The Cowboys have scratched and clawed to get back to 5-5 this season, but there are still major issues on this team, primarily with the offensive line.
Football analyst Bryan Broaddus tackles three pressing questions for the Cowboys as the team prepares for a short week and the upcoming Thanksgiving showdown with the Redskins.
If Tyron Smith is out for a few weeks, how much confidence should the Cowboys have in Jermey Parnell?
Broaddus: This staff really doesn't have much choice. Where Parnell got in trouble yesterday was when he got too high in his technique or his feet stopped and it caused him to have to reach or lunge for his guy. It's not just a Parnell problem but when any offensive lineman has these problems he is going to struggle to finish blocks. What makes made matters worse yesterday is that he gets zero reps in practice other than with the scout team. When Parnell does set correctly and play with technique you do see him block but when that breaks down he is trouble. Look for Bill Callahan to hammer on him about his technique but also have him better prepared and more confident in his assignments.
Do you think DeMarco Murray can really make a difference when he returns or is the offensive line so banged up that it won't really matter who is back there?
Broaddus:I do believe that Murray could make a difference when it comes to running the ball. If Tony Romo can mask some of the problems in protection, than Murray can do the same with his vision and power in the running game. When plays are blocked less than perfect, an outstanding back can make a negative play into a positive one just by breaking a tackle or making a correct cut. The best that the Cowboys ran the ball all season was against the Ravens and Murray was in the lineup and the harder he ran it, the more confident the line became blocking for him. With Murray in the lineup, there is a chance that the running game will become more consistent.
When you think about the Cowboys, or any team playing on Thanksgiving Day, what is the first memory that comes to mind?
Broaddus: I have worked so many days on Thanksgiving in the NFL but the memory that stands out for me the most was when I was in Green Bay and we came to play the Cowboys without Troy Aikman in the lineup and I really believed that we were going to finally win a game in Dallas. Little did I know that Dallas would start a quarterback that would look like the second coming of Aikman, Jason Garrett was outstanding that day. I just remember standing on the sidelines watching him complete deep ball after deep ball over Terrell Buckley and there was nothing we could do about it. I will never forget how badly I felt after that game and riding back to Green Bay. Needless to say, it wasn't a Happy Thanksgiving.