Cowboys' no-name defense making people take notice - Todd Archer, ESPN
Despite having just one defender with a Pro Bowl to his name, the Cowboys defense has managed to shine, allowing more than 20 points just once this season.
"I feel like the expectations for everybody on the outside of the locker room wasn’t that high for us," defensive tackle Terrell McClain said, "but inside the locker room we have high expectations because everybody knows what we’re capable of. And once you start putting it on film, then everybody starts realizing that we’re something to reckon with on defense."
Let's face it, Rod Marinelli's defense gets very little respect in the world of professional football, but somehow the group manages to pull together and get the job done. Looking for a way to inspire his men, the Dallas defensive coordinator turned to the world of literature and a real life story to set the tone for this year's attitude.
The "Twelve Mighty Orphans," residents of the Masonic Home Orphanage in Fort Worth, played Texas high school football at the highest level during the 1930s and '40s. Despite an enrollment of 150 and no real athletic budget, the smaller Masons became a football powerhouse under coach Rusty Russell.
The spirit of those teams lives on in Marinelli's meeting room.
The Cowboys defense was expected to struggle in 2016, much the same as they were last year. A lot of the improvement comes down to something that takes no talent whatsoever, and it is something that the Dallas defensive coordinator works hard to coach into his charges. It is the will to play physical football.
"I was expecting that we would play this hard because that takes no talent," Marinelli said. "It's just a want-to. We've had our ups and downs, but I think we're a really sharp tackling football team right now."
David Irving Wins NFC Defensive Player of The Week - Michael Sisemore, Blogging The Boys
The Dallas Cowboys' second-year defensive end/tackle won himself an award this week.
If you missed this week's trouncing of the former NFC powerhouse Green Bay Packers, you missed that Irving was incredibly active. He was credited with four tackles, a sack, three forced fumbles and a recovery as well. Perhaps his best feat? All of the aforementioned credits were made on only 19 snaps. The best play came when David Irving was able to strip-sack Aaron Rodgers inside the red zone, recovering the fumble and keeping the Packers from scoring.
The good news for Dallas Cowboys fans is that wide receiver Dez Bryant is looking good and that he was moving around like the Dez of old. The bad news is that right now the Cowboys gifted pass catcher is unable to catch a football.
The Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, who’s been out since September with a leg injury, said he cut the middle and ring fingers on his right hand while cutting carrots for soup, a mishap that limited him in practice Wednesday.
Bryant reportedly characterized the issue as "extremely, extremely minor," but Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said it did affect Bryant on the practice field.
"He’s got a cut on the inside of his hand, so he wasn’t able to catch balls today," Garrett said. "He did a good job moving around, though. I think he’s feeling better and better and better."
While every man should know how to prepare himself a decent meal, hopefully #88 will stay out of the kitchen during the rest of the football season.
Sticking with the defense for the moment, BB takes a look at five highlights turned in by Marinelli's charges thus far in the 2016 season. Here's one from the packers game:
Last week in Green Bay, Mike McCarthy made the decision to go for it on fourth down with the ball on the Dallas 38-yard line. McCarthy directed Aaron Rodgers to use an empty formation with three receivers to the left. Rodgers’ go-to guy, Randall Cobb, lined up as a tight slot with Byron Jones lined up a yard off in press coverage. Jones attacked Cobb right off the snap, making him fight to get up the field. Barry Church and Brandon Carr were in great position with their guys as well, but Rodgers wanted to get the ball to Cobb -- who was unable to separate. The ball was a little flat from Rodgers and Jones saw that. With his left hand, he knocked it away to get the defense off the field.
At least for now he is the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, but Dak Prescott is not getting wrapped up in the hype. That is a good thing. While some might have taken advantage of the bye week opportunity to accept an invitation to appear on late night TV, the Dallas quarterback has chosen to go the more down to earth route. Dak is going home to spend time with Grandma, and he has plans to do a little fishing.
"I’m just going home and fish a little bit," the Dallas Cowboys rookie quarterback said. "Hang out with family and just kick back."
How can you not like a Mississippi boy making good on his talents who takes the first opportunity to get back to his roots?
The Dallas Cowboys sideline reporter takes on the lofty expectations for Elliott, answers questions about Dez and his sideline demeanor and more in this transcript of a live chat she recently conducted. An excerpt:
Question: Dez Bryant said he thought Zeke Elliott could rush for 2,000 yards as a rookie. What are your thoughts about such a bold prediction?
Scales: Zeke would have to average just under 130 yards per game for the remainder of the season to reach 2,000 rushing yards. He's hit 130-or-more the past four games (including 157 at Green Bay), the first rookie in NFL history to ever reach 130-or-more rushing yards in 4 consecutive games. Can he keep that pace for 10 more games? So far he's averaging 5.1 yards per carry. If he maintains that pace, it's possible. But what happened to everyone out there who was so concerned about him getting too many carries and insisting Alfred Morris should get more reps? I haven't gotten any Alfred Morris questions the past couple of weeks! That being said, I like Dez's bold prediction because it's an example of the respect that the rookie has earned from his veteran teammates.