming unraveled with the announcement of Adam (can we now call him "Pacman" again) Jones being suspended, Jerry Jones pulls the trigger for WR Roy Williams.

There's a lot of skeptics who think that adding another big receiver will frustrate Terrell Owens and throw off the Cowboys offensive chemistry. First of all, offensive chemistry gets screwed up when you change quarterbacks ... especially when you switch from the improv-stylings of Tony Romo to the game-managing of Brad Johnson. But in considering how Roy Williams (WR not SS) will fit in with this team, just look at some of his initial comments after the trade.

+ Williams talked about how he's looking forward to working with and learning from one of the game's best receivers in Owens, much like how Owens worked with and learned from the game's greatest receiver Jerry Rice while in San Francisco.

+ Williams talked about how he's just looking forward to all the things that comes along with playing for the Cowboys - or any successful franchise. This is a guy who has not only never played a playoff game, but he's never played on Monday Night Football (the Cowboys will play five prime time games this season and have yet to not to be the #1 game for either FOX or CBS).

+ Williams pointed out how he just went from 0-5 to 4-2. Talk about eye-opening. After the Arizona loss, 4-2 seemed like some sort of curse. To Roy Williams, it's a gift from the heavens.

With Brad Johnson now under center, adding another Pro Bowl caliber WR will help Johnson avoid pressure. Defenses must now plan for Owens, Williams and Pro Bowl TE Jason Witten, not to mention Marion the Barbarian who showed what's possible on his big catch-and-run play late in the desert. As a result, defenses will have to be more cautious about when they bitz. Also, think back to the playoff loss to the Giants when Witten did not run a rout on the Cowboys final play because he was needed to stay in and pass block. At the time, it left the Cowboys' second-best receiving option out of the play. Now if Witten must stay in to block, whoever is under center will have two Pro Bowl WR options to look for.

This trade revitalizes the Cowboys just hours after Pacman Jones earned another suspension. With any luck, this will be the last we hear from Pacman until the Cowboys wise up and release him. Realize a mistake has been made and cut your losses. If we was really worth all this trouble, we would have been able to discern that after six weeks of football. I've seen every Cowboys game this season and haven't viewed any reason for him to justify his return to Valley Ranch at the end of his "indefinite four-week suspension." Even the very person who drafted him in Tennessee is saying "game over."

As banged up as the Cowboys secondary is, and despite the fact that Pacman Jones leads the team in passes defended, what's the point of putting him back there if you can't count on him to be available each week, especially as the season progresses and each game becomes more crucial as the playoffs near.

Jerry Jones isn't great at admitting where he's messed up, but listening to him talk about Pacman Jones yesterday sounded as if he was speaking about him in the past tense. While the Cowboys have not yet cut ties with the cornerback, they need to. Soon. Now.

I guess that bungee cord yanked Pacman right back to where he was a year ago. Out of football.

Dodging Abuse - Part 2

I figured out that the reason so many pro-Phillies people voiced their opinions on my report from Game 3 at Dodger Stadium was because it got picked up on, a Philadelphia-centric site that almost serves as group therapy for fans who haven't won a championship in 25 years -- not making fun, just stating facts. It also showed up as the top story on

Back to the Cowboys:

Injuries piling up at Valley Ranch

For several years the Cowboys have been blessed on the injury front. This season appears as if the inevitable is catching up to them.

As if losing the starting quarterback and their first-round draft choice for several weeks wasn't enough, the crowning blow came late Monday afternoon when the Cowboys learned they are losing their punter for the season.

Yes, after word on the severity of Tony Romo's finger injury broke Monday, it seemed just a matter of time before the other shoe would drop. That shoe belonged to Mat McBriar, one of most important and productive special teams players on the club.

More on Cowboys injuries

Tony Romo is out three to four weeks.
Terence Newman is out four weeks.
Sam Hurd is out for the rest of the season.
Felix Jones likely is out at least two weeks.
Mat McBriar is out for the rest of the season.
Kyle Kosier might be out at least another week.
Roy Williams might be out another week.
Who knows about Anthony Spencer?
Who knows about Pat Watkins?
Who knows about Flozell Adams?

Breaking down the blocked punt

It appears Morey, who came off the right edge, should have been picked up by tight end Tony Curtis. The Cardinals were in a return formation, not selling out for the block, but Curtis let Morey have the inside penetration untouched, making a beeline for the ball.

For a team so wont to talk about the importance of accountability to each other, it appears Curtis' failure to do his job cost McBriar his season. After a look at the tape, Wade Phillips saw no reason the block should not have been made.

"The punt block was just inexplicable to me," Phillips said Monday. "You always block the same guy every time. There is basically no way you can block our punt with the get-off time that we have if you just get in the way of anybody. The guy that picked up the ball that scored the touchdown (linebacker Monty Beisel), we jammed him a little bit and he had no chance of blocking the punt. The guy that blocked it went straight to the punter without being touched. That can't happen, but it did."

Esiason disses Aikman's broadcasting

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