Dallas Cowboys: Aaron Kampman
Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Cowboys run defense: The Jaguars have some offensive talent on their squad at wide receiver and tight end, but their best player is running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
Jones-Drew might be short on height, but he is not short on talent. He is a dynamic ball carrier and possesses the ability to score from anywhere on the field. He is a runner with outstanding physical gifts of balance, power and vision. He is a patient ballcarrier and he will let blocks develop then find a way through the hole.
The Cowboys allowed 201 yards rushing last week to the Giants and that went a long way in deciding the outcome of the game. Jones-Drew is a physical ball carrier and his-low-to-the-ground running style makes it difficult to get a solid shot on him. He also is an accomplished pass receiver. The Jaguars like to use him in the red zone matched up against linebackers that can’t handle his quickness and elusive moves.
Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has studied what the last three opponents have done to the Cowboys in the running game and should tailor a game plan to run the football in a fashion that will give the Cowboys the most trouble. A successful running game starts with Jones-Drew, but it also could open up more opportunities to the tight end and receivers.
*Jaguars defensive end Aaron Kampman vs. Cowboys left tackle Doug Free: The Jaguars struggle to rush the passer. When they do get pressure, it’s usually because of Aaron Kampman providing it.
Kampman originally broke into the league with the Green Bay Packers but was a big-ticket signing for the Jaguars in April. Kampman is a high effort and motor guy. He is a relentless pass rusher that is always coming at you. Would not call him a powerful or strong player, but one that uses technique and smarts to his advantage.
He is a similar type of player that Free faced two weeks ago in Jared Allen at Minnesota. Kampman uses several different pass rush moves, so Free will need to bring his “A” game. Kampman likes to work wide up the field to the tackle’s corner, then slap the tackle’s hands to get around the edge. Kampman will do everything in his power to keep the tackle’s hands from his body.
If Kampman has a weakness, it's that his lack of strength hurts him in the running game. Teams have had success running the ball to his side because he doesn’t have the power to fight off the block. But if he gets the edge and keeps his feet working, he can get down the line and make the tackle. Kampman will usually line up as the right end, but in the nickel, he will move to left end and Larry Hart will rush from the other side.
Kitna is unlike Romo in what he will do with the football. Romo will take chances down the field, while Kitna is more likely to check the ball down or attempt passes that move the chains.
In studying the Jaguars on defense, I did not come away with the impression that they had someone that could effectively match up with Witten. I always talk about Witten as this mismatch player that is too athletic for linebackers to deal with and too big for defensive backs to handle down the field. This Jaguars defense doesn’t have anyone that can stay with Witten down after down.
If Kitna knows that, he will be more likely to look Witten’s way, especially on third downs and in the red zone, which are two areas that the Jaguars really struggle in.
The Cowboys’ offense will be different with Kitna at quarterback because he doesn’t have the ability to make the loose or second-chance plays like Romo does. Kitna will be solid presnap and take what the defense will give him from his read. Don’t be the bit surprised if Jason Witten plays a big role in the success of the Cowboys on Sunday.
It’s another week and another quality running back that Wade Phillips’ squad must face. When you study the Jaguars offense, the one player that stands out is running back Maurice Jones-Drew. He is nowhere the height of Arian Foster or Adrian Peterson, but he runs with the same power and determination of those larger backs.
Jones-Drew has impressive stop-start quickness. He runs with outstanding patience and vision. He does much of his work on his own because his offensive line doesn’t always get the type of push that some of the top running teams get in this league.
Jones-Drew is a difficult back to tackle because of his low-to-the-ground running style. It’s hard to get a clean hit on him because of his compact body type. Jones-Drew is not afraid to carry the ball inside but does a very nice job of getting it on the edge and around the corner. Quick feet and powerful legs are his trade marks.
Another area that the Cowboys must be concerned with is Jones-Drew’s ability to catch the ball. The Jaguars will use him in the red zone, trying to create mismatches with linebackers on Texas routes inside.
If the Cowboys are going to have success on defense this Sunday, controlling Jones-Drew is a must. A repeat of what happened to them last week against the Giants will only create more opportunity for this offense.
Jaguars quarterback David Garrard missed last week’s game in Kansas City with concussion that he suffered in a Week 6 loss to the Titans. Jacksonville fans have always had a love/hate relationship with their signal-caller. Garrard is 34-34 as a starter, and depending who you were talking to in the Jaguars organization, there were those that believed that this was a make-or-break year for him.
