Dallas Cowboys News: The Swagger Is Back, Preparing For The Lions, More

Many reports leading up to the game on Sunday echo the sentiment expressed by Steve Wyche from NFL.com, that the Lions will be true test for the Cowboys.

But here's the deal. If the Cowboys win on Sunday, it'll be because the Lions were overrated. If the Cowboys lose, it'll be because the Cowboys can't win the big ones.

This stuff is getting sooo predictable.

After the break, we look at the latest Cowboys headlines. Some, like the injury news and Jerry Jones making another round of his sweeping weekly announcements, are fairly predictable. Others are less so. Like how Spencer and Jenkins got their Swagger back or why the Cowboys could be ranked number two in the league.

Abram Elam recalls the last time he and Rob Ryan met the Lions in November of 2009. Stafford threw for 422 yards and five touchdowns against the Cleveland defense.

"He's been banged-up, but he's had a clutch performance against me with the Browns when he came in when his shoulder was banged-up and threw the game-winning touchdown," Cowboys safety Abram Elam recalled Wednesday.

This is a timely reminder that Rob Ryan already developed game plans while in Cleveland last year against five of this year's Cowboys opponents: the Jets, Patriots, Bills, Dolphins and Bucs. Granted, teams change from year to year, sometimes significantly, but at least those teams are not complete unknowns on this year's schedule.

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Jason Garrett has been preaching about "Swagger" since long before he became the Cowboys head coach (see this video from the 2008 edition of Hard Knocks). And perhaps hiring Rob Ryan was also part of Garrett's plan to bring some swagger back to the defense. It seems to be working, according to Mike Jenkins and Anthony Spencer, arguably two of the players who had the most to gain in the swagger department.

"That is Rob man, I give it all to Rob," said cornerback Mike Jenkins. "It comes from the play of the guys on the team but he is instilling it. He has great schemes. He makes us feel good. When we are down or somebody makes a mistake, he might tell a joke or something to get us back on track, a little crazy stuff to have you thinking and get your mind off the bad."

"It takes it out completely," Spencer said. "He'll take the blame if it does happen. He'll tell you I told them to do this; I told them to do that. He wants you to make plays. That's his biggest thing. He's not concerned about giving up this or giving up that. He wants you to make plays. That's what we're out here to do, to play the game and make plays. He expects people to do that and everyone wants to do that. He makes it fun for us."

Both Jenkins and Spencer echo a sentiment that Terence Newman expressed more succinctly at the start of training camp this year.

"Rob is like Houdini with hella swag."

"Yes I said that. I put Houdini and Rob Ryan and swag in the same sentence. His demeanor and his attitude makes you want to be the best you can be. And he makes football fun."

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We all know that Jerry is his own best PR man, and he once again came through for us fans on KRLD-FM (105.3) this week. The Jerry Jones News Corporation announced:

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Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats released his first team efficiency rankings of the year yesterday, and opens with a bang: He has the Cowboys ranked second behind the Saints. Burke's model has the Cowboys with the second ranked offense and seventh ranked defense.

Burke obviously expects some questions about his ranking model and conveniently provides a tongue-in-cheek FAQ to head off some of the more vapid responses this is bound to generate. Here's one example:

1. "Your dumb model fails to conform to my intuitive beliefs about how good each team is. And besides, it does not conform to what I’ve been told to think by [major media personality]."

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In injury news, it looks like Derrick Dockery will be out at least another three weeks. Orlando Scandrick has started working out again, but has not yet run or cut at full speed, much less practiced with the team. His odds of playing on Sunday are slim at best. David Buehler is also out for Sunday. Jason Hatcher will miss the Lions game nursing a strained calf, and Jerry Jones already confirmed that Austin is out as well.

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In other tidbits:

  • In a possible sign of the times, Bradie James is playing special teams. With his role reduced due to the emergence of Sean Lee, James volunteered to play special teams and covered two kickoffs on Monday. "Man, we've got the right type of guys on the team, and we've got to keep them," James said. "Everybody has to play unselfish for us to be successful. And that's really what it's about, man."
  • The Cowboys liked what they saw from new receiver Laurent Robinson on Monday. "I thought he did a nice job for a guy who hasn’t been here very long," Garrett said. "He stepped in there and played well within our scheme."
  • At 6-foot-5 and 208 pounds, practice squad receiver Andre Holmes is doing his best Megatron impression during practice. "I liked wearing that jersey because I knew I was going to get the ball," Holmes said of the No. 81 jersey he sported in Wednesday’s practice.

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Sometimes, when you wonder at the amount of scrutiny Romo is getting, it's worth looking elsewhere. Yesterday, Tom Brady had his hair cut - and it makes the headlines. Obligatory Giselle Buendchen reference included in article.

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