Dallas Cowboys: Week 3 defensive plan for success

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /
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. Mandatory Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports
. Mandatory Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports /

Dallas Cowboys Play-calling

Before the Cowboys played the Jalen Hurts-led Philadelphia Eagles in 2020, I sat down to watch Hurts in an attempt to see where he was successful and where he struggled. For the most part, I felt there was a clear path to stopping him until he made a good play out of nowhere, and then I was left reconsidering if my plan was right.

This time around, I think the plan is a lot clearer. Hurts rarely attacks the middle of the field and stands around in the pocket for a longer time. He has a below-average feel for pressure, but his athletic ability and play strength will still allow him to escape the worst situations. As a result, do the Cowboys spy him?

Dallas needs to be aggressive in blitzing Hurts this week. That seemed inevitable missing DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, Carlos Watkins, He isn’t Justin Herbert, who seemingly gets better the more he’s pressured. The quicker you get in Hurts’ face, the more flabbergasted he gets.

He does make a lot of passes near the line of scrimmage as a result of screens and check downs, which could be problematic when the team wants to blitz, but if the team is able to force him into long passing situations he won’t have the pleasure of throwing short passes all game long. If the Cowboys’ offense can score quickly, he won’t have the time to methodically drive down the field with short passes. (You catch my drift yet?)

Secondly, the Cowboys can’t be afraid to play press coverage. DeVonta Smith is the only receiver of the three that is consistent at fighting press coverage, so if Dallas’ defensive backs are poised and display good body control when jamming at the line of scrimmage, the Cowboys might actually mess up the timing on throws even without the pass rush reaching the quarterback.

Perhaps in this game more than most, it’s essentially the Cowboys sell out to stop the run. Hurts hasn’t proven yet he can drop back and pass all game often playing complementary football to the Eagles ground game.

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The plan has been laid out, but the list of players available for Monday is slowly dwindling. Here’s to hoping Dan Quinn can prove, once again, why he was the right man for the job.