The Rundown: Dallas Cowboys vs New Orleans Saints

By Zack Spears
PSDC Dallas Cowboys Insider

ARLINGTON – It’s game day in Cowboy Football Nation. Today the Dallas Cowboys take on their bitter rival, the New Orleans Saints. The Saints are coming off of a tough loss last week but are highly regarded as one of the best teams in the NFL. DeMarcus Ware will be back in the starting lineup for Dallas this week which will help contain the Saints vertical passing attack. As always in my rundown, I give you the three main things I will be looking for during the game. Enjoy.

1. Cowboys Secondary – Let’s face it, they have sucked for the most part this year – as has the entire Cowboys defense. But they need to be on their A game tonight as they take on a very potent Saints offense led by Drew Brees. It will help the secondary if the  defensive line is able to get a pass rush, but you can’t bank on that happening due to the amount of injuries up front and never knowing who is actually suiting up to play each Sunday for Dallas.

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2. Rob Ryan Defense – Ryan was fired this offseason by Jerry Jones and accepted the same position as defensive coordinator for the Saints shortly after. Technically, Dallas blamed him for the poor finish to last season with his firing. You know he will be fired up for this game and will have his defense ready to go. Let’s just hope the Cowboys offense is as fired up to prove their owner right and be effective against their old coordinators defense that has been playing well as of late. [Read more…]

The Rundown: Minnesota Vikings vs Dallas Cowboys

By Zack Spears
PSDC Dallas Cowboys Insider

ARLINGTON – It’s game day in Cowboy Football Nation. Last week sucked. Luckily that is behind us, hopefully. Today the Dallas Cowboys take on the Minnesota Vikings. The Cowboys are coming off of maybe one of the worst losses in franchise history after the late touchdown surrendered to the Lions last week. The Vikings enter Sunday as a 1-6 football club and don’t know who their starting quarterback is. All they really feature is one of the top backs in the league in Adrian Peterson. As always in my rundown, I give you the three main things I will be looking for during the game. Enjoy.

1. Dez – After the overblown media coverage of Dez Bryant’s antics last week on the sideline, I am more than interested to see not only how he preforms this week but also how he carries himself on the sideline. Dez is having a monster year so far. I hope he can keep it up and be a continued force. He has that opportunity against a poor Vikings secondary.

dez-bryant-dallas-cowboys

2. Defense – It is no secret that this Cowboys defense sucks this year. Yes, a lot of it has to do with injuries. This team is basically playing with five or six pros and the rest are guys off of the street. Not joking either. But they have to stop the Vikings this week. As bad as the Cowboys are on defense, the Vikings are that bad on offense. If they give up a lot of points and yardage to this Vikings offense, they will be the laughing stock of the NFL. [Read more…]

The Rundown: Dallas Cowboys vs Detroit Lions

By Zack Spears
PSDC Dallas Cowboys Insider

ARLINGTON – It’s game day in Cowboys Football Nation. Today the Dallas Cowboys take on the Detroit Lions. The Cowboys are coming off of two straight weeks of dominating defensive performances and two straight wins. The Lions enter Sunday as a 4-3 football club as well and feature a very lethal offense and dangerous front four on defense. As always in my rundown, I give you the three main things I will be looking for during the game. Enjoy.

1. Running Backs – The rumor is that DeMarco Murray will play on Sunday after sitting out last week with a sprained knee. So it brings up the question, what will Dallas do at that position? They have had pretty good production out of all four of their backs this year when they ask them to get in and play. I imagine that all four will be active and all will serve a different role while sharing the load to help Murray to stay off that knee as much as possible.

2. Terrance Williams – This rookie wide receiver had a rough start to his career but has since overcome the growing pains and has slowly turned into a really nice weapon for the Cowboys. The Cowboys need him to continue to produce and draw attention from defenses to help open up things on the ground and give more opportunities through the air for Dez, Beasley and Witten. Miles Austin who?

terrance-williams-dallas-cowboys [Read more…]

The Rundown: Dallas Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles

By Zack Spears
PSDC Dallas Cowboys Insider

ARLINGTON – It’s game day in Cowboys Football Nation. Today the Dallas Cowboys take on the Philadelphia Eagles, who share the first place spot with the Cowboys. Nick Foles will start at quarterback for the injured Mike Vick, which should handicap the Eagles new high-paced offense. As always in my rundown, I give you the three main things I will be looking for during the game. Enjoy.

1. DeMarcus Ware – Will he play? We have been tugged back and forth wether or not Ware will not play in his first game ever as a pro football player. He pulled his quad last week against the Redskins and didn’t play the rest of the game. Early in the week, it seemed almost certain that he would not only be out this week, but for possibly three weeks. Late in the week, it came out that he could possibly be ready to go this Sunday. The Cowboys need DeMarcus Ware. But they need a healthy DeMarcus Ware for the rest of the year more.

