A fairly short morning blog, as I anticipate a delayed EPL update to follow late this morning:
Nolan declares Washington/Daniels are back! …And at this point, I believe I will trust in Nolan, but as I indicated yesterday, I could have believed that a change is needed…So far, the Nolan Ryan Honeymoon is continuing...by this time next year?
Team president Nolan Ryan said Tuesday, five days short of the end of the season, that he expects manager Ron Washington to return to the Texas Rangers in 2009.
No formal announcement has been made, mostly because Ryan doesn’t believe it’s necessary. Washington rallied the Rangers from a 7-16 start in April and had the club six games over. 500 on Aug. 5 before a recent slide that will assure the Rangers of a losing record for the eighth time in the past nine seasons.
"I have no intentions of making a change at this point in time," Ryan said. "He’s under contract for next year. I think that speaks for itself."
Washington was hired Nov. 6, 2006, signing a two-year contract with a club option that was exercised in August 2007. The Rangers have gone 151-164 under Washington, who has the sixth-most victories all-time among Rangers managers.
But Ryan said Washington was responsible for a drastic turnaround that began in May and resulted in the Rangers getting as close as 4 1/2 games back in the American League wild-card standings.
Ryan said the Rangers are hardly perfect, but Washington knows of his club’s faults as well.
"I think the players like him," Ryan said. "I think he’s gotten them to respond to them. I think that’s important. I really believe his intent is trying to get them to improve and address our shortcomings."
General manager Jon Daniels will also be back, Ryan indicated, as the Rangers stick to the plan to develop their own players and build a winner from within. That plan was hatched in May 2007, nine months before Ryan was hired as club president.
With their 6-4 victory Tuesday over the Oakland A’s, the Rangers guaranteed that they will finish with a better record than in 2007. Each level of the Rangers’ organization showed improvement this year, including division titles at Triple A Oklahoma, Double A Frisco, Class A Clinton and Class A Spokane.
Ryan conceded that the big-league club made the fewest gains, but drastic improvement wasn’t expected to come overnight.
"It’s easy to see where we ended up and where we finished and say, 'We need " Ryan said. "We all agreed that we’re to go out and make all these changes,’ going to develop within our system. When you say 'develop,’ that’s not a quick fix.
"We still believe that that is the route that we’re going to take for this organization. I think we have shown that we are committed to that. I don’t think that when you didn’t see our record change from one year to the next you just dump the program that you’ve committed to."
That seems to include keeping the big-league manager and general manager.
"I’m just trying to make it through the rest of these games and see how many we can win," Washington said. "I do know we’re a better team than we were last season, and
that’s all I can go on."
Blue and Silver breaks down the defense …
Dallas’ Rush vs. Green Bay
3 men - 2 plays;
4 men — 28 plays;
5 men — 11 plays;
6 men — 3 plays
– Ain’t Too Proud to Crib
The Eagles run a very effective overload blitz, where they flank two outside linebackers together outside their four man line, rush both linebackers off the edge and drop the weakside DE into coverage.
The Cowboys used variants of this overload from their 4-2-5 and their 3-4 base sets Sunday night. The first time Bradie James got a free run at Rodgers and forced a hot throw for a five yard gain. The second time the Cowboys got two men free and forced an incompletion.
– Don’t go Too Tall Jones on us, Jay, okay?
Jay Ratliff has a nasty punchout. At least once a day during training camp, the 290 lb. Ratliff would bow the 355 lb. Leonard Davis backwards with a two handed stunner to the chest. Ratliff used this devastating move on Packers RG Tony Moll in the 3rd. The Packer thought he was set, but Ratliff’s punchout knocked him back a solid three yards. While Moll was trying to re-establish his set, Ratliff used a swim move to get past him and sack Aaron Rodgers.
– Everybody is getting in on the fun:
Bobby Carpenter got some reps when the Cowboys played a 3-2-6 dime package in the middle
– Chaos unveiled
The Cowboys used their chaos package in the 2nd quarter when the Packers were deep in Dallas territory. Dallas lined up with two down linemen, Chris Canty and Jason Hatcher. The team stood up four more potential rushers — Jay Ratliff, Kevin Burnett, Greg Ellis and Demarcus Ware — and let them roam along the line. Just before the snap, Ratliff jumped into a three point stance on the nose. Ware roamed out to the right end spot and Ellis and Burnett lined up directly behind Ratliff. At the snap, the two inside LBs criss crossed and broke the middle of the Packers’ pocket.
Archer looks at the offense …
THE THREE TIGHT END FORMATION: It's worked pretty good the last two games, and especially good on Felix Jones' 60-yard touchdown run.
Tight ends Tony Curtis and Martellus Bennett set the strength of the formation to the right. The Packers overloaded that side with six defenders, thinking the run was going that way. That left two defensive linemen and one linebacker in the box on the other side, which was a mismatch.
Jason Witten pinned defensive end Michael Montgomery at the snap, creating room for Jones outside and the linebacker took himself out of the play by going up field. That left cornerback Charles Woodson as the only defender within 15 yards of Jones, and his arm tackle wasn't enough to slow him down.
Jones did the rest by freezing Peprah and bouncing wide. The rest was history with Owens shielding Peprah for any last-ditch try and safety Nick Collins near the goal line.
ROCKY MARCIANO: Right tackle Marc Colombo grew up near Brockton, Mass., home of the former heavyweight champ and has been known to wear a Marciano t-shirt now and again.
He wasn't exactly undefeated, like Marciano, against the Packers but he was close. Aaron Kampman had 1.5 sacks but I'd say only the half sack came against Colombo. Kampman did an excellent job of snuffing out a waggle play when he wasn't even Colombo's responsibility and the half-sack came in almost a pile-on situation after Romo stepped up in the pocket.
I didn't see Colombo getting much help. And he didn't need it. He kept Kampman under control in the pass and run games. He is in a contract year and it might be time for the Cowboys to look at signing him to an extension.
And the Defense …
Matt Bowen on what happens at Halftime in the NFL …
WEEKLY COWBOYS STUFF
Here are a couple Cowboys items that may or may not be worth the paper they are printed on:
• Tony Romo has started 29 games in his NFL career. In just 5 of those games, has he had multiple interceptions. In fact, in just 2 games since the start of 2007 has he had multiple interceptions in a start.
• Sacks allowed on Sunday Night in Green Bay – the first 3 sacks allowed this season: 1st one is tough to say for sure, as somehow Colombo appeared to be left to block Aaron Kampman AND Cullen Jenkins after Jason Witten went out on his route. 2nd sack early in the 2nd Q was half Colombo and half Leonard Davis as Kampman and Jenkins met at the QB. And the 3rd sack was allowed completely by Flozell Adams, as Jenkins ran right around him and caused the fumble that Adams ultimately recovered. So, Colombo 1.5, Davis .5, and Adams 1 are the season totals to date.
• In the 2nd Quarter when NBC is showing the Ice Bowl highlights (what a great idea!), behind Bart Starr at the game Sunday night is none other than the great Gabe Kapler – for some reason wearing a Fedora. Not sure how he got that close to the action, but he certainly used his Milwaukee Brewers connections to get close.
Miami Arena goes boom – thanks to Barry Horn’s blog for finding this
Cowboys- Redskins Rivalry Week