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Opposing View From Dallas: What the Chargers Should Expect From the Cowboys Offense


ESPN's Ed Werder and The Athletic's Daniel Popper were guests on the latest edition of Chargers Weekly to preview Week 2 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Download and subscribe to the Chargers Podcast Network wherever you get your podcasts. Full video episodes are available on and the team's official YouTube channel. Werder joins the podcast at 11:42. Popper's interview starts at 24:13.

Highlights from the conversation with Werder are below:

What the Chargers should expect from head coach Mike McCarthy and the Dallas Cowboys offense this Sunday:

"I have a great sense of curiosity about how McCarthy approaches it from an offensive point of view as well. It's unmistakable that if you look at Dak Prescott, his last three games he's thrown 57 or more passes. That's in six games under McCarthy and one of the games he got hurt in the first half, so he didn't get a chance to make a lot of throws. So, he's had 57 throws in six games under Mike McCarthy and prior to that – prior to this stretch of games – he never attempted 55 or more passes in a game.

"Now last year I think you could argue they were forced to do it because they turned the ball over, they got behind early, they had a franchise-worst defense, and could that be the mindset going into this game figuring, 'Man, we are so injured on the defensive side of the ball. We're not going to be able to contain these guys. They're going to score.' Or is it do they throw it a lot because they think that like last week, I thought it was kind of game specific, opponent specific, that they threw the football like they did last week. They didn't think they could run against that front seven. [Tampa Bay's] probably the best front seven in football.

"I would guess that McCarthy's going to have a far more balanced approach, at least at the outset of this game and try and establish [running back] Ezekiel Elliott, calm everything down. [Offensive tackle] Terence Steele is an undrafted player who started 14 games at right tackle as a rookie last year. He's likely to get the start against Joey Bosa, who took all but seven snaps across from the opponent right tackle last week. ... That's a huge mismatch for the Cowboys. I'm sure they'd like to avoid that.

"And so, I would think this would be a game where Elliott gets an opportunity to have an effect with the ball in his hands unlike last week, where he was basically a sixth offensive lineman as a blitz pickup guy, which he did willingly and well."

On how the Cowboys may use rookie linebacker Micah Parsons:

"With [defensive end] DeMarcus Lawrence, they lose 45.5 career sacks. If [DE Randy] Gregory doesn't play, they lose 10.5 career sacks, and behind them they really don't have a lot. The next guy in terms of being a sack leader would be [linebacker] Jaylon Smith with nine. And so, I think Dan Quinn – the first-year defensive coordinator – I think he's got to get creative. He's going to have to scheme pass rush, and I think you're right. He's going to have to figure out a way to get some rush out of Jaylon Smith and get some pass rush out of Micah Parsons.

"It's interesting that even though Parsons is their first-round draft pick and a linebacker, he actually warms up and takes reps in training camp with the defensive ends. So, they worked a lot on his pass-rush ability. I would think that he's going to be put in that situation where he's coming off the edge an awful lot in this game."

Check out the best photos from Chargers Thursday practice at Hoag Performance Center.


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