IRVING, Texas – With one quarter of the season already behind us, I wanted to touch on a handful of questions and thoughts I've got about this team going forward.
Did you see this team with a 3-1 record before the season started?
I expected the 49ers game to be a difficult one to win, but victories against Tennessee on the road and New Orleans were very surprising to me. It would have not surprised me one bit if they were 1-3 or best-case 2-2. You have to give Jason Garrett, the staff and players a great deal of credit for the way they have approached
the first quarter of the season and the fashion in the way that they dominated their opponents in two of the three victories.
Is the success running the ball due to DeMarco Murray or the guys up front?
I am always willing to give Murray credit for the job he is doing as a complete back in this offense, but in that same breath his blocking has been outstanding. The scheme is a really good fit for him, but there are plays where he is on the second level before he is even getting touched. Tyron Smith and Ronald Leary on that left side can get some serious push. I like what I have seen from Travis Frederick and his ability to cut the defense in half. Zack Martin played his best game against the Saints, and when the ball gets to the edge on the right side, that is the work of Doug Free. Throw in the combination of Jason Witten, James Hanna and these receivers you get the picture of why they are having so much success in that area.
What is your biggest surprise?
How physical this defense has been able to play through these first four games of the season. The addition of Rolando McClain along with the play of Bruce Carter and Barry Church has made this a much tougher defense on the field and the other players are feeding off their play. You see a better tackling defense with players that don't have a history of being those types of players more willing to step up and do the dirty work to bring the ball carrier to the ground. It's now a defense that is not only about trying to get up the field and be disruptive, but one that is not afraid to hit you in the mouth. It really is a good balance here early.
What's your first quarter fix? [embedded_ad]
I am worried about J.J. Wilcox playing in coverage, and I want to fix his eyes. I know that he is learning how to play the position, so I understand that it's an area we are going to have to deal with. But I think his development as a player would be better if he could just see the routes a little quicker and that would help him adjust to what is happening to him. There are snaps where he is still in his pedal when the route breaks, and he should be driving forward. If he saw things just a tick quicker he could make the play because we all know that he is more than willing to get into the action. His eyes could also help him in the angles that he takes in the running game. There are snaps where he is so aggressive that he tends to overrun plays and this I feel is due to how he sees plays develop. Experience will help him get a better feel for how to make plays, but his eyes will help him make more of them.