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Adam Jones may start due to Newman injury

Five Downs with Football Outsiders is quickly becoming my favorite part of the DMN Blog. Good heady stuff by Bill Barnwell.

1. You mentioned in the first edition of Five Downs With Football Outsiders that the Cowboys had a ton of success running behind right tackle and to the outside on the right side. Where were the Cowboys most and least successful running the ball last season?

Dallas was actually incredibly boom-and-bust last year depending upon the location of their runs. They were first in the league at running to right end and second running at right tackle, but they were 27th in the league at running in the middle and 31st at running to left end. I'm not sure why that's the case, but I wouldn't be surprised if it had something to do with Flozell Adams slipping some in his ability to absorb opposing linemen at the point of attack. The Cowboys were 21st in the league at running behind left end the year before.

I can't get visions of Julius Jones getting stopped behind the line of scrimmage out of my head for some reason. These statistics are pretty shocking though. Is it really Flo's fault? The statistics don't lie but I'm racking my brain for another reason. Were Colombo and Bigg Davis just that good?

Seems like our O-line did a list of good things last year: pass protection, wearing down teams and not giving up a lot of sacks (although Romo's mobility surely had something to do with that as well). Unfortunately, running to the left or up the middle wasn't one of them. Weird.

We should see some two tight end sets Sunday but not a lot.

A lot of handwringing about MB3 these days. All of the sudden people are coming out of the woodwork to tell us to treat our stud Pro-Bowl running back with kid gloves. Better yet, since Barber is as adept at dodging reporters as he is running over defenders (ha ha! this NEVER gets old), it seems like reporters have given up on trying to talk to him directly. Now they're bringing in the heavy artillery.

Randy Galloway picks up the phone and calls Jimmy Johnson for his opinion on The Barbarian. JJ of course loves MB3 but at the same times tells him to err on the side of caution.

This slice of history always cracks me up though. Not as much as this guy. But it's still pretty funny.

It’s still brings a personal laugh when harking back to the media, me included, harshly questioning Jimmy’s workload for a young Emmitt, particularly in that ’91 season. It was Smith’s second year, when he averaged 23 carries a game and won the league’s rushing title.

The opener that season was at, yes, Cleveland. Emmitt carried 32 times, one of five games he would top 30 that year.

Do you worry, Jimmy was finally asked in December, about shortening Smith’s career?

"I worry," deadpanned Johnson, "about shortening my career."

But, coach, aren’t you going to ride this horse into the ground?

"If it happens, then you saddle up a new horse," Jimmy shrugged.

Cold, but true.

Yeah man. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. We got a ring to win. 

Seems like T-New's groin is still bothering him. If he doesn't start, Adam Jones will get the nod.

Jones worked at right and left cornerback in training camp. He was slated to be the slot cornerback in nickel situations and return punts against the Browns.

If Jones starts at the left corner, rookie Orlando Scandrick will become the slot corner.

I can understand easing Newman back into the fold. I'm a little nervous though. Jones has shown good progress but he's still a bit a rusty. I have no doubt he'll be fine soon. I'm just not so sure it'll be in this game.

A rusty Pacman can still be awfully dangerous though. I'm more excited about his kickoff returns and possible punt return duties. Lord knows if he happens to break on a ball and catches it in stride he's gone. I'd love for him to start off the game with a bone-crushing hit on one of Cleveland's receivers. Show them we're not here to play games.

Here's to AJ. You earned it man. You've been on good behavior since you got here and we're all excited for you. Now's the time for a return on our investment.

This kid knows what I'm talking about.

I got laughed out a couple of chat rooms when I drafted Patrick Crayton in the last round of my fantasy football draft last year. But here was my rationale: we have one of the best QBs in the league, we throw a lot and Terry Glenn was hurt. T.O. wasn't going to get all the balls. Crayton had to get some.

Well seven TDs and a league championship later people aren't laughing now. What? They are laughing? Why? Oh yeah. But it's for a whole 'nother reason entirely.

Crayton knows why.

IRVING, Texas - Every season of his career, he's gotten better.

Last year, he set personal-highs in receptions with 50, easily topping the 36 he caught the year before.

But as he enters Sunday's regular season as the Cowboys' No. 2 wide receiver, Patrick Crayton said he isn't focused on the half-hundred balls he caught in 2007, but rather on two specific incomplete passes from last year's playoff loss to the Giants.

Those two passes that weren't caught have driven Crayton all off-season.

"It's still eating at me," Crayton said of last year's loss. "I won't get a chance to get rid of that feeling . . . it will start in Cleveland. It will be a process until we get to our destination."

The destination is the Super Bowl, of course.

He ticked a lot of people off with his big mouth and for the most part he backed it up on the field. He talked so much he reminded me of this commercial. In the playoff game he missed some big plays and now he's hungry to shut the naysayers up.

No time like the present Crayton. I won't mind if you bark a lil' bit in the Dawg Pound ... after a score or two.

Awesome story about the Cowboys new chaplain. John Weber, the previous chaplain, died suddenly last year of a heart attack. The respect the guys have for the new and old chaplain is pretty obvious.

Lee Roy Jordan is one of the godfathers of Cowboy linebacking if not Don Corleone himself. He won over Bear Bryant and Tom Landry with his tenacity and that's no small feat.

Well he's a fan of Zach Thomas. Todd Archer spills the beans.

Since February, Thomas has settled into learning the defense and the team's history. At a luncheon two weeks ago, he talked with Lee Roy Jordan, who also wore No. 55 in a Ring of Honor career.

"He's my kind of guy," Jordan said. "Tough, hardworking football player that's been underestimated all of his career but is probably going to be a Hall of Fame player down the line."

Nuff said.

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