Thursday, August 20, 2009

ESPN Mosley: Three and Out: Cowboys

Posted by's Matt Mosley

Three quick hits on the Dallas Cowboys:

1. Get ready to hear a lot about the two-tight end offense. Jason Witten is already an All-Pro. Now it appears that Martellus Bennett is on the verge of becoming a big-time player as well. The Cowboys could end up running plays out of a two-tight end formation 60 percent of the time -- or maybe more. Defensive coordinators spend a lot of time trying to account for Witten. That should open things up for Bennett, a former college basketball player who has tremendous athleticism. Bennett's an Antonio Gates starter kit. I think he and Witten will combine for 12 touchdowns in '09. Bennett gives Romo another option inside the red zone, and his blocking has improved a great deal heading into his second season.

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Dallas Cowboys

2. The Cowboys could be in big trouble if there's an injury on the offensive line. Backup left tackle Doug Free's made a little move late in camp, but I still don't trust him to fill in for the aging Flozell Adams if something goes wrong. The Cowboys have worked Leonard Davis at left tackle in camp. He could probably get by over there, but he's much better at guard. The Cowboys have done a really poor job of drafting and developing offensive linemen and that could show up this season. No one wants to talk about backup offensive linemen -- until there's an injury. The Eagles and Giants have depth up front. That's not the case with the Cowboys.

3. The Cowboys could have 63 sacks if everything goes as planned. I don't think DeMarcus Ware will have another 20-sack season, but he'll make other players better in '09. It's time for Anthony Spencer to have a breakthrough season. He has the speed and athleticism, but something's never clicked for him. With Ware seeing a lot of double-teams, Spencer could have a big season. I also think it's finally time for linebacker Bradie James to make a Pro Bowl. He could have eight or nine sacks this season. And the speed and quickness provided by Jay Ratliff in the center of Wade Phillips' 3-4 will give teams fits. I think Ratliff's capable of having seven or eight sacks.