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FISH on FOOTBALL: A Cowboys Top 10, Defending Flozell And Rank The Rankings


A FISH on FOOTBALL notebook, top-10-style, in which I: Defend Flozell, celebrate the two-headed kicker, pick some low-hanging fruit, explain Dandy Don Meredith and boil down the importance of where "they'' rank Tony Romo and the Cowboys:


1. IN DEFENSE OF FLOZELL ADAMS: Let me say this respectfully to fans and media, OK? Say what you will about Flozell Adams and his "Three Stooges''-style leg extension against Justin Tuck. (Tuck is certainly saying what he will, and the league had it's $12,500-fine say against Flo, too.) But if the choice is to

a) allow Tuck to bury my quarterback


b) shove my leg into his ankle, into his face and into his mama's face?

Watch out for my leg, Mama Tuck.

Really, Giants: You want me to take an action that causes MY quarterback to bust up a shoulder? Or you expect me to take an action that causes YOUR guy to bust up a shoulder?

Is this really a debate?

And I'm telling you, anybody who doesn't see this is either a Cowboys hater, Tuck himself or some writer/fan who never in his life has played on the offensive line and been beaten by the man across from him.

2. DALLAS DOMINATES THE DRAFT!: Raise your hand if you knew all along that the prize of the Cowboys' 2007 draft would be a kicker. Heck, raise the other hand if you knew all along that a prize of the Cowboys' 2009 draft would be ANOTHER kicker!

3. NUMBER 33 IS THE LONELIEST NUMBER: The number 33 is going down in history as something other than Tony Dorsett's uniform digits. It was 33 points against in the last game at Texas Stadium and it's 33 points against in the first game at Cowboys Stadium.

And with that, we turn the page. I'm going to resist the temptation to reflect too much on those 33 points and those 33 points and hope that with some positive voodoo, Dallas scores 33 itself against Carolina.

4. YOU'VE COME A LONG WAY, JONESES: I remember when Jerry Jones was first named to the NFL Competition Committee. He took it as a sign of league-wide acceptance (finally!) and he cherished the position.

And at the time, really, it was Cinderella being invited to the royal ball. (Of course, once Jerry got admitted to the dance, the NFL was chagrined to learn that he'd contracted with Nike to sponsor his glass slipper ...)

Congrats, then to Stephen Jones, named to that same committee this week and a very worthy heir. It wasn't that long ago that Stephen was sitting at the feet of the late Bob Ackles, learning the ins and outs of football management. ... it wasn't that long ago, either, when many powerbrokers in the NFL saw the Joneses as interlopers ... Jerry - and now Jerry's oldest offspring - has come a long way, baby.

5. T-NEW VS. THE STEVE SMITH: I'm a bit bothered by Wade's admission that Dallas' attempts to use man coverage in the secondary against the Giants was a failed bit that will probably be changed for the Panthers game. Flexibility is good. But isn't the viability of such a plan something we should know well before Game 2? I'd feel much more confident if I knew that they knew, you know?

Having said that: Terence Newman vs. Steve Smith is a familiar duel, one worth keeping a camera on, and one that I think T-New can strap it on for and go win.

6. THE NFL'S ‘GRANNY SHOT': Eli Manning has joined brother Peyton, Tom Brady and Brett Favre as the four best post-handoff-go-into-throwing-motion fakers in the game. The move looks cartoonish on TV -- but that's only because WE know they don't have the ball. Defenders do not have our same visual perspective. It's a heck of a trick and one that more QBs should employ. Why don't they? I think some of them are aware of the cartoonishness. So, like a poor NBA free-thrower who refuses to try the underhanded ("granny'') shot, they miss out on some effectiveness while retaining their "coolness.''

7. LOW-HANGING FRUIT: I continue to view the "low-hanging'' JerryTron as a non-issue. I heard a skillion people on Sunday say that a punt "almost'' hit the overhead TV -- "almost'' meaning, "came within 10 feet of it.'' But "almost'' is immaterial. It'll matter when it actually gets clonked. And oh, it might get clonked a few times this year. But given all the logistics involved - including geometry and the downside to having to re-kick - I'm not holding my breath.

The Cowboys have removed the Mitsubishi ads that extended below the board and will step them up top, thus further lessening the likelihood. So when will a punt again collide with the JerryTron for sure? Next preseason. When some knuckleheaded rookie who isn't going to make his team needs some attention ... and so he hits it ... on purpose.

8. THE TIME IS NOW: I've often said that a Cowboys front office flaw is that management is far too patient in waiting for players to come along. When would be a good time for some of these kids to reward grandfatherly Jerry and avuncular Wade for their patience?

How about right now?

9. WHERE WAS DANDY DON?: The Ring of Honor ceremony last week was wonderful, but missing a guy. Don Meredith failed to show, and while he often skips Cowboys-related events due to the fact he cherishes his privacy, nowadays the reason he doesn't make it from New Mexico to Dallas is his ill health.

10. WRINGING AND GNASHING: I think wringing our hands and gnashing our teeth over where some national sportswriter "ranks the Cowboys'' or where somebody "ranks Romo among QBs'' is a terrible waste of time (not to mention a waste of hands and teeth).

The team ranking would matter ... if this was college football.

 The QB ranking would matter ... if this was Fantasy Football.

Right now, Tony Romo and the Cowboys don't need to "rank above'' Jake Delhomme and the Panthers. They need to BEAT Jake Delhomme and the Panthers.

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