Cowboys vs. Redskins NFL Week 12 Preview
Cowboys vs. Redskins NFL Week 12 Preview
With a win on Thanksgiving Day, over the Washington Redskins, the Dallas Cowboys could find themselves in first place in the NFC East. That is of course if the New York Giants lose their game against the Green Bay Packers.
The Cowboys now 5-5 on the season managed to squeak by the Cleveland Browns in a 23-20 overtime win. The way the Cowboys played on Sunday could have been because they overlooked the Browns, but who really knows? However, if the punch they received in the mouth didn't wake them up, they're going to be in for a long day on Thursday against the Redskins.
The Cowboys will need to do something they haven't done much of during head coach Jason Garrett’s tenure; be disciplined. The one constant under Garrett and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has been the lack of discipline on both offense and defense.
Players lining up wrong, receivers not knowing what route to run, running backs who don't know the blocking scheme, defensive players lining up offside, players not ready when the ball is snapped, players trying to come onto the field at the last second in substitution packages... the list goes on.
Why is it that this team can't get it together?
Is it lack of accountability from the coaching staff?
Personally I think it lies on the shoulders of owner Jerry Jones who seems to overlook the persistent problems, which have plagued this team year in and year out. As long as the team is winning games he simply ignores the problems.
It was never more evident than after the Browns game. At games end, Jones said he thought the offensive line did a good job? I'll let that sink into your head for a minute.
The offensive line did a good job? Who are you trying to kid, Mr. Jones? The offensive line is atrocious. How could a line, which gave up seven sacks, have done a good job?
One thing the Cowboys have going for them is that since 1968 they are 6-0 against the Redskins on Thanksgiving Day. If they want to make it 7-0, it’s obvious that the offensive line has to play better.
There are other things the Cowboys must do to win Thursday's Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Redskins, these are five of those things.
Robert Griffin III
Limit Robert Griffin III
There’s no surprise as to what needs to be done to stop the Redskins dead in their tracks. Stop Griffin and you stop the team, however, that is easier said than done.
Griffin has a huge arm and can make all the throws quickly and accurately, but stopping him from airing it out doesn't necessarily mean he's been stopped. He has the uncanny ability to extend plays with his mobility, and he can take off and run with the best of them. In fact, Griffin has some people wondering if he’s the fastest athlete in the NFL.
The Cowboys haven't faced a quarterback like this yet, and if they hope to stop him the defense cannot have the same miscues it did against the Browns.
Blitzing Griffin also doesn't seem to faze him; in fact Griffin has wrecked blitzing defenses. When rushed by more than four rushers, Griffin has a 126.3 passer rating, averages 9.82 yards per attempt and has seven touchdowns to only one interception.
I guess this plays right into Rob Ryan’s theory of only rushing three rushers against rookie quarterbacks.
Limit the "Shanahannigans"
I've never seen a coach rotate running backs the way Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan does. He goes with the hot-hand most of the time, but that doesn't mean he won't change it up a day before the game or even at game time. I was preparing for a healthy dose of Alfred Morris, but now it seems that Morris is in Shanahan's doghouse. Nonetheless, the Cowboys must stop whoever is toting the rock for Washington.
Contain Santana Moss
Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne were brought to Dallas because the defensive backs were getting torched left and right. Moss is a Cowboy killer and the Cowboys have to contain him to limit Washington's big play ability.
Win on Special teams
The Redskins 30th ranked special teams cannot be a factor on Thursday if the Cowboys want to win. Containing Brandon Banks who has fumbled the ball on returns, needs to be a priority. The Redskins have also had two punts blocked this season, and they had a league-high five field goals blocked last season. Forcing them to make mistakes on special teams could be crucial in capturing the victory
Expose the Secondary
I'm hoping that what we saw from Dez Bryant isn't just another flash in the pan and that he truly is becoming a force to be reckoned with. The Redskins defense is a far cry from the defense it was last season, and it lost Brandon Meriweather for the season with a torn ACL. The Cowboys must attack the secondary with a healthy dose of Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten.