A collective mid-week sigh of relief should spread across the world of the Dallas Cowboys today, as both starting LG, Kyle Kosier, and starting RT, Marc Colombo, are expected back in practice today, which means they should start against the Bears.
Now, Montrae Holland did have himself a pretty decent game Sunday night against the Redskins in relief of Kosier. Alex Barron: not so much in Colombo's stead. Let's just hope that the arthroscopic knee surgery Colombo had in mid-August will return his power and mobility to help renew the physical presence on the right side of the O-line.
Wade Phillips sounds as if he would rather take his chances with a sub-100% Colombo than go again with Barron for the Cowboys home opener. Wouldn't you agree?
"You just have to see what happens," Phillips said. "If he comes back the way he was, he'll be fine. He was practicing fine, until he got hurt."
More VRR after the jump.
Here's the tale of the tape regarding Colombo's career leg injuries.
After the Bears made him a first-round draft pick in 2002, Colombo dislocated his left patella and suffered femoral nerve damage. He missed the final five games of 2002, all of 2003 and the first half of the 2004 season.
Last season, it wasn't his knees that kept him out for nine games, but a broken left fibula and high ankle sprain after he got rolled in Green Bay. He struggled upon his return.
On Aug. 16, Colombo had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to remove five loose particles.
The last time the Bears and Cowboys tangled, in Week 3 of the 2007 season at Soldier Field, Colombo got away with a nasty leg whip that injured Harris’ left knee. No penalty was called on the play but it didn’t go unnoticed in the league office as Colombo, a former Bear, was fined $12,500.
Harris holds no grudge.
"That man is trying to feed his family, just the same way I am," Harris said. "I don't take that junk personally. All those boys out there (on the offensive line) play dirty. That's what they have to do to stop me. Even if he didn't apologize, I don't care," Harris said. "I don't have any respect for any lineman, but I respect his apology."
Peppers will flop sides on the defense. He usually lines up to the open side of the offense, away from the tight end. Cowboys left tackle Doug Free had a false start against the Washington Redskins, but he gave up no sacks while blocking Brian Orakpo and Andre Carter.
Right tackle Marc Colombo (knee) is expected back after his backup, Alex Barron, was called for three holding penalties against the Redskins. Peppers does not give the offensive tackle much of a hitting surface on his rush.
Barron: "Sorry about taking the TD away, Roy." Roy: "It happens."
"We needed to kneel on the football in that situation," Phillips said. "That way, we don't get in that situation. That's game strategy, and that goes to the head coach.
"That (play) put us behind the 8-ball. Sure, we shouldn't have dinked it off to a back with no time left, and he should have held onto the ball. But those things don't come into factor at all if we do the right thing there."
Don't expect Choice to fumble anymore. He vows that that is not the type of player he is.
"I have always been taught to hold onto the ball," Choice said Monday. "I don't fumble. It's something I don't do. I didn't do it in college, and I hadn't done it in the pros until yesterday. That's something I am going to hold against myself. I have to make sure I regroup and come back from it."
DCFanatic breaks down what the heck happened on that nightmare of a play before halftime.
Between 2007 and 2009 the Cowboys have been penalized 338 times, resulting in 2,659 yards lost. Although the team has maintained winning records in this span, it has finished each of these seasons in the top 10 for most infractions. Is it the coaches, the players, a combination of both? Cowboys fans must know when it will stop raining yellow!
Thankfully, the coaching staff is emphasizing penalty prevention this week.
To attack penalties, Phillips said, there will be increased focus during practice on proper techniques with hands and feet. Breakdowns in those areas contributed to eight penalties that came after the snap.
"We had one turnover offensively, and we didn't create one," Brooking said.
"That's the one thing we talked about in the offseason that we need to improve on. If you look at it on paper, we outplayed them. But the one statistic that is very key in wins and losses in this league is turnover ratio. If you can end the game plus in that category, you give yourself a very good chance of winning, and we obviously didn't do that."
Michael Irvin came away semi-impressed with the Week 1 play of Roy Williams.
"I did. I really did," Irvin said. "To me I didn’t want to get into all that with Roy. I have a job to do, it's what I do. What I said wasn’t anything against Roy but I was just talking to another option."
Obviously Felix Jones excels in the open field, so shouldn't the Cowboys try to get him more involved in the passing game? Nick Eatman thinks so, especially if Jones is not getting many carries.
I know there are lot of people screaming that Felix needs more than eight carries, and definitely more than 10 touches. I'm in agreement with that. I always think he needs more touches, but not necessarily as a tailback. He lines up a few times at receiver, but doesn't seem to be in many routes. That's not really going to work very much if you don't ever throw him the ball out there.
I think Felix needs a few passes, other than screens, and maybe even a reverse or too where he comes around the corner. Watching him do that in college, I don't think there are many backs in the country - college or pro - who turn the corner and get up the field like he does.
Looking ahead at Week 2: After one week of NFL action, the Bears are tied with the Colts atop the league in total offense after putting up 463 yards on the Lions. They also lead the NFC in total defense after holding Detroit to just 168 yards. You all saw, though, that the Lions nearly pulled that one off on the Bears' home turf.
As for Dallas, it ranks fifth in the league in offense after sticking 380 yards on Washington's defense. The Cowboys rank seventh in defense in the NFL, having held the Redskins to 250 total yards.
This Saturday, tickets go on sale for the Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito fight at Cowboys Stadium. The battle for the WBC Super Welterweight Title takes place November 13.