So I went golfing this past weekend in Arizona, and I shot a 98 one day. You won't see me giving up my day job any time soon to join the PGA Tour. As a defensive lineman, you should be able to at least shoot your jersey number.
Anyways, we shifted back into football mode Monday with a practice and some film review of the Dallas Cowboys. It wasn't that tough to switch gears, even after being off for five days. Every time you put on the pads like we did, you know it's time to go again. If you're out there half-stepping somebody's going to get you, so you can't practice lethargically.
Dallas is an established team with established players. My first thought when I think of the Cowboys is that they're considered "America's Team." In my youth, they were the team to beat, you know. Dallas and San Francisco were going at it year in year out. Everyone had a love-hate relationship with the Cowboys, and I was on the hate side.
One of the first things I heard when I came to Houston was: 19-10. I was like, '19-10? What is that?' People were like, 'We don't care what you do, just beat those Cowboys this year, just like we did in 2002.' So I quickly learned know how big this rivalry is for our fans. It's equally as big for us.
Winning would be a huge boost for our season. Last week against Miami was great. But we beat a team that was struggling. Let's be honest. For us to go out there and beat a team that's supposedly a playoff team could be huge for this organization. It has the potential to boost us for the rest of the season.
Looking at film, we have a lot on our plate this week preparing for Dallas. One reason to be excited to play them, particularly from a defensive lineman's perspective, is that we're facing a quarterback in Drew Bledsoe that isn't a big threat to scramble. He's a great quarterback, and you know if he has time he's going to find somebody open. But he's not very mobile. So for a defensive lineman, you look at that and you pin your ears back and go after him because you know he's not going to run away from you.
This game is all about momentum, and I think as a team, and as a defense, we need to carry the energy from our last win into this week's game. The thing that we did the best against Miami was getting after the quarterback, and that's something that we need to have become a staple around here. The defensive line, linebackers, secondary, we all have to step up against Dallas and give pressure to the quarterback because it helps everybody.
Granted, we can't ignore Dallas' running game, either. Coach Kubiak said that the Cowboys are running as well as any team in the league, and I'd have to agree with him. They're very explosive. Julius Jones, a guy I played with in college, is a scat back, and he can go all over the place. He can play with his power, too. He's so shifty. I played against him once in Baltimore and he's one of those guys that when you're in front of him, you don't know which way he's going to go so you've got to keep an eye on his hip and try to make the tackle because you need guys there. You need a swarming defense because one guy might miss that tackle.
The second-string guy, Marion Barber, I saw him play Sunday and he was running well, too. So the running game is something you've got to stop. If you want to put pressure on Bledsoe, you have to stop the running game first and foremost.
The Cowboys are coming off a loss at Philadelphia, which I think it good for us. It puts us in a good spot because right now they're probably questioning themselves a little bit. They're going to come out hungry, playing in front of their home crowd, and they definitely don't want to lose the in-state game for the second consecutive time. So I'm expecting a dog fight, which is exactly what I like.