Just some thoughts from the last couple of days…
- As good as this backup defensive line group with Josh Brent and Tyrone Crawford have played early in this campaign, Rob Ryan will miss Sean Lissemore the most. Ryan can fall back on Marcus Spears and that is fine but at this point in his career he cannot do what Lissemore can when it comes to how he fits in this scheme at different positions and situations. On the positive side, you will see Crawford get more of an opportunity to not only play in some base stuff but inside on the nickel. Where Crawford can't help is on the nose where if needed Lissemore had some of his best work in 2011. Ryan and his staff have managed to plug in guys at all three spots on the defense and survive but losing Lissemore for a spell will once again test their creativity.
- From a scouting stand point, I am hopeful that this is the week that we might see Matt Johnson to get more of an opportunity to play in some defensive packages but also get some work on special teams. It appears that Johnson has made the recovery from his hamstring and back issues to put himself in a position to contribute in those two phases of the game. Danny McCray has filled in well but if Johnson is healthy enough to go he should see action like Crawford and Hanna. From what I was able to study on his college tape, he runs and tackles well enough to help on special teams but he is also smart enough to give Sensabaugh and McCray a chance to catch their breath during games. If Jason Garrett and this front office had confidence enough to draft Johnson where they did, then they need to find a spot for him to play because I believe that he can provide some meaningful snaps.
- This is the week that the Cowboys could start to practice backup offensive linemen Kevin Kowalski to make a determination whether they want to put him on the active roster in two weeks. If Kowalski can make it back he might be a nice insurance policy to work along with Ryan Cook as a backup swing center / guard as this season wears on. Phil Costa was outstanding in his return to the lineup against the Ravens but you can never have too many backup offensive and defensive linemen. When a team gets thin there, you tend to see problems. If Kowalski can't make it back, then they would just keep him on physically unable to perform and get him ready for 2013.
- Standing on the sideline during those last five minutes of the game on Sunday reminded me how much I really miss scouting and being a part of the team. I love my job with DallasCowboys.com but it's hard not to get emotionally involved especially with the way that game unfolded. I have been where player personnel guys Tom Ciskowski and Will McClay have been before when you fly home after a game like that. You understand how hard it is to win in this league and to have one get away like that is the worst feeling in the world. If you think as fans you take it hard, think about the guys that live this 24/7, trust me it's ten times worse. You start to question whether you have done everything in your power to help this coaching staff win games with the players you have scouted. You only have so many opportunities to prove yourself during the season and when you are not successful, it's not easy to deal with. That's from a scout and not a writer.