I took some time this week with Zac Snyder, a Detroit Lions blogger at Sidelion Report, to discuss the upcoming game between our very own Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions. Enjoy our discussion and don’t be afraid to insert your own opinion by telling us how you feel in the comments section.
Zac Snyder: Roy Williams has made some comments that the Cowboys losses this year have reminded him of his time in Detroit. What is the fan buzz surrounding the 2-7 ‘boys?
Josh Sanchez: We were all struggling to come to grips with how the team has performed this year. Everyone knew that the lack of accountability and discipline is what really was hurting the team. They showed last week that the talent is still there and it was actually in large part due to a former Lion in Jon Kitna. Players are saying that he’s been a great leader in the locker room and the guys really look to him for advice and to learn about more than just football. Of course, Jason Garrett and defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni had a big part to do with the change in attitude as well.
Speaking of Kitna and Williams, how are Lions fans looking forward to facing off against the two former players?
Zac: I have heard surprisingly little in regards to facing those two specifically but if other fans are like me they are looking forward to it. Roy had a tendency to say some really stupid things and I get the feeling that a lot of fans saw him as never reaching his potential. Kitna was the ultimate tease. He could throw for 400 yards and make it look like they were mounting a comeback and then throw two pick sixes to seal it for the other team. Beating Kitna and Williams would be symbolic that the future is better than the past.
Speaking of the future, is it a forgone conclusion that Garrett will be the head coach of the 2011 Dallas Cowboys and if so, what makes you hopeful that things will be different under him?
Josh: It’s definitely not certain that Jason Garrett will be the Cowboys head coach of the future, but he sure is making a case for himself. He immediately came in and demanded the respect from the team. He made minor changes like acknowledging players with game balls and putting signs outside of the locker room with the “stars of the game.” He also installed a dress code to get a sense of unity to the team and makes the team practice in pads to bring a more physical mindset. He’s really making an impact and it seems like he’s winning over the team and fans alike.
Same goes for Paul Pasqualoni on defense. He has made some minor changes like playing more zone and less blitzing, but they’ve payed off significantly on the field. He’s winning everyone over as well. While they’re making good cases for themselves to continue as coaches in 2011, you can never predict what Jerry Jones will do especially with so many big name coaches out there.
A big part of Detroit’s future is Matt Stafford. How is his shoulder doing and is there concern that these injuries could derail him from reaching his full potential?
Zac: It sounds like he will avoid surgery, so I suppose that is positive. Surgery or not, we all just want him to be healthy. There is definitely some concern that he is injury prone. Even if he comes back to play a couple games at the end of the season he wouldn’t have played 16 games over the course of two seasons. He has a lot of the qualities you look for in a franchise quarterback but it won’t matter if he can’t stay on the field. No one is giving up on him but the injuries are a huge cause for concern.
Josh: For some reason that I do not understand, Marion Barber continues to get carries. He has really been ineffective, but if last week was any indication of the way Garrett plans on going the the rest of the season, Felix Jones will be more involved on Sunday. He’s such a dynamic back and can hit the home run on any play. I’d really like to see more of Tashard Choice on the field. He’s probably the most complete back on the roster, but the team hasn’t used him. I hope he isn’t on the outs.
Expect Barber to play early and try to establish a physical mindset for the offense and then mostly Jones throughout the middle of the game. If Dallas has a lead late, Barber will likely come back in to finish the game off in his “closer” role.
Next year, it looks like Barber could be gone. He ignored Jason Garrett’s dress code last week and that irked a lot of teammates. He’s a captain and supposed to lead by example… he didn’t. Add that to Barber’s ineffectiveness this year and the fact that he is overpayed, he seems to be a good candidate to get cut. A Jones-Choice backfield would be just fine.