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3 Questions: Randle's Start & Night-and-Day Coverage


Were you concerned about how this Cowboys defense was going to play today?

I was very concerned and surprised that they were able to not only hold Nick Foles in check, but also LeSean McCoy as well. In all the film work I had put in leading up to this game, McCoy scared me the most with his ability to run the ball on those read-option plays, and with the way they used him in the passing game. You have to give Monte Kiffin and this defensive staff a ton of credit for the game plan they had. All day they took the fight to the Eagles and did not allow head coach Chip Kelly and his offense to dictate anything, whereas through the first six games of the season, Philadelphia had done just that.

What were your impressions of Joseph Randle in his first NFL start?

It was a much different situation for Randle this week compared to last Sunday against the Redskins. Ahead of the Washington game, he only had the opportunity to get maybe one or two reps during the week, and he played like he was just not trying to make a mistake. Today was a different story. He looked prepared, ready and when his number was called, he was up to the task. There were several plays where he had to make a tough run that needed to be made, but more importantly, when he had to make a secure catch or a pickup, he looked good on his assignments. I liked the plan that head coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Bill Callahan came up with in not putting the whole load of the game on Randle. I thought by working he and Phillip Tanner together, it gave Randle a chance to regroup for the next play. From my seat in the press box, the game didn't look too big for him, which was all these coaches needed.

What are your thoughts on how the Cowboys secondary played today? [embedded_ad]

From what we all observed from the San Diego and Denver games, to what we have seen the last two weeks has been night and day, coverage-wise. Robert Griffin III, Nick Foles and Matt Barkley, all struggled against this secondary and that has been the difference in this two-game winning streak. Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick have been outstanding on the outside. Although Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox have had their share of issues, they were on point from the opening snap. With Foles at quarterback, you knew the ball was going down the field, but the way the coverage was played today, he was not allowed that opportunity. When you can hold up on the back end against wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper and the Eagles tight ends, you are doing your job. There's a good reason that the defensive front was able to get the pressure they did because the skill guys had no room to operate. Give secondary coaches Jerome Henderson and Joe Baker a lot of credit for getting their troops ready to play.

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