The Kansas City Chiefs’ defense was dominant last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. This week, the Chiefs have a much stiffer test at home against the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys beat the New York Giants on the Sunday night game, 36-31, in what was a truly unwatchable and sloppy contest. There were seven turnovers and I know for all Addicts how painful it was to see one of our favorite former players, Brandon Carr, get a pick-six while wearing the blue and silver of Dallas.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo played well enough, hitting on 36 of 49 pass attempts for 263 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. His offensive line was decent, giving up just two sacks for 19 yards and six hits on the quarterback. In comparison, the Chiefs defense had six sacks and 10 QB hits against the Jaguars.
The key match-up for this home opener may be Chiefs’ nose tackle Dontari Poe against Cowboys’ rookie center Travis Frederick. Frederick was the Cowboys’ first round pick and 31st overall pick in this year’s 2013 NFL Draft. He played for the Badgers of the University of Wisconsin and was the consensus, highest-rated center available. The matchup numbers are favorable for Poe, however. In the NFL Combine, Frederick ran a 5.58 in the forty yard dash, the second slowest among all offensive lineman. Two years ago, Poe ran a 4.98 and he outweighs Frederick by thirty pounds. It gets worse. Frederick had only 21 repetitions in the 225 lb. bench press. Poe had 44 reps, or more than twice as many as Frederick.
As we all saw last week, Poe is on his way to having a dominant season, which may or may not be related to removing barbeque from his diet. He embarrassed Jaguar center and longtime veteran Brad Meester. I”m afraid that Poe may literally eat Travis Frederick on Sunday, like a really fast whale swallows krill as it inhales water moving forward towards, well, Tony Romo (this may be the first time the young Travis Frederick has been compared to krill).
The offensive line was one of the biggest concerns for the Cowboys this offseason, so much so that they have brought in former Chiefs legend Brian Waters to play guard (I’ll never say a bad word, ever, about Waters). The Cowboys are most certainly sweating, figuring out how to gameplan for Poe. They will likely double-team him with some combination of a running back, Waters, current right guard starter Mackenzy Bernadeau, left guard Ronald Leary (who started for the first time in his career last week) or all of the above.
This scenario is exactly what new Chiefs Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton was hoping for. If Poe and the defensive front three of the Chiefs can get into the backfield, opposing teams will be forced to double team up the middle, leaving lanes wide open for inside linebackers Derrick Johnson and Akeem Jordan; defensive ends Mike DeVito and Tyson Jackson; and of course outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.
There’s no better way to slow down Romo, running back DeMarco Murray and receivers Miles Austin and Dez Bryant (although Bryant may be out with a bum ankle) then to disrupt Romo’s timing and make him hate his offensive line. Each and every Cowboy fan already has a love/hate relationship with Romo. If Poe and company apply pressure right up the gut, then we can all see the Romo we like: the one throwing interceptions. Those interceptions start that wonderful blame-and-shame spiral, where fans start booing Romo, Romo plays the sullen martyr, Head Coach Jason Garrett gets that “angry-but-I-don’t-know-what-to-do” look and owner Jerry Jones (the Al Davis of the NFC) starts looking like he’s going to fire somebody, or better yet, start stockpiling overrated, over-the-hill free agents.
If Dontari Poe eats the Cowboys’ center, look out for another stellar showing by the Chiefs’ defense. I know I’ll be watching every snap to see if Frederick is moving forwards or backwards. Addicts, do you think Poe will turn Frederick into a plate of burnt ends?!!