Presented by

Cowboys Mailbag: December 22, 2011

/ Editor's Note: Each weekday,'s writers will field two questions from the fans. Click here to email your question now. **

Ted Glaze - Olney, TX: The Eagles have played two games against Ryan-coached defenses, the Cowboys and the Jets, and scored 34 and 45 points. Does this have anything to do with scheme similarities between Rob and Rex, or is it just a good Eagles offense?

Nick: I really think a lot is being made about the two Ryan-coached defenses. Yeah, they have similar schemes, but the personnel is different. What I think Philly has always been good at is attacking a team that blitzes. Both teams are aggressive in that way, and with a guy like McCoy, coupled with Vick, it's hard to blitz all out because of the screens and draws that can hurt you, like McCoy did in the first game.

Rob: Those two games showed the Eagles' offense at its very best. Before the first Cowboys game, they really hadn't played to their potential. Turnovers have been a problem, too, and they were mistake-free against Dallas. Fundamentally the Ryans have some of the same concepts. They're both pressure schemes. But Rob Ryan actually went conservative for much of the first game, presumably out of respect for the Eagles' threats on the outside, and the Eagles gashed them in the run game and underneath. When they're clicking, it's a little like the Cowboys' offense: pick your poison.

Sergio Mancha - El Paso, TX: Why can't the Cowboys get pressure on the quarterback by just rushing four players, like Philadelphia?

Nick: I think if you look at both teams, you'd find the Cowboys probably generate more pressure than you think with the base defense. And it's not like the Eagles are killing teams every snap with four. Don't forget Philly has eight losses. This isn't a winning football team, so it's not perfect. But they've got two consistent pass-rushers in Trent Cole and Jason Babin. The Cowboys haven't always had that with Ware and Spencer. That's a big difference.

Rob: Well, at times, like in some of these late-game situations with a lead, they're not even rushing four. Tough to get there that way, but I know what you're asking. DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff have been the most consistently disruptive rushers, and they need help. But Rob Ryan's group is tied for seventh in the league with 38 sacks, and those haven't all come strictly from blitzing.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content