Good morning, WCG. I come to you in peace from Blogging the Boys. I wanted to create a post allowing Bears fans to talk with Cowboys fans about our team. Hopefully, someone from your site will return the favor over on Blogging the Boys.
First, a quick recap of our team. This team is coming off of an ugly home opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that just happened to result in a win for the Cowboys. We weren't very proud of it, but we'll take it. Fortunately, we didn't give the refs an opportunity to decide the game for us, unlike the situation faced by your rivals the Packers last night. Thankfully, our defense handled that for us. The 2012 Cowboys are fielding a much-improved defense as compared to the previous several years. As you may have heard, we released longtime Cowboy CB Terence Newman in the offseason and picked up the top CB in free agency, Brandon Carr, by way of KC. Jerry Jones also pulled another coup in the draft by trading up in the first round to select Morris "Pick 6" Claiborne from LSU. Carr and Claiborne are athletic corners who excel in press coverage. Through Week 3, our defense ranks #1 in total defense (250 yards per game), #2 in passing defense (137 ypg), and a paltry 19th in rushing defense (113 ypg). In addition to upgrades in the secondary, 2nd year veteran Bruce Carter starts opposite Sean "Chuck Norris" Lee, adding speed and athleticism to the inside linebacker corps, which is another strength of this defense. In week 2 vs. Seattle, both of our starting safetys left the game with injuries. FS Barry Church returned to play in Week 3, only to rupture his Achilles tendon, which ended his season. Against Tampa Bay on Sunday, Carr played FS in 3 WR sets, with returning starter Mike Jenkins manning Carr's empty CB spot. The secondary held up suprisingly well without the safetys, but if there is room in the passing game going forward, it will be up the middle. Our depth at both safety positions is thin. Expect Sensabaugh to suit up against the Bears, and don't be suprised to find Carr once again manning the FS position.
Where the defense is shiny and new, the offense has been another story so far in 2012. The Cowboys have a wealth of talent at the skill positions. RB Demarco Murray is returning from a stellar inaugural season in 2011 where he lit up the Rams for 253 yds in his first real action of last season. Murray was a lock for a 1000-yd rookie season until he broke his leg against the NYG in Week 13. Dez Bryant and Miles Austin are both healthy and represent significant threats on the outside. WR Kevin Ogletree, a 4th year vet, takes the place of departed Laurent Robinson at the WR3 position. Tony Romo is coming off a career season in 2011. But the problem on offense is the play of our OL, something I hear your team is also familiar with. 2011 1st rd pick Tyron Smith switched sides after a solid rookie season and is now manning the LT position. FA acquisitions Nate Livings (LG) and Mackenzie Bernadeau (RG) man the guard positions. RT Doug Free is strugging after a near Pro-Bowl 2010 campaign. C Ryan Cook has replaced embattled C Phil Costa, who is out indefinitely with a back strain and may find it difficult to crack the starting lineup when he is healthy. Run blocking has been spotty at best across the entire OL, and pass protection has been pretty close to awful, especially along the right side of the line. Thankfully, Romo's elusiveness and playmaking ability outside of the pocket have been able to keep us in games, though he was nearly killed on Sunday by the constant pressure of the Bucs.
I invite and will attempt to answer any questions regarding the Cowboys, and other members of BTB will likely join in support. Good luck to you guys on MNF. I expect a low-scoring affair. May the best team win....and hey, let's try to keep it out of the ref's hands.