Monday, December 13, 2010

Observations from the Sunday Night Game

- Michael Vick is very tough to defend. But I think the Cowboys did a decent job containing him. Unfortunately the secondary had three big break downs in coverage against DeSean Jackson and it cost them the game. But I loved the way the pass rushers were getting after Vick and delivering some punishment to him when they got there.

- Jon Kitna has performed excellent for a backup quarterback but the offense really needed Romo last night. I have been noticing for several weeks that Kitna has several holes in his game that are now starting to get exposed. He was allowing the Philadelphia defense to dictate the plays last night by checking down to the safety valve nearly every time they sent the blitz. You have to give your guys a shot down the field when they are one on one or the defense will feel safe to crowd the line and send extra rushers all game long. And as soon as Kitna is on the move you know it is pretty much a dead play if he throws on the run. Romo makes his biggest plays when he is on the move.

- I don't know why it keeps happening but Kitna must get 3 or 4 passes batted down every game. Either he isn't finding the windows to throw through like he should be or he is the unluckiest guy in the world.

- Kitna has to be one of the worst quarterbacks I have ever seen running the two minute offense. The poor clock management in the two minute drill has cost the Cowboys in the last two games. It seems as though part of the reason they are working so slow is due to the game plan of Jason Garrett. Maybe he doesn't trust Kitna to run the two minute offense like he does Romo.

- I don't want to sound like I am blaming the whole game on Kitna. I am not. He has been better than you could ever hope for your backup quarterback to play. But the people who are actually making the comments about Kitna being better than Romo need a reality check.

- I know I am biased, but Jason Witten is by far the best tight end in the NFL. Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates are great receivers but Witten is a leader, is a very good blocker and is also a great receiver. It has gone largely unnoticed, but Witten has really become a vocal leader on the sidelines this season.

- I like the way the team fights but close losses are no longer good enough. I know the Cowboys are playing without their best two offensive players but you have to win the game when you are close in the 4th quarter if you want to be a good team. The defense and the offense both broke down last night at a crucial point in the game. DeSean Jackson had the 91 yard touchdown and Kitna followed that up with an interception on a bad read on his part.

- David Buehler might actually be improving. He still ranks near the bottom of the league in field goal percentage, but the last two games have been very good. Maybe the game winner he hit in overtime against the Colts will be the spark he needed to gain confidence and consistency.

- The Cowboys still have major problems on the offensive line. The running game was awful last night which resulted in a lot of third and long situations. I don't know why the line has so much trouble opening up running lanes but the line clearly needs to be fixed in the offseason.

- DeSean Jackson is a complete idiot. The falling backwards into the endzone was completely classless but I really expect it from him at this point. What was more ridiculous was his behavior during the post game interview on NBC. And I thought Martellus Bennett was bad. DeSean Jackson redefines the word immature for me.

- The whole Tashard Choice getting Michael Vick's autograph is being completely overblown. I don't know why anyone would want to get the autograph of a guy like Vick. We're talking about a guy who flipped off his home crowd in Atlanta, got caught with marijuana at the airport, was involved in dogfighting and brutally killing dogs, and was such a class act after getting out of prison that he was in the middle of a shooting investigation because he can't stop hanging around the crowd that got him in trouble to begin with. And now we are all supposed to forgive and forget and move on? Sorry but I can't. I can't for the life of me understand how Tashard Choice would want his nephew to use Michael Vick as a role model. Get the kid Demarcus Ware's autograph. Get him Jason Witten's autograph. But a guy like Vick? I will never understand that one. But asking the guy for an autograph is fine if you really think that on the field after the game is the time and place to get it.


  1. I just commented on the last posting, but I want to add a few things. Anthony Spencer and Igor played a very undisciplined game in the fourth quarter. Ware didn't have contain on the Vick roll out. Igor shot up the wrong gap TWICE on the last two big McCoy runs and again on the third and short that sealed the game.

    I understand the Kitna interception, but if you play back, it was the second noticeable time Williams stopped short on a route.

