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Brad vs. Brooks; No good option

Wade Phillips' resistance to proclaiming Brad Johnson the starter in yesterday's news conference is making the rounds in the media. Sure, Wade finally got around to saying Brad would start, but it took several direct questions to get him to say it. Even when he did, you got the feeling he was just doing it to shut-down that line of questioning. Any way you look at it, there is definitely some thought going on at the Ranch about Brooks Bollinger playing some kind of role in the game on Sunday against the Giants.

One thing Phillips was determined about in the press conference was that the offense struggled against the Bucs. Contrary to Wade's normal impulse of sweeping unpleasant things under the rug, he actually stated the offense was bad on several occasions. It's not rocket-science to note that only 172 yards and one TD is an offense that didn't win the game, but merely stayed in the game while the defense saved the day. The Cowboys probably wouldn't be so lucky this week in the Meadowlands.

So is Brooks Bollinger really a better option? It's a very tough call. Brad Johnson did "win" the game last weekend but even his most-noted attribute on the day - no turnovers - is somewhat misleading. There were several throws that ended up hitting the hands of Tampa defenders but they were unable to complete the transaction. If just one of those turned into an interception Dallas might have lost. I will give credit to Brad for one thing, when he saw the sacks coming he covered up the ball and went down, he didn't risk the football in those situations. Come Sunday, there might be a great need for that skill as the Giants can bring the pressure with the best of them. I can see a day full of blitzes from all angles and tight coverage on the receivers because defenses will not respect the possibility of Johnson and the Cowboys going deep.

But what of Bollinger? Can he do anything significantly better than Brad that would warrant putting him in the game? He's younger, so just by age alone he might be a little better at moving around and occasionally tucking the ball and running for yards. But he's no sprinter, he's not even Romo, he's just younger so his legs move a little better than Johnson's. If you look at his sack numbers over the games he's played, they're pretty high. He also will be rusty, and the Cowboys offense is a timing offense, so there's a possibility he could connect at an even lower rate than Johnson has so far. One thing he could bring is a better arm for going downfield. If he could connect on a couple of passes deep, there's the possibility the Giants would have to back off an aggressive defense to some extent, although my guess is they will still come at any QB the Cowboys put on the field Sunday.

What's the point? The Cowboys just don't have any good options on Sunday at QB. Whether it's Brad or Brooks, everything will depend on the rest of the team to win. The offensive line will have to have one of their best games of the season in pass protection and they will need to open holes for the running game. The defense will need another stellar effort like last Sunday; the pass rush needs to rattle Eli and the young guns in the secondary will need to play the game of their short-careers. Even the special teams will probably need to chip in a big play or two.

So I'm not going to stress out about Brad or Brooks, either way, they'll have one job - don't hurt the team with turnovers. It will be up to everyone else to win the game.

JJT says start Brad and have Brooks ready to go at a moments notice. I tend to agree.

Our young CB's need to perform again this week.  

It's weird how almost everyone on our team who is injured is expected to come back after the bye week. Heck, even suspended CB Pacman Jones will have his situation reviewed at that time.  

In my What They're Saying post after the Bucs game, I called Ken Hamlin the master chef. You guys thought I was just playing off the food theme of that article, but Hamlin really is the master chef. 


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