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Tag:Felix Jones
Posted on: February 5, 2012 3:29 pm
 

DeMarco Murray talks Cowboys, Romo, Jason Garrett

Murray expects even more from the 'Boys in 2012. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- DeMarco Murray burst onto the scene as a potential franchise running back for the Dallas Cowboys when he shattered long-standing records with a 253-yard rushing performance against the Rams in the 2011 season. With Felix Jones injured, Murray stepped in and paced the Cowboys rushing attack until he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 13.

But Murray, who was working with Verizon to promote the first-ever mobile airing of the Super Bowl, told us on Radio Row that the Cowboys can accomplish the goals they missed with a full season in 2012.

"Definitely the playoffs and getting [to the Super Bowl] next year," Murray said. "We had a lot of young guys and  missed OTAs and minicamps. I thought a lot of guys played well. If we get a full season under our belt we look forward to winning some games."

Dallas collapse down the stretch was a full-blown disaster, with Jason Garrett notably icing his own kicker against the Cardinals before losing in overtime. But Murray said that the scapegoating of Garrett is blown out proportion by "us guys."

"Man, you guys are going to write us off no matter what," Murray said. "One week he's the greatest coach on the planet, the next week he's the worst coach on the planet. So we don't listen to that stuff you know? He's a great coach and I'm glad he's my coach."

Murray had similar feelings for quarterback Tony Romo, who's been judged once or twice in his career.

"Same thing, man!" Murray said. "One week he's a hero, the next week he's not. That's just the way it is with the Dallas Cowboys. We're used to it, we love it and we wouldn't want any one else leading our team."

Murray's correct on that count. Romo gets unfairly ripped/loved on a week-to-week basis depending on the outcome of the game.

It's presumed that Murray will be the guy taking most of the carries from Romo in 2012. However, Murray said he didn't know if he was the starter yet, and that he and Felix Jones had a "great" relationship. Additionally, Murray championed his fellow rookies, calling the 2011 NFL Draft class the greatest class of all time.

"I think it is," Murray said. "Look at all the guys in our class who made the Pro Bowl and did it without OTAs and minicamps."

If Murray can have the same impact he had in 2011 next year, it'll go even further to proving that point.

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Posted on: December 30, 2011 4:32 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2011 8:18 pm
 

Jones: Romo 'full strength,' Garrett's job secure

Jerry Jones says Jason Garrett's not going anywhere. (Getty Images)
By Eye on Football staff

Much has been made about the possibility that Jerry Jones could bail on first-year Cowboys coach Jason Garrett if Dallas misses the playoffs, primarily because of the notable and numerous fourth-quarter collapses the Cowboys suffered this year.

However, our own Mike Freeman wrote Friday that there's a "zero percent" chance Garrett's fired, and he's not alone: Jones called the notion that he'd fire Garrett "ridiculous" regardless of the outcome of Sunday's NFC East championship game.

And since Jones is looking into his crystal ball, he's also ready to tell Cowboys fans this: not only will Tony Romo play Sunday, but he'll be 100 percent when he takes the field.

"He's going to be playing at full strength," Jones said on KRLD-FM Friday morning (via ESPN Dallas). "It's just a very big-time feel-good to know that we're going to be going in with this kind of quarterbacking. He's had an outstanding year. He's a top, top quarterback and he's got a good team around him. In my belief, a very good team around him, so the stage is set for us to play well in a big game."

Though Romo, who's listed as probable on this week's injury report, wore a wrap on his injured hand during practice Friday, ESPN Dallas reports that he likel won't wear any protection on his throwing hand Sunday, because the swelling has decreased.

"Romo is where we had dreamed that he would be and hoped he would be relative to after his injury last week," Jones said. "So I feel good there. It should be even better by Sunday night and he's getting good work in."

He feels the same way about his head coach. As in, Garrett is getting in good work and that he's not going anywhere.

