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Cowboys News & Notes: Injury Concerns; Where's Jerry?

The Cowboys got halfway through the season without any real controversy. You knew that couldn't last, right.

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Looks like the halftime show was - interesting.
Looks like the halftime show was - interesting.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

There were two basic themes to the Dallas Cowboys news today, the injury situations, and another nonsensical furor over Jerry Jones.

First, the serious stuff.

Jerry Jones: Dallas Cowboys LB Justin Durant out rest of season with torn right biceps Monday night vs. Washington Redskins | Dallas Morning News

A lot of people didn't expect much from Durant, but next to Rolando McClain, he has been perhaps the biggest story of the defense to date.

Durant came into Monday night's game as the Cowboys' leading tackler with 51. Had had also forced two fumbles and intercepted a pass.

Durant said he didn't know how he was injured.

"I don't really think it's sunk in," Durant said after the game. "I'll talk to y'all tomorrow."

Dallas Cowboys not ready to declare Justin Durant out for the season | Dallas Morning News

A few hours later, the view was not as negative, with head coach Jason Garrett saying that there may be some chance Durant could return before the end of the season.

"We'll continue to evaluate him and see what his situation is going forward," Garrett said. "It's a serious injury. There is no question about that. We'll sort out how much time is left in the season and what the options are. No reason to make any rash judgment right now. We'll kind of let the chips fall a little bit and then make the best decision for him and for our team."

Jason Garrett: Cowboys QB Tony Romo 'seemed good' Tuesday

The head coach was his typical nonspecific self in discussing whether Romo would be able to play against the Arizona Cardinals this week.

"We've just got to wait and see how he feels, obviously," head coach Jason Garrett said Tuesday. "He's been in that routine where he hasn't practiced on Wednesday, and he's been doing the walk-throughs and all that. Tomorrow's practice, because we played last night, will be abbreviated anyway and will be more of a jog-through-type mode. We'll see what he's capable of doing."

There were reports that the team was getting a CT scan in addition to or instead of an MRI.

Garrett: Tony Romo's back injury not related to last year's surgery -

This is a fairly positive sign.

During his meeting with the media later Tuesday, coach Jason Garrett said, "It appears to be a separate injury, not related to what he had last year."

So was this:

Status of Dallas Cowboys LG Ron Leary remains unclear after suffering groin injury | Dallas Morning News

With Doug Free's status uncertain, the team is hoping Ronald Leary can return. If not, Mackenzy Bernadeau will be called on to take his place.

"The X-rays were negative, meaning they're positive for us," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "So we'll just see how he is. Obviously when you play an offensive line position, having full groin strength is important, your ability to have power and explosiveness. So we'll see how he is [Wednesday]."

Dallas Cowboys DT Josh Brent will begin ‘football’ work at practice this week | Dallas Morning News

It isn't exactly injury related, but it does have possible roster impact.

This week, Josh Brent will take the field with his teammates. The Cowboys defensive tackle, who is suspended the first 10 games of the season, is now permitted to engage in all team activities except travel and participation in games.


The injuries were an obvious topic for many reports. This next bit, not so much.

Gosselin: Stay in the owner's box, Jerry Jones; Romo injury decision 'troubling' | Dallas Morning News

Given all the things that went wrong in the game Monday night, this seems an odd thing to focus on.

But the most troubling? Jerry Jones on the sideline in the fourth quarter telling his coach that his battered quarterback, fresh off a pain­-killing injection in his back, "would be back if we needed him."

Was Jerry on the sidelines in his capacity as owner? As general manager? As medical expert? It didn't really matter. Owners belong upstairs in their luxury suite. General managers belong upstairs in the coaching box. As owner­-general manager, you hire someone to coach your team.

This inspired a lot of back and forth on Twitter about whether this amounted to anything. Mike Fisher was the chief proponent of the view that, no, it doesn't.

He went on to point out numerous examples of other GMs and owners being on the sidelines, near the coaches at crucial points of games.

