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Cowboys News: Some good things dominate for a change

Things certainly took a positive turn after the doom and gloom of the bye week.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys
It was certainly good news for Zeke.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Even if temporary, Cowboys will take any win when it comes to Ezekiel Elliott - Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys Blog- ESPN
As you are probably aware, Ezekiel Elliott was granted (another) temporary restraining order that will keep him on the field for at least another week, and there are some signs that further decisions may go his way.

This is good news for the Cowboys, even if it is only temporary.

At 2-3, the Cowboys need their best player to play as many games as possible, including against a winless team like the 49ers on Sunday.

Dallas Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott says he's not ready to end fight with NFL - Todd Archer, ESPN
There have been some who suggested that it would have been better for Elliott to sit his suspension at the start of the season and get it over with. But for the player, and the human being, this is about far more than football.

"When you get accused of something of that magnitude, you kind of get labeled as an abuser, and that's not me," Elliott said. "That's not how I want to be seen. That's not what I want to represent to my family. So I mean it's just important for me to fight."

Cowboys injury report: Sean Lee practices while Tyron Smith, Chidobe Awuzie sit out - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys
Tyron Smith and Chidobe Awuzie sat out the practice, but Smith at least is expected to see the field later this week. More importantly, one key player was back.

The good news for the Cowboys is that the bye week has helped one really important player get healthy. Sean Lee participated in practice for the first time since he injured his hamstring.

Dallas Cowboys: Why Cowboys remain in a really good spot for now; the problem Marinelli may not overcome | Bob Sturm, SportsDay
Sturm took a look at things over the bye, and while there are certainly problems for Dallas, there is one very big plus - at least for now.

The Cowboys remain in a fine position to strike back. Not because of their win total or their great accomplishments this year. Not at all. But again -- just like in 2016 -- it seems like they're just about the healthiest team in the sport. On offense, they have had perfect attendance across the board from pretty much every single member. That is not common right now in this league. Everyone is dealing with injuries and nearly everyone has lost someone for a few months or the year. Not the Cowboys. Look at that offensive roster -- where they have planted their resources and salary cap -- and you will see that they just keep marching on with the exact lineup that appeared on paper when the season began. That can change on any hit that occurs, but for now, you have a healthy team and that puts you in as good a spot as pretty much anyone in the conference.

The defense has not been as fortunate, but the few injuries that have occurred have been of the "weeks" variety rather than "months." Yes, Sean Lee being out could have likely made the difference between beating the Rams and Packers and not, but he is back. Anthony Hitchens is back. David Irving is back. Damontre Moore is back. The only injuries that have really been issues are Charles Tapper (broken bone in his right foot) and Stephen Paea's, who just up and retired because of his knee.

Dallas selected as host of 2018 NFL Draft - Kevin Patra,
It's official! The NFL draft is coming to AT&T Stadium. It could be quite the party.

Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Wednesday that the Dallas Cowboys will host the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas -- the first time the event will take place inside an NFL stadium. The draft will run April 26-28.

Dallas Cowboys Tight End Rico Gathers Could Be Back Soon - R.J. Ochoa, ESPN San Antonio

You might not know that our own R.J. Ochoa does work with multiple sports outlets. Here is an article that addresses the encouraging signs that Rico Gathers may be getting close to being brought back from IR.

Rico Gathers inching towards a return is a big sign of hope for a Dallas Cowboys offense that can use all the redzone weapons they can get. While he isn’t practicing with the team quite yet, at this point any news like this is good news.

Cowboys Week 7 depth chart shows lack of situational awareness | Aaron Carney, Cowboys Wire
The Cowboys posted a new depth chart while waiting for the outcome of the Elliott hearing on Tuesday, and there were some headscratching things there, such as this.

