When it comes to trading 'Five Questions' it seems like Dave Halprin of 'Blogging The Boys' and I have been doing these forever. As two of the longest-tenured writers around SB Nation, that's because we actually have. Maybe not quite since the age of the dinosaur, but for a long time. With the Dallas Cowboys hosting the New York Giants this Sunday it is once again time for another edition of 'Ed and Dave talk Giants vs. Cowboys.'
Ed: Why, in your opinion, has it taken so many years for Dallas to figure out that more DeMarco Murray and less Tony Romo is a good thing?
Dave: I think some of it has to do with getting an offensive line in place that allows Dallas to run the ball effectively. It took a few years for Dallas to rebuild this offensive line through the draft but they've done that now. They believe they can run on anybody behind this line. Also, don't forget that DeMarco Murray has spent a lot of time injured before this season, and it wasn't like the offense was the main problem the last few years. The Cowboys were scoring plenty of points as a passing team, but the defense ranged from unreliable to terrible. But the real answer, I think, is the offensive line as mentioned above - and play-caller Scott Linehan's discipline to stick with the run.
Ed: Is the Dallas defense really good? Or, is it just a mediocre or worse group that has been protected by an efficient offense that has controlled the clock and kept the defense off the field?
Dave: There is no doubt they are being helped out by a running game on offense that helps to control the clock, but they are getting the job done when they are on the field. Much of the improvement has to do with putting Rod Marinelli in charge as the defensive coordinator this season. He's put guys in the right positions to succeed and has designed schemes that play to their strengths. The addition of Rolando McClain at middle linebacker has really paid off, and the secondary is playing better than before. They aren't the best unit in the league, but they are much better than what people thought they would be.
Ed: If you could take one player off the Giants' roster and put him in your lineup, who would it be? Why?
Dave: If for the long-term, I considered JPP or Hankins, Dallas could use more help on the defensive line. Let's say JPP because he has the ability to dominate a game due to his freakish athleticism. If it's just for this game, Will Beatty and I flip him over to the right side for the absent Doug Free.
Ed: Who are a couple of under the radar players who have stepped up and made big contributions thus far for Dallas?
Dave: He's not under the radar much anymore, but wide receiver Terrance Williams is coming up big as a complement to Dez Bryant. He's blossoming into a legitimate big-play receiver and someone who opposing defenses really need to watch. Sterling Moore has been elevated to nickel corner with the injury to Morris Claiborne and he's been doing excellent work, the secondary is playing as well as it has in a long time. Watch for (WR) Cole Beasley and (RB) Lance Dunbar catching short passes and turning them into first downs.
Ed: Many people, including yours truly, were certain the Giants were going to select Zack Martin at No. 12 in the 2014 NFL Draft. What are your impressions of Martin thus far?
Dave: He's been fantastic. He might have been the final piece of the puzzle that has allowed the Cowboys offensive line to really take off. He doesn't play like a rookie, you don't see the glaring mistakes that you usually see from rookies. He's been rock solid and should only continue to get better. In reference to your first question, Martin has helped the Cowboys transform themselves into a running team, he holds his own at the point of attack and can get to the second level. He was a perfect pick for Dallas.
Stop by BTB for my answers to Dave's questions. As always, please play nice. There isn't much for Giants fans to brag about heading into this game, anyway.
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