Doomsday or Doomsday Defense

After watching the Dallas Cowboys win another close game, as a true fan I usually have a conversation with myself. Considering that I am the ultimate pessimist, I know that I have the ability to make a sunny day seem like a crappy one (yes I used crappy).  Don’t worry, I’ll log in some time with my psychiatrist, aka “The Editor”. I digress, so back to the story, the conversation usually goes like this:

“Me:” Self

“Self” Yes Roger

“Me:” How long will this defensive luck last…

“Self:” This season, take it game by game….

Let me state for the record that I am enjoying the success the team has had while winning ten in a row. The Cowboys have shown more heart and determination in these first eleven games of the season than they’ve shown in Garrett’s entire time as head coach. Garrett has taken control of this roster and earned the players respect. More importantly, he has earned Jerry & Stephen Jones trust. I’m not sure that the “Jason Garrett is nothing more than Jerry’s Puppet” conversation has any merit anymore. I’ll bet you a “Fat Tuesday’s 100 yd Daiquiri” that Rolando Mcclain will not see any part of the 53-man roster this year,and I’d be surprised if he ever returns. I’m sure that Randy Gregory has to be tip-toeing the hallways of “The Star”. Garrett has created a locker room culture that will not tolerate distractions, and that’s why you see Dez Bryant walk back his comments from Sunday. Even the big kahuna Tony Romo had a press conference to quell any whispers of rebellion. Albert Breer via TheMMQB.com reported that Romo went to team officals asking for the opportunity to compete with Dak Prescott in practice. That makes me question: if that meeting was private, why would the team let that get out, it doesn’t help the situation. One thing for sure, Jerry will be Jerry: there is nothing he loves more than running his mouth to promote conversations about his beloved team, and that is one thing that Garrett cannot stop or control.

Back to the pessimistic part of this article and why I am having a hard time believing that this defense will allow a Super Bowl run. Before we get started, let’s define the term “belief”. If you believe in Webster Dictionary, it defines “belief” as an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.Just by definition alone, it would be hard for my pessimistic mind to believe that this defense is going to get better. Besides the teams’ offensive-line, I would be surprised if any other unit outworks this defensive-line. You can not question their will to be great, but the pass rush is anemic. The reality is that through eleven games, the defense is ranked twenty-second in the league, giving up 362 total yards a game. The team ranks third in rushing yards allowed (surrendering 81 yards a game) and thirtieth in passing yards allowed (280 yards a game). I know what you are saying! What’s the end result? I get that the team is still walking away with victories but the real question should be is this sustainable or a recipe for long-term success. If you take a look at the running backs that the Cowboys defense has faced in the first eleven games, the only one that is a consistent all-pro is Le’Veon Bell and you could argue that he was just getting in the groove of the season after his suspension. The Cowboys front seven has been solid, but not spectacular. Although Sean Lee is playing lights-out, he’s the only one that you can count on from the linebackers group to make a splash play in the passing game and those have been missing from his game. Would you say that his move from MLB to WLB has been a success? In the terms of health you would have to give it a B+ but you miss his effectiveness in zone play and his ability to jump routes in the middle of the field. Anthony Hitchens and Justin Durant have just been guys and that’s not good enough in this defensive scheme.

When talking to Cowboys fans about the team’s defensive performance over the season, the first thing said is that Dallas hasn’t invested in a quality player, but that is not entirely true. The team has drafted quality players the last two to three years, but they have missed badly due to the organization’s BELIEF in taking risks with their second round picks. Randy Gregory and Jaylon Smith were both reaches, but in different ways. Gregory had off-the-field problems and Smith was injured. It’s easy to play the “what if?” game with both players, but as crazy as it sounds, I was more comfortable with picking Gregory more than I was Smith due to the nature of his injury. Gregory reminded me of a young Charles Haley with the potential to provide a solid pass rush for years to come, but his personal demons could jeopardize his career. When Charles Haley has given up on you, that says a lot. The organization will need to change its drafting philosophy when it comes to weighing potential vs. risk. To use basketball terms, it’s ok to go for the easy layup on the fast break rather than going for the three (that’s for you Golden St. Warrior fans). 

