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Game Notes

Cowboys At Browns Staff Picks And Notes




The Star News - Cowboys Aat Browns

Good morning Cowboys fans, it's Sunday! It's game day and the Cowboys are in Cleveland. Kickoff is at noon and while the Dawg Pound are sitting at zero wins on the year, the Cleveland Browns are sitting at zero wins on the year... wait, what?

That wasn't a mistake. The Dawg Pound, the fan base in Cleveland, has no wins this year from their beloved football team, which probably makes last year's championship for LeBron and the Cavaliers a little saltier. But regardless, the team is at zero wins and, as you've undoubtedly heard throughout the week, that can be dangerous.

Can anyone say trap game?

Oddly enough, these Cowboys are the young guns we're so pumped about at 6-1 on the season -- just 1 or 2 erroneous plays from 7-0 -- and my gut instinct is that because they're young, they'll avoid the potential pitfalls of this game. Everything is newer, including the confidence of being 6-1 with Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott leading the charge. It's hard to get caught up in that when you really don't even believe it yet. But let's not forget what it was like to be young. It's easier to get swept away.

The Cowboys have had good luck against the Browns in recent years, winning four of their last five meetings, but haven't played the Browns since November of 2012. It's an unfamiliar team for them, and especially with rookie QB Cody Kessler, the Browns' third round selection of the 2016 draft.

Of course, the Cowboys are battling injuries (same story, different year, right?). Both Morris Claiborne and Barry Church are ruled out for this contest, two guys who have helped shore up this secondary.

Long story short... nobody knows what to expect today.

A winless team through the first half of the year is hungry. The Cowboys just need to avoid getting bit.

So let's have a look at what the guys here at Inside The Star expect from today's game.

Brian Martin | @Bmart0204

This is a matchup the Dallas Cowboys should dominate in all three phases of the game. I think the Cowboys will rely heavily on the running game, led by Ezekiel Elliott, and try to limit the time their defense is on the field.

I have the Cowboys dominating the time of possession and easily defeating the Cleveland Browns on their home turf.

Cowboys 31 – Browns 17

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Justin Grohowski | @Grohowknowhow

I have a feeling this one will be a closer game than most may expect.

Cleveland has been in almost every game this season, minus a select few, and they aren't short on play makers at wide receiver with Corey Coleman back in action. With a banged up secondary, the Cowboys defense could struggle in this one.

In the end, though, the offensive firepower of the Cowboys will be too much for Cleveland. Ezekiel Elliott runs for 150 on an awful run defense as Dallas pulls out a close one.

Cowboys 27 – Browns 23

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Sean Martin | @ShoreSportsNJ

I became a Dallas Cowboys fan because they won their most recent Super Bowl on my birthday - January 28th, 1996. Now, 20 years later, I'll be in attendance for my first ever game - and they simply are not losing this one.

I gave some thought to the "trap game" narrative earlier in the week, but Dak Prescott is out for some redemption, and the Browns also aren't ready for Ezekiel Elliott. 7-1? Here we come.

Cowboys 31 – Browns 17

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Jess Haynie | @CowboysAddicts

The Browns offense moves the ball better than you'd think from a 0-8 team, but they can't finish drives. This fits well with the Dallas defense, which can give up yardage but keeps teams out of the end zone. The Cowboys offense will feel liberated after a tough week against the Eagles, facing the 31st-ranked defense in Cleveland.

Cowboys 34 – Browns 16

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Ian Koplowitz | @BleedingTheStar

The Browns' run defense is extremely suspect. I expect Scott Linehan to use a steady dose of Zeke Elliott and Alfred Morris throughout the afternoon. The Browns have some weapons coming back, but I think we're the better team.

As long as we don't get cocky, this should be a routine win.

Cowboys 27 – Browns 17

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Kevin Brady | @Kevinbrady88

This game scares me.

Yes, the Browns are winless and the Cowboys are riding high on a six-game win streak, but that just might be the problem. I think the Browns give the Cowboys a good fight, keeping it close for three quarters. In the end, talent wins out and the Cowboys improve to 7-1.

Cowboys 30 – Browns 21

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John Williams | @John9williams

While this has the opportunity to be the infamous trap game for a Dallas Cowboys team that is rolling, I think they came back to work focused and determined after a poor showing for 3 1/2 quarters against Philadelphia last Sunday Night.

