What up, Jaguar fans? I'm Grizz and I do the blogging for the Cowboys on SB Nation at Blogging The Boys. Chris asked me to write up a primer on the Dallas Cowboys for you guys so here is a look at the offense. I'll be posting some more stuff here later in the week, including the defense, as we head into the big game on Sunday. Let me say straight out, I respect the Jags, especially the defense, so I think it's going to be a tough game for my Boys.
QB: Drew Bledsoe is the starter and he's been in the league since it's inception, so there's no mystery about him. The modus operandi on Drew is if you can protect him and give him a clean pocket to throw from, he'll perform surgery on a defense. If he gets pressured, especially up the middle, it's a disaster waiting to happen. He's still got a cannon for an arm, and can take a hit with the best of them, but sometimes he tries to do too much and makes a costly mistake. Tony Romo is the backup, and has progressed nicely over the last few years, and should be a competent backup should Drew go down.
RB: Dallas uses the two-headed approach when it comes to its running game. Julius Jones is the starter and takes the majority of the snaps, but Marion Barber also gets a lot of time on the field. Julius is the quick and elusive one, capable of making defenders miss and creating the big play. His major knock is that he can't seem to stay healthy for a full 16-game schedule. Marion Barber comes in on 3rd down, he's the better blitz blocker and the better receiver out of the backfield. Barber is more of a between the tackles runner and you could see him in goal line situations. Also, watch for Barber as a receiver out of the backfield, something he does very well. Because Dallas uses a 2-TE set as their base formation, we don't use a true FB that often. But when we do Lousaka Polite is the guy.
WR: You guys probably didn't hear about this, it wasn't covered very much by the media, but we signed a WR in free agency named Terrell Owens. Oh, so you did hear about that? T.O. has been suffering through a hamstring injury and only played two series in the last preseason game. Of course we expect big things out of him on the field, but we haven't seen him and Bledsoe together except for one series in the preseason. Teaming up with Owens on the other side is Terry Glenn, whose career has had a revival in Dallas under Parcells. Glenn is extremely fast with good hands, and is a home-run threat on any pass play. Glenn and Owens form a dangerous WR combo. Definitely one of the strengths of the roster. Our #3 WR is Patrick Crayton who has great hands but is coming off an ankle injury and it's unclear how effective he'll be. Keep an eye on our #4 WR, Jamaica Rector, who had a very impressive camp and preseason, and my get some action in the game.
TE: Dallas runs a 2-TE set as its base offense, so you'll be seeing a lot of Jason Witten and Anthony Fasano. Witten is an absolute stud at TE. He has tremendous hands and runs routes like a WR. He's not the greatest blocker in the world, but covering him with a safety is a tough task, and almost no LB can cover him. Anthony Fasano is a rookie out of Notre Dame and is still learning the pro game, but has shown some promise in preseason.
OL: Now we come to what would be the weaker link on the offense. The Dallas OL was a disaster last year once LT Flozell Adams went down with injury, but we made a lot of moves to rectify the problem. We parted with LG Larry Allen, who had an all-world career in Dallas, but was slowing down with age. We brought in Kyle Kosier, a fourth-year guy who was with Detroit last year, as he is more mobile and better suited to pulling and getting to the 2nd level. At RG, veteran Marco Rivera starts for the 2nd straight year, and should be better this year, last year he was bothered by a back injury. C Andre Gurode, who was a backup C/G last year, has moved into the starting lineup and provides a much more physical presence in the middle, which we'll need against your DT's. Flozell Adams has recovered from his ACL injury of last season, but has been bothered by a calf injury the last week. He returned to practice this week and will provide us a solid veteran at LT. At RT, newcomer Marc Colombo won the job in training camp. Colombo was a first round pick of the Bears a few years ago, but suffered a catastrophic knee injury and couldn't play for two years. Last year Dallas signed him and he spent the whole season on the practice squad getting his strength back. He looked good in the preseason and may provide much needed stability on the right side. In the preseason, the offensive line provided excellent protection for our QB's, but have struggled some in the running game.
I'll cover the defense tomorrow.