Cowboys' Dak Prescott has option to make life difficult for Eagles
The Eagles' defensive linemen will need to stay disciplined and read their keys Sunday night.
The Dallas Cowboys are hurting this week, but quarterback Dak Prescott is healthy, and one of the ways Prescott can jump-start his team's offense is through his adroit use of the read-option.
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said that sometimes when a team uses the read-option, you don't worry about it that much going in, you just try to limit big plays from it, but "other games, you devote more resources to it. This is probably a game where we're going to have to devote some resources to it. Particularly [in] short yardage, red zone, times like that."
Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham said he doesn't want to overthink pursuing Prescott.
"You gotta just go out there and play – react to what you see," Graham said Friday. "React to what you see and get the man with the ball."
Does Graham like or dislike playing against the option?
"I like it when I make a play," he said. "They try to frustrate you with it, but all you have to do is read your keys and go play ball. It's not like they're going to run it the whole game. [When they do], just make sure you're ready for it."
Defensive end Chris Long said it's important for everyone to be on the same page, seeing the same things.
"There are so many elements with how to defend it, and that's intentional. It creates another layer of preparation for people. Running it successfully is one thing, but even having it in the arsenal forces people to prepare," Long said.
Friday, Dallas listed only kicker Dan Bailey (groin) and linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) as "out." Left tackle Tyron Smith was listed as "questionable," even though he did not practice this week and the NFL Network reported Thursday that Smith would not play, the All-Pro guardian of Prescott's blindside still hampered by groin and back problems that caused him to miss last week's loss at Atlanta.
Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott will serve the second installment of his six-game NFL suspension.
Darby ready to roll
Eagles corner Ronald Darby seems on track to start Sunday night after his right ankle, dislocated in the season opener, withstood a full week of practice.
"I'm good," Darby said Friday.
Is he looking forward to matching up with Dez Bryant?
"I'm looking forward to the matchup with everybody. I just want to play," Darby said.
He said he doesn't know how many snaps he'll be asked to play.
The Eagles listed wideout Alshon Jeffery as "questionable" with an ankle problem, though he practiced fully Friday and has said he will play.
Jenkins in a rush
One tidbit that emerged from interviews this week was that safety Malcolm Jenkins, the leader of the defense, has been working with the young running backs on blitz pickup.
Is there nothing Jenkins can't do? Is he giving Carson Wentz tips on his passing motion, as well?
The saga of Jenkins instructing the backs turns out not to exactly be the case, or at least, not entirely be the case.
"I've been playing strong safety a lot more this year, so one of the areas I felt I could improve was blitzing. I wanted to work on some of my pass-rush moves.," Jenkins said Friday. "I've been working with the d-line coach [Chris Wilson]. Wednesdays, I stay after with the backs. They've been trying to work on their protections. It's one of those things where we're trying to make each other better."