4th and One

A quiet week leading up to the Redskin game causes us to wonder if both teams at 0-4 have put this grudge match on hold. Most of the comments from the fans are on other issues more close to the heart of the Cowboys than Daniel Snyder's team. In this season of anemia for both squads, it appears a knitting circle has more panache than the Monday Night game.

Talent Search in the form of invitations to don shorts and t-shirts again surfaces at Valley Ranch. Ryan Leaf, the San Diegan that failed to please is again visiting the Cowboys.

Leaf's wrist has its problems. The medical term is sublexation. To quote Mickey Spagnola "That means a bone in the wrist that connects to a joint was sliding in and out."

A most unpleasant idea which caused me to rethink my standard Thursday lunch of a knackwurst and oyster sandwich with sauerkraut juice chaser.

Jones and company are determined to give "Cryin' Ryan" another shot at the star. A decision should not be made until after the bye week, which saves the Cowboys a few extra treasury notes.

Much has been made about Ryan joining the Cowboys. Most look to his days with San Diego and cringe. From his selection in 1998 until the Chargers parted ways with Leaf, he was an emotionally immature man with tremendous physical attributes.

But reports from Tampa Bay where he tried to resurrect his career indicate that he has turned over a new "Leaf." His wrist was the reason the Buccaneers ate 600K in signing bonus and released him, not his somewhat befuddled brain.

The Cowboys are in a position that no amount of experimenting this season will alter. Unless their try-outs stumble on a youthful Otto Graham and Ray Renfro to create a passing game, Emmitt will be using a "Lil Amigo" electric cart to gain the last yards needed to pass Payton.

Jones sees this season as one of trial by fire. He used all the information he could garner to make a decision on Quincy Carter last draft day. The selection, one man's meat another man's poison, has to be tested for real or imagined potential.

In an interview with Chris Mortenson of ESPN, Jones illuminated his plan of action.

"I never planned on Troy Aikman's career ending as abruptly as it did, but I do know that we have to identify our quarterback of the future. We need to find out about Quincy Carter because we will go get another one if we have to." So Jones is prepared to change horses if the one he chose is not the right one.

Looking at the money spent by both the Chargers and Buccaneers on Leaf, Jones is getting a look-see at bargain basement prices. Pretty shrewd for a General Manager that is at times the laughing stock of the NFL. But Jerry was always been good with dollars having the ability to lure them his direction like a Pied Piper.

Ryan Leaf will get an opportunity Thursday to show the Cowboy brain trust that his wrist is not a problem. And Dallas will look at another cast-off to solve their most critical need. And so the talent search continues at Valley Ranch.


Who is thinking up this mess is a weekly chant by fans at the play calling of the Cowboy offense. As each series unfolds to find the team punting or turning over the ball, a cry comes up from viewers across the country. Almost a ‘Who's On First,' routine by Abbott and Costello, witnesses to the ineptitude of the offense want answers about which guy is in charge. And what was he thinking.

Emmitt Smith, the venerable and aging superstar running back of the Cowboys is tossed the pigskin and offered an opportunity to beat men almost ten years his junior to the corner. The toss sweep and option plays have been installed and used more frequently than the telephone at an all girl slumber party.

Jack Reilly, the offensive coordinator calls the plays. But Dave Campo, the head coach is in charge of all facets of the teams on field adventures. So who is really at the bottom of this and why?

After four weeks of watching Emmitt take the pitch and get hammered by linebackers and defensive ends, the only real answer is Dave Campo. Surely the leader of the team would not watch results that he personally disapproves of and allow it to continue. But the why may be more enlightening than the whom.

In a statement Tuesday Campo said, "As far as running plays that have Emmitt going outside for big losses instead of running inside, it's important to run to the perimeter occasionally so defenses don't simply run blitz up the middle all day long."

For the second week in a row Campo has addressed the question most of us have been asking. The lack of pass attack causes the opponent to blitz and stop both any semblance of pass and Emmitt Smith. Another indication of the reasons behind Jerry scouring the countryside for a quarterback that commands respect.

Run Emmitt run. Search Jerry search.


From the Department of Silly comes a blurb by Chris Mortensen. He actually asked Jerry Jones if he was the head coach of the Cowboys.

"No, I am not. Dave Campo is the head coach," Jones replied.

If Mort expected a straight answer he should have ask another Jerry. Seinfeld comes to mind.


Dimitrius Underwood had another excused absence from the team Wednesday. Is this a continuing medical problem or something else?

Maybe the coaching staff should check the excused absence list for game day. His pre-season accomplishments have disappeared now that the season is well underway. During 4 games this year he has had exactly one solo tackle.

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