<![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, 28 Nov 2014 14:51:23 -0600 Fri, 28 Nov 2014 14:51:23 -0600 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Jerry Not Sure Why Romo Was Never Pulled]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 14:51:15 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/452407687.jpg

The most discussed topic of this Dallas Cowboys season, understandably so, has been the health of quarterback Tony Romo.

Of course, Romo entered the season coming off surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back. The team eased him back into action in training camp and have limited the amount of work he gets in practice ever since--then he suffered a pair of transverse process fractures in the back a month ago, which only made the staff all that more cautious.

So why was Romo still in the game late in the fourth quarter on Thursday, with the Cowboys down 33-10 to the Eagles, and well out of it?

Don’t ask Jerry Jones. Because, as he told 105.3-FM The Fan on Friday, he doesn’t know.

“Probably sitting here today, everybody agrees [that Romo shouldn’t have been out there at that point], but that wasn’t consistent in our thinking,” Jones said via the Dallas Morning News. “If you’re going to have him out there then give you the best chance to win it. Probably if Tony had to do it over again he would’ve been more aggressive in the game. He would’ve asked [Scott] Linehan to be more aggressive in his play calling. But we thought the way to beat this team, and I still think the way to beat them, is to basically keep our defense off the field as much as we can. I’m not answering your question because I don’t have an answer.”

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<![CDATA[Dez "Can't Wait" for Rematch with the Eagles]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 14:05:01 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/s-dez_bryant_KXAS3QKD_1200x675_362613315786.jpg

No one’s ever accused Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant of being anything less than a fierce competitor.

So maybe it’s not that surprising that coming off the field after a modest four-catch, 73-yard performance in the 33-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, Bryant reminded everyone that the Cowboys have a chance for redemption just around the corner.

Two weeks,” Bryant yelled, according to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. “Two Weeks.”

Bryant, who has 952 yards and 10 touchdowns on 67 catches this season, made clear that he’s not looking past next week’s matchup with the Bears. But he’s glad to know the Cowboys won’t have to wait long to face their division rivals again, and have a chance to get the bad taste of Thanksgiving Day out of their mouth.

“I’m not really mad at all,” Bryant said of Thursday’s loss. “They beat us. I’m going to accept that and I’m not trying to look past Chicago. But I can’t wait to go up there and play them again.

“Can’t wait.”

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<![CDATA[McClain, Church Banged Up But OK]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 13:49:26 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/458294792.jpg

Two key members of the Dallas Cowboys defense came away from Thursday’s blowout loss to the Philadelphia Eagles a little banged up, but neither injury is considered all that serious and both expect to play next week against the Bears in Chicago.

Church suffered an injury to the calf in the fourth quarter while trying to bring down Eagles reserve running back Chris Polk.

“When I tackled him, somebody stepped all over my calf with them cleats man, it hurts,” Church said, per the Dallas Morning News. “I took a couple of plays off and came back in, but I’ll be straight.”

As for McClain, his injury isn’t a new one. It’s the same sore knee that has bothered him through much of the year, but that he’s generally been able to play through. Including on Thursday, when he took some plays off at points but finished the game with seven tackles.

“He was sensitive with it,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said of McClain, “but he was able to finish. And that’s a good thing.”

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<![CDATA[Three Phases: Cowboys-Eagles]]> Fri, 28 Nov 2014 11:36:27 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP321082324549.jpg

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

Offense: F

This very well could've been the Cowboy offense's worst showing of the year given the fact that everyone was healthy, or as healthy as could be. The Cowboys totaled just 267 yard, DeMarco Murray was held under 100 yards for just the second time this season with a season-low 73, and Tony Romo threw for just 199 yards to go with no interceptions. Romo was pressured all day, as the Eagles were able to pin their ears back after building a quick lead and just punish the hobbled quarterback all day long.

Defense: C

It's hard to give up 33 points and 464 yards, but I'm going to cut the defense some slack here and not give them an F. Here's why: They got off to an awful start, giving up two quick touchdowns to Mark Sanchez (yes, Mark Sanchez) but then settled in and played better the rest of the day, routinely being put in bad position and making the Eagles settle for four field goals on the day.

Special teams: C

Dan Bailey did his job, as usual. Chris Jones did a pretty decent job in the punting game. The coverage units didn't let Darren Sproles score a touchdown in the return game, but other than that the Cowboys' return game was a mess. Dwayne Harris had a bonehead 15-yard penalty late which was inconsequential. But his near-muffed punt after one of his own teammates ran into him was early in the game and while the outcome wasn't good, it could've easily been a whole lot worse.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Eagles 33, Cowboys 10: Whitt Watch Top 10]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 20:23:36 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/190*120/cowboys5.jpg

10. You can blame the Cowboys wearing blue jerseys at home, but they beat the Raiders in the same jerseys on Thanksgiving 2013.

9. The longer this season wears on, the more we sadly realize that the only difference in this Cowboys’ defense and last season’s Cowboys’ defense is a healthy Rolando McClain. He was playing on one leg today. And the defense was woefully familiar.

8. You know it’s not the Cowboys’ day when defensive end George Selvie turns a certain sack of Mark Sanchez into a 15-yard penalty.

7. Tony Romo ain’t right. He voluntarily took sacks. He didn’t get his feet set. He threw off-balance. He lacked zip on his passes. And he threw for only 199 yards against a pass defense that came into the game ranked 30th. Don’t know if it was a physical problem or the Eagles’ pass rush, but something appeared horribly wrong. Maybe this is why he doesn't practice on Wednesdays.

6. Bald with shades and black gloves? Pitbull looked like every Uber driver I’ve ever had.

5. Down 23-10 early in the third quarter seemed like the perfect time for a momentum-shifting onside kick, but who am I kidding? Head coach Jason Garrett doesn’t have the creativity – or the guts – to take such a gamble.

4. Cowboys hosting Eagles on Thanksgiving isn’t a swell idea. Last two turkey visits by Philadelphia, Dallas has been outscored by a combined 60-10.

3. The Cowboys are 3-4 at home; 5-0 on the road. I can’t begin to explain that one.

2. The Eagles were just quicker and faster and better. But boy were the Cowboys’ safeties bad. Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox and even C.J. Spillman were embarrassingly bad against the run and the pass and the everything.

1. Pass around the dressing – and the blame. This was simply a good team laying an egg on Thanksgiving. A very crappy Thanksgiving. Worse no-show against the Eagles since the 2008 season ended with a 44-6 thud.
 

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: Tom Pennington/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Pummeled by Eagles, 33-10]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 19:50:36 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/sanchez-eagles11.27.14.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys had a rough Thanksgiving on Thursday as they were drubbed by the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium, 33-10. With the loss, the Cowboys are now firmly in second place behind those Eagles in the NFC East standings.

Philadelphia jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, with a touchdown run by Mark Sanchez and a touchdown pass from Sanchez to Jordan Matthews. Sanchez had a huge day, going 20 of 29 passing for 217 yards.

Dallas answered in the second quarter with a seven play, 67-yard drive, capped by a one-yard run by DeMarco Murray, to make it a one-score game at 14-7. Murray was limited to a season-low 73 yards.

The Eagles’ Cody Parkey knocked in a field goals of 31 and 22 yards to give the Eagles a 20-7 lead with about a minute left in the first half. On the ensuing Cowboys possession, Cole Beasley was stripped by the Philadelphia’s Brandon Boykin, giving the road team another chance for points. They cashed in with Parkey’s third field goal of the day to make it 23-7 at half.

Things didn’t get better after intermission.

