4 Players to Watch in the Cowboys Third Preseason Game

Kiffin man crush on Patmon

Kiffin man crush on Patmon

Saturday represents the crucial third preseason game for Dallas where starters get more work, and guys on the roster bubble need to make the most of their precious opportunities. For a variety of reasons, there are a few players who haven’t played much and now find themselves with a small amount of time to impress the coaches.

A look at 4 players who need to standout immediately that will be worth watching in the third preseason game.

1. DT Zach Minter:
Minter was only signed 5 days ago from the Bears when injured rookie defensive lineman Ben Gardner left the team for surgery. Minter entered the game in the 2nd half against the Ravens and made the most of his time by making 2 sacks and causing a fumble.

It was an impressive performance by Minter for sure however, his achievements come with a bit of caveat since he did all this against third string Ravens. During practice this week, Minter has been running some with the first team defense and that means we should see him much sooner in the Dolphins game and against better competition.

Can Minter show up like last week when playing against starters on the offensive line? That’s exactly what the Cowboys defense needs to find out because the defensive line is where they could use the most help.

2. LB Will Smith:
Smith was drafted by Dallas in the 7th round but you probably have heard very little about him during camp. Smith has missed time with a groin injury. Injured groins appear to have replaced the hamstring injuries that Dallas was once plagued with in a case of “if it isn’t one thing it’s another”.

Smith saw his first action as a Cowboy late in the Ravens game and was actually pretty impressive in a short amount of time getting credit for a tackle and an assist.

In evaluating Smith’s college play after Dallas drafted him, I was quite impressed with his ability to move and get to the football. I came to the conclusion that he would impress when the pads come on and I still believe he can help this defense. He is a solid tackler and very active on the field.

Holloman has a neck injury and Dallas is still searching for a LB combination for week one. Smith needs to make the most of his opportunities in the next 2 games and I’m looking for this guy to show the coaches what he can do.

3. CB Tyler Patmon:
The undrafted rookie corner out of Oklahoma State impressed in OTAs but has missed practice in camp with a hip flexor (at least it’s not a groin). He returned to action in the second half of the Ravens game and he recorded a tackle and an assist in limited action. I thought Patmon displayed good cover skills and I noticed that the Raven QB avoided throwing his way because the receiver was covered.

Currently Dallas knows Scandrick will miss the first four games of the season. Claiborne has missed time with a shoulder injury, Webb has continued to struggle in coverage, and the rookie Mitchell has been inconsistent. Patmon will need to have a couple good preseason game performances to make the roster but he should certainly get an opportunity.

I’m watching Patmon to see if he can make some plays and convince the coaches to keep him on the roster.

4. RB Ryan Williams:
The 2nd year player that Dallas signed from the Cardinals, is in a battle for a roster spot with 2nd year player Joseph Randle. I believe Randle may hold a slight edge primarily because he is contributing on special teams. Last week Williams showed something with a TD and 36 yards on 6 carries. His running has been impressive displaying a combination of power and quickness.

Have to think Dallas would prefer to keep just 3 RBs on the roster, but Williams is making a solid case for keeping him as the 4th one. I’m looking for Williams to put together another solid performance to convince the decision makers that they need him on the roster.

Did the Cowboys find a Defensive Lineman in the Ravens Game?

MInter

MInter

Observations from the Cowboys 37-30 loss to the Ravens in a preseason game Saturday.

It’s difficult to evaluate the Cowboys defense when playing such a variety of players. It was a combination of starters, backups, and guys who likely won’t even make the roster, all out there at the same time.

No surprise that the results were a mixed bag but I do think the Cowboys may have found a much needed defensive lineman and I think one guy stepped up on defense that they are expecting to help them. More on that later but first, a look at the return of their QB.

ROMO:
In a earlier blog, “5 Things to look for in the Ravens game” I said I wanted to see how Romo performs in a game. I came away feeling encouraged that he is ready to go but not completely convinced that he is 100%. Romo moved nicely to buy some time and complete a pass for a first down on their first drive which was nice to see.

