3 Keys to Cowboys exacting revenge on streaking 49ers - Mike Crum, Cowboys Wire
The Dallas Cowboys are one game away from accomplishing a feat that they haven’t done in almost thirty years. Standing in their way is an old, bitter rival in the San Francisco 49ers. Here are keys to victory.
Don’t let Nick Bosa ruin the game
Cowboys edge rusher Micah Parsons showed how a single player on defense can wreck a whole offensive game plan this past Monday in Tampa. When the Buccaneers ran away from Parsons, he made tackles in the backfield. When they tried to pass, he had Brady worried all night, tallying a sack, two QB hits, and his second-most hurries on the season with nine. Even when Tampa tried to trick him with screens, he knocked two of the passes away.
This is the type of performance the Cowboys must avoid from the leading candidate for defensive player of the year, Nick Bosa. He leads the league in sacks with 18.5, has 19 tackles for a loss, 48 QB hits, and 56 pressures. He is as good as anybody at getting to the QB and has the ability to make opposing QBs feel his presence even when he is blocked well.
Tyron Smith has played better with every game of experience he gets at right tackle. He and left tackle Tyler Smith will be the first line of defense against Bosa, but just as important will be Kellen Moore’s plan and Dak Prescott’s release.
Don’t leave points on the board
The wild-card game wasn’t a close enough game for a missed kick to matter., but the 49ers are unlikely to get blown out, so leaving points on the board is likely to lead to elimination. Brett Maher cannot miss again after leaving four points on the board against the Bucs.
This key isn’t just about Maher though. The Cowboys can’t afford to get in the red zone and settle for field goals. The San Francisco defense is going to get stops, that’s why they are the best defense in the league, but Dallas must convert most red-zone attempts to touchdowns or face the reality of a Kyle Shanahan 49ers offense outscoring and eliminating them.
Updates: Cowboys Waive Mullen, Elevate Rhodes - Dallas Cowboys Staff Writers, DallasCowboys.com
Ahead of Sunday’s game, the team made a few roster transactions, waiving a veteran cornerback while elevating another to the active roster.
Trayvon Mullen has been officially waived by the Dallas Cowboys ahead of their trip to face the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional Round.
Mullen was claimed off of waivers in December and active in just one game, struggling to make an impact for a CB unit in need of assistance. The team has since signed Xavier Rhodes, who has been elevated on Saturday for a second time, leaving one elevation available for Rhodes from the practice squad.
The vacant seat created by divorcing Mullen will be filled by offensive tackle Aviante Collins, who was signed to the active roster today after losing Jason Peters to a hip injury.
Brock Hoffman, a backup interior offensive lineman, joins Rhodes in being elevated from the practice squad.
5 players that the 49ers need to step up against the Cowboys - Xavier Dixon, Niners Nation
We know the premier players and the All-Pros for the 49ers. However, there are a few other players to keep your eye on during the game that San Francisco will be relying on.
DeMeco Ryans increased his usage of two high safeties, but he’ll need to close the middle of the field come Sunday. Dallas’ offensive identity is similar to San Francisco’s, as they love to run the ball and make explosive plays through the air. The Cowboys put 135 yards on the ground per game, and Ryans will need to accommodate that.
This puts Tashaun Gipson in a bind as he would be responsible for a large amount of grass to cover. Closing the middle of the field at post safety won’t be easy with Dallas’ plethora of weapons. This is where I lean on Ryans’s creativity to mix man, zone, and some blitzes to keep the Cowboys on their toes.
The increase of two high safety usage could be to give more support to the cornerbacks. However, the 49ers must do some exotic things to allow themselves to get off the field on third down. Closing the middle of the field not only helps stop the run but will also force Prescott to make “hero ball” throws near the sideline and, hopefully, some interceptions.
Brock Purdy’s slithery movement in the pocket spared him from hits and allowed him to make plays downfield. San Francisco’s inexperienced interior offensive line has witnessed ups and downs. but things are better. Right guard Spencer Burford plays well in the run game but needs to step it up in pass protection.
Most of the sacks allowed by the 49ers have come from miscommunication or bad double teams. Burford can help the offensive line by anchoring when in a pass set or finding work when no one is in front of him.
Burford is 22 years old and in an offensive line-friendly scheme. The best thing Buford can do is help keep the pocket tight and have strong striking hands when in a pass set.
Cowboys Rumors: Dan Quinn Head Coaching Interview Requested by Cardinals - Adam Wells, Bleacher Report
They say defense wins championships. Although hiring offensive coaches has been a big trend over the last few years or so, a return to the other side of the ball may be on the way. This has made the Dallas defensive coordinator a popular candidate.
Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Arizona Cardinals have formally requested an interview to speak with Quinn about their coaching vacancy.Pelissero noted Quinn has already spoken with the Indianapolis Colts virtually and in person with the Denver Broncos about their head coaching jobs.
The Cardinals have cast a wide net as they look for Kliff Kingsbury’s replacement. Pelissero reported earlier this week they put in a request to interview Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn.Other candidates Arizona has either met with or requested to interview include Sean Payton, Vance Joseph, DeMeco Ryans, Brian Flores, Ejiro Evero and Frank Reich.
Arizona acted quickly to hire a new general manager after Steve Keim stepped down because of health concerns. Monti Ossenfort was hired Monday after he spent three seasons with the Tennessee Titans as their director of player personnel.
Quinn is in his second season as Cowboys defensive coordinator. His defense finished tied for fifth with 20.1 points allowed per game this season. Prior to joining Mike McCarthy’s staff in Dallas, Quinn spent six seasons as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. He went 43-42 with two playoff appearances and an NFC championship in 2016.
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