The season was all but over just a few short weeks ago Emmitt Smith Color Rush Jersey , but now the Dallas Cowboys are atop the NFC East heading into a big battle with the New Orleans Saints on Thursday Night Football. The addition of Amari Cooper has proved to be pivotal for this offense and, as a result, this team is playing its best football of the season.Dallas saw themselves fall behind early against Washington while we were eating our Thanksgiving dinners, but the team held strong and overcame the adversity en route to knocking off their rival. It was a great team win. Today, we’ll look at how the rookies performed on Turkey Day. LVE has been his usual self, Gallup continues to be a player to watch, and Connor Williams was on the sideline with injury yet again.Leighton Vander EschVander Esch was just named the Defensive Rookie of the Month in the NFL. Leighton Vander Esch has grown from an impressive rookie into a star for this Cowboys defense. The Boise State Broncos linebacker picked off Carson Wentz and played very well in a big road victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, and then the rookie followed it up with another big game — and interception — against the Falcons in a second consecutive road win. Vander Esch was honored with NFC Defensive Player of the Week in that span, a huge honor for the 19th overall pick.Vander Esch once again played pretty well on another big stage — this time on Thanksgiving Day against a fierce divisional rival. The rookie linebacker was second on the team in the tackles during the game, with six solo and two assisted stops. In years past, we have seen this defense fall apart without Sean Lee; however, LVE has stepped up in a big Deion Sanders Jersey , big way for the Cowboys this season. With Vander Esch playing this well, Kris Richard and Rod Marinelli have a variety of different wrinkles to throw at opposing offenses.Michael GallupMichael Gallup has the makings of a young stud for the Cowboys. The rookie, like any other first-year receiver, has had his ups and downs over the course of his debut season in the NFL. His best game to date came against Washington earlier this season, in which the former Colorado State Rams star recorded three catches for 81 yards and a 49-yard touchdown from Dak Prescott in the loss just before the off week.The Cowboys then made the bold move to acquire Amari Cooper during the bye week, and the offense has since hit its stride after an initial loss to the Titans. Since the addition of Coop, Gallup had recorded six grabs for 65 yards going into the Thursday game. In the second battle with Washington, Gallup made a pair of catches for 19 yards, including a 12-yard grab.With defenses likely shifting more and more attention to Cooper, Gallup should have more opportunities to find ways to attack secondaries.Dorance Armstrong, Jr.The Cowboys have a bevy of talented defensive linemen — specifically along the edge — on their roster. Now, some of that has been hampered by David Irving and Troy Aikman Color Rush Jersey , to a lesser degree, Taco Charlton being sidelined; but nonetheless, the Cowboys have some talent along the front seven.Among the contributors up front has been fourth-round rookie Dorance Armstrong, Jr. The rook has not been the player to fill up the box score or anything, but the former Kansas Jayhawks star has been a quality player for Rod Marinelli at certain times this season.Armstrong did not show up in the stat-sheet from Thursday’s win, but he continues to play impressively in spurts. He will likely be a big depth piece along the front as the season progresses.Dalton SchultzFellow fourth-rounder Dalton Schultz has benefited from Geoff Swaim battling injury. The rookie, who had recorded just one catch heading into the bye week, has gradually seen more playing time as the season has continued — starting on Thanksgiving in place of Swaim.On Thursday, the Stanford Cardinal product only made one catch — that went for a loss for one-yard — but was okay in run blocking, specifically when he helped Zeke make a seven-yard carry against the ‘Skins. The rookie obviously has ways to go. He played 60% of the snaps last week, showing that this staff may give him more opportunities with their veteran tight end treating a broken wrist.The Cowboys will need big contributions from at least a few of their first-year players in tonight’s game against the New Orleans Saints. Can Leighton Vander Esch grab the third interception that Drew Brees throws this season? Will Michael Gallup take advantage of the Saints focusing on Amari Cooper a little too much? Thursday night provides some opportunities for the young pups on the Cowboys roster. The Dallas Cowboys have a big game against the Tennessee Titans on Monday night. It’s a big game for a lot of reasons. Getting to 4-4 is the first step in climbing back in the playoff race, whereas dropping to 3-5 will bring dark clouds over this Dallas team. The Cowboys have recharged themselves with some extra rest from the bye week Tony Pollard Jersey , but they’ve also made a couple moves to help recharge their offense. They kicked things off by trading for new wide receiver Amari Cooper. Head coach Jason Garrett also took matters in his own hands and brought over the guy he wanted to help fix the offensive line as Paul Alexander is out and Marc Columbo has been promoted with the guidance of offensive line guru Hudson Houck.Hopefully, these changes will bring about positive results. Only time will tell, but Monday night will give us our first