2. Offense – This offense has been very productive the last couple weeks. I am looking for it to continue to build on that success this week. With the absence of Murray at running back, the Dallas offense will more than likely hinge on the passing game. Which is what I truly believe the Cowboys want to do anyways, air it out. They have shown over the past couple years and several times already this season that they are very dangerous in their passing attack. But everyone wants to try and establish the running game to keep the offense “balanced”. But now that the top two running backs are out, what better excuse to neglect the run and just throw it around the ballpark?

tony-romo-throwing [Read more…]

The Rundown: Washington Redskins vs Dallas Cowboys

By Zack Spears
PSDC Dallas Cowboys Insider

ARLINGTON- Tonight the Washington Redskins come to town to meet a Cowboys team that is currently in a two-game losing streak. But they have it feel good offensively after their showing last week against the Denver Broncos. The defense has shown most of the year that it needs work, and never was it more evident than last Sunday. The Redskins have been struggling most of the year and this looks to be a perfect opportunity for the Cowboys to get back on track. Here are a few things that I will be watching in the game tonight:

1. Miles Austin – Miles Austin re-injured his hamstring three weeks ago against St Louis and we haven’t seen him since. He has practiced most of the week and expects to play. This offense of the Cowboys is loaded with weapons and Austin is a big part of that. Up until the injury, he was having a nice start to the year. And with the emergence of Terrence Williams and the constant threat of Jason Witten, it should free up Dez Bryant more and give Tony Romo more options.

Miles-Austin-Tony-Romo

2. Offense Responds – This offense goes and always has gone as Tony Romo goes. After the huge week he had last week against Denver, I will be looking to see how he and this Cowboys’ offense responds. In the past we’ve seen this offense play well then come back the next week and barely show up. I want this year’s team to break out of that and show up each and every week and dominate on that side of the ball like we’ve all seen them do multiple times this season. [Read more…]

The Rundown: Denver Broncos vs Dallas Cowboys

By Zack Spears
PSDC Dallas Cowboys Insider

ARLINGTON – It’s game day in Cowboys Football Nation. Today the Dallas Cowboys take on the best team in the NFL, the Denver Broncos. The Broncos have blown everyone out that they have played this year. The Broncos are led by their quarterback Peyton Manning, one of the best to ever play the position. But as good as the Broncos are, this is a game the Cowboys can win. Too many times, we have seen the Cowboys lose games they shouldn’t (see last week), and come right back the next week and win a game that they shouldn’t. As always in my rundown, I give you the three main things I will be looking for during the game. Enjoy.

1. DeMarcus Ware – The Broncos left tackle is normally Ryan Clady, a very special player over on the blindside, but he is out for the season with a foot injury. Chris Clark has stepped in and is performing very well so far, but we will see how good he is this week as he lines up against one of the league’s all-time best pass rushers, DeMarcus Ware. Ware struggled through last week’s game in San Diego with a lower back injury. Although Clark is playing very well for Denver, this could be an opportunity for Ware to have a big game, and hopefully a game-changing performance against an inexperienced left tackle. In order for Dallas to slow down Peyton Manning and his high-powered Broncos offense, they need to get pressure on Manning early and often.

demarcus-ware

2. Dez Bryant – Dez, as we all know, is one of the most talented wide outs in the league, but we have yet to see him put together a full game. It seems like he always has one good half per game, then in the other half he is non-existent. Yes, he is being double and triple covered, but you can’t tell me Jerry Rice, Cris Carter and Randy Moss weren’t receiving the same attention in their primes but they still put together crazy games, numbers and receptions. Dez and the Cowboys have to find a way to get him the ball at any point in the game when needed. He is a very explosive and dangerous weapon for the offense, you can’t have that in your arsenal and have it be unproductive. [Read more…]

The Rundown: San Diego Chargers vs Dallas Cowboys

By Zack Spears
PSDC Dallas Cowboys Insider

ARLINGTON – It’s game day in Cowboys Football Nation and the Dallas Cowboys are taking on a talented San Diego Chargers team. Dallas is coming off a huge win last week against the Rams where we saw the Cowboys do just about everything they wanted to. The Chargers are playing well offensively with Philip Rivers under center and, as always, Antonio Gates at tight end and an added threat, Eddie Royal, out wide who has had a surprisingly good start to the year with five touchdowns. As always in my rundown, I give you the three main things I will be looking for during the game. Enjoy.

1. Running Game – By now we are all aware that Dallas had success running the football last week against St Louis. But now the question is can they sustain that success, and keep it going? And when something goes wrong in the running game, do they stay with the run or totally neglect it like we’ve seen this team and coaching staff do in the past? It sure would be nice to see the Cowboys have a productive running game each and every week. But as history tells us, that probably won’t be the case. We can all hope for it though.

