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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Prep for New Orleans Showdown, Injured Cowboys Return

The Dallas Cowboys get a bit of good news as they prepare for their Sunday night prime-time matchup with the 0-3 New Orleans Saints.

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Practice Report: 2 Starting Linemen Return; First Look For New DE Irving -Nick Eatman- Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys returned to the practice field Wednesday for the first time this week as they prepare for Sunday night’s game with the Saints.

The injury situation seems a bit more manageable this week as the club got two linemen back on the field, including defensive end Jeremy Mincey, who suffered a concussion in practice last week and missed the Falcons game. Mincey’s absence was felt in a major way as the Cowboys generated little pass rush on Matt Ryan and then had trouble stopping the run as Atlanta outscored Dallas 22-0 in the second half.

Lance Dunbar On Pace To Go Over 100 Catches And 1,000 Receiving Yards -Charean Williams- The Star-Telegram
Running back Lance Dunbar averaged 42 touches his first three seasons. He already has 29 this season.

Dunbar’s 215 receiving yards lead the Cowboys. Only two other times in franchise history have running backs led the team in receiving yards after three games, with Preston Pearson (158 in 1978) and Herschel Walker (140 in 1987) also accomplishing the feat.

Travis Frederick: Doesn't Matter If QB Is Back There Making A Sandwich, We Have To Hold Our Blocks-Jon Machota- Dallas Morning News
Whether it's Tony Romo or Brandon Weeden behind center, not much changes for the Cowboys offensive line. That's why Travis Frederick is calling for some improvement.

"For us, we try to hold our blocks for as long as it takes to win," Cowboys center Travis Frederick said. "So for us, that means if the quarterback is scrambling around or if he's sitting back there making a sandwich, or whatever he's doing, we need to continue to hold our blocks until the ball's downfield."

Scout's Eye: Breaking Down Brees, Plus New Orleans' Young Pass Rushers- Bryan Broaddus- Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are preparing for two quarterbacks this Sunday in case Drew Brees plays, but they also must prepare for a young defensive front.

I’m going to spend some time preparing for both Drew Brees and Luke McCown, but at the end of the day I just have to assume the Saints’ Pro Bowler will be ready to go when the Cowboys get to New Orleans. Jason Garrett and his team will tell you they’re focused on themselves, but the challenges presented by Brees are too significant to ignore.

In addition, this New Orleans defense under Rob Ryan has several young playmakers that we’ll need to take a look at, as Brandon Weeden and Co. prepare for a tough road test.

Jerry: 'Boys Can Learn From Julio Jones How To Use Dez - Kevin Patra- NFL.com
Jerry Jones watched Julio Jones carve up his defense on Sunday. It left the Dallas Cowboys owner day dreaming about his own stud wideout, Dez Bryant doing the same when he returns from injury.

"When you cover (Jones) the way we did in the slot and you don't have a sideline to work with, then it's really very difficult for him not to get the plays," Jerry Jones said on KRLD-FM, via the Dallas Morning News. "My observation, though, my coaching observation -- and I'm holding two fingers up on each side -- I want to see the way they do Julio, and does anybody want to see us do Dez (Bryant) that way? Is that too elementary?"

Falcons @ Cowboys Game Film: Five Observations - Danny Phantom- Blogging The Boys
Before it can be put to rest , here are five observations from the Cowboys game against the Falcons.

Losing to Atlanta wasn't a big deal. They are a good football team and everyone knows the Cowboys are banged up so it wasn't surprising to see them come up short. But what made this game frustrating was how everything unfolded. After such a strong first-half performance, the Cowboys just shut down. They couldn't make plays on offense and they couldn't make plays on defense. What happened?

Moore: Six 'Next Men Up' Who Need To Do More To Rescue Injury-Plagued Cowboys -David Moore- Dallas Morning News
In these days of next man up, when the next man doesn't possess the Pro Bowl credentials of the player he's replacing, another catchphrase circulates the halls of Valley Ranch.

Don't try to do too much. Jason Garrett has heard this as long as he can remember. The Cowboys coach tells his players, as his father told him, that they are just one of 11 players on the field. Mistakes come when a player presses or feels he must do more than usual. Simply do your job and trust that those next to you will do the same.

