QUARTERBACKS – B+
Quincy is making a habit of playing within the scheme. He doesn't take big risks, yet he doesn't get big rewards either. Coslet surely wants him to play a controlled game. But at some point the team must insist he take games over. He is maturing and his decision-making is progressing. The upside of Quincy may be much higher than we expect if he continues to be such a mechanic at this position.
RUNNING BACKS – C-
Emmitt, where fore art thou? Nice 30-yard run and two pretty nifty old-style Emmitt five-yard gashes. The rest of his day was pure Sherman Williams. His 1.8-yard per carry on 10 rushes doesn't cut it. No matter what he has done in the past. Troy Hambrick's 40 yards on 6 carries begs for him to play more than spare change. Wiley was significant in the passing game, but offered nothing much as a running back.
RECEIVERS – B
Antonio Bryant posted the most yards at 47. Not a significant day for the corps of receivers. Yet this was very Eagles-like in that everyone chipped in and not just one or two players. James Whalen appears to be an emerging target for Quincy. His 5 catches for 38-yards always occurred at the most important times of the game. But drops again plague this group that could make Quincy look like Unitas if they would hold on to balls placed gently in their hands.
OFFENSIVE LINE – C+
The pass protection was aided by the short drops when Carter went back to pass. A good game plan by Coslet and company to keep Winstrom and Little off Quincy, which gave him time to throw. They gave up two sacks to a pretty aggressive front four. Yet the running lanes were not there for most of the day. However, this is beginning to appear as if the offensive line is only partially at fault. At times lanes were open and a hesitant Emmitt Smith waited far too long to make a decision where to run.
DEFENSIVE LINE – B
They were aggressive and disruptive all day. The presence of the line forced the Rams to play the same style seen in the Eagle game the previous week. Yet both Warner and Martin are far less mobile and cannot challenge the defense with their feet. While it seemed like the pass got off just before the tackler arrived, the quarterback ended up picking himself off the turf. Intimidation works wonders for a defense. Greg Ellis made the game saving sack in the waning moments. Coming up big when the contest is on the line seems to be a regular thing for this ferocious group. Both the Giants and Washington surely are looking at tape and wondering how they will avoid the pounding Collins and Mathews/Weurful will take when facing Dallas.
LINEBACKERS – B+
The workhorses of this defense against the Rams, the linebackers held an explosive Marshall Faulk to under 80 yards on 18 carries. They also limited the underneath stuff that seemed to always hurt this defense in the past. Seldom did a receiver or back catch a ball in a crossing route or flat that someone wasn't tugging them down. The notion of moving Coakley to the middle until Dat Nguyen returns will further elevate this squad with premium speed in the center of the field.
DEFENSIVE BACKS – C+
This grade may seem funny considering Jamie Martin had such a successful day passing. But the Rams have such a potent team that Martin could do nothing but excel. The Dallas secondary held the prolific Rams to 10 points. While Warner posed a different problem and would have made the Dallas secondary pay for some mental mistakes, they rallied and held the rams when it counted. Roy Williams. Remember that name. It may come up again.
SPECIAL TEAMS – A-
Reggie Swinton brings so much to the table in the kick return game. His 24.4-yards average in kick-offs and 20.5-yards in punt returns always give Dallas a nice starting spot. He has worked wonders for an offense that relies on his skills to give them an edge in the field position game. Billy Cundiff won the game. Period. He kicked a 48-yard shot to put the winning points on the board. As he becomes more consistent the offense will rely on him instead of taking risks with no time left on the clock. He kicks over 60-yarders in practice. That would be such help for Quincy and company if he could do this in the game.
COACHING – B+
OK the Rams didn't have their passing machine in Kurt Warner after Roy Williams introduced himself in a most gracious manner. But they called a solid game and took some risks that paid dividends. Funny how much smarter a coach is when they win. But both sides of the ball were sharp and played with a purpose. It's nice to see the blitz added to the defensive package. And the tight end as a target is a novel idea around these parts.
OFFENSIVE GAME BALL – QUINCY CARTER
While James Whalen and Billy Cundiff gave sterling performances, the game ball goes to Carter. He stayed in control and used his head, arm, and feet to beat the Rams. His short passing game is coming along. He threw for over 200 yards for the third game in a row. Not impressive until you realize he does this without the benefit of a running game.
DEFENSIVE GAME BALL – ROY WILLIAMS
Roy's 10 tackles set the pace for an aggressive defense. His hit on Warner took the ball out of the most effective quarterback in the league most years. The blitzing with fury had Martin looking over his shoulder. And the blitz on the last offensive play caused the tackle for the Rams to hesitate enough for Ellis to over power him and get to Martin. When this kid learns the NFL game he will be a terror.
Not enough can be made about the Rams losing Warner. There isn't anyone that can look at that game and not think his presence wouldn't have solidified the offense of the Rams during the final minutes of the game. Yet his statuesque and limited mobility would have had the defense licking their chops to hammer him on every play.
Dallas is playing better ball. As the season progresses and Coslet figures out Hambrick may bring more to the table, we may finally see what this offense can do when all cylinders are firing.
Let's get the record and get on down the road.
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