On August 13, the Los Angeles Rams will kick off the preseason with a nationally broadcast game against the Dallas Cowboys. Looking forward to that game, we decided to talk to Danny Phantom over at Blogging the Boys about the game, what they remember about the Rams from 1946 to 1994, and what their expectations are for the 2016 Cowboys season.

 

Tell us about a player on offense that fans here in Los Angeles should keep an eye on…

With starters only playing a limited snaps, I’m going with a talented reserve at one of the skill positions – Darius Jackson. Dallas is sitting in really good shape at running back so he’s a player that has his back against the wall in making the team, but don’t sleep on him. He’s got a skill set that will look especially good against third/fourth-string talent.

What about on defense?

The Cowboys will be having open auditions at defensive end that will last all preseason. There will be plenty of chances for a player to make his case for one of the starting spots while both their current starters are serving four game suspensions. David Irving is one guy I really like. He’s an undrafted free agent who was poached from the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad, but he showed up on tape for the defense last year. He only played about 200 snaps, but he’s got some great athleticism for a player of his size. I think he takes a nice step forward this year.

What do you expect to be the Cowboys’ strengths during the 2016 season? Weaknesses?

This is an easy one. This team’s identity is its running game. Jason Garrett has done a great job setting down the foundation and now they got a talented running back in Ezekiel Elliott to maximize it. Dallas imposed their will on defenses in 2014 and look for them to do more of the same this season.

Another easy one. With the Cowboys dedicating so many high draft picks on offense in recent years, the trade-off has been the inability to acquire good talent on the defensive side, particularly – pass rushers. They would have loved to grab someone like Aaron Donald in 2014, but some other meanie-pants team snaked him right before they picked. The Cowboys have been trying to scrap together players through free agency and second-round picks, but they’re still a major liability for this team.

Can you tell us about an under the radar player that fans in Los Angeles may not have heard of but will give the Rams fits on August 13?

Well, most of the players playing in that game will be under-the-radar guys since both teams will be dipping deep into their depth charts. As underwhelming as the starting DE’s are, the drop off isn’t very much as they go deeper. This could create some pressure for your new rookie quarterback and force some miscues. I like the team’s sixth-round pick, cornerback from Purdue, Anthony Brown to give Cowboys something they haven’t seen in a while – an interception.

What are the expectations in Dallas among the fanbase?

The general consensus is – 2015 never existed. Fans are ready to sweep last year under the rug and watch this team return to its 2014 success. Of course, all of that hinges on the health of Tony Romo. If he can stay healthy, the Cowboys will make the playoffs. Concerns on defense has many of us fans tapping the breaks on the idea of anything special, but that will quickly go away when they start winning games.

Do you have any memories of the Rams when they were last in Los Angeles?

I have a memory, but it’s not one I am happy about. When I was first old enough to follow football, the Cowboys were riding a nice three-year NFC Championship streak from 1980-1982. I was hoping it would be four, but in 1983 the Cowboys got bounced from the playoffs with a Wild Card loss at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams. The Cowboys kept turning the ball over, particularly Danny White who was handing out interceptions like door prizes. Dallas had their best offensive scoring season in franchise history, but just fizzled down the stretch of the season. Dickerson was in the middle of his rookie record-breaking 1,808 yard season. I wouldn’t mind seeing both of those last two records broken this year by Zeke and the Cowboys offense. That would do wonders in helping me forget this game.

Stan Kroenke and Jerry Jones in Oxnard,2015.

Stan Kroenke and Jerry Jones in Oxnard, 2015.

Jerry Jones played an extremely large role in seeing the Rams return to Los Angeles, do you think that his outsized influence is a positive for the Cowboys and what do you think of his role in the Los Angeles saga?

There are a lot of negative things you can say about Jerry Jones when it comes to some of his crafty GM decisions, but make no mistake about it – he’s a first rate owner. He doesn’t shy away from risks and is willing to take chances and knows a good opportunity when he sees one. This current Jerry is indeed good for Dallas. He’s letting the football people handle football things and he’s doing what he does best. I am glad to see you guys back in Los Angeles, now if you would just go back to those royal blue and yellow uniforms, that would be swell.

The Rams and the Cowboys had a pretty good rivalry back in the day (4-4 against each other in the playoffs), are you looking forward to rekindling the Los Angeles-Dallas rivalry?

I really like what Jeff Fisher has done. The pieces on defense are there. Now, it’s going to come down to what they have in Jared Goff. Certainly, having a great talent like Todd Gurley is going to take some pressure off him. You have to like how the future looks for the team in LA. I would love to see some more playoff battles between the Cowboys and the Rams.

What will the Cowboys need to do in order to win?

First and foremost – Romo must stay healthy. Outside of that, if the team is to make a deep push into the playoffs, the defense is going to have to start taking the ball away again. With the new triplets, the offense is poised to put some points on the board and that should put pressure on their opponents. The defense will need to seize all opportunities and create turnovers.

What will the Rams need to do in order to win?

As bad as the Cowboys offense struggled without Romo, the Rams were right there with them in points scored. But unlike the Cowboys, the Rams offensive ineptitude was not an outlier. That’s pretty much where they’ve been over the last four years. Despite that, they’ve still been able to win around seven games a year because of their defense. If they can just take a step forward offensively, it could put them in the playoff hunt. Now, if Goff can have one of those rookie breakout QB seasons, then that’s a game-changer and the Rams are going to be a tough team to beat on Sundays.

Any other comments?

The best part of this Cowboys/Rams matchup will be that after an eternity of no football, we’ll finally get football! Hopefully our pet cats will give us something to purr about, but most importantly – let’s come out of this game without any significant injuries. Good luck, Los Angeles.

Thank you Blogging the Boys  for answering our questions and we look forward to meeting the Cowboys on August 13 at the Coliseum!

Los Angeles Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum • Los Angeles, California
August 13, 2016 at 5:00pm
ESPN
KSPN 710 AM • KSWD 100.3 FM • KWKW 1330 AM (Español)

Dallas vs. Los Angeles
Regular Season: 9-8
Postseason: 4-4
Cowboys Franchise vs. Rams Franchise
Regular Season: 11-13
Postseason: 4-4

Rams News: Get Ready LA… The Rams Are Back Saturday Night!

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