Upon Further Review

(Any views or opinions represented are personal and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual unless it’s the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants or Washington Redskins in which case they deserve it)
Comment
Well that was awful. In a way it summed up the season, 16 games where we’ve seen the best and the worse of the 2017 Dallas Cowboys. A 5&1 record in the division looks great but the 4&6 record away from the division doesn’t.
Anyway, instead of looking back let’s look forward to what could be a very interesting off season. I’ve added my preferred outcome and what I think will be the likely outcome to a quick position review.

Season Review
Coaching Staff –
Let’s get one thing clear, Jason Garrett is not going anywhere. This was always going to be a long-term plan (10 years) to get the franchise built for a long-term future. The reliance on building through the draft rather than spending in free agency and making the most of the salary cap have been the cornerstones for team development since Garrett took over and started working with Stephen Jones, so nothing is going to change any time soon.
Year on year Coach Marinelli has got the best out of what could easily be described as a poor bunch. Looking ahead, the defense is getting younger and faster, that was evident in the secondary this year, and the defensive talent should improve again following the draft.
The failure of the offense has to sit with Coach Linehan. I’m not just talking about the performance this season, this has been an ongoing issue for the last 3 years. When the team is leading by a score or two, and the play calling is easier, everything looks fine. However, when the team is trailing or looking for a drive to get a little breathing room, that’s when the cracks start to appear. I realise that if we play our game then it’s up to the opposition to stop us, but when that happens (and it’s happened far too frequently this season) there’s no plan to proactively change. It’s all reactive, and by that time it’s too late and our running game is abandoned in favour of a series of poor play calling that more often than not suits the opposition
My preferred outcome: The OC has to go. The HC and the DC stay and there’s greater responsibility for Matt Eberflus within the coaching setup
Likely outcome: Nothing will change with the HC, OC & DC. Other teams will start looking at some of the coaching staff and we’ll have to backfill

Offensive Line –
This area had the biggest on field impact on the team this year. Losing 40% of the starters and not filling all the spots adequately caused issues in the running and passing game. Chaz Green struggled wherever he played, and when he deputised for Tyron Smith it not only showed his limitations but also that of LG, Jonathan Cooper. Cooper looks good at the position but needs to have Smith and Frederick either side to feel comfortable. Frederick and Martin were outstanding again as was the Cowboys ‘new’ RT La’el Collins. Collins has been up against some of the league’s top pass rushers all season and has hardly put a foot or hand wrong.
My preferred outcome: A decent LT/LG is a must to challenge Green, Bell and Looney
Likely outcome: A decent LT/LG is drafted to challenge Green, Bell and Looney

QB/RB –
Dak had his good moments and there’s plenty to be optimistic about going forward and Zeke showed why he’s the main weapon on offense. The will Zeke/won’t Zeke be suspended thing rumbled on until he eventually was suspended. In his absence Rod Smith and Morris both played well when they were brought in, Keith Smith was solid when required but unfortunately for McFadden there was very little playing time and he called it a day on his playing career.
My preferred outcome: There’s not much to say about the QB position, it’s Dak with Cooper Rush backing up. There’s likely to be some camp bodies, one of who will be a vet, brought in but when the season starts it’ll be Prescott and Rush.
Morris leaves and is replaced by a draft pick on the roster and the two Smiths continue to play in 2018
Likely outcome: There’s no change, the team re-sign Morris. A draft pick comes in but unless he’s an exceptional prospect it’ll be Elliott, Smith (R), Morris and Smith (K)

WR/TE –
The WR position has been poor for the last 3 years. From a financial standpoint T-Will was worth keeping but not as the Z receiver, his productivity is poor and he finds it hard to get separation. Don’t get me started about his woeful end zone productivity! Dez has his fair share of drops, his overall production wasn’t good, although this may have been because of injury, I’m convinced that it was more because he was ‘Tony’s guy’. I don’t mean that Dez and Dak don’t get on, it’s more the mechanics of the pass. If Dez is going to more productive in 2018 he needs to work on his connection with Dak. Overall, it’s been a poor season for the receivers and the ability to move the chains has been a regular issue.
TE will only be a worry when Witten decides to call it a day. The blocking of all the TE’s has been good this season and there have been some great receptions made by Hanna and Swain
My preferred outcome: WR, one of them has to go if the Cowboys are to draft a speedy wideout. My moneys on Brice Butler to be the one to leave. No change at TE. I’m not sure how long the team persevere with Rico Gathers and at some point there has to be a season without Witten…but not next season.
Likely outcome: A change at the lower end of the WR depth chart but no change at TE

Defensive Line –
The D-Line performed well this season, Tank Lawrence was obviously the standout but Crawford played well and Taco came on strong late in the season. David Irving missed a lot of playing time, some of it through injury but some of it his own doing. Maliek Collins had a steady year as did Benson Mayowa
My preferred outcome: Lawrence isn’t going anywhere, he’ll either get a new deal or he’ll be Franchise Tagged. I expect a 1st or 2nd to be placed on Irving and if another team bites I’ll let him walk. If a D lineman falls into the Cowboys lap early in the draft then I’ll take him
Likely outcome: Lawrence stays and so does Irving

Linebacker –
There was an improvement with the play of Hitchens and Jaylon Smith was a bonus very few expected. What this season showed was how dependant the team are on Sean Lee, there’s no natural replacement for the General and moving Hitchens over to the Will takes something away from his play. Wilber was released prior to the final game
My preferred outcome: No change to those currently on the roster but a high draft pick is a must if the team are to improve in 2018
Likely outcome: No change to those currently on the roster and a high draft pick is taken

