Everything starts somewhere. For the NFL Blogs of SBNation, that start was Bloggingtheboys.com. BTB, started in 2005 by Dave Halprin, was the first NFL Blog brought on board by the new blog network, at the time consisting of mostly MLB blogs. With the help of Halprin, SBNation now has sites for all 32 teams including MHR. For that we all owe David a huge 'Thank You'. For now, however, we'll settle for some answers regarding tomorrow's key matchup between the Broncos and Cowboys from Denver.
I think were confident, but not to the point where we don't think we can lose. Let's face it, neither of these teams are quite sure how good (or bad) they are in the young season. You're 3-0 and we're 2-1, but our schedules have been plenty soft by NFL standards. This will be a good test for both teams. You guys want to defend your home turf against a team that has been winning in the past few regular season (don't talk to me about playoffs, that's a sore subject), we want to go on the road and beat a team with an undefeated record. In general, Cowboys fans know our roster has a lot of talent on it, now we want to see them gel into a team, a cohesive unit that can be a true contender, instead of decorated pretenders. What we've seen so far, even most of the Giants game, says that we're pretty good. Leading the league in rushing a gives us confidence that our line is playing well, we just need the defense to tighten up, like they did last game, and little more consistency at QB.
Tashard Choice can absolutely carry the load for four quarters. We know this because at the end of last year he had to do it for a stretch of games when Felix Jones was out and Marion Barber was either out or hobbled. And he did it against defenses like Pittsburgh and Baltimore and put up good numbers, so we think Choice is the equivalent of a starting NFL RB, he's just stuck behind two others on the depth chart. Hard to say if Barber is 100%, but he was very close to playing last week, the team had to step in and say no. That was the luxury of having Choice. We'll just have to wait and see how Barber looks in the game.
Absolutely. The Cowboys have competent receivers, a lot of them. Roy Williams isn't T.O., but he had four catches last week for 75 yards, that's productive. Patrick Crayton has been one the best third receivers in the league the last few years (check the numbers), but now has to fill the #2 role. I've seen better #2's, but Crayton will produce. Miles Austin can be a deep threat, but has yet to get any consistency. Martellus Bennett, the other Cowboys TE, has physical talent to spare, but has been quiet so far this year. It's not a star-studded cast, but a nice ensemble. The Cowboys will also throw to their backs when needed.
Dallas is using a spread the ball around approach this year - unless Witten is open. And that dude is open a lot. If you can take him out, you're double-teaming him, and someone should be able to take advantage. Still, the Cowboys, this year at least, should spend more time running than passing.
1-10. Ha! No way that I'm going to take a shot at generalizing the fans thoughts on Tony Romo, which run from 1 to 10. Now, if you ask me personally, mine's about a 7. I've seen enough to know that he could be one of the top three or four QBs playing in the league with a few, but crucial, changes. When Romo is on, he's as proficient as anybody. And he's on a lot. So I know he has what it takes to dominate games. But his consistency needs to improve. He throws in too many clunker games to be that elite QB yet. If he could get control of his turnover demons, that would go a long way towards propelling him to the top. Then, he needs to win in December and the post-season. That's really a team goal, but team wins are always reflected back towards the starting QB, as are losses.
Here's the writing on the wall for me with regards to Wade Phillips. If he gets Dallas into the post-season and they make some serious noise, like winning a couple of games, then he stands a good chance of returning. If Dallas fails to make the playoffs or goes one and done, then I don't think he survives. Sure the criticism is fair, the guy has never won in the playoffs, until he does, he's going to be on the hot seat.
Prediction time - Who will win, what will be the score, and why?
I'm going with my Cowboys (big surprise). I like the running game and the offensive line is playing well. Romo hopefully learned a lesson last week that he doesn't always have to be brilliant for us to win. Just managing the game when the running game and the defense are doing the job is enough. I readily admit I don't have a good feel for the Broncos, I haven't seen too much of their games so far. I see the 3-0 record, I see the schedule, I see the stats, but until I really watch them in a game, I just don't know what to think since there's been so much turnover from last year's team. So I'm basing this on shaky foundation, but I'll say Dallas 23 - Broncos 17.