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There's Only a Little D in Big D

The Cowboys have certainly been in the news a lot since the Redskins beat them back in the fourth game of the season, sending them into their tailspin. But for the most part, I don't think they have addressed their issues. They are falling apart on defense, and, aside from having coach Wade Phillips calling plays on that side of the ball, they haven't done much to stop the rot.

The Cowboys were weak in coverage to begin with, and losing their top corner, Terence Newman, to injury, didn't help (Newman is supposed to play but will be just coming back from a serious groin injury). Throw in the Adam ("Formerly Pac-Man") Jones suspension, and you're down another corner, with safety Roy Williams out on top of that. The Redskins have had success getting behind the safeties even when this group was healthy. Now it should be more inviting than ever.

Getting Tony Romo back from injury could change the Cowboys' confidence and mentality, but will that be enough? Adding WR Roy Williams gives them another offensive weapon for sure - although I think they paid a ridiculously steep price to get him - so maybe they're bracing for having to win 40-37 shootouts every week, because they are too vulnerable on the back end to hold up.

The Cowboys have given up 26 points or more in all four of their losses this season, and allowed 30 points or more in three of their past four games. They stand 11th in total defense, just 17th against the run, and over the past six games, opposing QBs have thrown 10 touchdowns and only three interceptions. Quarterbacks have a 91.0 passer rating against them, a figure that puts them in the bottom quarter of the NFL.

If the Cowboys are going to turn it around, Phillips must get ultra-aggressive and rely on that pass rush. Move DeMarcus Ware around, look for matchups and bring more blitzers. Dallas is fifth in the NFL with 26 sacks. Of course, even that isn't always enough; Dallas had five sacks against St. Louis a few weeks back, and still lost, 34-14.

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 12, 2008; 8:35 AM ET
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Next: Smoot: Hailin' Hall, Hatin' on Dallas


Well, I didn't say 'expose himself', Alex, but your point is taken: I want notguy to reveal his real fake name.

Posted by: daggar | November 12, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

is that 11th number correct? I feel like with so many shootouts they would be lower in total D.

Posted by: alex35332 | November 12, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I would hope that after only a week with the team, we don't see any more of the Angelo Hall than we would have seen of Torrence (not including special teams). If Springs is healthy, they (IMO) should only be working Hall in as the 4th corner until he gets used to our defense/schemes. I don't understand the "need" to move Springs to safety at any point this season. When healthy, he is our best corner, can handle TO, and with Landry and Horton at safety, we have the #4 defense in the league (I think #4, could be wrong). What am I missing? Play him at corner. Slowly work in Hall, and let's get better and better. Just my opinion though.......

Posted by: dlhaze1 | November 12, 2008 9:06 AM | Report abuse

As someone who watches lots and lots of bad TV, your discussion from last night on the Real Housewives of ATL made my morning - thank you.

Posted by: suzannepdc | November 12, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Haze, I think the reasoning is that on a 3rd and 12 or something you want a cover saftey if you can.

Posted by: alex35332 | November 12, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Haze, I think the reasoning is that on a 3rd and 12 or something you want a cover saftey if you can.
Posted by: alex35332 | November 12, 2008 9:18 AM

Yeah, I suppose if you are playing zone, it's kind of like you call him a safety, I call him a corner anyway. The more talent on the filed, the better. I guess I just don't want to see Horton off the field; he's one of my new favorites. Hopefully Hall will be a new favorite as well.

Posted by: dlhaze1 | November 12, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I really hope Newman plays that guy is easily one of the most overrated corners in the league, also it would be a good thing for us if Roy Williams (the past his prime Roy not the i havent lived up to my potential roy) did play, skins make him look like a complete joke lately 89 Coboy Killer loves getting behind that combo.
Not that the guys there going up against are better but even there injured players are scrubs.

Posted by: Stu27 | November 12, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Suzanne, I absolutely love the Real Housewives of ATL - hilarious and such a train wreck. Watching it last night took away some of my depression about CP...for about an hour :(

Posted by: Lisa_R | November 12, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

It's pretty obvious JLa hates the Cowboys. Cyn please move him to the High School Football beat at least for Cowboy week each year.

Oh man, I'm beginning to get nervous for this game. If we lose, I say we all panic and turn on each other.. who's with me?

Posted by: Gweez | November 12, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Dallas is fifth in the NFL with 26 sacks. Of course, even that isn't always enough; Dallas had five sacks against St. Louis a few weeks back, and still lost, 34-14.
Jason La Canfora

Something seems really wrong here. I wonder what it could be? I mean after hearing over and over again about the Skins not having a lot of sacks. There seems to be something wrong here. lol


Posted by: icetotalpackage | November 12, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand the "need" to move Springs to safety at any point this season.
- Posted by: dlhaze1

I think that they were looking a bit more long term with the move to safety. If everyone stays healthy, I don't see Springs playing safety anymore than a few plays this season. I bet he makes the move next year if we keep Hall.

