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Cowboys news: Without Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott has become a better player

Only one more week without Zeke but has Dak Prescott actually become a better player without him?

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

After Last Week’s Tough Game, Bailey Focused on Making Kicks, Not Excuses -Nick Eatman- Dallas Cowboys
Dan Bailey isn’t blaming his three misses last week on his previous injury. He’s not blaming it on a bad hold or snap, because that wasn’t the case.

“If I’m on the field my expectation is to make every kick,” Bailey said. “That’s always been that way. It’s always going to be that way. As surprised as everybody else is, I guess I’m a little surprised as well but I’m just going to have to put this one behind me and move on.”

Amari Cooper not expected to play on Sunday versus the Cowboys -Dave Halprin- Blogging The Boys
Dallas might catch a break when they take on the Raiders.

Without Cooper, Michael Crabtree is the lead dog, and the Raiders could turn to Cordarrelle Patterson to replace Cooper. It hasn’t been a great 2017 for Cooper whose statistics were already down from his first couple of years in the league.

Cowboys thinking Raiders, not Ezekiel Elliott's return just yet-Todd Archer-ESPN
With their focus on Sunday's game, the Dallas coaches don't have a plan for how to get their starting tailback up to speed after his lengthy absence.

"That's like so far away in our mind right now, getting ready for this Oakland game is what we're focusing on," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said.

Have Cowboys' ups and downs without Ezekiel Elliott made Dak Prescott a better QB?-Jon Machota- SportsDay
Regardless of how Dak Prescott plays in a blowout win or lopsided loss, his teammates say his demeanor in the huddle never changes.

"I don't recommend it for the Cowboys, of course, but we got a better player," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. "We've got a better future because he's gone through this period of time without Zeke."

Dallas Cowboys: Bryant, Lewis in heated exchange -Drew Davison- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The edgy Dallas Cowboys are not holding back in practice as Dez Bryant and Jourdan Lewis exchanged some words.

“It’s just competing,” Lewis said. “He wants to win just as bad as I do. Sometimes that gets a little feisty. We just have to channel that energy in a positive way and try and get a win on Sunday.”

La’el Collins Not Backing Down From Continued Challenges At Right Tackle-David Helman- Dallas Cowboys
Judging by his play these last two games, maybe La’el Collins shouldn’t be practicing this week.

“It’s awesome. It’s made me a better player, definitely, from Day 1,” he said. “I was tested early – J.P.P, Von, all those guys. The next game is a different cat, a different guy. I’ve really played against some of the best, or the best guys in the league this year.”

Dallas Cowboys might be the best team that misses the playoffs -Tom Ryle- Blogging The Boys
The odds are slim for Dallas to be in the postseason. And they may be peaking at the end of the year, which is a shame.

Despite four games in which the Cowboys were thoroughly outclassed, there were two games that they not only could have won, but arguably should have won against the Packers and the Los Angeles Rams. Had they managed to hang onto late leads in those games, they would currently be no worse than the sixth seed for the NFC.

Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence apologizes for ripping into officials, says he hasn't been fined-Kate Hairopoulos- SportsDay
Lawrence gave the officials a lashing after he feels his team has been wrongfully treated in terms of holding calls. Now, he's apologizing for the language he used.

"I felt some type of way at that moment, like I said, I got it off my chest," Lawrence said. "It's done and over with. I already apologized to the refs about it, and like I said, it's behind me."

Prescott grows while awaiting Elliott's return -Drew Davison- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension without pay ends after Sunday’s game at Oakland.

“One-hundred percent,” Prescott said. “We’re playing a little bit different [without Elliott]. It’s a little bit different play calling and stuff like that. We’ve adjusted to it and we’ve figured it out. Yeah, it’ll make me a better player.

“Any experience I get, especially when you’re losing a player or just even that tough stretch we had, everything that I encounter I’m going to make sure I use it to make me a better player.”

Rob’s Figure 4: Playoff Scenarios, Rod Smith Making NFL History & More-Rob Phillips- Dallas Cowboys
(Editor’s Note: senior writer and pro wrestling aficionado Rob Phillips’ new column, “Figure 4,” identifies four key statistics each week that impact the Cowboys’ on-field performance.)

Since the NFL realigned divisions in 2002, five NFC teams in the last 16 seasons won at least 10 games and still did not qualify for the postseason. The Cowboys aren’t guaranteed a spot even if they run the table against the Raiders, Seahawks and Eagles. But, in the words of Lloyd Christmas … yeah, I’m saying there’s a chance.

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