Is It Even Possible For The Cowboys To Beat The Saints? Of Course It Is! - Tom Ryle- Blogging The Boys
For the Cowboys it depends on fixing one key part of the team.

The offensive line has to get its mojo back.

OL La'el Collins' 'Business Decision' Makes Saints Game A Homecoming - Todd Archer- Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN
Cowboys rookie lineman La'el Collins, a Louisiana native, considered signing with the Saints after going undrafted, but then decided on Dallas.

"Definitely a big-time decision for me as far as where I want to spend my career, things I want to do," Collins said. "I looked at it that way. Definitely wasn’t an emotional decision. More of a business decision."

Randy Gregory Making Progress In Recovery From High Ankle Sprain -Rob Phillips- Dallas Cowboys
With the Cowboys needing as much help as possible, it's good news knowing that Randy Gregory is getting better.

"He’s probably maybe even a little bit ahead (of schedule)," Jones said. "It’s probably unlikely that he makes it before the bye but I think very likely that he makes it after the bye."

Brandon Weeden Bristles At Criticism Of Cowboys' Downfield Passing- Eric Prisbell - USA Today
Dallas' underneath passing game was on display Sunday but for all the talk of Weeden's strong-arm, not much was put to the test.

"Obviously you guys (media) are beating a dead horse talking about throwing the ball underneath," Weeden said Wednesday. "That was our plan all along. You look back, were there a couple times maybe I could have thrown the ball to outside receivers given the plays that were called? There were maybe one or two that I could have thrown out there."

Stephen Jones: Cowboys Can’t Go O-fer While Tony Romo’s Out- Clarence E. Hill Jr. The Star-Telegram
Stephen Jones expects a better effort in the coming weeks from his team but the one thing he expects most is wins.

"Of course. If we go O-fer while Tony’s out, we’re probably out of it," Jones said. "But I don’t think we feel like that’s going to happen. I think we can win football games with the team that we have. We’re going to get better. No, we’re not trying to hold on. We’re trying to win games."

Ranking NFL Teams By Percentage of Cap Charge For Players On The Field in Week 3 - One. Cool. Customer - Blogging The Boys
A look how much of their salary cap the 32 NFL teams actually put on the field in Week 3, with some surprising results.

If you're wondering about the Cowboys, they fielded 45 players on Sunday with a combined cap charge of $79.9 million, the second lowest value in the league. Taken as a percentage of the total cap, the Cowboys fielded just 58% of their salary cap versus theFalcons on Sunday. So what happened to the remaining 42% of the Cowboys cap?

Dallas Cowboys Coaches Need To Be Better - Todd Archer - ESPN

With the Cowboys facing tough times, their coaches need to be better in order for them to win games.

What the Cowboys can’t have are coaching miscues. Jason Garrett mismanaged the clock at the end of the first half, calling a timeout with 46 seconds to go and giving Atlanta time to kick a field goal before halftime. A 14-point advantage was trimmed to 11 points.

Gosselin: Cowboys Need NFL's Best Offensive Line To Live Up To Reputation - Rick Gosselin- Dallas Morning News

So far this vaunted offensive line has seen it's share of struggles, time for them to become the elite unit they were a season ago.

The Cowboys were up, 28-17, at halftime last Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. When the Cowboys were up by two scores at halftime a year ago, everyone in America knew what was coming. The Cowboys were going to run the ball down your throat in the second half, winding down the clock and grinding down the opposition.

Vertical Throws Or Not, T. Williams Says WRs Must Be "QB Friendly" For Weeden -Nick Eatman- Dallas Cowboys

The receivers in Dallas were not satisfied with their performances against the Falcons and vow to be more quarterback friendly for Brandon Weeden.

"Brandon did good. He didn’t try to force the ball down the field," Williams said. "We have to keep working. There were some times (to get the ball outside), but it’s my job to be ready, no matter if it’s toward the end of the game or the first. There’re no excuses for dropping passes. Whenever the times come, I have to catch it."

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