Dallas Cowboys: Shaun Phillips

Closer look at Cowboys' final drive

October, 7, 2013
IRVING, Texas – Much of the focus of the Dallas Cowboys' 51-48 loss to the Denver Broncos is on the Tony Romo interception, so let’s look at what led to the turnover by analyzing the two plays of the drive.

First and 10, Cowboys 20, 2:39 to play.

The Cowboys are in "11 personnel" with Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley and Jason Witten to Romo’s right and Dez Bryant is to the left. The Broncos rushed five on the play, but DeMarco Murray did a nice job of picking up the late blitz from safety Omar Bolden.

Romo pumps as he looks like he want to throw underneath to Beasley, but the receiver had not cleared the umpire so Romo re-loaded. As he looked for Beasley again Shaun Phillips brought some pressure, forcing Romo to his right. Phillip shook free from Brian Waters and came up with the 6-yard sack.

The officials did not flag Phillips for a horse-collar tackle because they felt Romo was inside the tackle box. The snap came from the left hashmark and Romo was outside the right hashmark.

Second and 16, Cowboys 14, 2:04 to play.

The Cowboys are in "12 personnel" with Witten to Romo’s right and Gavin Escobar, Bryant and Williams to his right. The Broncos rushed only three and clamped on Witten. With Derek Wolfe starting to work past Travis Frederick, left guard Ronald Leary slid in front of Romo to get Wolfe. With his feet unsettled, Romo tried to get the ball to Escobar, but as he threw he stumbled on Tyron Smith’s foot and was unable to get more on the pass.

Danny Trevathan made an excellent play to come up with the diving pick. Could Escobar have helped more on the route? Perhaps, but Romo had the check-down to Murray available for a nice gain to set up a third-and-manageable.

Camp observations: Tony Romo sharp

August, 20, 2012
SAN DIEGO – Tony Romo was sharp in Monday’s practice against San Diego, and it could've been better if not for three drops.

Coop and Nate weigh in on the Cowboys-Chargers game and discuss the future of RB Felix Jones.

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Romo went 20 of 28 in team and seven-on-seven drills against the Chargers but was done in by drops by Felix Jones, Kevin Ogletree and DeMarco Murray.

I spent the nearly two-hour session watching the Cowboys’ offense, so these observations will focus only on that side of the ball:

** RB Felix Jones must be fighting the ball. He had a drop in the games against Oakland and San Diego and was unable to hold on to a simple check down from Romo in Monday’s practice. It’s somewhat alarming because Jones has been a reliable pass catcher.

** WR Kevin Ogletree's drop is a tough grade, but a drop nonetheless after he was easily able to slide by CB Quentin Jammer at the line of scrimmage. Romo’s throw was a tad long and went just off Ogletree’s fingertips. But the ease in which Ogletree got by Jammer was impressive. Ogletree had a productive practice with the extra attention, catching six of Romo’s 20 completions.

** In Jason Witten's absence, the tight ends have not been involved as much in the passing game but that sort of changed Monday. John Phillips and James Hanna were active. Hanna put together a catch of at least 25 yards after getting past the Chargers linebackers unnoticed.

** WR Andre Holmes did not make it through the practice because of back tightness. He was unable to hook up with Romo on the first play of team drills and was replaced by Dwayne Harris.

** The Cowboys like to run reverses but they have not had much success during camp. They didn’t have success with it Monday either. LB Shaun Phillips snuffed out a reverse to Harris, doing a good job of not following the pack.

** Kyle Orton went 14 of 20 in the practice but barely overthrew WR Danny Coale on a deep ball down the middle in which the rookie could not get an extra jump on the pass. Coale, however, had his best practice of camp in part because he got so much work.

** Interesting to note that backup quarterbacks Stephen McGee and Rudy Carpenter split the third-team snaps with both quarterbacks taking two snaps in seven on seven and two in team drills.

The fourth and one failure

December, 13, 2009
ARLINGTON --The Cowboys say it didn't decide the game, but Dallas drove from its own 27 to the Chargers one in the second quarter and didn't yield any points.

On three consecutive plays from the 1-yard line, running back Marion Barber failed to get in the end zone. On the fourth and one, Kyle Kosier failed to get over to block linebacker Brandon Siler, who stopped Barber short of the goal line.

For the season, only Tony Romo has gone for it on a fourth and one but overall, the Cowboys were 8-9 on third and one converting 88.9 percent of the plays. Barber was ranked 16th in the league.

Barber wasn't available for comment, but offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was.

"We ran it 12, 13, 14 times on that drive and went the distance of the field," Garrett said. "We felt good about the run down there. Our guys were really moving off the ball up front and we thought we had an opportunity to get it in and unfortunately they made a big stop. That was obviously a big sequence in the game."

When Garrett was asked would he do it again he said, "In hindsight we could have done this, we could have done that. Leading up to that, the way we got the ball down there, we domianted them upfront. It made sense to us to continue that trend and they stood firm and they did a nice job down there."

The Chargers couldn't take advantage of the play because cornerback Terence Newman picked off a pass. But still stopping the Cowboys inside the five was big.

"It's good," Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips said. "It means they think they are tougher than us. And they weren't."

Cowboys-Chargers injury report

December, 11, 2009
IRVING -- Nothing new to report on the Cowboys, FB Deon Anderson (knee) and CB Terence Newman (knee soreness) are listed as probable.

The Chargers have some issues.

The players you care about: OLB Shawne Merriman is questionable with a foot injury but the other top defender, OLB Shaun Phillips (ankle) is probable. P Mike Scifres (groin), ranked eight in the league with a 45.9 average, is probable.

Safety Eric Weddle, who has played in 673 plays, the third most on the team, didn't practice with a knee injury and is listed as doubtful. C.J. Spillman will get the start.

Chargers' Merriman returns to practice

December, 9, 2009
IRVING, Texas -- Chargers outside linebacker Shawne Merriman, who missed last week's game at Cleveland with a foot injury, returned to practice but was limited.

The other outside linebacker, Shaun Phillips, did not practice because of an ankle injury.

Defensive end Luis Castillo did practice fully as his calf injury seems to be healing. Guard Kris Dielman did not practice due to a non-football related injury.