The Dallas Cowboys must go back to old time football… Winning in the trenches. As we saw Monday Night, the Eagles had success against the Giants offense, and I think it was because of the pressure they put on Eli Manning. Manning was sacked 4 times and hit many more, leading to him having his first multi-interception game of the season.
The Giants loss on Monday opens the door for the Cowboys to regain first place in the East with a win on Sunday Night.
In order for the Cowboys to do that, they must pressure the quarterback.
And finally….. Finally! Rod Marinelli has a full group of pass rushers with Randy Gregory expected to return from a high ankle sprain this week.
The Giants don’t have a great offensive line, and the defensive line must capitalize on that. It would be huge for the Cowboys to get consistent pressure on passing downs, while still being able to drop 7 into coverage. I expect to see Greg Hardy have another huge day for the Cowboys. He will be lined up against rookie first rounder Ereck Flowers.
In Flowers’ first game against the Cowboys, he struggled when asked to handle speed rushes. Hardy has a unique ability to combine both speed and power rushes at a level Flowers just has not seen in his career. I expect Hardy to get after Eli with the same level of success and tenacity he showed in his first game against Tom Brady.
With Will Beatty expected to return to practice this week for the Giants, it is unclear whether or not he or Marshall Newhouse will be the starter come Sunday. But no matter who is playing, don’t expect the Cowboys’ rush men to back down on the edges.
On the offensive side of the ball winning in the trenches is equally important.
Matt Cassel will take chances down the field all game if there are any to take. If he does not have a consistently clean pocket he has been known to throw some picks down the field. In order to back off the 8 and 9 man boxes, you have to take chances and to do that, the offensive line must continue their pass blocking success and allow Cassel to go through his reads and deliver the ball to the wideouts.
In the run game, the backside guards and TEs at the point of attack must do a better job securing their man.
With La’el Collins in the lineup I expect to see him have more success than Ron Leary in terms of advancing to the second level and securing a linebacker. At the point of attack it seems this team missed James Hanna as a blocker more than I anticipated. I believe him returning from injury will help tremendously in the run game.
If you are not winning in the trenches or are facing over stacked boxes, your running back better be able to break some tackles. Christine Michael and his downhill physical running style is able to do that.
I believe his ability to put his head down and finish runs is something that will help this offensive line. They have missed that sort of running since Randle and Mcfadden can not do it at the same level Murray once did.
The Cowboys, in order to snap their 3 game losing streak, must get back to old times and play smash mouth football in the trenches.