Monday, September 27, 2010

Oh the Humanity!!!!!!!..........Week 3 Success!

The Cowboys have escaped NFL purgatory for the 2010 season. In a do or die game the Cowboys did. A solid game translated into the club's first win of the year. In doing so Dallas avoided getting into a hole that almost no team digs out of (0-3 to start the season). The Cowboys can now enjoy the bye week. A loss heading into the bye week would have certainly meant two full blown weeks of paralysis by analysis; something that would beaten the high holy out of me. A few quick hits from yesterday's game.......

THE GOOD
Play Calling - The team has done the right thing and gotten back to a better balance between run and pass (close to 50/50) this game. Although an even distribution between running and passing is not totally necessary for victory, having the balance slanted as heavily towards the pass as it was in the first two games tends to let you know one of two things. First, the team is ineffective running the ball. Second, the team is throwing because it is behind.

Roy Williams - I will give the guy his due; he used his size and strength to leverage the secondary and catch two TD passes. Now if we can just get him to stop flashing the Hook 'em Horns sign after he scores (Dude, you're an NFL wide receiver and haven't been in college for seven years; give it up!).

Turnovers - The Cowboys caused three and gave none. This is good. The only downside is it took three games for the first turnover. By comparison the Steelers have ten interceptions through three games.

Team Attitude - Did the Cowboys discover their sense of urgency? The guys played like their hair was on fire. Please repeat for the next thirteen games.

THE BAD
Penalties  - Stop me if you have heard this before. The Cowboys were flagged for seven penalties. Not all that bad until you take a deeper look. The team was let of the hook by three penalties that were not accepted by the Texans another three that were offset. This brings the total to thirteen flags. The Cowboys cannot consistently overcome these mental errors.

Kicker - The box score says David Buehler made both of his FG attempts. What the box score does not state is the Cowboys eschewed two FG attempts (47 yarder and 48 yarder) that should be taken by a guy with a leg as good as Buehler. A championship club does not pin its hopes on an inconsistent kicker.

Offensive Line - The line played an excellent game. However Kyle Kosier limped off the field in the fourth quarter with what a appeared to be a tweak to his knee or ankle. This is just a reminder that as I have previously written the offensive line will be a primary contributing factor whether the team wins or loses. We all saw how the line did in the first game when Alex Barron was playing.

So the Cowboys head off to the bye week riding the high from a win that keeps the team afloat for the moment. I would contend that there are still fundamental flaws with this team that will come back to haunt them this season. The schedule doesn't do them any favors as it only gets more difficult going forward. Enjoy the bye week and tune back in for the next game.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Oh the Humanity!!!!!!!..........Week 3

Wow! Week three. I believe we have reached the make or break game for the Cowboys' season. I know it's hard to fathom a do or die game in the third week of a season but when you are dealing with a club with as many issues as this one that statement is not hyperbole but fact. We have been told that everything is cool in the locker room and that the room is filled with solid guys who are going to pull together and get this thing out of the ditch. I just have a sneaking suspicion while those are the right things to say and the face you want to present to the world the club is actually in worse shape than it appears. This team has the smell, taste and feel of something that is about to come unraveled. I am going to upgrade my collapse alert into a full blown collapse warning. Let's hit a few quick points before the game Sunday.......


Coach - To borrow a phrase......"it's the coaching stupid". Good coaching sets the tempo, intensity and mental toughness for a team. That is currently not happening around these parts. We are seeing the results; soft coaching = inconsistent play. Rumors are flying around that if the team loses Sunday to Houston Jerry Jones will cut ties with Phillips as week 4 is the Cowboys bye week. Three thoughts on why this will not happen. First, as maverick as Jerry may appear he is completely opposed to switching coaches during the season; he's never done it and he never will. Second, there is no one on the staff (apologies to Red Jesus) that is capable of taking over and doing better. Third, nobody in there right mind who is not coaching (I'm looking at you Bill Cohwer) will jump into the middle of this chaos. Be prepared to be wed to Phillips and company for the remainder of the year.

