Let's start off with the latest in one of the best series of articles about the Cowboys anywhere in the known universe. This usually gets saved for later in the news post, but it really is about the crux of the whole matter for Dallas.
Yesterday was one of those games that was certainly affected by the pre game news that Tony Romo was not going to be able to take his normal spot. We must assume that his situation is such that it requires rest and time for a full recovery that will allow him to hopefully be present all the way into January. Part of that is "big picture" thinking that is so difficult this time of year, but if you panic too much and force him onto your urgency timetable, you might risk further issues. That is why I would not be a big proponent of rushing him back onto the field in 7 days time in London, but I realize after yesterday's performance from his old understudy, that will be a tough case to make to any reader, player, or certainly Cowboys' official.
That is the decision we are going to be watching and waiting on this week. Does Romo play or not? It is now obvious that Brandon Weeden was not the answer yesterday, and you have to wonder if he ever could be, or if his bad habits just take over when he is on the field.
Our old brother-in-fandom KD Drummond looks at some players who stood out one way or another, and has one name and one name only for the Ugly section.
This category is unequivocally reserved for one player, quarterback Brandon Weeden. First, let's make sure we are all aware Weeden did have times in the preseason where he looked more than capable of captaining the ship should Romo miss limited time. Next, let's remember that Dallas signed Weeden to a deal that costs the team less than the veteran minimum, and he was more of insurance as a camp arm that surprised over the summer and moved into the number two role when the club got Orton'd.
With all that being said, Weeden was Jake-from-State-Farm hideous on Sunday. Questioning his accuracy would mean that you consider his aim as something related to what that word means. He would stare down primary targets, sometimes from the moment the huddle broke.
I'm not including all these totally negative reviews of Weeden just to slam him, but to point out that all of the guys with the best reputations for analyzing what happened in the game are in total, complete, and rather disgusted agreement on this.
I don't believe you can put this on Arizona and the pressure they create because they only blitzed him thirteen times, with six of those taking place in the fourth quarter. The line, tight ends and backs gave him enough time to make throws but he just couldn't get it done and that is on him.
So the team is definitely taking Romo and everyone else to London. It is not quite a win-or-the-season-is-over situation for the team, but there is no doubt that the staff is taking the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars very, very seriously. They will have everyone present to figure out who can and cannot go for the game.
Jason Garrett announced at his press conference today that the Cowboys are taking all of their roster over to London including Romo, Tyrone Crawford, and Doug Free. Even the suspended Josh Brent will go and workout with the team.
Nothing has been decided, but it is pretty clear that everyone is hoping Romo is able to play.
"We'll just take him day by day," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "We'll see. He's certainly on a normal timetable for people who have had this injury. It comes to the second game about whether or not they're able to play. So hopefully he makes progress in the next couple of days."
When asked Sunday how he felt, Romo dodged the question.
"We'll get to London and get ready to play against Jacksonville," he responded.
Jerry Jones, at least, is making no bones about who he hopes will line up as the starting quarterback against the Jaguars.
Owner Jerry Jones has a solution. He'll bump his wife, Gene, back to coach and give Romo her seat.
"Some of those seats really make out into a nice cot, bed-type configuration,'' Jones said. "He will get one of those. Gene will sit up in the bulkhead. Romo will lounge on the way over.
You know, Jerry, given some things that have floated around the internet this year, you really ought to be nicer to Gene.
Given how few yards Arizona was giving up going into the game, Dallas actually had decent success against a defense that was able to completely sell out to stop the run, since they didn't have to do much at all about the pass.
Noting that the Cardinals continually stacked the line of scrimmage to stop Murray and dare Brandon Weeden to pass on them, Murray said the Cowboys actually did pretty well running the ball, considering the Cardinals' defensive alignment.
There were some positive things that happened in the loss to the Cardinals. It's just hard to remember them amongst all the dreck that permeated Dallas' performance.
The Cowboys signed Henry Melton in the hope he would give them a better pass rush. After a slow start as he was still recovering from knee surgery, he is providing just that - but he would much rather see the team win than add to his own stat total.
Melton had 1.5 sacks in the loss, upping his team-leading total to five on the season. It was his second straight multi-sack game with the Cowboys. He had two sacks in last week's loss to the Washington Redskins.
"It's coming a little bit more naturally," Melton said of his play. "I'm getting kind of in a groove."
Things got off to a good start when Tyler Patmon returned his first regular season pick-six. It was not enough, of course, but it offers some hope for the future of the secondary.
"It was great man," said Patmon after the game. "I was telling a couple of guys on the sideline, it was almost like it wasn't real when I was running the ball."
You watch that play, and you wonder why he is not on the field more. This will just make the question bigger.
In 23 snaps this yr, Tyler Patmon has 7 tackles, an INT return for a TD, a QB hurry & has allowed just 2 catches for 8 yds. @Lion_Hearted_33— Jordan Ross (@TheJordanRoss) November 3, 2014
This isn't really a positive, but it does remind us just what a complete team player Jason Witten is.
Jason Witten had two tackles in Sunday's loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
That was the same amount of tackles as defensive regulars Orlando Scandrick, Henry Melton and George Selvie on the official stat sheet. That was one more than starters Tyrone Crawford and Jeremy Mincey.
After things completely stalled on a new contract for the star wide receiver last summer, it looked like nothing would happen on that front until after the season was over. But after Bryant fired his old agent and signed on with Jay Z's Roc Nation, that is no longer the case. Negotiations are expected to heat up, especially during the bye week, even though Bryant says that getting a new deal done was not his true reason for making the change in representation.
However, Bryant said that marketing was his primary motivation in joining Roc Nation, not the negotiations for his next NFL contract. Bryant, whose most prominent endorsement deal is with the Jordan brand, said he felt a personal connection with Jay Z and believes the famous rapper and entrepreneur can help him extend his marketing reach.
The executive vice president, and the man who is probably the real cap/dollar manager for the team, made it clear that they don't object to paying Bryant, as long as they can get the money to fit the constraints the team has.
"All we look at is the player and what we can do for that particular player in terms of our resources that we have," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. "At the end of the day, we're going to spend every last penny we have trying to put a championship team together. It's not that we're trying to save money so we can put it in our pocket.
"Our goal and what we have to do as ownership and management is decide the best way to divide up the pie. At the end of the day, everybody is going to get all of the pie, so it's not that we're deciding to not pay Tony [Romo], not pay Dez, not pay DeMarco [Murray] so we can keep it. We just got to talk them into playing for the money that we feel like is fair so that we can have other good football players."
I know I am prejudiced, but I like that he can say "It's not that we're trying to save money so we can put it in our pocket." That is hardly a universal approach in the NFL.