I figured that since we'll be watching this game with a lot of interest, why not have a running thread? I know it's a little early (this will be posted before 5pm), but I think I have a pretty good feel for this Dallas team and I wanted to also have a "what to watch for" list. Since I don't know if I'll feel like typing this up later, I figured I'd just do it now.
COWBOYS VS PANTHERS - WHAT TO WATCH FOR...
THE DEFENSE - The Cowboys' defense has been horrific so far. Where does their defense rank as of right now, you ask? Dead last, 32nd in the NFL with 438.5 yards allowed per game (303 per game passing, 135.5 rushing).
- I'll be keeping a close eye on Anthony Spencer, who is a major liability on their D so far this year. I'll focus mainly on how the Panthers choose to block him, which is always a great indicator of how other teams feel about a player's talent. On a side note, that draft-day trade with Dallas in which we picked Stewart Bradley and Kevin Kolb with the picks we acquired is looking a lot better now.
- We've been trained to believe that Terence Newman is an "elite" corner. I'm not so sure - He's been bad in Dallas' first 2 games this year, and may be in serious decline. He'll have a big test tonight trying to cover Steve Smith. Personally, I think DeSean Jackson should be able to shred Newman this season, and this game will provide a good indicator as to what Newman has left.
- The Scandrick/Jenkins combo at the #2 corner spot - They've both been bad, too. I'm interested in seeing how their playing time is split up.
- The Bucs ran all over Dallas Week 1. Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart won't be easy to stop. Bradie James is a nice pass rusher from the MLB spot, but is he a liability in the run game? I'll be keeping an eye on him. Also, Keith Brooking is old and slow. I didn't understand it when they signed him, and I still don't.
THE OFFENSE - Romo was awful last week, although the Cowboys are 3rd in total offense (14th passing, 1st rushing)
- The "2 TE" offense was crammed down my throat all offseason by Cowboys fans. Let's see what all the hype was about.
- TIME OF POSSESSION - This is an interesting one (in my opinion). Dallas plays in Denver next week, and anytime you play in Denver you're also contending with the altitude. If Dallas doesn't control the time of possession in this game and the defense can't get off the field against the Panthers' physical OL, it could be a tough task for them to go to Denver on only 5 days of rest and be 100%. Hopefully, Carolina can get some stops on defense and grind out their run game on O.
- The OL. They've played well so far, with the exception maybe of Flozell Adams, who is now 34 years old. I think we can exploit Adams this year, and I'll be watching him.
- Roy Williams - 4 catches for 104 yards (66 of those on one play), and a TD. Still unimpressive, still not worth anything near a 1, a 3, a 6, and $45 million. The Panthers' defense stinks, so will he produce tonight? Another side note - Is there any debate that DeSean Jackson is hands down the best WR in the division?
- The VIDEO SCREEN!!! Can't wait! Every punt will be exciting.
- Kickoff specialist David Beuhler - I made fun of this draft pick, but I think I was wrong on this one. He puts it into the endzone on almost every kickoff. He's absolutely worth the 5th rounder they spent on him and the roster spot.
Let's meet back up here at game time.