Breaking Down the Dallas Cowboys

Just spent the last couple hours watching the Cowboys' opening game against the Redskins - a game I all-but missed Sunday night due to an overzealous Sunday afternoon.  It stunk but here are my thoughts on this Sunday's opponent.

Offense

  • According to Wednesday's injury report, Cowboys offensive linemen Marc Colombo and Kyle Kosier participated fully in practice on Wednesday.  We have to assume the disaster of a line - they were far worse than our line - will be greatly improved by the return of two starters.
  • Because of the limited ability their offensive line, the Boys relied almost exclusively on quick-tosses to their wide receivers: Austin, Bryant and Williams.  The Redskins were able to limit their offensive progress by tackling well on the outside.
  • When Romo looked downfield, two or three times total all game, he was essentially launching jump balls into double coverage and hoping his athletic receivers made plays on the ball.  There was not a single pass connected to a wide receiver moving in-stride, vertically down the field.   
  • When Romo looks to the sidelines, mostly to Miles Austin, the Jersey-native is basically beating corners one-on-one.  If the Bears give him a cushion, Austin will take it and the Cowboys will cut the Bears for eight-a-clip.
  • Austin ran a beautiful out route when the Skins were in cover two for an easy completion.  It scared me.
  • The Cowboys run game exists primarily on the perimeter.  They run stretch plays, pitches and even went to a three-back option in the second half against the Skins.  Against speedy, athletic linebackers I can't see this working.  The few times they attacked the middle of the defense, usually with Tashard Choice, it worked for minimal gain.
  • No matter who is playing on the offensive line Sunday, the unit itself is not great and the Bears will have their opportunities to pressure Romo.  Romo, even when protected with an unbalanced line, still looked unstable and tentative when he's surrounded in the pocket.  The Cowboys seemed to have no handle on attacking linebackers.

Defense

  • DeMarcus Ware might just be the defensive player in the sport.  If he's not, he's in the conversation with Darrelle Revis.  Coupled with Jay Ratliff and Anthony Spencer, the Cowboys pose arguably the most imposing threat Jay Cutler will face all season long.  The Bears will need to overload the line to protect the edges and keep a back stationary to chip whomever gets through. 
  • While their pass rush is intimidating, it's also creates massive holes for a mobile quarterback to step into and deliver the ball down the field.  They don't have a very good secondary and if Donovan McNabb weren't wretched at throwing the football, the Skins could have struck for twenty-yard gains at two or three big moments in the game.
  • Mark my words: the Bears will have an opportunity to hit something big down the sideline.
  • The move terrifically from sideline-to-sideline but like most speed defenses they tire late.  Clinton Portis was ripping through them with cut-back runs in the fourth quarter.  If the Redskins didn't commit a few dumb penalties, his numbers would have looked even better.
  • The biggest mistake the Bears can make Sunday is running tired, up-the-gut runs on first and second down and allowing this pass rush to know what's coming.  They need to spread these guys out early and often.

Special Teams

  • Their kicker, David Buehler, missed a thirty-four yarder like it was a sixty yarder.  I have a feeling he's awful.

Comments

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  • Pressure Romo, and he'll make mistakes. He's overrated.

  • In reply to TheFifth:

    There *will* be shit in his bed ...

  • Man...I hope they can pull it out. At least make em sweat. I hate Dallas particularly. Need to see some element of suprise.

  • Jeff who do you think wins this game?

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    Completely honest. I think the Bears win. If they stop the Cowboys run game, and I think they will with ease, that team can be held down.

  • Colombo and Kaisher are coming off knee injurys, i still think they will be a bit slow and stiff. We have great speed DE. they can get around the corner. I honestly think our DLINE and OLINE have to win this game for us.

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    also, Ware has a mild concussion and has not practiced yet.

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    I thought he just hurt his neck?

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    Thanks for telling our coaches what they will be up against Jeff. Did you hear that Lovie?

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    Here is a little reminder of what happen last time we played.
    http://www.nfl.com/videos/chicago-bears/09000d5d802b4bbb/Cowboys-34-Bears-10

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    AUUUGH! MY EYES!

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    Here is what they are saying over at a cowboys blog...haha
    http://www.bloggingtheboys.com/2010/9/15/1690984/cowboys-vs-bears-some-notes-on-the

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    From the comments section: "But just think... what if Columbo never comes back to his previous form. If we don

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    funny huh haha

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    Yeah Fresno, went to the sun times site and read the write up on the game... a bunch of cowboys fans were leaving comments.

