The following post is going to read a lot like it is encouraging a Cowboys player to willfully commit penalties in order to do his job. If it does that means that the post has done its job, because we're here to discuss how Flozell Adams needs to play in the wake of his trip of Justin Tuck, attempted trip of Osi Umenyiora and the fine that resulted from those two incidents.
He needs to do anything and everything in his power to stop defensive players from sacking Tony Romo. The key name on Monday night is going to be Julius Peppers, but it doesn't matter if the Panthers use the rarely seen punter blitz to try and throw off the massive left tackle. By hook, by crook, by trip or by hold, Adams's job is to keep players from hitting Romo and he can't let the threat of fines, penalties or people calling him dirty stop him from doing so.
It would be swell if Adams didn't have to resort to skullduggery in order to succeed in pass protection, but we've watched enough of the Hotel to know that might not be possible. His size and below average footwork can make him a liability against skilled pass rushers off the edge, which makes him a gigantic honking red light for officials. He's picked up 87 penalties in the last 12 seasons, and if he keeps doing what he's supposed to do he'll pick up more.
Unless the Cowboys have a plan to lure Jonathan Ogden out of retirement or if they've been simply choosing to play Adams over a more agile player, they're just going to have to live with the flags. Better to lose yards than Romo and better to be accused of being a dirty player than of being a flat-out bad one. Clearly it is a spot that the Cowboys need to address in the near future, but for now Adams is what they've got and he's going to have to do what it takes to get the job done.
Monday night, Adams will need the entire bag of tricks at his disposal. The Panthers are 0-2 and already staring at a season on the brink, with Peppers bearing the brunt of any criticism that hasn't been leveled at their interception-happy quarterback Jake Delhomme. If that's not enough, Adams is charged with protecting a quarterback who desperately needs to have a good night. A heaping helping of Peppers isn't going to make that rebound any more likely, which puts Adams on the spot.
It might be dirty and it might be bush league, but there's no way around the fact that Adams has to be those things if he wants to help the Cowboys win football games.