Tuesday, November 1, 2011
5 Wonders: Ware's run, Dez coverage
By Todd Archer
IRVING, Texas -- Seattle comes to town this week and the Seahawks will be largely ignored because, well, the Cowboys don’t play them very often, they’re not very good and Drew Pearson, Charles Haley and Larry Allen will be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor.
But this is Tuesday and I’m wondering about five things, so here goes:
** DeMarcus Ware could become the first NFL player with multiple 20-sack seasons since the stat became official in 1982. He could break Michael Strahan’s record of 22.5 in a season as well, provided Minnesota’s Jared Allen, who has 12.5 sacks to Ware’s 12, doesn’t get there first. I wonder if Ware will not only reach 20 but better Strahan’s mark. He should have the chance. With nine games to play, he has four games against teams that are first, second, fifth and tied for sixth in sacks allowed. Seattle, Sunday’s foe, has given up a league-high 28 sacks. The Giants are tied for 21st in sacks allowed with 15, but Ware has sacked no quarterback more than Eli Manning (nine). He just had a four-sack game of Michael Vick. If the Cowboys don’t get in a playoff chase, we’ll have a sack chase to watch at the least.
**I don’t understand why the Cowboys chose to go lighter at defensive line than they had at any point this season when facing Philadelphia and its No. 1 ranked run defense. Coach Jason Garrett said it was because they thought they would be in their nickel defense a lot and needed all of their defensive backs up. Well, they had dressed all of their healthy defensive backs this year anyway, plus six defensive linemen. I don’t believe Josh Brent would have made a huge difference in stopping LeSean McCoy, but this was the first time having two kickers on the roster impacted their decision making adversely. David Buehler was healthy and he kicked off twice with one touchback. The Eagles ran for 239 yards.
** I wonder if we’ll see Kyle Kosier at center soon. Derrick Dockery is as healthy as he has been since playing Week 2 at San Francisco. Montrae Holland has started the last two games at left guard. The Cowboys went younger and smaller on the offensive line to start the year with Bill Nagy and Phil Costa, but pressure up the middle has affected the passing game. Dockery would bring 11 more pounds and a ton more experience to the group over Costa, but it would mean moving Kosier to a position he has never played. Kosier is smart enough to handle the challenge of the position. He has practiced some center the last few years in case of an emergency, too. But will it work? I have a feeling we will find out at some point.
** Nnamdi Asomugha played like Nnamdi Asomugha on Sunday and there aren’t a lot of Nnadmi Asomughas out there. But I wonder if Dez Bryant will see more press coverage than he has based on what Asomugha did to him Sunday. Bryant could not effectively get off the jam against the Eagles, which played a part in why he was not targeted as much. Bryant is a beast, but some wide receivers, no matter how strong and athletic they are, struggle to get off the line. We saw that with Terrell Owens in 2008. Teams jammed him at the line and it disrupted his timing. His biggest game that year came when San Francisco decided to play mostly off coverage against Owens. I’ve said this before, but Bryant has to become better at his craft in order to become a complete receiver. He will dazzle you with his athleticism and strength, but he needs to make some boring plays because that means he is consistent.
** I wonder if Jerry Jones had 1992 in his head following Sunday’s 34-7 loss at Philadelphia. Jones was surprisingly calm after his team was embarrassed on national television. He said, “There are no alarms here,” and alluded to times in the past where the Cowboys got pasted and still managed to have successful seasons. And that brings me back to 1992. The Cowboys were 3-0 and coming off the bye with a visit to Philadelphia and got thumped, 31-7, by the Eagles. They followed that up with a 27-0 shutout at home of Seattle to kick off a five-game win streak that put them in position to win their first Super Bowl of the Jones era. Now, I’m not proclaiming that will happen with this year’s team. I’m not even close to saying that, but it is strange that the Cowboys come off a huge loss at Philadelphia and host the Seahawks 19 years later. By the way, the Dallas defense allowed 36 points in that five-game run in 1992 after losing to the Eagles.