The Raiders are set to take on the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day and to prepare you for that contest, we spoke with KD Drummond of Cowboys Wire to ask him about America’s Team and this matchup.
1. All 3 AFC West teams have held Dallas under 21 points. What have they done to slow them down?
The Cowboys would like us to believe some of the difficulty was related to unfamiliarity. Honestly, I don’t think there’s much correlation between the Chargers game and the last two against Denver and Kansas City. In Week 2, the low-scoring affair seemed more deliberate.
Dallas ran the ball 18 times in the first half and 41 times for the game. Their strategy was to take the air out of the Chargers’ offense and bludgeon them. Context matters and Dallas led the entire contest and executed their plan to a large degree. The other two contests were more about failures to be able to execute their game plan and that seems to be centered around the loss of Tyron Smith.
Terence Steele is not Smith and Dallas lost their ability to run in those two contests. In addition, Ezekiel Elliott has been hobbled for the last month and Dallas hasn’t really shifted their snap allotment between their backs and failed to get Tony Pollard more heavily involved.
2. Who is an under-the-radar player to watch in this game?
Dorance Armstrong may soon be returning to a lesser role in the next few weeks (he shouldn’t, he should out snap Tarell Basham moving forward which he did for the first time in Week 11) but he has two sacks in his last two games.
I’m very interested to see how Jourdan Lewis matches up in the slot against Hunter Renfrow who is reminiscent to Cowboys fans of Cole Beasley.
Finally, all eyes will need to be on Connor McGovern, who is the new left guard and he has a chance now to play next to Smith’s experience as opposed to Steele last week. That should make a ton of difference and see if the staff was right in replacing Connor Williams, who led the league in both called penalties and shouldn’t-have-been-called penalties.
3. How will the Cowboys try to match up with Darren Waller?
The word is that there will be a bracket coverage approach to slowing down the last remaining passing game weapon for Derek Carr. It will be interesting to see how often Dallas chooses to play Trevon Diggs on Waller though, as he’s of the newer mold of tight end body, wide receiver skill set.
It may be in their best interest to keep Diggs on Bryan Edwards who seems a bit similar to the Cowboys’ Michael Gallup in that he’s not a burner but is a certified deep threat.
The Cowboys’ secondary should be up to the task, but all eyes will be on containing Waller. Dallas has done a really good job against star tight ends, containing Travis Kelce, Kyle Pitts and Hunter Henry to a combined 11 catches for 159 yards and one score over three contests.