NFC East: Tony Romo

Giants vs. Cowboys preview

November, 21, 2014
Nov 21
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video When: 8:30 p.m. ET Sunday Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford TV: NBC

The 7-3 Dallas Cowboys have a chance to mathematically eliminate the 3-7 New York Giants from the NFC East race on Sunday night. ESPN Cowboys reporter Todd Archer and ESPN Giants reporter Dan Graziano hereby present your game preview:

Graziano: Hey, Todd, the Giants haven't won a game since the last time we did this, so I'm eager to see what questions you've come up with. But during their current five-game losing streak, the Giants' best offensive game was the loss in Dallas. It was the only game in the streak in which they've rushed for 100 yards and the only one in which the opponent didn't generate consistent, disruptive pressure on quarterback Eli Manning. How is that Dallas front seven looking these days?

Archer: The easy answer is not bad, but for those used to seeing DeMarcus Ware for close to a decade, he's not walking through that door again. The good news for the Cowboys is that they are getting healthier whereas last year they were signing guys on a Tuesday and playing them on Sunday. Tyrone Crawford did not play against Jacksonville, but he should be back. Rolando McClain didn't play against the Jaguars, but he will be back. Henry Melton has been much more active. Rookie defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence didn't play in the first meeting because of a foot injury but he is coming on. Josh Brent is eligible to play but I don't think he will be on the 46-man roster Sunday. They have been decent against the run but have had some breakdowns. The pass rush has been better but it's still not good enough. Like the defense as a whole, the front seven is getting by.

I'll keep it simple off the top: Is this the end for Tom Coughlin?

Graziano: Well, this game surely isn't. Coughlin will certainly coach out this season, and I honestly think his future as the Giants' coach will depend a lot on how the Giants do in their final six games. If they rally against a December schedule that includes games against Jacksonville, Tennessee, Washington and St. Louis and get back to 7-9 as they did last year, it'll be easier for Giants ownership to justify giving Coughlin another year of this rebuilding project. If they fall completely apart and finish, say, 4-12 or 3-13, I imagine all bets are off and no one is safe. A lot of people want a definitive answer on Coughlin's status, but I don't believe ownership has made one yet. They love him and love having him as their coach, and if he does decide to leave or if they decide to move on from him, they know they'll need a good plan in place for how to replace perhaps the best coach in franchise history (apologies to Bill Parcells). So it's no sure thing, but the way this team is playing and the inevitable fact that they'll miss the playoffs for the fifth time in six seasons does not work in his or any other coach's favor.

What's Jason Garrett's status these days? Has the Cowboys' surprisingly good season done anything to quiet those who perpetually call for his head?

Archer: A little bit it has, but if they don't make the playoffs then the calls for his job will be heard again. I've written that he deserves to be extended. I think the plan he has put in place has started to come together. But it will all be determined by what they do from now on. As you know, they have lost three straight winner-take-all season finales to the Giants, Redskins and Eagles. At least Garrett had them in position to win the division, but this year they have to get over the top. Jerry Jones has been patient with Garrett and often talks about wanting him to be the coach long term, but he hasn't backed those words up with a new deal. Along with the contractual statuses of Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray, this one could get juicy here down the stretch.

How much of this Giants mess is on GM Jerry Reese? They have let guys go and not had replacements ready, especially on the offensive and defensive lines.

Graziano: I think it's almost all on Reese, Todd, and you've hit it right on the head. His drafts have been flat-out terrible from the standpoint of finding players who have turned out to be foundation pieces. Do you know that, since Reese became Giants GM in 2007, only three of his draft picks have signed second contracts with the team? And none of those three was a first-rounder? (They're Will Beatty, Ahmad Bradshaw and Zak DeOssie.) You're right that the Giants haven't done a good enough job of finding and developing players to replace those who have left, and the result was that last year's roster got so hollowed out that they had to sign more free agents than any other team in the league just to fill out a 53-man roster. That's why I say this is a rebuilding project that has to take more than one year, and why I blame Reese much more than I blame Coughlin or the coaching staff for the mess this team is in. The Giants don't fire GMs as a matter of policy. They've had only three of them in the past 38 years. But as I said when we were talking about Coughlin, if things get really ugly over these final six weeks, all bets are off.

