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Cowboys News: Can healthy Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens save Cowboys' season?

Are Lee and Hitchens getting healthy just in time to save the season in Dallas?

Cincinnati Bengals v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Sturm's mailbag: Why I've never felt worse about Cowboys' LBs - Bob Sturm, SportsDay
Considered a potential strength of the team in the preseason, the linebackers have become the clear soft spot of the defense.

Q: What do you think the LB reps are going to look like with Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith and Anthony Hitchens all healthy and playing?

Sturm: I think if Lee and Hitchens are healthy, those are your linebackers. It isn't as if Hitchens is amazing, but it is important that he is good enough that teams don't look to attack him when they see him on the field. That is the reality with Jaylon Smith right now. In my opinion, we are getting near the point where if you had enough depth, you would strongly consider putting him back on the injured reserve list and have him get ready for 2018. He just isn't close right now and is a clear target for the opposition. In this world where styles make fights, I think we should all be terrified about what Andy Reid will try to do to him when the Chiefs come to town with all of that speed against linebackers.

The Cowboys have tried to improve their linebackers many times, but it seems clear that Kyle Wilber is merely a special teams contributor, Damien Wilson has no obvious role, Justin Durant is brought back over and over again because they can't replace his spot, and Sean Lee is fantastic but always a hit away from missing a few weeks. I had no idea that this would be the spot where they would be attacked all day, but I have never felt worse about the linebacker position on this team. It allows teams to put together long drives and keep the Cowboys' offense off the field. It also chases the Cowboys out of their conservative zones and deep safeties. Because most of the action is 7-8 yards a play underneath them.

Gut Feeling: Staff Writers Discuss Where Team Must Improve After Bye - Dallas Cowboys Staff
The four staff writers come up with three different areas here the Cowboys have to improve most.

Bryan Broaddus: Opponents are having alarming success running the ball. It hasn’t mattered which down it has been – the inability for the defense to control that area has been a direct correlation in their losses.

David Helman: The Cowboys’ rushing attack just hasn’t been up to snuff compared to the dominant effort we saw last year.

Nick Eatman: It’s the lack of turnovers. They just don’t get the football out and it’s a problem.

Rob Phillips: I voted run defense in a similar poll on Talkin’ Cowboys this week.


49ers surprisingly cut NaVorro Bowman: Here are five landing spots that make sense - John Breech, CBSSports.com
Breech ranks the Cowboys fourth behind the Texans, Panthers, and Raiders as a likely landing spot for the oft-injured Bowman, who was just released by a 0-5 team.

The Cowboys' defense has been so bad this year that they should be trying to sign any defensive talent they can get their hands on. Bowman falls into that category.

The Dallas Cowboys should kick the tires on linebacker Navorro Bowman - Joseph.Hatz, Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys defense may need talent any place they can find it, but are the Cowboys willing to meet Bowman's asking price?

All I know is that with the shape the Cowboys defense is in these days they need to be looking under every possible rock for talent upgrades. This is no time to “stay the course” and be content with what is mostly an average at best linebacking unit outside of Lee. Bowman is an elite talent when healthy, and at worst he is just another average linebacker to add to the group, which is more than I can say for Jaylon Smith at this point.


3 reasons Cowboys fans should feel good about the rest of the season - Danny Phantom, Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys still have plenty of football games left to figure things out, and Phantom offers three reasons for hope for the rest of the season. One of those reasons is something very few observers thought possible at the start of the season:

The Cowboys pass rush has been under scrutiny for quite some time and rightfully so. Dallas is currently ranked sixth in sacks which is pretty good, but they did okay in sacks last year finishing in the middle of the pack. But more than just getting sacks, the Cowboys are putting pressure on the quarterback more consistently [they are ranked 6th in QB pressures] and that wasn’t something that was there last year.

How the Cowboys can still catch the Eagles in the NFC East - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
RJ walks us through the remaining schedules for both teams, and explains that any chance the Cowboys might have of catching the Eagles hinges on their two head-to-head matchups.

What we can glean from what we’ve seen and what we can conservatively predict, the Cowboys are in a position where they’re looking up at the Eagles. They’re going to need to win a game we haven’t allotted for, and the Eagles are going to need to lose one we gave them.

This whole analysis isn’t even considering the Redskins making legitimate noise in the NFC East, but that’s because at 5-1 the Eagles are the clear team to beat. Can the Cowboys do it? It’s certainly possible, but it’s going to be tough sledding, and a lot of it is going to be determined in the time leading up to and through our date with them on November 19th.


Ezekiel Elliott's legal team makes move that could delay running back's suspension - John Breech, CBSSports.com
In football terms, this latest legal move would probably be called a Hail Mary.

The NFLPA has petitioned the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for a full rehearing of Elliott's case. Such a rehearing "en banc" requires the majority of the 13 active judges on the Fifth Circuit to support reviewing the case.

The bad news for Elliott is that the Fifth Circuit isn't exactly known for granting en banc rehearings.


Roger Goodell’s wife had a secret Twitter account that she used to defend the NFL commissioner - Nicole Yang, Boston.com
The lack of good judgment seems to be a hallmark of the Goodell household.

Roger Goodell has over half a million followers on Twitter, but few are likely to be more supportive of the NFL commissioner than @forargument was.

That’s because the enigmatic account has been outed by The Wall Street Journal as the commissioner’s wife, Jane Skinner Goodell.

As criticism of Goodell flooded the internet for his stance on the recent anthem protests — and of course, residual Deflategate issues — the mysterious account faithfully came to the defense of the 58-year-old league head. On 14 separate occasions since August, @forargument expressed its disapproval with various media outlets’ coverage of the commissioner.

As per usual, Roger Goodell claims not to have known anything.

“Sounds like what she did is what every spouse in America would want to do,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. He added that Goodell was unaware of his wife’s activity.

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