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Tag:Jerry Jones
Posted on: October 20, 2011 9:59 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 10:18 pm
 

Jason Garrett says he trusts Tony Romo

The decision to run the ball late against the Pats had nothing to do with lack of faith in Romo. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was singled out last week by, welleverybody for his decision to run the ball late in the game against the Patriots. Dallas led by three at the time, handed the ball on three straight plays before punting to New England. That left Tom Brady 2:31 to lead an 80-yard touchdown drive. Want to take a guess how it turned out?

Let's just put it this way: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had this to say in the locker room afterwards:

“When you get in a situation like that, you’ve got to go for the kill,” he said. “I felt like we could’ve been more aggressive. Our defense had been good all day, but you knew Brady had a length-of-the-field drive in him -- so it didn’t surprise me at all when he took them down at the end.”

So, naturally, Garrett spent the week answering questions about that decision, and if he had lost faith in Tony Romo, the Cowboys quarterback with a knack for momentum-killing miscues.

“There is absolutely no issue in my trust level with Tony Romo,” Garrett said, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Nick Eatman. “I think anyone who has followed this football team understands the trust that I have in him and our football team has in him. Playing quarterback in the NFL, there’s a tremendous amount of responsibility that comes with that. Tony knows that. He prepares for it and we know it as coaches. We give him a lot of responsibility on Sunday. He’s responded to that really well over the last four and a half years and there’s no reason for us to think otherwise.”


A full set of predictions for the 7th week of the season! Charles Barkley joins Cris Collinsworth, Phil Simms, and Warren Sapp for a super-sized web-exclusive from Inside the NFL. Also: don't forget to check out the Pregame: Rams-Cowboys edition.

Romo agrees with Garrett -- and disagrees with the notion that his three-interception effort against the Lions in Week 4 had any bearing on the play-calling against the Pats last Sunday.

“No, if you watch the game . . . our defense played outstanding,” he said in reference to the 20-16 loss to the Patriots. “It’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback to say something the day after. I trusted our defense too when they went out there. I felt very comfortable with our defense on the field in that game. I thought Jason has done a great job all year long. He’s going to keep doing a good job. We’re lucky to have him.”

One quibble: why would Romo trust any defense against Tom Brady with the game on the line? I get saying that publicly -- it's important to support your teammates and whatnot -- but he privately had to be seething about the decision to hand the ball off three consecutive times on the Cowboys' penultimate drive, right?

Maybe not.

“We study a lot for certain situations at the end of the games and anybody that was watching the game last week knew our defense played really outstanding football for the entire second half," Romo continued. "I don’t know how many points New England scored but it couldn’t have been that many. You go by what you’re watching and playing with and I didn’t envision their offense going down to score a touchdown either at the time. It’s easy to second guess but no me and Jason, we’re going to continue to go forward and have a great relationship. He’s a great coach.”

We're still not buying it. Either that, or Tony and Jason were the only two people on the planet who were shocked when Brady found Aaron Hernandez in the back of the end zone for what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown.

The Cowboys host the Rams this week and Romo, who suffered a punctured lung and broken ribs in the Week 2 win over the 49ers, will continue to wear a protective Kevlar vest.

"They're getting better," Romo said after Thursday's practice, according to ESPNDallas.com. "Hopefully in a couple of weeks, they'll be all the way healed. Still the vest. I think we've got the [pain-killing] shot one more week hopefully and then we're done. We'll see. That's what they're telling me."

You know what else eases the pain? A convincing win to get back on track (Sorry, Rams!).

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Posted on: October 17, 2011 3:07 am
Edited on: October 17, 2011 1:34 pm
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Week 6

Posted by Will Brinson


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action and figures out the most important storylines for you to digest. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Make sure and listen to our Week 6 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.

1. What's Your Deal?
By now, you've undoubtedly seen the little melee that erupted between Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz following San Francisco's 25-19 victory in Detroit.

NFL VP of Communications Greg Aiello confirmed to CBS Sports following the game that the NFL will look into the near-fight that went down, and I'd be pretty shocked if both coaches didn't get hit with some kind of fine. Though Harbaugh didn't do much that was noticeable on the video, he did admit following the game that he probably incited Schwartz' anger.

Schwartz, of course, chased Harbaugh down the field and had to be repeatedly pushed back from the crowd. No matter what Harbaugh did, it's hard to fathom that Schwartz behavior is remotely acceptable in the eyes of the league. And though Schwartz might have looked like the aggressor, the blame has to lie with Harbaugh on this one.

Looking ahead, this might not be a rivalry that dies quickly. Niners offensive lineman Anthony Davis, on his newly verified Twitter account, had a little trash talk of his own after the game.

"They talked s*** to us all week," Davis tweeted following the game. "We said nothin ... Came and kicked that a** ... its f***** football f*** classy.. Save classy for Mortons lol"

Steakhouse humor aside, it's worth mentioning Cliff Avril of the Lions saw Davis' tweet and pointed out that it was "real professional" -- Davis responded by pointing out that he "pancacked [Avril] on a passing play ... sooo uh just be quiet go home play with your kids."

So this shouldn't evolve into anything unpleasant in the near future at all!

What's fascinating about this whole thing is how people are defending both sides. Some folks think that Schwartz is an unhinged lunatic. Some think Harbaugh is an arrogant jerk. (Our own Mike Freeman noted on Twitter that Harbaugh's not making himself any friends around the league with his attitude.)

For me, it's hard to blame Schwartz for his reaction, given the way that Harbaugh behaved following San Francisco's victory:



Whatever, here's hoping they meet again in the playoffs. In the meantime, my top-five list for coaches I would pick for a steel-cage death match:

1. Jack Del Rio
2. Ron Rivera
3. Mike Tomlin
4. Jim Schwartz
5. Raheem Morris

Leave your picks in the comments.

2. Speaking of Coaches ...
You'll notice Sean Payton didn't make my top five. And he might not have even if he was healthy, but he certainly wouldn't be up there after the incident that took place on Sunday, when tight end Jimmy Graham came crashing into the sideline and blew up Payton's knee.

The Saints coach suffered a broken tibia and tore his the MCL in his left knee, which means he'll be knocked out of shape for quite a while.

"It's just one of those things, the play kind of got up on me quicker," Payton said Sunday. "I think the second part of the tackle seemed maybe all of a sudden. I mean, every once in a while you feel like you get pinned with the play and that's what happened."

Of course, Payton wasn't the only coach who was injured on Sunday in this game (think about that; seriously) -- Jimmy Lake, the Bucs defensive backs coach, tore his patellar tendon celebrating an interception celebrating, as Ryan says in the podcast above, Martin Gramatica style.

What I'm wondering is if Payton's injury might derail the Saints offense a little bit. Maybe that's a stretch, and he'll certainly have his hands all over the team's playcalling and management, but it doesn't sound like he'll be down on the field for a few weeks.

"I might have to be up in the press box for a few games," Payton said. "Because it’s a fracture, its different. If it’s the MCL you can have the brace, but the fracture on the outside means the weight-bearing part of it really changes."

Maybe it won't have any bearing -- with the Saints playing the Colts and Rams in the next two weeks, Drew Brees can probably manage the offense all by himself.

2. A Boy Named John
With Washington getting two weeks to prepare for the Eagles, and Philly looking very much like a punch-drunk boxer practically begging for a knockout shot, it stood to reason that the Redskins could take advantage of the Eagles porous defense and pick up a critical division win.

They didn't, and that's mainly because Rex Grossman turned into, well, Rex Grossman.

The 'Skins quarterback threw four interceptions -- three to Kurt Coleman -- and registered a couple of terrible interceptions that should have been picks. This led to him getting benched for backup John Beck.

“Well number one—we needed a spark," Mike Shanahan said afterwards. "John has been practicing very well the past couple of weeks and with four turnovers there we thought it was time to make a change and give John an opportunity to show us what he could do."

(Ed. Note: Week 6 review will be up early Monday.)

Beck, who's so fancy/awesome he dressed like a gas-station attendant for his post-game presser, isn't locked into the starting role yet, though, as Shanny refused to name next week's starter immediately following the game.

"I would never announce that right after a game," Shanahan said of his decision on who he'll start. "I would announce that later on in the week. We'll make a decision after looking at the film."

That's all fine and well, but who didn't see this coming? Because if the Redskins leading the NFC East after five weeks was the least likely thing in the entire world, then Grossman eventually imploding was on the opposite scale of predictability. And now this is quickly shaping up to be the second rendition of the Donovan McNabb-Grossman fiasco from last year.

On the bright side, it's less expensive?

"I want to play," Beck said, via Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post. "I want to be the quarterback. But I’m not the one that makes that decision, it’s coach, and they’ll make the best decision for the team ... What’s gonna happen next, I don’t know. But I’ll just do everything I can to be prepared if my number is called."

If it's me, I roll the dice with Beck, who seemed to at least provide a little spark to the team when he came on the field. It's not like he's been good this year, the Redskins defense has just kept Washington in games. And Grossman's now thrown three or more interceptions in seven of his 45 career starts. Which means 15 percent of the time that you put Grossman under center, there's a 15-percent chance he's going to hand the ball to the opposing defense multiple times.

3. Maybe Romo's Not the Only Choker?
For what feels like the fourth or fifth week this season, it's time to question Jason Garrett's playcalling for Dallas. With the game tied at 13 all and the Cowboys in the red zone, Garrett called a third-down shovel pass despite Dez Bryant sitting in single coverage.

The result was predictably predictable: the shovel pass didn't work and the Cowboys kicked a field goal to go up 16-13. Then, after forcing the Patriots to punt, Dallas ran three straight times (for negative-five yards) and the result was even more predictable: Dallas punted back to Tom Brady, giving him the ball down three points with 2:31 left on the clock.

If you've followed football at all for the last few years, you've probably already figured out what happened. Tom Brady did what Tom Brady does, which is carve up a defense en route to just another routine comeback/last-minute win.

By the time he hit Aaron Hernandez in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown, Dallas had just 22 seconds remaining on the clock to move the ball far enough down the field to get a shot at a Hail Mary, which Tony Romo threw out of bounds.

On that last drive, by the way, Romo completed two passes for 31 yards. Throw those passes on the previous series and we're talking about a signature win for the Cowboys, against the best team in the other conference at their place.