    What a bunch of (undeservingly) self-assured vulgar yokels. My sweet jebus those hicks are simple.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    exactly how cowboy fans are here. Dude they lost their first game and still insist they are the best team and for sure going to the super bowl this year... seriously there just ignorant delusional fans. Post the link for the site...

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    http://www.suntimes.com/sports/football/bears/2705992,CST-SPT-bear14.article

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    I was not a Martz fan before the first game, but liked the play selection against the Lions. Let's see him use Dallas' defensive strengths against them. Some screens, both inside and outside, and some counter traps might work well.
    On defense, pressure up the middle! Let's see some errant throws by Romo.
    On a side note, the Forte touchdown catch at the end of the game triggered an a old Neal Anderson memory. He caught a long touchdown pass down the left sideline on a diving catch in the second half. Found out after the game he didn't remember the second half because he had a concussion in the first half. It was one of his best performances. Won the game for the Bears. Wish I could find a video of that performance.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    MB,If you've never been to Dallas you don't know the half of it. You seem to have good insight into the citizens of Dallas and the surrounding areas.

  • In reply to iamndmurff:

    My folks lived in Houston for 8 years Murph. I went there for thanksgiving most of those years... that was juuuust plenty for me.

    Thank god that texas has transplants (like the guys on this blog) to give it some... 'depth of character' shall we say. There are super cool parts of the state and I met some great people who grew up there, it just seems like the rabid cowboys fans specifically seem to be an especially

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    Leave the South alone guys. We might have to just kick your asses again.

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    I meant to explicitly exclude you Trac. I just plain forgot.

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    "Breaking Down the Dallas Cowboys".

    Actually, they did a bang up job of "breaking down" all by themselves last Sunday night.

    Guess a repeat performance would be too much to expect.

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    i predict Briggs and Urlacher doing a bit of blitzing on Sunday. The stunts last week were well timed. Except for the last drive when we should have been doubling Megatron.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    You know why, Briggs got that tackle and forced fumble because they were doubling Harris. Idk about Peppers but they were on Harris on that particular play.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    Does this scare you guys more?
    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=5577110

    good points by tom waddle

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    the really only good thing i can think is that i personally think cutler is better on the run and scrambling and he is one QB who can handle pressure and scrambling... maybe it works to his benefit...

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    Fresno, you're forgetting who our OC is. He knows they are going to blitz. They will be working on screens and hot routes all week. Cheel out mang. Cowboys are fucked.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    Martz adapted the gameplan pretty well to account for pressure ...

    From Pompei's breakdown column (I know, I know ...):

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    Like winning the lottery and deciding to use the winning ticket a a sticky pad instead. Thanks again Lovie.

    Sweet rig though: http://www.celebritycarz.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/img0051ld4.jpg

    Aaaaaand, this: http://www.tremendousupsidepotential.com/2010/09/sweet_haircut_devin_hester.php

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    "as a sticky note"

    Damn it.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    I'm sorry MB. I miss the good ole days when football players were closer to men instead of boys.

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    Yeah the days of Turner are lone gone. Martz will be prepared to adjust based on what is happening in game. He will attack. Cutler seems to make better decisions running around off of one foot anyways. Should be a really good game. I think the line started a -9 for us. Now maybe -8.5, the Bears will be one of my 3 picks this week.

  • In reply to mikemuadib:

    That's a *great* bet.

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    I think Dallas's team is best described as inconsistent. Their defense has some studs and some weak links. Their stars have some weaknesses as well and have been known to be shut down by proper defensive play. This is exactly the kind of team that a talented play caller can set up our offense to beat. If Martz can create the right mismatches and our guys execute (no silly turnovers please), we shred the boys for 30+

    Romo will get his licks in, he's not in the conversation for league MVP, but he can throw the ball. All we have to do is repeat what the Skins did last week and the Cowboys can be held under 20.

    I wouldn't give the Bears a 10 point spread, but we can win this game.

  • In reply to mottystone:

    Waddle's assessment of the Cowboys D was grim but fair. They will definitely cause Cutty problems in the ways he pointed out - and our receivers will cut their own throats ...

    It'll be close, dirty, and come down to the turnover game again.

  • In reply to IrishBearsFan:

    I disagree Irish, look at my post above.

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    I didn't see that Trac, I'll have a look, Thx.

  • In reply to IrishBearsFan:

    Hmmm. He has the Bears down as a top 5 defense this year. I guess he has a beef with the McCaskeys - who wouldn't though? I love the Bears but I hate the McCaskeys.

  • In reply to IrishBearsFan:

    http://www.fannation.com/truth_and_rumors/view/224511-vikes-closing-in-on-jackson?xid=cnnbin&hpt=Sbin

    I honestly believe that Chilli may be almost as bad as lovie... ALMOST.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    MB...didn't you know they are the bookends for the "Asshat Collection"...volumes Duff-us and Dipshit also interchangeable bobbing heads!

  • In reply to mottystone:

    Lets not forget the Queens torched em last year and that was soon after we beat the Queens.

    http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/spt/football/cowboys/stories/011810dnspocowlishaw.8a0e2527.html

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    He's absolutely correct about the stats....
    you can have the best stats in the leauge..but if it doesn't translate to the "W"column, then the stats don't mean a whole lot.
    And right now our stats in the redzone for TD's is not too good! Need to finish!

  • In reply to Grizzly559:

    Something about Waddle tells me he has a beef with the Bears. That's just way to definitive of a perspective this early in the season, specially considering how both teams played last week. I did some checking and I found that, yes indeed, Waddle is harboring a grudge against the Bears. If I find out more I will let you know.

    http://boards.chicagobears.com/forums/thread/2238737.aspx

  • gonna be nice to see what else the martzffense adds to the playbook this week. Let's keep those damn cowboys on their heels!

  • Thanks SD. Every 1000 or so posts, I get something right.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    Did you see that comment under the picture of his hair?

    The dude said " If you can't play your position ... you might as well look good trying."

    Sad but true lol

  • "NFL 'Kind of a Wussy Game' Now?"

    Wow, how about that: http://backporch.fanhouse.com/2010/09/15/roger-staubach-thinks-todays-nfl-is-kind-of-a-wussy-game/?icid=main%7Cmain%7Cdl4%7Csec3_lnk2%7C170886

    What do you guys think? I have a couple thoughts that I'll wait to post.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    I know where Roger the Dodger is coming from but he had his bell rung a few times too. When you watch the clips from the 60's-80's, it was a different game. Do I miss it? Yeah, I do. But I totally understand why they changed the rules to protect defenseless players. I think they go overboard when it comes to the "stars" but that's not going to change. Manning and Brady are untouchable. It's not unlike Michael during the Bulls Glory Years. He didn't have to dribble the ball once he passed half-court.

    On a side note, my brother was at the Naval Academy when Roger was there. My brother spoke very highly of him.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    They used to let the Pistons and Knicks felony assault Jordan on his drives to the hoop. He may have had an extra step once in awhile but Karl Malone used to kick people in the chest before his jump shot.

  • In reply to mikemuadib:

    Can't argue that. I'm not a B-ball fan. I just remember watching highlights of Michael taking off at half-court on monster dunks and putting the ball on the floor once at most.

    The point I was trying to make is there are different rules for the superstars.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    Oh there are definitely different rules for the superstars sometimes.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    Your breakdown of the Cowboys sounded an awful lot like a breakdown of the Bears. Just sayin'. These teams should be pretty well matched.

  • In reply to mikemuadib:

    Question: What do folks think the switch from playing Detroit's 4-3 to Dalla's 3-4 will mean for the O-line?

    It probably takes some emphasis off of the left guard position, which likely helps, but it creates a lot of issues with pass rushes off of the edge. I'm concerned about Forte and Olsen picking up blitzes, but hopefully Martz can scheme to create proper matchups to protect Jay.

  • In reply to mottystone:

    Good call NB. We seem to get our asses in trouble with 3-4 fronts, mostly I think because our blocking assignments haven't been great under Harry Hymen, Turner was clueless and the fact that the linemen are more of a handful in a 3-4 Defense. Let's see what Martz and Tice dial up this week. I hope this shit is on TV, I really do.

  • In reply to mikemuadib:

    Consider:

    If you lined up every Bears receiver to ever put a uniform on, and your time machine could have them each at the pinnacle of their fitness - and had them run a 100 yard dash the length of the field...

    Knox would win
    Hester would come in second
    Willie Gault would get the bronze
    Curtis Conway would be right behind

    and then a gap and a big group.

    It's odd to think for so many years we wondered what it would be like to have burner speed at the outside, and now all we want is guys who can make catches in traffic.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Nice post.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Willie Gault might be faster then all of them right now...

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news?slug=li-gault050109

  • In reply to MASOCHR:

    "Compare that to Gault, who can still crack 10 seconds in the 100-yard dash, and last year ran the 40 in a blistering 4.27. "

    HOLY FUCK. He ran a 4.27 at 46 years of age?????????????????????????????

