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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Dez Bryant, Randy Gregory To Return After Week 6?

Latest Cowboys headlines: Smart money is on the Cowboys over the Falcons; how the Cowboys defense destroyed the Eagles; Bryant and Gregeory scheduled to be back in Week 7; R. McClain and Hardy back for Week 5; La'el Collins to get first start.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Jones: Very fair goal to think Dez Bryant will be back after Week 6 bye | Jon Machota, SportsDay
Stephen Jones gave the latest update on Dez Bryant's probable return date yesterday.

"Our prognosis has never changed," Jones told the Ben and Skin show on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. "I know there have been a lot of people who have doctors on their media staff and like to speculate on these things, but we've been pretty consistent from Day One. At first we thought maybe four to six [weeks] and that changed to six to eight. By the next day we were pretty much thinking six to eight.

"We really feel like it's a very fair goal to think that Dez will be back after the bye."

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: Dez Bryant says pain is 'going away' - CBSSports.com
Jerry Jones weighs in on the status of his star receiver.

"We want him keeping in shape and keeping all the ligaments around it in shape," Jones said of Bryant. "He can. I just had a great visit with him. The pain is going away by the day and that's important. His procedure gives me a lot of confidence that he will be able to have a positive recovery."

"With Dez, he's just going to have to take time and get healed up properly," Julio Jones said Wednesday. "You don't want to rush it and then it sets you back. If you come back too early, then it can put you back again. So, my thing to Dez is, just get fully healthy and then you can go out there and help your teammates."

'Very likely' Randy Gregory returns after Cowboys' Week 6 bye | Jon Machota, SportsDay
Stephen Jones also provided an update on Gregory's anticipated return.

"It's probably unlikely that he makes it before the bye," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan's Ben and Skin show [KRLD-FM]. "But I think very likely that he makes it after the bye."

Stephen Jones: Rolando McClain ready to return; 'We feel as good about Ro as we've ever felt' | Jon Machota, SportsDay
Stephen Jones is confident that McClain will be ready to go when he's eligible to return in Week 5 against the New England Patriots.

"We feel as good about Ro as we've ever felt," Jones said Friday on 105.3 The Fan's Ben and Skin show [KRLD-FM]. "I think he's in the best shape that he's been in since we've had him. I know he's ready to go play football."

Jeremy Mincey will miss Sunday’s game with a concussion | Charean Williams, The Star-Telegram
Jeremy Mincey was diagnosed with a concussion late this week, putting him out of Sunday’s game.

Jack Crawford likely will start at right end. He played mostly inside for his 28 snaps in the season opener, but with Gregory out against the Eagles, Crawford played only one snap inside and the other 36 at end.

The Cowboys have only three healthy defensive ends in Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence and Ryan Russell. They also have linebacker Kyle Wilber, a former defensive end whom they can use as a pass-rusher.

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Cowboys rookie La'el Collins will pick up first start at LG against Atlanta | David Moore, SportsDay
Collins will get his first start Sunday afternoon against Atlanta, Stephen Jones said. The start gives the 2015 rookie class its first start of the season.

Fantasy Roundtable: Will Joseph Randle run wild? - Rotoworld.com
In this week’s fantasy roundtable, the guys at Rotoworld ry to make sense of an injury-ravaged Week 2 while weighing in on the best replacement options, and Jesse Pantuosco likes Joseph Randle, even if it's only because he doesn't like Brandon Weeden.

With so many guys on the shelf, who do you see playing a bigger role this week? For Dallas, it has to be Joseph Randle. The last thing the Cowboys need is Brandon Weeden polluting the air with 30 or 40 of his wobbly passes. My guess is Weeden will game-manage the heck out of this thing and let Randle and Darren McFadden run hog-wild.

Scout's Notebook: Coping With Losses On The D-Line, Other Final Thoughts | Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
Broaddus offers up a veritable cornucopia of interesting nuggets about the game. I'll leave you with two of them.

