1. Can the secondary
stop contain Calvin Johnson?
Johnson is one of the better receivers in the game; he has 6 TD’s already this season. When the two teams met last season, Johnson had six receptions for less than 50 yards and 1 TD. Shaun Hill was the QB during that game. At 6’5” and 235 pounds, Johnson presents the same problems as Plaxico in week 1, except that Johnson is a way better receiver. Both Newman and Jenkins are 5’10”; both are at least 30 pounds lighter than Johnson. He is too big and too strong to try to effectively jam him at the line, so expect the Cowboys to double-team him for most of the day.
Johnson has caught 6 of the 9 TD passes thrown by Stafford. No other WR has a TD reception. Jahvid Best has 1 TD reception. Schleffler, the back-up TE, has just 3 catches this season; 2 of them were TD’s. The Cowboys have to know this. I will be watching to see whether the Cowboys pay special attention to Schleffler in the redzone.
One of the keys to this game will be whether or not the CB lined up on Burleson, the 2nd wideout, can cover him effectively in single coverage. If the secondary can take away Johnson by double-teaming him, the other CB, must be able to lockdown Burleson by himself. I will be watching to see whether Jenkins and Newman, who both had respectable games last week, can singlehandedly shutdown Burleson.
2. How long will it take for the “Sean Lee for ProBowl” bandwagon to become the “Sean is an All-Pro” bandwagon?
I was so wrong about this kid. I can’t remember the last time the Cowboys had an ILB that was such a force. Lee is doing everything: he is breaking up passes, making interceptions, dropping rushers in the backfield, sniffing out and stopping screens, chasing down runners from behind, and making a significant contribution on special teams.
I have yet to see anything from Lee that I can legitimately criticize him for. I think B-rad, one of our readers here at TLH, summed it up best when he said, “1 more game like that and I am ordering a Sean Lee jersey”.
Like last week, I will be watching to see how often Lee is used as a blitzer, and whether he can add a few pressures or sacks to his list of accomplishments.
3. When will Bruce Carter be healthy enough to start practicing?
You wouldn’t think that the addition of someone to the 53 man squad would provide us with something to watch for this week, but it does. I will be watching to see if anyone on the team makes themselves susceptible to being cut to make way for Carter. Someone will have to be released to make way for him. Given the performance of Bailey last week, it could very well be Buehler that gets axed.
The success of Sean Lee makes me very optimistic about Carter. Once he is healthy, it will be interesting to see how long it takes before he supplants Brooking, who hasn’t done anything to change my mind from what I wrote last week. (Click here to read that article!)