It's game day for the Cowboys as they prepare to take on hated-rival Washington. Here are some last-minute news links to sustain you.
If Dallas can stop the run, quarterback Rex Grossman could be in for a long night facing an intense pass rush led by outside linebackers DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, a duo Ryan calls "the lizards."
"He calls us that because we're the small guys and we should be able to play multiple positions," Ware said. "We're playing tackle, nose, end, outside linebacker. We're just trying to make the defense look a little different."
The Post's Mike Wise with a decidedly Redskins view on something I partially agree with. The media reaction to Romo's injuries have been over the top. Though, in the same vein that the criticism's the week before were extreme jumps to conclusions as well.
Very short article, here's the core:
Said Sapp: "And even more than that, DeAngelo Hall, last time I remember, you're not one of the most feared hitters in this game, so you should be asking for a safety over the top with the burn rate you have, giving up the third-most touchdowns in the NFL. There are a couple things you need to do over than worry about Tony Romo's ribs."
Bryant needed more time with the trainers to loosen up that bruised thigh. Cowboys officials thought Bryant could play in Week 2 vs. the 49ers, but he couldn't get the leg loose in warmups.
No need for that Monday, because the treatment sessions he underwent this week should allow him to participate vs. the Redskins.
It will be interesting to see if Bryant wears thigh pads vs. the Redskins. There is a thought that thigh pads, rarely used anymore, could have helped Bryant from getting hurt vs. the Jets in Week 1. The pads might have absorbed the blow.
Newman and Jenkins are the biggest injuries on defense.
Jenkins is still recovering from a bruised shoulder, suffered when he was blindsided in the Jets game. Jenkins also has a hyperextended knee that is getting better. Jenkins said he needed the time off to heal because he's going to be sore for a while.
Newman, when asked about the groin injury that has kept him out this season, said: "It works. It's attached."
Newman showed some good lateral movement and even fielded some punts in practice last week. The extra day was also good for him.
Includes a shout to closet Cowboys fan, JimmyK, who told me last week he had no concerns over the NFC East race because the Eagles are clearly the division's most talented team and have bigger things to worry about than our trivial teams.
At various points over the past week, the SB Nation family has engaged in a bit of back and forth over the upcoming Monday night battle between two heated rivals. While Cowboys fans respect all opponents, the luster of the matchup with the Washington Redskins may have lost some of it's luster due to the Cowboys winning 19 out of the last 25 matchups between the two. For obsessive-compulsive Redskins fans though, there remains no bigger, more hated symbol of all of their suffering than the Dallas Cowboys.
There were four Q&A sessions throughout the week, and although the timing of the interviews allowed some of the injury updates to be, well, outdated, they are still good reads for all.
Many thanks to Hogs Haven's Kevin Ewoldt along with HH and SBN DC's Daniel Shiferaw for their participation.
SB Nation Dallas: How would you analyze the progression of the Redskins 3-4 defense from last season? Is the run defense as bad as it appears in the stats or do the games tell a different story? (4.8 ypc against, 32nd ranked Run D DVOA from FO, 30th by PFF)
Daniel Shiferaw: The Redskins run defense has had two bad stretches so far this season. One in the first half against the Giants, keyed by a drive where Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs seemingly took over before Bradshaw punched it in for the score. The second time they really struggled was in the second half of the Arizona game, where Beanie Wells nearly racked up 100 yards in that half alone. The Redskins run defense was caught off balance in the second half by inside runs (mostly draws), because they believed the Cardinals would have abandoned the run and stick strictly with the pass.
SB Nation D.C.: Though the Redskins have started 2-0, are they still considered the division doormat for the rest of the NFC East?KD Drummond: Doormat? No. I think many Cowboys fans have taken notice to the Redskins improvement, but there is always going to be a 'hate your rival' slant to comments and opinions. There is a lot of doubt as to whom the Redskins have played. Many saw a downward turn for the Giants and no one in the NFC West gets respect. The quality of their play on offense has been noted. Defensively, individual performances such as Ryan Kerrigan are getting their respect, but the run defense looks like it might be the elixir to Dallas' run-blocking problems.
I will say that Rex Grossman doesn't get much respect from most fans, despite the statistics. Most view him as a turnover machine who happened to not get burned by them the first two weeks. I would say Dallas fans still view the Eagles as the major competition and feel that the Cowboys have more potential than Washington and New York, who would be graded equally.
But it's early in the season, and many things at the one-eighth mark of the season can be mirages.
Blogging The Boys: Evaluate the play of QB Rex Grossman so far. How much has his play been a catalyst or a hindrance to victory? What's he doing well, and where's he having problems?
Hogs Haven: Rex Grossman's play I would give a "B." He has been a catalyst to victory for sure because he's the only QB on this roster that can run Shanahan's offense at the exact tempo it needs to be run. Timing is everything. If guys aren't where they are suppose to be and the ball is not in the air at the exact, correct moment - things go very bad. (*cough* McNabb *cough*).
My biggest issues with Grossman is that he fails to see blind side pressure well (main reason for so many prior year fumbles), and he has the tendency to float some passes. The vastly improved running game (Hightower and Helu) and upgrade at Center (Casey Rabach was on par with Alex Barron in effectiveness last year) alleviate a lot of problems. The Redskins rank #1 in the NFL in time of possession. That is what Grossman has brought to the table.
Hogs Haven: How has Rob Ryan's defense differed from years past (blitz packages, are players being used differently)? What's making it work better?
Blogging The Boys: It's a night and day difference. The Cowboys defense in previous years was very static, guys usually lined up in the same places, and there wasn't much disguise going on. Offenses knew what was coming, so the Cowboys had to win the individual battles to make it work.
Ryan has them doing all kinds of things. They move around before the snap, they put players in positions where you wouldn't expect them, you never know who will rush and who will drop back in coverage. It's a complicated, fluid scheme that can confuse offenses. Outside of the cornerback position detailed above, the defense has been very good. We're getting pressure and sacks, and not just from DeMarcus Ware. Sean Lee has become a beast in the middle and is a tackling machine. This is an attacking defense, with a different mind-set than before.