Right Kind of Guy
A Touch of Hostility... Terrible Towel Style
Now and then I need to get out of the city. There's something about getting into the mountains that is renewing and refreshing to the soul. I step out on a peak somewhere, expel the bad city air from my lungs and drink in the smell of fresh air scented with pine. It is intoxicating. It revitalizes and recharges my batteries.
That's as close as I can describe what watching this game was like for me. I feel revitalized. I feel recharged. The bad air that was stinking up the place is gone. It is intoxicating.
I can't imagine the emotions Brandon Carr must be experiencing. As we have all heard he was at the funeral for Kassandra Perkins when Jason Garrett was alerting the team on the Charter to Cincinnati that Jerry Brown was dead and Josh Brent was in trouble. He had just lost a former teammate and 2 friends to a tragedy, and here was another teammate gone far too young and still another who will forever live with the decision he made that fateful night. Brandon walked by Jerry Brown's jersey draped on the back of the Cowboys bench where it will remain for the remainder of this season. He said to that jersey, "I'm going to make a play for you today."
Oh boy did he make a play. His diving interception in overtime and race towards the endzone was the stuff of legends. It was sort of fitting that the last time these two teams met it was Tony Romo who threw the ill fated pick that sealed the victory for the other team and this time it was Roethlisberger. The only real difference were this one was in overtime and that one was a score. They happened on almost identical patterns on the same side of the field. Well, one was in Pittsburgh and one was in Dallas, but the plays are so similar in impact. That one happened in week 14, this one in week 15. Pittsburgh went on to win their 6th Super Bowl that year.
Could it happen for us now? I'm not ready to say that, but I never stop hoping.
Drink it in. Let it fill your lungs. Smells so good. Not that long ago we were 3-5 and the world was ending according to the Mayans and some haters. Don't look now, but not only are we not dead, we are very much alive and in the thick of things. Intoxicating.
For three years now we have watched the passion with which Dez Bryant plays after he catches a ball. How he refuses to go down, scrapping for every extra yard. DeWayne Harris showed that same kind of fire on Sunday. Lowering his shoulders, making extra cuts, and pushing for every last yard he could pack on. I don't know which was more inspiring, Dez gutting out to not only play with a finger needing surgery, him making yet another amazing catch, a TD in his 6th straight game, or Harris making play after play on Offense and Special Teams. I find myself wanting to see him get the ball and be named the 3rd WR.
I don't know if anyone played harder on Sunday than Harris, but one guy who might have was Anthony Spencer. Since taking over the play calling duties for the Defense he has been a monster in the run and pass game equally. This is why Dallas didn't want to lose him and why they slapped the Franchise Tag on him that caused so much alarm over nothing.
His detractors are going to cling to every last shred of bile as they point out he waited until his contract year to have his best year. Just like they were wrong about re-signing him they will be wrong about this too. The guy is a fantastic football player who is stepping into a role as signal caller that is not designed to be held by an Outside Linebacker.
This is not a revelation by any means. DeMarco Murray is a difference maker to our success or failure. Simply put, we need him if we want to go anywhere. The balance in the Offense is evident when he is in there, and it is sorely lacking when he isn't. His TD on 3rd and goal was perfectly executed. The entire OL pushed right and left him a seam to go in untouched. Couldn't they have done that with Felix? Yes, but if even one Pittsburgh Defender slips the push or stalls the collapse Felix would likely get stonewalled. Murray, as a power runner with speed can still push the pile in. Murray makes Romo even better because his OL in front of him is more focused.
Speaking of Tony Romo, he is the only QB in 2012 so far to throw for over 300 yards on the vaunted Dick LeBeau Steelers Defense. His detractors will point at his higher INT numbers and lower TD numbers and will ignore the game winning drives and his ability to make this Offense a thing of beauty to watch. He looks even better when they protect him. Hard to believe he could look any better than he has, but all QBs do when protected and for huge chunks of this season he has not been and has had to manufacture our Offense. The reason he was the first QB to surpass that mark this season on that Defense is because he had time to throw and he does that as well as anyone in the NFL.
Miles Austin made me very proud. He's had a lot of detractors too lately, much of it truthfully focused on his salary more than his play. Some of it was focused on his hamstring injuries. Miles Austin showed exactly why he is a valued part of this football team and why the Offense needs him. That's right, needs him. Pittsburgh knew Dez was injured. They knew they could roll coverages to Austin and gamble on Dez having issues. Austin consistently beat the rolled coverages. Outstanding effort.
Speaking of outstanding effort, was anybody else as pleased with Alex Albright as I was? I have always maintained he has a job here because of his Special Teams tackling. Oh how wrong was I? That kid can flat out play. Next year when we get Lee and Carter back, I'd like to see Albright and Sims as our backups. No offense is meant to Dan Connor, but he simply has not stepped up the way these other players have. I am anxious to see Caleb McCurdy next year, and Connor simply is in the way at this point. If Albright can continue to be a vlaued backup Inside and Outside it just gives us even more roster flexibility. I officially became an Albright fan Sunday.
I think no player makes me happier when he makes a play than Jason Hatcher. I don't know exactly why, but when I see that huge man make a play it reminds me a little of Too Tall, and I was a huge fan of Too Tall. I am not suggesting they are similar players, just that I enjoy seeing a man of that size do the things he can. Jason Hatcher is a good weapon for us on Defense. I saw a play where he rag dolled the man in front of him, I couldn't even see the guy's number as he crumpled, and I came out of my seat. It had no effect on the play, but it was still just a magnificent play and I loved it. He made significant plays too.
DeMarcus Ware is beat up but he is still the most dangerous player in the NFL. He consistently pressures the opposing QB and makes him hurry throws. Even if he doesn't get the sack he often is a catalyst for the other team failing to convert. There isn't a stat for that unfortunately, but if there was a way to measure it I am certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that ware would lap the league in that stat. Yeah, you can almost get an idea from Hurries, but it isn't the sum total of how he shakes them up.
Finally, I want to talk about our Head Coach. He is maligned by many in our media and some fans. In my opinion he is doing exactly what you need to do in order to build a group of athletes into a team. I know his Press Conferences are boring for the most part. What isn't boring to me is the effort I see guys giving him and his staff. What isn't boring to me is when I hear his players echo his words, almost verbatim at times. The message is sinking in folks. Guess what follows the acceptance of the message?
Results. Five of the last six games. Back from the dead. Tied for the Division title and our fate in our own hands if we handle our business. If you need more than that I suggest you are missing the beauty of the game of football by focusing on end results more than you are progress.
Point blank I am going to tell you, no other Head Coach in the NFL is having to deal with the injuries Garrett and his staff are, and they refuse to accept it as a reason why results aren't achieved. Folks, that is called coaching. When you have the ability to get unknown players and players off the street to come in and not only start for you, but produce, you are a great football coach.
Yes, there is work to do. Thank God! I would hate to think this is as good as we can get, in results as well as talent. It isn't. There is so much room for improvement, but you have to acknowledge that a team that will fight for you the way ours does, believes in your coaching.
When you get these results with the media smelling blood in the water over the Sean Payton stuff, and you don't even blink or acknowledge the swirling rumors, and take a team stung by tragedy and lead them to wins over tough opponents, you can coach. Trust me when I say this, more than ever there are players out there wanting to come to Dallas.
Take in that deep breath. Let it expand your lungs. Smell the cleansing odor of pine. Expel the poisons and bad air.
Isn't that better?