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Cowboys news: Injury updates, unsung heroes, and a disturbing parallel

A role reversal for Dallas and the New York Giants is one of the stories this week.

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants
They meet again this Sunday.
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Practice Update: Sean Lee Returns; David Irving & Two OT’s Sitting Out | David Helman, Dallas Cowboys
Put up an article about how Dallas is looking surprisingly healthy, and of course a new name will pop up on the injury report. Hopefully, he will be cleared to play on Sunday.

David Irving wasn’t on hand for the Cowboys’ first practice of Week 14 on Wednesday.

Irving suffered a concussion in last week’s win against Washington, and he did not participate in the first practice of the week. He was one of five absentees on Wednesday morning, along with Tyron Smith, La’el Collins, Justin Durant and Orlando Scandrick.

Of the names listed, only Scandrick is thought likely to miss the game against the Giants. And more importantly, Sean Lee was not on the injury report at all and was participating in practice.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott throws in practice, says bruised right hand is fine - Todd Archer, ESPN
Cowboys fans held their collective breath during the last game when Dak Prescott went into the locker room with an injured right hand. But he came back to complete the game, and said during practice on Wednesday there were no lingering problems.

Dak Prescott threw for the first time since bruising his right hand in last week's win against the Washington Redskins and pronounced himself ready to go.

"It felt great," Prescott said after Wednesday's practice. "There weren't any restrictions. It didn't feel like my hand was bothering me or any limitations on throwing the ball or anything."

Mick Shots: Careful What You Wish For And A Whole Bunch Of “Hitching” Posts | Micky Spagnola, Dallas Cowboys
Among his collection of thoughts, Spags brings up someone whose contributions were a bit overlooked last week.

So they name an Unsung Star each week on The Jason Garrett Show, and Cowboys right tackle La’el Collins took that honor in this past weekend’s edition following the Washington game. And rightfully so. The third-year lineman’s back ailments (bulging disk) kept him out of practice all week, yet he played in the game and basically made ’Skins defensive end Ryan Kerrigan disappear. “LC” had a lot to do with the Cowboys rushing for 182 yards and Dak getting sacked only once. So keep an eye on his condition this week. Back still bothering him. Didn’t practice Wednesday. Doesn’t look like he’ll practice Thursday, maybe not even Friday. But boy they’ll need him Sunday after the way he gutted out this past Thursday’s game.

Dallas Cowboys: La'el Collins' toughness impresses team | Clarence Hill, Jr, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Collins put in his strong performance against Washington despite not practicing the week before the game. And he might have to do that again.

“I was trying to let everything calm down and just go out there and see how it feels warming up. It felt good warming up early on. As the game was going on, kind of sitting around kind of bothered me a little bit. But other than that, I just took it one series at a time.”

Collins said he has been dealing with the back injury for about three weeks and it still bothers him.

He said the team is trying to manage it as best as possible and surgery is not an option right now.

Is Orlando Scandrick's Career Over In Dallas? ✭ Brian Martin, Inside the Star
Scandrick looks likely to miss the game this Sunday, but his injury could mean much more.

I really think Scandrick’s injury puts his future with the Cowboys in doubt and could possibly end his season. The Cowboys already put him on the trade market before the season got underway and he hasn’t really been playing all that great this season anyway.

The Cowboys have been using Scandrick as their right CB when they are in their base defense and then kicking him inside to the slot when they go to their nickel package. But, this is really not necessary any longer with the return of Chidobe Awuzie.

Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence proves that technique is everything - Stephen White,
This article is called the "Hoss of the Week". And Demarcus Lawrence is the subject not just for his considerable talent, but what he does to maximize it.

This dude just has impeccable technique in everything he does. I don't care if he is taking on a double team or making a one-on-one pass rush move, you can best believe his technique is always going to be popping.

His consistency with his technique is a huge reason why he has been able to be so consistent with his production this year. It doesn't even much matter what team or offensive lineman he is facing every week, because sooner or later great technique will always win. That is evidenced by the fact that Lawrence has had at least one sack in all but three of the first 12 games of this season.

In particular, Lawrence is great with his hands, especially as a pass rusher. He just doesn't give offensive linemen much of a chance to get their hands on him. Even when they do, he's constantly working to get them right back off. And the whole time he never stops his feet, which makes it even harder to keep up with him.

Dallas Cowboys' Kavon Frazier is getting the chance he always wanted - Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys Blog- ESPN
Another somewhat lesser known story is how the Washington game was something of a breakout for second year safety Kavon Frazier.

Frazier played 21 defensive snaps in the Cowboys’ 38-14 win against the Washington Redskins, rotating series and situations with Byron Jones. He was credited by the coaches with seven tackles and one tackle for loss.

Entering the game, he had never made more than three tackles in a game and never made a tackle for loss in his first two seasons. He has mostly been a special-teams ace. He leads the Cowboys with 10 special-teams tackles. His work as a gunner has played a big part in Chris Jones having 28 punts land inside the 20 and just two go for touchbacks.

Sham: Unheralded ‘Third Phase’ Continues To Be Special For Cowboys | Brad Sham, Dallas Cowboys
Sham has some love for the special teams this week. Ryan Switzer had the 83 yard punt return for a score, and Kyle Wilber punched a fumble loose. But those are rare. What has been much more common this season are plays like Kavon Frazier downing a punt inside the 1.

Some statistics in football are misleading. When you see a team’s official ranking on offense or defense, for instance, that’s based on total yardage. Not points or first downs or turnovers, just yards. Yards are nice and everything, but they can tell a misleading story.

Here are some that are less misleading and more meaningful: Dallas this week is fourth in kickoff return average and 10th in punt returns. Even better, they’re number one in opponent’s punt return average. Ask Dak Prescott and Scott Linehan if it helps playing offense when you know if you don’t score, if you’ll just get the ball to midfield, your punt team will flip the field for you. That’s how you win field position, and usually if you win field position, you’ve got a great chance to win the game.

Dallas Cowboys: Why Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is still on the hot seat | David Moore, SportsDay
The New York Giants are in turmoil and that leads many to expect a fairly easy win for Dallas. But in 2010, the roles were reversed, with Jason Garrett coaching his first game as an interim head coach, against the Giants. And if you remember, the Cowboys won that one.

The parallels to the start of Garrett's head coaching career are hard to escape.

The Giants have made a coaching change as the team prepares for Sunday's game with the Cowboys. Garrett is familiar with the concept. He succeeded Wade Phillips as the Cowboys' head coach seven years ago heading into a game with the Giants.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has caught a Garrett news conference or two through the years that he's reluctant to draw any comparisons between himself and Steve Spagnuolo, who has taken over for Ben McAdoo.

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