A LeSean McCoy fumble set the Cowboys up at the Philly 12, but the sputtering offense made just three yards before Dan Bailey kicked a 28-yard field goal, which closed the deficit to 23-10. It’d be the closest Dallas would get.

The Eagles' McCoy answered with a 35-yard touchdown run and, on a day that saw the Dallas defense allow 464 total yards, he finished with 159 on 25 carries.

Parkey added a field goal in the fourth quarter and that was all she wrote, 33-10, Philadelphia. It is the second worst Thanksgiving Day loss in Cowboys history.

Tony Romo finished 18 of 29 passing for no touchdowns and two interceptions and Dez Bryant was limited to 73 yards on four catches.

At 8-4, the Cowboys will face the Bears on Thursday Night Football next week.

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<![CDATA[Eagles Lead Cowboys at Half, 23-7]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 17:28:49 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dez-eagles11.27.14.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys have had a pretty rough Thanksgiving so far today as Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense has the Philadelphia Eagles out to a 23-7 lead at halftime in Arlington.

Philadelphia jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, with a touchdown run by Mark Sanchez and a touchdown pass from Sanchez to Jordan Matthews.

Dallas answered in the second quarter with seven play, 67-yard drive, capped by a one-yard run by DeMarco Murray, to make it a one-score game. It wouldn’t stay that way for long.

Cody Parkey knocked in a field goals of 31 and 22 yards to give the Eagles a 20-7 lead with about a minute left. On the ensuing Cowboys possession, Cole Beasley was stripped by the Philadelphia’s Brandon Boykin, giving the road team another chance for points.

Thankfully, the Cowboys defense held, limiting the Eagles to another field goal after the fumble, but at 23-7, the Cowboys have their work cut out for them over the next 30 minutes.

The Cowboys will get the ball to start the second half.

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<![CDATA[Jason Witten Through the Years]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 14:01:14 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/2804013.jpg As one of the top tight ends in NFL history, Jason Witten has been a member of the Dallas Cowboys for over 10 years. He has over 10,000 yards and 56 touchdowns with the team.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tony Romo Through the Years]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:53:45 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/53207436.jpg Tony Romo has been a member of the Dallas Cowboys for over 10 years. He signed as a free agent with the team after the 2003 NFL Draft and officially became the starting quarterback in the 2006 season.

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<![CDATA[Place Your Bets, Week 13]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:54:58 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Tom+Brady+Julian+Edleman+112314.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. New York Giants (-2.5) at Jacksonville — Look, the Giants aren't a good football team. But they aren't as bad as their 3-8 record would suggest, as evidenced by the way they hung with both the 49ers and Cowboys into the final minute in back-to-back losses. The Jaguars, on the other hand, are every bit as bad as their 1-10 record shows. Odell Beckham being on the field for the Giants should be enough by itself to give the Giants a win here, and you'd have to guess it'd be by at least three points.

2. Washington at Indianapolis (-9.5) — The Redskins are just awful, and they're falling apart at the seams. Will a quarterback change help in that regard? It could, but it won't be enough to help them hang with the Colts in their home building. Colt McCoy is a great story and is easy to root for, but he's not a starting NFL quarterback. Andrew Luck, on the other hand, is very much so.

3. San Diego at Baltimore (-5.5) — Philip Rivers has been in a bad way for a few weeks now, and in his past couple of games he's been battling a rib injury. Rivers is one of the game's toughest quarterbacks, but against this Ravens defense that appears to be clicking on all cylinders right now, it could get ugly for Rivers. The Ravens are playing good football right now and look for Justin Forsett to have a nice day on the ground against the Chargers.

4. New England (+3.0) at Green Bay — Alongside the Dallas-Philly game, this is the marquee matchup of the weekend with two of the best quarterbacks in football going at it. The Packers and Aaron Rodgers are red-hot, but the only team that might be able to match them in that department is the New England Patriots. This is going to be high-scoring shootout as both Rodgers and Tom Brady will have big days, but look for Brady to come out on top.

5. Philadelphia at Dallas (-3.0) — In all honesty, the Eagles might have a slightly better football team than the Cowboys, which could lead to trouble after the teams meet twice in the next three weeks after entering Thursday's game tied for the NFC East division lead. But to be equally honest, the Cowboys have a massive advantage at quarterback in Tony Romo over Mark Sanchez. The Cowboys are traditionally very good and hard to beat on Thanksgiving Day and tend to generally shine pretty brightly on the big stage. It's a tough call, but give me Dallas to cover knowing this win is necessary with the Cowboys heading to Philly in two weeks.

Last week: 3-2. 2014 season: 24-31.

 (Yes, it's been an awful season!)



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fantasy Land: Studs and Duds, Week 13]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:55:36 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459468300.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

Ryan Tannehill, QB, MIA — Tannehill is starting to really come into his own as an NFL quarterback, and he has the Dolphins in prime position for a playoff berth this season. Last week, he went toe-to-toe with Peyton Manning before Manning was able to pull off one of his last-minute wins. This week, Tannehill gets a Jets defense that was absolutely slaughtered by a mediocre Buffalo team on Monday night. It oughta be a good one for Tannehill.

Honorable mention: Eli Manning, NYG (at JAC); Justin Forsett, BAL (vs. SD); LeGarrette Blount, NE (at GB); Odell Beckham, NYG (at JAC).

Dud of the Week

Jay Cutler, QB, CHI — The Bears are in a dangerous place this week. They're on a short week, hitting the road and playing the Lions on Thanksgiving Day along with their defense that is probably looking to save some face after they ran into the buzzsaw that is the New England Patriots and Tom Brady last week. Cutler has been extremely bipolar this season, and he's been mostly bad despite his great group of receivers led by Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.

Honorable mention: Sammy Watkins (BUF) vs. CLE; Steven Jackson, ATL (vs. ARI); Chris Ivory, NYJ (vs. MIA); Colin Kaepernick, SF (vs. SEA).



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Looking for Elusive Ninth Win]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:43:37 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459497102.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys shouldn’t need any extra motivation going into the Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday at AT&T Stadium.

Aside from the significance of playing in front of a national audience in the annual Thanksgiving Day game, the teams are tied for first place in the NFC East at 8-3. Thursday’s showdown will break that tie.

But a win for Dallas wouldn’t only mean the top spot in the NFC East--it would be their ninth win of the year, clinching the first winning season of the Jason Garrett era. In each of his three full seasons as head coach, Garrett has finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs by a single win.

The Cowboys’ last winning season came in 2009, when they went 11-5 under Wade Phillips and got a first round playoff win over the Eagles.

It’s enough [motivation] just to go down and beat Philadelphia,” said owner and general manager Jerry Jones, per ESPN Dallas. “They’ve been a big nemesis for us for many years. But if we needed any, it would be nice to break eight.”

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<![CDATA[Thanksgiving Throwbacks: Where'd They Go?]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:38:11 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/dez-bryant-punt-returns.jpg

Last year, for the first time in 12 years, the Dallas Cowboys did not wear throwback uniforms on Thanksgiving Day. Turns out, this was not a decision made on a whim, but rather, a response to a change in NFL rules.

The throwback tradition began in 2001, when the team took the field in the double-starred jerseys originally worn in 1994, in honor of the league’s 75th anniversary. They wore those for three years, before switching to a 1960 throwback--a white helmet with a plain blue star, blue jerseys with white sleeves and stars on the shoulders (pictured here on Dez Bryant in 2012).

The team stuck with the 1960 throwback from 2004 until last year, when the they took the field in their standard blue jerseys, usually reserved for the occasional road game.

So what happened?

