Admin Profile: Jess Haynie
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Last Updated: Sunday, October 2, 2011
Game Review: Lions 34, Cowboys 30

Ouch! LVP - Tony Romo A lot of things fell apart in the second half, but Romo was the trigger.  His interceptions gave Detroit life in the most direct way possible; a 14-point swing and all the momentum they needed to get rolling.  That’s not to say our defense didn’t look pretty bad either, but you can’t put this one on them.  They did their part and we would have walked away winners if not for Romo’s mistakes. That said, I’m not going to the ridiculous “Start Kitna” notion that my fellow writer on this site did.  Kitna gives you much of the same gunslinger mentality as Romo does without the same ability to bounce back from those mistakes.  Even if you’re done with Romo as our long-term quarterback he’s still our best option for the rest of this year.  We’re 2-2 in a weak division; this is no time for drastic actions. Worst Play – Bobby Carpenter’s Pick-6 You could make a case for a few.  Calvin Johnson’s jumpball TD over three defenders was pretty awful, but in the grand scheme we did a goob job of keep him and Stafford in check.  You really have to point to Romo’s first interception, returned

Last Updated: Monday, September 19, 2011
Game Review: Cowboys 27, 49ers 24

I was so digusted with the Week One game that I didn’t even want to recap it. Obviously, I’m much more motivated this week. Player of the Game – Tony Romo In a more normal setting I’d have probably gone with Miles Austin, but this wasn’t normal.   What Romo accomplished on the heels of an awful week, with a cracked rib and punctured lung on top of it, was a signature moment. Nobody’s going to remember Austin’s stats in a few years, but I have a feeling “the 49ers game” will be part of Romo’s legacy much like we remember Emmitt’s “Giants game.” Play of the Game – Austin’s 1st TD It’s near the end of the first half. Down 14-0 and facing 3rd-and-9 on what would likely be Dallas’ last drive, Romo throws incomplete to Kevin Ogletree. However, an offsides penalty gives Dallas one more shot. That shot ends up being a 53-yard touchdown thanks to Austin’s speed and a fallen defender. With the Niners receiving the kickoff after halftime, it was a crucial momentum moment to score those points and change the team’s morale for the next thirty minutes. It Was October 8th, 2007… For

Last Updated: Friday, September 2, 2011
53-Man Roster Prediction (FINAL)

Here we go; the fifth and final edition of the roster predictions. Keep in mind that this is a prediction of what the roster will look like Week One, not necessarily what it looks like tomorrow. Sam Young and Jeremy Parnell will both be on the team tomorrow at 4pm EST, but one of them won’t be when we kickoff in New York. QB: Tony Romo, Jon Kitna, Stephen McGee (3) Previous: Romo, Kitna, Mcgee Since there’s no analysis needed here, enjoy this hypothetical. If Romo had never been hurt last year and we’d never seen Kitna play, where would we be right now in the discussion of McGee taking over as the backup quarterback? With the talk of a second kicker, I think there’s be a lot of people calling for us to keep just two quarterbacks like we did with Romo and Brad Johnson a few years back. RB: Felix Jones, DeMarco Murray, Phillip Tanner (3) Prev: Jones, Murray, Tanner I’m sticking with the rookie backups here. Tashard Choice has no special teams value, so if you’re going to keep Tanner for his offensive play then why keep Choice? Murray has looked great in preseason and there shouldn’t enough carries to keep Choice happy anyway. Plus, there are just too many issues at

Last Updated: Monday, August 29, 2011
53-Man Roster Prediction (v.4)

It’s the second-to-last edition of the nation’s best Cowboys roster prediction.  I was going to do it yesterday but wanted to wait and see what happened with Andre Gurode first. Between that development and the Martellus Bennett injury, there are some new wrinkles to consider. As always, feedback is welcome and encouraged!    QB: Tony Romo, Jon Kitna, Stephen McGee (3) Previous: Romo, Kitna, Mcgee  Obvious? Yes, good…on we go!       RB: Felix Jones, DeMarco Murray, Phillip Tanner (3) Prev: Jones, Murray, Lonyae Miller, Tanner   There’s a ripple effect caused by the Martellus Bennett injury and this is one of the impacted areas.  Bennett missing time means John Phillips needs to play more tight end, which means he’s not there to play fullback.  Now you not only need to hang on to Martin Rucker for tight end depth, but you need a guy like Shaun Chapas or Chris Gronkowsk to play the fullback spot.  Boys and girls, that’s how Martellus Bennett’s ankle cost Tashard Choice or Lonyae Miller a job.    FB: Shaun Chapas Prev: None Chapas was in on some nice blocks during the last preseason game. Those may have been the exception rather than the

