Tom Brady, Kirk Cousins among Players of the Week - Quang M. Lam, NFL.com
It is already turning into a really good year for the man who prefers to be known as a Tank.
Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Lawrence absolutely terrorized Carson Palmer on Monday night, sacking the Cardinals quarterback three times and keeping the pressure on him throughout the game. The 2014 second-round pick now leads the league with 6.5 sacks.
DeMarcus Lawrence wins NFC Defensive Player of the Week, still says he was 'not good enough' | Jon Machota, SportsDay
It is safe to say that the recent accolades are not going to Lawrence's head.
"It's not good enough," said Lawrence, who had three sacks Monday night in Arizona. "I left a lot out there on the table. I got to get better."
Film Room: A war daddy emerges for the Dallas Cowboys - Marcus Mosher, Fansided
This is a long look at Lawrence's performance that breaks down just how he was winning the battles on the line. It is one that is worth your time.
They didn’t have a dominant rusher off the edge that teams were forced to gameplan around. While defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is fantastic at generating pressure without having star talent, it’s much tougher to do consistently without a real force on the defensive line and it’s even harder to do so against great teams.
That’s why Jerry Jones made the statement this offseason that they would look everywhere and pay whatever price was to find that “war-daddy” on defense that can dictate how an offense operates. Entering the season, many criticized Jones for not pursuing a great edge rusher and instead, sticking with the home-grown talent on the defensive line.
But what Dallas didn’t know was that their “war-daddy” was already on the roster and was primed to explode in his fourth year in his career. His name is DeMarcus Lawrence.
Sturm: Ruthless! How Cowboys' commitment to the plan paid dividends vs. Cardinals | Bob Sturm, SportsDay
In his weekly Decoding Linehan column, Sturm analyzes how the Cowboys had the resolve, with a little help from the defense, to stick with their identity to win the game.
And in a game like this, we have to accept the good with the bad. More importantly, we have to understand how it all works together. I think that is the big key here. People want to know why they don't just run the plays that work more often and run less of the plays that don't work. But that isn't football. Football tells us that they are all related. In fact, a play that doesn't work should sometimes be run again right away with one variable changed slightly, as that is all it takes to yield a huge result that wasn't available on the previous play.
So, it tests your resolve. The other side is trying to shut you down and make you scramble for ideas. And sometimes, you need to change how you do things. But last week, I wrote about how disappointed I was that Denver bluffed the Cowboys out of their plan. It wasn't like Denver destroyed the Cowboys' highly touted run game. It was more that they scared the Cowboys out of trying it with any level of commitment and conviction. They stuffed a few runs, so the Cowboys crumpled up the game plan and threw it in the trash. They conceded to Denver that their best idea was not a good one. They did much better in Arizona -- partially aided by the defense giving them time -- of sticking with the plan and allowing the wear and tear of four quarters to help them outlast the Cardinals as the game went on.
Xs and Os: Cowboys went soul searching to find their mojo | Jeric Griffin, Cowboys Wire
This is a good, video-filled look at how the Cowboys offense got back on track after a slow start against the Cardinals.
The cycle of successful NFL offensive play-calling. It was so consistent and smooth in 2016 that it seems everyone in Cowboys Nation just kind of expected it to continue in 2017. Dallas learned the hard way in Denver that’s not the case. But the rebound in the second half against Arizona proves the formula still works; it just has to be accompanied with solid execution, strong will and some guts.
The Cowboys now must latch onto this re-found identity and cling to it. They must use what they learned against Denver and the first half against Arizona as a way to catapult themselves into Super Bowl contention this year, especially if their pass rush continues to aggravate opposing quarterbacks the way Demarcus Lawrence and company did against Carson Palmer on Monday night.
Breaking down the Cowboys' offensive issues - Todd Archer, ESPN
The Cowboys' offense has not been nearly as good as we expected so far this season. Archer delves into the issues, including the struggles along the offensive line. Jason Garrett feels that just getting the reps with the new players will help.
"One of the things you find out is, really, for a long, long time in the NFL, and certainly now, the way you get better, particularly in the running game, is experience during the game," Garrett said. "That's been the case for a long time. You like to think that you become a better running team as the year goes on because you get a chance to run these runs in real life against a real opponent. And hopefully you benefit from those experiences. That's for everybody. That's for a veteran offensive line group. And … when you have a couple of young guys in there, hopefully they're learning from the experiences as we go and we get better."
Scout’s Notebook: Evaluating The Rookie DB’s, Unsung WR’s, Pass Rush Notes | Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
You can never get too much of Broaddus' analysis, like this look at how the dime package worked to result in a sack against Arizona.
