LIONS INSIDER

OPPOSING VIEW: Rod Marinelli has been a "miracle worker" for Dallas

Posted Oct 26, 2013

Fort Worth Star-Telegram NFL writer Charean Williams takes a look at Sunday's Lions, Cowboys game

This week’s Opposing View comes from Charean Williams of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. This is Williams' 20th season covering the NFL, including the past 14 for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She appears weekly on the NFL Network's Around the League. She is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and a past president of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow her on Twitter at: @NFLCharean

1. Is Dez Bryant right? Can he do everything Calvin Johnson can do?

Williams: He is not Calvin Johnson yet. He wants to be, and he is off to a good start, but Johnson has three years, three Pro Bowls, two All-Pros and an NFL record on Bryant. Bryant is one of the best receivers in the NFL. Johnson is THE best.

2. How has the transition gone from Jason Garrett calling offensive plays for the Cowboys to now Bill Callahan? Has there been a noticeable difference?

Williams: There really hasn't. The Cowboys showed in the 51-48 loss to Denver the kind of numbers they are capable of putting up. They have made a conscious effort to run the ball more and run it better than they did last season in setting a team record for the fewest rushing yards ever in a 16-game season. Having DeMarco Murray healthy helps that running game, which in turn, helps the passing game.

3. Who is one player Lions fans might not know who could have a big impact on the game?

Cole BeasleyWR Cole Beasley (Photo: AP Images)

Williams: At 5 foot 8, 180 pounds, Cole Beasley doesn't look the part of NFL receiver. But he is Mr. Dependable for Tony Romo. Beasley has 18 catches, ranking third among the team's wideouts, for 167 yards and a touchdown. With Miles Austin hampered with a hamstring injury, Beasley has had more playing time and, having taken advantage of his opportunity, will continue to get more.

4. How have the Cowboys been able to maintain their play upfront defensively with all the injuries? How has Rod Marinelli played a factor?

Williams: Lions fans can take issue with Rod Marinelli as a head coach, but there is no arguing he is among the top defensive coaches in football. The Cowboys started the season planning on Anthony Spencer, DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher as their starting defensive linemen. Hatcher was the only starter left standing last week, and the Cowboys still managed three sacks. Marinelli has turned Hatcher -- "just a guy" his first seven years in the league -- into one of the top defensive tackles in football. George Selvie, who has started every game in place of Spencer, has 4.5 sacks and 11 pressures. Nick Hayden has started every game for Ratliff, who was released last week. Kyle Wilber made his first career start last week in place of Ware. Some of the reserves arrived after the season started. Marinelli has been a miracle worker.

5. The Cowboys will win if …

Williams: They win the turnover battle. The Cowboys forced only 16 takeaways last season, a reason Rob Ryan no longer is here. They have 15 this season. They had six takeaways in a victory over the Giants, two in a victory over Washington and three in last week's victory over Philadelphia. They were even in the turnover ratio at one apiece in the victory over the Rams. The last time the Cowboys and Lions played, Tony Romo's interceptions played a big part in the outcome.