Monday Night Quarterback: Dallas Cowboys' Run Defense

Jason Henry@thenprojectCorrespondent ISeptember 16, 2009

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 13:  Running back Carnell Williams #24 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs the ball against the Dallas Cowboys during the game at Raymond James Stadium on September 13, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

The Dallas Cowboys impressed with their win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon.

Quarterback Tony Romo looked sharp in the second half and the defense held the Bucs off as the Cowboys won 34-21.

But even with a two-touchdown win over a rather, eh, inferior opponent, the Dallas's run defense looked rather pedestrian.

Cadillac Williams, coming off of two major knee surgeries, was able to dice the Cowboys' defense up for 97 yards and one touchdown.

How does a defense so lauded for its aggressiveness allow a running back to chop it up so finely? Well, let’s take a closer look at the statistics.

As a unit, the Bucs totaled 174 yards rushing to go along with a healthy 5.6 yards per carry.

I know that this is the first game of the season and the defense hasn’t quite gelled, and there are still a few kinks to work out before the team gets going.

But also think about this—the Bucs mainly used two running backs the entire game: Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward, who basically split time during the game. They both are fairly small backs with an average weight of 222 pounds.

Next week, the 'Boys face one of the biggest running backs in the league in Brandon Jacobs. Brandon is 6'4" and weighs 264 pounds.

If the Giants are able to establish the run early, how will they stop Jacobs and the Giants?

But back to the Buccaneers game.

Star corner back Terrance Newman had a nice outing with eight tackles. What’s troubling about that stat is how much the Bucs were able to get to that third level where Newman was able to make eight tackles.

Newman isn’t traditionally an all-out aggressive player. He doesn’t shy away from tackles, but Wade Phillips has to make sure this type of performance doesn’t happen again.

The Bucs not only averaged 5.6 yards a rush, but they had no plays where the running backs were tackled for a loss. That shows that the Bucs were able to get to the second level of the Cowboys' defense throughout the game.

The Cowboys were able to hold the Bucs off as evidenced by the final score. The Bucs running game may have been more of a mirage than real.

But if the Cowboys have any plans of impressing the possible 105,000 thousand people that are expected to show for the opening of the team’s new stadium, Wade Phillips and crew will have to do more to stop Brandon Jacobs.



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