Several reasons to think Cowboys can pressure Packers' Rodgers on Sunday - Bob Sturm, SportsDay
In a chat with fans, Sturm lists two reasons why the Cowboys will get to Rodgers after failing to do so in playoffs last season.
1) the Cowboys looked far more capable in the Redskins game to bring pressure and to use stunts to cause issues in the backfield. I like that added confusion to the mix.
2) the Packers offensive line - which is often very solid at pass protection - is very banged up. Bulaga at right tackle, Lang at right guard, Linsley at center, and Bahktiari at left tackle all were out in the Detroit game. They have very poor players forced in like Barclay at right tackle who cannot block anyone. It appears that everyone but Linsley is back at practice, but this Green Bay offense is really having issues this season and Jordy Nelson's absence is only part of it. The OL has been sketchy for sure.
Cowboys rookie Randy Gregory feels ‘breakout game’ is coming soon - Drew Davison, The Star-Telegram
Randy Gregory missed four games with a high ankle sprain and was slow coming back from the injury. And while he has recorded nine QB pressures so far, he has yet to record a sack this season. But that may be about to change.
"I’m trying to play my role, I’m trying to do as much as I can with the amount of playing time I’m getting," Gregory said. "I think I took a couple strides in the right direction the last couple of weeks, but I’ve just got to have a breakout game.
"I feel like it’s coming, I just don’t know when it’s going to come."
"I’m a rookie, so I’m trying to take it all in and embrace it and hopefully look forward to the next game, next practice and go from there."
Why I think DeMarcus Lawrence could be a double-digit sack guy next season - Bob Sturm, SportsDay
In a recent live chat, Sturm talked about his expectations for Lawrence.
I am a pretty big fan of DeMarcus Lawrence and I was writing this morning that I am fine with what he has done since the bye week. He might be a 10 sack guy in 2016 or 2017. I think he is explosive and has a great motor to stay after plays. There have been 3 games where he has been very good. Saints, Bucs, and Redskins he has made multiple big plays. It hasn't been consistent or immediate, but he shows me that he can be very good.
Warmer temps costing Packers home-field advantage? - Kevin Patra, NFL.com
The forecast for Sunday's tilt between the Packers and Cowboys in Green Bay calls for 57 degree weather. Could the warm weather be wiping out a home-field advantage at Lambeau?
"I'm sure the people from Texas like the weather forecast," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday, via ESPN.com.
While the warmer climate isn't the reason the Packers have lost two-straight home games and are currently scoring 15.6 fewer points per game at Lambeau than in 2014 -- missing Jordy Nelson and a discombobulated offense are the root causes -- not playing in the cold wipes away part of the Packers' home-field advantage.
With four games to go, Dallas Cowboys in same spot as 2014 - Todd Archer, ESPN
Jason Garrett reminds the Cowboys that despite the trials of this season they are only one game out of the lead in the NFC East - exactly the same spot they were in last year.
"We didn’t think about it until Coach Garrett brought it up," tight end Jason Witten said. "That’s important. It allows you to look at it with a perspective of, ‘We were in this situation before.’ Now maybe we would’ve been a wild card or something like that last year, but four games to go, one game back, everything you’re playing for is right in front of you."
Dallas Cowboys have to shake free from scoring slump somehow - Todd Archer, ESPN
Archer explains that the Cowboys' offense is in a major funk, and it's not just the absence of Tony Romo that's to blame.
Tony Romo's absence is the easy thing to point to but the Cowboys scored touchdowns on only five of their 35 drives with Romo at quarterback. Matt Cassel has directed 55 drives and the Cowboys have scored just seven touchdowns. They have 14 field goals.
"That's one of the things that we talked about today is we've got to continue to work hard about converting these field goals into touchdowns," Cassel said, "and being better in the red zone, being better at situational football, especially on third down. Those are things that every week come up and I think if you can be good in situational football, you're going to give your team a chance to win each and every week."
Cassel knows the drill: Go to Bryant, king of Cowboys' receivers - Shuyler Dixon, Yahoo Sports
Dez Bryant didn't have a catch in the first three quarters against Washington before catching three passes for 62 yards in the fourth quarter. Cassell said he has to get better at finding Dez Bryant, but the Cowboys don't want to overdo it either.