I will go on the record as saying that I think that the new age NFL game may have passed our beloved Coach Marinelli by. Orlando Scandrick was quoted yesterday saying that it’s never been mentioned in a meeting that the defense  is a “bend but don’t break” system and that they strive to be dominant. I’m sure that is true, but philosophies are what defensive coordinators live by. Marinelli would rather make an offense drive eighty yards to score than give up one big play. If you watched Thursday’s game, someone forgot to give Anthony Brown the memo. I can live with the rookie mistakes he makes because of his aggressiveness and solid tackling skills. Plus, he’s not the only one struggling in coverage.  Marinelli hasn’t helped the secondary out by sending more than one blitzer. When he does blitz, it’s usually either Sean Lee or Orlando Scandrick off of the corner, so I’m sure that opposing coordinators know how the Cowboys like to blitz. I’m not asking for a complex system like Rob Ryan’s, but a little imagination could go a long way in helping with the defensive-line’s inability to create pressure with four rushers.

Is it the system or the players? With Matt Eberflus taking on a larger role on the defensive side, could we see a transition in the off-season? With the Cowboys being a middle of the road defense, the likelihood that Eberflus will get the opportunity to lead another defense is slim, but the fact that he has the experience of coaching in both a 3-4 and 4-3 defense could bode well for him. Marinelli signed a three year contract in 2015 and I would be surprised if the team pulled the trigger to replace him due to the lack of any big name coordinators being available. But if Rex Ryan is fired in Buffalo, would the Cowboys look his way? I doubt it, and it’s not because he’s an exclusive 3-4 coach. Jason Garrett doesn’t have room for coaches with big personalities. No one has a bigger one than Rex. I would have pulled the trigger when Jim Schwartz was available, but Garrett seems to be loyal.

That’s why Rich Bisaccia still has a job, and that may not be a good thing.

So Mote It Be!

Cowboys vs. Steelers

Two of the NFL’s most successful dynasties will do battle on Sunday afternoon and most of America will be tuned in to see if the Cowboys can continue their successful run. We all know that this team has surpassed all expectations on its way to their 7-1 record but the most surprising aspect of this season so far has been the attitude of the players in the locker room. The kumbaya feeling will be put to the test now that Tony Romo has finally made his way back into practice on a full-time basis and the reports of him looking good while taking scout team reps must have Jason Garrett grabbing for the Mylanta that is probably located in one of his desk drawers and I for one do not envy his position.

mylanta

Earlier in the week, Jason’s boss (that’s Jerry) says that it will be the decision of the coaching staff if/when Romo is added to the 46-man game roster which sounds like a bunch of malarky. It’s hard for me to believe that Jerry will allow Red Ball to make that important of a decision on his own, you ask why? I’ll give you $20 million reasons why Jerry will make this decision and if I was in the Head Coach’s position, I might just let him influence me. We know that the team needs to find out what they have in Romo and how he and his enormous salary as well as his skills fit in the confines of the teams salary cap. Don’t fool yourself by thinking that salary will not play a part in the teams decision of going forward due to the organization owing him $19 million in 2017. I’m wondering if approached would Romo take a pay cut to lower his cap account and ask for a fair competition in 2017. Dak Prescott is signed to the team for three more years and I believe that he can mentally handle Romo coming back, knowing that he’s represented himself respectfully during his tenure as the starter, the real question is if Romo is inserted back as the starter and the team goes on a losing streak or he has one of his three interception games, the fan base and most likely the team will rebel and everything Jason Garrett has built this season will flush down the toilet.

