<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Blue Star]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcdfw.com/blogs/blue-star http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Fri, 19 Sep 2014 23:06:51 -0500 Fri, 19 Sep 2014 23:06:51 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Murray on Past Success Vs. Rams]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:03:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455442014.jpg

To say that DeMarco Murray has a history of success against the St. Louis Rams is a pretty big understatement.

When the teams met back in 2011, Murray set a franchise record with 253 yards on the ground. Then last year, he put up 175. But the team has changed quite a bit since then and, because of this, Murray isn’t interested in discussing his past work against the Rams.

Honestly, I can’t remember, you know. I don’t look at those games, because there’s a lot of new guys on the team,” Murray told the team’s website. “Similar defense, but I’m not looking at those games. I know they’re a lot better than what they’ve been.”

One of the biggest changes between then and now is the presence of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, widely considered one of the best--and most creative--in the business.

“I didn’t watch any film of the last two years that we’ve played them at all. I watched them in preseason and their first two games,” Murray said. “You get a feel for what they do and it’s totally different, so we’re excited about the challenge.”

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<![CDATA[Linehan Downplays Return to St. Louis]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:19:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/scott-linehan-cowboys.jpg

On Sunday, Cowboys passing game coordinator Scott Linehan will return to the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis for the first time since he was the Rams head coach. But Linehan is quick to downplay any significance that might be connected to his return, saying essentially that that’s ancient history.

"That’s two jobs ago," said Linehan, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. "In this business it seems like I’ve had about six homes in the last 15 years. But I had a great three years there. It didn’t work out, but we developed some very good friendships there and we loved living there. We enjoyed our time, but both myself and my wife and my boys are here in Dallas and we love it here.

“We’re just going in there to be the enemy, and that’s our goal, to hopefully come out on the better half. But we had some great experiences there. There were very good people there."

Linehan was fired in 2008 after leading the Rams to an 11-25 record in 36 games as the head coach. He moved on to Detroit to serve as the Lions offensive coordinator the season after that, where he stayed for five years before moving onto Dallas.

"There’s no easy jobs in the NFL," Linehan said. "There’s no real excuse why it didn’t work out. Things just didn’t. That’s kind of the way the ball bounces in this business. You’ve just got to dust yourself off and go to the next job and go about your business there. The great thing was some of the things we went through there were good learning experiences for getting things turned around in Detroit. We got right there at Detroit, but there were some things we were able to use the valuable experiences I had in St. Louis that carried over to our ability to bring some youth and things like that into our offense, which really helped over time. ... It was a great experience. I learned a lot. I probably learned more in those three years I was there."

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<![CDATA[Witten Not Concerned with Statistics]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:55:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455442126.jpg

Through two games in 2014, Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has just six catches for 46 yards and no touchdowns. But Witten says he’s not worried about his individual numbers.

I think for all of us our numbers will come and opportunities will come,” Witten said, per ESPN Dallas. “You have less opportunities because of the way you run the football. I think all of us are committed to that and understand it and do whatever we have to do to help out.”

Witten as well as the five members of the offensive line were given game balls after Sunday’s 26-10 victory over the Titans, in which Dallas ran for 220 yards. He also broke up a near interception.

“Our focus is trying to create that identity of a running football team,” Witten said.

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<![CDATA[Dez Bryant Declares He'll Play on Sunday]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:43:07 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/453321588.jpg

Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant came away from last Sunday’s win over the Titans with a banged up shoulder, which was serious enough to keep him out of practice earlier in the week. Bryant admits he’s still feeling some soreness in the area, but declared that he would play against the Rams this weekend.

I’ll be ready to roll on Sunday,” Bryant told the team’s official website. “Nothing is going to keep me out.”

Despite the injury, Bryant led the team with ten catches, 103 yards and a touchdown, his first of the season. He was able to practice on Thursday, on a somewhat limited basis.

“I’m doing a lot already. It’s still sore,” Bryant said. “The good thing about that is it’s still Thursday and we play Sunday. I’m going to get some treatment and try to get this thing ready.”

Bryant has dealt with his share of injuries since coming into the league in 2010, but he’s managed to appear in all 16 games in each of the past two seasons.

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<![CDATA[Rolando McClain Doubtful for Rams Game]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:33:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/072614+Cowboys+McClain.jpg

After leading the team in tackles in each of the first two games of 2014, it looks like linebacker Rolando McClain will be held out of this Sunday’s matchup with the Rams in St. Louis with a groin injury.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones confirmed to 105.3-FM The Fan on Friday that McClain is being considered doubtful going into the weekend.

Well, you’ll miss him,” Jones said, via the team’s official website. “On the other hand, I think you can expect him probably not to play, but he won’t tell you that. We’re not sure when he had this injury--he might have had it early in the game. If you listen to him, he wants to play and thinks he might play, but we have him as doubtful, of course.”

Through two games as a member of the Cowboys, McClain has 15 tackles, a sack and an interception.

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<![CDATA[Place Your Bets: Week 3]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 12:00:37 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455442014.jpg

If you live in Nevada, Oregon, Montana or Delaware, you're in luck. Otherwise, go to Canada or Europe and get your bet on for the NFL weekend! All games are Sunday unless otherwise noted.

1. Minnesota at New Orleans (-10) — No Adrian Peterson, no Vikings. That's a short synopsis of this game. Not to mention the Saints are going to be playing with a chip on their shoulders after losing to the Browns last week. And, the Saints are a much better team at home. This has all the makings of a beatdown.

2. Houston (-2.5) at New York Giants — The Giants haven't shown much in the way of positive this through two games. The Texans have been surprisingly good, thanks in large part to that defense. The Texans' offense has been better than expected under Ryan Fitzpatrick. Expect the Giants' woes to continue.

3. Indianapolis at Jacksonville (+7) — Maybe I'm crazy to keep picking Jacksonville the points, but they're showing signs of being something somewhat decent. The Colts haven't been too great, either, especially in last week's give-away loss to the Eagles. The Colts will win this game, but it could be close.

4. Oakland at New England (-14) — Another double-digit favorite? Yep. It's the cardinal sin of picking against the spread. You usually want to take those double-digit dogs and roll with them. But not this time. The Patriots are great at home, they've been running the ball like crazy, and Oakland has a rookie quarterback and can't play defense.

5. Dallas (-1) at St. Louis — This one seems like a slam dunk, which is usually a bad sign. But what is essentially a pick-em game, we'll take the Cowboys. It seems all Dallas has to do is not turn the ball over, and they should be OK behind a surprisingly decent defense and the legs of DeMarco Murray.

