Category Archives: NFC East

Terrance Williams: Not A True #2 

Ever since the day he was drafted I’ve always wondered how good Terrance Williams was,how good he is, and how good he would be.

After two full years and a few games of being the man I see now that he isn’t that guy.

terrance-williams

Over the years the Cowboys have had guys like Terrell Owens, Miles Austin and Dez Bryant as their number one receiver. Eating after those guys would be receivers like Terry Glenn, Patrick Crayton, Roy Williams, Laurent Robinson as well as Tight-End Jason Witten. Every single last one of those players (second options) were able to hold their own one way or another. Roy Williams was a nice blocker and a fair red-zone threat. Williams isn’t. Terry Glenn could stretch the field and was a savvy enough route runner to get open underneath. Williams isn’t.  Patrick Crayton was a nice slot receiver and was a good punt returner. Williams isn’t. Laurent Robinson was a guy who could stretch the field, play in the slot and he made defenses respect him. No one respects Williams.

The first problem is the fact that Williams struggles to catch the ball. (He’s more of a body catcher. Not a guy who snatches the ball out of the air.) If the ball isn’t going towards the sideline or up the field he’s prone to drop it. As a rookie he tried handling duties as a kick returner. That experiment failed. Williams also isn’t the fastest guy we’ve seen but he has enough speed to beat opposing defensive backs consistently. The problem is that he doesn’t do it enough.

After having so much time in the offseason to himself while Dez was holding out I thought he was primed to have a breakout year. The sad part about it is I haven’t seen any signs of this coming to fruition.

Against the Giants I was waiting for him to have that ”I can scorch y’all too moment.” Instead of beating them he struggled to get open. Most of his touches came when Dez exited the game and Romo had to spread the wealth in an effort to keep the defense on their heels. On the game winning drive Lance Dunbar and Jason Witten were the primary targets. Not Terrance.

In week two against the Eagles Williams wasn’t a factor until late in the 4th quarter when backup quarterback Brandon Weeden came in and threw a 42-yard touchdown pass. Prior to that pass Byron Maxwell (horrible) and company had him contained.

When the Falcons came to town in week 3 Terrance Williams did as much as I did….. A big fat ass NOTHING. He had no catches. No touchdowns. No rushing or returning yards. Hell he didn’t even have a tackle. Just a couple of dropped passes. The Cowboys were stellar running the football and passing it underneath in the first half of that game, but due to Williams inability to stretch the field Atlanta was able to take over the game. Pathetic.

This past week against the Saints Williams finished the game with 3rec (10 targets) 49yards and a clutch TD reception that came late in the 4th quarter. The touchdown was nice. But he arrived too late.

After four complete games Williams hasn’t been much help to the Cowboys. He doesn’t solely lead the team in any statistical category. He hasn’t had any double touchdown games nor has he had a night where he went for a 100yards. For a number one option that just won’t cut it.

Either way it goes the Cowboys need help at the receiver position. They have no viable number two guy or number one in this case. Witten is too old for that. Cole Beasley can only do one thing. Brice Butler is hurt. Devin Street is too inexperienced. Gavin Escobar isn’t utilized. Lance Dunbar (best option after Dez) is now out for the season. Having Dez at the helm masked all of the problems we see now within the receiving core.

Do I blame management for this? No, but they still should’ve went the safe route and signed a receiver who is/was capable of shouldering the load if Dez went down…. (Desean Jackson few years back, Michael Crabtree, Reggie Wayne, Percy Harvin and Andre Johnson this offseason.) Teams like the Broncos, Giants, Redskins, Patriots, Packers, Colts, Steelers and few others understand the concept of having great depth at receiver. If one guy goes down they still have other guys who demand respect from opposing defenses. As of today the Cowboys don’t have that.

It’s all on Terrance Williams to officially step up and fulfill that role. You can’t pick and choose the times you show up. It has to be all game. The Cowboys desperately need him to step up. If his putrid play continues it might be time to take up on that T.O. offer. (kidding) But it should be time to go out and make a move. There are other feasible options.

A pedestrian quarterback with an average running game, unproven defense and lackluster threats in the passing attack does not win… Just that simple.

Twitter: @RyanDFort

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The Manning Reign

brothers

Whenever there’s a discussion about elite Quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning are both mentioned. Peyton is universally known as the Greatest Regular Season Quarterback ever, while Eli is known as the only to defeat Tom Brady not only once…. but TWICE. Together they have accounted for 3 Super Bowls, 3 Super Bowl MVPs, 17 Pro Bowl selections and 5 NFL MVP awards.

For the past few seasons both players haven’t sustained great play.

Last season in particular we saw an ailing Peyton fail to make the appropriate throws necessary for his team to be successful. Was his minor thigh injury to blame? Or was it because of his torn right quad? Maybe the neck surgery finally caught up to him…….Whatever the case may be Peyton is not right and he hasn’t been the same since losing to the Seahawks in the Super Bowl a couple of years back. Is he starting to decline or is it too soon to conclude?

Eli on the other hand hasn’t been consistent. After winning the Super Bowl in 2012(season of 2011) his teams have finished with records of 9-7, 7-9 & 6-10 missing the playoffs in each of those years. Here at the start of 2015 his team is facing an 0-1 hole after questionable decision making on his behalf. Is he worth the $84 million contract extension recently signed? Or is he officially overpaid?

Me and fellow writer @deshawnh are about to dive in….

Eli Manning:

Raiders vs Giants

Ryan Fort: In the case of Eli I don’t believe he’s worth $85 million. For a guy whose won multiple Super Bowls he still makes rookie mistakes which doesn’t bode too well for me. In my eyes that displays a lack of growth, leadership and passion for the game. When you look at his numbers you can’t tell if he’s getting better or worse from a year to year basis. Serious question, why do some view him as an elite. Please enlighten me.

Deshawn Hornback: Well where to start? I honestly believe Eli catches a little more criticism than he should because he is not an awful QB. With that being said he has never been elite and the money he is getting paid shows otherwise. Eli makes more money than his brother Peyton, Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, Tony Romo, Drew Brees and Phillip Rivers. He is not better than any of those I mentioned. He had his best season last year, but I could easily see him relapsing like he has so many times before.

Fort: I believe he deserves every little ounce of criticism. Peyton, Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Brees are all ways viewed as the favorites to win their respective divisions and contend for a Super Bowl while Eli isn’t. Guys like Romo, Michael Vick, Robert Griffin lll and Nick Foles have constantly outshined him. You can pick any year from his career and I guarantee you he wasn’t the best quarterback in his division at that time.

Hornback: I can agree with Eli never being the best QB in the division, but I would not say that the Giants have never been given the expectations of a division title with him at the helm. He had some elite defenses. I have two questions for you. Do you believe that Eli will receive a spot in Canton and do you believe he deserves to be there?

