The Dallas Cowboys host the Miami Dolphins in the second of the three Thanksgiving Day NFL games today, with kickoff scheduled for 4:15pm. Both teams come in to the game riding three game win streaks, and will be looking to extend that streak this afternoon.
One of the biggest threats for the Dolphins in continuing that streak is the Cowboys' pass rush monster DeMarcus Ware. Ware currently leads the NFL with 14 sacks, and has only been slowed a couple of times by opposing offenses this year. With the Dolphins starting Pro Bowl left tackle Jack Long, who is finally healthy and playing like a beast the last few weeks, it's probable that Ware will get moved from the defense's right to its left, letting Ware face off on the Great Hole - also known as Marc Colombo; the former Cowboy is the Dolphins starting right tackle, and it isn't completely known if he was ever shown that standing in front of a guy is called "blocking."
As I looked at Ware, and the exceptional year he is having, I also asked Dave Halprin of Blogging The Boys for what he has seen from Ware this year.
"DeMarcus Ware isn't doing anything different this year than he's done for most of his career," Halrprin explained. "He's just a freakish combination of speed, strength and agility. Tackles have to respect his speed rush, he can run by someone and give him no chance for a block. He's also a powerful bull rusher, so you can't just jump outside and expect he'll go there, because he can run straight over a tackle, too. Once Ware gets free, he's exceptional at closing the deal by tracking down the QB. Basically, he's the prototype for a 3-4 outside linebacker. It also helps that he has great hand-skills, a variety of spin moves, and his work ethic is second to none."
Well, that's not encouraging.
With Ware now scaring me even more, I asked Halprin about the rest of the Cowboys defense. What should we as fans be watching for when the Dolphins have the ball?
"Rob Ryan's defense is one that likes to confuse a QB with a lot of movement pre-snap. The hope is the QB will mis-read the coverage. He blitzes with a variety of guys including corners and safeties, and he likes to overload one side of the defense on blitzes instead of sending 7 or 8 guys. It's a concentrated blitz scheme."
Sounds like quartreback Matt Moore will have his hands full trying to find Ware, as well as read the correct blitz from Coach Ryan's misdirection and subterfuge. I can't wait to see how he does.