I’m With Team Dez on This One.

"Y'all goin make me lose my mind.up in here up in here!" DEZ

“Y’all goin make me lose my mind.up in here up in here!” DEZ


Many Cowboy fans are weighing in on their reaction to Dez Bryant going off on the sideline during the painful loss to the Lions on Sunday. It isn’t totally clear what he said to whom during two outburst with one coming at the end of the game involving Witten. But it looked a lot like he was trying to fire up Tony Romo when he went on his first rant.

I’m with team Dez on this one.

It was ridiculous the way the game started with Romo throwing the ball 7 unsuccessful times to the rookie Williams before Dez Bryant, their best WR, even so much got a whiff of the ball once.

Dez made the most of his three catches with 2 TDs including as fine of a catch as you will see, in the endzone for his first one. He deserved more looks and has a knack for drawing pass interference calls when you could use one.

Dez evidently is tired of losing these close games, going 8-8 every season, and just missing the playoffs. As a Cowboys fan, I’m with ya Dez. Preach on brother.

I liked his “passion” as he described it following the game. Dez was clearly competing and was in it to win it. I think you can build a team with guys like that. The alternative would be guys who don’t care if they win or lose or just miss the playoffs again this season. Just keep cashin’ the checks.

Complacency is a far bigger threat to the team. I like guys who don’t like losing. No make that, hate losing.

I think Dez was calling out Romo, who was having a poor game, to get with it and go out and win this game.

It appeared to me that Witten had his boy Romo’s back at the end of the game, but I remember that the last time the Cowboys made the playoffs was in 2008 and with a bye the first round, it was Witten and Romo (along with then girlfriend Jessica Simpson) who vacationed in Los Cabos, Mexico instead of getting their butts ready to play an important playoff football game. STORY

Romo and Dallas lost to the Giants 21-17 after the vacation. That’s when Terrell Owens was crying behind dark glasses defending Romo with, “that’s my quarterback.” None of that with Dez, who was trying to light a fire under his QBs backside Sunday.

I believe another guy who wore #88, Michael Irvin, wouldn’t be comfortable with another loss and a .500 record season either. Irvin was a vocal leader who brought his best effort and expected it from his teammates too. Romo and Witten have had some courageous performances in the past but the fact is, they seem a little too comfortable with just being OK these days.

With that loss to the Lions, the Cowboys are now 4-4 and become the NFL poster team for mediocrity for the last three seasons. A wildcard spot is not happening now. It’s win the NFC East or go home for them.

In the past, I’ve been plenty critical of Dez and some of his off field stuff but I say, get in their faces Dez. Let them know almost good enough won’t get it this year. Another 8-8 season is B.S. and unacceptable. It’s not as if Jason Garrett, who coddles Romo, is going to do it.

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WEEK 9 NFL Power Rankings: Panthers on the Prowl.

NFLTeams
A power ranking of all 32 NFL teams after week 8 play.

The Twist: Each week my top 12 ranked teams will consist of 6 NFC teams and 6 AFC teams since 6 from each conference will qualify for the post season. I reflect the top 12 teams most likely to make the playoffs each week.

Each week, I have one NFC team and one AFC team in the top two to reflect who may end up in the super bowl.

TOP 12 Teams:
No change in the top 12 as there were no major upsets at the top combined with several teams having a bye this week. The only team to lose was the Dallas Cowboys as they managed to let one get away to the Lions. They stay at #12 since the Eagles lost too and Dallas is still at the top of the sad NFC East. The Cowboys are currently in a position to back their way into the playoffs even with a .500 record.

Biggest Movers:
The Carolina Panthers (up 5) and Arizona Cardinals (up 8) move up this week with wins. Carolina has a winning record for the first time since 2008. While they enter the race for a wildcard, their schedule gets significantly tougher from here.

The Raiders are up 6 after beating the Steelers.

With four losses in a row, the Dolphins drop 4 spots to land at #19. Losing to the Patriots and falling to 3-4, puts the Dolphins in a bit of a hole to try to make the post season.

The disappointing Falcons drop 4 spots after losing to the Cardinals. Injuries have grounded these dirty birds. They’re not a factor.

WEEK 9 Change 0= no change
1. Chiefs (8-0) 0
2. Seahawks (7-1) 0
3. Colts (5-2) 0
4. 49ers (6-2) 0
5. Broncos (7-1) 0
6. Saints (6-1) 0
7 Packers (5-2) 0
8. Patriots (6-2) 0
9. Bengals (6-2) 0
10. Lions (5-3) 0
11. Chargers (4-3) 0
12. Cowboys (4-4) 0
13. Ravens (3-4) 0
14. Bears (4-3) 0
15. Panthers (4-3) ↑5
16. Cardinals (4-4) ↑8
17. Titans (3-4) ↓1
18. Jets (4-4) ↓1
19. Dolphins (3-4) ↓4
20. Bills (3-5) ↓2
21. Raiders (3-4) ↑6
22. Eagles (3-5) ↓3
23. Browns (3-5) ↓1
24. Rams (3-5) ↓1
25. Falcons (2-5) ↓4
26. Redskins (2-5) ↑1
27. Giants (2-6) ↑2
28. Steelers (2-5) ↓3
29. Texans (2-5) ↓1
30. Vikings (1-6) 0
31. Bucs (0-7) 0
32. Jaguars (0-8) 0

Jay Ratliff Got Paid and Jerry Jones Got Played….like a piano

Ratliff is suddenly feeling much better now that Dallas cut him.

A week ago in my blog “Cowboys Smell a Rat” I said don’t be surprised if Ratliff is miraculously healed and ready to play now that he was cut by Dallas since it’s not Jerry Jones asking him to put his helmet on and go play.

Now the main stream sports channels are starting to figure out something isn’t right. (It takes them a while to catch up with dishing the real) NBC sports is reporting that Ratliff is now telling teams he has been cleared medically to play this season. STORY

Ratliff appears ready to play now, after missing 10 games last season and then occupying a spot for six weeks on the Cowboys PUP list with pay. Rat signed an extension in 2011, for 45 million and 18 million gurranteed. Clearly Jerry got played and filleted bro.

His stats for 2012-2013? 0 sacks, 1 DWI.

Prior to the season, I expressed my view that Ratliff had no intentions of playing with the Cowboys this year and Jerry would have been wise to cut him before June for salary relief. Jerry just holds on too long to these guys. He had a similar situation with CB Mike Jenkins last season who is now a Raider.

Jerry has been a successful business man so I don’t think he is dumb. I just think his pride/ego wants to win these battles with problem players but in the end, they get the best of him. Some players just know how to work the system. Jerry would be wise to let go and move on.

No word yet on specifically which teams are showing interest in Ratliff but I speculate Rob Ryan with the Saints could be one of them.

Ryan can’t resist bringing in old, over the hill, ex-players he coached.

A Scary October Loss That Haunted Dallas: A Look Back at the Cowboys/Lions Game of 2011

After two INTs, even Rowdy shouted to Romo, "COME ON MAN!"

After two INTs, even Rowdy shouts to Romo,
“COME ON MAN!”


October is the month for Halloween and with it, a focus on all things scary. As Dallas goes to play at Detroit Sunday, I can’t help but think back to their meeting in October 2011, where the outcome came back to haunt Dallas at the end of the season.

I looked back in detail at that game and how it eventually kept Dallas out of the 2011 playoffs in a blog HERE.

Let’s look back briefly on that very scary game for Cowboy fans. Dallas was leading the Lions 27-3 in the 3rd quarter when Romo threw an interception (pick 6), to former Cowboy first round pick Bobby Carpenter. Carpenter was the LB Dallas drafted in 2006, who looked like Tarzan but played more like Jane.

The momentum of the game completely turned on that one play. The very next possession, Romo threw another pick 6 to Chris Houston from Austin. Or was it Chris Austin from Houston? Anyway the Lions caught fire and the game got away from Dallas very quickly and they lost that game 34-30.

I pointed out in the earlier blog that had Dallas held on to their 24 point lead and won that Lions game in 2011, both teams would have finished 9-7 and the wildcard tie breaker would have gone to Dallas since they won head to head. That means Dallas would have gotten the wildcard but instead it went to Detroit.

Wednesday morning Lions coach Jim Scwartz was asked about how this meeting Sunday could have playoff implications later in the year. He said,

“When it comes down to the end of the season there’s tiebreakers and things like that could come into play. We can’t worry about that stuff now. The Dallas Cowboys coming to town is enough things to worry about. They’re leading the NFC East. They’re coming off two wins in a row after having a tough loss to Denver, so I think they’ve really responded well there.”

Pretty much an obligatory NFL coach response to the question that would make Belichick envious. But could a loss Sunday come back to haunt Dallas or Detroit later? Schwartz may avoid answering that question but I will tell you that yes it potentially could, but not for Dallas if they take care of business in the East.

