Last time the Cowboys played the Denver Broncos was in 2005, in which the Cowboys suffered a gut wrenching loss on Thanksgiving Day. It was 21-21, and (then) running back, Ron Dayne busted through sloppy tackling for a huge gain, which put the Broncos in FG position for the win.
Ok, so that’s last time. This time the Cowboys have a new defensive system where swarming tackles are a premium. Phillips has been working the 3rd down conversion defense all training camp, and the game against the dynamic Broncos will again, be another great test for the Cowboys defense.
Coach Shanahan is the league’s offensive line guru, so you can bet the Cowboys will have their hands full in the pass rush and in run defense. I’ll be looking at how our defensive players handle their guys early on.
Letâ€™s take a quick look and see how effective the Phillips 3-4 was against the Broncos, in previous seasonâ€™s while he was in San Diego. The Chargers met the Broncos twice a year as they were in the same conference. Here’s how the team fared while Phillips was their defensive coordinator from 2004-2006:
2004 – @Denver 13-23 (L) (12-4)
2004 – Denver 20-17 (W)
2005 – @Denver 17-20 (L) (9-7)
2005 – Denver 7-23 (W)
2006 – @Denver 35-27 (W) (14-2)
2006 – Denver 48-20 (W)
Obviously, Phillips is well aware of what the Broncos are about, having faced them six times while at S.D. The Phillips 34 against the Colts: 4-2, not bad.
So, Phillips has a great foundation and understanding about what the Broncos will try to do against the Cowboys. He knows their schemes, and this will again, help the Cowboys be well prepared. We should see some other blitz packages to test run against the Broncos, and it should be a good game.
The test on defense will come against Ferguson up the middle, screens in the flats, and deep down the field. Spencer will have a busy game, let’s see how he reacts to the running attack. On the offensive side of the ball, it’ll be interesting to see how the Cowboys matchup against their star CBs in Dre Bly and Champ Bailey, perhaps the best CB tandem in the league right now. In addition, we should see another dose of the TE. Jarvis Moss did not like getting pushed around by Bigg, but rest assured, he’ll get broken in again. I’m really liking what Davis brings to the line, major upgrade over Rivera, major!
Lastly, I want to see what Stanback brings to the table once and for all. Phillips had said he wasn’t brought in to be the punt returner, so does that mean, he’ll lineup more in the passing game? This will be interesting to see where he plays.