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Final Thoughts: Juggling The DB's, Eagles' Scoring Defense; Other Notes

FRISCO, Texas – The grind of football season is so constant that taking one week off seems to throw things off.

It's hard to believe it's been two weeks since the Cowboys played a game, and it feels odd to have waited to so long to write another preview of their upcoming matchup. But after a long wait, the Cowboys are ready to face the Eagles in one of the most-anticipated games of the season.

Hopefully the Cowboys haven't lost their edge, as they were on quite a roll when we last saw them. This team dominated Green Bay during its last time out, despite a rare case of turnover issues. The coaching staff will undoubtedly be hoping they can maintain that momentum going into Week 8.

So with all of that said, here's my final notebook for Philly:

  • Dak Prescott is an incredible 30-of-32 when he throws the ball to the left side of the field. Prescott has thrown for 272 yards in that direction with an average of 8.5 yards a completion. His least accurate spot is also to the left, but it's along the sideline. Prescott is only 18-of-31 when throwing to receivers there.
  • Keep an eye on the rotation at cornerback this week. I don't see Anthony Brown getting much work in the slot unless something happens with Orlando Scandrick in the game.  I asked Jason Garrett about that on Wednesday, and he said Brown has earned the right to continue to play. I expect we will see him rotate in the game with Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne on the outside.
  • DeMarcus Lawrence should once again get the nod as the starter at right defensive end against the Eagles. That would put him across from Jason Peters, which will be a difficult matchup. Look for Rod Marinelli to move Lawrence around to give him a chance and not just wear him out rushing Peters all day. Marinelli will use Jack Crawford and Benson Mayowa against Peters, as well.
  • The Eagles will be without nickel cornerback Ron Brooks for the reminder of the season with a quad injury -- which is a big blow to their defense. They have been working with Nolan Carroll, Leodis McKelvin and Jalen Mills at various times in games. Jim Schwartz likes to try and keep these guys on the outside and work with Malcolm Jenkins in the slot. Jenkins has faced Cole Beasley in the past and was in coverage on him last season on the play when Tony Romo was injured in Week 2. Look for Jenkins to not make the same mistake that Micah Hyde of the Packers made of giving Beasley free access in his routes.
  • Something to keep in mind going into this game: the Eagles defensively have only allowed opponents to score six points in the 3rd quarter and only 26 points in the entire 2nd half through six games this season. On the other hand, their offense has scored 60 points in the third quarter alone.
  • Jason Garrett this week said he thought the turnaround of his defense from a year ago was in their ability to physically tackle and finish plays. This has proven to be correct, considering this group is sixth-best in the league when it comes to allowing yards after the catch. Anthony Brown, Barry Church and Morris Claiborne have been exceptional this season at keeping those yards down.
  • Tony Romo was listed as "Limited" on the practice report for the first time this season. The progression for Romo will be for him to throw drills like 7-on-7 for the scout team, then ramp up his work with full-team periods. I could see a scenario where Romo takes three of the eight snaps in those periods, allowing Prescott the other five in preparation for the upcoming game. If all goes as planned, Romo should have practiced five times before they face the Browns next week. The clock is now ticking for his return.
  • My weekly guess at the Cowboys inactives: QB Tony Romo, RB Lance Dunbar, RB Darius Jackson, S Kavon Frazier, LB Mark Nezocha, OT Chaz Green, DE Ryan Davis.


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