Instead, we're left to wonder why Garrett continually plays, as my colleague Pete Prisco wrote, not to lose, instead of utilizing the weapons he has on offense in the proper way. And by "we" I mean "me and Jerry Jones."

"You'll always second-guess whether or not we should have tried to run a little offense down there instead of running it three times," Jones said after the game, per our Pats Rapid Reporter Greg Bedard. "We went conservative rather than try to get some points and it bit us."

Jones said that doing so in a regular-season game was acceptable, but it's not the type of thing that he'd like to see in the playoffs. Of course, it's hard to imagine the Cowboys making the playoffs if they can't figure out how to turn trips to the red zone into more than three points a pop.

4. Bollers and Pryors OH MY
Many a pundit's willing to point out that the Oakland Raiders, while a half-game back of the Chargers, are the best AFC West team through the first six weeks of the season.

This isn't that far off. The Raiders are pretty good. But despite winning 24-17 over Cleveland on Sunday, Oakland suffered a seriously detrimental injury on Sunday, as quarterback Jason Campbell broke his collarbone and will likely miss the remainder of the season.

“I’m not going to let this football team blink," coach Hue Jackson said Sunday. "We’ll miss Jason for a little while. I have no idea how long it will take [for him to recover]. We’ll see as we go. I know obviously he won’t be here next week. We’ll continue to press forward and get better."

That's the optimistic point of view. The pessimistic? Kyle Boller, Terrelle Pryor and Shane Lechler are now the top-three quarterbacks on Oakland's depth chart. Yikes.

So Oakland has a couple of options going forward. One, roll with Boller. (Again, yikes.) Two, let Darren McFadden carry the ball 50 times a game. (Not terrible, but it could cause some long-term issues in terms of his health.) Three, go out and get another quarterback.

A couple of names spring to mind immediately: Kyle Orton, Donovan McNabb, David Garrard and Carson Palmer. Garrard makes sense because he's openly said he wants to play for a contender and the Raiders, at 4-2, certainly fit the bill.

Orton, McNabb and Palmer seem like longer shots as trade possibilities, but the Raiders have about 36 hours to make a deal, and it's reasonable that the Broncos, Vikings and Bengals would be interested in getting something back for guys that are either going to ride pine the rest of the year or won't bother showing up.

5. Don't Forget the Defense



In this, the year of ridiculously silly offensive outputs in the NFL, it's easy to just gawk at high-powered offensive teams and assume they will end up winning the most games and doing the most damage in the postseason.

But we need to recognize the Ravens for the dirty work they're doing on the defensive side of the ball, suppressed their league-leading points-allowed total to 71 Sunday after casually shut down Houston in a 29-14 victory. Baltimore held 2010 rushing champ Arian Foster to just 49 yards on 15 carries, and limited Matt Schaub to 220 yards and a touchdown in a dominant defensive performance that should make some people take notice.

Ryan and I debated this audio-style, but I think there's a legitimate argument that the Ravens are the best team in the AFC and can contend for the best team in the NFL. Clearly -- quite clearly -- the Packers are the cream of the crop at the moment.

But anyone in the NFL can score these days. Few teams can stop the opposition from scoring. With Haloti Ngata serving as the lynchpin for the defensive line and wrecking havoc on opponents' offensive lines, and with a secondary that's surprising this year, and with Ray Lewis playing rejuvenated ball, the Ravens can do that.

They're lacking in offensive consistency more so than a lot of other teams around the league -- Joe Flacco alternating between awesome and terrible this season is pretty terrifying if you're a Baltimore fan -- but Ray Rice is so good right now that he can carry the Ravens when Flacco's struggling.

And if Rice isn't up for the task, the defense isn't afraid to take over either. Which separates the Ravens from most everyone else in the league.

6. Madden Up to His Old Curses Again
What the hell is going on in Cleveland? Because, one, the Browns aren't winning, so that's a problem. And two, Peyton Hillis has some serious drama surrounding him these days.

We've detailed the drama before (numerous times, actually), but Sunday took things to a whole new level. For starters, Hillis rushed just six times for 14 yards and then left with a hamstring injury, pulling up lame after taking a second-quarter screen pass from Colt McCoy only to have it negated by an illegal shift penalty.

After halftime, Hillis returned and appeared to be out for the game. This is fine, if it's because of injury. Except Hillis returned to the game ... and didn't get any carries. He blocked for McCoy and was on the field, but didn't rush the ball at all.

The Browns weren't exactly ground heavy during the game -- Montario Hardesty only had 11 carries for a meager 35 yards -- and McCoy ended up throwing 45 times (his lowest passing-attempt total on the year is now 32, which is also a bit disconcerting), but to see Hillis hurt but maybe not hurt enough to sit out the rest of the game especially after a controversial injury earlier in the year, well, let's just say that something ain't stirring the Kool-Aid in Cleveland.

7. Ponder This
Sunday night, Christian Ponder got his first real action for the Vikings in their 39-10 blowout loss Sunday night. I mentioned this when writing about the substitution, but you can't pin everything that's going wrong on Donovan McNabb.

He's not the guy refusing to block defenders, and he's not the guy allowing other teams to score 20-plus points in the second halves of games. But it's understandable that some of the players on the team might be a little interested in seeing what Ponder, who at least looked more, um, energetic than McNabb, can do.