Posted by: bigphilmd | November 12, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

JM - it doesn't matter if OTHER teams get sacks. If we get them, we'll be 16-0. (with enough of them, our 3 losses will be overturned).

Posted by: Original_etrod | November 12, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Haze, I love Horton but i think 3rd and long you want a vet presience on the field who will be less likely to take a risk jumping a rout at the wrong time. I have no problem going wild cards out there on 1st and second but on 3rd down play it safer and smarter.

Posted by: alex35332 | November 12, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Lets crush these clowns and put them out of their misery. GO SKINS !!!!!!

Posted by: dspinx | November 12, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

beep beep. mr. smoot has some stuff to tell you.

Posted by: CindyBoren | November 12, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

alex35332 - Disagree completely. 3rd & long is precisely the area where I'd want Horton's ballhawking skills. This team already generates few turnovers, and to sit back and play it safe during the offense's most vulnerable situations is the last thing I'd want to do. The smart thing to do is, sad to say it, leave Smoot as the odd man out. If it's the nickel package, the 5 best DBs would be Landry, Horton, Rogers, Springs, and Hall. If it's the dime, add Smoot to the end. Springs should be a CB either way.

Besides, I hate the whole "play it safe" thing anyway. I cringe when people give the excuse, "oh, you only scored on us because we went into the prevent". It's the dumbest defense, and should only be left, literally, for hail mary plays.

Posted by: psps23 | November 12, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

What you all think deangelo fall can cover TO, he smoked hall last time they played them in atlnata for over 100 and two td's and hall started crying just like he will this week. You just destroyed your team by signing him, but your whole offense has a torn mcl, welcome to the injury club.

Posted by: Dfan | November 12, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Be Careful what you guys wish for. Dallas is healthy and pissed off. So, what has Washington shown? Washington, I will give it to you has a nice defense, but Romo is coming back, and T.O. who torched you guys a year ago is coming to town. My man Felix Jones who was a DNP last time is coming to town. Lets remember your man Inspector Tutu is going to be out because of injury and Shaun (31 other teams did not want me)Alexander is starting with Rock Cartwright. There is a storm brewing in Big D, and the storm front is heading to D.C. on Sunday night. Keep sleeping on the Cowboys. I hope the rest of the NFL does to. Because not to long ago this was considered the Best Team in the NFL, and if you think you are getting the team that played like crap without there Star Quarterback. Then I say keep thinking that and you are going to be crying in your beer Sunday Night. But I love this rivalry anything can happen. And it would not be the NFL if there was no Cowboys-Redskins (the best rivalry in the NFL) Anything can happen that is why the play the damn game. GO COWBOYS!!!

Posted by: ROMOANDCO | November 12, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

All this talk about how TO torches D Hall when they we remember what he did to us (Springs) last year? 4 td's...the guy is sick. Bringing on another good, not great, but good DB can only help. Who cares if they talk trash? Hopefully when TO starts talking, Laron comes out of nowhere and lays him out, I dont care if its illegal

Posted by: rc2223 | November 12, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

ROMOANDCO - your weak defense isn't going to improve much with Newman back. Every team who has played them for the last 5 weeks has been able to run the bill at will. Unless BOTH CP and Portis are out on Sunday, Dallas will still have to stop the run to keep the Skins from moving the ball and controlling the clock.

Romo may help the Cowboys offense, but the Skins shut down Barber and TO in Big D earlier this year. Now, we have all of DB's back healthy plus Jason Taylor is finally healed from his early season injuries. Romo takes on hard hit on his hand and you'll be back to the duo of Johnson and Bollinger.

I expect it to be a close game decided in the 4th quarter.

Posted by: wizfan89 | November 12, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Our Weak defense-huh. Well, I will say this I have watched every Cowboy game for the past 20 years. Our defense has played tough of late. There is a reason they have not played well of late. They had no quarterback when Romo was out. If you have a clown in Brad Johnson at quarterback that goes three and out, three and out, and you put your defense on the field 20 minutes out of 30 in a half then you will get the same results. I dont care if you put this great Redskins defense out there for 20 of 30 minutes they will crack too. There are factors at play. All I am saying is go into this game thinking that way and you guys are going to get beat, and be crying Monday morning. Do I think the Cowboys have holes sure. Do the Redskins have holes sure. I think if you had the Cowboys O and the Redskins D. Now that would be a damn good team. But, I still would love to have D'Ware. This is a big game for Dallas. They are pissed from what happend here. Dont expect them to lay down or play the way they played the last month. And I watched this defense earlier in the year. They played Great at times. They also played big against Tampa with no support from there Offense. I look for a great game too. The Cowboys and Redskins always have crazy match-ups no matter if one is 1-15 and the other is 15-1. They always find a way to make them classic games. We will see what happens. The skins have screwed up my Mondays just like the Cowboys I am sure have screwed up yours. So, lets get ready to go Sunday.

Posted by: ROMOANDCO | November 12, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

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