Five weeks after our star Tony Romo went down with a fractured left Clavicle, the return of Dez Bryant has the team primed to take on Pete Carroll and his swarming Seattle Seahawks. The game is scheduled for 3:25 p.m. Central Time / 1:25 p.m. Pacific Time and will be broadcast on the FOX Network.
Romo’s injury and the inability to get good quarterback play in his absence have cost Jason Garrett and the rest of the Cowboy nation. Garrett had never before suffered a four game losing streak in his tenure as the head coach.
However, with many changes in the way the Cowboys are attacking lately, there is plenty of optimism that the team as a whole is about to rebound.
The offensive line played their best game of the season last week against the New York Giants. Attribute this to the maturation of rookie La’el Collins and his being healthier than the man he replaced, Ronald Leary. Going forward, this offensive line is angry and ready to get back to its street brawler ways of start punishing defensive lines and Seattle’s defensive line will not be overlooked.
Darren McFadden will need to saddle up and follow his line to help the team. Make no mistake about this; McFadden can be just effective this Sunday as he was last Sunday. McFadden will also be a help in the blitz protections he will certainly face against the Seahawks. He will need to finish on the dirty carries as well as he did against New York.
Getting Dez back into the fold will take some pressure off Jason Witten and Cole Beasley. The two receivers are steady playing in the middle of the field. What may change is who will make the active roster for game day. I would like to see Brice Butler on the active list, just because I think he will be more consistent against Seattle’s secondary, and we all know Terrance Williams cannot be counted on to show up each and every game. I think Butler could be a real threat alongside of Dez.
Matt Cassel will lead the team for the second week in a row. Hopefully, Cassel has knocked some of the rust off because he cannot afford to give Seattle’s defense the ball three times. While Cassel will probably not make a run for some kind of quarterback controversy when Tony returns, he will give the team a better chance to win then they had with Brandon Weeden running the show.
Randy Gregory was only included on eight snaps in Rod Marinelli’s wave defense against the Giants. Look for Gregory’s snap count to increase considerably against Seattle. Russell Wilson is a real threat when plays break down and he can get to the corner. Gregory has the skill sets to contain the corner if he does not play overly aggressive.
The defensive line as a whole will have to get off their blocks and not let huge holes open up for Marshawn Lynch while maintaining control of the edges. Tyron Crawford and Nick Hayden will be expected to apply pressure in the center of the pocket to keep Russell Wilson from stepping up and making a big play downfield.
The secondary will have its work cut out for them also. Rookie Byron Jones will draw another tough assignment this week, as he will be expected to shadow tight end Jimmy Graham. Seattle’s wide receiver, Doug Baldwin, also poses a serious downfield threat. Look for the Cowboys to play a lot of dime packages on defense. Barry Church will be given more of a linebacker role in this game to assist with stopping the run.
Dan Bailey usually has his kickoffs at AT&T Stadium go deep enough that there is not a chance of a big return. This will once again be crucial for the Cowboys’ special teams. Last week, the Special teams unit gave up a 100 yard return by former Cowboy Dwayne Harris. Tyler Lockett, the kickoff returner for the Seahawks is every bit as dangerous as Harris is and Bailey must not give him a chance at a big return. The same strategy holds true for punter Chris Jones.
The Cowboys are going to defend the turf at AT&T Stadium. Rolando McClain, Greg Hardy and Sean Lee will have to be effective if this game plan going is to be enough to defeat Seattle on our own field.
This Cowboys squad needs to bring the fight to the Seahawks and after four loses in a row they are primed for a home field victory.
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