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Film review: Defense, Cowboys @ Packers

Film review for the defense. You can read about the offense, here.

NT - Coach Wade Phillips already talked about what a great job Jay Ratliff did in that game. I concur. He had multiple pressures on the QB, got a sack and was very active in the run game. Besides, how many teams can drop a 3-4 NT into a zone blitz coverage scheme as the Cowboys did with the Rat? The guy was a steal when we drafted him. I didn't see Tank Johnson do a whole lot in the game; he did have a nice tackle on a run in the redzone and did a nice job against a draw play. But I didn't see him get into the backfield much.

DE - Chris Canty had a couple of tackles against the run and almost had an interception. Other than that, not much was happening. Marcus Spears was largely invisible, which is hard for a man that large. He had a semi-pressure once and almost made a tackle for loss but missed it. I was praising Spears for his work in the preseason but it really hasn't translated to the regular season yet. Both Jason Hatcher and Stephen Bowen had little effect on the outcome. In fact, the defensive ends so far are not really making plays, I'm a little disappointed in the results from this position.

OLB - DeMarcus Ware didn't end up with a lot of stats, but he did apply a lot of pressure and made plays that don't always end up on the stat sheet. He had four plays where he chased Aaron Rodgers around the backfield, one almost ended up as an interception and he got a coverage sack late in the game. He also did a good job on the run making a few tackles, but once gave up edge contain that led to a decent run. Greg Ellis could have had a big night; he got to Rodgers twice but couldn't complete the sacks.

ILB - Zach Thomas was very active against the run. I have him down for four good plays in stopping the run and a nice tackle after a short pass. Plus, he had a sack. Thomas is very good at recognizing the run and shooting through the traffic to make the tackle. He's been a big upgrade for us at linebacker. Bradie James was also very active against the run and racked up an impressive number of tackles. These two in the middle are one of the reasons Wade Phillips can say you don't run on the Dallas Cowboys. Kevin Burnett showed up on a few plays, he made a good tackle on a draw play, had a fairly good blitz and drew a holding call on a screen pass. He was also about to light-up a Packer receiver but he pulled off when the pass was dropped. Oh yeah, Bobby Carpenter actually made a partial tackle on a short pass.

CB - It was good to have Terence Newman back. He played a good game because he was rarely on screen. That means they weren't throwing to his guy. He did end up with some tackles and gave up a few passes at the end of the game when it was out of reach, but so did almost every player in the secondary. Like Wade said, the whole secondary needs to tighten it up in the 2-minute defense. Anthony Henry had a big night. He got two sacks in the redzone blitzing from his hybrid LB/S position in the dime and got another QB pressure. He also made a nice tackle in the run game. About the only negative I saw from him was a couple of poor tackles giving up some YAC. I apologize to Adam Jones, I nailed him earlier in the week for giving up the long bomb to Driver, but it was actually Hamlin's fault. I guess I just couldn't believe Hamlin would be that far out of position. Jones actually played a good game. He caused the fumble early in the game and recovered it and made quite a few tackles including closing hard on a short pass in the redzone. Except for dropping a sure interception late in the game at the goal line, he played well. Mike Jenkins gave up a few passes with bad coverage and missed a couple of tackles, but still wasn't beaten for anything significant. For a rookie CB, he's looking pretty good. Orlando Scandrick mainly saw special teams duty.

S - Ken Hamlin gave up the long bomb mentioned earlier where he was way out of position after biting on a route in the middle leaving the whole left side of the secondary vacant. He also picked up a holding penalty in the endzone on their TD drive. But he was involved in a lot of tackles after catches helping to limit the Packers YAC. Pat Watkins made a good tackle on a running play and didn't give up anything deep. I would call that a success for his first starting role in a while. I only saw Courtney Brown make one tackle, but like Watkins I didn't see him give up anything deep and that's a good thing. Keith Davis had a couple of very good tackles on kickoff coverage validating the Cowboys decision to bring him back.


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