"They’re easy to scout and hard to beat" - Great quote from Vance Joseph on #Cowboys. What they do isn't complicated, just great at doing it— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) September 15, 2017
Mile High mayhem around Dak? - Bucky Brooks, NFL.com
Bucky Brooks looks at a variety of topics, including shoddy O-lines in 2017 and four intriguing subplots to follow in Week 2. One of those subplots is about what Dak Prescott can likely expect in Denver.
For all of Dak Prescott's brilliance as a pocket passer, he is at his best when operating as a playmaker on the perimeter. As a rookie, Prescott finished with the NFL's second-highest percentage of passes thrown outside of the pocket (18.1). He completed 55.4 percent of those throws with an 8:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, recording a 103.6 passer rating (the fourth-best mark in the NFL). All of those marks are well above the league averages for QBs outside the pocket: 11.3 percent of throws outside the pocket, 47.4 completion rate, 3:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and 77.2 passer rating.
With all of those numbers in mind, the Broncos could elect to bring heat from all angles to disrupt Prescott's rhythm in Denver on Sunday. In Week 1, the Broncos blitzed the Chargers on 41.2 percent of their pass attempts and held Philip Rivers to 47.6 passer rating on those plays -- the fifth-lowest mark against extra pressure in the NFL last week. Given the challenge Dallas' offense presents to opponents, with the athletic quarterback's ability to launch throws from anywhere on the field, the Broncos could rely heavily on their blitz package in an attempt to harass Prescott into a disjointed performance.
Dak contends with the No-Fly Zone in Denver - Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com
Prisco shares 10 things to watch in Week 2 of the NFL season, one of which is about Dak Prescott.
We keep hearing how every week is a proving ground for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, but the reality is the second-year player has passed every test. This one won't be easy. The Broncos have the best corner trio in the league and they have Von Miller to attack off the edge. Prescott needs to be able to drive the ball down the field against that secondary to loosen it up or he could be in for a long day.
Scout's Eye: This Game Hinges On One Big Aspect Of The Cowboys' Offense - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
Broaddus suggests the Cowboys stick with their tried and true formula.
For the Cowboys to win this game, they’re going to have to rely on their strength, and that’s running the football. Last week against a stout Giants front seven, they were able to find some traction. The yards were tough but Scott Linehan was patient and he stuck with the running game.
It’s really two-fold for Linehan -- keep his own defense off the field and limit their exposure. More importantly, I think they need to wear this Broncos defense down and kill their ability to rush the passer, which is their strength.
Scout’s Notebook: Can Cowboys continue to bring the pressure - Bryan Broadus, Dallas Cowboys
Broaddus suggests the Cowboys may be much better at bringing the pressure than many are willing to admit.
Since December 2016, the defense has generated 19 sacks in six games which is tied for the fourth-most in the league during that time period.
In his 15 career starts, Trevor Siemian has been sacked 35 times. If you [look] at those numbers from his first season and into this one, that would make him the sixth-most sacked quarterback in the league. Siemian is sacked 6.4 percent of the time that he drops back to pass.
Cowboys do not fear playing at altitude - Todd Archer, ESPN
Playing at Mile High presents a special challenge, but the Cowboys are prepared for it.
The challenge in Denver goes beyond the crowd noise and talent on the Broncos' roster. The thin air also plays a role.
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said the defensive line rotation might be monitored a little more closely because of the altitude. Garrett said the Cowboys will see how Elliott handles what could be a big workload, but that it is no different than any other game.
The Cowboys will make no adjustments to their normal road schedule. They won't have more oxygen tanks on the sideline, either.
It's almost as if they have a out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude toward the altitude.
"If we do, it's a focus on running hard in practice this week and hydration leading up to the ball game, but don't want to talk too much about the altitude," Garrett said.
Marinelli's defense can become special - Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Cowboys' new-look secondary, a source of much angst throughout the offseason, is changing how Rod Marinelli runs his defense.
The secondary has been overhauled so the Cowboys can run more zone coverage instead of relying more on press-man players.
Byron Jones is a true centerfield free safety now, and there is more speed with the likes of second-year corner Anthony Brown (4.35-second 40-yard dash) and rookies Chidobe Awuzie (4.43) and Jourdan Lewis (4.55), who is expected to return after missing the opener with a hamstring injury.
“Every year, these young guys we’ve brought in the last couple of years, they’ve got some speed and you can see that,” Marinelli said. “A lot of people have speed and they don’t use it. These guys are using their speed. So we’ve just got to keep growing.”
“Guys are understanding more what they’re doing so they’re able to play faster,” Byron Jones said. “I think that’s the difference.”
Word of Muth: First Impressions of Giants O-Line - Ben Muth, Football Outsiders
Muth takes a look at the Giants' Week 1 performance ("Good God in Heaven") and drops this little nugget about the Cowboys:
One last thing before we go. I saw an interview where Justin Pugh said that the Cowboys gave the Giants some looks they weren't expecting, and I buy that. The Cowboys showed a lot of late movement on running downs or formations that seemed to bother New York, including shifting both defensive tackles to the strong side and dropping a linebacker down.
