Cowboys Huddle-Up: Talking With Their Pads

IRVING -- The Cowboys gear up for Day One of practice as they go to Philadelphia for a star-spangled fight for first place in the NFC East. Like the British Empire, the sun never sets on news about America's Team. Take a peek at these items as we all wait all week for Sunday night!



COWBOYS WATCHING

Even on weekends with no games to play, players' eyes are on TV screens watching their divisional foes. They try to take the emotion out of it and make it a study session. Jason Witten and Jeremy Mincey are about the Cowboys who tell us they did exactly that on Sunday when Seattle beat Philly -- the same Eagles who will play host to Dallas on Sunday in the NFC East-leaders showdown.

Witten watched the late Sunday afternoon game against the Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles "a lot" on his day off to study them.

"I was watching thinking I'm going to play them next week," Witten said Tuesday at Children's Medical Center in Dallas as part of a holiday outreach event. "Find an edge and try to get some good things against them. They're good. They're really good."

Smile

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones also saw Seattle's 24-14 victory in Philadelphia, but was more impressed with the way the Eagles played against the Seahawks.

"I saw a Philadelphia team that played really dog-gone good against Seattle in that first quarter," Jones said on Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan. "I thought they were playing well."

Witten says the Eagles defense presents many challenges.

"They're so good up front," said Witten. "They can move around, get pressure on the outside and get pressure on the inside too. ... You go back to our game, we weren't able to get anything going. It was hard to look at the plan and, so, we never got adjusted and couldn't execute."

Yet we listen to end Jeremy Mincey and we hear him speak confidently about being able to fix what was broken for this rematch.

"We're going to talk with our pads,'' said Mincey, who also talks a lot with his mouth. "And I'm so excited for all the men in the locker room, because they're excited for this game. That's all we've been talking about. Even during the Chicago game.''

And then again, while watching the Eagles on Sunday.

The last time the Cowboys lost as the visiting team was Week 17 of 2012 in Washington, which was for the NFC East title. Sunday night won't have the finality that the Washington game had, but it will still be an important battle for first place in the division.

A THREE-STEP PLAN

A big CowboysHQ welcome to long-time BtB columnist Joey Ickles, who joins the fold here with a terrific X's-and-O's breakdown of what Seattle did to Philly ... and the three ways Dallas can copy that blueprint.

THE UNDERACHIEVERS?

Are the Cowboys overachieving at 9-4? "Overall, we're doing a lot more out there than we expected,'' Jerry Jones says. But Jason Garrett knows more needs to be achieved, starting Sunday night in Philly, and Fish writes that the "bar of achievement'' has now been moved greatly.

Discuss this and everything that's cookin' with the Cowboys right now on CowboysHQ Discussion Boards!

QUOTEBOARD

"Mentally, just match their intensity this time around. Come out in a few combination blocks, a little bit of this, a little bit of that. There's always a few things, nothing big to mention, things you've got to clean up and improve upon." - Doug Free, on the second time around.

AT THE HOSPITAL

Ahead of Sunday night's showdown in Philadelphia for first place in the NFC East, Cowboys players and cheerleaders visited Dallas-Fort Worth area children's hospitals Tuesday as part of a 26-year tradition headed by Cowboys first lady Gene Jones.

Tight end Jason Witten made his 12th visit, and each visit helps him put things in perspective.

"It's more than just a game for us," said Witten. "It's an opportunity you have, the platform you have, you know, to go around there with DeMarco [Murray] and see him put a smile on their face.

"I think that's why we're here. And it's bigger than just football."

During Murray and Witten's in-room visits on the oncology floor at Children's Medical Center of Dallas, Murray handily beat a patient in a UFC video game.

Smile

"He thought I was going to take it easy on him, but I had to come out victorious," Murray joked.

Cowboys Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones Anderson accompanied the Children's Medical Center of Dallas group and saw it as "a unique opportunity."

"I think this week obviously, for us on the field, is all about focus and it's very intense," Anderson said. "It's a very big game coming up. We're in a great position to have a great finish and everyone knows how serious that is. I think this gives us a chance to step back for a minute and realize what's important here and help you refocus when you leave here about how big your moment is. And I think this is just a great opportunity to remember what's really important."

"It's good, whenever, you know, we've been put in a position where we've come and help kids, help people out that are less fortunate, third-year guard Ronald Leary said. "So, whenever you get an opportunity to do that, you know it's a great feeling."

Free, who has been with the club since 2007, agrees with Leary.

"I know it means a lot to them, but obviously it means a lot to us. Being able to come here and make a few kids' day, brighten their day a little bit, help them out is just a blast for us."

Added DeMarco: "Yeah, those kids and the parents are very resilient. They're very strong mentally to, you know, just come here and see what they're going through and still see smiles and great spirits. It's unbelievable. Makes you think of the perspective you have in life and what's important and things of that nature. So, it's a sad deal, but happy to be here and try to let them enjoy it for a little bit and enjoy them as well."

HOLLEY'S HELPING HANDS

Jesse Holley, the former Cowboys receiver now a 105.3 The Fan personality, has a project. Get 1000 of us — me and you — to donate $2.50 to Holleys Helping Hands. … the goal being to raise $1,250 to help six families in need enjoy ‘The Christmas of a Lifetime.’

Smile

The project is already a success … but Apple Moving DFW and The Maverick Bar want to help … and to ask you to join in to help Jesse.

So CowboysHQ is proud to announce that Apple Moving DFW and The Maverick Bar are making a donation for the full $1,250 … and with you continuing to contribute $2.50 (or more, go to Jesse's Twitter account for more info) … there are more “Christmases of a Lifetime’’ in the offing.

Thank you to Apple Moving DFW and The Maverick Bar, to Jesse Holley, and most of all to our friends and followers who keep pitching in!

ONSIDE KICKS

Fish will report from the Cowboys practice field live today, and every day, at 11:30 a.m. on 105.3 The Fan ... Last week CowboysHQ.com noted that coaches wanted to "light a fire'' under Henry Melton to get him to play at an even higher level. Nothing has changed there. We'll see how he responds ... DeMarcus Lawrence tells us that his rib/chest injury is "100-percent'' cleared up ... We still don't see the logic of arguing about a Jason Garrett contract extension at this time. What is gained by giving him five more years when ownership has so much to look for over the course of five more weeks? Or four more? Or three more?

THE FINAL WORD

"Yeah, I don't think it's been us this season. It's disappointing we didn't play well, and no more excuses. You're in a position where you got a great opportunity. I thought we did a good job bouncing back, going to Chicago and winning the way we did. This is going to be a great challenge for us." - Jason Witten.

CowboysHQ Top Stories