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The Dallas Cowboys will be without the services of former Pro-Bowl cornerback Mike Jenkins for 3-4 weeks after suffering a hamstring injury.
In the aftermath of an embarrassing 34-7 loss on national TV to the Philadelphia Eagles, Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan took full responsibility for the defense's collapse against a team he had called "all-hype":
The whole thing is I got out coached by [Eagles head coach Andy Reid] and their staff," Ryan said. "I mean, it's ridiculous. I never gave our guys a chance. The whole f***** thing was on me. If I gave them any extra motivation, hell, I certainly never backed it up. I gave our guys a lousy plan. We had no chance, and it's all on me."
Coming off a bye week, the Eagles offense had the number of Cowboys defense, which had previously been one of the best in the NFL through the first seven weeks, from the very beginning.
Besides a four sack effort from star OLB DeMarcus Ware, there were no positives to take away from Dallas' defensive performance. The Cowboys gave up 495 total yards and didn't force a single turnover, with Philadelphia averaging an eye-popping 9.1 yards per pass and 6.3 yards per rush.
Ryan will have a chance to get his defense back on track next week in a home game against the 2-5 Seattle Seahawks, ranked 24th in the NFL in passing offense and 31rst in rushing offense.
For as much talk as Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan dishes out, the condemnation of his unit's performance in a 34-7 rout by Philadelphia Sunday night is fairly even-tempered. Easily the league's chattiest coordinator, Ryan's comeuppance could be a lot worse - but it's only Monday morning.
Philadelphia made the sexy matchups look like mismatches. The NFL's top-ranked rushing offense rolled for 239 yards against the top-ranked rushing defense. A Pro Bowl collection of cornerbacks shut down Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, who combined for a grand total of one catch in the first three quarters.
"It was a butt kicking by a really good football team," Cowboys linebacker Keith Brooking said.
The Ft. Worth Star-Telegram's Clarence Hill Jr. took to the inevitable task of feeding Ryan's many, many words right back to him:
One thing is for certain, all hype beats all talk.
Surely, the blowout win had nothing to do with defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's comments in the summer when he promised a victory over the "all-hype" team.
As Ryan said this week in not backing down from the comments, "If they need my words to motivate them, we are going to beat their [butt] anyway."
But there is also something to be said about walking the walk if you going to talk the talk.
Ryan's pumped up and cocky defense didn't come close to backing up his words.
They looked more like a scout team than a unit ranking seventh in the league overall and first against the run.
Last week we marveled at how the Dallas Cowboys were not only putting up a very high number of big plays (plays of 20+ yards) but allowing very few on defense as well. In fact, up until the Eagles game yesterday, the Cowboys had the best big play differential in the league with +15. But that changed quickly yesterday.
Not only did the Eagles offense pull off seven plays of 20+ yards compared to only three for the Cowboys offense, but the Eagles also recorded 22 plays of 10 yards or more, versus only 11 for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys got on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter but did little to erase the overall domination that the Eagles enjoyed in this game. Dallas' lone score came on a 70 yard pass from Tony Romo to Laurent Robinson but this game was long in the books before the wide receiver stepped into the end zone.
Dallas came into this game with the best run defense in the NFL allowing just under 70 yards per game. The Eagles eclipsed that mark in the first quarter as they went on to pile up 239 yards on the ground and 495 yards of total offense. Philadelphia held the ball for over 42 minutes in the game while Romo and Dallas was left with just 17:51 in time of possession.
For Dallas, Romo completed 18 of 35 passes for 203 yards with a touchdown and an interception although most of that yardage came in the fourth quarter when this game was already decided. DeMarco Murray ran the ball eight times for 74 yards as Dallas was forced to abandon the run after falling behind early. DeMarcus Ware had a big game defensively with 11 tackles and four sacks.
Dallas allowed just three points in the third quarter but did little to improve on the statistical disparity between themselves and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cowboys trail 27-0 entering the fourth quarter.
The Eagles have dominated through out running up 432 yards of total offense to Dallas' 114. The Eagles have 27 first downs while the Dallas offense has produced five through three quarters. The Eagles have held the ball for over 32 minutes of the game while the Cowboys offense has been on the field a little over 12.
LeSean McCoy has had a big night rushing for 142 yards on 21 carries including a touchdown. Michael Vich has 247 yards passing and 50 more rushing. Vick has thrown two touchdown passes thus far.
It has been a struggle for Tony Romo and company as the Dallas quarterback has completed 7 of 15 passes for just 56 yards. Miles Austin and Dez Bryant have one catch between them for just 13 yards. DeMarco Murray had a strong first half running the ball but the deficit on the scoreboard has forced the Cowboys to abandon the run.
The first half for the Dallas Cowboys couldn't have gone much worse. The Philadelphia Eagles looked like they finally realized their potential as they have put on an offensive clinic in the first half leading 24-0 at the break. The Eagles have dominated the game in every aspect thus far.
The Dallas defense was on the field for over 20 minutes in the first half and allowed 324 total yards. Philadelphia racked up 140 yards on the ground and is led by Lesean McCoy's 95 yards in the first half. Dallas has done little to make Michael Vick uncomfortable as he completed 13 of 17 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns. Vick also ran the ball six times for 45 more yards.
Tony Romo and the Dallas offense hasn't had the opportunity to do much thus far thanks to Philly's huge edge in time of possession. Romo completed 4 of 8 passes for just 36 yards and an interception. Neither Dez Bryant nor Miles Austin had a reception in the first half. The only bright spot for the Cowboys was the play of rookie running back DeMarco Murray who carried the ball six times for 74 yards in the first half.
The Dallas Cowboys defense has taken another hit as linebacker Sean Lee has headed to the lockeroom for X-rays to his left wrist according to sideline reporter Michelle Tafoya. Without Lee, Dallas has had to turn to 36 year old linebacker Keith Brooking who is not nearly as adept in coverage as Lee.
Lee is out for the remainder of the half and the result of the X-rays will determine whether or not he can return to the game in the second half.
The Dallas Cowboys came in with a strong run defense but they are getting gashed early by the Philadelphia Eagles who have jumped out to a 14-0 lead. The Eagles have 104 yards rushing on just nine attempts in its first two possessions.
The Eagles marched 84 yards on eight plays to open the scoring with a Jeremy Maclin 12 yard touchdown catch from Michael Vick. After getting a stop, the Eagles extended their lead with a 90 yard drive that culminated in a two yard run from Lasean Mccoy for the touchdown. McCoy has 78 yards on the Eagles' first two drives.
ESPN's NFL Countdown has kicked off this Sunday's daily dose of football excess, and eyes are already starting to focus on the nighttime matchup. The Cowboys invade Licoln Financial Field to take on the Eagles, in a match up that has had it's fair share of building momentum.
The Eagles made all sorts of noise in the offseason, something that is normally reserved for NFC East teams Dallas and to a larger extent Washington. Once the season started though, the Eagles found themselves committing a comedy of errors. Their rough start amidst Super Bowl contending aspirations, is reminiscent of the fall Dallas had at the beginning of last year. The Eagles were able to shut down the ground game against Washington two weeks ago, but Washington had lost their left side of the line in the game and was being captained by Bad Rex Grossman.
Yesterday, ESPN's Sal Paolantonio caught up with Jerry Jones, and asked him about the division battle.
Paolantonio: [Jones'] team views this game as a significant opportunity to make a statement about who we are as a football team, and potentially a spring board to a big time season. [Dallas] team knows that."
What date would you set as the over/under for when this game became the focus of the organization? Could it be... I don't know... the day Jerry was live on local radio patting himself on the back for catching Nnamdi Asomugha, only to learn from the host he went to Philly instead? You think a guy as image conscious as Jerry Jones might want to exact a measure of revenge?
Soon after missing out on the free agent cornerback, Dallas had to watch their division rivals sign any and everybody; repeatedly putting them in the headlines and across television scrolls. The pomp and circumstance led defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to state the following back in August.
"I don't know if we win the all-hype team," Ryan said after Monday's second practice, when asked about the Cowboys' defensive end rotation. "That might have gone to someone else, but we're going to beat their ass when we play them."
When asked about those comments recently, Ryan backed off some, but reiterated that he more so speaks about the confidence he has in his players.
"I'm not around those guys, I don't live with those guys, I live with our guys. I know how special we can be and we're going to be. Right now, stats don't mean anything. We're first in the NFC in defense, but we want to be first in the NFL, so we've got a lot of work to do.
Our situational football has not been good and that's a constant work in progress, but we have the talent to be everything that everybody dreams about. We have that talent right here in Dallas.
The Eagles are coming off a bye week, and the Cowboys were fortunate to face a collapsing Rams team in preparation for this week's faceoff. With the release of Tashard Choice and activation of second-round pick Bruce Carter, the Cowboys will only be one-man short of a full 53 man roster to decide who will be active tonight. RB Felix Jones will miss the game with his high ankle sprain. The Eagles, with the return of Trent Cole and Jason Peters, will have their full compliment of players.
It's not a must-win, but is a crucial game for each of the combatants as they ready themselves for the season's stretch run. We're only hours away from watching these titans go at it.
The Cowboys and Eagles will look to jump start their seasons Sunday night, as the division rivals begin to sort out who will be in the NFC East race. The loser will enter November with a losing record and a serious uphill battle to qualify for the playoffs. The winner will enter it on a win streak and look like a possible co-favorite, along with the Giants.
The staff at SB Nation Dallas yet again picks each and every game in the NFL.
With the emergence of Demarco Murray as another factor back in the Cowboys offense along with Felix Jones plus lingering issues with fumbling and injury woes, the Dallas Cowboys have decided to part ways with running back Tashard Choice on Saturday.
Carter was previously on the reserve non-football injury list and has been unavailable for the Cowboys' first six games. The first game he's allowed to play in is the Cowboys game this Sunday night versus the Philadelphia Eagles.
For Choice, there had been talk about trading the tailback out of Georgia Tech before the deadline but with Felix Jones going down with a high-ankle sprain the Cowboys retained his services to provide depth. With Choice now off the roster, rookie Phillip Tanner from Middle Tennessee State will move up the depth chart to the No. 3 back. Choice then suffered an injury to his shoulder versus the St. Louis Rams, taking him out of the game.
If Choice clears waivers, the Cowboys will offer him an injury settlement.
During training camp and preseason, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant amazed players, coaches and media alike with his incredible skill set. Sure, everyone marveled that, at the time, he looked like the best receiver the team had seen since Michael Irvin. Everyone scribbled notes about his unbelievable ability to make one-handed catches both in traffic and once past the last line of the defense.
But there was one thing that stuck out the most in the 'that dude is cold' category; Dez Bryant was seen several times effortlessly slinging the pigskin 60 to 70 yards downfield. Even head coach Jason Garrett chuckled as Dez would hit the goal posts from the opposite side of the 50 on occasions. Dez's athletic ability show that he clearly had the physical tools to captain a ship.
This week in practice, the Cowboys are using those unique skills to prepare themselves for the ultimate athlete at the quarterback position (this side of Cam Newton), Michael Vick. According to reports from Eagles Week, the Cowboys have been using Dez to simulate Mike Vick's one-of-a-kind skills so the defense can prepare for a style they have yet to see this season.
"He can throw the ball 60 yards, and it looks like it’s on a frozen rope like Vick’s is too, with that lefty spin," Cowboys inside linebacker Sean Lee said. "...[Bryant's imitation] was dead on. The way he runs. The way he moves. Their play-making ability."...
"There’s nobody who runs like him," Lee said. "He’s honestly one of the best quarterbacks, but also one of the best running backs in the league with how he moves and how fast he is and especially when things break down. It’s like a punt return every time with the way he’s able to shake people. We had Dez at practice to show us some of those looks with what it’s like with a guy with that agility."
The Cowboys are field-goal underdogs in a crucial NFC East matchup.
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