The field at Cowboys Stadium is the standard length and width, correct?
Because it looks like the Cowboys are playing on the Incredible Shrinking Field.
With each passing week, the Dallas offense's inability to stretch the field is becoming more problematic. 'Backers are crowding. Corners are creeping. Safeties are sitting. More and more defenders are occupying less and less space. This universal contraction will continue, and it could get worse before it gets better.
Cosmically speaking, the Cowboys need a Big Bang. There's just not enough vertical explosion.
Jon Kitna's done a nice job. He's a pro's pro who clearly commands the respect of his teammates. Kitna makes quick reads and is accurate in the three-step "get it out of your hand" game. But the more hitches and slants he completes, the more defenses pack it in. Dallas rushed for 110 yards Sunday night against the Eagles. Kitna had 27 of that, and Miles Austin had more yards rushing (26 on that first quarter reverse) than receiving (22 on two catches). Speedster Felix Jones barely eclipsed three yards per carry and Autograph Hound Tashard Choice averaged a smidge over two yards. The main reason? Eleven Eagle defenders playing in an area the size of a phone booth. You saw, of course, those young Eagle corners--in the absence of Asante Samuel-- brazenly squatting on short routes. Why worry about the deep ball? It's not coming.
Stretch is needed. Unfortunately, "Stretch" won't reappear until Training Camp 2011 (if indeed there is one) when "Stretch" recovers from his surgically repaired broken fibula. Didn't you think the absence of Dez Bryant was painfully apparent Sunday? Not only does 88 represent a constant vertical threat, Kitna had achieved a rapport with Bryant he has yet to develop with any other Dallas wideout. Miles Austin right now is an enigma, defined as a three-syllable synonym for "mess." He could wind up being the clinical definition of Premature Compensation.
It's no stretch to say that lack of same threatens to hamstring the Dallas offense for the remaining three games.
Might be a good idea to remeasure the field at Cowboy Stadium. As the field seems to shrink, so does the Cowboy arsenal.
Speaking of shrinking (from responsibilty), there's the Dallas defense. Tomorrow.