Eagles Wake-Up Call: Dallas, Dez And Darren
It’s not difficult to determine when the Cowboys’ season took a turn for the worst. After Tony Romo left their Week 2 game in Philadelphia injured, Dallas lost five consecutive games.
“There’s no question about it: Having a good quarterback improves your chances of winning and Tony has been a really good quarterback for us for a number of years,” Jason Garrett told Eagles reporters yesterday. “It’s always a team effort; it’s always a collaborate effort; you always win as a team and lose as a team, but certainly that position is significant.”
After Jordan Hicks hurt Romo in the Eagles’ first division matchup of the season, Brandon Weeden finished the game by completing all seven of his passes for 73 yards and one touchdown. After that, however, Weeden threw more interceptions than touchdowns in his next three games.
Then, Dallas turned to Matt Cassel, who has also thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in his only two starts. On Sunday versus Seattle, Cassel completed just 13 of 25 passes for 97 yards.
Although he only caught two balls for 12 yards against the Seahawks, Dez Bryant will likely give the Cowboys’ aerial attack a boost with his return.
“He’s working his way back from the injury,” Garrett said. “Probably played more plays in the [Seahawks] game than we initially anticipated him being able to play, so that was a positive sign. Came out of the game okay.”
When asked about the Eagles, Garrett singled out a player who touches the ball less than eight times per game. The last time Dallas faced him, Darren Sproles rushed the ball only once for minus-four yards, while catching four passes for 23 yards.
“Sproles is an outstanding player for them, has made a lot of plays for them over the course of his time there and during his time in the league,” Garrett said. “So he and some other guys — when they get the ball in their hands — [you] certainly have to be mindful of them and have to do a good job of containing them.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Greg Hardy has given Dallas a boost. In three games, he’s recorded 12 tackles, three sacks and one interception. However, Hardy has been surrounded by controversy after he was arrested and charged with assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend last May.
A couple of weeks ago, Jerry Jones called Hardy a leader, which Garrett was asked about yesterday.
“I think players lead a lot of different ways and certainly the guys that we want to lead and influence the other guys on our team are the guys who work the hardest in practice, work the hardest in the game and play the right way and are productive players,” he said.
“There are some guys who are vocal, some guys who are more quiet, but my experience has been that the guys who have the most credibility with their teammates are the ones who are great practice players, play really hard and with a relentless spirit during the game and then they also have production. Greg certainly has those qualities and I think he has a positive influence on a lot of guys on our team for those reasons.”
WHAT YOU MISSED
Taking an All-22 look at what to expect from Kiko Alonso when he returns.
“He’s much healthier now.” Pat Shurmur expects more from a rejuvenated DeMarco Murray.
A look around at what national media types are saying about the Eagles before Week 9.
“Just keep playing, keep working.” Jordan Matthews reaches out to a former Bird for advice on fixing his drops.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Zach Ertz and Sam Bradford are starting to develop a healthy rapport in the passing game, writes Paul Domowitch.
The fact that Ertz is on the field more has helped. He played only 41 percent of the offensive snaps as a rookie and 50 percent last year.
This year, that number has jumped to 72 percent. In the last three games, with the Eagles playing a lot more “12” personnel (two tight ends), he’s played 80.9 percent of the snaps.
“I want to be the focal point of this offense,” Ertz said. “I worked so hard in the offseason to be a focal point in this offense and (be) someone the coaches can trust to put at the forefront of this offense.”
After reports on Tuesday indicated Sam Bradford left money on the table this summer, he denied it, says Reuben Frank.
Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford denied a broadcast report that the team offered him a long-term contract worth $18 million per year before the season began.
“That offer must have got lost in the mail,” Bradford said after practice Wednesday. “I never saw that one.”
WIP’s Howard Eskin reported on Monday that the Eagles offered Bradford a four-year deal worth $72 million prior to opening day.
Bradford will become a free agent after the season if the Eagles don’t sign him to a new contract.
Chip Kelly will address the media at 11:45.