Blue Star
The center of the Dallas Cowboys universe

Jay Ratliff Can Finish With a Flourish

Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Chances are good that Jay Ratliff will be named to the NFC Pro Bowl roster on Tuesday. If some strange turn of events leaves him off the team, chances are also good that his omission will look awfully ridiculous by the end of Sunday's game with the Eagles.

    As you've likely heard, the Eagles lost starting center Jamaal Jackson to a knee injury against the Broncos and will have Nick Cole snapping the ball against the Cowboys this week. Cole is a decent lineman, but he's a guard by trade and had three bad snaps in the Denver game. The offensive line also struggled in both the running and passing games after Jackson's injury, something that can be attributed to the loss of the guy responsible for calling the blocking assignments on each play.

    Cole will have a week of practice to get those problems under control, but the combination of snapping the ball, setting the protection and then making your blocks is a daunting one for experienced centers.

    Ratliff will only make the task more difficult. Casey Rabach of the Redskins has six years as a starter under his belt and Ratliff dominated him all night long. He sacked Jason Campbell twice, blew up several running plays and garnered so much attention on double-teams that the other Cowboys defenders were able to run free and make plays.

    And, perhaps a bit more germane to any discussion of this week's game, the Eagles didn't have an answer for Ratliff in the first meeting of the season. He had two sacks in that game as well, hit Donovan McNabb a couple of other times and generally disrupted everything the Eagles tried to do offensively. There's little reason to think that the beast won't do the same thing this time around, especially with the middle of the Phillly line trying to acclimate themselves to new roles in Jackson's absence.

    It should be a lot of fun to watch Ratliff take care of business, assuming, you know, you actually get to watch Ratliff take care of business.