Last week: Didn't pick. 2014 season: 2-3.



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<![CDATA[Romo Misses Practice Due to Back]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:59:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455452996.jpg

Tony Romo missed Wednesday’s practice because of “tightness” in his back.

Altogether now, Uh-oh.

We all saw Romo gimping around last Sunday in Nashville. Gingerly not avoiding the rush. Not forcefully stepping into throws, causing his passes to be void of both velocity and accuracy. It was clear that something was wrong.

And still is.

Romo assured reporters at Valley Ranch that he will play Sunday in St. Louis, but the fact that he missed a key practice because of his surgically repaired back is alarming news. Head coach Jason Garrett did say that Romo’s pain wasn’t significant enough to warrant an MRI. The quarterback spent the practice in the Cowboys’ weight room working on back exercises.

“It’s going to pop up,” Romo said Wednesday afternoon. “I’m sure it’ll happen throughout the rest of the season. You’ll see a day here or there. It’s the same as the arm. Sometimes your arm gets tired. It’s just obviously more talked about because of having surgery on the back. You play this game. It’s a very violent, physical game, and you throw the ball a lot and you do all these things. Sometimes it’s just that tightness stuff comes up. You prefer obviously to do everything 100 percent of the time, but you can’t always do that. I’ll be fine.”

Because of his limited mobility and hesitance to scramble and run out of the pocket, Romo has already been sacked seven times in 73 dropbacks through two games.

We were led to believe that Romo was 100 percent healthy heading into the season. Wednesday’s absence proves that he’s not.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



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<![CDATA[Garrett: Cowboys Really Liked Aaron Donald]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 10:53:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/aaron-donald-cowboys.jpg

According to just about every source out there, the Dallas Cowboys were seriously interested in Aaron Donald, the defensive tackle out of Pitt, going into the 2014 NFL Draft. The St. Louis Rams spoiled the flirtation when they took Donald with the 13th overall pick, and Dallas will face their former object of affection on Sunday.

We liked him a lot,” said head coach Jason Garrett, per ESPN Dallas. “We wanted to address our defensive line and he was one of the top defensive linemen we thought in the draft. Just a really, really explosive player. He made a lot of plays, affected the quarterback, a lot of tackles for loss. Really, really productive. The big question for him was his size, but we certainly got our arms around how good a player we thought he was, and obviously the Rams thought he was pretty good too.”

In the Rams’ first two games, Donald has 12 tackles, but no sacks. But Rams’ coach Jeff Fisher remains high on the rookie.

“It’s the use of his hands,” Fisher said. “He’s been taught very, very well even to the point where our defensive line coach said he didn’t want to mess him up. He’s just going to let him play and learn from it. He’s that kind of guy. He’s short in stature and so he’s got great leverage so he can get underneath pads. He’s got great quickness and feet. He can get around big bodied offensive linemen pretty quickly.”

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<![CDATA[Fantasy Land: Studs and Duds, Week 3]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:31:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455451610.jpg

A two-time champion in a hardcore keeper league, including some know-it-all media "experts," Adam Boedeker gives his fantasy expertise on a weekly basis.

Stud of the Week

DeMarco Murray, RB, DAL — Murray has been one of the league's best runners over the first two weeks of the season, and in a twist of good fate, he gets to try to continue that against the team he's enjoyed the most success of his career against. Granted, this St. Louis defense is better than those past ones he's faced, but in his two previous games against the Rams, he's rushed for 428 yards and two touchdowns. His young offensive line is moving Earth for him, and he's due for another big game.

Honorable mention: Philip Rivers, SD (at BUF); Joique Bell, DET (vs. GB); Lamar Miller, MIA (vs. KC); Keenan Allen, SD (at BUF).

Dud of the Week

Tony Romo, QB, DAL — See above in reference to Murray. As we know, just because the Cowboys had great success running the ball and limiting Romo's role last week doesn't mean they'll do it again this week. But the Rams' defense is solid, Romo still doesn't seem healthy and he actually missed practice on Wednesday. It seems as though Murray will be the star again.

Honorable mention: Chris Johnson, NYJ (vs. CHI); Montee Ball, DEN (at SEA); Larry Fitzgerald, ARI (vs. SF); Michael Crabtree, SF (at ARI).



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Davon Coleman Dealing with Strained Calf]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 10:48:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/157366013.jpg

Cowboys defensive tackle Davon Coleman suffered a calf injury in the weight room this week, but neither he nor the team believe it’s anything serious.

“I’m happy it happened in the weight room and not the field--it’s not too serious,” Coleman told the team’s official website.

Coleman, an Arizona State product, has three tackles on the season--two in the opener against the 49ers and one in last week’s victory over the Titans in Tennessee. He was seen on crutches earlier this week, but having spoken to head trainer Jim Maurer, Coleman doesn’t anticipate missing much time.

That said, he could miss this Sunday’s matchup with the Rams.

“Me and Jim talked about it, he said it won’t keep me out that long--I’ll probably play this week,” Coleman said. “Just doing the right things to get as soon as possible.”

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<![CDATA[Tony Romo Just Fine With Playing the Bus Driver]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 10:27:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455452996.jpg

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo took a backseat to the running game in the team’s Week 2 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, and he’s just fine with that. It’s the winning that matters to the 34-year-old.

"That's what a really good team is; everyone is complementary of each other," Romo said, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas. "I'm all for going out and having games like we just had and playing the way Seattle has the last few years and just having those style of games. It makes everyone's job easier. If we continue to do that I think we'll have a great chance to be where we want to be at the end of the year."

Romo went 19 for 29 on Sunday, for 176 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. Meanwhile, DeMarco Murray carried the ball 29 times for 167 yards and a score of his own.

But Romo is convinced he can throw the ball for a win if need be.

"Yes, I do," he said. "I think I'll be OK."

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<![CDATA[Rolando McClain Nursing Groin Injury]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 10:18:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/072614+Cowboys+McClain.jpg

Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain, who has led the team in tackles in each of their first two games, was held out of practice on Wednesday with a groin issue. It was the first practice of the week for Dallas.

Rolando McClain with his groin, he didn’t participate in the walk-through,” head coach Jason Garrett told the team’s official website.

McClain isn’t the only linebacker hurting at the moment. Justin Durant is also dealing with a groin injury. Garrett said the team is approaching the status of both linebackers in the same way.

“Both groin injuries, we’ll take them day by day,” Garrett said. “[Durant] did not practice today and did not participate in walk through.”