On to Sundays game! Big Ben has always been in my top three of quarterbacks in the NFL. His ability to hang in the pocket and make the big throw, no matter what is going on around him in the pocket has allowed him to become a Super Bowl Champion. There was time in his career that I thought his immaturity would get him traded from Pittsburgh but maybe the married life has slowed him down. Although he’s been injured this season, you can never count him out. With his mobility being hampered while he recovers from knee surgery, I would change our defensive philosophy by blitzing Ben any chance that I had. There’s no reason to give Slim-Roethlisberger more than three seconds in the pocket due to the fact that we may not have a cornerback that can handle Antonio Brown for four quarters. I’m not sure if Scandrick has gotten his stamina up but he better be ready for a full dose of Brown because this guy is a top five wide receiver that runs precise routes and isn’t scared to go over the middle. Darius Hayward-Bey and Markus Wheaton will miss the game Sunday which should relieve some pressure from the Cowboys secondary. The front seven will have their hands full with Le’Veon Bell as he tries to get on-track from his early season suspension. The Steelers have touted a strong passing game under the direction of Todd Haley and as most smart humans have accomplished, he’s been able to change his philosophy for the betterment of the team.

Coming into this game I had a hard time with over-estimating the Steelers defense, thinking that this was the Steel Curtain from the past. Gone is Troy Polamalu and Co. from the Super Bowl days. The Steelers defense is ranked 24th in the league against the pass and twentieth in the league against the rush allowing 4.2 yards per carry. I expect a big game from Ezekiel Elliott with this defense surrendering 120 yards for an average of 4.6 yards per carry. Dak Prescott will not have a hard time finding Dez Bryant this game and he will surpass 100 yards and get a touchdown. Jason Witten has found the fountain of youth and will have six catch game but will only get 60 yards in this game, due to the Steelers taking away Prescott’s newfound security blanket. Cole Beasley will continue his hot streak but will not surpass 80 yards in this game due to the Steelers zone defense.

My prediction is that the Cowboys will lose this game 21-17 with Dak Prescott throwing a late interception to seal the Cowboys fate. I hope it’s not true but I believe that Antonio Brown will have a big game against the Cowboys defense and with an anemic pass rush, Big Ben will have a field day.

So Mote It Be!

Election Season

I can’t start this article without saying congratulations to the Chicago Cubs and their fan base. I have to admit, I only tuned into game five and six partially but from what I read and heard in my travels the series was exciting and might go down as one of the most memorable World Series in history. Baseball is officially over and Roger Goodell can see if the reason his precious ratings were down because of great baseball or his poor dictatorship.

With elections four days away, I thought it would be interesting to put a spin on this piece article and tie it into our political system. As I see it, on the morning of November 9th, it won’t matter who we voted for but how we as citizens decide to live our lives. We can continue to go on the path of decisiveness or come together. The beauty of sports is that you have a group of individuals that come together to accomplish a larger goal and that is a championship. After the Cowboys hard fought victory against the Giants, I took the time to watch Jason Garrett’s emotional speech and realized that a locker room is the ultimate melting pot of people from different races, personalities and even religions.

https://youtu.be/QPnSFRd0o6s

So now that i got the mushy stuff off my chest, I’ve decided to hold my own election, appointing the most important people in the Cowboys organization who have played a big part in the teams first seven games of the season and assign them a position that is within our elected and appointed officials. The titles and job descriptions may not match exactly but sit back, relax and leave a comment if you do not agree.

President of the United States: Jerry Jones

You probably think I have lost my mind and I might agree with you. In his 74 years on this earth with twenty-seven of those years owning the Cowboys, as a fan watching Jerry’s football decisions has either given you heartburn or a heart attack. I wouldn’t want to waste your time with all of the bonehead decisions that he has made over the years but you can’t deny his passion for his organization or the teams fan base. Some of us may miss the days of Jerry writing a check his butt could cash in free agency but the reality is he missed on most of those wild transactions but as he’s aged, he has allowed the people that he pays as well as his apparent successors to make hard decisions about this roster and even the coaching staff. Jerry Jones continues to be the voice of reason within the NFL owners and has been credited with the Rams coming back to Los Angeles and I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s not beating the drums for the Raiders to relocate to Sin City. The charismatic owner hobnobs with the likes of George Bush Jr and Gov. Chris Christie to Jay-Z and Lebron James and he’s even had Prince Bandar bin Sultan when the team was having early success. Jerry Jones will continue to chase championships long after he leaves this earth.

Vice-President: Jason Garrett

Good ol’ Red Ball has finally gotten his stuff together, or so it seems. Garrett’s coaching career started off shaky with bad decisions and poor game management but he’s turned it around in 2016. He’s navigated the loss of o-line guru Bill Callahan and a meddlesome boss and has started reaping the benefit. I’m under the belief that Jason shares a relationship with Jerry that no other coach since Jimmy Johnson has had. Garrett has earned the trust of the owner as well as his team. Most coaches would agree that it’s a fine line of having the respect of the players and not being a puppet of management and Garrett has walked the tight rope like Philippe Petit. The players believe in Garrett and he hasn’t let them down. Matter of fact, he’s let his sack drop with gutsy decisions like going for it on fourth and even a fake punt.

Speaker of the House: Jason Witten

The Speaker of the House serves as the presiding officer of the U.S. House of Representatives. The speaker represents constituents and acts as administrative head of the house as well as many other duties. In his thirteen years as a Dallas Cowboy, he has played many roles but the most important one has been the leader, sound of reason and most consistent player this organization has had. He’s dealt with egomaniac personalities like Terrell Owens and our very own Dez Bryant.

What more could you ask for in a leader? I know, stats that match his responsibilities. Last week Witten has set the organizations record of 204 career starts and consecutive starts with 154 and he’s an example on how players should handle themselves on and off the field. With that being said, I have to admit that I have mentioned in the past that the Cowboys should consider trading him due to his inability to stretch the field like he did in his younger days but now that I’ve been under the care of an expensive psychiatrist, I understand the errors of my thinking.

Secretary of State: Ezekiel Elliott

What more can I say about Ezekiel Elliott? He’s surpassed my expectations as a runner and he’s been exceptional in his ability to step up in pass protection. Although he’s fond of half-shirts that have caused him major grief in his short career, this kid is all dog. The Secretary of State is tasked with communicating America’s foreign policies and throughout the first seven games, Elliott has delivered a message through his physical play to opposing defenses and the message is simple, “Bring Your Lunch, because it’s going to be a long day”. The young runner was lacking patience in the first two games of the season but has shown that he is a quick learner on his way to lead the NFL in rushing with 799 yards on 159 attempts and has shown soft hands in the passing game. It was rough running last week against the Eagles and Elliott showed the grit that is needed week in and week out to have lasting power.

The Cowboys head into Cleveland as the second best team in the NFL behind the Patriots. The team has a two game lead in the NFC East and are expected to roll over the Browns on their way to a seven game winning streak. I doubt that the Browns will roll over and show them their bellies. This game will be a close one as we get to see Dak Prescott perform against another rookie quarterback in Cody Kessler who is coming back from a concussion. Terrell Pryor has impressed me as he continues to make believers with his change from quarterback to wide receiver and I expect him to have a big game against the Cowboys cornerbacks with 6 catches for 84 yards. Duke Johnson will lead the Browns rushing attack with 16 rushes for 75 yards. Joe Haden will match up with Dez Bryant and Linehan will have to put Bryant in the slot which will allow him to get a clean release off the line. Dez will go over 100 yards in this game and catch a touchdown pass. Ezekiel Elliott will continue his tear but it will take him three quarters to get his one hundred yard game but rest easy fantasy football players because he’ll get two touchdowns on his way to a Cowboys victory.

The final score will be 28-14 with the Cowboys winning a tough road game.

So Mote It Be

Swoop Who?

The Eagles fly into Dallas on Sunday night to prove that they belong in the conversation for the NFC East championship. Head Coach Doug Pederson and his offense has not been as impressive as you would think considering that he’s been tied to Andy Reid’s hip for the last seven years before being hired to save the Eagles from Chip Kelly’s massive failure. Kelly’s time in Philly was a blessing for Cowboys fans because he stripped them of all of their talent (LeSean McCoy, Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin) all while amassing a 27-21 record in three seasons. Chip also signed Demarco Murray and Kiko Alonso and those proved to be bad fits for the organization. Pederson has his quarterback of the future in Carson Wentz at the most important position in football so if he can surround him with more explosive players, he should see the end of his contract.

The Eagles will have to find a way to move the ball on the Cowboys defense and they most likely will start on the ground. Ryan Matthews has been a disappointment this year only averaging 3.9 yards a carry on 67 attempts for 262 yards. Darren Sproles has a 4.6 yard average but he’s not going to carry the ball consistently but where he will hurt you is catching passes out of the backfield and on flare routes. Sproles has seventeen catches on the season for 210 yards and doesn’t seem to be slowing down at 33 years old. Jordan Matthews leads the Eagles receivers with 25 receptions for 354 yards and two touchdowns and only has three drops for the season which has been one of his achilles heels since entering the league. Nelson Agholor hasn’t lived up to the expectations placed on him when the Eagles drafted him in the first round last year and they added another player in Dorial Green-Beckham who has been a disappointment.

The Cowboys have been dealing with alot of confusion about their offense and it’s not gotten better since Romo decided to wear a practice jersey and start slinging passes like government cheese. I’m not here to argue who should be starting or not but I will hold Jason Garrett responsible for his decision. If you were to ask me my opinion on the quarterback position, I would definitely give it to you but I am not a coach nor have I seen practices on a weekly basis. The reality is that this is a division game that is high on emotions and tape. If you haven’t realized that games that are played within your division are close, I do not know what to say. The reality is that Eli Manning is the elder statesman in the NFC East and with the weapons that he has, it’s hard to bet against him. The Eagles are a team with a strong defensive line that is coached by Jim Schwartz who is a solid defensive coordinator. If you want me to be completely honest, I was hoping that Jason Garrett would have fired Rod Marinelli for him. You can’t ignore that he is a top defensive coordinator that has been able to get production from the players on his side of the ball. The defensive side of this team hasn’t allowed a lot points and this game will not be different. Ezekiel Elliot has been on a tear and it’s not going to end there and i expect the score to be over 45 points with a solid showing with the special teams scoring at least ten points with field goals by Dan Bailey being the difference.

The Cowboys will win this game with the running game and play action passing being the key to victory for the team. I expect the Cowboys to try and keep the ball away from the Eagles like they’ve done the whole season against teams. Ezekiel Elliott will run for 130 yards and two touchdowns against the Eagles front seven. I am hoping that Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan limit Dak Prescott to no more than 20 attempts in this game because Malcolm Jenkins is an opportunistic ball hawk and I can see the Eagles blitzing Prescott trying to get him to make a mistake. Everyone is talking about how Zack Martin is having an all-pro season and I couldn’t agree more but he will earn his lunch by blocking Fletcher Cox for sixty minutes and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cox going against Ron Leary to see if there are chinks in his armor. Jason Witten has traditionally had big games against the Eagles but I am worried that we are seeing a decline in his play which would make resigning him a question mark as we move forward.

My pick for this game is the Cowboys winning a close one 21-17 with Ezekiel Elliott having two touchdowns, one on the ground and one receiving. Prescott will throw another pick and the Romo countdown will begin. It’s been an interesting year as a Cowboys fan so far. Walking around my city with apparel on, the first thing that people have asked me “Is Romo coming back” and “why ruin a good thing once it’s rolling”. The reality is that Romo should play once he comes back and the reason behind that thought process is that you have to know what you’re working with for the 2017 season. There is no way a big decision that will have ramifications on the teams future salary cap be made without seeing a sample of Romo’s play.

I hope that the Jones brain trust have learned a lesson about refinancing players contracts for the future. There is a need to have smarter decisions on signing players because we have seen the team overpay for poor performances and mortgage the future for short term happiness. GYST Jerry!

Kibbles and Bits

Jerry Jones

The Cowboys are resting this week. Although some of us hate the thought of having to go two weeks without a game, the team needs the time off to get healthy. With the organization sitting at 5-1, the record can cloud the weaknesses that we’ve seen so far. The defensive pass rush has been anemic. They have logged nine sacks, which ranks them 27th in the league. As most football fans know this will not be good enough to be successful in the playoffs. In most people’s mind, Rod Marinelli has worked miracles with a roster full of no-names. However I have become a little impatient with the lack of results from this defense.

I understand that the Cowboys have not invested in the defensive line the same way they have the offense. Yet this is an offense first league. The team’s persistence has paid off with a dominant offensive line that boasts three legitimate Pro Bowlers. Many people questioned whether having three high-priced offensive lineman was feasible in the salary cap era. The Cowboys have fit Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith’s high priced contracts under the cap and they’ll uncover the cash to pay Zack Martin when the time comes. I would bet my imaginary stock in the MGM Grand that the team will find enough money to keep La’el Collins when his contract is up and they will use the money that they save from Romo’s contract to do it (Cut him or retirement in 2018, You heard it here first).

In free-agency the Dallas Cowboys signed defensive end Benson Mayowa to a 3 year/8.25 million contract with a $3 million dollar bonus to rush the passer. Mayowa has rewarded the team with two sacks and three tackles which is pedestrian for his salary, especially considering that he had a big opportunity for increased playing time due to Demarcus Lawrence’s four game suspension. Cedric Thornton’s signing has been confusing to me as well. He’s had a hard time even breaking into the starting lineup after receiving a 4 year/$17 million dollar contract which included a $5 million dollar signing bonus. Thornton averaged a sack a year with the Eagles in four years, but he only has one sack in six games with the team so far. This signing seems like a desperate reach for Will McClay and staff; time will only tell if Thornton is a high-priced rotational defensive tackle or if he is having a hard time adjusting to the change in defensive scheme. In my opinion, the Cowboys gave Tyrone Crawford a “Brandon Carr” free agent contract in 2015. They’ll regret this signing in 2017 when he’ll earn a base salary of $7 million while his production doesn’t match the pay. The Cowboys defensive line accounts for approximately $13 million dollars in 2016: they have nine sacks. Sound bad? You be the judge.

There are ten games left in the season, and no one knows how it will end. Fans are so concerned with the Romo vs. Dak debate that they’ve failed to realize this defense has been blessed with the ability to give up a lot of yards without surrendering a ton of points. The problem is no one can be sure whether the current defensive approach is sustainable. The team will welcome Orlando Scandrick back to the fold after the bye week. You have to question if there is a rush to bring him back due to the high quality play of Anthony Brown. Garrett and Marinelli should wait for the Cleveland game to bring Scandrick back. That way he can string 4-6 good practices together to get better acclimated to the speed of the game. The way that this team is playing, there is no room for adjusting on the fly.

I am pleasantly surprised with the mindset of this 2016 team and impressed with the job Jason Garrett has done at this point of the season. With ten games remaining, and the schedule not looking as formidable as before, the organization would be crazy not to tighten up the roster by trading Darren McFadden and Gavin Escobar.  It would not hurt to look at the Bengals or Vikings practice squads for a fringe player that may add something for a late run. Dion Jordan with the Dolphins could be available but he is still rehabbing an injury from 2015.

I doubt that the Cowboys will crash and burn. It’s been interesting to see how teams have dealt with injuries this early in the season. I have no sympathy for them. The Pittsburgh Steelers without Big Ben? Tough break, get a real backup, we’ve “been there, done that” taking a beating by the mainstream media and fans in the process.

Smile Cowboys fans. It’s ok. It could be worse. Soak in the 5-1 record. We will hear about it whether we win or lose. It’s hard being America’s Team.

So Mote It Be!

Cowboys – Beasts of the East

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders

The Cowboys are 4-1 heading into Green Bay on Sunday. Are you excited? Did you honestly believe that the team would be in this position after Romo’s injury five games into the season? I have to be honest with you, I didn’t. There’s no reason to relive the last five games because if you’re a true fan, you’ve watched it. If not, let me give you a quick synopsis, strong running game, efficient passing game and a defense that hasn’t been on the field. The critics have said that the Cowboys have had a soft schedule the first four games heading into Cincinnati so the team responds with one of its more inspiring victories. AJ Green held in check, Jeremy Hill was quiet and the feared Bengals defensive line was held to a house cats purr. So what else does this team have to do to earn some respect? Beat the Packers!

