Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
When 7:30 CST arrives, the Cowboys know they will get valiant efforts from their studs. Players like Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, DeMarco Murray, Tyron Smith, and Orlando Scandrick will show up. These players have been carrying this team, along with their injured quarterback Tony Romo. The Cowboys will need more players to step up to defeat the soaring Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Below are the players the Cowboys could use production out of:
There is not one player on this roster that has fallen out of flavor like Miles Austin. Before Dez Bryant arrived in Big D, Austin was Romo’s favorite target. In the past few years, he has been hampered by ongoing hamstring injuries. Against the Giants to start the season, Austin looked like his 2009 self when he caught 10 passes for 72 yards. Since, Austin has caught more than 3 passes for gained more than 35 yards. At this point, it looks like Austin is just a decoy. With Kyle Orton at helm, the Eagles may double Dez Bryant and put additional coverage on Jason Witten. This leads the way for Austin or rookie Terrance Williams, but Williams is inexperienced and a body-catcher. The Cowboys could use a little more production out of Austin than what they were getting previously.
Jason Hatcher/DeMarcus Ware
George Selvie has been playing his heart out on the left side of the football. But, the guys on this defensive line that should be getting the most production are not even coming close to that. Yes, both of them are banged up. Ware had a decent game last week against the Redskins. But, Hatcher has had a sack since week 11 against the Giants. On the other hand, Ware has only had 6 sacks on the year. That total is the lowest of his career. He has had a plethora of injuries, but he can still give production than before. Last week against the Redskins, he had 5 total tackles, including a touchdown-saving tackle on a Alfred Morris run. If the two can get into Foles’ face early, it will be huge for this Dallas defense.
On the defensive side of the ball, there has not been one player more disappointing than Bruce Carter. Carter
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
was supposed to take a step forward this year because he has the perfect build to be a stud SAM linebacker. But, Carter has regressed in his third year in the NFL. Carter has also been injured by a reoccurring hamstring problem. When Carter came back last week against the Redskins, Carter had 11 total tackles. His impact was felt by this defense big time. If he can continue his success from last week, this defense will benefit greatly.
Brandon Carr/Morris Claiborne
The Cowboys will be able to get Morris Claiborne from, you guessed it, a hamstring injury this week against the Eagles. Although he has regressed, Claiborne is still a talented player that can make an impact on the game. The Cowboys have gotten the most out of Orlando Scandrick and Sterling Moore this year. The Cowboys paid Brandon Carr 50 million to be their lockdown cornerback. Last year, he was great. But in 2013, Carr has had a terrible year. Expect the Cowboys to put Scandrick on DeSean Jackson and Carr on Riley Cooper. Right now, Scandrick is just better than Brandon Carr.
This defense is due for a game. Kiffin may be gone in 2014, but the Cowboys have gotten healthier at the right time. This defense has had to play without players like Anthony Spencer, Sean Lee, and Tyrone Crawford. Terry Bradshaw believes this defense is going to play the game of their lives today. Kiffin needs to dial up a lot of blitzes to throw Foles off his game. With a better plan on defense, the Cowboys’ chances of winning this play-in game improved greatly.