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Photo Credit: Noah Bullard, NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Scandrick Ready to Get Back to Work]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 10:10:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/orlando-scandrick12.5.11.jpg

Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick put together a great training camp. Then he was suspended for four games under the league’s substance abuse policy. Then, this week, the league changed their substance abuse policy--which will allow Scandrick to return to action immediately.

Scandrick, the most tenured corner the Cowboys have, is ready to go.

I’ve got a whole lot to prove,” Scandrick said, per the team’s website. “I’ve missed two games. I want to pick up where I left off. All of my goals, my season goals, are right ahead of me.”

Scandrick put up career highs in both interceptions (2) and passes deflected (12) in 2013, which made his ultimately abbreviated suspension all the more painful for the team.

“We all recognize that we made a mistake, and we’ll pay the price for making a mistake by being admitted into the substance abuse program for the amount of time that the clinician decides,” Scandrick said. “I’m not worried about it. I’m focused. I’m focused on football and I’m excited. I’m excited about this team. I’m excited about this defense, and most of all, I’m excited about Sunday’s game.”

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<![CDATA[Cowboys Not Worried About Murray's Durability]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:57:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455442100.jpg

Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray ran the ball 29 times on Sunday, the highest total of his career to this point. He has never played in more than 14 games in a season, but as the team’s use of Murray on Sunday might suggest, they’re not worried about the Oklahoma product wearing down.

“We feel like DeMarco is a durable football player who can take the pounding of being the primary running back for the Cowboys, so we’re going to give him opportunities to do that,” Garrett said.  

Murray led a rushing attack that put up 220 yards on Sunday, with 167 yards and a touchdown, and the Cowboys held possession for 41 minutes of the game. Obviously Dallas would like to repeat this run-heavy approach throughout the season--easier said than done, but it seems that the Cowboys are ready to pin a good deal of their hopes on Murray.

“Rushing for over 200 yards in the National Football League is a hard thing to do and you certainly embrace any of those games. There’s no guarantee you can play like this,” Garrett said. “If you decide that this is the way we want to play, it’s hard to guarantee you’re going to be able to do that week in and week out.”

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<![CDATA[Jerry: Romo "Getting the Rust Off"]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:23:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455452146.jpg

There’s no denying that Tony Romo looked a bit off-kilter at times in the Week 2 victory over the Tennessee Titans. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones believes the struggles can be traced to footwork.

Probably this idea of turning on the run, getting the rust off, has to do with the footwork,” Jones told 105.3-FM The Fan this week. “Anybody that’s played golf, anybody that’s been around guys in their hitting slumps, if you want to refer to baseball, know that footwork all works together there. I think that’s what you’re seeing.”

Romo finished 19-29 passing for 176 yards and a touchdown, but he missed on some wide open throws. The idea that Romo could be rusty is a likely one, considering that he was limited throughout training camp and the preseason as the team eased him back into action following back surgery in December.

“Romo, in the past, has been able to maybe come out of there and do some things without the footwork sometimes--we’ve gotten used to that in years past,” Jones said. “That’s probably a process, to use Jason’s term. That’s probably getting better as the practices and the games go along.”

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<![CDATA[Demarcus Lawrence's Recovery Going Well]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:55:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/demarcus-lawrence-injury.jpg

Rookie defensive end Demarcus Lawrence has been told by doctors that his recovery from foot surgery is right on track, Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas reports.

Lawrence, who broke his foot during a pass rush drill in training camp, was placed on the short-term injured list earlier this month and won’t be eligible to return to practice for another month. He’ll be eligible to make his debut on November 2, as the Cowboys take on the Arizona Cardinals.

In the meantime, Lawrence has been working in the weight room and poring over the playbook.

"It's hard because I want to be out there with the team, but other than that it's just a process," Lawrence said. "Go week by week just in the playbook and in the film room just trying to get my mindset right so when I do return everything is going to be what I expect it to be."

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<![CDATA[Rolando McClain Shining in Dallas]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:45:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rolando-mcclain9.15.jpg

After retiring and sitting out all of last year, Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain has rediscovered his love of football, and it’s showing up on the field.

McClain has led the Cowboys in tackles in each of the first two games and, in the victory over the Titans, he recorded a sack and a game-changing interception for good measure.

"He came up to me and was like, 'I love y'all. Y'all make this game fun for me again,'" said safety Barry Church, per ESPN Dallas. "Once he said that, I knew he was back to his old ways, like how he was back at Alabama. Just a love for the game and love for winning. We need that type of guy around us. We just need him on our defense and I'm glad he's here."

Dallas traded for the former eighth overall pick in July, handing over next to nothing to the Ravens in exchange, in hopes that he could help replace Sean Lee--who, of course, went down with a torn ACL on the first day of organized team activities. Thus far, McClain’s been the surprise of the season for the team.

"I was on a bad path," McClain said. "I didn't deserve to play football, so to say. I wasn't all the way there in the game. You ain't going to be the best if you ain't focused on the job, so I needed to take time to do what was important, get myself right, and I got that right. Now I'm in a great organization, got some great teammates, and just happy to play football again."

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<![CDATA[Orlando Scandrick Set to Return]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:15:05 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/orlando-scandrick10.17.11.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys stand to benefit from the league’s amended drug policy, as it clears the way for cornerback Orlando Scandrick to return this week, two games earlier than he would have under the old policy.

The NFL Players Association and the NFL announced the change on Wednesday.

Scandrick was suspended four games for violating the performance enhancing drug policy when he tested positive for amphetamines. Under the new policy though, Scandrick’s positive test falls under the category of substance abuse, not PED use, and he will join the team having sat out two games.

Obviously, this is great news for the Cowboys.

You’re talking about a guy who could blitz and cover,” defensive end Jeremy Mincey said, when Scandrick was suspended. “He has a knack for making plays. It would definitely be a great positive to have Orlando back. Right now, we’re just holding it down for him the best we can do.”

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<![CDATA[Power Rankings: NFC East]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:24:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/204*120/Darren+Sproles+Eagles.JPG

In a weekly post, we'll talk about where teams in the NFC East sit after each weekend of play.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (2-0) — The Eagles had a big comeback win on the road over Indianapolis in a hostile environment on Monday night to further cement their position atop the NFC East — both on paper and in our minds. They're by no means world-beaters, but in a very average division, they are without question the cream of the crop.

2. Dallas Cowboys (1-1) — One thing has been consistent through the Cowboys' first two games. DeMarco Murray has run wild on San Francisco and Tennessee behind what has proven to be a pretty great run-blocking line made up of three recent first-round picks. One thing that wasn't consistent? Tony Romo being called upon to lead the offensive gameplan. On Sunday in Nashville, he was more of a facilitator than an integral part of the offense, and things worked out well. If the Cowboys can continue playing that way and keeping the ball on the ground, it'll continue to mask a defense that appeared to be awful and has since proven to be serviceable.

