LONDON -- For the second straight week Five Wonders is brought to you from London, and it could be the final time when hearing Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones say he will not give up a home game -- even for a Super Bowl -- to play at Wembley Stadium.
The Cowboys are such a big draw on the road that the Jacksonville Jaguars would seem to be the only team willing to give up a home game in order to play them in London.
Away we go:
I don’t wonder if the Cowboys coaches listen to Michael Irvin, but I do wonder if he knew something we didn’t last week when he said the Cowboys have to do more to make sure Dez Bryant is involved in the offense. Irvin mentioned bunch sets to give Bryant a free release at the line. The Cowboys didn’t do that, but they did move Bryant all over the formation to dictate coverages. His 35-yard touchdown catch was a perfect example. The Jaguars brought five pass-rushers as the Cowboys showed a two-tight end set on second-and-8 and Bryant lined up tight to the left. He ran a shallow cross and was uncovered. The idea of the play was to set up a third-and-short, but Bryant ran away from safety Johnathan Cyprien, who had the coverage responsibilities, and through the rest of the Jacksonville defense for the touchdown. On his 68-yard touchdown, Bryant lined up outside the numbers to the right, put a terrific release on the cornerback and Tony Romo hit him over the top.
I wonder if the coaches will show Terrance William's hustle on Joseph Randle's 40-yard touchdown run when they meet with the players for the first time after the Jacksonville win. It was rather amazing. Lined up to the right side of the formation in the slot, Williams was able to block cornerback Peyton Thompson at the Jacksonville 36 as Randle gets the handoff. As Randle breaks free, Williams is four yards behind his teammate, leaps Thompson, then has to hurdle Devin Street and Dwayne Gratz. Four defenders have an angle on Randle, but the runner is able to shrug off Cyprien at the 14. At the 7-yard line, Williams gets just enough of Demetrius McCray to knock him off balance to make it easier for Randle to run through him and get to the end zone. That is the kind of relentless spirit Jason Garrett talks about.
I wonder how confounding the coaches find Bruce Carter. He is the definition of inconsistent. It can be play to play, series to series, game to game, week to week and month to month. That will hurt Carter when he tests the free agent market in the offseason. But Carter was active and involved in the win against the Jaguars. He even recorded his second interception of the season. The Carter who played against the Jaguars is the Carter the Cowboys need for the rest of the season. He would be wise to make sure he plays at this level, too, because of his impending free agency. A team will take a gamble on his athleticism -- I don’t think the Cowboys keep him with a big deal, if you were wondering -- but they will go only so high if he doesn’t show consistency.
I wonder if teams are starting to target Sterling Moore the way they did Mario Edwards as the 2003 season wore on. Moore has had some struggles the past two games against the Arizona Cardinals and Jacksonville Jaguars. Edwards was a starter in 2003 as the Cowboys built a surprising record early in the season only to get beat repeatedly on Thanksgiving by the Miami Dolphins. The Cowboys made the playoffs in Bill Parcells’ first year, but lost three of their final five regular-season games and were eventually bounced in the wild-card round. Moore has done a decent job when the season is viewed as a whole. The Cowboys should be happy he was there when Morris Claiborne was lost for the season. But are teams figuring him out? And now the Cowboys won’t be able to turn to Tyler Patmon if they wanted to because of a knee injury.
I wonder what Zack Martin says to his teammates after touchdowns. This will be something I ask the rookie guard the next time I see him, but he is always around the player who scores in the end zone, slapping a helmet or knocking him off balance. Garrett also made mention of how Martin is always there to help his running backs up off the ground. Another offensive lineman who used to do that? Marc Colombo. They play different positions -- Colombo was a tackle -- but they have some similarities in on-field manners.