Dez Bryant has squared off against two outstanding cornerbacks the first two weeks in Janoris Jenkins and Aqib Talib. But he might be facing the best Monday night in six-time Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett called Peterson an “incredible athlete” with “stickiness as a cover guy.”
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott agreed with that assessment.
“He’s a Pro Bowler every year he’s been in the league and there’s a reason for that,” Prescott said. “He’s around his guy and he covers his guy in tight windows, puts them in a phone booth no matter who he’s on. He’s one of the best corners in the league, so I’m excited for this matchup.”
In Dallas’ two games against the Cardinals since Peterson has been on the team, Bryant has caught a total of 10 passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns.
Larry Fitzgerald vs. Jason Witten
They won’t be playing against each other, but their contributions to the game have been about as significant as it gets. When looking at the list of the NFL’s all-time receptions leaders, Jerry Rice (1,549) and Tony Gonzalez (1,325) are the only names ahead of Larry Fitzgerald (1,134) and Jason Witten (1,106).
Witten is in his 15th season. Fitzgerald his 14th. Not many games will be played this year where basically two locks for the Pro Football Hall of Fame are both involved. And the talent is still there. Witten leads all NFL players with 17 receptions through two games. Fitzgerald is coming off back to back 1,000-yard seasons.
But their ability to stay healthy might be even more impressive.
“Two guys that are Walter Payton Men of the Year. They’re those types of guys for a reason,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said. “I believe in karma. When you treat people like those two do, good things happen to you. And health has been blessed on both of them. Long careers and they just maintain it.”
Cowboys vs. adversity
The Cowboys haven’t suffered a loss as lopsided as Sunday in Denver since the New Orleans Saints defeated them 49-17 in Week 10 of the 2013 season. At that time, Prescott was a sophomore at Mississippi State and Ezekiel Elliott was a freshman at Ohio State. Dallas’ worst loss last season with Prescott and Elliott on the field was by three points. So how will they rebound?
“I’m definitely confident,” Prescott said Thursday. “We’ve had bad practices and the way we’ve come back after bad practices. It was one day and it was a bad day for us. We know that and we all addressed that, accepted that and take responsibility. But I’m excited for these guys to come back because I know how confident we all will be and how we were at practice today and how we will be for the rest of the week going into that game Monday.”
Fitzgerald was asked Thursday what advice he’d give to young players like Prescott and Elliott after experiencing their most humbling day in the NFL.
“I would say they are damn lucky,” Fitzgerald said. “It took them 18 regular season games to be humbled. That’s a long stretch. I got my humble pie Week 2 of my rookie year. It happened a few more times during my rookie season. So I would say that those guys are blessed to say they got all the way to their second year [before having been] served humble pie.”