Jason Garrett of Dallas Cowboys says Jerry Jones didn't demand Tony Romo return after back injury - ESPN Dallas

The main issue about the entire situation was whether Jones was ordering Garrett to put Romo back in the game. The involved parties maintain he was just updating the head coach on the quarterback's status.

That Jones delivered the update to coach Jason Garrett during the game has raised questions about why the owner and general manager was on the field.

"I think the ideal situation is to get it communicated as quickly as possible and he felt like he could do it," Garrett said. "It wasn't a big deal to me at all."

Jason Garrett: Tony Romo decision was a medical one - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN

Garrett also maintained that the decision to put Romo back in the game was based strictly on his ability to play.

"The people we talked to more than anybody else, was the doctors. Dan Cooper comes over to me and says, ‘He's cleared to play. We got the X-ray, it's negative. We talked to Tony, he's functional, he's moving around. He can go in the game.' That's how we make the decision. We try to take the emotion out of it. The fact that the player is jumping up and down and saying I want to go back in the game, that's a factor, his history, his credibility is a factor, but it's a medical decision and we make it very unemotionally."

This looks like another case of there being nothing to see here, other than some writers grinding the same axes about Jerry Jones. We all know he is a hands-on owner (don't go there). The fact he would walk the prognosis on his $100 million quarterback to his head coach should not surprise anyone. But he is always going to be under a microscope because he is Jerry Jones.


A few other things to wrap it up.

Monday Night Football’ Ratings Hit 4-Year High With Cowboys Vs. Redskins Game | Deadline

A competitive game. America's Team. A traditional rival. Ratings gold.

Last night's game also was a 4-year touchdown for MNF viewershipwise. The 18.809 million who watched the battle in Dallas last night not only made it easily the most watched show on broadcast and cable but also the most watched MNF since the December 27, 2010 game when the New Orleans Saints beat the Atlanta Falcons 17-14. Boosted by a holiday crowd, that game had 19.137 million viewers.

Spagnola: This Loss To Washington Hurts In More Ways Than One | Dallas Cowboys

This is an epic (and actually nicely done) bit of whining by the Mickster. And he pretty much hits all the salient points about what went wrong.

This is a shame, a dirty rotten shame.

Their own dirty rotten shame, losing at home to a team coming in with a 2-5 record, starting a third-string quarterback who had not started a game since Dec. 8, 2011, and owning a miserable minus-9 turnover differential, all before a Monday night crowd at AT&T Stadium affording them as much of a home-field advantage as anyone could have hoped for.

Redskins 20, Cowboys 17, in overtime, and their six-game winning streak coming to a screeching halt is even worse than that.

The Morning After: Redskins 20, Cowboys 17 (OT) (6-2) | Dallas Morning News

Finally, Sturm's articles are always must-reads. He goes over those same mistakes with more numerically based arguments.

According to my notes, Haslett blitzed the Cowboys on 21 of 38 pass attempts, and more specifically, he blitzed Romo on 19 of 32 (59%).  Given that nobody on the Cowboys schedule had blitzed more than 12 times all season, and that nobody approached 50% all year, and that the Seahawks and Giants both blitzed just 5 times in the previous 2 games against Dallas, it seemed that the NFL had backed off Romo and the idea that the best way to attack a Jason Garrett/Tony Romo defense is to play coverage.  That must have pleased Haslett to see that perhaps Dallas was letting its guard down.  Especially with the way the Cowboys had punished the Giants every time they dared to try a big blitz (6 or more) with relative ease.  Let that be a message to anyone who challenges the Cowboys with pressure!  Haslett likely had to hide his smile.


Don't forget to submit your picks for the BTB Pick 256 Challenge


Pick 256 is a season-long contest in which BTB members and readers get to pick the straight-up winners for all games each week. If you haven't yet submitted your picks, now would be a good time. Here's the link to the entry form.

If the link above doesn't work for whatever reason, use the following alternative, which does not autofill your BTB user name into the entry form.

Alternative Pick 256 Entry Form

We've logged about 90 entries so far, 80% of which are picking the Cowboys over the Cardinals.

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