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Game Notes

Dallas Cowboys Wishlist At Arizona Cardinals

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dallas Cowboys Wishlist At Arizona Cardinals 1

We're almost done with loss week. The Dallas Cowboys are ready to earn themselves their second victory week of the season as they prepare to fight the Arizona Cardinals at Glendale this Monday night.

After last week, we all want a win. We need a win. At the end of the day, this is still a pretty good football team. A loss like that may turn out to be a good thing for such a young team. That's how you learn, and that's something Super Bowl teams need.

I really hope they learned. And there is no doubt in my mind that there's one main wish that all of Cowboys Nation shares.

Just win. 

After the tough loss last week, that's all that we want. Just win, and let's forget everything about the Denver Broncos.

But we also want a thing or two more. Ladies and gentlemen, this my Dallas Cowboys Wishlist for week 3. I invite you to share yours in the comments below!

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Wish #1: Dak Prescott Finds The End Zone... Three Times

3 Reasons Why QB Dak Prescott Will Thrive In 2017

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

The Dak Prescott "sophomore slump" narrative was very tiring during the offseason. Now imagine how it feels like after two poor performances by the Dallas Cowboys quarterback. Unbearable.

That is why this is my number one wish for week 3. It would be great for Dak to hush these narratives against him against a secondary which includes Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu.

Dak has had four regular season games and one postseason game with three TDs. It would be fitting for to Prescott add another one of those after two weeks of struggling. We know he can overcome stuff, let's hope he does again.

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Wish #2: Don't Just Win... Win Big

Dallas Cowboys Wishlist At Denver Broncos 1

Yeah, I know what I said in the introduction to this article. "Just win". But I'd be lying to you if I tell you I don't want to see this team have a big win on Monday Night Football.

I just feel that is what teams at the level the Cowboys want to be in do. Look at the Patriots. They lost versus the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL Kickoff game. It was an ugly loss, too. What happened the very next week?

The Patriots were up 30-13 at halftime against the New Orleans Saints.

That is what I want the Cowboys to show. Show that they will get angry after a loss and that they'll come out and destroy whoever is on the same field as them next week.

I'm calling the Cowboys to win by more than 15 points.

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Wish #3: Moore and Lawrence Combine for More Than Two Sacks

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly For Cowboys Against Broncos 2One of the most surprising things for Dallas so far, has been the pass rush. It's fair to recognize that the two offensive lines they have faced are far from good. But hey! Guess what? The Cardinals don't have a very good OL either.

DeMarcus Lawrence has 3.5 sacks. And yes, he is about to make history. On Monday Night Football, DeMarcus Lawrence could become just the third player in NFL History to open a season with three straight multi-sack games.

Go get it, D-Law.

Lawrence won't be the only pass rusher we will be keeping an eye on tomorrow night. Damontre Moore returns from a two game suspension and he could impact this defense immediately. 

Moore was one of the players that stood out the most in preseason games and even had two sacks. Now that he is back, I really want to see him on the field at the same time as Lawrence.

If both combine for three sacks or more, we can't ask for a better sign for this pass rush.

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Wish #4: Dez Bryant Dominates Patrick Peterson

Dez Bryant will play his 100th career game against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football.

Just like with Dak and Zeke, media and fans around the league have slandered Bryant after just two weeks of the 2017 NFL season. Dez has had two busy weeks, featuring two tough CBs. First Janoris Jenkins, then Aqib Talib and now... Patrick Peterson.

Peterson may not be in his prime, but he still is an excellent cornerback. Dez Bryant will face his third straight challenge in 2017.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Dez Bryant had 7 catches for 56 yards and a TD vs. Denver. Here's what the Broncos did to the top WRs last year:

Dez Bryant still is a great receiver though, and I don't think it's fair to say he isn't good anymore.

If Dez outplays Patrick in a few plays, and Dak is able to get back to his normal self and find him... 88 will have his first of many great performances in the season.

Throw. Up. The. X.

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Wish #5: Jourdan Lewis Has Another Interception

Jourdan Lewis missed every preseason game and was able to wear the Dallas Cowboys uniform for the first time against the Denver Broncos. As we know, it wasn't the best game ever, but Jourdan Lewis had his first career interception in his first game.

When the Cowboys drafted him and Chidobe Awuzie this is what they wanted. Takeaways.

Cowboys En Español: 3 Jugadores Que Veremos Más Contra los Cardinals

Nolan Carroll and Awuzie have been ruled out for tomorrow's game which means Jourdan Lewis will see the field a lot.

How epic would it be for Lewis to have his second interception in his second NFL game? Carson Palmer is tied for most interceptions in the season. An interception by Lewis is far from impossible.

