Man, what a game. I spent all Sunday watching or paying attention to any game that I could and this was BY FAR the most exciting game this weekend. Only the Packers and Saints game comes anywhere close. However, there is a lot of pessimism and SILVING LINING going around on BTB lately. So here we go, lets see what we learned from this game and what we can expect from the Cowboys moving forward. Let's take this game under the microscope and see it for what it REALLY is:
-What we learned
- Our guys have apparently grasped a hold on this defense. It still isn't complete but they are starting to understand the defensive scheme. Lets see what happens when they get a full grasp on it.
- Rob Ryan has also instilled some intensity into this defense as I constantly heard and even said throughout this game myself, this is BY FAR the most physical game this weekend. Cowboys came to play and we are seeing the intensity that we want to be there.
- The backups are willing to step up and play when needed. Newman was out and we lost Scandrick at the beginning to a minor injury (ankle sprain) and Jenkins was in and out of the game. We only had 2 corners in for much of the game but they were able to hold up pretty well until the Jets took advantage of some confusion on one case and it cost us a touchdown (Burress' TD).
- This team doesn't care where the momentum is, they're still going to make plays. We used to see all of the time the opposing offense get some momentum and just run over us. All of the turnovers we forced were times where the supposed "MOMENTUM" was with the Jets.
- Cowboys could be one of the most physical teams in the league this year. All of the analysts were shocked by the intensity from the Cowboys last night.
- The offensive line, although inexperienced is ready to play. Pass protection was pretty good, although they did get a lot of help.
- Cowboys may have one of the best running games in the league this year. We went toe to toe with the Jets in the running game. 17 carries for 44 yards for Felix isn't great, but the Jets averaged about the same thing for the game. Jets averaged 2.8 yards per carry while we averaged 2.5. That says something about our running game as well as our defense.
- Cowboys are finally going to get back to going deep again. We did not get to see it much at the beginning of last year. A good running game helps out with that a lot though.
My two cents and some interesting questions:
- Is Revis really as good as advertised? Just bear with me for a second. How long has he been playing for the Jets? Since 2007. It wasn't until Rex Ryan came with his scheme that they became a great defense. Anyone remember that in 2008 they were ranked 29th in pass defense? Revis DID GET BEAT in that game. Sure Dez is a great player and a playmaker, but Kevin Ogletree? Go back and watch the game and you'll see that Revis was covering Ogletree on a play and made Revis look silly on the play. So, is Revis as good as advertised or is this more a bi-product of Rex Ryan and the Media instilling fear into opponents and receivers? He is good, probably still the best corner in the league, but not as good as they say he is. We will touch on this a little later.
- Romo wants to make plays and do whatever it takes. Any quarterback that lowers his head and tries to get the touchdown like he did at the goal line takes some courage. Most QBs get injured doing that. He lost the ball but luckily came away from that unscathed. He still carries the ball too low and going into traffic needs to know to always keep TWO HANDS ON THE BALL. The only thing Romo needs to get into his head is that ball security comes first at all times. No I'm not crazy, he has learned better ball security. Its just that when the game is on the line, you see him forget about ball security and starts just trying to make the play.
- That interception that Romo threw. Was that a bad decision by him, a good play by Revis or a good call by Rex Ryan? It's impossible to be all three. So lets break down that last play. Rex called a safety over the top on Dez Bryant with Revis covering. Romo saw Revis even with Dez and threw a back shoulder fade, good decision. The ball was thrown a little low though, bad throw. Rex Ryan calls for safety help for Revis, good call. My ruling: a good defensive call by Rex knowing what Romo would do in that. That is all Rex and good situational film study and play calling. By placing a Safety over the top, Revis ran even with Dez the make the coverage tight and then turned around and sat underneath the route knowing he had safety help over the top. In other words, if he doesn't have safety help over the top, the pick doesn't happen most likely and Dez probably makes a play on the ball and the back shoulder probably works. Evaluation for Romo is an okay decision based on what he saw, BAD PLAY RECOGNITION, Bad (low) Throw that should have been higher. Evaluation for Revis is good job following exactly what you were supposed to do on the play. Evaluation for Rex is BRILLIANT PLAY CALL. Pat on the back for the outcome there goes to Rex Ryan... NOT REVIS. ANY CORNER would have made that play in that exact same situation. Also, if Alan Ball catches that ball two plays later, that play is almost completely forgotten as THAT would have been someone making a play, not a great play call by the DC.
- I have spent a lot of time praising Joe Decamillis, but is he really as good as advertised. I love his intensity and our special teams are light years better than they were with our last coordinator, but there seems to be a punt blocked every year he has been here so far...
- This is going to be the most difficult opponent that we play all year. Only one other opponent really worries me to any degree, and that is New England who we play in a few weeks.
- Most important goal right now is to be able to make it to the bye week on a positive. Do that and we are doing better than last season which is a good sign. Plus with all of the injuries and people on PUP and everything else we will need that extra week and it gives Rob more time with his players to talk them up and teach his scheme some more, although some players (Sean Lee) seem to have it down already.
- Rex said after the game that he wants to see us in the Super Bowl. LT had a big game for them and was a primary reason for them moving the ball at all. If Bruce Carter had been on the field with all of his playmaking ability and speed, does LT have the effect that he had? We might even be the ones blocking a punt too. Just something to think about going forward...
In conclusion, lets see this game for what it is. Romo played great but just needs to keep it in his head that ball security is always the most important and don't make quick decisions on good defenses in that situation because a guy like Rex is going to throw you a curveball (NO ONE EVER EXPECTED SAFETY HELP FOR REVIS). Read the field and make smart decisions and take care of the ball before anything else. Also, if he runs with the ball he needs to learn to carry it higher. He was almost stripped earlier on a scramble too.
This defense is much further along than anyone expected. However, the culture change is still in effect and the process is not yet complete. Without an off-season to work with his players, Jason Garrett still needs some time to instill this new culture and let it completely sink in. The same thing with Rex Ryan with his defense. The lockout really screwed over everyone and I think we saw that across the NFL this opening weekend.
ONE LOSS IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD, especially one of the leagues top three defenses two years running. Lets wait before we start calling for players heads, unless you really just want to see us flop so we can just get a high draft pick. However if that is the case, please don't visit BTB until the season ends...
NOW, time to put this behind us and get ready for the 49ers. And as far as I've seen, if our special teams plays better and can cover kicks, we should have a pretty good advantage in that game as Ted Ginn Jr. scored two of their three touchdowns that game on a punt and kickoff return.