Cowboys vs. Redskins: Unleashing James Hanna Could Be Secret Weapon to Victory

Peter MatarazzoContributor IDecember 30, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 23:  James Hanna #84 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys never quite figured out how to use Martellus Bennett correctly. Ironically, and not surprisingly, he is enjoying his best season as part of the Giants offense. The Cowboys have also yet to figure out how to utilize two tight ends in their offense since it's become a trend in the NFL.

An easy observation of this trend is how the Patriots give opposing defenses fits and different looks that lead to major mismatch problems. With Rob Gronkowski effective at blocking and catching and Aaron Hernandez utilizing his athleticism more in the passing game, Tom Brady has a lot to work with.

The Cowboys have Jason Witten to work with, but why not add another dimension?

The Cowboys could've used this same methodology with Witten and Bennett, but there was always an obstacle preventing it. Whether it was Bennett not being healthy, running incorrect routes or dropping passes, the experiment never took off, but it never worked with Anthony Fasano either.

Had the Cowboys been able to create the right packages to utilize the two-tight end personnel, it should have resulted in a few more victories.

When the Cowboys selected James Hanna in the sixth round this year, the consensus was that another opportunity had arrived in trying to bring another dimension to the offense after not realizing the potential of Bennett.

With not much of a role until recently, it appears that Hanna is now on the radar. Tony Romo has targeted Hanna at least twice in each of the last three games. Hanna's best output was against the Steelers for a total of 45 yards. 

With time running out on the season and the Redskins (Sunday's opponent) certainty of allocating extra attention to Dez Bryant, what better time to insert Hanna into the passing game?

Jason Garrett can run him on crossing and drag routes or he can line him up in the slot; at the very least, it will force Washington to adjust while creating an opportunity for someone else. They can use his athleticism in a number of ways that will allow the Cowboys better ball control and time of possession.

With the Cowboys defense suffering from so many injuries, Garrett will certainly have to lean on his offense for any shot at a victory. The ability to run the football will be paramount, but James Hanna could be a weapon the Cowboys need to unleash. Strategically, there wouldn't appear to be a lot of game film for Washington to game-plan against, so why not unleash him?

Washington will already have its hands full with Jason Witten, so why not insert Hanna into the fold to cause some confusion?

Can he be covered by a linebacker? Will it take a safety to cover him? That would be up to the Redskins to decide. But while Hanna is streaking through the middle of a zone defense, maybe Miles Austin beats a cornerback for a double move.

The Cowboys will need to get creative on offense, they need to steal possessions from RGIII, and they need to find the open receiver that's dictated by coverage. In the few glimpses of Hanna's play, he could be an intriguing option for the Cowboys on the offensive side of the ball.

With little time left and a lot at stake, what better time to unleash a secret weapon?

It could go a long way in determining the future of this season and Hanna's career.