"That's just ridiculous. We're just getting started with Jason," Jerry Jones said on 105.3 FM, per Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. "It's just not the case at all. Nobody is worried about the coach's job here. We'll answer this thing as many ways as you want to answer it with as many circumstances, his job has no bearing and is not a part of this ballgame.

"Yes, he's going to be our coach next year period no matter what the score is."


This isn't the first time Jones has gotten Garrett's back; two weeks ago, Jones said Garrett wasn't on the hot seat.

But Jerry's also said that not making the playoffs would be a "real serious career disappointment" given the way Romo's played in 2011. And Jerry also pulled a much-criticized move when he rolled down to the sidelines against Philly on Christmas Eve to inform Garrett that the game underway had been rendered meaningless.

(For my money, if you own an NFL team and preside as GM and the guy you're paying a lot of money to play quarterback gets hurt and the outcome of the game is rendered irrelevant, you can communicate with your coach in any manner you want. Call, write, send a carrier pigeon, record a message on the Cowboys Stadium Jumbotron. Whatever. It's your cash.)

Some folks believe Jones would consider taking a different route if Jeff Fisher is readily available and willing to come to Dallas, but does that really accomplish what Jerry wants (read: stability and success) in 2012? Because it might not.

Garrett's made some serious gaffes this year, as I've noted, but he's also coached great games at times, and he's arguably just a few fourth-quarter miscues from having the Cowboys well over 10 wins.

If Jones believes he's the long-term answer as a head coach -- and he clearly does -- then he can't bail on Garrett after just one year. Which is precisely why he won't.


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Posted on: December 29, 2011 11:06 am
 

Film Room: Giants vs. Cowboys preview


Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit


An NFC East championship game in primetime – no further introduction needed. Here’s the breakdown.

1. Reviewing Week 14
These teams gave us a classic Sunday night showdown just a few weeks ago. That contest was defined by mistakes more than anything. Tony Romo posted good numbers but missed a few throws that would have changed the outcome. His only completion to Dez Bryant was a 50-yard touchdown against a blown coverage.

The Cowboys defense blew several coverages of its own, leading to a 400-yard night for Eli Manning and prompting Rob Ryan later to scale back the complexity of his scheme in 2:00 type situations. Big-time throws against poor pass defense was why a game that was 34-22 Cowboys with under 6:00 to play wound up being 37-34 Giants.

2. The star quarterbacks in big games
The common perception is that Eli Manning is a big game riser and Tony Romo is a big game faller. The Week 14 battle only reaffirmed this; Manning was absolutely magnificent on the final two touchdown drives, fitting balls into tight windows and, as he’d been doing all night, quickly diagnosing and dissecting the Cowboys’ Byzantine blitzes. Romo, on the other hand, missed a third-and-five throw to Miles Austin with 2:25 remaining that would have sealed the win.

That throw came against an all-out, Cover 0 blitz. In the past, Romo’s inability to recognize blitzes before and after the snap often led to his blunders. Those issues, however, have been largely corrected this season. And yet, because of what happened against the Jets in Week 1, and because of the interception-riddled second half meltdown against the Lions in Week 4, Romo’s reputation remains that of a choker.

That’s mostly an unfair and overly simplistic characterization of a quality veteran. If not for the botched field goal hold at Seattle in the ’06 wild card loss – a play that had nothing to do with quarterbacking skills – Romo almost certainly wouldn’t be thought of as a late-game anything.
 
That said, Romo has indeed made some mistakes in critical moments. Most of those have been due to defenses confounding him with false looks. The broadcast viewers might tie this to Romo feeling stressed in crunch time; the film viewers tie it back to Romo’s mediocrity at reading defenses before the snap. When you’re a sandlot player, you’re reactionary. A reactionary player is much easier to trick – especially late in games after he’s gotten comfortable reacting to certain looks the same way.

This same concept applies in the other direction with Manning. He’s a splendid field general, audibling at the line of scrimmage, running the no-huddle offense and trusting his eyes and underrated arm strength in the face of pressure. While reactive quarterbacking is prone to defensive manipulation late in games, proactive quarterbacking is apt for defensive manipulation. You change your defensive looks and play aggressively to bait a reactionary quarterback into a mistake. Against a proactive quarterback, you change your looks and play aggressively so that he doesn’t bait you into a mistake.

