We begin a new series today, Crack Hits. Crack Hits will be a weekly series on observations, thoughts, and the future of the Dallas Cowboys. I have covered what basic fundamentals in the hits series Back to basics, now I would like to weekly address BTB nation. We start this week with our win over the Redskins, Anthony Spencer, DC options and general observations made this week. Ok lets get Crack Hits smokin'.
As we came into Sunday's game most of us, including myself, thought the Dallas Cowboys would put up points and win an easy game. Points we scored and win we did, but it was far from easy. The beginning of the game had that feeling where I knew we would win the game no matter what, but the defense again was not comforting at all. A guy I made a point to watch was our beloved OLB Anthony Spencer. On almost every defensive series I payed attention to #93 on the edge and watched him. What I observed is basically what I have seen all season. He isn't the "unblockable" player we saw last year and the guy Jason Witten said was damn hard to block. He did maintain pressure driving his man back but never found a way to spin off or overpower his man to get to the QB. I did notice he still has that nice burst off the line that we all know he has, but really I think he lacks the overall moves necessary to become a good pass rusher. He has a spin and a bull rush, that's about it folks. What's really troubling is Charles Haley came to Valley Ranch this summer and had a session with all the LB's and DL. If you want to see this video check out the mothership, anyway when I watched that video I noticed a lot of technique on handwork and placement. One would think he would have picked up more moves and better technique from a great pass rusher. I also saw Spencer drop into coverage and moved around quite a bit, which since Coach P has taken over we have seen a general sense of creativity that our "defensive guru" Wade lacked. I thought Spencer did a good job on his run assignments and dropping into coverage, and on a few plays did beat his man nearly sacking Grossman.
But a 1st rd pick with just 3 sacks is alarming, especially after a year in which Peter King calls you an All Pro OLB. Spencer finished the game with 2 tackles and a PD. I wouldn't say he had a bad game, but its another one of those games where he just was not dominant and didnt make enough big plays. Compared to other OLB's, especially in a 3-4, Spencer as a 1st rd pick could be labeled a BUST. I mentioned that the other day in a fanpost comment. Maybe I was a little overboard there. But when I take a pass rusher in the 1st rd, I want production, I want constant sacks and pressure. Spencer is either a bust or the player we saw last year that was dominat. I am going to give Spencer a pass for the year, because he is a great athlete with good size and great first step, which is very important in a edge rusher. What Spencer has to do is work, work hard this offseason. Work on your craft, hone that craft and be more creative. Work out with DeMarcus Ware, a man who now has five 10-sack seasons in a row. If Spencer comes to this next upcoming training camp motivated, in shape, and learning new moves for his pass rushing skills, I think Spencer can jump back to where he was in 2009. But its not going to be easy Anthony, hard work pays off, ask DeMarcus Ware. Because you know what Anthony, a guy who comes with his A game is Victor Butler. Butler shows he can get to the passer, he gets it done with limited playing time. I still wonder why he was inactive last week, that pissed me off, but Victor Butler is a guy who has a future here no doubt, regardless if Spencer steps up or doesnt.
I think one area of this game that should be evident to Cowboy fans is exactly how good Miles Austin is, he is a big time WR. Why I emphasize this is because of Sam Hurd's play yesterday. Miles Austin got the same opportunity in 2009, vs the Chiefs. As a matter of fact the same WR missed that game that missed this one, Roy Williams. Hurd drops 2 TD's, 2 TD's Sam would have made you a somebody in this league maybe. Instead we all saw what we already knew, you're a #4 ST WR. Nothing wrong with that, but I've seen a lot of Miles hate going on and I think it is evident how hard it is to be a good player in this league, and I just found it funny that Sam Hurd was given the same opportunity as Miles yesterday, and the cream rises to the top.
