JJT does the Q&A thing again, but he leads it off with a little ode to Anthony Henry. Or, more accurately, he takes another shot at Bill Parcells. I wonder what the Tuna did to JJT? Anyway, whatever slings and arrows JJT suffered at the hands of Parcells, he discusses how Henry played through an injury over the last half of the season that limited his effectiveness. But then he drops this half-truth on us:
This is not an excuse. It’s a reason why the guy who played better than Terence Newman in 2005 struggled much of last season. Henry could barely run.
OK, I admit that during the first half of 2005 Anthony Henry was playing very well and was probably the defensive MVP in that first half. But...a groin injury in October limited his effectiveness and playing time down the stretch of that season, almost an exact duplicate of 2006. So while Henry played well for half the season, I can’t say he outplayed Newman for the whole season. I just thought it was important to be somewhat accurate in recounting Henry’s time in Big D.
And this brings up a more serious question, is Henry injury-prone? Can we count on him for a full season worth of games? I guess we’ll find out this year. When he’s healthy, he can play.
This was the most interesting Q&A in the article.
Q: People believe the increased pressure by Wade Phillips’ defense will be a riskier scheme. How risky is it not to rush the passer and let professional quarterbacks bake a cake back there and then just throw the ball to the man being "covered" by Roy Williams?
TAYLOR: I understand your point, but that’s an elementary view. There’s nothing wrong with pressuring the quarterback as long as you get there. San Diego led the NFL with 61 sacks. They blitzed, and it worked. When Dallas blitzed last year, the Cowboys often failed to sack the quarterback. There wasn’t much difference in any other defensive statistics. Dallas gave up fewer 20-yard pass plays (43 to 45), fewer 20-yard runs (5 to 8), a lower percentage of 4-yard runs (41.3 to 42.7) and forced more turnovers (31 to 28). Each team allowed three 100-yard rushers. The point is that Dallas had a wretched December, which is why it faded. It’ll be interesting to see how Phillips’ scheme works.
The Cowboys did blitz more last year than people actually remember, but we just couldn’t get to the QB regularly. It might be the case that the offenses weren’t at all confused about where the blitz was coming from. Part of the effectiveness of blitzes is the confusion they can cause in the blocking scheme. But I rarely remember the Cowboys getting a man running free in the backfield, they almost always had to fight through blocks. Maybe the key to Wade’s blitz scheme, besides having talented pass rushers across the line, is the unpredictability of who is coming, and the movement by the defense disguising the blitz.
It should be fun to watch, as long as the Cowboys personnel can make it work like the San Diego personnel did. If they can’t, it could be a difficult season.
Nick Eatman checks in with ex-CFL WR Jamel Richardson who is working hard to make the Cowboys roster. He’s got a tough job in breaking through at receiver on this team. We know TNT will be the starters and Patrick Crayton is going to be the number three guy. It’s almost certain that Isaiah Stanback will make the roster as the Cowboys understood when they drafted him that he was a project with his switching positions and overcoming injury. Add to that the excellent rookie performances of Sam Hurd and Miles Austin, and there’s just no vacancy at the inn. Maybe a practice squad candidate?
Here’s Richardson comparing NFL cornerbacks to CFL cornerbacks.
After three years in the CFL, Richardson said the biggest difference he sees between the two leagues is right in front of him - before every play.
"Really, the biggest change is going against cornerbacks who are your size and have the same athletic ability," Richardson said. "That's the biggest difference. Usually, the guys up there are small and fast. But you can just muscle them. But here, you can muscle some of them, but really you have to use your technique a lot better in this league. And they're all really fast."