Dallas Cowboys: Quarter Season Review

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The safety play has been mostly solid, although Gerald Sensabaugh had a bad game coming back from injury against the Bears. I don’t know how much his injury had to do with that. With Barry Church out, Danny McCray has been solid so far, but he doesn’t seem to dish out the punishing hits like Church did. Eric Frampton is the reserve. They have certainly reduced the number of big plays surrendered in previous years.

Oct 2, 2011; Arlington, TX, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew (87) is tackled by Dallas Cowboys cornerback Alan Ball (20) and safety Barry Church (42) at Cowboys Stadium. The Lions beat the Cowboys 34-30. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE


All of the corners have played well. Rookie Morris Claiborne gave up a lot of underneath catches in the first game, but has been solid otherwise. He did give up a long TD on a double move against the Bears, but that was only one play.

Outside linebacker:

Demarcus Ware has been good in every game, but he has not dominated like his reputation suggests he should. He has been consistent, and he was excellent in the Dallas Cowboys first game against the Giants. Anthony Spencer had a nice first game, but has only been average outside. He had an up and down game against the Seahawks, and then he didn’t do anything to stand out against the Bucs. Victor Butler played well against the Bucs and continued to make plays against the Bears, except he was exposed somewhat in coverage.

Inside linebacker:

Bruce Carter has played well in run defense, but he has struggled at times in pass coverage. Sean Lee has been a highlight reel player that the media loves. What they don’t tell you is that he has made a lot of mistakes as well, which hopefully he can iron out. He plays so fast that sometimes it works against him. Dan Connor didn’t stand out either way filling in for Carter against the Bears.

Sep 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee (50) intercepts the ball in front of Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back D.J. Ware (28) in the first quarter at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Defensive end:

Sean Lissemore has been average, which is somewhat disappointing, as I know PFF touted him highly in recent years. Marcus Spears has been either inconcsistent, or terrible (Seahawks). Kenyon Coleman has been mostly solid. Tyrone Crawford has come on nicely. He struggled against the run in his first significant action versus the Seahawks, but he has shown great improvement in the last two games and played really well. Jason Hatcher overall has played well, although similar to Sean Lee he has made his share of mistakes which he needs to cut out. More good than bad though.

Nose tackle:

Josh Brent has started in Jay Ratliff’s absence, with Sean Lissemore also playing some nose. I’ve already commented on Lissemore in the DE section. Josh Brent has played reasonably well. He is no Jay Ratliff, but he is a good young player, especially against the run. Brent is another player that makes plays, but also mistakes; if he cleans those up, he could be very good.

Overall, the defense has played well. There are no players that have stood out negatively, so this is a very solid group.

What To Expect For The Rest Of The Season

The defense is good enough to win a lot of close games if Tony Romo doesn’t turn the ball over. Unfortunately he does. The offensive line is decent in protection, but below average at run blocking. Public opinion is skewed because they were so god awful at run blocking against the Bucs, but that is the truth of it. Considering the amount of time the line has had to gel, they should improve over the course of the season. The 2012 Dallas Cowboys are a hard team to project. If Romo doesn’t turn the ball over too often, they should be competitive in almost every game. Romo seems to have struggled this season when the run game is unproductive bceause he must feel like he has to do everything through the air. Given the need to limit Romo forcing the pass because of a terrible running game, the improvemnet of the offensive line in creating at least an average running attack (which should be easy with the patience, vision, power, and speed of DeMarco Murray) will be crucial to the success of the Dallas Cowboys. 2-2 is a fair representation of this team; they could still finish anywhere from 6-10 to 11-5.

The success of the 2012 Dallas Cowboys will come down to two things:

1.Can the offensive line create improve enough to take the pressure of Romo and the passing game?

2. Can Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo take care of the football and move the offense without a ridiculous amount of unnecessary turnovers?

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