6. The secondary will continue to improve.
The Cowboys have yet to have their 3 best CB’s all healthy at the same time. Jenkins, aside from his penchant for rolling around like a soccer player who had to endure the misfortune of being scowled at, has played much better than last year. Scandrick showed in the first couple games that he is a very good, potentially excellent, 3rd corner. Newman, despite getting beat by the 10 foot tall Johnson on a very important play, looked like a better than average CB in his debut. Having all three of these players healthy at the same time means 2 things: first, the CB’s will be better individually than at any time so far this year; and second, Rob Ryan will have the luxury of blitzing more often.
Sensabaugh and Elam have been a pleasant surprise this season. I am a bit surprised that their collective play has not received more attention in the media. Remember, even the superhuman Megatron was a non-factor before Sensabaugh got hurt. While neither safety’s play may warrant ProBowl consideration, Ryan’s defense doesn’t need elite play from the safeties to be successful. Ryan’s defense only needs the safeties to do three things: be semi-effective on the occasional blitz, be a sure tackler in run support, and don’t get beat deep. Both players are showing they are capable of fulfilling that role. More importantly, both should continue to improve as they get more comfortable in Ryan’s defense and get more experience playing with the others members of the secondary.
7. The potential of Bruce Carter.
The mothership reports that rookie Bruce Carter (2nd round pick this year) is expected to be start practicing around Oct. 16th; he says that he is hoping to be ready for the Oct. 23rd game against the Rams. If this was Wade Phillips’ defense, I would not expect much of an impact from Carter this year, but this is Rob Ryan’s defense. He is renowned for utilizing every players unique talent and skills, even if it is in the occasional to rare sub-package. Carter also has the speed to play sideline to sideline; Ryan loves defenders with speed. Carter may not crack the starting line-up this season, but I do expect him to be utilized effectively in specific packages and situations that will allow him to flourish. If nothing else, Carter being healthy should limit the need to continue using Brooking as often, and possibly even allow James and Sean Lee to have breathers more regularly so that they are fresher in the 4th quarter.