As the Dallas Cowboys prepare to face the NFL-leading Philadelphia Eagles, they are well aware of the challenges posed by the Eagles’ potent offense, led by quarterback Jalen Hurts, Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Brown, and their unique “Tush Push” quarterback sneak play.
The Eagles have been impressive this season, with their lone loss coming against the New York Jets in Week 6. Turnovers were a significant factor in that defeat, including three interceptions thrown by Jalen Hurts. However, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy emphasized that Hurts is a conscientious ball carrier and a good decision-maker, emphasizing the importance of focusing on the opportunities when evaluating turnovers.
Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn pointed out that not all turnovers are solely due to the quarterback’s mistakes and highlighted the need to assess the circumstances surrounding each one. The key to generating turnovers is often a strong push from the defensive front, as seen in the Jets’ victory over the Eagles, where they pressured Hurts on 42% of his dropbacks, disrupting the Philadelphia offense.
Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons emphasized the importance of winning the battle in the trenches, noting that games are often decided up front. Pressuring Hurts and containing his mobility will be challenging, as he is a dual-threat quarterback who led the NFL in passing yards and also excels as a rusher. Parsons also commended Hurts for playing with a higher football IQ in 2023, making smarter decisions and sliding to avoid unnecessary hits.
Despite his impressive stats, Hurts has been turnover-prone this season, with 11 giveaways, including eight interceptions and three lost fumbles. This provides an opportunity for the Cowboys’ defense to capitalize, particularly second-year cornerback DaRon Bland, who leads the league in interceptions since entering the NFL.
The Cowboys are well-prepared to face A.J. Brown, who holds a record for the longest streak of games with at least 125 receiving yards in NFL history. Cornerbacks DaRon Bland and Stephon Gilmore boast impressive statistics, with Bland having the lowest passer rating allowed and Gilmore ranking third in passer rating allowed as the primary defender in coverage.
In addition to defending against the Hurts-to-Brown connection, the Cowboys are focused on stopping the “Tush Push” play, a unique quarterback sneak that the Eagles execute almost flawlessly. The Eagles have a high 81% conversion rate on this play, giving them confidence in their ability to gain short yardage on fourth downs. This play makes it crucial for the Cowboys to maintain favorable down-and-distance situations.
Defending the “Tush Push” is challenging, and the Cowboys will need to employ creative strategies to counter it. It’s a tough play to simulate in practice due to the risk of injuries, as seen in a previous game. Nevertheless, the Cowboys are determined to address this challenge and believe they are up to the task.
The Cowboys’ defense, known for their high-pressure rate, aims to get into clear passing situations on third downs, allowing them to use their strength as pass-rushers. The battle in the trenches will be vital in this matchup, with Parsons highlighting the importance of winning on first and second downs to prevent the Eagles from reaching favorable short-yardage situations. The Cowboys are confident that they can compete up front and create pressure to disrupt the Eagles’ offense.
Overall, the Cowboys are prepared for a challenging game against the Eagles, focusing on both the explosive passing plays and the “Tush Push” play that have characterized the Philadelphia offense this season.