Cowboys News: Legend May Be Suffering From Concussions, Coaches All Rainbows And Unicorns

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Dorsett, one of the all time greats in Cowboys history, may be a victim of head trauma from his career.

Former NFL stars Tony Dorsett, Leonard Marshall, Joe DeLameilleure show indicators of CTE resulting from football and concussions - ESPN
Tony Dorsett was one of the major stars for the Dallas Cowboys in the late seventies and early eighties. He set a record that can never be broken for a 99-yard touchdown run. He is in the Hall of Fame and the Ring of Honor. But the years of rushing for over 1,000 yards long before the league started worrying about the effects of repeated blows to the head have taken their toll.

Two weeks ago, upon arriving in California for his evaluation and brain scan at UCLA, Dorsett described to "Outside the Lines" the symptoms that compelled him to seek testing: memory loss, depression and thoughts of suicide.

The head trauma story is a long way from being over in the NFL, and many more of our favorite players are going to be diagnosed with these issue. The long history of denial that the league had about this may be influencing the speed with which the NFL and the NFLPA have gotten involved in the NFL story du jour - the Richie Inconito - Jonathan Martin situation with the Miami Dolphins.

Tony Romo mic’d up vs. Vikings, calls out Dez Bryant, motivates team before winning drive - Dallas Morning News
Romo in the huddle right before the Cowboys began their nine-play, 90-yard drive in the final 2:44 of the game:

“Hey, let’s be the (expletive) team we’re supposed to be right here. Let’s go win the (expletive) game on this drive. You’re all good enough to do it. Now it’s time to go do it. It’s our time boys. Right now. You ready?”

The Miami Dolphins and Everything That Will Never Make Sense - The Triangle Blog - Grantland
If you are still trying to catch up, or just want a fairly balanced look at the whole mess, this is a very good read that lays out most of the questions without jumping to any conclusions.

This sucks. If being a good person who's sensitive and eager to please makes you a gigantic target in the NFL, that's pretty depressing. Martin apparently hit the breaking point last Monday after a practical joke in which teammates refused to sit with him at lunch. Reading his coach's description makes that scene even more depressing.

And it's impossible to disagree with guys like Fletcher and Rolle when they say teammates should've stepped in long before things got to this point with Incognito.

But I also feel bad for Incognito. Because he was too far gone to realize he was crossing the line, because, as Brown suggests, it seems like he has got some mental health issues of his own, and because, veterans aside, new reports say Dolphins coaches told Miami's only offensive Pro Bowler to toughen up Martin. (Note: Something tells me Incognito's not the type of guy who needs encouragement to try to toughen up teammates - actually asking him to play mind games is like pouring gasoline on a bonfire of testosterone and [crappy] tribal tattoos.)

Cowboys Corner: Scandrick says men have to stand up for themselves in NFL locker rooms, earn their respect
Last night, Dawn chronicled many of the Cowboys reactions to the hazing incident in Miami. But Orlando Scandrick, who has emerged as one of the defensive leaders this year, had a little different of a take.

"You've got to put some fault on both ways," he said. "As a man, when you come in to work, you have to stand up for yourself at some point. This is a different kind of place to be, this is a different kind of atmosphere to work in."

It might have been better for Scandrick to stay out of it.

Cowboys Corner: Practice report: DE DeMarcus Ware returns to practice
Meanwhile, there is a game Sunday night with the New Orleans Saints. DeMarcus Ware was practicing, and that is welcome news. Dez Bryant sat it out, but offered this considered opinion on whether he could play this week.

Bryant said "damn right" when asked if he was playing Sunday.

For a full rundown on all the injuries, you can also check Dave's update from yesterday.

Cowboys Corner: Hatcher says stinger caused him to lose strength in his arm, isn't like DeMarcus Ware's stingers
It's not good news that Jason Hatcher, who has become a real leader on the defense this year, may not be able to play.

"I've been Google-ing and all that stuff on the Internet, trying to learn it as much as I can, because it's unfamiliar to me," Hatcher said. "I've never experienced anything like this, not being able to control my arm. It's very frustrating, so I'm just trying to be as positive as I can, just looking forward to just approaching it like I'm playing."

I like how he put things about his recovery.

Kiffin Report: The Remarkable Waiver Wire Defensive Line
Bob Sturm presents a really thorough look at just what the Cowboys have accomplished with the most motley group of pass rushers ever to see an NFL field.

