As we do each week, I hit up the lead editor for SB Nation's opposing team. This week, it's David Halprin, site Editor for Blogging the
Girls Boys. They have great coverage on their site, so check it out. Here's my responses to David's Q&A for me. OK, let's roll:
1.) Clearly what stands out in the Cowboys two game winning streak to me is that Romo has not been sacked once or thrown a single INT. Romo is obviously one of the best in the business (it kills me to type that) at getting the ball out, but have any players in that stretch had success at pressuring him? What's the weak link on the OLine the Redskins can exploit?
Halprin: The Cowboys offensive line has definitely been playing better, but Romo's hot streak seems to be coinciding with a couple of other things. One, he's much healthier now after fracturing the ribs. Two, the Cowboys are showing a legit running game. Defenses have to respect DeMarco Murray and what he can do. Both of those things have played a large impact in what's happened over the last few games. Earlier in the season, LT Doug Free was having a very rough stretch but over the past few weeks has started to look like he did in 2010, which was good. RT Tyron Smith has been solid. The middle of the line has had ups and downs. If Free is on his game, then the middle of the line is the most vulnerable.
2.) Cowboys offense ranks 4th in the NFL with most fumbles. Redskins defense is tied for 2nd with 20. Who is the weak link on the Cowboys O with all the fumbles the Redskins should target?
Tony Romo has a few, but that usually comes with the territory of playing QB. You're going to target him anyway. The guys who had fumbled the most, especially based on how often they've handled the football, would be Tashard Choice and Felix Jones.
3.) If you were game-planning against the Cowboys defense with Shanahan, what tips would you give to beat this team?
I would try to let the aggressive nature of the Cowboys defense work against itself. Dallas can be very quick to shoot gaps or try to get around the edges, so they can run themselves out of the play. A little misdirection, or counter plays can sometime works, maybe screens. I'd run off-tackle and try to overload the defensive ends and push the Cowboys line in one direction. I've seen teams collapse us in that way on runs. In the passing game, target the middle of the field, especially if Sean Lee's hand isn't ready for full use in pass coverage. Lots of movement and shifting pre-snap can also limit the Cowboys defense from moving around like it wants to pre-snap.
Fullback Tony Fiammetta being out is kind of a big deal. He's been great since returning from injury. His return coincided with Murray's explosion, so we'll see how much he had to do with it.
4.) If you were game-planning against the Cowboys offense with Jim Haslett, what tips would you give to beat this team?
Stop the run at all costs. When the Cowboys offense can run the ball, Romo becomes super-efficient in the passing game. If they get that going, they'll put up points. The Cowboys love running draws, as a defense you have to watch for that. You can't let DeMarco Murray/Felix Jones get loose, you have to force Romo to throw it more than Dallas wants. Then, disrupt the Cowboys timing offense at the line. You have to knock receivers off their routes and hope Romo starts making mistakes. Finally, try to limit Witten on third down. He's the chain-mover.
5.) What hotel is Dez Bryant staying out? I'm thinking if I send the "Lawrence Taylor Care Package," I'd have some success.
Dez is actually staying with me. So feel free to send over all the LT Care Packages you want. I'll run interference for Dez. Just doing my duty as a Cowboys fan.