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Cowboys news, Thanksgiving edition

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The headlines you need, starting with some special stories for the holiday.

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Hope you have a great day and lots to be thankful for.

‘People are struggling’: Inside Cowboys C Travis Frederick’s mission to feed D-FW’s hungry | Brandon George, SportsDay
Travis Frederick is an All Pro center. He is also a really great human being, and has devoted efforts to fighting hunger in the Dallas-Ft Worth area. He started a big project last month.

Frederick was taking time away from preparing for the upcoming game against rival Washington for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to launch Travis' Pantry, rooms stocked with fresh produce and nonperishable items the school has used to provide financially disadvantaged students with food to take home on weekends.

Anthony Lynn returns to Dallas 12 years after being hit by drunk driver - Harry Lyles, Jr, SBNation.com
Current Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn has a connection with the Cowboys, having been the running back coach for Dallas for two years. What you may not remember is that he almost lost his life then. It is a remarkable story.

“Back in 2005 I was with the Dallas Cowboys in training camp. On the last day of camp Todd Haley, the wide receivers coach on the team, and I go out for a pizza and a pop. Walking back to the vehicle, walking across the street, I got hit by a drunk driver.”

Lynn detailed that the car was going anywhere between 55 and 60 miles per hour when he was hit, and the driver’s blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit.

“He hit me, and they said I flew 45-50 feet in the air across the street, landed on a Volkswagen, and totaled the car that I landed on.”

Lynn added, “Thank God the car was there. If I hit the concrete, maybe I wouldn’t be here today.”

Cowboys injury update: Tyron Smith, Anthony Hitchens, Dan Bailey expected to play - Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys
A real reason for Cowboys fans to give thanks.

The Dallas Cowboys are finally getting some good news. The injury report for the game on Thanksgiving Day against the Los Angeles Chargers is favorable. Tyron Smith, Anthony Hitchens and Dan Bailey are all expected to play

Cowboys 2018 draft outlook, including comp pick update | KD Drummond, Cowboys Wire
One more reason to be thankful: The Cowboys look to have quite a haul of draft picks coming next year. They traded away one pick to get Xavier Woods (which looks like a good investment), but they will likely add four comp picks.

According to Over The Cap, the prognosis for the Cowboys haul has improved over the season. They were already in line to get four picks; they lost a ton more qualifying free agents than they signed. However, it now appears the team will get two picks at the end of both the fourth and fifth rounds.

And if Ron Leary should make the Pro Bowl, his pick would be bumped to the end of the third round, making things even better.

Thursday’s Game Comes Down To Defining Moment of This Season | Jeff Sullivan, Dallas Cowboys
It's appropriate on Thanksgiving to look at one player that could be a real star for the Cowboys for some time to come.

Watching the game for a second time, David Irving played better than I realized first go-around. Had him with three QB pressures and a batted pass. I was talking with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli the week before last about Lawrence and Irving came up. I said that it was amazing the level he was playing considering he really doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing yet in terms of technique. Marinelli smiled, shook his head and said, “no clue.” It’s just brute force, bull-run, ridiculous athletic ability. I mean, there’s a reason one team called him after the 2015 NFL Draft. That’s what is so scary about Irving’s ceiling. He’s a young 24, his birthday is Aug. 18, and he’s on pace for 40 tackles, 12 sacks and 10 deflected passes. And that’s missing the first four games.


In meeting, Dallas Cowboys' Jason Witten says it's time for best game - Todd Archer, - ESPN
There is a lot on the line for the Cowboys this week, and Jason Witten made sure everyone on the team is clear about things.

“I just felt like we need to know where we’re at, and it’s good to have communication and with my experiences, to understand that nobody said it was going to be easy. It’s going to be hard,” Witten said. “Certainly, we understand where we’re at and what we have to do. It’s clear. Our focus going into Thursday on a short week is we have to be able to move forward and process what happened on Sunday and stay together. It was a good visit. I think our guys understand what the task is and where we are in the season. We’re 5-5 and you certainly have to play [your] best football this time of year.”

Scout’s Eye: Cowboys Must Be Able To Run The Ball To Win This Game | Bryan Broaddus, Dallas Cowboys
Dallas needs to win this game, and if they can run the ball well against the Chargers, they have a very good shot.

