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Head Coach Jason Garrett has scheduled two practices for the Dallas Cowboys during the bye week, the first of which is today. Several of the players in need of rehabilitation and recovery time sat out today's session, which shouldn't be a surprise since football practice probably isn't the most calming and peaceful recovery environment.
According to several reports, the following players were held out of today's practice:
K David Buehler (groin), WR Miles Austin (hamstring), FB Tony Fiammetta (hamstring), CB Orlando Scandrick (ankle), S Barry Church (shoulder), S Gerald Sensabaugh (concussion), LG Derrick Dockery (knee), and DE Jason Hatcher (calf) all missed the session.
RG Kyle Kosier and S Danny McCray were surprise holdouts with yet undisclosed injuries.
The notable names not included on this list are Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, who were both suited up for practice today.
The team will suit up again for a short practice on Thursday, and then take the weekend off before starting in on heavy preparation for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
One of the hardest things for a football team to overcome is an offensive line unfamiliar with each other. The Dallas Cowboys completely rebuilt theirs on the fly over the shortened offseason, jettisoning several veterans and rolling with unproven rookies and little-used players.
Former Pro Bowl players C Andre Gurode and RG Leonard Davis were released in salary cap saving manuveurs as their performance no longer dictated their large contracts. RT Marc Colombo was no longer capable of manning a quarterback's blindside, as witnessed by his continued struggles in the train wreck of a line that former Cowboys coordinator Tony Sporano is working with in Miami. The man everyone expected to be the next man up at guard, Montrae Holland, showed up to camp overweight and was left behind after he suffered an injury that kept him ou.
They struggled early in the season. Week 1, they protected QB Tony Romo against the Jets, but couldn't establish any semblance of a run game. Week 2, they couldn't do either and allowed the 49ers to break a Romo rib, puncture a Romo lung and seperate Felix Jones' shoulder. Week 3 against the Redskins they finally were able to open some running lanes, but Phil Costa's snap problems and double digit quarterback pressures showed things still weren't right.
Well, they finally put it together against Detroit. At least mostly.
The team was supposedly facing their stiffest competition in Detroit's front four, but only relinquished six quarterback pressures on the game. They also blocked for over 4 yards per attempt in the running game.
They performed admirably until the final two drives of the game. Kyle Kosier allowed Ndamakong Suh one of his few pressures and would've been flagged for holding if Romo hadn't been intercepted by LB Stephen Tullock, Romo's third of the game. Rookie RT Tyron Smith played an almost perfect game until getting bowled over by Willie Young to give up a sack on Romo. There were more fairy tales that came to a crashing end than just Romo's All-Pro performance from the first 34 minutes, but this unit has more of an excuse.
The Cowboys hope that the bye week will give this unit a chance to gel even more and they'll come out in Week 6 even further ahead of schedule.
In what seems to be the weekly affirmation of Tony Romo as the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, head coach Jason Garrett spoke to the press Monday about how his feelings towards his unpredictable quarterback. Via ESPN Dallas contributor Tim McMahon:
I don't think it's difficult to trust him.
While its good to know that the coach still trusts his field general, what has to be concerning is that Garrett didn't rely on his running game in the second half. The Cowboys finished with 27 carries and 113 yards rushing as the triumvirate of Felix Jones (16 carries, 57 yards), Tashard Choice (6 carries, 39 yards) and Demarco Murray (4 carries, 12 yards) seemed to be wearing down the vaunted defensive line of the Detroit Lions.
"In hindsight, Jason Garrett acknowledged regret that the Cowboys didn't run the ball more in the second half." said McMahon on Twitter.
The Dallas Cowboys will get an extra week to rest and recover as they have a bye in week 5 before taking on the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 16th.
After Tony Romo's disastrous second-half against the Detroit Lions and a side-line snafu being dubbed "snub gate", Jerry Jones wasted no time giving Tony Romo his full support in a series of quotes from last night:
"There's no issue about faith in Romo at any place in this organization, period, any place," Jones said. "There's no issue regarding Tony. I had all the confidence in the world in him on the last drive. He has the ability and gives us the best chance to go down and score a touchdown. We didn't get it done, but we have a lot of faith in Romo."
"If you're going to try to make the plays, then you got a chance to have some bad plays," Jones said. "But however we go, we'll go with Tony. As Tony goes, we'll go."
Jones has never doubted Romo through all the media firestorms -- the fumbled snap, the weekend in Cabo -- that come with playing one of the most scrutinized positions in sports.
Starting Quincy Carter and Vinny Testaverde will do wonders for your perspective.
Jim Schwartz took a little dig at Rob Ryan’s comments last week regarding Calvin Johnson and his standing in relation to Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. Schwartz was set up in his postgame for a one-liner and delivered.
I’m glad the third best wide receiver on the Cowboys is on our team.
To the victor goes the ability to have the final word on the trash talk, I suppose. In case you didn’t see it last week, Ryan claimed that both of the Cowboys’ starters are better than Megatron.
We work against better receivers with Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. They are probably two of the premier receivers in football, but this guy is right there. He’s almost that good. He’s excellent.
Anyone familiar with Ryan – or any Ryan – knows that he is going to talk that way about his players, but the Lions obviously enjoyed reminding of his quotes after the result.
When the Cowboys took a 20-3 lead into the half, they had held Calvin Johnson in check. Tony Romo had played an excellent first half, completing 19-of-24 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns -- both to Dez Bryant.
The second half even started out well for Dallas, as Romo threw his third touchdown pass of the game, this time to Jason Witten from one yard out, giving Dallas a commanding 27-3 lead.
That's as good as it would get for the Cowboys on Sunday, as the wheels came flying off the wagon.
Romo would throw his first interception of the day to former Cowboy Bobby Carpenter, which Carpenter returned 34 yards for Detroit's first touchdown of the game, cutting Dallas' lead down to 27-10.
Detroit's defense wasn't done, though. With the score still at 27-10, Romo was intercepted again, this time by Chris Houston, which he returned 56 yards for a touchdown.
Romo would lead Dallas' offense on a drive inside Detroit's five yard line, but, the Cowboys were unable to convert on third down and were forced to settle for a 23 yard field goal from Dan Bailey. Jason Garrett had opted to go for it on 4th-and-goal from Detroit's one earlier in the first quarter, and Felix Jones was stopped short.
Trailing 30-17, Calvin Johnson finally showed up in the end zone. Matthew Stafford connected with Megatron on a 23 yard touchdown pass, cutting Dallas' lead down to 30-24 with over 13 minutes left to play.
Immediately, Romo was intercepted by Stephen Tulloch on a pass intended for Witten. The Lions capitalized on Romo's third interception, as Stafford found Johnson again -- this time from two yards out, capping off Detroit's comeback.
Dallas will head into their bye week with a 2-2 record -- with both losses representing fourth quarter meltdowns as the Cowboys had the Jets on the ropes in Week 1, before fourth quarter mistakes facilitated New York's comeback.
The loss overshadows the fine play of Laurent Robinson, who was targeted 10 times by Romo. Robinson finished the day with seven receptions for 116 yards.
Dallas' defense played well, holding Stafford in check. Stafford completed 21-of-43 for 240 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Calvin Johnson is back at it.
Immediately after Jason Hanson kicked a 51 yard field goal to cut Dallas' lead to three, Tony Romo threw his third interception of the game. Needless to say, the Lions capitalized, scoring a touchdown on a 2 yard pass to Calvin Johnson on 1st-and-goal.
Dallas at one point led 27-3 in the third quarter, but a pair of interceptions returned for touchdowns cut Dallas' lead down to 27-17.
The Cowboys kicked a 23 yard field goal to extend their lead to 30-17, but since then, it's been all Lions. Detroit has now scored 17 unanswered points to take a 34-30 lead late in the fourth quarter.
Romo will have under two minutes to atone for his mistakes and lead the Cowboys on a touchdown drive, otherwise the Cowboys will be 2-2 headed into their Week 5 bye week, with a date in New England looming large in Week 6.
It's nearly impossible to shut Calvin Johnson down all game, and the Cowboys were unable to do just that. Trailing 30-17, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford found Johnson on a 23 yard touchdown pass in the endzone -- despite the fact that Johnson was covered.
Not surprisingly, though, Johnson came down with the ball in the endzone, good for his first touchdown reception of the day, and cutting Dallas' lead to six.
The Cowboys had led 27-3, but Tony Romo threw two interceptions in the third quarter -- both of which were returned for touchdowns. Bobby Carpenter intercepted Romo and returned it 34 yards for a score, before Chris Houston took an interception back 54 yards for a touchdown, cutting Dallas' lead to 27-17.
Dallas bounced back with a field goal, though, as Dan Bailey converted on a chip-shot 23 yard field goal -- the second time the Cowboys were unable to score from inside Detroit's five in this game. The Cowboys were stopped on 4th-and-goal on Detroit's one earlier in the first quarter.
Tony Romo found Bryant twice for touchdowns in the first half, once from 25 yards out in the first quarter before finding Bryant for a six yard touchdown strike in the second quarter, putting Dallas up 14-0.
