Dallas Cowboys: Top 5 Performers of September 2011
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It has only been four games, but the Dallas Cowboys have been anything but stable. A quick recap of September shows an epic meltdown against the Jets, a heroic comeback from an injured Tony Romo in San Francisco, a kicking clinic by Dan Bailey against the Redskins and finally, the worst loss of Romo’s career last week against the Lions.
Sitting at 2-2 right now is pretty decent considering the roller coaster that Dallas has been on—it took a comeback against the 49ers and an entire second half of damage control against the Redskins otherwise the Cowboys could be 4-0. Likewise, if it were not for a pair of epic second-half collapses and turnovers (and pick-sixes), Dallas would be sitting pretty at 4-0.
Over the first four games, five Dallas Cowboys have absolutely stepped up and have separated themselves as big time performers on this team. Two check in as perennial stalwarts, while the other three come enter as rookies or sophomores. Let’s begin!
The top Cowboy through September has been Sean Lee. He has been a tackling machine, he leads the team in interceptions and has served a complete middle linebacker each game against the run and the pass.
He also replaced Keith Brooking seamlessly and has gained the trust of his defensive teammates along with the coaching staff. Lee has a knack to win and make big plays. Besides being a playmaker on the field, he is a leader in huddles, in practice and on game day.
Dan Bailey checks in as the next Cowboy performer of September. Through four games, he has made 12 of his 13 attempts and has two game-winning kicks (accounting for the only two Dallas victories).
As a rookie out of Oklahoma State, he was in a serious kicking competition throughout training camp against Beuhler and a slew of other veterans. He eventually came up on top and is proving his team why he won. Keep on kicking Dan.
Which player is most valuable to Dallas the rest of the season?
Jason Witten is the definition of a security blanket. He leads the team in yards, catches, targets and grabs of 20-plus yards. Most importantly, he knows where to be to help his quarterback succeed. He is the best blocking tight end in the league, and possibly the best catching tight end too.
Without Witten, the Cowboys are certainly not 2-2 and Tony Romo would no have the opportunity for second half collapses because the entire game would be ugly. His presence on the field cannot be underestimated.
Dez Bryant is no diva. He is simply a superstar freak show who plays on Sundays. He is bigger, faster and better than almost any receiver in the NFL. Besides Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Jennings, Mike Wallace and Wes Welker, give me Dez Bryant. All day. Every day.
Through the first four games, he has set the tone for the offense (Jets), shown the Cowboys how valuable he is (when he did not play against the 49ers), caught an epic 3-and-21 against the Redskins and caught a pair of beauties against the Lions in the end zone. This is a superstar in the making.
Finally, DeMarcus Ware checks in as the fifth Cowboy on the all-September list because of his dominating style as a sack artist and quarterback-killer. He is one of few players in the league that offensive coordinators have to game-plan for. He will likely again lead the league in sacks.
A quick shout out to Rob Ryan who is walking the talk and has his defense playing tremendously!
What do you think? Did I miss someone? Should Tony Romo be on this list? Be on the lookout for October’s edition of top Cowboys in a couple of weeks!
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