Osa Odighizuwa has become the pass-rushing DT Dallas has searched for.
Quiet as it’s kept, there’s a breakout star on the interior of the Dallas Cowboys defensive line as well, though often overshadowed by the generational greatness of Micah Parsons and the continued elite play by longtime defensive leader DeMarcus Lawrence; and that person is Osa Odighizuwa.
The 25-year-old entered the league alongside Parsons in 2021 but as the third-round pick of the Cowboys, and it didn’t take him long to start making an impact for defensive coordinator Dan Quinn — the former First-Team All-Pac 12 talent finishing his second season with a career-high four sacks at defensive tackle (doubling his rookie output in that category).
Having already produced three sacks through the first two games, he’s on track to shatter that number in 2023.
“If someone makes a play, you’re like, ‘I want a piece of that, too. Let me go make one,’” said Odighizuwa of the added motivation provided by his teammates’ ability to be dominant. “It just gives you an extra piece of energy. This is energy-generated football.
“A guy makes a play and it sparks something in the rest of the defense.”
Cowboys’ Micah Parsons has been getting some reps at TE; Mike McCarthy says ‘it’s something you entertain’ - Garrett Podell, CBS Sports
The Lion has been pestering Mike McCarthy to let him play offense.
Parsons has long pushed head coach Mike McCarthy to let him participate on the offensive side of the ball as well, and it turns out he might be getting his wish soon. He revealed McCarthy has begun giving him scout-team reps on the offensive side of the ball at tight end.
“Big Mike [McCarthy] let me get a couple scout-team reps at tight end,” Parsons recounted during an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” on Tuesday. “He might not have let y’all know that. I probably shouldn’t have spilled the tea.
On Wednesday, McCarthy clarified that Parsons may have exaggerated the amount of offensive work he has received in practice up to this point.
“He played a snap there [at tight end],” McCarthy said. “I will not give you an evaluation on that, but, yes, it’s something you entertain. Definitely. Micah, honestly, does have that ability.”
However, the All-Pro pass rusher can’t wait for a do-over on his rep during this week’s Friday practice.
“He [McCarthy] was very disappointed in my route, but I told him I didn’t warm up and that I just went out there on the fly. I look forward to running it back this Friday.”
Can the Cowboys keep up their sack pace? Unlikely, but never say never.
The early surprise: The Cowboys are averaging five sacks per game
The verdict: Mirage-ish. With star linebacker Micah Parsons, maybe anything is possible, but averaging five sacks per game seems a bit much. The NFL record for sacks in a season is 72, set by the 1984 Chicago Bears. To think the Cowboys will get 85 sacks at their current pace is mind-boggling. But the Cowboys have a pass rush that can come from “anywhere at any time,” according to defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. It’s not reliant on only Parsons, who has three sacks in two games. The Cowboys’ record for sacks in a season is 62. That seems doable, especially since the core of this defense produced 54 sacks last year. — Todd Archer
The health report.
Cowboys starting left guard Tyler Smith practiced for the first time since the start of the season. Smith, who missed every practice in Week 1 and Week 2 with a hamstring injury, had a limited practice Wednesday.
His backup, Chuma Edoga, also was limited with an elbow injury that took him out Sunday after 45 snaps. T.J. Bass played the final 42 snaps. Starting right guard Zack Martin (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. He was limited in two practices last week with a groin injury but played 82 of 87 snaps.
Receiver Brandin Cooks (knee) returned to limited work after missing all of last week’s practices and Sunday’s game. He sprained his MCL in Week 1.
Safety Jayron Kearse (illness) did not practice. Safety Donovan Wilson (calf) had a full practice for the first time since his injury early in training camp and should make his season debut this week.
Tony Romo is among the early, large number of players still in contention for the 2024 HOF. But Darren Woodson, c’mon, do the right thing HOF and get him in.
It’s still early in the process, but the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced 173 modern-era nominees for the 2024 class.
Among those players, 15 of them have some ties to the Cowboys, including former quarterback Tony Romo, who was also eligible last year.
The list will be dramatically reduced to 25 semifinalists in November.
But here are the 15 players that spent some time with the Cowboys who are on the list:
Tony Romo, Darren Woodson, Nate Newton, Daryl Johnston, Erik Williams, Mark Stepnokski, Ken Norton Jr., La’Roi Glover, Jimmy Smith, Randall Cunningham, Chris Warren, Eddie George, Mike Vanderjagt, Keith Brooking and Michael Bates.
A look at the Cowboys and Eagles from a Vegas perspective.
"I wasn’t that high on the Cowboys coming into this season," Las Vegas oddsmaker Rex Beyers told FOX Sports. "But that defense is better than I thought. I’ve raised their power rating quite a bit over the last two weeks."
"I now have Dallas a smidge behind San Francisco in the NFC and almost two points better than Philadelphia. There’s nobody else in the entire conference that’s even close to those three teams."
"And you can make a case that Philly could be 0-2."
Before the season, Philly was around +110 to win the East at most shops and Dallas was as high as +180. Now they’re basically numerical equals.
Assuming the Eagles earn a playoff berth, they’ll be dangerous in the postseason, so I’ll avoid that and bet the Cowboys to win more regular-season games. Their schedule is much easier than Philly’s and I don’t think the Eagles will survive this five-week gauntlet in late November into early December: Dallas, Kansas City, Buffalo, San Francisco, Dallas.
It’s time to place our bets on Dallas winning the East.
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