The relevance of this sexy “big moment quarterbacking” storyline is debatable. As stated before, Romo has improved his mental approach to the game. And just because Manning has been great in crunch time doesn’t mean he’s unstoppable (especially given how up-and-down his receivers have been).

Dez needs to work on his disappearing act. (Getty Images)

3. Pass games
It’s been far too easy for defenses to take away Dez Bryant this season. The Giants had no trouble doing this with Corey Webster a few weeks ago. They also took away Jason Witten by smacking him with a defensive end or linebacker as he came off the line. Don’t be surprised if the Cowboys split Witten to the slot to prevent this from happening again.

Also, don’t be surprised if the Cowboys line up in three receiver sets to force the Giants into their nickel D. That nickel D has been poor in coverage the past few weeks, mainly because of Prince Amukamara. The first-round rookie has since been benched, with safety Antrel Rolle moving back to slot corner. The Cowboys should eagerly test Rolle with either Miles Austin or Laurent Robinson, both excellent route runners.

4. Run games
The Cowboys lost DeMarco Murray for the season in their last meeting with the Giants. Felix Jones showed his uncanny burst and acceleration in the lone game of consequence since then (Week 15 at Tampa Bay), but that was against the worst run defense in football.

It remains to be seen whether the Cowboys can sustain on the ground against a quality opponent. Expect them to try to establish the run, especially if the Giants play their three-safety nickel defense against base offensive personnel (something they did a bit against the Jets). Jones’ might also run out of three-receiver sets against that nickel D, as that’s a good way to take advantage of his proficiency on draws.

New York’s run game remains unimpressive, though there were a few signs of life last week. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw both ran with power after averaging barely one yard per carry after contact against the Redskins in Week 15. David Baas is back at center after missing several weeks with migraines. Baas has been below average overall this season but at least offers a tad more short-area mobility than backup Kevin Boothe.

5. Up tempo?
The Meadowlands crowd will be in full throat – especially early. The Cowboys may want to go no-huddle to quell the crowd and dictate the flow.

A quick tempo can also be a good way to calm a pass-rush, which is critical when facing Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and, perhaps, Osi Umenyiora. And the less time the Giants defense has between snaps, the harder it will be for them to change their coverages, which coordinator Perry Fewell likes to do.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 17 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: December 26, 2011 9:40 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 9:40 pm
 

Jerry Jones draws criticism for sideline presence

Jones is 'amazed' anyone cares that he's patrolling the sidelines during games. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Meddlesome is a word often used to describe owner Jerry Jones because of his hands-on approach to running the Cowboys. This approach includes Jones standing on the sidelines during games, and if he thinks it's warranted, talking to the head coach. This is exactly what happened Saturday.

Jones has since taken criticism for -- wait for it -- meddling, instead of letting his coach, you know, coach. (To be fair, Jones has reason for concern; Jason Garrett iced his own kicker in a loss to the Cardinals and Jones questioned Garrett's conservative play-calling against the Patriots earlier this season.)

After Romo hit his right hand on the helmet of an Eagles defender in the first quarter Saturday, Jones spoke face to face with Garrett on the sidelines about the Cowboys quarterback.

"You communicate a lot of different ways," Jones said during a radio interview with The Ticket (KTCK-AM 1310) via The Dallas Morning News. "It isn’t just words. It’s body language, it’s everything. So it’s important to me, when I’m down there, to be evaluating what’s going on on the sideline, and it’s important to me to be communicating with anything I’m about on the sideline.

"In this particular case, I did want nothing to drop between the lines communication-wise. We had talked about clearly what would happen if the Giants won, what we would be doing with Felix [Jones] during this ballgame and the need to have him healthy if we could do anything about it next week. But what we didn’t talk about was what if something happened and there was a question mark about [Tony] Romo, how that would be handled. That’s Jason’s decision, but he doesn’t need to be making that one by himself.