Well, as explained by a video on the team’s official website, in 2013 the NFL’s new concussion protocol stipulated that team’s must wear their normal helmets when wearing throwback jerseys. The team’s current helmets are silver, of course, meaning they had three options--go back to the 1994 double-star jersey, paint all their helmets white, or roll with regular jerseys.

They went for the last option.

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<![CDATA[3 Reasons the Cowboys Will Beat the Eagles]]> Thu, 27 Nov 2014 12:56:36 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457968746.jpg

The Philadelphia Eagles seem designed to match up with the Cowboys, making them the ideal nemesis to face twice toward the end of the season with a division crown on the line.

The Eagles might be the toughest opponent of the year so far, but there are a few reasons Cowboys fans should expect to be thankful Thursday.

1. Bad Mark Sanchez Shows Up

“Good Mark Sanchez” showing up Thursday is bad news for Cowboys fans, but it’s far more likely that the Cowboys will face regular Mark Sanchez.

Since taking over as Philadelphia’s starting quarterback, Sanchez is pushing the ball downfield at the most efficient rate of his career. His 8.1 yards per attempt would rank fourth — just ahead of Peyton Manning — if he qualified. That number is up from about 6.5 per attempt during his time in New York.

Expect the Eagles to gain significant yardage, but also expect Sanchez to give the Cowboys offense a few additional possessions. In three of his four starts with the Eagles, Sanchez has thrown two interceptions. His 4.1 interception percentage would rank him 29th in the league and is in line with his career rate of 3.7 percent.

2. An Overworked Running Back

The NFL isn’t kind to overworked running backs, and the Eagles’ LeSean McCoy appears to be the latest victim.

The actual threshold of overwork is debatable, but it’s typically somewhere in the range of 320 to 370 carries. McCoy “only” carried 314 times last season, but he also caught 52 passes. Combined with the 25 touches he had in a playoff loss to New Orleans, and his 393 touches are well above the number that usually results in a dip in performance the following year.

McCoy's average of 4 yards per carry is well below the 5.1 he put up last year and his career average of 4.8 before the season started. Fellow running back Darren Sproles is averaging 6.4 yards per carry this season, so I wouldn’t blame the supporting cast.

Stats aside, McCoy just looks off. He is not listed on the injury report, but he lacks the same burst through the hole and he seems tentative at times. He seems slower and less shifty as well.

3. Veteran Security Blanket

The Cowboys obviously want to have their offense on the field as much as possible, but that’s especially important this week because the Eagles offense looks much more mediocre when they don’t lead the league in plays from scrimmage.

Led by defensive end Fletcher Cox, the Eagles defense is pretty good against the run, ranking ninth in the league giving up 3.9 yards per rush, so the Cowboys will likely be forced to throw for several critical third downs.

Against one of the most relentless pass rushes in the NFL this season, Tony Romo will look to his longtime hot route in Jason Witten. The veteran tight end is tied for eighth in the NFL in third-down catches that go for first downs this season with 15.

Bottom Line

Thursday's game is going to be nerve wracking, Cowboys fans, but have faith. The offense is good enough to shorten the game and, in turn, make the Eagles offense look more pedestrian. If the defense remains disciplined, they should expect a few gifts from Mark Sanchez.

If each team plays their "typical" game, the Cowboys should come out on top by a field goal.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry: Thanksgiving Day Deserves This Kind of Game]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:45:32 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/182520198.jpg

Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones believes Thursday’s matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles may be the biggest Thanksgiving Day matchup in franchise history--or, at least, the biggest he can remember.

We were discussing that earlier and it may be [the biggest] that I can remember,” Jones told the NFL Network on Wednesday, per the Dallas Morning News. “Consequently, we hope that in the spirit of Thanksgiving those Eagles would cut us a little slack. You think they’re interested in doing that? ... I don’t, either.”

The game would be big even if it weren’t happening on Thanksgiving. At 8-3 each, the Eagles and Cowboys are tied for first place in the NFC East going in. It’s the first of two matchups between the teams in the next three weeks, a stretch that will go a long way in deciding the division.

“That’s a good thing because this game on Thanksgiving Day has always deserved in my mind, these kinds of things at stake,” Jones said. “We’re proud to have this game.”

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<![CDATA[LeSean McCoy Not Surprised by Murray's Success]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:47:17 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459743325.jpg

Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy isn’t at all surprised by the monster season DeMarco Murray has put together so far this year.

McCoy told reporters this week that he’s been a fan of Murray’s game for a long time, and knew he was capable of big things if he got more chances.

"Not just this year," McCoy said, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas. "I always felt like if he got the ball more, he could do some special things."

Murray’s been getting the ball plenty in 2014. He has 268 carries through 11 games, the NFL high by a very wide margin. McCoy is second in the league in attempts with 217. Murray also leads the league in rushing with 1,354 yards; McCoy is fourth in the league, with 859.

"I like his game," McCoy said. "He runs hard, he finishes very well. They're a good team. They're giving him some lanes to run in. I think the way he finishes runs and how strong he is, that's what makes him an elite back. I think we have different styles, so I wouldn't want to take anything from his game. I like it how it is."

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<![CDATA[Romo Brushes Off Back Concerns]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:48:57 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/458696574.jpg

Going into the Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Eagles, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo isn’t thinking about his back.

Romo missed the last meeting between the Eagles and Cowboys, in Week 17 of last year, as he was fresh off surgery to repair a herniated disk in his back. Now, he’s dealing with two transverse process fractures in that same back, though he has only missed one game due to the injury.

You don’t really think about it,’’ Romo said, per the Dallas Morning News. “You just go and play. I mean, everyone has something wrong with them during the football season. We say it all the time. Once you step on the field no one cares what you have. You’ve got to go produce. Our job is to play well regardless of what’s going on around you. That’s our job as players.”

Romo certainly has been playing well this season. In 10 games, Romo is completing better than 68 percent of his passes and has put up 22 touchdowns to six interceptions. His passer rating is 111.4.

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<![CDATA[The Top 10 All-Time Cowboys' Thanksgiving Games]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 11:02:00 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cowboys+Eagles+Image.jpg

Last time the Eagles were in town for Thanksgiving I was a snotty-nosed rookie beat writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Luis Zendejas was a hunted man.

Bounty Bowl, anyone?

It was 1989 and the Cowboys were atrocious, in the midst of a 1-15 season. Eagles' coach Buddy Ryan turned an otherwise forgettable 27-0 Philadelphia rout in NFL lore when he offered a  $200 reward for one of his players taking out the Cowboys' kicker, who earlier in the season was the Eagles' kicker.

Ryan nor Jimmy Johnson nor Zendjeas or even Nick Foles won’t be factors Thursday at AT&T Stadium. But Armando Christian Perez will.

While backup quarterback Mark Sanchez will lead the Eagles into their NFC East showdown against the Cowboys, it will be Perez – aka Pitbull – who will kick off the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle campaign with a halftime performance.

In other words, another memorable Thanksgiving is on the menu.

Turkey. Dressing. Relatives and heartburn, both of which are slow to leave. The belt-loosening nap. And, somewhere in between, a Cowboys’ victory.

More times than not, that’s been the menu for Turkey Day as the Cowboys are 29-16-1 on Thanksgiving including a 31-24 over the Raiders sandwiched around a couple Selena Gomez songs. With the teams tied for first place in the division at 8-3, this year the game is the crucial centerpiece. Last time Pitbull performed – in 2011, with Enrique Iglesias – Dan Bailey kicked a last-second field goal for a win over the Dolphins.

