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Three Keys Against the Cowboys: Defense

We give our defensive three keys for the Bears to succeed against the Cowboys.

US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

1) Get After Tony Romo

Put bluntly, if I wrote the offensive three keys and defensive three keys for the Cowboys' site, I imagine they'd look extremely similar to the Bears' keys, just about word for word. As important as it is for the Cowboys to come hard after Jay Cutler, it's even more important for the Bears to get after Tony Romo, particularly with an offensive line that some Cowboys fans say is just as bad, if not worse than, the Bears' own offensive line. Maybe that speaks more to the dominance of defensive linemen these days, or maybe it really is the lack of contact in camp that hurts the offensive line's preparation and improvement.

Either way - the Bears to this point have six guys at least on the defensive line rotation that have some capability to get after the quarterback, and the Cowboys' own offensive linemen aren't particularly great. Doug Free has largely been a turnstile this season on the right side, and first round pick Tyron Smith could be an excellent left tackle, but he's adjusting to a new position (he was a right tackle at USC) and is a pretty raw prospect himself. The interior hasn't been great either.

2) DeMarco Murrary.

Folks, if there's an every down back in the NFL, there's DeMarco Murray, who's taken all but four of the carries doled out to running backs and wide receivers. However, part of that is the team doesn't run the ball a whole lot (adding back quarterback runs of 11, the Cowboys run the ball 30% of the time, to calling 70% pass plays). When the ball is run, the defensive line again needs to be able to put a clamp down on things. Matt Toeaina's been inactive the last two weeks, particularly because Stephen Paea's looked so good in both pass rush and run stop aspects of defensive line play - Paea needs to be a force in the middle again, and because Murray does so well rushing to the outside, expect Israel Idonije to have to keep an eye out.

3) Secondary Play

The Cowboys offense resembles the Bears' offense pretty well - established veteran weapon (Miles Austin), young good receiver (Dez Bryant), shaky offensive line, shifty running back in Murray, and a quarterback who's taken his knocks - but can still hit targets. Romo is a lot more prone to moving around in the pocket, scrambling outside and keeping plays open so his receivers can continue to work. Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman have looked pretty good in the early going, and they'll need to keep it up if the defensive line fails to chase down Romo.

What are your defensive keys for the Bears?