Sunday, January 17, 2010

Where Was the Pass Blocking?

Heading into the game I believed the Cowboys held the advantage in most of the key matchups. One that I took for granted was the ability of the offensive line to protect Tony Romo. I guess I overestimated the quality of the offensive line. On nearly every play Tony Romo was under duress.

Some people who either didn't watch the same game I watched or don't understand football want to put the blame on Romo. It was pretty obvious that the passing game had no chance against the Vikings. Receivers were able to get open but Tony Romo was constantly ducking and dodging pass rushers. He was sacked a career high six times and probably avoided 10 more with Houdini-like escapes. The one interception that Romo did throw was horrible but that was the one bad play I thought was on him (and Columbo completely whiffed on his man on that play too).

The biggest culprit was Marc Columbo. And, unfortunately, just when I was thinking they might want to put Doug Free in for Columbo, Flozell Adams went down with a calf injury. The line play was a disaster nearly all game long. The Cowboys were able to move the ball when they ran it and when Romo managed to get a few passes off but then the problem at kicker reared its ugly head.

Dallas had a chance at an early lead. Then they had another chance to pull closer in the second half but Sean Suisham missed two nearly identical kicks. If those two kicks had been made it would have been a very different game. Kicker is going to be a major need this offseason.

I know a lot of people are excusing the Vikings and Brett Favre for the late touchdown pass but I believe it was extremely poor sportsmanship. I don't know if Brad Childress made the call or if Favre changed the play but it was unneccessary and classless. I'm glad Keith Brooking said something because I know I was feeling just like he was.

I said before the game and I still believe now that the Cowboys had a good season. They exceeded the expectations of nearly every preseason prediction from the so-called experts. And they won their first playoff game in 13 years. There was progress made and there is hope for the future. Now the Cowboys will have to set their sights higher next season because the Super Bowl talk will start cranking up this summer.

No matter how bad you feel right now, and trust me I feel it too, try to remember to appreciate the progress the team made this season. The loss leaves a bad taste in my mouth and it is going to take some time to get over. But I also appreciate that I can expect the Cowboys to be just as good if not better next season. I'm really not looking forward to waiting 8 months for the next game. One of these days the Cowboys are going to win the Super Bowl again and make us all happy. I guess I have to resign myself to another offseason of frustration. This offseason will be a little less painful knowing that there is real hope for next season.

15 comments:

  1. I've heard this draft class is deep at guard and with Free popping on to the scene maybe we can fix o-line easy. Although I don't know what to do about kicker and maybe safety. I'd really like to replace Hamlin with a ball hawk but with his contract he's stuck with us just like Roy and Barber.
    On a side note, why did they get away from running to the outside with Felix? That killed us in sooooo many ways.

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  2. I'm very hopeful for the future, but I question how this team will get better. There aren't many positions that need to be upgraded (except for o-line, kicker and kick returner), so what will change? Will it be better coaching? I just don't know what they can do to become better, guess that's why I'm not Jerry Jones. I'm very interested in the off season though. At least we'll get to see some of the Cowboys in the Pro Bowl.

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  3. First of all, anyone who blames this loss on Romo is a moron. NOBODY would beat the Vikings under that kind of pressure today. I don't care who it is.

    Sure, this one hurt quite a bit, but let's keep it in perspective here: this has been a very successful season for Dallas in a lot of respects. No one thought they could beat New Orleans; they did. No one thought they would have a winning record in December; they did. People doubted that they could beat the potent Philadelphia Eagles in back-to-back weeks; they did. The most important thing is that this team KNOWS they can win big games now. Most everyone will likely return next year (as well as Wade Phillips I hope) and I think the promising thing is that this team is battle tested now.

    Eric Allen made an interesting point: he said that this year's Cowboys team reminded him of the '91 Cowboys -- a young team with a ton of talent that perhaps was a little too green to win playoff games. Well, that nucleus became one of the great dynasties in NFL history. I'm not saying that we're looking at the next great dynasty in football, but I think this team will be better next year because they figured out how to play together as one unit this season, and they have a lot of team chemistry (two things that have always been the Cowboys' downfall).

    I know it doesn't matter much now, but let's not forget how dominate this team was coming in to this game. If they get better next year? I like our chances to do some real damage in the NFC.

    We have to be encouraged about going forward guys. How many times over the years have we honestly been able to say that? This loss stings, but I think it's a good time to be a Dallas Cowboys fan.

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  4. Ouch, never saw this coming. Were we all too overconfident or did they simply lay an egg?

    They definitely moved the ball and had chances early. I think #24 was asked to do too much, and #28 had big runs on the outside, but didn't seem to get enough carries. The pitch to Barber in the 3Q was a game killer. They were only down by 2 tds at that point and were marching. IMO, that totally killed them. In the end the Minn d-line overwhelmed our o-line and #9 never had a chance. I do not blame Romo.

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  5. Romo was running for his life. He looked like Gary Hogeboom against the Bears. The missed FG killed us all year we have got to fix that ASAP. They sucked the life out of us. We also should have run wide all game and at Allen more then we did. We also need to fix Newman he freelances to much

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  6. I guess I just have to disagree with everyone. Call me crazy if you want. But I do think a large part of the blame falls on Romo. He was getting pressured.. but at the same time several clear points during the game he missed his oppourtunity to dump the ball off.

