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Cowboys News: Return Of Bryant, Scandrick, Lawrence Makes Dallas "Even More Intimidating."

Latest Cowboys headlines: Idea of trading Tony Romo nothing more than talk-radio fodder; 13-3 record predicted for Cowboys; are Cowboys the best young team in the NFL?

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Jones expects Dez Bryant back for Week 8 - Chris Wesseling,
Wesseling wonders whether the NFC East's best team is growing even stronger.

On Friday's appearance with Dallas' KTVT, per The Dallas Morning News, owner Jerry Jones said he expects the trio of wide receiver Dez Bryant (knee), defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (shoulder) and cornerback Orlando Scandrick (hamstring) to play versus the Philadelphia Eagles next week.

The returning trio, though, have the potential to be Dallas' best performers at their respective positions in the second half of the season.

The NFC East's most impressive team is about to grow even more intimidating.


NFL's Greatest Franchise Rankings: Futures - Mike Freeman, Bleacher Report
Mike Freeman ranks the 32 franchises in terms of promise by looking at the top five young players on each team (under 30) and handing out a "Young Prospect Rating" for the rest of the young players on the roster and their future outlook/productivity. The result of the exercise has the Cowboys at No. 1. Here's why:

Prescott, in fact, has the chance to be one of the top five throwers in the league for the next 10 years. It is rare for a rookie to show such smarts and poise. It almost never happens.

Ezekiel Elliott is another future great.

But you cannot talk about the future of this team without mentioning the young and vibrant offensive line. It's already one of the best we've seen maybe in decades. They will only get better.

This isn't necessarily solely a reaction to what the Cowboys are doing now. That's part of it. But what you can see is just how quickly Prescott learns. It's Joe Montana-like. That's not hyperbole. It's true. And if you can find a franchise quarterback, that is half the battle.

Elliott, surprising Prescott give Dallas backfield of future - Shuyler Dixon, Associated Press
There is little doubt that Prescott and Elliott are the future in Dallas.

Regardless of the drama over who should start once Romo comes back from his fourth back injury in less than four years, Dallas figures to have found life after the 36-year-old with a growing history of injuries.

"I think we're off to a good start," said quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, who spent more time with Prescott than anyone on the staff before Dallas took him in the fourth round. "He's certainly impressed. There's a lot of football left to be played. I think that he's shown that he can handle it, on the field, off the field and nothing's too big for him."

That's another theme that runs through these rookies - their pedigree. Prescott is the winningest quarterback in Mississippi State history, and shares the distinction with Tim Tebow as the only SEC quarterbacks with at least 70 touchdowns passing and at least 40 rushing.

Elliott is the second-leading rusher at Ohio State, and Dallas owner Jerry Jones watched him score four touchdowns on the Cowboys' home field when the Buckeyes won the national championship in the 2014 season. The 21-year-old Elliott entered the bye leading the NFL with 703 yards rushing, and the fourth overall pick in the draft is the first rookie with four straight games of at least 130 yards.

Mel Kiper NFL rookie Big Board 2016 - Cowboys strike draft gold - Mel Kiper, ESPN
Kiper ranks the top rookies through week 6 and has Prescott and Elliott at No. 1 and No. 4 respectively.

1. Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys. Previously ranked: 2 | Final 2016 Big Board rank: 114

How can Prescott not move up to No. 1? The fourth-round pick is No. 2 in the league in Total QBR, he just set the record for passes without an interception to open a career (176) and the Cowboys are 5-1. As Tony Romo inches closer to a return from his back injury, an interesting QB1 decision looms.

4. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys. Previously ranked: 8 | Final 2016 Big Board rank: 8

Before the draft, I said Elliott was one of the best running back prospects to enter the league over the past decade, and he is already leading the league in rushing -- by more than 100 yards. He's also leading the league in carries. The Cowboys have relied on him too much so far. How about saving his legs when they're up by two touchdowns?


Trading Tony Romo? Nothing more than talk-radio fodder - Todd Archer, ESPN
I think "talk-radio fodder" is my favorite description for all the nonsense that passes as Cowboys news these days, and the idea of trading Romo ranks at the very top of the seemingly endless list of moronic ideas currently floating around, as Archer explains in his latest Twitter mailbag.

The Cowboys don't want to trade Tony Romo this year -- or maybe ever -- but they just couldn't do it this year and make it work. The 'Let's trade Romo in 2017,' talk has already started, so let's talk about that for a moment. If the Cowboys trade Romo with his contract as is, then they would have to eat $19.6 million in dead money. Sure, they save about $5 million against the cap but Romo would count $19.6 million against the cap anyway. That would be if they cut him as well. But back to a possible trade: it would be difficult but not impossible to pull off. Teams that are quarterback needy have always overpaid for a quarterback either on a draft pick or free agent. So I wouldn't doubt the Cowboys would find suitors if Dak Prescott shows he's ready to be the guy for well into the future. What would it require? There has to be at least a first-round pick involved. But let's not get carried away just yet on a scenario that is merely talk radio -- or Twitter mailbag -- fodder at the moment.

Jerry Jones calls the idea of the Cowboys trading Dez Bryant 'absurd' - Will Brinson,
Four years after retiring from football, Donovan McNabb is still trying to find ways in which to become relevant. His latest ill-conceived idea: go on sports talk radio and says Dallas should trade Tony Romo and Dez Bryant.

