FRISCO, Texas – It felt strange not having a game to break down when I woke up this morning – not that I'm complaining about a weekend off.
Before we dive headfirst into preparations for the Eagles, though, I wanted to take a minute to assess the Cowboys' situation as they get back from their bye weekend. The team went through a rare Monday practice before they begin their game planning.
Here a few quick notes about what I'll be looking for as the Cowboys head back to work:
- With Rod Marinelli rotating his safeties at different points in games this season, I am curious if he will do the same with his corners now that Orlando Scandrick is back on the field. I could see a situation where Anthony Brown plays on both sides for Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr, as well as getting some work in the dime. Brown has been too physical of a player just to sit on the sidelines. He helps with the toughness of the defense. Keep an eye on this.
- I was told that Dez Bryant made it through his first on-the-field practice since the Chicago game without any issues. Bryant took the full complement of reps and his movement was where it needed to be. I expect that we will see Bryant play a large role in the plan against the Eagles.
- Chaz Green will be back on the practice field this week. I personally feel that he is a better player than Emmett Cleary, who has been filling in for him as the swing tackle. Where Cleary does have an advantage is that he has lined up in games at guard -- whereas Green has not. This will be a question for the 46-man roster on Sunday against the Eagles.
- The Eagles best offensive lineman is left tackle Jason Peters, which means a matchup with DeMarcus Lawrence. If I am Rod Marinelli I am considering having Lawrence rush from the opposite side against rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai -- who was better against the Vikings but struggled against the Redskins. Vaitai had trouble with the inside power move of Ryan Kerrigan, which is something Lawrence can execute.
- David Irving was the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for the Packers contest, but don't look for him to get any more snaps than 20-to-25 a game. The coaches like him in that range while in the rotation. Against the Packers, Irving took his initial snaps at end, then moved inside where he had the majority of his success. Terrell McClain and Maliek Collins will continue to be the starters with Irving, Cedric Thornton and Jack Crawford also getting some looks.
- I get the feeling that the front office is in no hurry to start that clock to get Darren McFadden and James Hanna back on the field practicing. When completely healthy, they will have a three-week window to make a call whether to activate or not.
- It appears that Kyle Wilber has lost his starting strong side linebacker spot to Damien Wilson. Wilber, a core special teamer and Jack of all trades player, had been the starter -- but when he suffered a neck injury against the Bengals, Wilson stepped into his place. Wilber is now back at practice, but I have been told that Wilson has been working with the first defense when they play base and then comes off the field in nickel situations.