As the Cowboys (6-6) matchup against the Giants (2-10) for a second time on the season, make sure to keep an eye on these four particular individuals.
Byron Jones found himself among Rod Marinelli’s changes to the defense, as his playing time took a hit last week. Typically known as the Dallas Cowboys starting free safety, Jeff Heath slid over into the position against the Redskins. That allowed Kavon Frazier to receive more playing time as the in the box strong safety. What that strategy helped tremendously in the running game, it also raises questions as to Jones future. Being so athletically gifted, Jones has been responsible for covering tight ends, forcing him to play more into the box. Although it is helpful for a free safety to be dynamic enough to do so, the Cowboys have forced Jones into a weakness of his game – run support. Stephen Jones recently made an interesting comment on Dallas sports radio show 105.3 The Fan,
“He [Byron Jones] can also, I think, play deep safety. The other thing he can do is go out and play corner if you’re playing some big wide receivers. So he’s a really versatile player. As I said, we’re fortunate to have him”.
So, how will Dallas use Jones from here on out? Where is his mind at with regards to his status with the team? Sunday’s game will go a long way to answering these questions. As the Giants rank 22nd in passing offense, expect more experiments with this unit to test strengths and weaknesses of different rotations.
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It has been a rough stretch for Prescott, as he has led the Cowboys to a 1-3 record in Ezekiel Elliott’s absence. Despite only throwing for 102 yards, completing 50% of his passes and two touchdowns last week, Cowboys fans saw flashes of 2016 Prescott in the second half of the Redskins game. But his struggles are still worrisome. Though a struggle still exists within his game, the health of the Cowboys team was at its worst state of the year during these past four games. The effects of these injuries were fairly evident. As Dallas gets healthier, mainly along the offensive line, Prescott will only benefit. He will inevitably have more time in the pocket, which leads to improved trust and patience. Even though the Giants are a 2-10 team, they are a division rival playing in front of an amped up crowd. Prescott must have a good game this week if he is going to finish the 2017 season strong.
Alfred Morris/Rod Smith
With weather projections of Sunday’s game being in the high 40s with a chance of snow, a running game that has steadily looked better week after week will be crucial to the outcome. Alfred Morris reigns as starting running back. He is averaging 5.4 yards per carry and is coming off a 127-yard outing against his former team. The Cowboys staff knows this area of the offense needs to get going in order for Dallas to be successful. Ranking dead last in rushing defense, conceding an average of 130.7 yards per game, the number speaks volumes as to how Dallas can take advantage of a depleted Giants team. Though Morris will be the one to take carries first, Rod Smith has proven that his traits on the field are dependable. A hard-nosed, versatile type of runner, a hot hand might be in play come Sunday that could get him more carries than we have seen so far. These games sans Elliott could go a long way in determining who the Cowboys RB2 will be in 2018.
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