"So I wanted to, very briefly, step down there with just a few minutes gone in the first quarter, sit there and say, 'Here’s the lay of the land. Romo’s got a hand injury, but it looks like we’re going to have him for New York. Felix is there. You make the decision, but our emphasis should be on New York.'"

Jones went on to say that "I’ve talked to every head coach during a ballgame, on the sideline, that we’ve ever had with the Dallas Cowboys," which makes it even more amazing that Bill Parcells lasted four seasons in Dallas.

Good news, however: Jones says these impromptu get-togethers aren't about play-calling or offensive philosophy, which is too bad because Garrett could then blame the owner for the what happened in Arizona and New England.

"It has amazed me to be criticized for really walking down on the floor of the company or walking into the business that we’re doing, not just the Dallas Cowboys, and not pick up the trash or be interested in how that guy’s treating customers,” Jones explained. “The more involved your top management, the more involved ownership can be, I’ve always thought made the best way for it to work. ...

"You didn’t see that kind of criticism very early on, but we were winning Super Bowls. And it was the same exact way that we handled our decision-making and the exact same way that we handled our ultimate information gathering system. We’ve been doing it ever since I owned the team. The exact same way."

But that's the point: you can do what you want when you're winning. When you're struggling, everything's open to scrutiny.

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Posted on: December 26, 2011 2:04 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 2:17 pm
 

Report: Tony Romo 'fine,' no new QB for Cowboys

Romo reportedly is 'fine' for Week 17's game. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Tony Romo's hand had a nasty run-in with Jason Babin's helmet on Saturday during Dallas' 20-7 loss to Philly, and the result was similar to getting hit in the mouth with your grandmother's green bean casserole: swelling of awkward proportions.

As such, there are plenty of Cowboys fans concerned about Romo's status for Week 17's division-deciding matchup against the Giants. But reports indicate that Romo will be "fine" and that the Cowboys won't pursue any free agent quarterbacks.

Week 16 Recap

That's according to Ed Werder of ESPN, who reports that Dallas isn't seeking to ink a veteran quarterback, which means they likely believe Romo's capable of starting -- and beating -- the Giants on Sunday.

"He will be fine," a source told Werder.

Romo said on Saturday that he could've returned to the game if the Cowboys needed a win to clinch the division and/or the outcome of the Cowboys game affected the playoff race at all.

"I would've tried very hard," Romo said. "No question. I did a little bit but the coaching staff decided against that."

Good for the coaching staff -- letting Romo play in a meaningless game with a busted hand would've been irresponsible. It stinks for people who bet on the Cowboys, it stinks for fantasy owners, it stinks for Romo's competitive nature and it stinks for him trying to post the best numbers of his career.

But it was a smart decision by Jason Garrett to keep Romo on the sidelines, and if it pays off with his quarterback being healthy and beating the Giants to win the NFC East, it'll look ever smarter.


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Posted on: December 24, 2011 10:33 am
Edited on: December 24, 2011 10:35 am
 

Felix Jones playing time depends on Giants game?

Felix's playing time reportedly hinges on the 1:00 games. (Getty Images)

By Will Brinson


Follow all the Week 16 action live: Inactives | Scoreboard

1 p.m. ET games:
CLE-BAL | DEN-BUF | TB-CAR | ARI-CIN | OAK-KC | MIA-NE | NYG-NYJ | STL-PIT | JAC-TEN | MIN-WAS

4 p.m. ET games:
SD-DET | PHI-DAL | SF-SEA


At 4:15 on Saturday, Dallas and Philadelphia will square off with a lot on the line ... unless the Giants win at 1:00. Then the game won't mean as much, because the Eagles will be eliminated if the G-men topple the Jets. As a result, Cowboys running back Felix Jones will reportedly only play if the Cowboys can clinch the division with a victory.