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2. George Selvie vs DJ Fluker – We are about to see how good George Selvie really is. He has had a ton of success in this young season so far and has really far exceeded anyone’s expectations for him. But today will be his biggest test. Lining up against the Chargers top pick, rookie right tackle DJ Fluker from the University of Alabama. Fluker is a massive human being who moves really well and also possesses strength and the longest arms in the NFL combine last year. Fluker has played well in the two games he has played in this year; most of the Chargers runs are drawn up to follow right behind him. He is a mauler and a physical player. Selvie will have his hands full Sunday trying to get around Fluker and make an impact on this game. I also hope we can see some DeMarcus Ware vs. DJ Fluker battles in this game so we can assess how good DJ Fluker really is when asked to match up against one of the game’s finest pass rushers of all time.

3. Manti Te’o Although he is not a Dallas Cowboy, I still find this very interesting. Te’o will play in his first NFL game Sunday and it just happens to be against Dallas. This will really be the first time anyone has seen him play since Alabama housed him and his Notre Dame boys in last year’s National Championship. Te’o was an All American and the Heisman runner up last year, but in the National Championship game he was a non-factor and didn’t live up to the hype. It is his turn to answer the bell of all the critics, show us he was worthy of all the accolades and if he will be a productive pro player. We get the first glimpse of it today.

Game Notes:

– Miles Austin did not practice most of the week due to his hamstring injury he sustained last week vs. St Louis. He will not play today.
– ProFootballFocus.com has its weekly power rankings of teams and players at their positions. This week they listed Cowboy defensive tackle Jason Hatcher as their No. 2 ranked DT and Doug Free as their No. 2 ranked offensive tackle in the NFL.

Follow PSDC’s Dallas Cowboys insider Zack Spears on Twitter @Zacklopedia for year round Cowboys’ coverage. Also tune in on Monday mornings to the Dalton Lipsey Insurance Dallas Cowboys’ Roundup with Reid Kerr for Zack’s post game thoughts.

The Rundown: St. Louis Rams vs Dallas Cowboys

By Zack Spears
PSDC Dallas Cowboys Insider

ARLINGTON – WAKE UP! It’s game day in Arlington, TX and the Dallas Cowboys are set to take on the St. Louis Rams today at noon. The Rams (1-1) come to town with their former first overall pick quarterback, Sam Bradford, who finally has a solid offensive line in front of him anchored by former No. 1 overall pick Jake Long at left tackle. Bradford has had a strong start to the year, leading the Rams to a fourth quarter comeback in Week 1 against Arizona and nearly doing the same last week in Atlanta. The last time these two teams met in Arlington, it was a 34-7 win for the Cowboys and DeMarco Murray finished with 253 yards rushing. As always in my rundown, I give you the three main things I will be looking for during the game. Enjoy.

1. Tony Romo – Romo was good last week against the Chiefs going 30-42 for 298 yards and a touchdown. That touchdown was the only one the Cowboys scored all day. Although Romo’s numbers look good on the stat sheet, it doesn’t exactly tell you how he seemed a little “off” in the second half last week. Something has been telling me deep down for the past couple days that he will have a big day today. So I will be looking for him to play well and be a potential player of the game for Dallas.

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2. Running Game – Through two full games, the Cowboys have just 34 rush attempts averaging 3.2 yards per attempt. Last week in Kansas City, the Cowboys rushed for just 37 yards and the week before they rushed for a whopping 87 yards. The Cowboys HAVE to rush more often and with more success if they want to be successful and win games this year. If not, teams can just start cuing in on the pass and play to defend a strictly passing offense. There is no confidence in the Cowboys running game right now by anyone that is associated with it. Head Coach Jason Garrett, Offensive Coordinator Bill Callahan and Quarterback Tony Romo all agree that the team needs to be more productive from a running standpoint. I expect the Cowboys to try and get something going on the ground this week and focus on it. With Murray’s recent success on the ground (253 yards in 2011) against the Rams and the negative focus on the running game recently, I think puts pressure on Bill Callahan to call more runs and try to get something going on the ground early and often this afternoon. [Read more…]

The Rundown: Dallas Cowboys vs Kansas City Chiefs

By Zack Spears
PSDC Dallas Cowboys Insider

ARLINGTON – This afternoon is the Dallas Cowboys second game of the year after a huge season opening win on Sunday night against the New York Giants 36-31. Can the Cowboys respond and play against a confident Kansas City team coached by a man who knows how to beat Dallas in Andy Reid? As always in my rundown, I give you the three main things I will be looking for during the game. Enjoy.

1. Cowboys fast-paced offense – The Cowboys used a fast-paced, no huddle offense at times against the Giants and it worked really well until a Giants defender just so happened to come up with an “Injury” that interrupted the rhythm. I would like to see more of that aggressive style of play out of the Cowboys. It was productive and had the Giants defense on its heels. Any advantage this offense can get, I’ll take.