    Jesus.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    That is fucking ridiculous. That is not even fast, it's honestly re-diculous... and at 4fucking6?!?!?

    Can we sign him?

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    Are u kidding me? A 4.27 at 46?! Deon ALLEGEDLY ran that in his prime...U c what I did there? lol Gault is inhuman if he ran that.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    Have u guys read what Briggs said about women in the locker room?"The men's locker room is for men, just like the women's locker room is for women[...]But the fact that there is an issue over a woman that's in the locker room, that's in the men's locker room, is ridiculous. I don't think there should ever be a problem in the men's locker room. That's our realm."

    Now that's my boy! Finally, someone manning up.

  • In reply to gpldan:

    I'd have my nuts on Gault. Or Dennis Gentry over 30 metres ...

  • In reply to mikemuadib:

    I'm feelin positive today (partly due to Doc's unfettered optimism). The first week couldn't have been much better for the Bears as far as within the division. Pep pretty much garauteed we won't end up last in the North by taking out his first of many QBs, the Pack lost their 1200+ yd bruising RB that pretty much eliminates their hopes of having a balanced attack, and the Vikes were underwhelming in their loss to the Saints and look to have taken a major step back on O as they are now scurrying for recievers.

  • In reply to Crowned:

    How cool would it be to see Favre or Rodgers get Peppered?

  • In reply to mikemuadib:

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/foster/2714526,CST-NWS-stella16.article

    damn matt....

  • In reply to FQD1911:

    Just read that on deadspin. Class act

  • In reply to Vicp71:

    hey man...don't start that judging shit (everybody makes mistakes). but, maybe he can use football to take his mind off of it. he needs to lean on his teammates at this time...

  • In reply to FQD1911:

    It's a horrible situation to be in, no doubt. I suggest Proverbs Matty, I wouldn't want to be in your shoes that's for sure. An angry Fiance and a calculating ex-girlfriend, talk about being between a rock and a hard place.

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    That's what got him into this mess Trac.

    Zing! Couldn't resist the underhanded lob.

  • In reply to FQD1911:

    Our Coaches are gonna seriously coach there asses of on this one. No faith in Lovie but I do have faith in Martz and Marinelli

  • In reply to FQD1911:

    Safe to say he will have some other things on his mind come Sunday...

    Kudos to his former fiance for leaving him. It's probably better for everyone involved at this point. Hopefully he learns from this in due time.

  • In reply to BearDown1982:

    The good news is he isn't getting married/divorced. I'll never understand why the athletes don't take some precautions. I'm not the moral police so I would never go there.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    Maybe he was meant to be with his ex - having a kid will focus him hopefully. Nice one Matt. Kind of thought he might end up with Ms. Payton once upon a time ...

  • In reply to FQD1911:

    Brokebacks are overrated. If the Bears don't make the epic mistakes they made last week, this one's in the bag.

  • In reply to FQD1911:

    Maybe he's just tryin to keep up with Briggs and Urlacher.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    The guy was first class Canada. I think most fans that were around to watch him when he played knew that.

  • In reply to CanadaBear:

    There you have it Canada. Call it machismo bullshit, but Jimmy Mac starts on my team over Peyton Manning every day of the week. Once you put self-preservation before the play then you're not doing the game justice and you are a woman. Manning won't tuck it and run if there's nothing on, cos he might get hit if he doesn't make it out of bounds in time. He 'gives up' in my opinion. He doesn't do everything within his capabilities of extending the play and getting every last yard. Look at some of Walter Payton's one yard losses for example. That dude would would run from sideline to sideline and back again on the off chance he might gain another yard than what he had been offered previously. He might have ran 80 yards to gain one. Pussies like Manning can't wait to launch it into the bleachers. I'm not questioning his will to win, just his will to give all that can be given in order to play the game. Mac had it, even great QBs like Joe Cool had it. Manning doesn't. Is that where you're coming from MB ?

  • In reply to IrishBearsFan:

    Bingo Irish, bingo.

    I much prefer the old skool, the only problem with that most simple of equations (Animal > Pussy) is that the players these days have increasingly gotten much bigger, much faster, and much, much more athletic. Can you imagine what a guy like peppers or mathews would have done 25-30 years ago in this league?

    Anyway, aside from that one nit... I'll stick with Bad ass / Pussy every day.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    Aside from the rules protecting the quarterback, not to mention recent rules that protect the brains and spinal columns of every player, how has the game been tamed down? Every week players - QBs included - are getting popped and 'jacked up.' It's a different game now, but as far as I'm concerned, it's a better game. I've watched the NFL for quite awhile and I enjoy it more and more every year.

    I like big plays on offense and defense. I don't like seeing guys hauled off on stretchers with their necks braced.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    I agree with Roger 100%. I guess you don't see those kind of things until you get older.

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    It's not even a discussion. No question. Now it's a business, whereas it used to be a game played by tough men. Butkus not Hillenmeyer. Ditka not Olsen. I can't think of a better example than Greg Olsen ...

  • From a gameplan standpoint, you can probably ditch all the cowboys game film from that game. With the starters returning on the O Line, I hope the bears arent sleeping on the big plays....the Cowboys will most certainly try and open it up much more this week.

  • In reply to Dmband:

    I think we will too.

    The cowboys opened up pretty good they had Miles Austin.

  • oh Tommie....how we're so glad you've decided to join us for the 2010 season.

  • In reply to FQD1911:

    +1

  • In reply to mikemuadib:

    Warren Sapp has always been a cocky S.O.B. Never cared much for him.

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    He sure could play!

  • In reply to iamndmurff:

    +1. Member when he blasted some dude on an INT or something? Put the dude out. He was one baaaad mothertrucker man.

    Plain, simple, painful truth is that Sapp is 100% right... butter ain't got shit on him.

  • I wouldn't live in Houston if you promised me a Bears Super Bowl Victory.

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    That's just selfish Trac.

  • The fastest Bears rb of all time?

    Hmmm.. That's a good one. You might make a case for Garret Wolfe.

  • I just read this snippet off ESPN's blog... The most notable comment was the last sentence. Are you kidding me!!!! We went up and down the field on them, the only reason they had a chance was because of the silly turnovers that happened during great drives and our coaches inability to make a decent play call on the goal line! Smacked around! Please!

    And let me weigh in on the CJ situation, hey dude, had you not been dropping easy passes earlier in the game you might never have been in that position and NO you did not have possession, the ball fell out of your hand, though i would have been pissed if the tables were turned and they have been so suck it up.

    "The Lions deserve a little sympathy, sure, not that they're requesting it. They lost their franchise quarterback, lost a touchdown because of a goofy NFL rule apparently devised by intoxicated engineers, and lost an opener they clearly could have won. But they don't get to lament, not with the season one game old, not with the Eagles coming to town and bringing Michael Vick's legs with them. It's the fans' job to gripe (excellent work, people) and the media's job to dig for an explanation (the Lions are cursed!). It's the Lions' job to figure out a way to recover, and it begins with their strength, a deep, defiant defensive line. They smacked around the Bears in that 19-14 loss, with Kyle Vanden Bosch a red-eyed dynamo and rookie Ndamukong Suh a heaving force."

  • In reply to shonbear:

    Not only has ESPN written off the Bears but they are noticeably biased against them. Their fantasy forecasts have very low numbers for all our playmakers and when I checked out the video matchup the only thing they highlighted was Cutlers 77 QB rating with 1 INT. They called out Homo's 2 TD's and forgot to mention Cutler 376yds or his 2 TD's. I have gotten used to it. Last year their picks for the league's top teams all tanked and they had the worst forecasts of any sporting network. Bite me ESPN you're a joke.

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    +1

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    Does anyone know who Dallas's 2nd and 3rd string quarterbacks are?

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    i don't know but they had better stretch out

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    Unfortunately their best QB is their backup in Kitna. Is Bartel still there? If he is he sucks. If we Pepper Romo we have to Pepper Kitna too ...

  • In reply to IrishBearsFan:

    then he dies too

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    Neidermeyer?

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    dead

  • In reply to MB30SD:

    The Bleacher Report has the Bears over the Cowgirls as one of their "Shockers you'll never see coming" this week.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/463104-nfl-picks-week-2-10-shockers-youll-never-see-coming#page/14

    Like many of you I think we have a decent shot to win this game. I can't friggin wait to watch it. Bear Down boys.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    lmao @ "Peppered" guess that's a running theme

  • In reply to ImissButkus:

    kitna and some other clown

  • In reply to shonbear:

    Re ESPN : Forgive them Father for they not not of what they write.

  • I know i know im off topic, so I really have no idea what the Bears are going to do in Dallas, my hope is that they keep working out the kinks and I'm hoping Dallas feels some pressure because they really did not look very good last week and they had the win all but wrapped up on the goal line and still failed.

  • Neal Anderson would be interesting in any footrace also - RBs or receivers...

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