Staying on the offensive side of the ball, the team listed Chaz Green as the starter at left guard over Jonathan Cooper now that Green is fully healthy from a hip injury he sustained a few weeks ago. Yet Cooper has been much more effective as the starter, scoring a 77.9 from Pro Football Focus against Green Bay, and would likely fair much better against 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner who has been a monster since entering the league in 2016. With the Cowboys entering desperation mode and facing a get-right game against San Francisco, Green will likely be on a short leash.

Dallas Cowboys punter Chris Jones' stats don't show his full value - Dallas Cowboys Blog- ESPN
Chris Jones is doing an outstanding job of pinning teams deep in their own territory this season. He has developed a technique that allows him to place the ball with unusual accuracy.

Like a golfer with multiple wedges, he has learned how to hold the ball in a certain way that he can almost dictate the hang time and distance.

“If it’s more straight up and down, the more it’s going to spin but the less distance I’m going to get,” Jones said. “If I hold it a little lower, lay the ball back, it’s going to be more of an outward drive. Yeah, I’ve had to learn that and kind of figure it out.”

Cowboys rookie Jourdan Lewis' bye week included study time at home - Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys Blog- ESPN
So far, Jourdan Lewis has been the best rookie for the Cowboys. And it looks like he is doing all he can to maintain that reputation.

Lewis went back to Detroit for the bye week to visit his mom. He made sure he brought his iPad with him to study last week's two practices.

"You never get away from it," Lewis said, "but it was good to relax a little bit. ... It's always a positive thing when you look at aspects you can get better in. It's always good to have that time to look in retrospect."

Dallas Cowboys Film Room: Finding a home for David Irving - Marcus Mosher, Fansided
The return of David Irving was both welcome and successful, as he notched two sacks in his first game of the season. But there is a question about where he is best used, as a defensive end or as a penetrating DT. Mosher looked at the video and offered this opinion.

For the rest of the season, expect the Cowboys to move David Irving around the defensive line depending on the opponent. And with the recent news of Stephen Paea retiring, that likely means the Cowboys will need to use more of Maliek Collins as the 1-technique and more of Irving as the penetrating 3-technique.

As long as DeMarcus Lawrence is healthy, most of Irving’s snaps should come inside, especially when the team goes to their “Deacon” defense that employs just three defensive linemen. As a nose tackle in a three down linemen formation, Irving can be a major mismatch problem for opposing centers.

5 Areas Where Cowboys Must Improve Coming Out Of Bye - Joey Ickes, Fanrag Sports
There are clearly some areas where Dallas needs to improve coming out of the bye. Our old friend Joey Ickes has his list of the most important, including this.

Finishing games

The Cowboys have had the lead in the second half of two of their three losses, and failed to finish the game.

Whether it was an inability to stop the Los Angeles Rams offense or a costly pick-6 against the Green Bay Packers, the Cowboys surrendered their lead, and lost the game. One of the things that made the 2016 Cowboys so special was their ability to build and hold a lead, never making the fatal mistake on offense and making opposing offenses work extremely hard to put up points.

If Dallas is going to right the ship for the 2017 season, it needs to get back to its strong finishes.

Sham: Season Far From Over, But These 3 Areas Must Improve | Brad Sham, Dallas Cowboys
Brad Sham has been the radio voice of the Cowboys forever, it seems. This article is worth a read for the perspective he brings from that long career.

Early this week, my radio brought me the words of a man I consider a friend, one who I respect and admire. His words were that if the Cowboys don’t win Sunday in San Francisco, the season is over and it is time for them to tank. Nor does it seem for a second my friend is alone in his view.

These sentiments leave me breathlessly puzzled. For one thing, we do all understand, do we not, that the 49ers have set a modern-era record for the most consecutive games lost by a margin of three points or fewer? To consider them incapable of winning a game at home against an average team ignores facts.

So does the notion that the season is over with one more Dallas loss. By that reasoning, the 49ers’ season is already over, yet we are suggesting they might beat Dallas. How could a team whose season is over win a game? There is a lapse in the logic here somewhere.

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