Earlier this week I had a chance to swap with Fansided’s Cowboys guru Josh Sanchez of The Landry Hat, here is what he had to tell me about this weeks matchup with the Giants.
Q: How has Jason Garrett handled the transition to head coach and what do you see from the team as an indication for how they’ve responded to the change at the helm?
He has really tried to instill a sense of accountability and discipline from the start. Whether it be the full-pad practices or new dress code for flights to away games, Garrett is trying his best to make a positive change in the team’s attitude. It is hard to say how they will respond to everything, but we’ll see on Sunday.
What is one thing that you will miss about Wade Phillips?
Outside of having a scapegoat… nothing.
As a Yankees fan for decades, I understand the repurcussions from the ever-presence of the Big Boss…. Jerry Jones in your case at games and in the media all the time. It can be intimidating for the players, as well as on the sidelines when he shows up next to the coaches… and just for the team overall when he’s watching from his booth high above the field. We’re always treated to his reactions after critical points in the game as viewers, he’s constantly on TV it seems. But with that dynamic happening at all times with Jerry Jones constantly around, do you think he’s having an adverse affect on the team with his over-involvement?
A lot of people will tell you that Jerry Jones is a big part of the problem and they would be correct. His constant involvement with personnel decisions and his ego turn off some prospective coaches. Hopefully he can keep his ego in check during the off-season and bring in one of the big name coaches. He’s saying that some Super Bowl winning coaches called about the job, so we’ll have to wait an see how it plays out.
It seems like old times already – a strange schedule this year to play eachother twice only a few weeks apart while the Giants haven’t seen the Eagles or Redskins yet. Is there an advantage for one team or another playing so closely together in the schedule?
The only advantage I can see would be for the Giants. They completely removed any hope of Dallas turning around their season when they injured Tony Romo in the last game. New York definitely has a mental edge and in this game it means everything.
How can the Cowboys get back to winning consistently? Does it start this game against the Giants?
Dallas needs to improve their secondary and offensive line before their turnaround can start. The running game has been pathetic and that allows the opposing defenses to just pin their ears back and bring the heat on the Cowboys quarterbacks. No team can be successful when their offense is so vulnerable. Does it start with the Giants? I’d like to say yes, but with all the changes this past week it seems unlikely.
Kitna has an arm. I’ve seen it on display. Are you confident he can lead this team to victory in New Meadowlands Stadium this weekend in hostile territory against a streaking Giants team?
He definitely has the ability to do so, but I can’t utter the words, “I am confident in Jon Kitna.” Kitna is a mature guy who has been around for awhile, so he gives us a better chance than say Stephen McGee.
Justin Tuck said the Cowboys offensive line seems confused this year. Is it communication, not being on the same page, inexperience together? What can you point to as the reason your line has struggled?
The offensive line has been plagued by injuries this season. Whether it be Colombo, Kosier, or Holland being hurt the revolving door at guard and tackle has really hurt the team. You know you’re in trouble when you’re forced to start an undrafted rookie like Phil Costa. Costa has potential, but he just isn’t ready.
The Cowboys are only averaging 70 yards per game on the ground – it’s low. Yet in critical situations the Cowboys have run the ball 3 times in a row. Why has Jason Garrett been so beholden to the run at what seems like the wrong times?
Decisions like this are what has earned him the name, “Brain Dead Red.” Garrett falls in love with the passing game and seems to forget about the rushing attack until a time where it is inappropriate to use. His play-calling has been horrendous at times this season and your question gave a perfect example of it.
Dez Bryant, obviously a human highlight reel. How can the Giants keep him in check this game?
They’ve got to double team him when he’s on the field and make sure the first guy brings him down. Of course, if you decide to double Dez, that leaves Miles Austin and Roy Williams with favorable coverages.
The Cowboys defense has been lack-luster this year. The secondary has been porous. The Front 7 isn’t getting enough pressure. Was it the scheme and Wade Phillips or is it lack of execution? What is going on and can it be fixed in time for Sunday’s game against the Giants?
It has just been poor play. You have guys like Mike Jenkins out there quitting on plays, Orlando Scandrick just isn’t any good so he’s always getting beat, and then the Cowboys have still not found a competent safety to be on the field. I blame the players and their lack of talent on defense more than the gameplan.
I’m excited to see what new defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni brings to the table though. He’s a very intense guy that the team seems to love playing for.
I feel like the Giants have proven they are more than just a running team after the success of the last two seasons with Eli throwing the ball. Do you agree and what strategy will the Cowboys need to take to shut down the Giants offense this game?
Definitely agree. I’ve been critical of Eli Manning in the past and still think he is overrated by the general public, but he’s been turning it on lately. The Cowboys need to take away the running game and make the G-Men one dimensional, especially since Steve Smith is out. Make Eli beat the team and see which receivers will step up for him.
What is the X-Factor for the Giants to win this game.
The Giants just need to stay disciplined and not make any dumb mistakes. They’re definitely the better team this season.
What is the X-Factor for the Cowboys?
Get Dez Bryant the ball, and get it to him often. He is the team’s biggest play-maker and can really provide a spark. No matter the situation, he won’t give up. The Cowboys defense likely won’t be able to slow down the Giants offense, so they will need Dez to help put up all the points possible.
Giants continue to roll and take down the Cowboys 31-20.