Tag Archives: Cowboys

College Football Week 5 Observations. Angry Football Gods Edition.

Georgia Tops LSU In A Shootout 44-41

Yep, the angry football gods. As in the people that the University of Georgia must have pissed off to have a schedule like this one. It’s one of the toughest opening schedules in recent memory. Now part of that is just par for the course when it comes to being an SEC team. They play tough competition in conference play annually. This does not however, make Georgia’s schedule any less preposterous.

They played, Clemson ranked #8 at the time (a game they lost), South Carolina ranked #6 at the time, and after a bit of a respite against North Texas they ran in to the third possible stumbling block in four games. LSU ranked #6 in the nation was going to be a tough test for a Georgia team, that had already taken tough tests.

Thus the hypothesis about the angry football gods. Perhaps Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray spent his offseason kicking puppies or something, because this is one rough way to start a season. However, since the (presumably) puppy kicking Aaron Murray is one hell of a quarterback things turned out okay. Actually, things turned out better than okay. A 3-1 start is a best case scenario considering the circumstances.

Gone are the days of the old defensively driven ground and pound SEC teams of years past. Gone like my respect for people who listen to Drake. Replacing my respect is a slow burning pity. Replacing the old ground and pound game is something much more useful than pity, it’s an all out aerial assault. Georgia versus LSU was representative of this fact as both signal callers were slinging the rock all over the field. Aaron Murray threw for 298 yards and 4 touchdowns and ran for another touchdown, overshadowing his single interception. LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger passed for 372 yards and 3 touchdowns despite a loss.

Georgia receiver Chris Conley was the primary benefactor of Aaron Murray’s generosity, hauling in 5 receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown. He was one of 9 receivers targeted by Murray that game.

Jarvis Landry caught 10 passes from LSU’s Mettenberger, for a total of 372 yards and 3 touchdowns.

There was not a lot to say about either defense because neither team really stopped the other, though the Georgia defense did get the last laugh when the stopped LSU’s final drive to put the game on ice. But when Georgia has 494 yards of total offense with 298 of them through the air, and LSU has 449 total yards of offense with 372 of those yards in the passing game; it is extremely difficult to give either defense credit for anything at all.

The good news for Georgia? They managed to make it through the most difficult part of their schedule. Their next test is more like a quiz compared to others as they take on the Florida Gators four weeks from now. In the mean time, they should seriously consider keeping Aaron Murray away from puppies (allegedly).

Another Big 12 Team Bites The Dust As West Virginia Upsets Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State had found their guy at quarterback. His name is J.W. Walsh and his game is speed. The Cowboys were running an uptempo offense through him and he seemed perfect for it. He does everything fast. Walsh runs fast and throws fast. The perfect formula running through the anemic West Virginia Mountaineers defense, while keeping their even more anemic offense off the field. Right?


Despite the fact that West Virginia was outclassed in every way. They managed to gut out a victory. Now when I say they were outclassed in every way, I do mean every way. West Virginia’s defense had just given up 37 points the week before to Maryland, in the same game the Mountaineer offense was held scoreless. In this game against Oklahoma St., West Virginia was on their third quarterback this season. They were outclassed.

When the game started, it looked like the game everyone was expecting. A lopsided Cowboy victory. Oklahoma State started their attack with quarterback J.W. Walsh picking apart the Mountaineer defense and scoring almost immediately when Walsh found Josh Stewart for a 73 yard touchdown. From here things get interesting.

First, West Virginia’s defense gets a pick six and keeps them in the game.

Then, the third quarterback of the season, the transfer from Florida State who hadn’t even been with his playbook during the summer, Clint Trickett (who looks like Rev3’s Max Scoville with Don Drapers hair) decided to be a game changer. He started off the game looking like he was going to be a manager, nothing exciting, just hang on and hopefully win the game late. To everyone’s surprise (and Oklahoma State’s chagrin) Trickett threw the ball surprisingly well. Any time he found a receiver in one on one coverage, he let the ball fly. While he wasn’t always successful, more than a few of those passes connected and proved costly for the Cowboys.

Finally, the special teams really played a big part in this game. Big special teams plays and snafus rocked the game’s momentum back and forth. From two laughably short punts from the Cowboys’ Kip Smith, which included a 13 yard punt and 16 yard punt that gave West Virginia incredible field position.

I know I keep mentioning Clint Trickett but, he was truly the surprise of the game. I’m not sure which was more impressive, his stat line, 24/50 completed passes for 309 yards and 1 touchdown (despite 2 interceptions), or his grittiness. Trickett left the game in one series to tend to his injured throwing arm , returning in the next series and driving his team all the way down the field, including to 17 yard passes to keep the drive alive and help his team acquire a 30-21 victory of the Oklahoma St. Cowboys.

