Obviously, the Cowboys road woes are top of mind, but now they have the added layer this weekend of playing on grass in Miami. I know that most will say that the surface doesn't really matter, but their record and stats over the last few years seem to suggest otherwise. Is it just because these are simply road games, or is there a real disadvantage to playing on grass occasionally when their opponent does it regularly? And if so, how do they overcome it? – Greg Peterson /St. Louis, MO
Nick Eatman: I really don't think it matters. Personally, I've never fully understood that perspective. I remember the Rams from the late 90s and were called "Fastest Show on Turf" but I didn't understand it either. If those guys are super fast on turf, shouldn't the cornerbacks and safeties be a little faster, too? If the Cowboys are slower on the grass, wouldn't the linebackers be as well? Now, if it's a problem of wearing the right shoes and getting adjusted properly, I could see that being an issue. But in today's NFL, there shouldn't be a problem with having the right equipment. I know the Cowboys lost to the Eagles, Cardinals and 49ers this year on grass. I think there were several other reasons for each game that were bigger problems than the grass. Didn't seem to be an issue against the Bucs in the playoffs last year. And I know this, it doesn't seem to slow down the Dolphins. So I'm not really going to go there.
Patrik: I think it goes more to the "who" than the "what". They got blasted by the 49ers and it had nothing to do with the surface, and everything to do with the lack of competitive fire from the opening kick. They lost in Philadelphia, a top NFC team, but in a winnable game that came down to inches and, for me, that again tells me it's not the surface that's the issue. That said, the fact is they are 0-3 this season on grass and that's what they'll be playing on in Miami, but it's against a top AFC team, and the latter is the most pressing matter. I mean, after all, the Cowboys practice nearly every day on grass (not turf, but actual grass) so it's not as if they're being culture-shocked by it on the road. That means there's something else going on entirely, and the surface is just an easy scapegoat for those who want to point at it.