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Final Thoughts: Giants Reassess Struggling O-Line, More Notes

IRVING, Texas – It's been two weeks since we've had a matchup to break down, but the weekend is finally here and I have my final thoughts for this game against the Giants.

The Cowboys are perhaps as healthy as they've been all season, while the Giants are attempting to cope with problems along their offensive line and in their secondary.

Here are my final thoughts for Sunday Night Football:

  • Stop me if you have heard this about the New York Giants and their current situation along the offensive line: in talking with folks that do similar jobs in New York to what I do here in Dallas, the Giants are going to shuffle their line around this week in order to give them more consistency.

Geoff Schwartz is back in the lineup after missing the majority of the season with a toe injury and will take over at right tackle for the injured Justin Pugh. Schwartz's natural position is as a guard, but after the way Charles Brown played for Pugh there really isn't much of a choice and he will make the start.

There have also been some questions for the Giants at guard, where rookie Weston Richburg has had his share of inconsistent play -- as has John Jerry on the opposite side. It was Richburg that struggled in the last meeting with Tyrone Crawford and Henry Melton when he was matched up one-on-one.  It is believed that former veteran 49ers guard Adam Snyder will get the start for Richburg.

Snyder has only been active three games this season for the Giants and last made a start for the 49ers against the Buccaneers on Dec. 15, 2013. Something to keep in mind is that when these two teams met in October, the Giants came into the game with some serious question marks along the offensive line and held this Cowboys defensive front four without a sack.    

  • Speaking of the Cowboys defensive line, I have a strong feeling that Josh Brent will have to wait at least another game before he has a chance to be on the game day roster. Brent is still trying to get himself in better condition and the rotation of Nick Hayden, Terrell McClain and Jack Crawford is playing too well for the coaches to put him in the lineup. The report that I was able to get was that Brent was going in the right direction and giving a good picture on the scout team for the offense.


  • Look for newly added linebacker Dekoda Watson to make his first appearance for the Cowboys on special teams after being released by the Jaguars the day after these two clubs battled in London. In studying Watson's skill set while he was in Jacksonville, he will most likely line up on the kickoff, kickoff return, punt and punt return teams. He also took some snaps with the second defensive unit -- just in case these coaches might need him to play some snaps in an emergency.
  • Not that Tony Romo should ever be confused with Russell Wilson when it comes to running a read option offensive scheme, but in going back and studying the Seahawks game plan against the Giants, it was very clear that play action plays that took the defense in one direction and brought the ball back the other way on designed rolling outs gave the Giants a great deal of problems in having to defend. I expect you will see Scott Linehan take an advantage of Romo's ability to throw the ball on the move with some quick passes to these Cowboys tight ends and receivers.
  • A big change defensively for the Giants from the last matchup is the loss of cornerback Prince Amukamara. I have always been critical of the way that Amukamara has played during his career, but this season appeared to be different for him and the job he was able to do against Dez Bryant was more than respectable.

To his credit he battled Bryant all afternoon and made him have to make tough, contested catches. Without Amukamara in the lineup, defensive coordinator Perry Fewell might choose to match Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie with Bryant. The problem with that is Rodgers-Cromartie is dealing with his own medical problems and is nowhere healthy enough to draw that assignment full time.

In speaking with folks with the Giants, Rodgers-Cromartie is dealing with a back, a hamstring and CT Band issues. Even at 70 percent he is the best corner that the Giants have, but the worry with him is how he comes and goes during games. 

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