Ohio State Overcomes First Real Challenge Of Season, Beating Wisconson 31-24

Braxton Miller returned to reclaim his job as starting quarterback of Ohio State and in so doing, proved why he is an early season Heisman candidate. He made a number of throws all over the field. Most of which found their way to his favorite receiver/full-time security blanket Philly Brown.

Wisconsin’s defense actually did a good  job of containing Braxton Miller in the first half, and keeping the Badgers in the game. Unfortunately for the Badgers with moments to go in the second quarter Braxton Miller tossed a touchdown that really broke the back of Wisconsin. The Badgers, not unlike the US government, remained competitive but quite frankly were never a factor.

On a side note Chris Borland, the senior Wisconsin linebacker, was practically omnipresent on the field. He registered 10 solo tackles in the game. Borland seemed to be involved in every defensive play. He broke up passes and stuffed runs. If a guy in a red jersey got hit, the odds that it was Chris Borland hitting him was extremely high.

In the end, Wisconsin didn’t have the fire power to beat Ohio State and they were entirely too conservative. Joel Stave is a good quarterback for the Badgers and he’s got a solid receiver in Jared Abbrederis, who caught 10 passes for 207 yards in the game, but they weren’t enough for Ohio State. There was no way Stave was out dueling Braxton Miller. With about 7:00 minutes to go in the game on 4th down in a short yardage situation, head coach Gary Andersen opted to punt the ball and rely on his defense rather than give the offense an opportunity to continue their drive. By the time they got the ball back from Ohio State, they needed a miracle and were out of timeouts.

Wisconsin is a quality team but, Ohio State has national championship aspirations with all the man power to do it.

Oklahoma Out Runs Notre Dame, Keeps Season On Track

Bob Stoops and his Oklahoma Sooners went into Notre Dame’s house, ransacked their kitchen, watched their TV, and generally took what they wanted. The Notre Dame fighting Irish offered resistance of course but in the same way that Canelo Alvarez’s face offered resistance to Floyd Mayweather’s fists. Not a whole lot. Notre Dame’s quarterback Tommy Rees, God bless his heart, is a smart guy. For a college athlete to make all of the pre snap reads that he does is pretty incredible. Mike Mayock even acknowledged during the broadcast that most college quarterbacks aren’t changing plays at the line as often as Tommy Rees.

Three plays into the game was all it took for the Fighting Irish to realize that none of it mattered. In the third play of the game the Irish defensive line missed a blitzing Sooner, who promptly clobbered Rees from his blind side resulting in an interception. Rees would go on to throw two more interceptions in the half.

The fact of the matter is that Oklahoma was faster than Notre Dame in every facet of the game. This game was won on the ground, and the Sooners dominated there. Running backs Brennan Clay and Damien Williams picked up first down after first down when they got to the edge. Damien Williams was especially dangerous in space. While the Fighting Irish also ran the ball well with George Atkinson who had 148 yards and 1 touchdown, a lot of short yardage situations fell flat because Oklahoma was able to get to Atkinson quickly and bring him down. Notre Dame had 6 rushing first downs.

Under center for the Sooners, was Blake Bell nicknamed the Belldozer because of his 6’6″ and 250 lbs. frame, which he used as a battering ram to pick up first downs for Oklahoma. Bell also did a decent job in the passing game. On one play Bell completed a pass to Lacoltan Bester for a 26 yard touchdown, showing great poise and allowing the play to develop. He had a few errant throws however that I’m sure the Sooners would like him to overcome as he gains experience.

On the defensive side of the ball. The Sooners were faster and they knew it. The interception that I mentioned earlier was returned for a touchdown with a Notre Dame player in sight. In fact, all three of Notre Dame’s early turnovers were turned into Oklahoma points in one way or another. The Sooners played man coverage most of the game and dared Tommy Rees to pick it apart. Because of their speed and his *cough* inaccuracy *cough* Notre Dame was not able to do anything about it. The last time being Irish looked this miserable there was a potato famine. What? No? Oh yeah, the national championship blood bath against Alabama was pretty bad too.

In football the most deadly kind of poison is speed, and Oklahoma gave it to Notre Dame in large uncompromising doses. The football gods had nothing to do with that at all.

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NFC East Free Agency Grades

Philadelphia Eagles

Grade: A

What did you expect? The Eagles cleaned up shop in this years free agency. They robbed the Cardinals blind in a deal that sent Kevin Kolb to Arizona giving them a 2012 second round draft pick and the 25 year old Dominique Rogers-Cromartie. When it looked like the Jets and Cowboys were going to go head-to-head for the services of the highly talented Nnamdi Asomugha, the Eagles swooped in at seemingly the last second and acquired him.

