Who Is Everette Brown?
In a season of inconsistency, there is one consistency with this football team: It doesn't matter who comes in off the street, that player will contribute. I have called this defensive line, "The Band of Backups" and today that group added one more name to story. [embedded_ad]
To Everette Brown's credit, he came to the club in great physical condition and it showed in the way he played. His preseason tape from the Eagles showed a player that was used as an outside linebacker, but his best plays were when he was able to put his hand on the ground and get after the passer. He physically is better suited to play in this 4-3 scheme than in the 3-4 because of his ability to rush the passer like he did at Florida State.
What was surprising about Brown's play is that he was able to get his pressures on Matt Kalil, who is the Vikings' standout left tackle. Brown did not fade from the challenge of having to deal with Kalil at all. His rushes were explosive, and he made it difficult for Kalil to handle him one-on-one.
Why Does This Cowboys Offense Struggle To Run The Ball?
The numbers will say that the Cowboys attempted nine total rushes for the game. There are teams in this league that can put up nine rushes in a single drive.
In preparing for this game, I had a feeling that it would be difficult for the Cowboys offense to rush the ball on the Vikings, but there is no way I thought offensive coordinator Bill Callahan would call so few runs. The Vikings were one of the worst teams in the league when it came down to third-down defense, and on that final game-clinching drive, you could clearly see why.
What I have noticed the last several weeks is that there has not been a good enough job of handling blocks at the point of attack by either the tight ends or the offensive line. There just not has been any secure blocking that has allowed the running backs to really get anything going. Defensive linemen free, linebackers on the run through, you name it, the Cowboys have had problems with it.
I believe it has been hard on Callahan and even Tony Romo to attempt a running play when they can throw the ball to Cole Beasley or Jason Witten and gain positive yards. Jason Garrett can talk about all the balance he wants, but if you struggle to secure blocks, and you are more comfortable throwing the ball to your skill guys, that's not going to change.
Will People Get Off Tony Romo's Back After That Drive?
For a team that needed a clutch drive to win that game, that was as good as it gets for Tony Romo. From my position on the field, when he threw the interception with 4:29 left in the game, I really wasn't sure if he was going to get the ball back with a chance to pull it off.
For the Cowboys, it was their longest drive of the season, covering 90 yards, but what was so impressive about it was the way that Romo was able to work the ball to all of his different skilled guys. Witten, Beasley and Dwayne Harris, all made plays during the series.
Romo looked and played like he was in complete control, even after throwing that interception the previous drive. While Romo could have been tentative or gun-shy to make another poor pass, it was the furthest thought from his mind. His clock management and control of the situation gave his teammates a feeling of confidence, and when he found Harris inside the Vikings coverage, that interception seemed like a distant memory.
All wins are big no matter who you're playing, so the critics will have to find some other area of Romo's game to complain about … at least for one week.