The Cowboys need their offensive line to be in sync on Thursday night.
Crowd noise was a factor in the offensive line’s problems at Arrowhead Stadium in the 19-9 loss to the Chiefs, and the Cowboys expect a similar environment Thursday. The Superdome is annually one of the league’s loudest venues. But as quarterback Dak Prescott said, “when you go into an atmosphere like this, it’s going to be a heavyweight challenge regardless.”
“For the offense it’s about communication, us being sound and us being on the same page in our non-verbal communication and to not allow the crowd noise to become a problem and affect us as far as our execution,” he said.
The offensive line has seen multiple changes to the starting five in recent weeks. La’el Collins and Steele have rotated starts in recent weeks, but Collins is expected to step in Thursday. Connor McGovern has replaced Connor Williams at left guard for the last two games. The return of Smith, the longest-tenured player on offense, adds stability. Back from injury, he said his ankle feels “good enough to continue going, so we’re all good.” “I took as much time as I could to get this ankle right,” he said. “I was trying to be patient as much as possible to try to hurry up and get back.”
Winning in New Orleans would mean more to Cowboys without Mike McCarthy on the sideline - David Moore, Dallas Morning News
A win on Thursday could mean much more than just one game in the standings.
Mike McCarthy won’t be on the sidelines to preside over the team’s fortunes when the Cowboys face New Orleans on Thursday evening. That may do more to cement McCarthy’s impact on the franchise than anything he’s done up to this point.
This is a pivotal moment not only in the head coach’s tenure with the club, but for what the Cowboys can do this season. A win would get this team back on track. A victory could validate and strengthen the culture McCarthy has worked so hard to put in place. It can provide an emotional springboard to a strong finish.
The Cowboys had a chance to do this a week-and-a-half ago but squandered the opportunity by how they lost in Kansas City. Following that with an overtime loss to Las Vegas meant a win over Arizona in Week 16 was the only way to truly reclaim their lost swagger. An unexpected crack at redemption presents itself with McCarthy’s absence during this COVID outbreak. Fighting through adversity for a win carries more weight than it would otherwise.
Even after a tough month, the Cowboys have a commanding lead in the division.
Things were looking hairy after the Cowboys’ overtime loss to the Raiders on Thanksgiving. The Eagles, after heating up recently, had two tasty upcoming games against the Giants and Jets. It felt like the gap between Dallas and Philadelphia could soon be closed. But then Philly flopped hard in New York on Sunday, losing to the Giants and squandering their golden opportunity. The division is hardly clinched for the Cowboys at this point, but their lead feels much more comfortable after seeing the Eagles’ failure.
In fact, the loss dropped Philadelphia out of second place after Washington’s win last night over the Seahawks. Now the Football Team is closest to the Cowboys in the NFC East standings and the rivals still haven’t met yet in 2021.
The win over Philly was a rare feel-good moment for the Giants this season. But it was more about the Eagles letdown than a step forward for New York; both teams looked bad at the end of the day.
Was Trysten Hill’s suspension a fair punishment?
If you have not heard, Cowboys defensive tackle and the team’s 2019 top overall draft pick Trysten Hill has been suspended two games by the league for punching Las Vegas Raiders lineman John Simpson during the postgame handshakes. If we are being honest, it was more of an open-handed slap. That slap leaves the Cowboys thin on the defensive line. The memo Hill received accused him of violating Rule 12, Section 2, Article 14(c) which prohibits striking or swinging at someone from the head up. He was also in violation of Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 which is basically a general sportsmanship rule.
For the record, I do not condone what Hill did and the professionalism he failed to display on Thanksgiving should have consequences but this suspension is ridiculous. The NFL needs to be more transparent when it comes to penalties and suspensions
The NFL prides itself on optics which is why they try and throw the book at anyone who fails to protect the so-called “shield”. That is more than likely why Ezekiel Elliott was given a six-game suspension even though the justice system did not pursue his case. According to the people at Sportrac.com, there have been 125 infractions in the NFL with fines almost hitting $6.5 million. The Denver Broncos have been fined the most in the entire league followed closely by the New Orleans Saints. Your Cowboys rank third on this list.
Predicting the Cowboys at Saints matchup: Dallas squeaks one out on the arm of Dak Prescott - Aidan Davis, Blogging The Boys
Taking a look at how Thursday’s game may play out.
There are 26 players on New Orleans’ active roster, but the defense’s ability to stop the Saints rests on the shoulders of only one player. Alvin Kamara is their only weapon at this point and needs to be treated as such. Going into week ten, when Kamara was ruled out due to injury, he had accumulated 60% of the team’s rushing attempts, 23% of the receptions, and 33% of their yards. In a season muddled with injuries and players leaving in free agency, Kamara is all that is left. It appears as though he will be available to play this week and bring life to a struggling Saints offense.
So, the Cowboys will have to get creative in covering Kamara. Using safeties and zone looks to ensure someone like Leighton Vander-Esch isn’t covering the gadget running back is crucial. Even Parsons, who has struggled a bit in coverage, should not be trusted to guard Kamara. Treat him like the best wide receiver on the team because he essentially is at this point.
They will have to use their secondary to defend Kamara out of the backfield and make sure that a linebacker doesn’t try and guard him. Presumably, this will open up the field for other New Orleans pass-catching options. It now seems like the quarterback that will try and take advantage of the open field will be Taysom Hill.
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