Yes, we were stuffed on the goal line, maybe some play action would have been nice there because hey, playaction does work, especially when you're letting teams know you're dedicated to the run and have been running the same run plays in the redzone. But you gotta love that no matter what, Jason Garrett is sticking to the run. That right there is drawing the line in the sand. I can respect that because you're making a statement or at least attempting to. Garrett is going to get better with more games and time folks, time is experience in any aspect of life, even football. I also saw the creative side of Garrett which I have seen before. The return of the Wildcat that ran a handoff then a pitch back to Kitna who then hit Felix for about a 32 yard pass was beautiful. See, that's the Jason Garrett I know and love, if this guy continues to stick to the run, utilize his weapons, be creative, he will be a good head coach in this league. If you add in the fact that he is going to get a full offseason to implement his system of doing things, get a full free agency, a full draft, I expect him to be a great coach. With an adequate OL, and actually being able to run the football, man Garrett should be a good coach.
The old man just keeps getting it done, Jon Kitna continues to play his ass off. Thats about as much as I really can describe it. I love how he shows passion and acts like a badass, I really like. It wouldn't work for Romo, because thats not who Tony Romo is, and there is nothing wrong with that. Kitna continues to just play great football for a guy most of us thought would lead us to a 1 or 2 win season. I want to really thank Kitna for making this season watchable, because a backup QB playing this good is really nice to have when your season is done. What heart he has shown along with some athletic ability I thought was long gone. Kitna, I hope you're here next year, class act my man.
Jason Witten, man what a year this guy is having. His 7 TD's are best since 2007, maybe he is getting more involved in the offense since we lost Romo and Dez, but he needs to be the focal point. He runs amazing routes for a TE, has great hands, and he might be slow but he fights for extra yards. Witten has been a great player for us, I just hope he can be elite for a few more years because an elite TE opens the offense up. He really made the Redskins secondary look f'n stupid on his fakes. And to make things really sweet, DeAngelo "Burger Boy" Hall attempts to jump the route and Witten makes the catch, breaks the tackle, and scores a TD also marking his 600th reception, which by the way makes him the fastest TE to do that. What we need is to fix this OL and instead of having this guy in to block all the time, allow him to be a TE and go out for passes. Great game, Jason. When we needed a big play you made it.
Felix had a nice game, 70 yards rushing and 47 yards receiving, with TC adding 53 rushing and 31 receiving plus a TD. These 2 just fit, they are what it takes to win the NFL. Both are versatile enough to pound the rock and bounce it outside. Felix has the big play speed and TC has amazing vision, and that's a great duo. I was so glad Marion Barber was inactive. Now, I don't want players to be hurt, thats f'd up, but I just don't want Marion Barber taking any carries away from 2 better RB's, that simple. Felix again has gotten so much better this year in the pass catching department, because the old Felix never would have made that catch on the trick Wildcat play. In screens he looks so much better too, I think we got our Dallas Ray Rice going forward with Felix.
Bryan McCann, God, you gotta jump over or sidestep that punter SON! Come on dude, seriously. But great game for McCann too, he is the CB and return guy we really needed going forward. I couldn't believe we cut this guy and then got rid of Cletis Gordon too. I wanted to keep McCann so bad because of his 4.3 speed, that's serious speed folks. He is going to be good in the return game, and his hips and technique look good enough at corner where we could develop him into something. Baltimore f'd that up, thanks for that because McCann could start for the Ravens, dead serious.
Ah the defense, man it wasn't pretty yesterday especially when you give Rex Grossman over 300 yards and 4 TD's. Again I saw some good things, I thought Ware and Ratliff played good football. Scandrick continues to thrive under a new DC, now this is a man I bashed hard. I called Orlando, Jacques Reeves V2.0 and thats how bad he was this season. But the last 5 or 6 games, man, what a different player. He easily could have had a pick, maybe a pick 6 if he looks back for the football when Grossman tossed one to Anthony Armstrong toward the sideline. Regardless, Scandrick is thriving when blitzing, he is aggressive and physical for a smaller CB. Playing in zone he looks comfortable, even in man he is looking more and more comfortable. Scandrick has a future here folks, and I want to take the time to apologize to Orlando Scandrick, I am sorry. Now, Gerald Sensabaugh played a good game until he was knocked out with a concussion. He is injury prone, he really is. His pick was really a bad pass, like most of his picks this season. The sack was good football, but I expect these things out of my starting SS. A SS in the NFL is QB-like in the essence of calling out things. He doesn't like to do that, no matter how much the Cowboys brass BS's us. He had a good game, but let's not look over this game as a reason to retain Mr. Sensabaugh, he should not be retained. We need playmakers at SS and FS.