Fort: Yeah, he did have some elite defenses. And as far as the whole Canton idea goes I’m on the fence. I believe he’ll have a spot because his last name is Manning. But as far as deserving a spot goes, it could go either way. What’s your take?

Hornback: I believe he will without a doubt because of that first championship alone and how it all went down, but when it comes to truly deserving it I say no. I really believe that he isn’t a top 50 QB ever. He barely has anything outside of the two championships in terms of accolades and the numbers definitely don’t support the idea of him being a Hall of Famer.

Fort: Agreed. He has a lot of ground to make up if he wants to be mentioned with the likes of Peyton, Joe Montana, Brett Farve etc. Eli Manning is nothing more than a modern day era Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson. Granted, he is a better passer than the two I just mentioned but that’s not saying very much.

Denver Broncos vs New England Patriots AFC Championship at Sports Authority Field

Fort: Let’s get away from Eli for a second and turn our attention towards Peyton… Does he still have it?

Hornback: Well do I believe he still has it. Will he be a top 3 QB this year like he was for about 12 straight years? No. I do still think he can be a top 10 QB that does just enough to win, because the team he has right now is the best overall team he has ever been on in my opinion. They have arguably a top 5 defense, CJ Anderson started to rejuvenate their run game at the end of last year, and their receiving core still has Demariyus Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Peyton does not need to be great; he only has to be good. And in that sense I believe Peyton still has something. After the first half of his game in Arrowhead everyone on social media was overreacting and saying how he was done. Then, even though it was the ugliest  drive I had ever seen from him, he still got them a tie ball game in the final minute of a crucial division road game.

Fort: I don’t think Peyton has entirely too much left. Ever since he lead Denver to historical numbers offensively a few seasons ago I think he started to fall off. His throwing power isn’t the same nor is his accuracy. Can he still play? Yes, but I don’t know for how much longer.

Hornback: I really believe he has a great chance to lead Denver to a championship this year. He has tremendous talent all around him. The only weakness I see is his offensive line but it is not awful. Of course I don’t have Denver winning the AFC but it would not surprise me one bit to see him representing the AFC again this year.

Fort: It wouldn’t surprise me either because of Wade Phillips’ defense. As far as the offense goes I think Gary Kubiak needs to take a step back. He came to Denver with the intent on extending Manning’s career by having him play the late John Elway role. In Houston and Baltimore that system was better suited because he had Arian Foster and Justin Forsett in the backfield, while having inconsistency in the quarterbacking department as Matt Schuab and Joe Flacco were his leaders. I don’t like that scheme for Denver.

Hornback: I believe the worst thing you can do is take control out of Peyton’s hands. Honestly I don’t believe there is a better play caller in the history of the NFL. He’s the most intelligent QB in NFL history let him use that. I think Elway coming by and saying “Hey Terrell Davis extended my career, allow CJ to extend yours,” is enough to convince Peyton to take a minor step back. Putting the control into Kubiak’s hands is not the answer.

Fort: Yeah I’m guessing CJ is now Terrell Davis good….child please. My main point is that Peyton is without a doubt declining and I believe Kubiak’s system is and will make it more apparent. Last season we saw Peyton drop out of the top 5, (Rodgers, Romo, Brady, Rothlisberger, Luck & Wilson imo were better) and I believe he has a chance to drop even further down the list this season. (Brees, Rivers, Ryan and Flacco could all be better.) His farewell tour has pretty much started in my eyes.

Hornback: First of all I never said CJ=Terell. I’m saying take a cue from what Elway did and hand it off about 350 times like he did with Terrell. Elway differed so much that he got his passing attempts below 400 at one point. Peyton should aim for that. 2nd of all I disagree with Peyton falling that far out. Until I see him fall apart I’m going to stick by him and still say he’s a tremendous QB than could easily win a championship this year.

Conclusion

Eli Manning, Peyton Manning

Fort: In essence Peyton and Eli could both prove me wrong this season… I just don’t think they will. What do you see them accomplishing this season and how much longer do you think they’ll last?

Hornback: I think Eli will play out his contract and Peyton I think should retire after this season before it gets worse but if they (Denver) fool around and win a ring I could see anything happening.

Fort: True. I see Eli blossoming into a trading chip at some point within the next two to three years. As far as Peyton goes I think he’s done after this season regardless of what happens. I don’t see him playing as long as Brett Farve did while being as effective. They’ll both be gone though in five years max…. And as far this season goes Peyton could make a run towards a another Super Bowl, and for Eli he’s and the Giants are in ”No Mans Land….Nothing is happening.

Be sure to voice your opinions… Do you agree or disagree? We’d love to debate with you.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter: @Fortonsportsinc

Ryan Fort: @RyanDFort

Deshawn Hornback: @DeeSportsTalk

NFL Preview: Awards, Hype, Prediction Edition

nfl-2015-tickets

With the NFL Season getting ready to start it’s only right that we answer a few questions in regards to awards, Division winners, Superbowl predictions etc…. Please be sure to sound off and voice your opinions and enlighten us on your predictions.

Division Winners

Who wins the each NFC Division (include record):

Deshawn Hornback {@DeeSportsTalk}:

Packers (11-5)

Cowboys (10-6)

Panthers (8-8) Do not hold me to this

Seahawks (13-3)

R’Mon Allen {@RmonAllen}:

Packers 9-7

Eagles 10-6

Falcons 7-9

Seahawks 12-4

Ryan Fort {@RyanDFort}:

Packers (10-6)

Cowboys (13-3)

Saints (11-5)

Seahawks (12-4)

Hashim Ashimi {no Twitter}:

Packers (10-6)

Cowboys (12-4)

Saints (9-7)

Seahawks (12-4)

Tyler Carter {@AyeMrCarter24}:

Packers (12-4)

Cowboys (11-5)

Panthers (8-8)

Seahawks (13-3)

Jonathan Ayala {@JonathanAyalaa_}:

Packers (12-4)

Cowboys (12-4)

Panthers (9-7)

Seahawks (11-5)

Jabbari Booth {@jabbari_b}:

Packers (9-7)

Cowboys (10-6)

Panthers (8-8)

Cardinals (12-4)

Who wins each AFC Division (include record):

Hornback:

Bengals (11-5)

Patriots (11-5)

Colts (13-3)

Broncos (12-4)

Allen:

Steelers (11-5)

Patriots (12-4)

Colts (13-3)

Broncos (11-5)

Fort:

Steelers (10-6)

Patriots (11-5)

Colts (13-3)

Chiefs (12-4)

Ashimi:

Steelers (11-5)

Patriots (12-4)

Colts (12-4)

Chiefs (12-4)

Carter:

Ravens (10-6)

Patriots (12-4)

Colts (13-3)

Broncos (11-5)

Ayala:

Steelers (10-6)

Patriots (11-5)

Colts (10-6)

Chiefs (10-6)

Booth:

Steelers (11-5)

Patriots (11-5)

Colts (10-6)

Broncos (10-6)