Garrard has had two three-touchdown games this season. In the Jaguars’ three wins, Garrard has completed 77 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and one interception.
Garrard has really shined in his starts in the fourth quarter. His quarterback rating is 114.8 and he has three touchdowns and no interceptions.
When the Jaguars throw the ball, it’s usually going in the direction of the two “Mikes” -- Mike Sims-Walker and Mike Thomas. Both are not big-name type of players, but it was interesting to study them getting ready for this game.
I was impressed with the playmaking ability of Thomas, a DeSoto native. He is like Jones-Drew in that he is a short guy, only 5-foot-7 and change, but he has playmaking ability not only on the offensive side of the ball but also as a punt returner. Thomas has 4.30 speed and unbelievable quickness. He is a slippery player with the ball in his hands.
Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter does a nice job of creating opportunities for Thomas by getting the ball in his hands through screens and reverses. Thomas uses his speed and quickness in his route running as well. Saw one ball where he adjusted very well to a low ball across the middle, but the next time was unable to bring it in.
The Jaguars have a talented tight end in Marcedes Lewis. Lewis is a large target that is a nice up-the-field player. He has solid hands and runs very well. The Jaguars will use him out of the backfield, flexed and inline. Lewis has the potential in this game to be a matchup problem for the linebackers and the safeties. Like Thomas, the Jaguars like to get the ball in his hands on the waggle and in the red zone.
*On defense for the Jaguars, there is nothing particularly good that they do. They are ranked near the bottom in most statistical areas. They are 30th in total defense and 31st in points allowed.
The pass rush is poor and they struggle to get consistent pressure on the quarterback. Former Packers defensive end Aaron Kampman is really the only bright spot as a pass rusher with four sacks. Kampman is a try-hard guy that plays with big effort and will show a variety of pass rush moves as he works his way to the quarterback.
Kampman will work from both sides but mainly over Doug Free. When he switches to the other side in the nickel, rookie Larry Hart will take his spot at right end.
Rookie Tyson Alualu plays the 3 technique while Terrence Knighton lines up as the 1 in this 4-3 defense. I really do like the motor on Alualu and the way that he keeps coming after you inside. Need to watch the matchup of Leonard Davis and Phil Costa against Alualu. He plays with nice power and strength but has also shown the ability to use his quickness to be disruptive pushing the pocket inside.
Jon Kitna is not the most mobile quarterback. He has the most problems when the front of the pocket becomes soft and there is not a wall for him to move forward in.
In the secondary, cornerback Rashean Mathis is the best player and is someone that the Cowboys should avoid at all costs.
Mathis played left corner in the Kansas City game last week but then played right corner against the Titans. Mathis will bait you into throws. He gives you a look like his man is open, then drives on the football after the quarterback throws it. He is instinctive and a reader. There were times that he floats in coverage then comes off his man to make a play on the ball in another area.
If the Cowboys on defense are going to struggle to cover tight end Lewis, the Jaguars will struggle to cover Jason Witten as well. Was not one bit impressed with the linebackers or safeties in coverage. Kansas City had a great deal of success running waggle and boots to their tight ends, which gave the Jaguars fits. Would not be the least bit surprised if Kitna calls Witten’s number several times in this contest, because the Jaguars do not have anyone that can cover Witten.
It will be interesting if offensive coordinator Jason Garrett goes with a game plan to try to get his running game going to help Kitna, or does he throw the ball all over Cowboys Stadium on Sunday because of the lack of a pass rush for the Jaguars and some match up problems in the secondary?
Inactives for Cowboys-Packers game
GREEN BAY, Wisc. -- Here are the Cowboys-Packers inactives for Sunday afternoon:
IRVING, Texas -- Nothing new to report on the injury report for the Dallas Cowboys. Marion Barber (thumb), Andre Gurode (ankle), Ken Hamlin (groin), safety Gerald Sensabaugh (thumb) and DeMarcus Ware (foot) had full participation in practice Friday and are listed as probable. Allen Rossum has been ruled out with a hamstring.
The Green Bay Packers had 14 players listed on their injury report, and outside linebacker Aaron Kampman has been ruled out with a concussion. He didn't practice all week. Other notable injuries include tackle Mark Tauscher, who started last week at right tackle but was ruled out with a knee injury. Chad Clifton, who has started four games at left tackle, was limited in practice because of a non-injury related matter. His status was not updated.