    Now putting marc columbo in was a horrrrrrible offensive coordinator decision. 'Oh your just off of injured list.. well the past 4-5 weeks have been great but I guess we can put you in and take the guy that was doing excellent out.' That is a horrible decision to make. Also another beef I have is ok if Romo is getting pressured too much from the blitzes RUN THE BALL. We were running GREAT yesterday several 10 yard gains in a row. 26 yards in 2 carries at one point. Then we get 1 negative run(from marion barber suprise suprise) and the coordinator runs 3 pass plays that Romo gets sacked on. DONT GIVE UP THE RUNNING GAME.

    heres what i hope. I hope the offensive coordinator gets fired and we get someone that knows wtf he is doing. We didn't score even 1 touchdown yesterday THAT is a coaching problem period. I've been saying that all year. I don't blame Wade Phillips.. I blame the offensive coord for that crappy crappy game filled with bad play calling decisions. Cowboys are going to have to learn.. just because your paying someone big bucks to be a starter doesn't mean you have to start them. Sometimes when you have an injured player you need to bench them for awhile till they get to 100%.

    Absolutely disappointing. I wanted to watch the Cowboys and Vikings play. Instead I watched the Vikings play. btw you notice whenever romo gets sacked alot witten gets like 5 passes thrown to him in a row. BAD BAD decision Romo. you can't hit the same guy every play just because he is always able to get the ball for you.

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  7. Wittens biggest fan, BAD BAD decision Romo? when he was hitting Witten on crucial plays? When that was working? You can't hit the same guy just because he is catching it and making plays? Whatever man...

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  8. Romo was not to blame for this mess, and to an extent, I would not blame Garrett either. I've been saying for 3 years that the biggest issue that we have on this team is the O-line. I keep reading and hearing about how they are one of the heaviest, baddest lines in football, and yet we can't make rushing touchdowns on back to back plays from the one, and do not regularly have a 100 yard per game rushing performance. The real reason that Romo was such a serious upgrade at QB over Drew Bledsoe is that Romo can move and evade the rush, rather than standing back there like a statue. Unfortunately, that has helped to mask the issue that our O-line sucks. They got seriously exposed yesterday by Minnesota's pass rush. Until we get some upgrades made on the line, we are going to continue to fail at going deep in the playoffs.

    There were improvements in the O-line's play this year. Not nearly as many false start penalties from Adams, and few botched snaps from Gurode, when compared to the past couple of years. But this group does not impose their will on other teams and open the kind of gaping holes needed for monster rushing games, and the pass blocking, especially yesterday, was pathetic.

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  9. I really hope that the Cowboys use this draft to get some big, mean , nasty offensive linemen. I'm talking over 6'5 and at least 350 pounds. There was a time when the Cowboys had the biggest O-line in football. We need to get back to that. Our line right now isn't horrible but in a lot of situations, they're undersized. I read several times this year different "fans" saying we needed to cut Flozell Adams. Well, we got a chance to see how tings went without him protecting Romo's blind side yesterday. Didn't work out very well did it? I'll take a few false starts a game in trade for good pass protection.

    Barber is NOT a speed back. He's a power back. I've rarely seen him have decent runs on the outside. Inside the tackles is where he shines when he's got good blocking. I also think he did much better when he wasn't the starter. Use him like they did before when he was the back up.

    I hope Roy Williams has to fight for his starting spot in training camp. I think he's still a good player but for whatever reason, just couldn't seem to get good chemistry with Romo this year. Maybe another off-season will fix that.

    They don't need to pick up another kicker in my opinion. Not until possibly after pre-season anyways. Buehler has a pretty strong leg but from what I've heard, just not the mechanics and accuracy right now to kick field goals. Let him work on it through the off-season and see if he can nail it down. From what I've heard, it's been awhile since he's had field goal duties. If he can become more accurate, this would save the Cowboys some money and open up a roster spot.

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  10. Justin, you are the only person in the world that thinks the Cowboys o-line is undersized. They are massive. They don't move very well, it's a huge problem.

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  11. Thank you Cowboys for a fun and successful season!

    There are only 2 down sides IMO.

    1) We were handled by the Vikings.... but, winning our first playoff game in 13 years really helps to soften that blow.

    2) We were swept by the a Giants team that didn't make the playoffs... but, owning the Eagles in 3 games this year really makes up for that.

    I agree with Justin on the point with Flozell, he is needed. It is obvious when he is not in the game protecting Romo. Yeah he has some false starts (which were much less this year than the last few), but I an live with that. I think the cowboys can over come 1st and 15 just as easy as 1st and 10 in most situations.

    I give the Vikings credit. They played well. Their D-Line played great and their offense was average. WHich is usually enough to win games, we have seen this with the Cowboys a couple of times this season.

    I can not wait for the draft and training camp. I get a new cowboys Auth. jersey at the start of every season. Not sure who I will get this year, Austin or Ware. They are 2 of my 3 favorite players on the team.
    GO COWBOYS!!
    I will be your fan for life!

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  12. "MUST READ"..Former Vikings QB Tarkenton explained the best reason Cowboys Arizona and Ravens lost by so much after Dominating weeks before. He said that as a QB in the playoffs you relay on making changes as you see them. When you are at a domed stadium that gets loud calls dont get heard and O-line makes descisions as they see them. All domed home teams won, by a huge margin. Only close game was outdoors in san diego. If you watched colts ravens you heard every single change manning made at line, on the other hand ravens Flaco was inaudible, not heard. Same with cowboys Romo you couldnt hear, Farve you could pick up even through the TV. Tarkenton said this is unfair and best teams do not win in domes during playoff atmosphere. Thats why Romo was hit and scrambling period.

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  13. What happen to Fozell he just gave up. Biggest game of the year and he did not even give it a try just gave up and took a seat. He's got to go

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  14. CowboyJoe, is there a link to Tarkenton's comments?

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  15. Do you know who am I?
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    This week will be interesting to see what happens with the Jets. The Jets are fighting for their playoff lives and also have the best defense in football. Is that something that Peyton Manning needs to see right now? It’s a hard question to answer but all I know is that this is still the #1 team in football.

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