NFC coaches on hot seat - Todd Haley to Dallas? - Ian Rapoport, NFL.com
Rapoport takes a look at potential coaching changes in the NFC, and speculates about what could happen in Dallas:
Coach Jason Garrett still has the support of the front office and a firm grasp on his job. But with several expiring contracts on his coaching staff, Dallas could see significant turnover. Receiver Dez Bryant going public with his frustrations with the offensive scheme makes one wonder if Scott Linehan could join defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli on the hot seat. Both of those spots will be thoroughly evaluated, sources say.
If Linehan goes, one possible candidate could be former Cowboys receivers coach Todd Haley, whose contract with the Steelers is set to expire, per a source. Receivers coach Derek Dooley might want to return to college while passing game coordinator on defense Matt Eberflus is a free agent and could supplant Marinelli if Dallas chooses to make a change.
Could this be Todd Haley's final year with the Pittsburgh Steelers? - Matt Connor, Arrowhead Addict
Reports are coming out of Pittsburgh that Todd Haley and Ben Roethlisberger are at odds with one another once again.
Jason La Canfora has word that there’s a growing rift in Pittsburgh between Big Ben and Haley, so much so that Roethlisberger asked Tomlin for another coach to serve as a “buffer” between the pair. It’s the sort of tension that could go away with a Super Bowl run, because winning cures everything, but in reality if Big Ben is going to be around and not waffle on retirement, then another year dealing with this offensive tension could become a burden that’s too big to ignore.
If Haley is unable to garner a head coaching opportunity this offseason, it could be interesting to see where he might head if Pittsburgh decides to part ways. It would not be a stretch to see him reunite with others from the Bill Parcells coaching tree.
Don’t overlook how good the Cowboys have been under Scott Linehan - DannyPhantom, Blogging The Boys
Whether the Cowboys replace their offensive coordinator with someone new remains to be seen, but Phantom points out that the Cowboys have had some very strong years under Linehan.
Replacing Linehan may be the right thing to do, but that is something that requires careful examination. We cannot forget that Linehan has had success with this team and has demonstrated he can win when he has proper tools at his disposal. Last year the offense was explosive on route to a 13-3 record. And in 2014, the offense put up the second most points (467) in franchise history.
And whether we can remember it or not, the offense was putting up plenty of points in the first half when they had their guys on the field. So maybe Linehan isn’t necessary the problem.
Are Cowboys going to spend more aggressively in free agency? - Brandon George, SportsDay
This article is about what game Jerry Jones wishes he could have back in 2017, but tucked in at the very end is an interesting outlook Jones provides on 2018, which can be read to suggest that the Cowboys are looking to spend more aggressively in free agency.
"I really am wanting to evaluate and take advantage of hindsight when this season is over and looking at how those games went. I must tell you as I sit here right today I am very pleased with how our defense has evolved positively. It's kept us in these last ballgames really well. Those are the kinds of things that I'll be looking at.
"When we can, we will improve personnel-wise. The draft lets you have a good spot to do that. You can do some things with your budget or you can do things with the financial aspect of it, reallocate some dollars. This is going to give us a good chance to do that this year."
Jones seems to suggest that the Cowboys are looking to restructure some contracts to gain more cap space, but that space might be needed to re-sign their own free agents in the end.
Key Cowboys offseason issues: Can Dallas retain free agents, other top players? - Brandon George, SportsDay
The Cowboys will almost certainly get deals done with DeMarcus Lawrence and Zack Martin, but retaining Anthony Hitchens and David Irving could be a little more iffy.
The Cowboys also want to re-sign unrestricted free agent linebacker Anthony Hitchens and restricted free agent defensive lineman David Irving. The Cowboys will likely place a first- or second-round tender on Irving that would ensure keeping him unless a team was willing to offer a top pick for him.
Could veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick be used as trade bait again? - Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Scandrick is playing on a trade-friendly contract that could make moving him a viable option.
