Oh, the need for depth in this league. Ask Chicago about that one. With those starters banged-up or out, it was that much easier for Dallas to put on the second-half display that they did on Sunday night. Did the Cowboys really go into Chicago and brutalize their players? The injury-report is a who’s-who of Pro Bowlers.
Against the defending NFC champions.
The same team everyone loves to pencil-in for the Super Bowl.
Terrance Newman made his first appearance of the 2007 season but is still nursing that injury. Two back-ups that are playing well on the corners are Nathan Jones and Jacques Reeves, the latter being the more impressive of the two, and still playing well above expectations. You can not put a price on quality depth. For the second straight week, Anthony Henry gathered two interceptions. Roy Williams got another one. Hamlin played well again, and his first-game blunders are a faded memory. All of a sudden, the team’s biggest problem area is looking like one of the best secondaries in the league. Ware had two sacks. Rookie Anthony Spencer, playing phenomenally, had five tackles and a sack. The rest of the linebackers played well. Nice to see Burnett give good minutes.
Romo started out a little sluggish, but then was able to find his pace. He once again connected with many receivers. His ability to find an open target is unbelievable for a guy who still has not played all that much. I said in the preseason how much I wanted them to start getting Jason Witten more involved in this offense. Short of a coaching change, which they also needed and received, it has been the piece that they needed, passing-wise. Witten has had a monstrous start to this season. Six catches for 90 yards and a touchdown against what was supposed to be the best defense in the universe.
Owens once again had a great game: eight catches for 145. Nice to see Fasano get involved, even though it was only a three yard pass. Barber went over one hundred on the ground with a touchdown, and Jones rushed for 26 and caught for 29. It is the little, overlooked weapons that you can use to beat any defense. Passes out of the backfield, tight-ends as serious threats, and one more thing I would like to see Dallas use more: the fullback. Have to get the fullback involved. The fullbacks have not been utilized yet.
But they looked impressive. Granted, now, they did play Chicago. But, somehow, everyone forgot the fact that this Chicago offense is as bad as it is. And all the talk of Cedric Benson being the animal of the league this season? I think sometimes people watch football games that do not really exist.
You know what they say… if you don’t learn from history.
“Rex Grossman is still our quarterback.” Hey, play Griese instead. He’ll be your answer, too.
After that game Sunday night, nationally televised, some people are starting to turn that pencil around and use their erasers. But Dallas won’t be sneaking up on anybody now, they are beeping loudly on everyone’s radar. They are clearly, at this point, the team to beat in the NFC.
This week Dallas comes home to take on a struggling St. Louis squad, and earlier I was a little worried about this game. Now, with Jackson out for week four, that takes away the best weapon (arguably) that St. Louis has on offense. I highly doubt that rookie Brian Leonard, for as good as he really is, is going to get away with having a break-out game against this defense. Passing the ball, they still have Bulger and Holt, and Issac Bruce pulled his foot out of the grave and came alive last week. The Dallas secondary is going to have to play their best game to date, but with the pattern we have been seeing, there’s no real reason to doubt them. They should not have all that much difficulty moving the ball on this St. Louis defense, and should pick up the win at home to go 4-0.
Before we start fantasizing about divisional titles and Super Bowl appearances, like all fans do, and like the sports media will pound down your throat four weeks into a 16 week season, take into account who Dallas has played. Especially with these starters out, Chicago is maybe the worst team in their division. They might be the worst team in their division with them playing. This road will get much tougher from here.
But with that being said, there is also something to be said about how the Cowboys fared in those three games: above expectations, with back-ups and new players especially playing well. There are not many things better that you can say about a team who is in Dallas’ position. The press is already talking about this defense. We’ll get another measuring-stick, in fact the best one to date, this weekend.