…or at least he should have.
This was going to be a dissertation on how the bulk, if not all, of the blame should fall on Tony’s shoulders for that loss against the Giants. I started on it last Monday, and had a book written but soon realized I’d be beating a dead horse if I submitted as is. Briefly, my point was not only did his mistakes lead to points for the other team, he also hurt our time of possession ratio, meaning that are defense was exposed to prolonged play. When that happens, players will lose a step, particularly in the secondary where all three corners were torched on a regular basis throughout the game. In other words, going back in time and taking away those turnovers doesn’t only take points off the board, it keeps the defense off the field and likely other points off the board. Granted, it doesn’t excuse the poor play of our Corners, in particular, but it, at least, makes me wonder how their performance would change minus a few interceptions thrown by Romo.
But that has been harped on enough. Now it is time to look forward. Normally, I’d take the positive angle, but it look’s as though our own Bryan Martin has already covered the bright side of having North Carolina in town. If you haven’t read it, here’s a brief summary: Carolina, thus far this season, has underperformed on both sides of the ball and Dallas should be able to dominate. I’m pretty confident the Cowboys will win, as well, but there are a few things that bother me about this match up: 1. The Panthers are 0 – 2. Considering that only three teams since the early 90’s have made the play off’s after starting 0 – 3, the Panthers realize that this game may define the rest of their season. In other words, the Panthers will be fighting like it’s a win-and-in situation. 2. We have seen every aspect of the Cowboys game wow in the last 3 years, but we have yet to see it all at the same time. The offense fires on all cylinders and the defense falters. The pass game works great, but the running game is lacking. The secondary shut’s down the field, but the defensive line and linebackers allow the opponents running back to gash us for large gains. And visa versa. Again, when do we get to see all of the Cowboys show up in the same game at the same time?
Carolina does offer us a great opportunity to see just that, but considering how much this game means to them, I’m not as confident as I’d like to be. With Chris Harris (SS) likely out tonight, the Cowboys 12 formation (otherwise known as double dynamite with Witten and Bennett lining up as bookends to the offensive line) should have some success, but then again, it should of had success against the Giants and we all know how that story ended. Opposite Steve Smith is 36 year old Muhsin Muhammad, whose production barely grant’s him the solid descriptor, but not enough to force Wade to reconsider focusing on shutting down the run and bracketing Steve Smith out of the game with a corner up front (likely Newman) and a Safety deep (likely Sensabaugh). On paper, considering the above, the Cowboys win. But on paper, in my mind, the Cowboys beat most teams in the NFL. It will come down to execution and protecting the ball; like the wise Jimmy Johnson said earlier this week, “K.I.S.S. – Keep it simple, stupid!” I’ll subscribe to the same approach with this contribution.