Once again, it's time for our weekly Q&A session with a blogger who covers the Patriots' upcoming opponent. Up this week is Darren Shetler from The Cowboys Nation. Here's what Jon had to say about the Cowboys and Pats leading up to Sunday's game.
1. Everyone says the Dallas Cowboys should be 4-0, if not for two collapses against the Jets and the Lions. So, who is more to blame for those failures? Tony Romo or Jason Garrett?
The thing with the Jets game is that I blamed Jason Witten more for that loss more than anyone else. How do you allow a 5’8” guy to tackle you in the open field when scoring a TD at that moment puts the game away? The fumble and pick to Revis was Tony trying to make something happen but making a bad decision in the process.
The blame for a QB’s failures doesn’t rest on the shoulders of just one guy but the brunt of it has to be placed on the man in charge. Yes players should be held accountable for their failures but Jason Garrett has to recognize what he has in Tony Romo. We’re ok with allowing him to be the freewheeling QB that he is for 3 quarters of the game and if it wins us the game in the 4th or OT, like it did in San Fran, we look at Tony as our King. If not, it’s a week of throwing Tony Romo under the bus.
Jason Garrett needs to teach Tony Romo situational football because Tony doesn’t understand situational football. Let Tony be freewheeling Tony for the first 3 quarters but if the game is tight in the 4th quarter, Tony needs to learn (or be taught) how to be smart with the football. Don’t take more than a 3-step drop, look for the quick slant as opposed to the man downfield in double coverage and take the sack vs throwing off your back foot. These are the mistakes he makes and as a coach, you need to teach your QB how to handle certain situations and as a play caller, put your QB in the right situation. I don’t think Jason Garrett has done either but then again, he was never more than a backup level QB so maybe he himself doesn’t understand situational football. (Did you catch the license plate of the bus I just threw Garrett under??)
2. Miles Austin should be back this week at wide receiver for Dallas. How much of an impact does he bring to Dallas' wide receiving corps?
The return of Miles Austin is huge because it gives Dallas another big-play receiving option. Week 1 against the Jets, Rex Ryan had to choose which receiver he was going to stick Revis on. By putting Revis on Austin, that opened up Dez Bryant to make some big time plays until he got hurt. If Austin and Bryant can stay healthy, the Cowboys receivers can make some big time plays. If Austin and Bryant are getting too much defensive attention, there is always Jason Witten to help out. The Cowboys are much better with Austin on the field because the opposition has to be careful of his ability to make huge plays, something Holley and Olgetree lack.
3. We talked about Romo in the first question, but do you think he has the talent to lead the Cowboys to a Super Bowl? Why or Why not?
I wouldn’t want Tony’s job for all the money in the world because it seems like the media spend a lot of time focusing on the QB of the Dallas Cowboys, more so than any other tea. The view of how successful Tony Romo’s career was is always going to come down to whether or not he won the big one. There were a lot of talented QB’s in this league that never won the big one but are considered to be successful QB’s at their retirement dinner and those that won who I wouldn’t really consider that successful. Now to answer your question, yes, I do believe that Tony has the talent to win a Super Bowl. I do believe that Tony makes a lot more good things happen than bad things happen and I would certainly want Tony as my QB before guys like Sanchez, Flaco, and Eli Manning. It’s the rest of the Cowboys team that has me wondering if they have what it takes to win but I do feel confident in the man at the QB position.
4. X-Factor for the Cowboys?
I’d like to say that it will be Felix Jones that has a breakout week but I actually think the New England rushing defense is pretty solid this year. It’s their passing defense that has been the problem for them so far, so with the return of Miles Austin, I would imagine that he wants to get off to a great start I expect him to be the player that helps the Cowboys the most this week.
5. What is the one matchup you are looking forward too in this game?
It has to be Wes Welker vs the Dallas Defense. Welker’s starts are off the chart this season. He’s averaging 16 yards per reception and already has 5 TD and 740 yards which is the most yardage ever accrued in a 5 game span. He’s deadly on the quick slants and underneath plays and I am really interested to see if the Dallas corners, who are all healthy at the same time for the first time this season, can step up and stop the Brady/Welker show.
6. Give us a pick. Will Dallas end New England's stretch of 30+ points in 14 straight games? Why or Why Not?
I certainly don’t think this game will be one sided, none of the Cowboys games this season have been. Dallas has had an extra week to get ready for New England and have a 16-5 record coming out of the bye week but that Patriots have to be feeling good coming off a strong game against the rival NY Jets. I expect this game to come down to which QB is better in the 4th quarter and because of that, I will pick Tom Brady and company to prevail at home and have Cowboys fans spending another week throwing Tony Romo under the bus.
Patriots 38 – Cowboys 30