"I'm not a coach, but this team definitely could use a spark wherever that may come from," wide receiver Percy Harvin said.

Again, McNabb hasn't been that bad. But the Vikes are 1-5, going nowhere in (arguably) the toughest division in football and need to find out if Ponder's their guy for the long term.

Because at this rate, they'll have another pretty critical decision about some talented young quarterbacks at the top of the 2012 draft as well.

For the Bears part, lets give credit to Mike Martz and Lovie Smith for learning that if you actually give Jay Cutler help to block pass rushers, you can produce offensively.

Except they learned this last year, too. Remember how the Bears stunk and Cutler looked like a candidate for serious brain damage through the first few weeks in 2010? And then the Bears started running the ball more and protecting Cutler? Yeah, maybe next year they'll remember before they're a quarter of the season in.



8. Down South in ... Tampa Bay?
The Saints were supposed to blow out the LeGarrette Blount-less Buccaneers this weekend and the Panthers were supposed to upset the Falcons in the Georgia Dome. And then I was going to spend a large chunk of this column talking about the Panthers secretly being the second-best team in the NFC South.

Well, apparently no one else in the entire world got the same memo I did (thanks a lot for not forwarding the revised copy, you big jerks), because the Panthers got handily dismantled 31-17 in Atlanta and the Bucs straight up took care of business in route to grabbing the division lead with a 26-20 win over New Orleans.

If you missed it, lemme fill you on why the Panthers lost: their defense is terrible. It's not bad coaching and it's not to mean to the guys in the lineup, but the best way for Tiki Barber to revive his career would be to just try and get a tryout with whoever's playing the Panthers in the coming week, because there's a decent chance he could scamper for a buck fifty against that fishnet of a rushing defense.

They'll get better in the future and there's no reason to question Ron Rivera's capability as a defensive coach, but if you can run the ball, you can kill the Panthers. After Cam Newton threw a terrible pick to defensive lineman Corey Peters, the Falcons got the ball up a touchdown with six minutes left to play. Eight plays later -- seven of them running -- they were up 14 points.

Everyone knew they were going to run and there still wasn't any way for Carolina to stop it. New Orleans is a different deal, though, because Blount's absence meant the Bucs would struggle (in their wins thus far, he'd done well, and in their losses he hadn't; it's science!). Instead, Earnest Graham piled up 109 rushing yards on 17 carries, Josh Freeman got loose with Arrelious Benn and the Saints found themselves in a 20-10 halftime hole that they couldn't ever climb out of.

In short, a motivated Tampa Bay team showed up, created turnovers and completely flipped our perspective on the NFC South.

9. Bungle in the Jungle
The Ravens, as noted above, are the class of the AFC North. And the Steelers are coming off a second-straight win in which their defense prevailed and Rashard Mendenhall and the running game looked good.

But it would be silly to discount what the Bengals have done this year, moving to 4-2 after a 27-17 win over Indy, especially considering most of the offensive production is coming from a pair of rookies in Andy Dalton and A.J. Green.

Dalton's not lighting up the statistical sheet, per se, as he's averaging just 218.5 passing yards per game, and he's only found the end zone seven times. But four of those have been to fellow rook Green, and -- I'm as surprised to be writing this as you are reading it -- Marvin Lewis was write about his offense getting an upgrade during the offseason.

And the Bengals are benefiting from a soft schedule; they could realistically be undefeated, considering that their two losses were by a combined seven points. Of course, it doesn't hurt that they have the second-best defense in the league, allowing just 278.5 yards per game. That defense has

The schedule gets harder down the road -- multiple matchups with both Baltimore and Pittsburgh loom -- but there are four more games left where the Bengals will either be favored or basically a pick 'em. The idea that this team could win eight games as recently as September was, well, not there. The four they have now is probably what they'd have topped out in most preseason projections.

And now they're a reasonable contender for a Wild-Card berth if a few things go their way in the rest of their division matchups.

10. Things to Do In Denver on Your Bye
It's fascinating to me that a team like the Broncos could, somehow, manage to create a ton of noise about their team. On their bye week. Without really talking about Tim Tebow.

I mean, there was some Tebow talk this week, of course, but it wasn't out of control. Charley Casserly reported that the Broncos won't change their offense much for Tebow, and that's probably a good thing and/or not that surprising, since this is a John Fox offense.

Most of the noise centered around Denver's decision to start trying to ship every single talented veteran on the roster out of town. Brandon Lloyd wants gone, and it seems like he could be moved before Monday's practice (the team apparently doesn't think he can be on the same field as the coaching staff). Eddie Royal's on the block too and he's generating some interest; this makes sense since both player are rentals for the rest of the year.

Kyle Orton's situation is a little more interesting. He'll also be a free agent after this year, and one would think that he'd LOVE to get out of town since a) the coaches yanked him in Week 5 for Tebow despite acting like Tebow's worse than Brady Quinn, b) he'll be a free agent in the offseason and c) he's more reviled by the fans around Mile High than Carmelo Anthony during his "trade me to New York or else" run last year.

But the Broncos issued a statement on Sunday night denying rumors that Orton wanted a trade, so apparently he's content hanging around and playing -- ahem -- nursemaid to Tebow. Or he thinks the experiment will fail miserably and he'll be starting in a couple weeks anyway.

Regardless, Denver, you're 1-4. Spend the bye week getting better, not drawing attention to yourselves when you're not playing please.

Muffed Punts
Leftovers from Sunday's action ...
... Shane Lechler's first career pass attempt also produced his first career touchdown pass, when the Raiders faked a field goal in the third quarter against the Browns. Oddly enough, Lechler was the emergency quarterback, set to replace Kyle Boller who replaced the injured Jason Campbell.
... No one will talk about it because they won and because of Handshake Gate, but Jim Harbaugh threw a challenge flag on a scoring play. Huge gaffe, since those are all automatically reviewed. It cost him an unsportsmanlike conduct delay of game penalty.
... Drew Brees became the first quarterback in NFL history to post four-straight games of 350 or more yards passing.
... Packers are now just the seventh defending Super Bowl champ to start the next season 6-0.

Worth 1,000 Words


 
Jim Irsay Pop-Culture Referencing Tweet That's Sure to Drive Colts Fans Insane of the Week
"Little red light on the highway...big green light on the speedway...hey,hey,hey"

This one might seem meaningless ... unless you happen to be a Grateful Dead fan and recognize the lyrics to "West L.A. Fadeaway." In which case you, like me, are clearly one of the first people to realize that Irsay's moving the Colts to Los Angeles. Who didn't see that coming?

GIF O' THE WEEK

Big ups to @Jose3030 for pulling this clip of LeSean McCoy pulling an aggressive version of the Pillsbury doughboy poke on Eagles coach Andy Reid. There's so much that's perfect about it, from Reid's stomach jiggling to Reid's head snapping back to Reid being totally unprepared for the punch, to McCoy later tweeting an apology for doing it.



Hot Seat Tracker
  • Jack Del Rio -- He wasn't supposed to beat the Steelers, in Pittsburgh. And he didn't. But the Jaguars showed some life. Still hard to imagine he survives this season though.
  • Jim Caldwell -- In the words of the Talking Heads, stiiiiiiiiiiiiillllll waiiiiiiting ...
  • Tony Sparano -- He only lasts through 2012 if Steve Ross is waiting out Jon Gruden.
  • Steve Spagnuolo -- Another guy who wasn't supposed to win Sunday, and he's been ravaged by injuries. But man, how did we all think they'd win the division?
  • Jason Garrett -- Perhaps a bit early, but Jerry Jones is questioning his playcalling. That's never good.
  • Leslie Frazier -- He needs to go to Ponder now to keep his seat cool.
  • Ken Wisenhunt -- He's got the Cards practicing on their off day during their bye week. Might be feeling some pressure.
Chasing Andrew Luck
You'll notice a shifting of the odds this week -- we're no longer accepting wagers that return any money to you. Mainly because there are just too many crappy teams in the NFL right now.

Colts (-500): The Jaguars and Panthers sandwich their Week 11 bye, and besides a Week 17 date at Jacksonville, well, those are the only games that even remotely look winnable right now.
Dolphins (-350): Their schedule is also quite bleak. At least their fans are happy?
Rams (-250): Al Harris is one of their starting cornerbacks. This is not 2001.
Broncos (-225): They're doing everything in their power to deal away anyone with any talent. And this is different than the Josh McDaniels era how?
Vikings (-125): Minny still has Adrian Peterson? Guh that Bears game was depressing.

MVP Watch
Pretty clearly, there's only one choice: Aaron Rodgers. Guy's doing everything he did down the stretch in 2010 but now it's being spread out over the course of a regular season. If he keeps this up, the Packers will have as many losses as there are people who don't pencil his name in for the top MVP vote.
Posted on: October 6, 2011 12:29 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Books we want to read

It's time for a biography on Ed Sabol and his son, Steve. (US Preswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

With the controversy surrounding the new Walter Payton biography, written by Jeff Pearlman, I got to thinking about the other books we need to read but that haven’t been written yet. I’m not talking about a season in the life book of the 2010 Packers or the latest words written by Mike Ditka (at least five authored or co-authored by the Bears coaching icon), but about subjects we don’t really know and on topics we would love to explore.

For this Top Ten List with a Twist, I’m discounting what a publisher might say if he/she was presented with some of these ideas (namely, the idea that blah, blah, blah won’t sell or that nobody has ever heard of blah, blah, blah). Some of these ideas, no doubt, would work, and maybe, one day, you’ll see one of them on the shelf of your nearest book store in the cart of your Amazon.com page.

Without further ado, here are the Top Ten books we absolutely deserve to read.  

10. The inside story on the NFL lockout: Yeah, maybe many football fans wouldn’t care about a book like this, because they only wanted the work stoppage to end as soon as possible so they could continue to watch the game they love, but I bet it would be fascinating. What is the relationship between Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith really like? How were the compromises finally reached? Did Jerry Jones really tap his fists together and walk out of a negotiation session to make a point? For those  who reported and analyzed the entire ordeal, it would be a mind-churning look from behind the curtain.

