Let's start with the murky Randy Gregory situation.
Less than a week after splitting with agent, Cowboys' Randy Gregory in New York to appeal drug suspension - Kate Hairopoulos, DMN
What's clear from the article is that Randy Gregory's agent fired him last week, on the eve of a hearing on the appeal of his latest suspension for apparently missing a drug test. Most reports currently available suggest the hearing went on as scheduled Tuesday, despite Gregory having no representation.
What we do know is that a ruling won't be issued immediately, but it could be before the Cowboys play January 15th.
Gregory registered his first career sack in last Sunday's loss at Philadelphia and is a welcome addition to the Cowboys' pass rush. Yet Jones offered caution following Gregory's return against the Lions, saying he wanted to temper excitement in case Gregory won't be eligible in the postseason. Executive vice president Stephen Jones revealed Sunday that the appeals hearing would take place before the Cowboys' playoff opener on Jan. 15.
Could Randy Gregory play in playoffs after agent switch? - Clarence Hill, The Star-Telegram
Hill breaks down the legalese.
Gregory, who missed the first 14 games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, was in New York on Tuesday hoping to win an appeal for another missed test that put him the cross hairs of a lengthy suspension.
That he recently parted ways from his agent and didn’t have representation didn’t postpone or delay the hearing.
So there is no issue of due process.
The NFL refused to comment on the matter.
Per a source, the result of the hearing will not be announced today.
Gregory was terminated by his agent Deryk Gilmore last week. He has yet to hire a new agent.
He had hoped the NFL would delay the hearing to give him time so a new representative could review the case and handle the appeal.
As long as we're on players, the Cowboys apparently worked out Jonathan Cooper.
Cowboys Bring In Jonathan Cooper For Work Out, Debate Signing Former First-Round Pick - Dave Halprin, BtB
The idea appears to be lining up depth on the line at least, with Ron Leary certain to move on as a free agent after his solid year.
Cooper was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2013 with the seventh-overall pick. After an injury-plagued stint in Arizona, he was shipped to the New England Patriots along with a second-round pick for Chandler Jones. The Patriots subsequently released him and the Cleveland Browns claimed him. He played a few games there but was released again.
Cooper was once a highly-prized prospect from the University of North Carolina. Scouts gushed about his ability as evidenced by his seventh-overall selection in the 2013 draft. He broke his leg in preseason in his first year, went on IR and never again played up to his abilities.
Cowboys ready to call La'el Collins back from injured reserve - Todd Archer, ESPN
And it looks like La'el Collins will be back. So long Ryan Seymour (the extra lineman the Cowboys activated this week to cover for the resting of Tyron Smith and Ron Leary).
"I think that we're pleased physically with where he is," Jones said. "I think he's going to physically be able to go. We got a 21-day clock that we can put him on. We'll probably start that clock with him, which means he'll just be zeroed in on doing specifically football work. He, for all practical purposes, is through with his rehab."
How Tony Romo made the most of his illogical snap count vs. Eagles - Bob Sturm, DMN
Changing gears, here's Sturm's weekly Decoding Linehan piece, which provides season ending numbers, and highlights the one Tony Romo series that ended with Dallas's only touchdown. He provides a season-long passing chart for Dak Prescott, with this commentary.
My main man, John Daigle, made this beauty yesterday. It is the full-season throw chart for Dak Prescott. Every last throw is here. It is clear that his best attribute is knowing where to throw the ball to increase his chances for good things and decrease his chances for bad. This is a positive, for sure. Look how seldom he messed with deep safeties. I would love to run a similar chart for the NFL's interceptions, and I bet you would see one big yellow circle in the middle of the field, between 15-25 yards.
Pretty even distribution from left to right, and the depth of his throws ranks right there with the best quarterbacks in the league (and more importantly to many, it seems, Romo's 2014 masterpiece) -- despite the silly narratives that try to say otherwise.
Penalty numbers high, but they didn't break Dallas Cowboys - Todd Archer, ESPN
Looking at season-ending charts, Archer provides one for Dallas penalties. Not sure his conclusion is that sound, as penalties really hurt the Dallas offense against Minnesota and in some other games. Though 13-3 would likely be his response.
The Cowboys had more than 100 penalties for the fourth straight year, finishing with 105 for 879 yards, but seemed to be more disciplined than in the past, even if their opponents were flagged only 90 times for 784 yards.
Aaron Rodgers, Ezekiel Elliott among regular-season stats leaders - Katherine Terrell, ESPN
Zeke wins rushing honors by 318 yards, and is third in rushing touchdowns with 15.
I got this on lock and I hold the https://t.co/AXgYNZnN5P https://t.co/uV13bJBbmn— Ezekiel Elliott (@EzekielElliott) December 27, 2016
Coordinator Rod Marinelli has Dallas defense peaking at right time - Jean-Jacques Taylor, ESPN
Most thought going into the season (before Romo was hurt) that the Dallas defense was several players away from being able to help the team compete for a Super Bowl. But look where the team is now, thanks to Rod Marinelli.
"We're playing defense the right way," coach Jason Garrett said. "We play up to our standard of discipline and hustle and hitting and all of those things we try to preach each and every day.
"For the most part, we've done a good job of keeping scores down all year. We play good situational defense, but everything I just said we can get better at, and that's where our focus is."
Marinelli has the Cowboys' defense playing its best football entering the playoffs. We shouldn't be surprised. This has been building to a crescendo all season.