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It's been a long week. Truth be told, the Cowboys aren't a team that should be losing the way they did at Denver. But this is the NFL, and it happens. And what matters is how teams react to it.

I truly believe tomorrow's game will be a very important one for the Dallas Cowboys. It is not a divisional game or anything, but we will learn a few things about this team. Will they be angry and make Arizona pay for it?

If they want to be Super Bowl contenders, they better be able to bounce back from moments like this. Even still, the main wish remains... just win. 

We’ll be doing this weekly here on Inside The Star, so if you have any wishes you’d like to see on this series, make sure to tweet them at me!

Tell me what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Wishlist At Arizona Cardinals" 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!



I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @PepoR99.

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2 Comments
  • John Williams

    Good stuff brother. I’m all about the big win this week, but I’m with you in the “just win baby” department. If they can start the season 2-1 that’s a great start. It’s where we were after three games last season. Still a lot of football left to play.

    • Mauricio Rodriguez

      I just saw your comment while watching the game. This is intense.

Game Notes

Cowboys, Falcons Week 11 Injury Report

Jess Haynie

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Zack Martin

The Dallas Cowboys and Atlanta Falcons are both 4-5 and playing to keep their seasons alive. It's a mutual must-win game, and both will have to try to win it without some key players. Once again, we look at this week's injury reports.

Let's begin with your Cowboys, whose report is getting longer as the season wears on:

Dallas Cowboys

  • WR Tavon Austin (groin) - OUT
  • DE Taco Charlton (shoulder) - OUT
  • DT David Irving (ankle) - OUT
  • DT Daniel Ross (calf) - OUT
  • LB Sean Lee (hamstring) - OUT
  • DT Antwaun Woods (concussion) - Doubtful
  • G Zack Martin (knee) - Questionable
  • G Connor Williams (knee) - Questionable
  • DT Maliek Collins (knee) - Questionable
  • LB Joe Thomas (foot) - Questionable

The biggest news is the guy who won't miss tomorrow's game; All-Pro guard Zack Martin is expected to play despite his knee injury from last Sunday night. The Cowboys, already dealing with Travis Frederick's absence and now health issues at left guard, could ill afford to go without Martin in such a pivotal game.

Even if he was healthy, rookie Connor Williams might have a hard time getting in the game. Backup Xavier Su'a-Filo looked like an experienced former second-round pick last week, and he may be the better player for now.

The defensive line has been hit hard, particularly in the middle. With Irving and Ross out, Woods doubtful, and Collins uncertain, Dallas called up DT Christian Ringo from the practice squad. They will also be without Taco Charlton, who could play inside some. Veteran Caraun Reid will be seeing a lot of playing time.

Sean Lee's ongoing absence has become almost an afterthought now with the stellar play of Leighton Vander Esch. We've seen in the past when missing Lee meant disaster on defense, but Dallas' first-round rookie has helped mitigate the damage.

Atlanta Falcons

  • LB Deion Jones (foot) - OUT

It's a short list for Atlanta, but the one name on it is a big one. Arguably the team's best defensive player, Deion Jones will miss the game with a foot injury.

The Falcons' injury issues have been more in players suffering season-ending injuries. Both starting guards, Andy Levitre and Brandon Fusco, are on injured reserve. Star running back Devonta Freeman is also there, and those losses help explain Atlanta's 30th-ranked rushing offense.

Both starting safeties are also on IR; Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal. Atlanta has one of the league's worst passing defense this year without them, ranking 30th in yards allowed and 28th in opponent passer rating.

So yes, the Falcons injury report compared to the Cowboys' may raise some eyebrows. But in terms of who has most of their key guys, Dallas is arguably still better off.



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Game Notes

Cowboys Have Already Corrected Biggest Mistake From 2017 Loss in Atlanta

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Have Already Corrected Biggest Mistake From 2017 Loss in Atlanta

The Dallas Cowboys play their next three games in 13 days, all critical to their hopes of winning the NFC East despite alternating wins and losses since week one. For the Cowboys to earn consecutive road wins, their first coming on Sunday night at the Eagles, they'll have to come out of Atlanta in much better shape than they did just a year ago.

As expected in the NFL, a lot has changed in this year. The Cowboys 27-7 loss at the Falcons in their first game without Running Back Ezekiel Elliott was the beginning of the end on a season that forced a multitude of coaching changes in Dallas.

The Cowboys stubbornness in allowing Falcons DE Adrian Clayborn to sack Dak Prescott six times by beating Chaz Green and Byron Bell is something they hoped to move past when new positional coaches were brought in at OL, TE, QB, and WR.

It took the team admitting that these moves below Offensive Coordinator Scot Linehan were not all correct two weeks ago for the Cowboys to see any real progress, but with their win last week there's hope that the Cowboys are the improved team expected weeks ago - arrived just in time for Thanksgiving.

Firing Offensive Line Coach Paul Alexander was the first move, as the Cowboys named Marc Colombo OL Coach and Hudson Houck his assistant. Colombo told 105.3 The Fan in Dallas this week that he has injured Center Travis Frederick on a headset during games as well.

Colombo, Houck, and Frederick have the Cowboys offensive line confident in their ability to play to their strengths, rewarded with a renewed faith in the zone blocking scheme that was forgotten under Alexander.

If the Cowboys offensive line was their first problem in last year's Falcons loss (it was), it's becoming their biggest strength at the right time in the season.

The Cowboys necessary changes didn't stop here though.

In desperate need of a play maker on the outside, the Cowboys are seeing their investment into Wide Receiver Amari Cooper pay off so far. Cooper is averaging 3.2 yards of separation on his routes this season, ahead of Cole Beasley's 2.6 yards as the next closest pass catcher.

Cooper's presence was a big part of Ezekiel Elliott's 151 yard rushing performance at the Eagles. A player that can win on the outside with ease and dictate coverage has benefited Prescott and the Cowboys game plan on offense enough to send away a first round pick.

It will be up to this "rebuilt" Cowboys offense to match the Falcons on Sunday. Atlanta is averaging 27.1 points per game this season, but a much more dangerous 32.2 at home. After a 1-4 start, the 4-5 Falcons are playing in front of their home fans for the first time in two weeks, losing at the Browns in week ten.

The Cowboys felt they'd be prepared for games like this after their offseason moves, instead needing to show the type of in-season urgency that's been rare for Jason Garrett's team. The same can be said about a Falcons team that's experienced playing with their backs to the wall much sooner than the Cowboys have this season, setting up a big NFC match up in the early slot Sunday.

Dak Prescott will be thankful that Chaz Green nor Byron Bell are protecting him, wanting nothing more than to deliver another win for the Cowboys to take into Thanksgiving against the division-leading Washington Redskins. Not all of the coaches responsible for the lack of adjustment in last year's game are gone. What the Cowboys do have are tangible new ideas from coaches that understand they need more than a win at the defending Super Bowl champions to call this Cowboys season a success.

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Have Already Corrected Biggest Mistake From 2017 Loss in Atlanta" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Game Notes

Do Or Die: Chidobe Awuzie Must Improve Sunday, Or Cowboys Season Could End

Kevin Brady

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Will Chidobe Awuzie's Return Benefit The Cowboys' Defense?

Coming into the season there was a lot of hype surrounding the Dallas Cowboys' cornerbacks. With Byron Jones moving from safety full time, and now second year player Chidobe Awuzie playing opposite Jones after a promising rookie season, there was a lot for Cowboys fans to be excited about.

Through the first 10 weeks of the year, though, only one of those two has maintained fans' excitement. While Byron Jones has been arguably the best cornerback in all of football, Chidobe Awuzie has been damn-near an automatic completion when thrown at.

Awuzie has a -5.8 coverage rating this season, 65th among cornerbacks in the NFL. Coverage rating is a metric which factors in how often a cornerback is targeted as well as how many passes they've defensed per target. Quarterbacks also have a 116.6 passer rating when targeting Awuzie, compared to just 64.5 when targeting Byron Jones. For comparisons sake, Jones' coverage rating is a +45! So you can see why "cornerback opposite of Jones" is becoming a need for the Cowboys.

What's perplexing about Awuzie's season, though, is that he is only giving up an average 0.95 yards of separation, 27th in the league (courtesy of playerprofiler.com). So while Awuzie is playing relatively sticky coverage, he's still being targeted often, and he's still allowing completions way too often.

This week, Chidobe Awuzie will be tested once again, this time by the dynamic passing game of the Atlanta Falcons. The match-up many fans are focusing on is that between Byron Jones and Julio Jones, but how Awuzie does against Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu may play a bigger factor in the result.

Both Ridley and Sanu are solid supporting receivers, and considering how much attention the defense typically has to pay to Julio Jones, they tend to get man coverage often. This allows for a precise route runner like Ridley to take advantage of opportunities, and come away with the types of big plays we've seen from him this year.

When matched up with either of these weapons, Awuzie will need to continue to stay close, but play and defense the ball better. He must continue to make it hard on these receivers and force them into contested catches, but hopefully he can improve on his play when the ball gets to the catch point.

Sunday will be another big test for the Cowboys' young defense. And as well as they have played most weeks, this game has the potential to be a season ender if certain guys do not step up. One of those guys who will certainly play a key role in influencing the result in Chidobe Awuzie.



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