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Cowboys News & Notes: Jerry Jones Muddies Romo Status, Stephen Jones Clarifies

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Plus more on Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Anthony Brown, Sean Lee, Tyrone Crawford, and the upcoming game against the Cleveland Browns.

The saga continues.
The saga continues.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys: Every time Jerry Jones talks, Tony Romo regaining his starting job slips further and further away | SportsDay

If you are tired of the whole Dak Prescott or Tony Romo debate, that's sad. Because it isn't going away, and things just get murkier - especially when the NFL's master of murky statements, Jerry Jones, is talking.

"You want to be very mindful of what you've got going, which right now we got a lot of chemistry going," Jones said. "That has got to be really recognized if you're making a decision. When you got it going, we know these things can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for everybody involved. We look at it that way."

Every time Jones talks, Romo becomes further and further away.

Practice Update: Romo Absent; Battling Through Secondary Injuries | Dallas Cowboys

It should be remembered here that Tony Romo has a long history of taking Wednesday off.

That isn't exactly surprising, since team owner/general manager Jerry Jones has already ruled out the possibility of Romo playing this weekend. But it will be interesting to monitor his continued progress as the week goes along.

Dallas Cowboys: Stephen Jones: Tony Romo did not suffer setback; at some point we'll need Romo and he'll be ready | SportsDay

A lot has been made about what Jerry Jones has said (and not said) about Tony Romo, but if you have been around here long, you know that you are much better served listening to what Stephen Jones says.

"I think the longer we can continue to get him ready to play the better chance he has to stay upright when it is time for him to play. I just think it's a great situation for us right now. We'll continue to work both sides. Obviously Dak [Prescott] is doing a great job playing right now. Tony's doing a great job working on his rehab, getting himself in the best possible shape he can be in for when the time comes that we're ready for him to go."

Dak Focused On Learning From "Sloppy Game" - Not Talk Of Team’s QB Situation | Dallas Cowboys

The clamor about when (and if) Tony Romo will replace Dak Prescott as the starting quarterback just does not seem to affect the rookie at all.

"It never goes through my head of, ‘I've got to do this or that or this is going to happen,'" Prescott said. "It really doesn't matter to me. They'll make that decision regardless of how my play is if they want to make that.

"So I just go in and worry about these teammates, these guys that believe in me and that I believe in and just try to have a great day every day."

Ezekiel Elliott Enjoying Setting A Physical Tone For Cowboys' Offense | Dallas Cowboys

There are those that maintain that Ezekiel Elliott is the real engine driving the success of the Cowboys so far. They may be right.

"I just think that during the game there has to be a moment where you have to set the tone. You have to let them know that you're a physical player," he said. "When you let those defensive backs know that you're a physical player, they don't really want to tackle you. That's why you see me get a hurdle every game -€” those guys don't want to tackle me when I get to the second level."

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott could hit 1,000 yard marker in Week 9

We don't want to count any chickens before they hatch, but . . .

Elliott enters the game still leading the NFL in rushing with 799 yards on the ground, an average of 114.14 yards per contest. He'll be facing the 31st-ranked rushing defense in Cleveland, a team that allows an average of 143.8 yards per game.

If this is beginning to sound like it could be a 200-yarder for Elliott, rest assured there's nothing wrong with your ears [eyes].

Even With Dak & Zeke, CB Brown Might Be Cowboys’ Most Surprising Rookie | Dallas Cowboys

This draft class doesn't just have two real stars playing now, it has some depth. Anthony Brown has exceeded expectations almost as much as the far more discussed Prescott.

"He's one of those guys who early in training camp he was doing OK—kind of looked like he was a rookie," Garrett said Wednesday. "And then as training camp rolled on and we started playing in some preseason games, he really grew quickly."

Brown's steady rise has given the Cowboys the confidence to think they have the depth to handle an injury to Claiborne amidst a career year.

