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September 21, 2012 @ 1:26 pm
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Cowboys Feel They Could Have Their Hands Full With Bucs D Sunday

Written by Dory
Dory LeBlanc


Beat Writer E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
During a conference call earlier in the week, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo discussed the Bucs defense with Tampa Bay media and explained why they are better than the scoreboard has shown.
The Bucs defense is tied for first in the NFL with five interceptions, but last in the league in pass defense, allowing an average of 400 yards in the air over the first two games. With Tony Romo and the Cowboys quickly approaching, it would be a safe assumption Dallas plans on passing the ball as much as possible Sunday. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett says not so fast.

In a conference call with members of the Tampa Bay media earlier in the week, Garrett and Romo talked at length about the respect they have for the Bucs defense and the challenges the unit brings to the Cowboys.

“I think they’re a very good defense.” Garrett said. “They’re active up front. They have a lot of really good players, they’re quick, they’re fast, they’re explosive. Obviously the linebackers can run and they have good cover guys in the secondary, two really good corners. It looks like Ronde has made a real smooth transition to play free safety and Mark Barron was somebody we knew a lot about coming out of Alabama this past year, he was very much on our radar screen and he seems like he’s transitioned very well.

“So they’re really good on all three levels and they’ve played pretty good ball games. The Giants game was a little wild in a lot of ways but they did a lot of positive things in that game as well so we have a tremendous amount of respect for them, certainly their staff, and the scheme they play.”

Romo feels the stats from the Giants loss last week are somewhat misleading.

“Some guys have made some great plays on them.” Romo said. “I think they’re a real sound defense who does some different things. After seeing how many yards and points I was expecting to see things different[ly] on tape, but when you watch them, this is a good defensive unit that plays well together.

“It’s skewed a little bit because I think the Giants got behind so they threw it a lot in this past game. I just think this defensive unit – they’re good. They’ve showed it a bunch of times now so I think it’s too quick to point that they’ve given up a ton of pass plays and you think they’re just going to be duplicated over and over again.”

Romo has excelled against the Bucs. In the three match-ups between the two, Romo is 3-0 and has thrown for 908 yards and 11 touchdowns, without throwing an interception. When asked what specific reasons led to his success against Tampa Bay, Romo downplayed the numbers.

“No specific reason, I think we just executed well.” Romo said. “Sometimes stats can go in little segments of two, three, four games here and there, and it’s that way with other games as well. I think we just executed at the right times.”

Now in his second full season as the Cowboy’s head coach, Garrett was quick to point out that things are much different this time around, and Romo can’t rest on his past successes come Sunday.

“Well, I don’t like to make a huge generalization about that,” Garrett said, “because there’s so many different players and coaches on each of our teams. He has played well; we played them at the end of the year last year, but again, there’s a new regime down there in Tampa and what we try to get focused on is what we’re doing now so how he did in the past really probably has very little bearing on what’s going to happen this Sunday. We have great respect for their team, in all three phases. They’ve gotten off to a good start and we got to get ready for that.”

Romo also acknowledged the Bucs are a different defensive unit than the one he faced a year ago, when Tampa Bay allowed Romo to throw three first half touchdowns and rush for another in the 31-15 loss at Raymond James Stadium in December.

“They’re definitely aggressive,” Romo said, “but they play a little bit of everything; they don’t just hang their hat on one thing. I think you can tell they play hard. You can tell they’re well coached; they’re in the right spots, they all play as one unit, and that can make for a tough day sometimes, so we have to be very prepared for these guys.”

One of the interesting twists about the Bucs-Cowboys match-up this time around is the before April’s draft, many thought the Bucs would select cornerback Morris Claiborne, while Mark Barron was heavily favorite to land in Dallas. As it happened, the situation was reversed, and just as Bucs defensive back coach Ron Cooper knows Claiborne better than anyone after coaching him at LSU, Garrett has a close familiarity with Barron as well.

“We had great respect for Mark Barron coming out.” Garrett said. “I had the good fortune of working for Coach (Nick) Saban for two years with the Dolphins and know him very well and respect that program and his opinions and he spoke so highly of Mark. We spent a lot of time with him (Barron). He came to our facility, we went down there to see him workout,  you know he didn’t work out at the combine because of an injury, so we wanted to make sure we knew all about him, and what we know about him is he is an outstanding football player and an outstanding young man. It does not surprise us at all that he is playing as well as he is early into his career. “

As the Bucs prepare for a very good Dallas squad who has a chip on its shoulder after losing in Seattle last week, there is one additional key the Cowboys will have to prepare for – an attempt at a forced fumble by the Bucs late in the game.

“I’ll address what our perspective is.” Garrett said. “You have to play the game for 60 minutes and obviously that’s part of what they want to do in that situation. Hopefully we’ll be fortunate enough to be in that kind of a situation. There’s a lot of work to do before you get there, but we would certainly be ready for it knowing that’s part of what they want to do.”
Last modified on Saturday, 22 September 2012 08:59

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  • avatar

    I think we match up much better against the Giants, on both sides of the ball, then the Cowboys. Romo’s nice “propaganda” aside, I am still looking for a way for this to be a close game. The fact a lot of handicappers are making Dallas their “lock” of the week does not bode well either.
  • avatar

    Unless the Defensive Line has a better game than they did in the Giants game it won't happen. It is amazing how much better a secondary plays when their is a pass rush. We didn't have one last week.
  • avatar

    We're playing just about the same kind of team that we played last week. Go Bucs? Get this win.
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