After defeating the Eagles Sunday, Dallas is in first place in the NFC East. If they take care of business in three remaining divisional games, then Dallas will win the East. I believe that even an 8-8 record will be enough to win the puny NFC East this season. Before the season began, I felt Dallas would go 8-8 yet again this season and at this point (4-3), I still believe that will be the case.

However what if Dallas stumbles against a team in the East coming down the stretch and finds themselves in yet another runner up finish in the East? Then they could possibly find themselves behind the Eagles and into what I refer to as “the wildcard pool” of teams. That’s where this Detroit outcome Sunday could have significant playoff implications.

I believe the Packers are still the team to beat in the NFC North and that will put the 4-3 Lions in the “wildcard pool” if they can’t win their division. The Lions have already lost to the Packers. Schwartz may choose to not admit it now, but they are fighting for a wildcard spot.

So it’s possible that at the end of the season, Dallas and Detroit could be fighting for one NFC wildcard spot as the other wildcard spot will likely go to the NFC West runner up (either S.F. or Seattle).

ROMO
How Romo takes care of the ball could once again play a huge role in who wins this game and possibly even who wins a playoff spot later.

So far this season, Romo has taken care of the ball pretty well as he has 15 TDs and just 5 INTs. However two of those INTs came last Sunday against the Eagles, who failed to capitalize on them. But those kind of mistakes Sunday in Detroit, could get the Lions home crowd going and result in another scary finish for Dallas.

As we have seen before, what happens in October can come back to haunt the Cowboys in December.

Week 8 NFL Power Rankings: Chiefs Worst to First

NFLTeams
A power ranking of all 32 NFL teams after week 7 play.

The Twist: Each week my top 12 ranked teams will consist of 6 NFC teams and 6 AFC teams since 6 from each conference will qualify for the post season. I reflect the top 12 teams most likely to make the playoffs each week.

Last season the Chiefs spent most of the year at the bottom of the NFL rankings, but this week as the only remaining undefeated team, the 7-0 Chiefs deserve the top spot. How long KC can maintain that top spot remains to be seen with two battles with the Broncos coming up soon.

TOP 12:
The Ravens fell to 3-4 after losing in Pittsburg, and fall out of the top 12 teams. That moved the opportunistic 4-3 Chargers into the top 12 as they benefit from loses by Ravens, Dolphins, and Titans.

With the Colts handing the Broncos their first loss, the Colts move up to 3 and the Broncos down to 5.

After completely shutting down the Eagles offense, the Cowboys are at the top of the NFC East and are in a good position to win a playoff spot approaching the half way point. They stay at 12.

WEEK 8 Change: 0= no change
1. Chiefs (7-0) ↑2
2. Seahawks (6-1) 0
3. Colts (5-2) ↑5
4. 49ers (5-2) ↑2
5. Broncos (6-1) ↓4
6. Saints (5-1) ↓1
7. Packers (4-2) 0
8. Patriots (5-2) ↓4
9. Bengals (5-2) ↑1
10. Lions (4-3) ↓1
11. Chargers (4-3) ↑5
12. Cowboys (4-3) 0
13. Ravens (3-4) ↓2
14. Bears (4-3) ↓1
15. Dolphins (3-3) ↓1
16. Titans (3-4) ↓1
17. Jets (3-4) ↑5
18. Bills (3-4) ↑8
19. Eagles (3-4) ↓2
20. Panthers (3-3) ↑4
21. Falcons (2-4) ↑2
22. Browns (3-4) ↓4
23. Rams (3-4) ↓4
24. Cardinals (3-4) ↓4
25. Steelers (2-4) ↑2
26. Redskins (2-4) ↑2
27. Raiders (2-4) ↓2
28. Texans (2-5) ↓7
29. Giants (1-6) ↑1
30. Vikings (1-5) ↓1
31. Bucs (0-6) 0
32. Jaguars (0-7) 0

Cowboys Top Of NFC East: Young Defensive Line Steps Up

George Selvie introduces himself to Foles.

George Selvie introduces himself to Foles.


Both the Cowboys and Eagles came into this game scoring about 30 points a game and with pass defenses that allowed opposing QBs record breaking games. So this one had to become a shootout right? Actually this game turned into a lot of punts and a defensive battle. Go figure.