Later he threw a couple underthrown passes to Dez Bryant which Dez actually turned one into a touchdown with a nice adjustment. Did Romo intend to throw the ball short to let Dez make a play? Or is his back preventing him from putting a zip on deeper passes? Should we be concerned a bit?

I’m actually not sure which is the case but Dez is such a beast it may not matter anyway as long as Romo throws it his way. It is not a bad strategy at this point, to just throw the ball up toward Dez and let him do his thing. Even in double coverage, I like the chances Dez comes down with the ball.

Found a Baller on the Defensive Line?:
The Dallas defense finally recorded a sack Saturday which came from Martez Wilson. But late in the game recently signed Zach “The Sack” Minter entered and took over the game recording two sacks, four tackles a forced fumble. He brought some much needed energy to the defensive line and proved to be unblockable as he led a come back for Dallas that came up a bit short.

Have they found some much needed help on the defensive line in Minter? Perhaps so, but I would like to see him play in the game earlier against better competition next time. The Ravens backups couldn’t handle him but that’s all we really know for now. Minter was previously on the Bears roster.

Rolando McClain Stepping Up:
A big need for Dallas is a player to step up and take control of the middle LB spot and that is why they went out and signed a retired McClain. During the game, he displayed his athletic ability which made him a first round pick by the Raiders. Rolando led the defense with a total of 6 tackles and a forced fumble.

It has been a while since a LB instead of a safety, led the team in tackles. It could be a good sign that Dallas may have their MLB. Durant who has been playing the middle only finished with one tackle in the game.

Where was Ahmad “The Bomb” Dixon?”:
I refer to Dixon as the “The Bomb” because of his aggressive tackling style that unmercifully blows up ball carriers. Earlier I read that Dixon was cleared to play on Thursday with concussion like symptoms, however I didn’t see him in the game Saturday.

It turns out he was suspended for the game by Jason for showing up late for practice on Friday. No word yet on why he was late but after the draft, I noted that Dixon does comes with character red flags. Hopefully the physical safety returns to action next week.

Deep at Wide Receiver:
Wide receiver is one position that Dallas is deep at and eventually they will likely cut a pretty darn good receiver. We know the five they are likely to keep, Dez, Williams, Beasley, Harris and the rookie Street. But Jamar Newsome and LaRon Byrd and making plays that must make Dallas consider keeping a 6th WR. Newsome had 2 catches for 29 yards and a nice TD grab. The 6-4 Byrd caught a 13 yard pass.

If there is an NFL team out there in need of a WR, keep an eye on the Cowboys’ final roster cuts. Could pick up a good receiver.

Commit to the Run:
Before the season, Jason, Jerry, Stephen, and play caller Linehan all talked about how they intended to run the ball this year. We have heard all that before so being a little cynical is justified. So how did it go in the Ravens game? Like last season, it is a tale of two half’s.

In the first half Dallas ran the ball 16 times and passed it 19 times. That’s not a bad ratio and I would consider that committing to the run. But in the 2nd half they passed 16 times and only rushed 8 times. Being down a couple scores will dictate a change in plans.

There are 3 things that can interrupt their commitment to the run game.
1. Penalties. Creates greater distances for a first down.
2. Being behind by a couple scores. Forces passing to lengthen the game.
3. QB audible. Changing the play from a called run to a pass based on defense alignment.

Early in the game, they appeared committed to run Murray but penalties made them turn to the pass. Also I thought the timing with Murray in the game was a off a bit. It was his first action this season and there clearly was rust in the play timing and execution. The fumble on the Romo-Murray exchange was proof of that. It all needs to be tightened up.

Not so special “special teams”:
The kick off coverage was so weak It isn’t worth talking about much. Let’s just all agree it must improve quickly. The kick returns appeared very training camp like and not ready for prime time. Lot of work to do here!

Final Take:
Romo looks good enough to move the ball but I’m not so sure he is totally back yet. When in doubt, throw it up for Dez the beast!

The defense still has a LONG way to go to respectability but they may have found a MLB in McClain and a defensive lineman in Minter to get after the QB.

They should be able to run the ball this season but penalties and getting behind early, threaten to make them a very predictable passing team.