Owner - I know everyone is completely beaten down with this opinion, however I will state it once again. The hierarchy within the Cowboys organization is completely dysfunctional (i.e. this thing isn't going anywhere with Jerry in his current roles). Let's start the list; the offensive coordinator was hired before the head coach, the head coach has no sack, the head coach wants to be liked more than respected, the players feel they can make an end run to the owner, the owner thinks he's a "football man", the owner is over-leveraged with debt and has had to make money decisions that have been detrimental football decisions. Put it all together and you have a complete mess. Jerry seems to be unaware the road to destruction is paved with hubris. There is good news; the answer is out there and can be summed up thusly: 1) Fire yourself as GM of this club and retire to the comfort of the owner's box 2) Hire a qualified and competent football GM to run this ball club 3) Enjoy the team's renaissance. Three words - won't ever happen! P.S. Jerry - get the hell off the sideline at the end of games!


Players - The team had the dreaded and feared "players only" meeting on Monday. One question; has the players only meeting ever done anything in the history of sports? Didn't think so.

Kicker - Has it really come to this. The kicking situation on this team is an abomination. I know I sound like a broken record but how in the world do you not a least have some free agent scrub in training camp to challenge David Buehler. Oh yeah! I remember, the Cowboys decided to pay for a kicking coach (Chris Boinol) instead. Seems to be paying off to me. It can reasonably be argued that if Buehler had made both of the eminently makable field goals in the first two games (44 & 33 yards) that the Cowboys would be 2-0 and most of this chatter would be null and void (not my argument, just saying).  How in the world did the Cowboys not have a replacement kicker at Valley Ranch on Monday; can I get a gigantic WTF?!? Be prepared for another pulled or shanked field goal attempt (or attempts) Sunday.

Win on Sunday and the team has a chance to regroup and lick its wounds over the bye week  (if this is the case, can there be any team happier to have the first bye week). Lose and the season is officially in the shitter. Unfortunately my radar senses the latter. Enjoy Sunday's game!

"Chef's Special" Lines of the week - NFL Week 3



How are you degenerate gamblers feeling out there? Has it been a successful two weeks or are your sphincters tighter than a snare drum? Not to worry, week three brings a new set of games and new opportunities to be rolling in clover (or digging yourself a deeper hole). Good luck and remember......always call your bookie on a throwaway cell.


Date & Time                             Favorite                     Line                             Underdog
9/26 12:00 CT                           At NY Giants                -3                             Tennessee
9/26 12:00 CT                           At New England          -18                            Buffalo
9/26 12:00 CT                           At Baltimore                -4.5                          Cleveland
9/26 12:00 CT                           Pittsburgh                       -3.5                          At Tampa Bay
9/26 12:00 CT                           Cincinnati                       -4                             At Carolina
9/26 12:00 CT                           At New Orleans            -3.5                         Atlanta
9/26 12:00 CT                           San Francisco                   -3                           At Kansas City
9/26 12:00 CT                          At Minnesota                  -8                            Detroit
9/26 12:00 CT                          At Houston                   -6.5                            Dallas
9/26 3:05 CT                            Washington                     -5                              St. Louis
9/26 3:05 CT                            Philadelphia                     -4.5                          At Jacksonville
9/26 3:15 CT                             Indianapolis                    -5.5                           At Denver
9/26 3:15 CT                             San Diego                        -6                             At Seattle
9/26 3:15 CT                             At Arizona                    -4                             Oakland
9/26 7:20 CT                            At Miami                       Pick 'em                    NY Jets
9/27 7:35 CT                            Green Bay                       -4                              At Chicago

As usual point spreads are for entertainment purposes only. If you lose your ass, hey, that's on you.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pub Crawl 2010........here we come!




Just wanted to let everybody know I did the first planning and thinking session about this year's Mass Transit Pub Crawl this past weekend.....Woo-hoo!!!!!!!! Pub crawl is just around the corner (12/28/2010)! As much fun as we had last year I want to blow the doors off for the 2nd edition (no sophomore slump here!). For those who need advance notice due to scheduling needs - MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW. The event will take place Tuesday, December 28, 2010. Remember this is an all day/all night event! Although this is no binge-fest we do drink for multiple hours at multiple venues so you would be best served by taking the follow day off as well. 

We also get to break in a new DART rail line as the Green Line is scheduled to open on December 6th. So mark your calendars, make you plans and get ready to have a great time! 99 days to go and counting.......................



I'm on Twitter

Despite my previous rant on the subject I am not returning to the social networking site that has a movie coming out about its conception and birth and rhymes with "Ace-look". However I have decided to give Twitter a second change (a re-tweet if you will). And aren't second chances what this world is about?....let me here you now!!!!! Oh well.

 I think my mind is better wrapped around what Twitter can be used/is good for and I think it could be a good companion piece to the blog. We'll see?..... To find me on Twitter look for @timmystome.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Oh the Humanity!!!!!!!..........time for the panic button?

Well, well, well......here we are. Ouch! Not such a good spot for the Cowboys to be in. 0-2 to start the season; not to mention that these were two winnable games against potentially middle of the road competition. What does this say about this edition of the Cowboys? We were told not to worry about performance in the pre-season (especially the offense), but it appears that pre-season was a fairly accurate barometer of how this team is going to perform. After two games we have an offense that has scored a total of 17 points, a defense that has potentially lost its best cornerback (Mike Jenkins, condition as of this post unknown), and a completely failed experiment at the kicker position (do you think the coaching staff would like a do-over on the no kicker competition debacle?).

Players perform (or don't); the bottom line is this game is about how much talent you can acquire. The better the talent and the greater the quantity of talent goes a long way in determining the success of a team. However unlike, let's say basketball, no matter how talented a team may be it cannot overcome poor coaching or specifically in this case poor preparation; which is a direct reflection on coaching. Football is most likely the ultimate team sport; requiring most if not all parts functioning together to produce a victory. Team preparation is critical to team success. In the post game press conference Wade Phillips took the blame for not having the team prepared. As the old cliche' goes Wade you are" a day late and a dollar short". Stop taking the blame and get this team prepared! Unfortunately as stated before Phillips is an average NFL coach so any attempts to rectify the situation, turn the ship around, or God forbid change his approach to the team (i.e., being a hard ass) I believe will be unsuccessful and/or fall on deaf ears. Jerry Jones and the coaching staff have dug their own grave; now it is time to lay in it.


Let's have a small game review..........

* Penalties - they just keep on coming; 6 in today's game (technically 7 since one was offset by a Chicago penalty) and a total of 18 in the first two games. The Cowboys were flagged for some of their favorite infractions including holding, blocking in the back and false starts.
* Roster moves/keeping three cornerbacks - heading into the season the Cowboys made the head scratching decision to keep only three cornerbacks on the roster (a rarity in the NFL). This decision seemed to blow up on them when the play immediately after Mike Jenkins left the game Ken Hamlin was completely abused by Matt Forte for an easy touchdown. Seriously........who gives a six yard cushion on a two yard pass play?
* Running game - three backs, no production. WTF?!?
* Turnovers - I know technically by the letter of the law turnovers are not coached, but players that are sharp mentally (prepared) tend to make less and force more. The team is going to continue to get pummeled unless it can find a way to fix this disparity.

I'm not completely sure but I don't think that the organizational culture is detrimental to spawning successful head coaches. I believe our owner was unable to make the right selection at the right time. Now we have a nice man who is excellent coordinator but an average head coach. Take a look at a few of the coaches who have passed through the Cowboys organization recently:
~ Sean Payton (New Orleans), Super Bowl champion. Completely turned woebegone franchise around.
~ Todd Hailey (Kansas City), team is currently 2-0 and appears to be on the rise.
~ Tony Sporano (Miami), team is currently 2-0 and appears to be on the rise.
Tell me you would not take any of these coaches in a nanosecond over Phillips? Well, they were all here and could have been leading the Cowboys. Thanks for nothing Jerry; hope that ego keeps your warm and cozy at night.

As I have stated before players are supposed to perform. However it is the function and responsibility of the coaches to teach the players, prepare the team, and have all personnel in situations that are most likely to result in positive plays/drives/games. The Cowboys staff has done none of these three. Current grade for the coaching staff this season: F-. With a brutal schedule forthcoming it doesn't appear at this moment that things are going to get better anytime soon.

I'm officially issuing a collapse alert for the 2010 Dallas Cowboys. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

"Chef's Special" Lines of the week - NFL Week 2

 
                       


For all of you last minute degenartes and gambling addicts here they are. Don't worry; there's still plenty of time to call you bookie log on to a legitimate offshore gaming site and get your propositions in.