Playoff Teams Prediction (Include Seeding)

les-playoffs-nfc

Which NFC teams will be Playoff bound:

Hornback:

  1. Seahawks
  2. Packers
  3. Cowboys
  4. Panthers
  5. Cardinals
  6. Rams

Allen:

  1. Seahawks
  2. Eagles
  3. Packers
  4. Falcons
  5. Cardinals
  6. Cowboys

Fort:

  1. Cowboys
  2. Seahawks
  3. Saints
  4. Packers
  5. Cardinals
  6. Giants

Ashimi:

  1. Seahawks
  2. Cowboys
  3. Packers
  4. Saints
  5. Cardinals
  6. Panthers

Carter:

  1. Seahawks
  2. Packers
  3. Cowboys
  4. Panthers
  5. Eagles
  6. Rams

Ayala:

  1. Packers
  2. Cowboys
  3. Seahawks
  4. Panthers
  5. Eagles
  6. Lions or Vikings

Booth:

  1. Cardinals
  2. Cowboys
  3. Packers
  4. Panthers
  5. Seahawks
  6. Eagles/Rams

les-playoffs-afc

Which AFC teams will be Playoff bound:

Hornback:

  1. Colts
  2. Broncos
  3. Patriots
  4. Bengals
  5. Ravens
  6. Chargers

Allen:

  1. Colts
  2. Patriots
  3. Broncos
  4. Steelers
  5. Ravens
  6. Bills

Fort:

  1. Colts
  2. Chiefs
  3. Patriots
  4. Steelers
  5. Broncos
  6. Dolphins

Ashimi:

  1. Colts
  2. Chiefs
  3. Patriots
  4. Steelers
  5. Broncos
  6. Ravens

Carter:

  1. Colts
  2. Patriots
  3. Broncos
  4. Ravens
  5. Bills
  6. Dolphins

Ayala:

  1. Patriots
  2. Steelers
  3. Chiefs
  4. Colts
  5. Broncos
  6. Chargers

Booth:

  1. Patriots
  2. Steelers
  3. Colts
  4. Broncos
  5. Ravens
  6. Bengals

Statistical Predictions:

Who will lead the league in Takeaways:

(Majority)

Hornback: Philadelphia Eagles

Allen: Seattle Seahawks

Fort: New York Jets

Ashimi: Miami Dolphins

Carter: Seattle Seahawks

Ayala: Seattle Seahawks

Booth: Miami Dolphins

Fantasy-Football-Defense-Sleepers

Which teams will be Top 5 Defensively:

Hornback:

  1. Jets
  2. Seahawks
  3. Bills
  4. Texans
  5. Dolphins

Allen:

  1. Seahawks (with Kam)
  2. Bills
  3. Jets
  4. Ravens
  5. Dolphins

Fort:

  1. Jets
  2. Bills
  3. Texans
  4. Seahawks
  5. Dolphins

Ashimi:

  1. Jets
  2. Dolphins
  3. Bills
  4. Texans
  5. Seahawks

Carter:

  1. Bills
  2. Seahawks
  3. Texans
  4. Cardinals
  5. Rams

Ayala:

  1. Seahawks
  2. Jets
  3. Bills
  4. Browns
  5. Cardinals

Booth:

  1. Dolphins
  2. Texans
  3. Jets
  4. Bills
  5. Seahawks

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The Top 5 Scoring Teams will be:

Hornback:

  1. Colts
  2. Broncos
  3. Packers
  4. Falcons
  5. Cowboys

Allen:

  1. Colts
  2. Steelers
  3. Patriots
  4. Eagles
  5. Broncos

Fort:

  1. Eagles
  2. Packers
  3. Cowboys
  4. Broncos
  5. Colts

Ashimi:

  1. Colts
  2. Chiefs
  3. Cowboys
  4. Steelers
  5. Eagles

Carter:

  1. Colts
  2. Steelers
  3. Packers
  4. Cowboys
  5. Broncos

Ayala:

  1. Steelers
  2. Colts
  3. Patriots
  4. Cowboys
  5. Saints

Booth:

  1. Steelers
  2. Cowboys
  3. Colts
  4. Eagles
  5. Saints

The League leader in Passing Yards will be:

(Majority)andrew-luck

Hornback: Matt Ryan

Allen: Andrew Luck

Fort: Matthew Stafford

Ashimi: Drew Brees

Carter: Andrew Luck

Ayala: Andrew Luck

Booth: Ben Roethlisberger

The League leader in Passing TDs will be:

(Majority): Same As Above

Hornback: Andrew Luck

Allen: Andrew Luck

Fort: Andrew Luck

Ashimi: Andrew Luck

Carter: Aaron Rodgers

Ayala: Andrew Luck

Booth: Tony Romo

o-NFL-RUNNING-BACKS-facebook

Who will be the leading Rusher:

Hornback: Adrian Peterson

Allen: Adrian Peterson

Fort: Jamaal Charles or LeSean McCoy

Ashimi: Le’Veon Bell

Carter: Le’Veon Bell

Ayala: Adrian Peterson

Booth: Demarco Murray

ap_lynch071015

The League leader in Rushing TDs will be:

Hornback: Eddie Lacy

Allen: Jamaal Charles

Fort: Jamaal Charles

Ashimi: Marshawn Lynch

Carter: Marshawn Lynch

Ayala: Adrian Peterson

Booth: Le’Veon Bell

The League leader in Receiving Yards will be:

(Majority)

Hornback: Antonio Brown

Allen: Calvin Johnson

Fort: Antonio Brown

Ashimi: Julio Jones

Carter: Odell Beckham Jr.

Ayala: Antonio Brown

Booth: Antonio Brown

The League leader in TD Receptions will be:

(Majority)dez

Hornback: Odell Beckham

Allen: Dez Bryant

Fort: Dez Bryant

Ashimi: Odell Beckham Jr.

Carter: Dez Bryant

Ayala: Dez Bryant

Booth: Dez Bryant

Award Winners:

Coach of The Year Will Be:

(Majority)Chuck Pagano

Hornback: Chuck Pagano

Allen: Chuck Pagano

Fort: Jason Garrett

Ashimi: Chuck Pagano

Carter: Pete Carroll

Ayala: Rex Ryan

Booth: Joe Philbin

The Best Offensive Rookie:

(Majority) 150508-amari-cooper-2

Hornback: Ameer Abdullah

Allen: Amari Cooper

Fort: Jameis Winston

Ashimi: Nelson Agholor

Carter: Marcus Mariota

Ayala: Amari Cooper

Booth: Melvin Gordon

2015-NFL-Defensive-Rookie-of-the-Year-Odds-Pick

The Best Defensive Rookie:

Hornback: Leonard Williams

Allen: Shane Ray

Fort: Dante Fowler Jr. *****

Ashimi: Vic Beasley

Carter: Vic Beasley

Ayala: Leonard Williams

Booth: Randy Gregory

Super Bowl XLIX

Comeback Player of The Year:

Hornback: Adrian Peterson

Allen: Kiko Alonso

Fort: Carson Palmer

Ashimi: Adrian Peterson

Carter: Adrian Peterson 

Ayala: Adrian Peterson

Booth: Greg Hardy

Offensive Player of The Year:

(Majority)adrian-peterson-nine-yards-short

Hornback: Adrian Peterson

Allen: Andrew Luck

Fort: Aaron Rodgers

Ashimi: Andrew Luck

Carter: Andrew Luck

Ayala: Adrian Peterson

Booth: Jamaal Charles

Defensive Player of The Year:

(Majority)jjwatt_7ht8qmbw_79plb80t

Hornback: Luke Kuechly

Allen: J.J. Watt

Fort: Ndamukong Suh

Ashimi: J.J. Watt

Carter: J.J. Watt

Ayala: J.J. Watt

Booth: J.J. Watt

andrew-luck-12-of-the-indianapolis-colts

Who will be MVP:

Hornback: Andrew Luck

Allen: Andrew Luck

Fort: Tony Romo trolls

Ashimi: Andrew Luck

Carter: Andrew Luck (maybe Romo)

Ayala: Andrew Luck

Booth: Tony Romo

Super-Bowl-50-Logo

Preseason Superbowl Picks:

Hornback: Colts vs Cowboys untitled

Allen: Steelers vs SeahawksSeattleBlack

Fort: Chiefs vs Cowboysuntitled

Ashimi: Colts vs SeahawksIndianapolis_Colts2

Carter: Colts vs SeahawksSeattleBlack

Ayala: Colts vs SeahawksSeattleBlack

Booth: Patriots vs Cowboys untitled

Conclusion:

Please be sure to follow us on Twitter:

@Fortonsportsinc

Ryan Fort: @RyanDFort

Deshawn Hornback: @DeeSportsTalk

R’Mon Allen: @RmonAllen

Tyler Carter: @AyeMrCarter24

Hashim Ashimi: N/A

Jonathan Ayala: @JonathanAyalaa_

Jabbari Booth: @jabbari_b

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Please leave comments below…. The writers will be responding!

Fly Eagles Fly!

While most of the talk about the Philadelphia Eagles has been surrounded around Tim Tebow and whether or not he’ll make the 53 man cut or not has sadly overshadowed how phenomenal the Philadelphia Eagles look as a team.

Now I am fully aware that this is the Preseason and nothing should be taken even remotely serious. Most of the time that is the case when it comes to sports especially the NFL but you simply cannot ignore the fantastic display that this Eagles team has put on.

After a full offseason spewing with criticism about not only his ability to run a football team but who he is as a person, Chip Kelly at this moment in time looks brilliant as his team looks primed to make some serious noise this year. The bottom line is that on both sides of the ball the Eagles look nothing short of spectacular.
Defense:

While you might think of Philly strictly as an offensive team they look very good defensively and it starts with their vicious front seven; led by the likes of Defensive End Fletcher Cox and newly re-signed Line Backer Mychal Kendricks.

If you remember last year Philly was the only defense outside of Detroit to cause the Cowboys offensive line some serious issues. The D-line with Cox and Defensive Tackle Bennie Logan are extremely formidable and can really get after the quarterback or clog holes for the running back.

This strong D-line is backed with stud LBs like Kendricks, Connor Barwin and newly acquired Kiko Alonso, who had a terrific rookie year before going down with injury.

The secondary however is the weakest unit on the entire Eagles team. They made significant upgrades by adding cornerback Byron Maxwell and still having safety Malcolm Jenkins at their disposal, but they still have some holes.

Maxwell has proven to be a really solid corner in the NFL, especially last year as he was often targeted by offenses who presumed that he was the weak point in that vaunted Seattle Seahawk defense. The major issues this unit will find is in their other corner and safety spots as they have no proven talent at those positions outside of Maxwell and Jenkins.

While I do think the Eagles secondary have some big holes, I don’t think it will be a huge problem and that is mainly because I expect the front seven to get after the QB and keep offenses from exposing them.

This is the exact same belief Dallas Cowboy fans have about their severe secondary issues. So generally I think the Eagles defense will be very solid this year and much better than they were last year.

Offense:

This is the by far the most exciting unit that this Eagle team boasts. They too though have some major question marks but what they also have is extreme potential and have a chance to be one of the most dynamic offenses in the entire NFL.

Now we all know this offense is strictly based on pace and driving up and down the field in very quick succession and it will be no different this year.

With the offensive line still mostly remaining in tact despite the loss of pro bowl guard Evan Mathis, they will still be a formidable bunch. The most thinnest position on this unit is at receiver but they too have loads of potential as Jordan Matthews is primed for a star breakout year as the number one receiver.

The potential relies on the shoulders of rookie Nelson Agholor as he looks extremely explosive and could be a true game breaker at receiver.
In the backfield, as we all know Philly acquired the NFL’s leading rusher Demarco Murray even though their are some serious concerns on how much he will hold up after a near record year in terms of carries. This shouldn’t prove to be a major issue as some may thimk because of their other acquisition of Ryan Matthews as he too has proven to be a good running back in this league.

By pairing Murray and Matthews along with the always dangerous Darren Sproles you have a three-headed moster on your hands and should prove to be one of the best rushing attacks in the league.

Now the biggest question mark on not only the offense but the entire team is the Quarterback position and the health of Sam Bradford.

This preseason Bradford looked sensational as he threw medium range darts with pin point  accuracy as that is what made him the Heisman and the number one overall pick in the draft a few years back.

His skillset seems tailor made for Chip Kelly’s fast pace offense and he looks to have really found his home in the NFL. His balky knees however, have given everyone cause to pause and judgment on him will be held until he proves that he can stay healthy. And while I am not sure if he will but if he can LOOK OUT!

The success of this Philadelphia Eagles team is sorely based on the health of Sam Bradford because if he goes down again and their fate is in the hands of Mark Sanchez they will NOT be going anywhere this year.

If they are able to stay healthy all around though however, I expect the Eagles to win the NFC East and make some serious noise in the Playoffs and maybe, find themselves in the NFC Championship game.

The NFL world needs to be put on notice….

WATCH OUT FOR THIS EAGLES TEAM!!!!!

images

Article by: R’Mon Allen

Twitter: @RmonAllen

 And Coach of the Year goes to…?

If you’re an Eagles fan like me, I am sure these offseason transactions have you worried. Chip Kelly seems to believe these transactions will improve the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster. The big question is how?

In the last two months Chip Kelly has made some questionable offseason moves. However he continues to assure the city of Philadelphia and other Eagles fans that the transactions will improve the Eagles roster in the end.

Only time will tell if the Eagles will improve by the time the 2015-2016 NFL Season starts, however at this point many Eagles fans are seriously concerned about the success of next season.

