A chat with Blogging the Boys

via i.cdn.turner.com

Man, I hate looking up at the Dallas Cowboys. For a lot of reasons. That, however, doesn't mean I will hide from my responsibility of bringing you perspective from the opposition. So, here is this week's chat with the esteemed leader of the Cowboys site, Blogging the Boys, Dave Halprin.

Me: Alittlebitofrolereversalafterthepastcoupleofseasons.HowimportantisthisSunday'sgamefortheCowboys,withyouguysoutfrontandseemingprettyassuredofaplayoffspot?

David Halprin: It'sveryimportant,wehaveastretchoftoughgamesahead,andwiththewaythingshavegonewrongbefore,we'renottakingaplayoffspotforgranted.WewanttowintheEast,andlosingonSundaycouldtieuswithPhillyandleaveyouguysjustoneout,withourtoughschedule,weneedwins,sotryingtogetoneonSundayishugelyimportant


Me: AreyousurprisedtoseetheGiantsat6-5,andreelingasbadlyastheyhavebeen?

David Halprin: I'msurprised,especiallyafterthewayyouguysstartedtheyear,youwereonarollthen...but,forfull disclosure Aaron at BTB predicted a tough season for the Giants in our NFC East Pre-season roundtable, so he's sohe'slookingliketheclairvoyantone,althoughhewaswayoffabouttheSkins.

Me: Irememberthat,andwekilledhimforit. So, ifyoucanputyourfingeronanythinginparticularwhatisdifferentabouttheCowboysthisseason?

David Halprin: Thedefensehasbecomeasolidcontributor,inpastyearstheywereupanddown,anddidn'tplaywellwhenweneededthemto,thisyear,withbetterandmoreexperiencedCBs,andtheadditionofKeith Brooking,it'sthesecond-rankedscoringdefenseintheleague,thathasreallyhelpedthisyear'steam.

Me: ItisinterestingtomethataswellastheCowboysaredoingIamstillreadingspeculationaboutWadePhillips''futureinDallas.Isheentrenchedforawhile,oristhatstillverymuchupintheair?

David Halprin: it'supintheairbecausehedoesn'thaveacontractbeyondthisyear.HisoriginaldealrunsoutaftertheseasonandJerryhasn'tmadeanofferforanextensionornewcontract.ThatleadseveryonetobelievethatWadeneedstoguidethisteamintotheplayoffsandwinsomegames,orhecouldbereplaced.

Me: WhatisthedealwiththeCowboyoffense?Someweeksgreat,otherweekspitiful.Which is therealoffense,andwhyhasitbeensoupanddown?

David Halprin: In truth,itwasonlydownforthetwo-week stretch against the Packers and Redskins, other than that we've been scoring points and moving the ball. In that two-week nadir, we did just about everything wrong. Romo wasn't as accurate as usual, the o-line gave upsacksandpressure,theWRsweren'tgettingseparation,andwecommittedstupidpenaltieswipingoutgoodplays.Itwasanabysmaltwo-weekstretch,otherthanthat,ouroffensehasplayedwell,exceptforsomeRomoturnoversearlyintheyear.

David Halprin: Asanoutsider,here'swhatI'veseenasproblemswiththeGiants.Letmeknowifyouagree/disagreeandwhy.First,thedefensivelineisnolongerthefearedlinethattheGiantsusedtodominateopponentsinthepast.


Me: Iagreewholeheartedlyonthat.Icangiveyouchapterandverseonthisone.OsiUmenyioraisnolongeragreatplayer.Heisanabysmalrundefender,andanoccasionalforceasapassrusher.Heoughtbeasituationalpassrusheratthispoint.JustinTuckhasbeenplayingwithonearmallseason(thanksalot,Flozell,youblankety blank dirty blankety blank).Thedefensivetackleshavenotbeengood.FredRobbinsandRockyBernardaregettingold,BarryCofieldisn'tthatgoodandyouroldfriendChrisCantyhashadzeroimpactsincehemissedmostoftheseasonwithleginjuries.

David Halprin: Also,itlookslikeyouguyshavetheproblemtheCowboyshadinthepastfewseasons,safetieswhocan'tcover?True?


Me: Yep.ThelossofKenny Phillips(anarthritickneewhichmayendhiscareer)hasbeendevastating.C.C. Brownhasbeenterrible,wecallhimeither'Bad,Bad'or'Can'tCover.'Michael Johnsonhasbeenadequateatbest,andheneverwasacoverguy.Aaron RouseisaguywhowascutbythePackers,andhemightactuallybethebestofthebunch.AndAaron Ross,transitioningfromcorner,justgotbackaftermissingthefirstninegameswithahamstring.So,no,thesafetiescan'tcover.OtherthanMichael Boley,neithercanthelinebackers.Youcouldprobablycomplete50passesSundayevenifallyoudoissendJason Wittenoutandleaveeveryoneelseintoblock.

David Halprin: Believeme,Iknowthatfeelingfromseasonspast.OK,Brandon Jacobsjustdoesn'tlooklikethesameback.Isittheo-line,lingeringinjury,orishejusthavingabadyear?Andwhat'sthestatusonAhmad Bradshaw?


Me: Ahh,thatistheotherquestion.MostoftheGiantsproblemsareondefense-- theyarestillgenerallyscoringenoughpoints.But,wherehasthevauntedGiantsrunninggamegone? Itisacombinationofthings,Ithink.Ididapostonittheotherday-- http://www.bigblueview.com/2009/11/29/1175876/run-giants-run-or-why-cant-the -- andyourfolksshouldreaditiftheyreallywanttoknow.But,it'slikethis.Theoffensivelinehasdefinitelynotplayeduptoitsusualstandards.Jacobsappearsnotberunningwithquitethesameabandon-- anditismybeliefthatthestrugglesofthelinesimplyhavehiminastateofmindwherehedoesn'ttrustthattheholewillbethere.Thirdly,theGiantshavebeengivingupontheruntooquickly.Thepercentageofpassestheythrowismuchhigherthanlastseason,particularlyinthelastsixgames.

David Halprin: What'stheEliupdate?Wheredothingsstandwithhisfoot?Hasitaffectedhisperformance?

Me: Anothergreatquestion.Hesayshe'sfine,itdoesn'taffecthim,hecanpractice,hecanmakeallthethrows,yadda,yadda.Bunk!Therewasathree-gamestretchafterheinitiallygothurtwherehewasn'tgood,andhecansaywhathewants,thefoothadtobeaproblem.Thelastcoupleofweekshehasthrowntheballwell.Asforhowitwillaffecthimgoingforward,whoknows?Rightnow,though,Eliisnotaproblem.IftheotherareasoftheGiantswereplayingaswellashehasmostofthetime, the Giantswouldnotbeinthispredicament.

David Halprin: OK,finalquery- howconfidentareyouthattheGiantscanturntheseasonaround, startingwithawinonSunday?Istherehope,oronlydespair?


Me: Well,thereishope.Becausethemathsaysthereishope,notbecausetheGiantshaveshownanythingonthefieldthatwouldgivehope.Geez,theywouldhavelostsixstraightiftheyhadnotwontheovertimecoinflipagainstAtlanta.IknowdarnwelltheFalconswouldhavescorediftheygottheballfirst.So,hopeyes.Confidence?Zero.AsIhavebeensayingtothefolksatBBV,goodteamsandgoodorganizations -- which the Giants are --occasionallyhavedownyears.Wemightjusthavetoacceptthatthiswillendupasoneofthem.

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