Date & Time                             Favorite                     Line                             Underdog
9/19 12:00 CT                           At Cleveland               Pick 'em                    Kansas City
9/19 12:00 CT                           At Green Bay                  -10.5                      Buffalo
9/19 12:00 CT                           Baltimore                          -4.5                        At Cincinnati
9/19 12:00 CT                           At Tennessee                 -7.5                          Pittsburgh
9/19 12:00 CT                           Philadelphia                     -3.5                          At Detroit
9/19 12:00 CT                           At Dallas                       -1.5                            Chicago
9/19 12:00 CT                           At Carolina                    -5                              Tampa Bay
9/19 12:00 CT                          At Atlanta                     -5.5                            Arizona
9/19 12:00 CT                          At Minnesota               -4.5                            Miami
9/19 3:05 CT                            At Oakland                   -2.5                            St. Louis
9/19 3:05 CT                            Seattle                             -3                               At Denver
9/19 3:15 CT                             Houston                         -8.5                            At Washington
9/19 3:15 CT                             At San Diego                -6.5                            Jacksonville
9/19 3:15 CT                            New England                  -6.5                            At NY Jets
9/19 7:20 CT                            At Indianapolis          -3.5                            NY Giants
9/20 7:35 CT                            New Orleans                  -6                              At San Francisco

As usual point spreads are for entertainment purposes only. If you lose your ass, hey, that's on you.

Oh the Humanity!!!!!!!..........Here comes week 2

We have reached the end of a week long Cowboys induced hyperventilation here in the Metroplex. To avoid further angina the Cowboys would be best served by rolling the Bears in today's home opener. Unfortunately I believe this team has issues that will not be solved with a "W". Although injured O-linemen Marc Coloumbo and Kyle Kosier will be making their returns this week that still does not address the coaching situation. As I have hopefully posted before and will say again this coaching staff is dysfunctional. It can be boiled down to this; Wade Phillips is a nice guy but a very average coach. I believe by now there are enough results on the board that no other determination can be made. I'm afraid this team is going nowhere.......quickly. It may seem a bit of an overstatement to say today's game will determine the season but a loss today would be potentially devastating to any hopes the team had at the start of the season.

Buckle up Cowboys fans.......bumpy ride ahead.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Oh the Humanity!!!!!!!!!..............Week One Meltdown

I hate to say I'm a stinking Nostradamus.......but I am. Truthfully it didn't take a higher degree in football quantum physics to know that the Cowboys were ripe for the picking last night. As predicted in the previous post, offensive line was the beginning, middle and end of most of the troubles that plagued the Cowboys. I've said it before and I'll say it again; this team will not win another Super Bowl as long as Jerry Jones remains intimately involved in the personnel decisions (Without burdening you with an extra column it is undoubtedly the Big Tuna who identified and selected most of the current core of star players).

I'm ready to make a follow-up statement; this coaching staff sucks! Although it would never ever have happened, I would have stood up and cheered our owner if he hopped on the plane in DC and left Wade behind; permanently. This team was completely unprepared for last night's game. And that rests solely with the coaching staff. To wit:


~ Marion Barber attempted halfback pass. This smacked of being "too cute" too soon. How about running a base package play with the talent that is already there?
~ Hail Mary to end the 1st half. Really? Really? Is there any reason to be running that play from our own 37 yard line?!? Tony Romo has neither the arm nor was going to have the protection to successfully navigate that play call.
~ Defensive offsides. Three by my count (including the field goal attempt). Without having the stats in front of me and going by memory only this team has to rank at the top of the league in this penalty. Bottom line defensive offsides = free yards and extended drives.
~ Penalties - Jesus Christ!!!!!!!! Enough said. This shows a complete lack of discipline and preparation; see previous paragraph about coaching.
~ Kicker. Better have a veteran kicker on speed dial. Foolish to think that a kicker with no competition was going to get the job done.   