Let's move the discussion to the field. When the Giants and Cowboys played in that Week 7 game, Murray have to leave for a while with an injury. He came back and seems to have been fine since, but are there any signs of his extreme workload wearing on him? And are they doing anything to keep him from wearing down?

Archer: There really hasn't been any drastic change in his production. He has had 100 yards in every game but one this season and even in that Arizona game he averaged 4.2 yards per carry. He had at least 22 carries in the first seven games of the season but has maxed out at 19 in each of the past three. I don't know if that is by design. Some of it has been dictated by the circumstances of the games. They are using Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar earlier in games to spell Murray some. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said he is not worried so much about the carries as he is the snaps Murray plays. He's a three-down back and has 36 catches. It's a tricky balancing act the Cowboys have to follow because Murray is so valuable to what they do. He said he felt refreshed after the bye week and largely stayed off his feet. Whatever the Cowboys do in their final six games will be with the same formula they used in their first 10 games: a lot of Murray.

When these teams met in October, it looked like Manning was feeling his way through the change in offense pretty well. Is this scheme a fit for what Manning does best or is he held back by what's around him?

Graziano: The group around Manning sure has taken a pounding. The Giants lost top wide receiver Victor Cruz to a season-ending knee injury in Week 6, and they were without starting running back Rashad Jennings for four games due to a knee sprain. Jennings was back last week, and I thought the offense would look better as a result, but then Manning went and threw five interceptions, nearly doubling his season total. (He'd thrown six in his first nine games.) You're right that Manning was looking comfortable in the new offense until last week, and I think all eyes are on him Sunday night and the rest of the way to see whether this last game was a fluke or whether it's a sign that "Bad Eli" is always potentially around the corner no matter what system they put him in. One thing he has dealt with is a lot of pass-rush pressure, and that crescendoed a bit last week against the 49ers. They may make some changes on the offensive line this week, and if those changes help protect him better, I think he gets back into that rhythm he was in earlier in the year.

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Dez Bryant tries to get it right on the field

November, 4, 2014
Nov 4
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So Dez Bryant has settled on an agent, leaving Eugene Parker and hiring Roc Nation. The Dallas Cowboys' wide receiver who suspended contract talks with the team before the season started, now wants them to resume again with his new agent.

While Bryant has finalized his business off the field, his on-the-field actions need some work.

[+] EnlargeDez Bryant
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsCowboys receiver Dez Bryant encounters opponents' best cornerbacks each week, but he still has to find a way to get open and bring down catches.
Against Arizona he finished with just two catches for 15 yards and one touchdown. Both catches came in the fourth quarter and out of his 55 offensive snaps, a majority of the time he was covered by cornerback Patrick Peterson one-on-one.

"Played great," Bryant said of Peterson. "I'm a physical guy and they came out and did an outstanding job. We were a little bit powerless."

Arizona played single-high coverage, designed to stop the run which meant Bryant had his chances to make plays one-on-one. He was targeted 10 times, the fifth time this season he was thrown to in double-digits, but he produced just two catches. He also had two plays where he could have made catches but could have been considered drops.

It was Bryant's fewest catches when targeted more than 10 times in his career.

Bryant is an excellent receiver but he might have been impacted by backup quarterback Brandon Weeden and Peterson's efforts.

"Without question I missed him (quarterback Tony Romo), but I believe in Weeden, too," Bryant said. "But things didn't go our way. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board and try to fix what we need to fix."

There was frustration in Bryant on Sunday, which is understandable given the amount of pressure on him to produce in the Cowboys' passing attack. Bryant does need to win his one-on-one battles more and that means being more physical when defenders jam him at the line of scrimmage and run precise routes to become a better target.

Bryant has improved as a route runner during his career and his command of the offense isn't an issue like it was his rookie season. Getting him on the move, in the slot running slants or the back shoulder fade routes are positive plays for Bryant. Arizona didn't pressure Weeden like they did Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

Yet, Weeden looked out of sorts when throwing to Bryant.

Maybe it was a chemistry deal, but Weeden is able to work with the first team in practice once a week as Romo rests his back. Romo could return for the Jacksonville game on Sunday in London. Romo playfully threw some passes to school-aged kids on Tuesday in London as part of a NFL Play 60 event. So maybe, Bryant gets his quarterback back.

"Across the board we're going to get it right," Bryant said. "I know we are."

DeMarco Murray will see box stacked

November, 3, 2014
Nov 3
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The future of Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray will have six- and seven-man fronts.

It comes with the territory when you're the NFL's leading rusher. Murray finished with 79 yards on 19 carries in Sunday's 28-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Murray
Murray had to grind for his 4.2 yards per carry and failed to get one yard on a key fourth-down play in the fourth quarter.

Yet, if the Cowboys are going to rely on him in the big picture of things, they must find a way to get running lanes open for him. Sunday against the Cardinals, Murray didn't have quarterback Tony Romo (back) and two starters, left guard Ronald Leary (groin) and tackle Doug Free (foot).

If defenses try to stop Murray, they have to contend with Romo. But Arizona didn't care for his replacement, Brandon Weeden.

"It's probably the first time we [have] seen it and it probably won't be the last," Murray said of seeing seven- and eight-man defensive fronts.

Murray had just nine carries in the first half but the Cowboys went back toward him in the third quarter with eight touches, and with the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter the Cowboys had to throw the ball.

"Receivers get more catches they get into a rhythm and a quarterback throws more he gets into a rhythm and it goes on," Murray said. "As for myself and the offense line, it was hard to run the ball against those guys with 10 guys in the box. We need to make more plays."

It will get harder as the season progresses.

"We play great defense against the run and because we do have corners who can play man-to-man, we can put eight guys up there or seven up there," Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. "And our defensive line is penetrating, not sitting back and catching."

Rolando McClain returns to practice

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
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IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys starting middle linebacker Rolando McClain returned to practice Thursday after missing Wednesday's session with a sore shoulder.

 Quarterback Tony Romo (back), left guard Ronald Leary (groin) and tackle Doug Free (foot) missed practice.

The Cowboys, preparing for the Arizona Cardinals on a short week, didn't practice in helmets on Wednesday but did so on Thursday.

Also, suspended defensive tackle Josh Brent practiced for the first time.

He saw limited work on Wednesday but was able to get scout team action Thursday.

Dez Bryant: 'We let this one slip away'

October, 28, 2014
Oct 28
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ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys best receiving threat was slowed down Monday night.

Wide receiver Dez Bryant finished with three catches for a season-low 30 yards and one touchdown in the 20-17 overtime loss to Washington. Bryant was targeted just twice in the third quarter, none in the fourth and once in overtime.

There were two plays Bryant should have made that appeared to be drops, including one in the end zone yet Washington doubled him with tight coverage from a cornerback and then used a safety over the top to prevent deep throws for a majority of the game.

The coverages Bryant faced Monday isn’t something new, just part of the deal that comes with being one of the playmakers on offense.

Bryant
Bryant
“Shading a little bit,” Bryant said of the safeties who were near him. “A little bit of [zone] and they did a good job.”

Normally when defenses employ tight coverages on Bryant it opens things for receiver Terrance Williams and tight end Jason Witten. Those two combined for 11 catches and 139 yards and one touchdown. According to ESPN's Stats and Information, the Redskins tied a season-high by sending five or more pass rushers on 60 percent of dropbacks against the Cowboys.

Yet with more defenders coming at quarterback Tony Romo it should have cleared things for Bryant one on one.