The real test when you look at a player is to watch him each snap and try to block out all of your knowledge about who he is, where he is from, what he cost, and what other team has said he can't play. I promise, with both George Selvie and now Everette Brown, the performances they have in Cowboys' uniforms are proper for a 1st round pick from this past April's draft. I know that seems crazy, but if they would have taken a guy named George Selvie in the 2013 draft, and he already had 6 sacks in 9 games, you would be over the moon.

Cowboys' DL moves since May - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN
If you want to see something that really brings home what the team is going through trying to find defensive linemen, check out this timeline of transactions involving the DL. I count 33 days the Cowboys made a move, and on many days, there were multiple transactions. And this is just for defensive linemen. It is kind of stunning.

Of course, the Cowboys aren't the only team dealing with injured stars.

It has also been reported that Darren Sproles has passed his concussion tests and is cleared to play.

Cowboys Corner: Kiffin says Carter's problems were more than just San Diego but has bounced back since
The situation with Bruce Carter and Ernie Sims has mystified many, and frankly, Monte Kiffin's explanation didn't exactly cut through the fog.

"It wasn't just San Diego. Let's stop this," Kiffin said Wednesday in his weekly session with reporters. "You don't just make changes because of that. Ernie had played better and deserved to play."

Carter started last week against the Vikings, playing 31 of the 70 defensive snaps. Ernie Sims played 39 snaps.

"They both played really well at times, and at times haven't," Kiffin said.

I guess he sees thing differently than, well, just about everyone else. Writers are wondering why Sims is still getting so many snaps when Carter is clearly outplaying him. Pro Football Focus had Carter with a +3.5 and Sims at -4.3 in the game, and I clearly remember Sims missing tackles while Carter was laying some wood. There still appears to be more to this story, but the team needs to get things worked out and put their best payer on the field. And at the WLB position, he is named Bruce Carter.

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on injured G Brian Waters: 'We're certainly very open to having him back in 2014'
No argument from me.

"He is a heck of a guy to have on your football team," head coach Jason Garrett said. "He's a warrior. He demonstrated that throughout his career in the short period of time he was with us. He had a real positive impact and his demeanor and his temperament was contagious particularly for that offensive line group."

Payton Says Tony Romo Having The Best Year Of His Career
Sean Payton takes the complimentary route, as opposed to the "He sucks and we are going to stomp him into jambalaya" approach.

"He's having, I think, the best year of his career this season, right now," Payton said. "Just having a chance to watch three games myself on that side of the ball, he's been very good in regards to his decision making. He knows pre-snap where he wants to go. He's got a very quick way of getting through his progressions and the ball comes out extremely fast."

Cowboys Corner: Garrett says he stays in touch with Rob Ryan, 'a great football coach and great guy'
For all those who think that Rob Ryan might have a bit of a chip on his shoulder, Jason Garrett wants to let you know differently.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said his relationship with Rob Ryan did not end when he fired his former defensive coordinator. He said it continues and that he has affection for Ryan as a person and a coach.

"Oh, it's ongoing," Garrett said Wednesday at his press conference, asked if the relationship ended on a good note. "It's an ongoing relationship. I have a great deal of respect for Rob as a coach and as a person. I have a great deal of affection for him, and for everything he did when he was here for the couple of years as our defensive coordinator. He and I have spoken and stayed in touch. He's a great guy, and I just can't thank him enough."

Hatcher Figures Ryan Will Be Stoked To See Cowboys " CBS Dallas / Fort Worth
However, Jason Hatcher remembers how Ryan approached the Cleveland Browns game last season, and thinks the former Dallas defensive coordinator will be up for this one, too.

"I don't remember all the details," Hatcher said Wednesday, smiling and squirming just a bit, trying to keep the content suitable for a general audience. "But yeah, he's going to be jacked up for this one."

Ryan offered some version of "heck yes" when asked a year ago if playing the Browns was personal.

Rob Ryan's Huge Personality Lends Itself To Huge Game
The players who were with the Cowboys last year are looking forward to seeing the old coach.

Jason Hatcher laughed when asked about his inevitable pregame meeting with his old coach.

"I'm going to say ‘What up, dawg?' I'm going to say ‘That's my dawg.' He knows it. That's my dawg," Hatcher said. "Just the relationship me and him had on and off the field, he did a lot for my career. He's just one of those guys that came in and believed in me right away."

Orlando Scandrick, typically reserved in the locker room, lit up when asked about seeing Ryan.

"That guy was one of the best coaches I ever had, man. I had great times with him," he said. "I'm looking forward to seeing him and just seeing how he's doing."

NFL Divisional Probability
Finally, if you have never seen this site, it is worth dropping in. Just move your cursor over the team logos and see the current probability of each team to win their respective division.

If you haven't guessed, the numbers look good for Dallas.

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