Last Updated: Friday, August 26, 2011
Last Ride Cowboys

About one month ago we saw veterans Marion Barber, Marc Colombo, Leonard Davis, and Roy Williams leave the team mostly due to their salaries. As this 2011 Preseason nears its end, it’s becoming clear that other veterans are due to suffer the same fate next offseason. Here’s a look at some Cowboys players who are almost certainly on their last ride with the team: Terence Newman – There was much speculation that Newman would be cut along with the last group, so it’s no surprise that many if not most analysts believe this to be his final season in Dallas. The picture became even clearer with the recent extension given to Orlando Scandrick. One 2012 starter is already locked in, leaving the Cowboys to bank on Mike Jenkins getting back to Pro Bowl form or finding his replacement in the next draft or free agency market. Newman will not figure into those plans. Andre Gurode – He hasn’t been rumored about much so far, but the sudden infusion of young interior line talent with David Arkin, Phil Costa, and Bill Nagy has increased Gurode’s expendability. Not only would the team benefit from the financial savings of releasing Andre, but his style of play is becoming out of place with

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Shayne Graham Signed; Disaster NOT Averted

By yesterday’s signing of veteran kicker Shayne Graham, the Cowboys unofficially announced that they have no confidence in the young prospects currently on staff. It’s one thing to bring in another young guy such as Kai Forbath, but going the veteran route shows a philosophical shift likely brought on by growing concern. There is no position you can take lightly, but considering some of the tight points margins in last year’s losses you have to think there’s some unusual pressure on this particular roster decision. With the new kickoff rules negating David Beuhler’s greatest asset, the opportunity was there for Dan Bailey to take the job had he shown a more reliable field-goal aptitude. He didn’t, and now the Cowboys have entered a very dangerous territory with just a few weeks left until Week One. The more time spent rotating and experimenting is less time you have to gain confidence in a single player. Therefore, when it comes time to make the final decision there may not be a great feeling about any one guy. If you’re like me, the Graham signing immediately flashed the words “M-I-K-E V-A-N-D-E-R-J-A-G-T” on the mental marquee. I know it’s unfair to label Graham

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 23, 2011
53-Man Roster Prediction (v.3)

After the second preseason game against San Diego, here are the updated roster predictions.      QB: Tony Romo, Jon Kitna, Stephen McGee (3) Previous: Romo, Kitna, Mcgee I’m a little surprised by how little work Kitna is getting in the preseason games, but they must feel comfortable with it.   RB: Felix Jones, DeMarco Murray, Lonyae Miller, Phillip Tanner (4) Prev: Jones, Murray, Miller Last week I said I wouldn’t make a snap decision on “Tanner vs. Miller” after one game. Well, after two games I’ve decided to end the debate all together. There’s a good chance Murray won’t be ready to jump into the action just yet, so why not keep an extra back and let these two prospects keep battling for a few weeks in the regular season? I’m not suggesting we’ll keep four running backs all season, but it makes a lot of sense for the first few weeks.   FB: None Prev: Shaun Chapas As just discussed, I’m starting to think none of the current fullbacks make the team. Why cut a talented running back or cornerback just to fill a position that can easily be covered by our tight ends? Maybe Lonyae Miller could even be taught to lead block. If they don’t pick up a free agent after

Last Updated: Sunday, August 14, 2011
53-Man Roster Prediction (v.2)

I did a 53-man Roster prediction after the draft back in May. This new edition, the first since joining the blog, takes into account all of the Training Camp reports and the first preseason game, which I finally got to watch today. I’ll be doing another one after each preseason game. I’ve decided to include the picks from the May prediction for comparison: QB: Tony Romo, Jon Kitna, Stephen McGee (3) Previous: Romo, Kitna, Mcgee Count me as someone who is stunned by how well McGee is progressing. I thought he might get cut last year, and now he’s almost solidified himself as our #2 QB whenever Kitna leaves. RB: Felix Jones, DeMarco Murray, Lonyae Miller (3) Prev: Jones, Tashard Choice, Murray I know Phillip Tanner had the bigger day over Miller last week, but one game doesn’t change perceptions from two weeks of camp. Miller has been one of the biggest stars in San Antonio and all it takes is for him to have a good day in the next game to change perception. That said, I’m not totally sure Choice has lost his job. It just seems unlikely they stick with him when Miller can play special teams. FB: Shaun Chapas Prev: Chapas I don’t have a great sense

