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Cowboys News And Notes: Healthier Dez Bryant To Boost Cowboys' Offense vs Eagles

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Latest Cowboys headlines: A healhy Dez Bryant is ready to play the Eagles; Cowboys' defense is playing hungry; Eagles' offensive line unsettled.

James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys’ Dez Bryant appears ready to do more this week - Charean Williams, The Star-Telegram
Bryant caught just two passes last week on six targets, something the Cowboys hope to improve in his second game back from foot surgery.

Dez Bryant remained limited in practice Thursday but only because the Cowboys are being cautious with him. Bryant physically is able to do everything, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.

Eagles gird for Cowboys and a healthier Dez Bryant - Marc Narducci, Philly.com
Narducci expects Dez Bryant's presence to give the Cowboys' sluggish offense a boost.

Earlier in the week, the Eagles defensive backs were saying they hoped Bryant played because they want to go against the best.

"He is one of those rare guys who, when the ball is in the air, has total body control, great ball location, great hands and he just attacks it," said Eagles cornerback Byron Maxwell. "I think that is what separates him from other receivers."

Bryant's return has even lifted the spirits of the Cowboys' defense.

"Just having him on the practice field lifts everybody's spirits because of how much we look to him," said linebacker Sean Lee, who had 14 tackles and an interception in the earlier win over the Eagles.

Embarrassing stats show Cowboys' offensive futility, but what's the fix? - David Moore, Dallas Morning News
If you don't swing the bat, you won't hit a home run.

A Cowboys team that prepares to face Philadelphia in a critical NFC East contest has failed to score an offensive touchdown in two of its last three games. [...] Dallas has scored only four touchdowns in its last 18 quarters. The team had only three plays that Garrett characterizes as explosive in the loss to Seattle, and two of those were desperation scrambles by Cassel.

"You need to make some big plays and do some things that change the game," Garrett said. "The best teams do that. When we played our best football, we've been able to do that."

The Cowboys have been unable to do that during this losing streak.

Must-win situation should push Dallas Cowboys by Philadelphia Eagles - Todd Archer, ESPN
Archer picks the Cowboys for the win, 23-16.

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Eagles left tackle Peters questionable against Cowboys - Washington Times
Jason peters practiced only once this week after suffering back spasms against Carolina two weeks ago. He's listed as questionable for Sunday, and right tackle Lane Johnson could be asked to play on the left side if Peters is out.

Johnson, who practiced all week on the left side, would likely see a lot of matchups against Greg Hardy, who has three sacks in three games for the Cowboys since returning from a four-game suspension.

"He’s a guy who never stops. He comes at you really hard and he’s a guy who gives a lot of effort," Johnson said. "The challenge for me is not having a lot of time to get ready for it. One week isn’t a lot of time. I’m going to go out there, give it my best and I think I’ll do well."

Three keys to a Cowboys win over the visiting Eagles - Bob Sturm, SportsDay
Bob Sturm. Not a fan of bullet points.

Must get sacks. Must run the ball well. Must get WRs involved down the field.

5 reasons not to fear Eagles' offense - Bob Sturm, SportsDay
Sturm continues to keep it short and simple, possibly in anticipation of an East-coast heavy reader base this week.

They lack explosion, consistency, and any reasonable performance from their offensive line. QB play is mediocre and is not showing signs of improvement. The WR group is just nothing special.

Cowboys running game better than the Eagles at a fraction of cost - Kristi Scales, SportsDay
Some remedial capology from Scales:

The Eagles have committed $11.6 million of their 2015 salary cap to running backs, the second highest amount in the NFL behind only the Vikings ($16.85m). The Cowboys [have] committed only 1.75% of their salary cap (25th in the NFL) to the four running backs on their active roster. All four running backs (Darren McFadden, Christine Michael, Rod Smith & Trey Williams) have a combined cap hit of $2.399m which is less than what the Eagles pay their backup, Darren Sproles ($4.1m cap hit).

