FRISCO, Texas – Three quick topics with one of the most pivotal mid-October games we've seen around here in some time looming:
- Air Jourdan
- Mirror images
- No Tyrone
Jourdan Lewis embodies the entire "next man up" concept.
With Byron Jones and Anthony Brown slowed by hamstring injuries against the Jets, the third-year cornerback tied his season high with 37 defensive snaps. In the third quarter, he leaped for a critical interception inside the Cowboys' 10-yard line to keep the deficit at 12. In the fourth, he broke up Sam Darnold's third-down pass to give Dallas one more chance down eight.
The first five games, Lewis averaged 17 defensive snaps. He didn't play at all on defense against Green Bay the week before the Jets game.
The Cowboys need Jones and Brown, if possible, against the Eagles. But they're fortunate to have Lewis, a former third-round draft pick, who has accepted his role as a reserve in the secondary.
The coaching staff appreciates Lewis' preparation. He learned early in his career how to stay ready. He didn't play a lot as a sophomore in high school or as a freshman in college, finally splitting time in the starting lineup his second season at Michigan.
"I've always been a team guy," Lewis said, "and that's not ever going to change."
something has to give, early, between the Cowboys and Eagles this Sunday.
Yeah, I know, it's a 60-minute game. Philly's trip here last year actually went to overtime, requiring a third touchdown from Amari Cooper to settle things.
This year, the deciding factor could be the first half. Maybe even the first quarter.
Think the Cowboys are getting off to slow starts? Eagles head coach Doug Pederson told reporters this week that he might stop deferring at the coin toss and opt for the ball first to jump-start his offense.
The Eagles, essentially tied with Dallas for first place in the NFC East, dropped to 3-3 with a 38-20 loss to Minnesota. They got outscored 10-0 in the first quarter and fell behind 24-3 just before halftime.
In the Eagles' three losses to the Vikings, Lions and Falcons, they've been outscored 20-10 in the first quarter and 54-26 in the first half, scoring only two touchdowns.
The Cowboys haven't reached the end zone until the second half during this three-game losing streak. They've moved the ball but seen drives stall for various reasons: a sack here, a drop there, an interception, a pre-snap penalty.
Same with Philly. The Eagles drove inside the Vikings' 35-yard line four times in the first half and came away with only 10 points. They turned it over once on downs and threw an interception on a fake field goal attempt.
In this league, as tight end Jason Witten says, "You dig yourself a hole and it's hard to come back in those moments." The team that doesn't will have the edge Sunday night.
I Have No Idea…
if Tyrone Crawford's value has ever been fully appreciated outside this building.
The Cowboys are hopeful several starters/key players (including Amari Cooper, Tyron Smith, La'el Collins, Byron Jones and Randall Cobb) can return from injuries as early as this week.
Now they know they won't have Crawford the rest of the season because of hip surgery. He's one of the toughest guys in the league. He's been a captain. He's a mentor for so many guys on defense, including fellow Boise State alum DeMarcus Lawrence.
And, when the games start, he has chewed up quality snaps at every position on the line.
He just hasn't been healthy this year. Inactive against the Dolphins and Saints with a hip issue that just hasn't gotten better with rest, he was only able to play 42 combined snaps against the Packers and Jets.
The defense must find ways to reach their high standard of play without him. Second-round draft pick Trysten Hill, inactive for three games this year, will likely have to be part of the solution.