clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Is DeMarco Murray Cowboys Best Defender?

Latest Cowboys headlines: The improved defensive performance this season may be due to the success of the offense; Jason Witten grades out as the most effective run-blocking tight end in the league; Can Cowboys stay comitted to the run vs. Saints?

Christian Petersen

Dez Bryant: Double me and DeMarco Murray will make you pay - Tim MacMahon, ESPN Dallas
Dez Bryant knows exactly what to expect from his old friend Rob Ryan.

"I know he’s going to double me," Bryant said. "I know he is. I’m ready for it."

Then again, in his next breath, Bryant makes the case for why it might not be smart for the Saints to double him.

"If they want to keep doubling," Bryant said, "DeMarco [Murray] will run for 150 or 200 more."

Why the Dallas Cowboys’ offense could be their best defense against the Saints | Rainer Sabin, DMN
Sabin writes that the improved defensive performance this season may be due to the success of the offense:

Marinelli, who tries to reduce his players’ workload in order to maximize their effectiveness, is pleased with the results so far. The defense is only averaging 61.7 snaps per game, and its improved performance this season is derived, in part, from its diminished playing time and exposure to attack.

Linehan, Cowboys showing commitment to run; can it continue vs. Saints? | David Moore, DMN
David Moore is one of the few reporters who's willing to go beyond the quick soundbite, and this is another highly readable article of his in which he looks at how the combination of Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan, coupled with the work of Bill Callahan and Frank Pollack in the ground game, has enabled the Cowboys to be a more fundamentally sound team on offense.

Witten plays big role in commitment to run - Tim MacMahon, ESPN Dallas
MacMahon points out that that Jason Witten grades out as the most effective run-blocking tight end in the league so far this season according to Pro Football Focus.

"It’s an aspect we don’t talk enough about," offensive coordinator Bill Callahan said. "In the zone run, you’ve got to be able to get to the edge. You’ve got to be able to capture those players that are trying to set the edge, and he’s such an important factor to getting outside. If you don’t have that type of blocking tight end, you’re whistling in the end."

Start 'em, Sit 'em, Smash 'em | National Football Post
Joe Fortenbaugh suggests that Tony "Air" Romo might be a good fantasy option if the Cowboys fall behind early.

The Dallas offense has leaned heavily on the running game through the first three weeks of the season (fifth in NFL in rushing attempts, third in rushing yards), but if the team’s defense falls to pieces Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, Romo will have no choice but to air it out against a secondary that is surrendering an average of 21.2 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season (8th-most in NFL). Don’t be fooled by how the Saints performed against Teddy Bridgewater last week, because this is still the same unit that gave up 448 passing yards to Matt Ryan in Week 1 and couldn’t stop Brian Hoyer during the fourth quarter in Week 2.


How many snaps will Spencer play on Sunday - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
In his weekly mailbag, Archer responds to a question about Anthony Spencer's potential snapcount on Sunday.

What we get to see in practice is so limited that we can't draw any conclusions on playing time, but the plan is to ease Spencer into a pass-rushing role. I would say that would mean 20-25 snaps to start at the top end. He played 34 snaps last year in his only game against the Kansas City Chiefs and his season was over. The Cowboys have been smart with his rehab the entire time, so to expect him to play full-time snaps right away would be foolish. He will have only five practices since last season if he is active Sunday against the Saints. Spencer will certainly be a help to a pass rush that has been lacking. The Cowboys have three sacks in three games and only a half-sack from a full-time defensive lineman. But Spencer is not DeMarcus Ware. His biggest sack total came in 2012 when he had 11 as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 and was moved around the formation by then-coordinator Rob Ryan. He has never had more than six in any other season. I truly believe the Cowboys would be ecstatic if he had six this year.

NBC’s Cris Collinsworth thinks Cowboys’ first round picks have been special | Barry Horn, DMN
Barry Horn transcribes a quote from Cris Collinsworth during a PFT broadcast:

"Cowboys fans should be celebrating the fact that they’ve been making boring picks, because all of these boring picks are starting to pay off. There’s a reason why DeMarco Murray is the top rusher in the NFL. Tyron Smith had an unbelievable game last week against Robert Quinn and the Rams, I think he missed one block…Travis Frederick, the number one pick from a few years ago, is one of the biggest, strongest guys playing center…Zack Martin, I had seen play a lot of football at Notre Dame, now inside playing guard…and Doug Free is a really good run-blocker. They’re giving Tony Romo time and the running game looks outstanding. In a year when Tony Romo is coming off of this back injury, to be able to run the ball and pass protect the way they have – it’s the reason they’re a surprise 2-1 at this point."

Practice Update: Both McClains, Melton Back In - Rowan Kavner,
Rolando McClain, Henry Melton and Terrell McClain hadn't practiced all week until Friday, when all three defenders made their way back on the field.

Cowlishaw: Why you shouldn't worry too much about DeMarco Murray's recent fumbling | DMN
Why not?

"He was not a fumbler in the past and he was an effective runner when healthy. I think it's more of a fluke than anything but at a certain point, it becomes something else."

Jerry Jones: Keep an eye on Dallas Cowboys -
The Cowboys are 2-1 and Jerry Jones likes the direction the team is headed. He also likes people overlooking the team as they try to make the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

"We've got to do it, though," he continued. "We've got to put it together, with putting the right people on the field as it relates to injury, and that's happening for us. We could have [Henry] Melton out there this weekend.

"We could have [Rolando] McClain out there this weekend. We could have [Tyrone] Crawford moving over as the No. 3 tackle, and then moving out to end, why? Because Anthony Spencer is going to be out there taking some snaps.

"Now that's serious stuff," Jones said. "Get [Justin] Durant back in there, get [Rolando] McClain back at linebacker. Now, all of a sudden we've got about three or four players out there that arguably are the best defensive players that we hadn't had the last two or three games. That's a big deal. And if we're that, then I think [Tony] Romo's certainly getting his timing down. I like the experience our offensive line is getting and has gotten in these three games. Yeah, We need to be glanced at over here."

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