CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 08: Jake Delhomme #17 of the Carolina Panthers throws a pass during warm-ups before the start of a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium on December 8, 2008 in Charlotte, North Carolina (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jake Delhomme
Every Friday (or, in this case, Monday), we’ll tackle five big questions for the Cowboys going into the weekend’s game.
1. Should Marion Barber play tonight? That’s the real question. There’s no doubt Barber is tough enough to play through his quad injury tonight, and he’s probably lobbying Wade and co. as we speak to be activated. But a quad strain is a tricky injury. Case in point: Steven Jackson missed three games with the exact same ailment last season, and he didn’t regain full strength until four weeks AFTER he returned. It’s one of those horribly nagging injuries that can persist for the duration of a whole season. It’s a tough choice. It’s not as if the Cowboys have the luxury of taking the Panthers lightly. They desperately need to win this game, and they could use all hands on deck. Then again, the Panthers run D is bad, and the Cowboys have two excellent backs ready to go without Barber suited up. I think Barber is activated for the game, makes a few early runs, and then comes out in favor of Choice and Felix.
2. Do I still get free fried green beans if a punt hits the video board? You bet! TGI Fridays sent us a press release today stating that, indeed, they have extended their offer of free green bean fries to any of their bar patrons if the board is hit during the game. Also, this was in the press release:
T.G.I. Friday’s has a rich heritage which includes being credited with popularizing Happy Hour, Long Island Iced Tea and Loaded Potato Skins.
In other words, TGI Friday’s is responsible for both your divorce AND your heart attack. Blame them appropriately.
3. So, will it get hit? Again, we all know that Cowboys punter Mat McBriar is almost certainly under secret orders from the Double J to NEVER hit that billboard if he cares about the welfare of his family, his friends, or his prized springer spaniel. So he’s out. That leaves Panthers punter Jason Baker, currently averaging a robust 54.8 yards per punt this season. Again, I checked in with kicking expert Stefan Fatsis for a bold prediction:
“Jason Baker is a nine-year veteran with a big leg who – most important – was traded by the Broncos to the Panthers for my buddy Todd Sauerbrun.
“If Todd were still in the league, you KNOW he'd be gunning for the JerryTron. Its very existence is a symbol of the NFL’s corporate gigantism, which Todd hates. And its very presence, hanging there above the field like a 60-yard-long, 600-ton, 1080p middle finger, is a physical taunt Todd just couldn’t avoid. Sort of like when, a couple of years ago, right before his NFL career imploded once and for all, Todd told reporters he’d be punting right at Devin Hester, and did, with predictable results. All it would take would be one teammate saying, ‘Yo, Todd, bet you can’t hit the video screen during the game,’ and Todd would turn his entire attention to hitting the video screen during the game. And he probably would nail it; he didn’t call himself The Boom for nothing."
“But Todd, alas, is out of the NFL– though attempting a comeback, with the Florida Tuskers of the UFL, and sounding very repentant (on the league's website anyway) about the many indiscretions that led him to squander millions of dollars in income and left him essentially blacklisted by the league. Still, in memory of Todd's NFL career, and because of the connection between Todd and the man who replaced him in Carolina, I say this is the week: Jason Baker will make history in the Big D, and somewhere Todd will mutter, 'Shoulda been me.'.”
I so badly wish the Jets were playing in Cowboys Stadium this year. You know darn well Rex Ryan would order his punter to hit the board 10 times in a row, then give Double J the finger on the way out.
4. Should I buy a party pass for this game? I’d use the bathroom at home beforehand if I did.
5. How much unnecessary cheerleading will Jaws and Gruden do for both QBs? A LOT. Jaws, in particular, is often guilty of this. I promise you, you will hear nothing but love and support for Mr. Romo and Mr. Delhomme tonight. THEY WANT SO BADLY TO WIN! THEY KNOW THEY’VE MADE MISTAKES! THEIR TEAMMATES KNOW WHAT KIND OF GUYS THEY ARE! And then they’ll both throw picks, and you’ll yell at the TV, and no one will be happy. Enjoy, gang!