What a difference a week makes. Still the Dallas Cowboys showed problems both times that became clearer the second. With so much riding on the 2012 season could they work a trade for Miami Dolphins tackle Jake Long?
Cowboys line can't spring DeMarco Murray against Seattle Seahawks
Seven points on the road against a team they should beat isn't the way to win a championship. Dallas learned the hard way that just because they beat the defending champs in their own building didn't crown them the new kings of the NFC. Tony Romo looked rattled by the usual hostile fans of the Seattle Seahawks but the true failure of the game goes to the Dallas lines. While their defensive front couldn't stop Marshawn Lynch on the ground, their offensive line failed to spring DeMarco Murray all day. Tackles Doug Free and Tyron Smith had no push against the Seahawks front. No one knows this is a problem because Murray rushed for over 120 yards last week in New York. However a look at the tape shows most of those yards came on a play that got bottled up in the backfield before Murray slipped away. This is a real problem for the Cowboys. Unless their line improves they could have more offensive swoons like they did Sunday. If it truly is a make-or-break year for this team than they need to start forming a backup plan. Is All-Pro Jake Long of the Miami Dolphins one they should target?
Reggie Bush and Brian Hartline mask a Miami offensive issue
Unlike Murray the Miami Dolphins got a huge game out of running back Reggie Bush. His 172 yards and two touchdowns led the way while receiver Brian Hartline made some big catches in a win over the Oakland Raiders. It was a nice game for the Dolphins offense but doesn't solve their overall problems. Hartline had 111 receiving yards, over half the passing yards of quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The next closest Devon Bess with 43. The real heroes of that game were the offensive line led by center Mike Pouncey and Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long. Their effort helped Miami pile up over 200 rushing yards against a pretty good Raiders defense. Long was a key piece, keeping all the linemen in the huddle and even the running backs aware of their blocking assignments. It is the kind of leadership one expects from one of the best in the game. That said the Dolphins are still a rebuilding team. Better defenses await and Miami needs to start thinking about finding more weapons for Tannehill. Long is a free agent in 2013 and nowhere close to a new deal. He is also struggling with injury problems. Trading him sounds hasty but his value won't go higher than it is now. The Cowboys would love to have him. Not only is he an experienced veteran but a premier run blocker. His addition would give Dallas a key piece in taking the NFC East crown. In return Miami could get a receiver like Miles Austin and a draft pick in return.
The Seattle Seahawks exposed the Dallas Cowboys for who they are. Without DeMarco Murray the offense will struggle. That could mean finding help on the offensive line. If Jake Long can turn Reggie Bush into a star, then the Miami Dolphins should set the price pretty high if a trade happens.
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