Troy Aikman: Dak Prescott does very well in situations where a QB 'really earns his keep' - SportsDay Staff
Troy Aikman knows a thing or two about quarterbacks.
Q: Dak Prescott continues to impress. Four interceptions in his first 17 games in the NFL. That is remarkable isn't it?
Troy Aikman: It really is. Even if you're Aaron Rodgers. To be able to do that as a rookie. I threw 18 my first and second year; I threw 36 in two years. He had some good things working for him, of course. But with that being said, this is a game of third downs. That's when a quarterback really earns his keep. He did that very well, played well on that down and then kept the ball out of harm's way. When I watch him, there's a lot of things to be impressed with. He gives them a chance, each and every week. It speaks volumes when you go into a game knowing that your quarterback is going to be consistent protecting the football. You become a hard team to beat when you're not beating yourself.
Meet the Cowboys' new game-wrecker: DeMarcus Lawrence - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Did you know that Lawrence was named the Player of the Game in the season opener? Now you do.
There's a popular sentence NFL coaches use when game-planning for standout players: "We can't let him wreck the game." When facing the Cowboys, that's usually said about their offensive stars. Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo mentioned it while talking about Dez Bryant before last Sunday's game.
But it was a Cowboys defensive end that Broncos head coach Vance Joseph was discussing when he said those seven words Thursday. As Joseph pointed out to reporters, DeMarcus Lawrence "wrecked the game" for the New York Giants as he recorded two sacks and three tackles for loss in Dallas' 19-3 season-opening win.
Lawrence was rewarded for his efforts by being named player of the game by his peers. His prize: an official green WBC championship belt. It's been sitting at Lawrence's locker all week. He put it around his waist while talking to reporters on Wednesday.
Why Cowboys are going with Alfred Morris and Kellen Moore as primary backups over Darren McFadden, Cooper Rush - SportsDay Staff
In a recent chat, Jon Machota gave some insight into the Cowboys personnel decisions.
Q: From your eyes, is Alfred Morris a better running back or Darren McFadden?
Jon Machota: I think he's a better runner right now. McFadden is more versatile. When Morris is in the game, the chances are very good that he's running the football. Opponents know that. It's different with McFadden because of his ability in the passing game. But the Cowboys went with Morris over McFadden last Sunday and it appears they will do the same in Denver. Morris has been getting the No. 2 reps in practice, which surprises me a little because McFadden basically held that role throughout training camp and the preseason.
Q: What's the deal with Kellen Moore being the backup and Cooper 3rd string? How does that make sense after Kellen was he one that got cut?
Jon Machota: I expect Moore to be the backup in Denver as well. Rush outplayed him in the preseason, yes, but Moore brings a veteran presence that the Cowboys feel more comfortable with if he had to go into a game right now. Big difference between facing NFL starters and second/third string players in the preseason. Moore has been in those situations. Rush and Moore continue to split second team reps in practice and Rush could end up being the No. 2 on Sunday's later in the year, but I think it'll be Moore's role for the foreseeable future.
Injured Scandrick won't play against Broncos - Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Orlando Scandrick has a broken bone in his hand that required surgery earlier this week, and playing just days after the surgery would have been a tall order.
With Scandrick out, look for Anthony Brown to join Nolan Carroll in the starting lineup at cornerback and for rookie Chidobe Awuzie to play in the nickel defense.
The Cowboys also have the added reinforcement of rookie Jourdan Lewis practicing the past two days for the first time since the start of training camp and being available Sunday.
He is also an option to play inside in the nickel defense.
As Cowboys' Chaz Green looks to improve, he watches Ronald Leary - Todd Archer, ESPN
Chaz Green finds himself studying the left guard he is replacing to get better, and he plans to thank the Broncos' Ronald Leary if he sees him Sunday.
On Sunday, the Cowboys will see Leary, who left for a lucrative free-agent deal with the Denver Broncos, for the first time, although he might not play because of a concussion suffered in the season-opening win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
If he gets the chance to see Leary before the game, Green will offer up a thank you.
"We were real tight," Green said. "I still talk to him every once and a while. He just taught me everything about how to approach this level. I wasn't playing guard when he was here. I was playing tackle, so I was next to him for a couple of the games I played, but he taught me the little things, little vet tips, staying calm, things to look at. I learned a lot."
Jason Witten will play in his team-record 225th game Sunday – Charean Williams, ProFootballTalk
The records keep coming for Witten.
The tight end, who became the Cowboys’ all-time receiving yards leader last week, will play in his team-record 225th game Sunday. He currently shares the record with Ed “Too Tall” Jones, who played his 224 games from 1974-78 and 1980-89 after leaving in ’79 to become a professional boxer.
Ezekiel Elliott is on the verge of a 31-year-old NFL record - Stefan Stevenson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Elliott is one game away from breaking Marcus Allen’s record set in 1986.
With 80 yards rushing Sunday against the Broncos in Denver, Elliott will break Marcus Allen’s record of 15 consecutive games with at least 80 yards rushing.