Denver Broncos left guard Ron Leary, who enjoyed a very strong Week 1 until his concussion, re-joined the team today, but remains in concussion protocol and did not practice with a helmet on. Defensive end Jared Crick missed practice today after returning to practice yesterday. Free safety Darian Stewart returned to practice in a limited fashion. The Dallas Cowboys were without starting cornerback Orlando Scandrick for a second day with a broken hand, we will have more information on the likelihood that he faces off against Demaryius Thomas this Sunday. Cowboys’ starting wide receiver Terrance Williams is also out for a second day of practice with a sprained ankle, he has not missed a game in his entire career. Get in where you fit it, because study long, study wrong. Join your host Ian Henson and the greatest group of Broncos fans on the internet live, right now.Posted by Mile High Report: A Denver Broncos Blog on Thursday, 14 September 2017
(Breaking the Dallas Cowboys)
Here is in depth coverage on the Week 2 match-up between the Dallas Cowboys as they travel to play the Denver Broncos.
In Week 1 the Dallas Cowboys hosted the New York Giants, the Giants were without star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.. New York quarterback Eli Manning struggled to do much of anything offensively without him, fresh signing (wide receiver) Brandon Marshall only caught one pass on four targets drawing coverage from Cowboys' lead cornerback , Sophomore receiver Sterling Shepardhad a whopping seven catches on eight targets. The star receiver for the Giants was actually their receiving running back Shane Vereen had eight receptions on nine targets, but only averaged 5.7 yards-per-catch and 51 total receiving yards.
Roger Lewis (playing in place of Beckham) was targeted six times grabbing four (playing slot) and Giants tight end
Manning was sacked three times by Dallas (defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (of Boise State) had two sacks and breakout candidate Charles Tapper had the other). Dallas won the game 19-3 and they committed zero turnover to the Giants's one.
The Giants on defense featured cornerback
When Dallas is on offense:
The Cowboys will obviously see what Shaquil Barrett and Jared Crick's side feels like before tampering with top defense attorneys Derek Wolfe and Von Miller. Dallas went to Ezekiel Elliot through the air last week five times and Elliot secured all five (matching his career record). So, if Will Parks came to play ball it's time to do that.
Dak Prescott does not throw interceptions, where Dallas seems to favor outside of Elliot being the centerpiece is in the red zone. Elliot was used just as much as backup running back Alfred Morris. Neither received any carries inside the five-yard-line.
The Cowboys would obviously like to get Dez Bryant involved, but that's unlikely with Bryant finding coverage most often from Aqib Talib. Prescott's second favorite option is tight end Jason Witten who will likely find himself locked down often by a combination of Shaquil Barrett, Justin Simmons, occasionally Darian Stewart and possibly Chris Harris Jr. Cole Beasley is a phenomenal slot receiver (he had a catch literally off of his back last week) and a phenomenal slot usually meets Chris Harris Jr. when they travel to Denver. Again, not much looking for Prescott just yet, which brings us to Terrance Williams. Terrance Williams was targeted six times (to Bryant's nine) and caught five (to Bryant's two), Williams will match up most often with Bradley Roby and is likely the point that Prescott will focus on this week in preparation for facing the Broncos.
This could be a turnover disaster for Prescott, but siding with what is most likely to happen Prescott should keep it cool here on Sunday. Prescott has thrown four interceptions in his career, but had two against the Giants on December 11th, 2016. The Giants, if you have not yet understood employ probably the most identical defense to Denver talent wise.
Dallas scored on 94.7% of their red zone trips in 2016, 38 touchdowns, a 66.7% success rate.
When Denver is on offense:
Eli Manning couldn't get much done against this Dallas defense, but we've got to credit the absence of Odell Beckham Jr. for a lot of that. Dallas was able to stick their best corner on Brandon Marshall and the rest came easy. Dallas's best corner this week will line up against Demaryius Thomas who is due for a touchdown. Trevor Siemian had no issue targeting Thomas eight times last week. Thomas received no red zone targets and Dallas will have to pay Thomas the same respect that Los Angeles did on Monday night. This is where the match-ups favor Emmanuel Sanders who will match-up with rookie cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (of Colorado) more often than Thomas.