    The running game was terrible. I have a lot of issues with the offensive line, but look at how Felix was running. He shuffles his feet way too much in holes and he is almost too patient sometimes and the holes develop and close while he sits back and watches. I think he bulked up too much to where he lost some of his explosiveness and there may be too much pressure on him to hit the home run every time. Choice shows better vision in between the tackles and that's ultimately what is missing. Hopefully he can work out the kinks to pass protection and he'll be our complete, all around back. Remember, this was the guy recruited out of high school to replace Adrian Peterson at OU, said by Stoops to potentially be better than Peterson, and then transferred because he was tried of waiting. Going to Georgia Tech hurt him in the draft, but we are talking about potentially a first/second rounder if he continued with OU. Playing time split between him and Murray was his problem. If we have problems finding roles for the RBs, I think there is a very simple solution. Choice, assuming he adds the pass blocking to his abilities, becomes to all around back with a large percentage of carries, Felix slims down and becomes a home-run hitter and change of pace back, while Barber bulks up like he did a few years ago and is our closer/short yardage. I know this isn't ground breaking, but it's becoming more and more apparent. I miss the authority and nastiness Barber used to run with. He was the type of player that would get everyone excited on a 2 yard run with his effort.

    I think we did a great job for the most part on containing Vick. There were two huge plays for Jackson and if we take those away we win the game, but that has been the problem all season. Honestly, Ball is absolutely terrible. Whats worse was he was shown yelling at Sensabaugh a couple times for being out of position. I like Sensabaugh to be resigned, but Ball is a chump. For the life of me I do not understand why we didn't sign Rolle, Atogwe, or Ken Hamlin. I liked Hamlin before, didn't have the interceptions, but who really did? That problem was scheme, not talent. (Funny how good the original Roy Williams looks under Zimmer again).

    Also, even though he didn't make the tackle, I didn't know Scandrick had that kind of speed. I was mildly impressed and I think Jenkins would have given up much earlier. I also kind of wish Newman didn't let up and wrecked Jackson.

    McCray's fumble was pretty scary. The issue there was misjudgment of how much space he really had, probably will be corrected in meetings.

    All around, I think we are still talking about a W if Romo is in the game. His ability to throw on the run, sell the draw/play action, and down field throw would have been the difference, especially with so many of their secondary injured.

    As I said in the last post, it is essential we find players with nastiness and get in peoples faces to motivate/hold accountable. We need more of that so we can start out games strong (which is a pressing need) and sustain that momentum.


  2. Williams' route wasn't very good but Kitna made a bad read either way. Bad decision + bad route = turnover. I blame Kitna more than Roy on that one.

  3. If you look back, I think it was only two routes being run, both corners had help over the top, P.A., linebackers sucked up, and there was one or two eagles about to sack Kitna. He makes the read with Williams having essentially one-on-one coverage and his initial break outside he was open. The corner read the route and simply out hustled him to the sideline. No way to blame Kitna over Williams on that.

    But if he finishes the route he gets a hand on it and the worst result is it gets tipped harmlessly out of bounds. It seems like Williams is notorious for taking some plays off or not finishing routes. It's not just this pick, but it seems like a majority of the interceptions this year (Romo included) have come from receivers tipping the ball up in the air and not making a clean catch, running the wrong route/miscommunication, and/or receivers not finishing their routes. A few of those are going to happen no matter what throughout a season, but in that case I blame Williams more than Kitna. Considering William's primary objective during the offseason was route running (getting of the line, staying low, and making better cuts), he hasn't particularly held up his end of the bargain. Again, he scores three/four more touchdowns this season and all of this is history.


  4. Alright you two here comes big bad WBF :).

    Gotta go with it was a bad kitna play with medium fault to Williams. (t-t-t-tie breaker.)

    Also to answer your why does kitna get so many balls knocked down. There was actually an article written on that awhile back.

    Basically what happens is he throws the ball too low he needs more arc. But he throws that particular throw so badly that it has completely removed several very important plays from the play book. If you'll notice and slow those throws down he is only putting it above the linemen's head maybe a foot. Well your Defensive linemen will stand up and put their hands up and knock that mother down. Other QBs like last nights Texans and Ravens the balls that were batted down they had to jump in the air fully stretched out to knock that ball down. Which removes some accuracy away from their ability to knock it down since it is just jump and pray. Now to stand up and put your hands up you can do that with some degree of accuracy.

    My best firend and I watched the game and he couldn't see why was mad at kitna for the loss. He is a great back-up QB but he is really kind of screwing us out of some good plays. Luckily that is offset by our insanely good receivers and Witten. Not to mention T.Choice and F.Jones getting some very good running plays.

  5. WBF one last time:

    I got one more thing to add here and it is going to open a door for you all to kick me right in hindquarters.

    Alright. Let's get off the OL backs. For the most part they do fine they aren't absolute star quality. But they do decent enough. Sure they suck just a little at the running game. But I think that is where this seething hatred is coming from.

    F.Jones and M.Barber get stuffed 100x times and its the OL not opening holes so we all go ahead and throw our hats in the 'new OL for 2011' arena. Now T.Choice comes in and actually pays attention to where he is running and all the sudden holy crap we have positive running yards. Now not so much the OL problem.

