Beat Writers Recap: Cowboys vs. Eagles
*Martellus Bennett didn't help his cause with fans and the media with his bobbling of a Tony Romo pass, leading to an interception. Jason Garrett said it best Monday when noting the Cowboys don't feature Bennett in the offense. The Cowboys like Bennett as a blocker. He has the size (6-6, 270 pounds) to hold off defensive ends and linebackers on run plays. One of the things he's improved on more than anything else is the blocking portions of the game. He seems bored in the passing game because he doesn't believe he'll get the ball. But once he does, he needs to do something with it. He didn't on Sunday night.
*Dez Bryant is a talented player. But he's troubled. His sideline antics are getting tiresome and he's now taking out whatever frustrations he may have on the media. He's not speaking with reporters. Bryant should be mad at Garrett and passing game coordinator John Garrett for not getting him the ball sooner. If Bryant doesn't have a command of the playbook, fine. Make sure he knows some plays and get him involved early in the game. Yes, defenses are putting two defenders on him, but the Cowboys need to solve these problems. Run slants for Bryant. Put him in motion. He's one of the Cowboys' best playmakers and he's not getting a chance to help the team on a consistent basis. Bryant is the best punt returner on the team and should be doing it full-time. You can't worry about him getting hurt. Romo is playing with a fractured rib and he's going out there with a young and inexperienced line. Bryant has to get the ball in his hands somehow.
*It looks as if Anthony Spencer is back to his old tricks. In first four weeks, Spencer had three sacks, six quarterback pressures and two tackles for loss. Since then, Spencer has zero sacks, zero tackles for loss and three quarterback pressures. Sunday night vs. the Eagles, Spencer was credited with one tackle, which was an assist. It's hard to be compared to DeMarcus Ware, the talented outside linebacker, but Spencer is a first-round pick who needs to show more consistency.
*This is nothing against Keith Brooking and Bradie James, two smart and good inside linebackers, but the Cowboys should have given rookie inside linebacker Bruce Carter some defensive snaps. Carter has a limited knowledge of the defensive playbook, but with the game out of reach there was nothing wrong with using him. After the Eagles went ahead 34-0, the defense was on the field for 11 more snaps in the fourth quarter. The Eagles ran the ball eight times. Carter couldn't get out there for those snaps?
*The stat sheet tells you Jay Ratliff had just one tackle Sunday. It doesn't tell you he was double-teamed for most of the night. He was pushed out of the play by the Eagles center and guards, forcing James and Brooking to make plays inside. Ratliff does the dirty work you can't see all the time. He's having a good season and you can tell by the number of offensive players trying to keep him out of the game.
*This running back derby is interesting. Felix Jones was the undisputed leader, but his ankle injury made us notice DeMarco Murray. He rushed for 74 yards on eight carries Sunday. Whenever Jones returns, the starting running back position should open up. Let the best man win. We have only one problem with Murray. He stumbles sometimes when he runs. Balance needs some work.
*Dan Bailey should get some credit for stepping in for an injured Mat McBriar and punting twice for 79 yards. ... Laurent Robinson has picked up the offense pretty well. If you wonder why Kevin Ogletree isn't getting time on offense, see Mr. Robinson. Ogletree hasn't caught a pass the last two games. ... Miles Austin finished the last two seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards. After seven weeks, Austin has 350 yards. Mind you, he missed two games with a hamstring injury. Austin had four 100-yard games the first seven weeks of last year. Will he get to 1,000 yards this season?
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Jerry Jones' recent comments, Cowboys OTAs, Dez Bryant and more.
Play Podcast Todd Archer joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Tony Romo news and what he will be watching for in OTAs.
Play Podcast Nate Newton joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his comments on how Jason Garrett should handle being on the hot seat and not let Jerry Jones get in the way.
Play Podcast Cowboys safety Barry Church joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the new defensive scheme and the impact it will have on him, how much more intense he expects practice to be with Monte Kiffin and his expectations.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider Ed Werder joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Cowboys news, including Jason Garrett downplaying Tony Romo's involvement in offensive planning and play calling.
Play Podcast John Lynch joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss playing for Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli, why Cowboys fans should be excited about the new defensive staff, why Valley Ranch will no longer resemble a country club and his thoughts on the Cowboys' roster.
Play Podcast Herm Edwards joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Cowboys news and give his take on what new face will make the biggest impact for Dallas.
Play Podcast Nate Newton joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what he saw at the Cowboys' rookie minicamp and how he helped Rod Marinelli on the defensive side of the ball.