Cowboys: What You Need to Know for Week 6
What Must Improve
Offensively, it can’t get much better for Dallas. Yes, quarterback Tony Romo had the late-game interception, but you can’t ask for anything more than 506 yards, five touchdowns and 14.1 yards per attempt. No one with 500 yards and five touchdowns has ever touched that efficiency, and only five quarterbacks with 400 or more yards have ever beat 14.1 YPA.
So “what must improve” in Big D is, well, the not-so-big D. The Cowboys were the first team in 20 seasons to score 48 points in a loss, so there are obvious concerns with coordinator Monte Kiffin’s defense, Peyton Manning-induced or not. Through five games, only seven teams have given up more than the 136 points allowed by Dallas.
With that said, let’s take a look at two players who need to it up in order for Dallas to field a formidable defense.
DE DeMarcus Ware
Defensive end DeMarcus Ware failed to record a sack for the second straight game and had only two pressures against the Broncos. Part of that is certainly due to the Peyton Manning effect, but before we brush aside Ware’s struggles, let’s not forget that he’s 31 years old.
In terms of the percentage of his past peak, Ware is producing right in line with the typical defensive end.
Ware’s peak was obviously much greater than for most players, but he’s still aging at the same rate. Earlier this year, I wrote an article detailing why Ware might fade late in the season:
“The problem is that he’s playing at an age that makes him far more susceptible to injuries than someone a half-decade younger. If you recall, Ware actually played outstanding football to start the 2012 season, too. He had four sacks in his first three games—the same as this season—six sacks in the first five games, and 10 of his 11.5 sacks in the first 10 contests.”
Ware at 80 percent is better than a lot of players at 100 percent, but that doesn’t change the fact that we probably can’t count on the one-plus sack per game that we did in Ware’s prime. As it stands right now, he’s on pace for 13 sacks and 51 tackles—not far from my preseason projection of 10.5 sacks and 55 tackles.