Sitting in second place in the NFC East Division, the Dallas Cowboys have compiled a 4-5 record thus far.
This weekend, the Cowboys will host a 2-7 Cleveland Browns team that is known for hanging around in games. The last time these two teams faced each other was in 2008 and Dallas won with ease 28-10. Cleveland will have their work cut out for them as the Cowboys have a plethora of stars. Here is the glue that helps the Cowboys stick and what Cleveland should be well aware of.
Tony Romo is perhaps the most disappointing player in the NFL this year. Through nine games, Romo has thrown 13 interceptions and make poor decisions on a consistent basis. If not for his three main go-to guys, the veteran quarterback would not have the 2,600 yards passing and 12 touchdowns he has. Much like Brandon Weeden, Romo is a pocket passer and can be flustered with pressure. The Cowboys’ signal caller is showing his age and is not as good as he once was.
Emerging last year with a bang was running back DeMarco Murray. However, Murray has been out for a few weeks with an injury and Felix Jones is the starter now. Jones is a non-threat and barely squeaks through holes when they are there. In spot duty, Jones has scored twice on the ground and has 278 yards rushing. He is elusive and can catch the ball out of the backfield though.
The number one player that is the biggest threat to Cleveland is Dez Bryant. The often troubled Bryant can’t do anything right off the field, but on is a completely different story. Ranked in the top 20 twenty in both receptions and yards, Bryant is a physical receiver that goes after footballs in the air. He can be very dangerous after the catch and is hard to bring down because of his size. Joe Haden will have his hands full covering Bryant.
In my opinion, one of the toughest guys in the NFL is Jason Witten. No one will ever forget the catch-and-run with blood on his face and his helmet off a few years back. The guy is a stud and every tight end in the league should look up to Witten. Despite having a slightly lacerated spleen earlier in the season, Witten has caught 66 balls and leads the league at his position in receptions. Witten’s problem has been Romo has only found him once for pay dirt. The rugged veteran will be a tough match up for Cleveland linebackers.
Near the top of the league every year in sacks is DeMarcus Ware. With nine sacks on the season, the Dallas linebacker is a force on the defensive line and strikes fear in to the eyes of opposing quarterbacks. Ware is a turnover machine and has four forced fumbles on the season.
Led by former Browns’ defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, the Cowboys defense is ranked seventh in yards given up per game with 213.7. The Dallas defense as a whole has given up just nine touchdowns in nine games. After Ware, the Cowboys have a bunch of lunch pail type guys that play hard for their coach. The unit is feisty and swarm to the football. The Cowboys defense can be vulnerable at times but can also swing momentum quickly with a forced turnover.
The Browns are a dangerous team that are pretty much playing with nothing to lose. If the Cowboys are not careful and take them lightly, they could be 4-6 after this week. We will know on Sunday.
Ryan Ruiz – Cleveland Browns Writer
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