Green Bay comes in allowing 42 rushing yards a game which is quite impressive. Some people will say that the quality of teams that they have played the first five games has been conducive to their number one ranking in rush defense. My response to these NFL pundits is SO WHAT!, this is the NFL and what you see is what you get. The Packers will have to prove their ranking on Sunday against the NFL’s number one ranked rushing offense that is averaging 155 yards a game.If you’re not excited about this game, you must be brain dead. Dom Capers vs. Scott Linehan, Clay Matthews vs. Doug Free and Tyron Smith will be a part of the chess game on Sunday afternoon. Nick Perry has 4.5 sacks and Clay Matthews has beaten the steroids accusations to get 3 sacks in this young season. I’m under the belief that Capers will dial up a wide assortment of blitz packages to try and rattle Prescott during the game and these packages will be used during perceived running downs. It will take Ezekiel Elliott three quarters to break the hundred yard barrier but it will happen by the fourth quarter. Dez Bryant will not play in this game but like previous games it won’t matter because this offense under Prescott is not about the splash plays, it is about taking what the defense will give you.

The Packers will be without Sam Shields and Chris Banjo with Damarious Randall being questionable for the showdown. The Cowboys wide receiver group is a C+ group without Bryant and that might be enough for this game. Terrence Williams will have over 100 yards for this game and don’t be surprised if Witten has six or more catches in this game because I do not believe that the Packers linebackers group is as proficient in pass coverage as believed. If the team decides to run the ball with Lucky Whitehead it might lead to disaster so the game plan needs to be more exotic than the past. The Packers defensive line is not the same from the past but they hustle and are assignment strong. Doug Free will have to be on his game which will allow Prescott to go through his reads and Cole Beasley and the offense will benefit if the line is able to give him three to five seconds of time in the passing game. Would anyone within the CowboysNation want to bet that the offense has 350+ offensive yards?? I know it won’t matter if Linehan continues to have Prescott operate from the shotgun inside the ten yard line. There’s a time to get cute but it’s not inside the ten yard line, get under the center and as the Hulk would say “SMASH”.

Aaron Rodgers is a pro bowl player and it doesn’t take long for them to get in a groove. Coming into this game, sportswriters are saying that Rodgers doesn’t look the same and some are even questioning his health. If Rodgers is struggling, I hope it continues in this game because this secondary may not be equipped to handle Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb or Davante Adams. The Packers have always been deep at receiver which gives Rodgers the ability to extend plays that could get the Cowboys in trouble. The real question is if Marinelli and staff has prepared the defense to see a heavy dose of crossing patterns. If I am Marinelli, I make the Packers beat me with their running game and you have to feel good that Eddie Lacy and James Starks are coming into the game with injuries. I know it sounds sick wishing bodily harm on another human being but So Mote It Be! If the Cowboys defense has to deal with a one dimensional offense, no one in the Cowboys Nation will cry over it.

Demarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford will have a hard time getting to Rodgers and the key will be the pressure that Maliek Collins and Terrell McClain can bring in the middle of the defense. Marinelli should allow the defensive tackles to get in the flow of the game before he starts his substitutions because at times there has been a drop off in production. If our beloved defensive coordinator is taking suggestions then I would silently whisper to him that he needs to stop the Andrew Gachkar experiment and allow Damien Wilson to get some needed playing time. I’m not at practice daily but when I see Gachkar it takes me back to the Keith Brooking days of strong will but not enough athleticism to compete. Could this be the game that Anthony Brown’s lack of experience is exposed? Let’s hope not because this could become a long game for fans.

This game is hard to call with Prescott playing lights out and the Cowboys running game functioning on all cylinders but heavy is the head who calls himself king (or something like that). I think that the Packers will be too much for this young team and unfortunately the Cowboys will lose 31-17, taking this loss into their bye week and more quarterback controversy.

So Mote It Be!