Redskins, Cowboys Gamble and Lose

Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins NFL team, is seen on the field before their pre-season game against the Baltimore Ravens in Landover, Maryland, August 21, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

The NFL announced that the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins will each be docked millions of dollars for taking advantage of the uncapped 2010 year. Both teams front-loaded contracts in 2010 because there was no salary cap, giving them a “competitive advantage” over the other teams. They played a game of high stakes poker with the league office and lost.

The Cowboys will lose $10 million and the Redskins will lose $36 million from the projected $120.6 million salary cap, announced at the start of the football year. All teams were warned not to take advantage of the uncapped scenario but it appears two teams did not take heed of that notice. The two teams are able to spread the cap reduction over the next two years, or take it all this year.

It’s believed that large contracts given to Albert Haynesworth, who no longer plays for the Redskins, and Miles Austin, who still plays for the Cowboys, triggered this penalty.

Several teams benefited from this review because both teams are in the NFC North division. The Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants, who won the Super Bowl last year, are the other two teams and look to benefit from their rivals’ cap reduction.

It remains to be seen how this will affect the Redskins, who recently traded three first round draft picks and a second round draft pick with the Rams for the presumed rights to draft Robert Griffin III. It will probably be difficult for the Redskins to participate in the free agency market to attract quality players to put around RG3, but that’s what front offices are paid to do – make do with what little resources you have. As for the Cowboys, they aren’t faced with as many challenges but it’s never good to lose cap space.

The remaining teams in the league will also benefit from this reduction because the $46 million will be distributed across the remaining teams, with the exception of New Orleans and Oakland. It’s believed that New Orleans won’t get an estimated $1.6 million cap space because of the bounty program and it’s unclear why Oakland isn’t involved.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Darius Rucker has an End Zone Obsession…and he’d like to share it with you

Not that there aren’t already plenty of places on the World Wide Web where you can go to make weekly football picks, but if you’re one of the millions of people who have owned and loved Hootie and the Blowfish’s album Cracked Rear View, then it might just behoove you to offer a cursory click onto Darius Rucker’s End Zone Obsession.*

End Zone Obsession originated out of an attempt by Rucker and his “people” to figure out a more exciting way to interact with his fans, and when the talk turned to football, Rucker knew they’d hit on an idea that had serious potential. Soon, web designers were hard at work, putting together an easy-to-use site that would allow Rucker and his fans to pick the winners and losers for each week of the NFL season.

“People have been challenging me, and I’ve pretty much accepted every challenge,” said Rucker. “Last week, everybody was talking trash before the weekend, and then I won, ‘cause I picked every game right. So I was on this morning, doing the trash-talking. I’m telling them, ‘Guess you’ve got to do better next week!’”

As Rucker is a diehard Miami fan, this interview obviously took place prior to the Dolphins having been blown out of the water by the Patriots, but it’s not as though his tune will have changed as a result. Clearly, it’s far too late for that now…

* Rucker officially became a Miami Dolphins fan on January 16, 1972. “The Dolphins are playing the Cowboys in the Super Bowl, and I’m in the house with all my cousins. My two aunts are there. There’s, like, 14 kids, and every kid in there, everybody in my whole family, is pulling for the Cowboys. I decided that day that I was pulling for the Dolphins…and I remember crying when the Dolphins lost at the end. But the next year, I started playing little league football, and ever since then I’ve loved the game.”

* He has a piece of swag that would make any Dolphins fan drool. “The very first Miami Dolphins game I ever got to go to, it was a Monday night game against the Steelers back in ’94, and I got to sing the National Anthem. After that game, Dan Marino took his jersey off and gave it to his assistant and had it framed for me, and that is my favorite piece of paraphernalia that I got. I’ve lived in my house for 12 years, and my decorator laughed at me when I moved in, because that jersey was up in the house before anything else could enter.”

* There has only ever been one occasion when his devotion to Miami has wavered. “When I heard that Dave Wannstedt told Dan Marino that he thought that he had a better chance to win with Jay Fiedler than him, I really thought about switching my alliances, because I thought we had the dumbest coach that had ever coached a game of football.”

Given Rucker’s dedication to the Dolphins, he’s not afraid to admit that you can always count on him to make the same selection on End Zone Obsession week after week after week.

“I’m talking to my assistant yesterday, I’m making my picks, and he goes, ‘What do you think about the Dolphins game?’ And I said, ‘Dude, I’m picking the Dolphins sixteen times in a row.’ I can guarantee you that. I’ll be picking the Dolphins sixteen times in a row. And it’s not, like, I’m thinking in my heart, ‘Oh, well, I’ve got to pick the Dolphins.’ I truly believe they’re going to win.”

* For the record, yes, we do know that Rucker has not only continued to record well beyond Hootie’s aforementioned 1994 album but, indeed, has been shifting mass country-music units for the past several years as a solo artist, thanks to such hit singles as “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” “It Won’t Be Like This for Long, and “Alright.” But, damn, man, Cracked Rear View went platinum sixteen times over. I think that still warrants being cited as his predominant accomplishment, don’t you?

