Cowboys vs. Vikings Week 6 Initial Post-Game Observations
Tough one to swallow. Film study might take an extra day this week.
- If you told me the ‘Boys would hold Adrian Peterson to 73 yards on 24 carries and Randy Moss to 55 yards receiving, I’d obviously be ecstatic. The Vikings totaled only 118 yards passing overall, but again, mental mistakes cost the Cowboys–mindless penalties, yielding a kick return touchdown, and so on.
- A lot of the Cowboys’ success came from playing Cover 1, which I talked about in my pre-game Manifesto:
I personally think the Cowboys should play a lot of “Cover 1.”
Cover 1 is basically man coverage underneath with a free safety deep. That safety (Alan Ball) should shadow Moss during basically every play. With Terence Newman or Mike Jenkins underneath and Ball deep, the ‘Boys should be able to limit Moss’ big play potential.
Cover 1 also allows a defense to be very flexible with their pre-snap alignment. The Cowboys can bring eight guys into the box without much risk while in Cover 1 in an effort to be ready to stop Peterson. Peterson should be the No. 1 priority, and if Dallas stops him, they can stop Moss as well.
Finally, there’s very little downside to playing man coverage underneath against the Vikings. Not only are the Cowboys’ cornerbacks suited for man-to-man, but Brett Favre isn’t going to be running anywhere. The idea of a bunch of defenders with their backs turned to the quarterback isn’t as scary as if, say, Michael Vick was at quarterback.
- The Cowboys employed a slightly radical strategy in their Cover 1 looks though. Free safety Alan Ball lined up incredibly deep–about 25 yards. His sole purpose on most plays was to stop Moss from beating the Cowboys deep, and he did it well. Dallas basically said “Here are nine guys to stop Peterson, and here are two (a cornerback and Ball) to focus solely on Moss–someone else beat us.” It worked, making the loss that much more disheartening.
- The excessive celebration penalty after Roy Williams’ first touchdown was called on Miles Austin, but I think it was actually on Sam Hurd. Austin simply jumped over Williams, but Hurd was the one to simultaneously flash the UT symbol. I believe the refs flagged Dallas for a team celebration and simply called the wrong number. Nonetheless, why can’t we just let football players have fun?
- It is ridiculous to me that Peterson didn’t get flagged for going to the ground after his touchdown. He pointed up to the sky, so the refs looked past it as “prayer.” I talked about why prayer is a poor excuse to avoid a penalty earlier, and I know I will have opposition to this, but it is insane. What if a particular religion’s form of prayer calls for a player to expose his bare ass to the fans? That okay too, NFL? I mean after all, he is doing it in the name of God. Again, my beef is that players cannot go to the ground in general, not with prayer. But if a player can’t do it while celebrating with his teammates, how is it fair to let him do it for what is usually a “prayer” only by name, and more often simply another form of celebration?
- Roy Williams’ play is getting overlooked because of the 1-4 record. The catch he made in the last drive (which I realize was basically meaningless) was incredible. The Cowboys are starting to utilize him properly, and most importantly, he’s regained his confidence.
- Leonard Davis was the scapegoat on the offensive line last week, but Marc Colombo has consistently been the team’s worst lineman. He gets ripped apart in pass protection and, like it or not, he’s not even that dominant in the running game. I know proponents of Colombo will say he’s a leader and brings toughness to the offense, but I’ll take a right tackle who doesn’t get my quarterback killed over one who is “tough.”
- I don’t know how to grade Romo’s play. He did a lot of great things, but he also threw two costly picks. On the surface, they look kind of “fluky,” but a ton of Romo’s interceptions are like that. At a certain point, they have to stop. The first one in particular may have hit a defender’s helmet, but it shouldn’t have been thrown. The mistake doesn’t usually come in the throw, but in the decision.
- Will the “offensive balance” nuts be quiet going forward? I’ve talked about this ad nauseam–running the ball often doesn’t win football games, running it efficiently does. The Cowboys ran it often–28 of 60 plays–just not efficiently. Even with Romo’s three scrambles, the ‘Boys averaged just 3.36 yards-per-rush.
- Terence Newman may be playing the best of any player on the entire team. He’s strangely getting healthy as he ages, and it makes you wonder what he could have done had he not suffered so many injuries early in his career.
- What is up with David Buehler’s kickoffs? The best way to improve kickoff coverage is to not even give up returns, but Buehler’s increased role in 2010 is clearly affecting his distance on kickoffs, for whatever reason.