Though it seemed as if nothing happened this week besides an interracial llama couple on the run and a WHITE AND GOLD dress, the sports world was still turning. I discuss the impact of the Dez Bryant rumors, LeBron James returning to form, Kentucky basketball, Bossman Jr. Upton & more in this weeks sports rundown.
We’re less than a half an hour away from Monday night kickoff. The Cowboys have been picked to win across the board in this matchup against a less than stellar Washington Redskins team. I’ve said it over and over again, you can never underestimate a team in a Cowboys-Redskins matchup. This is one of the most storied rivalries in football and regardless who is good and who is bad both teams almost always come to play. The Redskins hate the Cowboys like no other, and they hate even more that the Cowboys are having new found success. Here’s my 3 keys to dominating and winning this football game.
1. Continue to run the ball but use Randle and Dunbar more
- The Cowboys need to stick to this run/pass game balance that has led them to a 6-1 start. My only issue with this is Demarco’s durability. Lance Dunbar and Joseph Randle are not DeMarco and we all know that but these guys are very capable of helping this team. Let Murray run the ball and dominate as he has all season but take 4-8 of those 26.7 carries and distribute them amongst the other two. It sticks to your new running mindset but helps to preserve the league leading rusher.
2. Rush Colt McCoy all night
- This is a QB who never had a fair shot as a starter in Cleveland. He was surrounded by an awful team and quite frankly he isn’t a bad quarterback. McCoy will come into this game not only hungry for a win but ready to show that he deserves another shot as a starter. Not to mention with RG3 being as injury prone as he is, he wants to lock up 2nd string over Kirk Cousins. The key to not letting Colt McCoy have a good night is to continuously pressure him. He hasn’t played enough snaps in recent years to be able to sustain a fast and consistent pass rush of bigger faster linebackers such as Justin Durant and Bruce Carter
3. Keep working Terrance Williams
- Terrance Williams has had a stellar season to this point. Dez Bryant will always garner more attention and while that happens take advantage of the mismatch Terrance Williams gives you. In multiple games this year all the attention has been on Dez Bryant leaving Terrance Williams in easy 1 on 1 matchups in which he consistently has outshined defenses. Specifically in Seattle. As Terrance Williams continues to show out he begins drawing more defensive attention which in turn gives you the opportunity to go to none other than Dez down the stretch in the game. If Romo can work Williams and Witten for the first half unless he has Dez in an obvious 1 on 1 mismatch we have a good chance at seeing Dez throw up the X in the second half
Something magical is happening in Dallas and it’s time everyone finally believes it’s real. Forget Jerry Jones and his “credit” for drafting three monster offensive linemen in the past three years. We all know Johnny Football would’ve been the starter in Dallas week 2 had Stephen Jones not stopped good ole Jerry from bringing the media circus to Texas. Forget Jason Garrett and the “credit” he too is getting for finally running the football. It took three years for the Cowboys to stick to the pound the potato method, and wouldn’t you know it, it works! Coincidentally it comes at a time where Jason Garrett has ceded all play calling responsibilities to the likes of Bill Callahan & Rod Marinelli. The only important decision Jason Garrett gets to make these days is who is going to cater the teams lunch for the week, and when to challenge plays which I’m sure he’ll screw up magnificently at some important moment this season.
The success in Dallas is more than running the football, it’s more than a defense that was the second worst in NFL history becoming a top 15 defense the next season, it’s the new found mentality these maturing Cowboys are playing with. No one on this Dallas team wants to accept credit for the accomplishments to date this season. Dez Bryant, the emotional middle school bully that we’ve all seen on the sidelines is dead and gone. There is no blame being thrown around on this team on a botched play, instead advice offered, Obviously DeMarco Murray becoming the first runningback in NFL history deserves loads of credit for this success, but with that comes a fresh defense. A fresh defense can make HUGE 3rd down stops that they couldn’t in 2013 (i.e. Saints record breaking 40 first downs). This fresh defense can also produce turnovers. Those turnovers bring your NFL top 5 offensive line back into the game to allow them to block for the league leading rusher DeMarco Murray. The opposing defenses plan around Murray, which allows your 3 time pro bowl QB (which you all hate to agree should be a 5X pro-bowler) in Tony Romo to work the play action and throw to the man child that is Dez Bryant. See what I’m getting at here?
There’s never been a question whether the talent is in Dallas, the question has always been why can’t they produce. This Cowboys team the past three literally average 8-8 seasons is very eerily comparable to Detroit in terms of a talented team not performing. The coaching staff hasn’t changed monumentally but these young talents are maturing. They are learning to understand the true game of professional football and beginning to thrive. Tony Romo & Jason Witten are the grandfathers of this team, and what a hell of a pair of grandfathers to have at the helm of this resurgence. This team doesn’t have to depend on Jason Witten to run a 10 yard curl and settle in between two defenders to pick up a big first down anymore (Can ANYONE explain to me how this still continuously works?!?!), Terrance Williams proved that last week in Seattle. As for the defense, Rod Marinelli has come in and rejuvinated an absolutely DECIMATED team. What Jerry Jones does get credit for is taking the risk on Rolando McClain. A move had to be made, and the high risk, high reward factor was more than evident. Well I’ll be damned, the 25 year old former 8th overall pick still has some game in him. Justin Durant, Barry Church, Georgie Selvie, none of which are older than the age of 27 have all stepped into their roles and whenever someone is hit, the team is flocking 2013 Seahawk like to help finish the tackle.
Not only is this Dallas Cowboys team 6-1, but they’re a very dangerous confident team. Plenty of times you’ll see teams that get way too comfortable and have the rug swept out from under their feet. This team finally sees what it is like to be a top contender, and they want it. Every game they’ve won, they’ve battled start to finish to earn a win, there’s been no slacking or walk through…Except for the one game, even though I cant remember WHO DAT was. Looking ahead the Cowboys have a potential trap game in Washington if they get too comfortable and a tough battle against Arizona in the near future. Two weeks from now I could be sitting here talking about an 8-1 Dallas Cowboys team going into Tony Romo’s best month of November. The world is waiting and watching for Romo & these Cowboys to fail but I’m sorry to say to those, these boys are the real deal. Hell, even if they go 3-6 the rest of the year (Don’t get your hopes up, two games vs Washington, one vs JAX) they’ll have improved from the last three seasons. If you didn’t pick up on the ages being thrown around, the Cowboys are the 4th youngest team in the NFL which can be a huge factor towards the end of the season when older teams are wearing down.
The point is, this teams has surpassed expectations and still has a very long way to go to quiet the critics but 6-1 isn’t a bad way to start. Philadelphia fans are waiting to wake up from this bad dream of a competition for 1st in the NFC East that they all thought was locked up coming into the season. The Chicago Bears & Indianapolis Colts are looking ahead at their late season schedule with worries as opposed to joy to play the Cowboys at a time where a loss may knock you out off playoff contention. Most importantly, the Cowboys are looking at themselves as contenders and feeding off of the success & energy being displayed across the board in big D.