Dallas Cowboys: 2012 Stock Report

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cowboys failed to complete the biggest comeback in franchise history on Sunday when they fell to the New York Giants, 29-24, on Sunday.

With that we have our weekly Stock Report of who's playing well and who isn't.


Jason Witten. An unreal performance by the Cowboys tight end. He finished with 18 catches for 167 yards and had zero touchdowns. But Witten was the man who was able to jump start the offense and get the Cowboys in short down-and-distance situations. Tony Romo needed Witten badly on Sunday and his best friend delivered.

Rob Ryan. Almost every week, the Cowboys defensive coordinator is missing something. He doesn't have Sean Lee this week. Now he lost Lee's replacement, Dan Connor, so Orie Lemon takes over. His defense is backed up against the wall thanks to the turnover-happy offense. Sunday the Cowboys defense gave up just six points to the Giants after turnovers by the offense. It's the defense that kept the Cowboys in the game Sunday, that's clear.

Jay Ratliff. The nose tackle had his best game of the season, a game the Cowboys needed, with five total tackles, one tackle for loss and a quarterback hit. Throughout the game you saw Ratliff become that team leader by pumping up guys, especially Romo, after mistakes or successes.


Tony Romo. OK, some of these interceptions aren't his fault, it would be nice if some of these receivers would fight for the ball or run strong routes, we get it. But Romo was picked off four times on Sunday, continues a disturbing trend of overthrowing or missing open receivers. He threw a career-high 62 times on Sunday and lost. Way to many passes.

Run game. The Cowboys ran the ball 17 times for a season-low 19 times on Sunday. You can say Jason Garrett should have run the ball more, but the Giants' defense was stacked to stop the run. Garrett saw this and asked his quarterback to throw at least 60 times in a NFL game. It's not ideal, but the Cowboys gave up on the run too soon after taking a 24-23 lead.

Dez Bryant. He was fantastic and frustrating all at the same time. He catches five balls for a career-high 110 yards but finishes with no touchdowns. He gets benched for turning the ball over on a punt, his route running continues to be inconsistent. He makes a great catch in the end zone, but his fingers land out of bounds. A long frustrating, fun-filled day.

Stock Report: Mike Jenkins up; O-line down

September, 24, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cowboys' 16-10 victory over Tampa Bay had many interesting aspects. We review who's up and who's down in our weekly Stock Report:


Mike Jenkins. In his first extensive action of the season, Jenkins finished with one pass breakup and a tackle at cornerback. The Cowboys made a personnel change, moving Brandon Carr to a free safety spot to allow Jenkins to play as an outside corner. Jenkins is a good corner. He was the best at his position last season, and he showed that Sunday with solid man coverage.

DeMarcus Ware. The outside linebacker picked up two sacks along with five tackles Sunday. It was clear from the first snaps that Ware was going to be an active participant. He beat single and double coverage at times. He hit quarterback Josh Freeman just once but forced two fumbles on strip sacks.

Miles Austin. He picked up the 12th 100-yard game of his career. He didn't score a touchdown but finished with five catches for 107 yards and returned to the game after a rib injury. All three of Austin's second-half catches were for first downs. The yardages: 21, 49 and 17 yards.


Jason Witten. This is getting ridiculous. The veteran tight end had three drops and two false starts. He's an elite player who's going through a tough stretch at this stage of the season. He did recover from a spleen injury but the missed practice time could be hurting him.

Offensive line. An embarrassing performance from this group, considering the money invested in three of the players: Nate Livings, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Doug Free and to go with Tyron Smith. You expect better. Tony Romo was knocked silly, and the run game was, well, bad. DeMarco Murray somehow rushed for a touchdown. But overall, he had just 38 yards on 18 carries.

Jason Garrett. At some point you've got to make some changes. Felix Jones is giving you nothing on kick returns. He did have two catches for 28 yards but isn't making anyone miss out there. The passing game can't get Dez Bryant and Austin off on a consistent basis, and you have to find a way to get the run game going again. Protection is the key, and Garrett must solve these problems.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Here's our weekly Stock Report after the Cowboys held on for a 20-19 win over the St. Louis Rams.

Stock Up

Dwayne Harris: It's unknown how many wide receivers the Cowboys will keep -- five or six seems like a good place to start -- but Harris had his best game of the preseason. He had three catches for 118 yards with two touchdowns. He continues to get better and is now pushing Kevin Ogletree for playing time.

Felix Jones: He had his best game of the preseason with 34 yards on six carries, and he averaged 11.5 yards per catch. Jason Garrett said Jones is still working himself into shape, and the head coach is right about this. Jones is getting more of a burst back with his runs and seems to be regaining some elusiveness.

Sean Lee: The starting inside linebacker most likely won't play again this preseason. He ended the Rams game with five tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hurry and a pass breakup. While DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff are the two best players on defense, Lee is right behind them.

Stock Down

Ronald Leary: The guard was penalized twice Saturday night. While the team has high hopes for him, he continues to struggle at times. Leary said he needs to pick his game up and that he's not guaranteed a roster spot. That's a good attitude to have, but he's got one more preseason game to show it.

Jay Ratliff: Injuries hampered Ratliff's summer. The plantar fasciitis cost him the offseason workouts and limited his training camp practices. Now a high-ankle sprain could force him to miss the regular-season opener. Ratliff is a tough guy, but the Cowboys have to be cautious with one of their more valuable players.

Matt Johnson: The fourth-round pick just can't get a break. He missed training camp practices with a hamstring injury, and when he returned for the first time this preseason, he injured the other leg. The Cowboys like Johnson's playmaking ability, but he can't show it in games if he's hurt.
OXNARD, Calif. -- We normally do the Stock Report after games, but for training camp we'll do it once a week.

So here's our first installment.


Clifton Geathers. You want to talk about Sean Lissemore and Josh Brent? Fine. Geathers has been strong the first week of training camp with several sacks and pass breakups. He's showing good speed and power against first- and second-team offensive lines.

Dez Bryant. Forget about the off-the-field issues. Bryant has been wonderful. He's beating up corners for deep and short passes and he's dropped just one pass in three days of practices. Bryant has been slowed by Brandon Carr's press coverage from time to time, but the third-year receiver gets him back sometimes.

Brandon Carr. He's worth the $50.1 million he's getting paid. His strong upper body slows receivers down and he's doing a nice job in coverage, especially in man-to-man. Carr is a man who arrived in shape, and after starting 64 consecutive games there shouldn't be any questions about his durability.


Brodney Pool. He failed the conditioning test and is watching Barry Church move up in the coaches' eyes with his fine play the first week of training camp. Pool signed a one-year deal and cashed a $100,000 signing bonus. His failure in the conditioning test didn't win him any love from the front office. Now, Pool has to play catch-up this weekend.

Interior offensive line. Phil Costa has struggled. Harland Gunn has, too. Kevin Kowalski, Bill Nagy, Mackenzy Bernadeau and now Nate Livings have been hurt at some point this summer. The Cowboys are not in panic mode just yet because Bernadeau could return soon off the PUP lis and Livings' knee injury isn't considered serious. But Kowalski was supposed to compete with Costa for the starting center gig. He can't. There are issues here.

Felix Jones. The running back enters the final year of his contract as the backup and trying to prove he's in good shape after he failed his conditioning test. Owner Jerry Jones said Felix Jones has to get on the field, but he couldn't because he failed his test. Jones isn't getting cut anytime soon, but he must start off camp in impressive fashion to erase the bad taste of failing the test.