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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Defense, defense, defense. Where did it go?

It's difficult to take one game, the very first of the season, and be overly critical of a team. But in the case of the Dallas Cowboys game Sunday night, doing so is a little easier. Giving up 35 points to a Giants team that lost its mediocre running back, had an injured quarterback and just one receiver is pretty poor.

Roy Williams is getting a lot of punishment on the Dallas Cowboy message boards.
Too lackadaisical, some are saying. Poor pass coverage. If it weren't for Tony Romo's arm and Witten's hands, Roy Williams could have very well been blamed for missing plays that could have cost Dallas that game. He was completely out of position on Burress' second and third touchdowns. This new scheme of having him play closer to the line of scrimmage was a failed first-game experiment. He becomes a wasted player doing that if the opposing team runs the ball. If you are going to bring Williams closer to the line of scrimmage to blitz, you better damn well know it's a passing down, or a run in his path. At least twice I saw him attempt to blitz and then just stop cold when the Giants ran to the opposite side of the field. One of those times was a double-digit yard jaunt by the Giants third-string running back. Pathetic.

The defensive fiasco Monday night isn't all Williams' fault. I'd be the first to post that on the message board. The pass rush was nowhere to be found (one sack). The linebackers made few plays. Heck, the defensive player of the game was Jay Ratliff, a backup nose-tackle. No matter how painful it was to hear Dallas lost Jason Ferguson for the year, it was surprising to see Ratliff play well.

I have no idea if the Dallas D can be great this year. Odds are against them because of injuries. The defense needs to improve at every facet, and that's discouraging. There really wasn't one good thing to say about how the entire defense played Sunday night.

So, in comes Miami, where the main newspaper is talking about the Dallas offense, not the defense everyone else was talking about in the preseason. Here's a snippet:

The Dolphins might learn a valuable lesson here. Seems the team that once upon a time would start seasons without hesitation has sputtered like an old jalopy when the flag has dropped on the past few seasons.

Since 2004, the Dolphins are 5-17 in the months of September and October, no doubt evidence of multiple coaching and system changes and the transitions those require.

But the Cowboys this season were faced with similar challenges the Dolphins faced the past three seasons. And there are no excuses about it coming out of Valley Ranch where the team trains.

''Once you get into the eighth or ninth game everybody knows how good your team is,'' Phillips said. ``But you always want to start up good and keep going.''

The comments to this article are hilarious. But I am not sure what is more funny: the fact that I could only find one Pro-Dolphin message on a Miami newspaper Web site, or the sheer number of Cowboy fans overwhelming the message board with comments on how we are going to kick some Dolphin ass. Here's the lone dork Miami fan:

From "Attitude", The Fins are going to spank them cowgirls this weekend. They have pride and in our house they will pick it up. The defense will not permit Romo to run around like he did.

Gee, Attitude, that was enlightening.

Here's a real Dolphin fan who's being honest:
The Dolphins are not that good on offense. Period. Trent Green is OK, but is already suffering from Post-Marino Dolphins' Quarterback Disease, short-arming his throws, throwing off his backfoot, throwing while leaning backwards, and using the three step drop and fire, and the 2 second scan downfield and dump off to a back. This disease can be directly linked to prolonged exposure to a sub-NFL caliber offensive line caused by a Randy Mueller infection in the Dolphin front office. This disease has been known to be fatal to careers of both quarterbacks and coaches. Cam Cameron's exposure and probable infection by the Mueller virus is evidenced by his choice of Ted Ginn, Jr. instead of Brady Quinn in the first round of the draft. By the way Mr. Ginn also seems to be exhibiting symptoms of "Over-rated-itis", probably contracted from Chris Chambers. Please Wayne H., sign the wavier for the surgery and have that malignant Randy Mueller surgically removed from our beloved franchise before it's too late. It'll be a lo t less painful than you think and your team and its fans can all get on the road rehab and recovery sooner rather than later.That's my diagnosis.

Yours Truly,
The Dolphin Doctor
I don't expect to lose this game Sunday. In fact, I don't even expect it to be close. But I am not going to go out on a limb and say the defense will turn it around in Week 2. There are just too many holes in Week 1 to fill in seven days.

Dallas 27 Miami 13

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