Snap Judgments for Week 7
Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we take in Colts-Packers at Lambeau -- an old-school NFL matchup that could have just as easily occurred in 1958, '68, '78, '88 or '98 ...
• And you thought last week was bad in Dallas? Just wait (but not for long). Last week's flurry of big events -- losing quarterback
With the Cowboys' debacle of a 34-14 loss at St. Louis just a couple hours old, I've got a feeling that things in Jerry World are about to get real ugly, real soon. And I'm talking a full-blown, Texas-sized, sky-is-falling meltdown in Dallas. A legitimate state of emergency, panic and general disarray is in the offing this week. Failure is simply not an option in Dallas -- or at least that's the line that
I'm not breaking this news, but these Cowboys, losers of three of their past four, have got some problems. Significant problems. Keep-you-out-of-the-playoffs-type problems -- let alone the Super Bowl. Dallas hasn't played a solid game since it moved to 3-0 with its 27-16 Week 3 win at Green Bay, and that's a lifetime and a half in Cowboy years.
After all, this was the Rams who outclassed Dallas (4-3). St. Louis entered the game with more head coaches this season (two) than wins (one). And it wasn't even close. The Cowboys were outplayed, outcoached, outhustled, out-everything'd. And you thought the power outage was in Buffalo on Sunday.
The issues that need addressing in Dallas are plentiful:
-- The Cowboys secondary can't cover anyone. Without cornerbacks
If fixing the Cowboys were approached like triage, staunching the bleeding in Dallas' pass defense would be the top priority.
-- The Cowboys defense, in general, is looking shaky. In the past four games, Dallas has given up 26 (to Washington), 22 (to winless Cincinnati), 30 (to Arizona) and 34 points (to the Rams). That's 112 points, or 28 per game, a dreadful output for a team that believed it had Super Bowl-level talent.
Even the normally reliable Dallas run defense went to heck in a hand-basket against St. Louis. The Cowboys entered the game ranked 7th against the run, giving up just 87.5 yards per game, and 3.7 per rush. With
-- The Cowboys offensive line suddenly looks overrated when it comes to pass protection. Dallas supposedly has a great offensive line, but I don't see it. The Rams consistently applied pressure on Dallas quarterback
-- The Cowboys passing game is supposed to be their strength, but Johnson's first start in place of Romo was less than impressive. He finished 17 of 34 for 234 yards, with one touchdown, three interceptions and a 45.5 passer rating. But it was worse than that because in the first half, when the game was still vaguely competitive at 24-7, Johnson went just 6 of 18 for 66 yards with one tipped pass interception.
And don't look now, but
These Cowboys are at a crossroads, and it could just be a train coming directly at them. Next week Dallas has Tampa Bay at home, and then there's a trip to New Jersey to take on the defending champion Giants, who, at 5-1, are now 1½ games ahead of the 'Boys in the NFC East.
The Cowboys need to get Romo healthy and throwing from behind a line that can protect him. They need to somehow start plugging some of their holes in the secondary, and hold an opposing offense or three to at least 10 points less per game.
Somehow, I don't have high hopes that Cowboys head coach
And make no mistake, these are some bad days in Dallas.
• I have to admit, when I first heard that the Chargers-Bills game had been suspended due to a power outage at Ralph Wilson Stadium, I assumed it was the work of
• When Bills receiver
• Vikings head coach
• Speaking of Minnesota and special-teams meltdowns, I don't like
Two weeks ago, of course, the Vikings let Saints scat-back
• Wow! A
Croyle's season is over, Chiefs coach
• My faithful readers know I'm not a Fantasy Football guy, but if I did play, I'd want Carolina rookie
• Impeccable timing on my part, predicting last week that Saints quarterback
• Here's the question I keep coming back to as I continue to try and fathom why the Cowboys would give up first and third-round picks for Roy Williams: How many highly drafted products out of the University of Texas have been great NFL players of late?
Answer: Not many. Just ask
Under Linehan, the Rams lost to NFC East foes Philadelphia and the Giants by a combined score of 79-16 in Weeks 1-2.
• Doesn't it kind of feel like 2005 never even happened in Cincinnati? Like that feel-good 11-5, division-winning season that
My point is that we're back to the truly bad old days in Bengals-land, and that hardly seems fair when Cincinnati had so precious few better days during its brief renaissance to relevancy.
• Question: Which 2006 quarterback drafted on the first day is closer to getting back in to his team's starting lineup, Vince Young in Tennessee or
• It's official:
• It bears asking: Are the Bears lessening
That said, wouldn't it be fun to see Hester in a Chicago version of Miami's "Wildcat formation?''
• I know the Chiefs entered Sunday with the league's 32nd-ranked run defense, but 332 rushing yards surrendered to Tennessee? What happened to the notion that Kansas City was building a young and talented defense?
• The Chargers fly east and lose at Buffalo. The 49ers fly east and lose at the Giants. Tonight, Seattle tries its hand at the cross-country travel thing at Tampa Bay. No team has won this season making the West Coast to East Coast journey, and it's getting a little silly at this point.
• Wonder what