We have only two real workdays this week, Wednesday and Thursday, before getting a three-day weekend. But as we relax during the bye week we have some thoughts on the first three weeks of the season.
1. It’s pretty amazing that quarterback Tony Romowas sacked once through three weeks of the NFL season. Romo helped his cause by getting rid of the football quicker, making his reads faster and moving around the pocket. Yet, the Cowboys played three different tackles, Doug Free on the left side for three games, Marc Colombo for two and Alex Barron for one. The left guard also changed from Kyle Kosier for seven quarters and 12 minutes of the fourth quarter of last week’s game and Montrae Holland for four quarters and three minutes of last week’s game. There’s a perception the tackles are getting all this help, especially Free, who is a first-time full-time starter at left tackle, and while this is true, it’s not as much as you think.
2. One thing we noticed after three weeks is the two hardest players to bring down on offense are Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. Both players use their legs to power through defenders and each has good upper body strength. If cornerbacks want to jam either one, it’s a difficult task. The issue for Bryant is staying healthy he takes such a physical pounding because he tries to blow through defenders. He hurt his ribs in the opener and played in pain the next two weeks.
3. A subtle change the Cowboys made in their practice habits last week was the elimination of “standing around”. Normally, a first-team unit practices against the scout team, while the other teams watch. Toward the end of last week that changed. On one field, the first-team offense went against the scout team defense and the first-team defense took on the scout team offense. It kept everybody moving around and got players into practice which sometimes can get boring.
4. David Buehlerled the NFL with 29 touchbacks last season. He’s got none in 2010. It’s not because Buehler isn’t kicking the ball into the end zone. Of his 12 kickoffs, seven have gone into the end zone but teams are bringing them out. The Bears returned both of his kicks into the end zone in Week 2 and the Texans did the same on his four end zone kicks Sunday. Teams had trouble returning kicks against the Cowboys last season but with the unit using some younger players, opposing teams are not afraid to bring the ball out of the end zone. As the unit gets better, this should decrease.
5. Maybe Patrick Crayton was right. He didn’t see the need to stick around and become the fourth receiver when the Cowboys had Roy E. Williams, Bryant and Austin around. The Cowboys don’t use four wide receivers that often, instead tight ends Jason Witten or Martellus Bennett become the fourth receiver. Kevin Ogletree and Sam Hurd haven’t picked up many offensive snaps this season and only do so in garbage time.