2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Davis, Eagles defense prep for dangerous Dallas

    2013-10-17 15:20

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Bill Davis is well aware of the skill the Dallas Cowboys present on offense.

And Philadelphia's defensive coordinator also knows his Eagles aren't playing winless teams like they have the last two weeks.

So, he - and legions of eager Eagles fans- will soon find out just how good his improved unit is on Sunday, when quarterback Tony Romo and Co. arrive at Lincoln Financial Field.

''They have got some great weapons and a quarterback that knows how to distribute to them. And that's really what you (have to prepare for), the big passing offenses, and a quarterback that can get the ball to playmakers,'' Davis said. ''Dallas is loaded with playmakers.''

The Eagles (3-3) have won consecutive games, meaning this tilt vs. Dallas (3-3) is for first place in the NFC East.

Romo has thrown for 1,693 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has a quarterback rating of 108.6, and just three interceptions. And Dez Bryant, his top receiver, has caught 34 passes for 459 yards and six scores.

''It's that combination, with Dez, of size and speed,'' Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. ''We've faced big receivers before, but they don't have that top-end speed that Dez has. Or you're going to somebody with top-end speed, but they don't have (his) size. He certainly is a guy that's unique in what his skill set is.''

Tight end Jason Witten isn't bad, either. He has 31 receptions for 340 yards and three touchdowns.

''Then Witten is a 265-pound tight end with sure hands. He's got a great understanding of the game,'' Kelly said. ''It seems like he and Romo are always on the same page. And he seems like maybe he's a little bit like Tony's security blanket because he always knows where he is, and he knows if he throws it in his direction, he's going to come and get that big catch. ''

Dallas has topped 30 points in four games this season, three of them wins.

The Eagles defense has improved the past two weeks, and is building some confidence. But the two wins were against teams that are a combined 0-11: the Giants (0-6) and Buccaneers (0-5).

''It's going to be a challenge on the back end,'' Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin said. ''And it's going to be up to us, up front, to give those guys as much help as we can by getting pressure on (Romo).

''We can't just let him sit back there and be comfortable.''

Romo has been sacked 14 times in the 232 times he has dropped back. The Eagles defense has gotten to the opposing quarterback just 13 times in 279 opportunities.

''We've got to keep him in the pocket,'' safety Nate Allen said. ''You've got to latch on to your receiver and wait for the up-front guys to bring him down.

''It becomes a free-for-all when he's able to get out of the pocket.''

Just ask Davis.

--

NOTES: Kelly did not rule out quarterback Michael Vick for Sunday's game, even though Vick did. ''I talked to him and he's going to run around a little bit,'' Kelly said before practice. ''So we'll see where he is.'' After practice, Vick said ''I don't want to push it too much and just let things happen naturally. It's going to be fun to watch. I look forward to watching Nick (Foles) play. I've had some great battles with the Dallas Cowboys and they've all been fun. Nick will get a chance to experience that.'' ... Eagles left tackle Jason Peters (shoulder) and safety Patrick Chung (shoulder) practiced with the team.

--

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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