Thursday, November 28, 2013
Welcome to AT&T Stadium
By Todd Archer
ARLINGTON, Texas – Welcome to AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys hope to take sole possession of first place in the NFC East with a win against the Oakland Raiders.
At 6-5 off Sunday’s win against the New York Giants, the Cowboys share the top spot with the Philadelphia Eagles but own the tiebreaking edge thanks to their October win against the Eagles.
Quick turnaround: The Cowboys spent about three hours on the practice field leading into kickoff -- without helmets -- in getting ready for the Raiders.
The challenge this week is more mental than physical. Adrenaline can carry the players through the short week, but knowing exactly what Oakland does on both sides of the ball is a little different.
“They do a lot of stuff,” quarterback Tony Romo said. “They send a lot of different pressures, a lot of exotic looks and it will be a great challenge for us. We’ve got to have great communication. We’ve got to do some things to combat that.”
The unknown QB: Rookie Matt McGloin will be making just the third start of his career. The Raiders are 1-1 with McGloin as the quarterback and he has four touchdown passes and on interception.
Oakland is mostly a running team but lose some juice with McGloin at quarterback over Terrell Pryor. Rashad Jennings is the leading rusher, averaging 5.1 yards per carry and Darren McFadden could make his first appearance in three weeks.
“He’s a young guy who has command,” coach Jason Garrett said. “For a guy who hasn’t played that many snaps and is in his first year playing, he plays with confidence. He seems to understand what they’re trying to do. He throws the ball and makes some positive plays for them both underneath, down the field. They want to run the football but he does a good job in a complimentary role but also when the burden is on him he’s done a nice job.”
According to Elias, the Cowboys are 3-1 against rookie quarterbacks on Thanksgiving, beating Tampa Bay’s Bruce Gradkowski in 2006, Chicago’s Craig Krenzel in 2004 and Kent Graham of the New York Giants in 1992. The only loss came last year to Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins.