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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: History Means Little As Cowboys Take On Saints Tonight

Latest Cowboys headlines: It's not 2013 anymore; Saints, Cowboys evenly matched in 2014; Dallas’ ground game is the catalyst for a surprising start.

Tom Pennington

Sometimes it can be quite instructive to go beyond the local coverage of your team.

Dallas’ ground game is the catalyst for a surprising start | New York Post
Three games may be a small small sample size, but it's enough for the New York Post to draw some interesting conclusions from.

Why are the Cowboys in the thick of the NFC East race and not the doormat they were widely predicted to be?

Because they quietly have changed the way they go about their business on the field, particularly on offense. The Dallas offense — at least through three games — no longer is Romo trying to win the game by himself. After spending the past three seasons throwing the ball significantly more than they have run it, the Cowboys enter Sunday’s game against the Saints having rushed the ball 95 times and passed it 89 times.

New Orleans Saints give thoughts on Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray - ESPN
Mike Triplett writes that the Cowboys "have suddenly become a run-first team, leaning more than ever on fourth-year pro DeMarco Murray."

The 6-foot, 217-pounder battled injuries early in his career. But he’s been on a tear since last season. He leads the NFL in both rushing attempts (75) and yards (385). And according to ESPN Stats and Information, Murray is the first running back since Curtis Martin in 2004 to run for at least 100 yards and a touchdown in each of the first three games of the season.

Saints look to face tough Cowboys defense - The Town Talk
It's not 2013 anymore.

It would be easy for the Saints to look back at last season’s thrashing and believe that this year’s game will be much of the same. But the Saints know better, especially after their horrid start to this season. They are well aware that nothing in the NFL comes easy, no matter how easy it came in the past.

"Both teams are entirely different (this year). Their defense is different," Payton said. "You see them structurally doing things differently. A lot of the personnel, almost their entire front looks new. That game (last year) took on a certain way and went in a certain direction. I think this will be a real good challenge for us."

Saints, Cowboys evenly matched in 2014 stats |
This article notes that the Saints and Cowboys are relatively even in most statistical categories this year.

Struggling New Orleans Saints visit rebounding Dallas Cowboys | Amarillo Globe-News
This AP report goes over a lot of history between the two teams but concludes with a quote from Sean Payton which puts that history in perspective.

“There’s a lot of new faces,” Payton said of the Cowboys. “The key, I think, and the message really was getting familiar with this team, the team we’re playing this weekend. These two teams really haven’t played each other yet when you look at the roster makeup.”

Saints' road woes may not be all that woeful, as home-field advantage is enduring factor in NFL |
Coming into Dallas, the Saints are riding a five-game road losing streak, and have done nothing this season to shake the perception that they do not travel well, losing the opener at Atlanta and then being stunned at Cleveland in Week 2.


Solid play in first three weeks has put Cowboys defense in tight spot with Saints in town | Tim Cowlishaw, DMN
Cowlishaw believes that the Cowboys defense may have "outkicked its coverage" over the first three weeks, but won't be able to stop the Saints offense.

We are only half a season removed from the Saints setting an NFL record with 40 first downs against this unit. Most of the changes made to upgrade this unit have not taken hold. In some cases, those players aren’t even available, leaving the starting job to reserves or rookies. It’s not an impossible task the Cowboys’ defense is saddled with in Week 4, but it’s a real battle. Writers Share Their Game 4 Gut Feeling
Nick Eatman, Rowan Kavner and David Helman all pick the Saints to win. Bryan Broaddus doesn't offer any type of prediction, but has this to say about Anthony Spencer.

Call me crazy but I believe that Anthony Spencer is both mentally and physically stronger than when he was a Pro Bowl linebacker in 2012. My gut feeling is that regardless of the number of snaps that he takes against the Saints he will be an immediate impact both playing the run and affecting Drew Brees when he drops back to pass. We will look back on his game and feel good about the results.


Pondering Dallas Cowboys' 46: Health makes it tricky - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer takes a stab at predicting the seven inactives for tonight's game, and includes DT Henry Melton among the list, as Melton was limited in his one day of work Friday.

Dallas Cowboys coach gives Jeremy Johnson pep talk of his life - Story
Touching story about Jason Garrett and his visit to father of three fighting the battle of his life.

Which free agents should the Cowboys keep? - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
One of five questions in Archer's Twitter mailbag asks, "Dez, Murray, Harris, Beasley, Free, McClain, Durant, Spencer, Carter, Selvie all in their last year. Who can/will they keep?"

How about who should they keep? Of that crew, Bryant, Murray and Dwayne Harris make the most sense. Beasley is a restricted free agent, so they will have his rights if they want him. The other guys you mention - Rolando McClain, Justin Durant, Anthony Spencer, Brue Carter and George Selvie - all come down to price. McClain would have the most upside, considering his age, but let's see him play a few more games before even thinking about a multiyear commitment to him. The other guys, I'm not sure it would be worth keeping. And as of now I don't think the Cowboys pick up the option on Henry Melton's deal that would guarantee him $9 million in 2015.

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