Secondary –
The change in the personnel of the secondary has been incredible over the last 12 months and the upside is it’s made the unit instantly younger and faster. The downside has been some inconsistency but some of that was due to Anthony Brown having a second-year season. Lewis, Awozie and Woods have all looked good and the change to more rotation at safety has shown the talents of Kavon Frazier. Jeff Heath played safety and kicker but will be remembered for his hit on Derek Carr of the Raiders to seal an unlikely Cowboys win in week 15
My preferred outcome: No change to those currently on the roster but a high-ish draft pick is a must if the team are going to continue to improve their coverage
Likely outcome: No change to those currently on the roster and a high-ish draft pick is taken

Special Teams –
Chris Jones has been outstanding this year and absolutely deserved to go to the Pro-Bowl. LP is a machine and is ridiculously consistent. However, the same can’t be said about the kicking game. Bailey started well and was replaced by Jeff Heath when he picked up an injury. Mike Nugent came in until Bailey was fit but he hasn’t been the same since the injury and it looked like he was over compensating and it was throwing his kicking mechanics off.
My preferred outcome: No change to LP and Jones, although there might be some competition in camp for Bailey I can’t see there being anyone better
Likely outcome: No change


Season Finale
King Dak and his troops returned to castle at&t having beaten the lowlifes of House Philadelphia. King Dak, Prince Zeke, Dez the X, the Colossus and all the other warriors of House Dallas must now lick their wounds and look ahead. Most will stay, some will leave and some fresh faces will arrive. Emperor Jerry will make some changes and hope that his Cowboys can make the tournament next year.
In the battles of the Bastards *The ‘battles of the Bastards’ take place whenever the Houses of Washington, Philadelphia and New Jersey face each other in combat. The overall victor is known as the Right Bastard, the most defeated is known as the Poor Bastard.
House Philadelphia were crowned Right Bastards, House New Jersey and House Washington were both crowned Poor Bastards

You can follow me on Twitter @whitey500

Upon Further Review 16

(Any views or opinions represented are personal and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual unless it’s the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants or Washington Redskins in which case they deserve it)

Comment
Another win, but this one had a ton of talking points, and most of them happened at the end of what would normally be described as a typical 2017 Dallas Cowboys game.
It’s terrible being a fan when you can not only call the play but also predict the outcome. Morris started lively and T-Will caught a couple of passes, but then Morris wasn’t getting the yards and completions were hard to come by, other than a big gain to Hanna that is.
The game was following a familiar pattern, we take the opening kick-off (why do we persist with this strategy when it clearly isn’t working) and whoever we’re playing are still in it at half time. The Raiders hadn’t read the script and missed the chance to get on the scoreboard at the end of the 2nd quarter with a missed FG. Someone had a word with Derek Carr and reminded him that the Cowboys don’t do 3rd quarters, so he duly put 10 points on the board. From only using the same plays for a considerable length of time, Linehan discovered an old page titled ‘Trick plays’ and used all of them on one drive. This followed a fake punt, where Chris Jones tricked everyone (including most of his own team) and took off like a gazelle to keep the drive alive. This mixture of a fake punt, trick plays and the usual stuff resulted in a TD for Dak, a beer shower for Dak courtesy of the black hole and a 17-10 lead.
After the Raiders brought it back to a 17 tie, and just as it was looking like so many Cowboys games this season, it got weird. First there was the Cowboys 4th down effort that needed the chains to determine the spot of the ball, when the chains weren’t enough, ref Gene Steratore got out the officiating tool known as ‘the index card’. The card proved beyond doubt that it was a first down for the Cowboys. Dan Bailey kicked a FG to put the Cowboys up by 3, so all the Cowboys D had to do was stop the Raiders! It would have been game over had Brown intercepted Carr’s pass, but he didn’t. Instead, a couple of plays later, on 4th and 10 Carr looked downfield for Crabtree, the pass wasn’t great and I’m not sure that Crabtree would’ve caught it but he did draw a massive PI penalty off Lewis for a 1st down at the 15. With the clock winding down the best the Cowboys could hope for was an Oakland FG and overtime, that was until Derek Carr decided that he was going to win the game. As he closed in on the end zone Jeff Heath came across to stop a diving Carr, and this is where the weirdness gets off the charts, Carr fumbles and the ball goes over the goal line and out of the end zone, just past the pylon…Touchback! And Dallas gets the ball back at the 20 to see out the remaining time, Cowboys win!! Who’d have thunked it!
So, Cowboys win. But they did their best to keep the Raiders in it, right up till the end. Offensively, they were average at best. This ‘let’s run. No, let’s pass. No, let’s do something else’ game plan is terrible. There’s little to no momentum being generated and there are too many 3rd and long situations that they find hard to turn into 1st downs.
Defensively, a bright first half turned into a poor second half. Again, the secondary showed some bright moments and they teamed up well with the linebackers in both run and pass defense.
Overall, not a vintage performance but a win’s a win. Now onto the next one

Week 16 Preview
He’s baaaaaaaaaack! I’m not sure if the last 6 weeks have gone quickly or not but what I do know is that Zeke’s back from his spa break, and he’s looking in amazing shape.
The Cowboys host the Seattle Seahawks this week, the first time at at&t since November 2015. The reason I remember it so well is that I attended the game with my Seahawks loving daughter. This time it’s Christmas Eve so one of us will get the gift we want, the other gets nothing.
How many ‘Must win’ games is this now? Too many for a team that should never have lost to Green Bay or the LA Rams. Offensively, what you gain on the swings you lose on the roundabouts. Zeke’s back but Tyron could be out. Zeke makes a big difference to this offense, and not just the run game. If the Seahawks focus on Zeke then it’s a big game for Beasley and the other receivers. Losing Tyron brings in Byron Bell and he needs blocking help from the TE’s & RB’s, a game plan that keeps the chains moving (not with the help of an index card this week), that produces TD’s and not FG’s and keeps Wilson off the field should be enough to get the W.
Defensively, it’s about containment. Keeping Wilson in the pocket and stopping the Seahawks from running wide, the secondary need to keep tight to the receivers so that Wilson can’t get a quick pass off. The D line are looking a little banged up going into the final 2 games but they need to find ways to get to the QB if Seattle’s offense is to stay off the field.

