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Scouting Notebook: Down in Dallas

Michael Salfino
Yahoo Sports

Let's do away with the preamble and get right down to business in dissecting the major doings in Week 5.

Something is missing with Tony Romo(notes). He locked in on his receiver his last three passes and had two tipped and one intercepted. On 3rd-and-9, he had Felix Jones(notes) running out all alone for an easy first down as an outlet receiver with no defender within 10 yards of him. With Jones, that could be a TD. On fourth down, Jones came clean off a chip block again with no defender within 10 yards. Maybe the Titans close before the stripe. But why run that little jerk route with Jason Witten(notes) two plays in a row and throw it twice with a defender draped over him both times?

Cowboy haters never get tired of seeing Romo sulk his way through those post-game press conferences. Tony, that newsboy cap you wear does not exude the tough-guy strength your leaderless team needs.

The end zone celebration rule is stupid. We find out that handing the ball to a lineman triggers the flag in the "always by the book" NFL. Phil Simms chimed in by informing us that, yes, some calls are borderline but that they have to be called otherwise end zone celebrations will get out of hand. And then what? Will that cause matter and anti-matter to collide and destroy the universe?

I have touted Hakeem Nicks(notes) long and hard but I have to be honest and say his sloppiness with his effort and his hands cost him two more touchdowns. Consider this tough love for the NFL's next great receiver.

The Giants defense looked fearsome for the second week in a row. I'd avoid them for a while if I had other viable options. So you might want to forget about Felix Jones, Marion Barber(notes) and Roy Williams next week. Jason Witten, too. You have to play Miles Austin(notes) and Romo no matter what. Jones showed more power than we've seen from Marion Barber all year and looks every bit the feature back Jerry Jones hinted he would be during the bye.

The first-time-in-his-career stuff (Jones rushing for 100 yards) is invalid when the player has done it in the playoffs. Those games actually matter most, fellas.

The Saints officially are on the outside of playoff contention and looking in. More importantly for us, they are a pop-gun fantasy offense. Drew Brees(notes) is averaging under 10 yards per completion. Last year, he was just over 12.

Sean Payton's odd game management is coming back to bite him this year. Not going for it on 4th-and-2 with five minutes left down 10 points is a give up. Who cares if you're on your own 19 yard line? The alternative is getting a stop, scoring, recovering an onside kick and scoring again. Stack all that against converting a 4th-and-2 and tell me which is more likely.

Gus Johnson is either the worlds biggest phony or mentally unstable given the way he's yelping like someone just won the Super Bowl repeatedly during Jaguars-Bills. Johnson's histrionics make the games he calls unwatchable.

Jermichael Finley's(notes) hamstring ligament displacement (what?) displaced his owners in the standings, we know. You can't afford to lose the Packers best receiver in the game's first series. Aaron Rodgers(notes) (concussion in overtime) will be out next week anyway. But Finley could be gone a week or two beyond that as no one really knows about this injury, though Finley said he's had it before and it's "calmed down" quickly.

Todd Collins(notes) looked like a 38-year-old rookie (six completions, four picks), which shouldn't surprise when you realize he's started only four more games than you since 1997.

I was very wrong about Legedu Naanee(notes). And, by extension, about Malcom Floyd(notes), too. At least Naanee didn't cost you much if you listened to me. But remember when people were saying that you don't want to own Philip Rivers(notes) because the Chargers want to get back to running? That sure wasn't me.

The Chargers are a finesse team that's poorly coached. So they can lose to anyone. You have a first down at the Raiders 23-yard line with 1:22 left and with the Raiders having no timeouts and you run a sweep with converted fullback Mike Tolbert(notes)? Just run up the middle twice and kick a field goal with three seconds left. Nate Kaeding(notes) only misses easy kicks in the playoffs. And where was No. 1 pick Ryan Mathews(notes)?

I saw little from Max Hall(notes) to make me feel better about owning Larry Fitzgerald(notes), who would be in the 20s now probably if I redrafted. Not overall, just among wide receivers.

As I feared last week when watching Ryan Torain(notes) lumbering like an NFL throwback instead of a bona fide tailback, the Redskins appear to have no running game. This hurts them but helps Donovan McNabb(notes) as long as he can withstand the punishment that defenses will be able to administer in obvious passing situations. Grab Anthony Armstrong(notes) given that Devin Thomas(notes) was cut and Joey Galloway(notes) is older than the crypt keeper. Galloway made big plays against the Jets when Bill Parcells was coaching them, for cryin' out loud.

Carson Palmer(notes) has two games with a QB rating over 100 since 2007. For comparison's sake, Jake Delhomme(notes) has six. And we know Delhomme is finished.

Got ahead of ourselves with Sam Bradford(notes) and the Rams. I know he lost Mark Clayton(notes) (knee, year), but that was pathetic. Steven Jackson looked as disappointed as his owners. Danny Amendola(notes) is going to be quite useful in point-per-catch formats going forward.

Michael Salfino writes for the Wall Street Journal and is a regular contributor to Yahoo! Sports.

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