Cowboys At Titans: The Glass Is Half- ... ?

NASHVILLE - Whether you break down a Cowboys-at-Titans preview with trepidation or with enthusiasm depends only partly on Dallas' woes ... and somewhat on whether you are a glass-is-half-full or glass-is-half-empty guy.



The Big Lead

As we ready for the noon kickoff (with me joining Brad Sham and Babe Laufenberg on the pregame, which starts at 9 a.m., on 105.3 The Fan), my Full Glass theory begins with Tony Romo and a review of his work ... and a review of his work after he's worked poorly.

If you watch ESPN, you have been inundated with this stat: Romo, following a three-interception game (like the one he experienced in Week 1's 28-17 loss to the Niners) is 0-4 in the following week.

The stat is true. Obviously. ESPN wouldn't lie, unless it's Skip Bayless bragging about his stellar high-school basketball career. But that stat is also cherry-picking. Because it's just as true that since 2011, Romo's had seven multi-interception games after which he's played a follow-up game. In those following weeks he's thrown for 13 TDs and three interceptions while averaging 276 yards and 66.4-percent completions with a 105.8 QB rating.

So if you want to paint as negative a picture as possible about the 0-1 Cowboys visiting the 1-0 Titans, you say Romo is "winless'' in these situations. But maybe you choose to listen to the latter stat (researched by our Jordan Ross). Or maybe you choose to listen to Romo himself.

"It was just good (reviewing fim) to see the 'subtleness' of just what I felt like I need to be a little better just through the mental progression before each snap, the subtleties of it that really gain you the advantages to ensure that you don’t make certain mistakes,'' Romo said. “The more I went over it, the more I started to realize it was just some small things that I need to do. The mental checklist before you get into that situation and I think going forward that will be much better.”

It would be nice if that is "better'' in the 13-TDs/66.4-percent/105.8-rating sort of way.

The Three Kings

No Justin Durant (groin) today. So Dallas really has just two linebackers with real experience but that might work out just fine. As CowboysHQ reported early this week, because of Tennessee's three-WR tendencies, Dallas' almost sole focus in practice was on Nickel defense, with Bruce Carter and Rolando McClain as the only two linebackers on the field.

The Titans call the use of Nate Washington, Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter together their “Kings” Package. They used it on 48 of their 75 offensive snaps last week. That's why Dallas will use the Nickel package with two linebackers and lots of pressure on Carr, Claiborne and Sterling Moore.

But note this: The Titans offense ran 75 plays against the Chiefs and the three "Kings'' were on the field for 48 of those plays ... and then Tennessee ran the ball 17 times with that "pass-look'' personnel group.

Coach vs. Coach

Titans coach Whisenhunt is 3-0 against the Cowboys as the top man. But include his two games as a coordinator against Dallas and his record is 5-0 lifetime. Meanwhile, with Jason Garrett, it's not so much about the numbers as it is a problem with his intellect trickling down to the football field. Dallas' penchant for errors -- some of them physical but many of them mental -- was key to the loss to the Niners. ... and one way or the other, figures be an issue today as I might urge Garrett & Company to avoid the "cute'' and realize the advantages they have at their disposal.

Example? This beefy and talented offensive line pushing piles for DeMarco Murray, who in his last six games has 751 total yards (605 rushing and 146 receiving) and seven touchdowns (six rushing and one receiving).

They'll have to do this against old friend Ray Horton, the Titans defensive coordinator, whose 3-4 defense last week held the Chiefs to 1-for-12 on third downs, intercepted Alex Smith three times and sacked him four times, and limited Jamaal Charles to 34 total yards.

Third-down conversions were among Dallas' biggest problems last year. Here's a chance to be better ... by being smarter.

Meet the Ref

Meet Walt Coleman. Fine fellow, I'm sure.

But the Titans traditionally find him more "fine'' than Dallas does.

Coleman will be the referee today. The Cowboys are 5-10 when Coleman officiates their games. And when the Titans see Walt? They are 13-3.

One click, all Cowboys!

Keep it here on CowboysHQ as we will keep you posted in a variety of ways from inside your team ... Here on the HOME page, here on CowboysHQ Discussion Boards, and on Twitter, where we encourage you to follow Mike Fisher, KD Drummond, Mark Lane and Jordan Ross along with our 105.3 The Fan colleague Bryan Broaddus. ... Thanks for joining us!

The Final Word


"Tony is the quarterback. He’s my quarterback and I’m going to forever uplift him the best I possibly can. ... In anything, I’ve got his back. If he did something wrong, I would say it to him. There’s nothing that me and him, not only me and him but any of these guys, can’t figure out what the issue might be. But like I said, it’s my guy, man.” - Dez Bryant.


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