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Cowboys vs. Panthers: Getting ready

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A night game with no early games to talk about. Weird. I just want to play another ball game. It’s been a long crazy week at the Ranch, one that was probably the worst of the season. Even after the New England loss I felt OK. I could see that we competed with them and if given another shot, we could acquit ourselves well and even win if we get a few breaks. But this loss, bad enough in itself, turned into chaos afterwards with the injuries, the suspension, the Jessica Affair, the Cowboys players chattering to the press about things they should keep in the locker room, or just locked away.

Now, we can at least get back to football. Tonight, we have a chance to use that all-powerful deodorant, the cleanser of sports teams everywhere – winning. Yup, get a ‘W’ on the board and a lot of those troubles that seemed so important are suddenly yesterday’s news – fish wrappers. At 12-2 with a chance for home-field advantage for the playoffs, tonight’s game needs to set everything right again. Momentum needs to be seized, we need to run our record to 13-2 and we need to regain the proper confidence, the swagger. We had it before, but maybe we got a little full of it. A few players remarked on some poor practices recently, that’s a sign of a team losing its edge. The loss to the Eagles should have knocked all vestiges of that kind of confidence out of this team. They need to regain the confidence that is a mix of knowing you’re a great football team but only if you work at it everyday. The NFL is an unforgiving league, you need to be ready each week.

I didn’t have time to do a proper Scouting Report this week. But I’ll do some keys to the game that would have made their way into the Scouting Report.

  1. The Cowboys need to re-establish the running game. The stats from the last couple of weeks are just ridiculous and that trend needs to be reversed. We’re going to be a pass-heavy offense, as it should be, but we need to have some running game. This week Jason Garrett needs to say lesson learned and get back some balance. Here’s an article on the running game.
  1. Make sure Steve Smith isn’t the guy who beats you. The rest of their receivers are average at best. They have a couple of quality running backs but they probably can’t win using only the running game. Steve Smith is the one guy who can change everything in an instant, forget the bad season he’s having, he’s still as dangerous as anybody. Please Wade, get Terence Newman on Smith as often as possible.
  1. Ken Hamlin has to be the traffic cop in the secondary. He has to make sure Keith Davis and Courtney Brown know exactly what their responsibilities are on each play.
  1. Get after Matt Moore. He’s young and inexperienced and he doesn’t have the best offense around him. Our front seven could make our secondary irrelevant by harassing and pounding Moore at every turn. He’s an article about the defense taking over the game.
  1. The Panthers safeties are vulnerable. As always, expect Jason Witten to make a defense pay for not being strong up the middle.

From a Charlotte newspaper; it sounds like the city, the fans and the organization have a little ‘Dallas envy’.

Carolina has had to use young guys to play prominent roles.