There were several snaps where Rod Marinelli went with his dime personnel to get his defense off the field. One of those times was on the first Maliek Collins sack of Carson Palmer. With Collins at nose tackle and DeMarcus Lawrence and Benson Mayowa on the edges, Marinelli locked Sean Lee and his defensive backs up in man coverage with Xavier Woods and Jeff Heath in a two-deep look. Palmer wanted to throw the ball in the middle of the field to Larry Fitzgerald, but Anthony Brown was all over him. Palmer tried to climb the middle of the pocket like he had done in previous snaps, but Collins snatched Arizona center A.Q. Shipley out of his stance. With Shipley out of the way, Collins had a clean run to Palmer, who was forced to eat the ball.
Cole Beasley's start hints at what opposing defenses know - Todd Archer, ESPN
Archer's "five wonders" piece this week includes this, which will be something to watch next week.
Defensive end David Irving will be eligible to return from his four-game suspension after the Rams game. I wonder how the Cowboys will create the spot to get him on the 53-man roster. To get Damontre Moore on the 53-man roster from his suspension, they cut linebacker Jayrone Elliott, and to get him on the 46-man roster, they deactivated Charles Tapper. Would the Cowboys cut a defensive lineman for Irving, who can play end and tackle? Could it be the time they release Kellen Moore and carry just two quarterbacks? They seem set on carrying six wide receivers, but there aren't a lot of easy places to find a spot for Irving.
7 Keys to Victory in Dallas Cowboys' Week 4 Matchup | Marcus Mosher, Bleacher Report
Mosher gives his seven things that Dallas needs to do against the Los Angeles Rams. One of them, getting to quarterback Jared Goff, looks a lot more doable than in past years with the way the Cowboys have been rushing the passer to start the season.
It won't be enough for the Cowboys to just pressure Goff; Dallas needs to get him to the ground frequently to truly test him. And with DeMarcus Lawrence likely matching up against Rob Havenstein, they should be able to generate some pass rush off the edge. The team should also be able to take advantage of one of the weaker interior offensive lines in football.
Whatever the game plan is on defense, the Cowboys cannot let Goff get comfortable in the pocket in the same way that Trevor Siemian did in Week 2.
Playoff chances of 2-1 teams: Titans look good, Rams in trouble - Gil Brandt, NFL.com
There are currently sixteen teams with 2-1 records. Of them, long time guru Brandt sees the Cowboys as having one of the best chances to make the playoffs.
4) Dallas Cowboys
This all hinges on a full season of availability from Ezekiel Elliott, whose six-game suspension is still being examined by the court system, but I give the Cowboys a narrow edge over the Eagles and Redskins in what's shaping up to be a three-team race for the NFC East. Dallas hasn't exactly been firing on all cylinders thus far, but I see this team getting better. The defense will get a boost from the return of David Irving from his four-game suspension and Anthony Hitchens from a tibial plateau fracture. The Cowboys do close with three of their final four games on the road, but the schedule is not wholly unkind: They get to face the Packers, Chiefs and Seahawks in Dallas.
Dallas Cowboys will go lighter in practice in prepping for Rams - Todd Archer, Cowboys Blog- ESPN
Just some info on the adjustments forced on Dallas by the schedule.
The Dallas Cowboys did not get back home from Phoenix until 4 a.m. Tuesday, thanks to their Monday night contest, which has forced them to alter their prep work for the Los Angeles Rams.
The Cowboys will not hold a padded practice Wednesday or even go faster than walk-through speed as they start their look at the Rams.
What they're saying about Cowboys, anthem: Classic Jerry Jones; 30 NFL owners wish they thought of his idea | SportsDay staff
There have been a variety of responses to the unique way the Cowboys responded to the anthem controversy. This one seems pretty spot on.
USA TODAY Sports columnist Jarrett Bell: Leave it to the Dallas Cowboys to add a new twist to pregame demonstrations. They compromised. .... There [Jerry Jones] was, along with his three children, taking a knee Monday -- the first NFL owner to do so. This was a startling image, even after other NFL team owners in several cases locked arms with players during the pre-game anthem Sunday.
It was classic Jones. The maverick businessman, recently inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has made his mark as a shrewd salesman and strategist who not only sizes up circumstances and opportunities but sells his ideas as well as anyone. ... It worked.
Like It Or Not, These Athletes Shouldn’t Just 'Stick To Sports' | Brad Sham, Dallas Cowboys
Another thoughtful and worthwhile take from Brad Sham. Take a moment to read it, it will be worth your while.
Certainly there’s a time and a place for everything. That’s at the heart of many of the stand-for-the-anthem arguments, and people who disagree cannot say those folks have no right to their opinion. And vice-versa.
But “stick to sports” is not the answer. It’s a borderline insulting answer, and here’s why: As mentioned above, sports can help heal, help unite. Help makes things better.
President Trump: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones 'a winner' | Fort Worth Star-Telegram
President Donald Trump says he spoke with the Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones after he and his team took a knee before the national anthem.