2. Cowboys O-Line – I thought the Cowboys protected pretty well in the game last Sunday but the running game pretty much non-existent. The Cowboys need to get the offense in a rhythm and gash the Chiefs defense up the seams when they get tired from running play after play with little break. That will help the O-line and offense get some confidence that they can actually run the ball with success, which it feels like they haven’t done in years. I think the fast-paced style of offense can be a major help to this Cowboys offensive line. Also new addition to the Cowboys, Brian Waters is expected to play at right guard some today. If he is as good as advertised, he should help the team immediately from an overall physical standpoint. He should make a difference in the running game, which would be a big lift for Dallas. [Read more…]

The Rundown: New York Giants vs Dallas Cowboys

By Zack Spears
PSDC Dallas Cowboys Insider

ARLINGTON – Tonight is the Dallas Cowboys season opener against NFC East rival New York Giants. They kick off is set for 7:20 p.m. CST. There many interesting story lines to watch for and follow in this game, but I have chosen the three I intend to pay the most attention to in this season opener.

1. D-Ware at D-End – How will the new and improved DeMarcus Ware look with his hand in the dirt each and every down at defensive end after playing his entire career in a 3-4 defense at outside linebacker. Ware has added on about 15 pounds to help the transition with the more physical play he will be apart of each and every play. I am also excited to see Monte Kiffin’s defense that he has brought to the Cowboys. His 4-3 front and Tampa Two scheme has proven to be effective in the past in Tampa and Indianapolis, both won Super Bowls with the defense.

2. Dez – After the way Dez Bryant finished last season and his preseason he had this year, who wouldn’t be excited about this season for him? He finished the preseason with 13 catches, 183 yards and a touchdown while only playing in parts of three games. [Read more…]

The Rundown: Cincinnati Bengals vs Dallas Cowboys

By Zack Spears
PSDC Dallas Cowboys Insider 

August 24, 2013
Bengals vs Cowboys – 7:00 p.m. CST

This is the fourth preseason game for the Dallas Cowboys, and it is what they call a “Dress Rehearsal.” The starters will play a majority of the snaps and you get to see more of what your team could possibly look like for the year.

As always in The Rundown, I give you the top things I’ll be watching for in tonight’s game.

1. First team offense – The first team offense so far this preseason with Romo under center has put a whopping three points on the scoreboard. They have also turned it over twice. To make me and other Cowboy fans feel better about this offense, they don’t need to score 30 points in their two quarters of action, but sustain drives, make plays and not shoot themselves in the foot.

2. Doug Free at Guard – Doug Free has been the Cowboys starter at right and left tackle over the last few years, and most of that time he was just an average player. But now with the added injuries to the interior offensive line and reserve back up offensive tackle Jeremy Parnell back from his hamstring injury, the Cowboys are able to slide free to the inside and try him out at guard. It should be noted that this is his first time to ever play offensive guard, at any level…. EVER! And everyone who has seen him practice this week, says he looks pretty good there. It should also be noted that I said Free should be playing offensive guard about 16 months ago, but eh who’s counting. Oh and make sure you watch his christening at the position while he debuts there against one of the leagues best defensive tackles in Geno Atkins. [Read more…]

The Rundown: Dallas Cowboys vs Arizona Cardinals

By Zack Spears
PSDC Staff

Dallas Cowboys vs Arizona Cardinals
CBS 3:30 p.m. CST

The Rundown is a feature that will run prior to every Cowboys game. I will identify a couple storylines or matchups that I will be watching during that week’s game. Yes, even in the preseason.

Dallas is coming off a loss last week to the Oakland Raiders, but it was not a bad loss. There are definitely things they need to approve on quickly as the season opener against the New York Giants approaches. Here are the three things that I will be paying the most attention to in this afternoon’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.

1. Offensive Line: Yes, yet again the Dallas Cowboys offensive line makes the list. It seems they’ve been on this list for the last three years. But rightfully so. Inconsistent play, injuries and lack of depth cause for a lot of question marks on the regular. This week, the Cowboys starting left guard Ronald Leary will not be playing after having a minor surgery on his knee that will keep him sidelined until the regular season. The Cowboys offensive line has look impressive through the first two preseason games, but with Leary being out it could mess up the successful formula they have working. Look for Davis Arkin to step in and get more playing time in Leary’s absence and Travis Fredrick to move over and play a lot more guard. The mixing and matching of this offensive line the next three weeks could make things interesting. May God be with you, Tony Romo.

2. Dez: Dez Bryant dominated last week in his short time on the field during the first half against the Raiders. Bryant is coming off an incredible second half of the season last year as well. I want to see Bryant continue to dominate every chance he gets to see if this is the real Dez Bryant, or just a form of Dez that flashes greatness whenever he wants too.

[Read more…]