One really fun thing about the Dallas Cowboys making the playoffs is that a lot of media outside Dallas pays a lot of attention to the Cowboys. Because, of course, the team they normally cover is either playing Dallas, is sitting around waiting for the draft, or firing people. Today's roundup of things centered around the Star will be heavy on those "outside" sources, but with a few of the usual suspects thrown in.
Ndamukong Suh Wins Appeal, Will Play Against Cowboys - Blogging The Boys
This, of course, is the elephant in the room stepping deliberately on people's legs. The NFL made a courageous stand that it would not tolerate players who try to injure opponents with dirty tricks while play is supposed to be halted. In other news, Matt Johnson and his trained unicorns, with special guests the Easter Bunny and the Singing Kardashian Virgins, will be providing halftime entertainment at AT&T Stadium.
Marshawn gets docked 100K for dodging the media. Suh loses 70K. #yeah #thanksforasking— Rob Phillips (@robphillips3) December 31, 2014
Cowboys DE Mincey: Nobody backing down because Suh is playing | FOX Sports
The team, meanwhile, always planned on taking the same approach to the game, whether Ndamukong Suh was playing or not.
"I'm sure the offense is scheming up something good for them, and we've got to get in his head and get him a little frustrated," Dallas defensive end Jeremy Mincey told FOX Sports Southwest. "We've got tough guys, too. Nobody is backing down because Suh is playing."
Eatman: Defense Playing As Unit, But More Than Few Individuals Peaking Now | Dallas Cowboys
Dallas took the "December slump" meme and did unspeakable things to it, the kind of things you spend your entire life trying to shield both your children and your parents from. A large part of the success can be attributed to the defense playing the best it has all season, and Nick Eatman goes down a list of defenders that have stepped up their individual game to help. One name is more a relief to see here than anything.
Brandon Carr - He gets blamed for a lot of things, but he's playing better now than we've seen in the last two seasons. The Odell Beckham Jr. catch will forever be linked to him, but for the most part, he's keeping plays in front of him and showing more physicality than we've seen in a while.
Cowboys lose Henry Melton for playoffs | ProFootballTalk
Once, this would have been a source of some panic for Cowboys fans. Now, with players like Mincey, Tyrone Crawford, Terrell McClain, and George Selvie rising to the occasion (as noted in the previous article), Henry Melton going on injured reserve is mostly going to be a way to avoid the expensive option on his contract with no real detriment to the team. Thanks for your contributions, Mr. Melton, you were appreciated.
Melton has been placed on injured reserve with a knee injury, the Cowboys announced. He's out for the playoffs.
Lions face surging Cowboys and their 'Big Three'
This is a look from a neutral platform, the CBS affiliate in Sacramento, California. It is interesting that it highlights the new triplets in the headline (although someone needs to catch them up to date on proper terminology).
This game will be a battle of strengths when the Cowboys offense and the Lions defense match up. Dallas is led by Romo, running back DeMarco Murray who led the league in rushing, and Dez Bryant, who is one of the best receivers in the league, and on Calvin Johnson's level. They also have a great offensive line.
FILM "PREVIEW": Moving on to Murray
This is a look at Dallas' running game by a writer at the Lions' mothership. He goes back to the Seattle Seahawks game to study a three play sequence that . . . well, I kinda like his description.
Dallas trailed 23-20 in the fourth quarter and had worked themselves down to the Seattle 46-yard line with 4:45 left in the game.
The Cowboys face 1st and 10 and come out in a standard power formation with two tight ends lined up right, one receiver split out left (Dez Bryant) and fullback Tyler Clutts and Murray lined up in the I-Formation behind quarterback Tony Romo.
This is power football at it's finest and the Seahawks have eight men in the box to try and stop it.
The operative word there was "try".
Detroit Lions' No.1 run defense faces tough test vs. Dallas Cowboys
The big focus is on the matchup between the league's best run defense and the league's leading rusher. Which is just fine with the team whose quarterback has the highest passer rating in the NFL, and whose top wide receiver has caught the most touchdowns this year. Sadly, despite the media's fixation on run D versus run O, Lions head coach Jim Caldwell is not overlooking the passing game.
The Cowboys start three first-round picks up front - left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick and rookie right guard Zack Martin - and Caldwell said their diverse attack, with Tony Romo at quarterback and Dez Bryant at receiver, gives them a leg up on most teams.
"They're very difficult to get a bead on," Caldwell said. "They force you to play with an extra guy down somewhere in the vicinity (of the line of scrimmage), and if they can do that, then you're unleashing a quarterback that's been lighting the world up because of that with the matchups that he has on the outside, single coverage and things of that nature. It kind of all ties in together and they do a great job of it."
Ndamukong Suh, Lions have talent edge on Cowboys - NFL.com
Pfaugh. We pass gas in your general direction, you weasel-faced East Coast media dogs.