Scandrick, who will be 31 next season, remains under contract through 2019, but his base salaries of $3 million and $4 million over the next two years give the Cowboys the flexibility to keep him or move in another direction.
The promise of the young secondary without him the past few weeks makes the latter a definite possibility.
The Cowboys tried to trade Scandrick for New Orleans Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro during the draft last year, according to a source.
He could potentially be used as trade bait for help elsewhere again in 2018.
Goals, milestones, pride give Cowboys something to play for in Philadelphia - Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Zeke is chasing 1,000 yards. DeMarcus Lawrence is trying to become the league's sack leader. Plenty of reasons why the Cowboys aren't going to mail it in tomorrow, Davison explains.
Linebacker Jaylon Smith made an impressive return to the field this season. Even though he had his share of struggles, Smith has flashed promise in his first active pro season. He’s just three tackles away from the 100 mark, according to the coaches’ breakdown. That’d be quite a feat for a guy who some thought would never play after a devastating knee injury in his final college game. Smith is second on the team in tackles with 97. Linebacker Sean Lee is already at the 100-mark as he’s been credited with 105 despite missing five games. And fellow linebacker Anthony Hitchens has a shot at 100, too, as he sits third on the team with 89.
Jerry Jones says win in final game trumps position for higher draft pick - Clarence Hill, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The boss makes his wishes known.
Jones said finishing the season with a good taste their mouth and feeling good trumped an 8-8 record and a higher pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, which will be held at AT&T in Arlington.
“"I think 9-7 is important to us,” Jones said on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan. “I mean that. And the draft position between 9-7 and 8-8 is not going to make that kind of difference in my mind relative to everyone feeling good and the performance that we have up there. So, I think that answers your question. The premium will be on each individual and each coach doing the job that we liked to have done all year long. We are going to go up and compete.”
6 Days To Sunday: Beasley Ruled Out Of Finale - Dallas Cowboys Staff
The Cowboys added Beasley to a growing list of payers who won't play against the Eagles today.
The Cowboys downgraded wide receiver Cole Beasley (illness) from questionable to out of Sunday’s season finale against the Eagles. He is not traveling with the team to Philadelphia. The Cowboys had already ruled out defensive ends David Irving (concussion) and Benson Mayowa (back/illness) and placed left tackle Tyron Smith (knee) and cornerback Orlando Scandrick (back) on Reserve/Injured. Beasley’s absence Sunday could mean more snaps for rookie wideout Ryan Switzer, who has primarily handled return duties this season.
Differences in size, standing could prove key in upcoming Cowboys-Eagles game - Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Davison looks at the key matchups in today's game, including Byron Jones vs. TE Zach Ertz.
Size will play a role in Sunday’s key matchups between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.
One of the top matchups will involve 6-foot-5 Eagles tight end Zach Ertz and the Cowboys’ 6-foot safety Byron Jones. Though Ertz has the edge in height, Jones’ aggressive play has offset his lack of height when it comes to covering tight ends.
With the Eagles heading to the playoffs, it’s not known how long this battle will play out on the field as the Eagles will likely opt to rest Ertz at some point.
A former first-round pick, Jones has regressed in his third season and his snaps have dwindled in the process. But the Cowboys still view Jones as an elite cover guy, especially against the hybrid tight ends of today’s game. Ertz has emerged as a significant threat for the Eagles. He leads the Eagles with 800 receiving yards on 72 receptions. He’s found the end zone eight times. But the Cowboys held him to just two catches for 8 yards in the first meeting.
Eagles rookie Sidney Jones will reportedly make NFL debut vs. Cowboys on Sunday - Jared Dubin, CBSSports.com
Jones tore his Achilles in March and has been out for the entire season.
According to a report from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Eagles are activating their second-round pick for the first time, and he will play against the division rival Dallas Cowboys in Week 17.
Jones was considered one of the top cornerback prospects in the 2017 draft (he was named first-team All-Pac-12 in 2015 and 2016), but he tore his Achilles tendon while working out during the University of Washington pro day in March.