Tuesdays tend to be the slowest days in the NFL's weekly news cycle - unless there are transactions. And, sure enough, the Cowboys obliged with several. Here we go...
BTB's boss man with the wisdom download:
The Cowboys will rely on Matt Cassel as the backup for the rest of the season, but all hopes rest on Tony Romo remaining healthy for the rest of the year. If the Cowboys have to go back to Cassel at any point, they probably stay in the running for a top five draft pick.
After cutting Joseph Randle and placing Lance Dunbar on IR, Archer notes, the Cowboys rushing rankings are not what we would have imagined back in August: Technically, Matt Cassel is the Cowboys’ second leading rusher with 66 yards on eight carries.
With Christine Michael being waived, Phillips writes, rookie running backs Rod Smith and Trey Williams moved up the depth chart and one step closer to carries:
Both players joined the roster in recent weeks – Smith was claimed off waivers from the Seahawks during the bye and Williams was signed off the Redskins’ practice squad Nov. 4 – but neither have touched the ball on offense yet. Only Smith has an NFL regular-season carry (two for five yards with Seattle).
Both have spent a lot of time learning the Cowboys’ offense, and both are staying ready to play.
Five weeks ago Corey White started a game for the Cowboys, Sabin reminds us. Indeed, he was seen as a player on the rise then. But now he's out of a job:
White was waived Tuesday in a move that raised eyebrows because starter Morris Claiborne is dealing with a hamstring injury that caused him to miss the second half of the Cowboys' 10-6 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday.
This will remain a weird move until we get proper information...
The Estimable Ryle with the straight dope on Tuesday's roster moves:
The Cowboys now are showing three open spots on the 5- man roster. One of them will be filled by Romo when he is activated, which does not have to happen until later this week. There was discussion on Twitter that one of the spots might be for linebacker Mark Nzeocha, but according to the roster at DallasCowboys.com, he is already one of the 50 players currently active, although that does not seem to have been officially announced. Another name that looks to be in play is offensive tackle and semi-myth Chaz Green, who was reported to have been working at multiple spots on the line in recent practices as the team considers activating him from the non-football injury list.
Of course, Tony's back...what will it all mean?
The Sturminator with his weekly look at the offensive production (or lack thereof) from the previous contest. After making a notebook's worth of good points, he shares his expectations for Number Nine's return:
Everyone knows he is a very good QB, and that might be all it takes, but to expect a guy with a 2-month layoff and what might be a dicey health situation to come in here and cure all that ails this operation is incredibly hopeful.
For me, I look for the return of a guy who simply can get the Cowboys in the right play.
For those of you who have been preparing for the AP exam in Jerryspeak, we have obtained one of the questions from last year's test:
Question 3: Please decipher this statement and translate it into lucid English. You have forty minutes:
"He's razor sharp as to the practicing of what we're trying to put on the field with our game plan..."
Some leftovers from Sunday's Turkey of a game...
Ross offers a list of ten takeaways from the Tampa Tribulation. Lost in all the media firestorm has been the play of the special teams, which boasted some legitimate bright spots:
Chris Jones arguably had his best game of the year in the middle of the best season of his career. Jones pinned the Bucs back all day, sending 4 of his 6 punts inside Tampa's 20-yard line. Meanwhile, the usual automatic Dan Bailey had his first missed field goal attempt of the year. He still made 2 other FG's, however, including a 53-yarder. Rod Smith and Cole Beasley also showed up on special teams. Smith returned a kickoff for 26 yards and Beasley had a career-high 22 yard punt return.
As the winless streak hits 59 days and counting, the crazy memes that we thought had been killed are beginning to take root in the cracks that are forming...
Archer talks about re-calibrating expectations: forget a playoff run, let's just get a measly "W." One thing they are not doing is living up to their t-shirts:
One of the t-shirts Garrett had made up this year reads, "Finish." The Cowboys haven’t come close to finishing. They have been outscored 73-30 in the fourth quarter and overtime during the losing streak. They couldn’t hold fourth-quarter leads against the Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks or Buccaneers, although none of those advantages were greater than three points.
