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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Victory Mondays Are Fun

This whole Cowboys winning football games thing is starting to be kind of enjoyable.

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Tom Pennington

Let's start the Dallas Cowboys news review with some record-setting players.

DeMarco Murray running with NFL legends - Tim MacMahon, ESPN Dallas

DeMarco Murray is the first Cowboys running back to open a season with five consecutive 100 yard games. Only Jim Brown and O.J. Simpson, back in the days before the NFL became such a passing-centric league, have done that for any team before him. And when these little tidbits are mentioned to him, he goes kinda Rhett Butler.

"Those are pioneers at the running back position," Murray said with not even a hint of excitement in his voice. "They did a lot of great things for the position and the NFL. A lot of respect for those guys. 

"I'm just trying to come out here and play and get wins."

Dallas Cowboys TE Jason Witten joins exclusive club with 10,000 yards - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

It took a little longer than most expected for Jason Witten to join Tony Gonzalez and Shannon Sharpe as the only tight ends to pass 10,000 yards, because Tony Romo is often looking to find other targets than his "security blanket". But he is still the third highest graded tight end according to Pro Football Focus, largely because he has the best run blocking score in the league. Funny how that goes with the Murray story. And there is a certain similarity of attitude.

"It was special," Witten said. "I have so much respect for this position and all the receivers who have played in this organization. But to join Tony Gonzalez, he's the best to ever do it, and to get over 10,000 yards is a huge honor. I'm thankful for a lot of good players along the way to make that happen for me. Hopefully there's a lot more. More than anything else, I'm excited about the win."

Gosselin: Cowboys trust their kicker more than their offense | Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News

This is a great story about Dan Bailey, but it also illustrates the fact that whoever writes headlines and mans the Twitter account at the Dallas Morning News slants a lot of headlines and tweets to the negative. The actual article doesn't say what the headline does, just that Bailey is clearly the best in the league, and he is the only player on the team that just about everyone agrees is the best at his position. And that ain't brag, it's fact.

You need 100 field goals for placement on the NFL's all-time accuracy list. Bailey has 99. With his next field goal, Bailey will rank as the most accurate kicker in NFL history. He has converted 90.8 percent of his career attempts. The current record is 86.4 percent by Mike Vanderjagt.

Tony Romo's legend grows on two plays in Dallas Cowboys victory - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

There is no official category, I think, for "ridiculously difficult quarterback plays that should never have had a chance", but there is no doubt that Romo would be one of the NFL's all time leaders if there were. Against the Texans, he added two more, the escape from J.J. Watt and throw to Terrance Williams touchdown, and the 37 yard throw that Dez Bryant somehow caught around the defender's head to set up the game winning Bailey field goal in overtime.

Just add them to Romo's list of he-didn't-really-do-that-did-he plays he has made in his nine years as the Cowboys' starting quarterback. 

"It just seems like it's at the most critical times of the game," said tight end Jason Witten, who has seen all of them from Romo. "Just big-time plays by him."


Bob's Blog - Live from Lewisville: The Morning After: Cowboys 20, Texans 17 OT (4-1)

Sturm takes a closer look at Romo and how well he has come back from his surgery, and then examines just how this edition of the Cowboys is playing this year as compared to the past couple of seasons. As always, a must read.

Was it ugly?  2 answers:  Yes and it doesn't matter.  I will spare you the usual "no wins are easy" speech today, but at 4-1, it is a matter of stacking them up now because trouble is ahead.  Next is Seattle and a huge test given the depleted defense, but they may enjoy the week where there is not a team in the league who is off to a better start than 4-1. 

And with that, another week of physical football and running when the opponent wanted to take that away was proven on the field.

Cautious Cowboys Come Out On Top - Advanced Football Analytics

This is another statistical look at why the conventional wisdom in football is often not very wise at all. The basic idea behind the article is that the payoff for trying to get more yards on third down instead of kicking the field goal, as the Cowboys did, is not actually the smartest way to go. However, in a game where Dallas had already turned the ball over three times, I am less inclined to second guess them, especially with Dan Bailey's history of not missing two in a row. And even if it was a poor decision based on stats, it all worked out in the end.

Dan Bailey is one of the best kickers in the NFL and he had a record streak of makes coming into the game. League-wide, a 49-yard field goal converts at 71.6%. Dan Bailey, in his career, is 94.1% from 40-49 and 68.4% from 50+. From the 31, one yard increases the probability of making a field goal by 2%. A five-yard gain would increase the field goal probability by almost 10%.

All Star Team of the Week: Week 5 | Pro Football Focus

It is based on the grading system PFF uses, that some love and many hate, but in a nutshell, it sums up why the Cowboys are off to such a good start. There are two Cowboys on the team this week, and look where they play.