For better or worse - Bounty Bowl or not - the Cowboys on Thanksgiving usually provide lasting memories.

10. 11.25.2010: Saints 30, Cowboys 27 – After trailing 20-6 at halftime the Cowboys rally for a 27-23 lead and were on their way to icing the upset before Roy Williams fumbles after a 47-yard catch inside New Orleans’ 10 with three minutes remaining.

9. 11.26.87: Vikings 44, Cowboys 38 (OT) – Darrin Nelson's game-ending run overcomes Danny White's five touchdowns and drops 5-6 Dallas out of the playoffs.

8. 11.24.05: Broncos 24, Cowboys 21 (OT) – After Billy Cundiff misses a 34-yard field goal late in regulation, Denver's Ron Dayne sets up the heartbreak loss with a 55-yard rumble.

7. 11.23.06: Cowboys 38, Buccaneers 10 – Tony Romo's ascension from free agent to superstar gains traction as his franchise-record tying five touchdowns lead Dallas into first place in the NFC East.

6. 11.26.98: Vikings 46, Cowboys 36 – Rookie receiver Randy Moss haunts the team that passed over him in the draft with three touchdowns and 163 yards receiving.

5. 11.22.01: Broncos 26, Cowboys 24 – Dallas' rally from a 26-3 deficit is thwarted when coach Dave Campo inexplicably shuns a two-point conversion attempt after a Reggie Swinton touchdown in the fourth quarter.

4. 11.23.89: Eagles 27, Cowboys 0 – Philly's Buddy Ryan adds to the "Bounty Bowl" humiliation with a $200 reward for one of his players taking out Cowboys' kicker Luis Zendejas.

3. 11.24.94: Cowboys 42, Packers 31 – With Troy Aikman and Rodney Peete sidelined with injuries and his team trailing 17-3, a Cowboys’ backup quarterback named Jason Garrett steps in and throws for 311 yards and leads Dallas to a record 36 second-half points.

2. 11.25.93: Dolphins 16, Cowboys 14 – Ice storm. Leon Lett. Grumble mumble ... Don’t look now, but it’s been 21 years already.

1. 11.28.74: Cowboys 24, Redskins 23 – Replacing an injured Roger Staubach, Abilene Christian rookie Clint Longley - making his first NFL appearance - orchestrates a dramatic and improbable rally, climaxed by a 50-yard touchdown pass to Drew Pearson with 28 seconds remaining.


 

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[Romo Named Most Criticized QB of All Time]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:51:04 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459496716.jpg

When you're a quarterback in the NFL, you're generally going to be given too much credit when things are going well for your team, and burdened with far too much blame when things aren't.

When you're the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, both of those are magnified 1,000 times with the whole "America's Team" label and everything that comes with it.

So it's no real surprise that Tony Romo was recently named the most criticized NFL quarterback of all time by pop-culture website Complex.com.

It doesn't mean Romo is bad, as there are some great quarterbacks on the list of 25 quarterbacks. Peyton Manning is on the list, after all, he's only won one Super Bowl, so is his brother Eli, who has to deal with the New York media, same as this week's Cowboys opponent Mark Sanchez from his time with the Jets. John Elway is on the list, thanks largely to the label of "couldn't win the big one" until the end of his career when he got a running game.

But it's easy to agree with the website's take of having Romo No. 1. He takes criticism to no end from Cowboys fans, other teams' fans, and even his peers in the league, who once voted him as the most overrated player in the NFL. There have been public relationships with the likes of Jessica Simpson and publicized bye week trips to Cancun before losing a playoff game. In other words, there's plenty of ammo for the Romo haters.

Back to that Elway thing for a second, maybe Romo is finally getting that running game he's never had. We'll have to see where it leads.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: RG3 Out, Colt In]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:52:17 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/20141123+Redskins+49ers.jpg

Two years ago this week, Robert Griffin III was striking fear into all of the NFL when he put on a quarterbacking display on Thanksgiving Day against the Dallas Cowboys, torching the Dallas defense in embarrassing fashion and starting a seven-game win streak to help the Redskins end up with the NFC East title in his rookie season.

He was NFL Rookie of the Year, and it was good to see for Redskins fans, considering they'd dealt a ton of picks to the St. Louis Rams to get the No. 2 pick in that draft to take the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback from Baylor.

Now, things have turned sour for RG3, and it's been a quick fall from grace, as Redskins head coach Jay Gruden officially benched RG3 in favor of former Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, who got the start in the Redskins' win over the Cowboys last month before RG3 returned the following week.

The results haven't been good for Griffin since returning from a Week 1 injury, and now he's essentially done as a Redskin after the benching. Griffin will end up somewhere else next season, but you have to wonder if you'll ever see the 2012 version again.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Power Rankings: NFC East]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:54:37 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/224*120/usa-chip-kelly-mark-sanchez.jpg

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

1. Dallas Cowboys (8-3) — The Cowboys went on the road again on Sunday night, and they won another road game at a division rival this time with their last-minute comeback win over the Giants. Tony Romo is playing better than he ever has, DeMarco Murray is a 100-yard machine (10 100-yard games in 11 tries) and Dez Bryant is feeling it. The defense is yet to have been exposed like we're all waiting on, but until the Eagles can do that, the Cowboys have the top spot heading into their Thanksgiving Day game.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (8-3) — Mark Sanchez has thrown six touchdowns and five interceptions since taking over for the injured Nick Foles, so basically, his numbers have been identical to Foles'. The thing with the Eagles is, their return game is so scary with the addition of Darren Sproles. The Eagles got walloped in Green Bay and then beat a bad Titans team easily on Sunday. The Cowboys don't lose on the road, but they have lost three of their six home games, so that's going in the Eagles' favor.

3. New York Giants (3-8) — The Giants have their moments, but they just can't put together many four-quarter games to get wins. Look at last week, when they led the Cowboys 21-10 at halftime only to cough it up in the second half. All that said, the Giants do have one of the game's most explosive, promising young players in Odell Beckham.

4. Washington Redskins (3-8) — Things are just falling apart more and more each week for the Redskins, who have now benched Robert Griffin III in favor of Colt McCoy, basically ending RG3's reign in D.C. after three years in a huge fall from grace. It's just flat-out ugly, and makes it even worse to think about the fact they handed Dallas one of its three losses.



Photo Credit: CSNPhilly.com]]>
<![CDATA[AT&T Stadium Cooking Up a Storm for Thanksgiving Game]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 19:05:39 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/180*120/thanksgiving_dinner.jpg It's tough enough to prepare a Thanksgiving feast for your family. Imagine trying to cook for 100,000 people on Turkey Day. That's the reality for the culinary team at AT&T Stadium, which is busy preparing for Thursday's big game.

Photo Credit: www.jupiterimages.com/]]>
<![CDATA[Eagles' Logan Not Impressed by Cowboys O-Line]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 16:42:48 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/175605471.jpg

Many people view the Dallas Cowboys offensive line as among the very best in the NFL. Philadelphia Eagles second-year defensive tackle Bennie Logan is not one of those people.

Going into the Thanksgiving Day matchup this week, Logan told reporters that he isn’t all that impressed by the unit.

“Yeah, they’re OK,” Logan said of the Dallas offensive line, per CSNPhilly.com. “I don’t really know what’s great about them.”

Behind that offensive line, the Cowboys have the third best passer rating in the league. They are second in the league in yards per rush, and DeMarco Murray is leading the league in rushing. Murray is always quick to give the line credit for his production this year. Logan, not so much.

“The running back’s having a good year running, but I don’t see anything spectacular about them,” he said. “Same offensive line we faced last year and they have one new guy. We faced them [before]. They’re OK linemen.”

