When the Patriots play the Cowboys tomorrow afternoon, the team can expect to see a variety of different looks from Cowboys' defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. The 'Boys have a very talented defense with a lot of good players who can get to the passer. While their secondary has been a bit banged up as of late, they seem to finally be healthy coming off a bye and it looks like it could be the Cowboys that give the Patriots offense their biggest challenge yet.
Blogging the Boys' Dave Halprin had this to say on what to expect from Rob Ryan and the Cowboys defense:
I guess the best thing about Rob Ryan's defense is you never know what to expect. OK, that's an over-generalization, but his style is built on organized chaos pre-snap, then overload blitzes coming from one direction during the play. Ryan believes in what he calls 'multiples', players who can line up and play at multiple positions. The Cowboys front seven moves constantly before the snap, and players assume different positions; for example, you won't find DeMarcus Ware constantly standing up over the offensive left tackle.
Ryan also favors the overload blitz. He rarely sends seven or eight guys, but prefers to send 5 (maybe 6) guys, but have the bulk of them overload one side of the offense. In the case of Tom Brady, he might overload the middle, but leave guys like Ware and Spencer outside to make the Pats line respect the outside rush, too.
Based on what Dave had to say, I would expect a lot of different looks from this Cowboys defense and likely a lot of exotic blitzes. I think the way to overcome whatever Ryan throws at the Patriots is to stack the lines with three tight ends to the strong side, and run the ball up their throats.
With a defense that is as established as the Cowboys, the Patriots won't be able to win this game by being one dimensional. The bottom line is that I think that this game is going to be one of those games where the Patriots mix things up on offense as much as the Cowboys do on defense. As much as the Patriots might not know what to expect from the Cowboys, the Cowboys shouldn't expect from the Patriots.