5 Things to Look for in the Cowboys/Ravens Preseason Game

Romo is back

Romo is back

On Saturday the Cowboys return to Dallas to take on the Ravens in their second preseason game. How will they look after a rough performance in the first game against the Chargers? I identify five things that I’m looking for in the contest and as you might guess, most of them have to do with the struggling defense including one important thing for the offense.

1. Romo’s Back:
This will be the first live action Romo has seen since he was struggling to finish the Redskins game in week 16 last season. After back surgery in the off season, reports say his throwing has been improved recently at training camp. Against the Ravens Saturday he will not be wearing the protective red shirt so he can be tackled, hit, and pushed etc. Romo needs to build some confidence in his back before the 49ers game and this is an opportunity to do it.

Specifically, I’m looking to see how the Cowboy QB performs on the deep throws, his mobility when pressured, and how he handles a little contact.

2. Pass Rush M.I.A.:
Last week the Cowboys defensive line provided very little make that no pressure on the QB and ended the game with 0.0 sacks. Someone, some how, some way, needs to step up and get a pass rush going. I think D.C. Marinelli is keeping his cards close to the vest by not running many stunts on the defensive line in preseason but I’m still looking for someone to just beat their man for a sack. This defense needs something positive to happen so they can rally behind it, and a sack or two could be the answer.

At camp, recently acquired DE Kenneth Boatright from the Seahawks has displayed some pass rush skills as well as Jeremy Mincey and occasionally Caesar Rayford. Will one of these be the first to sack a QB Saturday?

3. Tackling Fundamentals:
Last week against the Chargers, there were far too many missed tackles by the defense. Marinelli noticed it.
“We got to tackle better; I know that,” Marinelli said. “We have to tackle better.”
I get it, some defensive starters were missing but tackling is about as fundamental as football gets and with the exception of rookie safety Ahmad Dixon, who was a tackling machine, what I saw did not look like professional football.

This Dallas defense is not going to get good over night but the first step in the process to respectability, will be good tackling and I’m looking for it to be improved Saturday.

3. Linebacker Leader Wanted:
Middle linebacker Sean Lee is out with a knee injury leaving huge shoes to fill. Since then Dallas has played a plethora of different LB personnel combinations. At this point, it is still quite ambiguous as to who will start at each spot. Last week’s LB play offered a mixed bag with blown assignments and guys tied up with blocks. If Dallas is going to improve on defense, a leader needs to emerge from the LB crew. The second preseason game is not too soon for someone to step up and take leadership of this defense.

It may be Durant, Carter, McClain or perhaps even the rookie Hitchens but I’m looking for not just a vocal leader, but someone to “cowboy up” and make a play when the defense needs it.

4. Cornerbacks are Back:
Some Dallas fans pointed out last week that Dallas played without any of their top three corners (Scandrick, Carrr, or Claiborne). So what did you expect, they reasoned? Claiborne returned from injury and Carr returned to camp this week after a death in his family.

Marinelli intends to have Carr and Claiborne play more press man defense this year than they did last season under Kiffin. It should fit their skill set more and lead to better play.

But will better play by these starting corners be enough to provide the defensive line more time to get to the QB? We have to hope so because if it isn’t enough, then the Cowboys defense could be really bad this season like in a historical sense. Keep in mind Dallas found out this week they will be without Scandrick for the first four games due to a suspension.

5. Bounce Back Factor:
After a poor performance, good teams tend to play much better and with more intensity in their next game. It will be a bad sign if these guys aren’t playing together as a team and don’t respond to their coaches this week. The kind of things that could lead to an early season collapse.

It is just a preseason game but still I’m looking for a team to play like they have something to prove and play together.

Cowboys First Preseason Game: Those Who Impressed and Those Who Didn’t

Jerry Jones told us his bottom ranked defense had no where to go but up however that actually turned out not to be the case. There was room to get worse and they did.

The tackling was absolutely awful with a large number of failed arm tackle attempts on the night. Yes the Cowboys were without both starting corners but the Chargers were missing some guys too. It was amazing that the Chargers only managed to score 10 points at the half. The Dallas defense allowed over 100 yards rushing by halftime and the Charger QBs were a perfect 7 of 7.