taste. Here are five things to keep an eye out for when the Titans travel to AT&T Stadium to face the Cowboys.1. The new toyLet’s face it, we’re all excited to see Amari Cooper in a Cowboys uniform. Don’t act like you’re not. The first time he makes a big receiving play, the room is going to erupt in cheers. At least, that’s how it will go down at my house.The Cowboys didn’t give up a Day 1 draft pick for Cooper to just be “one of the guys.” Look for Scott Linehan to get his new offensive weapon every opportunity to contribute. That’s not the say they are going to force-feed Cooper double-digit targets, but he’s definitely going to get looks. All eyes will be on how well Dak Prescott is able to utilizing his new receiver.The Cowboys are hoping Cooper can help carry the workload for the offense, like he carried all these Titans defenders to the end zone.2. Mariota on the runThe Titans don’t have a lot of offensive weapons. The threat of a running game isn’t really there. And they don’t have a star receiver that worries defenses. So how can Tennessee do any damage against the Cowboys defense? Well, they have a wild card in quarterback Marcus Mariota.The former second-overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft (two spots ahead of Amari Cooper) is not having a good year. Cowboys fans know first hand how frustrating it can be watching your quarterback throw for less than 200 yards, but Mariota has thrown for less than 130 yards in four of his six games this season. And his low volume numbers isn’t because he’s super cautious. Mariota actually has thrown two more interceptions this year than he has touchdowns.But just because he’s had his struggles this season, doesn’t mean he can’t hurt the defense. Mariota likes to roll out of the pocket a lot which always makes him a threat to run. Tennessee runs plenty of read-option plays where Mariota keeps it so look for his legs to be a part of their offensive plan. The Cowboys struggled containing Cam Newton in Week 1 so the Titans might feel they can exploit the Cowboys defense for some extra yardage.Mariota’s legs also allows him to roll out of the pocket and launch passes down the field. While he struggles with accuracy at times, he’s not afraid to take deep shots. Corey Davis and Tajae Sharpe are two receivers Mariota loves to air it out to and the Cowboys defense has to be careful not to be hit up for big plays.3. Double-Nickel https://www.dallascowboysfanshop.com/Connor-Mcgovern-Jersey , double the funIn 2014, the Cowboys went to overtime against the Houston Texans, smoked the Jacksonville Jaguars, and made a trade that gave them a former Oakland Raiders top-10 draft pick from Alabama. Coincidentally, the Cowboys have done those same exact things this season. In 2014, that former Alabama player was Rolando McClain and he made a lot of fans happy when this play happened the last the Cowboys faced the Titans:Man, those navy blues sure look nice.McClain’s been gone for a while now, but his number lives on through the breakout performance of rookie Leighton Vander Esch. The Cowboys now have the same great athleticism they got with Ro, but without the headache. LVE’s ability to swarm and keep players like Dion Lewis (who leads the Titans with 476 scrimmage yards) in check will be key in getting the Titans offense off the field.But Vander Esch won’t be the only no. 55 who will be running all over the field. Titans linebacker Jayon Brown is having a great season and is making plays for the defense. Whether its stopping the run, helping out in coverage, or rushing the quarterback on a delayed blitz, expect to see a lot of Brown in this game.4. The battle insideNot only will people be expecting to see a lot from Amari Cooper Trysten Hill Jersey , but the performance of the offensive line will be under the microscope as well. It’s not like the new coaching authority can do a whole lot in short notice, but hopefully some improvement can be seen. It will be very important for rookie Connor Williams to take a step forward as he looks to improve as the season progresses. This week, he’s going to have his work cut out for him as the Titans have a fierce defensive tackle in Jurrell Casey. Bryan Broaddus had this scouting report for Casey:The Cowboys have struggled against good run defenses and there appears to be a cutoff that corresponds to the whether or not they win the game. The Titans run defense happens to be right in the middle of things, so the only question is - where is that cutoff at exactly?5. Another low scoring nail-biterI’d love to watch another game like the Jacksonville contest where the Cowboys were strong out of the gate and kept rolling them throughout the game. Unfortunately, there’s been too much other type of football played that makes me feel that’s not a likely scenario. For the fourth-straight game, the Cowboys will face a top 10 defense, yet at the same time go against a team that is struggling offensively. In fact, the Titans are the worst team the Cowboys will face offensively this season based on points per game up until this point.But as we all know, the Cowboys are in a similar situation. The defense has been keeping teams out of the end zone, whereas the offense can’t seem to find it. All things are leaning toward a low-scoring affair.As much as I’d love the excitement of a late-game field goal attempt to decide the winner, it sure would be nice to get a little breathing room in this one. What things will you be watching on Monday night?
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