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5 Cowboys Players Who Need To Step Up Against Denver

Brian Martin

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5 Cowboys Players Who Need To Step Up Against Denver 4

The Dallas Cowboys put together a pretty impressive four quarters against the New York Giants last Sunday night. They now need to carry that momentum on the road for this week's matchup against the Denver Broncos. This will mark the first road trip of the 2017 season, so we will find out pretty soon how well this team travels.

I think we can all agree that the Denver Broncos are much more talented team than the New York Giants. So, every single Dallas Cowboys player is going have to step up their game in order to put another W in the win column. I don't really like to  single out individual players, because this is ultimately a team sport. But, I think there are 5 Cowboys who need to step up their game this week if Dallas wants to get to the 2-0 mark.

Continue to read below to see who I believe needs to step up just a little bit this week against the Broncos. As always, use the comment section at the end of the article to express any of your thoughts and opinions on this topic.

Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant didn't have a terrible game against the New York Giants, but as a fan we always want more. The Giants defense did an excellent job of shifting an extra defender in his direction pretty much every time he was on the field to make it even more difficult for him to get involved. Janoris Jenkins also made it difficult to get Bryant the ball with his sticky/grabby coverage Sunday night. But, there is no doubt that Bryant needs to be more involved on offense.

This is probably less about Dez Bryant needing to step up as it is with Scott Linehan finding a way to get their best playmaker the ball. Denver has a pair of good CBs in Chris Harris Jr and Aqib Talib, so it could be tough going for Bryant once again. However, if Linehan would move him around the formation more to create favorable matchups, it should help improve the chances of Bryant having a big game against the Broncos.

Chidobe Awuzie

CB Chidobe Awuzie

Chidobe Awuzie

Chidobe Awuzie could possibly be looking at earning his first start in the NFL against the Denver Broncos if Orlando Scandrick has to sit out this contest. I would imagine that Nolan Carroll will start at the opposite outside CB position with Anthony Brown in the slot, leaving Awuzie as a next likely option.

Awuzie should feel right at home in the Mile High City, since he played his college ball at Colorado. The atmosphere shouldn't be too much for him and he should be ready to step up and make his presence felt on the field.

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli usually doesn't have his CBs shadow any particular receiver, but I wouldn't be surprised if we see Awuzie covering Demaryius Thomas more times than not. He has the size and athletic ability to match up well with the talented WR.

RT La'el Collins

RT La'el Collins

La'el Collins

La'el Collins in my eyes has already proven to be an upgrade at the right tackle position for the Dallas Cowboys. I'll admit that I was a little worried how he would stand up against Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon, but he held his own and won the battle more times than not. Unfortunately, neither Vernon or JPP come close to Von Miller's abilities, so Collins will have to keep on his toes so to speak.

Von Miller's a different animal than Collins has faced as a pass rusher. Miller's able to play with strength, speed, and agility and you can bet he will be looking for a favorable matchup against the Cowboys. That could mean that Collins could be seeing Miller more than he would like to and he will have to be on the top of his game to keep the talented pass rusher at bay. The Cowboys may wait and see if Collins can hold his own, but it wouldn't hurt to get him a little help from time to time.

Dak Prescott

I'm hoping that last week was just a rarity we can chalk it up to early-season jitters, but Dak Prescott didn't quite look like himself early in the contest against the New York Giants. He was uncharacteristically inaccurate with a lot of his passes and missed a few chances for what should've been a sure fire touchdowns.

Prescott can't afford to miss those throws against the Broncos talented secondary. He is going to have to be at the top of his game, especially when he gets down the red zone. Walking away with a field-goal instead of a touchdown this week could cost the Cowboys the game. Fortunately, I think he will rebound after getting the first game of the season under his belt.

Cowboys' pass rushers

In all honesty, the Dallas Cowboys pass rush was pretty impressive against the New York Giants Sunday night. They continued to make plays behind the line of scrimmage and fluster QB Eli Manning the entire game, but everybody needs to step up their game this week against the Broncos.

The Denver Broncos have a better offensive line than what the New York Giants have patch worked together. It probably won't be easy for DeMarcus Lawrence and the rest of Rod Marinelli's "rush men" to get home this week. They are all going to have to dig deep and be relentless in their attack in order to hopefully force Trevor Siemian to a mistake or two.

Who do you think needs to step up against the Denver Broncos?



Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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29 Comments
  • Fatfan

    Speaking of pass rushers…will Charles Tapper’s sickle cell trait prohibit him from playing in Denver?

    • Brian Martin

      I may be mistaken, but I don’t think Charles Tapper has a sickle cell trait problem. He does have a pars defect in his back, maybe that’s what you were thinking about.

      • shane loshek

        he does have sct..and i was concerned about the same thing..i remember the announcers mentioning it when dallas drafted him and said “well at least i dont think he’ll be playing at mile high this year” do to the lack of oxygen

        • Brian Martin

          I’m sure that it’s something the Dallas Cowboys are aware of then. I’m sure they will have a plan for him to ensure his safety.

  • TreFKennedy88

    Hit the nail right on the head, I think Dez gets 100+ yards and we get the W, same way we feed zeke you gotta feed Dez

    • Brian Martin

      Getting Dez more involved just opens up things in the running game for Elliott and vice versa. Really need to get 88 more involved to keep opposing defenses honest and from stacking the box to stop the run.

      • TreFKennedy88

        Exactly Brian and would you believe the talking heads are trying to say Dez has “fell off” like they don’t know since Dez has been with us he’s never had a 100 yard game to start the season, Dez starts off slow to start the season. It really Erks my nerves but I’m just like wait, because by the end of the season X will have 90+ catches 1200-1500 yards and 12-18 touchdowns and even then they’ll still try to dismiss Dez. Matter fact it seems like any good player on our team “they” try to dismiss smh

        • Brian Martin

          The Dallas Cowboys have a popular brand, so anytime anybody gets a chance to link them to a story it makes it bigger. I’m not worried about Bryant. Defenses are going to pay him extra attention and that’s exactly what the Giants did. Janoris Jenkins didn’t limit Bryant alone. They always had a linebacker or safety shading in his direction

  • Hobbes49

    I agree with the things you said. I would say that the improved play we need to see from Dez and Dak go hand in hand. Dak gets that throw to Dez properly in the end zone against the Giants and both men’s stat’s look much improved. I would really like to see Dez run more crossing patterns in games, get him into some open space and let him go to work. I think Dak will be much more himself with the Giants monkey off his back. More relaxed, and I think back to what we saw last year and in the preseason this year. I thinks Lael’s tenacity will help carry him this week, although I am not averse to seeing James Hanna lining up on his side to help out at times. The improved play of the d-line I think is coming from the push we are seeing from Paea and Collins, freeing up some space for the edge rushers. D-Law is also primed for a huge season, which is nice to see. I expect the pressure to keep coming on Sunday. Chidobe is just going to continue to improve, but this is a tough matchup, hopefully he hangs in.

    • Brian Martin

      Hobbes49, I agree with everything you said. I would really like to see Dez Bryant get some of those crossing patterns that were successful for Terrance Williams last week. I think we all tend to forget how dangerous Bryant can be with the ball in his hands since we haven’t seen that from him in a few years.

    • TreFKennedy88

      Truth and as much as I like love Dez I really wish he’d work with Aj green or a route running guru to work on the routes he’s not really good at. On a scale of 1- jordy Nelson route running wise Dez is like 6-7 and we need him at 9-10 because his blocking is great, still a beast at jump balls but he needs to work on routes he’s not comfortable with.

  • bearlamberth

    How did Collins do against Miller in SEC competion

    • Brian Martin

      I believe Von Miller was before Collins’ time at LSU. I don’t think the two have ever squared off against one another before.

  • DevilDog58

    Another good article, Brian. I’m becoming a fan of yours. Denver’s a tough place to play and they have a good team. If we can pressure their QB I think we can force him into some turnovers, which might make the difference.

    • Brian Martin

      It’s always great to get positive feedback. I don’t even mind the negative feedback most of the time LOL. Yes, Denver is a tough place to play, but I think the Cowboys are a better team than the Chargers and they gave Denver all they could handle. I think it’ll be a close game, but I think the Cowboys will come out on top in the end.

      • DevilDog58

        I also think it will be a close game and although through many years (54 yrs as a fan, so yeah, I’m an old man) I’ve learned that I shouldn’t make predictions, of course I hope Dallas prevails. It’s a team sport but we haven’t had a leader at the QB position like Prescott since Aikman, so I like our chances.