It was like practice for the Charger QBs who finally had an incompletion after 12 straight completions. They finished a near perfect 14 out of 16.

A look at the Cowboys who did manage to impress and those who did not.

Impressed:

Joseph Randle:
Randle is in a battle with Ryan Williams for a roster spot. I thought Randle looked sharp running the ball as he finished with 50 yards on 13 carries. He made a very nice move on a run that helped set up their first score. Also Randle made a tackle on punt coverage. While Williams also had a decent night, I think Randle is in the lead to secure that third RB spot.

James Hanna:
With the emergence of Escobar, Hanna is sometimes forgotten but he caught a TD pass and finished with 2 catches. Hanna reminded us to not forget about the other young talented TE.

Brandon Weeden:
Who needs Johnny Manziel after watching Weeden scramble and throw his first TD pass as a Cowboy. Weeden seemed poised and able to improvise which makes me feel a little better about Romo’s backup. Weeden finished 13/17 for 107 yards.

Ahmad Dixon:
It wasn’t easy to find positives on the defensive side of the ball but I came away very impressed with the play of Dixon the rookie from Baylor. He flew around to the ball and at times seemed to be the only guy on the field making tackles. He may not be a huge asset in pass coverage yet but Dixon is a great tackler that brings the proverbial wood. I may be out of bounds here, but I think they should consider moving Dixon to Linebacker since he is so good in the box.

He finished with an outstanding 11 tackles and made a strong case to keep this guy on the roster.

Anthony Hitchens:
Linebacker play overall was weak but I thought the rookie had a pretty good game. He made an outstanding tackle at the goal line early in the game finishing with 5 solo tackles and 3 assist. In pass coverage, Hitchens appears a bit slower than required but he shows some instincts in run defense. Not a bad game for the rookie.

Martez Wilson:
The 4th year pro defensive end has been getting noticed though out camp and I’m starting to believe he may be this year’s Selvie. Wilson knifed into the backfield and made a nice tackle for a loss. With Lawrence out with injury and Spencer not playing yet, Wilson is needed.

Devin Street:
The Cowboys traded up in the draft to get Street and he didn’t disappoint in the preseason game. Street had 4 catches for 43 yards and did not appear to be a rookie. I look for Street to earn more and more playing time during the season.

Did not Impress:

BW Webb:
I’m sure Webb made my list of not impressive players last year too. Webb looked lost most the night and didn’t appear to be a willing tackler either. I’m calling this 2013 4th round pick a bust and I don’t look for him to make the roster this year. With injuries at CB, it was an opportunity to shine but he didn’t.

Terrance Mitchell:
The 7th round pick in the draft played a lot because of the missing starters and while some have liked his play in camp, I’m just not seeing it. He had two pass interference calls and he has been doing that in camp too. He did come up with a fumble in the endzone but most the night he was out of position in coverage. I like him a little better than Webb but that’s not saying much.

The Defensive Line:
Too many names to call out but as a group these guys got whipped all night. They were pushed around, missing tackles, and ineffective.

Bruce Carter:
Carter struggled last year but word was he had looked better in camp. While he did make 4 tackles, his pass coverage was weak just like last year. Dallas better be looking for an answer at LB because I’m afraid Carter is not it.

Caleb Hanie:
The 3rd string veteran QB was sacked and fumbled. Thought he held the ball too long all night and failed to move the offense effectively. Hanie did not make a case to keep him as the third QB. The undrafted rookie Dustin Vaughan actually looked better.

#41?
I couldn’t find a #41 listed on the roster and with the way he covered, I wouldn’t list his name either. 41 was burnt for a long TD pass and frankly looked like he sneaked onto the field when no one was looking. The Cowboys were desperate at corner coming into the game, and having the “unknown corner” on the field was proof.

Final Take:
It was only a preseason game and many key players on both sides of the ball were missing but still it’s not easy to come away feeling good about things. Lot of work to be done back in Qxnard. The Cowboys may have rolled into San Diego on a train but right now, this Cowboys train looks like it jumped off the track.

