Randy Gregory Suspended, Won’t Be Eligible For Playoffs - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys
The NFL lowered the boom on defensive end Randy Gregory.
The Dallas Cowboys had hoped that somehow Randy Gregory wouldn’t be suspended until after the NFL playoffs were over. The NFL ended that dream today when they suspended Gregory for at least one year. The suspension begins now, ruling him out of the upcoming playoffs and wiping out his regular season in 2017.
With Gregory’s 2017 wiped out, he would only have one more year on his rookie contract after that, the 2018 season. The question for the Cowboys now becomes do they want to carry Gregory through next season in hopes that he can finally produce for the organization in 2018. And that is only if he doesn’t have another violation along the way.
Jaylon Smith Says Nerve Is Regenerating, Should Be Ready for Offseason - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys
Stepping away from the short term, the longer term outlook for the Dallas defense also received a lift with positive news regarding Jaylon Smith.
Smith went on to say he believes he could have played in the playoffs this year at an elite level. The Cowboys obviously decided not to test that theory, instead giving Smith plenty of time to heal. He thinks he’ll be ready to go in May when the 2017 offseason program will begin.
Smith’s return could drive the Cowboys already great draft to historic levels. With the success of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Maliek Collins and Anthony Brown, the Cowboys are already assured of a successful 2016 draft. Smith, a player who could have gone in the Top 5 overall of the draft, would make it one of the best drafts ever if he returns and plays at his talent level.
It would also solve a problem at linebacker, where only Sean Lee is elite, but the Cowboys other linebackers run the gamut from good, to potentially good, to serviceable. Having a second star at that position would elevate the Cowboys defense going forward.
Report: Cowboys designate OG La'El Collins for return from IR - Patrik Walker, CBSSports
Along with the move to place Randy Gregory back on the suspended list (which I chose not to comment on) the Cowboys have used the space he freed up for La’el Collins potential return. Head coach Jason Garrett hinted at his return earlier in the week.
“[Collins has] worked very hard to come back,” Garrett said Monday, via Fort-Worth Star Telegram. “We’re going to give him every chance to do that. Whether he’ll be available to practice this week, I don’t know that right now. He’s working with our strength and conditioning coaches. He’s working with our trainers and our rehab guys really each and every day. We’ll see how he does over the course of this week.
"We’re certainly hopeful at some point he’ll be able to come back this season. We’ll just take his situation day by day.”
Ron Leary has done an amazing job in Collins absence and he will remain the atarter, but it never hurts to have a talented offensive lineman ready just in case.
NFC PLAYOFF PREVIEW: Can 2 rookies lead Dallas back to the top? - Arnie Stapleton, Oakland Press
Six teams are left alive in the race to represent the National Football Conference at the Super Bowl in Houston, Texas next month. AP pro football scribe Arnie Stapleton gives us a run down of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the remaining teams, starting with the top seeded Dallas Cowboys.
Hope: Prescott and Elliott keep rolling right along and don’t allow the pressure of the playoffs to get to them. Coach Jason Garrett used the season finale against Philadelphia to allow Romo to shake off the rust , just in case. While many playoff teams have QB issues, Dallas has depth at the position.
Nope: The rookies could run out of magic in the playoffs, especially if a defense short on headlining playmakers gives one of the NFC’s elite passers plenty of time to work over a secondary that hasn’t produced many interceptions over the last two seasons.
The Dope: “We’re as healthy as we’ve been all year. We’ve got players we didn’t dream we would have when we started training camp. Let’s let it all empty the bucket in our three games. Whatever we can do, think of, let’s do it over those three games.” — Jones, seeking his fourth ring but first 21 years.
Rest, no trips part of bye weekend message for Cowboys - Clarence E Hill, Jr, Ft Worth Star-Telegram
It has been nine seasons since several members of the Dallas Cowboys spent their playoff bye weekend in Cabo, but with the team in a similar situation in 2016 there are many who refuse to let the matter remain where it belongs; in the past.
Speaking with reporters, current Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott refused to be drawn into the discussion about Tony Romo’s weekend jaunt the last time Dallas had a first round pass in the playoffs. In fact, the rookie passer played the whole thing off like he had never heard the story, despite the fact that he had earlier in the season confirmed that he had no plans for a weekend getaway should his team earn a bye.
Credited all season for his leadership and impressive maturity, Prescott was ready and waiting for questions about his bye-weekend plans.
“Nice try,” he responded. “Hanging out. Getting rested.”
How many times this week has he heard talk of Cabo?
“None,” he said, tongue firmly planted in cheek.
What about Miami?
“Zero,” Prescott said.
Scout's Eye: Steve Spagnuolo Knows How To Limit Cowboys' Offense - David Helman, DallasCowboys.com
Yeah, I know that Scout’s Eye is Bryan Broaddus’ domain, but (at least as of the time of this writing) the article does appear under Helman’s byline. Regardless, BB is the one breaking down the New York Giants and their effectiveness against the Cowboys this season. Considering that the Giants were able to beat the Boys twice this season, and that they are a likely prospect for a return trip to Dallas, looking deeper into a NFC East rival is a good topic for review.
The New York Giants are a bad matchup for this team because of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo – plain and simple. His ability to create game plans and have his players execute them has been impressive.
As bad as New York’s offense has been, their defense has been just as good. They’ve been put in some terrible situations all season and have stood the test. Their best trait as a unit is that they just don’t allow opponents to score.
To sum up what Bryan is saying, if the Cowboys and Giants do battle a third time, look for more of the same. It will not be easy, it will not be pretty, but it should be competitive.
With Extra Rest, Elliott Feels Ready For “A Whole New Season” As Playoffs Near - Rob Phillips, DallasCowboys.com
“I feel great. I feel like I haven’t played a down of football this season.” - Ezekiel Elliott
By the time he takes the field in the divisional round game, the Dallas rookie running back will have nearly three weeks of rest. The Cowboys limited his efforts against the Detroit Lions and Zeke spent the season finale watching football. Add in a bye, and he is feeling rather rested despite leading the league in carries this season.
Aikman: Dak Prescott will handle playoff stage 'great' - SportsDayDFW staff
Troy Aikman just might know a thing or two about the pressure to bring Lombadi Trophies home to Dallas, after all he brought three of them to the Metroplex. Perhaps more than anyone else he knows what Dak Prescott will be facing over the next month.
"As we move into the playoffs, which is always the best time of the year -- my favorite two weekends are this weekend and next weekend, and being able to watch the Saturday playoff games -- I think everyone's a little interested, I know I certainly am, in how the Cowboys and how Dak, especially, handles that stage."
"And my guess is he'll handle it great, but just like the regular season's different from what he experienced in the preseason, the playoff atmosphere certainly is different. You recognize that as soon as you take the field. And I'll be curious to see how he does and how this team does, but once you get into these games, the reason I like them so much is there's really no excuses. Not that there should be during the regular season, but you get one opportunity go out each week in a playoff game and give your best effort, win the game and move on, and if you don't, there's really no excuses as to why you didn't. And I'm excited about it."
The Dallas Cowboys Legends Show : Ed "Too Tall" Jones - DallasCowboys.com
Save this one for sometime when you have 45 minutes or so to watch as “Too Tall” joins Mickey Spagnola and Bill Jones for the year’s first edition of the Legends Show.