Behind Enemy Lines – Cowboys coming to Glendale

Dec 4, 2011, 5:09 PM | Updated: 5:09 pm

The Arizona Cardinals, winners of three of their last four
contests, return home from a three-game road trip to host
the red-hot Dallas Cowboys at University of Phoenix
Stadium on Sunday.

The Cowboys have won four straight, and sit atop the NFC
East with a 7-4 record. Dallas will also come in well-
rested after their 20-19 win over the Miami Dolphins on
Thanksgiving Day.

Embattled quarterback Tony Romo has been on fire as of
late for the ‘Boys, throwing 10 touchdown passes against
only two interceptions during Dallas’ current win streak.

And rookie running back DeMarco Murray has become the
Cowboys’ workhorse; he ranks 9th in the league with 834
yards rushing.

All this week, we’ll take you to Dallas to let you know
exactly what’s going on with America’s Team as they get
ready to take on the Cardinals.

Sunday, December 4th

A look at the
keys to victory for the Cowboys in their matchup with the Cardinals
(Dallas Morning News)

After enjoying a perfect November, the Cowboys will head to Arizona in
pursuit of their fifth consecutive victory. Here is a look at the keys to
victory for Dallas:

Matchup to watch:
Cowboys LT Doug Free vs. ROLB Sam Acho (Dallas Morning News)

In Arizona’s 23-20 victory over the St. Louis, Acho collected two sacks
and forced two fumbles – one of which he recovered. Acho, who grew up
in Dallas and attended St. Mark’s before starring at Texas, is a cerebral

Why the Cardinals are threat to upset Cowboys and
Dallas must consider Donovan McNabb (Dallas Morning News)

The Cowboys lost on Christmas night last season because David Buehler
missed an extra point – yes, an extra point – and Larry Fitzgerald caught
his only pass of the game on fourth down to set up Arizona’s winning
field goal drive. Good things do not happen to the Cowboys in the

Decision: Do not let Patrick Peterson win game (ESPN Dallas)

Let’s be perfectly clear, Arizona stinks on offense. The Cardinals rank
23rd in total offense (315.7) and points scored (19.7) and 31st in third-
down conversions (30.5%). Arizona’s quarterbacks have been sacked 36
times. Only two teams have allowed more. The only way the Cardinals
can generate offense is with help from Patrick Peterson, one of league’s
two best punt returners.

Friday, December 2nd

Cowboys ready to work Fitzgerald (Fox
Sports Southwest)

For the third time this season, the Dallas Cowboys’ secondary will deal
with one of the top receivers in the game.

Romo: Overanalyzing December
stats is “silly” (Fox Sports Southwest)

Whether it’s a near flawless November record or a 7-10 mark in
December, Tony Romo seems to be neither encouraged nor deflated by
his win-loss percentage during those two months of the season.

Cowboys have a touch number
in mind for Murray, but it’s flexible (Fox Sports Southwest)

Running backs coach Skip Peete said the Cowboys do have a number in
mind for DeMarco Murray’s carries, but they don’t stick to it if it’s not

Cowboys’ Miles Austin will likely miss another game (Fort
Worth Star-Telegram)

Miles Austin did not make as much progress in coming back from his
hamstring injury after Thanksgiving as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones
had hoped.

Why Jerry Jones doesn’t expect a
December dive for Cowboys (Dallas Morning News)

Jerry Jones is optimistic as the Cowboys enter the stretch run in this cold
and flu season.

Why? The Cowboys owner will tell you his team has been inoculated by
last year’s 6-10 record and the close losses it suffered in the first two
months of this season.

Thursday, December 1st

Sabin: Why
‘Boys’ WR depth chart not easy as 1-2-3 when Austin gets
back (Dallas Morning News)

The easiest course of action the Cowboys could take is to
revert to the plan they used before Austin’s injury. Back
then, Austin and Dez Bryant were the starters while
Robinson served as the third wideout.

Cowboys WR Miles
Austin not seen at practice (Dallas Morning News)

A day after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expressed optimism
that Miles Austin would return to the field this week
against Arizona, the veteran receiver was not seen
participating in practice Wednesday.

Jason Witten on the proper way to handle
accidentally running over a cheerleader (Dallas Morning

It happened in about three seconds. I really didn’t have
a whole lot of time to think about it. I guess my thought
process was either I’m going to push her right in the back
and she’s gonna fall right on her face or I can just kind
of decelerate and try grab her arm and take the slow fall
with. I don’t know which one is the right decision. You
handle it as professionally as you can, ask her if she’s
alright and hop back up. I don’t think there’s much
conversation, other than ‘I’m sorry; are you OK.’ She held
it together pretty good.

Murray named NFL Offensive
Rookie of the Month (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Murray led the team to a 4-0 record for the month of
November, rushing 89 times for 434 yards (4.9 avg.) with
one touchdown while adding 20 receptions for 156 yards
(7.8 avg.) in the month.

Cowboys are learning how to close out games
in a winning fashion (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

Garrett’s attitude about the details of game situations
and learning how to finish games strongly in the fourth
quarter has manifested itself on the field in the past two
wins of what is a four-game winning streak for the NFC
East-leading Cowboys.

Five-star: Patrick
Peterson won’t run wild (ESPN Dallas)

His old buddy and LSU teammate, Danny McCray, who just
happens to be easily the Cowboys’ best special teams
player, will make sure Peterson doesn’t celebrate against
the Cowboys.

Cowboys could be a scary
team in playoffs (Fox Sports Southwest)

If everything goes as expected, there’s a decent chance
the Cowboys could clinch a division title with a victory
over the Giants on Dec. 11. That seemed like a pipe dream
when Dallas was blown out by the Eagles last month, and
the Giants raced out to a 6-2 start. But coach Jason
Garrett’s stay-in-the-moment approach helped the Cowboys
take advantage of a soft stretch in the schedule during
this four-game winning streak.

Wednesday, November 30th

Jaguars could target Cowboys DC Rob Ryan in coaching
search (Dallas Morning News)

Why exactly should the Cowboys care about Del Rio’s
firing? Well, for one, the Jaguars’ replacement could come
from the Cowboys’ coaching staff, according to a report by
ESPN’s John Clayton.

Pearson: Miles Austin’s injuries are
‘unacceptable’; was he out of shape? (Dallas Morning News)

Now, I’m a little upset with Miles because the leg
injuries, as a receiver, you can’t have them. I know you
have knees, your ACLs, you might have a high ankle sprain
or something. But hamstrings, quads, groins and those
things, as a wide receiver, they’re unacceptable.

Cowboys cut WR Akwasi Owusu-Ansah and will
sign FB Shaun Chapas off practice squad (Fort Worth Star-

The move speaks to the continued uncertainty over the
return of fullback Tony Fiammetta who has missed the last
games with an unknown illness.

braced for bunch of Beanie Wells (ESPN Dallas)

The Cowboys have played well against the run most of the
season, including the last two weeks. But you don’t have
to go too far back for evidence that this defense can get

NFL Power
Rankings: Cowboys now No. 8 (ESPN Dallas)

So are the Cowboys top-10-worthy? I think they have the
talent to be that good, but I’m not sure they’ve really
proved it yet. The defense is showing cracks. They’re
playing bad teams and barely winning. Don’t get me wrong –
– it’s better to be beating bad teams than losing to good
ones, as the Giants are doing. But I don’t know that I
like the Cowboys better than I like the No. 9 Falcons.

Improvement important in
Cowboys secondary (Fox Sports Southwest)

Jones, who added that he really likes the way the team is
playing, also spoke about the areas where the Cowboys can
show improvement. Cutting down on penalties and getting
better play from the defensive backfield were two areas he
specifically mentioned.

