Sunday, January 17, 2010

Down Goes Dallas


I admit it. I was nervous about Dallas. I let the hype machine start to get to me. Could they break through and win it all? The Cowboys had a good winning streak. They were playing outstanding defense and Tony Romo was red hot. The thought of having Dallas plow through the postseason and winning the Super Bowl scared the crap out of me, to put it eloquently.

Thanks to the Vikings I can now rest easy. Minnesota dominated Dallas, 34-3. The Vikings DL was sensational. Tony Romo got sacked 6 times and hit many more. He ran for his life at various stretches. While the Vikings D played great you have to factor in the home field advantage. More than half of the Vikings sacks came at home this year. The last time an opponent scored more than 10 points in Minnesota was back on October 18th when Baltimore put up 31 points. The Vikings D has been sensational at home since that game, allowing a total of 49 points in 6 games.

I've already heard a few analysts talking about what the Vikings D will do to the Saints. Don't be so sure. Minnesota allowed 92 points in the last 3 road games, all losses. And all due respect to Matt Moore, Jay Cutler, and Kurt Warner, but Drew Brees is a whole other level right now.

I will be thoroughly impressed if Minnesota is able to go to New Orleans and shut down that offense. I know Dallas did, but the Saints got away from running the ball in that game. Sean Payton isn't likely to make that mistake again.

As for Dallas, we can all enjoy their misery right now, but that team will be back next year. They have a lot of talent in place and those guys will be coming back. Dallas had an awful lot of things go right this season. That may not happen next year. It isn't likely that they'll go through another season so injury free. The problems Dallas did have were manageable. TE Martellus Bennett disappeared, but John Phillips took advantage of the time that he got. WR Roy Williams was highly inconsistent, but Miles Austin came from nowhere to make the Pro Bowl. K Nick Folk did bottom out. I don't know right off hand if his misses cost them any wins.

Now compare that to us. Stewart Bradley 0 games. Omar Gaither gone after a few weeks. Akeem Jordan hurt for a month. Joselio Hanson suspended for a month. Brian Westbrook out for half the year. Donovan McNabb out for 2 games. Todd Herremans out for a month. Jamaal Jackson out for the final 3 games. Quintin Demps missed several games. Stacy Andrews never really got going and essentially missed the year. Victor Abiamiri had his annual injury that once again stunted his development. To put it simply...imagine if the final 2 games involved Stewart Bradley at MLB for us and Jeremiah Trotter playing in place of Bradie James. That would have made a huge difference.

Injuries are part of the game. We overcame them enough to win 11 games, but hopefully next year we'll be the lucky team that has few backups on the field when the postseason rolls around.


RE: Stew at SAM and drafting a MLB

I don't like this idea. Stew was a perfect fit at MLB. The only way I move him is if there is an elite MLB available. Rolando McClain is the only elite prospect at that spot and he'll be gone in the Top 10. If we got up that high and could get him then I would be open to putting Stew outside. That's the only way. Brandon Spikes is a good player, but Stew is such a perfect fit that I don't want to move him just for a "good" player.

RE: Nickel LB

This deserves a detailed answer. I'll write something up.

RE: Rashad Jeanty

He absolutely could be a SAM target. Rashad has pretty good size at 6'2, 245. He plays SAM for the Bengals and does a pretty good job. He's not great in any way, but could be the kind of player to come in here and fight for the job. Fokou will get a chance at the job, but we do need competition for him, assuming we let Gocong go.



Tommy Lawlor said...

Weird note...Rex Ryan has 2 playoff wins this year. Buddy never won a playoff game. Having a good OL really is critical to winning in the postseason.

rick said...

another weird note: I wonder if Lito's compensation value goes up with these extra playoff games he's logging or if it's just based on regular season games played......?

Tommy Lawlor said...

I doubt the playoff games affect the deal.

Myron said...

What do we have to do on defense to replicate the success Minnesota had?

It looked as if they found a way to fluster Tony Romo, and then the game was all over. The secret to beating Romo is simple: pressure him and he starts coughing up the ball. How come they were able to do it so easily and we weren't?

What do we have to add to our defense to be able to do the same thing to the Cowboys? Is it just a better DE? DT?

Myron said...

