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Cowboys News: Chasing the Eagles for now, but they could meet them in the playoffs, too

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There are a lot of good video reviews for your enjoyment today as well.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys May Need Perfection to Catch Philadelphia - Jess Haynie, Inside the Star
The Cowboys are forced to chase the Eagles in the race for the NFC East, and this article points out that it is very hard to try and catch them.

Barring a stunning collapse by Philadelphia this season, the Cowboys are going to need to win almost every game the rest of the way to have a shot at winning the NFC East. The Eagles may be damaged going forward by the losses of left tackle Jason Peters and linebacker Jordan Hicks, but they still have an emerging superstar quarterback and a solid roster. They still project as an 11 or 12-win team.

Dallas will have to win 8-9 of their remaining 10 games to stay in that range. As we already outlined, they have a tough stretch ahead and it won’t get easier the rest of the season. After Week 11 they have the Chargers, Raiders, and Seahawks on the schedule along with their rematches against all three NFC East rivals.

A Cowboys-Eagles NFC title game? One national writer thinks it's possible - SportsDay Staff
As much as we hate to admit it, the Philadelphia Eagles are the class of the NFC right now. But Peter King is in on the idea that the Cowboys are coming on, and could face Phlly a third time in the playoffs.

"I am. I don't know how you watch that defense," King said. "Everybody knows that they're going to be able to score enough points. But I think the revelation in Dallas has been that defense. It would be one thing if they were a singular force on that front seven on the pass rush, but, man they've got a lot of weapons on that front seven.

"So to me, and again I think a lot of this depends on what happens with Ezekiel Elliott down the stretch ... But if they have him the rest of the year, they're one of the best two or three or four teams in the conference."

Sturm: Astounding! How having Lee, Hitchens on field at same time changes Cowboys' defense - Bob Sturm, SportsDay
Sturm's weekly look at the defense points out how important health and availability is to their success.

Sunday marked the very first time we saw the best options at all of the defensive line and linebacker positions in the same game at the same time. Now, as we very well know, part of football is dealing with attrition, "next man up" and no excuses. That is absolutely what championship teams are made of, and why football is a unique sport with no equal to its marathon of damaged bodies and teams' abilities to carry on.

But to see linebackers Anthony Hitchens and Sean Lee side by side for the first time this season with David Irving and DeMarcus Lawrence in front of them demonstrates how this defense is different than the one that went to Denver or the one that was exposed by Jared Goff and the Rams just a few weeks ago. Now, can they keep the pieces together? Anyone who saw Lee limping in the second half is hoping for the best and fearing the worst. This is a violent game that takes an amazing toll on those who play it. But if they can stay healthy, perhaps this defense is better than we know.

A healthy DeMarcus Lawrence still a pass-rush technician - Todd Archer, ESPN
Being healthy is a big part of the success Demarcus Lawrence is having this year. But the techniques he developed when he was playing hurt make him much better.

“The technique is always the key,” Lawrence said. “Don’t get me wrong, the health is too, but I have a faster approach, a faster twitch off the ball. I’m the pitcher out there. That’s what coach [Rod] Marinelli always preaches to us, and once you get to that point, the offensive lineman has to react no matter what. If they can’t put their hands on you, they can’t block you.”

How Cowboys Got Run Game Back On Track - John Owning, Fanrag Sports
If you like video breakdowns, Owning's stuff is always worth your time. He looks at the reasons the Cowboys were back on track in the running game against the 49ers, and his first is one that I and many others cannot endorse strongly enough.

Better play at LG

It is apparent that the Cowboys like Chaz Green, but the fact of the matter is that Jonathan Cooper has severely outplayed the former third-round pick.

While Green is a better athlete who works to the second level well, Cooper eclipses Green in power, hand technique and mental processing, a big reason why Dallas’s running game has been more successful.

Who should start at left guard for Dallas? - Marcus Mosher, Fansided
Despite the superior performance of the offensive line last week, head coach Jason Garrett is not declaring that Jonathan Cooper has won the starting left guard job over Chaz Green. This takes a look at why.

Cooper’s deficiencies in the wide-zone scheme have forced Dallas to adjust their blocking concepts. Unfortunately, the wide-zone rushing attack has been the Cowboys’ bread and butter for the past several years. Eliminating that from their playbook removes a huge chunk of the offense. While they didn’t need to run much zone against the 49ers, it will be needed when facing better opponents.