Prediction: Seahawks 24 Cowboys 31

Twelve Days of Cowboysmas
12 Solo tackles for Taco
11 Beasley’s sauce
10 Switzer’s TD punt return
9 Is in the broadcast booth
8 T 2 is the GOAT
7 Points Vs Atlanta
6 Games without Zeke
5 Super bowl rings
4 Dak Prescott
3 Division rivals
2 Many losses
And a Hall of Fame bust for Jerry

 


House Seattle come to castle at&t after getting a beating in their last battle. House Dallas are on a run of being victorious in their last 3 battles without Prince Zeke. The Prince is back from his enforced exile in the land of Mexico and is looking to wreak havoc on House Seattle. House Seattle have a warrior who is completely over the top, he is known as OTT, that is Tyler Ott. Tyler comes from a long line of Ott’s, his father was Phewits Ott who was a very cold man. His brother has a general store called Ott Stuff and his Uncle believed in reincarnation, he said that he’d been a little Otter in a previous life.
Witten is finally here

Happy holidays to all Cowboys fans
You can follow me on Twitter @whitey500

Upon Further Review Vol 3, No 15

(Any views or opinions represented are personal and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual unless it’s the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants or Washington Redskins in which case they deserve it)
Comment
Another win, although for the first 3 quarters it was anyone’s guess how it was going to go. It was a good job that the Giants really are that bad because any half decent team would’ve put the Cowboys away before half time. Too often the run seems to get abandoned and we find ourselves in a constant state of offensive firefighting…the runs not working, let’s pass. The pass isn’t working, let’s put a ‘Jet sweep’ in. and so it goes on until something works or we’re forced to pass because we’ve found ourselves trailing. Luckily, the Giants are so woefully poor that we were able to pull away in the final quarter and come away with a 30-10 win.
Sean Lee was back and had a great game, he really does bring something that can’t be coached to the defense. He just makes it better by being there. The secondary is starting to look like an area where they are just going to get better and better over the next few years, but that’s little comfort in the short term. Although I’m not convinced about these strategic substitutions as a permanent feature, it’s certainly helping game by game. However, there’s still the potential to give away penalties and get caught out by a decent 2-minute offense.
Dak had a steady game, his yards were improved greatly by some long gains late on but overall he’s proving to be a great leader on and off the field. Rod Smith looked sharp and was Zeke-like catching a short pass and taking it to the house. Smith has been using the absence of Elliott to stake a claim for the backup role and on this showing he will be around for a while.
The kicking game had a bad day at the office, Dan Bailey missing not one but two field goals and an extra point. The camera angle for the second FG miss showed the effect that the wind had, the ball heading to the left before changing direction and going wide right.

So, a potential banana skin was avoided and now it’s onto the next game and let’s hope that our rivals slip up

The Cowboys wore white pants against the Giants, apparently Dez has been lobbying for some time that the team wear white pants. If there hadn’t been so much fuss beforehand I don’t know that I would’ve noticed. Now navy pants with the white jerseys…that’s going to get my attention!

Week 15 Preview
The Cowboys travel to Oakland for their next ‘Must win’ game. This is possibly the last time that Dallas will have to make this trip before the Raiders start their residency at the Starlight Rooms, Las Vegas. Dallas will want to get in, get the win and get out but to do that they really need to be patient with the running game. Morris and Smith have made a great tandem in the absence of Zeke, and with his return imminent this is a chance for both of them to stake a claim for the back-up spot. This is one of those games where T-Will could come up with the yards, or maybe even a TD. But if I have to single out a receiver who could have a good game I’m going to go with Dez, he’s physically strong over the middle and I like him in most one-on-one match ups for the first 20 yards.
Defensively, it’s about stopping the run. For these Cowboys that’s been easier said than done this season. Lynch will want to make a statement on national TV so if the Cowboys are to do anything they have to stop the Raiders establishing the running game. The secondary need to be convincing again and the pass rush could have a big day if they are.

Prediction: Cowboys 27 Raiders 17


House Oakland have carried the legend of the Black Hole for many years and have taken it with them on their travels. First they moved the hole from its original site when House Oakland became House LA (not to be confused with previous House LA’s or the current incumbents). The Hole didn’t take kindly to this and eventually it was moved back to its rightful place in Oakland. The Black Hole is due to be moved again in the near future, this time out of the realm known as California, when House Oakland become House Las Vegas. The prophesy states that if ever the Black Hole is moved from the realm a hundred years of misery will be endured. If they need evidence they only need to look at House Cleveland and what has happened since they moved their Dawg Pound.
Witten is finally here

You can follow me on Twitter @whitey500

Upon Further Review Vol 3, No 14

Vol 3, No 14
(Any views or opinions represented are personal and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual unless it’s the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants or Washington Redskins in which case they deserve it)
Comment
We won! We scored 38 points! We scored a TD on Special Teams! We had a 100+ yard rusher! Just one question…Can we play Washington every week?
It started very cagy. Dallas couldn’t run or pass, and they certainly couldn’t take advantage of a couple of turnovers. The opening scoring drive calmed a few nerves, but we’d seen this before. The first turning point (there were 2 that swung the game Dallas’ way) was Switzer’s punt return for a TD, he’s threatened to turn one loose a few times this season but to see him in full flow, dodging would-be tacklers, was something we haven’t seen for a long time. The second turning point was Dez’s TD catch, he just hung there like a real life ‘Air Jordan’ logo before bringing the ball in for the score. The offensive line play was excellent, Cooper looks a different player now that Tyron is back. Collins has been underrated all season, his play is consistent, he’s had to face players of the calibre of JPP and Von Miller and there can be no doubt that he is the starting RT. The play of Alfred Morris just took out the little wind Washington had and now everyone’s happy again. Well, sort of.
The talk since has all been about the Secondary rotation, and how great it is. And it really did bring out the best in the players. You want to stop the run, take out Byron and bring in Kavon…simple! But now that our remaining opponents have seen it just how effective will it be going forward in these final, must win games. What’s to stop the Giants, Raiders, Seahawks or Eagles going to an hurry up offense and keeping those run stopping DB’s on the field against the pass?
This defense has blown hot and cold all season, when it’s been good it’s been very good but when it’s been poor it’s been horrendous. Losing Sean Lee and the effect that he has is well documented but it seems that just as it looks like we’re getting it right it goes horribly wrong. In these last four games, the team have to get it right every time.

