John Madden appeared on Sirius' NFL Blitz program this afternoon (hosted by Syracuse grad Adam Schein), and while Madden believes Dallas, and particularly QB Tony Romo, will play better than it did against Buffalo on Monday night, he favors New England in the matchup of unbeatens.
Some excerpts of the conversation, courtesy of Sirius:
Madden: “I’d like to be there. I’d like to see this one. I think that Tony Romo used up all his interceptions Monday night. When you’re a good team and you can play a lousy game where you have so many turnovers and still win I think you can learn so much from that. Usually, when you have a lot of turnovers, your QB throws a lot of interceptions, you lose the game and everyone’s down. Here you can say, ‘Well, we dodged a bullet there. I was really lucky and I’m never going to let that happen again.’ So I think that was a big, big plus that they could have so many things go wrong and still win because as a coach you can really get on your team now. It’s not one of those things where everyone’s celebrating and pouring champagne on their heads because they played lousy.”
Schein: “What’s the challenge for Tony Romo and T.O. and Jason Witten and company going up against that Bill Belichick defense?" Madden: “Kind of figuring it out on the run. He’s not going to show you anything that you’ve seen before and there’s going to be surprises. He’s going to take away the things that you do best and he’s going to take away the guys that are most dangerous to him. You just mentioned T.O. and Jason Witten. He’s going to take them away. And in running situations he’s going to take the run away. But you don’t know how. That’s going to be the challenge for Tony Romo. You know what he’s going to do. I guarantee you he’s going to do something to T.O. And then number two he’s going to do something to Jason Witten. I know that but you don’t know how or where the guys are going to come from. So you have to figure that out during the game.”
Schein: “How about the challenge for the Dallas defense going up against Tom Brady, Randy Moss and the New England Patriots offense?” Madden: “That’s going to be tough. They really haven’t been a great pass rush team this year. They get some pass rush from DeMarcus Ware but they haven’t really gotten enough to really put pressure on the QB. I don’t know that there’s an answer for Tom Brady. It’s like Peyton Manning. You say, ‘How do you stop Tom Brady? How do you stop Peyton Manning?’ You don’t. The answer isn’t you rush them, you blitz them, you zone them, you drop eight. I’ve seen them do everything to Tom Brady and he’s still going to get you. You just have to play your technique and when he completes passes, tackle the guy. Don’t get fooled. Don’t give him easy plays. Just play him hard. Play him tough. As far as an answer to how you take away Tom Brady I don’t know that there is one. I kind of think that one of the things you can do is just play the pass. Let them have the run and if they’re going to beat you with the run, so be it. But do everything in your defense for the pass defense.”
Schein: “As you go over match-ups in this game, are there match-ups, when Tom Brady has the football, that favor the Cowboys?” Madden: “I don’t think they have any. The closest one that they would have would be DeMarcus Ware rushing and I don’t even know that that would be anything except even.”
Well apparently the flu bug has hit the Patriots' locker room a bit early, as that is the reason given for Matt Light's absence from practice today. The left tackle is one of 10 players listed as questionable for Sunday's game.
Dallas cornerbacks Anthony Henry (ankle) and Courtney Brown (biceps) have both been declared out for the contest.
Here's the full injury list:
CB Randall Gay - thigh
C Dan Koppen - ankle
T Matt Light - flu
RB Laurence Maroney - groin
S Mel Mitchell - groin
G Stephen Neal - shoulder
CB Asante Samuel - foot
WR Donte Stallworth - knee
LB Adalius Thomas - ankle
WR Kelley Washington - hamstring
QB Tom Brady - right shoulder
T Wesley Britt - team decision
Britt, Light and Mitchell did not practice; Gay, Koppen, Maroney, Neal, Samuel, Stallworth, Thomas and Washington had limited participation; and Brady had full participation.
CB Courtney Brown - biceps
WR Terry Glenn - knee
CB Anthony Henry - ankle
FB Oliver Hoyte - neck
S Keith Davis - shoulder
LB Kevin Burnett - thigh
Henry did not practice; Brown and Hoyte had limited participation, and Davis and Burnett had full participation.
Bill Belichick's love of football history is well-documented, and he was at his best this morning when asked about former New England coach Chuck Fairbanks, who address the Patriots yesterday at practice.
Belichick went on for several minutes about Fairbanks as a coach and general manager, admiring the talent he was able to acquire when Fairbanks was in Foxboro, and the core of players he signed became the strength of the Pats' Super Bowl XX squad.
Oh, and you might be interested in this one: the coach said that Laurence Maroney is making progress, and that he'll be a game-time decision.