IRVING, Texas – After two games many of you are wondering which Cowboys team will show up on gameday. They played great against the New York Giants. They were whipped by Seattle. So what happens Sunday against Tampa Bay?
I’m wondering about five things.
Here’s this week’s Five Wonders:
** I wonder if Tony Romo will continue his personal success against the Buccaneers on Sunday. In three games against Tampa Bay, Romo has 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions. His passer ratings in the three wins have been 148.9, 140.6 and 133.9. In 2006, Romo tore up Monte Kiffin’s defense for five touchdown passes. In the 2009 season opener, he beat Raheem Morris’ defense for353 yards. Last year he completed 77 percent of his passes against Keith Millard’s defense. This week he goes against Bill Sheridan’s defense. The Bucs have allowed Cam Newton to pass for 303 yards and Eli Manning to pass for 510 in the first two games. Sheridan was the New York Giants defensive coordinator in 2009 and in the two games Romo threw four touchdown passes and was intercepted three times in two Dallas losses.
**OK, Felix Jones won’t be cut. Jerry Jones said so this morning on KRLD-FM. Jason Garrett was taken by surprise at the question during the post-game press conference, too. But should Jones be active? He’s not an effective kick returner. Garrett keeps saying Jones is a big part of the offense. Why? He can’t make a tackler miss. He’s had one carry in the first two games. This is DeMarco Murray’s running game right now, as it should be. If Jones can’t be a special teams’ help and can’t make people miss as a pass catcher, then why should he be on the 46-man roster? Something has happened to Jones. He’s lost that speed that helped him get by without much make-you-miss.
** The Cowboys will be thin at safety his week. Gerald Sensabaugh could miss 1-2 weeks with a calf strain, but he is one of the toughest players on the roster so don’t rule him out for Sunday. Barry Church has a quadriceps bruise but he should be OK. Matt Johnson has not practiced since the regular-season began because of a hamstring injury. That leaves two healthy safeties in Danny McCray and Mana Silva. Cornerback Mario Butler played some safety in the preseason. Jason Garrett was asked if Mike Jenkins could play some safety with the injuries. I wouldn’t go there. I wonder if they should give Orlando Scandrick some time there. It was kicked around a few years ago about playing Scandrick at safety when Wade Phillips was around. He plays a hybrid safety role in some substitution packages. He’s a willing tackler. He’s an intuitive player. He’s not the prototypical size but you’re not asking for a full-time conversion to the spot. Maybe it makes some sense.
**I wonder when people (media too by the way) will realize the way the Cowboys have opened the season is the way of life in the NFL. It happens everywhere, if we want to talk off the microscope off the Cowboys for a second. New England lost at home to Arizona. New Orleans lost to Washington in Week 1. Peyton Manning looks great in his return for Denver against Pittsburgh then terrible in his first quarter on Monday at Atlanta. Baltimore airs it out in Week 1 vs. Cincinnati and is stifled the next week vs. Philadelphia. The key is to win the games you play poorly in. Say, hello to Philadelphia. The Eagles were awful vs. the Browns in the opener but won anyway. In December nobody will be talking about any style points on that game, just the victory. The Cowboys had a chance in Seattle and were punked in the second half. It’s simple as that. Since Garrett took over midway through the 2010 season the Cowboys have had two two-game winning streaks and one four-game winning streak. They’ve also had two two-game losing streaks. The key early in a season is to pile up the wins anyway, anyhow and carry momentum.
** There are times in games where you sometimes have to take a risk, calculate the gamble and just go for it with conviction. I wondered whether the Cowboys should have gone for it on fourth-and-3 from the Seattle 40 with 44 seconds left in the first half and asked Garrett if he considered not punting. “That’s certainly a discussion you have, but we didn’t want to give them a short field and another scoring opportunity there,” Garrett said. “We were trying to maximize our opportunity there, and we didn’t convert. That was one where we had an opportunity to win on a slant route. The ball got batted at the line of scrimmage and they made the stop on third down. We just felt like the right thing to do at that point because of the field position was punt it down in their end.” I understand the thinking but against a rookie quarterback that had done little up to that point, why not show faith in the defense that you think they’ll get a stop?