Week 14 Preview
It’s the Giants, 10 days since our last game and a lot of stuff has happened in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Eli got benched and Geno Smith came in, then Coach McAdoo got permanently benched and Eli is back in.
But these Dallas Cowboys can’t worry about any of that, no matter how funny their situation might be for the rest of us, they’ve got a game to win. If we let the Giants keep it close we could come unstuck so offensively Alfred Morris needs to have another big day, Dez needs to make some plays but I’m really looking at Cole Beasley to have a great game. Beasley can get those Yards After Catch that are so important and he’ll need to get them because with no Zeke to worry about the Giants D line is going to be targeting Dak all day.
Defensively, it’s all about making Manning wish that Geno was back under centre. A big day from Irving, Crawford and Tank and the secondary will see the benefit.

Prediction: Cowboys 27 Giants 13

 


House New Jersey is in turmoil. First the 4th best field general called Manning was forced to wash down the horses while that traitor Geno from House New York led the team into battle, then McAdoodoodoo was banished from House New Jersey, never to return. Now the 4th best Manning is back and Geno is washing the horses! You couldn’t make it up.
House Dallas travel to the backwater swamp that is New Jersey seeking to put Manning and his band of wasters to the sword once more
With no Hodor Beckham it’s been a miserable time for House New Jersey but House Dallas do have ‘little fingers’ to contend with

Witten is finally here

You can follow me on Twitter @whitey500

Upon Further Review 13

(Any views or opinions represented are personal and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual unless it’s the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants or Washington Redskins in which case they deserve it)

Comment
It’s anyone’s game at the half, Blah Blah. 3rd quarter meltdown Blah Blah. It’s all Dak’s fault Blah Blah. Sack everyone Blah Blah Blah
I almost tweeted at the half something along the lines that ‘the Chargers will score, the Cowboys will punt, the Chargers will score and the Cowboys will spend the rest of the time trying to throw the ball against a prevent defense, but will ultimately get beat’. But I thought Nah! Even the 2017 Dallas Cowboys wouldn’t get into that situation again and again and again…well, think again, because they only went and did it!
I got into a little twitter conversation with our very own Jamie Smith and he said that it just shows how much the team relies on Sean Lee and Zeke Elliott. This got me thinking, the Dallas Cowboys have a roster of 53, how many of them do the team rely on, I mean really rely on? How many of them have the same impact that Sean and Zeke do? The answer is probably not that many, off the top of my head I’d say…Tyron, Travis & Zach, I’ll add Dak to that as well. On special teams, I’d have to add LP, Jones & Bailey.
If any of the receivers were missing playing time I’m not sure that anyone would notice. Although Witten is the GOAT and does more than most people realise, if he wasn’t playing would it make that much difference? Defensively, I can’t think of an argument for any of them. So that’s just 9 players, and only one of them is on the defensive side of the ball…WOW!
A strong spine for the defense is a must have if the offense isn’t going to be under pressure to score on every drive. Currently, part of the reason we’re struggling offensively is that we can’t respond when the opposition score, and the opposition are scoring too often in the second half of games. Defensive Tackle, Middle Linebacker and the Safety position take away the middle of the field forcing teams to the side-line. The Cowboys have a tackle in Irving who can get some penetration, a Mike Linebacker in Hitchens who has to cover the Will spot when Sean Lee is missing (don’t forget that Lee is the one player on defense that makes the unit better just by being on the field) and 2 Safeties, Jones and Heath, who are playing as a tandem for the first time this season.
Offensively it’s about stretching the field, making sure that the opposition defense has a lot of the field to cover. Defending 20 yards from the line of scrimmage is easier that defending 40+ yards. The Cowboys don’t have a receiver who forces teams to respect the deep pass, their bread and butter plays for the last few seasons have been high percentage completions that pick up 6 to 12 yards and then pick up extra YAC. My point is that as long as the spine of the defense is weak we’ll keep giving up points and as long as there’s no legitimate deep threat they’re easy to defend when playing catch-up. The run pretty much gets abandoned with no Zeke.
With 5 games remaining every game is a must win for the 2017 Dallas Cowboys and the coaching staff need to get it right, right now! I read something last week saying that they’re the same coaches who were responsible for last year’s 12-4 season, and they were OK then, so we shouldn’t be calling for their heads when we’re at 5&6. Let’s get one thing straight, there will be no coaching changes while the season is being played. It’s just not going to happen. During the off season is a different matter and the internal promotion of some of our better position coaches could lead to the departure of a co-ordinator. A part of good coaching is preparation and the ability to identify potential risks and do something about them before they become problems, the Cowboys seem to have too many problems at the moment so the question should be if you knew that 25% of the secondary and 40% of the O line would be weakened by FA or retirement, added to the potential suspension of your star RB and the definite suspension of some other players what did you do to mitigate the risk? The answer is in the performance and results so far