Along with reigning first-team All-Pro Suh, the Lions boast one of the NFL's premier linebackers in DeAndre Levy as well as a rising star in pass rusher Ziggy Ansah.
In addition to that trio, the safety duo of Glover Quin and James Ihedigbo has been the league's best for portions of the season.
If Detroit is bringing that much firepower on one side of the ball, a natural follow-up question is whether they have a more talented roster than the NFC East champions.
Lions/Cowboys highlighted by several intriguing storylines - Pride Of Detroit
Our sister SBN site covers some of the things the writer finds interesting.
Comeback, Part 3? - In 2011, the Lions rallied from a 27-3 deficit on the road against Dallas to win 34-30. Calvin Johnson had two big touchdown catches in that game, including one over three defenders. Fast forward to 2013 and the Lions had another amazing comeback, this time at home. In that game, Stafford led the Lions down the field in the final minute and scored the winning touchdown on a surprise quarterback sneak. Oh, and Megatron had 14 catches for 329 yards and a touchdown in that game.
We hate our sister site for bringing that crap up.
Rod Marinelli to Tampa is a real possibility - Bucs Nation
We are also not too fond of our Tampa Bay Buccaneers sister site.
Rod Marinelli has a long history with Lovie Smith. The two worked together when they were both position coaches with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Smith hired him as his defensive coordinator when Marinelli was fired by the Detroit Lions. The two are good friends, and they made a push to re-unite last year -- a push that was thwarted by the Cowboys' refusal to let Marinelli out of his contract.
History not on the Dallas' Cowboys side in wild-card matchup - ESPN
For just the fifth time since the 1970 merger, the NFL's leading rusher will face off against the NFL's leading run defense in the playoffs, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
The run defense has a 4-1 record.
In fact, no team with a rushing champ has won a playoff game since LaDainian Tomlinson and the 2007 San Diego Chargers.
We believe in making our own history.
NFL Playoffs Quick Take: Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys - ESPN
This is from the Detroit ESPN site.
1. Familiar faces: Although the Lions and Cowboys didn't play this season, there will be a lot of familiar coaching ties for Detroit on the sideline. Former Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan spent 2009-2013 with Detroit, including mentoring Matthew Stafford through the first five years of his career. He led Dallas to the No. 8 offense this season. The Cowboys' defensive coordinator, Rod Marinelli, was Detroit's head coach from 2006-2008 and has coordinated the NFL's No. 20 defense this season.
FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: 2014 In Review
They make a big deal out of the great numbers the Pittsburgh Steelers have under their metrics, but don't give a shout out to the only team with a top five player in all four of the offensive skill positions - your Dallas Cowboys (they got the Steelers on all four lists only by adding a sixth spot to the tight ends).
There was also this:
Better Than His Standard Stats Made Him Look: Terrance Williams, DAL
Williams caught only 37 passes, tied for 77th among wideouts, and only tied for fourth on the Cowboys alone. However, those 37 catches came with a 16.8-yard average and eight touchdowns, and so Williams finished 20th among wideouts with 219 DYAR.
FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS - Clutch Encounters: Season Review/Week 17
While I was on the site, I just wanted to mention one stats nugget I mined from this article: Dallas did not blow a 4th quarter lead all year - one of only five teams in the league, and a far cry from last year's performance.
Will a one-and-out lead to Jason Garrett’s ouster? | ProFootballTalk
I'm not gonna say that this article is click whoring at its most blatant by someone who obviously knows next to nothing about the team or anyone involved with it. I'll just let that shine through.
Most assume that Garrett's 12-win season will be enough to get him a new deal from owner Jerry Jones. But there's a school of thought in some league circles that, if the Cowboys lose at home on Sunday against the Lions, Garrett could be gone.
That is about 30% of the entire article, by the way, to give you an idea of how in-depth this bit of analysis is.
Dallas Cowboys get last laugh with playoff ticket dispersal process - ESPN Dallas
Everyone got a chuckle out of the Cowboys sending out playoff tickets with their season ticket packages this season. But a little known fact is that teams often have trouble selling out playoff games in the first round because of the short turnaround times involved. Not a problem for Dallas, thanks to their marketing ploy.
According to vice president of public relations/communications Rich Dalrymple, the Cowboys have seen a 95 percent return rate with their season-ticket holders picking up their playoff tickets.
Michael Irvin: Only team that can crash Seattle, New England Super Bowl is Dallas Cowboys | Dallas Morning News
We'll let the playmaker have the last word today.
On why fans don't think the Cowboys can win the Super Bowl:
"Going from 8-8, 8-8, 8-8 to Super Bowl champions is a big step and a huge stride. But the reality of it is, at the beginning of the season I said it'd be Seattle and New England. I still believe those are the front runners for the Super Bowl. The only other team left in this field that I believe can crash that party is the Dallas Cowboys because they're the only team that can go into Seattle and beat Seattle again. The Dallas Cowboys have that chance."