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Old 09-10-2007, 05:31 PM    (permalink
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Default 5 Reasons Not to Panic

Its crazy that there is so much negativity going around after a win, but with the way things are in Cowboy fandom at large, let alone this board, it shouldn't surprise me, I suppose.

So here are some reasons to consider backing away from that ledge. While everyone and their sister wants to predict doom and gloom for this defense (and individual players within it), there is enough of an argument to be made for forbearance here that I am going to take a shot at it. Weird things happen in the NFL, f-ed up things, things you would never, ever be able to make fit into the smallest amount of a reasonable and logical big picture analysis. So, for your consideration, my 5 reasons to put the gun down:


NUMBER 5

GOOD RUN D/POOR TACKLING


This is an area that, if it becomes chronic, is actually one of the worst things that can happen to a defense. Last night, our run defense was playing fairly well, clogging lanes and generally holding up. That all changed when Ward broke off his first long run. Why did he break it? Simple: missed tackles. Hamlin was right there on that run, as were other people on a couple of his other nice carries. The tackling, overall, was pretty sloppy, especially in the run game. It did not appear that they were getting much of a push, or generating a lot of holes. The main problem was tackling.

Luckily, with this group, you can be fairly sure that it won't be a problem, as we have always been a very good tackling defense. Generally, with teams that run light camps, it takes awhile to get your tackling form up to regular season levels. As we ran a super-light, mostly contact-free camp, it is fair to surmise that our tackling will improve significantly, and that the lane-clogging and holding of the point of attack will continue, and produce a good/very good run defense.

NUMBER 4

NEW SCHEME


I'm sure most saw this one coming.

We all know that this is the first game in a fairly dramatic change in schemes. We know that we allowed San Diego--playing without Gates, or any other decent reciever in a year in which they were a mediocre offensive team-- to score 24 points in our first game under Parcells' new 3-4 scheme, and we were pretty good defensively that season.

You never know how long it will take to adapt. This might be a small thing, or a huge thing. We'll have to see.

NUMBER 3

THOSE GIANTS, THEY'RE GOOD......AT LEAST AGAINST US


Let's not get confused here. This Giants offense is pretty good. Plaxico, when he wants to be, is an elite talent. He always has been. Eli is the #1 overall pick. Amani Toomer is a former Pro Bowl level WR who has never gotten enough credit for his ability. Shockey is, imo, the 3rd most talented WR in the game today, and loves to play against us.

Against us. The Giants, and especially Eli, always seem to get up and play well against our team. Look at last season. Even in a year in which Eli was highly suspect, he played two very good games against us last year. His game against us late in the year was probably the best he played, start to finish, in a game all year long. Shockey regularly beats us(insert Roy Williams barb here). Plaxico gets up. Hell, Tiki used to make us his bitches on a regular basis.

It just happens. The QB I saw last night was confident, composed, and poised in the pocket. He was regularly throwing with his line collapsing around him, but time and time again (he threw 40+ times) he quickly found his receiver a step before the rush could get him.

This may seem just a tad self-serving, because I have been vocal in bashing Eli in the past, but this is a guy who literally didn't miss a receiver all night long, who was sharp and confident without exception. That is not who I have seen in years past. If he continues to play like that, he will be a very good, maybe even great, one.

Sometimes, you just have to tip your hat to the other team.

NUMBER 2

PASS COVERAGE PROBLEMS? WE NEED A NEW MAN.
(heh.....ok, bad pun :P)

Bad jokes aside, this really could be the sum of it. Newman, along with a healthy Greg Ellis, could be the difference for us. He is an elite player. Just seeing Reeves and his ridiculously soft coverage last night should be enough to demonstrate this. Newman is the key that makes everything work in the secondary. He's the best player on our defense, maybe even on our team, and he does things that no other player can replace.

While the rebuttal here might be: "Well, there was still Roy getting burned by multiple players, Toomer running free on crossing routes, and our pass rush over-pursuing the QB leading to big gains on screen plays, so how could one guy fix all that?" The answer is clear. Our pass rush was killing those guys. We were getting regular penetration, and if DMW had one-half second more on even half of those plays, he would have ended up with 4 or 5 sacks, let alone the rest of the team. All T-New has to do is make Eli go through one more progression, give the rush that one split-second of extra time, and the complexion of the game changes. If he plays, and does that, we are talking about a dominant pass rushing effort on the board today instead of doing Chicken Little imitations.



NUMBER ONE

UH.....ITS WEEK ONE!!


The BoysBlog makes this point the best, listing all the occasions in the last 35+ years in which the Cowboys had a great week one, and then collapsed, or had a horrible week one, and then regrouped and played great. Here's a sample:
http://www.theboysblog.com/
Quote:
3. 1979 ó Cowboys 22, Cardinals 21; Week two ó Cowboys 21, 49ers 13

O.J. Anderson made his pro debut by rushing for 203 yards on Dallas, which eked out a one point win. This was Doomsday II he ripped to ribbons. Randy White, Too Tall Jones, Harvey Martin, Charlie Waters, Cliff Harris, etc. And his Cards were a 5-11 team that year. The sky didnít fall for Dallas, which finished 11-5.
Like I said in my opening remarks, weird things happen, especially in Week 1.








In closing I just want to head-off the cynics who think this is just a list of excuses, and that this exemplifies the kind of la-de-dah, no worries thinking that we also know as homerism. After what I saw last night, I am concerned. There were some legitimately ugly things going on, and if they continue into the season, we are going to need more 350 yard 4TD outings from Romo to post a winning record.

But still, week one is often the worst kind of indicator for what the season will be like. I personally have always felt that Dallas was going to have a disappointing season. However, I always hope for the best, and look for whatever evidence I can find to support that hope. In this case, there actually is enough there to mitigate the turd-fest we saw last night. While I wouldn't make reservations for the Super Bowl just yet, there is enough there to warrant a fair amount of optimism.
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Old 09-10-2007, 05:35 PM    (permalink
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I'm not worried about our season.

Not yet.

Newman will be back soon, and things will tighten up considerably.
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Old 09-10-2007, 05:39 PM    (permalink
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Of all the concerns we had yesterday, I think we've overlooked the play of our ILB James/Adoyle. They played great from what I saw. With the exception of that long run by Ward, I need to see that play again though.
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Old 09-10-2007, 05:44 PM    (permalink
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I suspended Robert, so I think the true cynics are gone. LOL.

Good right up. Thoughtful and insightful. Can't disagree with anything you said. I saw the same game.

I would like to point out that if Newman doesn't come back soon, I will panic. Ha ha.
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Old 09-10-2007, 06:07 PM    (permalink
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You suspended him? For how long? Why not a ban?

Don't take this the wrong way, but......I think I love you, D. :D
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Old 09-10-2007, 07:51 PM    (permalink
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You suspended him? For how long? Why not a ban?

Don't take this the wrong way, but......I think I love you, D. :D
Just 7 days, but he's on thin ice. His personal attacks got to be too much in addition to his trolling.
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:06 PM    (permalink
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Great post. I'd also like to point out the fact that we blitz'd way too much. We should of mixed it up and faked some blitz packages and then drop back into coverage. On another note, the Giants KNEW we were gonna be blitz heavy. They countered it by throwing quick in's, curls, outs.

Another thing I noticed is that we need to open up the blitzing lanes. I saw players running into each other or blocking each other too many times.

Eli was getting rid of the ball very quickly to counter the blitz as well. We need our CORNERS to JAM or something!. On a side note, after watching the giants and ravens in preseason a couple weeks ago, I noticed that the Ravens had trouble blitzing Eli as well. Maybe too many people are underestimating their O-line. Just a thought.
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:49 PM    (permalink
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EXCELLENT WRITE UP!!! I hate coming in here after a game because there's so much negativity, even after a win. Our offense was very proficient last night and I'm not worried about it at all.

The defense looked pretty bad at times and I can attribute that mainly to not having Newman. Without your shut down corner, it changes your whole defensive philosophy. I strongly believe we don't need Newman until week 4 against St Louis. Miami doesn't scare me and Chicago doesn't scare me.
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Old 09-10-2007, 09:05 PM    (permalink
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EXCELLENT WRITE UP!!! I hate coming in here after a game because there's so much negativity, even after a win. Our offense was very proficient last night and I'm not worried about it at all.

