IRVING, TX - OCTOBER 26: Quarterback Jeff Garcia #7 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during play against the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium on October 26, 2008 in Irving, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
When Dallas heads to Tampa this weekend to open up the 2009 campaign against the Bucs, the defense will have little in the way of pertinent information concerning the opposition's offensive attack--because, as you might've heard, they fired offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski last week, one in a string of similar firings around the NFL.
Gone also is Jeff Garcia, who was at the helm for the teams' meeting in 2008, replaced by Byron Leftwich, who was named starter a little more than a week ago.
"You're watching basically three preseason games where the coordinator's not even there," said veteran linebacker Keith Brooking. "He was calling the games for those preseason games and then obviously, the last game, they kind of treated it the way we did, where they're not playing their starters. So we don't have a lot to go off of."
This won't necessarily be a bad thing. The ostensible unpredictability of Tampa's offensive style will come with a great likelihood of the unit being in utter disarray; such is week one for teams who, only two weeks before the season, can their offensive coordinator.
The players who comprise Dallas' defense believe that if they play at a high level, the meager portions of information and predictability won't be much of a factor.
"At the end of the day, I'm not saying it doesn't matter what they do, but we have to concentrate on our responsibilities and our job at hand, and the rest will take care of itself," Brooking continued. "We have defenses where, regardless of what the offense does, if we take care of our responsibility, and all eleven guys are doing what they're supposed to do every play, and play with great effort, we're going to be fine."