That's according to Matt Mosley of Fox Sports Southwest, who says Felix will "not play a snap" against the Eagles unless the Cowboys are playing to win the division. Even then, according to Mosley, he's "50-50." (Mosley added that "there is no upside to starting" Felix in fantasy.)

Here's how this whole thing works: if the Eagles beat the Cowboys, the Giants lose to the Jets, and the Giants beat the Cowboys next week, the Eagles will somehow win the division if they also beat the Redskins. There's much reason for hope in Philly right now.

But that whole notion is toppled if the Giants win on Christmas Eve, because the Eagles will be -- literally -- eliminated from playoff contention with a Giants victory. And a Giants win also means the Cowboys can't clinch until Week 17 anyway, when they play the Giants. (Even with a victory, the Cowboys would be 9-6 and the Giants would be 8-7; Week 16 is irrelevant for the NFC East if they both win on Sunday.)

Confused? Excellent. But all you really know, as it relates to the Cowboys game plan, is that Felix Jones won't be playing unless the Cowboys have a chance to lock up the NFC East, and even then he'll probably only play a few snaps.


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Posted on: December 18, 2011 11:21 am
Edited on: December 18, 2011 11:35 am
 

Jerry: No playoffs a waste of Romo's great season

By Will Brinson

Tony Romo had another incredibly impressive game on Saturday, tossing three touchdowns and running for a score in Dallas 31-15 evisceration of the Bucs. As Pete Prisco wrote early Sunday, it was precisely the type of win that should give the Cowboys the confidence to make the playoffs.

They're currently in sole possession of the fourth seed, a half game ahead of the Giants, and Jerry Jones believes that if the 'Boys didn't make the playoffs, it would basically be a waste of the best season of Romo's career.

"At the end of the day, [Romo's play] is why we can't not get in the tournament, because he is playing so well," Jones said, per Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "This time last year, he wasn't playing. With him playing at the level he is playing, it would be a real serious career disappointment for us not to get to the playoffs."

A real serious career disappointment? No pressure or anything, Jason Garrett.


Jones probably didn't mean the comment as a shot towards in particular; his point that Romo's season -- 3,895 yards, 29 touchdowns, nine interceptions, 65.6 completion percentage -- not generating a playoff berth is valid.

Romo's playing the best football of his career right now and were it not for a ridiculous amount of ridiculous seasons from quarterbacks in 2011, he'd probably be getting more love than he is.

It doesn't help that the Cowboys lost five games this year where they coulda/shoulda/woulda walked off the field victorious, and that's an easier (and potentially more important) storyline to focus on for people hawking the Cowboys.

And Jones latest comment makes it pretty obvious where the narrative will shift should Dallas fail to make the postseason.

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 6:56 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 7:00 pm
 

Jerry Jones says Jason Garrett not on hot seat

By Will Brinson



The 2012 rendition of the Cowboys can't stop collapsing -- Sunday night's loss to the Giants was just the latest in a year filled with second-half and fourth-quarter meltdowns. Despite that, Jerry Jones said Jason Garrett's job isn't in jeopardy.

Week 14 Recap

In fact, Jones wouldn't even talk about Garrett possibly being relieved of his duties when asked about it on his KRLD-FM radio show Tuesday.

“That is not a question worth responding to," Jones said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "The answer is no. We are just getting started here."

It's too early to speculate about Garrett's job under current circumstances -- the Cowboys are just a half-game out of first place in the NFC East and a game out of the Wild Card race, with three more games remaining.

But if things get worse and the Cowboys miss the playoffs, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Jones could consider a change, particularly if someone like Jeff Fisher is available and interested in the position.


But it's not too early to wonder what might happen if Dallas continues to lose games in the same fashion they've lost them this year. Fourth-quarter gifts to the Jets, Lions Patriots, Cardinals and Giants all stand out like a handful of sore thumbs and anything less than 2-1 the rest of the way in probably dooms Dallas in 2012.

If that's the case, Jones will be asked about Garrett's job status much more frequently, and if the manner in which the Cowboys fade is particularly disastrous, it's not inconceivable that his answer could change.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com