Three months after a mental gaffe that may have been the difference maker in the only blemish experienced thus far by the Dallas Cowboys, it is Terrance Williams' confidence shown in the wake of his mental error that is defining what this team believes about itself.
"One play doesn't define me," Williams told SportsDay on Thursday. "The more you reflect on the mistakes you had, the more it's going to tear you up. ... I'm going to continue in any way that I can to help this team win."
The poise that Williams displayed in the wake of his mis-judgement has become emblematic of the way the 2016 squad has met other issues head on and persevered. Botched snaps, poor starts, nothing has deterred them from their mission and it all began on opening night.
Beyond the rookie backfield tandem of Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott, Anthony Brown is having quite a rookie season in his own right. Brown has stepped up and been effective where ever the Dallas defense has needed him.
“He’s done a heck of a job for a young player, playing nickel and then going outside now and playing outside at the corner,” defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. “And he hits. I’ve really been impressed with his ability to tackle and hit. He’s got nice ball skills and no panic to him.”
Not too shabby for a guy who fell to the sixth round of the draft, and because of that Anthony Brown is playing with a chip on his shoulder. The Dallas coaches hope that chip remains for a long time to come.
Morris Claiborne found a new life for his career this season and just when things were finally going his way a groin injury sidelined the Dallas corner. Injuries at crucial times have been the hallmark of a tenure that has not developed along the lines that anyone expected, but the former LSU defensive back is not letting adversity stand in his way. On Thursday he was back out on the field with his teammates going through the stretching part of practice. His return sparks confidence that Mo will be able to get a game or two in before the Cowboys enter the playoffs.
The Cowboys (11-1) have clinched a playoff spot with four games remaining in the regular season, but Claiborne hopes he can be back before the postseason begins.
“Well, the plan right now is to be back for the regular season,” he said. “We’ve got to get to where we can practice first and then once we start practicing we can go from there. But like I said, it’s a day by day thing. I can’t tell you it’s either next week or the next week after that. It depends on how I’m doing each and every day.”
USA Today reached out to several scouts, coaches, and players around the league in search of the secret formula to beat the Dallas Cowboys. Each member of the panel had one thing in common; their team has already tried and failed to stop the men who wear the star. Lessons learned, perhaps?
I suspect that most of us will take exception with one bit of ‘analysis’ regarding the play of Anthony Brown. Whoever added that tidbit must have seen one play against the Redskins.
The Cowboys gave Minnesota’s battered group problems while mostly rushing four, but not many offenses are that challenged. The Dallas defensive line relies on effort, movement and Marinelli’s scheme, with no true playmakers and no pass rushers that scare anyone. The personnel in the secondary is just OK, too — physical safeties, average corners as long as Morris Claiborne (groin) sits out. Rookie Anthony Brown has struggled. It’s a group that doesn’t make many mistakes but can be beaten physically. An offense with big skill players and/or a stud on the perimeter could expose them, and the blocking just needs to be serviceable.
With the Dallas Cowboys ramping up for a return to the post season, the fact that Dez Bryant is getting on a hot streak is good news for Cowboys fans and a nightmare of opposing defensive coordinators around the upper echelon of the NFL. Bryant is always a threat, but in the last four weeks he has 21 balls caught for 352 yards and four visits to the endzone.
Ever the master of the understatement, Jason Garrett had this to say about his top wide out.
"He's an awfully good football player. We're lucky to have him.'' - Jason Garrett
BB breaks down the two most critical match ups that Dallas will face in the upcoming contest. Each of the two Cowboys involved could easily be facing their best opponents of the season, and will have to bring their A games to find success. The results of their individual contests could determine which team leaves Met Life Stadium with victory in hand.
A nice tribute to Cowboys linebacker Dave Edwards, who passed away earlier this week.
Walt Garrison once was asked which Cowboy he believed should be in the club’s Ring of Honor.
“Dave Edwards,” he said, “for a lot of reasons. Such a good guy, such a funny guy, but he was a terrific strong-side linebacker. He had the strongest hands. Those tight ends never got away from him. Cornell Green knows. Those tight ends never got to the strong safety.
“He was one of a kind – tough athlete, funny guy and generous. He was a great linebacker, but he was a better guy.”
Perhaps the greatest interview ever conducted by David Helman.