- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"Maybe we were too complicated; maybe we tried to put in too much in one week," Danny White said. "Several times we lined up in the wrong formation. A few times we went off-side. Everyone was so busy thinking out there. Everyone was so worried about getting his assignment right. It's just tough to think and be natural at the same time, to go 100%. We had a great week of practice, but every team in the NFL is undefeated in practice. I think we tried to outsmart the Steelers instead of out-physicaling them. How many dropped passes did we have today?"
Ten, was the bad news.
"Ten," White said, shaking his head. "Maybe we heard footsteps. That's part of the Steelers' intimidation, but I think it's something else. We have great receivers, but today they weren't fluid; they weren't natural. They were too tight and keyed up. You know, our whole operation is based on intellect. Our offense is based on hiding our intentions. All that movement we use is to prevent the defense from teeing off on us. Our draft is geared to the intelligent athlete. We don't draft big-muscled weight lifters who can't count to 10. It's tough to change your whole philosophy and start drafting bigger, stronger guys who'll go out and hit and don't want to think."
The question facing Landry as he sits in the silence of the film room and watches his Cowboys getting knocked around by the guys in the black and gold is this: Does he stick with a philosophy that's eminently successful for the great mass of NFL competition but simply won't work against one team? Or does he switch gears and come out roaring? Each of the Cowboys' seven victories this year has been against a team with a losing record. The only winning teams they've faced—Pittsburgh and Cleveland—beat them. And the last time the Cowboys scored as few as three points—against Washington in the NFC championship in 1972—they took the same kind of physical beating they received from the Steelers.
"I don't think we really have to change anything," Landry said. " Pittsburgh just played an excellent defensive game. Even as poorly as we played offensively, we had chances to go in once or twice, but couldn't. If we do, it's a different story."
"If," Bradshaw said. "Always the big if."
A lump was forming behind Staubach's left ear. He had tried to scramble out of a rush, but Banaszak and Gary Dunn had teed him up and Greenwood had connected, rendering him unconscious for a minute or so. "It's not that bad, really," Staubach said. "There was a time when I didn't know where I was, and my face started to get numb, but I felt I could have gone back in."
Staubach is 37 years old. He shouldn't have to take the kind of beating the Steelers gave him, but it goes with the paycheck. He says he'd like another crack at Pittsburgh this season. "You get hungry to beat 'em, you know?" he said.
The trouble is, Pittsburgh has hungry people, too. And smart people. Better not try to fool them again.