Why the Cowboys will bully the Bucs and roll to a win on Sunday - Cameron DaSilva, FOX Sports
Tonight's game won't be about Dak Prescott, instead it'll be about Zeke Elliott and the ground game, DaSilva writes.
The Bucs are good against the pass, but they struggle against the run. They’ve allowed the 13th-most rushing yards this season, surrendering 110.7 per game. The Cowboys, on the other hand, excel at running the football, ranking second with 152.2 yards per game. While Prescott has struggled and seemingly hit the proverbial rookie wall, Elliott hasn’t missed a beat. He’s rushed for at least 83 yards in 12 straight games and gone over 100 in six this season.
Dallas’ offensive line will bully Tampa Bay’s defensive front, much like it did against the Bengals and Packers. Those were two of Elliott’s best games on the ground despite both teams boasting strong front sevens. Geno Atkins got his share of shots in, as did Letroy Guion for the Packers, but the majority of their tackles were made at the second and third levels. The Cowboys can do the same to the Buccaneers, and I expect them to.
Elliott and Dallas’ offensive line will set the tone and establish the run, showing the Buccaneers and the rest of the NFL what the Cowboys do best: control the clock and dominate on the ground.
Cowboys don't have to go (third-and-) long to find offensive issues - Todd Archer, ESPN
The Cowboys have converted just 2 of 24 third downs during the past two games. The solution? Do better on first and second down.
When the Cowboys have been great on third down, they have been great on first and second down.
On the season the Cowboys have 11 scoring drives in which they never made it to a third-down play. That is the best way to avoid third-down problems.
"You want to be good on first and second down. You want to make first downs on first and second down," Garrett said. "If you have 15 third downs in a game it's probably going to be a struggle. It's probably going to be a challenge. On the other side if you force them to have 14 third downs in the game it's going to be harder for them too. When we've played our best football we made a lot of first downs on first and second down but we've been in favorable third down situations."
Big question in Big D? The no-brainer answer at QB - Bucky Brooks, NFL.com
Which QB should Dallas roll with down the stretch? Bucky Brooks says the answer's obvious: Dak Prescott can't be benched for Tony Romo.
I know fans are emotional and temperamental, but I can't believe Dallas Cowboys supporters are flooding my Twitter timeline suggesting the NFC's top team would be better with No. 9 under center heading down the stretch. No disrespect to Romo and the remarkable career that he has enjoyed as the team's franchise quarterback, but Jason Garrett would be making a huge mistake benching Dak Prescott at this stage of the season.
Think about it this way: The New England Patriots' dominance began when Bill Belichick decided to stick with Tom Brady over Drew Bledsoe when the youngster guided the team to a red-hot finish as a super sub following Bledsoe's Week 2 injury. Brady learned valuable lessons along the way and has become the prototype at the position despite entering the league as a late-round pick.
That's why the Cowboys need to ignore the calls to reinsert the veteran into the lineup and stick with Prescott down the stretch. The rookie has played at a historic level and he needs to experience some adversity along the way to eventually develop the grit needed to become a champion. Whether committing a costly turnover or being fooled by a pre-snap disguise, Prescott must be exposed to tough situations to grow into the leader the Cowboys will need down the road. And who's to say Dak doesn't reclaim the form that had him boasting a sparkling 108.6 passer rating through the first 12 weeks of the season?
If the Cowboys are committed to building a team that consistently competes for the Lombardi Trophy, they will stick to the long-term plan and roll with Prescott into the playoffs. The experience undoubtedly will make him a better player and could help "America's Team" reclaim some of its '90s glory -- whether that's this season or in seasons to come.
Why it’s time for Ezekiel Elliott – not Dez Bryant – to save Dak Prescott’s job with the Cowboys - Tim Cowlishaw, SportsDay
Cowlishaw doesn't think there should be any type of discussion about Prescott's job security.
When a team that won all of four games in 2015 to truly earn the fourth pick in the draft finds itself 11-2 with both losses to one team by a total of four points, the quarterback who has directed this shockingly successful production should not be under fire.
But Prescott is under fire, and Cowlishaw suggests a strong dose of Ezekiel Elliott to alleviate that.
Against a defense surrendering 4.3 yards per carry, it's time for the Cowboys to overfeed Elliott. [...] Tampa Bay is better against the pass than the run, and no one has shut down Elliott since he got a couple of NFL games under his belt. He has rushed for 100 yards six times and 90 or more 10 times in the last 11 games.
In the process, if that allows Elliott to slide out of Dak's shadow into competition with New England's Tom Brady, Atlanta's Matt Ryan and Oakland's Derek Carr for the league's MVP honor, so be it. Prescott can deal with that, if it quiets the cries for Romo's return 13 months after we last saw him take an NFL snap.
Tony Romo may request, and get, a release in the offseason - Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk
Florio gets a jump on the Sunday morning NFL headlines by launching this speculative piece about what Romo may or may not want.
As one source with knowledge of the situation recently explained it, Romo may be inclined to request a release in lieu of a trade. This would maximize his options and, in turn, ensure that his new team won’t be diluting its roster by giving up draft picks and/or players.
A prob w/ #Cowboys Tony Romo asking to be cut is he has workable contract next 3 yrs, starting w/ $14M base in '17. Teams may want the deal— Jason Cole (@JasonColeBR) December 18, 2016
AUDIO: Don't Be Fooled Into Thinking There's a Quarterback Controversy in Dallas - Cowboys Sports Radio
Everybody heard what Jerry Jones said about Dak Prescott and Tony Romo following Sunday's loss to the New York Giants. But would Dallas really make a move this late in the season? Mike Fisher and Jamie Horton say don't believe everything you hear.
Twitter mailbag: Dealing with Jerry Jones' words - Todd Archer, ESPN
Confused about what Jerrry Jones is saying and why he's saying something in the first place? Archer has the Jerryspeak primer:
For as long as I've been covering this team -- 14 years and counting -- I'm still surprised at the reactions people have to Jerry Jones' comments. Anytime you hear Jerry speak, just follow it up with another statement he has made over the years: Just because I said it, doesn't make it so.
Jerry will sometimes say things for effect. He will sometimes say things he truly believes. What matters most, however, are the actions around his words. As much as he lamented Johnny Manziel getting away, the Cowboys never made a play for him, so there's that example.
But if you're wondering if Jerry's words have an effect on the locker room, I honestly don't believe they do. While these players are aware of what's said, I don't think they hang on his every word. I don't believe it goes with them to the field. So the next time he says something you don't like or even if you like what he said, just count to 10 and all will be well.
Four Reasons For Optimism As The Cowboys Close Out The Season - Blogging The Boys
Ever the optimist, Tom Ryle finds reasons for positivity amid what many fans are making out to be the biggest crisis the team has faced since, uhm, Jerry Jones fired Tom Landry, or something like that.
It has been an unsettled week for the Dallas Cowboys. After getting swept for the season by the New York Giants, there was an apparent disconnect between the head coach and the owner/general manager/carnival barker of the team. A roster move to get a veteran running back active led to losing a promising rookie on waivers. And now some disturbing injury news has defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence out for the coming game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and backup offensive tackle Chaz Green is going to injured reserve after a back problem flared up in practices this week. The miasma of worry is palpable among the fans.
Despite that miasma of worries, Ryle takes a step back, and offers four reasons that may help some distraught fans regain some perspective.
Thoughtless Cowboys fans don’t deserve their dream QB - Mark Cannizzaro, New York Post
Cannizzaro has some fun at the expense of Cowboys fans who've stretched Overreaction Monday all the way to Sunday.
The noise emanating from Dallas in the wake of the Cowboys’ 10-7 road loss to the Giants last Sunday night is everything that is wrong with sports today — sports that are littered with far too many rant-before-you-think hot takes saturating social media, talk radio and TV.
The MetLife Stadium scoreboard lights barely had read zeroes before Cowboys fans were calling for their prized rookie quarterback Dak Prescott to be benched in favor of veteran Tony Romo, who last played in a game Nov. 26, 2015.
The same Dak Prescott who helped lead the Cowboys to an NFL-best 11-1 record while throwing 19 touchdown passes and just two interceptions entering the Giants game.
Thankfully, from head coach Jason Garrett, has come some semblance of sensibility.
"You can make it as simple or as complex as you want to make it,’’ Garrett said while diffusing the Romo vs. Prescott discussion. "It’s pretty simple for us: Dak’s going to play quarterback as we go forward."
Dungy says every coach knows walkie-talkies are not allowed - Michael Smith, ProFootballTalk
Dungy ups the public pressure on the NFL to get after the Giants for their use of walkie-talkies during the game against Dallas.
Dungy said on NFL Network’s NBC-produced Football Night in New York that during his years as an NFL coach, the league made a specific point of making sure that every single coach knows exactly what is and is not allowed when it comes to in-game communications. Dungy said that if the Giants get off easily, he expects that coaches, executives, and owners of other teams will be upset, because it has been impressed upon every team that violating the in-game technology protocols will not be tolerated.
"You cannot use walkie-talkies," Dungy said. "To me this is very serious. If the league only issues a fine there will be owners calling the league office the next day."
New York Giants to be fined for walkie-talkie use, sources say - Adam Shefter, ESPN
Quoting unnamed sources, Shefter writes that the NFL is expected to fine the Giants for their illegal use of walkie-talkies.
The league said it has not made any final determinations on whether or not to fine the Giants or how much, but other sources said a fine will be coming for the Giants. However, the team is not expected to lose a draft pick for a violation that has offended various officials in other organizations who have complained privately about it throughout last week.
One NFL source said that even though the Giants weren't communicating with Manning within 15 seconds of the play clock ending, they had the "opportunity" to do it, in addition for it being illegal to have the walkie-talkies. The same source said this was worse than what the Cleveland Browns did, when they ultimately lost a draft pick for in-game communications during the 2014 season between former general manager Ray Farmer and former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.