Where the Chargers have had their issues is defending the run -- which is surprising. Only New England gives up more yards a carry than the Chargers (4.98 per attempt). With a short week of preparation there is going to be a limited game plan. Having the ability to run the ball is always the best way to play in those situations.

Gut Feeling: DallasCowboys.com Writers’ Final Preview Of Cowboys-Chargers | Dallas Cowboys staff
In something of a surprise, all four of the writer's polled look for Dallas to right the ship and get a win. Bryan Broaddus sums up his reasons this way.

The Chargers have struggled on run defense, so look for the Cowboys to try and go with that early and get Prescott going with the play-action game. Prescott makes better choices with the ball and the Cowboys find a way to crack the Chargers’ red zone defense with a 24-20 victory.

Bosa awaits challenge from Tyron Smith | Clarence Hill, Jr, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
One player on the Chargers that the Cowboys definitely must account for, especially given how Dak Prescott has been beaten up the past couple of games, is DE Joey Bosa. Bosa was asked about Tyron Smith, who he will line up against at least at times (assuming Smith is able to play), and he had nothing but respect.

“Just look at the man,” Bosa said. “He's like a cartoon character, a freaking test-tube baby. It's unbelievable the size of him. You just look at him from the beginning, he's got athleticism and size. Just the way he is athletically you'd think he'd be a big mauler, but he really isn't.

“He's just a technician and you can tell he's a well-rounded vet that's blessed with some freakish athletic ability to go along with it.”

Rob’s Figure 4: Dak Facing Pressure; Rivers’ Record On A Short Week; More | Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
In this look at four key things for the game, there is an interesting point to consider - especially if you think Tony Romo might have done better in the last two games than Dak Prescott did under relentless pressure.

I’m not into Prescott-Tony Romo comparisons, but these last two games without left tackle Tyron Smith (groin) -- particularly the eight sacks by Atlanta -- reminded me of how compromised the Cowboys were up front while rebuilding the offensive line around Romo a few years back. So, I did some math:

Romo was sacked at least 4 times in 20 starts during his Cowboys career. Romo’s record in those 20 games: 7-13. The Cowboys’ scoring average in those 20 games: 14.1 points per game. And that’s including the Cowboys’ 51-48 thriller against Peyton Manning’s Broncos in 2013 – the best game Romo has ever played, in my opinion, even in defeat.

The point is, any quarterback will struggle when they’re under siege. He can be better, sure, but he needs a consistently clean pocket. The Cowboys have the linemen to get it done, especially if Smith is back Thursday.

Sham: Do Not Adjust. The Second-Half Problem Is Not With Your Set | Brad Sham, Dallas Cowboys
The angst over the lack of halftime adjustments by the Cowboys has been pretty pervasive. But Sham points out that there really isn't much time to get anything significant done in the pros.

The usual NFL halftime is 12 minutes. There’s no band to get into formation and on and off the field. The Networks (which must by law be capitalized) have decided 12 minutes works for them in their studio shows and commercial rotations. So 12 minutes. Now work with me here.

The 12 minutes begin when the clock hits 0:00 to end the first half. Not when you’re back from the bathroom. Not after the first commercial. Triple zeros, bang, start the clock again at 12:00. Let’s be generous and say it takes two minutes to get both teams off the field and into the locker room. That would make it reasonable to assume it takes two minutes to get them back. We’re even going to fudge in the halftime adjustments favor and say that the last two minutes includes re-stretching and warm-up time. It’s probably more, but Your Humble Correspondent is no time thief. So four minutes to get off the field and back out of the locker room.

Again, only simple math for moi, but that leaves eight. Now, you may want some of the middle-school kids to leave the room on this note, but the first thing that has to happen is 53 players and 25 coaches have to go to the bathroom.

I know. You’re laughing. But you went TWICE in the first half. They didn’t. That’s not what that blue pop-up tent is for. (Not saying it’s never used in an emergency, but it’s rare.)

Line dance: Three Cowboys O-linemen lead fan voting for Pro Bowl | David Moore, SportsDay
It has been a rough season for the Cowboys, but the three men who are the foundation of the offense are still getting well-deserved recognition in the fan voting for the Pro Bowl.

Center Travis Frederick (77,645), guard Zack Martin (70,732) and tackle Tyron Smith (66,240) are the top vote-getters at their positions for the NFC team. Fan balloting continues through Dec. 14.