Dallas vs Chicago Game Book Match-Ups Week 4

Each GameBook is a 2 part article. We get out as many sections each week as the Cowboys Schedule allows.

GameBook Match-Ups section will detail avenues that either team may use to gain an advantage over the other based on personnel packages, injury or talent level.

GameBook 2nd 1/2 we discuss the kind of response either team may have in the 2nd half as a counter move. 2nd half adjustments are key in today’s fast paced game and we do our homework in order to get the jump on the opposition.
As with every game, individual match ups are games within themselves. Lets look at a few of the more interesting ones below.

Dallas Interior OLine vs NT Toeaina and Paea – C Cook, RG Bernadeau and LG Livings will again be tested in the middle. Toeaina and Paea are strong and have excellent burst in short space. They can both mirror, shed and close. Paea showed some amazing hip fluidity on a delayed blitz for a sack where he ran full speed winding his way through protectors. They will both push the pocket on passing downs creating very little room to step up into the pocket. The Rams Bradford was harried all day up the middle. Bradford is not Romo however.

LDE Idonije vs RT Douge Free - When you have Julius Peppers on the other side you get a lot of solo dance sets. Idonije has taken full advantage of that dropping 2.5 sacks on the Rams Bradford last week.  6’6″ 275lbs with a huge wingspan the man has a bull rush and not a bad speed rush. He is good with his hands and has a good motor. Free has not recovered his old RT form at this point. One can make an argument that Free will improve as the guard play next to him gets better and this is true to a point. However he is having issues when 1 on 1 during passing downs and seems to be fighting some confidence issues. This is a solid test for him. It will be interesting to see if Dallas decides to put help on his side and leave Peppers 1 on 1 vs Tyron Smith. Think positive thoughts people. We need some good vibes here and so far this year, Free has struggled.
TE Kellen Davis vs MLB Bruce – Kellen Davis is 6’7″ tall. Chicago gets in the red zone or in short yardage they will look for this man. Bruce has the speed, but you can’t teach height. Bruce will have to interrupt Davis route, knock him around and make solid tackles. Pressure by the front 7 will help alleviate Davis effectiveness as he does not seem to have the natural speed to get up the seam.
Brandon Marshal vs Ghost of Barry Church - Who will be primary on Brandon Marshall? If I was the Cowboys I would rotate several players through the safety position in practice to not give Chicago a solid answer on who to scout at CB. Question is will Carr move back to safety on passing downs (with Jenkins going to RCB) or will he sit back there the whole game relegating Silva to the bench? Marshall is not known as a cerebral player. I like the prospect of him having to spend more time in the film room or (even better) cutting his study time in 1/2 looking at 2 players. Hoping Raf will have some factual insight on this later in the week.

CB Brandon Carr vs Ghost of Barry Church - Carr is learning a new position. Not safety, RCB. He has been a LCB during his pro years thus far. Now we are throwing a second new position, FS at him. After last weeks performance, my respect for Carr has increased exponentially. Changing positions from CB to S is not an automatic. True, most safeties can not play CB, however strangely enough the opposite is also true. Carr is a football player. We are lucky to have him.

FB Rodriguez & RB Bush vs Dallas Blitz - Twice last week I saw the RB’s give up sacks from the edge. Bush got on his man but was overwhelmed from the edge by the Rams Long. RT Carimi made the error reacting to an inside blitz that never materialized, however as all Emmitt Smith fans can recall, RB’s need to be able to make that block. When Ware gets by Webb on the edge, he should be able to blow up the RB from what I saw last week.

OLB Ware vs LT Webb – TE Davis will probably be stuck on the W side. Not the strong or the weak, but the “Ware” side. He will go in motion if Ware flips to adjust. Webb is super strong but can be beat to the outside. He has the strength to drive players into the ground as they bend around them. I don’t see this working with Ware. Conversely Ware is no one trick pony. When Webb does his stretch slide to the outside he leaves a huge gap between himself and the G. He does not possess the quickness to come back inside when Ware uses spin or swim techniques to adjust his route to the QB. This matchup is key to creating a close and personal relationship between Ware and Cutler. If Ware gets a solo from his new dance partner expect good results. Nuthin but luv.
TE Jason Witten vs Chicago LB Core - The question Chicago is asking itself this week, do we cover Witten with a LB? PLEASE disrespect him this way. I want you to, no I double-dog-dare you to do this. Witten had a busted spleen people. He will be the Witten of old soon. Chicago needs to guess which week. Murray gets going in the running game that will free Witten up and this game is over.
Devin Hester vs Dallas Special Teams – If you have not heard of Devin Hester and do not shave yet you get a pass. Otherwise there is really nothing to say about this critical match up. Directional punting (out of bounds) results in short fields as often as not. This is NOT an easy task. One I would have felt much better about if we had McBriar (sans drop foot). We have a very solid Jones and he has been excellent so far. Big test on MNF.

Injuries – Every team has them. We are (however) only worried about one team and we have a lot. Do you sit Witten and let him heal through the bye week? I dont’ think so. That would reflect a setback and I don’t believe he has had any physical setbacks. Does Sensabaugh come back this week or do you get him rest through the bye? Ratliff? And so on, we will revisit this later in the week.

The Cowboys should win this Monday at home. Look for the D to set the tone. Look for the O to get back on track. Special Teams is a wild card. We have to win 2 of the three phases to notch another victory. Coach D gets his team to play like last week, we will do OK, but let’s not forget we should have had a punt blocked. Lucky is not good. Come on Coach D. Time to evolve! Nice to see we have lost our “we beat the World Champions” priviliged atitude. Now let’s go take care of the Bears.

Author: Steven Van Over


Rafael Vela

Started covering Dallas Cowboys @ TheBoys.comin '95 and '96. Two more stops along the way and here I am. Senior Analyst for SportsTalkLine.com
Rafael Vela

Rafael Vela

Started covering Dallas Cowboys @ TheBoys.com in '95 and '96. Two more stops along the way and here I am. Senior Analyst for SportsTalkLine.com