3. Washington Redskins (1-1) — Robert Griffin III gets hurt, his backup comes into the game and leads the Redskins to a resounding win. That's what happened on Sunday. They still have big issues, but it seems like Kirk Cousins might be a better answer at quarterback than RG3, and the results on the field show that through two games — behind one apiece.

4. New York Giants (0-2) — The Giants can't score points, and their defense can't stop people from scoring. Eli Manning hasn't been successful and the Giants haven't really been in a game yet. It looks to be a really bad season on the horizon for the G-men, which probably means they'll come back and win the Super Bowl in 2015.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Haley Again Knocks on Hall of Fame Door]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:07:23 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/charles-haley2.9.12.jpg

Here comes Charles Haley, again knocking on the door. And here should be the Pro Football Hall of Fame, keeping it locked.

The former Cowboys’ defensive end with five Super Bowl rings was a finalist last year and is again on the nomination list for this year’s Hall of Fame class.

The group is led by Kurt Warner and Junior Seau, and also includes Jerome Bettis, Orlando Pace, Morton Anderson and coaches Bill Cowher, Don Coryell and Mike Holmgren. The selection committee will trim the list from 113 to 25 in late November, to 15 in January and will finalize the class the day before the Super Bowl.

Haley certainly has the onfield credentials to be included. The five rings. A Super Bowl-record 4.5 sacks. He elevated the Cowboys to three championships in four years.

But in an NFL that is increasingly concerned with bad behavior (re: Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, etc.), Haley’s conduct was immoral, though not illegal. For years he treated team employees and media members like roadkill, a virtual punching bag for his off-color entertainment.

Too many good pass rushers want in Canton for the committee to usher in bad characters.

Sorry, Charlie.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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<![CDATA[Banged Up Shoulder Could Limit Dez Bryant]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:41:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/4554420961.jpg

Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant came away from his 10-catch performance in Sunday’s win over the Titans with a banged up shoulder, an injury that could keep him limited in practice this week.

Dez is a very, very tough individual,” head coach Jason Garrett said this week, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas. “He’s physically tough and he’s mentally tough. We went to him a number of different times in the game, and over and over and over again he made the plays. Made plays to keep drives alive. He made big plays. Scored the touchdown down in close. Again very productive once he came back.

“Anticipate taking his injury day by day. Hopefully he’ll be ready to do something Wednesday in practice. And then we’ll have a good week of preparation for St. Louis.”

Bryant posted a touchdown and 103 receiving yards in the 26-10 victory on Sunday, numbers that are all the more impressive considering that the Titans double-covered the 2013 Pro Bowler all game.

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<![CDATA[Jerry Likes Romo in Role of Game Manager]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:36:57 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/453706640.jpg

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will be more than happy if Tony Romo continues to play the role of game manager, as he did in Sunday’s victory over the Titans.

Romo went 19 for 29 passing for 176 yards and a touchdown, as the Cowboys rode their running game to the 26-10 win in Nashville. DeMarco Murray went for 167 yards on 29 carries, and backups Lance Dunbar and Joseph Randle added another 53, a dominant performance that took a good deal of pressure of Romo’s shoulders.

“I’m probably the one that’s standing right behind Tony and saying, ‘Yes, we like seeing that,’” Jones told 105.3-FM The Fan, via ESPN Dallas. “When you can have that balance--and that’s a word that’s overused, balance, and the other day we had more of a lean to the run – we’ll take it. That offensive line played lights out for us, but when you can have more of a balance, which means that you’re not sitting there with a highway show of passes for Romo, then I think we’re seeing you have a better chance for your defense to be more effective, play less plays, better field position. All of it works together.

“So the way that we played Romo the other day fits me just fine and fits him just fine. It’s called winning, and that’s what we’re here for.”

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<![CDATA[Ring of Honor Would be "Proudest Moment" for Woodson]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:16:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/darren-woodson1.25.12.jpg

Darren Woodson won’t play coy when asked about the prospect of being inducted into the Dallas Cowboys’ Ring of Honor.

The Cowboys all-time leading tackler recently told the team’s official website that he thinks about the honor “all the time” and that being inducted would represent the greatest honor of his professional life.

You talk about your proudest moments,” Woodson said. “My proudest moments were my babies, my kids that I’ve had, my three kids. But, as far as sports are concerned, that would be my proudest moment.”

Woodson’s resume certainly reads like that of a Rong of Honor member. He was a part of all three Super Bowl winning teams in the early 90s, was named All-Pro three times and played his entire, 13-year career with Dallas.

“I gave them all I had, all I needed to give and all I had at the same time, and I think my career speaks for itself,” Woodson said. “Hopefully, one day the Jones family will put me up in that Ring of Honor--would love to be there.”

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<![CDATA[Garrett Applauds Cowboys' Physicality in Win]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 14:03:34 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455442130.jpg

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett applauded his team’s physicality in the victory over the Titans in Nashville on Sunday, a game that saw Dallas post 220 yards rushing and control the ball for over 40 minutes.

“Rushing for over 200 yards in the National Football League is a hard thing to do and you certainly embrace any of those games. There’s no guarantee you can play like this,” Garrett told the team’s website. “If you decide that this is the way we want to play, it’s hard to guarantee you’re going to be able to do that week in and week out.”

Obviously, as Garrett points out, it’s not as though Dallas will be able to dominate the ball to the degree they did against the Titans week in and week out. But that kind of performance is what the team aspires to.

“It all follows with a plan we’ve had really for a couple or three years to be able to do this and be this kind of a football team--a physical team that controls the line of scrimmage and can run the ball, early in the middle and at the end of games,” Garrett said.

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<![CDATA[Spencer Getting Closer to Return]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:51:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/anthony-spencer-jerry-jones.jpg

Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer is getting closer to returning to the lineup and will participate in some football activities this week in practice, according to head coach Jason Garrett.

In some form, he’ll do some football,” Garrett told the team’s website. “But he’s really worked hard, he looks good. But again, we have to be mindful about where he came from and just take it day by day and see how he handles the work.”

Exactly a year ago yesterday, Spencer played in his first and last game of the 2013 season, recording two tackles in a 17-16 loss to the Chiefs. Dallas shut him down after that game and he underwent microfracture surgery on his knee.

Since Dallas opted against placing him on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, Spencer is eligible to return as soon as he’s ready.

“We’ll start slowly, (he’ll) certainly be on the side, maybe a little bit of individual work and see how he responds to the work and see if we can progress from day to day,” Garrett said.

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.

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<![CDATA[Murray Off to Fastest Start in Team History]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 10:35:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455442014.jpg

DeMarco Murray is off and running.

I mean really running. In fact, through two weeks of the NFL season he’s the most productive running back.

Two fumbles aside, Murray has been the “bell cow” that head coach Jason Garrett forecast during training camp. He’s broken tackles. He’s made defenders missed. By sheer effort and extra oomph, he’s turned three-yard runs into five-yard gains.

In doing so, he’s off to the best start by a Cowboys’ running back in the franchise’s 55-year history. Yep, better than Tony Dorsett. And even better than Emmitt Smith.

Murray leads the NFL in rushing with 285 yards, a good 44 yards ahead of the Texans’ Arian Foster. His two touchdowns trail only the Saints’ Mark Ingram (3) and he leads the league with a whopping 35 percent of his carries resulting in a first down. To be fair, his two fumbles are also a league-high.

With 118 against the 49ers and another 167 at Tennessee, Murray is on pace for 2,280 yards. Only two games in, of course, that kind of prediction is unrealistic.

But it is a reality that Murray’s 285-yard, two-game start has bested anything authored by the Cowboys’ two Hall of Fame runners.

Dorsett’s best start was in ’81 when he amassed 261 the first two games, then followed it up with another 162 in Week 3 en route to 1,646 yards. On his way to a club-record 1,773 yards in ’95, Smith started with 277 yards over the first two games and bolstered it with 150 in Week 3.

Where Murray finishes remains a tantalizing mystery. But his start is already unprecedented.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Scandrick Return Will Bolster Surprising Defense]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 09:44:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/222*120/Giants-Cowboys021.jpg

When the season began a couple of weeks ago, it could have easily been argued the Dallas Cowboys were playing without their best defensive player, with all apologies to newly signed defensive tackle Henry Melton.

Of course, Sean Lee is awesome, but he's also injury prone and is out for the season after tearing up his knee in OTAs back in the spring. So that left Orlando Scandrick, who was suspended for four games for his admitted use of Molly on an off-season vacation.

Surprisingly, the Cowboys' defense has been serviceable through two games, and was downright good in Sunday's win over the Titans, thanks in large part to the surprising performance of supremely talented and gifted noted head case Rolando McClain in Lee's place.

So when Scandrick returns on Sunday after being reinstated by the league after two games out after a new drug agreement was agreed to, it can do nothing but help a unit that was expected to be far and away the league's worst this season.

Scandrick should step right into the Cowboys secondary along with the likes of Barry Church and Brandon Carr and help make the Cowboys' surprising front seven even better. Last season, the cornerback had 64 tackles, a forced fumble and two interceptions in what was a historically bad defensive season for the Cowboys under Monte Kiffin.

Now, the Cowboys have Rod Marinelli running the defense, and Scandrick's return will give him an extra weapon in his arsenal and make the Cowboys' defense better still.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[On Deck: Rams]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 10:08:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cowboys-at-rams-2014.jpg

On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Cowboys game during the 2014 season.

The Opponent: After an embarrassing season-opening loss to Minnesota, the Rams returned last week to get a somewhat unlikely road victory in Tampa, beating the Bucs 19-17. Quarterback Austin Davis (who?) was efficient in his first start since replacing the injured Shaun Hill, who replaced Sam Bradford. Davis was 22-for-29, albeit for just 235 yards and no touchdowns.

Past Meetings: The Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams had some epic playoff showdowns back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but since the Rams moved to St. Louis, the Cowboys have dominated the series to the tune of 4-2 with the last two meetings ending in lopsided Cowboys wins. As a whole, the Cowboys are 16-15 against the Rams franchise.

Key Matchup: Rams front seven vs. Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray — The Rams defense was hyped up coming into the season, and their young talent gave folks good reason to feel excited about the unit. In Week 1, the Vikings ran wild on them. Now, they face Murray, who has owned the Rams over the course of his career, running for 428 yards and two touchdowns in his two career games against them.

Who's Hot: The aforementioned Murray has been spectacular through two games, outside of a fumble apiece in each of the two games. He's showing that, if healthy, the Cowboys can lean on him and let a struggling Tony Romo be more of a bus driver. Rolando McClain has been a revelation for the Cowboys' defense, making it somewhat respectable through two games as the leader of the pack at middle linebacker.

Zac Stacy led the offensive "charge" for the Rams on Sunday, as they scored just one touchdown and four field goals. He rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown.

Who's Not: Tony Romo is still struggling to find his groove and still looks to be far from 100 percent with his multiple off-season back surgeries. After his awful Week 1 performance, which included three interceptions, Romo bounced back to have an efficient, non-spectacular outing on Sunday. He passed for 176 yards and a score and didn't turn the ball over.

Kenny Britt was being counted on to be a go-to receiver for the Rams after he showed a ton of potential in Tennessee, but so far, things haven't gone too well for him. On Sunday in the Rams' win, he caught just one pass for 17 yards.

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<![CDATA[Tony Romo Plays Bus Driver]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:42:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455442100.jpg

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo didn’t exactly light up the box score on Sunday, as he went 19 for 29 passing for 176 yards and a touchdown, but the team didn’t need him to--a refreshing departure from the team’s usual formula for winning.

Rather than leaning on Romo, as they have countless times in the past, Dallas leaned on the ground game to carry them to the win in Nashville. In all, Dallas rushed for 220 yards. DeMarco Murray had 167 of those yards, and freed Romo up to simply drive the bus.

That’s just fine with Romo.

“There will be games where I’ve got to play at a high level for us to win and there will be games where we’ll have the opportunity to do what we did and run the ball and do things,” Romo said. “You’ve got a back like DeMarco Murray and a line that can pound in the running game, it gives you a chance.”

This doesn’t mean Romo didn’t play a significant role in the win, of course. On the crucial, third quarter scoring drive, Romo threw nine passes, including the touchdown strike to Dez Bryant.

“I thought Tony did a nice job for us,” Garrett said. “We blended the run and pass really well. We want to be able to play downhill football and move the chains, control the line of scrimmage. I think we were able to do that and the entire offense did a nice job.”

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.



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<![CDATA[Bryant Makes Impact Despite Double-Teams]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:37:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455452948.jpg

Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant broke into a smile when he was asked about the bracket coverage the Titans used all game on Sunday in an attempt to slow the Pro Bowler down.

Sign of respect,” Bryant said, per ESPN Dallas. “There’s nothing else to that.”

Bryant found a way around the constant double-teams, ending the day with 10 catches, 103 yards and a touchdown, but admits that he could stand to work on beating this brand of coverage in practice--not an easy task, by his own admission.

“I’m going to have to go to practice and work on it,” Bryant said. “I am. I don’t think you really can [beat that coverage], but in my mind, I can beat anything.”

This isn’t to say Bryant minds the attention. With the defense worried about No. 88, running back DeMarco Murray ran all over the Titans to the tune of 167 yards and a score on 29 carries on Sunday. Moving forward, Bryant knows the roles may be reversed, with defenses preoccupied by Murray allowing Bryant to run wild.

“DeMarco is turning straight beast mode, man, straight beast mode,” Bryant said. “I know he’s going to keep doing that. When he runs the ball like that, all the running backs, it just makes our jobs that much easier.”

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<![CDATA[Blue Star Spirit - 2014]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 14:56:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/160*183/86d11f67662846ea968a1c972fbb568e.jpg Cowboys fans show off their Blue Star spirit.

Photo Credit: Sujane McNeel]]>
<![CDATA[Henry Melton Plays Difference-Maker]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 13:08:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455451602.jpg

Henry Melton, the prized signing of the Dallas Cowboys’ offseason, is beginning to get back into the swing of things.

Melton missed all but three games last year with a torn ACL and all of the preseason with a groin issue. He played 25 snaps in the opener, but his first start as a Cowboy came in Sunday’s victory over the Titans in Tennessee, and he announced his presence on a couple of plays.

First, he had a hand in taking down Tennessee’s Jake Locker, splitting credit for the sack with Kyle Wilber. Then he had a hand, literally, in the biggest defensive play of the day, as he tipped a fourth quarter pass from Locker into the air, allowing Rolando McClain to intercept it. This effectively put the kibosh on a Titans comeback bid.

I'm still trying to get my rhythm out there,” Melton said, per ESPN Dalas. “I'm improving and my wind is getting better.”

In all, Locker was sacked only twice. But he was hurried and hit by Dallas defenders early and often.

“Even when I wasn't in the game, I felt like we were getting a lot of push, making [Locker] uncomfortable,” Melton said. “We've still got a ways to go as a rush front, but I thought we did some great things.”

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<![CDATA[Rolando McClain Robbed of Pick-Six]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 12:54:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rolando-mcclain9.15.jpg

Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain had a big day against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, but it could have been bigger.

In the fourth quarter, with the Titans mounting a comeback bid, McClain made an acrobatic interception on a ball tipped at the line by fellow first-year Cowboy Henry Melton. After the pick, he ran the ball back for what would have been a touchdown--but the referees had blown the play dead as an incomplete pass.

The crew reviewed the play and awarded McClain his interception, but since the play had been blown dead, he didn’t get his touchdown. Head coach Jason Garrett was visibly livid on the sideline, and for good reason. After the game he called the botched call “excruciating” but praised the work of the defense in snuffing out Tennessee’s momentum.

“When you make a play on the ball, it’s going to make a difference in the game,” Garrett said. “Unfortunately, it wasn’t officiated correctly. It should have been a touchdown, obviously. They blew the whistle too quickly. But I thought our defense responded well to get the ball there.”

Aside from the pick, McClain led the Cowboys with seven tackles and recorded a sack.

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<![CDATA[DeMarco Murray Joins Elite Company ]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 12:39:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cowboys-titans9.14.14.jpg

Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray joined some elite company in the team’s win over the Titans in Nashville on Sunday.

With 167 yards rushing, Murray became just the third running back in Cowboys history to begin a season with two consecutive 100-yard rushing performances, joining Hall of Famers Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith. Last week in the season opening loss to the 49ers, Murray went for 118.

Like I said before, I’m not worried about those stats,” Murray said after the 26-10 victory, “I’m just worried about wins and losses.”

Arguably the only blemish on Murray’s day was an early fumble, his second in as many weeks, after which head coach Jason Garrett told him to “hold onto the damn ball.” Murray took that advice and, excuse the pun, ran with it.  

“I can’t let that happen. I’ve just got to revert what I’m used to doing and holding it with the hand I’m comfortable in,” Murray said. “I can’t let that happen, and I’ll get to work on that.”

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.

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<![CDATA[Cowboys Can Thank D for 1-1 Start]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:30:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455451602.jpg

Call it the triumph of low expectations. Or more appropriately, call the Cowboys a decent defense.

Over the summer owner Jerry Jones promised the Cowboys’ defense would be better in 2014 merely because “it can’t get any worse.” Nonetheless, without DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee and Orlando Scandrick we all cringed that last season’s 415 yards per game could indeed get worse.

But through the 1-1 start made possible by Sunday’s 26-10 win in Tennessee, Rod Marinelli’s unit has been shockingly average. Which, according to pre-season doom-‘n-gloom, makes them way above average.

Against the Titans Henry Melton tipped a pass at the line and cornerbacks Morris Claiborne, Sterling Moore and Brandon Carr all broke up passes. And middle linebacker Rolando McClain – Lee’s replacement – was all over the field and sealed the deal with an acrobatic interception in the fourth quarter.

The results? The Cowboys have lopped a full 100 yards off their average from last season. In two games they’ve only allowed five of 21 drives to cover 50+ yards. And through two weeks they’re ranked 13th, up from last year’s 32nd.

“We all know the challenges that our defense has,” Jones said after Sunday’s win in Nashville. “They can be good players and good athletes, but they still have to get in there and play together. Our coaches are doing that. Guys are into it. They know the challenge. I heard some of them talking before the game, ‘We’re right there, guys. We’re close. We’re right there.’ The team is coming together.”

So far, so good. At least, so far not so bad.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sideline Images: Cowboys Vs. Titans]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:22:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455441438.jpg Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys improved to 1-1 on the 2014 season with a 26-10 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Three Phases: Cowboys-Titans]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:35:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455452934.jpg

Every week, we'll grade the Cowboys on the three phases of the weekend's game.

Offense: A

There was a first-quarter fumble by DeMarco Murray and a few bad throws from Tony Romo, but other than that, what can you say negative about the Cowboys' offense on Sunday? Murray was a beast, as he was fed the ball in a seemingly conscious effort to lean on the running game. Speaking of beasts, Dez Bryant played a pretty big second fiddle to Murray in Nashville, catching 10 balls for 103 yards and a touchdown.

Defense: A

Once again, the Cowboys' front seven was surprisingly effective, but this time it came in a dominant win. The old adage "a fresh defense is a good defense" rang true on Sunday, as the Titans had just 19 minutes of possession, and when the Cowboys were on defense, things generally went well. Once again, middle linebacker Rolando McClain was all over the field. He also had one of the more acrobatic interceptions you'll see from a middle linebacker that basically ended any remote threat the Titans had. He finished with five tackles, two assists, a sack and an interception.