As simple as this might sound, Dallas missed James Hanna last week in the running game. With Hanna back in the lineup, expect to see improvement -- especially on those runs where he is at the point of attack. Hanna might not be the most physically impressive blocker, but he has a keen understanding of how to capture the edge. When he’s paired with Jason Witten, he finds ways to get movement.

Keep an eye on the matchup inside with these Dallas defensive tackles and Falcons center Mike Person. What I have noticed in studying these games is that Person tends to struggle sustaining his blocks – especially when a defender is physical with him. There were plenty of snaps where Person would snap the ball, have an initial surge, and then go to the ground. Person should be tested early and often in this game to see if he can hold up.

5 Cowboys-Falcons Questions with Blogging The Boys - The Falcoholic
Dave answers the Falcoholic's questions.

Gosselin: Cowboys' survival guide with Brandon Weeden at QB | SportsDay
Gosselin goes back to 1991, when Steve Beuerlein stepped in for Troy Aikman against the Eagles ,to make a point about what the Cowboys need from Brandon Weeden.

The Cowboys survived despite a 9-of-31 passing performance by Beuerlein for 145 yards. They survived because Beuerlein didn't turn the ball over. No interceptions, no fumbles and only one sack against a team that led the NFL in defense, sacks and takeaways that season.

And that's what any NFL team wants from its backup quarterback: mistake-free football. That's how you survive when your Pro Bowl starter can't go. And that's the challenge facing Brandon Weeden on Sunday as he embarks on what looms as an eight-week engagement filling in for Tony Romo.

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Thursday night showed that the Dallas Cowboys should be OK in NFC East | Shutdown Corner - Yahoo Sports
Even down more than half a dozen starters, Frank Schwab likes the Cowboys' chances of taking the NFC East.

It's fair to wonder if the Cowboys will struggle in the upcoming weeks. But if you say they won't win the NFC East, you have to answer a simple question: Who is good enough to take it from them?

NFL Odds: Cowboys one of best Week 3 bets - SI.com
Oddsshark suggests you should take advantage of bad lines that are being offered due to a somewhat skewed public perception.

The Cowboys lost Tony Romo to a broken collarbone last week, and the general consensus seems to be that Dallas can’t survive without their star signal caller. While there’s no denying that Brandon Weeden is a major downgrade at quarterback, the Cowboys still boast an elite offensive line and a running game that will be tough for the Falcons to handle in their Week 3 matchup in Dallas.

While everyone wants to talk about Atlanta’s perfect 2-0 start, they could just as easily be 0-2. Both of their games came down to the wire, and this is still a Falcons team that has been notorious for poor play on the road. Dallas is another team that shouldn’t be getting points, so we’re glad to scoop up the Cowboys at +2.

Dallas Cowboys Twitter mailbag: No love for the defense? - Todd Archer, ESPN
Archer answers a question about the appreciation of the defense.

I think there has been plenty of love for the defense through these two games. I don't know how anybody could have imagined better through two games or a showing like last week without Rolando McClain, Greg Hardy, Orlando Scandrick and Randy Gregory. I don't know if we can expect this for the whole season, either, but they will have to play at a high level during Romo's absence. This defense is about effort and Rod Marinelli gets maximum effort from everybody, and that leads the production. We'll see if they can be a top-10 defense at the end of the season -- the returns of McClain, Hardy and Gregory will help.

Why the Eagles are failing on offense - Pro Football Focus
It's been almost a week since the Eagles game, and pundits are just now beginning to understand that the main reason why the Eagles sucked so badly was because the Cowboys played them so brilliantly.

Dallas destroyed the Eagles’ run game – a strength of the team over the past couple of seasons – creating some completely farcical statistics. Sam Bradford was the team’s leading rusher … with nine rushing yards, all of which came on one scramble. DeMarco Murray had 13 carries … for two yards. This game is littered with plays where the Cowboys are just completely prepared for what’s coming, and know exactly how to destroy it, usually by shooting the right gap, or at least overloading the area the Eagles are trying to attack.

