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1. You can’t blame the Dallas Cowboys struggles this season on the defense. They’ve allowed less than 23 points per game. That’s in the middle of the pack in the NFL, but good enough to keep any competent offense in a game. But so many of the points that they’ve allowed have been the result of the offense turning the ball over or their inability to sustain drives late in games because Dallas ranks 4th in yards allowed per game.
It’s going to be tougher for the Cowboys to keep that up because it looks like Sean Lee is going to miss the rest of the season with an injured big toe that will require surgery. Lee is seeking a 2nd opinion to see if he can avoid surgery and come back some time this season, but that seems unlikely at this point. In fact, the best news right now is that Sean Lee will be a full participant in offseason workouts.
Lee is the team leader in tackles, passes defended, and interceptions… which says a lot about the Cowboys lack of being able to create turnovers this season. We’re certainly going to find out how they adjust without him quickly as the Cowboys play the New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons on the schedule. They also have a game against the New Orleans Saints and still have to play the Washington Redskins twice.
Photo courtesy Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
2. Speaking of the Redskins, I’ve been really impressed with Robert Griffin III this season but not just what he’s done on the field. Check out what he said about playing quarterback and being the go-to guy as a rookie in Washington:
“I don’t think there’s a player on this team that has any doubt that I’m a leader of a football team, and that every time we step on the football field we have a chance to win, not only because I’m their quarterback, but because they’re out there with me.”
This is one big reason why, if your plan is to start a rookie quarterback after drafting him, start him right away. It’s much tougher for a rookie to have to come in mid-season after not playing with the first team all through training camp and the preseason and then develop that kind of trust and foster confidence that he’ll lead them to victory.
He nearly led a 4th quarter comeback on Sunday. It would have held up if not for the defense giving up a quick-strike touchdown. RG3 might have been able to do it again too if his wide receivers hadn’t had multiple fumbles on the final drive. The Washington Redskins are unlikely to make the playoffs, but there’s no question that Griffin is their quarterback of the future and that expectations are ahead of schedule.
Photo by Javi Perez/Playmaker Magazine
3. As we suggested last week, Dirk Nowitzki went ahead and had surgery on his knee. Despite the fact that this type of surgery requires four to six weeks of recovery, there was some speculation over the last week that he might recover in three. Considering his age and his desire to not have to deal with any more knee problems the rest of the season, that seemed like a silly assertion.
Nowitzki cleared things up in a press conference yesterday saying that he would take his time. The season starts in less than a week. If he’s not back by mid-December, that’s fine because Dallas just needs to worry about getting in to the playoffs. They won’t compete for the division with Dirk out for so long and it’s unlikely that they’ll compete for home court as well. All they have to worry about is getting to the playoffs. Any dark horse team is going to have to go through San Antonio, LA or Oklahoma City anyway. Considering that, they’re going to have to find out if they’ve got it in the first round of the playoffs anyway.
I wouldn’t worry if I were a Mavericks fan. The team is going to make the playoffs. And if they can sneak into that spot where they’re the 4th or 5th seed in the West, then that’s a bonus.
4. On to college football. Charlie Weis came in to the Big 12 as the head coach of the Kansas Jayhawks and brought Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist with him. Kansas was supposed to improve on some competitive games they had last season and maybe even pull off some upsets. But so far in 2012, they’re not even close. They’re 1-6 with losses to Rice and Northern Illinois.
So KU is making a change at quarterback. On Saturday, when they host the Texas Longhorns, the Jayhawks will start freshman Michael Cummings. Crist has so far completed less than 50% of his passes and thrown more interceptions than touchdowns, but it’s not like Cummings has done anything to show any particular promise. Weis is basically just making this move to get a head start on next season and see if Cummings may have what it takes to be the long term quarterback of the future.
So why not get started with one of the worst defenses in the Big 12 against the Texas Longhorns? Not a bad plan, actually. Although no one is giving the Jayhawks a chance in this game despite that fact. We’ll have more of a preview on Friday.
Photo by Javi Perez/Playmaker Magazine
5. As we told you last week, Reliant Stadium is a finalist to host Super Bowl LI (in 2017). Me and the rest of the NFL like Houston’s chances. They’re going to like them even more when the Houston Texans get a new digital scoreboard.
Having attended several Texans games, the lack of a large, digital scoreboard isn’t apparent because the gameday experience is so entertaining and not just the football being played. At no point in Texans history have fans clamored for a better scoreboard. But a new one is going to help with Houston’s Super Bowl bid.
6. Eva Longoria has dated some interesting athletes. She started off dating and even marrying San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker: a great championship player in a small market. Most recently, she dated but just recently split up with Mark Sanchez: a bad player in a big market. Now all she needs to do is date a mediocre baseball player in a mid-sized market.
So Jeff Francoeur of the Kansas City Royals should expect an awesome call any day now.