I'll lead off with this gem, with a hat tip to the Honorable Tom (Ryle, that is), who directed my attention in its direction...
An article originating in Washington, of all places, Kilgore notices a new wind coming from down Texas way:
The turnaround traces to several factors, starting with their offensive line. It is possible the Cowboys can run the ball better than any team in the NFL can do any one particular thing. The Cowboys, typically the last team to shun star power for a bland-yet-sage vision, drafted lineman in three of the past four first rounds...
...It’s hard to figure how the Cowboys have, in the span of one offseason, become a trustworthy team. Jones still stands on the sidelines and hovers over the franchise, always ready with a sound bite. They still play under the NFL’s largest microscope. But they also have relied on able, professional players and coaches who have allowed Romo to express his ample talent and toughness rather [than] managing nonsense.
BTB's Ol' Ballcoach offers up a handful plus one of observations from Thursday night's tllt. Here's one that coheres with what is quickly emerging as today's theme:
THIS TEAM IS DIFFERENT:
When the media keeps bringing up the Cowboys woes in December, remember this team does not have the same players as those other teams. Every year is different and no matter how much the talking heads try to paint the picture that the teams from the past somehow affect this year's team it is not a valid way to view it.
Our boy Neithan sifts through Pro Football Focus' passing stats and comes up with some interesting Cowboys-related stuff. Here are a couple that caught my eye (but check out the entire thing: lots of interesting numbers in this one):
Deep Pass Percentage: While Dez gets more deep ball targets in total, a higher percentage of Williams' targets come on the deep ball. 30.8% of all passes to Terrance Williams travel more than 20 yards, the 7th highest percentage for players who have received 50% or more of their team's deep targets. Dez in the slot: Dez Bryant has lined up in the slot on 15.7% of his routes. That's an increase from 2013, (11.5%), and a huge increase from 2012 (2%).
A couple of pieces from Todd Archer and Jon Machota, who seem to be the only DFW-area scribes to have gotten out of bed on Sunday...
Although Doug Free is not one of the three potential Pro Bowlers on the Cowboys O-line, is the unit's unquestioned leader, at least according to Travis Frederick:
"Doug brings the things to the table that we don’t have as a young group, which is experience, the game intelligence that you learn just through the years and really that kind of sense of leadership as well as far as kind of pointing us in the right direction," said center Travis Frederick, "He does a tremendous job at it, and we’re really glad to have him."
We learn that Marinelli's pet name for Mincey is "Oil Can," due to his advanced age. And that Mincey's recent performance (three sacks in the last six games), it's because "he's been to Jiffy Lube." That Coach Rod. What a cut up.
A catalog of the good and bad from the Cowboys special teams against Chicago. The good was very good; the bad? Well, it wasn't super bad, only kinda bad. But bad nonetheless...
After a thrilling weekend of football, nothing has changed for the Cowboys, even though they have drawn even with the Eagles. Here's the situation:
1. Arizona (10-3): NFC West Champion
2. Green Bay (9-3): NFC North Champion
3. Philadelphia (9-4): NFC East Champion
4. Atlanta (5-7): NFC South Champion
5. Seattle (9-4): Wildcard #1
6. Detroit (9-4): Wildcard #2
The Cowboys currently find themselves in the seventh slot. In the NFC East, they trail, based on Philadelphia's head-to-head win on Thanksgiving. In the three-way tie for the wildcard, Detroit and Seattle hold the two playoff spots based on conference winning percentage (Detroit and Seattle are both 7-2; Dallas is 6-4).
O.C.C. linked this one yesterday, but it bears revisiting, as KD walks us through every possible way the Cowboys make the playoffs - as long as they don't drop more than one of their remaining three games.
Wondering how KD came up with all the possible scenarios that will see the Cowboy in the playoffs? At a loss for who to root for when two top NFL teams face off? Hit the link above and tinker around with the various week-to-week possibilities to gain clarity and focus your playoff juju at the appropriate team as you watch December football.
And a quick spin around the division...
Ouch. And: insult, meet injury.
Colt McCoy suffered his injury on a blindside sack by Robert Quinn with 6:54 left in the 4th Quarter during the Redskins 2nd to last drive of the game.
The intro: "Jeff Fisher wants you to know that the Rams won the Robert Griffin III trade."
If the Seahawks' visit on Sunday offered a chance to measure the Eagles against the defending Super Bowl champions and coach Chip Kelly's offense against the NFL's top defense, then the loss became an indisputable indication that the Eagles are not yet in Seattle's class.
Guess who's atop the losers list?
Mark Sanchez: The veteran led the worst offensive performance of Chip Kelly's tenure thus far. He looked uncomfortable the entire game and missed wide-open receivers. He went 10-of-20 for 96 passing yards, two touchdowns and an interception. His pick was absolutely brutal because it was immediately after a fumble recovery by the defense and the Eagles seemed to be gaining momentum again.
You can argue over Sanchez and Foles until you're blue in the face, but the issue is that both of them offer essentially similar results. The team needs an upgrade at quarterback and truth be told, they've gone from being in a good spot with a young, cheap quarterback to being a winning team that needs a passer that they likely don't have the resources to obtain.
Larson's article provides at least a partial template for the Cowboys if they are to beat the Eagles next week:
Seattle's defense stepped up once again, holding the Eagles to just 14 points and 139 yards of offense. That's the lowest total offense for a Chip Kelly offense in his career, college included. Coming into today, Philadelphia led the league with 73 plays per game. Against the Seahawks, the Eagles managed just 45 plays compared to Seattle's 85 plays. Philadelphia struggled all day on third down, converting just two of their 11 third down attempts.
His word, not mine...