Ah, the ebb and flow of the NFL: Packers shut down Cowboys

This is how I know nobody has a clue about what will happen in the NFL:

Green Bay Packers 17, Dallas Cowboys 7.

Unless you’re a Packer slappy, you couldn’t possibly have expected that outcome today; there’s just no way. Dallas had won four in a row, was coming off an impressive road win at Philadelphia and was playing with a ton of confidence. Green Bay, on the other hand, had not beaten a team with a winning record all season and had lost to the previously winless Buccaneers last week in one of the ugliest losses for any team this season.

Granted, some could say that this was a letdown game for the Cowboys after beating the Eagles last week, but it’s not like the Packers are the Browns or Rams; Dallas shouldn’t have had any problem getting up for this game today.

Nevertheless, the Packers’ defense played one hell of a game by completely shutting down a Dallas offense that had been firing on all cylinders entering the game. Green Bay forced three turnovers, held the Cowboys to only 61 rushing yards and sacked Tony Romo five times. It was a dominating effort by Dom Capers’ defense tonight that was embarrassed last week in Tampa. The Packers’ O-line still tried their best to get Aaron Rodgers killed, but Green Bay will certainly take a win, especially after the team held a players-only meeting earlier this week in an effort to try and clear the air.

Since the Eagles also lost today, this won’t set the Cowboys back in the standings but it is alarming that Green Bay was able to shut down Dallas’ offense so easily. I mean, this was the same Packers defense that gave up 38 points last week to the Buccaneers, who were starting a rookie quarterback in Josh Freeman.

Maybe this was just an off day for Wade Phillips’ team. They better hope so anyway.

Cowboys make statement in NFC East – are the Giants done?

With their 20-16 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night, the Dallas Cowboys made a huge statement in the NFC East.

After squeaking by a bad Kansas City team in Week 5, Dallas went into its bye week on a mission. They emerged in Week 7 and took it to a good Falcons team at home, beating Atlanta 37-21. They took care of business at home the next week by beating Seattle 38-17 and then proved they could win on the road in a hostile environment last night.

There’s a lot of football left to be played, but the Cowboys are finally playing with some consistency under Wade Phillips. Granted, maybe nothing has changed and Dallas will go on to lose five of their next eight games and miss the playoffs. But at least for the moment, the Cowboys are playing as good as any team in the league right now.

All is certainly not lost for the Eagles following this loss, but this was a disappointing defeat after routing the Giants 40-17 last Sunday. They couldn’t sustain drives and Donovan McNabb threw two costly interceptions. With teams like the Chargers, Falcons, Giants, Broncos and Cowboys left on their schedule, the Eagles certainly have their work cut out for them in the second half.

Speaking of the Giants, with they have now lost four in a row after the Chargers came from behind in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to beat New York 21-20 on Sunday. Eli Manning threw for 215 yards and two touchdowns, but the Giants twice settled for field goals in the second half and it came back to haunt them.

Even after losing four straight, I don’t think anyone is ready to completely write off the G-Men, but what is this team’s identity is at it stumbles into its bye? The Giants have been a team that lives and dies by rushing the quarterback it’s apparent that this isn’t the same pass-rushing team that it was earlier in the year. Of course, they did rack up wins against the Redskins, Bucs, Chiefs and Raiders, so that built some false hope.

Tom Coughlin and his coaching staff has a lot to work on heading into the bye. We’ll see if the Giants can emerge from their off week ready to go, because they’ll face the Falcons, Broncos, Cowboys and Eagles in succession starting in Week 11. That’s not exactly the kind of schedule a team wants to deal with after dropping four straight.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Williams says he and Romo not on same page

Cowboys receiver Roy Williams is a little irritable these days. According to him, he and quarterback Tony Romo aren’t on the same page and he doesn’t want to hear that Miles Austin is now Dallas’ No. 1 receiver.

From ESPN.com:

After putting in a lot of extra offseason work with quarterback Tony Romo, Williams is stunned they haven’t made more progress.
“It’s just not even close,” Williams said. “It’s not even funny. Not even close.”

Williams does not believe his poor production accurately portrays his performance.

“I’m the No. 1 receiver,” Williams said. “But things are just going No. 2’s way.”

“He gets the ball thrown correctly his way,” Williams said of Austin. “I’m stretching and falling and doing everything. Everybody [else] who’s been here’s balls are there. Our footballs [from Romo to Williams] are everywhere right now.”

Williams has been dealing with a rib injury he suffered earlier in the year in a loss to the Broncos, so that could be causing some issues. That said, you watch Williams and Romo play on Sundays and the connection just isn’t there. These two have zero chemistry and it doesn’t look like it’ll improve anytime soon.

It’s interesting that yet another receiver is having issues with Romo. But one would think that if Austin can develop good chemistry with Romo, so could Williams.

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