Skip to main content

Eagles DBs: Can't let Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb 'freestyle' their way to big plays Sunday

Philadelphia came out victorious in a Week 9 matchup against the rival Cowboys, but to duplicate that outcome on Sunday in Dallas, Eagles defenders know they must do a much better job slowing CeeDee Lamb.

Lamb set a career-high with 191 receiving yards in Week 9, catching 11 of 16 passes. Of his 11 grabs, 10 went for 10-plus yards (his shortest for nine) and five for 20-plus yards.

Eagles cornerback Bradley Roby noted that most of the big plays came when Dak Prescott extended the play, allowing Lamb to wiggle free from coverage.

"A lot of the stuff last game was like the second play," Roby said, via Olivia Reiner of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "They were extending the plays, and they were just freestyling and running everywhere. So that's just really what it was, in my opinion, that Dak would extend the play and they would run another route and we would just not win on those routes."

Please enable Javascript to view this content

Prescott ripped up the Eagles' secondary in the last meeting, throwing for 374 yards and three touchdowns.

"Guys were kind of able to uncover and make some plays on the back end," safety Kevin Byard said. "And I think that's where a lot of our explosive plays came from in that game. So I think just going into this week, being conscious of that, like, OK, we could be really good on the first play, but also making sure to, hey, Dak can get outside the pocket and extend those plays. So we have to be really good, just make sure we're plastering receivers down the field. We may have to cover two or three routes within one play."

Prescott has played at an MVP level since that Week 9 loss, feeding Lamb, particularly in key spots. Prescott leads the NFL in completion percentage (72.8) and passer rating (117.2) on third down in 2023. Lamb's 373 yards on third down place him fourth in the league. Sunday, the duo faces a Philly defense allowing 951 pass yards (31st) and 13 pass TDs (32nd) on third downs.

Lamb's 1,182 receiving yards sits second in the NFL through 13 weeks, behind only Tyreek Hill (1,481), and he's the only Cowboy player with 500-plus yards receiving.

The Cowboys' top target has been a menace out of the slot, generating a league-high 615 yards and five TDs while lined up there, per Next Gen Stats. The big plays Lamb provides (695 downfield receiving yards -- 10-plus air yards -- fourth-most in the NFL) opens up the entire Cowboys' offense.

An Eagles secondary that has been scorched for most of the season knows it can't continue to give up big plays against Lamb and the Cowboys if it wants to retain its NFC East lead.

"Simple things, just like being [as] deep as the deepest," Byard said. "Understanding that you can have an aggressive mindset. But at the same time, you have to be careful, because you can be trying to jump some underneath receivers and things like that. But when he does extend those plays, you don't want somebody to get behind you. So just being conscious of that, and also just making sure we're helping out elsewhere on the field. When guys uncover, being able to be the eraser when things like that happen."

The mind-meld between Dak and CeeDee makes life miserable on defensive backs. The key for Philly will be ensuring the QB can't escape and extend plays Sunday, or there will surely be more fireworks for the Dallas offense.

Related Content