We’re stepping into Jerry’s World this week, folks. That’s right. The Dallas Cowboys are up on the buffet table now. Will the Broncos eat them away, too?
I had to go directly to the Dallas guy in the know. Steven Mullenax runs Fansided’s Cowboys site, The Landry Hat. I talked to him about stopping the Cowboys receiving threats, Tony Romo, and what he thinks is going to happen on Sunday.
With that said, let’s go Inside the Villain’s Venue with The Landry Hat.
1. If you’re Jack Del Rio, the Broncos’ defensive coordinator, how do you game plan for both Jason Witten and Dez Bryant out there?
SM: Based on this season so far, I think you’re more afraid of what Dez Bryant can do over Jason Witten at this point. Both players have been heading in opposite directions since Week One’s victory over the New York Giants. Bryant has scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three games. Witten hasn’t scored since Week One and has uncharacteristically struggled with drops. In the last three weeks, Witten has only 13 receptions on 24 targets. Based off that information, Denver and Del Rio should double-team Bryant and simply cover long. Getting pressure on quarterback Tony Romo and allowing him the short, dump-off passes seems to be a successful formula against their sputtering offense.
2. Tony Romo got that huge contract in the off season. Was he really worthy of it?
SM: Statistically, Romo is the best quarterback in Dallas Cowboys history. But I don’t believe he’s being paid nearly $120 million for his regular season stats alone. Cowboys owner and general manger Jerry Jones expects post-season success out of Romo soon. And only when he returns the Lombardi Trophy to Valley Ranch will Romo actually be worth the big contract.
3. Talk about the injuries to the Cowboys’ defense. Somehow they’re coming up big in the sack department with a lot of guys rotating in and out.
SM: And that credit should really go to one man: Defensive line coach Rob Marinelli. His ability to replace All-Pro players with guys who are literally coming off the streets is nothing short of a miracle. Now the question is, can they maintain this level of play throughout the season?
4. Peyton Manning is obviously on a tear to start the season. Are the Cowboys really going to be able to contain him and if so how?
SM: I really think Manning himself is the only one who can truly beat this outstanding offense. But the Cowboys will attempt to keep him on the sidelines as much as possible by successfully running the ball. And there will be an emphasis on our defesive lineman to get pressure on Manning early and often. If the Cowboys can have a similar balanced offensive attack that they showed against the St. Louis Rams in Week Three and if they can get Peyton on the turf a few times, then Dallas might have a chance. (however slim)
5. Finally, your prediction for Sunday’s game?
Nothing about the Cowboys defensive backfield tells me they can stop a top-tier quarterback like Peyton Manning. And the Cowboys offensive is not consistent enough to outscore him. Dallas joins the rest of the league and succumbs to this high-octane Denver offense, 44-27.