"We moved him around some," coach Jason Garrett said of Bryant."He made some plays in the game and obviously you get used to him making a ton of plays and making a huge difference."

Bryant's second-quarter touchdown catch was just amazing. He caught a short pass behind the line of scrimmage with one hand. The tip of the ball landed in the cup of his hand and after shaking a defender he carried safety Ryan Clark into the end zone.

Bryant didn't want to talk about the touchdown catch, instead focusing on the loss.

Garrett called the touchdown catch amazing.

"To make the catch that he made and then get in the end zone, it was a pretty special play," Garrett said. "But he gets a lot of attention and he always gets a lot of attention. He's got to fight through it."

On the final play of the game, Bryant was doubled and was able to scramble free with Romo moving out of the pocket.

Bryant was open for a moment near the Cowboys’ sideline but Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland stepped in front to knock the pass away.

“We let this one slip away,” Bryant said. “We have to look at ourselves in the mirror. As a team, we let one slip away. I’m scrambling and trying to get open and try to give him a target, guy did a good job on the ball.”

Anthony Spencer limited in practice

October, 23, 2014
Oct 23
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IRVING, Texas -- Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer was limited in practice on Thursday with a sprained foot. Spencer, who has recovered from microfracture surgery, is expected to play in Monday's game against the Washington Redskins.

Linebacker Bruce Carter (thigh), who missed the last three games, was a limited participant in practice on Thursday. Carter said he felt good and should play against Washington.

"I did all the drills, special teams, I did everything," said Carter, who worked in the base and nickel packages. "I think as the week goes on and me running around, I'll be able to open up more each day and I think I'll be fine on Monday night."

Wide receiver Dez Bryant (shoulder) and right tackle Jermey Parnell (chest) were full participants in practice.

Defensive end Jack Crawford (calf), right tackle Doug Free (foot), safety Jakar Hamilton (personal reasons) and quarterback Tony Romo (back) didn't practice.

Bruce Carter returns to Cowboys practice

October, 23, 2014
Oct 23
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IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter, who has missed the last three games with a thigh injury, returned to practice Thursday. Cowboys officials hope Carter will be healthy enough to play in Monday's game against the Washington Redskins.

Carter
Carter
Also, cornerback Brandon Carr, who finished last week's game against the New York Giants with a pulled hamstring, was participating during the open media access period of practice.

Defensive tackle Amobi Okoye, currently on the reserve/non-football injury list, practiced for the first time this season. Okoye has recovered from anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, a brain condition that causes memory loss and seizures. Okoye was in a coma for three months last year.

Safety Jakar Hamilton (personal reasons), quarterback Tony Romo (back), defensive end Jack Crawford (calf) and Doug Free (foot) missed practice.

Romo, however, did participate in the walk-through session.

Bruce Carter expects to practice this week

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20
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Dallas Cowboys strongside linebacker Bruce Carter has missed the past three games with a thigh injury, but he did some running before Sunday's game against the New York Giants and expects to practice this week.

Carter
Carter
"For the most part, I'm able to do everything I need to do," Carter said. "I got a couple of extra days to get ready, given we have a Monday night game."

In the New Orleans game on Sept. 28, Carter was credited with six tackles and two pass breakups, one that was intercepted by fellow linebacker Justin Durant.

But Carter didn't finish the game, he was injured chasing down a runner and didn't return.

The Cowboys have used a variety of players at linebacker this season because of injuries, with Rolando McClain (middle), Durant (strong and weak side), Anthony Hitchens (middle) and Kyle Wilber (strongside) getting the majority of playing time.

Other injuries of note:
  • Running back DeMarco Murray (ankle) didn't finish the first half of Sunday's game but did start the second half. Murray, who finished with 128 rushing yards, said his ankle felt fine. He said he didn't get the ankle re-taped.
  • Quarterback Tony Romo came into Sunday's game with a sore ankle and ribs. It didn't appear as if Romo had any problems moving around the pocket and he did take a few hits but nothing that would be alarming. Romo was a perfect nine-for-nine in the second half.
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The two weeks that were going to tell us all about the 2014 New York Giants went about as poorly as they could have gone and told us everything we needed to know.

