Unfamiliarity leads to work for Cowboys

IRVING, Texas – The only players remaining from the Cowboys last trip to Cincinnati are Jason Witten and Tony Romo, and Romo was the No. 3 quarterback on Nov. 7, 2004.

Witten caught six passes for 97 yards but the Cowboys were trounced 26-3 at Paul Brown Stadium.

“I don’t remember anything about it,” Witten said.

Because the Bengals are such an unfamiliar foe, Witten said there has been more film study this week than if they were playing a division or even a conference foe.

“I think it’s just more detail,” Witten said. “You keep turning every page, watch it. You got to stay focused with it. Just get familiar with their scheme and what they’re trying to do. They do a good job of pressure, pressure, pressure and then bail everybody out of there. Then (you study) each individual player and how they like to attack it. I think it starts with their front four. They do a good job of getting to the quarterback.”

Quarterback Tony Romo said the Bengals have the best front the Cowboys have faced this season. Cincinnati leads the NFL in sacks with 39 and defensive tackle Geno Atkins leads the way with 9.5. Thirteen different defenders have recorded at least a half sack. Only five Cowboys have recorded a sack this year.

“You watch every cut up, every game and go through everything you can to exhaust all the options so that you know what to get to and the adjustments to make in the game as to what they’re doing and the way they like to do things,” Romo said. “(Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer) has done a great job. They’ve got a very diverse defense scheme wise. They run a little bit of everything. With the way their guys up front are playing right now it’s going to be a very big challenge for us.”