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Behind Enemy Lines: Five Questions Answered by Cowboy Maven Reporter Timm Hamm

We cross enemy lines to chat with Cowboy Maven reporter Timm Hamm, who offered some strong insight on the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants' next opponent.

The New York Giants aren't the only team coming off a big win last week. The Dallas Cowboys, next on the Giants schedule, knocked off the previously undefeated Carolina Panthers.

Here to help provide a glimpse into this week's opponent is Cowboy Maven reporter Timm Hamm, who took time to answer five questions about the Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas swapped out defensive coordinators, and by all accounts, Dan Quinn has this unit playing pretty well. What changes has he made to the scheme, and how much of the success is also due to the upgrade in talent?

I think the biggest and most notable difference is the base scheme. Last season Mike Nolan tried to switch this team to a 3-4 base from the 4-3 the club ran previously. The Cowboys did not, and do not have the talent and personnel for that, much less trying to teach it during COVID restrictions and no training camp or preseason. 

Quinn has returned the club to the 4-3, meaning the defensive stars like Randy Gregory and Demarcus Lawrence can return to what they’re best at, hand in the dirt defensive ends. That said, of course, they’re going to be better because of the addition and acquisition of more talent. In this year's draft, the Cowboys drafted eight of 11 defensive players and added eight more in free agency.

Through the first four games, the Cowboys' offense looks like it’s been more of a running offense than usual. Why do you think this has been the case, and does that surprise you?

I think Kellen Moore is taking what defenses are giving him and adapting the game plan each week. In the first game of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Cowboys ran the ball just 12 times, while Dak threw the ball a ridiculous 58 times. That’s because the Bucs defense was hell-bent on stopping the run game. 

The Cowboys almost won that game anyway. The offense has been pretty balanced in the following three games since all wins, except for the Eagles game, where the Cowboys were running the ball to preserve a big lead in the second half. Moore just takes what the game dictates and adapts weekly.

The Cowboys had Micah Parsons lined up at the edge in the first couple of weeks. Now it looks more as though he’s going to be off-ball. Why the change in philosophy, and what does Parsons bring as an off-ball linebacker that makes the role an intriguing option for him?


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Parsons is a beast and can play just about anywhere Quinn wants him to. He hadn’t played end since high school, yet in the NFL, he’s immediately one of the best in the game. Dare I invoke the name “Lawrence Taylor”? That’s who Parsons reminds me of when I watch the film. Cowboys fans can only hope. 

The move was in response to injuries on the defensive line. Randy Gregory was injured to start the season, and Demarcus Lawrence went down with a broken foot after the season started. The D-Line was already thin due to other injures. Parsons can be effective just about anywhere on the field because he’s got great football instinct. He’s quick, he’s agile, and he reads offenses incredibly well for a rookie.

Speaking of rookies, which Cowboys rookie other than Parsons has come out of nowhere to exceed expectations so far?

One of the unheralded and overlooked rookies on this team is defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa from UCLA (His older brother Owamagbe played for the Giants from 2015-2016). He was the Cowboys' first pick in the third round (they had three) and has played very well on the line and been productive with two sacks, ten tackles, and seven quarterback hits, and is constantly in the offensive backfield.

What’s the one matchup against the Giants this week that has you a bit on edge?

Saquon Barkley always scares me. I’ll be very interested to see the Parsons/Barkley matchup. Whether Parsons is playing linebacker or end, their paths will cross either in the Cowboys' secondary or the Giants’ backfield. This one should be a fun one to watch.

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