The Dallas Cowboys beat the Giants 31-21 on Sunday at AT&T Stadium to improve to 6-1. They lead the NFC East by a half-game over the idle Philadelphia Eagles, who are 5-1 and beat the Giants 27-0 last Sunday. The Giants are 3-4, well behind two teams that just beat them, and as they head into their bye week, they look absolutely nothing like a team with playoff hopes.

"This is our bye week, and when we come back, we want to be a great team," defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said. "We have a good football team. When we get those kinks out of there, we'll be all right."

That is the right way for the players in the locker room to think, because their job is to take the field every week and give an honest effort to win games. But to those of us who stand on the outside and evaluate these teams against one another, it's clear that these Giants are not that good. They're not a terrible team, as they were this time last year, but they're not a contender either. They are a rebuilding team and clearly have been since they changed up the offense and blew out the free-agent budget in the offseason, signing more free agents than any other team.

And while the remainder of this year is likely to feature periods of encouraging progress, right now the Giants just don't have enough good players to hang with the top teams in the league.

"We've got to figure out a way to get better," quarterback Eli Manning said. "We have to eliminate the mistakes and the little things so we can execute better and find a way to sustain more drives."

The Giants were penalized six times for 40 yards, and the timing of the penalties was backbreaking. They lost two fumbles, the first of which came at a point when the game was still in question.

These are the mistakes to which Manning refers, and the Giants aren't a team that can overcome such mistakes. Given their significant personnel deficiencies relative to their division rivals, they need to be just about perfect to win games.

The Cowboys' offensive skill-position players Sunday around quarterback Tony Romo included Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, Terrance Williams, Jason Witten and emerging tight end Gavin Escobar. Their opposite numbers on the Giants were Rueben Randle, Andre Williams, Odell Beckham Jr., Larry Donnell and Daniel Fells. Size those groups up against each other and there's no reason to believe the game should have been close. That Giants' core has talent and promise, but no neutral observer could think it compares to the Cowboys' offensive personnel at this stage in the careers of the people on those lists.

Add in the fact that the Giants are missing top wide receiver Victor Cruz, starting running back Rashad Jennings, top cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and starting middle linebacker Jon Beason due to injury and lost starting defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins early in Sunday's game. These are significant losses to overcome, and the Giants at this stage in their roster rebuild don't have the depth to overcome them.

"We keep forgetting about that, because we have to come back and play next week," cornerback Prince Amukamara said. "But when you do lose key players, it definitely can hurt your team."

It's crippling the Giants, who needed everything possible to go right to contend this year. In the end, the best they can hope for this season is to be able to say at its end that they made progress in the new offensive scheme and have a plan for patching the remaining holes next offseason. Any talk of firing coaches is likely to be unjustified -- as it usually is -- because this is a roster-in-progress and a project that likely needs at least two years to bear fruit.

That's the reality of what the Giants are dealing with in 2014, and it always has been. Players like Beckham offer hope for the future, and this Giants team is likely to be better this time next year than it is right now. But right now, the simple fact is it's not good enough to be a contender. Not this year.
IRVING, Texas -- Quarterback Tony Romo returned to practice as did running back DeMarco Murray, left tackle Tyron Smith and defensive end Anthony Spencer.

 Each is expected to play Sunday against the New York Giants.

Romo usually misses Wednesday practices to do additional back exercises so he can be at his best on Sunday. Romo also suffered bruised ribs and an ankle injury against Seattle.

Murray, who leads the NFL in rushing (785) and carries (159) had a stomach virus that kept him out of practice on Wednesday. Garrett said the Cowboys, as you would expect, will continue to feature Murray and look for ways to get Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar more involved.

