To have a chance to upset the Bucs on the night they hang a banner, the Cowboys need to keep quarterback Tom Brady from picking them apart. It’s far easier said than done.
Defensive end Randy Gregory recently explained to the team’s official website the things that he and the other defensive linemen need to do.
“You got to make him feel uncomfortable,” Gregory said. “With him he likes to stand tall. You’ve got to make sure you keep bodies around him, even if you’re not hitting him, just being able to get around him, get your hands up, different things like that. Knock him off the spot. Just not really give him a chance to pick us apart as a defense. . . .
“Our main goal as a defensive line is to be disruptive, get in the backfield, and get to the quarterback, and cause issues that way. But just not making him feel like he can drop back and stand in the same spot that he dropped back in.”
Pressuring and confusing Brady works. The problem is that, in his 22nd season, there’s nothing you can do that he hasn’t previously seen. Dallas nevertheless will try. What other choice do they have?
“Blitzing,” Gregory said. “Disguising different calls, things like that — those are all different ways you can kind of get him off his spot, getting him thinking twice about what he wants to do with the ball.”
As seen most notably in the NFC Championship, Brady’s intense (and wise) desire to avoid contact will result in Brady periodically throwing the ball up for grabs in order to avoid taking a hit. Sometimes, those balls can be intercepted.
The Cowboys will need one or two of those tonight, along with an offense that can otherwise move the ball and score points, to have a shot at beating the Bucs.