clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Seahawks Are Biggest Test Yet For Young Cowboys Team

Latest Cowboys headlines: No pressure on Dallas to win in Seattle; How Cowboys can run through Seahawks and rest of NFC; Pulling off upset means limiting Russell Wilson.

Tom Pennington

Aikman: No pressure on Dallas | Sporting News
Troy Aikman says the Cowboys’ commitment to rebuilding their offensive line is paying off and has paved the way for the ground game, which in turn has allowed the Cowboys to run more playaction and puts less pressure on Tony Romo to carry this team.

"There’s no pressure on Dallas," Aikman said. "The expectations are that they’re not going to be able to go into Seattle and win this game. I expect them as a result of that to play well and play loose."

Defending champion Seattle super test for surging Dallas - San Antonio Express-News
This AP report suggests today's game will tell us whether the Cowboys are true contenders in the NFC.

With the schedule that lies ahead, including the next three games at home, whether the Cowboys can come in to Seattle and be the first non-NFC West team to win here since the 2011 season won't ultimately determine the success of their season.

But the validity of starting 4-1 and legitimacy of whether the Cowboys are true contenders in the NFC would be strengthened by a win over the Seahawks.

Cowboys face biggest test on road against Super Bowl champs | FOX Sports
Keith Whitmire sees this game as a "measuring stick" for the Cowboys.

"They're defending champs, so any time you go to play them, it shows where you are as a football team," Witten said.

Gosselin: How young Cowboys are following Seattle's Super Bowl model | DMN
Gosselin writes that the 1992 Cowboys and 2013 Seahawks both rode youth to their Super Bowl titles, and that the 2014 Cowboys are following that blueprint:

The youngest lineup in the NFC, surprisingly, belongs to the Cowboys with an average age of 26.2. The Cowboys began paring age from their roster in 2010, Jason Garrett’s first full season as coach. He inherited a lineup that averaged 28.1 years. Subtracting aging and expensive offensive linemen Leonard Davis, Andre Gurode and Marc Colombo helped lower the average age of the lineup to 26.9 in the span of one season.

A commitment to youth also meant a commitment to keeping draft picks. That youth helped the Cowboys lower their average age of the lineup to 26.8 by 2013 and finally to 26.2 this season. Eight players drafted in the Garrett era are now starting, including NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray.

Now the challenge for the Cowboys is to win with a young team. It’s possible. The team across the sideline Sunday is proof of that.

Dallas-Seattle: How Cowboys can run through Seahawks and rest of NFC | FOX Sports
Coy Wire, a nine-year NFL veteran, writes that the Cowboys' ground game is what gives them a shot to do what very few teams have done recently – win in Seattle.

When I broke down the tape of the Cowboys’ run game, I was surprised by the simplicity of it. I figured I’d see a lot of different formations and several different run concepts – which overwhelmed defenders and challenged them mentally – forcing a lot of misfits and mental errors in the run game. That couldn’t have been further from reality. Dallas’ run game is as simple as it gets.

In their past two games, the Cowboys used the zone play, stretch play and a Bim-o about 95 percent of the time. That’s right, just three different runs. What’s even more impressive is they ran these out of basically two formations. They are so confident -- and effective -- with what they do that there’s no need for any bells and whistles.

Wire then proceeds to break down a few run plays to demonstrate how efficient the Cowboys' run game is, and concludes that Dallas is a bad matchup for Seattle:

In 19 games since the beginning of last season, the Seahawks are 6-4 when allowing 100-plus rush yards and 9-0 when allowing fewer than 100 rush yards. Seattle has an outstanding defense, but they are at their best when they can play cover 2-man in the secondary.

Being that Dallas uses a three-wide receiver set most of the time, that would mean the Seahawks would have to stop the run with only six men in the box. I’m not sure that’s possible based on how well the Cowboys have been executing the runs we looked at above.

To pull off upset, Cowboys must stop Russell Wilson's 'nakeds and boots' | David Moore, DMN
Moore writes that the Cowboys "appear to have a fighter’s chance most would not have given them a few weeks ago" against Seattle, and a large part of that chance will hinge on the Cowboys' ability to contain Russell Wilson.

"He’s very good throwing from the pocket,’’ Garrett said. "He’s very good in space. He’s got a good feel for the game. And he seems to throw all kinds of balls.

"He does designed quarterback runs. He runs nakeds and boots. And he scrambles, so he’s out in space a lot. If you watched the game the other night, if you watch him really throughout his career, he makes a lot of those kinds of plays, little plays, big plays with his feet, keeps his eyes up, makes throws down the field, but again, plays very well within their system.’’

Pondering Dallas Cowboys' 46: Five players, two spots - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer offers his weekly look at the inactives for the game, and suggests it will come down to the defensive line, where five players are in the mix for only two open spots: Jack Crawford, Lavar Edwards, Davon Coleman, Ken Bishop and Terrell McClain.

Crawford popped up on the injury report Friday with a calf injury. Edwards has been inactive for all but one game in which he has been on the roster but offers some protection if Crawford can’t play. McClain did not play well versus Houston, so the Cowboys could go with Bishop to help combat the Seahawks' running game. Coleman started the first two games but has been inactive the past three games.

With the Seahawks’ strong running game, Bishop might be a better call this week.

Seahawks add a safety, which could mean no Kam Chancellor on Sunday | ProFootballTalk
The Seahawks announced that safety Steven Terrell has been promoted from the practice squad.

The promotion of Terrell suggests that safety Kam Chancellor, who is questionable with a hip problem, [may be out for Sunday]. While Terrell doesn’t play strong safety, he gives the Seahawks depth behind Earl Thomas, since his normal understudy (Jeron Johnson) would start for Chancellor, if Chancellor doesn’t play.

The DeMarco Murray dilemma | National Football Post
Joel Corry, a former player agent, writes that when a player like DeMarco Murray has a dominant season in a contract year, he becomes one of the highest paid players at his position. But because of the recent devaluation of running backs, that compensation may not be as high as in previous years. Corry suggests the following parameters for Murray's contract extension:

Compensating Murray in the neighborhood of the low end of the 2012 running back market explosion in the $7 million per year range on a four-year extension with $12 million to $15 million in guarantees seems reasonable if Murray remains relatively healthy and continues to perform at a high level this season.

The deal could contain not likely to be earned incentives (NLTBEs) and/or base salary escalators that would increase Murray’s compensation if he continued to perform like an upper echelon running back. Murray’s deal could also have significant salary de-escalators to protect the Cowboys against declining performance.

Sunday morning links and notes: America's Team makes rare visit | Seahawks Blog | Seattle Times
This is the Seattle equivalent of our News & Notes post. If you're unhappy with our links this morning, head on over there and check out what they have on offer.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Blogging The Boys Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Dallas Cowboys news from Blogging The Boys