Last season the Cowboys defense gave up 120 catches and 1,200 yards to tight ends. Hello, A.J. Derby and Jeff Heuerman. With Virgil Green most likely to assist big time in run-support, he did stay to defend on three of 12 pass snaps in Week 1 and ever pass rusher in the NFL is going to attempt to make a name for themselves via Menelik Watson until Denver plugs the gap.
For the record fullback Andy Janovich pass blocked exactly once (run-blocking on his remaining snaps), if Janovich is in, Denver's running. Janovich was in as lead blocker on 14 of the Broncos 31 runs in Week 1.
The Cowboys have one heck of a turnstile at their interior defensive line and Broncos' center Matt Paradis is still an All Pro candidate, if Ron Leary exits post-concussion protocol soon enough to play in this game, he could have a very nice homecoming. We are expecting Leary to play. At left guard Max Garcia and Allen Barbre should continue their rotation, but Garcia won the sparring match in Week 1 grading out higher than Barbre who got exploited in pass-rush along with Connor McGovern who replaced Leary after his concussion.
At tackle, rookie Garett Bolles has an easier match-up with Dallas's edge-rusher compilation, but he'll have to match their freshness. Last week he graded out just barely ahead of Menelik Watson in pass-blocking.
Dallas's run-defense is a myth, teams simply don't run on the Cowboys because they are usually trying to catch up points-wise and are passing the ball. Denver doesn't appear to have too much of an issue passing the ball on paper in this game, that should open up the run. The Giants found running backs on 12 of their 29 completions. That's going to be a problem if they want to leave Jamaal Charles that open, Shane Vereen is no Charles. A make-good game for Charles who should continue to see about 15 plays and was given the ball on ten in Week 1.
When Dallas is on defense:
Dallas has exploitable cornerbacks at every tier, the Giants just didn't bring their powerhouse. Well, Denver has two in Thomas and Sanders. Sanders is probably the guy most likely to see the yardage, but Thomas should have a score here.
Cowboys feature cornerback Orlando Scandrick broke his hand in Week 1, had surgery on Monday and has not been ruled out for Sunday. Last season Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray had the same surgery and played the next week. Scandrick is scheduled to match-up with Thomas. Anthony Brown who is scheduled to cover Bennie Fowler would come over to cover Thomas if Scandrick can't play. If Scandrick can't play, Fowler will be covered by rookie Chidobe Awuzie. Nolan Carroll is scheduled for Emmanuel Sanders regardless of what happens with Scandrick's injury.
Sean Lee was Dallas's main air defense in Week 1, Manning targeted him 11 times, he gave up eight catches, but only allowing 31 yards. This spells well for opportunities to the tight ends and slot receiver Bennie Fowler. Make no mistake Lee along with Jaylon Smith are both stars on the Cowboys' defense, Smith still has to prove it.
On the edge the Cowboys used a very steady, even rotation of DeMarcus Lawrence, Benson Mayowa and Tyrone Crawford without skipping much of a beat, Taco Charlton was exploited on the only long run Dallas allowed in Week 1 and Charles Tapper had a sack despite only having 12 defensive snaps.
When Denver is on defense:
Elliot has only fumbled five times in his career, but twice in his last six games against defenses like Tampa Bay and Minnesota. So, he's due.
Broncos head coach Vance Joseph was quick to point out that the Cowboys employ three All Pros on their offensive line, but they've got one hell of a liability at left guard. Right over the
Expect Denver to provide the blueprint on breaking Dak. Immense pressure due to one-on-one coverage with no manipulable match-up disasters. Elliot will have some success with running, but much like Los Angeles Chargers running back galore Melvin Gordon found out in Week 1(18 attempts on 54 yards (3.0 avg.) on a long of 21 yards), if you want to run on Denver's defense, it's going to cost you points on the board.
There are rumors of Dez Bryant moving around on defense this season, possibly playing out of the slot. However, that did not happen against the Giants last week and if it does against Denver, well... Chris Harris.