How RGIII Will Help Cowboys Defeat Eagles
Want to write for The DC Times? Well, you probably won’t be able to. But maybe! Since moving to DallasCowboys.com, writing Fantasy Football for Smart People, and contributing to the Times and other publications, I haven’t posted as much unique content here as I normally like. That will change as the season approaches.
Until then, I am going to be posting some articles from other up-and-coming Cowboys writers in the “Blog” section. I’ve thoroughly analyzed the work of these writers and you should find it enjoyable. It won’t be the same sort of stat analysis I do, so. . .you’ll probably enjoy it even more than my stuff.
The quality of the comments here at The DC Times has been outstanding over the last three years. I’m convinced there isn’t a more intelligent and thought-provoking bunch of visitors on any
NFL football sports site on the web. If you want to contribute to the site and have your stuff read my thousands of fans (tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands), feel free to send some stuff to me at email@example.com.
I will never, ever publish anything that isn’t worthy of being posted. It just won’t happen, so if you send something to me and it is crap, thanks for your time and effort, but it will not get posted. Don’t get offended if you e-mail me and I don’t post your article. If your content is of high quality (similar to what I’ve seen in most of the comments), I will definitely post it. You’ll get exactly zero dollars for your effort, but you’ll probably be read by at least a few of the influential newspaper editors/blog owners who come here.
With that said, here is the first article from writer Roger Light.
How RGIII Will Help Cowboys Defeat Eagles
Michael Vick and the Eagles offense is a puzzle Dallas has yet to solve.
Now, RGIII arrives this fall with the potential to bring more of the same pain to Cowboys fans, unless Dallas can create a solution to the run/pass threat posed by the rookie.
Trying to simulate Vick in practice is very challenging. Dez Bryant has played that role in the past. He actually has a fairly strong arm and plenty of athleticism, but Bryant doesn’t have the electric quickness of a player like Vick.
In 2010, Dallas was beaten 30-27 in their first match-up with the Eagles. In the second contest, Vick didn’t play. Dallas won a hollow victory in a pointless game.
In 2011, the ‘Boys were blown out in Philadelphia 34-7. In the second game, they started Stephen McGee in what amounted to a pre-season game in December, losing 20-7.
Over the course of two years, Dallas has played only two meaningful games against Vick’s Eagles. That’s hardly enough exposure to solve this puzzling, explosive offense.
Now, along comes Robert Griffin III. He has the potential to be a better NFL passer than Vick and he will likely be equally as dangerous with his feet (Note from Jonathan: ‘no way’ to the latter point).
The Cowboys now reside in a division where two-thirds of their opponents deploy West Coast offenses with dangerous running quarterbacks. The ‘Boys will be forced to respond to this challenge by putting speed on the field at all costs.
When Sean Lee injured his wrist and left in the first quarter of the first Eagles match-up last season, it became painfully apparent that the Cowboys were molasses-slow inside. Bradie James and Sean Lee had their hands full and would have been challenged all day; Bradie James and Keith Brooking were a tandem destined for embarrassment.
Fortunately, Dallas has responded to the upcoming challenges with several personnel moves. Inside linebacker Dan Connor and physical cornerback Brandon Carr were smart free agent acquisitions.
Drafting cornerback Morris Claiborne, considered by most analysts to be the top defensive player in the draft, was a bold stroke that will help slow down the passing aspect of these multi-threat offenses.
As Dallas continues the turnover of its roster toward younger, faster defenders, the time has arrived for Sean Lissemore and Victor Butler to start as well. Lissemore may be the only defensive end in the NFL who is a former sprinter.
At 310 lbs, he probably wouldn’t win many track meets these days, but if he can meet at the quarterback with DeMarcus Ware, Dallas will be on its way to the defense it needs.
But what about the Giants? They won it all, so shouldn’t the Cowboy be creating a defense to stop them?
As great a run as the Giants went on at the end of the season and through the playoffs, their offense isn’t the one that should scare Cowboys fans. Manning isn’t terribly mobile and Pro Football Focus rated his line dead last in 2011. It’s a miracle he stayed upright long enough to hoist another Lombardi trophy. Although his wide outs are fantastic, their numbers were padded by a schedule that featured several anemic pass defenses.
Here is the list of pass defenses the Giants faced in their last nine games, including the Super Bowl: Packers, 29th in pass rush; Cowboys, 26th in pass coverage; Redskins, 22nd in pass coverage; Jets, 28th in pass rush; Cowboys, 26th in pass coverage; Falcons, 18th in pass coverage; Packers, 29th in pass rush; 49ers, 4th in pass coverage, but gave away the win by muffing two punt returns; Patriots, 27th in pass coverage.
I doubt any other Super Bowl winner was ever given a smoother, more gently-winding road for its offense to navigate. The only bump in the road was the 49ers, who had a concussed rookie fielding punts. His two muffs essentially handed the Giants the game.
That isn’t to say that the Giants aren’t a formidable offense. They are solid, but the solution is simple: get a secondary to go with your pass rush. Dallas has done that. But beating the Eagles and the Redskins will require more.
Dallas must continue to build its defense to stop the monster that is already growing in Washington and the monster that is fully developed in Philadelphia.
These offenses will require linebackers that can cover sideline-to-sideline, ball-hawking defensive backs, and defensive linemen that arrive quickly and with bad intentions.
Once Dallas can shut down the Eagles offense, stopping the Giants offense will seem rudimentary by comparison. . .and they’ll have the Redskins to thank for it.
Roger Light is a sports writer and founder of sportsbrainpower.com, a site dedicated to providing coaches and athletes with sports psychology and brain-health resources.