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FISH on FOOTBALL: A Cowboys Buffet With a Side of What's Jerry Thinking?

FISH on FOOTBALL Cowboys notes package: Talking receivers, familiar foes from Atlanta, foot and head a What's Jerry Thinking? segment.



It is written by ESPN: Based on production, one could make the case that Miles Austin (15 catches, 331 yards, three touchdowns) and Patrick Crayton (15 catches, 243 yards, one touchdown) should be the starters with Roy Williams (11 catches, 214 yards, one touchdown) relegated to the third receiver role. Two points here: One, I'm comfortable starting Roy Williams not because of what I gave up to acquire him but because I think he's a better player than Patrick Crayton. And two, "based on production''? We're five games into the season and these three jokers each have two or three catches per game and somebody dares consider this "production''?

Almost 20 years now and I still haven't figured out Jerry's motivation here. "We had a significant offer for a key player that we turned down, and turned down in getting in more extended dialogue for," Jones said of the uneventful passing of Wednesday's NFL trade deadline. "So we did have that kind of activity ... but I shouldn't name the player or the team. It was a very firm, significant offer for one of our young players that we had a chance for a lot of consideration if we had wanted to take it, and we didn't." OK, but ... why didn't you take it? What was it? If we're not to know those details, why even discuss it? The cynic might suggest that Jerry talks like this - and has always talked like this - because it makes him sound like the powerbroker that he is. But we already know he is a powerbroker, so. ... Heck, I'll never figure this one out.

Where's your head, foot and emotions:

1. Where's your emotions? They are positioned at inside linebacker, where Keith Brooking (along with Jay Ratliff) has been Dallas' best defender ... and will this week be opposing the Falcons team he grew up watching and then played a dozen years for. New return man Allen Rossum played five seasons in Atlanta, and Wade used to coach there. But Brooking is the guy to harness up in this department.

2. Where's your foot? Well, it's got a fracture in it. It's D-Ware's foot, and nobody is being very specific about this "minor'' injury (he'll play with it Sunday) ... but depending on how long it's been bothering him, we might have an explanation for his subpar play.

3. Where's your head? Man, if I was the coach, and Crayton came to me and said, "Why didn't you inform me that you've benched me?,'' I would've replied, "Son, you just basically told me that you haven't studied film of the KC game.'' And I'd shove him in front of a projector.

Historically speaking: We've all probably observed that a good coaching staff becomes even better when given extra time to prepare, such as in cases like the bye week. That's been the case in Dallas. The Cowboys' record following the bye week to 15-5 and is 6-1 when following the bye with a home game. Which of course begs the question: Is this a good coaching staff?

Back-to-back wins?: Prepare to be stunned by the realization that if the Cowboys top Atlanta this weekend, the Cowboys will have won consecutive games for the first time since Weeks 12 and 13 last year. I mean, I know we knew that ... but it's still a stunner to me.

The South shall rise ... someday: Everything is supposed to even out, right? It's a long season, so the calls even out, the opponents even out, the home-and-road thing evens out. ... But there is no debating that during this NFL cycle, getting to oppose the NFC South is an advantage of imbalance. The Cowboys already have wins against South have-nots Carolina and Tampa, and if they get another one against Atlanta (not that these Falcons are have-nots), Dallas will move to 49-22 all-time against teams from that division.

First downs vs. third downs: So far this year, the Cowboys are gaining 7.06 yards per play. That's outstanding, and good for second in the NFL. But when the situation tightens up, so does the Dallas productivity. When that same offense moves from first down into third down, it drops from second on the NFL to 18th in the NFL. And when that same offense moves inside the 20, the Cowboys slip to 20th in the NFL.

You want ‘tough'?: So one minute, writers (and some fans, and maybe some players) want Wade Phillips to be more ruthless, to be tougher, to quit being so avuncular. Then he benches Patrick Crayton without giving Patrick a hug, bouncing him on his knee, or telling him a bedtime story. Isn't that exactly the "ruthless toughness'' we were asking for just 60 seconds ago?