Tyron Smith tweaked his ankle against Seattle, but Garrett said a MRI “was a positive for us.” He is expected to play against the Giants.

Spencer, who usually doesn’t practice on Fridays to manage his knee, returned to practice, and there’s a chance he practices Friday just to make sure he gets in two days of on-field work this week.

Bruce Carter (quadriceps) and Doug Free (foot) were the only players to miss practice and neither is expected to play Sunday against the Giants.

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo about to surpass Roger Staubach

October, 15, 2014
Oct 15
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IRVING, Texas -- If all goes according to plan on Sunday, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will surpass Hall of Famer Roger Staubach for number of starts in franchise history at 115.

Romo
When Romo plays against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium he will have 115 starts, second-most in franchise history behind Troy Aikman (165).

"Roger is the elite of the elite," said Romo, who is behind Staubach (85) and Aikman (94) in wins with 68. "I think anytime you're good at anything and you're mentioned in the same breath, playing the same number of games, it's obviously a huge honor. You're just humbled by it, but knowing Roger the way I do, he's excited by what we've been doing. I'll be excited to see him after one of these home wins and get a chance to communicate with him."

Staubach reached out to Romo after he became a full-time starter in 2006, and the two formed a close relationship. Staubach has said many times that he believes the Cowboys will win a Super Bowl with Romo as the starting quarterback.

"It's been great," Romo said of having Staubach in his corner. "I think just knowing you have a guy like that reaching out and saying positive things and believing in me, it makes you feel that you are doing something right. He's been great to me and my family, and we will be huge Roger Staubach fans."

DeMarco Murray misses practice

October, 15, 2014
Oct 15
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IRVING, Texas -- The NFL's leading rusher, DeMarco Murray, missed Wednesday's practice with an illness. Dallas Cowboys' officials don't believe it's anything serious and he's expected to play Sunday against the New York Giants.

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Murray was battling the illness over the weekend.

Defensive end Anthony Spencer missed practice with a sore left foot. Spencer said he hopes to practice later this week.

Quarterback Tony Romo (back), linebacker Bruce Carter (quad), tackle Doug Free (foot) and linebacker Rolando McClain (personal reasons) also missed practice on Wednesday.

Carter and Free won't play Sunday, while Romo and McClain are expected to participate in the Giants game.

Tony Romo is winless in Seattle

October, 10, 2014
Oct 10
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IRVING, Texas -- It’s been years since Tony Romo fumbled that snap in Seattle. Years.

Romo
 Well, 2006.

After that NFC playoffs wild card debacle where Romo fumbled the snap on a field goal try in Bill Parcells’ last season as a coach in the NFL, he’s played well against Seattle.

But he’s never won in Seattle.

Romo is 3-2 lifetime against the Seahawks, with both losses coming in the Pacific Northwest. The 2006 loss ended with Romo’s fumble and the 2012 loss ended before it started with the Cowboys trailing 10-0 after touching the ball just once on offense in a 27-7 loss.

“I don’t remember negative things very much anymore,” Romo said. “I kinda let those things slide by.”

Romo takes a different team to Seattle on Sunday afternoon, and this might give him his best chance to win there. It’s a team led by a running back, DeMarco Murray, who leads the NFL in rushing and is one of the top contenders for the MVP.

Romo’s offensive line is no longer a veteran mix-matched group. He’s got young offensive linemen who are impressing coaches and scouts across the league.

The problem with going to Seattle is dealing with the crowd noise. But Romo understands how to silence crowd noise: run the ball with Murray and take shots into the Seattle zone defense.

“They do really everything well,” Romo said. “It’s a difficult atmosphere. Great up front, great on the back end, they’re fast, they kinda tightened down, and their defense makes it constricted in there and you kinda take your shots to keep them off.”

The game Sunday will tell plenty about the Cowboys and whether or not they move up to elite status in the NFL. But it seems that fumbled snap from Romo continues to haunt this franchise.

“By not having [the win], it impacted a lot of lives,” Jerry Jones said Friday on 105.3 FM The Fan.

