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ESPN Insider provides solid analysis of Cowboys

Good analysis by Gary Horton of ESPN Insider (sub. req.) of the Cowboys going into the 2006 season. A few highlights:

The only negative thing about this new offensive formation is that with two tight ends as a part of your basic set, we may see defenses put eight defenders in the box, which could make it a little tougher for [Julius] Jones to find those holes.

Lord, we can only hope that defenses put eight guys in the box against our 2-TE set. That almost guarantees mismatches in the coverage scheme and sets Glenn or Owens up for single coverage. This is the exact scenario that Parcells is hoping for and would lead to big seasons for TNT and Witten.
Owens might be spending much of his time clearing out the middle for tight end Jason Witten or taking away double coverages from Terry Glenn, and it will be interesting to see if he handles those roles well. Much of his success will depend on turning short catches into long gains. He has a tremendous ability to run after the catch and knows how to push off and separate, which should allow Drew Bledsoe to get the ball out quickly and avoid sacks. Owens can be a great player in this offense without having terrific stats, but will he be patient with Bledsoe and Parcells?

This is the big question. What happens if teams clamp down on Owens and the Cowboys utilize Witten or Glenn? Normally, this would be great, but we all know that Owens is not your normal WR, both on the field and off.

Another point Horton makes is that Julius Jones will have more freedom to choose his holes because he will not be following a lead fullback. This probably plays more to Jones' strength as a running back.

As for the defense, Horton thinks we might go to more Cover 1 schemes were the FS plays centerfield which allows Roy Williams to play closer to the line where he is most effective.

Parcells does not like to blitz a lot and take chances, but defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is a little more of a gambler and has two corners he really trusts in Anthony Henry and Terence Newman. Zimmer is not afraid to put them on an island with no safety help over the top. The Cowboys' primary scheme in the secondary last year was a Cover 2, but we may not see that as much in 2006. Strong safety Roy Williams is a great player, but the one weakness of his game is pass coverage. When you put him in the deep half of the field, not only does it negate his ability to come up and make big hits versus the run, it also exposes some of his limitations.

Look for Dallas to play a lot of Cover 1 and man free schemes. Williams can play close to the line of scrimmage, almost like a linebacker, and projected free safety Marcus Coleman can control the deep middle of the field and help out the corners if necessary. Look for the coaching staff to be really creative in training camp on finding ways to get Williams more involved closer to the line of scrimmage with a variety of coverage schemes and more blitzing. This is a defense capable of creating a lot of big plays.

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