Jason Garrett's mantra of focusing on making yourself better with each rep and each practice is only going to get this team more prepared to play. Against the second worst rushing defense in the NFL, the offensive line and Ezekiel Elliott are going to have a field day.

Cowboys 38 – Browns 14

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Bryson Treece | @BrysonTreece

Nothing is guaranteed in this league, especially not when one team is chomping at the bit for their first win in week 9, so I don't expect a trouncing today.

The Browns have some weapons on offense that can make a difference. They also have a rookie QB starting, and those haven't been very predictable this year. With the Dallas defense banged up, this could be much closer than people expect, even without it being a trap game. In the end, the Cowboys win.

Cowboys 27 – Browns 20

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I'd like to note that Staff Writer Sean Martin made the drive from New Jersey to Cleveland for this one, so if you see a skinny kid wearing a #70 Martin jersey, give him a shout. It's his first Cowboys game! Can't be easy being a life-long Cowboys fan in New Jersey... so enjoy it, brother.

Be safe, be happy, and GO COWBOYS!!!

This is the General Staff account for Inside The Star, a blog for Dallas Cowboys news, scores, schedule, rumors, and analysis. We are the official home for @CowboysNation on Twitter. Follow us today for new content updates straight from our timeline. To learn more about our staff, please visit our Staff listing.


Game Notes

Cowboys Wishlist: Dress Rehearsal Edition

Mauricio Rodriguez



Rookie Report: Which Cowboys Draft Picks Stood Out Against the 49ers?

In the NFL, the third preseason week is often referred to as the "Dress Rehearsal." It's usually the week in which starters get the most playing time. That has changed lately, with plenty of teams deciding to take care of their key players instead of risking them on the field. However, the Dallas Cowboys have played their starters on their first two games and there's no reason to believe that will change versus the Texans today.

Here is my wishlist for the Cowboys vs Texans "Dress Rehearsal!" Let me know what your wishes for tonight's game are in the comments section below or tweet me @MauNFL!

Wish #1: Justin Phillips Locks Up a Roster Spot

Phillips has been one of the most surprising players this offseason and preseason. The Cowboys are set at linebacker, but Phillips has made sure to be a tough guy to cut. Last week, he had a remarkable interception against the Rams. Despite making a first step toward the line, he managed to adjust and made the play. He has followed it up with more plays in practice.

If he keeps it up, the Cowboys won't be able to cut him. He has the potential to be a force on special teams and a quality backup.

Can WR Devin Smith Sneak Onto the Dallas Cowboys 53-Man Roster?

Dallas Cowboys WR Devin Smith (AP Photo / Josie Lepe)

Wish #2: Devin Smith Makes Things Interesting

The battle for the final wide receiver spots is at full-go. Devin Smith has shined lately, and has risen as a serious candidate to make the roster. However, it seems like other wide receivers have the upper-hand as of now. Earlier this week, I made my Cowboys WR Power Rankings and had Devin Smith at #7.

His TD catch versus the Rams last week was pretty impressive, and I wish he makes a few more plays to make the debate all the more interesting.

Wish #3: Tony Pollard Does It Again

Fifth-round rookie Tony Pollard stole was the show last weekend as he racked up 51 total yards (five carries, one catch) and a touchdown on Dallas' first offensive drive. He looked impressive as the starting running back, giving us just what we wanted to see.

While many have advertised him as a gadget player, Pollard proved he can actually be a "standard" RB. He ran between the tackles, showed power, balance and great vision. I'm ready to watch it again, this time versus the Texans.

Cowboys Need More From Randy Gregory and Taco Charlton 1

Wish #4: Taco Charlton Shines Rushing The Passer

Taco Charlton has made a couple of plays in preseason on his third year with the Dallas Cowboys. Against the Rams, he batted down two passes and looked good separating from opposing offensive linemen. Charlton has gotten praise from some analysts during these first two preseason weeks.

But I want to watch some quality pass rush from his part. Right now, the Cowboys' roster counts with some promising players, including rookies Jalen Jelks and Joe Jackson. While they're currently below Taco, he must prove he belongs on the roster.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Wishlist: Dress Rehearsal Edition" 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

DL Kerry Hyder Impressive In Cowboys Week 2 Preseason Win

Kevin Brady



Kerry Hyder

Kerry Hyder joined the Cowboys this offseason on a one year deal, and while the four-year NFL veteran has put up some solid tape in his time around the league, it was hard to project just what he could bring to the Cowboys defense.

Listed at 6'2" 270 pounds, Hyder is a bit of a tweener on the defensive line. Though the answer to "will he play tackle or end" seems to be "both" to this point in the preseason.

As he fights for his life on this deep defensive line, Kerry Hyder had himself a day in the Cowboys 14-10 victory over the Rams last weekend.

Hyder made an excellent play defending a screen pass in the first quarter, reading the play perfectly and reacting quickly to running back Darrell Henderson coming out of the backfield. Hyder also created some pressure on the quarterback, and finished with 3 combined tackles in very limited playing time.

Hyder's versatility is working well for him as he looks to make the final roster. Like a Tyrone Crawford type player, Hyder will be able to move inside and out depending on the situation. This allows the Cowboys to be flexible in how they structure their depth chart on defense, and in how they decide to rush the passer on third down.

A pass rushing package involving Robert Quinn and DeMarcus Lawrence on the edge with the combination of Hyder and Maliek Collins on the inside could turn out to be a very dangerous one for opposing offenses to deal with.

Rod Marinelli spoke to this versatility a couple of months ago, showing just how much he values what Kerry Hyder can bring to this team.

"Maybe you adjust him sometime, once in a while – in a one-on-one pass rush situation, stick him over a guard and start to get a feel for it.” - Rod Marinelli

Earlier this offseason, I wrote that Kerry Hyder could end up being Rod Marinelli's next great under-the-radar find on the defensive line. And if he continues to play with the hustle and awareness that he had on Saturday, he's going to make Rod look very smart in his evaluation.

Kerry Hyder is making it very difficult for the front office to let him go. And, at the end of the preseason, I do expect Kerry Hyder to find himself on the Cowboys' active roster. Especially considering how Mike White is playing at quarterback, and how his release could open up an extra spot at a different position group.

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Game Notes

#DALvsRAMS: Tony Pollard Proves he’s no Longer Darrell Henderson’s Backup

Brian Martin



#DALvsRAMS: Tony Pollard Proves he's no Longer Darrell Henderson's Backup

For the better part of three years Tony Pollard was forced to play second fiddle to Darrell Henderson during their time with the Memphis Tigers. But, Saturday night in the second week of preseason Pollard emerged from the shadows and proved he's no longer Henderson's backup.

Tony Pollard put on an impressive show Saturday night against the Los Angeles Rams. He touched the ball a total of six times and turned it into 51 yards and a touchdown. He rushed for 42 yards on the ground, averaging 8.4 yards per carry, and had one reception for 9 yards. All in all it was an impressive performance and one that arguably outdid his former teammate, Darrell Henderson.

Tony Pollard is starting to look like a real weapon for the Dallas Cowboys. It's still a small sample size, but in the first two preseason games he's proven the jump up in competition isn't too big for him. As a runner he's been decisive, picking up what yardage is given and not dancing around. He hasn't been utilized much in the passing game yet, but that time will come.

The Dallas Cowboys couldn't be happier with the way their rookie RB has performed thus far. He's everything they've said he was, and quite possibly much more. Maybe those Alvin Kamara comparisons weren't that far off after all.

We all know Ezekiel Elliott will return to the Dallas Cowboys at some point, but for now Tony Pollard doesn't look completely out of place as their lead back. He still needs to work on his pass protection, but everything else he's been asked to do he's excelled at.

I don't know about you, but I'm excited about seeing what No. 36 can do when these games start to matter in 2019. He will once again have to accept a backup role like he did behind Darrell Henderson in college, but you can bet the Cowboys coaching staff will reward him based on his play so far in preseason.

Pollard's versatility to be a weapon as both a runner and receiver in the passing game should make him a unique chess piece in the offensive game plan each and every week. He's been exciting to watch so far and we haven't even seen him in the return game yet, which was a big part of his game in college. I'm personally expecting big things from him this season. What about you?

What do you think of Tony Pollard's preseason performance so far?

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