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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Terrance Williams Practicing Through Broken Finger]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 17:00:04 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/2013-cowboys-eagles--%28290%29.jpg

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams was back at practice on Tuesday after suffering a broken finger in Sunday night’s 31-28 win over the New York Giants, and expects to play through the injury when the Eagles come to town on Thanksgiving Day.

Head coach Jason Garrett believes Williams will wear a splint in the matchup with Philly.

Williams has just three catches in the last three games--and he had just one grab against the Giants--but on the season, he has 28 catches for 444 yards and six touchdowns, one more than his rookie total.

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo also participated in Tuesday’s practice session.

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.



Photo Credit: Frank Heinz, NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys' Role Players Starting To Shine]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:30:29 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459486534.jpg

Our memories become fuzzy, but after further review the Cowboys’ 1990s’ dynasty wasn’t solely orchestrated by Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.

Sure they were the leaders, the best players and future Hall of Famers. But to win three Super Bowls in four years it took more. It took role players making star-studded plays.

An Alvin Harper catch here. A Daryl Johnston block there. Kevin Williams on a punt return. Issiac Holt with a blocked punt. Darren Smith with a fourth-down tackle. The players and their plays might be forgotten, but sum of their actions live forever.

Got a whiff of that last Sunday against the Giants. Tony Romo was brilliant, DeMarco Murray ran for 100 yards and Dez Bryant caught two touchdowns. But the Cowboys wouldn’t have won that game without their supporting actors. Without Cole Beasley’s catch-and-run touchdown. Without Lance Dunbar’s long gain on a screen pass. Without a sack from Jeremy Mincey. Or a rare catch by James Hannah.

More and more we’re starting to trust the Cowboys’ “other” players. And that’s a good thing.

Because, after all, sometimes Michael Jordan passed to John Paxson for the game-winning shot.
 

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[3 Reasons the Eagles Will Beat the Cowboys]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:04:00 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459466736.jpg

The most pivotal matchup of the season for the Cowboys is also the most interesting, as their nemesis is also their antithesis in some ways.

The Philadelphia Eagles come to town on Thanksgiving for a game that gives the winner the inside track at a division crown, but it also pits two progressive coaching ideals against each other.

1. An Innovative Offensive Coach

As previously mentioned, the Cowboys’ defense is basically playing at the same level as last year’s unit. While they have played a little better recently, their success is still predicated on limiting the time they spend on the field.

Cowboys defense, meet your inverse, the Eagles offense.

The Eagles are third in the NFL in points per game at 31.1, but it’s based on the same thing as the Cowboys’ 19th ranked scoring defense: Volume. Head coach Chip Kelly knows that more plays lead to more yards, which leads to more points, as the Eagles lead the NFL with 800 plays from scrimmage this year.

Kelly places more emphasis on conditioning than any other coach in the NFL, and it's the main reason his players can keep up with his frenetic pace.

2. "Good Mark Sanchez" Shows Up

No other player in Thursday’s game has the potential to swing the outcome as much as Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez.

“The Sanchize” has filled in admirably since Nick Foles went down with an injury a few weeks ago and the offense hasn’t missed a beat. He has made a few questionable decisions that resulted in interceptions, but he has also pushed the ball downfield better than Foles did.

It helps that Sanchez has the chemistry he does with rookie wide receiver — and second cousin to Jerry Rice — Jordan Matthews. Since Sanchez took over at quarterback, Matthews has caught 18 passes for 322 yards and three touchdowns and Sanchez has a quarterback rating of 153.3 when targeting Matthews, according to Pro Football Focus.

If Sanchez takes care of the ball like he did against Carolina, the Eagles will likely win and put themselves in the driver’s seat to win the division.

3. A Relentless Defensive Front

Any team that gets after the quarterback should make Cowboys fans nervous, because a Romo injury drops them from Super Bowl contender to a team picking in the top 20 of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Philadelphia’s 38 sacks ranks second in the NFL behind Buffalo, and they’re five ahead of the third ranked team. Base EDGE players Connor Barwin and Trent Cole are near the top of Pro Football Focus’ Pass Rushing Productivity (quarterback pressures per passing snap) as is reserve Brandon Graham.

The Eagles’ defensive line will be in Tony Romo’s face throughout the game Thursday. If the Cowboys abandon the run for any reason, they’ll risk losing their quarterback as well as the game.

Bottom Line

In one of the two most important games for the Cowboys this season will be a close one. The Eagles’ roster is talented, but their scheme and philosophy are what sets them apart and make them a tough challenge for Dallas in particular.

But Thursday’s game mostly comes down to one player. If Mark Sanchez does what Chip Kelly wants him to do, the Eagles will give the Philly faithful much to be thankful for.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rolando McClain Keeps Impressing]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:22:16 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rolando-mcclain9.15.jpg

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is understandably thrilled with what he’s seen this year out of Rolando McClain, who was pulled out of retirement by the team this offseason after middle linebacker Sean Lee suffered a season-ending ACL tear in training camp.

Since the signing, McClain has been better than anyone could’ve expected. So far this season, he has 55 tackles, a sack and two interceptions.

Rolando is a force on the field,” Jones said this week, per the Dallas Morning News. “He was the eight pick in the draft. He plays like that.”

On Sunday night, McClain recorded 11 tackles, including two for a loss. He also cemented the Dallas win by stopping Giants running back Rashad Jennings short on a 4th-and-2 late in the fourth quarter.

“He’s an impact player, and I mean that both ways. He impacts our defense,” Jones said. “We’re a better team when we’ve got him and boy he impacts the imposing team when he’s out there playing against them. He’s a load, and they know he’s in the game. It’s comforting--you feel better about your middle, you feel better about your overall physicalness of your defense--when you’ve got Rolando out there.”

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<![CDATA[Church Not Worried About Hamstring Issue]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:20:06 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459490384.jpg

Dallas Cowboys safety Barry Church was forced to exit Sunday’s victory over the New York Giants in the fourth quarter with a hamstring issue, but was on the field for Monday’s practice session and is confident he’ll play in Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Eagles, according to the Dallas Morning News.

A defensive captain, Church has 62 tackles, four passes defensed and two interceptions on the season.

Church isn’t the only member of the secondary dealing with an injury at the moment. Cornerback Tyler Patmon will likely miss at least one more game with a sprained MCL and safety Jeff Heath is dealing with a broken thumb that will require surgery.

“I am pretty confident it is nothing serious and I’ll be back soon,” Heath said.

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<![CDATA[Josh Brent Not Sure if He'll Play Thursday]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:21:26 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/128041650.jpg

Two days out, Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent isn’t sure whether or not he’ll be active for the Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Eagles on Thursday afternoon.

Brent hasn’t played since the December 2012 single-car accident that claimed the life of Cowboys practice quad linebacker Jerry Brown and led to Brent facing intoxication manslaughter charges. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years of probation.

Brent was actually eligible to return on Sunday against the Giants, but the team opted to  keep him inactive.

That could change this week with Jack Crawford dealing with a broken thumb, which could open up a spot in the defensive line rotation.

I have not received any indication on whether I will or won’t be playing [Thursday],” Brent said, per the Dallas Morning News. “Obviously it’s a quick turnaround. I just go out there and practice and be the best teammate I can be.”

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<![CDATA[On Deck: Philadelphia Eagles]]> Tue, 25 Nov 2014 13:25:02 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cowboys+Eagles+Image.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: The Eagles ran through a bad Titans team on Sunday as backup quarterback Mark Sanchez bounced back from a bad performance against a good Packers team and the Eagles' defense and special teams did their thing en route to a blowout win.

