Skip to main content

Final Thoughts: Blocking Out Noise In Seattle?


FRISCO, Texas – The great thing about football is there's always another chance.

Whatever happened before, there's always another play, another possession, another quarter, another game.

Week 3 will serve as a heck of a do-over for this Dallas Cowboys team. They failed their first test of the season when they came out flat against Carolina and lost an ugly game. How fitting is it, then, that two weeks later they get another opportunity to prove themselves in a hostile environment?

The Cowboys won their last game at CenturyLink Field, beating the eventual NFC champions, 30-23, in a classic. But that's ancient history. That was a much older, more experienced Cowboys team – not to mention a vastly different Seattle Seahawks roster.

So let's take a look at this year's matchup for an idea of what to expect as the Cowboys try to improve to 2-1.

·      I am not worried about Xavier Woods and his availability for this game. Woods will start at safety along with Jeff Heath, which means that Kavon Frazier will return to his role as the primary backup and core special teamer. Jason Garrett said there were no hard and fast rules about this despite the fact that Frazier has played well the first two weeks of the season.

·      When Cole Beasley showed up on the injury report on Thursday with an ankle injury I had to admit there was some concern on my part for the game. Beasley is as tough as they come and after checking things post-practice Friday, I believe he should be good to go without any limitations.

·      Antwaun Woods and Maliek Collins had been sharing responsibility at the nose tackle position, but with Collins suffering a sprained knee against the Giants look for Datone Jones to fill in for Collins this week. Jones might not have the same mass of Woods or Collins, but he's extremely quick. With the Seahawks struggling inside with injuries to Justin Britt and Ethan Pocic, Jones is primed to have a big game attacking this area. There is a reason that this front office kept Jones on the active roster despite having his own injury problem.

·      I really like the creativity of what Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard are doing with this defense. The blitz packages have been on point and the execution has been outstanding, as well. With all the issues the Seahawks have had with their offensive line and the potential for some new starters at a couple of different spots, this would be a great opportunity to move some guys around in order to find the best matchups to take advantage of. The one thing Jason Garrett likes to talk about is the position flex of the group.

·      The more I think about Rico Gathers, the more I wonder if he could be that replacement for Dez Bryant down near the goal line. This offense hasn't had many trips down there, but is Gathers is active it makes perfect sense to use him in that role. It's really no different throwing Gathers those passes that you threw to Bryant -- as long as they take advantage of his ability to extend. There are very few defensive backs that can deal with Gathers' size when he positions himself in the end zone to make a reception.

·      The crowd noise at CenturyLink Field is legendary. With this being the first home game of the season and their squad off to a 0-2 start, there is no question they will be ready to provide the noise. With that noise comes the issues of making line calls and adjustments of blocking schemes while the clock is ticking down. The louder it gets, the harder it is to communicate. Here's an interesting stat from last season, and I believe you could see some carryover into 2018: the Seahawks were a half yard better on run defense at home than they were on the road, in large part due to that crowd noise. This is something worth keeping an eye on as the game wears on to see if the Cowboys can handle it.

·      Russell Wilson has been sacked 12 times this season with five of those sacks coming on third down. The Seahawks have been bad on those down, only converting 28 percent of the time. Where Wilson has had the most issues completing passes is when he's in that distance of 3-to-7 yards. In those throws he has only completed 2-of-6 and been sacked two times for a loss of 22 yards. Dak Prescott hasn't been much better, also just completing 2-of-6 passes in that same area -- but he hasn't suffered the sacks.

·      My weekly guess at the Cowboys inactives: QB Mike White, WR Brice Butler, TE Dalton Schultz, OG Xavier Su'-a-Filo, LB Chris Covington, C Travis Frederick, DT Maliek Collins.