A few observations on last night’s contest between the Dallas Cowboys and the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
- Kevin Ogletree was outstanding. Yes, he’s a player that had little experience between the enigmatic Dez Bryant and the nearly invisible Miles Austin, but for someone with 25 previous receptions, Ogletree was able to understand the fundamental key to immediate success: use a defense’s weakness against it. He exploited a banged-up secondary that relied on slightly-more experienced cornerbacks for eight catches (two TDs) and 114 yards.
- Tony Romo doomed himself back in ’06 when he said “I got a little Brett Favre in me.” However, half of the league would kill to have him on their teams. Book it.
- Congratulations, “Smiles.” You’re no longer on a milk carton.
- A major part of the win comes from the pass rush. As much attention as we pay to sack totals – and Demarcus Ware starting with two is pretty nice – a pass rush is about so much more. It’s about disrupting the timing of not only the quarterback, but his protection as well. Though both New York’s offensive line and Dallas’ defensive line were retooled, the latter got the obvious advantage as their defensive ends were rewarded for their aggression. Kenyon Coleman and Jason Hatcher should have gotten game balls for finally giving Ware space to finally get to Eli Manning.
Why does this matter? Until last night, the Cowboys had just five sacks on Eli in the last two years. The three tallied tonight were a sign that this is a newly-energized Cowboys defense against a team that has become its biggest nemesis.
- That opportunistic d-line gave this apparently improved secondary some great looks all night. Morris Claiborne has some work to do with tackling dummies, but he was physical in his first battle against one of the league’s best receiving corps. Brandon Carr is one of the most underrated secondary players in the league, and at least for this night, he made Jerry Jones the GM look good after poaching him from Kansas City. (Sidenote, Jerry Jones had ole buddy clean his glasses during the game. Only one word describes this…BAWSE!)
- As much as Corey Webster got torched, the most damning part of this Giants defense in Week One was a surprising lack of consistency from its defensive line. Though JPP has gotten much of the attention – can you say Jevon Kearse 2.0? – the rest of the vaunted pass rush was completely neutralized. Justin Tuck is actually a better player against the run, but he was barely mentioned. Osi Umenyiora was a non-factor. Because of injuries, a thin tackle group with just Linval Joseph and Rocky Bernard couldn’t be rotated out of the game to be effective. At least the team has ten days to figure something out from spending 35 minutes on the field.
- On that note, Mark Trible said this about the seemingly disappearing act by safeties Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips: Damn you, Trible.
- The replacement referees were actually fairly solid, though it’s possible that the best of a not-so-great lot were trotted out there. We’re going to see the depth of the officials on Sunday, so let’s reserve complete praise and criticism for after the Monday Night Football doubleheader.
- Finally, we need to get this guy all the way away from our football.
It’s easy to get hyped if you’re a Cowboys fan (Kenny) or enraged if you ride with the Giants (or hate the Cowboys). However, there’s PLENTY of football to be played. Don’t use up your best jokes on one week, friends.