Now this is an article after my own heart. Short on hyperbole and extraneous items like did Wade Phillips say something about Spygate or not, and heavy on X’s and O’s with a huge dose of comments from Cowboys defensive coordinator Brian Stewart. The thrust of the article is that both Wade Phillips and Brian Stewart have experience in coaching against the Patriots and have done a good job. I highly recommend you read the whole thing, but here are a few excerpts.
"And they're attacking you by your percentages," added [Brian] Stewart. "Meaning, when they're in a certain formation -- say they've got two tight ends in the game, but they've got one of them [split] so it looks like a receiver in slot on one side and a tight end in slot on the other side, so two-by-two. All they do is get in that formation and look at every single tape you have and what you do against that formation, then they play the percentages to beat what you like to do against that formation."
Stewart also says the Cowboys defensive players are still learning the Phillips 34 and un-learning the Parcells 2-gap scheme.
"There's always somebody for the running back, so if it's not you, go to the quarterback. We're not, 'OK, you're supposed to be inside the center, stay there, don't move.' That's how they played it before, strictly. They got [chewed out] if they didn't. You're looking at four years of doing it one way and three or four months, including the training camp and OTAs, of doing it another way. When they get worried, they revert back. We've just got to get them to know that, hey, we play football around here. We run to the ball."
Sure to cause a commotion, Don Banks states rather emphatically that this game means more to the Cowboys because it’s a litmus test for how good they truly are. As for the commotion? He says there’s no doubt the AFC is the superior conference.
Why? Because for an NFC that has been humbled and largely dominated by the AFC this decade, it's a measuring stick game that will determine if the best team in the NFL's lightweight conference has what it takes to compete with the best team in the NFL's elite conference. For the Patriots, this is being treated as just another game, and certainly not on the same par as their looming Week 9 trip to Indianapolis, home of the defending Super Bowl champions.
He makes the case that the AFC has gotten stronger because teams have been chasing the dominant Patriots for years and that has helped to elevate those teams. Not sure I buy that theory, but it’s interesting reading material for a Friday.
I’ve attributed the special teams breakdowns in kick coverage the last couple of weeks partly to Keith Davis’ absence. And in one post I speculated that it may be more of his attitude and leadership that is missing than actual on field stuff. This article talks about that subject.
Keith Davis feels he's unblockable when racing downfield to cover a kickoff or punt, and he encourages his teammates to take the same attitude.
"When I'm in the huddle and we're out there getting ready to go cover a kick I look each and every one of them in the eye and I tell them, 'We're the best. Let's play like we're the best,'" Davis said. "That's the attitude we take every time we go cover."
BTW, Davis is still a game-time decision, but it looks promising since he practiced yesterday.
More Nick Folk love, here. This comment from Jeff Ireland is the truth.
"He's got a big leg, and he kicks a straight ball," Ireland said. "One thing you want to see when you watch a kicker is when he kicks it 10 times, you can't tell a difference from kick one to kick four to kick seven. They all look the same. That's important."
On Monday night, the second 53-yarder might as well have been a replay of the first one.
Standard Romo bouncing back article, here.
Spygate comments by Wade Phillips are covered here.
I’ve yet to find anyone outside of Dallas who thinks the Cowboys will win Sunday. That includes the ESPN guys, here.