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Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Random Thoughts: Remember the remedial relay team?

By Calvin Watkins

After the Cowboys 38-31 loss to the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving Day, it's given us some time to review and think about what we saw. So with that we have our weekly random thoughts segment.

1. Do you remember the remedial relay team from training camp? I'll refresh your memory. Felix Jones, Brodney Pool and Andre Holmes were the relay team. The trio failed the Cowboys conditioning test and coach Jason Garrett said the trio had to perform remedial running. It was sad. Jones was in the final year of his contract and some silly excuse was given that he failed it because he was coming off shoulder surgery. (I didn't know you run on your arms.) Pool was released after he finally passed the thing and of course there was Holmes. He was supposed to be the next big thing. He was tall, long and fast. He was supposed to challenge Kevin Ogletree for the No. 3 receiver spot. Holmes got off to a slow start in camp but did earn a roster spot. But a few days after Thanksgiving he was released so the Cowboys could make room for Anthony Armstrong, a faster and more experienced version of Holmes. Tuesday afternoon, Holmes re-signed with Cowboys to the practice squad. He's a talented player and you have question does he have a future with the Cowboys given the limited success of Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley.

2. Nose tackle Josh Brent is playing with torn ligaments in his pinkie. Now you say what's the big deal? Well it's harder for Brent to grab offensive linemen and scoop up fumbles. His ring finger (on the same hand) is also nicked up. Brent has a bright future with the Cowboys and could be the starting nose tackle in 2013 should Jay Ratliff be shown the door. (I go back and forth on this. Cowboys do save $1 million if he's cut.) Brent has power and speed to play the position, plus he has this position flexibility where he can also move to end. If the Cowboys keep Ratliff, maybe it's time to finally move him to end to get two more years out of him. It seems his body is worn down from the constant double-teams he gets on a weekly basis. It might be time to see him one-on-one on first and second downs.

3. Here are three plays where the Cowboys' top playmakers made critical mistakes in the loss to the Redskins. On the first possession, tight end Jason Witten gets flagged for a false start forcing a third-and-11 instead of third-and-six. Tony Romo is incomplete on a pass toward Miles Austin and the Cowboys settle for a field goal. Yes, they're ahead 3-0, but Washington scores on its third possession of the game to take a 7-3 lead. On the ensuing possession, Dez Bryant fumbles and the Redskins convert the turnover into a score for a 14-3 lead. Next Redskins possession, cornerback Brandon Carr slips down on a pass thrown behind Pierre Garcon allowing him a clear path down the field. Washington is ahead, 21-3. It's easy to blame the big plays of the Redskins and what Robert Griffin III did, but Witten's penalty forcing an offensively challenged team in the red zone more problems doesn't help. Bryant, as good as he's been, losing the ball doesn't help. And Carr has to remain on his feet to make the tackle in the open field on Garcon. Dallas rallied but it's the little plays that Romo talks about that hurts a team.