Cowboys release K Folk, sign Suisham
The Dallas Cowboys are two wins from bringing a playoff game to
their new $1.2 billion showplace. They’re also two losses from
possibly extending the longest playoff victory drought in franchise
history, which might spark a search for the sixth coach since that
last postseason win nearly 14 years ago.
It would be easy for the Cowboys to get blinded by the bright
side after handing New Orleans its first loss Saturday night. Coach
Wade Phillips was quick to recognize that Monday.
“You’ve still got to back it up and play the next one just as
well,” Phillips said. “We played well in a lot of areas. We still
have some work to do.”
First on the list before Sunday night’s visit to Washington
was cutting kicker Nick Folk after he missed a late 24-yarder that
forced the Dallas defense to secure the 24-17 win by making one
more stop against one of the league’s most dangerous offenses.
It was the sixth straight game with at least one miss by
Folk, which finally forced the team to hold auditions Monday for a
replacement. Late in the day, Dallas signed former Redskins kicker
Shaun Suisham and released Folk.
As well as linebacker DeMarcus Ware played just a week after
a frightening neck injury, the Cowboys still have to evaluate his
health daily and decide whether he can return to playing every
Ware practiced sparingly last week and was limited mostly to
passing situations against the Saints. Phillips said he thinks the
playing rotations will return to normal against the Redskins.
“He went back in the game in regular situations,” Phillips
said. “He felt good enough to do that and did that.”
Before Folk’s miss put the outcome in question, receiver Roy
Williams ruined a chance for Dallas to answer the first Saints
touchdown when he dropped a third-down pass near midfield early in
the fourth quarter. Less than four minutes later, New Orleans
(13-1) scored to pull within 24-17.
Critical drops by Williams are magnified because he cost
Dallas three draft picks and a $45 million contract extension a
year ago. But Phillips flatly rejected a question Monday about
whether Williams might be headed to the bench.
“I think we still have hopes that the things we see in
practice more and more are going to happen,” Phillips said. “He’s
going to keep working at it, and we’re going to keep working at
The last time the Cowboys felt this good was the last time
they won a big game. Their 20-16 victory at Philadelphia in early
November gave them a four-game winning streak and sole possession
of first place in the NFC East.
That roll even prompted questions about Dallas playing a
“trap” game in Green Bay because the Packers were 4-4 and coming
off a loss to lowly Tampa Bay. The Cowboys promptly played their
worst offensive game of the season in a 17-7 loss.
This time, the last-place Redskins are on tap.
“We’re going to go over the film today, and we’re going to be
hard on them for the mistakes they made,” Phillips said. “They
realize there’s things we could have done better and there’s things
that cause you to play your best to win. And that’s every game,
whoever you’re playing.”
If the Cowboys (9-5) win in Washington, they will finish the
regular season at home against Philadelphia (10-4) with a chance to
win the NFC East and host a playoff game at Cowboys Stadium a week
The stakes won’t be as high as the finale last year, when
Dallas was trounced by the Eagles in Philadelphia with the NFC’s
final playoff berth on the line. But for a team that risked losing
control of its playoff fate if it had lost in New Orleans, it will
be quite a turnaround.
“I told them before the game it’d be an upset if we got beat.
And that’s what we felt like,” Phillips said. “I think we can build
on that. That’s the kind of game that define you as far as