The Cowboys made some roster moves today. Let's start there...
After working out veteran receivers Nick Toon, Hakeem Nicks, Clyde Gates and Austin Pettis on Tuesday morning, Helman reports, the Cowboys opted to acquire third-year Brice Butler from the Raiders. Here's some basics on the new wideout:
At 6-3, 213 pounds, Butler could account for some of the size the Cowboys lost when Bryant was injured. The Raiders made him inactive for their Week 1 loss to Cincinnati, but he appeared in 15 games for Oakland last year and recorded 21 catches for 280 yards and two touchdowns.
The Broad One goes to the film room to watch tape on the newest Cowboys, and files a report. Here's a segment for your appraisal:
He's got some versatility the Cowboys' coaches will value, as the tape shows him having experience to both line up at the "X" -- Dez Bryant's primary position -- as well as in the slot. For a tall guy, he’s got a knack for making tacklers miss in space. He has talent to be more than just a flash player, but I would like to see him be more consistent with the opportunities that he gets.
Archer with the OL reshuffling news: for the second time in as many days the Cowboys released a backup offensive tackle. After jettisoning Jordan Mills on Monday, they waived Darrion Weems Tuesday in favor of Charles Brown.
By far the dominant narrative on Tuesday was this: how will the Cowboys replace Dez Bryant?
The conventional thinking is that defenses will feast on a Dez Bryant-less Cowboys offense. Gavin Escobar isn't so sure about all that:
"I think they will be more confused because they don't what we're going to do right now," he said. "Dez is definitely a big game plan guy...So I think it's almost to our advantage."
Toddzilla's weekly five wonders column, with this one coming in at number three:
I’ve wondered before about making Gavin Escobar more of a receiver than tight end. We saw James Hanna return to his role as the second tight end with Jason Witten after missing three preseason games with a knee injury and Escobar play nine snaps. Yes, he caught a touchdown but he played nine snaps. He is not an on-the-line tight end. He can be factor in the passing game down the seams and in the red zone. He has a great catch radius. He doesn’t possess great speed, but he’s fast enough to present problems. If you’re looking for a guy to take up some of the slack for Bryant, Escobar can be in that mix.
In a Tuesday NFL roundup featuring reports from all 32 of ESPN's beat reporters, Archer writes about the Cowboys replacing Dez Bryant's production:
Hours after Dez Bryant had surgery on his broken right foot, the Cowboys will begin Tuesday picking up the pieces for how to replace their Pro Bowl receiver. The process will be a little like their running game, going with a committee approach. Terrance Williams will slide into the No. 1 receiver role but Jason Garrett said Cole Beasley, Devin Street, Gavin Escobar and all of running backs will be counted on to do more with Bryant out.
It's back! Sturm's weekly breakdown of the Cowboys offense receives its 2015 debut. And, he finished strong. Really strong:
436 total yards is considered a fantastic offensive day in the NFL. For reference, 360 is about normal, anything above 400 has to go in the "successful day" column. But, going back to the yards per play (in that box near the top) of 6.4, and 7.9 yards per passing attempt, and 7 - yes, 7 drives of 40 or more yards tells us that the offense had very little problems being productive on Sunday Night.
They just have to take care of the football. And if they do, they will be in every single game. And yes, that goes for games without Dez Bryant. There are too many weapons for this group not to excel with the amount of pass protection and run blocking they have at their disposal helping Tony Romo do his job.
Some folks think rookie DE Randy Gregory will be harder to replace than Dez...
Sully Bald Head pens his weekly column for The Mothership, and makes the argument that the injury to Dez is not the most damaging of Sunday's personnel losses:
For me, the biggest injury the Cowboys suffered against the Giants was rookie defensive end Randy Gregory. What this team needs most to reach that next level, that elite top-tier level, is a pass rush. And with Greg Hardy out for another three games, the rookie second-round pick was supposed to be the team’s most explosive player on the edge. And he was before his injury against the Giants.
Watching the game a second time, Gregory was in the backfield a bunch, and while he wasn’t credited with a tackle, he tallied three hurries and a hit on Eli Manning.
Let the healing commence!
Fish offers one reason why the timetable for Dez' recovery is so uncertain: multiple inputs:
Dez desires a four-week wait. The Cowboys are saying six weeks (optimistically), and Jones’ comments above reflect that thinking. There is a medical history regarding the repair of the fifth metatarsal (the bone that extends along the outside of the foot to the pinkie toe) that suggests an even longer wait, and a serious danger of coming back too soon.
Jones the Elder hopes that Gregory's youth can accelerate the healing process:
"To be playing at the level and to be the player he is, he's exceptionally young, so that's got a lot going for it in this particular case," Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan's New School show [KRLD-FM]. "Those high ankle sprains just need a certain amount of time. Everybody's different. We're hopeful that his will be a quicker healing ankle sprain or he'll be able to operate on it sooner than later. He'll certainly be out this week."
Fingers crossed, right Jerry?
Of course, people are still writing about the Cowboys' epic comeback on Sunday night, and the man who led it.
Five salient observations from the game against the Giants, by my boy Danny P.
Barnwell, a Giants fan, begins his week one review with "O Coughlin, my Coughlin" and picks up steam from there. To wit:
Maybe it was because the near-victory felt totally unearned (in the way that many great New York wins from this era have felt) before being given away; it was as if the Giants had found the keys to the car, snuck out the window after curfew, and gotten the car started without waking the parents up, only to forget one key element before subsequently driving through the garage door.
