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Game Notes

Cowboys At Seahawks: Key Matchups To Watch

Brian Martin



Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys At Seahawks: Key Matchups To Watch

The Dallas Cowboys will face off against the Seattle Seahawks tonight for their "dress rehearsal" preseason game. We probably couldn't have asked for a better team to match up against for the all-important third preseason game.

We all know that the Cowboys pride themselves on their high-powered offense, while the Seahawks are on the opposite end of the spectrum, relying heavily on their defense. It's a strength against strength matchup that should be really entertaining to watch.

I can almost guarantee that these two teams will be at each other's throats from the beginning and it will be a hard-fought battle to the bitter end. Both teams want to come out and set the tone early as being the more physical team, but only one can come out on top.

This is really the first chance we will get to see the starters for an extended amount of time, although we still don't know how much playing time they will receive. Minus some of the injured players that won't be suiting up (Bryant, Crawford, and Scandrick) this could be the team we see take the field Week 1 against the New York Giants when the 2016 season kicks off.

Let's talk some football and discuss some of the key matchups worth watching in tonight's third preseason game.

Dallas Cowboys Offense 

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys At Seahawks: Key Matchups To Watch 1The battle in the trenches:

The Dallas Cowboys have arguably the best offensive line in the entire NFL and are no strangers to imposing their will on opposing defenses. The Seattle Seahawks however have players along the defensive line that could create matchup problems for the Cowboys OL.

Michael Bennett in particular has had success against the OL. It will be interesting to see how they approach this particular matchup.

I will be paying particularly close attention to Chaz Green, especially if Tyron Smith doesn't play.

Running game vs. Seahawks defense:

It's common knowledge that the Cowboys want to run the ball and it looks as if we might finally get to see what the running game will look like for the 2016 season. Ezekiel Elliott has a good chance of making his NFL debut and we have a really good opportunity of seeing exactly why the organization invested so highly in him.

The running game has been impressive in the first two preseason games with Alfred Morris, but everybody wants to know what we have in Elliott. There will definitely be a lot of eyes on the young RB.

Brice Butler vs. Seahawks secondary:

I'll be honest and say that I'm a little disappointed that Dez Bryant won't get to match up against Richard Sherman. When the two players square off against one another, you can almost guarantee that there will be some entertaining banter back and forth between the two.

I am however excited to see Brice Butler and how he performs against the Seahawks talented secondary. I also want to see if Butler has developed a chemistry with Tony Romo. The two didn't really get to build a bond last season because of injuries, so hopefully that changes in 2016.

Dallas Cowboys Defense

Cowboys Headlines - Cowboys At Seahawks: Key Matchups To Watch 2Pass rush vs. Russell Wilson:

The Dallas Cowboys defense is getting some important pieces back from injury and they should make their NFL debut against the Seahawks.

Benson Mayowa, Maliek Collins, and possibly Charles Tapper should help improve the Cowboys pass rush and they have a steep test ahead of them in containing Russell Wilson, who is known to use his legs to extend plays. All three players are virtually unknowns with the Cowboys, so I'm really interested to see how they perform against the mobile QB.

Cornerbacks vs. Seahawks WRs:

The Cowboys secondary has performed well over the first two preseason games, but the Seahawks wide receivers present a different challenge. The Seahawks WRs are more the shifty slot receiver type and the Cowboys CBs will have to cover them all over the field, while knowing full well that Russell Wilson can buy extra time with his legs.

I will be paying particular close attention to how Anthony Brown plays out of the slot since Orlando Scandrick is expected to sit out with a sore groin muscle.

Linebackers vs. Seahawks running game:

With the exception of Sean Lee, the other two linebacker starting spots might be up for grabs. We haven't seen much of Justin Durant so far, but he is capable of playing any three of the linebacker positions.

I'm really interested to see who lines up where with the starters and how they perform against the Seahawks, who are known to depend on the running game. I think it will be Sean Lee on the weak side, Anthony Hitchens at MLB, and Justin Durant on the strong side as the starting linebackers.

