Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Cowboys "Optimistic About What Lies Ahead."

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Latst Dallas Cowboys headlines: Stephen Jones is optimistic about the rest of the season, Romo has a chance for big yards against the Vikings, and the Cowboys are working on closing out games better.

Stephen Jones: We're certainly optimistic about what lies ahead of us - Charean Williams, Star-Telegram
In terms of their win/loss record, the Cowboys are probably not where they expected to be at this point in the season, but Stephen Jones is optimistic about the rest of the season.

"I think we’re a better football team than 4-4. But at the end of the day, Bill Parcells used to say, ‘You are what you are.’ We’ve won four games pretty solidly. We unfortunately can’t win a close one right now, but that’s going to change. We’re going to get better," Stephen Jones said. "But you are what you are. We’re 4-4. We’re disappointed. But we’re certainly optimistic about what lies ahead of us."

Cowboys yearn to close out games better - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
The Cowboys' four losses have been by a total of 14 points, and players like Sean Lee want to see the team learn how to play for 60 minutes.

"We haven't executed at the most critical of times on both sides of the ball," linebacker Sean Lee said. "It shows when you play against a great team and great quarterbacks you have to play for 60 minutes and you have to be on point with every single part of your defense and your execution. You can't rest at all. That's something we thought we learned. Obviously it keeps coming back. If we don't want to be 8-8 again, if we want to be a good team playing in the playoffs we have to get over that hump."

Why Cowboys LB Bruce Carter is losing playing time to Ernie Sims - David Moore, DMN
Moore writes that the weak-side linebacker in a 4-3 scheme should be in position to make a lot of big plays. But Carter hasn't had many big plays in that role, a key reason why Ernie Sims continues to share snaps with Carter.

Dallas Cowboys haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher this season - Rainer Sabin, DMN
But will the Vikings' Adrian Peterson be the first?

"He’s hands down the best back in the NFL," Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher said. "But we just got to contain him. Everybody get to the football, just run and hit like we’ve been doing. It’s going to be a tough challenge. He really carries that team running the ball, so if we can just contain him, we’ll be OK."

McCray's return should help Cowboys' depth at safety - Keith Whitmire, FSSouthwest
Safety Danny McCray, who has missed time hip and toe injuries, returned to practice Friday. In a pinch, McCray could play some snaps at free safety.

Cowboys hope shutting WR Miles Austin down will get him up and running - David Moore, DMN
Stephen Jones said the Cowboys have shut down Miles Austin in an effort to get him completely healthy.

"In all fairness, I think we really want to make sure we get him 100 percent back and he’s not out there playing at 85-90 percent," Jones said. "Give him the chance to get all the way back rather than push him out.’’

Cowboys close to making a decision on injured RG Brian Waters - Jon Machota, DMN
Stephen Jones said the Cowboys will likely take a decision on what to do with Waters during the course of the day on Friday.

"Doing a little more diligence and then we’ll make a decision probably, hopefully before the day is out," said Jones, the team’s executive vice president. "I think we’re getting a couple of opinions that our guys work closely with and he’s comfortable with. We’ll see if anybody has any other ideas."

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Romo has a chance for big yards against Vikings - Minneapolis Star Tribune
Ton Romo faces a depleted Vikings secondary with lots of weapons available. The Star Tribune wonders whether Romo might even be able to set the NFL single-game record for passing yardage against the Vikings. To do that, he'd have to top Norm Van Brocklin's 554-yard performance from 1951.

Vikings: 75% of starting secondary to miss Cowboys game - St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The Vikings' beleaguered secondary has to face Dallas' versatile passing attack without three starters. Safety Harrison Smith is already on injured reserve; CB Chris Cook and safety Jamarca Sanford were ruled for the Cowboys game on Friday. Andrew Sendejo, who spent time with the Cowboys in 2010, will play in Smith's free safety spot.

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NFL moves Giants out of Wek 11 'SNF' flexes Chiefs-Broncos game into late slot - NFL.com
The NFL takes mercy on the Giants and moves them out of the SNF slot, Marc Sessler writes gleefully.

Instead of laying eyes on a downtrodden Giants squad, viewers have been handed a gem out of the AFC West, pitting Peyton Manning's high-octane Broncos attack against the sack-happy defense of the Chiefs.

Chalk it up as a win for humanity.

Jeffrey Lurie: Finding franchise QB the 'No. 1 priority' for Eagles - NFL.com
Goodbye Michael Vick; so long, Nick Foles, and thanks for all the fish.

Inside the Washington Redskins' passing woes - John Keim, ESPN
Keim writes that teams have figured out how to deal with the Redskins' "novelty offense" and the Redskins are finding it harder to find success off play-action.

"That’s reflected in our inconsistency running the ball," Paulsen said. "We’re not quite as dominant as we were last year in the last seven games. So much of what we do is based off play-action so when that’s not 100 percent clicking in the run game, that’s not quite as good."

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