It’s time for the news after the Cowboys comeback victory over the 49ers, on the road, on Sunday.
The lead story should be about the Cowboys players who propelled the team to victory, and we will get to that momentarily. But let’s go ahead and get the latest Dez Bryant craziness out of the way. Adam Schefter got hold of some anonymous sources who said Bryant has missed or been late to 20-40 meetings or other engagements at the Cowboys facilities over the years. Bryant was obviously not happy.
While Bryant has consistently been an offensive focal point for "America's team," he said Sunday that he must be "America's most hated."
"We don't even know who's saying it," said Bryant, after sources earlier told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that Bryant had been tardy to or missed 20 to 40 meetings in his career. "That's the crazy part about it. I get messages from my friends, talking about, 'It's just crazy.' Because it is crazy."
Apparently one of Schefter’s sources is a Cowboys player who would remain anonymous.
"If you were hoping for him to come to a scheduled meeting, he may or may not be there. But if you need a first down on third-and-14, throw it to Dez," said the Cowboys player, who spoke to ESPN under the condition he remain anonymous.
Hard to believe that a current Cowboys player would feel the need to go outside the locker room to say something like this. Jerry Jones defended Bryant, sort of.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said "on the face," the number of reported missed meetings by Bryant was not accurate, though he offered that "since the beginning of time, meetings and the timeliness of his meetings have been his No. 1 issues."
I think it’s pretty clear that Bryant has a problem with being on time to some extent, and we know that he missed meetings earlier this week. He probably needs to make a good show of not being late or absent for the foreseeable future.
On to the game, the Cowboys rockin’ rookies once again were the main impetus in a Cowboys victory. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott have changed the dynamics on the Cowboys. With plenty of star power lost to injury, they willed the Cowboys to a win (with a big assist from the offensive line).
Prescott was again outstanding, finishing the day with 245 yards off of 23-of-32 passing with two touchdowns and, more importantly, no interceptions. For his part, Elliott topped the century mark for the second consecutive week, rushing for 138 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
Nicely done by the dynamic duo.
Along with another outstanding performance from Prescott, the Tony Romo debate only keeps growing.
The talk has been that Romo could return from his back injury after the Cowboys’ Week 7 bye, and the next two games — vs. the Cincinnati Bengals and at the Green Bay Packers — clearly will be tough for Prescott and the Cowboys, especially with Bryant’s health not clear. But we at least have to wonder if the discussion on who starts this season changes just a bit, even if Romo is cleared for action.
We’ll say it this way: Romo likely is the guy. Jerry Jones has said it. Jason Garrett believes in Romo. The Cowboys rally around him. Even Prescott has said that this is Romo’s team. But it’s very possible that Prescott could be asked to shepherd the team even longer if there is any doubt about Romo’s status. Having seen what we have of this precocious rookie, why risk things?
Even a famous ex-Cowboy weighed in.
Several seconds later, after Prescott's dink to Cole Beasley went for 47 yards and Aikman declared the game to be "on ice," he brought up a topic surely being debated on the other side of TV screens throughout Cowboys country.
"Dak Prescott," the three-time Super Bowl champion and Hall of Fame quarterback began, "throwing a little more fuel on the fire whether or not he's going to lose his job when [Tony] Romo comes back healthy."
It certainly is making the decision a little harder than one would have thought a month ago.
After Ezekiel Elliott struggled to get his footing in the NFL, there was plenty of talk about whether the Cowboys should have used their fourth-overall pick elsewhere. That was certainly premature as we noted at the time, and Elliott is now on fire.
He left the 49ers field like a world boxing champion, his arms raised in the air with fans chanting his name. He said it reminded him of leading Ohio State to a national championship two seasons ago.
"Oh, I love it. I love the Zeke chants," Elliott said. "That's something I'm used to from Ohio State. Actually, in the national championship when we won, the last touchdown I scored we were on the goal line and everyone knew I was going to get the ball and the whole AT&T Stadium was chanting Zeke. I love it."
A month into his rookie season, Elliott has lived up to his fourth overall pick. He leads the NFL in rushing with 412 yards on 94 carries.
Redemption. If the word to use for Dak Prescott is poise, maybe redemption is the word for Morris Claiborne. After years of enduring injury-filled seasons and with chants of “draft bust’ in his ears, Mo has been redeemed this season.
“Everybody loves Mo, and everybody sees the work that he’s put in,” said Sean Lee. “Especially when a guy gets injured and he battles back from these injuries.”
It was the highlight of a resurgent season for Claiborne, who has risen from a seemingly-endless list of injuries and disappointments to become the Cowboys’ best defender to this point in the season. Not only did it kill a San Francisco drive, but it registered as Claiborne’s first interception since his game-clincher against the then-St. Louis Rams back in September 2014.
When will the Cowboys star left tackle return? That’s a great question after it was revealed he was suffering from a bulging disk.
Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith is dealing with more than back spasms. The Pro Bowl left tackle missed his second consecutive game Sunday at San Francisco with a bulging disk issue.
Smith said after the win over San Francisco that his disk is beginning to "calm down." Smith, who warmed up before Sunday's game on resistance cords, said he's progressing and he should have a good shot to play Sunday against Cincinnati.
More back problems for the Cowboys in the form of Dan Bailey. The almost automatic kicker missed his second 47-yard FG in consecutive weeks.
Bailey was dealing with back tightness before Sunday's game against San Francisco and it plagued him in the game.
"We were very concerned before the game," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said of Bailey. "Not surprised at all that he missed the field goal. Thought that was a pretty good time to check it out. Might not have wanted to try another one during the game -- a long field goal. There's no question that he had a limitation there."
Maybe you noticed that this game almost sounded like a home game for Dallas. After Terrance Williams scored the Cowboys first TD, there was a huge roar in the stadium.
So it was a nice change of the narrative at Levi’s Stadium Sunday when it was filled with chanting Cowboys fans toward the end of the 24-17 victory against the San Francisco 49ers.
Said quarterback Dak Prescott: “It’s America’s team and we kind of expect that. Everywhere we go the fans show up like that. So we are thankful for that.”
Of the 70,178 fans in attendence [sic], more than half were wearing Cowboys colors. They grew louder as the game went on and had the stadiuim [sic] to themselves at the end.