How the Cowboys prepped for Philly pace

October, 18, 2013
10/18/13
3:30
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- In their past three games the Dallas Cowboys defense has been on the field for 70, 73 and 75 plays.

That might be good preparation for what they will see Sunday from the Philadelphia Eagles.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly loves to play fast and get as many plays as possible.

“Coach [Jason Garrett] told us they get plays off every 15 seconds or so,” safety Barry Church said.

To prepare for the pace, the Cowboys have had A and B scout teams during practice. As soon as the A team finishes, the B team rushes to the line for a play.

“You just simply have them go faster and make sure the ball is snapped in a certain amount of time, and that’s a big part of this game,” Garrett said. “They will challenge you with tempo. They challenge everybody with tempo and they run their plays fast. We have to make sure we’re on top of it and when the ball is snapped play the defense we want to play.”

It’s not just how fast the Eagles play. It’s how fast their players are as well.

“You’ve got LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson, so you’ve got all these demons out there,” Church said. “They’re pretty legit.”

Defensive communication will be an even bigger key. Garrett said the Eagles do not substitute often in order to play at their pace. If they do substitute, the umpire will make sure the Cowboys are allowed to change their personnel.

“Usually we play free and strong with the safeties, but this week I don’t know how we’re going to be able to get to our side,’ Church said. “We might have to play right and left safety just because the communication is going to be hard once they get at that rapid pace.”

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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