LONDON – Between the overnight travel and a full day of settling in here in the United Kingdom, it feels like I'm a bit behind in my feedback ahead of this Jacksonville game.
Most of the questions I'm getting are the obvious ones – they pertain to the Cowboys' injury woes. With that in mind, I'll do my best to offer some insight on those questions.
Hey Broaddus, you like gut feelings -- so what's yours on Tony Romo?
You are absolutely right about me and those gut feelings. I thought Steve Dennis made an excellent point on our show Monday before we left on this road trip in regard to Tony Romo and his availability. His point was that as long as Romo was on the trip, he had a really good chance of playing. If his condition was the same as last week or worse, Jason Garrett would have left him at home.
In visiting with staff members on the flight over and now while here in London, they all appear to share a very similar view of that theory that Dennis threw out about him playing in this game. It is very clear that the week of treatment and rest from last week has allowed him this opportunity to suit up on Sunday. I had a chance to walk behind Romo as we made our way from the gate to our busses, and from what I was able to see, even after the long trip he was walking with ease and I took that as a very positive sign.
Thoughts on the Tyrone Crawford injury?
It looks likely that Crawford will miss this week from what I am hearing, but hopefully he can return after the bye week to face the Giants. Where this is a bad loss for this defense is that Crawford was really doing a nice job of handling that under-tackle spot in the running game. On top of that, just like I showed you on DallasCowboys.com in my Film Room breakdown, he was becoming an effective player in the pass rush by freeing guys like Henry Melton, DeMarcus Lawrence and Anthony Spencer to rush.
To be a good team, scheme-wise, when you run stunts you need someone that has the power to get penetration. This ties up blockers, which in turn allows the twist man the cleanest and clearest path to the quarterback. These last two games there was becoming a nice chemistry, both technique and scheme-wise, in large part due to the effort of Crawford and his ability to create problems will be missed against a Jacksonville offensive line that has struggled to handle those types of stunts.
Does this Cowboys offensive line get Doug Free and Ronald Leary back this week?
After missing three games with an ankle injury, Doug Free will practice on Wednesday and most likely return to his starting spot at tackle. Ronald Leary missed the Cardinals game while nursing a groin issue and will also return to practice. Like Free, he should be back in the starting lineup.
I had a chance to watch Leary work with the strength staff on Monday before we left for London and he was moving around well. There appeared to be no limitations in what he was trying to accomplish in his workout. When this Cowboys offense was really humming along during the six-game winning streak, it was due largely to the play of their offensive line and the continuity of those five players up front. It should be a nice boost in the running and passing game.