Special teams: A

Why not make it three As? Dan Bailey was 4-for-4 on field goals, including two 48-yard field goals and a 51-yarder. Punter Chris Jones also had a great day, averaging 55 yards per punt with one inside the 20-yard line.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys 26, Titans 10: Whitt Watch Top 10]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:31:18 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455442114.jpg

10. Way premature to say the defense is “fixed” under new coordinator Rod Marinelli, but the Titans got only 13 first downs on 12 drives. Once upon a time (better known as Nov. 10, 2003) the Cowboys surrendered an NFL-record 40 first downs to the Saints.

9. Dan Bailey is more automatic than any kicker in Cowboys’ history. Today he nailed field goals from 48, 44, 51 and 48 yards. And they were all straight-down-the-middle swishes. Nothing but net. Bailey’s made 62 of his last 66 field goals. In other words, he’s more reliable than even Dirk Nowitzki at the free-throw line. Amazing. He’s made 26 straight, needing two more to break Chris Boniol’s franchise record.

8. With his second fumble in as many weeks, he started out as Duh-Marco Murray. But wow did he run hard today, amassing 167 yards on a career-high 29 carries. Through two games that’s 51 carries and 285 yards. So yeah Jason Garrett, so far he is the “bell cow” you projected. Murray’s start — 285 yards — is the best after two games in Cowboys’ history. Yep, even better than any jump from the gate by Tony Dorsett or Emmitt Smith.

7. So this week it's Titans fans turn to complain about too many visiting fans in the stands, huh? "Let's go Cowboys!" rang loud and clear.

6. In related good news, Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III dislocated his ankle and the Giants fell to 0-2 after committing four turnovers, allowing a punt return for a touchdown and losing to the Cardinals’ backup quarterback. At home. Ouch.

5. Blue jerseys? No worries. Including last year’s Thanksgiving victory over Raiders, Cowboys now have a two-game winning streak in their traditional blues.

4. Tony Romo authored a win and threw no interceptions, but clearly he’s struggling in 2014. With his mobility. With his zip. With his accuracy. With his everything. And he’s lost a step, or two. Looks more like Tony Slomo. But, hey, be happy. You could be rooting for Jake Locker. Right?

3. Dez Bryant had 10 catches, but even with his athleticism and propensity for highlight grabs it’s going to be difficult to top linebacker Rolando McClain’s bobbling, juggling, falling, grabbing, re-grabbing interception in the fourth quarter. Sure it should’ve been a touchdown. But it was the Cowboys’ catch of the year. So far. After a tip at the line by Henry Melton, McClain basically caught an end-over-end kickoff — one-handed and after caroms off his chest, arm and helmet.

2. Last week the Titans looked great and the Cowboys pathetic. Today the script was totally flipped. Welcome to the NFL, where last week has little or no impact on this week. It’s why football is so frustrating. So entertaining. And so must-watch.

1. Murray was great and Bailey was automatic and the secondary was decent, but the game’s biggest moment was a defensive play by … Jason Witten. With their lead down to 16-10, the Cowboys faced a 2nd-and-4 at the Titans’ 33. For some reason the play call was a screen to the relatively immobile tight end. Romo’s pass was high, glancing off Witten’s hand and into the arms of Titans’ safety Bernard Pollard. But just as Pollard began to tuck the ball away in stride en route to a 62-yard touchdown that would’ve given Tennessee the lead and all the momentum, Witten stretched out and poked the ball free with his right arm for an incompletion. Eight plays later Romo hit Bryant with a touchdown for a 23-10 lead. Ballgame.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Run Over Titans, 26-10]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 15:24:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cowboys2titans9.14.14.jpg

Propelled by a dominant run game, the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Titans in Nashville on Sunday, 26-10.

DeMarco Murray led the way for the Cowboys, bouncing back from an early fumble to go for 167 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. Murray’s second quarter touchdown was set up by Barry Church’s interception of Jake Locker and, after a first quarter Dan Bailey field goal, gave Dallas an early 10-0 lead.  

Bailey added field goals of 44 and 51 yards late in the second quarter to extend the Cowboys lead to 16-0 going into the half.

The Titans showed some life after intermission, getting on the board with a 47-yard Ryan Succop field goal on their first drive. On their next possession, Locker hit tight end Delanie Walker on a 61-yard touchdown pass to close the gap to 16-10. Walker finished with 142 yards and the touchdown on 10 catches, a career day for the former 49er.

The Cowboys answered after the Walker touchdown--and effectively snuffed out the comeback attempt--with a 12-play, 80-yard drive, capped by a three-yard touchdown from Tony Romo to Dez Bryant. Bryant led Dallas in receiving with 103 yards and the touchdown on 10 receptions.

Bailey hit a 48-yarder in the fourth quarter to go 4-4 on the day and extend the Cowboys lead to 26-10, which would stand as the final.

After a somewhat shaky first half, Romo finished strong, going 19-29 passing for 176 yards and a touchdown. He was sacked four times, three in the first half, but bounced back nicely each time.  

At 1-1, the Cowboys will face the Rams in St. Louis next week.

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<![CDATA[Cowboys-Titans Game Day Twitter Chat]]> Mon, 15 Sep 2014 10:36:49 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cowboys-titans-dmn-twitterchat.jpg

Join the writers and editors of SportsDay and the Blue Star Blog as we discuss the Cowboys game against the Tennessee Titans, live.

Offer your comments in the ScribbleLive module below and SportsDay editors will incorporate them when possible.
 

 


Photo Credit: The Dallas Morning News]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Lead Titans at Half, 16-0]]> Sun, 14 Sep 2014 15:23:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cowboys-titans9.14.14.jpg

After a half of football in Nashville, the Dallas Cowboys lead the Tennessee Titans 16-0.

Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, coming off an 118-yard performance against the 49ers in the opener, has absolutely had his way with the Titans’ defense, going for 115 yards and the game’s only touchdown on 17 carries. The only blemish on Murray’s first half performance was a fumble lost by Dallas, Murray’s second fumble of the year.

Murray’s second quarter touchdown was set up by Barry Church’s interception of Jake Locker.

Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey has field goals of 48, 44 and 51 yards.

Neither quarterback has had a great first half. Tony Romo is 10-16 for 94 yards, and has missed some good looks. He has also been sacked three times. Locker’s day, on the other hand, has made Romo’s look great.

Locker finished the half 4-12 for 26 yards and the interception.