        • Brian Martin

          I’m going to have to disagree with you a little bit here. It depends on what type of leader you’re talking about. Tony Romo was more of a leader behind the scenes/ leader by example. Prescott I think is a same way, but has found a way to get his team to rally behind him. I think Prescott will get better at it with time though.

          • DevilDog58

            Don’t get me wrong; I loved Tony as a player and later, as a leader. But Tony didn’t become the leader he finished as until he’d been our QB for a few seasons. If you think back earlier in his career, he didn’t audible out of a lot of the plays he ran. Once he started doing that was when he really showed he was the team leader. This was as he got older. He and Witten struck me as more of a “leadership by example” type players. Witten was also not a “rah rah” type of guy. But as he’s aged as a player and a person I think he’s also become more vocal. I wanted Tony to win a SB just because of what he did for Dallas and the brutal beatings he took behind some poor O Lines. It’s hard to put in words but Dak is a special, special player. He just has that “it” as they say about movie stars. Talented, great work ethic and intangibles plus a good person. He reminds me of my teenage idol, Roger Staubach. Sorry my posts are so long, Bro.

          • Brian Martin

            I’ll agree with you there. It took a while for Romo to become the kind of leader Prescott is right now. There are so many intangibles to think about why one may have taken charge earlier than the other, but that would certainly be an interesting debate. And, don’t worry about your comments being too long. That’s what the comment section is for

          • E Deplorabus Unum

            Honestly, I think the locker room rallied around Dak so much because the expectations were they would have another 4-12 season without Romo. And then Dak not only played well but none of it was too much for him. You have to be proud of the guy and if he’s a teammate, he’s a hero to you as everyone had great stats last year. A bad QB makes every player on the team look poor often.

          • Brian Martin

            Prescott was definitely thrust into a leadership role. How he performed his rookie season I think pretty much shocked everyone including his teammates, which brought everybody together. They rallied around him and believed in him. If Tony Romo wouldn’t have handled things like he did, it probably would’ve split the locker room. I give a lot of credit to Romo and Prescott for they seamlessly way that things went down between the two.

          • DevilDog58

            Yeah, I agree with you there, E. I had serious doubts whether Tony would have made it through the season. I think the only person who believed he would was Jerry. Of course, Jerry is loyal to a fault (and sometimes to the detriment of the team). Too bad he couldn’t figure out a way to keep DeMarcus Ware, which I think he wanted to do badly. But I digress; QB is the most important position on the Offense, if not the team. He’s the only person who touches the ball on basically every play. So many people blamed Romo for various loses through the years but they fail to realize that without him we never would have even been in those games to begin with. I’m definitely optimistic for our future. As the Joneses and our coaches and player personnel people continue to build a great roster, I believe Dakota Prescott and the Offense will excel.

        • E Deplorabus Unum

          The day Romo beat the snot out of the 49ers with broken ribs, and I think he played injured vs the Jets that year too? I think it was 2011 and from that moment, I never had issues with Romo. The last 5 years of his career (where he actually played) were phenomenal.

          • Brian Martin

            The Dallas Cowboys never really gave a lot of help to Tony Romo during his career as a Cowboy. I have always been a big fan of his and I think he will probably always be underrated for what he did for the organization.

          • TreFKennedy88

            Jerry wasted his career Brian, when the o line literally collapsed against the Vikings in the divisional round of the 09-2010 playoffs we should have started rebuilding it than. I’ve never seen an oline literally lose like 2-3 pieces in one game, to think Romo did everything within his power to get us back to glory yet his biggest part in helping us required his career pretty much to ignite the spark for the next generation of cowboys.

  • Colston Ballew

    The chargers had 4 sacks and denver’s o line got banged up last game. I see the D line having a big game again.

    • Brian Martin

      The Cowboys DL was certainly impressive against the Giants last week. I’m hoping they can carry that momentum into this week against the Broncos. It will certainly help the entire defense, but hopefully also cause the QB to make a mistake or two.

  • Javier Enrique Zetina Pinelo

    definitivamente debe presionar la linea defensiva si desean el triunfo y del lado ofensivo es preocupante la baja de juego y la perdida de dominar el juego de dez brayant convirtiendose en un receptor mas del monton

  • Rodney Simpson

    Hello Brian that was great read and I agree on all points anyway I have a question. I think this game will come down to coaching and we have a edge. But I would like to know what is Mike McCoy’s record against a Rod Marinelli defense ? This is going to be a big part of what Trevor will be able to do in this game.

