The New York Giants are hosting the Cowboys at Met Life Stadium in what has become a must win situation for Dallas because they only lead the division by half a game.
With both the Eagles and the Giants being 3-3 and the Cowboys 2-3, a win today is a must to keep any playoff hopes alive. Dez Bryant has been ruled out and it appears that Odell Beckham will play. Considering the Giants have their starting quarterback and arguably their best receiver while the Cowboys are lacking both, Rod Marinelli’s defense is going to have to pick up the slack.
All eyes will be on Matt Cassel in his debut as the Cowboys starter vs the Giants: The scary part is, during Scott Linehan’s press conference on dallascowboys.com,Â he had started to talk about needing to put a lid on Cassel when the pod cast abruptly ended.Â Where he was going with that, we will never know. Let’s hope it’s not another conservative approach because they don’t trust him to take shots down the field for fear of turning the ball over.
One advantage the Cowboys will have entering this match-up will be Greg Hardy going against the Giants 1st round draft choice, the rookie, Ereck Flowers. Hardy was a handful for a solid veteran like Nate Solder, so I expect the Giants to give Flowers some TE end help on that side.
Rod Marinelli had a lot of success against the Patriots lining up in his 3-2-6 defensive front which should make it much more difficult for the Giants to have any success in the passing game and allows Rod Marinelli to not only utilize some disguised blitzes, but create some favorable match-ups for his “Rush Men”.
Having Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory, DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, Sean Lee and Rolando McClain all in the lineup this week, gives the Cowboys defense much more fire power than they had week one. If they can take away the run, and make the Giants one dimensional, while getting some consistent pressure on Manning, It gives the Cowboys an opportunity to create some turnovers.
I keep hearing people take shots at the offensive line which continues to piss me off. Despite Brandon Weeden being like a statue in the pocket and taking unnecessary sacks, the Cowboys OL has only allowed 11 (3 by Romo) sacksÂ as compared to 31 by the Seahawks, 25 by the 49ers, 23 by the Chiefs and 19 by the Titans. All of those teams have QBs who are much more mobile than Brandon Weeden, so SHUT UP! Despite poor QB play and missing Dez Bryant, the Cowboys OL is still top 10 in pass protection.
As far as the running game goes, poor play by the backs, can make the OL look bad the same way an excellent RB play can make them look good. In order for a Zone Blocking System to be effective, there has to be some chemistry between the back and the offensive linemen. With Joseph Randle getting the bulk of the carries, that hasn’t been the case.
In a ZBS the running back has to have a lot of patience and wait for the play to develop before committing himself. At the same time, the RB has to have good vision to not only see the hole when it opens up, but to be able to see when it isn’t going to be there and find an alternative running lane. The RB also needs to be able to not only see the hole, but have the burst to hit it before the window closes.
Joseph Randle has shown too many times that he lacks both the patience and the vision DeMarco Murray had; which in this case, is making the offensive line look bad. The other significant difference between Murray and Randle is the yards after contact statistics. Randle doesn’t have the power to get that extra yard or two after contact.
On the tape I have seen of Christine Michael, he obviously had more power than Randle and has the ability to move a pile. I witnessed better vision, and definitely more patience. Jerry Jones and the coaches need to forget about Randle’s draft status and/or the pecking order in Dallas, and Allow Michael to receive the bulk of the carries this week. Everyone knows a RB needs to be able to get some kind of a rhythm going to be successful. They need to allow him to do that vs the Giants.
The RB by committee idea has never been successful in Dallas, so let’s not try that experiment again. They need a workhorse like Dorsett, Smith or Murray to lead the way. Obviously Randle is not that guy. Before the season is out of reach, let’s give someone else an opportunity to seize that role.
At the end of the day. the Cowboys went 6-10, 8-8, 8-8 and 8-8 before the emergence of the running game last year; which allowed the Cowboys to wear down defenses, keep them from pinning their ears back and going after Romo and set up the passing game down the field. The triplets were reborn last year, it wasn’t broke, so why Jerral tried to fix it is beyond me. He can talk about salary cap all he wants, but he gave Dez Bryant enough of money to pay both of them.
The chemistry Murray had developed with the OL was key to the success they had last year and I don’t see that chemistry this year. Let’s stop blaming the OL for another one of Jerral’s bad decisions. After all, they are still top 10 in the NFL with a scrub playing QB. With Romo’s mobility and a RB with the necessary skill-set, they would easily be top 3.
If Matt Cassel can extend drives without turning the ball over, they can get some kind of a ground attack going and the defense can disrupt Eli’s timing with his receivers, The Cowboys will beat the Giants 17-10.