Before I get into my weekly roundup of Dallas Cowboys news to set the table for the game, I want to take a moment to offer a very special bit of thanks. I'm sure I also speak for the rest of the front-page writers when I say that I am always so very thankful for all of you who read our work here at Blogging The Boys. We do this for the joy of writing and our love of the team, but if it weren't for all the readers who come here, there would be no point. You are what this is really all about, and I am grateful for every one of you who takes a few moments to come here and see what we have to say about America's Team. It has been a blast so far, and I am looking forward to a lot more to come.
OK, enough of the mushy stuff. The Washington Redskins are in town, there is a game to play, and there is a lot of stuff out there about the teams and the game.
The weather is looking beautiful, the kind of gorgeous late fall day we are blessed with in North and East Texas. Word is that the roof is going to be open, so for those of you lucky enough to get to Cowboys Stadium, enjoy!
The NFL sometimes is all about quarterbacks. But both Robert Griffin III and Tony Romo took the same approach when asked about their "showdown".
"I'm never going to have to throw the ball against him and he's not going to be throwing the ball against me at all," Romo said. "It's about their defense."
If you could only ask one Dallas player questions, there is probably no one who would be a better choice than Jason Witten. Just wanted to say that. He shared some thoughts on the development of Dez Bryant, who is starting to look like a key player if the Cowboys hope to make something out of this season.
"I thought really that second half, taking the underneath throws and being right there where he's supposed to be and catching and getting the yards he can get, that was a big step," Witten said. "I think he's played really well these last few weeks and matured and handled that and really embraced that."
He is ready to play his part.
Can the Cowboys trust him enough to ride him over the final six games of the regular season?
"Yeah, I feel like they can,'' Bryant said.
Does he want the Cowboys to ride him?
"That's what I want,'' he said simply.
The more Stephen Jones talks, the more I hope his responsibilities with the team increase. Here's what he said about any input he and his father might have had at the halftime of the Browns game.
"We're just quiet. They're obviously very busy. They're trying to get a lot done. They are trying to make a lot of adjustments and all it is from Jerry's standpoint, my standpoint, is just to observe."
The title is a little misleading. It refers to Dan Bailey winning the award this week after Dwayne Harris received it for his punt return for a touchdown against the Eagles.
Bailey's 32-yard field goal with just two seconds left in regulation tied the game 20-20 and sent it to overtime. He then won the game with a 38-yard field goal with 6:07 left in overtime to give the Cowboys their second straight win. Bailey also made a 44-yard field goal in the third quarter to cut into Cleveland's 13-0 halftime lead.
Might as well face it. Bob is good.
He is already one of the most electrifying and popular players in the NFL and he is more than living up to his reputation. He came into a division with three very accomplished quarterbacks, but Griffin has more total touchdowns than
Tony Romo, Michael Vick or Eli Manning and he has far less interceptions than any of three.
The kids got to go to Valley Ranch and meed Demarcus Ware as part of the NFL's Play 60 program.
But their excitement went up another level when Ware came back from the presentation, wheeling a cart full of X-box consoles, turning the smiles into a joyous group of kids who were guaranteed a great holiday season on the spot.
Obviously, he has a different idea for what he want to give Bob Griffin.
"I think about what can I do to affect the quarterback in this game coming up. We're going to have to get some pressure on [Robert Griffin III] to win this game."
Rob talks about his plans to handle Bob.
Ryan said speeding the game up for Griffin and playing a smash-mouth style against an offensive attack that features a variety of collegiate-style plays and formations will be critical. Griffin's ability to run the option and elude tacklers can make life tough on an unprepared defense, especially one that likes to blitz.
He certainly isn't shy.
Considering the injury-related challenges, has this been Ryan's best coaching job of his NFL career?
"It's pretty damn good, so I don't know," Ryan said. "I've been good a long time. We have great players here. The scouting department does a great job of bringing these guys in ... This isn't a one-man show."
Bryan Broaddus is on my list of most-respected writers concerning the Cowboys. Usually extremely insightful and knowledgeable. But I worry he may have gotten started on his holiday imbibing a bit early.
Bryan: My gut feeling this week against the Redskins will go against everything that a Cowboys fan would believe going into this matchup. Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan will get an outstanding performance from this offensive line on Thursday. There I said it, now they have to go out and prove me right.
There is also this, which may be a bit of a blessing in disguise.
Kevin Ogletree is one of three players who will not play Thursday against Washington.
Time for Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley to step up.
This is just bad news.
"I'm not sure Ratliff's going to play," Ryan said, "but we'll see."
Jason Garrett takes a predictably big-picture view of things.
The bottom line, said coach Jason Garrett, is pressuring opposing passers. And he is satisfied that the Cowboys (5-5) are doing that well enough to impact those quarterbacks' performances. Dallas ranks sixth among NFL teams in pass defense, fourth in the NFC.
This says a lot about the value of depth in the NFL.
Ten months ago, no one would have predicted that either Bruce Carter or Alfred Morris could influence the outcome of an NFL game this season.
Better than I would have thought, at least in this view. Here's hoping some things continue.
Griffin III and Washington, which has also never won inside Cowboys Stadium, will defy history if they win Thursday.
It seems likely based on most reports. But it may not be so bad.
Parnell's performance wasn't great. But it also wasn't awful either. In fact, he fared better than Doug Free, the Cowboys' seasoned right tackle who yielded three sacks.
That's it for this time.