Cowboys Blue White Scrimmage Includes FistiCuffs

Cowboys 2014 training camp

Cowboys 2014 training camp

On Sunday the Cowboys held their Blue White scrimmage at training camp in Oxnard. Most of it was team situational with no actual tackling but there was some live scrimmage toward the end.

The most exciting moment came when after WR Dez Bryant caught a pass in the middle of the field, safety JJ Wilcox delivered a not so team scrimmage pop which Dez took exception to. And then it was on. Punches were thrown but it all settled down quickly. Wilcox’s hit didn’t appear dirty to me in any way as it was a bang-bang friendly fire kind of play. Both players seemed to get over it after a couple plays.

Outstanding Offensive Performers:
As I have noted in a previous training camp blog, Dez Bryant really appears to be a man among boys during camp and he provided some highlights today. He caught a pass early in the scrimmage, slipped by Scandrick and raced for a long TD early in the scrimmage. There were good battles between Dez and CB Orlando Scandrick on several occasions with both having their moments of success. Dez could have a really big season in 2014.

I thought running back Joseph Randle ran the ball really well and broke off a few long runs. He hit the holes with excellent quickness and explosiveness. Randle is in a battle with Ryan Williams for a roster spot and I believe Randle helped himself today.

Tony Romo looked fine throwing the ball particularly on short routes. One deep pass looked like a wounded duck but it was actually completed to Terrance Williams who made a nice adjustment to make the catch. Romo was under pressure on that pass. Later in a 2 minute drill situation, Romo and Dez weren’t on the same page (sound familiar?) which resulted in a nice interception by Scandrick to end the drive.

Romo and Dez discussed the play on the sideline as fans have seen this scenario before. It’s a bit concerning that a QB with that much experience still seems to get mixed up and throw it to the other team at a crucial moment of the game. Got to get this fixed Jason!

So how did Romo’s back look? The good news is he threw like the old Romo and the bad news is he threw like the old Romo. That’s just the way it goes with him.

TE Gavin Escobar caught a TD pass early in the scrimmage. I look for the Dallas offense to include Escobar much more this season. I think he will fit into Linehan’s offensive scheme nicely.

Rookie WR Devin Street caught a short pass on the sideline and followed a nice block by Dwayne Harris for a long gain that almost scored.

6-4 undrafted rookie WR Chris Boyd made a nice catch on a deep pass by Vaughn. On the play rookie CB Terrance Mitchell was in good position but Boyd’s height was definitely an advantage. During the scrimmage, Mitchell was often in good position but couldn’t quite make the play. More development needed for the young corner.

The starting offensive line was strong in pass protection while the 2nd team offensive line struggled a bit allowing a couple sacks on Weeden.

Outstanding Defensive Performers:
LB DeVonte Holloman made a really nice pass break up from the middle linebacker spot. He made a TD saving deflection near the endzone 50 yards down the field. It’s Holloman’s experience as a safety in college that allows him to get nice depth in the middle of the field and it is why I think he should play the middle LB position.

DE Martez Wilson made a nice sack and strip of the ball on Weeden. Wilson is an experienced player trying to make the roster. Shows exceptional ability to pass rush.

DB Scandrick had the tough assignment of covering Dez and he actually had a decent day. Came up with a good INT mentioned earlier.

Undrafted rookie safety Ryan Smith had a sack on a blitz. Smith shows some real natural ability to blitz the QB as he fights to earn a roster spot.

Rookie safety Ahmad Dixon came up with a fumble recovery after a pass completion.

Rookie LB Anthony Hitchens was noticeably often around the ball and displayed good instincts on pass plays.

FINAL TAKE:
Overall it reminded me of a typical Cowboys game. The offense hit some big plays, the defense allowed big plays and occasionally came up with a stop while in the end, Romo made a bad play in crunch time.

The Cowboys will travel to San Diego on Wednesday for a preseason game Thursday night with the Chargers.

One Week in Oxnard: What We Have Learned So Far.

Training Camp Oxnard

Training Camp Oxnard

The Dallas Cowboys finish one week of camp and will conduct a blue white scrimmage on Sunday. Their first preseason game will be with the Chargers next Thursday. A look at what we are learning about this team so far.

