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Cowboys News & Notes: Will Cowboys Pass Rush Get After Eagles' Gun-Shy Sam Bradford?

Latest headlines from around the nation as the Cowboys prepare to end their five-game losing streak against the Eagles tonight.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Philly's high-powered offense may have blown a fuse - Bob Sturm, Dallas Morning News
Sturm writes that the Eagles offense has been missing in action this year, and part of the reason for that may be a gun-shy Sam Bradford.

The injuries and the issues on [Bradford's] offensive lines have appeared to cause him enough damage that now he almost never looks comfortable in the pocket. His eye level drops to the pass rush, and blitzes cause added stress.

In fact, this season, Bradford and the Eagles are the worst team in the league at passing against a blitz. This truth invites the Cowboys to consider bringing pressure, despite their general reluctance to do so.

Chip Kelly's system isn't to blame for Eagles' offensive failures - Matt Bowen, ESPN
In this article from last week, Matt Bowen recounts a conversation with an unnamed Eagles defensive coach about Sam Bradford.

Where is that quarterback who was supposed to challenge opposing secondaries with accurate passes downfield? Bradford ranks 24th in air yards per attempt (how far each pass travels) and 21st in completion percentage. That's a low risk-low reward combination that won't work in any offense, which is why he has thrown just 1.29 touchdowns per game (tied for 27th in the NFL).

Talking with a defensive coach this week, he described Bradford as "gun-shy." Is that fair? I think it is when you watch the tape. This is a player who has had two knee reconstructions and offers very little in terms of mobility inside or outside of the pocket. Does he scare opposing defenses? I doubt it. Go after him. That would be my plan.


Jason Peters out vs. Cowboys; Lane Johnson expected to start at left tackle - Zach Berman,
Peters has been ruled out for tonight's game, which means we'll see a game of musical chairs on the Eagles' O-line.

Lane Johnson is expected to start at left tackle in Peters' place. It will be Johnson's first NFL start at left tackle, and he will be tasked with blocking Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy.

Dennis Kelly will start at right tackle in place of Johnson. It is Kelly's first start at right tackle since 2012. The interior of the Eagles' line is expected to remain the same.

Eagles-Cowboys preview: Big test for Eagles offensive line - Martin Frank, Delaware Online
Pass protection will likely be a big issue for Sam Bradford and the Eagles tonight.

The Eagles’ offensive line will get a big test from Dallas’ defensive line now that Lane Johnson is expected to play left tackle for the first time in his career in place of the injured Jason Peters. But it goes beyond that as Dennis Kelly will take Johnson’s place at right tackle, his first time there since 2012. And the Eagles will have to adjust against a Cowboys defensive line that thoroughly dominated the Eagles in the first game _ and that was with Peters at left tackle and without Greg Hardy for the Cowboys, who was serving a suspension. Now, Peters is most likely out and Hardy is in, and that could make for a long day for Bradford.


Sunday Night Football betting preview: Cowboys still have a pulse -
Some pre-game analysis from a sports betting perspective.

WHAT CAPPERS SAY: "Offseason acquisitions are not panning out. Sam Bradford?'s 76.4 QB rating ranks No. 30 out of 32 NFL starting quarterbacks and DeMarco Murray has only 307 rushing yards at 3.5 per carry. The Cowboys moribund offense without Tony Romo didn't get into the end zone on Sunday, held to 220 yards and 14 first downs; negating a stellar defensive effort." Covers Expert Teddy Covers.

WHAT BOOKS SAY: "We opened the Eagles as 3-point faves on the road in Dallas and have not moved off this number as we have seen good two-way action. We did adjust the juice on the line moving from Eagles -3 (-105) to -3 (-110) and the Cowboys +3 (-115) to Cowboys +3 (-110). The Eagles are seeing over 65 percent of the action to cover the 3 point spread." Michael Stewart,

Eagles can't underestimate Matt Cassel - Dave Zangaro, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
The Cowboys' offense is not the same with Matt Cassel under center, but Eagles cornerback Nolan Carroll said you "can't underestimate anybody" in the NFL.

In watching film, Carroll has seen Cassel get more comfortable too. The Eagles’ corner said Cassel is making sure to get the ball out quickly and sees the Cowboys doing as much as they can to suit their offense to him.

"You can’t underestimate anybody in this league because anybody can beat you if you underestimate them," Eagles cornerback Nolan Carroll said. "We’re coming into the game like he’s the guy, like he’s been on a hot streak. That’s how we have to prepare."


Cowboys newest player key to offensive turnaround? - Steven Mullenax, The Landry Hat
Mullenax wonders whether former Texas A&M running back Trey Williams, freshly signed off the Redskins' practice squad, could provide a spark on offense and especially in the return game.

Just being added to the Cowboys roster this week, it will likely take some time for Dallas’ coaching staff to trust Williams enough to get him on the field. But once they do, the young man appears to have all the traits to become a very similar offensive weapon to Dunbar, who helped the Cowboys start the season 2-0 earlier this year.

With Dallas currently riding out a five-game losing streak, adding the versatile rookie to the backfield could be key to an offensive turnaround by the Cowboys. At the very least, look for Williams to be a possible solution to Dallas’ special teams woes as a returner.

Cowboys miss DeMarco Murray, but Murray misses them as much | The Star-Telegram
The NFL rushing champion from 2014 has seen his yards and plays reduced drastically and is now the second back in a running back by committee approach in Philly. The four running backs on the Cowboys' roster weren't in Dallas last year, and the Cowboys failed to come anywhere close to replacing Murray's production.

The Cowboys miss Murray much more than they will admit, and Murray misses the Cowboys much more than he will admit. What they do agree on is: Last year was special, but they’ve both moved on.

Cowboys fans might not recognize Murray in the midnight green jersey, and he might not know the way to the visitors’ locker room at AT&T Stadium. But the Cowboys have moved on, and No. 29 has, too, even if it wasn’t the best thing for either of them.


Who helps the Giants with a win on Sunday ... Cowboys or Eagles? - James Kratch,
Kratch wonders what the ideal outcome of the Sunday night game is for the Giants. His conclusion:

No matter who wins or loses Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field, there will be pros and cons for the Giants. But in the end, they likely have the most to gain from the Cowboys winning the game. If the Eagles fall two games under .500, they might not be able to get back off the canvas. And even with a win, Dallas is only 3-5.

One thing that is certain: The Giants have to beat the Bucs, or else they are probably done.

Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul making season debut Sunday vs. Bucs - Ryan Wilson,
The Giants announced Saturday that Pierre-Paul will make his season debut today against the Buccaneers. He's expected to see a limited amount of work in his first game of the season.


Cheapest Raiders tickets at O.Co are 4 times more expensive than 49ers cheapest tickets at Levi's Stadium - David Fucillo, Niners Nation
The times they are a-changing.

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