Past Meetings: The Cowboys hold a 62-48 series lead over the Eagles and have won three of the last four meetings. The Eagles beat the Cowboys 24-22 in their last meeting at AT&T Stadium.

Key Matchup: Eagles running backs vs. Cowboys linebackers — LeSean McCoy is starting to find his edge again as the Eagles' offensive line is getting healthy, and the addition of Darren Sproles has been huge for the Eagles in that he just provides a threat every time he touches the ball out of the backfield, and he touches it in so many ways, including in the return game. The Cowboys' linebackers continue to play well despite losing Justin Durant, as Anthony Hitchens has stepped up in a big way and Rolando McClain seems to be healthy again.

Who's Hot: McCoy had one of his better games of the season against a porous Titans run defense, as he ran for 130 yards on 21 carries and scored a touchdown. Sanchez threw two picks, but they were inconsequential and other than that he threw for 307 yards and a score on 30 completions in Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense. Rookie receiver Jordan Matthews has been coming on as of late and led the Eagles with six catches for 77 yards last week. Kicker Cody Parkey had a huge day, hitting 5 of 6 field goals and was perfect on his four extra points.

Tony Romo was phenomenal on Sunday, throwing for 275 yards and four touchdowns with no picks. DeMarco Murray had a ho-hum 121-yard rushing game (what's new?) and Dez Bryant was a man among boys after being shown up early on by Odell Beckham. He finished with two touchdowns, including the game-winner in the final minute of the game. McClain led the Cowboys with 10 tackles, including a huge fourth-down stop late in the game.

Who's Not: Sproles only had nine touches for 39 yards on offense on Sunday, and for a guy who can be that dangerous, you'd think the Eagles want to get him more involved on Thursday. He's rested, that's for sure.

Where has Terrance Williams been? He was expected to have a breakout season and has regressed in a big way from his solid rookie season in 2013. Williams had another rough game on Sunday, catching just one ball for 18 yards.

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<![CDATA[Cowboys Turn Their Focus to Philly]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:11:03 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459497102.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys didn’t have much time to revel in their 31-28 victory over the rival New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Sunday night. After the win, they showered and flew back to Dallas. They’ll practice this afternoon in preparation for Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles.

You’ve got to move on,” said running back DeMarco Murray, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas.

Wide receiver Dez Bryant added: “When we land in Dallas, (this) game no longer matters.”

The win over the Giants puts the Cowboys in a tie for first place in the NFC East with the Eagles going into Thursday, with each team at 8-3. This is the first matchup between the teams this season.

“You have to watch the tape,” said tight end Jason Witten. “We will have to do it on our own because Thursday is going to come on us quick, but it is always good to get a win these games before Thanksgiving.”

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<![CDATA[Romo Felt Better Against Giants]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 14:00:06 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459495984.jpg

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said he felt better in Sunday night’s 31-28 victory over the New York Giants, after having the bye week to rest his achy back.

Romo suffered a pair of transverse process fractures in the Week 7 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins, and was forced to miss a game as a result. He returned in the team’s London matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars prior to the bye.

On Sunday, Romo looked good when put to the eye test, going for 275 yards and four touchdowns.

"I felt a little bit better," Romo said, per ESPN Dallas. "I think hopefully in another week or so I’ll be back to where I’d like to be. That’s just part of playing the game. I’m feeling better, but my movements throughout the week were improved from the Jacksonville week. I could feel that for sure."

The Cowboys will have a rare Monday practice this week in preparation for the Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Eagles, and Romo expects to participate.

"I don’t know that we’re going to have much time to go too hard," Romo said. "I think if you’re playing in football games, I’m sure you can make it through walk-throughs."

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<![CDATA[Marinelli Not Happy with the Defense]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:27:06 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459483536.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys came away with a big division win on Sunday night, but defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli was not a happy camper in the visitors locker room afterward.

“I love winning,” Marinelli said, per the Dallas Morning News. “But I’m about execution. ... To me, it’s just mindset, getting ready to play and playing really hard.”

The Cowboys defense allowed 21 first half points, but held the Giants to a single touchdown in the second half. Afterward, a reporter asked Marinelli about the adjustments made by the defense at half.

“I don’t know if we figured anything out,” Marinelli said. “It’s about us, just tackling and doing the things we’re supposed to do. There’s nothing else to figure out.”

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<![CDATA[DeMarco Murray Says He Was "Rusty" Against Giants]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:21:34 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459486534.jpg

Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray went for 121 yards on 24 carries in Sunday night’s 31-28 victory over the rival New York Giants--his 10th 100-plus yard performance in 11 games this season--but he said afterward that, coming off the bye week, he wasn’t at his best.

I definitely felt like I was rusty,” Murray said, per the Dallas Morning News. “I felt that the o-line was a little rusty. They played a good game though. I give those guys credit... I may have missed a few things here and there and we’ll watch the film and get it corrected and see where we go.”

Murray leads the NFL with 1,354 yards on the season and is on pace to finish with close to the rare 2,000-yard mark. But in true Murray fashion, he’d rather talk about how he can be better.

“We’re a little rusty,” Murray said. “We have to knock the rust off after being off for a week. But in the end, we made a couple more plays than they did and we pulled it out in the fourth quarter.”

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<![CDATA[Carr Already Sick of Being Asked About Beckham Catch]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 13:24:28 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/4594822461.jpg

It didn’t take long for Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr to grow sick of being asked about the spectacular catch made by rookie Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the second quarter.

Carr was in coverage on Beckham and was actually called for pass interference when Beckham made a sensational one-handed grab.

It was a good catch,” Carr said after the 31-28 Cowboys victory, per the Dallas Morning News. “I’m not going to keep talking about one play.”

Carr later told an announcer that he had been asked about the catch “like ten times”--but it wasn’t as though Beckham’s impact was limited to that one outstanding moment.

“I thought Odell tonight was one of the finest players I’ve seen in the NFL,” said Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones. “The way he was making plays and making them at critical junctures ... and those were third-down catches for long yardage. He’s an outstanding player and I don’t look forward to playing him for a lot of years around here.”

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[O-Line Protection Too Good for Technology]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:44:43 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459496716.jpg

One of the newer, bigger social networking platforms out there on the Interwebs these days is the video-sharing service called Vine. It basically lets you shoot a six-second video and share it for the whole world to see on a loop.

It's really handy for tweeting out clips of games almost instantly, unless, that is, you were trying to Vine the Dallas Cowboys' game-winning touchdown on Sunday night.

As you can see, the play doesn't even go to its entirety as Romo has all days, thanks to those big boys up front, to find Dez Bryant in the back corner of the end zone.

You get to see Tyron Smith knock his man to the ground, not once but twice, Ronald Leary controlling his man, and Zack Martin and Travis Frederick owning some poor sap and Doug Free is mainly out of the picture but obviously does a fine job himself.

If you can get three seconds to throw as an NFL quarterback, you're in good shape. Eight seconds? For Dez Bryant, of all people, to get open? That's just silly.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Traditionally On The Receiving End Of Great NFL Catches]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:48:21 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459483536.jpg

Quick, name the greatest catch in Cowboys’ history.

Um, yeah, me too.

Though they’ve sported receivers like Drew Pearson and Michael Irvin and Jason Witten and Terrell Owens and Dez Bryant, nothing jumps out. I mean, Bryant’s acrobatic, juggling catch against the Texans in overtime this season was special. But he’s had a handful of similar grabs. One of the best catches in franchise history was Alvin Harper's 70-yarder that sealed the NFC Championship and a trip to Super Bowl XXVII, but the actual catch was relatively mundane. Pearson's "Hail Mary" grab between two Vikings in 1975 was epic more for the circumstances rather than the catch.

