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Cowboys random notes on gameday


Yes, the Dallas Cowboys play the Houston Texans tonight. Thanks to Tuna Helper for reminding everybody. I’ve been a slacker on the blog this week due to outside commitments and really haven’t mentioned the Texans in any meaningful way. So why start now? I kid – if you want to check out more about the Texans, visit SB Nation’s Battle Red Blog to get more on those dudes.

Back to the Cowboys. Here are some random ideas/notes that are in my notebook but I never got on to the blog for this week.

Last week against the Broncos, we had a ton of guys make good special teams plays, showing that when everybody gets involved, our talent should make for good special teams. Isaiah Stanback had a good kickoff return, Mike Jenkins had good coverage on a punt and Tashard Choice blocked a punt. Orlando Scandrick almost blocked a FG and had a good kickoff return while Adam Jones had a great punt return. Martellus Bennett made a good tackle on kickoff coverage and Courtney Brown made a nice play on punt coverage. Sam Hurd had a nice kickoff coverage tackle and Mat McBriar and Nick Folk had good nights. Guys like Deon Anderson, Justin Rogers and Pat Watkins were their usual good selves on special teams.

We have the talent; I guess it comes down to execution, desire and the coaching. We don’t have any excuse for not having good special teams.

I thought we got the short-end of some of the penalties against Denver. They called us for a false start when the Denver player was clearly in the neutral zone, Bradie James’ piling-on call was ridiculously picky, I counted 11-men when they called us for 12-men, plus a few others were sketchy at best.

We suddenly have a very thin linebacker corps for the next couple of weeks. Depending on when Kevin Burnett and Anthony Spencer get back, we don’t really have a lot to go with for the first regular-season game if it comes to that. In the middle, behind Bradie James and Zach Thomas, we have Bobby Carpenter and not much else. Tyson Smith is not ready and Justin Rogers doesn’t fit well in the middle. We hope Carpenter can play well, but there’s no guarantee of that. On the outside the situation is more dire, with athletically-gifted but totally raw and inexperienced Erik Walden, UDFA rookie Darrell Robertson and CFL-import Tearrius George, all of whom are new to the Cowboys and the NFL game. Throw in Justin Rogers, who is more suited for special teams duty, and it’s not really guys you can trust yet in battle. Kevin Burnett and Anthony Spencer need to have zero complications from their surgeries.

In a nice segue from injuries, a few players have huge opportunities ahead in the next two games. Bobby Carpenter will be given another chance to shine and prove that he’s a guy who can produce in a backup role. He didn’t really take advantage of it against Denver. Sam Hurd is the unquestioned #3 WR until Austin gets back, he needs to act like it tonight. Isaiah Stanback will probably get most of Austin’s reps, this would be a good time for the kid to ditch the project/potential tag and start moving toward the productive player tag. For Erik Walden, Tearrius George, Darrell Robertson and Justin Rogers, there are reps to be had at OLB, who will take advantage?

Mike Jenkins and Adam Jones aren’t afraid to get up there for tackles in the running game, and last week both were effective. But those two are ankle-biters, they shoot straight for the legs to tackle ball-carriers. Hey, whatever it takes to get them down, I'm for. In contrast, Orlando Scandrick likes to bring the wood, just don’t hurt yourself, Orlando.

Some of my favorite Hard Knocks moments this week: T.O. teaching the young WR’s what to do, Brian Stewart mad at his defense with full realization the cameras are present and giving us a little extra acting. Greg Ellis straightening up the defense on the sidelines, clips of the Denver practices, Miles Austin telling Pat Watkins he’ll run by his crazy ass because he’s not respecting his speed and Roy getting mad at the Broncos and taking some shots at them in practice. Here’s a deeper review of Hard Knocks.

Cowboys Quickies:

Tonight is a dress rehearsal.

Shorter JJT: The Cowboys must play better tonight.

Shorter Clarence Hill: The Cowboys must play better tonight.

MB3 and his little brother get together on the same field for opposing teams tonight. 

The Cowboys will do some game-planning tonight, but Roy wants them to also do some tackling. 

"We're probably going to play a majority of the game, and we've got to fine-tune some things, like work on our open-field tackling," Cowboys safety Roy Williams said. "It will be a good test for us."

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