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Cowboys News and Notes: Players Do Something Really Important

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There's football news, of course, but on Tuesday the team touched some lives.

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Cowboys Players, Cheerleaders Visit Dallas-Forth Worth Children’s Hospitals | Dallas Cowboys

Is it a big deal when a bunch of professional athletes take a little time to go visit children struggling with serious illness and their families?

Yes.

Cowboys players and cheerleaders fanned out across the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex on Tuesday morning for one of the team's most cherished traditions.

As they do every Christmas season, the Cowboys visited children's hospitals across the city, spending time with patients and their families who are seeking treatment during the holiday season. Cowboys players, including Tony Romo,Dez BryantDeMarco MurrayJason Witten and many others, broke off into groups and visited four hospitals in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray spreads holiday cheer and hands out cell phone number | Dallas Morning News

I know what some of you are thinking - stop it! This was totally a good thing Murray did, after he kinda hustled a kid on an Xbox game.

But he did give the young man his cell phone number and told him to call whenever he wanted before he left Children's Medical Center.

Murray did the same three years ago when he met Macy, a young girl with cystic fibrosis, on one of the Cowboys annual hospital visits. They are still in touch.

Must be some dust in the air.

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All right, back to your regularly scheduled football type stuff.

Bob Sturm’s Marinelli Report: Can Cowboys thwart Chip Kelly’s ‘main objective’ this time? | Dallas Morning News

Sturm looks at what continues to be an issue for the defense, the inability to get to the passer.

We can see that much of what they hoped for from a pass rush standpoint has not worked out.  2nd Round rookie DeMarcus Lawrence has not really be available due to health, but even when he was it was not noteworthy.  George Selvie appears to have returned to the rotational piece he has always been after his flashes of something more in 2013.  Anthony Spencer has not generated much as a rusher, either.  The three players who have provided as much as the Cowboys have has been Tyrone Crawford and Henry Melton from inside and Jeremy Mincey on the edge.  But, those moments have been far too rare.

Jeremy Mincey: Cowboys 'underestimated' Eagles' running game - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN Dallas

I think the running game was not all that the Cowboys, as some other guy from Texas once said, misunderestimated. But Jeremy Mincey also notes that the entire team is ready for this rematch.

The Cowboys have been thinking about this go-around almost constantly since walking off the AT&T Stadium turf after their embarrassing loss to the Eagles. Mincey said he wishes the rematch was tomorrow instead of Sunday, although he quickly acknowledged that the Cowboys needed a little bit more time to game plan. 

"We'll show up with our play," Mincey said. "We're going to talk with our pads. And I'm so excited for all the men in the locker room, because they're excited for this game. That's all we've been talking about. Even during the Chicago game, I had to [say], ‘Hey, hush, man. We've got to finish beating Chicago and then we'll get to it.'

Dallas Cowboys rookie DE DeMarcus Lawrence to return to practice: ‘I’m really looking forward to the Eagles’ | Dallas Morning News

DeMarcus Lawrence certainly wants to help the team.

"I'm looking forward to going back out and playing football [Wednesday], getting back on the field," Lawrence said. "I'm really looking forward to the Eagles. It's a big opportunity for us to capitalize on this playoff time. We just have to get back out there and be ready to go."

Murray More Focused On Wins Than Approaching Rushing Milestones | Dallas Cowboys

Don't talk to him about 2,000 yards or any other kind of records. Just talk to him about wins. Oh, and for those who may still be fretting about how many times he is having to carry the ball, this may help.

"My body feels great - best I've ever felt after a game, all year," Murray said Tuesday during a visit to a local children's hospital.

Dallas Cowboys Tyron Smith: O-line 'just weren't ourselves' vs. Eagles - ESPN Dallas

Leary: No Reason To Make Major Changes, Just "Need To Play Better" Against Eagles | Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys line closer to normal versus Bears - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN Dallas

If you don't think there is a common direction for this team, check these three links and notice how Tyron Smith, Ronald Leary, and Travis Frederick basically say the same thing about what they need to do.

Jerry Jones on why he’s encouraged about Cowboys’ chances in Philadelphia | Dallas Morning News

Hey, what is a big game without the owner and general manager putting in his two cents worth?

"I think the fact that the Thanksgiving game was just so out of step relative to really both sides of the ball, I think we can play better than that," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. "I think the fact that we're playing good on the road and that we can play a lot better than we played against the Eagles here at home on Thanksgiving, I think all of that really encourages me that we have a real chance to go up there and win the ball game."

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NFL Communications - 32 Player Nominees For First NFL Sportsmanship Award Announced "

This is a new award, where each team nominates a player based on these criteria:

The award will be presented each year to an NFL player who best demonstrates the qualities of onfield sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.

The winner will be voted on by the players. The Cowboys have nominated Jason Witten, which should surprise absolutely no one. Interestingly, some other teams wound up nominating players who might seem familiar to Dallas fans. The Cincinnati Bengals nominated CB Terence Newman, and the Denver Broncos put DeMarcus Ware up.

Murray Nominated For FedEx Weekly Rushing Award For Eighth Time | Dallas Cowboys

Follow the link. Stuff that ballot box.

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Get your picks in for the BTB Pick 256 Challenge!

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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

By 4:00 am ET this morning, we had 160 votes logged, which means there's still lots of room for more participants. Right now, the Cowboys are favored over the Eagles, with 84% of the picks coming in for the Cowboys. The tightest games are New Orleans @ Chicago, where the Saints have 53% of the vote as well as Cincinnati @ Cleveland, where the bengals have 51%.

Follow me @TomRyleBTB