Birds seek Dak sacks

The Republican Herald - - SPORTS - BY BOB FORD

PHILADEL­PHIA —Philadel­phia Ea­gles safety Jaylen Watkins re­mem­bers Chaz Green, a team­mate for four years at the Univer­sity of Florida, as a “high-IQ guy,” so it’s no won­der that Green cor­rectly iden­ti­fied his show­ing for the Dal­las Cow­boys on Sun­day as a poor one.

“I feel like this is on my shoul­ders. I let the team down,” Green said af­ter filling in for Pro Bowl left tackle Ty­ron Smith and al­low­ing five sacks dur­ing the Cow­boys’ 27-7 loss to the At­lanta Fal­cons.

All five were recorded by At­lanta de­fen­sive end Adrian Clay­born, who got an­other against By­ron Bell, a lategame re­place­ment for Green, and the six-sack day trig­gered a $750,000 bonus in Clay­born’s con­tract.

“That was a tough spot (for Green), but that’s what this league is, man,” Watkins said. “You look for­ward to get­ting an op­por­tu­nity like that, but it can go thumbs-up or thumbs-down. I’m sure he thought if he did good, he could be the suc­ces­sor to Ty­ron Smith. But if you do bad ...”

Suf­fice it to say that among the things be­ing pre­dicted for Chaz Green in North Texas this week, be­com­ing the even­tual re­place­ment for Ty­ron Smith is not high on

the list. Then again, Green was not alone in his mis­ery, merely more ob­vi­ous.

Bell gave up two sacks and even guard Zack Martin, a main­stay of the of­fen­sive line, was beaten by Do­mari Poe. It added up to eight sacks ab­sorbed by quar­ter­back Dak Prescott, and you can be sure that none of them es­caped the at­ten­tion of the Ea­gles de­fen­sive line­men who will chase Prescott around this Sun­day.

“Oh, yeah. You def­i­nitely had no choice but to see that,” de­fen­sive end Vinny Curry said. “But we can’t get into none of that, be­cause they might have Ty­ron Smith back.”

Smith has been both­ered all sea­son by nag­ging groin and back in­juries that have lim­ited his abil­ity to prac­tice, but, un­til Sun­day, had not kept him out of a game. Green, who beat out Bell as the backup, has played al­most ex­clu­sively on the right side in his col­lege and pro­fes­sional ca­reer, but ne­ces­sity forced him in the path of dan­ger — and a cer­tain amount of hu­mil­i­a­tion — against At­lanta.

“The game will find you. We all have bad days,” Ea­gles de­fen­sive end Bran­don Gra­ham said. “Hope­fully, they’ll bounce back and be at full strength. I wish they had (Ezekiel) El­liott, be­cause I don’t want no­body mak­ing any ex­cuses. I want everybody’s best shot.” Re­ally? “Well, I’m be­ing a lit­tle po­lit­i­cal right there,” Gra­ham said. “It don’t mat­ter how you win.”

The Ea­gles de­fense this sea­son has recorded 25 sacks, tied for 10th in the league with three other teams. Curry and rookie Derek Bar­nett, who will line up Sun­day pri­mar­ily against the Dal­las left tackle, who­ever it might be, have ac­counted for only 5½ of those sacks in the team’s nine games.

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