The interior of the Dallas offensive line faces its biggest challenge of the season this Sunday against the Detroit Lions.
Because that's where defensive tackles Dan Wilkinson and Shaun Rogers cover
enormous tracts of land with their identical 6-foot-4, 340-pound
frames. Thanks to the Oakland Raiders somehow listing Warren Sapp at
300 pounds (and if that's accurate, Drew Bledsoe is 150), Rogers and
Wilkinson do represent the 'biggest' challenge of the 2005 season.
"Yeah, they're huge," guard Marco Rivera said. "You've just got to push
on them, try to open up some cracks and let the running backs do their
Rivera is the Cowboys' reigning expert on Detroit, having faced the
Lions twice a year as a member of the Green Bay Packers.
"The thing about Detroit -- and I know them well, from when I was in
Green Bay -- they're big on defense, and they're really as tough as
we'll face all year," Rivera said. "When you play Detroit, you can
expect a hard, physical game -- it's going go be a physical game
Rivera said that the idea that Rogers and Wilkinson are nothing but
immovable forces is far from accurate.
"They're both (340), but they both can run, too," Rivera said. "They're
big enough that we've almost got to play a perfect game as an offensive
line to be successful."
Ironically, Rivera said he almost became a Lion in the offseason. As a
free agent, he considered Dallas and Detroit before signing with the
"I know (Detroit) Coach (Steve) Mariucci, and I respect him a lot,"
Rivera said. "And I know their G.M., Matt Millen. We're both 'Penn
"To me, it came down to a chance to be coached by Bill Parcells. I grew
up in New York, with his Giants teams. I got a chance to play for (Penn State) Coach (Joe) Paterno, and he's a great coach. I got to play for
(former Green Bay) Coach (Mike) Holmgren, and he's a great coach. Now I
have another chance to play for another great coach."