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Cowboys News: Why Cowboys Are A Better Team With Tony Romo - Despite "Impressive" Dak Prescott

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Latest Cowboys headlines: Cowboys won't push Tony Romo to come back early; Cowboys reconfiguring half of their starting defensive lineup; Dez Bryant likes operating out of slot.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Dak Prescott aside, Tony Romo must heal fully before returning - David Carr, NFL.com
With Dak Prescott playing well, David Carr knows Tony Romo must be dying to retake his job. But Carr also knows -- from painful experience -- how important it is for the Cowboys QB to heal first.

I've suffered the exact same injury, and I understand the pressure to perform in a league where there's always someone ready to replace you. But because of my experience, I also know he absolutely should not return until his back is fully healed, no matter how good he feels.

I broke my back when I was with the Carolina Panthers in 2007 -- a year when the team went through four starting QBs (the others being Jake Delhomme, Vinny Testaverde and Matt Moore) due to injury. I was hurt against the Saints in Week 5. The day after the hit that caused the injury, I couldn't even move well enough to turn on the bathroom sink. Two weeks later, I was surviving through practice. Three weeks later, I was playing against the Colts in Week 8.

Even though I could practice and eventually play on Sundays, my back hindered my ability. Honestly, I didn't feel great until about 8-to-10 weeks after my injury. But if I felt good enough, I wanted to be out there.

Stephen Jones: Tony Romo is coming along, but we won’t push it - Michael Smith, ProFootballTalk
The Cowboys are pleased with QB Tony Romo's progress since his back injury, but they don't need to be in a rush to get him back.

"He’s throwing the ball around now, so he’ll just keep doing more unless there is something that concerns us," Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News. "Right now everything is looking great. He’s feeling good and certainly feels good about the progress he’s making."

"Every injury is different," Jones said. "Everybody wants to say, ‘Well, we rushed him back last time and he got hurt.’ I think unfortunately it was a tough lick there that happened to hit him just right again. At the same time, unless he’s ready and the doctors feel like he’s ready to go, we won’t push it."

Ed Werder: How a healthy Romo helps Cowboys more than Dak Prescott - SportsDay
In a recent interview on KRLD-FM 105.3 The Fan Werder talked about how Tony Romo is a better option for the Cowboys than Dak Prescott - if Romo returns to his 2014 form.

The Tony Romo of two years ago is a better player and gives Dallas a chance to fulfill whatever potential the whole rest of the organization has than does Dak Prescott playing the way he is right now, as impressive as he has been for a rookie. Romo changes the whole equation, especially for a guy like Ezekiel Elliott. There's a reason he can't get loose and it's because they're so outnumbered at the line of scrimmage. Everybody is forcing the game into the quarterback's hands. Dak Prescott doesn't have a single completion so far of a ball that's traveled more than 20 yards down the field. He's going to have to create some of those kind of plays for Ezekiel Elliott and the offensive line to have the opportunity to do what they can do.

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys need to cash in on red zone chances - Todd Archer, ESPN
The Cowboys have scored touchdowns on only four of eight red zone possessions. Scott Linehan would like to see a conversion percentage at least in the 60s.

As fast as Prescott has gone through his progressions, things happen faster in the red zone.

"Most people defend the front half of the red zone, so you’ve got to have, from a schematic standpoint, have people in the front and the back, essentially high-low-type situations," Linehan said. "One of the things that helped us last week and continued to help us -- and even in the first game -- is having an ability to run it and throw it in the red zone makes you better down there."

"You’ve got to have that ball clean on a catch when you’re that close to throw it," Linehan said. "Those are the little things that can break down. Everything’s got to be timed good."

Bears passed on chances to draft Dak Prescott before Cowboys - Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune
Biggs provides an interesting perspective on why the Bears and all other teams passed on Dak Prescott in the draft.

One AFC scout suggested Prescott lasted until the end of Round 4 because he had so much playing experience at Mississippi State. The more film there was to watch, the more teams could find what was wrong with his game instead of what was right.

The Cowboys felt there was plenty of good tape as well as bad tape on Prescott, and they liked his game. They had not drafted a quarterback since selecting Stephen McGee in the fourth round in 2009. They got Prescott on board and went to work on cleaning up his footwork. He overextended at times, and that led to balls sailing on him. Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson got results, and Prescott took to the teaching.

Rapoport: "It's an incredible thing" to hit on a draft pick like Prescott - SportsDay
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport recently talked about Dak Prescott on KRLD-FM 105.3 The Fan, and offered this take on the rookie QB:

He was not their first choice, obviously, considering the round they took [him], considering who they targeted and all that.

They knew pretty quickly he was going to be really good. I think a lot of us who cover football, you can sort of see the teams that are really excited about the guys they draft. It comes out really quickly. You go to training camps [and] talk to people and everybody wants to brag about the guy they drafted. Dak is that guy. I don't think we know what the ceiling is yet, but I do know that when people say things like, 'He might be the franchise quarterback in five years,' I know they're pretty serious about it.

It would be tough to do better on a fourth-round pick than the Cowboys did on Dak Prescott. It's an incredible thing to hit on a draft pick like this, especially at that position.

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Maliek Collins Impressing Cowboys Coaches With Push For Playing Time - David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys may have provided a preview of their starting D-line against the Bears when they moved Tyrone Crawford to DE and played Maliek Collins alongside Terrell McClain at defensive tackle against Washington.

