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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Cowboys Daring Opponents To Try And Stop The Run

Latest Cowboys headlines: The ground game is helping the passing game in Dallas; DeMarco Murray leads list of MVP candidates; Garrett for Coach of The Year?

Tom Pennington

Greg Cosell's Film Review: How Dallas' run game is helping Tony Romo | Yahoo Sports
The main storyline of the season for the Cowboys has been the running game. Cosell looks at film to find out how the running game is helping Romo, Bryant and the passing offense as well.

You are starting to see defenses react to Dallas’ running game, with their great offensive line and running back DeMarco Murray.

The main way to see how the Cowboys’ run game affected the Giants was through Dez Bryant. The Giants’ focus was on stopping the Cowboys’ run game more than Bryant, as they played almost exclusively with eight-man fronts and single-high safety coverages. The second half featured Prince Amukamara on Bryant in one-on-one coverage most of the time, and Bryant got the best of it. He had nine catches for 151 yards.

Redskins embrace challenge of trying to contain Murray - The Washington Post
The Redskins think that containing Murray is not complicated. It’s all about discipline, they believe.

“Gap responsibility,” inside linebacker Keenan Robinson says. “We’ve been saying it, and coaches have stressed that we don’t need any heroes. As long as everybody does their job, plays every play and we’re in our gaps and playing with technique that calls upon for that specific play. That’s why we’ve been so good because we’ve been doing our job and not doing too much by getting outside of our gap to make a play. We’re allowing the next guy up to make a play. If I don’t make the tackle, then either my D-line is going to make it, or Perry [Riley] is going to make it, or one of the safeties is going to make it.”

Scott Linehan shines when teams key on DeMarco Murray | David Moore, DMN
Linehan’s play-calling and his willingness to feature a variety of options has helped transform a good offense into a dominant one, David Moore writes.

A Cowboys offense that has fallen below 44 percent in third down conversions in the previous seven seasons now leads the league at 57.4 percent. Only three other teams are over 50 percent, and all are well behind the Cowboys’ pace.

The team’s improvement in this area has transformed a good offense into a dominant one. Murray’s ability to run the ball behind an overpowering offensive line has made a dramatic difference.

NFL MVP Projection: DeMarco Murray is new No. 1 heading into Week 8 -
John Breech lists DeMarco Murray as the top candidate for his MVP Projection.

Against the Giants on Sunday, Murray ran for 128 yards, making him the first running back in NFL history to start a season with seven consecutive 100-yard games. Murray broke the record of Jim Brown, who started the 1958 season with six consecutive 100-yard games. Not to take anything away from Peyton Manning's touchdown record, but that had only stood for four years before Manning broke it in Week 7. Murray broke a record that had stood for FIFTY-SIX YEARS.

Jason Garrett: Demarcus Lawrence likely back Week 9 -
Garrett told reporters yesterday that DeMarcus Lawrence should be activated in time for the team's Week 9 meeting with the Arizona Cardinals.

Once healthy, the rookie is a lock to see snaps as a pass-rushing specialist behind Jeremy Mincey and Tyrone Crawford. With George Selvie and Anthony Spencer in the mix, Lawrence will have time to develop as Dallas preps for its playoff push.

Dallas Cowboys' Anthony Spencer makes it through full week of practice - ESPN Dallas
For the first time this season, Dallas Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer went through every day of practice leading into a game.

Garrett for Coach of The Year? - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer answers a Twitter mailbag question about whether Jason Garrett should be included in the Coach of The Year discussion.

He should be at the top of the discussion. I think he should be the guy so far. The Cowboys had no expectations. Even the most ardent supporter, Jerry Jones, wasn't willing to go out on a limb and predict much at the start of the season. He acknowledged things will be a challenge this year. So Garrett deserves a ton of credit for the team's start, the team's approach and the team's ability to overcome. They are all things he has stressed since taking over.

But I don't think he would be the only candidate. Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians and Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell deserve some talk too. I don't know that those guys have done a better job than Garrett, but they would deserve attention too. But again, the Cowboys had the lowest expectations of those three teams, to me, at the start of the season, so Garrett would get my vote. And I don't have a vote.

What They're Saying: Dallas Cowboys -
Every week, the Cowboys have a telephone conference with the media of the opposing team. never publishes a transcript of these calls, though many other teams do - like the Redskins this week. They have a full transcript of what Jason Garrett and Tony Romo told the Washington, D.C., media on this week's conference call.

Cowboys Eager For Monday Night Stage | David Helman,
Dez Bryant looks beyond the two teams' overall records:

"Like I said, I don’t think the records really matter whenever those teams are on the field. It’s all about bragging rights and all that kind of stuff," he said. "It’s going to be fun. It’s Monday night, only game showing on TV. I can’t wait."

"Record plays no part in this game," he said. "Is it the biggest rivalry in football, Washington and Dallas? That’s pretty big."

Orlando Scandrick's instincts set him apart - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Rod Marinelli is impressed with Sandrick's play, and Garrett concurs.

"O can really cover now," defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "He’s good at man to man. He’s a good zone player. He’s just to me really emerging. He’s a terrific tackler, great instincts and he’s good inside. You just see him growing and growing as a player."

"He is a physical player," coach Jason Garrett said. "He is aware. He is instinctive. He seems to be around the ball a lot. I just think he's gotten better and better. He has a lot of confidence defending inside and outside. He's got a lot of athletic ability. He is long. He's quick. Again, his instincts for the game are probably his best trait."

Safety Barry Church: Dallas Cowboys swarming the football has reduced defense’s need to make ‘unbelievable plays’ | Brandon George, DMN
With a headline as long as that, is there anything remaining in the article? Sure, player quotes.

"It has to do with less solo tackles than better tackling," Church said. "Last year, there were a lot of solo tackles, a lot of open-field tackles. Guys had to make unbelievable plays. This year, a lot of us are running to the ball and there’s two or three guys at the ball carrier instead of just one guy. That’s what’s got our missed tackles down from last year."

Could Cowboys RT Doug Free return against Arizona? | Dallas Morning News
Despite originally being expected to miss three-to-four weeks, Doug Free looks ready to rejoin practice next week according to Garrett, which could potentially mean a return against the Cardinals.

"We’ll see how he is next week when we start off on Wednesday and we’ll go from there,’’ Garrett said. "Initially it was a three or four week type thing. He traditionally heals fast. He’s a tough guy and we feel like he’s coming back relatively well.’’

Cardinals vs. Eagles: Up-tempo Philadelphia a non-concern for Arizona
After studying film of the Eagles, their much-heralded up-tempo offense is looking like a case of the Emperor's new clothes - at least according to Patrick Peterson.

Though the Eagles are not fond of huddling before plays, the Cardinals don't really see what all the fuss is about.

"I don't really call it up-tempo," Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson said. "They're snapping the ball at, maybe, an average of eight seconds, still. These guys are just not huddling up -- they have that 'check with me offense.'"

What that means, Peterson said, is that while the Eagles may get to the line of scrimmage quicker than most, from there they spend time looking over at the sideline for the play call while also surveying the defense. By the time they snap the ball, he said, there's still usually eight to 10 seconds on the play clock, which is pretty average for most teams.

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