This was a ridiculous idea; the NFL doesn't work like fantasy football and you don't give up top-end talent like Bryant.

Still, because it's 2016 and we need to get answers, 105.3 The Fan's G-Bag Nation, a CBS Sports Radio affiliate, asked Jerry Jones about the idea of trading Dez. And he understandably called it "absurd" before sneaking in a great line about the idea.

"That's actually the very first I've seen or heard of that," Jones said via the Dallas Morning-News. "That's absurd. We may have been blessed with our depth because we're having some young receivers come on, but make no mistake about it, Dez Bryant's a major difference-maker. We got a long way to go. He singularly can make a difference in big games. We're anxious to get him back.

"There are no plans, no thought, I've not even had a bad dream about trading him."


Staff Writers Share Thoughts on QB Situation - Dallas Cowboys
All four staff writers weigh in with their take on Dak vs. Tony. Here's what Broaddus thinks.

Bryan Broaddus: I am trying to look at this in the way that Jerry and Stephen Jones would approach it. As happy as I am about the way that the team has responded to Dak Prescott - I still need to know what I have in Tony Romo not only for the remainder of this season but also looking ahead. The Jones have a huge payment due to Romo next season and they surely don't want to go into the off season wondering what path they should take? If Romo doesn't play it makes that decision even more difficult. At least with DeMarcus Ware they had a feeling that the money didn't match the level of performance they were getting from him thus they made the call. Romo needs to be handled in the same way as Ware. Play him and once his level of performance is identified - make your decision. If Romo has success, all is good. Poor play or injury then should allow you to move on with Prescott going forward and work to adjust the cap. All this doesn't happen unless they play him and that is likely soon that later.

John Madden on the Prescott-Romo decision: ‘I wouldn’t make a change’ - Steven Ruiz, For The Win
Asked how he would handle the QB situation in Dallas, Madden offered this take:

Not being there and not knowing the exact situation, I’ll say what I would do and not what they should do. I always went with the hot hand. [Prescott] looks great to me. I watch him and he wins and nothing looks too big for him. He looks like he’s been there. He’s very, very impressive. I think it would be tough for them to make a change. If I were in that situation, I wouldn’t make a change.


Cowboys QB Dak Prescott Thinks Ezekiel Elliott is the Rookie of the Year - Adam Caparell, Complex UK
Caparell caught up with Prescott earlier this week, and the QB explained Ezekiel Elliott would be his choice for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Question: I know your aunt helped decorate your apartment, so I’m wondering if she told you where she thinks you should put your Rookie of the Year trophy at the end of the season?

Prescott: Nah, I mean I think we’ll put that in Ezekiel Elliott’s house for now. I mean, that’s not anything we’re worried about right now. We’re just worried about winning and I know Zeke thinks the same way I do. We’re just excited to be a part of this great organization and just being able to go out there and play this game. We want the goal at the end of the year. We’re not looking for personal accolades.

How a steak dinner shows Dallas Cowboys' camaraderie - Todd Archer, ESPN
Unlike other outlets that focused on the cost of the rookie dinner, Archer looks beyond the easy headline.

A day after beating the Green Bay Packers, nearly every member of the Cowboys, from the most-tenured veterans to the practice squad receiver, made their way to Nick & Sam’s in uptown Dallas. For the first time any veteran can remember, the rookie dinner was not held on different nights for the offense and defense.

"There’s not a lot of teams you can say that, where the camaraderie is as good as ours right now," defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford said. "But you know we’re playing well and we’re having fun. And I feel like that’s just how we need to continue rolling."


Ranking all 32 NFL secondaries entering Week 7 - Matt Claassen, Pro Football Focus
Fantasy football site Pro Football Focus ranks the league's secondaries from top to bottom, and surprisingly has the Cowboys ranked 4th overall.

Dallas owned one of the worst secondaries in the league last season, but through six weeks, they have turned it around with largely the same cast. Byron Jones was the only player to earn an above-average grade in coverage last year; now, Jones has continued to play well, while Barry Church and Morris Claiborne currently own career-highs in terms of coverage grades, and Brandon Carr is right around his best grade since joining the Cowboys. It’s been a remarkable turnaround thus far, but we’ll see if Dallas can sustain this level of play for the rest of the season.


DMN predicts 13-3 record for Cowboys - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Machota does a game-by-game prediction for the remainder of the Cowboys season and has the Cowboys ending up with a 13-3 record. The two losses?

11/20 VS. RAVENS: The Cowboys aren't going to run the table and go 15-1, are they? I think they'll lose a couple down the stretch. I just don't feel comfortable predicting a sweep of the AFC North.

12/1 AT VIKINGS: For the first time in a while, a defense has some success against Ezekiel Elliott. Romo doesn't have his best game and some fans call for Prescott to return as the starter. Jason Garrett sticks with Romo.

Sorry Redskins, but you don’t run the NFC East. The Cowboys do. - Neil Greenberg, Washington Post
Such a delicious headline from a Washington paper. But wait, it gets better.

As of Tuesday, the Cowboys run the NFC East.

According to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL forecast, Dallas is the only team projected to win 10 or more games in the division. That obviously makes them a solid favorite to win the NFC East, with odds of 57 percent, compared to 19 and 17 percent for Philadelphia and Washington, respectively. The Giants have just an 8 percent chance of pulling off an upset as division champs.

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