CHRIS TRAERLAS VEGAS, NV
I was at a loss for words for Scott Linehan's game plan Sunday -- most importantly his not getting Dez Bryant involved early or at all. Line up Dez in the door and throw him a slant, give him a WR screen to get him the ball, put him in motion. A huge miss not getting your best player the ball as part of the game plan. PLEASE answer and explain!!
David:I'm going to do my best to explain the coaching staff's rationale – though by no means do I agree with it. But from listening to Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones talk about the game, it seems pretty clear they wanted to give Dak Prescott a lot of high-percentage throws. They'd rather he throw to an open man as his third option than force the ball to his primary option. The balls that they did throw to Dez, for the most part, were low-risk in the sense that they weren't going to do too much damage if they were intercepted. They wanted to hurt the defense for ignoring their other targets, and you could argue it would have worked if they had scored touchdowns instead of field goals. Despite all of that, I agree that you have to make more of an effort to get your playmaker involved – at some point, it shouldn't matter what the defense is doing.
Rob:Can't argue that five pass targets for Dez Bryant out of 45 is low, regardless of the coverage. To be fair, they did move him into the slot on several plays and they did have three chances for big plays that didn't connect. The game plan, generally speaking, seemed to be taking what the defense gave them – and that was a lot of underneath stuff. But you'd expect 88 to be more involved week to week than he was, even though he did have a safety close to him a lot.
DAN RITCHRAMMSTEIN, GERMANY
Where do you think the Giant's defensive line ranks among the teams the Cowboys will have to face the rest of the year? It seems like, every team we face now is going to sell out to stop the run. What can the Cowboys do to make them regret that decision and back them off?
David: It's hard to say how good the Giants are, given that we've only seen one week of the season – but they certainly looked formidable. Look at it this way: once he became the starter last year, Darren McFadden ran for 1,000 yards and averaged 4 yards per carry, despite worse quarterback play than what we saw Sunday. I think the offensive line is talented enough to do that again, but I also think they got beat on Sunday. They'll go back to the drawing board. And for what it's worth, I do think the Giants are one of the better defensive lines Dallas will face this year – along with Philadelphia and Cincinnati.
Rob: Didn't teams sell out to stop the run last year when Tony Romo was out? The Cowboys still ran the ball pretty effectively, and at times Sunday (not often) they did, too. The offensive line has shown it can be more physical and assignment-sharp than they were Sunday. But yes, we might look back at the end of the season and say the Giants have one of the best lines in the league. Damon Harrison and Olivier Vernon were big additions for them. Chunk plays down the field do help loosen up things for the running game, and Dak Prescott had only one completion over 20 yards. Close on a couple others.