9. Bill Belichick end-of-career autobiography: Although he almost always comes off completely uninteresting during his midweek and postgame press conferences -- hell, he eats his lunch during teleconference calls with the media! -- the recent NFL Network documentary showed that he’s an interesting dude. The fact he got a little emotional during a trip to the Meadowlands was almost shocking, and I’ve seen interviews with him before that are really, really good. If he let down his guard, like during that documentary, his autobiography would be a fascinating study of the best coach in football. There have been big-name authors who have written big-name books about Belichick, but when his career is over, I want him reflecting on the impact he’s made and the reason he did it all the first place.

8. A biography on Tom Brady’s hair: We’ve already had the obituary for Brady’s shorn locks. Next, we should have a book that tells the tale of the entire two-year history of the hair that helped Brady land that lucrative Uggs endorsement.

7. Sid Gillman biography: Gillman is the most important coach you might not remember. Unlike Paul Brown (who has a stadium named after him and a legacy in Cincinnati) or Vince Lombardi (who you might have heard a little something about) or Woody Hayes (a decent-enough coach at Ohio State) -- all of whom were Gillman contemporaries -- Gillman has fallen through the cracks of history. And considering, he’s the father of the modern passing offense, that’s a shame.

Rex and Rob Ryan (US Presswire)6. Rob/Rex Ryan quote book: This could even be made into one of those peel-a-page-every-day calendars, like the Jeff Foxworthy redneck gags or the best of the old Far Side comic strips. But if you like to laugh (or just shake your head), this book would be a big seller. You could have Rex talking about not wanting to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings or Rob discussing how Calvin Johnson would be the Cowboys No. 3 receiver behind Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. See what I mean? It’d be high hilarity.

5. Bryant McKinnie in the Blind Side, part II: Since McKinnie was the one to replace Michael Oher as the Ravens left tackle, McKinnie should have his own Michael Lewis-penned biography. I’m pretty sure McKinnie didn’t live in foster homes and on the streets before he was adopted, like Oher, but McKinnie has had struggles with his weight and he did (allegedly) spend $100,000 on a bar tab this offseason. It’s not as heartwarming as the Oher book, but a tome about McKinnie would be pretty fun.

4. The early struggles of black players: You know all about Jackie Robinson in major league baseball, but if I asked you who the broke the color barrier in the NFL, you probably wouldn’t have any idea. Hell, I read a long article about the NFL’s integration the other day, and I couldn’t tell you the guy’s name*. But this is an important -- and somewhat complicated -- history. Black players participated in pro football at the turn of the 20th century, and they also were part of teams in various professional leagues until the NFL stopped signing them in the early 1930s. It would be an interesting look at an era that, just like much of society, was decidedly unfair for anybody who wasn’t white.

*After blacks were excluded from the league in 1933, Kenny Washington was the one to break the barrier in 1946, one year before Robinson did it in baseball.

3. A Cam Newton investigation: Don’t we deserve to know who Newton’s bag man is or if there was a bag man at all? Not that it would make any difference in his pro career, but don’t you want to know if Newton’s father really demanded $180,000 from Mississippi State for Newton’s service? Maybe Auburn fans wouldn’t, but I certainly would.

2. NFL Films biography: People underestimate the importance of Ed and Steve Sabol. Proof of that was that it took so long for Ed to earn his way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But the NFL -- and the NFL fans -- owe them a huge debt of gratitude, because the way you watch football today might not be possible if NFL Films hadn’t been created on the backs of the Sabol’s in the 1960s. I want to know how it started, the obstacles they faced in the early years and the impact the company has made to this day. It’s a book the Sabol’s deserve to have written.

1. An investigation into the rise of CTE: There have been a few journalists (the Newark Star Ledger’s Jerry Izenberg and the New York Times’ Alan Schwarz are two who come to mind) who do fine work keeping watch on the NFL’s relationship and response to the rise of head injuries that continue to devastate retired players and keep us reminded about what a brutal game football is to those who play it for your enjoyment. But from the premature death of Steelers legend Mike Webster to the shock of what Chris Henry’s brain looked like during his autopsy, from the suicide of Dave Duerson to the continued work of those who track of the rise of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, this is a book that needs to be written. And the sooner, the better.

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Posted on: September 23, 2011 12:00 pm
Edited on: September 23, 2011 1:37 pm
 

Report: Romo's punctured lung has healed

It looks like Tony Romo will play. Will DeAngelo Hall be ready? (Getty Images/US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson


The punctured lung Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo suffered during an overtime win over the 49ers last Sunday has healed, sources tell ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins. This is the latest confirmation of what most people suspected anyway: Romo will be on the field Monday night when the Cowboys host the Redskins in Jerry Dome's season opener.

Romo still has a fractured rib and as recently as Thursday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was noncommittal about his quarterback's chances to play this week.

"Tony certainly had his examination [Thursday] and everything is on go as we would hoped it would be and expected it to be relative to his lung status," Jones said on ESPN's NFL 32. "That still doesn't necessarily mean he's going to play Monday night, but still that's on go. …

"He threw around a few balls today but that was it. He really didn't practice," Jones continued. "So we'll ease up on him here this week. He'll have the game plan and a feel for what we want to do out there and we'll see how it is when we get to game day."

The Associated Press reports that Romo wasn't on the field at the start of Cowboys' practice Friday, giving backup quarterback Jon Kitna another day of work with the starters. Romo hasn't practiced since leading Dallas to a comeback win over the 49ers on Sunday.

