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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Cowboys Kick Off First Practice Of The Week Today

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Latest Cowboys headlines: Cowboys plan on fiing December struggles; Defense needs to tighten up at the start of games; Zone vs. man defense.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It's only Sunday, but because the Cowboys are playing the Bears on Thursday night, the Cowboys have their first practice of the week scheduled today. Because this week is out of sync with a regular week here's a handy table to help you keep track of what's up. With one breath, with one flow, you will know synchronicity.

1st Practice 2nd Practice 3rd Practice Travel Game day
This week Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
Regular Week Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

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Garrett isn't going anywhere despite unpardonable sins, missed playoffs | Tim Cowlishaw, DMN
Tim Cowlishaw tries to make a big deal about the fact that Garrett didn't pull Romo at the end of the Jaguars and Eagles games, calling it an "unpardonable sin." Much more interesting is side note Cowlishaw offers on Garrett's future:

Garrett's not going anywhere.

Rest assured that when the Cowboys play their ninth game sometime late October or early November in 2015, Garrett will have served as head coach longer than any man since Landry. That's going to happen.

Jones has left himself no real options on this front since there's no likelihood he sees promoting either of his coordinators, Rod Marinelli or Scott Linehan, as even a short-term answer.

Witten; How Dallas plans to fix December struggles | Brandon George, DMN
It's no secret that the Cowboys have struggled over the last few seasons to finish strong in the final month of the season.

"When you finish the years the way we have, it causes you to reflect," tight end Jason Witten said. "I think more than anything we didn’t execute at key times that led to it. If you go back at different points in those games in December, we didn’t execute very well. There is no secret to that. Other teams did, and they played well and made those plays, and we didn’t."

"This is a tough stretch for everybody. The teams that play well this time of year are the teams that usually make the playoffs. Our team is focused on that, and we are in a good position being 8-4, but we’ve got to learn from this and move forward. I know we have the right type of guys to do that."

Three Thoughts on Dallas Cowboys' 33-10 loss to Philadelphia - Jean-Jacques Taylor, ESPN Dallas
JJT points out a shortcoming of the Cowboys defense that has been a key factor in their games this season:

The Cowboys have allowed seven scoring drives on their opponents’ first possession of the game. No team has allowed more. And no team has allowed more than the five touchdowns the Cowboys have given up on their first possession.

This is a trend that defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli really has to solve because it affects the Cowboys’ ability to play the game the way they want to play it. Dallas is at its best when it has the lead and uses its strong running game to dominate time of possession, which puts pressure on the opposing offense.

Twitter mailbag: Zone vs. man defense - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
After a loss, Cowboys fans often want the Cowboys to do the exact opposite of what they've been doing. In response to a question about why the Cowboys run a zone defense, Archer offers this perspective:

Are you sure they would be better running man to man? I'm not. Look, this defense has been getting by all year. This was not going to be a great defense. They have too many holes. The offense helped mask some of those issues for most of the year by keeping them off the field. Lately they have been exposed because they lack talent and they're on the field for too many plays.

The Eagles are a bad matchup because of their scheme and pace of play. The best they can hope for is the offense figures out what it's doing on third down. This defense is better the less it plays.

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Emotionless Bears Going Through Motions " CBS Chicago
There appears to be a disconnect between the Bears' players and coaches.

Right now, the players on this team are going through the motions. A lack of leadership in the locker room is part of the problem, but there seems to be no leadership coming from the coaching staff either. Not only are the players showing no emotion with their play, the coaches are showing no emotion on the sideline. It’s almost as if they have all given up.

No fix in sight for Bears' offense - DailyHerald.com
The Bears' offense seems to be in dire need of major repairs after suffering breakdowns all across the unit for most of what has been a disappointing 2014 season. In three of their last six games, the Bears have been held to less than 270 yards of total offense, 85 yards below the league average. And adding insult to injury, they managed just 13 yards rushing against the Lions on Thanksgiving.

Briggs placed on IR with groin injury - Chicagobears.com
The Bears on Friday placed veteran linebacker Lance Briggs on injured reserve with a groin injury, meaning that he will miss the final four games of the season.