    F.Jones is a terribad running back. I think when he started he showed potential but in reality he coveted the first string RB position so he took all the pointers from Marion Barber he could. Including beefing up and blindly running face first into a whole and just power your way through it. Screwing him out of his speed and his talent at running the ball.

    T.Choice comes in and runs like a mad man while still paying attention to where he's going and avoiding tackles instead of trying to brute force his way through them.

    Do you get what I mean? The OL isn't that bad since we don't get sacked every play and for the most part the pocket stays fairly decent. The running backs are that bad. if F.Jones would find his own style again and play then he would get better. At this point however I think we can use T.Choice and (new draft) and M.Barber.

    OMG no he didn't. I did and I'm happy I said it.

  6. I agree on Kitna cutting out big portions of our offense with his batted passes. We can't run a wide receiver screen any more because he can't throw it without being batted or putting it 4 feet over the receivers head and screwing up the timing of the play. I missed the article on the batted passes but it makes perfect sense. I also think he does not look for his passing windows to throw throw in the line like he should. Again, I'm not putting this all on Kitna. He is a backup quarterback. But the offense is clearly suffering without Romo.

    On the running backs, I agree that Felix Jones has proven he isn't a #1 back. And I would have agreed about the offensive line except for the fact that both backs were stuffed repeatedly against the Eagles. Choice and Felix were both terrible but the line wasn't opening up even a sliver of a hole for the running backs. Their poor blocking becomes obvious every time we get into a goal line situation and try to run the ball. The line just can't get it done this season. I think as pass blockers they are decent but our line stinks at run blocking.

  7. wbf(small this time)
    I concede to R2W and move that the statement be stricken from the record.

    However. On ASK front I have a huge blame on the receivers as well. They have this idea to knock the ball up in the air if they don't catch it. BAD BAD training. Austin is the worst repeat offender at it. If he isn't going to catch the ball he bounces it a good 5 yards in the air towards the middle of the field. Williams is bad too.

  8. To WBF's point about the running backs, I think I mentioned this, but Felix shuffles his feet too much in the hole and doesn't have the vision or instinct or maybe too much patience to hit a hole right before it opens. I'm not sure what it is, but if you play back some tape, it seems like he has trouble committing to a gap or when he hits a hole, he is shuffling his feet waiting for another hole to open instead of just plowing through. This isn't true all the time but I see it too often for my liking. I think this may be a mixture of too much pressure to take it to the house and the lose of his explosiveness.

    Barber on the other hand has very little patience or has the most bizarre things happening to him. Whether it's tripping, (R2W is going to hate me for this) Witten wiffing on a goal line block, of the lack of holes, Barber just isn't all there. He needs to bulk up and we need to reserve him to the 4th quarter and short yardage (be our Brandon Jacobs with a nasty attitude and gets the entire team ready to go).

    So WBF, I'm with you to a large extent on the RB situation.

    I know I'm on this intensity kick, but looking around the league that is what a lot of it comes down to. I look at certain players and ask why not us? I mean, look at the intensity Houston brought after halftime last night with a below average secondary. We show it sometimes (like Saint last year) but then we get embarrassed the next week or get utterly dominated by the Vikings.

    The other thing is I think we are seeing the draft catch up to us. Not just 2009, but look past 2008. '07- Spencer has been good, but is VERY undisciplined it seems like every year until week 12, goes on a hot streak, and we say next year will be the year. Marten/Stanback. 06-Carpenter, we all know, and nothing after that. 05- Burnett, Canty gone and spears on his way out. I think this is the story not being reported all that much. As much as we hit on undrafted free agents, we seem to miss during the draft. Look, I am NOT saying we have missed on all the picks or Ratliff in the 7th or that we are going to get great production out of a 5th rounder, but the nucleus of this team has to be shaken up. Ware, Witten, Romo, Newman, Dez, Ratliff, Austin, and the list goes on are all unbelievable players, but there is such a tremendous drop off after that.

    I'm confused because I don't think it's a lack of talent for the most part, but a lack of intensity, discipline (BIG TIME), and schematic creativity. New Coordinators, Garrett or another hard nosed HC at the helm, and a good/great draft is what the team is missing. It'd be nice if we had a little bit of attitude and put fear into our opponents, but that is a major undertaking in one year.


  9. We need our own talk show because we rock.


    P.S. Dear Santa all I want for Christmas is a Texans vs Cowboys Superbowl. I've been really good and I quit doing that thing. You know what Im talking about.