We begin with Mike Fisher and Annabel Stephan previewing Sunday's game between the Cowboys and Seahawks as they include some intangibles in their discussion of the keys for a Dallas win ...
COWBOYS OFFENSIVE KEYS
Fish: I buy Tony Romo's suggestion where maybe this is one of those games where it's 150 yards passing and maybe 15 attempts and you grind it out that way. And I think this isn't about "Dez Bryant versus Richard Sherman." I know everyone wants it to be, but if you actually the way Seattle plays their defense, Richard Sherman stays at left cornerback. He just stays there. He's not Deion Sanders where he moves all over the field. He's not that caliber of player, though still a terrific player. So, the Cowboys simply need to line up Dez on the offense's left side and go against Byron Maxwell and let Terrance Williams go earn a draw against Sherman on the other side of the field.
Broaddus (on 105.3 The Fan): Yeah, and on DallasCowboys.com, we put up a little video last night of three plays of what we thought were maybe a direction the Cowboys might go. It really came down to how well they played offensively and defensively on third down. The Chargers were 10/17 on third downs, and they didn't have a bunch of chunk plays in that game. It was pretty steady in the way they tried to piece together a running game. Four different guys had over 35 yards rushing. I think they're going to have to, when you look at the way Seattle plays run defense, you want explosive guys quick to get to the hole. And I think that you're going to see that Randle and Dunbar and those guys are going to get opportunities in this game, just by the way Seattle plays their front.
Fish: Look at what tight ends have done against Seattle with five touchdowns total this year. Witten talked about that this week. When he studies film, he's studying Kam Chancellor, not just of who he's going to block in the run game. He's studying film of who he's going to run routes against, and you can't double team everybody.
Travis Frederick (on 105.3 The Fan): It's definitely going to be a hard task for us to play and be able to communicate. So, as we've done for most away games, or all away games, we've practiced with crowd noise which makes it a little harder to communicate at practice. We've almost gone to the point where you try to get the communication done without saying anything, even though you could hear each other and you could say it, knowing that we're going into a place where you're not able to hear.
COWBOYS DEFENSIVE KEYS
Though most of the media and fans are focusing on the Cowboys offense versus the Legion of Boom, Cowboys insiders and players realize how potent Seattle's offense is. In fact, it is the one unit Broaddus worries about more.
Broaddus: They feel like they need to get Marshawn Lynch going. It's not the same rushing attack they've had before. They have a little issue right now at center with Max Unger. He hurt his foot in the Monday night game; hasn't practiced. I'm sure he'll play, but how will he be?
Barry Church realizes Seattle loves to run the football, especially out of multiple formations, and will need to pack the box because of Marshawn Lynch.
Said Church (to CowboysHQ): Our defensive ends are going to have play with a lot of discipline because Russell Wilson likes to do a lot of ball fakes and he'll pull that thing out and run with out. So, our defensive ends are going to have to have a lot of discipline.
Fish: The front four focuses on contain instead of trying to beat their man -- just contain. Because playing a 4-3 that contains means you can handle the read-option a little bit. And the 4-3 can handle it better than a 3-4, which is where Seattle has had a lot of success.
Broaddus: San Diego did a good job playing the front. I think with these guys you have to play them square. You can't turned, and you can't allow those gaps and stuff. Because you're not only dealing with Lynch, but you're dealing with Wilson running the football. It's a difficult offense to have to defend when they are running that ball.
Broaddus: I think Tyrone Crawford playing that under tackle, 3-technique is really good for him. Again, on the outside, he didn't seem to have the pass rush moves that he's able to show inside. Those guards aren't used to playing with guys who use that quickness and arm-overs and stuff like that. They're used to guys who have a little bit of power. And I think when you look at Crawford's skill set, he's more able to play that way, not have to be explosive to the edge, sharp to the corner, and all of that. Inside, he's more on a direct path to the quarterback. It also puts him closer to the ball. If the ball happens to come backside or front side to him, he can be square and make the play. Yeah, to me, it looks like they've found a spot for him at that under tackle.
Church: If you just go in there with reckless abandon, I mean, [Wilson] is just going to make you miss and look like a fool. Just got to go out there and have discipline, especially our defensive ends, and keep him in the pocket.
Broaddus: The fact that [Rolando] McClain will play in this game for the Cowboys I think is a huge help because of how physical he is at the point of attack. But Seattle running the football -- they want to get it going. They want to come downhill at you. They just haven't been able to get it going like they have been in the past. I think that kind of goes back to what we talked about in the San Diego game.
Church: It brings a different type of level to this defense. He did a lot for our run game, as well as our pass game. So, we're definitely going to need him out there on the field. So, we're glad he's been practicing.