Week 13 Preview
It’s Washington this week and we’ve already beaten them once this season, so we know what that feels like. This game either kick starts the final push for a wild card spot or we can kiss the season goodbye. Keeping Cousins on the backfoot and making him rush his throws could see some positives for the Cowboys D against the pass. Not allowing the Washington run game to get any kind of momentum will help as well. Keeping it close for the first half is no guarantee of success in the second, as we know, so there needs to be a strong offensive showing.
Dak is the future of the Dallas Cowboys at the QB position and, although it’s been horrible to watch recently, I really feel that this season has made him a stronger player mentally. I didn’t realise the T-Will hasn’t had a TD this season, that is shocking for a second receiver, these receivers have to make a difference.
This isn’t going to be pretty to watch (even at 1:30am) and if things don’t go to plan and the crowd start to get on the teams back then it’s going to be even uglier. Saying that, the offense has got to get better after 3 terrible performances so, in a tight game, it’s a Dan Bailey kick that wins the game

Prediction: Washington 17 Cowboys 20


The House Washington Field General, Cousin Kirk, brings his band of no-hopers to House Dallas looking to take advantage after the Cowboys last 3 battles, which all ended in defeat.
King Dak is still without Prince Zeke but will look to Alfred the Great to run over his old House and seal a great victory
In other news around the realms. Over in House New Jersey the evil McAdoodoodoo, who usually likes to push pineapples, shake trees and grind coffee, has demoted the 4th best field general called Manning (Payton, Archie & Bernard all come before him) and has handed the reigns of House New Jersey to someone called Gino, who wasn’t even good enough for the Jets of House New York!!

Witten is finally here

You can follow me on Twitter @whitey500

Upon Further Review Vol 3, No 12

(Any views or opinions represented are personal and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual unless it’s the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants or Washington Redskins in which case they deserve it)
Comment
The Dallas Cowboys suck! It’s official! They don’t suck because they got beat, they suck because of the way they keep getting beat.
Dak’s going to take a lot of heat because of his performance, and rightly so. However, the game plan for the past 2 weeks hasn’t helped his situation. Linehan’s play selection is a real head scratcher at times, there’s the obvious stuff, and if anyone has paid any attention this season they would know what to expect depending on down and distance. But then there’s the other stuff where there seems to be no reason to it, it’s as if the plays are called to put us in a situation we can’t get out of. And then there’s the targets, or the lack of them. Now I’m only an armchair QB but I know that checking down the receivers takes time, time that Dak hasn’t had since Tyron Smith has been missing from the line-up. So where are the quick slants to Beasley, Dez & T-Will, where are those short, 5 yard passes over the middle to the TE’s that used to be our bread & butter plays. Far too often this season we’ve had to play catch up because we settle for FG’s when we need TD’s, we become predictable as the game goes on and we don’t adjust to the oppositions game plan.
This 3rd quarter thing has been annoying all season but now it’s beyond annoying. Someone really needs to question what happens at halftime because while the opposition seem to be making adjustments we seem to be patting ourselves on the back for keeping it close for the first 30 minutes. There’s an argument that if it’s worked in the first half then keep going with it, unfortunately that requires the other team to keep doing what they did in the first half as well. Against the Eagles, Dallas conceded 30 points in the second half, that’s a point for every minute! This team are better than this, they have the weapons on offense to take the pressure off the defense.
We keep shooting ourselves in the foot, playing catch up is putting Dak under pressure to pass the team down the field and takes away what this offense is all about, the run. Whether it’s Morris or Smith filling in for Zeke, we have to keep confidence in what we do well. Now, I know that having Zeke in the backfield is going to make the opposing D line up differently that they would without him however, we don’t seem willing to try to use that to our advantage. Tiredness is adding to the defensive woes, the longer they’re on the field, the more mistakes they make, the more mistakes means that they give up big plays and possibly TD’s. this puts more pressure on the offense and in particular, Dak.

Week 12 Preview

The Cowboys play a Chargers team on Thanksgiving Day and Coach Garrett really should be giving thanks if he gets any players back and that the Linebacker injury epidemic comes to an end, soon. The Chargers will be coming into this after a big win so it’s important that the Cowboys turn possession into points early, and by points, I mean TD’s, and get Rivers off the field.
Offensively, Dallas need to stay with the run and nickel and dime their way down the field with the pass when the time is right. Witten, Beasley and T-will need to be influential in the passing game.
Defensively, some pressure on Rivers is a must. If he has time he’ll pick the defense apart. Getting the LA offense off the field will cut down on fatigue later in the game and give the offense a greater opportunity to build a lead.
The Cowboys have to stop this 3rd quarter meltdown. Build on what’s worked and eliminate the simple errors that have hindered the team all season.

Prediction: Chargers 27 Cowboys 31


The giant Eagle that is House Philadelphia swooped down on House Dallas and unleashed hell. King Dak was hearing the beating of wings and the footsteps of the House Philadelphia hordes at every turn. Carson of Wentz left the battlefield with hardly a scratch whilst the House Dallas warriors were left battered and bleeding
Castle AT&T will have to be rebuilt in a hurry as the Chargers of House LA come charging into view. King Dak has to rally the troops and hope that Tyron the Colossus is back to protect him.
The House LA field general, Phillip Rivers of Babylon, is in the twilight of his career but is still capable of leading his warriors to victory. This old timer from the West has had it easy and expectations have been low of victory in big battles over the years…let’s hope that this is the case on the holiday of giving thanks.

Witten is finally here

You can follow me on Twitter @whitey500

Upon Further Review 11

Vol 3, No 11
(Any views or opinions represented are personal and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual unless it’s the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants or Washington Redskins in which case they deserve it)
Comment
The offensive line is the heartbeat of the Dallas Cowboys and they have an impact across all 3 phases of the team however, during Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons they really needed to get the paddles warmed up, anything to jumpstart the left side of the line. Jonathon Cooper has had it easy since he’s been starting at Left Guard in place of Chaz Green (more about him later), Tyron Smith to his left and Travis Frederick to his right. It’s easy to do better when you’re surrounded by more talented and skilful people, a bit like that one in the old Take That who didn’t do much but was better just by being with the other 4. Unfortunately for Cooper Gary Barlow Tyron Smith wasn’t playing and he was replaced by Chaz Green. People who know a lot more about this sort of thing than I do tell me that Green is a very good offensive lineman, they tell me that he is one of the top five lineman that the Cowboys have on the roster. During and after the game against the Falcons I was told that Chaz was having an ‘off day’. You’re damn right he had an off day! He was dominated throughout the game, he was in #99 Clayborn’s pocket all day, and when #99 couldn’t be bothered tormenting him anymore he let his mates have a go. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen any lineman dominated as much as Green was every time he was on the field. The downside of that was massive. When we tried to run it had to be to the right, when Dak dropped back to pass he was harried, hit and sacked, meaning that a team that likes to dominate the time of possession and drive down the field was forced to punt on almost every possession or, even worse, turn the ball over. This meant that the defense was on the field way more than they should be, and if that wasn’t bad enough they lost Sean Lee to a hamstring strain. Think that the kicking game wasn’t affected by Chaz Green? Think again! On the only half decent Cowboys drive of the game, a drive that used 3 Tight Ends on almost every down just to get some protection and create some running lanes, who got beat leading to a sack when it looked like the Cowboys were heading for the end zone? That’s right, Chaz! Leading to a missed 38 yard FG attempt, the ball clipping the outside of the goalpost. The return of Dan Bailey can’t come soon enough.
Now, I don’t want anyone to think that this was all down to Chaz because the coaching staff don’t come out of this well. Why, when you know that a player is struggling, would you give him next to no help? Why was he kept in there as long as he was, the answer is probably that his backup wasn’t much better, but that’s no reason to keep hoping that he’ll come good eventually.
Did they miss Zeke? I’m not sure that they did really. With the penetration that the Falcons were getting I’m not sure that he would’ve had a good day rushing, maybe a dump off in the flat would’ve taken some pressure off and his blocking would’ve helped Dak buy a little more time but that takes away what Zeke brings to the team on the ground.
Defensively, it wasn’t great. Other than losing Lee, Browns sophomore slump continues, the pass rush started well but fizzled out. Hitchens played well but Jaylon Smith made some poor decisions and looked out of position too many times against the run.
These losses have a familiar ring to them, opponent scores before the half, gets the ball back to start the second half and scores, keeps the Cowboys offense off the field for most of the 3rd quarter, defense tires and makes sloppy mistakes…Cowboys lose.

With 7 games to go we’ve got…
2 teams that we’ve already beaten (NY Giants & Washington)
2 teams that we really should beat (LA Chargers & Oakland)
1 team that we need to beat in case there’s a tie-breaker for a wild card (Seattle) and
1 team that we have to beat twice (Philadelphia) if we have any chance of winning the East

Simple

Week 11 Preview

The Cowboys play an Eagles team that looks a lot like the 2016 Dallas Cowboys. They seem to be winning with ease and their QB is playing like a seasoned pro. Also, their bye week seems to have come at just the right time. However, saying all that, all teams hit a wall at some point. Has the bye week taken some of that momentum away, with the Cowboys loss to the Falcons will the Eagles take their foot off the gas…probably not.
Barring something catastrophic in the last 6 weeks, an Eagles win gives them a hand on the NFC East so this is an absolutely must win game for the Cowboys if they have any hope of retaining their NFC East crown.
If Tyron Smith is not available then you don’t have to be Stephen Hawking to work out where the Eagles D is going to focus its attention. But it won’t be Green at LT it’ll more than likely be Bell and moving Collins to LT just creates a problem elsewhere, not that it’ll make any difference to the Eagles. This is going to be one of those games that’ll need a control of the line of scrimmage, a focussed passing attack, faultless Special Teams play and a big slice of luck. Defensively, the Cowboys have to get the Eagles offense off the field, so control of the line and some pass rush is a must. The secondary has to keep tight to the receivers and make sure that Wentz has to stay in the pocket longer than he’d like. Linebacker is the area of most concern if Sean Lee is unable to play. Hitchens moves over to the Will to enable Smith to play the Mike, personally I think that the team loses something when Hitchens is out of the middle but they really don’t have many options.
My head says that the Eagles have the edge, my heart says that the Cowboys will find something from somewhere to make the difference.

Prediction: Eagles 20 Cowboys 24

Prince Zeke has left the horrors of the battlefield, and they don’t come much horriblier than what happened at House Atlanta, to roam the realms and travel further afield in search of enlightenment. Wearing nothing but a monk’s habit and sandals Prince Zeke has set out to find himself.
Someone else who needs to find himself is Charlie Green, who took over from Tyron the Colossus. This is because there are bits of him all over House Atlanta, and someone really should clean the mess up. General Lee took another blow to the leg that could see him miss important future battles.
There was talk of a possible injury to the groin for House Philadelphia field general Carson of Wentz when he shouted, ‘My Zach Ertz!’ However, it was not a cry of pain but a comment about which House warrior he favoured. Zach Ertz is the latest in a long line of warriors from this famous family. His brother Ed Ertz had to retire following many concussions and the family don’t talk about their Uncle from the realm of Texas, Bum Ertz

Witten is finally here

You can follow me on Twitter @whitey500http://www.ukcowboysfans.com/wp-admin/media-upload.php?post_id=863&type=image&TB_iframe=1

Upon Further Review: Volume 3, no 9

(Any views or opinions represented are personal and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual unless it’s the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants or Washington Redskins in which case they deserve it)

Comment

I imagine that coach Garretts final words to his players, before they took to the field on Sunday, went something like…’OK guys, the weather is terrible so let’s not turn the ball over on our opening possession.’ 2 minutes later…’OK guys, never mind, there’s still a lot of football to play. We’re only down by 3’.

