What They Should Be Thinking Today: Dallas Cowboys

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistSeptember 17, 2012

I can't believe I'm saying this, but Rob Ryan has to be more aggressive than that.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but Rob Ryan has to be more aggressive than that.Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

In an attempt to get inside the heads of NFC East teams, we occasionally take a step back by looking at what each squad should be thinking at any given point. In light of Sunday's disappointing loss to Seattle, here's what should be going through the Dallas Cowboys' heads.


Very Few Teams Would Be 2-0 in Our Shoes

Starting on the road against the defending Super Bowl champions and then in Seattle is an extremely difficult task. Nobody expected us to win both of those games, but the expectation level rose after we dominated the Giants in the opener. 

We expect to win every time we take the field, but even our biggest believers probably figured we'd be 1-1 entering Week 3. The only difference is the way in which we arrived at that record, winning where we were supposed to lose and vice versa.

We're tied with the Giants and trailing the Eagles, but we have the tiebreaker with New York and have yet to play at home, whereas those teams have been at home in three of their four games thus far. So there's absolutely no reason to panic. 

These next two games against Tampa Bay and Chicago at Cowboys Stadium are massive, though, because we have to prove that we can delete games like the Seattle debacle from our memory, only learning from our mistakes and moving on. That's been something we've struggled with in the past, but this team is more mature, experienced and talented than its been in over a decade.


We Have to Be More Aggressive Than That

We were beaten up physically by the Seahawks, which is concerning. They're a tough team and possesses some clear size advantages, and we're more skill-based, but we still failed to exploit their soft spots. 

We blitzed on only six of rookie quarterback Russell Wilson's 25 drop-backs Sunday, according to ESPN Stats & Information, who also report that Wilson was only 6-for-18 and was sacked three times while facing a five-plus-man-rush in Week 1.

We can't explain why our defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, decided to pull back on the blitz. We'll have to ask him about that this week, but we're guessing it had to do with the fact Ryan felt his three- and four-man rushes would be enough to abuse a depleted Seattle offensive line and throw Wilson off his game. And so why over-commit?

The problem is that Seattle's pass protection held up. And as a result, we were outmatched. It was an oversight, but it also represents a passive mentality. That's not a championship approach.


We Need More from Our Key Players

Ultimately, it's going to be tough to win any time Dez Bryant and Jason Witten drop a combined five passes and DeMarcus Ware is held without a sack. Even without those drops in mind, Seattle held Bryant and Kevin Ogletree completely in check and shut down Ware, while our top-tier pass rush was held to just two sacks of Wilson.

In the future, we can't let teams take away our bread and butter. But we also have to hope that those players prevail. There were too many disappearing acts in Seattle.