The Eagles were on fire this free agency. They had many needs and they addressed them with star power, all the while picking up quality players that fit their system. I was amazed at what Andy Reid was able to do. Jason Babin returns to the Eagles after one year with the Titans to solidify the defensive line. Cullen Jenkins also adds to this coming off of a Superbowl season in Green Bay.

Everybody wondered what Philadelphia would do without depth at the quarterback position after trading Kolb and they went out and got Vince Young. Vince is a a guy who is troubled but has the potential that Andy Reid and his staff can tap into. To aid the running game the Eagles signed Ronnie Brown, a back who is 29 years old and still very much in his prime. They were able to get DeSean Jackson to report to camp and hopefully they’ll pay him the money he deserves. He is after all their biggest playmaker and a piece that gives them legitimate Superbowl hopes.

Philadelphia is dangerous in nearly every part of their team. They have the secondary from hell, speedy wide receivers, a solid offensive line, a talented quarterback, and a great defensive line as well. They covered all of that ground in one giant step of a free agency period. Their only weakness is at the linebacker position. It’s very average but, maybe even those guys will look better with all the talent around them.

The Eagles have made moves that make them the team to beat in the NFC East. Right now at least, they’re the division’s paper champs.

New York Giants

Grade: C

The Giants were up against the cap with rookies to sign and weren’t able to make the same splash that their division rivals, the Redskins and Eagles were able to make. The Giants made some moves with the wiggle room that they had. They let tight end Kevin Boss go and re-signed Bear Pascoe who is a bit younger and very capable.

The Giants made many simple moves. They invested in their own players and tried to get their own guys back. They re-signed running back Ahmad Bradshaw, defensive lineman  Mathias Kiwanuka, and guard Kevin Boothe to bolster one of the most solid offensive lines in the division. I also have to commend the Giants for reaching out to undrafted free agent and cancer survivor Mark Herzlich. I think he’ll be a solid player for years to come because of his work ethic and experience.

Unfortunately for the G-men because they were not ready for the frenzied free agency they were not able to improve their team. They just maintained it. They lost some solid players and didn’t really gain anybody who is going to drastically make a difference on the team. It’s good that they brought a lot of their guys back because they are a good football team already but, the Eagles not only made a statement in free agency, they made a gap. I just don’t think New York did enough to separate themselves from the rest of the division or to simply not get left eating Philly’s dust.

Washington Redskins

Grade: B

It’s clear that Dan Snyder is no longer running things in Washington. Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen have full autonomy and it shows. The Redskins made smart decisions in free agency. They went after guys that fit the needs that they had. They signed Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen to add size to the defensive line. Both men are excited to transition into a 3-4 defense, so they know the effort will be there. This was apart from moving Donovan McNabb and Albert Haynesworth two players constantly surrounded by controversy in D.C.

To be honest there’s not enough room to go over all the things the Redskins did in free agency. They were extremely active but, the thing that stood out the most is that there were no huge names coming in. Except for the large sum of money that the Redskins allegedly offered Santonio Holmes, it appeared that no one was going to be truly over paid.

Apart from their work on the defensive line the Redskins added Josh Wilson to replace the departing Carlos Rodgers, and they re-signed a few linebackers that worked well in the 3-4 and were improving later on in the last season (and a few that didn’t).

Offensively Washington traded for Tim Hightower to add depth at the running back position. This is good because Ryan Torain is hurt . . . again. They signed a bajillion wide receivers, many of which will not make the final roster, Jabar Gaffney, Donte Stallworth, and Santana Moss are the notable signings. Casey Rabach, who once was a solid center but isn’t anymore, was cut and Will Montgomery was moved to center. Jammal Brown was re-signed at guard.

With all the good moves that Washington made, they never addressed their less than desirable quarterback situation. John Beck is an unknown but, who knows if he’ll be any good? Rex Grossman is a known commodity with ups and downs that make roller coasters seem  boring. They may still be at the bottom of the division but, steps are being made in the right direction.

Dallas Cowboys

Grade: D

Dallas like the Giants were hamstrung by the cap. While the Redskins and Eagles made concessions for this year by restructuring contracts during the 2010 season. Dallas was over the cap and had to cut many players but, including players from their already porous offensive line.

The Cowboys were able to re-sign Doug Free which is something that they wanted to do, and needed to do. Dallas had many needs and quite frankly, few answers. Key re-signings for the Cowboys apart from Free, were defensive back Allan Ball, safety Gerald Sensabaugh, and defensive end Marcus Spears. Dallas followed the trend of most teams against the salary cap. They invested in their own guys. There was the run they made at Nnamdi but we all know how that turned out.

With a new head coach in Jason Garrett and defensive coordinator in Rob Ryan, taking the helm this season Dallas may get out to a rough start. They didn’t help themselves in free agency. They brought some guys back but, they lost some to other teams, and they managed to do this without really addressing any of their needs. Their free agency was an uninspired mess.



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