Dallas Cowboys: 5 Observations from the Cowboys' 24-17 Win over Giants
The Cowboys took a major step towards the special season we are anticipating from this group on Wednesday against the New York Giants. The Cowboys were able to fight through a slow start and pull out a 24-17 victory against their division rivals.
This team didn’t look like the 2011 Cowboys, and truthfully we didn’t know what to expect.
We expect great things from these players and try to predict what they’ll do. However, until real games are being played, you can never be quite sure about what you’re really going to get.
So I’ve compiled a short list of observations from the game. It doesn’t list everything I saw but some of the important ones. (I have to keep something for future articles, right?)
Cowboys Secondary Is Relevant Again
When the Cowboys spent over $50 million on Brandon Carr this offseason and traded draft picks to move up to draft Morris Claiborne, people thought they were crazy.
Turns out they weren’t.
The Cowboys felt comfortable paying “retail” to solidify what was known as a porous pass defense that cost the Cowboys games in 2011.
Jerry Jones believed that Brandon Carr was a physical corner who could jam receivers at the line. They also believed that Morris Claiborne had the skill set to be an “island” corner but might take time to develop.
They were right about everything except for one part. Claiborne was ready to go from the first whistle.
Claiborne and Carr with the help of Gerald Sensabaugh and Barry Church stymied a very capable New York Giants passing offense that featured Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks.
Cruz finished with six receptions for 58 yards but also had multiple drops. The flashy receiver is known for his big plays but met a pass defense who was finally able to stop him.
Coming off injury Nicks had 4 catches for 38 yards. Nicks is a receiver who can do extreme damage to any team on any given Sunday. You have to appreciate the work that Claiborne was able to do against him.
Overall, I think we saw a lot of great things. The secondary is young but very capable. They are physical and almost appeared to be shut down. You have to be excited about what this means for a very good Cowboys defense.
The Ryan Cook Trade Was Worth the Seventh-Round Pick
When the Cowboys traded for Ryan Cook, I didn’t expect him to make much of an impact. With Phil Costa returning, I thought Cook was just an emergency lineman who wouldn’t really get many opportunities.
Then Phil Costa left the game with an injury and Ryan Cook was placed into the lineup.
Surprisingly, Cook worked very well.
When Cook was in the game, the interior offensive line looked more cohesive. He initiated blocks well and most importantly was able to have smooth quarterback exchanges all night.
Another plus about Cooks game was the way that the running game opened up as soon as he came in. Cook seemed to be engaging in blocks and understood what he needed to do. Cook isn’t an overpowering lineman by any means but seems smart enough to do a competent job, which is more than I can say for Costa.
DeMarcus Ware Is Very Classy and Very Good
DeMarcus Ware became the second-fastest player to reach 100 sacks after recording two against the New York Giants.
Ware was interviewed after the game, and while I can’t remember exactly what was said, I do remember saying, “Wow, that guy is all class.”
DeMarcus Ware could easily have said “Hey, it’s all about me, I’m the greatest.” Instead, he paid his respects to Reggie White and proved that this league isn’t just divas but respectful, hardworking men.
In a games perspective, Ware was up to his old tricks. It’s not the sacks that make DeMarcus Ware one of the greatest defensive players to play this game but his ability to draw so much attention.
Ware consistently draws double teams, and he’s one of only a few defense players who must to be game planned for.
No matter who you are or how he feels Ware is going to bring it every game. He is a hard working, well-rounded player who is not only a good leader in the locker room but also a great role model to kids everywhere.
DeMarco Murray Is a Work Horse Back
Raise your hand if, after the first quarter, you were legitimately concerned about the possibility of DeMarco Murray being overhyped.
If you didn’t raise your hand, I assume you didn’t watch the first quarter.
Murray struggled in the first half significantly. He wasn’t displaying his elite vision or his ability to explode through holes. A lot of Murray’s struggles had to do with the offensive line’s inability to produce rushing lanes. Yet I still felt there was a true cause for concern.
Then the magic started with about 5:11 left in the third quarter. Murray appeared to be stopped for a loss, but bad tackling allowed him to shuffle around and then gash the Giants for a 48-yard gain.
After Murray’s huge gain, things started clicking for him.
For a running back that many considered injury prone and unable to carry a large load, Murray played fantastically. Murray finished with 20 carries for 131 yards and a 6.6 yards-per-carry average.
Murray proved that last year wasn’t a fluke and that he can be a true work horse back in this league.
We Were Wrong to Worry About the Cowboys' Passing Game
What was the most common concern in the 2012 offseason?
“Who will be the Cowboys third receiver?”
That question was answered in a big way Wednesday night as Kevin Ogletree led all receivers in an eight reception, 114-yard Laurent Robinson–like performance that produced two touchdowns.
Which now brings us to a new question… Were we wrong to worry about the receiver situation?
Consider the success that Tony Romo has had with third receivers in the past. Patrick Crayton and Laurent Robinson were all relative nobody’s who thrived with a very talented quarterback.
The question really should have been all along, “Who is going to step up?”
If I’m a guy like Ogletree and I see a guy like Jason Witten, who just suffered a major injury, trot onto the field, I’d be pretty inspired.
When you think about the leaders on this team and the core values they embody, you realize that they aren’t going to let this team sink. Romo and Witten aren’t about to let injuries slow greatness. So you can bet that they surely aren’t going to let a third-receiver controversy block them from what should be a special season.
So you can put anyone you want to put there. As long as Romo and Witten are around, everyone is going to play better.