Dallas Cowboys vs Philadelphia Eagles Preview: Defense

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Will Jason Hatcher have an impact in his return from injury?

Hopefully he is back to 100%.

Jason Hatcher gets back into the rotation this week.  Whether Hatcher or Spears start the game, both will play plenty of snaps, so Hatcher’s return is good news for the entire D-Line. It always helps to have another capable body to put in some snaps and absorb some of the punishment that is necessary to man the line of scrimmage.  Hatcher should also supply Ryan with a new weapon to deploy: Ryan has shown that he can create packages that utilize and capitalize on every player’s unique skill set.  Why do you think Brooking is actually making plays every couple weeks?

I will be watching to see if Hatcher looks rusty and how many snaps he plays.  I will also be watching to see if I can tell whether Hatcher is being used more in either passing or running situations.

Will Ryan try to contain Michael Vick by assigning a defender to ‘spy’ him?

Clearly the job of containing Vick will rest on the entire defense, but I am guessing that Sean Lee will often be used to ‘spy’ Vick.  Rob Ryan is too creative to use this tactic all the time, but I expect that the job of ‘spying’ Vick will often fall on Sean Lee.  If I am right, this may be Lee’s most difficult challenge so far this season.

Sean Lee is making believers out of many people, including myself, who doubted his ability coming into this season.  He has made plays all over the field: he is making tackles in the backfield, chasing down runners from behind, breaking up passes, making interceptions, and recovering fumbles.  I think he still leads the league in takeaways this season.

I will be watching this week to see how often his sole assignment is ‘spying’ Vick.  If he is deployed as the ‘spy’, how will that impact the rest of the defense?

Now that I know that Bruce Carter is active for Eagle game, I wonder if he, because of his speed, may be a candidate to spy Vick.  It would make sense to try to utilize his speed in a way that makes it fairly simple by giving him one narrow responsibility.

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Tags: 2011 NFL Draft Abram Elam Alan Ball Brent Celek Bruce Carter Cowboys Dallas Cowboys DeMarcus Ware DeSean Jackson Frank Walker Gerald Sensabaugh Jason Avant Jason Hatcher Jeremy Maclin LeSean McCoy Marcus Spears Orlando Scandrick Philadelphia Eagles Rob Ryan Sean Lee Tashard Choice Terence Newman

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