Yesterday I posted a story with five questions asked of me by SB Nation's blog on the Dallas Cowboys, Blogging The Boys. Today, I'm posting their answers to five questions from me on the Baltimore Ravens upcoming game with the Cowboys at M&T Bank Stadium.
KD Drummond responded to these questions on behalf of Blogging The Boys. Head on over to their excellent blog, with a group of dedicated writers and a ton of loyal followers. Ironically, Drummond actually lives in the Washington, D.C. area, but continues to blog on his favorite team from what is obviously "enemy territory" for a Cowboys fan.
Beatdown: How is Dallas handling what appears to be constant disappointment from Tony Romo year after year?
Drummond: I think that's quite a bit overstated. Romo was solid gold in 2011 up until his hand was injured in the next-to-last game of the season. I think there's probably 25 quarterbacks in the NFL that would kill for a 31 TD 10 INT season. Has 2012 been a disappointment for the team so far? Definitely, but Romo doesn't shoulder all of the blame. He's playing behind a bottom 10 offensive line at the moment that is eliminating the run game from the Cowboys arsenal. In fact, I can think of at least one team with a stellar defense year after year that would probably have some trophies if Romo was their signal caller. He does have the occasional brain fart game; he costs a team maybe two a year. Is that any worse than the majority of NFL quarterbacks? I doubt it.
Beatdown: When Romo is not screwing up, how dangerous can the Cowboys offense be?
Drummond: This year, the Cowboys offense just looks completely out of sync and there's not a doubt in my mind it starts with the offensive line. No cohesion. When Week 6 is only the second week in the history of the world that your line has practiced together, it's a tough road to hoe. Throw into that the fact the right side just isn't very good and it gets worse. Yes, they've faced some good defenses, but this line is holding Dallas back. I honestly don't know if there is an answer this year, for this group. The only hope might be to simply go left-handed (behind LT Tyron Smith and LG Nate Livings), keep a tight-end inline next to RT Doug Free and pray for the best. The skill position players are there. I'd take Murray, Austin, Bryant and Witten vs most groupings in the league. However, without the trenches, it's an uphill battle every game and that's evident in there below average output to this point.
Beatdown: Where would be the best place to attack the Dallas defense for the Ravens?
Drummond: We should be getting back Jay Ratliff and Anthony Spencer for this game, so there is a lot of hope that the Chicago game will just be a blip on the radar for a defense that was pretty stout before that. Our front seven is our defensive strength and we're pretty pleased with our new corners Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. The week point would be the deep middle, where our safety play is our biggest concern. We lost the up and coming Barry Church to an achilles injury and are pretty thin there.
Beatdown: Who is one player to watch on both sides of the ball?
Drummond: On offense, it would have to be Miles Austin. Dez Bryant demands the attention of defenses and we can often get Miles in a one-on-one situation out the slot or flanker position. He's the one player that hasn't suffered from the dropsies this year and leads the team in yards per catch and touchdowns. On defense, it's Sean Lee. There are three young ILB studs in the NFL: Lee, Navarro Bowman of SF and Daryl Washington of Arizona. I think Lee is the best of them as he is always around the ball. I mean always. Sure tackler, great in run support and above average in pass defense. He's going to be a staple of this team for a decade.
Beatdown: What do the Cowboys fear most about the Ravens?
Drummond: It's still the defense, by a mile. Having elite players on every level of the defense can't be understated and Ngata, Lewis (missing Suggs of course) and then LaDarius Webb and Reed is as formidable as it gets. There seem to be a couple chinks in the armor of Lewis and Reed, but that only drops them to "really really good human" status, as opposed to something of Greek Folklore. Living in Maryland I know a bit more about the Ravens than most of the other non-NFCE teams and they are a definite Super Bowl contender. It will be a tough game, despite Baltimore's recent struggles on the both sides of the trenches.
Beatdown: Bonus: Give me a final score prediction.
Drummond: Final score? I'll go Ravens 20-17.