I won’t discuss all the offseason transactions, but I’ll discuss the most important ones.

Lesean “Shady” McCoy, is a top three running back and one of the best Philadelphia has ever seen. Many defensive backs describe him as one of the hardest backs to bring down. Sure last season was not his best, however he led the NFL in rushing yards two seasons ago with 1,607 beating the previous franchise record set 34 years ago.

He is an aggressive, consistent running back and has broken the 1,000 yard rushing mark four times in his six year career so far. Instead of keeping him Chip traded him away to the Bills for a linebacker who’s been injured for the past couple of years.

A few weeks later Chip Kelly made a deal to get Demarco Murray who led the NFL in rushing yards last season with 1,845 yards.

On the surface this might seem like a good acquirement, but you have to realize that when Murray lead the NFL in rushing yards he had almost 400 rushing attempts and averaged 4.7 yards per attempt. Not to mention the fact that he ran behind what was arguably the best offensive line in the NFL last year.

Two season ago when McCoy lead the NFL in rushing yards he had a little over 300 rushing attempts and averaged 5.1 yards per attempt. Add that to his consistent 1,000 rushing yard season and his value increases past Murray. Don’t get me wrong Murray is not a big down grade, but the fact is the Eagles paid too much to acquire him.

Over paying for players seemed to be a trend for the Eagles this year actually. The Eagles signed Byron Maxwell, an excellent cornerback, for a six year $63 million deal, with a guaranteed $25 million. Byron Maxwell is a great defender however is he worth $63 million without the remaining Legion of Boom? Will he be the same Byron Maxwell we saw in his previous Seahawk years?

The Eagles also had another head scratcher when they signed Ryan Mathews for a three year $12 million dollar deal. That might not be a lot of money in many people’s eyes, but to me it’s too much, he hasn’t proved anything to me for the last two seasons; I’ve never really been a firm believer in Ryan Mathews.

Just when Eagles’ fans began to get over the loss of Desean Jackson the year before Chip Kelly goes and does this. Jeremy Maclin without a doubt was a monumental part of the Eagles offense last year, especially after the Foles injury. Letting Maclin go to the Chiefs was like giving away a third of your offense. Now Jordan Matthews, a second year receiver, is going to have to pick up some major slack. This lack of a move was bad but did not anger me as much as the next.

Really Chip, Samuel Bradford? Come on man, this trade had Eagles fans all over the U.S. pulling their hair out. The amount of frustration I have had during this offseason does not compare to frustration I have from this trade.

$78 million, really? $78 million dollars for a QB that has had several knee injuries and only played two full seasons since being drafted 1st pick overall in 2010. $78 million for a guy who missed all of last season due to an ACL injury. $78 million for a guy who hasn’t proven himself in the NFL and continues to show his true weakness when he faces a little pressure in the pocket. And worst of all, $78 million for Samuel Bradford.

Come on Chip. You’re starting to lose us.

One & Done or More to Come?

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“Never judge a Quarterback off of his first year,” is a great quote to live by.

Ever since I was told that I’ve started to evaluate quarterbacks differently. Instead of judging them off of their first year I give them a three year process. The three year mark is a long enough frame because various things come into play within those three years.

In the very first year, a quarterback will often struggle with the pace, flow of the game. They don’t know their teammates as well which could lead to a few chemistry issues. Another problem is that most quarterbacks drafted high in the draft go to bad teams. Due to lack of experience, how are they supposed to be successful right off the bat? And even with those problems, opposing defenses don’t know to fully prepare for them, thus giving them a slight edge.

There has been cases where they fail in their first year and there have been cases where they succeed in their first year. One sample is never enough.

In year two, defenses are better prepared for the quarterback. They watch film, tapes and a lot of other useful tactics that help in their approach towards stopping them. Quarterbacks struggle and history shows that quarterbacks or any position, for that matter, struggle in the second year. That’s just how it goes.

Only a handful of quarterbacks didn’t endure the second year slump and those pretty much the franchise caliber guys. (Luck, Wilson etc)

Year three is when the player finally comes into their own. They’ve matured. They’ve gained experience. And they’ve seen a variety of defensive looks. Case in point, they’re more comfortable with their surroundings, coaches, players etc.

Whatever the case may be year three is when you find out if you have a stud or if you have a dud.

This evaluation can work for every quarterback, outside of Robert Griffin lll.

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Coming in as a rookie RG3 was arguably the best QB in his draft class. He had a tremendous arm, was very dead on when throwing the deep ball and had Olympic level speed. He was a tremendous athlete whose only downfall was not being able to slide at the appropriate times when facing pressure.

Nevertheless during his rookie season Griffin dominated the league. He was one of the highest rated passers. His completion total was decent and he had nice TD-INT ratio. In a week 17 showdown against the Dallas Cowboys Griffin outshined Tony Romo in a game that had playoff implications. RG3 even had a 14pt lead against the Seattle Seahawks in the playoffs following the win against the Cowboys before he got injured.

Unlike year one, year two wasn’t nearly as good.

Problems brew in the locker room between players and coaches; Griffin was injury riddled; the whole Redskins organization was in a flux. At the end of the season Mike Shanahan was fired and the Redskins moved in a different direction. To top it all off RG3 was injured yet again sending his mobility and health into a state of question.

That offseason the Redskins filled a couple of holes. They went and signed Jay Gruden as head coach, brought in safety Ryan Clark (Steelers) and defensive lineman Jason Hatcher (Cowboys) to shore up the defense and even stole wide-receiver DeSean Jackson away from the Eagles. They looked prime for a renaissance if RG3 was healthy and in tip top form.

Last season, RG3’s third year, ended up being a mess as well. He missed bits and pieces of Training Camp/pre-season action and wasn’t fully ready to go week one of the season. Need playbook, new coach and having a new target all added onto his struggles. At one point he even lost the trust of a few teammates.

Last season wasn’t even about football for him. It was more about him finding common ground with his new coach and his teammates, as well as regaining his health the thing that he ultimately failed to do.

Griffin was in & out of the lineup last season as well, but he did show signs of improvement when he was healthy. The jury is still out on whether or not RG3 can be a nice solid QB. His 2nd & 3rd seasons were injury riddled and filled with constant change in regards to the situation around him. (Luck and Wilson have always been in stable environments.)

If anything year 4 will start to tell the true story of Robert Griffin lll. He’ll have more time learn the playbook, get in sync with his weapons and get a better connection with his coach. More importantly he’ll finally be going through an offseason where he is completely healthy. (Hasn’t happened since his rookie year.)

So don’t doubt RG3 just yet. There is still some time left for him.

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Murray, Misleading, Money, Mistake

For the longest amount of time the Dallas Cowboys had been a mediocre team that showcased a multitude of deficiencies, year in and year out.