Tennessee will receiver the kickoff in the second half.

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<![CDATA[3 Reasons for Optimism Against TEN]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 12:57:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/454875796.jpg

We saw a few things in Week 1 that should worry Cowboys fans a bit heading into Sunday’s game in Nashville, but here are the three reasons you should expect a victory over the Titans.

Dallas’ Run Game

San Francisco was down a couple of All-Pro front-seven defenders, but the Cowboys offensive line looked legit.

Dallas averaged 5.5 yards per rush last Sunday, which is a full yard more per rush than their average last season. For reference, Seattle rushed for 5.6 yards per attempt against Green Bay last week. The best way to look at it, though, is that Murray was the first 100-yard rusher against San Francisco since Marshawn Lynch in 2012.

Jason Garrett probably thought his team would have to pass to set up the run last weekend. After reviewing Sunday’s tape, he’d be wise to lean on running back DeMarco Murray and bring balance to the offense.

Defensive Line

They way Dallas’ defensive line played might have been the biggest surprise of the game.

The Cowboys front didn’t dominate against San Francisco, but they definitely flashed. Defensive tackle Henry Melton and defensive end Jeremy Mincey were especially impressive, making All-Pros Joe Staley and Mike Iupati look foolish several times.

The defensive front was supposed to be a sieve, but they held the Niners to 4.2 yards per rush, less than their 2013 average of 4.4. Based on last season's play, Tennessee's offensive line is a step down.

It Was Just One Week

Because we only get one game per week, NFL fans are the most reactionary.

Even if Tony Romo’s physical skills are eroding, he still has the ability to be a better-than-average quarterback. It looks like he lost some arm strength, but he can easily make up for that by stepping into his throws.

Tennessee’s defense looked much improved against a playoff team that looked awful. The Cowboys secondary looked lost.

Some of these NFL surprises might stick, but it’s more likely that performance will revert to the mean. At least slightly. If that happens, look for the Cowboys to get their first win of the season on the road Sunday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry Jones Voices Support for Roger Goodell]]> Sat, 13 Sep 2014 03:34:18 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/nfl+lockout-722.JPG

Earlier this week, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones praised the league for getting their handling of the Ray Rice situation right on the second time around, after initially suspending the Ravens’ Pro Bowl running back for just two games. Since then, evidence has come out to suggest that commissioner Roger Goodell may have known about the damning video that apparently changed the league’s collective mind on the issue long before that initial ruling--the heavily criticized one--was handed down.

But Jones remains a supporter of Goodell, and believes him when he says he didn’t see the now infamous footage before it became public.

He said he did not, and I believe him,” Jones told 105.3-FM The Fan this week, via the team’s official website. “But the good news is--not good news--but we’ve opened a real investigation, unfettered investigation, and I think we need to let that show us the results and let it unfold.”

Jones didn’t sound like a fan of the idea that Goodell could be disciplined for what seems to a majority of the public a terribly botched handling of the situation.

“He’s been a very good commissioner, and he’s acknowledged that he mishandled this,” Jones said. “He said that he’ll do better in the future. He can, and I believe him--he will.”

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Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Marinelli: Michael Sam Showing Improvement]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:37:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GERRY_MCCARTHY__1409761483_39578161-620x503.jpg

Cowboys rookie practice squad member Michael Sam is showing some improvement on the practice field but still has a long way to go, according to defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

He’s done some good things,” Marinelli said, per ESPN Dallas. “The only thing he really gets is some of our individual periods, and then he gets some one-on-one rushes on Wednesday, and I think he’s gotten a little bit better.

“But it’s tougher for a practice squad guy because these other guys here, they’re pounding with all week long in terms of fundamentals and game-planning and those things. So it’s a little tougher, but he’s got movement. I like his quickness and his instincts. He’s got really good work habits, so just keep working to develop him.”

Sam, who is attempting to become the first openly gay player in NFL history, was signed to the Cowboys practice squad on September 3. The 2013 SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year at Mizzou, he was originally selected in the seventh round of the draft by the St. Louis Rams but was released in the final round of cuts.

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Photo Credit: Gerry McCarthy / Dallas Morning News Staff Photographer]]>
<![CDATA[Melton Set to Start Against Titans]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:11:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/153209799.jpg

Veteran defensive end Henry Melton will get his first career start as a member of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday against the Titans, according to Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas.

After missing all of the preseason with knee and groin issues, Melton was limited to 25 snaps in the season opening loss to the 49ers last week and failed to record a tackle. Dallas has been careful in bringing the Texas product back after he missed most of 2013 with a torn ACL.  

“I’m still going to go off what they tell me to do,” Melton said of the Week 2 matchup, “but I think I think I should be given significantly more plays this week.”

Of course, this doesn’t mean Melton will be on the field for every snap.

“A guy like him you don’t want to wear him down because of his quickness,” said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. “I’m hoping around that and keep kind of having the chance to rotate all these guys last week and continue to do that.”

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<![CDATA[Murray Not Worried About Lack of Extension]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:03:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Demarco+Murray+49ers.jpg

Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray isn’t about to get his feelings hurt over the team’s decision not to offer him an extension. Executive vice president Stephen Jones said recently that the team would hold off on a new deal for the Oklahoma product, and revisit the issue after the 2014 campaign.

“It is a business, so you can’t get butt-hurt over things like that,” Murray said. “You guys know what I mean. You got to have thick skin, I would say.”

In last week’s season opener, Murray embarked on the season-long task of proving that the Cowboys would do well to hang onto him, going for 118 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. He ran so well, in fact, that many wondered why Dallas didn’t go to him more.

Murray isn’t worried about his touches, though. He just wants to win.

“There’s no magic number for me. Whatever they give to me, I’ll handle and take with a smile,” Murray said. “As long as we’re winning, I’m fine.”

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<![CDATA[Sunday Marks Homecoming for Witten]]> Fri, 12 Sep 2014 13:51:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/453712396.jpg

Cowboys tight end Jason Witten will return to his home state of Tennessee to face the Titans for just the second time in his career on Sunday.

It’s really kind of where the dream started for me,” Witten said, per ESPN Dallas. “A lot of people invested in me when they didn’t have to--a lot of family, coaches, high school and college. It played a special part in football in allowing me to get to this point. For them to be able to come and see those games, it’s always special. This will probably be the last time you play in Tennessee.”

Witten, a native of Elizabethton and a University of Tennessee product, set aside around 15 tickets for Sunday’s matchup. In his only other NFL game in his home state, in October of 2006, Witten had two receptions for 19 yards, and the Cowboys won in a rout, 45-14.

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