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Cowboys news: Why Dak is one of NFL’s elite QBs, and how the Dallas defense is stepping up

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Plus some of that legal stuff we are all so tired of hearing.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Rob’s Figure 4: Record Points Stretch; “Dino” Soars; Sizing Up Atlanta; More - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
Four key statistical factors for the game against the Falcons includes this on the recent run by the offense.

It’s a little funny to look back to September and recall so many asking, what’s wrong with the offense?

Yes, the Denver game was the outlier eyesore – a performance so poor and so out of character that two months later you almost have to shrug your shoulders.

Fast forward to November. The Cowboys have played eight total games and scored at least 28 points in the last six games, tying a club record (2007, Tony Romo’s first full season as a starter).

The 2016 Cowboys had a five-game streak of 28 points or more. Both those teams (2016, 2007) won 13 games and clinched the best record in the NFC.

2016 NFL draft class leading QB youth movement - Stats & Info- ESPN
There have been some worries about where the next crop of franchise QBs would come from. Well, it looks like they are already here in the form of Jared Goff, Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott (all second year players) and rookie Deshaun Watson.

The trio of Goff, Wentz and Prescott all rank in the top 10 of Total QBR this season and have combined for a 19-6 record, a 71 Total QBR and 52 touchdowns against just 13 interceptions. Their teams all rank in the top four in scoring this season, with the Texans -- mostly led by Watson -- filling out the group.

5 Things We Learned About Cowboys Through Midpoint Of Season - John Owning, Fanrag Sports
Among the five lessons learned about Dallas is that it is time to stop thinking of Dak Prescott as a talented newcomer. He is legitimately one of the elites.

At 6-foot-2 and 238 pounds, Prescott is blessed with some impressive physical gifts. He is abnormally difficult to bring down because of his balance and strength, and he is one of the most dangerous runners, especially in the red zone, among QBs.

While Prescott’s physical ability is impressive, his intelligence and mental processing are what really make him stand out among his peers. While most young QBs struggle to handle all of the mental components of being the signal-caller, Prescott has thrived. He is adept at identifying and reading coverages, looking off defenders, adjusting the protection and going through his progressions.

It’s time to take the kid gloves off. Prescott is one of the best QBs in the NFL — regardless of age.

Jerry Jones: Cowboys coaches say Dak Prescott is playing at highest level of anybody in NFL - Jon Machota, SportsDay
Count the Dallas coaching staff among Prescott's biggest fans.

"He's playing right now at the highest level of anybody they see in the NFL," Jones said Wednesday morning on 105.3 The Fan's Shan and RJ show [KRLD-FM]. "The main thing is that they comment that he's maybe as mentally tough and mentally into it or least discourage-able with a bad play than any player they've ever seen."

Week 9 QB Spotlight: The Subtle Brilliance of Dak Prescott – David Kang, Setting The Edge
Here's another look at why Dak is now in the top tier of NFL QBs.

In summary, Dak Prescott has shown measurable improvements from his already incredible rookie season with his increased aggression in attacking the intermediate portion of the field. Although Prescott might not be the most precise passer in terms of ball placement (as you saw in his incompletion above), his ability to attack down the field coupled with his elite pocket ability and near mental mastery of the position has placed him firmly as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. While he is still a notch below Rodgers and Brady, his play has put himself in the discussion for 3rd place after those two, especially with the struggles of its usual participants (Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, the myriad of injured QBs). While many may decry this as a hot take with Dak’s lack of highlight worthy plays, it is simply the subtle small things that he executes so consistently well that merits his place as a great quarterback.

Underappreciated Terrance Williams Still Reliable Second Receiver - Brad Sham, Dallas Cowboys
Sham comes to the defense of TWill, who is disliked to an unreasonable level by many.

Let’s talk about what he is and what he does. Because the feeling in this corner is that those of you who don’t like Terrance Williams don’t like him because he’s not Dez Bryant.

Terrance Williams was a third-round pick and has developed into a reliable second receiver. He never misses a game. He plays hurt and never complains. He rarely misses a practice. And the numbers say he’s as reliable a wide receiver as the Cowboys have. He throws no tantrums and doesn’t sulk. He blocks. He runs good routes and does what he’s asked to do.

Beautiful football! Why Cowboys' defense is showing so much promise right now - Bob Sturm, SportsDay
In Tuesday's Decoding Linehan, Bob Sturm had a lot of good things to say about the Cowboys' offensive performance against the Chiefs. And his positive reviews continue in this week's Marinelli Report.

Everything about this Kansas City game was solid. The third-down defense was better than usual and the Cowboys did a nice job throughout of not being fooled by the complex Kansas City scheme -- which should be a source of encouragement going into the Philadelphia game, against an Eagles team that runs a similar scheme with less explosive, but still threatening pieces. They only allowed the Chiefs into the red zone twice! This is all very promising, considering that near catastrophe before the half.

Sean's Scout: Maliek Collins Making Strides In DT Transition - Sean Martin, Inside the Star
A lot of fans think Maliek Collins is having a down year after his impressive rookie season. But this article points out that he has been moved from the 3T spot to 1T, which is a different role. And he is actually handling the transition very well.

When studying this game against the Chiefs, there was such a noticeable difference between any DL pairings that featured the duo of David Irving and Maliek Collins inside compared to the snaps that Richard Ash or Price got there.

For his size and frame, Collins has the rare ability to win with his hands in tight and free himself to rush the quarterback. These strong and quick hands have also helped him hold the point of attack at his new 1T spot.

Lewis Neal Grateful For Opportunity To Prove Himself On 53-Man Roster - David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
We hate to see injuries like the one to Brian Price. But they also open opportunities for other players, such as Lewis Neal. The fan favorite now has a chance to prove his worth.

If his recent promotion to the Cowboys’ active roster says anything, though, it’s that you should bet against him at your own risk.

“I’ve been through adversity all my life, man, dealing with being called undersized – I’ve been dealing with that all my life,” Neal said Wednesday. “I’ve overcome it at every level of the game, so it’s nothing new to me. Just keep working.”


Unfortunately, there now are almost obligatory daily legal updates about the Cowboys.

Jerry Jones Is Said to Hire David Boies to Block Roger Goodell’s Contract - Ken Belson, The New York Times

The way the Ezekiel Elliott suspension has been handled, along with other issues, has apparently angered Jerry Jones to the point of hiring a prominent lawyer to hit back at Roger Goodell. And he is not afraid to take on his fellow owners in the process.

Jones appears intent on holding up Goodell’s contract extension and potentially pushing him out. He is in the minority among owners. While some are unhappy with how the commissioner has handled issues related to player conduct and the national anthem controversy, few of them are prepared to replace Goodell, who has been commissioner for more than a decade and has worked at the league since the early 1980s.

The intraleague battle is unusual for an organization that prides itself on order and unanimity and oversees the most popular sport in the country. But is in the middle of one of its most tumultuous seasons over issues like players kneeling during the national anthem to protest social injustice, a wave of injuries to star players, and a television ratings dip that has fed debate over whether the game is declining.

Elliott Likely To Miss Practice Thursday To Attend Hearing In New York - CBS Dallas / Fort Worth staff
We may find out whether or not Ezekiel Elliott will get to play the rest of the season soon. But it is more likely this is just the next round in a seemingly endless legal fight.

For the second consecutive week, the Cowboys will conduct at least one practice without their star running back.

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said there is a “strong likelihood” that Ezekiel Elliott will miss Thursday’s practice to attend a hearing in New York that will determine if he must begin serving a six-game suspension.