The Goose has become a silly old man (or: the man has become a silly old Goose). Here, he manages to contradict himself in the span of fiver sentences:
There have been some hard luck cases over the years. Baltimore is 2-7 this season and six of its losses have been by six points or less. But to be in position in the fourth quarter to win six times in the last seven games as the Cowboys have and fail to win any of them -- that's a coaching issue. If you can put your team in position to win games, you need as coaches to figure out a way to close games out. But the bucket is empty with this coaching staff.
Wait, so Baltimore is 2-7 with a bunch of close losses and its "hard luck," but the Cowboys suffer the same bad fate and its because the "bucket is empty"? Can't have it both ways, old man....
Fish with a superb tongue-in-cheek list of 50 ridiculous Cowboys memes that have sprouted up in the wake of this extended losing streak. I'll share two of the best with you here:
50: Greg Hardy has injected poison into the locker room. Dallas sold its soul to the Devil here and has now lost all five games in which he’s played. And anyone who dares to even consider disagreeing with this karma-driven take will be called out by USA Today and Sports Illustrated as a "supporter of domestic violence’’ who might also be a Nazi-loving baby-eater who doesn’t recycle.
11: The "Cowboys Culture’’ is an "enabling culture.’’ Which is true. As was the Cowboys culture when Jimmy was here. As is the culture of all football teams willing to hire people to do a dirty job … thereby supporting some dirty habits on the side. Without being inflammatory, the New York Giants "enabled’’ Lawrence Taylor for more than a decade while he misbehaved in some seriously heinous ways. But he won them Super Bowls and continues to be celebrated for it.
All the owners, all the coaches and all the fans of sports are "enablers’’ by virtue of their "support’’ of sports. That includes me. That includes you.
The fine folk over at FO release their updated DVOA rankings. After seven Romo-less weeks, here's where the Cowboys rate:
The weekly Aikman Efficiency Ratings come out, and the Cowboys come in 23rd overall:
Aikman has the Dallas at 20th overall (compared to 25th via NFL rankings) and the defense at 21st overall (NFL has them 17th). So, by Aikman's formula, they aren't as bad on offense as we think and aren't as god on defense as we think. Seems like an Even-Steven situation to me...
Archer joins Mel Kiper in reviewing the Cowboys recent draft crop. The highest marks to out to their first rounder:
On the week the Cowboys inducted Darren Woodson into the Ring of Honor, they put Jones in the starting lineup at safety and had him play the nickel spot, the same roles Woodson filled so well in his career. Jones was a cornerback when he was drafted, but the Cowboys kept open the option of him playing safety. He has done a good job covering tight ends, like Rob Gronkowski, and is a willing tackler. He has shown nice range, and coordinator Rod Marinelli said he can't remember a rookie defensive back making such a favorable impression. The Cowboys never really replaced Woodson, whose last year was 2003, but Jones is the closest to a long-term answer.
Comparing Jones to Woody is the highest possible praise.
Miami's head coach, and the Cowboys' former tight end, admits that he was a big Cowboys fan growing up (really, who isn't?). It looks like he took to football in the early eighties:
"That's pretty good. I want to say Tony Dorsett," Campbell said. "The high school years was certainly The Trio [Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin], but before that I loved Dorsett. I loved Danny White. That was kind of my growing-up era. I loved Randy White, [Ed] 'Too Tall' Jones. I mean I was a big fan of all those guys."
I wonder if he voted in this summer's "Best Cowboy" tournament...?
As the headline suggest, Lambert ranks the contenders for the draft's top pick. I guess its good not to come in first here, right? Here's what he has to say about your Beloved 'Boys:
#8: Dallas Cowboys (2-7)
Status: No matter what they’ve tried from strong rushing performances to stout defensive stands, the Dallas Cowboys just could not cover up the loss of Tony Romo at quarterback. Now, even as he returns from a broken collarbone, it may be too late to save the teams’ fledgling playoff hopes given rust and schedule considerations.
Because its required by law. Cowboys law: