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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Red Zone, Offensive Line Serious Concerns for Cowboys

Before the year started, I said I wasn’t buying into the hype surrounding the Dallas Cowboys. It’s not that I’m down on Tony Romo, because I’m not. It’s not that I’m down on their defense — I still think it’s very good. It’s just that Dallas struggles mightily in the red zone and they have serious offensive line issues. Both problems were highly visible in a season-opening loss against the Redskins Sunday night.

From last year to the preseason, Dallas’ offense just does not seem to be able to punch it in for touchdowns. They can get big plays here and there, but stick them inside the 15 and they won’t find paydirt. For as much praise as Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett receives, his play calling becomes extremely predictable in scoring territory. It’s either the draw, the fade, or the slant. If someone typing on a keyboard can tell you Dallas’ playbook in the red zone, then there are serious problems.

The other problem is Dallas’ inability to successfully protect Tony Romo. Most quarterbacks are only as good as their protection, and the Cowboys don’t provide enough comfort for Tony. Tom Brady looked like a Pro Bowler against the Bengals because he had enough time to change his babies’ diapers and still get off a pass to Welker. Put him under fire against the Jets and he becomes ordinary.

Every quarterback needs protection and the line was not good enough for Romo. The last play of the game typified the issue: Washington rushed just three men and still pressured Tony. Of course an Alex Barron holding call nullified the game-winning score, but that’s what you get for having sub-par lineman on your team.

The Cowboys are talented at many positions, but they’re lacking in a few key areas. You better believe that will hurt them throughout the season.



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