Also, as if it was bad enough having to listen to the pundits and fans talk about a Dallas Super Bowl this year, now that they got blown out, everyone has already started making comparisons with this team to the Dallas team that got blown out in the 1991 playoffs and then went on to win 3 Super Bowls with Aikman, Irvin, and Smith. I have to admit, the similarities are pretty striking and it worries me.

Sigh. Somebody please reassure me that Romo, Austin, and Jones/Choice aren't nearly as talented as Aikman, Irvin, and Smith were. Please?

Tommy Lawlor said...

Emmitt Smith is the all-time leading rusher in NFL history. That speaks for itself.

Michael Irvin is a HOF and was a high pick. Austin had a great year, but he's not in the same league.

Romo vs Troy? Time will tell on that one.

The biggest difference is the OL. The Cowboys had the best line in the league back then. The guys now are good, but not on the same level.

Dallas isn't purely an ascending team. They went 13-3 in '07. Last year they struggled at times. This year they bounced back.

There was a clear line of progress from 1989-1992. That doesn't really exist right now.

T_S_O_P said...

I echo your first paragraph and I felt sick to the gut.

I liked the Vikes mascot behind the end zone, surely he must be related to Brad or even Desert Island Brad. Made me chuckle.

The Vikes and the Jets didn't do anything that we didn't do last year, i.e. get pressure on the QB (Vikes) and hold 'em on 3rd doen (Jets).

In TATE world, if Rex Ryan wins the next one, that will only make Buddy's legacy even greater in Philly.

I love the snip it on AJ Edds on Scouts Notebook. I don't normally get hooked so early on a player, particularly when I haven't seen (read up on) (m)any others. My fingers are already crossed.

izzylangfan said...


In my opinion the key to success in a blitzing defense in addition to getting pressure on the QB is good coverage. You can't force the QB to throw early and then get beat because receivers are wide open. You have to force the QB to make a less than optimal throw and then capitalize with PD's and INT's. Sure you are going to get burned sometimes on the blitz but Sheldon and Asante seem to give up too much.

If you go back to the great Eagles D early in the 00's decade we had Hugh Douglas creating havoc on the offensive side of the ball and Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor shutting down the WR's. The current Eagles have Asante getting his interceptions but not really great in coverage and with too many lapses tackling. Sheldon should be better and looks great so often and he is so tough. But he just has too many lapses and got beat too many times although he may have been playing injured in last two Dallas games.

The safety situation didn't help this year either. The Eagles have done well letting go of their older players. But in 2009 Dawkins was the exception.

Dominic said...

Sorry to ask about LBs again, but I was just wondering what you guys thought about Will Witherspoon's play late in the season. It seemed like he played much better at MIKE than at WILL. I know this might be due to the fact that he didn't have a bye week the whole season and that he was asked to absorb the Eagles' D at a couple of different positions, but I thought Akeem played better at WILL earlier in season than 'Spoon did. Might a two-down Akeem and a nickel Tracy White be a better combo than 'Spoon?

frankfurtler said...

LJ Smith sighting on Baltimores first KR at Indy. Illegal Block by our former Mr. Smith negates a 64 yard return to the Indy 40 yd line. Instead Bal starts at their own 7.

Colts MLB Gary Brackett played an insane game, but the MINN Defense was the most satisfying to watch.

And remember Kris Wilson? He only had a few pre season oppurtunities with the Eagles in 2008, and he looked like he had hands of stone.
He made a sweet TD catch for SD in the back of the endzone yesterday.

Cliff said...

The Cowboys will be the media favorite to win the East next season, I'm sure. But who cares.

Chris said...

I like what someone else here said about our DT's playing 1 gap. Are Patt and Bunk well suited to a more penetrating style? What is the downside?

Pitmanite said...

in response to your question as to why the vikes were able to put pressure on romo and we weren't it's very simple...they had playmakers. their defensive line has guys who are really good run stuffers and really good pass rushers. that makes it easier for everyone else behind them.

i don't think it has to do with our scheme or whether we should go to a 3-4 or hybrid, etc. it just comes down to us getting more guys who make plays. we've got a very competent coaching staff in my opinion, and we just need some more players on defense. players make the coach, not the other way around.