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Cowboys news: Sean Lee to return versus Giants

Fallout from the Giants disastrous season

Washington Redskins v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Sean Lee set to make return Week 14 vs Giants - K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire
The Cowboys' defensive leader will make his return Sunday against the Giants. Is it too late?

Now with Lee back and the shuffle in the secondary, Dallas hopes to have a defense capable of going on a late-season run to earn it a playoff spot. Hitchens will return to middle linebacker duty, where Jaylon Smith has come on. Earlier in the season when Lee missed two games, the Cowboys defense fell apart. Smith was clearly not ready to take on the increased workload, but he’s played much better over the last two weeks.

New York Giants fire coach Ben McAdoo after 2-10 start - Kevin Patra,
The dumpster fire of a season for the New York Giants resulted in a sweeping reboot as both head coach Ben McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese were fired yesterday.

McAdoo's firing comes less than two seasons into his tenure and just a year after helping guide Big Blue to a playoff berth in 2016. The 40-year-old will finish with a 13-15 record as the Giants' coach. New York has the NFL's biggest decline in winning from 2016 to 2017, a .521 win percent decrease. The Giants have had one of the worst offenses in the NFL since McAdoo was hired as the head coach, scoring just 17.8 points per game and ranking 30th in the NFL in total yards per tilt (314.7) -- only the Browns and Bears have scored fewer PPG since 2016, per NFL Research.

The Giants are cleaning house not only due to the play on the field but also after bungling the benching of Eli Manning in favor of Geno Smith.

New York Giants going back to Eli Manning as starting quarterback - Jordan Raanan, ESPN
Speaking of Eli Manning, he’ll apparently return to his starting role against the Cowboys Sunday. It’s a bewildering move that leaves you wondering why he was ever sat in the first place.

Manning had a streak of 210 consecutive starts end Sunday when the Giants lost 24-17 in Oakland. Geno Smith started in his place.

It was a move that prompted outcry from fans and former and current players. Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers called the handling of the situation "pathetic."

Manning stood and watched on the sideline as Smith had his ups and downs Sunday, completing 21 of 34 passes for 212 yards, one touchdown and two fumbles in the loss. Coach Ben McAdoo, who was fired Monday morning, said Smith had done nothing to prevent himself from getting another start.

Coach Ben McAdoo, GM Jerry Reese both fired: Giants clean house - Ed Valentine, Big Blue View
SBN sister site Big Blue View weighs in on the Giant’s disastrous season and (perhaps) makes one appreciate that even a mediocre season is better than what’s happening in Giant-land.

The offense McAdoo was brought to the Giants to fix and that got him promoted to head coach has been a dismal failure. The Giants never scored 30 points during McAdoo’s 29 games as head coach.

After finishing sixth in the league in points scored in 2015, the Giants averaged 19.4 points per game, 26th in the league, last season. This season has been worse, with the Giants 31st in the league entering Sunday with an average of 15.6 points per game.

Adjustments In Secondary Pay Off For Cowboys - John Owning, Fanrag Sports Network

John Owning is a must-read at Fanrag Sports and provides his usual insights evaluating the young secondary’s performance against the Redskins.

When the Dallas defense was operating at a competent level, it was due to the superhuman efforts of Sean Lee and a revitalized pass rush led by DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving. However, when Lee’s pesky injury history reared its ugly head again and teams started allocating more resources toward stopping the dynamic pass rush duo, the defense tanked. Dallas got boat-raced by the Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Chargers in consecutive weeks.

Despite constant negative outcomes, Marinelli seemed stubborn in his ways and illogical in his ideologies. Many started to call for the legendary defensive coordinator’s job, citing an inability to make adjustments and put his players in the best situations to exacerbate their strengths. Honestly, through the first three quarters of the season, those criticisms were justified.

The NFL is a constantly evolving organism, and those who refuse to stop modifying will be left in the dirt.

But with its back against the wall and playoff hopes on life support with the division-rival Washington Redskins coming to town, the coaching staff finally decided to stop being complacent.

What Dak Prescott is showing that may be a huge concern, and where have Cowboys' big plays gone? - Bob Sturm, SportsDay
The Sturminator looks at the Cowboys’ offensive performance against the Redskins and worries about some emerging flaws in Dak Prescott’s game.

It all starts with what appears to be a combination of elements that include a quarterback who is not putting the ball where he would like to put it, a wide receiver group that has no real ability to win downfield (aside from red-zone fades to Dez Bryant), pass protection seeing a lot more pressure that forces the ball out quickly and a play-calling staff that is not interested in gambling beyond 5 yards and a cloud of dust up front.

Meanwhile, opponents are aware of Alfred Morris and Rod Smith behind this hulking offensive line but they are also not afraid of big plays, so they are happy to let the Cowboys to pick up 4-5 yards and force 12-play drives without a penalty or a third-down stumble and take their chances.

Clearly, based on the Cowboys going 1-3 during this run, the defenses are doing fine.

Awuzie makes good impression - Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Chidobie Awuzie impressed many with his first extended action since week 1. Drew Davison of the Startlegram gives him impression.

Awuzie broke up two passes intended for former first-round pick Josh Doctson, the former TCU and Mansfield Legacy standout who is now with the Redskins. He also forced an incompletion intended for Ryan Grant. Only one other Cowboys player has had a game with three passes defensed – rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis vs. Green Bay.

“He was pretty good,” Cowboys secondary coach Joe Baker said after the game. “I’ve got to look at the tape to see exactly how good, but he obviously got his hand on a bunch of balls and tackled pretty well from where I can see.”

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