The Offensive Line May be Very Good:
To start on a positive note, it appears the Cowboys will have an offensive line that is one of the better ones in the NFL. Either that or our defensive line really stinks. Or perhaps both?

Anyway, guess that is what having three first round picks on the line will do for you. The Rookie guard Zack Martin has been reported more than holding his own with former all pro DT Henry Melton. In fact Martin has been so dominant I look for the rookie guard to tell the veteran defensive lineman to carry his shoulder pads off the field instead of the other way around.

Defensive Line Appears Weak as Dish Water:
The defensive line was the biggest need coming into the season and so far, no one needs to expect it to be a lot better. They are getting their collective butts kicked in blocking drills. Wish I had better news here. We can only hope that practicing against the offensive line causes them to improve quickly.

Tyron Smith a Cowboy for life
The young talented left tackle is locked in on a long term deal with Dallas. Signing a 10 year contract this week worth…let’s just say a lot.

Trading up in the Draft is a bad idea:
The Cowboys invested 2nd and 3rd round picks in rookie DE DeMarcus Lawrence only to see him go out with an ankle injury in camp. He is expected to miss about 10 weeks reminding us that trading up in the draft is generally not a good move.

They sure could use that 3rd round pick now to help in other areas. And before accusing me of indulging in Monday morning GM, I said so right after the draft. With Jerry it’s not Monday morning GM anyway, it’s more like “GM-ing for Dummies.”

Romo is Ready to go….Sort of:
All indications are Romo is better from back surgery but he does sit out of practice at times. Should we be a little concerned? With Weeden as their backup, hell yes!

The Owner is Still Cray Cray:
Like your crazy uncle after a few drinks, Jerry parked in front of the cameras and talked about an improved defense and affirmed a Cowboys playoff birth this year. Where is Jim Mora when you need him? “Playoffs? Playoffs? You want to talk about playoffs??”

Matt Johnson is indeed “Ham-i-capped”
Safety Matt Johnson went out with….wait for it…yep, a hamstring pull. This was quite predictable but it still seems unbelievable. His ham is just not meant to play NFL football.

Mo is fragile:
CB Mo Claiborne is one guy that needs to step up and so far in camp he has given a very good effort but at the end of the week he complained of a sore knee. Not looking that serious yet, but it must make fans say “here we go again”. Will Mo stay healthy enough to finally justify that high price they paid for him in the 2012 draft? Did I mention the pitfalls of trading up already?

Dez a Man among Boys:
Dez has dominated pass coverage drills and seems to be catching everything. Expect a big year from Dez this season.

Rookie CB acting like a rookie:
Rookie CB Terrance Mitchell has appeared a little too aggressive at practice on more than one occasion even resulting in an injury for WR Dwayne Harris. Mitchell seems to crank it up when players are told to tone it down a bit at practice and I fear he will be one of those who tones it down when it is time to crank it up, like a game for example.

May have found a Diamond in the Rough:
This team needs some help on the defensive line and may have found it in undrafted Arizona State DT Davon Coleman. His name has come up often in twitter coverage of camp practices as a guy making plays and difficult to block. Coleman is providing hope in an area of need.

FINAL:
No surprise that in many ways Dallas is picking up where it all ended last season. An offense with explosive weapons and the ability to score but a defense that needs a lot of improvement with the first preseason game less than a week away. Some injuries in key spots are making it even more challenging to get the defense up to speed.

Other than in Jerry’s own mind, the playoffs seem very distant. And on that note, some things never change.

Jerry Jones is Speaking But Are You Buying it?

jerry_jones_draftWith live coverage of training camp by the NFL Network, Jerry Jones has been getting plenty of attention which he appears to enjoy. Recently he has commented on a variety of topics but as fans, are we buying into what Jerry is selling?

