Cowboys hope to unleash Elliott at WashingtonReuters | Dallas | Updated: 12-09-2019 05:48 IST | Created: 12-09-2019 05:47 IST
The Dallas Cowboys will look for more ways to expand their offense in the second week of the season. It might seem as if the Cowboys are just getting tuned up, and they already own a comfortable victory. They'll take on the Washington Redskins, who also figure to put in new wrinkles with perhaps different personnel, on Sunday afternoon in Landover, Md.
"I think we have to run the ball better," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "We have to strive to stay balanced. We have to find out what that balance is." Dallas came out on top against the New York Giants 35-17 in Week 1. Washington lost at Philadelphia 32-27, blowing a 17-0 lead.
The Cowboys expect to use running back Ezekiel Elliott in more ways this weekend. After Elliott's training camp holdout, the team monitored his workload for the opener. "We didn't want to overload him," Garrett said. "He'll run better and better the more he plays as the season goes on."
That makes the to-do list for the Redskins' defense rather large. "We've got to stop Zeke," Washington coach Jay Gruden said. "We've got to hit the quarterback. We've got to get after the quarterback."
That quarterback is Dak Prescott, who posted a perfect passer rating (158.3) in the opener, throwing for 405 yards and four touchdowns. "Dak was a very good decision-maker throughout the game," Garrett said. "Dak has a very good feel of striving to get better every day."
Garrett said it's important not to be stagnant as the offense evolves. "The biggest thing you try to do is attack defenses in different ways," Garrett said. "That starts with run and pass. ... If you can throw it to different guys and hand it to different guys in different ways, that makes you that much more dangerous. You have to be able to execute it."
Washington needs more from its offense, which fizzled after a 20-point first half against the Eagles. Churning out better results in crucial situations is something that has been an emphasis. "We've moved on," Redskins quarterback Case Keenum said. "For us, it's maintaining focus. It's keeping the same attack mindset, the same focus mindset."
Keenum threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns, providing something to build off. "We've just got to do a good job of staying balanced, and our running game has got to be better," Gruden said. "And I have to stick with it a little more."
Redskins running back Derrius Guice has been dealing with a knee injury, thrusting Adrian Peterson back into a starting role after he was a healthy scratch on Sunday. "I don't think we skip a beat with whoever is in there," Keenum said.
The Redskins are hoping to have tight end Jordan Reed available. That would be a nice complement to Vernon Davis, who produced a highlight-reel play on a 48-yard catch-and-run touchdown in the opener. Reed has been out in the concussion protocol. "He's a special player," Keenum said of Reed. "I've never played with a player who can do what he does. I'm excited to get him back out there. ... It's a huge trust factor that I know he can get open."
Dallas receiver/returner Tavon Austin experienced concussion-like symptoms after the opener, and he didn't practice Wednesday. The matchup with the Cowboys has particular meaning for Keenum, who has not faced them before in his career.
"I grew up in Texas, Cowboy country," he said. "I've got some fond memories (at Cowboys games). I'm excited to line up against them."
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