''You've got to guard against, 'I've got to get someone the ball early,' because the defense has a game plan,'' offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. ''Dez is certainly a game-changing player for that. It's something we're working on. I don't think since the return we've been able to do it as consistent as we'd like.''
Cowboys still lead NFL in time of possession, but what does it really mean? - Rainer Sabin, SportsDay
The Cowboys may have one of the worst records in football, but they still lead the NFL in TOP, averaging 32 minutes, 48 seconds on offense. Sabin takes a look at the most overrated stat in all of football.
So what does it all mean? The Cowboys can't finish. Dallas routinely bogs down in the red zone. That's evidenced by the fact the Cowboys cross the goal line only 44 percent of the time when they advance inside the opponent's 20-yard line. That's not good enough to win in the NFL. And by and large the Cowboys haven't in 2015.
Why the NFL has gotten the Dez Bryant play so wrong - David Moore, SportsDay
Moore crushes Dean Blandino and his technocratic approach to officiating.
If Dean Blandino, the league's VP of officiating, had approached that play with a clean slate rather than trying to justify why it was ruled an incompletion, this debate wouldn't rage the way it does.
The initial approach to this play is also significant. Did Blandino and others step back, look at the play and try to identify what did or didn't make it a catch?
No. Blandino began from the premise that it wasn't a catch. Start there and you wind up adding more layers of interpretation.
The goal should be to peel those layers away. You want to make the call clean and clear, not more convoluted. You don't want to come back eight months later, as the league has done, and put together yet another committee to study this issue
Sturm's Xs and Os: What worked for Matt Cassel against Washington? - Bob Sturm, SportsDay
Sturm makes a strong case for more play-action as a way to help Cassel.
Very few teams blitz in early down situations because they don't want to be gashed by easy runs that exploit the aggressiveness of the defense.
Now, notice Matt Cassel's season numbers. On 1st downs, he is 43-67, 536 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT. On any other down, Cassel is 60-100, 589, 2 TDs and 4 INTs. In other words, he is a 97.6 QB rating guy on 1st down which is excellent (Aaron Rodgers QB rating this year is also 97.6). But in any other situation he has a 66.6 passer rating which is miles below everyone.
How Cowboys' Used Tackle-End Stunts to Defeat Redskins - Samuel Gold, NFLBreakdowns.com
Rod Marinelli does not like to blitz, preferring instead to rush just four players and play a lot of Cover 1 Man coverage. But that changed against Washington, as Gold explains in this in-depth look at the Cowboys defense.
In this game, against the Washington Redskins, he dialed up the blitzes using free safety Barry Church off the edge while running one signature play-design: the Tackle-End (T-E) stunt.
This particular stunt produced two sacks and two tackles for loss for the Cowboys’ defense. Not to mention multiple quarterback hits. In this breakdown, we will dive deeper into the T-E stunt Rod Marinelli called that helped the Cowboys defeat the Redskins on Monday Night Football.
New York Giants waive Damontre Moore - Dan Graziano, ESPN
The Giants have waived DE Damontre Moore, a former third-round pick who sources say recently got into a fight in practice but who has also had maturity issues during his stint in New York.
Sources say the final straw was a recent fight in practice between Moore at his defensive line teammates. But sources said Moore had also been fined several times by the team this year for rules violations and behavior problems and that the decision to waive him was based on the accumulation of issues, not just one fight.
Coaches and administrators have spoken to Moore on several occasions, this year and in years past, about his behavior in practice. Sources say Moore routinely clowned around on the practice field in front of everyone from teammates to Giants owner John Mara and responded poorly to efforts by teammates and coaches to get him to take practice more seriously. Moore was also penalized several times this year during games for roughing the passer, and his lack of on-field discipline earned him a full-game benching in a Week 7 over the Dallas Cowboys.
Sources also said Moore feuded openly with some team officials, including general manager Jerry Reese, when confronted about his behavior. Reese is fiercely loyal to his draft picks, so for him to cut a former third-rounder during the third year of his rookie deal would likely require extreme circumstances.