The Cowboys would run their lead to 17-0 before Detroit finally answered with a field goal of their own.
Romo, though, led the Cowboys on a two minute drill, getting the Cowboys into field goal range during the waning moments of the first half. Kicker Dan Bailey connected on a 35 yard field goal, extending Dallas' lead to 20-3 into the second half.
Romo has been excellent for Dallas, completing 19-of-24 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Laurent Robinson has been Romo's favorite target so far, targeting him five times. Robinson has four catches for 85 yards at the half, leading Dallas both in receptions and yards.
Rob Ryan's secondary has also kept Calvin Johnson in check thus far, allowing Megatron just three receptions for 38 yards. Johnson has been targeted by Stafford five times.
Two touchdown receptions later, Dez Bryant certainly looks healthy. Tony Romo has connected with the talented second-year wide out twice in the first half of Dallas' Week 4 game against the Lions, staking the Cowboys to 14-0 lead.
Romo and Bryant connected for a 25 yard touchdown pass early in the first quarter, before connecting on a six yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
Dallas' offense had a drive stall out at Detroit's one yard late in the first quarter. Jason Garrett opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 rather than kick a field goal, and Felix Jones was stopped short of the goal line. Had he not been, the Cowboys could easily have a commanding 21-0 lead in the second quarter.
Romo has been excellent thus far, completing 10-of-12 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
Laurent Robinson has been one of Romo's favorite targets as well, hauling in three catches for 67 yards.
Dallas' Week 4 matchup against the Detroit Lions should prove to be entertaining as Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson look to improve to 4-0 with the Lions against Tony Romo and the Cowboys. It's also an excellent fantasy matchup, pitting some of the premiere fantasy players against each other in the same game.
Note: All projected fantasy point totals are based on Yahoo! default scoring.
Matthew Stafford is projected to score the fourth most points out of all quarterbacks, as he's projected for a cool 18.17 fantasy points. numberFire projects Stafford to pass for nearly 270 yards and, basically, two touchdowns.
Tony Romo, on the other hand, is projected as the No. 11 quarterback in Week 4. Romo is projected to throw for 234 yards and somewhere between one and two touchdowns.
Romo and Stafford are both certainly must-starts in all fantasy leagues. Both quarterbacks seem like they should be able to outperform their projections this week.
Both running backs in the game should be started as well. Jahvid Best is projected as the No. 14 running back this week, making him a very good RB2. Felix Jones, likewise, is a solid RB2, being projected to be the No. 20 running back this week.
Not surprisingly, Calvin Johnson is projected to be the top wide out this week. numberFire is projecting 10 targets, seven receptions 93 yards and a touchdown for Megatron. If you've ever even considered benching Johnson, then you probably should quit playing fantasy football.
Dez Bryant, who is a game-time decision, is projected to be the No. 14 wide receiver this week. Since the Cowboys have an early game on Sunday, there should be plenty of time to remove Bryant from starting lineups if he's ruled out. He's certainly worth the hassle of adjusting the lineup at the last second, and should be started unless he's out.
Nate Burleson is the only other wide out worth consideration between Dallas and Detroit. Burleson is projected to be the No. 38 wide out this week, making him a marginal flex play, or WR3 if your league uses three wideouts.
Both tight ends between Dallas and Detroit need to be started as well. Jason Witten is projected to be the third best tight end this week, and Brandon Pettigrew is projected to be the tenth best. Only Rob Gronkowski and Jermichael Finley are projected to outscore Witten at the tight end position this week.
Kicking wise, Jason Hanson is projected as the No. 5 kicker and Dan Bailey as the No. 12 kicker. Bailey's six field goal performance last week probably won a few fantasy games for some, so he's a pretty solid play.
Detroit's defense is projected as the eleventh-best fantasy unit this week, making them start worthy. Dallas' defense, on the other hand, should not be started, as numberFire sees them as the 18th best this week.
So, Dallas staff, who's the best receiver in the NFL these days?
"Calvin Johnson is arguably the best player in the National Football League. He’s bigger than everybody else. He jumps up and catches the ball over his head. He runs with it after the catch. He does all the big things and little things well. It will be a tremendous challenge." -- Head Coach Jason Garrett
Thanks, Coach. Does your defensive coordinator feel the same way?
"We work against better receivers with Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. They are probably two of the premier receivers in football, but this guy is right there. He’s almost that good. He’s excellent."
