Cowboys-Broncos: Five things to watch

Posted Saturday, Oct. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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1Route disruption

One of the reasons Denver’s Peyton Manning is hard to sack and hard to stop is because of the timing he has with his receivers in the short passing game. If the Cowboys can’t reach him with the pass rush, they can try to be physical and re-route the receivers.

2Deep to Dez

Many want the Cowboys to exploit their biggest weapon, Dez Bryant, deep down the field. The Cowboys have gone to Bryant deep when the opportunity is there. Will they do it when he is not open? Owner Jerry Jones said Bryant deserves a chance, even against double coverage.

3Game tempo

It’s probably in the Cowboys’ interest to slow down the game, using every second of the play clock that they can, to reduce the snaps the Broncos get. But the Cowboys have tried to play fast, and they might decide that’s still best for their offense. They’re going to need points of their own.

4Middle pressure

No quarterback is comfortable against middle pressure, even quarterbacks named Peyton Manning. Against outside pressure, a quarterback can step up. That is what the Cowboys want to take away from Manning. He is not going to escape out the back of the pocket and run.

5Yards after catch

The Broncos are excellent at catching a pass on the run and then making yards. Demaryius Thomas ranks seventh in the NFL in yards after catch, and tight end Julius Thomas is tied for 14th. As Orlando Scandrick said, the No. 1 job is to “get guys on the ground.”

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