The Cowboys don't compare to the Eagles in terms of financial commitments to their running backs, but the on-field production is actually better through seven games than the higher-compensated Eagles backfield.

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Two Eagles players say Cowboys "whine and complain" - Darin Gantt, ProFootballTalk
The irony of two Eagles players publicly whining and complaining about Cowboys players whining and complaining is probably lost on most Philly fans who joined in this sob-fest.

Eagles-Cowboys scouting report - Zach Berman, Philly.com
Berman is concerned about the Cowboys' defense.

The Cowboys defense presents a big test. It limited the Eagles to a season-low 226 total yards in Week 2, including only 7 rushing yards. And the Dallas defense is better this week. Defensive end Greg Hardy is back from suspension and has three sacks in three games, and rookie defensive end Randy Gregory is back from injury. Linebacker Rolando McClain has also returned from suspension. The Cowboys surrendered only two offensive touchdowns in the last two games.

Eagle Eye: Dallas' 'D' Offers Tough Test - Fran Duffy, Philadelphiaeagles.com
The Eagles' mothership is similarly concerned about about a "hungry" Cowboys defense.

No one really expected this defense to play the way it has through eight games, and why would they? It’s the third year now with Rod Marinelli on staff, and the second with him as defensive coordinator, so they know what to expect and they’re executing at a high level.

And last, but not least, the talent level is higher than it has been in years past. Defensive back Byron Jones and defensive end Randy Gregory were two first-round talents who they got with their first two picks in the NFL Draft. Defensive end Greg Hardy is an excellent football player. Younger players like Lawrence, linebacker Anthony Hitchens and Claiborne are coming along nicely as well. The result has been a unit that plays hungry with a chip on its shoulder because they think they have a lot to prove.

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Cowboys or Eagles? Which team will you be rooting for Sunday? - Big Blue View
Giants fans dislike the Eagles even more than they dislike the Cowboys. Not a surprise.

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Too many 'missed opps' in Cowboys' takeaway battle - Todd Archer, ESPN
The Cowboys have just four takeaways through seven games, and Rod Marinelli is searching for answers.

Marinelli pointed to two missed chances in last week’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks by Barry Church and Byron Jones. He does not believe the lack of takeaways is about lack of hustle.

"We’ve just got to keep hustling and work," Marinelli said. "But it’s about the end results, and we’re not getting them. We have to get them."

Cowboys' Heath not fined for hit on Seahawks' Lockette - Kitsap Sun
Jeff Heath won't be fined for his hit on Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette, Heath was penalized for an illegal blindside block on the play, but the league ruled Friday that it didn't warrant an additional fine.

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Jerry Jones: Tony Romo says he can help find Cowboys' next QB after his career is over | Dallas Morning News
Once the Cowboys start looking for Romo's replacement, Romo is willing to help find one.

"Tony, in real genuineness said, 'We're not ready for the quarterback,' and he doesn't look sheepish when he says it, 'but when we are don't worry about it, I'll find him for you,'" Jones said.

I'm sure Romo can have a lot of quality input in such a process, but let's make sure we keep Will McClay in charge of that QB search.

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Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: We've given Greg Hardy second chance - ESPN staff
Jones released a statement Friday night stating that the Cowboys hadn't seen the photos of Greg Hardy's former girlfriend, but remained committed to giving Hardy a second chance.

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Former NFL official rips Roger Goodell, instant replay - Yahoo Sports
Our own Tom Ryle wrote yesterday about how bad officiating is hurting the game because of all the questionable holding calls and missed pass interference penalties, but the NFL made it a point this season to discipline those refs who make crucial mistakes. One former zebra isn’t buying it.

"A few very visible errors in recent weeks has rightfully put NFL officiating in the public spotlight," Scott Green, a former NFL official for 23 years, wrote for USA Today.

"The League is predictably handling the issue no differently than the others that characterize Commissioner Roger Goodell’s regime: arbitrary punishment of an individual for a fast public relations fix," Green wrote. "It’s a reactive approach that may give some short-term satisfaction to one team’s fans, but it doesn’t address improvement."