The defense looked pretty bad at times and I can attribute that mainly to not having Newman. Without your shut down corner, it changes your whole defensive philosophy. I strongly believe we don't need Newman until week 4 against St Louis. Miami doesn't scare me and Chicago doesn't scare me.
I hear ya. I hate coming here and seeing all this negativity after beating a division rival. That crap makes me sick to my stomach. The only thing worse than that feeling is watching the team actually LOSE a game. I take that to heart.
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Old 09-11-2007, 02:54 AM    (permalink
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If our defense can improve on their zone recognition we will be better defensively. Bernard Berrian scares me in the future. But overall there were a few good things to pull out of this game.

Safe to say we get to go against two good defenses in the next two weeks. This should show us what we have to expect next week.

On a side note our defense may get a break since both teams put up a whapping 19 points last week.
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Old 09-11-2007, 03:52 AM    (permalink
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Great post, DMW. Fans like to push the panic button a little too early.
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Old 09-11-2007, 04:30 AM    (permalink
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I also agree. We are 1-0, and 1-0 in the division. The Giants arent THAT bad. They may not be New England, but it's not like we lost to the browns.

By the way, the Browns took a step towards making me happy, too.

Plenty good came out of this weekend
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Old 09-11-2007, 04:41 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by DMWSackMachine View Post

NUMBER 2

PASS COVERAGE PROBLEMS? WE NEED A NEW MAN.
(heh.....ok, bad pun :P)

Bad jokes aside, this really could be the sum of it. Newman, along with a healthy Greg Ellis, could be the difference for us. He is an elite player. Just seeing Reeves and his ridiculously soft coverage last night should be enough to demonstrate this. Newman is the key that makes everything work in the secondary. He's the best player on our defense, maybe even on our team, and he does things that no other player can replace.

While the rebuttal here might be: "Well, there was still Roy getting burned by multiple players, Toomer running free on crossing routes, and our pass rush over-pursuing the QB leading to big gains on screen plays, so how could one guy fix all that?" The answer is clear. Our pass rush was killing those guys. We were getting regular penetration, and if DMW had one-half second more on even half of those plays, he would have ended up with 4 or 5 sacks, let alone the rest of the team. All T-New has to do is make Eli go through one more progression, give the rush that one split-second of extra time, and the complexion of the game changes. If he plays, and does that, we are talking about a dominant pass rushing effort on the board today instead of doing Chicken Little imitations.
From the DMN Blog:

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Wade Phillips went out of his way to praise Jacques Reeves' performance as a fill-in starter. But he also made it clear that the Cowboys couldn't unveil a lot of the Phillips 3-4 wrinkles because of Terence Newman's absence.

"We didnít play hardly any man to man at all because of the matchups," Phillips said.

It's tough to bring a bunch of blitzers if your cornerbacks can't play man. And it's tough to double-team a dominant WR if you can't leave the guy alone on the opposite side. Phillips said Newman would have been one-on-one against Amani Toomer a lot, allowing the Cowboys to double cover Plaxico Burress.

"He can shut down the whole right side or left side of the field," LB Bradie James said about Newman. "Not too many guys can do that. You can call the game differently with a guy like that."
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Old 09-11-2007, 12:32 PM    (permalink
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Thanks for the props, guys. Just trying to stem the tide of crappola that I expected to be spewed all over the board.

There is definitely some cause for concern, but there is not enough evidence to start calling for people's heads. This defense is likely going to determine how far we go this season. If it improves to a top 10 or even top 15 unit, I think we will definitely make the playoffs, barring further injury, of course.

If it continues the type of play that we saw last week, we can plan on having TWO top-half-of-the-1st-round picks......which would not be that bad, really. I don't see us making any real noise as far as making the Super Bowl, so it wouldn't hurt to get the most out of this 08 draft, which could possibly catapult us to the top of the NFC on a yearly basis. That would be cool...
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Old 09-11-2007, 01:53 PM    (permalink
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Great post! Thanks for putting things in perspective. It was a win, after all. :)
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:28 AM    (permalink
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I'm watching the tape of the Miami game to see how effective our pass rush was. That's a breakdown of the passing plays (Green tried to pass 40 times).

