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Gameday: Sizing Up The Stories For Week 2 Against Kansas City
There probably isn’t a coach the Cowboys are more familiar with than the Chiefs’ new head man, Andy Reid. The longtime Eagles coach will look strange wearing Kansas City’s bright red, but the Cowboys will be plenty familiar with how he coaches and what he likes to run. The season obviously started well for Dallas with a Week 1 win, but there’s got to be at least some concern about New York’s offensive output – Eli Manning bombed away for 450 yards and connected with three different 100-yard receivers. It’s doubtful that will happen this weekend at Arrowhead Stadium, as the Chiefs achieved much more balance with 173 passing yards and 121 rushing yards in their rout of Jacksonville last week.
Two big names could play a role in how the Cowboys handle the challenge. But as always, that decision might be a secret until it’s time to kickoff. Sunday could serve as a homecoming for newly-acquired guard Brian Waters, who practiced as a second-teamer when the Cowboys practiced at AT&T Stadium this week. Waters, a six-time Pro Bowler, spent the vast majority of his career anchoring the offensive line for Kansas City. His presence could help offset a Chiefs defense that notched six sacks against the Jaguars. The Cowboys are also hoping to get some production from defensive end Anthony Spencer, who finally returned to practice this week after sitting out two months. Spencer said he won’t be ready to play a full game for a couple of weeks, but his presence in a situational role could pay dividends.
One story that is sure to dominate the conversation before the game, during the game and after the game is the production of Dez Bryant. His four catches for just 22 yards against the Giants was one of the surprises of the first week. Bryant also suffered a minor foot sprain in the win, which limited him at practice this week.The Chiefs will likely try to make him a non-factor, as well, and plenty of people will be focused on how Dallas tries to work him into the gameplan.
We’ll see just how long it lasts, but 2013 is off to a fantastic start for Kansas City after an abysmal 2012 campaign. The Chiefs are halfway to last year’s win total after scoring one of the most lopsided wins of Week 1 – a 28-2 rout of Jacksonville. Of course, it’s worth noting that their opponent was a fellow 2012 cellar dweller, but a win is a win in the NFL.
Tony Romo, who is a lock to play even with bruised ribs, will provide quite a different challenge for the Chiefs after the hapless Jaguars offense. But Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Co. in Kansas City’s 3-4 scheme may provide the stiffest challenge of the Cowboys’ early season – especially with a raucous Arrowhead crowd behind them. The biggest question for the Chiefs will be the health of All-Pro running back Jamaal Charles, who left the Jaguars game early with a quad injury after tallying 77 yards and a touchdown. Reid said Charles is likely to play, but how effective he’ll be is another question.
This weekend is the Cowboys’ first trip to Arrowhead since the fall of 2009, also remembered as the game when Miles Austin became a household name. Austin caught 10 balls for 250 yards and two touchdowns, including the winning score, in a 26-20 overtime win. There’s no way to know for sure, but maybe we’ll see another unlooked-for hero in Kansas City.