Romo has forgotten about the loss, yet, people still remember what happened, and a victory Sunday could help in the healing process.

“I think that’s behind us, but yeah that was definitely one of the toughest games I ever played in, just how the swing of the game and coming down to that moment, “ said Romo’s best friend, tight end Jason Witten. “Try to forget those for sure.”

If the Cowboys win Sunday, we still might remember what happened in 2006 and of course in 2012, but some better memories could be forthcoming.
IRVING, Texas -- After the Cowboys used a silent count during several offensive stretches in Sunday's game against the Houston Texans it raised questions about the commitment of Cowboys' the fans to AT&T Stadium.

Quarterback Tony Romo joked about needing to buy tickets himself. But he was irked about using a silent count in his home stadium.

Coach Jason Garrett didn't sound as concerned about it as Romo.

"Yeah, we've had interesting home games this year, playing San Francisco in Week 1 and New Orleans and also Houston," Garrett said Monday. "Each of those teams have brought a lot of people to the game. That's something we encounter a lot on the road ourselves. We have a really good national following."

During practices, the Cowboys will play music to prepare for crowd noise, especially when they go on the road. The defense will use silent counts when on the field for home games to make sure the players know what to do.

"One of the things we have to do as a team is we have to give our fans reason to cheer," Garrett said. "There are a lot of Cowboys fans there yesterday. When we do things the right way and give our fans reason to cheer and be loud, typically things work out well for us. We felt that the other night when we played New Orleans and we certainly felt that a lot in yesterday's game."

Dallas Cowboys fans make a statement

October, 6, 2014
Oct 6
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The attendance for the Dallas Cowboys' home game at AT&T Stadium on Sunday was announced at 91,159.

There was a good mixture of Cowboys' and Houston Texans' fans and the home crowd, at times, couldn't be heard.

It forced the Cowboys to use the silent count on offense a few times because the Texans' fans were yelling so loud. It's embarrassing for the home team to do this and it clearly irked quarterback Tony Romo.

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"There is no question, we played on the road in that football game through a lot of it," Romo said. "There was probably half and half, roughly, I don't know what it was. More than anything you can tell by the crowd noise."

I guess Romo didn't complain about the crowd for road games in St. Louis and Tennessee since Cowboys' fans love to travel and are basically all over the place.

The reality is Cowboys' fans were making a statement to America's Team: They're tired. Four years of missing the postseason will do that to a fan base frustrated by the 8-8 seasons and a quarterback's failure to produce in the season's biggest moments.

The fan base is tired of owner and general manager Jerry Jones, for his struggles in the draft and free agency and signing players to contracts they don't deserve.

Dallas' 4-1 start is fantastic, but the Cowboys rallied from a 21-0 deficit to win at St. Louis, lost a 10-point fourth-quarter lead on Sunday against Houston before winning in overtime and were blown away in the home opener against San Francisco.

Dominant wins at Tennessee and at home against New Orleans, where there were plenty of Saints fans in the stands as well, are also on the Cowboys' ledger.

But the Cowboys need to do more for their fan base. It's going to be hard to win next week in Seattle, where the Seahawks are 68-30 at home since moving into the NFC in 2002. Only Green Bay has a better home winning percentage at 68-29-1 during that span.

After that, division games against the New York Giants (9,365 tickets remain) and Washington Redskins (14,545 tickets remain) will also tell plenty about where this Cowboys team stands in the NFC East.

The Cowboys are a good team at this stage of the season but the fans are not believing in this group, just based on what they've seen in the past. Win more games and they will come.

I understand Romo and the offense need a more fan-friendly environment for home games. We get it. It should happen when the team returns home for games against New York and Washington.

But the fans will continue to stay home and watch on TV until the team proves it's for real.

"I think you just play," Romo said. "Your record is what it is. You want to put yourself in the best position at the end of the year. Being 4-1 is great, but we have a long way to go."

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