Tale Of The Tape: St. Louis Rams At Dallas Cowboys
- QuarterbackIs there a more under-appreciated quarterback in the NFL than Sam Bradford? While he may not pass the eye test, he more than makes up for his lack of physical gifts with his accuracy and timing. Bradford reads the defense well, has the speed to get away from the pass rush and throws a very catchable ball.The Cowboys should know what they are getting with Tony Romo. He was up to the challenge against the division rival Giants in Week One, but he couldn’t get the job done against a seemingly lesser opponent in Kansas City. Since the Cowboys are coming off a loss and will be at home, look for Romo to be near his best in this game.
- OffenseWhen Steven Jackson decided to sign with the Atlanta Falcons in the offseason, he took the Rams’ running game with him. Daryl Richardson is not a capable NFL running back. Chris Givens knows how to get open and he will catch the ball with his quality hands. Tavon Austin caught two TD passes vs. the Falcons and is developing into a legitimate threat.One of the problems with the Cowboys is their inconsistent running game. DeMarco Murray should be a top-15 running back in the NFL, but he ran for just 25 yards vs. the Rams. Dez Bryant has turned the corner in his career and he is close to unstoppable status. Jason Witten is one of the three best tight ends in the league and is a sensational third-down weapon.
- DefenseThe Rams fell behind by a big margin early against the Falcons and while they made a decent recovery after that, playing from behind is not a good tactic when you are facing one of the better teams in the league. The Rams need defensive ends Chris Long and Robert Quinn to do a better job of getting after the quarterback.The Cowboys made their share of big plays in Week One against the Giants and they didn’t play badly against the Chiefs either. However, they better not take Bradford lightly because he can be surgical in the way he takes apart a defense. DeMarcus Ware is coming off a 2.0-sack effort and he remains the key to the Dallas defense.
- Special TeamsThe Rams have full confidence in PK Greg Zuerlein and P Johnny Hekker. Zuerlein has the leg strength to hit any attempt inside 60 yards, but he needs to work on his consistency. Hekker gets height and distance on his punts. Austin has the speed to give the Rams a threat as a punt returner, but he has not come through yet.Chris Jones is becoming a very dependable weapon as a punter. He averaged 50.0 yards on four punts against the Chiefs. Dan Bailey made all three of his FG attempts in Kansas City, including a 53-yarder. It may be just a matter of time before Dwayne Harris busts a long run.
The Cowboys, as usual, have the talent to become one of the better teams in the league. But they have a hard time playing consistently, as usual. They can’t let an opportunity against an improving team like the Rams slip through their grasp. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor