Welcome to this week’s edition of Martin’s 5!
The Dallas Cowboys are 3-1 and are set to square off against their first AFC opponent of the 2016 season this week when the Cincinnati Bengals come to town Sunday afternoon.
The Cowboys probably put a little scare and a lot of us last week when they fell behind 14-0 to the San Francisco 49ers, but fortunately they continued to battle and came away with a 24-17 victory.
The Cincinnati Bengals are a more talented team than the 49ers, but I don’t know by how big of a margin. This will once again be a big test for a young Cowboys team, but definitely a game they can win.
Below are some of the random thoughts I have had this week and a few of them are related to this week’s matchup with the Bengals.
One: I wonder if the Dallas Cowboys will be buyers or sellers before the trade deadline November 1? I don’t really see the Cowboys bringing in anybody via trade, but I could see them testing the waters with a couple of their players to determine if they have any trade value. Darren McFadden and James Hanna could be returning to the team in a few weeks and that could mean alterations will need to be made to the 53 man roster. McFadden could be of interest to a RB needy team via trade and Hanna’s return could finally make Gavin Escobar’s tenure come to an end with the Cowboys, especially with the emergence of Geoff Swaim. I don’t know if there’s much of a market for Escobar, but it is definitely worth exploring. Due to the depth that both the RB and TE positions, there doesn’t seem to be much of a need for either player. Trading them would at least give the Cowboys some sort of compensation.
Two: The long-awaited return of DeMarcus Lawrence from his four-game suspension is finally over, but I wonder what kind of shape he is in? Being in shape and being in “football” shape are two different things. Last year Greg Hardy was in a similar situation after serving his suspension. He got out to a fast start, but became less effective as the season wore on. The pass rush for the Cowboys can certainly use all the help they can get, but it might be wise to keep Lawrence on some kind of pitch count until he is acclimated to the game once again. This is especially true when you take into account his back problems. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him being more of a pass rushing specialist until he is ready for a larger role.
Three: Speaking of DeMarcus Lawrence, I wonder which side he plays on this season? Lawrence has played both RDE and LDE during his time with the Dallas Cowboys, so it will be interesting to see where he lines up against the Cincinnati Bengals this week. To be completely honest, I don’t really think it matters. Rod Marinelli will put him in the best position possible to succeed and harass opposing quarterbacks. We may see him switch back and forth from the right and left sides depending on the matchup from week to week.
Four: I wonder if this is the week we see the winning streak for the Dallas Cowboys come to an end due to all of the banged up players at key positions? The injury bug has bitten, and bitten hard for the Dallas Cowboys. Tyron Smith, Dez Bryant, Orlando Scandrick, and La’el Collins all missed last week against the San Francisco 49ers, and it doesn’t look like anyone of these players will be at 100% anytime soon. The Cincinnati Bengals are definitely a beatable team, but with so many key players banged up at important positions, it makes it that much more difficult to come away with a victory. We’re still a few days away from gametime, so hopefully we will receive some good news on the injury front.
Five: I wonder how defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is going to game plan against Cincinnati Bengals All-Pro wide receiver AJ Green? AJ Green is arguably the best WR the Cowboys defense has faced this season, with maybe the exception of Odell Beckham Jr., so it will be interesting to see how they try to contain him Sunday afternoon. Morris Claiborne has been playing the best football of his career and could be asked to shadow Green, or Marinelli could decide to go a different direction. Regardless of what they choose to do, Green has to be accounted for wherever he lines up and can’t be allowed to take over the game.
Is there anything you have on your mind this week?
Please feel free to take advantage of the comment section below to share any of your lingering thoughts or opinions regarding the Dallas Cowboys.