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Cowboys’ Week 7 Game Plan in Philly

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At Bleacher Report, I posted my Week 7 game plan for Dallas:

DON’T worry about DeSean Jackson in the red zone.

Jackson is highly effective between the 20s, but he’s one of the league’s worst red-zone receivers. That’s not really surprising considering Jackson is 5’10” and 175 pounds, but take a look at his career red-zone touchdown rate:

Jackson has converted only 12.7 percent of his career red-zone targets into touchdowns, which is an awful rate. Dez Bryant, in comparison, has a 42.2 percent red-zone touchdown rate.

Thus, while Jackson can be incredibly dangerous when the Eagles have a lot of field with which to work, he’s not much of a threat when the field is condensed.

DON’T put a linebacker on running back LeSean McCoy.

LeSean McCoy is a talented player, as evidenced by his 5.1 YPC this year. He’s been particularly efficient out of the backfield, catching 15 passes for 241 yards (16.1 yards per catch).

McCoy has the potential to really hurt the Dallas defense as a receiver.

The ‘Boys have struggled with covering tight ends and running backs this year. Both Bruce Carter and Sean Lee have been poor in coverage, which is unusual for the duo. The Eagles’ linebackers have outperformed Carter and Lee on a per-route basis.

The Cowboys’ top priority needs to be containing McCoy, and that means finding a way to halt the big plays both on the ground and through the air.

DO target Bradley Fletcher.

Take a look at the yards per route allowed for the cornerbacks in this game.

Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne is the obvious outlier, with Cowboys nickel cornerback Orlando Scandrick and Eagles cornerback Cary Williams leading the way. Cornerbacks Brandon Boykin and Bradley Fletcher have been about as efficient in Philly as Brandon Carr in Dallas.

If the Cowboys are going to attack one of these cornerbacks in particular, it should probably be Fletcher. Boykin works in the slot, so we’d expect his yards per route to be a little higher (which is what makes Scandrick’s play so impressive).

Plus, Boykin won’t be lined up on the player the Cowboys desperately need to break out in pretty much every game—Dez Bryant.

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