FORT SILL, OK
I understand that we're piecing this defense together to accommodate injuries, and that Peyton Manning and Calvin Johnson are two of the biggest offensive stars in the league, but at what point do we begin holding this secondary to higher standards than this week's rating of 32nd?
Rowan: I think it's always been held to higher standards than last in the league, and it's been well noted this last performance is the fourth time an opponent has thrown for at least 400 yards. The biggest key is points against, but being last in the league in yards allowed isn't good enough. The Cowboys spent a first-round pick and paid premium free agent money for two cornerbacks who were supposed to make sure that doesn't happen. The injuries have undoubtedly hampered expectations with the defense, and the group is still learning the new system, but there's not much of a defense for being where they're at through the air. It won't get much easier either, with Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers still on the slate.
David: Yeah. It's a fine line to walk between understanding the difficult situation they're in and expecting some accountability. Johnson has played against some less-than-impressive secondaries in Arizona, Chicago and Washington, and they managed to hold him to modest totals compared to Sunday's fireworks. Jason Garrett said Monday that the Cowboys threw a variety of coverages at Johnson, but they couldn't afford to put too much priority on Megatron, otherwise someone else would beat them. Based on what Megatron was able to do, it might have been worth the increased focus.
Are the Cowboys setting themselves up for another problem child player like T.O with Dez? They seem to be blowing it off as passion? Come on!
Rowan: No. Not at all. It was over the top how Bryant reacted on the sideline, but he cares much more about winning than any personal gains. You'll rarely see an animated Bryant on the sideline when the Cowboys have a lead and are moving the football, even if it's not his doing. And he's right there to celebrate with any offensive player when they're having success. Did he take it too far last weekend? Yeah, but it didn't affect the outcome of the game. He does respect his teammates and they respect him back.
David: It would be easy to call me biased, because I enjoy watching Dez Bryant play and I enjoy covering him. He's entertaining, simple as that. But you can go watch the video of his tirade with Tony Romo on our site. Just like Bryant told reporters, his frustration was aimed more at the team's inability to move the ball than his own involvement. In the video, you can see him have what looks like a pretty level-headed conversation with Romo about how to work around the Lions' coverage. At the end of the clip, he says (and I'm paraphrasing here): "We worked too hard not to win this game." It doesn't really match the prima donna image some people are painting.