Recently, we sat down with Dan from TheLandryHat.com and got his take on Saturday’s big game in the Superdome. We asked all the tough questions including what Dallas needed to do to pull off an upset. Thank you Dan for your insight.
SG: What does DeMarcus Ware mean to the Cowboys’ defense and what would not having him for Saturday’s game mean for the Cowboys?
TLH: The Cowboys defense has played well, but they do give up the big plays at the least opportune times. With that said, DeMarcus Ware’s absence from Saturday’s game against the Saints would be huge. He’s one of, if not the best linebacker in the NFL. Teams double-team him, which opens holes for other players. He’s a force and any team facing him adjusts to his talent. If he doesn’t play, likely rookie Victor Butler will get most of the plays. He’s a promising player, but he is not Ware. I don’t think Ware’s possible absence means a loss for the Cowboys, but it sure does make it a little harder when your sack leader is nursing a bad neck.
SG: The Cowboys offense has been effective at moving the ball down the field, but has had trouble finishing drives and scoring points. Why?
TLH: Well, I think it is both players not executing, and the coaches. Let’s use last week’s game as an example: 1st and Goal and the Cowboys did not score. On fourth and goal, Marion Barber was unable to get the six points. On three of the four plays, Barber got the ball. Later, coach Wade Phillips said the offensive line did not execute and that caused Barber to fail. But, I also put some of the blame on the coaches, who thought running the ball three out of the four downs was the best option when it was obvious that the San Diego Chargers were stuffing the front line.
SG: As you know, the Saints are very dangerous on offense. What are some of the things Dallas can do to slow down the Saints?
TLH: Control the clock by running the ball. The Cowboys will want to hold onto the ball as long as they can, and that means running the ball A LOT. I’d use all three backs, and use more wildcat plays than normal. I’d wear down that defense and control the ball as much as possible. That’s the only way to slow these Saints down: don’t give them the ball. If there is any team that should be able to run the ball with success, it has to be the Cowboys. They have three quality backs.
SG: The Saints defense has been hit hard by the injury bug this year, especially in the secondary. The Redskins and Falcons both scored almost at will against them. What are some of the things the Cowboys can do on offense to exploit holes in the Saints defense?
TLH: The Cowboys do not want to get into a shooting match with the Saints. Even with a second-rate secondary, the Cowboys want to be very careful with exchanging scoring drives with the Saints. I would slow it down. Run the ball early. Study how the secondary reacts to play action. It would be a big mistake for the Cowboys to come out lobbing the ball to Miles Austin or Roy Williams. Be patient and they can win.