Cowboys fans! Do I sense a little nervousness from the fan base? Dez Bryant out! Tony Romo out! Jeremy Mincey Out! Orlando Scandrick OUT! The season is over, and a top 10 pick is on the horizon. What’s the talk of the NFC East? The Cowboys are done, the New York Giants have a chance to take over the NFC East. The Redskins have a chance to be good and everyone is waiting for Chip Kelly to get his ish together. Let’s slow the talk down.
No matter the coach, the Washington Redskins continue to have QB issues. I would love to sit down with the GM and the Owner and find out what they are thinking. You have the 2nd pick of the 2012 Draft who is healthy and sitting on the bench and the starting QB giving the ball up like it’s government cheese. The Giants continue to adjust to their offensive system. Eli Manning continues to look like a newborn in Ben McAdoo’s offensive. The defense is solid, but I would challenge Jason Paul Pierre to throw the peace sign, much less handle Tyron Smith. A lot of people think that the Eagles are done, but if you have any football knowledge. you will know that inter-conference hate will prepare any team to fight for their manhood. Is it me, or is Chip the only one that doesn’t know that Sam Bradford has played and finished as many games as Tim Tebow. WHOA!
When the 2014 season ended, I felt that it was important for Jason Garrett to build depth. When the pundits were talking about the draft, the real Cowboys fans knew that there was only 2-3 positions that were really open for competition and everything else was about depth. If you’ve watched football the last 20 years, you know that injuries happen. All 32 teams deal with it so lets stop using it as an excuse. The NFL is about player acquisition. Some teams do it through free agency, and the real teams who have staying power do it through the draft.
That’s why i’m not worried when Ron Leary has a groin pull because that’s why Jerry Jones had La’el Collins and his mother at his house. The Cowboys brass knew that you have to acquire quality talent like Malcolm X said “By Any Means Necessary”.
I have a question for the readers. If anyone that comes to CowboysNation.Com is a doctor and can answer this question and ever comes to Vegas. I will buy you a shot of whatever you desire (within reason). Why is an high ankle sprain like a death sentence? Randy Gregory is a 23 year old athlete who is out for 3-6 weeks with an ankle sprain. I’ve sprained an ankle playing basketball at a local playground on the Eastside of Las Vegas, Lewis Park to be exact. I’ve never been out for 3-6 weeks. Now before you dishonor my name and call me out. I’ve never been asked to set the edge on running plays or rush the passer on 3rd & 10.
My point is that the pass rush was almost non-existent against the Eagles and now that Mincey is out we will have to depend on Ryan Russell and Jack Crawford to provide a consistent rush against Matt Ryan. I know that Lawrence was supposed to provide the pass rush until “The Kraken” returns but I haven’t seen it. With Romo out for eight weeks, the defensive line can’t settle for close, but no cigar. The Cowboys will need splash plays and sacks in order to hold the fort down. In the first three games Terrell McClain provided a strong push from the 3-Tech position and was a presense in the middle but he will be replaced by Davon Coleman and Ken Bishop. I think that this will be the last time that you see McClain on the Cowboys roster, and although he might be a safe pick, it will be good to see youth be served. There is a young red head that believes “With Injury, Opportunity is Provided” so rumble, young man rumble.
The surprise of the team has been the defensive backs. I’m impressed with the consistency of JJ Wilcox & Barry Church. I am going on the record by saying that 3 years is not enough to judge a talent. When the Cowboys drafted Wilcox they knew that he was a project. He’s an athlete that was proficient in a lot of things. I believe that the light bulb has finally popped on and that he understands what his responsibilities are in Marinelli’s 4-3 defense. I’ve stated in my previous posts that I think that the fan base is looking at the wrong safety to replace. Byron Jones has excited the fan base with his play in the first three weeks of the season, and there have been calls for him to replace Wilcox in the base defense. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid people! The Cowboys have never played the traditional defense where the Free Safety and the Strong Safety had defined jobs and profiles. Wilcox has given the Cowboys defense a physical presence that has been missing since Darren Woodson left.
Ask Odell Beckham Jr. how traipsing through the Cowboys secondary worked out for him. With the hit that Wilcox put on him, he let Offensive Coordinators and Wide Receivers know that you better have your head on a swivel when you run skinny posts through the Cowboys defense. Barry Church has continued to provide a steady force as the Strong Safety. His play has shown that he is meticulous in his preparation week in and out. Morris Claiborne has surprised a lot of people, but I knew that if he was healthy going into the season that he would show why he was a 1st round pick and Brandon Carr has been focused. Tyler Patmon has matured but still scares me on routes that carry him across the field. You have to be more than athletically blessed to understand route tree and I expect the Falcons to test his resolve. If I am the Cowboys coaches, I put Claiborne on Julio Jones and tell him to compete. I wouldn’t play man defense all game, but I would challenge him and see how he performs Sunday morning.
The key to the game is if Weeden can play mistake free football and if the Cowboys offensive line can control the line of scrimmage enough to allow Randle and Co. to exploit the Falcons lightweight defensive-line. What may make it easier on the Cowboys is Justin Durant being handicapped by an injury. This might be the week that Scott Linehan decides to unleash Lance Dunbar in the passing game and see if the Falcons linebackers can keep up. With Jason Witten and James Hanna hurting, it seems that the Cowboys running backs might be featured in the first half of the game. Don’t be surprised if the Cowboys running backs combine for ten catches and one touchdown. It will be interesting to see if Geoff Swaim will be on the 46 man roster. My money is that Jason Witten will find a way to be on the field as a decoy to make Weeden’s life a little easier.
My prediction is that the Cowboys game goes over Vegas’s betting line of 44.5 and Weeden will throw two touchdown passes. The defense will allow less than 300 yards total and this will be the game that Joseph Randle goes over 100 yards and show a glimpse of a 3 down back. Sean Lee will have 10+ tackles and the defense will not have a sack.
Cowboys 38 – Falcons 28
I’m Roger Haywood