1. Jerry strongly believes that with a healthy Romo the Cowboys would have “definitely possibly” beat the Eagles in week 17 and made the playoffs. That belief played a part in his decision to keep Garrett as coach.
Buying or not buying?
Dishing the real: Not Buying
Sorry but I’ve seen too many previous seasons where Dallas lost the “play in” game with Romo on the field to believe it would have gone differently this time. That’s not to blame Romo for everything like some key injuries and a weak defense, but he was a healthy QB when they lost a few games in 2013 that they should have won like the Packers and Lions games for example. Win those games, and they are not in a must win situation in week 17. Romo supporters may buy this Jerry comment, but I’m not. Jerry let Romo’s injury give Romo and Jason a way out of taking responsibility.

2. Jerry said he has invested in the development of head coach Jason Garrett over the years and would “hate to deny fans that asset.” He also said Jason is better as coach now than before.
Buying or not buying?
Dishing the real: Not Buying
It’s OK Jerry, go ahead and deny us fans Jason we don’t mind. Jerry’s insertion of an unqualified Jason Garrett as coach has nothing (I repeat nothing) to do with what is best for fans. This coaching project or indulgence if you will, has been all about the fact that Jason is not a strong leader and allows Jerry to run everything and be the face of the organization in every way. Jimmy Johnson was a strong successful coach but that wasn’t going to last with Jerry. Same could be said for Parcells. See Jerry likes him a “yes man” and he has that now in Jason.

As far as Jason being better now, that’s debatable or actually perhaps laughable, because it seems to me, Jason has less responsibilities on the team than ever and typically that increases as a coach develops. Jason is surrounded by three coaches that have been head coaches before. (Monte Kiffin, Marinelli, and Callahan). Heck, Linehan was brought in to call the plays since Jason couldn’t handle that either. Jason’s clock management has been a joke and embarrassingly bad.

When Jerry speaks of doing what is best for fans, BEWARE!

3. Jerry says this season you will see more of the run game.
Buying or not buying?
Dishing the real: Not Buying
All indications are they intend to run more which they failed to do often last season finishing at the bottom of the NFL in run attempts. It cost them games. They should do it more and to be honest, I think the talk is sincere however I don’t think they will stick to the run in the heat of battle. And who knows if Murray will stay healthy?

Linehan, who came over from the Lions, is known to have pass happy offenses. I also believe even if they call a run play, their gun slinger QB will audible at the line to a pass play as he has done before without being held accountable. Bottom line, talk is cheap and they will do what they do when the bullets start flying.

4. Jerry says the defense is better right now than it was at the end of last season.
Buying or not buying?
Dishing the real: Not Buying
I’m not sure what Jerry is basing this statement on. They are trying to fill some big holes on the defensive line with Hatcher and Ware gone and has he forgotten that Sean Lee isn’t available and Spencer went on PUP? Perhaps this defense will be improved in 2014 but right now, I’m afraid realistically it isn’t much better.

5. Jerry expressed expectations that Romo would be the Cowboys QB for “years to come” as he held up four fingers to indicate at least 4 years. It was the reason he decided to pass on Manziel who he says was the highest player on their board at the time. Instead he went against his instincts and picked Martin.
Buying or not buying?
Dishing the real: Not Buying
I don’t believe Romo will hold up or last another 4 or 5 years as a QB in the NFL. Let’s see if he can make it through this one first. Jerry says that because he paid Romo like he will play until he is 50 or something. I think Romo’s health is quite questionable and now that he has a family, it changes things.

As far as the Manziel pick goes, just ask yourself if you think Manziel will be a better NFL QB than Weeden has been so far? If the answer is yes, then Jerry should have selected Manziel as Romo’s back up since Orton is gone. Evidently they don’t trust their own draft board and that’s not good.

6. Michael Irvin asked if the Cowboys will make the playoffs? Jerry said “yes”.
Buying or not buying?
Dishing the real: Not buying
Jerry gave this straight forward question little thought and quickly offered a knee jerk, yes. Ironically, immediately after saying yes, like right on cue, a horn blasted in the background at training camp which made it feel like a wrong answer had been given on a game show. VIDEO about the 6:30 mark.

Too many roster questions and a serious lack of depth combined with a brutal December schedule, make me skeptical of making the playoffs. Jerry says that every year to put butts in the seats at his stadium.

Jerry sells playoff hope like snake oil, but I’m not sure how much longer fans will be buying it.