Cardinals finally open home schedule vs. Cowboys
— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) September 25, 2017
TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals finally get to play a home game.
Following two preseason road games and two more away from home to start the regular season, the Cardinals are back in Arizona on Monday night against Dallas.
That means a lot of Cowboys fans in the seats at University of Phoenix Stadium. It’s always that way when the Cowboys come to town. Arizona season ticket holders see a way to make back most or all of their investment by selling tickets to the game for Dallas fans.
So when Dallas (1-1) meets Arizona (1-1), it will be a mixed gathering cheering on both teams as the Cowboys look to bounce back from one of their worst losses in years, 42-17 at Denver, and overcome running back Ezekiel Elliott’s perceived loafing after teammate Dak Prescott threw two interceptions.
“There were a lot of things in that ballgame that needed to be addressed and that was one of them,” Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. “Oftentimes a player can be frustrated by something and it doesn’t necessarily show who he is. One of the reasons we drafted Zeke Elliott is because he’s one of the great competitors we’ve ever been around. …
“You’re honest. You’re very clear with what the expectations are and you learn for them and move forward.”
It had been a rough day all around for Elliott, who had averaged 100 yards rushing per game until he managed 8 yards in nine carries against the Broncos.
“If you look at those runs, we never really gave Zeke much of a chance with our execution to ever get it going,” tight end Jason Witten said.
Plus, Elliott still has that possible NFL suspension hanging over him, blocked by a court ruling.
Arizona coach Bruce Arians was asked if Denver offered a blueprint of how to control the Cowboys.
“Well, if I could have Von Miller, I’d be happy. He’s special,” Arians said. “We’ve got a pretty good one, so yeah. It’s a copycat league, but you can’t change what you do. They have some unique stuff that they run that you have to be very aware for. Hopefully our matchups are pretty solid.”
The Cardinals had all kinds of trouble on offense but got it going in the nick of time to score 10 late points to forced overtime against Indy before finally winning 16-13.
Here are some things to know when the Cowboys meet the Cardinals:
WITTEN AND FITZGERALD: Cowboys tight end Jason Witten leads the NFL with 17 catches and has moved into fourth place on the career list with 1,106 receptions. That means this Monday night game will feature Nos. 3 and 4 on the all-time list.
Larry Fitzgerald is third with 1,134 grabs. Both have a ways to go for the second spot, and it’s a tight end: Tony Gonzalez with 1,325 catches.
Witten and Fitzgerald also are good friends.
“Someone I’ve admired the way he’s done it, both on and off the field,” Witten said. “Larry’s somebody, he goes about it the right way.”
Fitzgerald feels the same way about the big Dallas tight end.
“First thing I think about Jason is his character, what he stands for. He’s just such a special man,” Fitzgerald said. “I think any young person in this league would look to him as somebody you want to model your career after, personally as well as professionally.”
PATRICK VS DEZ: The Cardinals like to put All-Pro Patrick Peterson on the opponent’s best defender, and that means he’ll be defending Dez Bryant.
“Two great players, two Pro Bowl players, two All-Pro players going at each other all day long,” Arians said. “Neither one of them is going to back off, that’s for sure.”
DEFENSIVE REINFORCEMENTS: Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick said he will play after missing a game with a broken left hand, and defensive end Damontre Moore returns from a two-game suspension on a substance-abuse violation. With Scandrick out against the Broncos, the Cowboys played most of the game with just two healthy cornerbacks.
HEAVY ON SMITH: Dallas middle linebacker Jaylon Smith played 68 of 77 snaps in his second career game after missing his rookie season recovering from a knee injury in his final game at Notre Dame.
He leads the team with 23 tackles, after the Cowboys indicated they wouldn’t change the plan to bring him along slowly following starter Anthony Hitchens’ knee injury in the preseason. They also said Smith would split time with veteran Justin Durant. The snap count so far: Smith 103, Durant 3.