Dallas has had success against Peyton Manning in the past by running the ball, chewing up the clock and keeping him on the sideline. Will the Cowboys best defense be DeMarco Murray this Sunday?
Rowan: Jason Garrett had an answer for that in that walk-off part of his interview Monday, basically saying if they move quickly and still put a bunch of points on the board, the Cowboys won't have to worry about what the Broncos are doing offensively. That said, it is Manning, and I think there's an element of looking to rely on the running game a little more. I thought they could have done that more against the Chargers, and I think getting that going will be essential against the Broncos. But something tells me they'll end up reverting to the pass to move the ball. [embedded_ad]
David: I don't like the Cowboys' chance of beating Denver very much if they only run the ball 15 times this weekend. That said, the Broncos have the No. 3 rushing defense to this point of the season, so we'll see early how much traction Murray can muster.
Monte Kiffin's defensive scheme is supposed to take the "Big Play" away but that hasn't been the case. Do you see the opposing QB's we have yet to face picking apart the defense like Philip Rivers just did? Should there be concern that the pass rush was at one point non-existent on a patched up San Diego offensive line?
Rowan: Yeah, it's something to worry about, particularly with the guy they're facing this week. The Cowboys can live with the dink and dunk, but they shouldn't live with the gigantic plays that have come after those short gains. The key will be pressure on the quarterback, and if DeMarcus Ware's injuries are lingering, it's going to be tough to keep generating the pressure they have thus far, even with Rod Marinelli leading the group. That was a banged up Chargers group that held the Dallas defensive line in check. Jason Hatcher will need to be an elite defensive tackle for the Cowboys to generate a consistent pass rush, and if they can't, then the defense will be in trouble going forward.
David:I think there's a small number of quarterbacks in the league who are good enough to pose this problem. Unfortunately, the Cowboys player several of them, including Rivers last weekend, Manning next weekend, and Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers later this season. The pass rush didn't look good in San Diego, but a lot of that was Rivers' quick decisions moreso than anything else. Against Manning, I think the better bet is to keep as many guys in coverage as possible and try to prevent any home runs. Maybe if they learn from the mistakes against the Chargers they can perfect their technique against the Broncos.