Dallas Cowboys: Sturm: A thing of beauty! How Cowboys' Sean Lee, Tyrone Crawford took over Eagles game | SportsDay

A lot has been said about the cost/benefit of the contracts of these two players. The past few weeks may show that Dallas is now getting its money's worth.

Tyrone Crawford (5 years/$45 million) and Sean Lee (6 years/$42 million) are the two players the Cowboys have invested heavily in and for many reasons -- health, supporting cast, roles -- but they have not exactly paid off their promise with delivery.

But there is reason to believe both are now back in the middle of the Cowboys' defensive success, which has now shown us seven games of evidence over which the defense has not allowed 24-plus points even one time this year. Fourteen sacks and 10 takeaways get them up to "league average" numbers and they held Philadelphia under 300 total yards, which will win almost any game against anybody.

Phillips: Actually, Defense’s Success Is No Surprise - With One Key Improvement | Dallas Cowboys

Along with the emergence of Dak and Zeke this season, the Dallas defense has been surprisingly effective. The field general for that unit has a pretty good explanation about what has changed this year from 2015.

"I thought last year it was more about fourth quarter and turnovers," linebacker Sean Lee said. "If you look at the tape, I think there were things we did well. We didn't make big plays down the stretch last year. We lost nine games really within the fourth quarter where teams drove on us when we had a lead."

Dallas Cowboys' mindset on fourth down: Go all in - Dallas Cowboys Blog- ESPN

It has been a bit surprising to see the emergence of Gamblin' Jason Garrett this season as the team has repeatedly gone for it on crucial fourth downs. But that new risk-taking attitude seems to be guided by some good decision-making.

They have run five plays on fourth down and converted each time, including twice in last week's overtime win against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Eye on the Cowboys Enemy: Breaking down the Cleveland Browns

The next opponent for Dallas is the winless Cleveland Browns. But no NFL game should ever be taken lightly.

There's nothing about this game that should indicate the Cowboys won't handle the winless Browns mightily, and it's precisely for that reason they should be careful to not get overconfident. For an example look no further than the once undefeated Minnesota Vikings, who are now on a two-game slide after losing on Monday Night to a Bears team who had only registered a single win up to that point.

Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys' approach to game vs. winless team; how Mark Sanchez recently got the best of Dak -- off the field | SportsDay

There's a little concern about this being a "trap" game for the Cowboys. Sounds like at least one player has the right attitude.

"You know, I didn't even know that," defensive end Tyrone Crawford insisted Tuesday (when asked about the Browns being 0-8). "I thought maybe they won one or something. ...But I don't care."

How Trent Williams’ suspension changes the NFL playoff picture for Washington - SBNation.com

Here's a little dose of schadenfreude about the suspension of Washington's LT Trent Williams.

This suspension will affect Washington's offensive line because Williams is the catalyst of that unit. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has only been sacked 11 times this season. Now, his star blindside protector will be out of action against the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, and Arizona Cardinals.

Offensive Line (Woes) Drive NFC East | Pro Football TalkLine

Never forget that the line is the foundation of any great NFL offense, and the Cowboys are the only team in the NFC East that is in really good shape now.

Be it poor offseason GM decisions, injuries or the need to have some illicit fun offensive line woes have reached out and rocked each team in the NFC East. Only one has had the depth on hand to absorb the blow. That team is on top of their division and faces the Cleveland Browns next week.

It's good to be the king. It's great to have depth. It's awesome to have a healthy offensive line.

NFL Network suspends Brian Baldinger for saying Eagles should put a bounty on Ezekiel Elliott - SBNation.com

Good.

Since the Saints' Bountygate saga, the NFL has adopted a no-tolerance approach to dealing with teams who reward players for knocking opponents out of games with injuries, which is precisely what Baldinger was suggesting the Eagles do to Elliott.

Apparently that no-tolerance approach applies to all employees, as well. Baldinger will be suspended for six months without pay.

Follow me @TomRyleBTB