Just a quick observation before we get into the business at hand: These news summaries are so much more fun after a nice, solid Dallas Cowboys win.
Consider this the featured link of the day. First, it starts with a quote I saw yesterday, and then could not find again.
"When you can run the ball in pass looks, that's a good thing. When you can run the ball against run looks, that's a better thing. And when you can run the ball against really, hard, difficult run looks by the defense, that's really good for your team and we were able to do that yesterday." - Jason Garrett, Monday, after the Cowboys ran the ball 43 times for 220 yards.
The rest of the post goes on to look into how Scott Linehan called the offense for Dallas (very dang well, thank you). He also looks again at the touchdown pass to Dez Bryant from the 3-yard line, and explains why that call was correct, while the pass from the 2 against the San Francisco 49ers was not.
You can find all sorts of articles online about what a QB must do pre snap at any level of playing the position, and surely, it must be declared that I have never taken a snap. But, this is rather basic just to be able to count. One of the first things you do is find the Mike. Then, you identify where the safeties are. This helps you see if they are in a run front or a pass front.
It is math. They only have 11. So, if you count the box and it is a high number, you realize they don't have many troops to stop the run. Or, the opposite is true. So why was the right decision made Sunday and the wrong decision made the week before?
He provides pictures to show how Romo got it right against the Titans, but misread the defense the week before. Very cool stuff.
So far, Dallas has done better than the rest of the division. So far.
We talked about Philly's Evan Mathis being lost until Week 9 with an MCL sprain. That was apparently just the beginning, as New York and Washington both lost players for substantial stretches of time on Sunday.
The biggest name is easily Robert Griffin III, who suffered a nasty-looking ankle injury early in Washington's win against Jacksonville. Griffin needed an air cast and was carted off the field in the first quarter, which led many to expect the worst.
Of course, it is still an open question about whether Washington is worse off with Kirk Cousins at quarterback.
While the team may have gotten through the first two games with little damage, you know the Cowboys cannot totally avoid bad luck.
Coleman didn't get injured during Sunday's 26-10 victory in Tennessee. He strained his left calf muscle while doing squats in the weight room on Monday.
He is on crutches, and will no doubt be considered - wait for it - day-to-day.
Meanwhile, the early success of the Cowboys' running game seems to be tied to keeping DeMarco Murray healthy.
"We feel like DeMarco is a durable football player who can take the pounding of being the primary running back for the Cowboys, so we're going to give him opportunities to do that," coach Jason Garrett said. "We like the other guys. If we ever get to a point where we feel like we're wearing them down, we say, 'OK, let's play the other guys a little bit more.' But we don't feel like we're to that point by any means."
That may be a risky assumption, considering that he has not had a complete season yet, missing games each year. However, the running game seems to be based as much on the offensive line as the talent of the backs, so we will just have to see how it all works out.
The headline make the position set forth in this article clear. It certainly flies in the face of the conventional wisdom we have heard for, like, ever. I don't know if the assumptions here are valid, but at least it makes you think. Can the Cowboys keep winning with a less than fully effective quarterback?
Romo is another matter. Rarely has so much consternation been expressed over a player who recorded a quarterback rating of 93.5 in a road win.
A consensus has emerged that the Cowboys quarterback doesn't have the same zip on his passes.
Jerry Jones chimed in with his two cents worth (he can certainly afford the cost) on what is causing some of the weak looking throws from Romo. When his feet aren't right, neither is the throw. When they are, things are better.
"When he's in good shape with his feet and can step into it, we saw it, and we know he can do it, because it was late in the game and he made the plays with those crisp throws. He can do that," he said.
Before you write this off as standard Jerryspeak, take a look at this, from BTB Podcast co-host Landon McCool:
I don’t think this is proper throwing technique… pic.twitter.com/j3vKz3iGp2— RoLandon McCoolain (@McCoolBTB) September 16, 2014
Jerry might be onto something.
As excited as most of us are about the success the Cowboys have had running the ball, that is not the best way to approach all games. While the upcoming contest against the St. Louis Rams may also lend itself to that approach, there will be teams later that will require more from the passing game.
"If you decide that, ‘This is the way we want to play,' it's hard to guarantee you're going to be able to do that week in and week out," Garrett said. "So you try to be balanced enough on offense to be able to play the way you need to play to win the ballgame and certainly you want to have the success that we had on defense, a lot of different situations that allowed to get us off the field and do the things that we did throughout that game. It's certainly a good formula, [but] hard to guarantee it every week."
"We've been an explosive pass offense for a long time," coach Jason Garrett said. "That's not something that concerns us terribly."
The Cowboys have been an explosive pass offense for a long time. Is that in the past tense with Romo at quarterback?
While Romo's performance so far this season leaves a lot of questions yet to be answered, it is still a good thing that the team can win without him having to play his best.
"The way that we (used) Romo the other day fits me just fine and fits him just fine," Cowboys owner/GMJerry Jones tells 105.3 The Fan. "It's called ‘winning,' and that's what we're here for."
Romo is in possession of a $108 million contract extension (and $55 million "real" dollars in guarantees) to, when necessary, do much more than compete 19 of 27 passes for 176 yards, as was the case in Nashville.
But in Week 2? It wasn't necessary. So why not savor that?
The title largely sums things up. And reinforces that Romo does not have to play at all-world levels for this edition of the Cowboys to win some games.
You can follow this link to vote for Murray as the top runner of the week.
It can give you headaches to decode what Jerry says into regular English, but I think he is trying to make a decent point here.
"I'm aware that we're the most visible thing there is on television, and television is such a dominant part of our life. All of these issues, from bullying to drinking and driving, all of these things are in the consciousness of our country, and if you're the real leader and significant then you are going to be critiqued. And I think what we're doing is being critiqued, so we have to understand our responsibility here and what we need to do."
Another good post for trying your Jerryspeak skills.
"Rolando made it real clear that he wanted to be part of a team. He wanted to do his part. He wanted his teammates to count on him. But he didn't necessarily want to be viewed as the guy to come in here and play at a Superman [level] - well, I don't mean that. He wants to play at that level but he didn't want to be viewed as that's what's expected of him on every play. That's the role that he had."
I think he is saying that Rolando McClain did not want to have to be the guy carrying the defense. For some reason, the fact other players are providing the leadership seems to have taken some of the weight off him that he felt at his previous NFL stops. And so far, it is working out extremely well.
He seems to have found his joy in football again, telling his teammates that they have made the game fun for him again. Not that it is all peace and light with him.
McClain doesn't say much, but with the way he's playing, he doesn't have to for his fellow defenders to be glad to have him around.
"He's not much of a talker, now," said
Jeremy Mincey. "I just tell the opposing team, ‘Don't piss him off.' He's tough."
Pick 256 is a season-long contest in which BTB members and readers get to pick the straight-up winners for all games each week. If you haven't yet submitted your picks, now would be a good time, here's the link to the entry form.
As of 4:00 am this morning, we've logged about 149 entries, 146 of which have picked the Cowboys for the win on Sunday. You can review the full Week 2 standings and the season leaderboard of our Pick 256 challenge in this fanpost by BTB-member Hookerhome.