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Dallas Cowboys News And Notes: What A Long, Strange Trip 2014 Has Been

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All the news that fit to be linked. Today's top stories: Jags Xs and Os; roster moves; more Romo news; heading into the bye; a backward glance at the 2008 draft; off-the-field strangeness

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It's the bye week, so the news cycle slows to a crawl. Buts it's a steady crawl...

Xs and Os: how Joseph Randle ran for a 40-yard touchdown and more Cowboys play analysis - Bob Sturm, DMN

Sturm's weekly selection of top plays looks at three big gains in the running game: the 23-yard Murray run on the Cowboys' first offensive play; Denard Robinson's 23-yard touchdown scamper; and Joseph Randle's 40-yard score. Lots of still frames, .gifs and informed takes ensue. And here's his startling yet welcome conclusion:

Both of the runs we showed you from the Cowboys standpoint were out of "12 personnel".  They are really cooking out of this grouping now and it is making them very difficult to defend on the ground.  12 personnel means you have 7 players on your OL and it makes everything difficult for the defense if they want to bring in nickel to deal with a pass.  12 is the most diverse personnel grouping there is, and finally the Cowboys are figuring it out.  You really have to love that and how it should translate to cold weather football.

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Cowboys adding Dekoda Watson to the active roster - Brandon George, DMN

On Sunday, linebacker Dekoda Watson started for Jacksonville in London in a game against the Cowboys. The Jaguars released Watson on Tuesday. On Thursday, he was picked up by the team he had just played against. The Cowboys think he can offer them depth on special teams and at linebacker; Watson played for Rich Bisaccia, the Cowboys special teams coordinator, and Joe Baker, Dallas’ assistant secondary coach, as a rookie with Tampa Bay in 2010. To make room for him, they team is expected to release LB Keith Smith.

Cowboys choose not to activate Amobi Okoye -Rainer Sabin DMN

As Sabin notes, the Cowboys had 21 days before Thursday’s deadline to evaluate Okoye’s condition and determine whether they wanted to add him to the 53-man roster, cut him or keep him on the non-football illness list the remainder of the season. They chose the last option.

Cowboys work out three cornerbacks - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

With Tyler Patmon out with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, the Dallas Cowboys worked out cornerbacks Jonte Green, Lou Young and Robert Steeples on Thursday with the idea of adding one to the practice squad. Here's the scoop on the three candidates:

Green was a sixth-round pick of the Detroit Lions in 2012. Young spent time with the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens this season. Steeples played in two games for the Minnesota Vikings last season and went to camp with the Kansas City Chiefs this summer.

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Putting Tony Romo in MVP talk - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

Archer points out that Romo leads the NFL in completion percentage (68.8 percent), is fourth in passer rating (107.2) and tied for seventh in touchdowns (18) this season. He has 2,244 passing yards, which is 12th in the league, but he missed one game. And he has received no MVP consideration. Not one vote. Archer concludes:

The Cowboys' season would be lost without Romo, and that is the definition of "most valuable." He will have six more games to prove it.

Owner's son: Romo's ring will come - ESPN.com

Jones the Younger went on 105.3 The Fan and made a startling admission re: Romo's career:

"I think he'd be the first to tell you, anybody would, the only thing missing on his résumé at this point is a championship...And certainly that doesn't sit in Tony's lap. That sits in our lap, [owner] Jerry [Jones] and our family's lap....In terms of the organization, we have to do better at putting better people around him. It falls on our personnel department, the coaching staff and the players around him. It's a team effort."

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Why Cowboys are pulling for sack leader Henry Melton to be more costly player - Jon Machota, DMN

Melton began to round into form three games ago, against Washington. In the last three weeks, he has logged 3.5 sacks; according to Pro Football Focus, Melton has recorded six of his 16 quarterback pressures during that stretch. Since he's making a bid for the big money, the former Bear will happily take it:

"It feels good," Melton said. "Any time you can smell what kind of deodorant [the quarterback is] wearing, it’s always a good sign. It’s good getting after him and getting some pressure."

What deodorant was Jacksonville rookie quarterback Blake Bortles wearing Sunday in London?

"I want to say he was wearing the Swagger Old Spice," Melton responded.

Morris Claiborne's rehab starts with baby steps - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

Claiborne made his first locker room appearance Thursday since undergoing surgery earlier this season for a torn patellar tendon in his left knee. At this point, his goals are rather modest:

"I’m at this point where I have to do this rehab and mainly I want to walk again, so that’s my main focus....It’s about walking so I can go out and play with my son."

Tyrone Crawford expected to play vs. Giants - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas

After injuring his knee against Arizona, Crawford was one of two Cowboys not to practice during this, the bye week. But he's getting better; Crawford said the knee felt much better than it did last week while in London:

"I wasn’t running straight very well," Crawford said. "I did have one day where I was doing all right, but I’m doing a little bit more cutting and lateral movements, so that little stuff."

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12 thoughts as Cowboys head into bye weekend - Bryan Broaddus, The Mothership

The Broad One serves up an even dozen observations, some short and some, like this one, a bit more developed:

I have respect for all of the jobs that these coaches have done this season, but if you just asked me to select one guy that has stood out above the others, Matt Eberflus would be that guy for me. There has not been a position on this roster that has had to shuffle bodies more than what they have to do at linebacker....It has not mattered the combination, because as a group there has been little drop off and Eberflus deserves the credit for that. Each week his guys have stepped up and made plays to win games despite playing out of position the majority of the time.

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Revisiting, revising, and reexamining the 2008 class of RBs - Bill Barnwell, Grantland

Barnwell peers in the review mirror, looking at the 2008 draft's running back crop, which featured stalwarts Darren McFadden and Chris Johnson:

The two would be at the core of an anachronistic investment in running backs. With five first-rounders and 10 more picks coming off the board during the first three rounds, the 2008 draft was unusually weighted toward ball carriers. Using Chase Stuart’s Approximate Value draft chart, we can estimate that the league’s 32 teams used 11.6 percent of the draft capital available to them in 2008 on running backs.

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The five strangest stories of the Cowboys year: stolen underwear, walkouts and Jerry Jones - DMN staff

The folks over at The Dallas Morning News recount the 2014 season's craziest off-the-field narratives. The weirdest? It has to be the Jerry Jones lawsuit.

Seeing how much the media revels in stories such as these, it kinda makes one appreciate the team's focus...