We always give you the scoop on the Buccaneers from our point of view but we thought that it would be a great idea to see how our counterparts at SBNation's Dallas Cowboys Blog Blogging The Boys looked at Sunday's week 3 game.
One of the main guys at BTB, KD Drummond, was gracious enough to join us for our View from the Opposing Bench segment.
We asked KD a series of questions that we feel could have a significant impact in Sunday's outcome. Read on after the jump for his answers! Also, be sure to check out Blogging The Boys for the Cowboy point of view on this week's upcoming showdown with our beloved Pirates of Pewter Pants.
1) Dallas looked like a team ready to go places after taking it to the Giants in Week One....then they laid an egg in Seattle. What in the world happened?
Mistakes happened, Seattle happened... maybe even a little bit of reality happened. When it's so early in the schedule, you can never quite tell whether what you're witnessing is a precursor to the rest of the season or if it's simply a blip on the radar. Things spiraled out of control from the opening kickoff, literally, and as a team, Dallas played the role of "Can't Get Right". You normally can't spot an NFL opponent 10 points in 3.2 seconds, it's probably a really bad idea to do that on the road and you're a freaking idiot to try it in Seattle.
From there, Dallas' receivers had a case of the butterfingers while the secondary did a good job of causing confusion for Tony Romo; seven drops and one pick when it could have been four. The Dallas defense initially did a good job of containing a very vanilla Seahawks offense, but eventually succumbed to the general malaise of the team. Leading to...
2) Seattle exploded for 182 yds on the ground last week. That's not typical of a Dallas Cowboys performance on defense - where was the breakdown?
As the game wore on, the Cowboys depth wore out. The Cowboys simply weren't able to stop the Seahawks from milking the clock... of the entire second half! Plus, they had Marshawn Lynch. By the end of the game, both of our safeties were injured (Gerald Sensabaugh and Barry Church), as well as defensive linemen Kenyon Coleman and Marcus Spears. We were already missing the main man in the middle Jay Ratliff, who appears to be out for this Sunday's game as well due to his ankle injury. Then there was Marshawn Lynch. Also, Rob Ryan was employing a stellar defensive strategy of not pressuring rookie QB Russell Wilson while also not run blitzing; I guess that could have been successful in an alternate universe. Part of the strategy worked, as our best run defenders made play after play. Officially ILB Sean Lee had 14 combined tackles while Bruce Carter had 10. However, the stops at the line of scrimmage weren't there to supplement the stats. The entire defensive line rotation only accounted for 25. The Seahawks had 124 yards after contact on runs. Did I mention they had Marshawn Lynch? While not great, giving up 4.4 yards a carry isn't a death blow to a team's confidence. Lynch had a better overall performance in a 2011 loss at Dallas, averaging 5.9 a carry compared to 4.7 on Sunday. The dude is simply able to run on the Ryan D. Sometimes, stuff like that happens.
3) Two players who made a huge impact against New York - Demarco Murray and Kevin Ogletree - had subpar performances against Seattle. Did they get banged up or was it just a bad day at the office?
That Seattle defense is no joke. There are no worries about DeMarco Murray; however he'll go as far as the offensive line goes. Of his 44 yards, 21 of them came after contact.. the holes just aren't there. FA LG Nate Livings is doing a great job, but he's pretty much the only lineman operating at a positive level at the moment. It's blasphemy, but the "move Tyron to left tackle" movement hasn't worked so far; he's struggling. We're on option No. 4 at center with Ryan Cook, and Mackenzy Bernadeau hasn't been a revelation. RT Doug Free hasn't been anything to write home about. When the Cowboys offense has a lead, the mix of pass/run can keep a defense guessing and loosen things up. No such luck this past Sunday as they trailed the entire contest. As for Ogletree, he played about three-quarters of the snaps but only received the one target; a deep out that earned him 26 yards. With Jason Witten returning to his role in the offense, you'd expect Ogletree's targets to decrease, but not like that. Give credit to Seattle's physical secondary and penetrating D-Line. The slants that Ogletree cashed in on against New York just weren't there.
4) I waited four questions to ask one about Romo. From the outside, he looks like he's been a pretty darn good QB for the Cowboys but we know some in the Dallas fanbase are not fans. Which side do you come down on and why?
Oh, I'm Pro-Romo, without question. I mean, I could sit here and rattle off stat after stat that undoubtedly proves he's one of the greats of this generation. Fastest to 100 touchdowns, second best passer rating behind Aaron Rodgers... things like that. I could state that a QB is only responsible for 25% of a game's snaps and therefore the idea that he should be married to the team's overall success is ludicrous. I could break down all of the big regular season games he's emerged victorious to prove that the naysayers are practicing selective amnesia about his big game prowess. Heck, I've even seen national sports personalities rail on him for never winning a playoff game; except... he did. None of it matters. Haters gon' hate and they won't quit until he wins a Super Bowl. It is what it is.
5) While the Cowboys certainly get enough national coverage to know most of the key players on the roster - is there a player Bucs fans may not have heard of that could be a factor in Sunday's game?
If you haven't heard of Sean Lee, you should smack your mama. Please, no Dez jokes... okay, maybe one. But as far as a name you probably don't know I'll give that mantle to his running mate Bruce Carter. Carter is a second-year inside backer from UNC. He was the lone star that remained when the scandal of 2010 hit and suspended Marvin Austin, Greg Little and Robert Quinn for the entire season. Then his year came to an end in November with a torn ACL. He dropped in the draft to the second round and Dallas scooped him up; basically redshirting him for the 2011 season. He took some snaps towards the end of the season, but for all intents and purposes he's a rookie. But man, can Carter fly. He swarms to the ball, can shed a block or two and cover tight ends down the seam. He's the Robin to Sean Lee's Batman at the moment, and really gives the Cowboys a dynamic linebacking corps. If the defensive line does there job occupying the trenches, Lee and Carter have a shot at leading the NFL in tackling as early as this season.
Bonus question: Whose going to win and why?
I'd be hard pressed to pick against Dallas. While they played miserably against Seattle, I didn't see any reason to think that would carry over into this game. As impressed as I am in what I saw out of Tampa these past two weeks, I still think Dallas has a slight edge. Unfortunately, the new regime in Tampa doesn't allow me to integrate any advanced stats into my evaluation. There's no book on Schiano! I'll say 27-21 good guys. Oh wait, this is for Bucs Nation... 27-21 Cowpokes.