As we prepare for a very big game against the Cowboys, I traded five questions with Grizz of the ultra informative Blogging The Boys. The Cowboys under Bill Parcells have always been somewhat of an enigma to me, and as they've rebounded under Romo and saved their season, I've grown more curious. Now that our season may be riding on this game against them, that curiosity is mitigated by fear, but hey, onto the questions.
There's a lot of Romosexuals in Cowboy fandom and perhaps more noticeably, in the mainstream media as of late. Is Romo deserving of all his props? Do you think he's a franchise QB, or is his talent a little overhyped?
Grizz:Tony Romo has the talent and the intangibles to be a franchise QB in the NFL. He's shown remarkable poise in the pocket and the ability to read defenses, and he's very adept at getting away from pressure and throwing the football accurately on the run. It was probably unfair to him to receive all the accolades and hype he got after his first five starts because it's very hard for an established QB to play at the level he was playing at, let alone a QB just beginning his career as an NFL starter. Expectations are now becoming a little more realistic after the past couple of games, but there's no reason to believe that he won't be the Cowboys QB for seasons to come. How he plays this week and over the rest of the season will be a good indicator as to just how good he is at this stage in his career, this time of the year with the playoffs looming is usually a good measuring stick. We have to keep in mind that he hasn't even been a starter for a full season yet, so some of the accolades may have been over-hyped, but by all indications he's a quality NFL QB.
Dave: I have to say, I'm a little torn on this. I think Romo is a good QB already, and I think he'll have a chance to really prove himself in seasons to come. But I also feel like the media has somewhat inexplicably developed an amazing man crush on him, and I'm not quite sure why. I do think he's got the talent, though, and past this game I wish him well.
Terrell Owens is the other major piece of the
offense to get a lot of attention. How well is he playing compared to Witten and your other receivers? Will he have a big game matched up against DeAngelo Hall?
Grizz: For all the nonsense and drama that follows Terrell Owens around wherever he goes, he has been a very good receiver for the Cowboys on the playing field. He is on pace for one of the better years a Dallas receiver has ever had; he currently leads the Cowboys with 72 catches, 971 yards and 9 TD's, which are stats worthy of a number one WR. Terry Glenn is second on the team in terms of stats followed by Jason Witten. So at this point you'd have to conclude he's playing very well compared with the other Cowboys' receiving threats and QB Tony Romo feeds him the ball when he's open. Owens still commands special attention from defenses which helps to open up other parts of the Cowboys passing attack. The one major drawback to Owens, besides the off-the-field drama, is he has average hands for a WR and will drop the ball on occasion.
Dave: No argument here. Honestly, I keep forgetting that Terry Glenn exists. I looked up Owens' numbers last night without realizing he was having such a good year; probably a product of the media circus around him, I'd say. But I have seen him drop some passes he shouldn't have.
The Cowboys got, well, smoked by the Saints, which I can totally relate to. Is this just a poor showing by the Cowboys, or an accurate reflection of their weaknesses? What do the Falcons have to do in order to take advantage of the 'Boys on Saturday?
Grizz:The Saints game was both an aberration and an accurate reflection of the Cowboys' weaknesses. It was an aberration because the Cowboys defense played its worst game of the season by far, and I wouldn't expect a repeat of that poor of defense again, but the Saints also took advantage of the Cowboys' weaknesses. Dallas struggles to get a consistent pass rush on the QB, and that showed up against the Saints. They also have a real problem in terms of pass coverage from their safeties, and the Saints exploited that. The Dallas defense plays the run very well, so if the Falcons want to attack the Cowboys weaknesses, Mike Vick is going to have to show he can throw the ball effectively deep. Alge Crumpler playing against our LB's and safeties could be a huge advantage for the Falcons if Vick can make it payoff. Our cornerbacks are pretty good in coverage, nickel CB Aaron Glenn is as good as many starting corners, so I wouldn't expect the Falcons WR's to contribute big games.
Dave: So once again, the passing game would appear to ride on Crumpler. As sad as that is, at least we're in good hands. I would say that Jenkins could have a decent game, but I'm expecting Lelie and White to fade consistently against a pretty solid Cowboys secondary. Crumpler may be able to prey on Roy Williams, however, and that might be a key to this game.
What do you think of the rumors that Vick might
line up in the backfield? I personally think that it would add a difficult wrinkle to the defense, but it begs the question of how the Cowboys D will deal with it. How do you expect them to contain Vick?
Grizz: The Cowboys will most likely use their most athletic defensive player to spy on Vick, ROLB DeMarcus Ware. Ware has rare speed and agility for a guy his size and plays the Lawrence Taylor role in Parcells' defense. Coach has already said that when his Giants played the Eagles and Randall Cunningham in the 80's, they used LT to spy on him. I would expect the same in this game from DeMarcus Ware. They will also use a very disciplined pass rush maintaining the integrity of their lanes so that Vick will not be able to escape the pocket. In the secondary, they'll probably play a lot of zone coverage so that they won't have their backs turned to Vick allowing him to take off running. If Vick lines up in the backfield, they'll treat him like any other running back, but hopefully with better results than what happened last week against Reggie Bush.
Dave: That's a scarily thorough answer. In lining Vick up at halfback, we may actually be making things easier for the Cowboys, but I'd like to think there are some decent trick plays to be had from that. Vick will have to put on the afterburners if he's going to run Saturday.
What's your projected final score and who is your game MVP?
Grizz:I think this will actually be a low scoring game as both teams play it close to the vest hoping that the other will make the critical mistake. If I had to guess, I would say the Cowboys win this game by a score of 17 - 13. As for a game MVP, on offense I'd go with Tony Romo, he needs to play mistake-free ball and use the passing attack to compliment the running game. On defense, the MVP will be DeMarcus Ware, because for Dallas to win, he needs to do a good job of containing Vick.
Dave: There you have it. I'll predict a low scoring game simply because the Falcons haven't shown any signs of being able to score points in bunches. The Cowboys have a lot of threats, but with Abraham back and going, maybe they can muss up Romo's hair a little.
So that's the five questions. Be sure to stop by Blogging the Boys later today for my answers to his questions, and get ready for Saturday's game. It's gonna be a big one.