1st Quarter

The tape begins at 12:23 in the first, so I missed a couple of plays.

12:23 - Nickel Package, the d-line jumps outside and then stop, Satele snapped the ball and caught them off balance. It's a 4 men rush against 6 men blocking, Green is able to throw with ease.

12:02 - 5 men rush. Ware is doubled, he had to go againts the RT and the FB, Spencer couldn't beat the LT in time, but Ratliff destroyed the box from the inside, forcing Green to run and being tackled 4 yards downfield by Spencer.

9:19 - Dolphins stayed with 6 men blocking. Dallas blitzed Ware and Spencer. Ware is doubled once again (RT and FB), Green completed a checkdown pass to Brown, Ware is half a second late, hitting Green just a moment after he throwed the ball. Ratliff had great penetration and almost caught Green too.

7:18 - Nickel package, Dallas blitzed both Roy and Burnett. It's third and 14, the Dolphins can't stay in max protection, the leave only one TE to help the line. Roy blitzed againts the TE, Burnett is facing the LT. Roy throwed his man to Green caughting him from behind, Burnett beated his man one on one stepping into Green face. Green was forced to throw an errant ball to the ground.

2nd Quarter

15:00 - Brown stayed to help the line and picked up Ratliff who had beat his man and was coming to Green. Ware and Spencer are one on one against the tackle but they couldn't get to the QB. The pass is picked off by Henry.

10:18 - Immediate pass to the WR.

9:55 - James blitzed up the middle and sacked Green immediately

1:54 - Miami stayed with 6 in protection, Dallas blitzed Spencer, Ware dropped in coverage. Spencer wasn't able to beat the TE, Green is not hurried but his throw is caught out of bounds.

1:21 - Nickel package, no blitzes, Miami stayed with 6, no pressure but the ball is dropped.

1:20 - Nickel, no blitzes, Miami stayed with 6 (Ware doubled), Spencer was just half a second away from getting to Green. The pass is incomplete

1:13 - Nickel package, Dallas blitzed Burnett, while the Dolphins kept a RB to help the line. The pressure was coming late from Burnett and Green was able to complete a pass in the middle of the field. Ware was doubled.

0:55 - Here Green made a great play to escape from pressure. Nickel package, no blitzes, Miami didn't kept a RB or a TE t hel the line. Ratliff got to Green but he escaped, then Ware got to him but wasn't able to put him down and finally Green throwed a checkdown pass for almost no gain when Hatcher had him in his arms.

0:42 - Nickel, Ware doubled once again, matching the LT with the help of a RB. Green completed the pass.

0:16 - Nickel, no blitzes. This time bot Canty and Ware got doubled, Ware tried to twist inside but was picked by the G and the C, Canty rush outside and was picked by the LT and a RB. Hatcher and Ratliff went one on one with the RG and RT. Ratliff made the RG look silly with a great move and hit Green just half a second before he released the ball. The result is a bad incomplete pass.

I'll do the breakdown for the second half later. As we can see, the pressure wasn't as bad as someone thinks, and I think that with Newman back we'll generate more sacks. Miami stayed often with 6 even 7 guys blocking, and it's very hard to beat 6-7 men without blitzing. With Newman back we will able to blitz more and the QB will need a second more to throw the ball. This second is the difference between an hurried and a sack, or between a good throw and a bad one.
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Old 09-18-2007, 12:06 PM    (permalink
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There is definitely some cause for concern, but there is not enough evidence to start calling for people's heads.
Not ever if you like the player (Dave Kingman Clone). Don't cut their heads just roll out a new excuse (or 5).

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This defense is likely going to determine how far we go this season. If it improves to a top 10 or even top 15 unit, I think we will definitely make the playoffs, barring further injury, of course.
Well those are fairly low expectations for a Defense with 7 #1 drafts picks (Ware, Ellis, Spears, Dave Kingman SS, TNew, Carpenter, Spencer) and three high priced FA (Henry, Fergie and Ayodele).

So, no one is panicking. Just disappointed the new new scheme is no better so far and maybe worse than the old scheme.
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Old 09-18-2007, 02:49 PM    (permalink
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This shows Ratliff had a good game. He is making the loss of Furgy less noticeable of he can keep playing at this level.
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