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Big Week Ahead

[ UPDATE:  During the writing of this article news broke that Barber, Williams, Davis, and Colombo have all been cut.  Some of the analysis may not reflect these changes. ] Ding, dong… the lockout’s dead.  As NFL business begins this week, our Cowboys are in a dire financial situation thanks to the lowered salary cap.  All but dashed are dreams of signing the likes of Nnamdi Asomugha and Cullen Jenkins.  The goals have become much simpler; re-sign some needed players and find at least one decent safety. Jerry Jones is going to have to get creative to facilitate just the essential transactions such as re-signing Doug Free, bringing back at least one or two defensive ends, and signing our rookies.  While the details are not clear, restructuring the contracts of start players like Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware, and Miles Austin has become the advertised strategy.  This will throw a lot of dead money into future years, but the impact can be balanced out by the likely releasing of players such as Roy Williams, Terence Newman, and Leonard Davis within the next two years. Also available to Dallas is the borrowing mechanism included in the new CBA, allowing teams to take money out

Last Updated: Friday, July 22, 2011
Position Breakdown: Defensive Backs

KEY PLAYERS Terence Newman – For my money, Newman is the most underappreciated player on the team.  You can knock him for his lack of interceptions but he usually handles his business and has proven he can take a star receiver out of a game.  Last year he posted his career-best numbers in both tackles and interceptions.  Maybe this will be his last year in Dallas as the financial benefit of releasing dramatically increases next offseason, but to cut him now is just too soon. Mike Jenkins – Much like the Cowboys as a whole, Jenkins looked like a rising star in 2009 only to fall apart last season.  He appeared lost on many occasions, with the opening series against the Titans standing out as just an abysmal display.  The difference from Season 2 to Season 3 was so dramating that it’s hard to explain what happened.  Did the kid get full of himself after an unexpected Pro Bowl invitation?  Who knows, but let’s hope last year humbled and refocused him. Orlando Scandrick – Making less than $1 million per season, Scandrick has been a great value as a solid third corner.  There’s a good chance this will be his final year in Dallas and he’ll be looking to entice

Last Updated: Thursday, July 21, 2011
Position Breakdown: Linebackers

KEY PLAYERS DeMarcus Ware – He’s a two-time league-leader in sacks and nearly broke Michael Strahan’s record in 2008.  However many talking heads seem perfectly willing to rank guys like James Harrison and even an aging Julius Peppers over Ware.  I know this isn’t the most unbiased forum, but I haven’t seen anyone in the NFL right now who brings the consistency and versatility of Ware.  What he was able to last year, leading the league in sacks despite the lack of production around him, was incredible.  We watched Peppers struggle when Carolina’s defense fell apart, and I think Harrison would be average outside of Pittsburgh’s system.  Ware has proven that his talent goes beyond scheme. Anthony Spencer – While Mike Jenkins’ regression was probably the most disappointing individual performance from 2010, Spencer’s lack of production wasn’t far behind.  After finally looking like a stud during the second half of 2009, Spencer did not continue on that path and was invisible last year.  It’s bad enough that he has the first-round pick label to live up to, but playing opposite of Ware leaves no excuses for Spencer.  Rob Ryan has reportedly had good things

Last Updated: Thursday, July 21, 2011
Position Breakdown: Defensive Line

KEY PLAYERS Jay Ratliff – It was a down year for the defense as a whole, but top players like DeMarcus Ware and Terence Newman still had a high level of statistical production.  The same cannot be said for Ratliff, who disappeared both from the box scores and the highlight tapes.  I theorized about Ratliff’s struggles and possible solutions in a previous blog (link), but to summarize I think his being an undersized nose tackle is catching up with him.  There’s been no indication that he’ll make a change to defensive end this year, but another tough season will definitely make it a hot topic next summer. Marcus Spears – There’s a wide range of opinion on the value and performance level of Spears, and with that equally various feelings about whether or not the former first-round pick should be re-signed.  I definitely lean toward “Underrated” in my impression of Spears, citing his great play against the run and durability as a guy who rarely misses games.  However, I also appreciate where some of the negative views of Spears come from.  You’d like to have a dominant force like Richard Seymour or Haloti Ngata when you draft a 3-4 end in the first round, and

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