Bob Sturm's Marinelli Report: Breaking down Cowboys' humiliation of Eagles' offense | Dallas Morning News
This post is from Wednesday, but it's well worth your time, even it means reading it a second time. Some excerpts:

It is one thing to stop a defense in their own stadium, it is quite another to make them show dread that they have to walk back on the field again. Most of the NFL will blame that on the ineptness of the Eagles' offense, but the Cowboys deserve top credit for taking the opportunity to not allow the home side even a moment of optimism.

You are allowed to get a little bit excited about this Cowboys defense now.

Again, it is ok to use the term "dominating" after the league wanted to crown the Eagles the greatest offense we had ever seen in Mid-August because they lit up a few vanilla defenses in the preseason. Silly rabbits.

Lost in the Romo injury sadness was one of the best defensive performances the Cowboys have put up in years. They humiliated their rivals for all the NFL world to see.

After Further Review: There's line play and then there's Tyron Smith - Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com
Pete Prisco takes a deep look at film of the Eagles' loss against the Cowboys in an attempt to figure out what happened to Chip Kelly's high-flying offense (the Cowboys defense happened, that's what!), and can't help but notice Tyron Smith.

Watching the Cowboys line work, which happens to be one of the best, if not the best, my eyes kept watching left tackle Tyron Smith. He was a Pro Bowl player the past two seasons, and he is significantly better now than he was a year ago. He has always been a great athlete, but now his technique is so sound. He has great feet, but also knows how to use his hands and all the little tricks to keep his quarterback clean and get movement in the run game.

All struggling left tackles should pop in Smith's tape as a how-to on playing the position. Smith is on his way to being one of the best ever if he continues his growth. Now in his fifth season, he is doesn't turn 25 until December. On a good Dallas line, he is clearly playing the best of all of them right now.

Cowboys are close to getting what they need from Tampa 2 scheme - J.J. Taylor, ESPN
JJT argues that the Tampa 2 needs big-time players at three key spots to thrive. So who are the Cowboys' Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and John Lynch? Sean Lee, Tyrone Crawford, and J.J. Wilcox.

"In Tampa Bay we were built on a few principles," Marinelli said. "When you have a system that disguises and you rep the same things every day, you see things faster and you can play faster.

"Disguising forces the quarterback to work through the process, and it adds more to your package without making it complicated. We make the complex simple and for the quarterback we make the simple look complex."

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Source: As Cowboys prep for Falcons, Kellen Moore Is The No. 2 QB - For Now - Mike Fisher, CowboysHQ
In an article marked with a "Breaking News" sticker and citing Cowboys sources, Fisher confirms what everybody had known all along: Kellen Moore will be the No. 2 guy on Sunday.

National analyst: Cowboys now have worst quarterback in NFL | SportsDay
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com ranked the 32 NFL quarterbacks and has Brandon Weeden ranked dead last.

I guess we'll see about this, but I'm fairly confident that Weeden will have a better passer rating after Sunday's game than many of the QBs ranked above him on this list.

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ARLINGTON, Texas: Cowboys bring back trumpet with soloist for national anthems | NFL Football | Bradenton Herald
Shuyler Dixon of the Associated Press offers an interesting look at a longtime Cowboys tradition the Cowboys revived three years ago.

The Cowboys are one of the few teams in the NFL that use the same person for the national anthem each time. They went away from the more common approach of different anthem performers, usually singers, because executive vice president of marketing Charlotte Jones Anderson thought it would be a way to connect with fans by bringing back a popular tradition.

(The tradition started on Thanksgiving Day 1966 and ended with [original trumpeter Tommy Loy's ] resignation in protest over Jerry Jones firing coach Tom Landry after buying the team in 1989.)

Anderson was thinking about one other thing: If there isn't someone singing the national anthem, fans have to do it.

If they were slow to catch on at first — [Trumpeter Freddie] Jones thinks it was his fourth game the first time he heard anyone singing — they seem to be getting the idea. The voices of 93,579 were clear for the Sunday night prime-time opener against the Giants earlier this month, with a giant U.S. flag covering the field the same way it was for his debut three years earlier.