What a weird season, huh? Nobody really knows who this team is. I don't even think they know who they are. The offense has been pretty mum except for the emergence of DeMarco Murray. The yuglies have performed about as well as everyone thought they would. Doug Free was a huge re-signing but has struggled. Dan Bailey put our kicking concerns to rest when everyone thought it would be another nightmare. Many players we wanted gone are gone, except inexplicably for this Buehler guy. Romo has played both hero and monster. Rob Ryan is a genius with the same crew as last year, except when he's not. All these things have culminated into an unfeeling .500 staring coldly back at us.
Anyway, here's some statistics!
Playing second fiddle? I agree. It sure feels like Tony has disappeared from the 'importance' of the games, doesn't it? I mean it feels like he's taking a back seat to all the good and all the bad thats been going on lately. Its weird, but I kind of like it. Detractors will say we aren't taking about him because he's not good enough to carry us. K, that's fine. A man known for losing games for us early in the season is now... not losing games for us? I'll take it, its refreshing. OK so, his passing is a bit off, up to this point he's throwing more than usual while not improving his receptions, leading to a 2% drop in accuracy. The weird data points? The Lions games and Rams games. The Lions game was his most attempts and his most accurate, not to mention his most interceptions. Without those interceptions, it would have been his best performance of the year, not to mention probably the biggest win. His lowest passing attempts came against the Rams when we suddenly had a running game thanks to DeMarco Murray. In the 3 games that we've had Murray for, Romo has played conservatively since the absolute need to pass is lessened. Except of course against the Eagles where the defense letting us down forced our hand into taking more, less accurate, shots.
Speaking of that game, screw you Marty B! Romo would have gone 3 straight games without an INT if you hadn't flailed around on the field. Had Marty B not done that, arguably the least 'on Romo' INT of the season, Tony would have been on pace for two less INTs at 12, one good game's performance away from my projection, 11. At this point I really don't see him actually throwing 14, should be less than that at least.
How's Romo doing? Good enough so far, not much more than that honestly. Feels weird, but it'll be good for us so long as our other stars shine through.
Witten is another player who I feel has gone quiet, just a feeling. He's partially a victim of the 'conservative' passing game as of late. Truth is in recent weeks he's caught less passes than usual but up to this point has gotten more efficient in the yards he's gotten out of those receptions. Still projects for a 1K season.
Injuries and conservative passing make for a unproductive season. It's sad. Miles was on fire against SF, I had hoped to see more of that this season. He's missed two games already and will now miss 2-3 more, so it would appear he'll simply repeat his production from the first half to the second. That means as of right now he'll miss a 1K season by what looks to be a wide margin.
Honestly Dez has been underwheling, I hate to say that. He is certainly catching less balls than he should have. Then again, everybody's receptions have been down. This kid should be able to break 1K, so far it doesn't look like it, he could surprise us though.
Felix has been hands down the biggest disappointment of the year. Many of us were quite certain he would have a breakout year. Truth is, he's had one good game this whole season, and has only one touchdown. Even had he not been injured he would have been on pace for 809.6 yards. That is simply not good enough for our lead back. It would be good however for a secondary back, which is what he really is.
Conversely the biggest surprise of the season has been DeMarco Murray. The RBs were a crowded room and I don't usually expect anything out of rookies at skill positions, especially those taken after round 2, so he is quite the surprise. We all know about his single game cowboys record he broke, but heres the deal. This kid has played in 3 games, 3! and compared to the league he ranks 13th in yards with an outstanding 6.7 YPC. I'm quite happy with him, he's got that all important 'vision'. Can he keep it up? I have no idea. But for the moment I'll just say he's had a great 3 game debut and if he does keep it up he is unequivocally our #1 back. Assuming the coaches do the right thing and allow him to start from now on he is on pace for 1,500 yards. Insane? Yes, you must take into account his record-breaking game. Still, he definitely has a shot at breaking 1K this season. I'm going to be cautious with my labeling of him, but this kid has been very promising so far.
Ware is currently half a sack behind Jared Allen for the season sack leader. Its surprising how he blew up in that Eagles game isn't it?
Spencer. So, he did his annual disappearing act for 4 games, sounds like a trend to me. I had said earlier that he could disappear and still have the ability to get to 11 sacks, still true. Likely? Doesn't feel quite like it. Even if he does make it, it would probably be due to 1 game in which he goes crazy. Not so sure that would mean much in this contract year. Many people still hold the opinion he should walk. I don't disagree. However, given some of our other weaknesses, I don't feel like he's a part of the problem as much as he isn't apart of the solution as much as Ware or Lee are. I would give him a 1 year contract perhaps, unless someone like Upshaw is sitting there as our BPA in round 1.
The secondary has combined for 6 INTs. Meh?
Ratliff isn't talked about much these days. Rightfully so, he's only had a couple of good games this season.
Lee still leads the team in combined tackles even with being injured for 2 games, could be top 10 in the league if not for that injury. Very pleased with his work. And who are these analysts who were saying he is a liability in coverage? The kid has 5 PDef and 3 INTs, what more do you want?
Honorable mention: Bruce Carter already has a PDef since debuting in very limited snaps, thought you might want to know that.
This team is a game away. A game away from what you might ask? Well, several things, I think. This team was an Eagles game collapse away from us all feeling pretty good about them. Romo was a Detroit game away from us feeling good about him. More importantly, this team is a Buffalo game away from being relevant. Seriously. I know it's been said repeatedly how we have a soft schedule ahead of us, but what's that supposed to mean? That we can beat bad teams? I wouldn't feel great about that. Beating Buffalo is important right now. It would mean we can beat good teams, not just hang in there with them. Beating SF was huge I think, given that they are currently the 2nd best team in the league. But, we need to prove that wasn't just an aberration. We need to prove the opposite, that the Eagles game was an aberration.
The Bills are ranked as the 10th best team in NFL.com's power rankings. We need to go out there and smack them in the jaw and bring home a win. If we lost to them and then went on a 3 game streak beating the Skins, Dolphins, and the Cardinals, who cares? At that point there wouldn't be any real reason to think we could top the Giants and win the division. Losing to the Bills would mean even if we squeaked our way into the playoffs because the Giants collapsed, we'd probably be one and done. Real exciting... We'll see where we are after Sunday.