Sunday, September 23, 2012
How you feeling? Cowboys-Buccaneers
By Dan Graziano
As the Dallas Cowboys prepare to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their home opener today at 1 p.m. ET (noon CT), here's one reason for Cowboys fans to be feeling good and one reason for concern.
Feeling good: Anyone who watched the Giants come back in the fourth quarter against that Tampa Bay pass defense last week has to feel good about the chances of Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and the rest of the Cowboys' passing attack to rebound from the rough game in Seattle. Tampa Bay has played its first two games determined to stop the run, and the coverage issues in the secondary have been significant. Bryant, in particular, had a tough time last week with Seattle's physical cornerbacks, but he's likely to find a lot more freedom and room today against the Tampa Bay secondary.
Cause for concern: On offense, the Buccaneers want to run the ball by being very physical up front and pounding the ball against the defensive front. This is a strategy that worked very well for the Seahawks against the Cowboys last week, and you can bet the Bucs noticed on tape that Seattle was able to consistently win the physical battles in the trenches. The Cowboys should be able to neutralize big wide receiver Vincent Jackson, even if his size does present a kind of challenge their very good corners haven't faced so far this year. But they will need to be stronger and more physical up front to prevent the Bucs from controlling the game with their rushing offense.