Formerly an email newsletter about all things NFL, it's now a blog about all things NFL, but mostly all things Dallas Cowboys. Probably with a dose of politics, food, and college football.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

You have to run before you can run farther

Julius Jones is averaging a somewhat paltry 3.5 yards per carry after three games. Doesn’t bother me a bit because it has come on 74 carries. Jones has run pretty well. He’s done no dancing, he’s shown the burst on some nice runs, but the big one just hasn’t been there.

I think I’ve noticed on Tivo that he could have been more patient, or cut some runs to the outside, but that would be nitpicking.

The defenses he’s faced are also fairly stout against the run so far this year. The Chargers, Redskins, and 49ers are giving up 3.6, 2.7, and 3.7 yards per rush respectively. The average defense gives up 3.95 per rush. Dallas is giving up 4.4.

Based on last year, it’s also likely these early opponents have concentrated on stopping Jones, and taking their chances that Bledsoe will beat them. So far, he has, and once the pendumlum swings to take away some of the passing game, the run game should open up.

Tim Cowlishaw of the DMN did point this out after the Washington game, and it irked me too:

Then there's the in-game coaching issue. You have to give Jones relief at some point, but do you bring in Anthony Thomas for an entire possession after a turnover in Redskins territory? That's the time that you ride your best runner, isn't it?

Every week Parcells yammers about needing to give Jones or (insert any player on the roster) a rest. Aw, bullpuckey. Ride your best horse as often as you have to.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Two-point Conversions for Dummies: The Chart

According to the Cowboys website:

"If the situation were the same, Parcells said he would attempt the two-point conversion in the second quarter again based on the chart he uses."

Chart? OUR coach uses a chart? The future HOFer uses a chart?

The chart is for college coaches like the guy I saw the other night. I don't know his name, but he’s coach of #4 ranked LSU. I know he's just living off what Nick Saban left him, but you think you have to be pretty on-the-ball to be in position to get named head coach of a top college team. LSU picked off Tennessee in the last minute of the game and dude was frantically calling for a timeout on the sideline. The camera went away just as an assistant was intercepting him, almost tackling him, to tell him he didn't need to(, shithead). THAT guy needs a chart.

The most galling thing is that Parcells is always all about the little things. He practices obscure game situations in case they ever happen. Once a season type things. Yet he uses a chart that I have to assume has no consideration for score or game time?

You know what I’d really like to find out? Who wrote the chart. Who was the first dummy, this first math whiz, who put this on paper and then either gave it to someone else, or some other dummy friend said, “hey! Can I get a copy of that chart?!”

Monday, September 26, 2005

Stupidly staying in San Francisco

Dallas is playing Oakland this week, after playing in San Francisco last week, so the team is staying in California for the whole week. This is Parcells’ stupid idea. His reasoning is that it really helps the coaches. He says they’ll have all the film watched before a plane to Dallas would have even taken off.

Great. I’m sure it also pisses off the players. might only tell us about a select few, like Roy Williams, who are from the area and actually looking forward to being home.

And of course, the philanderers.

But I’m betting most would have preferred to go home and be comfortable with their family, friends, cars, stereos, etc.

Should they play worse because they might be miserable after a few days in a hotel? Probably not. Would it be human to just want to get home, and not practice with full concentration because you were wishing you were someplace else? Probably. But then there’s this from the Dallas Morning News:

Parcells, who coached the New York Giants for nine seasons (1982-90), kept his team on the West Coast in 1984 for a pair of consecutive road playoff games against the Rams and 49ers. Five years later, the Giants stayed the week in Arizona, after playing the Cardinals, before flying up to Los Angeles for a regular-season game with the Rams.
In both scenarios, Parcells' teams went 1-1, losing the second game both times.

It really just isn’t that long of a trip. If the lose, it will probably be because they still can’t defend Randy Moss. If they’re lethargic, it might just be because they had a crappy week of practice with bad attitudes.

Speaking of Moss, I’m sure the wise guys might be looking at how Washington and SF made big giant huge plays in the passing game, and assume the vertical Raiders will do the same. I’m not so sure. If I were a gambler, I’d stay away from this game. The Raiders are dangerous, despite being 0-3, and Dallas hasn’t established that they can beat an inferior team just because. Especially on the road.

Especially at the end of the longest road trip they’ve ever taken.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Good Coach, Bad Manager: Cowboys overcome Parcells' gaffes

With about five minutes to play in the third quarter, down by five, the Cowboys pulled a quasi-fake punt, essentially going for it on 4th down, AT THEIR OWN 35. This is indefensible.

This is another case of Parcells saying one thing and doing another. To the press, he talks like he’s Mr. Conservative, like he’s all about field position. But he’s actually beyond a gambler, he’s just reckless. The outcome of the 49er drive, a turnover, is irrelevant. Going for it in that situation was ridiculous.

Down 21-12, after missing the extra point after their first TD, the Cowboys went for two, IN THE SECOND QUARTER. That is a no-brainer. The only reasons are mathematical, but you shouldn’t be doing math and chasing points in the 2nd quarter.

Cowboys won, he’ll spin it, it’ll be forgotten. But this was last year all over again. Parcells is a terrible game manager who actively seeks to win or lose games on single decisions, rather than taking a holistic approach to managing the game. That’s right, holistic. Down, distance, score, clock, personnel.

Screen Pass: Still in playbook, still not working

Don’t be fooled by the big gain Julius Jones made on a screen pass in the first half. It was a combination of him being fast and shifty, and poor tackling by the 49ers. Plus a possible block in the back by Witten. Otherwise, the linemen out in front didn’t block anyone. I backed up the Tivo and laughed. Not only do Dallas OL not block anyone on screen passes, they don’t even touch anyone, unless they run into each other.

Other stuff

I got really annoyed with Bernie Kukar’s holding signal. He grabs his wrist and kind of shakes it. It’s weird and doesn’t make any sense. It’s like he was making a signal for handcuffing.

DeMarcus Ware was neutralized, one on one. The Redskins Chris Samuels did the job Monday night and against SF it was Jon Jennings. He’s playing the run well, and actually getting closer than Kavika Pittman or Shante Carver ever did, but he’s hasn’t been the game-changer he showed in the preseason.

I also spotted him taking false steps several times. When speed is your game, explosion is everything. And you can’t explode if you’re running in place for even a split second at the snap.

The Cowboys scored a TD on the drive, so here’s another thing that will be forgotten. Terry Glenn caught a long ball and was behind the D when he stopped and put a move on some ghost out there. Who was he juking? It allowed another defender to catch up to him and bring him down. I was apoplectic.

I’m really not disgusted with (the ads for) Family Guy. I’m disgusted that someone must think those ads make me want to watch.

Don’t grill and watch football unless the TV is outside. I paused the Tivo, put some pork chops on the grill, and then came back in and tried to watch a little, then go turn them, then watch a little, etc. It just doesn’t work. Tend to the game, stop the game, or just realize you’ll miss part of it, then tend to the grill. I didn’t make them dull, gray masses of sand, but pork can’t be overcooked, regardless of what Mom always said. Just barely white, even a little pink is fine.

I hate 4 o’clock games.