Alan Ball had a horrible game, he didnt let up big plays over the top, but he was still awful and I will be glad when that experiment ends. Brooking is not a great game either, that man is done. Its a shame Sean Lee got knocked out, because that boy can play football, he was born for it. It was alarming when I saw him down, then I read today he said " I dont even remember walking off the field". Boy, he had a hard concussion then, and I hope he is ok. Next year Lee has a starting job here, no question, and he is going to be good.
I really thought we did a good job in the run game, everyone kept their contain and stuffed their gaps. Ware owned Trent Williams a few times, Silverback got owned, boys. Ware is just a great man and I love his play. A down year and he still has what, 11.5 sacks? LOL, that's D-Ware for ya. Again a game we should have put away early in the game, the defense was swiss-cheese-like through the air. 2nd half and Newman makes a big play when we need it, but Terence Newman has me concerned, deeply. He is just getting beat too much, I pray he can play at a high level for another year. Mike Jenkins had a decent game, a holding penalty that for some reason he has become accustomed to doing, WHY do you hold the WR by the arm that far downfield? Just stop it Mike, come on bro. He is another guy like Spencer who needs to forget about this year and just work his ass off this offseason, because Jenkins is a great athlete and does have the talent, I saw a top CB last year, but this sophmore slump of sorts has been downright embarrasing for me, and I hope for him as well. Come back to work hard, and get back to your Pro Bowl level Mike, you can do it.
This week we saw saw fanposts on our next DC, a very good topic to discuss. Seems a lot of people want Rob Ryan from the Browns, well I'm going to try to be as realistic as possible. I don't think Rob Ryan would come here when his name is hot right now, maybe he could land a HC job, who knows. 2 guys I think would fit our system are Marv Lewis and Dom Capers. Let me start with Dom Capers because he has history with Garrett. From what I have read recently is that when Jason had jobs lined up, Capers was his DC in the wings. Capers runs a 3-4 and has GB's defense playing good football. Would fit in our system, knows Jerry and Jason, def a nice fit. Marv Lewis is going to get fired, and I feel bad for the man because truly I think that owner has never put him in a position to succeed there. I would love for him to come here, he just fits the bill. Ran a 3-4 before in Baltimore, and his personality just looks like it would click with Garrett. Marv is a nice guy, but I've seen him get pissed. People might think he is soft, but he is nothing like Wade soft, which by the way I never want to see in Dallas ever again. Norm and Dom would be the ideal guys for us. A guy who I think is off most peoples radar is Ron Rivera from San Diego, who again runs a 3-4. Rivera had a lot of success in Chicago, running a 4-3 and his defense in San Diego has always been a solid unit that gets turnovers. I would say he is a guy that should be on our radar.
Draft wise we sit I believe in the 8th spot. Still far out from the draft and I will be touching on that more and more as April approaches. Cam Jordan is still the guy I see falling to us 8th overall, and I would f'n love it. Next up is the Arizona Cardinals, a team we should EASILY beat, but we went to Arizona few years back with the similar attitude. Garrett and the 'Boys will roll into Arizona with the right attitude and we will win this game. Alright folks, Crack Hits Volume 1 is a wrap, thanks for reading and I will see you next time, please I welcome commenting and discussions below because nothing makes me happier than seeing a REC or 140 comments on my post, I love it. Thank you I'm out, peace.