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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Rams On High Alert For DeMarco Murray

Latest Cowboys headlines: The Cowboys defense is proving critics wrong; Dan Bailey is chasing records; Can DeMarco Murray repeat previous success against the Rams?

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Tom Pennington

With Cowboys now a running juggernaut, can DeMarco Murray repeat previous success against Rams? | Barry Horn, DMN
Short answer at the end of a long article:

"We can’t say going into the game, it’s not going to work," Scott Linehan said. "We’ve got to make the commitment to go with the same schemes that got us there."

Success of running game due to Murray or O-line? - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer answers a mailbag question about who's to credit for the Cowboys success on the ground so far this year:

I hate to go all Jason Garrett on you here, but I think it's a combination of the two. I'd lean more to the offensive line as the bigger factor, but I wouldn't give it that much of an edge. Murray has done a good job of turning nothing into something a few times so far. But the line has been better, as expected, with three first-round picks up front.

Pondering the Dallas Cowboys' 46: Down to Rolando McClain - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer suggests there's a slim chance Rolando McClain could still suit up for the Rams today:

Officially, McClain is doubtful with a groin injury. He did not practice the entire week but the Cowboys will wait to see how he warms up Sunday morning. The Cowboys called up Keith Smith from the practice squad so that should give you an idea McClain is not playing.

DallasCowboys.Com Writers Give Their Game 3 Gut Feeling -
All four staff writers believe the Cowboys will win, but since that isn't exactly breaking news, we'll spice up our news roundup with one prediction from each of the writers:

Nick Eatman: Dan Bailey saves the Cowboys late – possibly on a record-breaking field goal.

Bryan Broaddus: DeMarco Murray has over 145 yards on the ground and leaves St. Louis extending his mark as the top rusher in the NFL.

Rowan Kavner: Cole Beasley ends the day with the most catches for the Cowboys.

David Helman: I think Murray is going to have three rushing touchdowns, and Jason Witten will catch one.

With tough stretch ahead, it's time to focus on guy Cowboys drafted instead of QB they didn't | Rick Gosselin, DMN
Seems like Gosselin is always worried about something. Today he's worried that "blocking for DeMarco Murray hasn’t been a problem over the first two weeks of the season. But blocking for Tony Romo has," and goes on to point out the next opponents on the schedule. All of whom are "real tests" for pass protection: "the Rams — then the Saints the following weekend, plus the Texans, Seahawks, Redskins and Cardinals in future weeks."

Gosselin also reminds us that December is just around the corner. That means Gosselin gets this year's early bird award for being the first to dig out the Cowboys-in-December storyline.

Microchips the next big thing in sports technology and Cowboys, Mavericks leading the way | Brad Townsend, DMN
The Cowboys have been working with an Australian company called Catapult Sports, which provide GPS tracking equipment for players during practice "that assesses players’ training loads, with a primary goal of limiting soft-tissue injuries — muscle, ligament and tendon."

Careful not to divulge many specifics about Catapult’s work with the Cowboys, McCoy will say only that coach Jason Garrett is engaged in the technology and that director of football research Thomas Robinson and assistant strength and conditioning coach Brett Bech are among the NFL’s best at assembling and utilizing data.

And, McCoy says, because the Cowboys have been gathering data longer than most teams, they have a larger sample size and "are starting to put context around the data. The Cowboys are actually in a leadership position with this in the NFL."

This is not the first time we've heard about Catapult Sports and the Cowboys, but the article is a very interesting read anyway, if you're into this type of stuff.

PFF Preview: Cowboys @ Rams, Week 3 - Pro Football Focus
The guys at PFF drop some interesting stat nuggets on us:

DeMarco Murray – Has had great success running to the left this season. He averages 6.75 yards a carry when hitting the left side compared to 3.47 to the right.

Tyrone Crawford - Leads the team in both quarterback hurries and hits with five and two, respectively.