Tackles: Joe Staley, SF (+7.3) and Doug Free, DAL (+4.8)

Perfect in pass protection and some fantastic work as a run blocker saw Joe Staley stand tall above all other offensive tackles in Week 5. Opposite him Free wasn't quite perfect, allowing two hurries, but he too was very good as a run blocker, edging out fellow NFC East tackle Justin Pugh for the starting role here.

Honorable Mentions: Joe Thomas, CLE and Justin Pugh, NYG

Guards: Ronald Leary, DAL (+5.8) and David DeCastro, PIT (+4.2)

Another impressive run blocker for Dallas yesterday was Leary at left guard and, like Staley at left tackle in our Team of the Week, he too was perfect in pass protection. For the Steelers DeCastro may not have been quite at as high a level as Leary, but he too was good in the running game, opening holes for Le'Veon Bell throughout the game.

Oh, yeah. Those are the two Dallas linemen who weren't first round draft picks. Props to them.

Notes: Witten’s Perfect 10K; Defense Shines, Limiting Watt -

Although there were some very rough spots during the Texans game, there were also some things that the team definitely got right. None may have been bigger than the way they handled Houston's biggest star.

DeMarco Murray didn't think the Cowboys ran away from J.J. Watt. In fact, he said they were running right at him.

Watt entered the game with two sacks, an interception, a defensive touchdown and an offensive touchdown this year. The Cowboys held Watt to four tackles and no sacks.

"He's a good player, got a lot of respect for him, but we know we have a couple good guys on our side as well," Murray said.

Murray gave a lot of the credit to the offensive line, particularly Tyron SmithRonald Leary and Doug Free. He said he didn't think the Cowboys let him affect the game, and the offense wasn't going to back down from anyone.


Dallas Cowboys want to keep Rolando McClain long term - Tim MacMahon, ESPN Dallas

OK, people have been talking about it for a while. At the same time, a lot of voices cautioned that it might be a tad too soon. Well, now it is getting semi-official: The Cowboys kinda like the idea of Rolando McClain and Sean Lee on the field at the same time. Executive vice president Stephen Jones addressed how Dallas would like to re-sign McClain for next season.

"I think he'd be a great complement in there with Sean Lee in terms of the way Sean plays the game. It may be a situation where if he were the Mike and Sean moved over and played some Will for us, it may help Sean in terms of the wear and tear on his body. There's a lot of thoughts there. We're more focused on what's going on here right now, but he falls in that same category as DeMarco [Murray]. I know he's somebody that we'd like to keep around here."

Stephen Jones: Dallas Cowboys will do ‘anything and everything’ to keep DeMarco Murray | Jon Machota, Dallas Morning News

Oh, yeah, that Murray fellow might be worth finding a way to keep, too.

"Historically, I don't comment on negotiations until they're over," Jones said Monday on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. "I've been consistent in saying that we want to keep our good football players on our team. And I've been consistent in saying DeMarco Murray is one of those guys that we want to keep around. Not only is he a good football player, but better than that, he's a top notch individual.

"He's a great leader on this team. He stands for all the things we want to have as a Dallas Cowboy. We'll do anything and everything we can to keep him. It's got to make business sense for him. It's got to make business sense for us."

Dallas Cowboys activate Jakar Hamilton - Todd Archer, ESPN

Jakar Hamilton has been signed to the 53 man roster after his suspension and the one week roster exemption all got done with. Linebacker Kevin Smith is becoming the yo-yo player for the season, getting cut again and expected to re-sign with the practice squad - with a very real chance of being back on the 53 man roster if Rolando McClain and/or Bruce Carter are both out for the Seattle Seahawks game. Meanwhile, why was Hamilton given his slot?

"We like the progress Jakar has made," coach Jason Garrett said. "He's a young player, but he's gotten better and better and he can be a guy who can contribute on defense both as a safety and he showed us he can play down in a nickel-type role through training camp when we had some guys banged up, and also just contributing on special teams. Part of the 53 and we'll sort out whether he'll be part of the 46 going forward."

Nearly 25 years later, former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson vividly recalls the historic Herschel Walker trade | Brad Townsend, Dallas Morning News

Finally, a blast from the past. DMN will be covering one of the greatest (and one-sided) trades in NFL history in detail this weekend, and they have a sneak preview out. And, as we kinda have come to expect from their articles, they make sure to fan the flames of controversy.

We'll elaborate more on Sunday, but, in part, the trade eventually netted Emmitt Smith, Russell Maryland, Kevin Smith and Darren Woodson, although Johnson says that only partially accounts for the elaborate web of moves that the Walker trade kindled.

"The whole trade, the end result, there's no way you can track this player for that pick because (expletive), I made 51 trades in five years," Johnson said.

"There's no way you can say, ‘This player came from that trade.' It never lines up that way."

Notice, Johnson said "I" made the trades. As terrible as the Cowboys were during that first season of the Jerry Jones/Jimmy Johnson era, there was no doubt which "J" had the most resonating Valley Ranch voice in those days, though in this case Jones had to feverishly work behind the scenes with Walker and his agent after the player initially balked at the trade.

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