That’s why the Cowboys are hesitant to say that Cooper is the full-time starter at guard as Green is the better player in space. Dallas trusts that not only Green can get to the second level, but that he can make the block when he gets there. That’s not true of Cooper this season.

David Irving Proves Dominant Vs. 49ers - Kevin Brady, Inside the Star
Speaking of video breakdowns, this is a nice look at how David Irving now gives the Cowboys a devastating one-two punch on the defensive line along with Demarcus Lawrence.

Since returning from suspension, Irving has totaled 8 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 pass deflections, and 1 forced fumble. Did I mention he only returned from suspension two games ago?

David Irving has separated himself from the pack of Cowboys’ rotational rushers, and stands alone at the top with Lawrence as players deserving of the majority of defensive snaps. Last Sunday against the 49ers, Irving showed just how great he can be with increased opportunities.

Dallas Cowboys hope less is more with Jaylon Smith - Todd Archer, ESPN
Jaylon Smith struggled a lot early in the season, but he was forced into a situation that the team never planned for him due to the injuries to Anthony Hitchens and Sean Lee. Now that both of the veteran linebackers are back, the team is able to use Smith in a more limited role - and it paid off in the last game.

Against the 49ers, Smith was credited by the coaches with seven tackles, and he had the first sack of his career, which also led to a forced fumble.

“Just physical play,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He was around the ball, getting off blocks, making hits on the runner. He played with a great spirit, too.”

We Need Stars, But Remember The Cowboys’ Unsung Heroes - Brad Sham, Dallas Cowboys
One of the fun things about doing these compilations for Thursday is that it includes Brad Sham's weekly thoughts. He chose to write about some of the very important non-marquee players for the Cowboys, prompted by the injury to the always reliable Dan Bailey.

These thoughts are prompted by the heartbreaking injury suffered by Cowboys captain Dan Bailey on Sunday. Yes, “heartbreaking” may be a little dramatic in the adjective department, but as tough as it will be on the Cowboys, if you know Dan Bailey at all, you hate this for him. You hate it because there is not a more unassuming player on the team, and there’s probably not a player in the league who plays his position better than Bailey.

No one is a better teammate, no one works harder, none more respected. Dan Bailey has never missed a game in his life, at any level, and you know what he feels? Guilty. He feels like he’s letting his team down. Say “Cowboys” to fans here, there or yonder, and you’ll get back “Dak. Zeke. Dez. Witten. Lee. Tank.” Not many will say “Bailey.” But we’re all about to find out what we’ve been taking for granted for seven years.

Dak Prescott thought the same thing you did when Cowboys went for 2 up big at San Francisco - David Moore, SportsDay
We were all surprised by the two point attempt last week, before we knew that Dan Bailey was injured. And so was Dak Prescott.

The quarterback was celebrating Jason Witten's one-handed grab for a touchdown when he got the news.

"Coach is in my helmet telling me we're going for two," Prescott said. "I'm trying to look at the situation. I'm like, 'I think we're up a couple of touchdowns. Whatever, they know something I don't know. Let's go for two.'"

Bye Week Helped Cooper Rush Prepare For Promotion To No. 2 Quarterback - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
Let's be honest. Many of us were way too excited about the promotion of Cooper Rush to QB2. While it is arguably a very smart move in the long run, the main reason it created such a buzz was how unexpected it was. But the coaches had made the decision during the bye week to get Rush more prepared.

Making the decision then, albeit during a shorter week, gave the undrafted rookie a few more practice reps before the Cowboys began preparing for the 49ers in earnest the following week.

“Just a couple extra practices and a little extra time to prepare is always nice,” Rush said after last Sunday’s 40-10 win.

Cole Beasley asks Cowboys to re-sign recently released Sterling Moore - K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire
Whenever a player is released by another team, there are always calls for the Cowboys to sign them. But this time, one of the people looking to bring in Sterling Moore is a Dallas player, wide receiver (and former teammate) Cole Beasley.

Sterling Moore is expected to have plenty of suitors after the seventh-year veteran cornerback was released on Tuesday by the New Orleans Saints. After starting 12 games for a struggling defense in 2016, Moore has found himself in just two games for the Saints this season due to the play of their young secondary. Dallas was one of three teams Moore lined up for prior to the Saints and one of his old teammates desperately wants him back in the mix.

Also, there’s this tidbit on the Damontre Moore release.