Another great day of Cowboys news! Let's get started.
For those who love stats, Football Outsiders has DYAR, or Defensive-Adjusted Yards Above Replacement to judge wide receivers.
This gives the value of the performance on plays where this WR caught the ball, compared to replacement level, adjusted for situation and opponent and then translated into yardage.
Guess who's #1 in the NFL in this ranking? Cole Beasley! After noting that Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are both #2 in DYAR at their respective positions, Football Outsiders says that Cole Beasley is #1, giving Dallas the top group in the NFL.
You probably haven't heard very much, though, about Cole Beasley, and the excellent season he is having. Beasley went undrafted out of SMU in 2012, and since then has been nothing more than a nice third or fourth option in the Dallas passing game -- he set career highs last season with 52 catches, 536 yards, and five touchdowns. And his raw numbers this year are only marginally better -- he is tenth in catches and touchdowns, but 20th in yards, barely registering a blip on the NFL's radar. He hasn't gained more than 75 yards in a game all year. However, he has ten third-down conversions, tied with Antonio Brown for the league lead. And while he is in the top ten in with 33 catches, he has only been the target on six incomplete passes, and he is not the top 100 players in that category. When you take the modest value of his good plays, and then subtract the minute value of his bad plays, you are left with 202 DYAR -- and that, believe it or not, is the highest total in the league.
You have to read the whole piece, because it talks about how Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin dominated this stat back when Dallas used to win Super Bowls.
Bob Sturm's weekly Decoding Linehan piece is also required reading. This week he gives credit to Linehan for springing Lucky Whitehead on two huge plays, and breaks down with film how Dak and the Dallas offense neutered the Green Bay blitz.
Sunday was yet another impressive offensive showing for this young Cowboys squad, which took apart a decent Green Bay defense for what many of us would call a near-perfect offensive performance in this league.
We hear coaches talk about objectives quite a bit over the course of their many visits with the eager media. They talk about scoring touchdowns instead of field goals. They talk about production in terms of yardage. And they talk about winning the turnover battle.
So here is the checklist as I see it for an A-plus offensive performance:
- 28 points or more
- 400 yards or more
- Win the turnover battle
And by all of these measures, the Cowboys had quite a day in Green Bay. Six scores on 11 possessions for 30 points; 424 yards of total offense; +2.
This is a nice tribute to Jason Garrett for the poise the team has shown.
If there was a game for a young team to become distracted or feel a little too good about itself, this was it.
The fact it wasn't an issue -- the Cowboys built on a dominant win over the Bengals with an equally impressive 30-16 victory over Green Bay at Lambeau Field -- speaks to the focus of this team and how the players have bought into Jason Garrett's message of living in his day-to-day world.
Garrett's insistence on being better at the end of the day than you were to start and his refusal to look ahead is drier than the wisdom Bill Parcells loved to impart for public consumption. But it's impossible to argue with the 5-1 record as the bye week begins.
"Let's do give Jason a lot of credit,'' owner Jerry Jones said. "He won't bite that cheese, as Bill Parcells says of looking down the road.
"It was about this game. He had this team ready to go, prepared, and that's to the entire staff's credit.''
Not only is Ezekiel Elliott outrushing 25 NFL teams by himself, but he's on track to threaten Erik Dickerson's record.
Elliott's 703 yards is the second-highest total through a player's first six games in a season, second only to Eric Dickerson's 787.
Speaking of Dickerson, Elliott needs to average 112 yards the rest of the season to break his single-season rookie rushing record. Elliott is averaging 117 yards per game through six games.
The bye week is well-timed with all the injury concerns Dallas has: Dez Bryant, Tony Romo, Orlando Scandrick, Mo Claiborne, and many others. Turns out DeMarcus Lawrence came out of the Green Bay game dinged up too.
DeMarcus Lawrence also underwent an MRI on Monday morning for a shoulder injury he suffered in the win against the Packers. As might be expected, Garrett said the Cowboys plan to evaluate everyone on a day-by-day basis during the off week.
Get healthy boys!
And now for some Romo-Dak news.
Funny how the narrative changes when you are winning, isn't it?
The Cowboys owner and general manager wouldn't even speculate Tuesday morning on if the decision could stretch into November or December.
"I have no idea," Jones said on KRLD-FM (105.3) The Fan. "I don't have any idea. No one does, as to what the situation will be a game or games down the road. We don't have any idea.
"The main thing is, we're all looking at the same music, and we all feel the same thing. The team is very positive with each other. We feel like we can make mistakes and overcome them. Everybody feels good about what we're doing. But we all feel equally as good based upon the best thing you got in the past, about Romo. We don't have to be definitive in drawing any bright lines right now."
Taylor talks about Tony Romo's competitive juices, but it might not be enough.
This situation is new to Romo, but it's not new to professional football. Aging stars always seemingly spend their last few years trying to hold off some talented newcomer.
The only reason Tom Brady took Drew Bledsoe's job is because coach Bill Belichick viewed Brady as a guy who could be a long-time starter once he had an opportunity to play.
The only reason Parcells benched Bledsoe for Romo is because he viewed Romo as player who could start for decade. All he needed was a chance.
Now, Prescott is trying to take Romo's job with a series of stellar performances no matter how many times Prescott tells us this is Tony's team. If the Cowboys ultimately choose Prescott over Romo, it's because Garrett, Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones view Prescott as a player capable of starting for a decade.
As long as Prescott is healthy and Romo isn't, the answer is easy. It will also be easy if Prescott starts to stumble. It's when Prescott is still great and Tony Romo is healthy that things will get a bit harder.
By being vague about Romo’s return, the Cowboys are simply kicking the can down the road on this decision.
Eventually they will have to make one. The easiest decision comes if Prescott’s level of play drops and Romo is fully healed. The hardest decision will be if they keep winning and Romo is fully healed.
Jones doesn’t call it a "problem." He calls it a "great situation."
Here's another article that demonstrates Dak Prescott's calm confidence.
But the thing about Dak is that when he makes the statement 'I played in the SEC, Lambeau's no big deal,' for us who have covered the SEC for 30 years, we understand where he's coming from.
Seven Dallas Morning News writers give their views on what will happen versus what should happen. Most side with Prescott. But they are just opinions. Here's what Jerry Jones added.
"We're going to have a very, very, very good situation to make decisions around," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after his team's victory Sunday in Green Bay. "There's nothing I'd rather do than go into the last half of the season with a ready-to-go Tony Romo and a winning Dak Prescott. I dream of being able to make that decision."
We'll finish with a little tidbit showing the team is being more disciplined.
A year ago, the Cowboys were penalized 46 times for 334 yards, but 18 of those penalties and 142 of those yards came in one game. This year through six games, the Cowboys have 39 penalties with 36 accepted for 284 yards.
Bye week is here!