Are there any matchups that you will be paying attention to that weren't mentioned?

Please feel free to use the comments section below to share with everyone your thoughts and opinions or the matchups you will be paying attention to against the Seahawks.

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.


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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Game Notes

The Brady Report: Tony Pollard, Devin Smith Steal The Show On Offense

Kevin Brady



The Brady Report: Tony Pollard, Devin Smith Steal The Show On Offense

The Dallas Cowboys earned their first win of the 2019 preseason on Saturday night, defeating the Los Angeles Rams 14-10 in Hawaii.

Despite the low scoring affair, there were certainly standout performances from both offensive and defensive players for Dallas. Some who are looking to earn a roster spot, and others who are rather solidified in their place with the team.

Let's get into some of my game notes from the Cowboys preseason victory.

  • Tony Pollard. I mean, I've said enough right? The rookie running back was awesome in his one drive of action Saturday night, rushing 5 times for 42 yards and a touchdown on the team's opening possession. Pollard was decisive, patient, and comfortable in the zone blocking scheme, and seemed to know exactly where and how to run on each rep. Pollard is looking like a complete back, rather than just a receiving threat for the Cowboys offense going forward.
  • While undrafted free agents Jon'Vea Johnson and Jalen Guyton have garnered much of the attention, it was Devin Smith who impressed the most out of all the Cowboys' down-roster receivers this week. He caught 3 balls for just 24 yards, but had a fantastic touchdown grab from Cooper Rush in the third quarter.
  • Speaking of Cooper Rush, he's your backup quarterback for the 2019 season. The coaching staff gave Mike White a chance to work with the 2's this week, allowing him equal ground for competition with Rush. But even with this opportunity, Mike White did not play well whatsoever. He's indecisive in the pocket, abandons clean protection, runs into pressure, and just looks kind of lost out there. Hopefully White can improve, but Rush is certainly deserving of the QB2 spot going forward.
  • While Rush solidified his position as the QB2, QB1 Dak Prescott led another impressive drive on Saturday night. Prescott has command in the pocket and of the entire offense, and he orchestrated an excellent touchdown drive in his own possession this week. Prescott went 5/5 for 64 yards, but the highlight of the game for Prescott was his third and seven completion for 31 of those yards to Michael Gallup. He and Gallup seem to be connecting this preseason, and if that's going to happen regularly, look out.
  • Now to the defense. Defensive tackle Maliek Collins continues to show signs that 2019 could be a career season for him. He was disruptive in limited playing time this week, and showcased a scary spin move on the inside. He can be an electric interior pass rusher for the Cowboys, and he looks to be "putting it all together" this year.
  • Jourdan Lewis is too good to rot away on the bench, guys. Though he did get beat for decent completion in the first half, Lewis was also sound as a tackler and sticky in coverage once again this week. Lewis looks to be playing at the highest level we've seen from him yet, but once Byron Jones comes back he may not be getting the playing time he'd easily earn elsewhere. Dallas has a bit of an embarrassment of riches at cornerback right now, and Lewis just needs to keep competing every week.
  • Lewis' Michigan teammate Taco Charlton had a decent night himself. While Dorance Armstrong has been the talk of the town at defensive end, Charlton deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage and was credited with 2 quarterback hits against the Rams. He wasn't creating the level of pressure you'd hope to see out of a former first round pick playing that deep into a preseason game, but you can tell he's looking a bit better as of late. Still, there's a whole heap of defensive ends on this roster who are flat out better than him right now.
  • The Cowboys linebackers showed up to play on Saturday night. Of course, Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander-Esch are who they are, but Justin March-Lillard led the team in tackles with 6, and Justin Phillips came away with an exceptional interception in the third quarter. He made a play on the ball that you don't expect to see from any linebacker, let alone someone of his roster status. This is a really deep linebacker room, and there's a strong chance the Cowboys will have to let go of a good player.

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