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Big Boss' Blast: Week 10

by Tony Peralez

And the Cowboys have done it again folks! Sunday night was a huge defensive win at Lincoln Financial Field against NFC East rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles.

The secondary was amazing and the pressure on Donovan McNabb could not have been more intense! I was a little weary at first with Demarcus Ware’s foot injury and Jay Ratliff’s knee sprain, but it didn’t seem to slow either player.

The defense completely overshadowed the Cowboys offense this week and that is not exactly a bad thing. Tony Romo made a lot of great reads on the field and despite a drama filled week, thanks to the media, displayed an accurate chemistry with Roy Williams. Williams went 5 catches for 75 yards this week and come in clutch when the ‘Boys needed him. Running mostly slant patterns, he out ran Asante Samuel on several plays for some first down yardage. A touchdown would have been included, but Samuel barred him the 6 point reception with a play that should have been considered defensive pass interference.

Samuel, who was the strong side corner throughout the game for the Philadelphia Eagles, had has hands full with Miles Austin and Williams. This wasn’t the worst thing in the world considering how well Romo has and did spread the ball around. Throwing to 7 different receivers with big gains from Patrick Crayton and a 49-yard touchdown pass to Miles Austin, Romo is continuing to solidify and prove his maturity.

Although the defense played fantastic and the Cowboys’ offense isn’t without their compliments, no Cowboy is more iconic right now than Jay Ratliff. Nobody plays with more tenacity, intensity, or passion than Ratliff. Ratliff has 4 sacks and commands the team lead in tackles for loss with 6. He is an incredibly modest teammate with no self recognition or personal compliments. That said, his coaching staff as well as teammates have no problem filling in for him.
"The way he is playing the nose position," comments defensive end Stephen Bowen, "nobody has ever seen it before. He dominates anybody he goes against.

"He is a phenomenal player. He is always relentless. He does whatever it takes to get the play done. He feels if nobody else is going to do it, he can do it. Everybody feeds off him."

It’s easy to see that Ratliff is an incredibly strong motivational defensive cornerstone and will continue to challenge all competitors to the last minute of every game.

This week the Cowboy’s travel for a big game in Lambeau versus the Green Bay Packers. I am salivating at this match up for the Dallas front 7 considering the “fall from grace” the Packers have had here lately. Look for some critical pressure again from the Cowboys rushing crew, specifically Pro-Bowlers Ware and Ratliff. The Packers lead the league in sacks allowed with 37 so our Boy’s should have a field day with Rodgers. Although the stats say one thing, Rodgers is no QB to be taken lightly. Ratliff doesn’t hesitate to compliment Rodgers and respect the talent that he is capable of demonstrating.

"That's what every great quarterback does, buy time and get it downfield," Ratliff says. "That's definitely something he does, so we just have to be disciplined in our rush lanes and our gaps when we're rushing.

"One thing about him, he's always cool. He doesn't get frustrated and he's going to play every down hard. He's definitely a quarterback to be respected."

Say what you will but Rodgers is no joke. Although he may be on his back quite a bit, the man can still get the job done. Little more than halfway through the season, Rodgers has completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 2,255 yards with 16 touchdown passes against just five interceptions; he is still a serious quarterback and a fierce competitor. Although he gets sacked quite a bit, he gets sacked because he holds onto the ball longer than most quarterbacks. The man is not afraid to stay in the pocket an extra second in order to let his receivers get open to make the “big play”.

Speaking of passing, lets move on to the Dallas secondary. Look for another INT for Mike Jenkins this week, his second for two weeks in a row. Rodgers will be incredibly pass-happy and will no doubt be brandishing that cannon of his. He will most likely be playing from behind to catch up with the Dallas offense. Jenkins will be taking care of wide receiver Greg Jennings whose production this season has been surprisingly low.

The offense should have it’s work cut out for them this week against the Packers’ corners. Although the Pack’s linebackers are weaker than last season, their corners are as good as ever. Both veterans Al Harris and Charles Woodson will be playing hard ball on Austin and Williams. Romo will need to be as sharp as he was against Philly in order to exploit the two vets.

The most important offensive weapon this week will be the Dallas run game. Although Marion barber is a better second half running back, Barber will start out much harder this week, I can already feel it! Barber looked great wearing down a tired Philly defense in the 4th quarter last week and will bring that momentum into Sunday’s game. Along with Tashard Choice, re-naming the Razorback wildcat formation to T.C., T.C. will continue to provide Choice with more this week. Working well against the number 2 ranked defense, the Eagles were unable to slow down the T.C. formation so it should give the Pack a good run for their money.

That’s this week’s Big Boss Blast! The game will be Sunday afternoon at 3:15pm so be ready for a shootout! Rodgers is no clown and will be playing to pick his team up from a devastating loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Let’s hope our ‘Boys continue on their streak and play their best football on another road win.

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