Dallas’ best catch on the biggest stage probably wasn’t even a catch, as Butch Johnson’s diving touchdown grab against the Broncos in Super Bowl XII would be overturned into an incompletion in today’s NFL. You could even argue that the most memorable catch in Cowboys’ history was a drop – by Jackie Smith in Super Bowl XIII.

Why then is it so dang easy to rattle off the best catch against America’s Team?

When listing the Top five catches in NFL history, I’m willing to bet that three of them have now come at the Cowboys’ expense.

Lynn Swann’s juggling, falling catch in Super Bowl X. Dwight Clark’s leaping grab in the end zone in the 1982 NFC Championship Game. And, of course, make room for Odell Beckham’s three-finger snatch last night in New Jersey. No doubt about it, Cowboys' cornerbacks Mark Washington, Everson Walls and Brandon Carr have been posterized into NFL immortality.

At least we have Tony Dorsett’s 99-yard run. Right?
 

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[Three Phases: Cowboys-Giants]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:48:02 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459494908.jpg

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

Offense: A

The first half saw Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant all held in check, but in the second half? That told a different a story. Murray got his typical 100-yard rushing game, Bryant caught two touchdown passes, including the game-winner in the final minute, and Romo was simply spectacular. Like always, a lot of that came back to the unsung big boys up front, who gave Romo all kinds of time, specifically on that game-winning touchdown pass.

Defense: B

The first half was an awful display for the Cowboys defense. The second half was much different, as the unit adjusted to being burned on a routine basis by rookie phenom Odell Beckham Jr. They also started getting pressure on Eli Manning and it resulted in some rare sacks and some not-so-rare poor throws from Manning. Barry Church was in the right place at the right time after one of those awful throws, but Church made it count with an interception in the end zone to prevent a Giants score and set up a Cowboys one.

Special teams: B

Coverage was solid, Dwayne Harris was solid in the return game. Chris Jones had two punts inside the 20, and the field goal kicking robot did his thing. It was nothing spectacular, but it was definitely not bad.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Romo Once Again Spectacular]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:47:42 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459495984.jpg

I have a pretty big concern for Dallas Cowboys fans right now.

You see, the Cowboys are 8-3 and having their best season in the Jason Garrett era and could still very possibly miss out on the postseason, even if they manage a 10-win season (see the Arizona Cardinals of last season).

And when that happens, with rampant fears of 6-10 long past, Cowboys fans will be angry and upset and blaming the usual suspects: "The Cowboys will never win with Tony Romo," they'll say.

But you know what? Romo is having his best season ever and he's doing it with a twice surgically repaired back and most recently two fractures in that same back. So Romo haters, move on to someone else.

Since the season opener against the 49ers in which he threw four picks, Romo has been phenomenal. That was evidenced once again on Sunday night in a big game on a big stage, when Romo tossed four touchdowns and had no turnovers for a pristine quarterback rating of 143.8.

in fact, since that 49ers loss, which almost was a huge Cowboys comeback in the second half, Romo is second in the league in quarterback rating to one guy — Aaron Rodgers.

The days of Romo bashing should be over, and with each passing week it's becoming more understandable why both Romo and the Cowboys think he can play effectively until at least age 39. Some things get better with age, and it appears Romo is doing just that.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Where Are They Now? Dat Nguyen]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 00:09:51 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/112314+Dat+Nguyen+Cowboys.jpg NBC 5's David Watkins talks to former Cowboys Linebacker Dat Nguyen.

Photo Credit: Noah Bullard]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys 31, Giants 28: Whitt Watch Top 10]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 01:01:29 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459495984.jpg

10. I realize there are bigger, hopefully better things on this season’s horizon, but this victory ensures that Jason Garrett won’t have a losing record in any of his four seasons as head coach. 8-8 is guaranteed. Much more promising, since 2000 39 of 42 teams that started the season 8-3 made the playoffs.

9. Kudos to Tyron Smith. He’s a great player who’s having a mediocre season, but his domination of Jason Pierre-Paul on Dallas’ winning drive was epic.

8. Combine Dez Bryant’s three best catches and they fall short of Odell Beckham’s one-handed touchdown snag. Seriously, you’ll tell your grandkids you were lucky to see it live. Ranks up there with not only the greatest catches in the NFL, but in any sport. Willie Mays’ back-to-the-infield basket catch in the 1954 World Series has serious company. And let’s be honest, Beckham’s catch came closer to breaking the Internet than Kim Kardashian’s naked booty.

7. While we were slobbering over Beckham’s catch and feeling sorry for Brandon Carr getting posterized, the Cowboys calmly drove 77 for a touchdown to pull within 14-10. Tony Romo’s shovel pass to Jason Witten wasn’t quite as acrobatic, but worth the exact same amount of points.

6. The Cowboys are the NFL’s only unbeaten team on the road at 5-0. And they’ve won their last three road games against the Giants.

5. Barry Church made the pick and all, but a big assist in the Cowboys’ comeback goes to Eli Manning for his absurb overthrow of a wide open Preston Parker at Dallas’ 10 with his team driving for an apparent 28-17 lead. Game. Changer.

4. Beckham’s 10 catches had style, but Dez Bryant’s 13-yard touchdown catch with 1:01 remaining was pure substance.

3. Romo is now 8-0 in the game before Thanksgiving. And – after playing a road game the Sunday before – the Cowboys are 15-6-1 on Thanksgiving.

2. The Cowboys’ defense was awful early, allowing three touchdown drives on the Giants’ first three possessions. But two big tackles – on 2nd down by Bruce Carter and on 4th down by Rolando McClain – were enough to save the day.

1. The Giants got the wow, but the Cowboys got the win.
 

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[Images: Cowboys Shine in New York ]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 00:21:57 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459495984.jpg After a rough first half, the Dallas Cowboys prevailed over the New York Giants on Sunday night, 31-28.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Edge Giants, 31-28]]> Sun, 23 Nov 2014 23:54:50 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/COWBOYS-GIANTS11.23.jpg

After a rough first half, the Dallas Cowboys prevailed over the New York Giants on Sunday night, 31-28.

The Giants got the scoring started with the dynamic rookie receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., who caught a 43-yard touchdown pass to cap a 13-play, 80-yard drive and give the Giants a 7-0 lead. Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey would hit a 38-yard field goal, but Beckham struck again early in the second quarter with one of the most impressive catches any of us have ever seen. After that, it was 14-3 Giants.

Dallas got back in the game with a touchdown pass from Tony Romo to Jason Witten to draw the deficit to 14-10, but New York took another 80-yard drive to the end zone--this time capped by a three-yard run by Andre Williams--to make it a two-possession game once more.

The Cowboys regained control in the second half, starting with a 45-yard pass from Romo to Cole Beasley. Romo followed that up with a 31-yard toss to Dez Bryant to give Dallas the lead at 24-21.Romo finished 18 of 26 passing for 275 yards and four touchdowns. Bryant finished with seven catches for 86 yards.

Adrien Robinson caught a touchdown pass from Eli Manning late in the fourth quarter to retake the lead, but Romo led the Cowboys to a game-winning, 80-yard drive, finished off with a 13-yard touchdown throw to Bryant.

The defense held up with less than a minute left, and the Cowboys won on the road, 31-28.

DeMarco Murray finished with 121 yards on 24 carries.