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys May Sit Atop NFC East for a While

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Ezekiel Elliott, Lions

If there's one thing we've learned in the past, it's that NFL seasons are unpredictable. Unknown factors, injuries and unexpected "breakout" players can shift the way we saw the league just a month ago, when we were still watching preseason games on TV. After two weeks of regular season action, Cowboys Nation might be surprised to see their Dallas Cowboys sitting on top of the NFC East, but that's precisely the case. Not only that, but they could remain division leaders for a while...

Now, let's not get carried away here. While the team might be on top right now, they're not even 2-0 and it's only week 3. The Cowboys' offense played well on week 2, but terribly on week 1. It's way too early to judge how this season will go based on what we've seen.

However, there is no denying that they seem to be in a very good position to remain the NFC East front runners in the coming weeks. The Cowboys had more reasons to celebrate last Sunday besides their victory over the New York Giants. Both the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins suffered losses in their respective games, giving Dallas the opportunity to control their destiny.

As previously mentioned, though, it's only week 3. But the team's next three opponents aren't as scary as they seemed prior to the season's start. Through two weeks of the NFL season, the Cowboys' next three opponents are winless, sharing a combined record of 0-6.

Dallas Cowboys May Sit Atop NFC East for a While

 

Starting by the Seattle Seahawks, who have been a dominant team in the NFL landscape for a few years now but that simply don't seem like a very threatening opponent right now. The main reason why is their weak offensive line, which I expect the Dallas Cowboys to exploit just like they did with the Panthers and Giants. Russel Wilson is a tougher guy to contain, being one of the best playmakers in the NFL right now, but I trust the defense to handle him. They've done such a good pressuring quarterbacks, I'll trust they will continue to do so.

Next in the calendar will be the Detroit Lions. Through two weeks, they've struggled more than we expected under the reigns of their new head coach, Matt Patricia. On week 1, Matt Stafford threw four interceptions in a game that was in control of the New York Jets all night long. But it's not the Lions' offense that I think the Cowboys will take advantage of, but their poor run defense. They gave up 169 yards on rushing against the Jets on week 1 and 190 last Sunday, when they faced the San Francisco 49ers.

Ezekiel Elliott will have that defense dreaming nightmares before their matchup in week 4.

Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Vs Houston Texans: 5 Bold Predictions

Finally, on week 5, the Cowboys will face their in-state rival, the Houston Texans. Surprisingly, the Deshaun Watson-led team is 0-2 after facing the New England Patriots and the Tennessee Titans. This might be the team that hands the Cowboys their second loss of the season. They have a balanced offense that will pose no challenge for the Cowboys' defense, but this could be a dangerous game for the offense.

The Cowboys will rely on Ezekiel Elliott for this one as well. On the defensive side of the ball, Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie will have to replicate their success versus Odell Beckham, only this time they will be facing Deandre Hopkins, one of the best wide receivers in the league.

✭✭✭

Even though the Cowboys were terrible in Carolina when they opened their season, the defense has been looking so good that I don't doubt their ability to carry the team to victories for the time being. If the offense continues to improve, then this team might be able to take full advantage of the unexpected head start it got in the NFC East.

I can't say it enough; it's only week 3... but look out. It could take some time before the Cowboys give up that #1 spot in the division.

Tell me what you think about "Dallas Cowboys May Sit Atop NFC East for a While" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Game Notes

#SEAvsDAL: Betting Preview, Trends, And Prediction

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Wishlist Christmas Edition: Seahawks @ Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys found a way to get their first win last Sunday, defeating the New York Giants from start to finish, 20-13.

Now at 1-1 and locked in a three way tie for 1st place in the NFC East, Dallas is looking to string together a few victories and create some early separation. Seattle is now sitting at 0-2, and while that's typically a hole teams cannot climb out of in the NFL, the Seahawks will be desperately fighting to avoid an 0-3 start.

The Seahawks opened up as 3 point home favorites against the Cowboys, with the over/under set at 44.5 points.

Dallas Cowboys

After an abysmal season opener against Carolina, the Cowboys came out firing against the Giants on Sunday night. Dallas led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter, and ended up holding on as the Giants made a late garbage-time run.