For a couple of years the problems came on the defensive side of the ball. While other years, it was poor O-line play, and lack of experience coaching wise. But even with those problems being at the forefront, there was still a problem that lingered and hindered them for a long period of time. That problem happened to be the lack of a run game.

During the 6-10 and countless 8-8 seasons, the ‘Boys went through a plethora of runningbacks. Guys like Marion Barber, Tashard Choice, Phillip Tanner, Felix Jones and Sammy Morris had opportunities to shoulder the load, but none of them seized control of the moment like DeMarco Murray did in 2011.

Drafted in the 3rd round with the 71st pick he wasn’t sought out to be the #1 back. He was looked at as guy, for some, who would be a decent backup to Felix Jones. Meant to ease his load as he was often injured. Little did we know Murray was going to end up being a capable back.

DeMarco Murray’s Career Stats (Rushing)

Year  Games  Attempts  Yards   Y.P.C    Fum   TDs

2011:   13          164         897         5.5        1          2

2012:   10          161         663        4.1          2         4

2013:   14          217        1,121       5.2         2          9

2014:   16          392        1,845     4.7           3         13

When Murray was coming onto the scene and taking over for Felix Jones, he started to generate some buzz and make a name for himself. He was a hard runner who had pretty good vision, but would leave yards on the field as he tended to follow his blockers. And was deemed as a guy prone to injury. Solid, but not a stud. (AP, Charles, McCoy, Forte, Foster, Lynch, Rice, Turner).

As the years went by and he progressed, there started to be talk in regards to feeding him more and let Romo take a backseat. That argument really didn’t have much spring to it until after 2013 when he played in 14 games. His most to that date.

With Jason Garrett’s coaching job on the line, Romo’s back issues, and Murray’s contract being up; the Boys decided to run Murray, much to his liking this past season to see what he could do and also because it was the smart thing to do. Murray responded by breaking Smith’s franchise record yard count with 1,845 yards, and helped Romo have a career year and led the Cowboys to a 12-4 record.

Good things happened when he was fed the ball. They maintained drives. Opened up opportunities for Dez and Witten. Kept the defense off the field. Controlled time of possession. Spectacular.

From the outside looking in Murray seemed/seems to be the sole reason for the Cowboys success when that isn’t the case at all.

Did he help? Sure, but it’s deeper than him.

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From 2011-13 the Boy’s finished 8-8.

In 2011: the O-line wasn’t that good and ended up being the start of the rebuilding process as the Cowboys drafted left tackle Tyron Smith in the first round. (Murray also drafted). Injuries came all across the line plus Murray didn’t play in three of those games. This team was also one of the most heavily penalized teams. Garrett was the play caller.

In 2012: the defense ended up being historically bad. (3rd worst all time.) Rob Ryan was the defensive-coordinator, and despite his progression as a player, Murray showed a knack for getting injured. Star linebacker Sean Lee missed 10 games gutting the defense. Jason Garrett was the play caller. They were still heavily penalized. Rarely forced turnovers. However, Dez was officially established. And Murray missed 6 games.

In 2013: the Cowboys drafted center Travis Frederick in the first round aiding the line. Monte Kiffin became defensive coordinator changing the scheme of the defense. Sean Lee missed 5 games. Murray missed 2 games. And Tony Romo missed the final game of the season. The defense was a record setting defense and the worst in NFL history, ever. Bill Callahan was play caller. (Offensive coordinator as well.) Heavily penalized still.

In 2014: the Cowboys drafted guard Zack Martin. (All-Pro as a rookie). Murray played in all 16 games despite getting injured. Romo played in all 16 games. Rod Marinelli became defensive coordinator. Scott Linehan became the offensive coordinator as well as play caller. Callahan was moved to offensive line coach. The defense was slightly on par with being average. Sean Lee missed the full season. This team wasn’t penalized as much as previous years, and the defense forced the 2nd most turnovers in the league.

As I stated before, Murray was a key cog in the Cowboys success but he wasn’t the main reason.

Guys like Witten, Romo, and Dez made the game easier for him as he did for them. All of those guys were already proven stars while Murray was still on the cusp.

Having Murray did hide the defense some; but how much of it was really him when the defense was second behind Houston in forcing turnovers?

His leadership on the field was nice too, but does that out do Rolondo McClain’s and Justin Durant’s leadership on the other side of the ball? Oh wait, what about Dez being vocal and rallying guys hyping them up? Was that just Murray too?

I’m guessing Marinelli making the most of what little talent he had defensively was more about Murray too.

Football is the greatest team sport there is. Each man HAS to do their job for the other to succeed. Collective effort bottom line.

With all of that being said DeMarco Murray did deserve to be paid. Just not by the Cowboys.

Dallas couldn’t have afforded him and still have money to make some moves on the defensive side of the ball. Throw in the facts that the o-line is elite, Murray is prone to injury and that he started to slow down at the end of the season and the decision is a no brainier.

Running-backs can easily be replaced. You can have a two back tandem, a three headed monster, or just one stud and have a nice amount of production. Especially with a good offensive line.

With this upcoming draft being RB heavy, the Dallas Cowboys can easily find a replacement for DeMarco at a CHEAPER cost for four more years. Simple and smart. There will be money to add new players as well as feed your own.

The Bengals have a two headed monster. The Bills had a two headed monster. The Ravens found a quick Ray Rice replacement in Forsett….

The Boys are playing it smart right now, which is good. They know what they are doing.

Recent history shows they have a plan…

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Food For Thought:

Backup RB Joesph Randle

2013: 13 Games 54 Attempts 164 yards 3 YPC 2TD

2014: 16 Games 51 Attempts 343 yards 6.7 YPC 3TDs

Was it really Murray making the o-line or did the o-line make RBs in general better?

Only time will tell.

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Twitter: @FortonsportsInc @RyanDfort

2015 Wildcard Preview and Prediction

After months and weeks of anticipation we’ve finally arrived to the playoffs where we have a clear cut view on who the 12 teams competing for the Superbowl are.

Within those 12 teams you have the:

(1) 12-4 NE Patriots

(2) 12-4 DEN Broncos

(3) 11-5 PIT Steelers

(4) 11-5 IND Colts

(5) 10-5-1 CIN Bengals

(6) 10-6 BAL Ravens representing the AFC

and the

(1) 12-4 SEA Seahawks

(2) 12-4 GB Packers

(3) 12-4 DAL Cowboys

(4) 7-8-1 CAR Panthers

(5) 11-5 ARI Cardinals

(6) 11-5 DET Lions representing the NFC.

Seattle, New England, Denver and Green Bay all get the week off (Top 2 teams in each conference) so that leaves us with eight teams playing this weekend.

Saturday 4:20 PM ET

Cards  cam

(5) Arizona Cardinals vs (4) Carolina Panthers 

Throughout the season both teams suffered a ton of injuries. Carolina’s injury woe wasn’t as severe as the Cardinals though. Arizona lost key players on the defensive line, in the secondary and in the line-backing core. On the offensive side of the ball the Cards lost starting quarterback Carson Palmer and starting running-back Andre Ellington. Hall of Fame bound receiver Larry Fitzgerald hasn’t been as productive either because of the injuries he’s been battling. Because of the offensive injuries Arizona has been having a tough time generating points.

