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In the most important preseason game, La’el Collins matched up against Khalil Mack of the Oakland Raiders, who was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2016. In the season opener he worked against New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, a noted Dallas Cowboys killer.This Sunday when the Cowboys take on the Denver Broncos, he gets Von Miller, who was the runnerup to Mack in 2016 and has 73.5 career sacks in 89 games.

“I think he’s a really good player,” Collins said. “Fast, got a bunch of different counter moves and stuff like that. I think he’s a good player.”

Better than good. Some might call him the best pass-rusher in the NFL. He did not have a sack in the Broncos’ season opener, but he was disruptive just the same. He had 13.5 sacks last year and has 18 games with at least two sacks.

“He’s one of those guys who has affected games probably since he was growing up here in South Dallas,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s an incredible athlete. He has a great feel for rushing the passer. He’s quick. He’s fast. He’s explosive. He’s got a hunger to get there and he seems to do it again and again and again at this level with a lot of attention. He’s a great football player.”

Garrett said the Cowboys don’t have a player to simulate Miller’s jump at the snap of the ball in practice. Collins is making just his second start at right tackle. There is a lot he is still learning about the position. For three seasons DeMarcus Ware, the Cowboys’ all-time leader in sacks, was Miller’s teammate in Denver.

What would be his advice to Collins?

“When you think about Von, you think about speed,” Ware said. “You think about a guy bringing a lot of pass rush moves. And smart. Smart player. I know La’el Collins, he’s a younger guy. He wants to be aggressive, but I’d just tell him to play smart and not go out there trying to use his brute strength against these guys, especially in pass rush. Just know that it’s not going to be a one-time thing that a guy is going to do something.”

The Cowboys can help Collins by maintaining balance in their attack. If they fall behind and have to pass to get back in the game, that plays into Miller’s strengths. The Cowboys want to run the ball, but Denver allowed just 64 rushing yards in their first game.

“I understand that everybody is good,” Collins said. “In this league the one second you think you’re going against some guy you never heard of you’re going to get beat. You’re going to get your ass whooped. For me, take it one week at a time and go out on game day and play one play at a time. That’s how I approach it.”

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Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was happy with the Week 1 win against the New York Giants, but he wasn’t particularly pleased with how he played.

“That’s my job, to give this team a chance to win, and I did that,” said Prescott, who completed 24 of 39 passes for 268 yards and a touchdown. “But from a mechanics standpoint, throws, accuracy, not where I want to be.”

As Prescott turned the page from the Giants game, he watched ESPN’s Monday Night Football to see Dallas’ next opponent, the Denver Broncos, beat the Los Angeles Chargers.

He did not watch the game casually.

“Definitely watching it because we play them next. It is hard to watch football now in general,” Prescott said. “You are always looking for something the offense is doing or the defense is doing in case you have to play them. That game was a little (like that), see what they are doing, formations that San Diego got in that were similar to us, and game-planning as I was watching.”

Prescott came away impressed with Denver’s defense.

“They’re one of the best in the AFC. They are great on the back end. They have All-Pro cornerbacks,” Prescott said. “They are fast. They are savvy guys. They do well playing with a little access, jumping routes. They have great ball production, and obviously the front, Von Miller and those guys that they have coming after the quarterback. We are excited for the matchup. It’s a good team. One of the better defenses we will play all season long.”

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The Dallas Cowboys weren’t shy in how they used Ezekiel Elliott in Sunday’s season-opening win against the New York Giants.

Elliott played in 60 of the Cowboys’ 74 offensive snaps, or 81 percent.

As a rookie in 2016, Elliott played in a higher percentage of snaps on just four occasions. He played in 90.7 percent against the Green Bay Packers, 83 percent in the first matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings and 82 percent in the second meeting against the Washington Redskins.

Elliott had 24 carries for 104 yards. He had only three games as a rookie with more carries, topping out at 30 against the Chicago Bears in Week 3. Against the Giants, he caught a career-high five passes for 36 yards.

When Elliott’s suspension was announced on Aug. 11, the Cowboys weren’t sure they were going to have him for the first six games but they prepared as if he would be available for the opener and they weren’t shy about using him.

With the NFL filing for expedited appeals and asking for stays of a court’s decision, it is possible, though not likely, Elliott could serve the suspension at some point this season. Speaking on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he only expects Elliott to play Sunday against the Denver Broncos. He did not speculate whether Elliott would be available beyond that.

But if Elliott is available, Jones thinks the Giants game was a baseline of how much work the running back will get each week in 2017.

“Zeke, he just dials it up,” Jones said on The Fan. “When it’s time to go, he goes. I think that it set expectations in a way for Zeke that — I’m not implying he didn’t have — and that is that we’re going to use him on a lot of plays. He’s going to get a lot of carries. He’s going to get a lot of plays in the passing game.

“We need Zeke on the field. And so to the extent that in any way that that impacts him mentally as getting ready, conditioning, any of those things, I think this is what you’re going to see. Last year, if I had anything to add to what he did last year, I would have wanted him on the field more plays than he played even last year.”

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ARLINGTON, Texas — In 2015, Odell Beckham Jr. made a one-handed catch while falling backward against the Dallas Cowboys that has been replayed over and over and over ever since.

On Sunday, Cowboys receiver Cole Beasley had a catch just as memorable, which should be replayed just as often.

In the NFL game book, it is simply described as a pass short to the left for a 7-yard gain on third-and-6 from the Dallas 24 with a little more than 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

In reality it was so much more.

Beasley wasn’t expecting the pass because he thought QB Dak Prescott would go to TE Jason Witten since the Giants were blitzing.

“If I would’ve turned earlier, it would’ve been an easier catch, but I turned my eyes a little late and the ball got on me pretty quick,” Beasley said.

With Giants cornerback Eli Apple closing in for a potential interception, Beasley tipped the ball, pinned it against his back, tapped his feet in bounds and picked up the first down, much to the disbelief of the New York sideline.

“I was really locking in on the ball,” Beasley said. “I didn’t think of anything but the rock.”

Once he secured the ball — on the nameplate of his jersey — he thought about his feet.

“I knew where I was, so once I finally got the ball to finally stop moving, I tapped my feet in,” Beasley said.

Dallas receiver Dez Bryant has made his fair share of unbelievable catches in his career. He didn’t see the catch live because he was on the other side of the field.

“I was trying to see if they were going to show it on the screen, so I had to go straight to Twitter and go look at it right after the game,” Bryant said. “I said, ‘Ohh shhh.’ So far, that’s the top catch of the year.”

It was the top play on the SportsCenter Top 10 countdown, and Beasley said it is the best catch of his career.

“But it could’ve been Not Top Ten,” he said.