Thursday, September 8, 2011
Cowboys bring swagger to NYC
By Calvin Watkins
IRVING -- The interesting thing about this Cowboys-Jets matchup on Sunday night is that the visiting team doesn't seem unnerved by the big stage the season opener has been place on.
Among the many subplots, the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks is taking center stage. There should be an emotional pregame ceremony for the fans, players and coaches.
The Cowboys don't have the expectations the New York Jets do made harder when coach Rex Ryan said the game is one of the biggest of his career. Ryan said he wants to win the game for the New York-New Jersey area. The Cowboys, who have had their share of big moments in New York don't appear to be backing down.
Defensive end Marcus Spears said the game on Sunday reminds him of the first game the New Orleans Saints had in New Orleans after they returned home following Katrina.
"It will be the same way," said Spears, a native of Baton Rouge, La. "It's New York's day. You just got to go up there and realize it's a ball game we need to win and make sure it don't snowball on us."
One of the things helping the Cowboys, at least on the defensive side, is the swagger defensive coordinator Rob Ryan brings. You can hear it in the player's voices this week they don't seem caught up in the moment of playing in a charged up environment.
"It’s New York, man," Spears said. "I have never been to New York and it ain’t been something that’s supposed to make them beat us to death. It’s just another one of them things. We don’t take it lightly, because these guys, we know they’re out there trying to beat us, and we’re out there trying to beat them."
When asked what is the confidence level of his team, outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware said, "What would your confidence level be if you put a No. 7 jersey on you as the quarterback and I was coming. Would you be confident that I’m going to get to you? We feel really good with what we’re doing and really comfortable with what we’re doing."
It sounds like Ryan's swagger, right?
"I think that’s what you’ve got to have in this defense," Ware said. "You can’t go out there and be timid. He’ll throw the kitchen sink at you as players and expect you to learn it. Now, let’s throw that kitchen sink out there on the Jets and see how they take it."
The Cowboys have had some memorable games in the Meadowlands in recent years.
You could back to last year when in Jason Garrett's first game as the interim coach, the Cowboys knocked off the New York Giants, 33-20.
In 2007, then-wide receiver Patrick Crayton, after scoring a touchdown, lifted up his leg as if he was marking his territory, upsetting the Giants in a Cowboys' 31-20 victory. It set off a battle of trash talk between Crayton and Giants running back Brandon Jacobs the next season.
Kicker Martin Gramatica added to the legend of Tony Romo with a game-winning 42-yard field goal in the closing seconds of a 23-20 victory in the Meadowlands in 2006. It would be then coach Bill Parcells last game against his former team.
The Cowboys have won important games on the road in the swamp and don't feel as if Sunday night will be any different for them.
"Going against the Jets, it’s just another team," Ware said. "Going up there 9/11, crowd noise, all of that, we’ve got to get over those obstacles."