As the Dallas Cowboys offense gets ready to play the Washington Redskins this Sunday, you would expect that they are feeling better about themselves than they have in a long time. They scored TD’s on their first 4 possessions last week against Buffalo. The OL was excellent in pass protection and effective in run blocking. Tony Romo completed an astounding 23 of 26 attempts; Laurent Robinson caught 2 TD’s, including a 50 yard bomb; Bryant made plays in the 2nd half; Murray continued his assault on the Cowboy rushing records, and Witten, well, Witten always plays like a Hall of Famer. It must send Defensive Coordinators into paroxysms of anxiety when they are trying to stop all these weapons.
The Cowboys get Felix Jones back healthy this week. Austin will be sidelined again, and so will new fan favorite Tony Fiammetta, who is not playing as a result of an undisclosed illness.
Click on the link to read about what I will be watching for this week.
How will they try to replace Tony Fiammetta?
It is no secret that the recent record breaking success of DeMarco has coincided with the return of a healthy FB. The only time that Felix Jones had any real success this year was against the Skins, another game in which Fiammetta was healthy.
DeMarco Murray had this to say about his FB:
“He’s kinda like the cleanup guy. If there’s any trash he’ll clean it up and get on to his block. He’s a smart guy, he knows the game really well. Huge, he’s been a very, very important factor in the running game. He’s a great player, a great person and he’s definitely a vital part of our success.”
Will they use John Phillips, the 3rd TE, as a FB, or will they activate 2011 7th round draft choice Shaun Chapas from the practice squad?
I am a huge fan of Phillips, and I advocate giving him more opportunities in the passing game, but he is too tall to be a lead blocker as a FB. The lead blocker has to hit the hole without always knowing where the defender he has to block is coming from; hence, the FB has to get his pads low and keep them low in anticipation of being able to get under the pads of whichever defender, from whichever direction, he meets in the hole. Phillips, at 6’5”, while capable of doing a reasonable job in an emergency, is just not built to be an effective blocking FB.
I am hoping to see Shaun Chapas. The scouting reports on him varied quite a bit in the early aftermath of the Draft, but some things seemed to be agreed upon, including: he has an old-school throwback mentality, he works hard, and he is a ‘coach’s dream’. The downside was his lack of bulk and athleticism.
I understand not bringing him up earlier in the season – with the lockout he may not have had enough time to learn the offense. Now he has had a few months to get on a proper training program and learn the offense, so I would love to see the kid get a shot to show what he can do.
I will be watching to see how the replacement FB performs. Can he clean up the trash?
Click on the link to continue reading about the running game.