We're trying something new here at the Hogs Haven with some cross-blogging with a fellow SBN blogger. My esteemed colleague/rival Grizz from Blogging the Boys has graciously taken the time to provide a bit of quality insight into what he feels are the strengths and weaknesses of the team you love to hate: The Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys/Redskins games are the classic rivalry of the NFL. Last year's Moss Miracle only added to that legend. (And also made me want to hurl, I can't even bring myself to draft Moss in fantasy leagues). This Sunday, old enemies renew acquaintances, Parcells and Gibbs tangle once again, and if past history is any guide, anything can happen. It's the Cowboys vs. Redskins and it doesn't get any better.
Here are the Cowboys, broken down into the Good, the Bad, and the Psychotic.
Good Dallas: Terrell Owens, Terry Glenn and Jason Witten. That's some serious firepower in the passing game. The Cowboys are going to rely on their passing game a lot more than most would expect from a Parcells coached team. But the true Tuna aficionado knows that Parcells had Drew Bledsoe and Terry Glenn in New England and that was a pass-happy team for a few years. Terrell Owens came out strong last week, and Dallas will ride him unless Washington starts rolling that safety over. Then they'll go back-side to Terry Glenn or to Jason Witten in the middle. Marion Barber out of the backfield in the passing game is also a threat. So your secondary better be ready.
The Dallas defense should be a strength, although last week they underperformed. But I have confidence they will bounce back this week. The front seven is very good, anchored by Jason Ferguson in the middle. On the outside, DE's Chris Canty and Marcus Spears are 2nd-year players on the rise and are tough to run against; MLB Bradie James makes it even harder. DeMarcus Ware and Greg Ellis apply the pressure from the OLB position and will try to make Mark Brunell's life difficult on Sunday. Ware is an especially gifted athlete who got 8 sacks as a rookie. Hopefully Parcellls will rotate in backup linemen Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher, who are also good at getting after the QB. Look for Dallas to be a little more creative in their pressure packages this week, last week's vanilla flavoring wasn't very effective.
The secondary struggled last week, but corner Terence Newman may be the most underrated CB in the league. Anthony Henry is a big corner with decent coverage skills, but will probably be a target of Washington's speedy receivers. Roy Williams - the guy who gets the most blame for last year's 4-minute meltdown (I dispute that notion), is a similar player to Sean Taylor. And sometimes, he gets the penalties like Taylor.
Bad Dallas: The offensive line is still a work in progress, and is the weak link on the team. More than most teams, Dallas needs good blocking. Drew Bledsoe is the definition of a pocket QB and he better have a very clean pocket or the offense will struggle. Dallas is also somewhat of a finesse running team, they don't have the big bruising backs that some teams employ. So they need space to run and the offensive line doesn't always supply it. Last week, they had their issues with the Jags, who have one of the best front-fours in football, so we'll see how they hold up this week. The Redskins will try to disrupt Bledsoe before he can take advantage of the Redskins secondary with our receivers.
Last year, Dallas dropped three games as a direct result of the kicking game. We thought we solved that when we signed Mike Vanderjagt, but he didn't kick last week and has missed a lot of time with a groin injury. Shaun Suisham, Vanderjagt's temporary replacement, missed a short FG in the 2nd half last week which was costly. Parcells hasn't decided which kicker will be on the field this weekend. Just too add to the problem, Vanderjagt missed two 30-yards FG's in overtime in the Cowboys last preseason game.
Psychotic Dallas: Drew Bledsoe. Most days it's good, but some days are dark indeed. You live by the Bledsoe, you die by the Bledsoe.
That's it. And there will be no Moss Miracle this year in Big D, the Skins are going down. Peace out.
Graciously take the time to let him know how right/wrong he is. Large thanks to Grizz for participating, and keep an eye on his excellent (though ultimately misguided) website Blogging The Boys for my thoughts on the Redskins' strengths and weaknesses. I'll update this post with a link as soon as those are put up, though most of you are largely familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of this Football team.
Update [2006-9-14 16:38:25 by Skin Patrol]: Grizz has my review up here so definitely head on over to BTB and check it out.