My fellow-blogger Patrick gave us all an interesting viewpoint on what was wrong with the Cowboys defense last week (see The Tom Brady Effect). While Roy Williams' absence could be the key to the defensive woes that occurred last week against Washington, the usually explosive offense that suddenly seemed stagnant raises many questions and concerns. We here at DallasDedicated would like to give you some reasons why the 'Boys all of a sudden seemed beatable. It's time for some belated bitching:
Marion Barber only getting 8 carries
There is absolutely no excuse for Barber only getting 8 carries. Dallas only went with the rush 10 times (2 for Owens), and even the coaching staff couldn't come up with a good reason following the game. At first, Wade Phillips blamed himself. Then the next day, Phillips tacked the decisions onto Tony Romo. Apparently there were 15 "check down" plays called for Romo, where Romo decides whether it is best to rush or pass once he sees how the defense is set up. Whatever the reason, this needs to be the last time we see Marion 'The Barbarian' get ignored so much in a game. In the Week 3 win in Green Bay, the most valuable player on the team was Barber. While he only averaged 3.3 yards per play Sunday, part of the reason Barber is so effective is how he wears down the defense throughout the game. After a few plays with not a lot of gain, Jason Garrett decided to just stick with passing. Outside of the Texas Tech playbook, ignoring the rush simply becomes ineffective.
Felix Jones...where are you?
If I didn't know better, I would have thought that Felix Jones had been injured. Felix Jones had ZERO carries! One of the most positive things of the early Cowboys' season has been Felix. Not only has he had a touchdown in the first 3 games of his professional career, they have all come on game-changing big plays. Wouldn't Felix had been a perfect option during the crucial times we needed a first down? He has been nothing short of amazing so far, and not getting even one offensive play is inexcusable. Our running game is a key to our offense moving down the field, and Dallas tried to play without both runners last week. The final score says it all.
Tony Romo actually outplayed
This rarely happens, but Tony Romo was not the best quarterback. Not only did Jason Campbell have zero turnovers (which by the way, Cowboys have yet to get an interception this season), he played with more charisma and just plain wanted the win more. Tony Romo is said to be one of the most competitive players in the entire NFL, yet we did not see a spark out of Romo until he was down 9 with just over 2 minutes to play. The one turnover every game I can live with (last 7 games that has happened), but only when it doesn't cost the team. His risk-taking finally cost us a win. I'm not going to be too hard on the guy, I love Romo more than Jessica Simpson does. Some columnists around the area aren't being so nice though. If you have ever seen Tony play golf, you know that he plays it exactly like he plays football. While every other golfer would be conservative and try to hit around the water to avoid the 2 stroke penalty, Romo will ALWAYS try to hit it over the water. That is just who he is, a risk taker. Romo is always compared to Favre, who is/was the exact same way, so the one interception a game will just have to be accepted. While Favre had an interception as well last week, he countered it with 6 touchdown passes. Tony Romo was outplayed for the first time in a long time, and I hope I don't type those words again for the rest of the year. Romo is great, but he needs to play great for the Cowboys to be Super Bowl contenders.
T.O's postgame banter
Ok, so Owens wasn't happy with the way the game turned out. Join the club! It is absolutely ridiculous for Owens to whine to the media about the offense not going through him enough when the exact opposite is true. Out of the 59 offensive plays the Cowboys had, 19 were either thrown towards Owens or handed to him. Almost one-third of the entire offense was for T.O! How could he complain about this? He had only 2 catches against Green Bay, and that was a win! I have a couple complaints myself, but these are geared towards Owens. He is by far the strongest receiver in the game, yet play after play he was punked by Shawn Springs at the line of scrimmage. Looking at the way teams have played towards Owens recently, it is becoming clear what the game plan is to stopping T.O. They are trying to be more physical, and Owens needs to push back. If the refs are going to let the corners push and poke off the line, Owens needs to push off and free himself to get open. Multiple times last week the ball was up in the air for Owens and he was simply outhustled by Springs and the safeties in pursuit. Terrell is so quick to criticize the play-calling and offense, but he needs to include himself in the blame game. I hope we don't see the old 'Unhappy' Owens start to creep back into the mix.
The Cowboys went from perfection to third in the division in just one week. However, the season is early and the team is very capable of getting it back on track. The yet to win Cincinnati Bengals come into town Sunday, and a win could put the Cowboys right back into first place. This NFC East is becoming tighter as every week passes, and Dallas can't afford to lose a second game in a row, especially against a struggling Bengals team. We will have all the postgame analysis following the game.
Coming tomorrow: It is just 26 days away until the Mavs season begins, and the preseason opener is Tuesday night. There are many questions coming into this season, and DallasDedicated is here to sort everything out.