Cowboys vs. Redskins Preview: 5 Things to Watch For on Defense

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1. Will Jason Hatcher put an exclamation point after the question, “Stephen who?”

Will Hatcher outplay the departed Bowen?

Everyone heard the rumors that the Cowboys wanted to re-sign Bowen, but lost a bidding war to Washington, and subsequently got ‘stuck’ with Spears and Hatcher.

According to Ellis at the mothership, Bowen got $27.5 million for 5 years; the Cowboys resigned Marcus Spears (5 years for 19.2) and Jason Hatcher (3 years for 6.0).Without analyzing the intricacies of each contract, it appears that the Cowboys got both Spears and Hatcher for the price Snyder paid for Bowen. Who do you think made the smarter move there?

I think it is obvious that Cowboys got the better deal. Hatcher can ‘add insult to injury’ this Sunday by outplaying Bowen. I will be watching to see how often Hatcher gets on the field. He has two sacks already (granted, one should be credited to the ‘scheme’ because he was untouched), so it will be interesting to see whether or not he is used exclusively in passing situations.

2. Will Hightower be the 1st RB to rush for more than 3 yards a carry?

The run defense was stellar again against the 49ers; no RB has eclipsed the 50 yard mark yet. The Cowboys are holding teams to 3 yards a carry and less than 60 yards a game. Rob Ryan deserves a lot of credit here, as does Sean Lee. With the exception of Lee and Coleman, this is the same front 7 that allowed 4.3 yards per carry for over a 100 yards a game last year.

Hightower has the ability to be extremely effective, if not dazzling, in Shanahan’s offense. He is an excellent downhill runner with enough power to run-through tackles when he gets to the second level. He is a ‘one-cut’ runner, so the Redskins are starting to implement the same kind of running game that Shanahan used so effectively in Denver.

The key will be maintaining line integrity so that Hightower does NOT have that cut back lane. I will be watching to see whether the DE’s can keep containment and whether the ILB’s can avoid over pursuing.

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Tags: Blitz Bryan McCann Cowboys Dallas Cowboys DeMarcus Ware Jason Hatcher Orlando Scandrick Pass Defense Pass Rushers Rush Defense Sean Lee Terence Newman

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