"Maliek did a good job in the game," Garrett said. "He was pretty active, not only affecting the quarterback and being around the ball when they ran it inside but he made some good plays coming out of the stack."

With the Cowboys hurting for pass rush production, it sounds like they might turn to this formation once more against the Bears.

It’s pretty remarkable, given the rookie’s trajectory so far this season. Collins broke his foot back during OTAs, and he missed the vast majority of training camp. Typically, when a rookie misses that much development, it takes time to acclimate to this level of play.

If that’s been a problem for Collins, though, he isn’t showing it.

Final Thoughts: Figuring Out The D-Line Rotation - Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
Like Helman, Broaddus sees third-round pick Maliek Collins getting his first NFL start on Sunday.

I fully expect that we will see Tyrone Crawford make the start at left defensive end in this game. The question will be whether Jack Crawford starts on the right side, or will it once again be Benson Mayowa? My gut feeling is that it will be Mayowa with Crawford backing up both sides. Look for Terrell McClain and Maliek Collins at the tackle spots.

Tyrone Crawford feels like a ‘butterfly’ at defensive end - Drew Davison, The Star-Telegram
Crawford spends most of his time as the three-technique tackle, but got some work at end during Sunday’s win at Washington - and he liked it.

"I feel like I get hit by a bus [at the three-technique spot]," Crawford said, smiling. "And this time after the game, I feel like a fricken butterfly.

"That’s a great thing."

How The Cowboys Are Remaking Half Of The Defense - Mike Fisher, CBS DFW
The Cowboys have been busy this week reconfiguring half of their starting defensive lineup. Mike Fisher lists the " half-dozen possible changes to an 11-man unit, which can be taken as a sign of "open-mindedness’’ on the part of the coaching staff … or a sign of a lack of consistent talent in the front of the Dallas D."

1. Orlando Scandrick may be out
2.-4.Tyron Crawford looks to be moving outside, with Terrell McClain taking his spot and Maliek Collins taking McClain's spot
5. Jack Crawford could get the start at RDE over Benson Mayowa
6. Justin Durant could start in place of Anthony Hitchens

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Lance Dunbar is the 'X-factor' for Cowboys offense - Todd Archer, ESPN
Scott Linehan explains:

"He’s kind of an X factor type of runner," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "He’s different. He’s a change when he’s in there because of his ability as a receiver, but he can run it. He can back up what we do with [Cole] Beasley in the slot at one play or he can play Beasley’s position in the slot when Beasley’s playing another spot. He gives us a lot of versatility where we’re not saying that we’ve got five wide receivers or four receivers and a tight end, sometimes we can have a running back in the game and run similar things or run the ball. Having a guy that has that versatility is I think huge for our offense."

Dez Bryant likes operating out of slot - Todd Archer, ESPN
Dallas often lined up WR Dez Bryant inside, off the line of scrimmage in Week 2, and he responded with a big game against the Redskins.

The biggest thing coach Jason Garrett and play-caller Scott Linehan did was put him in the slot more often, which gives him more route options and makes it harder for cornerbacks to use press coverage, because he’s lined up off the line of scrimmage.

"It’s still the game of football," Bryant said. "Wherever I’m at, I just have to learn it and do my job and play to the best of my abilities. When I’m in there they can’t really double as much and I have room to work. It’s a little bit more fun."

Cowboys offensive linemen Tyron Smith, Doug Free slowed by injuries - Drew Davison, The Star-Telegram
Tyron Smith had his back lock up on him during practice yesterday and Doug Free is fighting through a quad injury, though Stephen Jones expects both to play on Sunday night.

"We’re ready if something happens there, but we expect them to play," Jones said on Friday afternoon during an appearance to unveil the new Stadium Club restaurant at AT&T Stadium.

"If for whatever reason they can’t, we’ve got a good football player in [third tackle] Chaz Green and certainly Ron Leary and the whole crew."

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Numbers behind Aaron Rodgers' decline - Sean Wagner, CBSSports.com
The Cowboys won't play the Packers until Week 6, but news that Rodgers' decline is no longer a slump has got to have Cowboys fans perking their ears. Over the last eight games, Aaron Rodgers has a 79.6 QB rating, which is even worse than Blaine Gabbert over the same span.

Aaron Rodgers is still alive in real life, but he's in the middle of a stunning decline on the field, which can no longer be written off as a slump. It's real, lengthy, and, most distressingly, it might actually result in a new set of standards for a quarterback who was once on course to wind up as the greatest of all-time.

But eight games is only half a season. So, let's expand again, this time to 14 games, nearly an entire season's worth of games.

It's not any better. As ESPN's Rob Demovsky pointed out, Rodgers hasn't generated a passer rating of 100 in his past 14 games, including playoff games. In Rodgers' past 14 games, he's completed 57 percent of his passes, averaged 5.95 yards per attempt, thrown a touchdown on 4.26 percent of his passes, and tossed an interception on 1.48 percent of his attempts. His passer rating? 82.4.

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The Dallas Cowboys’ Stadium Club Opens Next Week - Amy McCarthy, Eater Dallas
Now you can hang out at AT&T Stadium all year long. The Cowboys are opening The Stadium Club on Monday, September 26.

A representative for Stadium Club tells Eater that the spanking-new bar inside the home of the Dallas Cowboys will open next week. Located near Entrance A, Stadium Club is inspired by the look of the now-demolished Texas Stadium, and will offer a "gameday vibe" even when the Cowboys aren’t playing.