- Biggest Surprise:
Josh: There are a few guys who would qualify here, but I'll go with Laurent Robinson. After he was released with the hamstring injury after Week 1, and had his salary guaranteed for the year, it looked like one of the worst signings the team has made in recent history. Down the tubes went $685,000, and they had gotten nothing. But now here he is, back again, and in only a matter of days, really, he's taken over the third wide receiver job. It looks like he can be a nice contributor for this team..
Nick:I really didn't think Dan Bailey would be this good so early into the season. He really didn't get many chances in training camp and the preseason to show consistency. That's what happens when you're competing with multiple players. But having his own gig here on the field goals, he's been remarkable after that short miss in San Francisco. What's even more impressive is the way he has handled kickoffs the last two games. However, he hasn't kicked off outdoors just yet. But to think we're talking about the value of David Buehler here after four games means Bailey is doing several things right.
Rob: The Detroit game. Haven't seen anything quite like it in eight seasons covering this team, not even the 2007 Buffalo game in reverse. The best teams finish games, so the fact that Tony Romo and Co. gave away another huge lead in the second half is a concern going forward. That said, they've also shown signs they'll be competitive in virtually every game they play, which should keep them in the playoff hunt all year.
- Best Rookie:
- Offensive Standout:
Nick: While this is different than an MVP award, I think Jason Witten has been quite a standout so far. He doesn't have the impact - both negatively and positively - as Tony Romo, but he has made the most of his opportunities. Through four games, Witten is second in the NFL in catches with 27, only trailing Wes Welker, who has a whopping 40. Witten has done all this with a banged up and young offensive line that has forced him to block at the line of scrimmage more than usual.
Rob: Witten. Those 27 catches show just how dependable he has been to an injured Tony Romo. Had Romo gotten his feet under him and Kyle Kosier not committed a holding penalty, we might be talking about an 80-yard touchdown to Witten that sealed things against Detroit in the fourth quarter.
Josh: He's only played two games, but it's hard to find anyone who has performed at a higher level than Miles Austin. He gave the Cowboys a great chance to beat the Jets by wrestling a jump ball away from Antonio Cromartie, and then had a huge game in San Francisco, scoring three touchdowns. They need him to be perfectly healthy after this bye.
- Defensive Standout:
- Romo Take:
Rob: Maybe he shouldn't say those turnovers will never happen again, because they will. They happen to every quarterback, just hopefully not in bunches like we've seen lately. Tom Brady threw four picks in a meltdown against Buffalo. A Super Bowl is the only way Romo will ever avoid this type of scrutiny week to week. This team can't win on a consistent basis if it continues, but Romo has also carried this offense for four games - three of them with a fractured rib. They're better off with him than without him.
Josh:The guy's not perfect. I don't see anything wrong with admitting that. I think Jason Garrett needs to tighten the leash on him in late-game situations, when the Cowboys have a lead, with some more conservative play-calling. But at the same time, he needs the freedom to make game-winning plays early in a game, and when it's close late. I also think he's going to settle down and have a really good season overall. Everyone should relax and let things play out, and not get wrapped up in the weekly highs and lows.
Nick: : Somehow along the way, expectations for this guy have soared to a point that's just not obtainable for him or maybe anyone. He gets criticized for not being on the same level as Brady, Manning, Rodgers and Brees ... but he's not ever going to be there. To me, there's nothing wrong with saying Tony Romo is a second-tier quarterback. For the people who want to get rid of him because of that, it just doesn't work like that financially. As for this year, it's obviously frustrating to see a guy look so good at times and then so bad at others. When I factor in no running game, no commitment to run, a makeshift and inexperienced offensive line and inconsistent health with the starting receivers, I think he's had a good first-quarter of the season, aside from five plays. Those five plays have resulted in two losses, though.
- Next 4: