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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: "Believe In Them And They'll Play Hard."

Latest Dallas Cowboys headlines: DL coach Rod Marinelli reveals how he gets the best from his no-name unit, the Cowboys want to get Dez Bryant and Jason Witten more involved, and Tyron Smith draws rave reviews.

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Corvey Irvin brings different element to DL - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
The Cowboys signed DT Irvin because he brings "a little more size than some of the other guys" who had taken snaps at the position, Archer writes. Archer also quotes Rod Marinelli, who provides some insight into how he gets his band of no-names to play as hard as they can:

"I just think you look for the best in every man," Marinelli said. "That’s the first thing. It’s easy to look for what they can’t do and then guys don’t want to coach them. I have a tendency to find out what he can do. Maybe it’s from an attitude or movement or instincts. You don’t get to take him. I’ve always believed that you build a player from the ground, from your feet all the way up. And that takes a little bit of time to do that. So it’s just got to be speeded up, but I still try to do the same thing. And then you got to go reps and get the guys out. First of all, I think they have to see that you believe in them. And they’ll play hard."

Scouting Report: Broaddus Evaluates New DT Corvey Irvin -
Broaddus reviews two 2013 preseason games to form an opinion on newly signed Corvey Irvin, and concludes that Irvin will likely fit the Cowboys' scheme, and will probably be a better pass rusher than run stuffer.

Getting Dez Bryant and Jason Witten more catches - Calvin Watkins, ESPN Dallas
Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten combined for just 22 catches over the last three games. In 2012, their average over three games was 38 combined receptions. The Cowboys are working on getting both more strongly involved in the passing game again.

Miles Austin can be Cowboys' difference maker - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer argues that the Cowboys need WR Miles Austin more than people want to believe:

Teams have to defend the Cowboys differently when Austin plays. He can -- and has -- made big plays outside and inside. Cole Beasley has done a nice job, but is he more effective in smaller doses? Terrance Williams has slowed down some in the last three games as well. A focus of the bye week for the Cowboys was to find ways to get Dez Bryant and Jason Witten the ball more. Having Austin on the field should help.

Word of Muth: Games Saints Play - Football Outsiders
Ben Muth returns with a detailed look at the offensive line performance against the Saints - and he finds some positives that may not have been immediately apparent when watching the game, especially regarding Tyron Smith:

Well, lock the door and draw the shades because that right there is hot, hot football pornography.

This is what happens when great technique meets incredible strength and athleticism. Smith sets, recognizes the game, steps down inside, gets absolutely perfect hand placement (right in the defenders armpit), launches the defensive tackle off his feet to the inside, and ends up creating a domino effect down the defensive line.

NFL's worst offseason decisions - John Clayton, ESPN
Clayton reviews the five biggest mistakes made this offseason, and has the Cowboys' move to a Cover 2 defense ranked number one on his list:

Moving the Cover 2 to Dallas has turned into a historically bad decision. No team has given up an average of more than 300 passing yards a game through an entire season. The Cowboys are giving up 313 passing yards a game and have lost middle linebacker Sean Lee for 3-4 weeks with a hamstring injury.

Dallas offense playing down to defense's level -
Tony Romo is having trouble getting the ball to Dez Bryant, or anyone else for that matter, but it may come down to each player executing better for the offense to find it's groove again:

"We're watching film and the stuff we're doing is working," receiver Cole Beasley said. "We're just not executing. Like sometimes we'll have guys open and something in the protection will break down and sometimes they protect really well and somebody runs the wrong route. Just one little minor breakdown just messes up the whole play."

Caesar Rayford signed to practice squad - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Rayford cleared waivers on Wednesday and was signed to the practice squad. DE Rayford, at 6-7, 267 pounds, had been (mis)-used as a defensive tackle, and with the signing of Corvey Irvin, the Cowboys get a body type more suited for playing DT.

Q&A with Boston College OT John Wetzel - Football Dialogue
This is an interview from April with the newest member of the Cowboys' practice squad, 6’7’’, 318 pound John Wetzel.

Putting the NFC East Schedules Under the Microscope - Football Perspective
Chase Stuart takes a long, close look at the NFC East schedule and concludes that the Week 17 matchup between the Cowboys and Eagles will be a win-or-go-home game that will decide the division title and the sole NFC East playoff participant.

Toxic differential favors Philadelphia Eagles in NFC East -
Brian Billick explains a telling stat that empasizes big plays just as much as takeaways: the 'toxic differential' combines turnover differential and explosive-play differential into one number. The Cowboys only rank 19th using this metric, because while they have the second-best turnover differential in the league, they also have the second-worst big play differential in the league.

How the Texans Fell From Grace - Grantland
Bill Barnwell takes a look at how the Texans fell apart this year, and provides a cautionary tale of how a series of toxic contracts and failure to develop adequate in-house talent has left the Texans in the dire straits they find themselves in.

Breaking Madden: Pat McAfee, Destroyer of Worlds -
In this episode of Breaking Madden, Jon Bois pushes Colts punter Pat McAfee's Madden ratings as high as they can go, and tries to find out whether a punter can win a game all by himself.


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