Thursday, July 23, 2009
2009 NFL Season Previews
As a former sports reporter, the blog site heftyinfo has a passion for sports, especially Pro Football.
Beginning today with this post, the NFL's 32 teams will be previewed in the coming weeks.
Today we will begin with the NFC East Division and the Dallas Cowboys will kick things off.
DALLAS COWBOYS 2008 Record: 9-7 (3rd in NFC East)
HEAD COACH: Wade Phillips
Key Additions: QB Jon Kitna (trade/Lions) LB Keith Brookings (FA/Falcons) DL Igor Olshansky (FA/Chargers)
Key Losses: WR Terrell Owens (FA/Bills) S Roy Williams (FA/Bengals) DB Pacman Jones (FA) QB Brad Johnson (FA)
Offense: The Cowboys return starting quarterback Tony Romo (3,448 passing yards and 26 TDs with 14 INT in '08) for the new season. Romo has yet to win a playoff game and Dallas did not make the playoffs last year. So Romo really has to prove something. Jon Kitna will be the backup for Head Coach Wade Phillips' team.
At running back Marion Barber III (885 yards rushing with a meager 3.7 ypc average in '08 and only seven TDs) has to show more this year and will have adequate backup help from Felix Jones (8.9 yards per carry last year) and surprising Tashard Choice, who ran for 472 yards and a 5.1 ypc average in limited action.
The wide receiver corps no longer have T.O. (Terrell Owens) to kick around. Owens shuffled off to Buffalo in the off-season and the Cowboys said good riddance for all practical purposes.
Tight End Jason Witten, one of the best in the NFL, led the team with 81 catches a year ago and averaged 11.2 yards per grab while scoring four touchdowns. Roy Williams, Patrick Crayton, Austin Miles and Sam Hurd will be the primary wideouts for the Pokes. Romo will definitely have his share of targets to throw to in 2009.
The offensive line is solid and provides Romo with decent pass protection while opening holes for the bevy of backs the Cowboys will feature.
Andre Gurode (center) anchors the line while Flozell Adams and Marc Columbo will play tackle. The guards are Kyle Fosier and Leonard Davis.
Defense: Dallas ranked 8th in total defense a year ago while allowing 294 yards per game. The run defense gave up 106.6 yards per game and the pass defense was impressive, allowing just 188 yards per game and ranking 5th in the league overall. The Cowboys defense also led the entire NFL with 59 sacks a year ago. The secondary lagged in turnovers with just 8 interceptions all season long.
The Cowboys primarily feature the 3-4 defense and Jay Ratliff is the nose man and will be flanked by Olshansky and Marcus Spears. The linebacking corps consists of DeMarcus Ware, Keith Brooking (newcomer from Atlanta), Bradie Jame and Greg Ellis. Ware recorded an impressive 20 sacks last season for the Cowboys.
The secondary has some changes as well with Williams and Jones gone. Terrence Newman and Mike Jenkins will be the corners and the safeties are Ken Hamlin and Gerald Sensabaugh.
OUTLOOK: The Cowboys missed the playoffs a year ago and owner Jerry Jones freaked out and sent Owens and Jones packing. That should be a benefit really, to the Cowboys as the baggage of those two plus Tank Johnson (also gone via free agency) should make things less hectic off the field for the team.
Romo hopefully will have a clear head sans the drama of his ex-girlfriend (for now) Jessica Simpson. The fourth year starter has plenty of ammo to work with, especially at running back. Dallas has a great TE in Witten and a lot of choices at wide receiver. So there are no more excuses for Romo and company not to get it done in Big D. The team is playing in a new stadium this season, so that should provide some extra incentive as well.
However, playing in football's best division will make it tough for Dallas once again. Look for the team to finish 9-7 again and miss the playoffs again.
Week 1- at Tampa Bay (Sept. 13)
Week 2- vs. NY Giants (Sept. 20)
Week 3- vs. Carolina (Sept. 28)
Week 4- at Denver (Oct. 4)
Week 5- at Kansas City (Oct. 11)
Week 6- BYE WEEK
Week 7- vs. Atlanta (Oct. 25)
Week 8- vs. Seattle (Nov. 1)
Week 9- at Philadelphia (Nov. 8)
Week 10- at Green Bay (Nov. 15)
Week 11- vs. Washington (Nov. 22)
Week 12- vs. Oakland (Nov. 26)
Week 13- at NY Giants (Dec. 6)
Week 14- vs. San Diego (Dec. 13)
Week 15- at New Orleans (Dec. 19)
Week 16- at Washington (Dec. 27)
Week 17- vs. Philadelphia (Jan. 3)