Backup plan?

YES
NO

Cowboys aren't stopping anyone

Watkins By Calvin Watkins
ESPNDallas.com
Archive

This is too easy. Way too easy.

Do you really believe that the Cowboys will slow down Kirk Cousins?

Seriously?

On the season, the Cowboys are last in pass defense, giving up 4,163 yards. The Cowboys have also given up 4,375 receiving yards, last in the league. And the Cowboys have given up 30 touchdown passes, good for 31st in the NFL.

Sure, the Cowboys' pass defense will take care of Cousins.

Yes, it's not like Cousins is Joe Montana, but the Cowboys' defense is just so bad.

Yes, Sean Lee is hurt, Justin Durant is out for the season, Bruce Carter is nicked up, Morris Claiborne has struggled with health and personal issues, and DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher are dealing with injuries.

We get it and, as Jason Garrett says, it comes with the dinner.

But you know what? Make some plays.

The Cowboys' defense isn't doing it on a consistent basis and that's what gives me pause regarding the unit's ability to stop anyone.

The Green Bay Packers were slowed down in the first half last week when they scored just three points.

In the second half, the Cowboys' defense embarrassed itself. The Packers scored on five of six drives in the second half with Matt Flynn at quarterback.

Sure, a Tony Romo interception set up one of the scores by giving the defense a short field to work with, but stop somebody.

Anybody.

The Cowboys' defense has struggled with good and bad quarterbacks this season. It's not the scheme that is the issue because Seattle is running a similar 4-3 alignment and getting results.

It's the players' inability to make plays that's been the problem.

Cousins is healthy and has one of the NFL's better receivers in Pierre Garcon. And of course we know that the Cowboys can't stop the run.

Will the Cowboys beat the Redskins on Sunday afternoon?

Yes, they will, but Mr. Cousins will finish with some pretty good numbers.

Cousins won't throw 4 touchdowns

Archer By Todd Archer
ESPNDallas.com
Archive

Will Kirk Cousins light up the Cowboys the way backups Josh McCown and Matt Flynn have?

The Dallas Cowboys will see a backup quarterback for the fourth straight game on Sunday when they play the Washington Redskins.

Normally, that would be the kind of luck teams could use to build a long winning streak into the playoffs.

Ah, but you don't know this Cowboys defense.

Oh, it is beset by injuries. Sean Lee is likely to miss his second straight game with a neck injury. It's not clear whether Morris Claiborne or Bruce Carter will be back from hamstring injuries. Justin Durant could lose his roster spot because of a hamstring injury he aggravated last week. Ernie Sims is hurt, too. Need we mention the state of the defensive line?

So the Cowboys will get Kirk Cousins instead of Robert Griffin III. Just like they got Matt McGloin of the Oakland Raiders on Thanksgiving, Josh McCown instead of Jay Cutler against the Chicago Bears and Matt Flynn over Aaron Rodgers last week when they gifted the Green Bay Packers a win.

McGloin did not throw a touchdown pass against the Cowboys, but he exposed the secondary in the first half. McCown threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns. Matt Flynn threw for 299 yards and four touchdowns (all in the second half).

Why wouldn't you think Cousins will be the third straight backup to light up this sorry defense?

Sometimes you have to take the other side of an argument. This isn't one of those times. I'm just choosing how to define "light up" differently than Calvin, perhaps. I'm going with the definition as four touchdown passes.

The Brothers Manning -- Eli and Peyton -- accomplished that against Monte Kiffin. So did Drew Brees. McCown and Flynn did it, too.

Call it a gut feeling or call it a belief that Alfred Morris will run the ball more against a defense that can't stop the run. Morris had 81 yards and a touchdown on the ground when these teams first met. He had 333 yards in two games against the Cowboys last year.

Cousins won't have to light up the defense. He might throw for more than 300 yards. He had 381 on 29-of-45 passing against the Atlanta Falcons in his first start last week. And he might have three touchdown passes, like he did last week.

But the Cowboys' D has been so bad that 300 yards and three touchdowns doesn't meet the definition of a quarterback "lighting up" this defense.

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