The Estimable Ryle serves up a reminder: enjoy the win, but focus on what made it a lucky one:
The Cowboys were very sloppy in their play at times, as evidenced by the three turnovers that came so close to handing the Giants a win. There was also a nearly fatal letdown in run defense late in the game where it looked like Dallas players were pressing too hard to get a stop and overrunning plays. And Dallas left points on the board by bogging down in the red zone early in the game. These have to be cleared up.
Q&A with The Babe. Here's his title-inducing answer to a question about what impressed him most about the win:
If you just put the tape on with no sound or score for a football person, no one would have known by Romo's demeanor whether that was the first or last drive of the game. Whether he was ahead or behind. Never panicked or forced the issue. I know this will be blasphemous to the national media, but I am not sure there is anyone outside of Aaron Rodgers I would rather have as my quarterback in that situation.
Archer finds Garrett waxing Belichickean:
"Often times in situations at the end of games guys get out of whack and they try to do everybody’s job, ‘I’m going to make the play.’ And you really just need to focus on doing your job. You’ve got to be 1/11th of the offense, 1/11th of the defense, 1/11th of the special teams unit that you’re on. The number of times my dad has told me as a quarterback, ‘You’re 1/11th of the offense, do your job, trust that everybody else is going to do their job.’ I was about 6 years old when I first heard it.
Do. Your. Job
The Cowboys' defense continues to get its share of press after a solid effort on Sunday...
On Sunday night, Taylor reminds us, the Cowboys' defensive backs did yeoman's work defending the Giants big-play receiving threat. Here's the breakdown:
Beckham caught two passes for eight yards against Carr and one pass for 16 yards against Patmon when he was lined up in the slot.
He caught one pass each against Wilcox and rookie Byron Jones.
...Beckham’s 44 yards receiving was his lowest output since a four-catch, 34-yard performance against the Cowboys in Week 7 last year.
The Noble Drummond makes a good point about the Cowboys' run defense on Sunday night:
The club entered the game with only 7 defensive linemen, and were down to six in the fourth quarter. Their run defense faltered at that point, after only allowing 27 yards on the ground to running backs. Attrition and lack of early-season conditioning should be addressed moving forward.
I'd bet they dress more than seven D-linemen on Sunday, given the Eagles' uptempo scheme...
In case you haven't been paying attention, it's Eagles week. Let the stories begin...
The Goose doesn't write anything too original here, but what he does offer is guaranteed to make you smile:
The Eagles spent $53.5 million in free agency last offseason on running backs, luring starting running backs Murray away from the Cowboys and Ryan Mathews away from the San Diego Chargers. Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly wanted fresh, productive legs for his fast-paced offense and was willing to guarantee $26.5 million for Murray and Mathews to supply them.
But they combined for only 13 yards on 11 carries in their Philadelphia debut.
That seems cap-friendly...
Jason Garrett, Eatman reports, has placed a simple mannequin in the Cowboys locker room, in an effort to remind him of his "nameless, faceless opponent" mantra:
he clearly wants his Cowboys team to focus on themselves Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia. Yes, the Eagles have familiar faces in DeMarco Murray and even Miles Austin. But looking beyond the former teammates is what Garrett is seeking from his team...
In a piece on Murray's return, the nameless, faceless opponent meme again rears its pointy head, courtesy of left guard Ron Leary:
"It was a special year last year, but last year is last year," said left guard Ronald Leary. "We got a lot of respect for DeMarco but you see him -- he’s putting that green jersey on now. I mean he’s on the other side of the fence now so it’s just about the Cowboys right now."
Apparently, Leary has been looking forward to the week two contest in The City of Brotherly Shove:
"That's the goal," Leary asserted. "I have been looking forward to this game for a long time, so I'd hate to miss it... I am going to do all of the treatment [the Cowboys' athletic trainers] tell me to do and see how it feels."
You don't suppose his eagerness has anything to do with this whole "Is it Murray or the O-line?" controversy, do you?
The Goose's Power rankings. Where's Dallas, you ask?
4. Dallas. With a win comes a loss, two big losses, in fact. Pro Bowl WR Dez Bryant and rookie pass rusher Randy Gregory will both miss at least the next month with injuries for the 1-0 Cowboys.
In case you are wondering, Philadelphia is #18, the Giants are 23rd, and Washington comes in at #28.
And, finally, for your enjoyment, and NFC East rivals three-fer, courtesy of Deadspin:
Here's Ley on the Iggles' big-money offseason addition:
The Eagles threw a decent amount of money at Byron Maxwell this offseason, signing the former Seahawks cornerback to a $63 million contract with $22 million guaranteed. The team was banking on the 6-foot-1 Maxwell to use his physical play in coverage and turn into Philadelphia’s top corner. He’d probably like to forget his debut.
Byron Maxwell was targeted 11 times, allowed 10 catches for 179 yards, 1 TD, per PFF. Also called once for pass interference.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) September 15, 2015
In the light of Dan Graziano's Tweet that JPP's hand is far worse off than was originally thought - he's also missing part of his thumb? - Petchesky calls for a public showing:
Anyway, it’s time to stop beating around the bush. How many fingers does JPP have left? Does have have any fingers left? Are we talking, like, a Simpsons hand? A Ninja Turtles hand? Jim Abbott? We want to see it. SHOW US THE STUMP.
Washingtonians’ relationship with Dan Snyder has been one of constant antagonism—dramatic raising of parking and concession prices; cramming partial-view seats into the stadium; suing local publications and freezing out others in response to negative press; deforesting protected land to improve the view at his mansion; ushering the organization through a long series of increasingly desperate and embarrassing defenses of the team’s indefensible nickname; etc. Throughout, Snyder and his organization have rallied an ever-shrinking contingency of totally addled diehard fans to support their cynicism and acts of lunacy.
You MUST go to the comments. And read them all. Every last one.
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