Jason Garrett/Scott Linehan
Starting at the top of the chain, and yes they are not players, but considering Tyron is likely to not be on the field, they need to be addressed, especially after the showing they put on last week. The Eagles have boasted a great front seven thus far, and the additions of rookie DE Derek Barnett and DT Timmy Jernigan, only make it worse for OCs to game plan against. In an offense that relies on physicality at the LOS to the point of domination, it helps the offense to develop plays usually, but they do not have that luxury anymore. Seeing what happened in Atlanta, although a coach might have faith in a player, Bell was no better in his limited time than Green. Linehan and Garrett will continue to receive criticism if they remain stubborn in their game plan, because it will not work against this team. Ranking first on run defense, and tied for 10th with a team total of 25 sacks, they know how to get behind the OL and to the QB. So make “Dink and Dak” become a reality. Open the offense to more sets with quicker passes, and various counters, sweeps, and zone runs through the ground to help Prescott. With Philly’s secondary locking the 22nd place down on defense, Dez and Beasley need to become factors in this game on plays that get the ball quick out of Dak’s hands. If not, the Eagles will be able to take advantage in a major way against Bell, and questions need to start being asked if the talent is masking the in-game coaching ability.
Honestly, every week the QB holds the most importance for any team in the league in the outcome of a game. Although for Dak, all eyes will be set on him once again to see if he can carry an offense without Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith. After taking an unrightfully amount of criticism last week, due to obvious reasons, he finally felt the real effect of being the Cowboys starting QB. No matter what occurred during the game, total blame is going to fall on his shoulders, and it led to people drawing comparisons to Tony Romo’s career. Looking back on his first real test in this situation, Prescott held up well. We noticed the exhaustion and toll the hits took on his body, after he seemingly gave up when scrambling for a first down midway through the game. So, it is more a statement that will be drawn out of this, even in a loss, and he will have to play near perfect. How does Dak perform through adversity? As one who is regarded as poised a QB can be in the NFL, and has been in the past to lead his team back, it’s still a question of necessity that he will have to prove fans wrong in during this stretch.
Yes, I know it is hard to be confident in such a player that gave you close to nothing against an individual who had 3.5 sacks in the past two seasons, but it is what it is. Although there is conflicting reports out there on Smith’s availability, Bell will be the one out there to start. Coming in at the beginning of the fourth quarter he allowed two sacks, along with one that forced a fumble. That is rough, and what makes it worse, Clayborn was beating both Bell and Green by simply just running around them. No special moves, spins, rips, etc., Adrian was sealing the edge off before they could even move their feet back there. He has to open his hips and start from a wider set if he wants to be successful Sunday, and win whenever Dallas decides to help with a chip.
Durant pushes close for the final fourth spot as he will start in place at MLB, but with the questions on offense, Jones may have big role in field position Sunday. Growing into one of the better punters of the league, Jones kicks only 43.5 yards per punt, but teams have been able to return for just 4.5 yards on average, the
fourth lowest in the league. Netting 40.8 yards on his punts as well, every yard will be needed if this offense stalls out once again. An area of the game many do not take into account, can be very effective and sometimes be the determinant in how these matchups shape out. Remember, special teams wins games.