Coach Jason Garrett hasn't said whether Romo must practice before playing against Washington; the Cowboys have another practice Saturday and a walkthrough Sunday.

Still, barring a setback, there's no reason to believe that Romo won't be under center. "I fully expect him to play," Kitna said.

Week 3 NFL Preview

This must make DeAngelo Hall very happy. The Redskins cornerback said earlier this week that he plans to target Romo's ribs.

"Absolutely. I want to get a chance to put my helmet on whatever's hurt," Hall said. "Romo's ribs -- I'm going to be asking for some corner blitzes. If I know Felix Jones' shoulder's hurt, I'm not going to cut him. I'm definitely going to try to hit him up high, so that's just part of it. If you know something's wrong with an opponent, you're going to try to target in on that. We're going to try to definitely get as many hats on that team as possible."

This prompted CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman to point out that Hall is an idiot. And ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth, no doubt stifling uncontrollable laughter as the words left his mouth, offered this: “That’s the first time you’re ever going to hit anybody. Good for you. That’s great. That’s awesome."

Schlereth continued: “You know, it’s funny, the further you get away from the football, the more talking goes on, right? Receivers and cornerbacks always seem to be getting into these verbal battles, and they’re the only guys that never actually hit anybody. So good for you. You know what, we’re all looking forward to you going out there and dispensing justice. I can’t wait to watch it.”

Perhaps Hall can take some lessons in humility from Cowboys wide receiver Jesse Holley, who hooked up with Romo for the 77-yard pass play in San Francisco that set up the winning field goal. Holley appeared on ESPN Radio Dallas earlier this week to talk about the catch and his his NFL journey (via SportsRadioInterviews.com).

"Just three years ago I was working security from 11 at night until 7 in the morning and selling cell phones in the day time. To be on stage at Candlestick Park, Cowboys and 49ers, making a key play to help your team get a victory, that’s … you can’t write that up. … It really shows if you continue to be faithful and obedient and work hard that good things will happen to you."

As for what Holley told Romo on the sidelines before The Play, it's pretty simple:

“The whole time he is talking I am over talking him saying ‘I’m ready. I’m ready. I’m ready.’ He’s going ‘I know. I know, but on the…’ I said ‘I am ready. I am ready.’ I kept telling him and I said in my head ‘I am ready.’ …

"When we got on the plane I asked him [Tony Romo] about that particular play because he called a play in the huddle that wasn’t the play call that coach Garrett called in the headset. I asked him ‘What made you change the play?’ He said well you told me that you were ready? I felt like you had one in you, so I changed it.”

In other Cowboys injury-related news, the AP reports that receiver Dez Bryant returned Friday for the first time since injuring a thigh in the opener. Running back Felix Jones (shoulder) and center Phil Costa (knee) also returned after missing practice Thursday. Receiver Miles Austin (hamstring) remains out.

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Posted on: September 20, 2011 5:36 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2011 6:13 pm
 

Jones: Romo's performance could set tone

Jones and RomoPosted by Josh Katzowitz

It was an obvious thought, but when Jerry Jones talked to 105.3 The Fan in Dallas today, he said it was clear the Cowboys needed a win vs. the 49ers on Sunday.

Even if Dallas had to make a furious comeback and take the game to overtime before Eye on Football special teams award victor Dan Bailey won the game with a 19-yard field goal, the Cowboys needed any kind of win. 

And perhaps the biggest reason for that is Tony Romo -- the kind of man who apparently can play through a freakin’ punctured lung. Jones was quick to acknowledge that what Romo accomplished last Sunday could set the tone for the rest of the season (you’ll recall that last week Jones said Romo’s Week 1 performance was one of the best he’d seen from Romo).

“It was pretty obvious the pain he was in to everybody,” Jones said, via sportsradiointerviews.com. “It’s pretty obvious the seriousness of the injury and the limitation of the injury. But for him to take it at that moment … we all know what momentum does, we all know what mood is, and as a situation in the game we were really down and he let that inspire him. Not only his competitiveness but he just took it when we were down. It’s another thing to do it when things were not quite as dire. The fact that he was hurting, it was dire, he came in, will be one we can point to and build to. These things have a way of really being pointed to after a season, or after you’ve had the results of a season. But if we have the kind of results we all hope to have we’ll point back to this and say this was a tidewater time for the team.”

Jones also said he knew Romo’s injuries -- which we originally thought was just* a couple of fractured ribs -- were bad immediately.

*The word “just” here is relative, of course. Playing with fractured ribs, I imagine, is awfully painful and stud-worthy.

“We saw him move with discomfort right after he got hit,” Jones said. “We have a phone that we use from our vantage point in the stadium and we call down there and told our guys, not the coaches, but told our guys that were there, said check Tony out. What are they saying about Tony? He didn’t give them an indication there early on, but you could see a little bit of discomfort in the way he was moving around. It was a series or two before anybody really realized that he had had some discomfort there. If you really look back and look at it you’ll see him get up a little awkwardly.”

Still no word on when Romo will be ready to return to the field, though Jones did say, "We’ll just have to see how it goes. It has everything to do with his ability to handle pain. We know he’s got a bunch of it so we’ll see how it goes."

Romo obviously showed last week that he's got a pretty high tolerance of pain. But in the meantime, his Eye on Football offensive player of the week award -- and Jones' kind words -- should help him cope with the pain.