Dez Bryant – Fits in among the Top 10 for wide receivers with 2.72 Yards per Route Run so far in 2014. Was 16th last season with a 2.05 mark.

Quinn vs Doug Free Only Exists In Nightmares - KD Drummond,
KD writes that Cowboys fans shouldn't concern themselves with how Doug Free will be able to stop the pass rush expertise of the Rams' Robert Quinn. Why? Because Quinn lines up on the other side.

How former Oklahoma State cornerback Tyler Patmon turned a tryout into a job with the Dallas Cowboys | News OK
This is a perfect feelgood story for a Sunday Morning.

Cowboys defense proving critics wrong - Calvin Hill, Star-Telegram
The Star-Telegram has made the regrettable decision to hide behind a pay wall, which makes this the last of their articles I'll quote in my morning news roundups. In the article, Calvin Hill reflects on a defense that doesn't appear to be as bad as originally thought

Some people even predicted that this defense might become the worst in league history. Of course, then the season started, and the Cowboys defense suddenly is not as bad as previous [sic] thought.

That’s overall feeling [sic] the Cowboys have as a defense. They feel good about their start. But they know its [sic] early. They are focused on continuing to work and continuing to get better.

"It’s a fight to stay consistent to stay humble and to stay hungry at the same time," cornerback Brandon Carr said. "It’s a long season. There is still a lot of motivation from last year. It has us with a big chip on our shoulder. We have that taste in our mouth every time we step on the field. The last week is an indication as far us trying to turn that corner and trying to become that dominant defense. But it’s a long road ahead of us. Each time we stop on the field its [sic] in the back of our mind."

Cowboys kicker Bailey takes aim at club field-goal record | Charean Williams, The Bellingham Herald
The Star-Telegram may hide behind a paywall, but they haven't yet told the Bellingham Herald to put the Star-Telegram's syndicated content behind a paywall as well. In this article, Williams points out that Bailey's 26 consecutive field goals trails Chris Boniol's franchise record by only one.

Bailey's last miss was almost a year ago, on Sept. 29, 2013, in San Diego, when his 56-yard try was wide left. It was only the ninth miss of his career. He has been near-perfect in his four-year career, making 91.3 percent of his 103 field goal attempts. That's the best percentage by a kicker over the past four seasons.


Rams on high alert for Cowboys running back Murray - The State Journal-Register
Murray leads the NFL with 285 yards rushing and is second with a 5.6-yard average, never mind what he's done to the Rams in the past.

Even while attending the birth of a daughter earlier this week, James Laurinaitis had DeMarco Murray on the brain. The St. Louis Rams middle linebacker cradled the baby in one arm. With the other, to the amusement of his wife, he watched Dallas Cowboys game tape on the team-issued Ipad.

To be fair, it’s tough to blame anyone on the defense for spending too much time studying tendencies of a running back they’re chasing in their dreams. Murray rushed for 175 yards and a touchdown last year against the Rams, and in 2011 he rolled up a franchise-record 253 yards, including a 91-yard jaunt, both times proving a key to Cowboys victories over St. Louis.

"It hurts your pride a lot," Laurinaitis said. "He’s gotten so many yards on defenses you’ve been a part of, and you see what he’s done this year as well."

Rams need to see improvement on both sides of the ball vs. Cowboys | News Democrat
Norm Sanders points out that after two games, the St. Louis Rams have only one touchdown, and their vaunted defense has just one sack.

Five Players to Watch vs. the Cowboys -
Two of the five players proposed by the Rams' mothership are defensive players Robert Quinn and James Laurinaitis, and the latter may be the key to what the Cowboys can do on the ground:

The Rams’ middle linebacker is always important, and this week is no different as the defense goes up against running back DeMarco Murray and the Cowboys’ offense. Murray’s past success against the Rams has been well documented, as has St. Louis’ struggles against the run so far in 2014. Laurinaitis said this week that the front seven as a whole must play better, and that will certainly be true against Murray. Laurinaitis will more than likely be a significant factor if that improvement is to happen this week.

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