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Cowboys News & Notes: Could Win In Tampa Be Start To A Season-Saving Turnaround?

Latest Cowboys headlines: Win in Tampa will breathe new life into Cowboys playoff hopes; Gerald McCoy thinks Cowboys' offensive line is formidable; Darren McFadden has established himself as the top back for the Cowboys.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys hoping for season-saving turnaround after 2-6 start | Clarence Hill, The Star-Telegram
Tony Romo’s return from injury next week feeds hope that a victory at Tampa Bay will breathe life into playoff hopes, Hill writes.

The Cowboys are hopeful they can right themselves in the second half because of Romo’s return for the Nov. 22 game against the Miami Dolphins and the overall mediocrity of the NFC East. The Cowboys believe 9-7 or even 8-8 could be enough to get into the thick of the division race. But that means going 7-1 or 6-2 the rest of the way. Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-5) is a must-win if the Cowboys hope to have a chance at something to play for when Romo returns.

"We’re still in the hunt in the division, but our focus right now is on trying to get one win," tight end Jason Witten said. "We’ll worry about next week when we get there with [Romo] coming back."

9 NFL Teams Worse Than the Redskins - CBS Washington DC
The Redskins revel in the fact that nine teams have a worse record than they do (for now), and provide a perspective for each, including this take on the Cowboys:

It does a heart good to know that the archrival Dallas Cowboys are in a worse position than the Redskins. Even in an division where one team is above .500, the Cowboys seem banished to the cellar. Will Tony Romo return in time to lead them on a miracle playoff run? Will Dez Bryant and Greg Hardy open a circus (or fight club) at Jerry World? Anything seems possible with this team, except the playoffs.


Gerald McCoy: Cowboys' offensive line is formidable - Greg Auman, Tampa Bay Times
Looks like DT Gerald McCoy has been watching tape of the Cowboys' O-line.

The best. You can quote me on that," McCoy said Thursday as the Bucs prepared for the Cowboys. "It's the best offensive line in the league. They work so well together. Individually they are all talented, but what makes them so good is how tight-knit of a group they are. If one guy gets beat, he's never beat because there is always somebody helping him."

"You have to look at it as an opportunity and experience," he said. "I'm sure people who play in the NBA one day when they retire ... you're going to say, 'I played against Kobe Bryant.' 'I played against LeBron James' or whoever it may be. ... I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be fun."

Bucs WR Mike Evans aims to redeem himself against Cowboys | Fred Goodall, Fresno Bee
Evans had six drops against the Giants last week. That's something Cowboys fans would like to see again on Sunday. His eight receptions for 152 yards? Not so much.

Cowboys’ Defense Wilts In Fourth -
Yesterday, these guys found out that the Cowboys corners have amassed a grand total of zero interceptions so far this year. Today they found out that the Cowboys wilt in the fourth quarter.

I figure there must be a leak at Valley Ranch somewhere if this information is getting out like that.


Darren McFadden more than just consolation prize for Cowboys - Brandon George, SportsDay
Yesterday, the DMN's resident curmudgeon, Rick Gosselin, announced in bold letters that the Cowboys were getting exactly what they paid for with their running backs. A day later, George writes that the Cowboys are getting much more than they paid for.

McFadden has 462 yards on 113 carries and is on pace for the second-best season of his career. Only once has McFadden rushed for more than 707 yards in a season. That was his lone 1,000-yard season in 2010, when he had 1,157 rushing yards in 13 games.

"He's running incredibly well," Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin said. "It's great to see on film. He's never going down the first hit. He's always falling forward, and as an offensive line we really recognize that and see how hard he's working."

Midseason report: Cowboys’ newcomers are contributing, despite some baggage | Drew Davison, The Star-Telegram
Collec tively, and sporting a 2-6 record, nothing has panned out for the Cowboys. But individually, some of the newcomers have positively impacted the Cowboys, and Davison gives a thumbs up and a thumbs down for every Cowboys newcomer. Three examples:

DB Byron Jones: The Cowboys’ first-round pick has seen his playing time increase every week, and he has showcased his coverage skills and tackling ability. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli called him one of the best defensive rookies he’s coached in his 20 professional seasons. Jones is fourth on the team with 31 tackles, including 25 solo.

RB Darren McFadden: Has established himself as the top back for the Cowboys with a breakout game against the New York Giants in Week 7. He has averaged more than 25 carries and 111 rushing yards the past three weeks.

LG La’el Collins: Supplanted Ronald Leary as the starting left guard in Week 7 against the New York Giants, which is when the running game started to take off.

Read more here:

LB Keith Smith, not Mark Nzeocha, fills final spot on Cowboys' active roster - Rainer Sabin, SportsDay

I has a sad.

"Mark Nzeocha's going to be up this week," Garrett declared Wednesday.

But the guy the Cowboys promoted Saturday was a surprise. Keith Smith - not Mark Nzeocha - got the call. Smith was elevated from the practice squad and Nzeocha remains on the non-football injury list, where he has been since the beginning of the season.


NFL analyst Eric Davis: Dez tirade 'not a big deal' | SportsDay Staff
Former NFL player Eric Davis offers a very level-headed take on Bryant's outburst. The only problem is, level-headed analysis does not generate clicks, which is why the whole episode got blown completely out of proportion by interested parties whose primary interest is promoting themselves.

Eric Davis: It's not a big deal. I've yelled at reporters if they said something I didn't like, that I thought was out of bounds. If it was just about your football, if it was just about those issues, OK. You have a right to do that. You have a right to say that I made a bad play. You have a right to say I'm not playing well. Things like that. Once you go beyond that. Reading what I read about it, it seems as if Dez thought they were going beyond that. That's where I think, as a grown man, you have a right to tell another grown man that you don't like what he's doing. I don't think it affects the locker room. I don't think it affects the team and thinking that this guy's no longer going to do his job on the field. I don't think it's a big deal. I did it myself.

Reporter who acquired Greg Hardy photos takes to the air to share her opinion | SportsDay
Diana Moskovitz, the Deadspin writer that uncovered the photos related to Greg Hardy's domestic violence case, is milking her five minutes for every last drop.


NFL boosts security for Sunday games after attacks in Paris - Dave Hogg,
After Friday's terror attacks in Paris, the NFL announced it will increase security measures at stadiums this weekend. Three suicide bombers had planned to detonate bombs in the stadium during the France-Germany friendly match. Two detonated their bombs just outside the security screening area when they were stopped from entering the stadium, one bomb detonated a little further away from the stadium.

NFL to hold moment of silence Sunday to honor Paris victims | FOX Sports
League spokesman Greg Aiello tweeted Saturday afternoon that Commissioner Roger Goodell has asked teams to hold a moment of silence this weekend to honor the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday that left more than 129 dead and 352 more injured.

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