I could go on and on and on but suffice it to say this team has major issues and this season is shaping up as one bumpy ride. My best advice is to detonate this coaching staff and start over; baring that, buckle up and cross your fingers because it has the look of getting worse before it gets better.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Oh the Humanity!!!!!!!!!..............Season Opener

Well we've made it. Summer is winding down, pre-season is over and it's time for actual real-life Dallas Cowboys football games. If you're like me you have a lot of questions regarding the 2010 edition of your Cowboys. On the one hand we are not supposed to read much if anything into pre-season football. On the other hand what little pre-season football I watched gave me tremendous pause as to the mindset and state of the team. Is this a group of verteran ball players that were aching to get the pre-season over with and flip the switch for the regular season or, as the old saw goes, where there's smoke there's fire?

I just don't know.

One thing I am absolutely certain of is when a team is replacing 60% of its offensive line (1 off-season defection, 2 injuries) most if not all of the team's struggles will inevitably point back to this unit. Let's face it; it takes time for an offensive line to coalesce into a solid functioning unit. And there is one thing this group has not had........time. So the jury will most definitely be out. Cross your fingers and stay tuned! Are we looking at 12+ wins and a potential Super Bowl home game or is this team staring 8-8 in the face. More to come later.................

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Actually, this is my first wine post


I had purchased a bottle of Côtes du Rhône wine this past week. While enjoying it with a couple of friends the following question was raised; “What does Côtes du Rhône mean”? My friend had been enjoying Côtes du Rhône wines recently due to introductions from me but was unsure as to exactly its meaning. Without getting into excessive detail I gave him a super-quick overview which included the endorsement from me that if I had to be limited to one region of wine the rest of my life it would be Côtes du Rhône wines. Now granted I would not like this scenario to play out as I enjoy drinking wines from all over the world. But put a pistol to my head and these are these are the wines I would throw down. I have included a basic primer below for anyone interested in Côtes du Rhône wines. Enjoy!..............

Côtes du Rhône Wine

Overview

This wine growing region is in southern France generally, but not exactly bisected by the Rhone river. The region is responsible for approximately 14% of the annual wine production of France. The main red grape in the region is Grenache (Grenache Noir) which accounts for 55% of production. The primary white grape is Clairette; responsible for 35% of annual production.  Red wine styles range from full body (north) to medium body and light and fruity (south). White wines are generally full bodied and dry (north).

Rules for grape proportions

§  White wines: a minimum of 80% of the main grape varieties.
§  Red and rosé wines:
§  The main grape variety (Grenache Noir) must make up at least 40% of the blend for wines from south of Montélimar.
§  The supplementary grape varieties (Mourvèdre and Syrah) must together make up at least 15% of the blend, although this rule is not applied to small producers who produce their own wine from less than 1.5 hectares (3.7 acres) of vineyard area.
§  The main and supplementary grape varieties must together make up at least 70% of the blend, and the accessory grape varieties are therefore restricted to a maximum of 30%.
§  Marselan is not allowed to make up more than 10% of the blend.
§  The total proportion of white varieties (all of then accessory) may not exceed 5% for red wines, and 20% for rosé wines.
The rules for the red wines mean that varietal (100%) Grenache Noir may only be produced by small producers under the Côtes du Rhône appellation. North of Montélimar, varietal Mourvèdre and Syrah wines may be produced.

The wines

There are four levels of distinction associated with the Côtes du Rhône region. Each level increases in exclusivity and as a general rule quality.
Côtes du Rhône

This is the base or generic level of wines from this region. There are 171 communes (municipalities/villages) that produce the grapes used in Rhone wine production

Côtes du Rhône-Villages

The next level on the Rhone wine scale is Côtes du Rhône-Villages. This designation is allowed by 95 authorized communes. The Grenache grape is required to be present in not less than 50% of the blend with 20% of either Syrah or Mourvedre. A maximum of 20% of other authorized varieties is permitted.

Côtes du Rhône Villages (named village)

Next in the hierarchy are Côtes du Rhône Village appellations that are authorized to include their village name on the label. There are 18 villages that are allowed this distinction.

Crus

This is the most demanding level of distinction. There are 15 crus that are allowed to be recognized by their village without requiring the mention of Côtes du Rhône on the label. A feature of this nomenclature is the wine is named only after the village and not a after a chateau (which is typical for wines from the Bordeaux region). These crus include such famous names as, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Côte-Rôtie AOC, Crozes-Hermitage AOC, Hermitage AOC, Saint Joseph AOC and Saint Péray.