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Cowboys News & Notes: Even With Tony Romo Out, Redskins Can't Take Cowboys Lightly

Latest Cowboys headlines: Jason Hatcher cautions the Redskins not to take the Cowboys lightly; why Manziel doesn't make sense for the Cowboys; ranking the winningest SB Nation sites.

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Hatcher: No Romo helps, but Redskins can’t take Cowboys lightly - Mike Jones, Washington Post
If you're part of the "film-don't-lie" crowd, you've got to take some comfort from Jason Hatcher, who spent time on Cowboys film and cautions the Redskins not to take the Cowboys lightly.

"With Romo in the game or out the game, they play hard football. They’ve got identity over there," said Hatcher. "They’re one you’ve got to respect, not look over. You can’t think of them as a mediocre football team. They’re way better than [3-8]."

Hatcher further explained, "They’re one of those teams you can’t look over, because they’ve been in every football game, until late, they kind of give it away or fall away. But to look at them on film, you wouldn’t think they were 3-8."

Scout's Eye: This Matchup Hinges On Kirk Cousins' Ball Security | Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
Broaddus explains that if the Cowboys can pressure Cousins, he'll make mistakes that should ultimately allow the Cowboys to win the game.

Defensively, the Cowboys don’t need this game to be tight. Grab a lead, build on it and force Kirk Cousins into a game that he is not comfortable playing in. Do this and a much-needed victory is within grasp.

Twitter mailbag: Why is there a need to tank? - Todd Archer, ESPN
Archer doesn't leave anybody guessing with his take on tanking.

I've been amazed at this tanking talk. I just don't get it. Well, I do understand the thought of it, but these players and coaches would never just tank. They don't get to where they are with that kind of thought process. That shouldn't be a surprise. But for those wanting the Cowboys to tank, why change what's worked so well so far? The Cowboys are 3-8 trying their hardest and are in position for a top-five draft pick. Do they really need to alter their approach over the final five games? They won't finish 3-13.

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Claiborne Expects to Return to Action Monday Night | Scott Crisp, NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne expects to return against the Redskins on Monday night, after missing the past two games with a strained hamstring.

Rookie Byron Jones Happy To Continue Contributing Wherever He’s Needed - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
Phillips points out that in the last five games, Byron Jones has played 320 of 323 defensive snaps, alternating between the safety and corner positions as needed.

"I think he’s done a lot of good things at different spots for such a young player," Garrett said. "It’s not like he hasn’t played these positions before. He played safety for two years in college and played corner for two years. I think he’s demonstrated a comfort level at each of them.

Jason Witten a bit bummed No. 1,000 won't come from Tony Romo - Todd Archer, ESPN
Just two catches shy of 1,000, Cowboys' TE Jason Witten wishes Tony Romo was healthy to help him reach the milestone.

"I guess it’s a bummer that Tony is not going to be the guy to do it just because so much of our success was together, but ultimately I don’t need a catch number to define our success and our journey together. I’ll look back on how I got there and he was a huge part of that and still is a huge part of my success, our success together, so I don’t think that will affect it ... Sure, I’d love him to throw it, but at this point, you’re just thrilled that anybody will throw it to you and you can reach a milestone such as that, so I reflect back on the journey, not just the number of catches."

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Hatcher: Tyrone Crawford is "going to be a hell of a player." | Jon Machota, SportsDay
Hatcher and Crawford spend the offseason working out together, so Hatcher knows Crawford pretty well.

"He's got a lot of potential he still hasn't tapped into yet," Hatcher said during a conference call this week with reporters at Valley Ranch. "He hasn't really scratched the surface of what kind of player he can be."

"I see times where he's just not really sure, not really confident in himself. But once he can get that figured out, it takes time with a young guy like him. That comes with reps. Once he gets it figured out, he's going to be a hell of a player."

"I think he's a guy who's just continuing to gain more and more confidence in what he does," coach Jason Garrett said. "He's done a lot of different things for us both in base and in nickel [defense]. I think you're seeing a guy who's just getting better and better, a real tribute to the kind of player he is, but maybe more than the approach that he takes. The more he plays, the better he's going to get."

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Greg Hardy on Bill Barnwell's Must-December Team - Bill Barnwell, ESPN
Barnwell takes a look players whose short- and long-term professional futures will be defined by what happens to them over the remainder of the regular season, and one of those guys is Greg Hardy:

Don't pretend for a moment that the Cowboys were the only team interested in Hardy this offseason. The fact that Dallas gave Hardy a one-year deal worth at least $10 million if he stays healthy should tell you the Cowboys were competing with other teams for Hardy's signature.

While Dallas is all but eliminated from the playoff picture, Hardy has much to play for. With 4.5 sacks over seven games, he needs 3.5 more to make it to eight and earn a $500,000 incentive; a 10-sack campaign would kick in an additional $500,000. And if Hardy continues to produce, more teams will be inclined to look away from Hardy's abhorrent behavior and justify a long-term outlay for one of the league's best pass-rushers.

Optimistic Jerry Jones keeping Romo on Cowboys roster with playoffs in mind: 'He'll be ready' | SportsDay
Jerry Jones explains why Tony Romo hasn't been put on IR.

"Let's just put it like this, we didn't deactivate Tony for a reason, and that is if we should get to the playoffs then he would be available for us in the playoffs," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan's G-Bag Nation show [KRLD-FM]. "I'm speaking for myself. Jason Garrett, of course, would be the ultimate decision-maker, but one of the reasons we thought [about] using a roster spot is so that he could be available for the playoffs."

Cowlishaw: Why Manziel doesn't make sense for Cowboys | SportsDay
In recent chat, Cowlishaw put his foot down on all the Manziel-to-Dallas nonsense.

There is baggage off the field and there are real issues on the field as far as what he can and can't do. If you go after Manziel, your starter needs to be Kaepernick or someone more Manziel-like so you can design an offense that works for both. Manziel can't come in here and run the Dallas offense.

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Daunting task for Dallas Cowboys, fans: Separating fact from fiction - Clarence Hill, The Star-Telegram
Out of the blue, Clarence Hill of all people suddenly anoints himself the Grand Poobah of Reality Checks and tells us all that it's "time to separate fact from fiction so you can head into the final five games with open eyes and a clear conscience and accept the new Cowboys normal for what it is."

A clear conscience? Dude.

Which SB Nation NFL Sites Have The Best Record? - Turf Show Times
Strictly for fun, the guys at the Rams SB Nation site take a look at how each NFL team has done since their SBN community started. Not surprisingly, Turf Show Times has covered the worst football of any NFL team since September 2006.

Perhaps a little more surprisingly, the Cowboys have compiled an 89-70 record since BTB Bossman Dave Halprin launched the blog in 2005. That's the eigth best record in the league. Not bad for a team that's currently 3-8.

Oh wait, am I dabbling in fiction now? Oh no, my conscience is clouding over again.

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The physics of collisions in the NFL - Mike Shilstone, NOLA.com
Shilstone reflects on how much more violent - and dangerous - collisions in the NFL have become. Good read, not just for physics fans.

The story said that in the 1920's the average NFL lineman weighted 190 pounds, where as today these players average 300 pounds. A 330-pound defensive lineman, who runs the 40-yard dash in less than five seconds, may impact a quarterback during a sack with 1,700 pounds of force – roughly equivalent to being in the driver's seat when your car hits a brick wall at 18-20 mph. That same 190 pound defensive lineman would impact the QB with 970 pounds of force.

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