Cowboys’ path to winning NFC
East is clear (Fox Sports Southwest)

Barring upsets, the Cowboys should increase their lead
this week. The Cowboys play at 4-7 Arizona while the
Giants host the unbeaten Packers.

Found One: Murray
cemented as the every-down back (

Since the win over St. Louis in Week 7, Jones’ first game
missed due to a high ankle sprain, Murray has averaged
just shy of 24 touches per game. Within a span of just
five days last week, in wins over Washington and Miami,
Murray totaled an impressive 57 touches.

Tuesday, November 29th

DeMarco Murray a more
complete RB than Emmitt Smith (Dallas Morning News)

Murray is the most compete back the Cowboys have had in a
long time. He’s more complete than Emmitt because he came
out of college with more polished skills in the passing
game, both as a blocker and receiver. What made Emmitt
special was his running instincts.

Report: Cowboys
didn’t force cheerleader to cancel Twitter account (Dallas
Morning News)

According to the team’s public relations director Rich
Dalrymple, the organization was not responsible for a
cheerleader recently deleting her Twitter account after
receiving national attention for being knocked down during
the Cowboys game last Thursday.

Cowboys building momentum, healing
at right time to make run for playoffs (Fort Worth Star-

The Dallas Cowboys have won four consecutive games, and
they’re not even at full strength.
No Miles Austin. No Mike Jenkins.
Yet they’re in first place in the NFC East. Can anyone
imagine what it would be like if the Cowboys added some
healthy players to this roll they’re on?

Garrett should be NFL coach of the year
(Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

A strong case can be made that the NFL coach of the year
award should be handed every season to the head coach of
the Dallas Cowboys, Barry Switzer included. The working
conditions, and the presence of a certain owner/GM/team
president, make this job one of the most unique in all of
pro sports.

Miles Austin could return this week (ESPN

Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said
he anticipates Miles Austin will play Sunday after missing
three games with a strained right hamstring, although
Jones added that the team would exercise caution with its
No. 1 receiver.

Cowboys could
clinch division Dec. 11 (ESPN Dallas)

If the Cowboys win in Arizona on Sunday, the Giants lose
to the Packers on Sunday, the Cowboys beat the Giants in
Dallas on Dec. 11 and the Eagles lose at least one of
their next two games, the Cowboys will have clinched the

Cowboys poised for a big
finish, or a big flop (FSN Southwest)

With five games left in the regular season, Tony Romo and
the Dallas Cowboys have set themselves up for a big

Or, a big flop.

Monday, November 28th

Cowlishaw: Cowboys second-
best team in NFC? You better believe it (Dallas Morning

Aside from cheering for the New Orleans Saints to knock
off the Giants Monday night (at least I think that’s the
right call), what’s a Cowboys fan to do after a relaxing
weekend spend basking in the glow of a one-point win over

After collision with
Witten, did Cowboys pull cheerleader’s Twitter account?
(Dallas Morning News)

But did the Cowboys have anything to do with knocking her
Twitter account off the internet? According to CNBC’s
Darren Rovell, they did. Rovell tweeted the following:

“Shame on the Cowboys for pulling cheerleader @MelissaRae
off Twitter. Not allowing these girls to capitalize is

Random Thoughts:
Can Cowboys win out? (ESPN Dallas)

Is it possible the Cowboys might run the table to finish
the regular season in December/January? Every game is a
winnable, including the finale at the New York Giants on
New Year’s Day.

Perfect November puts Cowboys in position
(Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

November was perfect. Tricky December waits for the
Two years ago, the Cowboys showed they could win in the
last month of the year.
They won their last two games in December, another one in
January, and then a playoff game. That after being only 9-
14 in their previous 23 December games.

Grading Dolphins
@ Cowboys: Performances of Note (SB Nation Dallas)

Another close game on Thanksgiving saw the Cowboys edge
the Dolphins and move to a 7-4 record. Certainly a cause
for celebration all around, even if the win wasn’t as
convincing as many had expected.

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Behind Enemy Lines – Cowboys coming to Glendale