This season Carolina has been in a funk just like it’s fellow NFC South counterparts. After having a stellar year last season Cam Newton has failed to deliver the same type of success due to the lack of weapons he has in his current arsenal. Despite injuries (distractions Hardy) to the defense and Cam having a somewhat down year the Panthers still managed to win their awful division. Rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin has shown that he can be a solid weapon and running back Johnathan Stewart has returned to a solid form, for now. They also have tight-end Greg Olsen playing at a high level.

Coming into this game the Cards have lost 4 of their last 6 games and managed to score over 17pts one time. They are on their 3rd-string quarterback and rank 13th in stopping the run and 29th in defending the pass. The Panthers are rolling right now having gone 4-0 in December. They rank 7th in rushing the football and 12th in passing. With Arizona pretty much being a team that relies on the defense to score Carolina should be able to dictate the flow of the game as long as Cam and co. don’t turn it over. The Panthers should win 16-9 with Cam getting playoff win #1.

Saturday 8:15 PM ET

ravens steelas

(6) Baltimore Ravens vs (3) Pittsburgh Steelers

The Ravens and Steelers both faced questions going into the season. The Steelers dealt with questions surrounding the defense as well as their running game. The Ravens had to deal with the never ending, traumatizing Ray Rice debacle. With Rice gone there was a void that needed to be filled in order for Baltimore to take the next step. Journeyman running-back, Justin Forsett, stepped into the starting role and complemented Joe Flacco to near perfection. With the addition of Steve Smith SR. and the arrival of Justin Forsett the Ravens offensive dynamic changed.

The Steelers at the beginning of the season were a model of inconsistency. Midway through the season that started to change. Led by the best receiver in football, Antonio Brown and the 2nd best running-back in Le’Veon Bell along with Ben Rothlisberger the Pittsburgh Steelers became a fun, yet rather scary team to watch. They would dominate on the ground as well as kill teams in the air. They went undefeated in December and are on a roll.

Heading into this match-up these division rivals split the season series with the home team winning each game. The Steelers are 4-1 since their Bye while the Ravens are 4-2. In this specific game the Steelers will be without Bell who was the 2nd leading rusher and will also have a limited Troy Polamalu in the secondary. Baltimore on the other hand is healthier and they’ll be getting star defensive tackle Haloti Ngata back to help man the middle. With Bell being out the onus falls on the shoulders of Big Ben. The Steerlers are 2nd in passing while the Ravens are 23rd in passing yards allowed. Big Ben could very well win this game but being one-dimensional could end up costing them. The Steelers will hand Joe Flacco his 1st Wilcard loss. Big Ben is is rolling right now and has more than enough offensive weapons in the passing game to beat Baltimore. Steelers win 34-27

Sunday 1:05 PM ET

Bengals colts trip

(5) Cincinnati Bengals vs (4) Indianapolis Colts

These were two teams that people thought would take the next step, especially the Colts. Andrew Luck was basically enshrined into the Hall Of The Fame without doing anything. Nevertheless the Colts won their porous division with little to no competition. En route to going 11-5 they got dominated by the likes of Pittsburgh, Dallas, Denver and New England. They went 4-5 against teams that are .500 and 2-4 against playoff teams. No resemblance of a running game and having only one stud receiver (TY Hilton) hurts them.

The Bengals started off the season on FIRE. After a few weeks they resembled a Superbowl team but quickly faltered after their Bye week. As of late they’ve been battling injuries that have plagued A.J. Green making the offense somewhat stagnant. Depending on the day Cincy can kill you with an aerial attack led by the likes Andy Dalton with Mouhammed Sanu and Green at his helm. Or they could gash you up on the ground with Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard. You just never know with them.

Going into Sunday’s game the Colts have won 5 of their last 6. They are the best passing team in football but are top 3 when it comes to turning the football over (Andrew Luck). The Bengals have been solid as of late but got shut out earlier in the year by the Colts, losing 27-0. This game will more than likely not feature AJ Green. Dalton doesn’t have a playoff win nor does head coach Marvin Lewis. Unless Cincy runs the ball over 40 times, AJ Green suits up or TY Hilton isn’t 100% I don’t see the Bengals misfortunes coming to an end. Colts win 45-13

Sunday 4:40 PM ET

lions Triplets

(6) Detroit Lions vs (3) Dallas Cowboys

Often sought out as the most talented teams in the NFC, the Lions and Cowboys always seemed to disappoint until this year. Going into the season many predicted this would be Lion’s quarterback Mathew Stafford’s break out year. They changed coaches and gave Stafford more help by bringing in Ex-Seahawks wide receiver, Golden Tate, to complement Megatron. The Lion’s exceeded a few expectations because of how they managed to win games without Megatron. Golden Tate had a career year and the Lion’s defense was arguably the best in the league.

The Cowboys have exceeded everyone’s expectations excluding their own. They’ve discovered a new identity as I stated here (https://fortonsports.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/the-new-dallas-cowboys/) and have improved defensively. They boast arguably the best quarterback of the season in one Tony Romo, the leading rusher in football, Demarco Murray and wide-receiver touchdown leader Dez Bryant. The Cowboys also own the best offensive line in football. The game is won in the trenches and the Cowboys dominate in that aspect.

Ever since the home loss to Philly, the Cowboys have been dominant. They’ve scored 40+ points in 3 of their last 4 games (38 in one game) and are rolling on all cylinders. Dallas also went 4-0 in December. Detroit won 4 of their last 5 and have been very stout defensively. Defensive tackles N.Suh (monster) and Nick Fairley should be good to go giving the defense a boost. The Boys are the 2nd best team running the ball while Detroit is #1 in stopping it. Flipping the script, the Lions are 6th when it comes to turning over the ball and the Cowboys are 2nd in forcing turnovers. The Cowboys will win 27-14.  Stafford just isn’t efficient enough to win and is prone to turn it over multiple times resulting in Dallas getting easy scoring opportunities.

Each game this weekend is compelling and should be competitive.

Comment below with who you think will win each game.

Follow on Twitter @RyanDFort & @FortonsportsInc

The New Dallas Cowboys

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After years of being mediocre the Dallas Cowboys have finally gotten over the hump. The years of being 6-10, 8-8, 8-8 and 8-8 are finally behind us.

There is no such thing as “December woes” when speaking of the 2014 Dallas Cowboys.

There aren’t any questions in regards to Jason Garrett being the head coach or if Tony Romo is good enough to be the starting quarterback.

There also isn’t any talk on whether or not Jerry Jones should step down as the GM for the Dallas Cowboys.

The only question or questions that are being asked this time around are about the Cowboys being legitimate Superbowl contenders. Nothing more and nothing less.

