Problems pile up for Cowboy Print
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Saturday, 18 October 2008 06:28
NFL Headline News

 If the Dallas Cowboys go on to win the title that their owner, players and ardent fans assumed would be theirs for the taking, one man might be the answer:
Brad Johnson, the 40-year-old backup quarterback.
Not necessarily on the field, where he will be a temporary replacement while Tony Romo recovers from a broken finger. In fact, if Romo plays in St. Louis on Sunday, a possibility, it could be a bad thing. Putting Johnson in the huddle might give him authority on a team where egos - from the owner's on down - can create chaos with what is supposed to be the most talent in the NFL.
``As long as the Cowboys keep believing they are something special, they never will be,'' the sage Cris Collinsworth said this week on Showtime's ``Inside The NFL.''
Blame it on the Joneses.
Roger Goodell to suspend him indefinitely.
The suspension was hardly a surprise.
The over-under on Pacman behaving after a 17-month suspension for various forms of misbehavior was probably six to eight games. He made it to five, although he played a sixth after getting into a fight with Tommy Jones, who was supposed to be there to save Adam from himself.
The on-field ramifications are serious because Terence Newman, the team's best cover cornerback, could be out for a month or longer after surgery for a sports hernia. That left Adam as by far the best remaining Cowboy at that position.
But that's only a symptom of a malaise that begins with an owner who is also a general manager and part-time coach; who plays catch with his injured quarterback at practice; and who can't resist bringing in troubled players. Or big names who don't have off-field baggage, such as the newly acquired Roy Williams. He gives Dallas a top receiver, but risks alienating the top receiver it already has - Terrell Owens, who is liable to break into public tears (real or feigned) if the ball heads toward Williams more often than toward him.
straight 5-11 seasons before Bill Parcells arrived in 2003.
Kraft knows what he doesn't know and cedes all power over football to Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli, who have built a team that has won three Super Bowls this decade and been to a fourth after a 16-0 regular season.
The best players on the current Cowboys were assembled for the most part by Parcells and Jeff Ireland, who is now helping the Tuna rebuild the Dolphins. They include Romo, Marion Barber, DeMarcus Ware, Jason Witten and complementary players such as Miles Austin, who will probably get less playing time with the arrival of Williams.
And although Parcells hasn't said so publicly, one reason he left after the 2006 season was the owner's habit of bringing in players Parcells didn't want, notably Owens.
With the more docile Wade Phillips installed, Jerry Jones had the freedom to bring in Pacman and Tank Johnson, whose problems with the law led to his release by Chicago.
``The promise of a good ending will always get my attention, and so many times will get my effort,'' Jerry Jones said this week. An admirable attitude, but better exercised by teams with a track record for dealing with problems.
ack who served them well for a half-decade and, at 35, is now thriving with unbeaten Tennessee.
The Colts took a chance last year with Ed Johnson, a talented defensive tackle who went undrafted because of off-field problems at Penn State. He started and played well as a rookie. But when he was arrested in September for speeding and marijuana possession, he was cut within 24 hours - even though the Colts needed his run-stuffing ability.
``Ed was well aware that his past history required him to be in complete compliance with club rules,'' team president Bill Polian said. ``Unfortunately, he chose to violate those rules.''
Contrast that to Jerry Jones' first reaction to Adam Jones' latest issues.
``These guys were joking, were kidding, having fun. It crossed over into more than that, and it ended quickly,'' Jerry said. ``This was a personal thing and it was resolved in a personal manner.''
Only after Goodell got involved did Jerry change the party line.
``I regret, I really do, I regret that didn't work for Adam, and work for the Cowboys,'' Jerry said after the suspension. ``I regret the bad publicity that has been associated with it. Certainly we felt that he had a chance, even though he was walking on the high wire with no net below.''
Actually, that's where the Cowboys are walking.
ely given a free pass into the Super Bowl by any number of media outlets. Most notably the one that televises Monday night games and has football experts blabbing at all hours in all seasons. Predictions in Texas, of course, were often over the top.
Did anyone take into account that the Giants, who play in the same division, were not a fluke? Did anyone note that the other NFC East teams, Philadelphia and Washington, were also solid?
Nor did anyone account for injuries (Romo, Newman and others) and the fact that having 13 Pro Bowlers doesn't necessarily mean all 13 deserved the honor. The Dallas offensive line sent three players to the Pro Bowl last season and the Giants had none. But many football people believe that the Giants' unit, which has been together now for more than three seasons, is better. On the OL, cohesion trumps individual skill.
Which brings us back to Brad Johnson.
He is not as mobile as Romo nor does he have his arm. But he is 12 years older and was the quarterback on a Super Bowl winner in Tampa six years ago. Thus, he's a guy who is likely to tell T.O. to shut up when he returns to the huddle and cries ``I was open.''
That's the kind of message heard not only by Owens but by the rest of the team, which still has enough of Parcells' hard workers to silently applaud.
n explode and T.O. explode. Because it is about to hit the fan down there. Maybe the only one that can save it is the guy who is now about to play quarterback and that is Brad Johnson.''
If he does play.
---
DIRTY DOZEN: The top six and bottom six teams based on current level of play:
1. Tennessee (5-0). In the 2008 NFL, the best way to move up is to have a bye.
2. Pittsburgh (4-1). Ditto.
3. New York Giants (4-1). A pass for one bad game. Not for a second.
4. San Diego (3-3). This is for last week's superior play. Inconsistent enough to fall into the pack again.
5. Tampa Bay (4-2). Monte Kiffin's defense usually keeps the Bucs in games.
6. Atlanta (4-2). Nice work from Thomas Dimitroff, Mike Smith and Matt Ryan.
27. Seattle (1-4). After playing .800 ball at home until this season, can't even win there.
28. St. Louis (1-4). If Josh Brown had missed his field goal, Richie Incognito would have been incognito.
29. Oakland (1-4). If Al Davis hadn't isolated himself, he might have discovered that Lane Kiffin can coach a little.
30. Kansas City (1-4). Even aging stars (Tony Gonzalez) have little market value.
31. Cincinnati (0-6). A team that plays like it's given up.
32. Detroit (0-5). The Lions haven't been near the end zone enough to know its dimensions. Thus Dan Orlovsky's safety.
 

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