The hardest thing that the Cowboys had to battle against all game was the weather. The hardest things that Washington had to battle was Orlando Scandrick, Tyrone Crawford, Zeke Elliott, oh, and the weather. Scandrick was everywhere, Crawford drew so much attention that Irving and Lawrence were both able to get to the QB on a regular basis, and if they double teamed Lawrence or Irving then Crawford was free. But it was when Crawford and Scandrick combined that the game turned on its head. Crawford getting a hand up to block a Washington FG attempt that, if successful, would’ve given them a 9-point lead, Scandrick scooping up the ball and returning it 86 yards to the Washington 4. Two plays later Zeke scores to give the Cowboys a 1-point lead. Small margins in a game can make a big difference.

Zeke had another solid game, not one big run and then a series of small gains, rather a consistent grind throughout the game. Dez made some important catches to move the chains. Switzer stepped up after Beasley sustained a concussion and even Swaim made a good catch over the middle. The downside on both offense and defense was the amount of penalties conceded, Tyron Smith getting called for holding to bring back an Elliott score and Anthony Brown getting called for pass interference were the two most frustrating of the game. Frustrating mostly because I’m not even sure that either of them were actually penalties.

Defensively, Dallas look to have a good balance, the improved pass rush helps the secondary and the secondary’s tight coverage helps the pass rush. The linebackers are back to hunting as a pack and the has helped to defend the run. The D is also helped by the offense staying on the field and racking up over 30 points a game for the 4th straight game.

On a horrible night to be a kicker, punter or long snapper Nugent, Jones and LaDouceur hardly put a foot wrong, Nugent’s missed FG the only blot on an otherwise excellent performance.

Week 6 Preview

The Cowboys have found it tough to stop the run at times this season, so the last thing they need is the Kansas City Chiefs and their rookie sensation, Kareem Hunt. Offensively, as well as Hunt, the Chiefs have a QB (Smith) who’s having a great season, a couple of good WR’s and a go to TE. Swap Smith, Hunt, Hill, Robinson and Kelse for Prescott, Elliott, Bryant, Williams and Witten and it sounds like I’m describing the Dallas Cowboys offense and that may be where the key to victory lies, how have teams tried to stop the Cowboys and can this Cowboys team manage it.

Keeping the Chiefs offense off the field is a must so when Dallas have the ball it’s time consuming drives that end with 7 points and not 3, it’s not letting the Chiefs offense get into a rhythm so the D needs to build on what they’ve done for the last few games and get some pressure on Smith and turnovers. Of course, Kansas City will want to do exactly the same thing to the Cowboys, so it has to be mistake free football and don’t turn the ball over to a Chiefs team that currently are +10 in turnovers for the season.

Playing at at&t should be an advantage but there will be a lot of Chiefs fans in attendance so the Cowboys need to take control of this early and get the Cowboys fans into it, this could be a game where the last team to have the ball wins

At the time of writing it’s still not clear if Zeke will play or not, either way the game plan won’t change.

Prediction: Chiefs 27 Cowboys 31

Long, long ago there was another House Dallas, they were known as the Texans! Clint Jr of Murchison set up a rival House known to this day as the Cowboys, after a short battle the Texans were banished from the realm of Texas and set up a new house in Kansas City, where they became the Chiefs.

Fast forward to the present day and House KC return to the realm of Texas to do battle with House Dallas. The Cowboys are in good cheer following their victory over the evil House Washington and hope to have Prince Zeke available to lead the charge despite the wishes of the wicked Baron Goodell, whose sole purpose in life is to see Prince Zeke spend 6 weeks in the stocks.

House KC are led by Andrew Reid, a man so large that his wife once said, ‘I’ll never get over you Andrew, I’ll have to get up and walk round’

Witten is finally here

You can follow me on Twitter @whitey500

Upon Further Review: Volume 3, No 8

(Any views or opinions represented are personal and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual unless it’s the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants or Washington Redskins in which case they deserve it)

Comment

Well that was fun! All the talk before for the game focused on how the 49ers had lost their previous 5 games by a combined total of 13 points. Make that the last 6 games by a total of 43 points. The Cowboys offense played with the 49ers D like a cat plays with a mouse, teasing them and letting them think that they had a chance before striking.

Zeke had more yards on the field that I had around the house all day, Dak made smart decisions and looks like he’s in the zone. The receivers, the O-Line, the TE’s and all the running backs not called Zeke played well and made the most of their opportunities.

Elliott showed his full range of talents. He ran for those tough yards inside the 5, he ran for those yards where pace is going to pull you clear of any would-be tacklers and he got those yards after catch, tiptoeing down the side-line and almost tripping himself up before cutting inside for the score. He didn’t stop there, when Dak needed protection in the pocket, it was Zeke who picked up a rushing defender.

It’s nice when, for the last 5 or 6 minutes, the team can bring on Cooper Rush, Joe Looney at the deodorant position (Right Guard) and some of the other guys who wouldn’t normally see much game time. Making Rush active for the game over Moore as the backup QB is bad news for Kellen Moore, and it got worse when he got cut earlier this week. It looks like the Cowboys are banking that he won’t get picked up and he can join the practice squad at a later date. Although I’m not a Kellen Moore fan he is a good insurance policy to have around, just in case.

49ers QB, Beathard, was given a starting QB baptism of fire by Lawrence, Irving, Crawford and anyone else to could get to him. Jaylon Smith recorded his first NFL sack as the defense showed just how much better they are now that Lee and Hitchens have returned from injury.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Cowboys game without something happening to put a downer on the day. Losing Dan Bailey to a groin injury is a massive blow to the kicking game, he is head and shoulders above any other kicker in the NFL. Although Jeff Heath’s extra points ticked all the boxes, wide, hit the post and in and straight down the middle and his kick offs weren’t bad, the Cowboys have decided to go with experienced kicker, Mike Nugent.

Week 6 Preview

If the game against the 49ers was a must win game then so is this. A divisional game against the old enemy, at their place makes this a really tough game. Added to the rivalry is that both teams are chasing the Eagles for the NFC East crown, Washington losing to them 24-34 last weekend.