"We’re going to get after him. I know he’s on some touchdown thing like that, whatever. Scott Linehan has done this before with great receivers with Randy Moss. If the guy is as good as Randy Moss, I’m going to go in there and hide. Thank God he’s not, but he’s a pretty damn good player."-- Coordinator Rob Ryan
Well, alrighty then! Unfortunately, the guys Ryan thinks are better are pretty banged up. Miles Austin isn't playing, and Dez is expected to be limited.
The Cowboys have yet to face an offense as potent as the Detroit Lions. In reality though, the Lions haven't faced a defense as exciting and exotic as Dallas'. Rob Ryan, who has seemingly fixed the pass rush and coverage problems that Dallas experienced during Collapse 2010, is not the type to shy away from public bravado. Fans of other teams scoffed when he said Dallas had 'three bullies' on their defensive line, but no one is laughing now as the team ranks third in Defensive rush DVOA, and ninth in passing D-DVOA.
Sunday's game will be a true litmus test for both of these teams with early season hopes of playoff dates.
SB Nation Dallas' staff picks each and every Week 4 game.
Injuries, injuries, injuries. Thursday's practice had a couple changes from Wednesday's for the Dallas Cowboys. Quarterback Tony Romo was a full participant, a step up from his limited activity the day prior. Romo's ribs aren't healed, however, and for the second consecutive week he will undergo a pre-game pain killing injection to help him fight through the pain.
Rumors that he has asked sore-loser Brian Orakpo to borrow some Midol have yet to be confirmed.
The Cowboys will definitely need the best of Romo to match the offensive firepower that Detroit possesses. Unfortunately, he will still have a short-handed wide receiver corps to throw the ball to.
Miles Austin has already been ruled out, and will have two weeks to get ready for the shootout in New England. Dallas' other starting receiver had a setback, as Dez Bryant didn't participate in Thursday's practice, a day after limited participation.
Quick, someone tell Dez to pour some 'Tussin on it.
With a limited Bryant, Kevin Ogletree will get the opportunity to make up for the numerous mental and route running gaffes that he experienced on Monday night against Washington. Recently re-signed Laurent Robinson will also have his responsibilities increased.
Running back Felix Jones said today that although his shoulder is still not 100% he's "able to do what I need to do." FB Tony Fiammetta missed Thursday's practice with a hamstring injury.
As for Sunday's opponent, the Lions have a few injuries of their own. WR Calvin Johnson was a limited participant with his ankle injury, but is expected to play on it like he did last week. LB Justin Durant (concussion), DT Nick Fairley (foot) and T Jason Fox (Foot) all missed Thursday's session.
For more up to date Cowboys discussion, make sure you check out Blogging The Boys, SB Nation's Dallas Cowboys blog.
Early-week focus on the upcoming opponent has given way to the weekly ritual of injury-watching for Cowboys fans. The Cowboys will return to the practice field later today, ready to move past the slugfest victory over Washington and focus on the 3-0 Detroit Lions. It's a short week coming off of the Monday night win, and as such injuries have about 32 hours less of healing time. That's something that hurts even more against the relatively healthy Lions.
In the Redskins win, the team got a huge performance out of Felix Jones, but he reinjured his shoulder and missed the last drive (#GetOutOfBoundsTashard). It will be interesting to see his status, as well as Terence Newman's. The cornerback reportedly had a bit of a head concern, but was cleared to finish the game out. CB Mike Jenkins continues to battle through a shoulder injury that is in dire need of some time off, but he returned to the game after some missed plays.
The biggest injury appears to be Jason Hatcher's calf strain, which underwent an MRI on Tuesday. The sixth year veteran and first time starter was making a mark as a defensive lineman for Rob Ryan. If he misses the Detroit game, will be replaced by Kenyon Coleman, who had a dominant game stopping the run, but is less of a pass rushing threat than Hatcher.
WR Miles Austin is expected to miss the game and get two more weeks of rest to hopefully be ready to face the New England Patriots after the bye, but the Cowboys don't have the luxury of skipping this week. it would be a pleasant surprise to get him back, as the offense clearly suffers when he isn't in the game. Romo's broken streak of 20 straight games with a passing TD happened to coincide with Miles Austin ascension in the 2009 game against Kansas City.
WR Dez Bryant didn't appear anywhere near 100 percent, but finished the game and should be good to go. Rumors of a Doug Free back injury are floating around. That might explain the falloff of his play from the 2010 version.
Oh yeah, Tony
Roma's Romo's ribs escaped the DeAngelo Hall Barbecue Situation. He is expected to suit up barring any setbacks, and get another week of recovery time. His roomie, TE Jason Witten, said after the game that his ribs were tenderized, but he should be alright.
The mash unit rolls on as Jason Garrett will have to continue to call on the 'next man up'.
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