Dak Prescott looked as comfortable in the pocket as he as in weeks, finding Tavon Austin for a 64 yard touchdown pass on the opening drive. Ezekiel Elliott scored another rushing touchdown, and the Cowboys defense was straight up dominant.

Now, the Cowboys defensive line has another chance to increase their sack total against the Seahawks' weak offensive line. And you know DeMarcus Lawrence is salivating.

Dallas improved to 1-1 straight up and against the spread, covering the 3 point spread set by Vegas a week ago. Both Cowboys games have gone under thus far as well.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks fell to 0-2 on Monday night with a tough road loss to the Chicago Bears. Khalil Mack dominated the Seahawks offensive line, dictating protections and keeping Russell Wilson uncomfortable all night long.

The Seahawks haven't been able to get much of a run game going this season, despite their insistence upon doing so. Russell Wilson is their offense, and if the Cowboys can pressure him and force him into hero-ball throws, they should have success on Sunday. After all, this was the Bears recipe for success on Monday night.

Seattle is 0-2 straight up and 0-1-1 against the spread this season.

Trends

  • The score total has gone under 5 straight Cowboys' games.
  • Dallas is 2-4 against the spread their last six times playing at Seattle.
  • Seattle is 1-5 against the spread their last six games at home.
  • The under has hit 4 of the last 5 Cowboys/Seahawks games.

Prediction

While I've thought hard about picking the under for the third straight week (I'm 2-0 doing so), I'll pick the actual game for you guys this time. I think the Cowboys will get this road win and improve to 2-1 behind dominant defensive line play and a strong running game.

This match up favors Dallas in multiple ways and I expect them to take advantage of Seattle's weak spots.

I like the Cowboys +3 a lot this Sunday.



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Dallas Cowboys

Kris Richard, the Cowboys X-Factor Against the Seahawks

Brian Martin

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Top 5 Storylines to Watch in Cowboys 2018 Season Opener 1
(AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

In the NFL, wins are hard to come by. That is why teams do their due diligence each and every week to try to come up with some advantage, however slight. This week, the Dallas Cowboys may have the biggest advantage they could possibly hope for over their opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, and he goes by the name of Kris Richard.

The hiring of Kris Richard may have been Dallas' biggest offseason move. We have already seen in the first couple of games of the 2018 season the impact he's had on the Cowboys defense. The entire defensive unit has been playing possessed and has pretty much dominated their opponents. I believe Richard deserves the majority of the credit.

But this week is different. The Dallas Cowboys travel to Seattle for a Sunday afternoon game against the Seahawks, who are a tough opponent when playing at home. History hasn't always been kind to the Cowboys when playing on the road in Seattle.

In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Tony Romo doesn't still have nightmares about playing in Seattle. A mishandled snap on a routine 19 yard field goal attempt ended up costing the Cowboys a playoff victory in 2007. Then he sustained the back injury that would ultimately end his career in a meaningless preseason game against the Seahawks in 2016.

To say history hasn't been kind to the Cowboys in Seattle would probably be an understatement. But still, that's where they're heading for this Week 3 matchup.

Kris Richard

Dallas Cowboys Assistant Coach Kris Richard

Luckily, I believe the Dallas Cowboys have an ace in the hole in 2018. I think their new Passing Game Coordinator and Defensive Backs Coach, Kris Richard, is going to be the X-Factor. Who could give you more inside information than someone who spent the last eight years with Seattle as both a coach and a player than Richard?

Kris Richard should know just about all of the ins and outs about the Seattle Seahawks, especially on the defensive side of the ball since he served as their Defensive Coordinator the previous two seasons before joining the Cowboys. But, his knowledge of their offense could prove to be invaluable as well.

Richard has seen the Seahawks offense and Russell Wilson on a daily basis in practice firsthand. He should have a very good understanding of not only their tendencies, but what types of plays they run out of different formations. It should be just like having a spy within their own huddle.

Now, having inside information is one thing, but executing the game plan is something different entirely. Kris Richard can possibly predict with high probability exactly what the Seahawks plan on doing, but it falls on the Cowboys players as to execute the game plan.

In the end, this game will ultimately come down to which team executes better on the field Sunday afternoon. The Dallas Cowboys may have an X-Factor in Kris Richard, but he's not the one suiting up against the Seahawks. It all falls on the player's shoulders, as it always has.

Do you think Kris Richard can be the Cowboys X-Factor against the Seahawks?



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