I figured I'd get a jump on ESPN's "stock" report regarding the Cowboys. Keep in mind that this is my opinion purely based on the first two games. I will not go player by player because that's a bit arduous and not everyone has seen significant playing time to be given a fair shot at this stock report. So, without any further delay, here's how I see it:
- Tony Romo - I was one of the ones who said that he didn't lose the game last week (Witten should have run Leonard over and special teams crumbled). But after yesterday's game, there should be no doubt about his leadership, his toughness and his will/resolve to win. He's the 4th highest rated QB in NFL history and a QB rating above 100 in the 4th quarter and is the 2nd winningest QB in Cowboys' history. Playoff wins will come, look no further than arguably the smartest QB of all-time, Peyton Manning. Romo put this team on his back, with broken ribs and carried them to victory.
- Rob Ryan - Through 2 games (small caveat) the Cowboys have the 4th best overall defense and 2nd best run defense in the league. Now, some will point to the Texans having the best overall defense in the league and that's fine because Wade is a great defensive coordinator, but not a great head coach. Much had been made about the way the defense performed in preseason (we're talking about preseason...in my Allen Iverson voice) and the defense has performed well against one of the best rushing teams and best running backs in the league in back to back weeks. The challenge will only get tougher in the coming weeks with the Skins and Patriots to come, but if we're going to oooh and aaah about Tom Brady & Cam Newton's yards after two games then let's do the same about our defense. He has masked the lack of depth at CB for two weeks and has gotten decent (enough) results with a beat up Mike Jenkins, Alan Ball, Bryan McCann and without Newman and Scandrick.
- Defensive Line - They didn't resign Stephen Bowen, they released Igor, brought in Kenyon Coleman, resigned Marcus Spears & Jason Hatcher, didn't draft J.J. Watt, didn't sign Cullen Jenkins, should have moved Jay Ratliff to DE, blah blah blah. Dominated the line of scrimmage for two games and have even been putting pressure on QBs. Scheme or not, these guys are balling right now.
- Anthony Spencer - This was tough for me because of the TD pass that he gave up, but he shouldn't have been asked to cover a TE who had a running start. But through two games, he has 2 sacks and has been a great complement to DeMarcus Ware. Let's hope that he can keep this up and drop the moniker "Almost Anthony" for good.
- Jesse Holley - Mr4thandLong (his twitter name, yes I tweet..lol), who had never caught a pass in the NFL regular season made a terrific set of plays towards with end of the game, none bigger than the first play for the Cowboys in overtime.
- Jason Garrett - This team loses yesterday's game with Wade as the coach. Jason Garrett is poised and has this team competing and they won't lay down for anybody. Lose Dez Bryant, no problem Jesse Holley can make a play...lose Phil Costa, Kowalski get in there and we won't miss a beat...Felix Jones is hurt (again), DeMarco Murray you're up...Terence Newman can't play, Orlando Scandrick is out for another week or two, no worries Alan Ball can get a pick and Bryan McCann can hold his own. This team isn't making excuses, players are accountable and they're hungry. I attribute this to the coaching philosophy change.
There are few players who's stock in my mind haven't changed: Jason Witten (leading all TEs in yards, 2nd in receptions), DeMarcus Ware (leading the league in sacks), Sean Lee (leading the league in tackles), Miles Austin (tied for league lead in TD receptions, 4th in total receiving yards)
- Felix Jones - Just like we got carried away with the defense's performance, we did the same with Felix Jones in preseason. He's hurt, again, no burst and apparently no vision. It doesn't look like he wants to be the best in the league. He looks slow and is running into the backs of his offensive line. I will not blame this on the offensive line because running lanes close just as fast as they open in this league. Felix has better get it together and quickly.
- Kevin Ogletree - This was his time to shine, especially when Miles Austin re-injured his hamstring. I'm so thankful that Jesse Holley made the play, but Ogletree should clearly doesn't have the trust of Jason Garrett or Tony Romo. As far as I'm concerned, WR depth chart should be Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Jesse Holley...
- Victor Butler - Where has this guy gone? This sucks for me because I jumped on this bandwagon early in preseason and I even questioned whether he should replace Anthony Spencer as the starter opposite DeMarcus Ware. Through 2 games he has one, count it, 1 tackle. He raved about Rob Ryan's defense, but I don't see him supplanting Anthony Spencer as the starter.
- Martellus Bennett - I'm tired of waiting for him to show his athleticism and he like Ogletree clearly doesn't have the trust of his coaches or quarterback. Every day, I regret Jerry Jones not pulling the trigger on the reported 1st Round Pick the Bengals offered for him. Trade him now for whatever we can get for him.
That's the way I see it, you guys can dissect it and add and/or subtract from either list.