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5 Questions with Blogging The Boys: Patriots @ Cowboys

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5 Questions with Blogging The Boys
Phillips Is Proper Heir to Parcells

Blogging The Boys: SB Nation's Dallas Cowboys blog
In less than 48 hours, two of the NFL's remaining undefeated teams meet in the most anticipated game of the early season (since the last most anticipated game of the season -- New England vs. San Diego). Answering 5 Questions for us this week is Dave "Grizz" Halprin of SB Nation's Dallas Cowboys blog, Blogging The Boys.

tommasse: What do you think of the Wade Phillips era?

Dave "Grizz" Halprin: So far, so good. It's hard to argue with a coach who can come in and in his first year go 5-0 out of the gate. It's funny that Wade has a reputation as "not a great head coach" when he actually has a winning record by a comfortable margin. The problem for Wade is that he tends to follow high-profile coaches who had a lot of success like Marv Levy and Dan Reeves. I guess part of that is also a lack of success in the playoffs such as the Music City Miracle. But he seems to be the right guy at the right time for the Cowboys.

tommasse: How is Phillips different from Bill Parcells, and how much is he just riding the success of what Parcells built?

Grizz: Wade Phillips and Bill Parcells are much different in the way they run a team. Beyond the X's and O's, Parcells was a tough love kind of guy who was never satisfied and rode his players very hard. Phillips is the polar opposite of that, he's full of encouragement and wants to create a family atmosphere at Valley Ranch. Probably the most glaring example is the way both coaches treated Terrell Owens. Parcells kept him at arms distance and treated him as just another player. Phillips has embraced Owens and stated that the Cowboys will feature him in the offense, something Parcells would never say.

There's no doubt that Phillips is having the success that he is so far because of the roster that Parcells left behind for him. He also benefits from what Parcells taught these guys about playing football, how to prepare and stuff like that. But you have to give Phillips credit for taking this team to a higher level and having success early that Parcells never quite achieved. This roster is really responding to his lighter touch instead of Parcells overbearing style.

Grizz and I will be on 1570 AM, "The Zone" in Louisville tomorrow (Saturday) around 11:30 am. For more from Dave Halprin, click 'Read More' ...

Update [2007-10-12 22:56:12 by tommasse]: To see my answers to Dave's questions, visit Blogging the Boys.

tommasse: I don't think Tony Romo will have a repeat performance of Sunday. Considering such, how will Dallas attack New England's defense?

Grizz: I agree that what everybody saw on Monday night from Romo was an aberration. Dallas likes to attack with a balanced offense between running and passing. Lately though, the running game has sputtered and the Cowboys have been relying on the pass much more. But it's not something they want to do so I think they will try to establish their running game because the play-action passes are very important to this offense. When they pass I expect them to try and get TE Jason Witten matched-up against the New England linebackers over the middle and to move Terrell Owens around at the line of scrimmage to create a favorable match-up for him against the New England secondary. If New England brings the pressure, Romo is capable of buying time with his feet and still making a play. I would actually move him out of the pocket on occasion to make the New England pass rush respect the whole field instead of just trying to rush to a spot.

tommasse: Dallas possesses the best defense New England has faced so far this season. How do they stop the Patriots?

Grizz: Everybody says it and I agree, you have to get Tom Brady to move from his set-up spot and not let him step up in the pocket. Bring a lot of pressure and try to get to Brady from the inside of the pocket instead of coming around the edges and letting him step forward and into his throws. I've seen what Brady can do when he has a clean pocket with time to throw so Dallas cannot allow that to happen. They can help their cause by stopping the run game and the Cowboys so far this year have been very tough to run on consistently. If they can hold down the running game and force New England to be one-dimensional, then they stand a much better chance of winning the game.

tommasse: How much better than the rest of the NFC is Dallas?

Grizz: So far this season they have been the best team in the conference without a doubt. But I don't think they are so much better that some of these other teams can't close the gap. If Green Bay could find a running game to go with their defense and the way Brett Favre is playing, they could be contender. Within our own division the Washington Redskins are playing much better than I thought they would mainly due to a stout defense and a strong running game. The New York Giants seem to be getting things together and they managed to stay with us on the opening weekend until the final minutes of the game. Other teams like Tampa Bay and Seattle have the potential to be very good but they are missing a couple of pieces. Dallas is definitely the cream of the crop in the NFC today, but there are other teams that could give them problems going forward.

tommasse: Can't say I agree about Phillips coaching style being better than Parcells's. Not sure I agree with pressuring Brady as the best game plan for Dallas. But I'll save some of that for my preview. Besides, Dave and I can debate that tomorrow (Saturday) at 11:30 a.m. on 1570 AM, "The Zone" in Louisville. You can listen live (theoretically) from The Zone's site, and I'll post audio when it's available.

Update [2007-10-12 22:59:35 by tommasse]: Grizz didn't actually say that he thinks Phillips style is better, but that Phillips is the right coach for the Cowboys right now. I'm still not sure I agree, but I wanted to clear that up.