What Went Right
The Cowboys on Sunday against the Panthers displayed the ability to overcome diversity. This is a trait that every great team in the last decade has shown, and it is great to finally see a glimmer of it in our team. As Sean Lee came out of the game with an ankle injury, we lost not only our leading tackler, but our defensive general as well. However, Dan Conner stepped right up to the plate and managed to stifle the Panthers running game while maintaining the middle of the field. When our unlucky center left to the sidelines, previous offensive line savior, Ryan Cook filled his teammate’s huge shoes and bulldozed a pathway for Phillip Tanner and Felix Jones to run through. In previous seasons, an injury to either position would throw us into chaos, but not this year. We have the deepest team we have been able to field in years, with young players full of potential playing behind proven veterans.
What Went Wrong
Carr was beat all day by both Brandon LaFell and Steve Smith. He seemed to be a step behind every route ran his way and was never in a position to make a play on a ball. Romo started out with a hot arm, but was quickly cooled by the Panthers pass rush, and was unable to be consistently accurate. Our offensive line continues to be manhandled by any and every defensive lineman lined up opposite of them. Doug Free is still regressing, and it is only a matter of time before Jerry Jones moves on to a younger player with more potential.
Player of Focus
After watching Witten play for years, it still blows my mind how team after team, year after year, cannot cover him. He is not the most physically talented tight end in the league. He could make a race against a glacier competitive, and runs his routes as curvaceous as Jennifer Lopez. Yet despite this, he has not only become the most prolific pass catcher in Dallas Cowboys history, but has maintained a presence as one of the better blocking ends in the last decade. He may not be the flashiest at his position, and may never lead the league in touchdowns or average 15 yards a catch. However, I would take his well-balanced, and team inspiring toughness, over any of his younger one dimensional counterparts.