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Cowboys News: Dak backs Linehan; Zeke and Dez ready to put 2017 season behind them

Your links for the first day of the New Year.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Happy New Years from Blogging The Boys!

Cowboys @ Eagles: The last hurrah was more of a harrumph as Dallas squeaks to 6-0 “win” - Tom Ryle, BTB

It wasn’t pretty, but Tom recaps the last game — and win — of the season.

It was a game that was quite meaningless, and it was certainly uninspiring. The Dallas Cowboys eked out a 6-0 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Dallas managed one good offensive drive the entire contest, while their defense repeatedly denied a depleted Philadelphia squad in a game that really did nothing for the Cowboys as they had many of the same problems, especially on offense, that have plagued them all season.

It was largely an exercise in futility for both teams, as they played 3 plus scoreless quarters.

Cowboys' slow start, Ezekiel Elliott's ban lead to disappointment - Todd Archer, ESPN

Archer recaps the season. About what you'd expect.

Season grade: Below average. Expectations were high for the Cowboys coming into 2017 after they had the NFC's best record in 2016 and a young team that appeared poised to be a contender for years in the NFC. It took time for them to find their footing in the first half of the season, and they lost Ezekiel Elliott for six of eight games in the second half. As a result, the Cowboys have to be considered one of the league's biggest disappointments.

Cowboys get ugly 6-0 win over Eagles, finish disappointing season with 9-7 record - Clarence Hill, The Star-Telergam

Hill’s recap. The Cowboys ended the season with a win, but was it satisfying?

The Dallas Cowboys got the win they wanted Sunday.

Now, there is a question of whether they got the uplifting, feel-good moral victory they felt they needed to end what has been a disappointing 2017 season.

The 6-0 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles in 19-degree temperatures felt like acupuncture at times.

For much of the the game, the Cowboys, who were knocked out of the playoffs a week ago, looked like a listless team with nothing to play for against a playoff-bound Eagles team that opened the game without six defensive starters and one offensive starter in hopes of avoiding injury until the postseason.

Cowboys blank Eagles 6-0 to finish with winning record - Charean Williams, ProFootballTalk

Williams writes on the final Cowboys game until August.

The Cowboys aren’t going to the playoffs, but they did finish with a winning record. It marks the first time since 2009 that they posted back-to-back winning records as they went 9-7 in 2008 and 11-5 in 2009.

The Cowboys, 13-3 last season, finished 9-7 with a 6-0 shutout of the Eagles in an ugly, uninspiring game for both teams.


5 thoughts from Cowboys' 6-0 win: The most important thing Dallas has to fix this offseason; top draft needs - Jon Machota, SportsDay

What is the most important thing that Dallas “has to fix”, according to Machota?

The Dak Prescott to Dez Bryant combination continued to struggle. Prescott targeted Bryant five times in the first half. He caught one pass for five yards. They hooked up for a 50-yard play late in the second quarter, but it was called back because of a Byron Bell hold.

The connection didn't improve much in the second half. Blame the scheme or the players, either way it's the most important thing the Cowboys have to fix this offseason.

One thing that is trending up, though, is the defense.

The Cowboys played their first-team defense throughout. The Eagles played their first-team offense for four series. There wasn't anything to play for, but you wouldn't know it if you were watching Sean Lee on this 17-degree afternoon.

The group held up their end of the bargain, shutting down the Philadelphia offense. Just not sure how impressive that is considering who was on the field. And they allowed Nate Sudfeld to actually look pretty good playing behind Nick Foles.

Biggest takeaways from Cowboys' season; which coach is in trouble? - Bob Sturm, SportsDay

Now that the season is over, which coach (or coaches) is on the hot seat?

I would think that Scott Linehan is likely in trouble. The winds of change are swirling as blame looks for a target and the parties that do not have Jones family equity are the most likely to go. Marinelli could go, too, but I think there is really concern that the offense needs some upheaval. I do not disagree with that sentiment, but I do find Jason Garrett's ownership on it far more disconcerting and his security remains strong, I believe. So many of these issues are discussed on the basis of "what do I think the Cowboys will do" versus "what should the Cowboys do". Those have been two separate ideas for a long, long time.

Five winners and five losers from the Cowboys 6-0 win over the Eagles - Dave Halprin, BTB

Who came out a winner and who disappointed in week 17’s snoozer?

The Tank impressed, again.

Winner: DeMarcus Lawrence - He didn’t get a sack which he desperately wanted, but he was destroying the Eagles offense in the first half. He was getting constant pressure, causing incompletions, he hit Nick Foles arm once, was very close to a couple of sacks. And, as usual, he was outstanding in disrupting the run.

But, the concerns around Scott Linehan are only heating up.

Loser: Scott Linehan - He’s under fire, and his offense comes out and plays awful against a team playing plenty of backups. The cold is no excuse. We saw nothing new from Dallas. Would it hurt them to run one rub route at the line, or a crossing pattern that sets a pick, or something like that? These receivers aren’t winning routes one-on-one.


Dak Prescott wants coordinator Scott Linehan to return: ‘He means a lot me’ - Clarence Hill, The Star-Telegram

Despite the offensive struggles and questionable playcalling, Dak stands by his offensive coordinator.

Prescott's struggles and that of the passing game in 2017 are the prime reason Linehan is on the hot seat. Receiver Dez Bryant blames Linehan's predictable schemes for his own declining performance.

However, Prescott, noting Linehan's role in his own success, says the offensive coordinator is not the problem and wants him to return.

“I have 120 percent belief in him, 200 percent belief in him,” Prescott said. “He (deserves) a lot of credit for my success in this league. Everything that I’ve done, teaching the game, breaking the game down. I’m not into all the speculation and things like that. I hope he’s here. I hope we figure it out. He means a lot to me.”

Dez is not a No. 1 so he should not be paid like it - Mac Engel, The Star-Telegram

Has Dez fallen off? Engel believes so.

Exactly what their greatest position of need will be impacted on what the team does with it’s No. 1 receiver, Mr. Dez Bryant.

Dez wants to sit down and chat with owner Jerry Jones this off-season, which if the Cowboys were smart they would sell tickets to watch. There is so much potential material in that conversation it would be worth a 30-minute show.

Dez said he thinks the scheme hurt his production, and Jerry still likes Dez. So there is a relationship to be maintained here. At what price?

Dez Bryant looking forward to 2018; What others are saying about him - Jon Machota, SportsDay

Dez is “ready to get back to work”.

"I'm honestly ready to get back to work," he said. "Rest the body and just get back to work. 2018 is an extremely big year. I'm just truly looking to get back to work."

What does Bryant expect his role to be next year?

"Whatever they want me to be," Bryant said. "However the coaches want me to be, I'm going to be it. At the end of the day I just want to win. That's the only thing I care about."

'What's the point?' Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott makes peace with suspension-shortened season - Jon Machota, SportsDay

Zeke wants to move on.

Before his time with reporters in front of his locker ended Sunday evening, Elliott said he's at peace with everything.

He doesn't look back and speculate about what might have been had he not been suspended. He said that's for media members to debate.

"The fact of the matter is it doesn't matter," Elliott said. "What's the point of going what-if? It already happened. You just got to look forward and control what you can control and make sure we come back ready next year, ready to contend and make it to the playoffs."