Dallas come into this buoyed by the win over San Francisco, the offence is clicking and looks like it can go through the gears when it needs to. Dak is going to have to be on his toes to avoid the inevitable pass rush and Zeke is going to find yards hard to come by early on, Alfred Morris would like nothing better than putting one over his old team and there could be some rotation at RB in the first half. I’m expecting Dallas to look for Witten and Beasley over the middle to keep the chains moving. Butler and Williams could take the focus away from Dez while he has his usual verbal exchanges with Josh Norman.

Defensively, the pass rush has to start where they finished last week. The Washington O line is pretty banged up and the way that Lawrence and Co have been playing could mean that it’s a long game for Kurt Cousins.

Washington will feel that they’re in with a chance if it’s tight going into the 4th quarter so Dallas could really do with at least a 2 score lead at the end of the 3rd.

Prediction: Cowboys 28 Washington 24

The young San-Fran field general Beat-Hard was forced to bend the knee to King Dak and Prince Zeke as House Dallas slaughtered the Golden Helmets of House San-Fran.

Onwards to the greatest enemy of House Dallas, the House of Washington. Led by their latest Field General, Cousin Kurt.

Cousin Kurt started life as an honest serf, and was known as KC to all that knew him. He joined a band of followers of the Sun God and the light that came from the Sun. Whilst with the Sunshine Band (as they became known) KC met Joanna, who was the Queen of clubs, and they cherished each moment they spent together. Despite being happy he, unfortunately, had to give it up and join House Washington. He has looked forlorn ever since and refuses to commit to House Washington, although the House elders have said please don’t go he longs to go back because that’s the way he liked it.

House Dallas will want to make this another sad day for Cousin Kurt!

The most recent ‘Battle of the Bastards’* proved to be successful for House Philadelphia over House Washington.

*The ‘battles of the Bastards’ take place whenever the Houses of Washington, Philadelphia and New Jersey face each other in combat. The overall victor is known as the Right Bastard, the most defeated is known as the Poor Bastard.

Witten is finally here

You can follow me on Twitter @whitey500

Upon Further Review: Volume 3, No 7

(Any views or opinions represented are personal and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual unless it’s the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants or Washington Redskins in which case they deserve it)

Comment

There’s something that doesn’t feel quite right about a bye week. Almost every other team plays and has something to talk about, whether it’s a shock win, an unexpected loss, a strange replay decision or a player injury that could finish the season for a team. The one thing that you can predict about the National Football League is its total unpredictability.

But for the Dallas Cowboys the talk was all about the fallout from the Green Bay loss added to the Rams loss until Elliott’s court case, and his impending suspension, gave us all something else to talk about, even if only very few understand what’s going on. This will he/won’t he be suspended has to be a massive mental distraction for Zeke and there has to be a knock-on effect from this on his preparation to play.

The bye week is also about timing, if a team is on a winning streak then a bye week can take away that momentum. If there have been consecutive losses then the bye is a chance to refocus and work on what’s gone wrong or it can give a player extra time to recover from injury. For the Cowboys, it’s a chance to refocus and get players ready to play.

There have been problems on defense but the pass rush should be better than it has been with the return of Irving before the bye. The return of Lee and Hitchens makes the Linebacking corps instantly better and takes the pressure off Jaylon Smith. The secondary has struggled, period! There was certainly no problem with cutting ties with Nolan Carroll, that’s because Jourdan Lewis has been exceptional so far and Xavier Woods looks the part at safety. There are improvements to the defense, personnel wise, coming out of the bye so the focus needs to be cutting out the individual mistakes. Make those tackles, win those 1 on 1 battles and a turnover or two wouldn’t be a bad thing.

So that’s the Bye week for the Dallas Cowboys done for another season, it’s all about the next 11 weeks from now.

I met Kevin Cadle a couple of times and he was always willing to talk football and pose for a photo. His relationships with the other presenters made the NFL on Sky shows so much fun and he’ll be sorely missed by all NFL fans

 

Week 6 Preview

The Cowboys face the winless San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday. Take the word ‘winless’ away and they still face the same team, in the same place, at the same time, but maybe the expectation changes slightly.

Other than week 1, the 49ers have been losing some squeakers, mostly due to the offense not getting the points separation needed to make life a little easier for the defense.

The 49ers have made a decision to change their QB and Dallas get to face Beathard and WR Pierre Garcon, who always seems to have a big day when he plays the Cowboys. At RB there’s Carlos Hyde, we all know the issues that Dallas have had stopping the run this season so I’m expecting to see a lot of Hyde with the odd play-action pass to Garcon. The Cowboys really need to stop the run and force Beathard, to win the game. Irving, Lawrence and Crawford should all be dominant at the line and the Linebackers, with a healthy Sean Lee, should be able to shut down any run plays that get to the outside.

The San Fran defense is giving up just enough to lose, I fully expect Zeke to have a big game, maybe not from the get go, but certainly as the game goes on. This is an O-Line that feels that it has something to prove after the first 5 weeks, there should be gaps for Zeke and a clean pocket for Dak. Although the last 2 games both games ended in a loss the offense has really started to look good and there’s no reason that should change this week. If the Cowboys can build a healthy lead and take away the 49ers running game this could be the game that gives Dallas a confidence boost that is sorely needs. Although this is a potential banana skin it’s a must win for the Cowboys.

Prediction: Cowboys 38 49ers 13

The House Dallas warriors are off to the land where mining for gold is a way of life. The House of San-Fran wear helmets made of solid gold and have a history of great Field Generals. Joseph of Montana and Young Steve have had battles with House Dallas in the past however, the current Field Generals aren’t fit to buff up their shiny helmets.

House Dallas will be looking to win this battle following 2 successive defeats and will want House San-Fran to bend the knee to King Dak

Witten is finally here

You can follow me on Twitter @whitey500