The Dallas Cowboys will continue to their quest to win the NFC East this week against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cowboys haven’t won a game in Zona in years. I am worried about this game, not because the Cardinals are a good team, they most certainly are not, but because it seems like something wacky always happens when they play in the desert. The last two trips there have resulted in injuries to Tony Romo, Jon Kitna, and Matt McBriar. Even in the 90s when the Boys were winning Super Bowls, I remember strange things happening in Tempe; there was at least one game when a large portion of the team had serious issues with dehydration.
The Cardinals have struggled in all three phases of the game at different times this year.
Click on the link to read the defensive preview.
Can the Cowboys Secondary stop Larry Fitzgerald?
The Cowboys secondary has been a red-hot issue this week, both here at the Landry Hat and around the web. Click here to read 4 of our writers opinions on how to fix the secondary. Click here to read my ‘defense’ of the secondary after the Miami game.
Fitzgerald is one of the best receivers in the game: he is big, he plays physical, he has great hands, he has excellent jumping ability, he attacks the ball when it is in the air, he catches the ball with his hands away from his body, he runs precise routes, he has pretty good speed, he is elusive and powerful once he has the ball in his hands, and he is a good blocker. If you want to find a weak link in Fitzgerald’s game, you won’t find one until you look beyond him to his QB.
Fitzgerald is big at 6’3” and 220 lbs, but he is not a monster like Calvin Johnson.
The good news for Cowboy fans is that CB Mike Jenkins is expected to return this week. Jenkins (around 200 lbs.) is about 10 pounds heavier than Terence Newman and Orlando Scandrick, and he is their most physical CB.
Jenkins has missed the last 4 games with a hamstring injury. I will be watching to see if he looks rusty, especially early in the game. I will also be watching to see if he looks like he has regained 100% of his speed.
The job of shutting down Fitzgerald will not to fall to Jenkins alone; Arizona likes to move Fitzgerald around, and Rob Ryan rarely, if ever, has a CB shadow a receiver. I will be watching to see how Ryan tries to defend Fitzgerald. Will he roll a safety over to his side? Will he keep a safety back deep? Will he trust any of the CB’s to cover him man-to-man or will they play mostly zone coverages?
Will Ryan finally get back to the chaotic and unpredictable pre-snap motioning and baffling coverages this week?
The key to stopping Fitzgerald will be getting pressure on the QB.
Click here to read about the QB situation in Arizona.