Bloguin has a new football site, The Cowboys Nation. It is run by Darren Shetler. We did some Q&A exchange to get ready for Monday night's matchup. Remember, the point spread is Dallas by 3.5 so make those predictions.
Darren, for starters, has a pretty good look at why his team underachieves.
When I asked Wonder for some questions, he was terse- he had only one question about this game, the first one we asked Darren. See below for that answer and the 4 others. Oh, and by the way, click on the link below for the second part, an amusing tribute.
1. Can the Dallas OL keep Romo upright?
I think you answered in your 5 questions to me that the key matchup this weekend is the Giants DL vs the Dallas OL. The OL I have a feeling is in for a very long game and I think it will come down to more playing calling on Garrett's part in order to protect his QB. If Garrett can run some draws, which he loves, quick screens and dumps to Witten, it should open the field for Romo and hopefully give him and his OL a little confidence, which can do wonders. Kyle Kosier is not out yet but should he miss this game, this is a big hole for the Cowboys.
2. We've read your "Blame Game" breakdown. Can you give our readers a one short answer for where you believe the problems start for this team?
It's the coaching staff!! I am tired of watching this team commit the same penalties every week and hearing the same excuses in Wade Philip's post-game interview. Wade Philips for me is a very laid back kind of coach and when a team performs like the Cowboys have been, you need a Coughlin type of guy that is going to explode on them. If it were my choice, I'd steal the Lions coach because last week, he made Coughlin seem laid back.
3. The Dallas running game is not consistent. Is this why Austin/Williams/Bryant/Witten don't hurt teams a lot more than they should?
I think the Dallas running game is getting better since Felix Jones has taken on the bigger role. It was very inconsistent in the first few weeks but Garrett seemed to want to rely on the pass more and not give the RB's a chance to find a rhythm. Marion Barber's efficiency last week in short-yardage situations was encouraging for the Cowboys even though we didn't call on him on 3 and 1 which led to a pick. It isn't the running game that is holding back Austin/Williams/Bryant/Witten from hurting teams, its the OL that manages to get yellow flags on the big plays to these guys that is.
4. What has happened to Jenkins this season?
All guys go through slumps and right now, Mike Jenkins is in a BIG slump. Jenkins is confident defender and typically plays the corner physically, which makes him prone to pass interefence calls. His game hasn't changed, I just think teams have picked up on what his game is. Last season, Jenkins had only one pass interference penalty but already has four this season, with some coming at key moments. It would appear that teams are throwing at him because they realize his physical play is going to cost the Cowboys at times. He's not going to change, he's actually said that and examples like this, further prove the coaching staff is just not getting these boys in the right direction.
5. Dallas has not lost more than 2 games consecutively in any season since Wade has been head coach. Is this part of the Dallas malaise, namely that the team is undisciplined and underachieves, until it loses and then has to snap out of it and then play back to its potential, repeating the cycle over and over again? And if so, does that mean the same team that awoke vs the Texans after 2 losses will reawaken and play its 'A' game vs the Giants after 2 losses?
The Cowboys have had a way of playing well when their back is to the wall, when everyone started to doubt them. Last season, they got over their December demons by playing this way and continued that type of play through the first week of the playoffs. That same team showed up week 3 in Houston but to be honest, it also helps which team they are playing after those two losses. With the expection of last year, when they had to play New Orleans in New Orleans after losing 2, the teams they have typically faced after 2 losses haven't been that great (Tampa in 2008 and and Houston in 2010). For this team, it all comes down to penalties. This team can dominate the opposition and have done some this season but they just keep giving the game away because of the same mistakes. Hopefully, with the doubters out this week, playing an NFC rival and playing on the MNF stage, which Dallas loves to do will result in the team we saw in Houston, finding its way to the stadium on Monday Night.