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Protection, Versatility Will Be Key For Cowboys' Offense

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The most obvious key to Sunday's game with the Giants, from the Cowboys' perspective, has to be stopping the run. New York is a run-happy team, after all, and Dallas' defense is coming off a kind of miserable (especially in the first half) performance against the Tampa Bay trio of Cadillac "Insert car pun here" Williams, Earnest Graham and Derrick Ward.

    It's enough to set off alarms in Cowboys' fans mind, and enough, indeed, to cloudy the fact that the offense is up to a leviathan task as well. New York's defensive front is arguably the best in football, and their main objective, almost without fail, is to blitz and blitz and blitz some more, until your quarterback swears that it's 1997, Bill Clinton's the president and the Spice Girls are dominating the charts.

    The key to beating this, to be synopsized at best, is (a) protection, and (b) versatility. But B, as Jason Witten described yesterday, can only go into effect after the establishment of A. 

    "I think we have a lot of different weapons, and it seems like the ball's going a lot of different places," said Jason Witten after practice on Thursday. "You really don't know where it's going a lot of times. So anytime you have that, it makes them prepare for a lot of different things, and we just got to continue to build on these plans and continue to be able to protect the quarterback and execute like we have."

    Witten, speaking outside of his locker yesterday, made clear that Dallas' versatility on offense can only shine through when Tony Romo is on his feet. Therein lies the hard part.

    "You got to protect it, first," Witten said. "They have eight defensive linemen that could play anywhere in the league right now, they're that good up front. It starts and finishes with those guys, and you add in Chris (Canty) in that group and he's familiar with our offense, so I just think we have to be able to protect the ball, run the ball some and then offensively, in the passing game, just a lot of different formations, a lot of different weapons, [is] how we'll attack them."