Seahawks’ Earl Thomas misses practice ahead of home opener against Cowboys - Alexis Mansanarez, Omni Sport
Well this is big news! Also very, very, very interesting...
Seahawks safety Earl Thomas and the Cowboys are a touchy subject, as the six-time Pro Bowl player has hinted at wanting to play in Dallas last season.
The saga continued Friday when Thomas sat out of practice for the second time this week ahead of Seattle’s home opener against a team vying for the top spot in the NFC East.
“He couldn’t work today,” coach Pete Carroll, via Curtis Crabtree of Sports Radio KJR and ProFootballTalk.
Thomas also missed practice Wednesday for “non injury related” reasons.
“He’s got some other stuff going on we’re working on,” Carroll added. “It’s personal in nature. That’s why I’m not talking about it.”
The conversation with Pete Carroll transcribed where he wouldn’t confirm Earl Thomas’ availability for Sunday.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll on Earl Thomas not practicing today: pic.twitter.com/KkygxSfD8y— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) September 21, 2018
A source close to Thomas, however, had a one-word answer when asked about a trade. being the reason for his absence.
“Nope,” was the brief reply.
He also said that Thomas should play in the game.
Cowboys executive vice president Stephen responded in kind when asked if they were engaged in any trade talks.
“No, we’re not.,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan Friday afternoon. “We’re not exchanging any calls or any information at this time.”
DE Gregory to play Sunday; DT collins out (knee) - Staff, National Football Post
The return of Randy Gregory, but the exit of Maliek Collins.
Gregory, 25, was cleared from the NFL’s concussion protocol last Friday but sat out the Cowboys’ 20-13 win over the Giants. The pass rusher suffered a concussion in Week 1 at Carolina in his first game since he participated in two games in 2016.
Gregory had missed most of the previous two seasons after numerous substance-related suspensions.
The Cowboys will be without defensive tackle Maliek Collins, who was ruled out for Sunday’s game because of a knee injury. After sitting out for the entire preseason while rehabbing after surgery to help repair a broken foot, the 23-year-old Collins hurt his knee against the Giants on Monday.
Sean Lee, Cole Beasley questionable; Maliek Collins out - Charean Williams, Pro Football Talk
More injury news heading into the weekend!
Cowboys weakside linebacker Sean Lee insisted Thursday he will play Sunday, but the team left some doubt by listing him as questionable.
He missed practice Wednesday before returning on a limited basis Thursday and Friday.
Lee felt tightness in his his hamstring on the final play of the third quarter last week against the Giants. His only snap after that came on an onside kick.
Receiver Cole Beasley also is questionable. The Cowboys added him to the practice report Thursday with an ankle injury.
Free safety Xavier Woods is expected to make his 2018 debut, though the Cowboys list him as questionable with a hamstring injury. He injured the hamstring in the team’s third preseason game.
Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on @1053thefan said barring something unforeseen happening between now and kickoff, he expects Sean Lee, Cole Beasley, Xavier Woods and Randy Gregory to play Sunday. He also expects Datone Jones to return and be active in place of Maliek Collins (knee)— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) September 21, 2018
Seahawks declare K.J. Wright, Doug Baldwin and Ethan Pocic out against Cowboys - Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times
This could be big losses for the Seahawks.
The Seahawks will be without three starters for Sunday’s home opener against Dallas — linebacker K.J. Wright (knee), receiver Doug Baldwin (knee) and left guard Ethan Pocic (ankle). All three were officially ruled out by the Seahawks on Friday.
Two other players were listed as questionable, meaning officially a 50-50 chance of playing — center Justin Britt (shoulder) and linebacker Mychal Kendricks (ankle).
Coach Pete Carroll indicated after practice Friday that Kendricks is likely to play while saying Britt would be a game-time decision.
Three Key Matchups: Seahawks vs Cowboys - John Boyle, Seahawks.com
Can the Cowboys take advantage of any of these matchups?
1. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott vs. Seattle’s run defense.
After giving up some big gains on the ground against Denver, Seattle cleaned up its run defense last week, limiting Chicago’s running backs to a 2.4 yards-per-carry average, but Sunday’s game presents the toughest challenge yet for Seattle’s run defense.
Ezekiel Elliott, who was a first-team All-Pro as a rookie two seasons ago, remains the centerpiece of Dallas’ offense, bringing into this game a solid 4.6 yards-per-carry average while rushing for 147 yards and two touchdowns in his first two games.
“The entire offense goes through him,” said Seahawks defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. “He’s a guy that really runs the ball well, great vision, good speed. He really understands how to play behind his pads, and then the quarterback, Dak (Prescott), has been doing an excellent job of keeping the ball. He’s getting involved in the run game as well, stands in the pocket really well, so those are two guys that we certainly have to stop.”
Jerry Jones: We should use Dak Prescott in the running game, he's the 'real deal' when he decides to run - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Prescott's mobility may be something the Cowboys will look to take advantage of a little more.
"Well, I'm queasy any time the quarterback has the ball," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan's G-Bag Nation show [KRLD-FM]. "But having said that, it's almost elementary that if the quarterback can provide you a running dimension then it puts a lot of pressure on that defense to account for him."
"I'm excited that we've got a quarterback that can move around that is, if you will, he's not fragile," Jones said. "He's got the strength. It shows in the way he runs. He runs with strength. I joked here [in 2016] that he runs like he's the daddy.
"Having said that, I think we should use him. He's not only a threat to keep the defense honest, he's the real deal when he decides to tuck it up."
Dak Prescott's rushing plays so far this year:— Cowboys Stats & Graphics (@CowboysStats) September 22, 2018
10 rushes (excluding kneels)
4 first downs
1 two-point conversion success
Success rate: 80% (!)
Rushing EPA: +8.36 (!)
Damien Wilson had the fastest sack in the entire NFL in Week 2 - Jori Epstein, SportsDay
Some interesting information via ZebraSports, the league's chip tracking partner, who clocked Damian Wilson's sack of Eli Manning in 2.04 seconds from snap to sack.
"I saw great speed, great intensity, great athleticism and a guy who took that next step and was able to finish it," veteran linebacker Sean Lee said of Wilson's play, where he and Jaylon Smith hit their gaps before Wilson took advantage of left guard Will Hernandez slipping to focus on Smith. "We want to be versatile linebackers who can cover, blitz and play the run."
Zebra's radio-frequent identification chips in each player's shoulder pad tracked how well the linebackers did those three. Lee accelerated to 18.31 mph on one first-quarter pursuit of Giants star rookie Saquon Barkley, Zebra data provided to SportsDay showed. (Barkley, even traveling a lateral stagger, hit 19.29 before Jaylon Smith forced him out of bounds for minus-3 yards.)
Taco Charlton sacked Manning in 3.14 seconds. DeMarcus Lawrence downed his favorite quarterback to face in 3.54. Their sacks ranked 10th- and 20th-fastest among 77 league sacks in Week 2.
Demarcus Lawrence and Khalil Mack are tied for the most total pressures among edge defenders through two weeks. pic.twitter.com/zx26WRUklh— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 21, 2018
Every NFL Team’s Biggest Weakness so Far This Season - Maurice Moton, Bleacher Report
What is the Cowboys biggest weakness heading into week three? This one should be no surprise.
Dallas Cowboys: Deep Passing Attack
The Dallas Cowboys have had little success with big pass plays. Quarterback Dak Prescott’s 64-yard touchdown pass to Tavon Autin against the New York Giants stands out as the lone successful throw that’s gone downfield for more than 20 yards.
Austin took advantage of busted coverage last week, but he’s not a consistent receiver. The 28-year-old has played 23.9 percent of the team’s snaps. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will probably continue to move him around the formation.
The Cowboys acquired wideouts Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson and rookie third-rounder Michael Gallup during the offseason. It’s fair to give Prescott time to establish a rapport with the new pass-catchers.
Right now, Dallas will have to settle for a conservative approach with an occasional shot downfield. The Cowboys passing attack ranks 30th in total yards.
Both Dallas, Seattle Riding Crazy 14-1 Streaks - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys.com
Well, this is an interesting stat. Something’s got to give, which will it be?
The Seahawks have won 14 of their last 15 season openers, dating back to the 2003 season.
The Cowboys have won 14 of their last 15 games in Week 3 of the season, dating back to the 2003. Technically, a couple of the wins have occurred in the following week, but because of a bye week, the Cowboys have still won all but one of their last 15 in the third game of the season.
Here we are, the Cowboys sitting at 1-1 and the Seahawks desperately needing a win at 0-2.
Now, the Seahawks’ stat isn’t too surprising. Seattle has one of the best home-field advantages in all of football. And in those 15 years, the Seahawks had a winning record in 11 of those seasons, including two straight trips to the Super Bowl. So winning games at home isn’t a huge surprise, although it’s an impressive streak.
As for the Cowboys, winning the third game of the season doesn’t have a lot of rhyme or reason. Of the 15 games, nine have been on the road, including last year’s 28-17 win over the Cardinals.
The only loss actually has been at home in 2015 when the Cowboys lost a commanding first-half lead and fell to the Falcons, 39-28.