This season the Cowboys have changed their style of play drastically.

They are no longer the team that looks to put up points on the board and outscore the opposition. They no longer play conservative and timid. Rarely do these Cowboys come out playing soft.

The Boys are now more about imposing their will. They look to control the time of possession. They dictate how the game is played. And when things get tough they still show heart and play hard.

Because of the change in philosophy as well as mentality the Cowboys have done a 180.

They’ve changed things that hampered them in the past that led to the 8-8 finishes which in return, has led them to winning the NFC East as well as having a chance to be at the top of the NFC.

Sitting at 11-4 (tied for #1 in the NFC) the Cowboys have become a force to be reckoned with.

They can win on the road in tough environments. (7-0 on the road.) They can run the ball just as good as anyone as well as air it out. They dominate the time of possession. They force turnovers. They contain high-powered offenses (Saints-Bears-Colts-Eagles).

The only thing the Cowboys have a problem doing is rushing the passer; which in recent weeks hasn’t been much of a problem.

This Dallas Cowboys team is a threat. And arguably the most complete team in the whole NFC.

Teams no longer push them over and dictate what’s going to happen. Those days have ended. The Dallas Cowboys have graduated from being boys, to being men.

Having said that, they can compete with the likes of anyone and should be taken seriously.
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In Position To Succeed

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Coming into the season no one had the Cowboys making the playoffs. After the first week of play people were quick to anoint them as the worst team in Football. (I’m looking at y’all Mike Ditka, Ray Lewis, Chris Carter, Keshawn Johnson etc…)

Against the 49ers in game one of the season the Cowboys did look bad, but there were a lot of factors that played a role in their putrid performance.

Defensive tackle Henry Melton wasn’t playing every down (he still isn’t but it has increased), defensive end Anthony Spencer wasn’t active, cornerback Orlando Scandrick was suspended, Rookie defensive end Demarcus Lawrence was inactive and more importantly quarterback Tony Romo wasn’t quite ready for game action.

As a result they got smashed and people were quick to press the panic button.

If you paid close attention to that game you would’ve seen a lot of things. For instance, you would’ve noticed how they were dominating the line of scrimmage offensively; how they were effectively running the football; how they controlled the tempo of the game despite turning the ball over and how they minimized giving up the huge plays that plagued them last year defensively.

Add all of that in along with that fact that guys were going to be coming back from injury and you had a reason to feel optimistic about how good this team could be.

I penciled that debacle against San Francisco in as a wakeup call for the offense. And stated that from that point forward everyone was going to have a tough time stopping the Cowboys’ offense. Seems to be right don’t ya think?

The Cowboys followed the 9ers loss with a 28-17 win over the Titans, a 34-31 come from behind win over the Rams, a 38-17 rout over the Saints and a 20-17 overtime victory over the Texans. 

After winning four  straight, with Romo getting healthier and various defensive guys coming back, people still doubted.

Even at 4-1 people were still on the fences about whether or not this team could play. Week six against the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle was supposed to be the game that brought the Cowboys back down to reality. Instead it woke up the whole globe.

In a game that many thought was impossible to win the Dallas Cowboys went in and dominated the Seahawks in every aspect of the game. Seattle couldn’t stop Murray and Romo tore apart the defense when he needed to.

The defense contained Lynch to an extent and dared Wilson to beat them with his arm. The Cowboys won that game 30-23 in what didn’t appear to be as close as the scoreboard may allude one to believe.

After that shocking victory the Cowboys made believers out of a lot of people.

Analysts were calling them the team to beat. People were penciling them in for the Superbowl. And fans were in a frenzy. But even with that a few people were still a bit leery. Some experts wanted to see them win the next game to see if they could continue playing well after pulling off an upset.
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Following the win over the Seahawks the Cowboys defeated the Giants 31-21. That win sat the Cowboys atop the league with a 6-1 record exceeding everyone’s expectations including my own. (http://fortonsports.com/2014/08/29/reason-to-believe/)

Like all streaks the Cowboys’ 6-game ride came to an end. They lost on MNF to the Washington Redskins who had Colt McCoy playing QB 20-17.

Romo injured his back that game and the coaches made a poor decision, which to some people came to be the fault in why the Boys lost. Win or lose, Tony Romo was injured and things didn’t look good going forward.

The next game on the schedule was against the Arizona Cardinals where Brandon Weeden had to start at QB.

The Cowboys competed with the Cardinals for two and half quarters until finally giving in. Weeden couldn’t make the appropriate throws and Murray wasn’t getting much traction on the ground.

After playing inspired ball at first the defense started to fold as they saw the offense failing to convert their stops into scores. The Cowboys fell to the Cardinals 28-17. Thus embarking them on a two game losing skid.

Losers of two straight and with an injured Romo many thought the Cowboys were done. Everyone but the Cowboys that is….

They flew to London to play a game against the Jaguars. Feeling very good about their chances.

Some analysts, on the other hand said they would falter with or without Romo, while others stated they’d win the game regardless of who played QB.

In what was deemed as a “Must Win” game Tony Romo came back from injury and led the Dallas Cowboys to a 31-17 victory over the Jags. (The game was pretty much won at halftime.) The Cowboys were then 7-3 heading into their bye-week with time to rest, heal and regroup.
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Fast-forward to now and here they are sitting at 7-3 tied with the Philadelphia Eagles for the division lead.

As cliche as it might sound the Cowboys once again control their own fate.

Philly is dealing with a QB crisis with Foles being out and Sanchez in. The Giants are bad and the Redskins are god awful. With that being said it’s their division to lose.

They play the Giants (away) next. Followed by a Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Eagles. After that they play the Bears (away) in a Thursday night matchup. The Eagles (away), Colts (home) and Redskins (away) round out the rest of the schedule. (Notice how the games are spaced apart. Plenty of time to rest.)

The four games on the road may sound alarming, but the Cowboys are currently the only team undefeated on the road to this point. And if we’re being honest three of those games are against teams who aren’t .500.

And now that they’re no longer that prolific offense that tries to put up points and rely heavily on Romo’s arm , this team has a chance to change some of the December misfortunes that have hampered this team as of late.

With their physical, smash-mouth style of play the Cowboys should be able to win alot those games that should be played in cold weather.

With Romo getting healthier, Murray eager to close out the season, Dez becoming a prominent force, and the defense picking up it’s play as well as getting healthier this team should be ready to go.

The image changing starts now.

Is the schedule favorable to them? Yes. But that doesn’t/won’t mean anything if they don’t go out and seize it.

They have a chance to do something that hasn’t been done in years and that’s getting to the playoffs. We can talk about what they can do once they make it there but until then it should still be the one game at a time approach.

Day by day. Week by week. No looking ahead. If the Cowboys can follow this motto faithfully they’ll achieve their goal.

Baby steps first. And then you’ll be able to stride and run.
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