At 8-3, the Cowboys will host the Eagles on Thursday at AT&T Stadium.

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<![CDATA[Jerry Not Thinking About Garrett's Contract]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:16:30 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/garrett-jones-camp-day0-02.jpg

Apparently, Jerry Jones is content to wait until after the season to revisit Jason Garrett’s contract status.

In fact, in an interview with 105.3-FM The Fan this week, Jones said that he hasn’t even been thinking about Garrett’s contract status. Garrett’s four-year deal runs out at year’s end.

“It’s really a non event for me, whether there is concern [from the outside] about it or not,” Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News. “I don’t mean to sound that way, but it hasn’t been a concern of mine and we haven’t made it a concern for the club this year. This talk about these contracts, no matter who it is that has a pending contract or one that’s coming up, that’s all for [media and fans] to talk about. That really has no impact on my day.”

Garrett has finished 8-8 in each of his three full seasons as a head coach to this point, and has come up just short of the playoffs in each of those. With a 7-3 record this season, Jones has been full of praise for Garrett, saying he is still improving as a head coach.

We’ll have to wait and see if this praise will translate to a new deal for Garrett.

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.



Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 Photojournalist]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys' Physicality Could Be Key Down Homestretch]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 14:04:33 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457968560.jpg

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is hoping his team’s newfound emphasis on physicality will help them out as they head down the homestretch of the 2014 season.

“You do want to have a team that can handle any conditions--playing on the road, dealing with weather, all the different things that come with being away from your home,” Garrett told the team’s website. “Those are adverse circumstances and you want to be able to embrace those as a team.”

The Cowboys certainly seem to be constructed for just those conditions, as they feature the NFL’s leading rusher in DeMarco Murray, who is working behind a young and very strong offensive line.

“If your team is set up the right way, you might be able to do that,” Garrett said. “Being a physical team, being a team that can run the football, certainly makes you more weather-proof or away-proof than you would be otherwise.”

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[DeMarco Murray Not Looking Ahead]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:22:45 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457517236.jpg

As Richie Whitt wrote earlier, the Dallas Cowboys have to do all they can to focus on the Giants and only the Giants this week, and not pay any mind to the quick turnaround between that matchup and the Thanksgiving Day game against the Eagles, just five days after.

Running back DeMarco Murray doesn’t believe this will be a problem for the team.

It all goes to being mentally strong,” Murray said, per the Dallas Morning News. “We got to focus on the task at hand. The task is obviously the Giants. We’re not looking past those guys.”

According to Murray, this mental strength comes from the top, from head coach Jason Garrett.

“He expects people to handle themselves as professionals,” Murray said. “He expects us to work hard and know what we’re doing on and off the field. I definitely think that he’s pretty demanding.”

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[Dez: We Didn't Work Hard Enough in Recent Years]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 13:08:52 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457515492.jpg

In each of the past three seasons, the Dallas Cowboys have finished 8-8 and out of the playoffs.

In those years, wide receiver Dez Bryant believes, the team didn’t work as hard as they needed to in order to get over the hump.

"I'm going to give you my honest opinion. The years that we did go 8-8, I think – me, because this is just how I am--I don't think we worked hard enough," Bryant said, per ESPN Dallas. "I'm not saying we didn't work, like, I mean the offseason, during the OTAs--not the coaches. That's on us. The first thing that I did right after the game, we lost to Philadelphia (2013), my brother will tell you--I was working out the next day. Just because I felt like 'Damn, we didn't do enough.'

“Obviously we didn't do enough, they was the better team. It feels different, it's a lot different--it's a lot different from last year. We're more together, we want it more, we've got the same vision, and that's kind of hard when you've got a team like that."

On Sunday, the Cowboys will face the New York Giants, who--back in 2011--were the first to eliminate an 8-7 Cowboys team in a Week 17 win-and-in game. The Redskins accomplished the feat in 2012 and the Eagles did it last year.

"It's a big game, they are better than what their record shows and we can't go in under estimating our opponent," Bryant said of the Giants. “They are a great football team and we got to come out and stick to our plan and execute these plays the best way we possibly can to get that victory."

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[Jerry: Randle Could Average Around 100 YPG]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 12:54:45 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/458702456.jpg

It’s safe to say Jerry Jones is very confident in his young offensive line.

This week, the Cowboys owner and general manager went so far as to say that--behind that offensive line, and provided that he got enough carries--reserve running back Joseph Randle could average around 100 yards a game.

“We’ve got one that if he carried that ball 20 times a game, I think he would have outstanding numbers in the 100-yard up area. That is Joseph Randle,” Jones told 105.3-FM The Fan, via the Dallas Morning News. “We’re really proud of his progress, what he’s doing. When he’s gotten the ball, he’s been impressive. He’s been impressive away from the ball. Then, of course, we can’t seem to get for anybody’s satisfaction, mainly [Scott] Linehan or Jason [Garrett] or anybody involved, we can’t seem to get the ball in Dunbar’s hands enough.

“When you look at that, and then we’ve got a back on our practice squad, [Ryan] Williams that just absolutely is ready to go if called upon. So we’re in pretty good shape at running back.”

Here in his second season, Randle has 201 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries.

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[3 Reasons the Cowboys Will Beat the Giants]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 16:15:43 -0600 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/458697470.jpg

The New York Giants have shown flashes of being a good team this season, but not consistently enough that Cowboys fans should worry about Sunday night's game in New Jersey.

As long as the Cowboys stick to what they've done well this season, they should notch win No. 8 and move even closer to a playoff berth for three reasons.

1. League's Best Run-Blocking Offensive Line

Anyone who has watched the Cowboys this season can see that the offensive line has performed exceptionally blocking the run, but they actually rank as the best in the league according to one statistic. Dallas ranks first in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards stat, which measures blockers’ impact on running plays.

Guess which NFL team has surrendered the most rushing yards this season. That’s right, the Giants. New York’s defense gives up an average of 145 yards rushing per game and 4.9 yards per carry.

So the formula for Sunday is simple: Hand off, gain five yards, repeat.

2. New York's Offensive Line

Conversely, the Giants mediocre offensive line was just offensive after right tackle Justin Pugh left last Sunday’s game with a quad injury. Pugh left after eight snaps and the San Francisco 49ers abused what was left, especially on the right side.

Look for defensive tackle Henry Melton and whoever else is playing over guard John Jerry and whoever the Giants plug in at right tackle, as Pugh is on track to miss Sunday’s game.

The Cowboys defensive line hasn’t notched many sacks this season, but that’s not as bad as many people think. The goal of defenders, especially along the line is simply disrupting the offense’s play. As Rotoworld and NBC Sports writer Josh Norris often says, “Disruption is production.” He’s right, especially because of…

3. The Other Manning

Eli Manning has had his moments, but he just isn’t as good as his brother Peyton. Not even close.

Eli has more Super Bowl rings than Peyton, but that’s about the only edge he holds over his big brother. Eli’s decision-making and anticipation is subpar, but the area where he really lags behind is pocket presence.

Eli senses pressure well, but he responds to it poorly. He doesn’t move well enough in the pocket and he tends to force poor throws, resulting in a lot of interceptions. In fact, he has led the NFL in interceptions three times and is only three off the league lead this season.

Bottom Line

The Cowboys defensive line doesn’t have to sack Eli Manning to be effective. They just need to get in his face, which they shouldn’t have trouble doing against the Giants’ patchwork offensive line.

Even if they can’t impact the game defensively, it shouldn’t matter. Dallas’ rushing attack should move through the Giants’ defense like a hot knife through butter on the way to winning by at least a touchdown.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>