Early in the season, Dallas found out they would not have their last year pro bowler and franchise tagged DE, Athony Spencer. If that wasn’t enough, they found out this week they would play the Eagles without their best defensive lineman DeMarus Ware due to injury. And this week Jerry Jones finally gave up on that hot mess Jay Ratliff by cutting the problem defensive tackle. Oh and Edgar Jones who Dallas brought in from KC to help provide depth at DE, was out with an injury too.

To say the least, it was gut check time for the Cowboys young, inexperienced, and no name defensive front. I doubt many fans have been spotted walking around ATT&T stadium with “Selvie” or “Wynn” jerseys. When I saw the name Wynn involved in a sack today, my reaction was “who”?

In desperation, the Cowboys also pulled up DE Jason Vega from the practice squad to help provide depth. Nick Hayden is another no name guy that Dallas turned to for a DT this year. And Drake Nevis has stepped up at DT too providing a lot of energy to that front line.

Know any of these names before the season? Probably not, but if they keep playing like they did in this NFC East showdown today, these names will soon become common names among Cowboy fans.

Jarius Jessereel Wynn was just signed by Dallas on Tuesday from the Chargers. How could he even learn the scheme or plays that quickly? Defensive line coach Rod Marinelli must have told him to just line up and go get Foles. Because that’s exactly what he did by knocking Foles out of the game with a sack in the 2nd half.

In the off season, I thought the addition of coach Rod Marinelli was a huge pick up for Dallas and I’m even more convinced now that he was a tremendous hire. He has done an outstanding job of getting the most from the guys he has to play with.

Selvie had one solo sack and also was involved on the sack with Wynn, that made Foles head for the locker room early. Hatcher had a solo sack and hurried rookie QB Barkley who came in for Foles, resulting in an interception for Lee.

What we saw today was that Dallas can win without Spencer, Ratliff and the aging Ware, on the defensive front. It has been over due for Dallas to get younger on the defensive line and all these things forced that to happen this week. It was kind of like the first day of a new defense today. Letting go of the past players and reaching for the future. And the results were pretty darn good too.

If not for an INT by Romo, this defense was pitching a shut out today against an offense that can be a hand full. Some sceptics will point out the Eagles didn’t have Vick today but they had McCoy and last week Foles was NFC player of the week as their QB.

Today this “no name” defense played as a unit and got after it and put the Cowboys all alone in first place in the NFC East.

Cowboys Smell a Rat: Finally Cut Ratliff

JayRatliff-300x200

UPDATE Ratliff is healed
Today it was announced that the Cowboys are parting ways with veteran defensive lineman Jay Ratliff. It comes when his time on the PUP list ends and Jerry realized this Ratliff dude has played all he is going to play for Dallas.

I’ve been pretty direct in my view that Ratliff wasn’t really going to play with Dallas again anytime soon. In this blog, I chronicled Ratliff’s timeline of trouble the past year and point out how a lot of things were just not adding up including his injury status and rehab.

Today Ratliff’s agent Mark Slough reveals that Ratliff actually didn’t have a sports hernia injury which is what we were led to believe. STORY

So was Ratliff and his agent deceptive? Is Jerry Jones clueless? OK that’s a given but who had the most reason to lie?

Slough leaves the door open for Ratliff to play again for another team in 2014. So while Slough currently spins that Ratliff’s injury was much more serious than Jerry would have us believe, look for him to now make it appear that Ratliff is miraculously recovered and good to go.
Told ya. UPDATE 10/24

And some easy sale sucker like Saints DC Rob Ryan, to show interest in Ratliff.

My suspicions were proven valid that Jerry Jones, team medical people, and Jay Ratliff were not all on the same page about his injury and time for return. That’s why Ratliff went off on Jerry when he suggested Ratliff needed to suck it up and take one for the team with a speedy recovery.

When asked why he and Ratliff didn’t clarify the injury earlier, Slough replied, “we just chose to let it be.”

Follow the Money:
It is pretty clear to me that Ratliff and Slough were doing what was best for them financially in this case. They took Jerry’s money,”thank you very much sir” and then milked that sports hernia injury (or whatever it was) for everything it was worth. Getting cut back before June, would have resulted in loss money for Ratliff so there is your motive to “just let it be” and not reveal a more serious injury.

“There are lies, damned lies, and statistics” – Mark Twain (and agents)
Ratliff’s play just hasn’t been very productive in recent years and his off field issues such as the DWI charge, are a strong indication that his commitment to his team and profession were lacking. His need and desire to get paid, however, weren’t lacking.

So he played Jerry and the Cowboys as far as I’m concerned, and when his PUP vacation ran out, it was time to finally come clean and move on to the next sucker uh gig.