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Posted on: September 14, 2011 3:35 pm
 

Jones on Romo: One of best games he's played

Jones thought Romo played well against the Jets. (US PRESSWIRE/Getty Images)
Posted by Ryan Wilson

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has his critics, and he did nothing to dissuade them from pointing out his shortcomings after his fourth-quarter performance against the Jets on Sunday night.

(A quick recap in case you're just back from Mars: with 12 minutes to go in the game and the Cowboys leading 24-17, Romo fumbled a yard short of the end zone. Then, with less than a minute to go and the score tied, 24-24, Romo threw an interception. Thirty-seven seconds later, the Jets kicked the game-winning field goal and that was that.)

We gave Romo a name-check in this week's Coach Killers, although former Cowboys great Drew Pearson thinks Romo's intended receiver on that last fateful pick, Dez Bryant, needs to play more consistently.

And while this might buck conventional wisdom, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has only laudatory things to say about Romo. Not just in general, but specifically coming out of the Jets game. Appearing on 105.3 the Fan in Dallas, Jones was asked his thoughts on Romo's Week 1 showing (via SportsRadioInterviews.com):

“I thought this may draw a little criticism," Jones began. "I thought Tony played one of the best games I have ever seen him play. You can make a big case that the way he played for three quarters was how we got there at the end and looked like we were for sure going to get the win. He played outstanding, the game has really slowed down for him which is a very good thing, he’s seeing where the ball out to go, all those things bode well for us. He really is a quarterback that has averaged 10 wins for every 16 he has started in the NFL. He’s a winner and we are going to rise and fall based on what Tony Romo is about the next several years and I’m excited about that. We’ve got somebody here where if we can get some other things together we can have a team that gets us in a position to take a shot.”

You know, it's hard to disagree with Jones here (well, except the part about Romo playing one of his best games ever). We mentioned on Monday's Pick-6 Podcast that Romo outplayed the Jets' Mark Sanchez but Sanchez appears to have a knack for avoiding mistakes at critical junctures while Romo is drawn to them. And it's not solely a function of his style of play or decision-making process. It genuinely seems like the gods of chance hate Romo.

Jones isn't buying it. In fact, he thinks Romo "loves pressure" although he concedes that the quarterback has a knack for "trying to make the best play he can instead of doing the kinds of things that don't lose football games. … There's a lot going on at that position," Jones said. "When you get somebody who can really master it, it's something special. He's close."

He better be. We picked the Cowboys to win the NFC East.

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Posted on: August 20, 2011 4:48 pm
 

Hot Routes 8.20.11: Patterson returns to Eagles



Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • Eagles DT Mike Patterson -- who collapsed in a scary situation two weeks ago -- returned to the team Saturday. He saw four specialists for his arteriovenus malformation diagnosis, and he’s been cleared to play football again. Coach Andy Reid said he’d be cautious with Patterson and slowly work him back into the lineup.
  • Lions RB Jahvid Best says he’s not concerned about the possible head injury he suffered against the Browns on Friday. “It was nothing bad, but I just wasn't feeling right so they told me to sit down,” Best said.
  • CBSSports.com’s Clark Judge explains why this year will be the year for the rest of the AFC South to crack the Colts hold on the division title.
  • This can’t sit all that well with Eagles fans. The team has re-signed Reggie Wells, a backup guard last year. That might mean Philadelphia isn’t exactly a Dream Team yet, particularly on the offensive line.
  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones isn’t sure when Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will be inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor. Apparently, Jones hasn’t done enough to secure the vote of Jones.

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Posted on: July 12, 2011 9:02 am
Edited on: July 12, 2011 9:13 am
 

Cowboys' San Antonio training camp in trouble?

Posted by Ryan Wilson

On July 3, with no concrete date for when the lockout would end, we posted a story about the Dallas Cowboys setting a July 29 training camp date in San Antonio. At the time, we took it as a good sign that the owners and players would soon have a new collective bargaining agreement, and that the 2011 NFL season would be safely underway at that point.

On Monday, an ESPN report suggested that a new CBA could be in place and ratified by July 21 and free agency could follow on July 28, one day before the start of Cowboys training camp.

On July 2, Mike Sawaya, who heads San Antonio's convention, sports and entertainment facilities, told the San Antonio Express-News that the Cowboys will start moving equipment into the building on July 25, and the annual pep rally and concert to kick off training camp is set for July 28. Sawaya said that the team has the dome reserved through August 13.

But on Monday, two Cowboys sources told FoxSportsSouthwest.com's Matt Mosley that it's hard to imagine the scenario Sawaya described earlier this month.

"It does not look good," said one of the sources regarding the Cowboys holding any portion of their camp in San Antonio.

Several teams have already canceled their out-of-town training camps for something closer to home because of the likelihood of a compressed schedule leading up to the regular season. The Jets, Giants and Vikings will hold camps at their team training facilities, but Mosley thinks that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will hold off on a decision until the last minute because of the good relationship the fans of San Antonio have with the team.

The Express-News initially reported that Cowboys could be forced to move training camp to Irving, Texas if the lockout drags on beyond mid-July, and while the team hasn't officially made an announcement, it now looks like a distinct possibility.

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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