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Cowboys news: Zeke’s more than OK, Irving is back, and focus shifts to Texans game

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Plus an award for a player whose presence on the roster shocked many.

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Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys
Hopefully we will see a lot more of this in Houston.
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Ezekiel Elliott Says He's "Good" After Getting Banged Up Sunday - 105.3 The Fan staff
Ezekiel Elliott was the offensive star last week, and was a workhorse in the process. He also got nicked up a bit, limping at times. But he was a full-go in practice Wednesday, and says he is fine.

"Honestly, this is the best Wednesday practice I've had," Elliott said. "It's the freshest I've felt any Wednesday. I did a good job coming in and making sure I got my treatment so I was ready to go today.

When a reporter followed up Elliott's comment with another about his health, Elliot said, "I'm good."

Will a banged up Ezekiel Elliott be ready to go - Clarence Hill, Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Cowboys are going to ride Ezekiel Elliott as long as they can - but let's hope they don't burn him out too quickly.

Elliott had 25 carries and four receptions against the Lions after averaging a little more than 19 touches the first three games combined.

“I do want that kind of workload for him,” (owner and GM Jerry) Jones said. “He’s healthy. He’s very physical. You take more when you’re contesting Zeke than you give out. In other words, he wins most of those physical confrontations. He wins them. That takes its toll on the defense. Not only that, it inspires his teammates. It inspires the team.

“Football is physical. We’ve got us a really outstanding player that plays football by its definition. Then he’s got the finesse and got the speed to make the plays. It’s just instinctive. So we should use him, yes. We’ve got him and we should use him and he should really make it possible for a lot of players around him to have some big plays as well.”

Practice Update: Status Of Irving, T-Will, Others - Rob Phillips, DallasCowboys.com
While there are some injury notes of great interest, the biggest story this week will likely be about a player who wasn't hurt at all.

For the first time this season, defensive lineman David Irving is on the field for practice as the Cowboys begin prepping for Sunday night’s matchup against the Houston Texans.

Irving missed the first four regular-season games due to suspension and was excused from training camp and preseason activities to handle personal matters.

“Anticipate him going through individual (drills), keeping an eye on him and seeing what we need to do to get him acclimated and playing again,” head coach Jason Garrett said before Wednesday’s practice.

Look who's back: NFL players returning from suspension in Week 5 - ESPN staff
We are focused on the Cowboys, but did you know that David Irving is one of eleven NFL players who are eligible to return this week? Of course, he is the one we really care about.

David Irving, DT

Suspension: Missed the first four games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy

What his return means: The Cowboys' defensive line rotation should get stronger, but that depends on Irving’s conditioning. He missed most of the offseason program while dealing with personal issues. He did not go to training camp, spending his time in a Hollywood gym working out. He has been around the team the past three weeks, but the Cowboys aren’t sure if he will be able to contribute on the field right away. With injuries to Antwaun Woods (calf) and Maliek Collins (knee), the Cowboys could be forced to play Irving before he is ready. -- Todd Archer

Terrance Williams misses another practice as he deals with off-field issues - Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay
So what is really going on with Terrance Williams? No one is saying.

The Cowboys continue to be tight-lipped about the situation surrounding receiver Terrance Williams.

The team made him inactive for the first game of his six-year career Sunday against Detroit and he was not on the sidelines. Williams missed practiced Friday for personal reasons, which the team excused.

"He's just working through some off-the-field situations right now," coach Jason Garrett said Monday. "He wasn't a part of it this past weekend. We had Brice Butler up for the game. But we do anticipate Terrance rejoining the team [Tuesday] when everyone comes back in."

Maher Wins NFC Award; Zeke Needs Fan Votes - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys.com
Ezekiel Elliott needs your votes in one of those popularity type deals (you can help him by voting here). Meanwhile, that controversial decision to release Dan Bailey is working out kinda OK so far.

But there is no voting needed for the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. That award was given to Cowboys kicker Brett Maher, who not only made four field goals on Sunday, but the game-winning kick in the final seconds to give Dallas a 26-24 win.

The Marinelli Report, Week 4: Stafford and Tate attack Dallas with big plays, DeMarcus dominates – Bob Sturm, The Athletic
If you felt that the Cowboys were very, very lucky to get out of the Lions game with a win, here is a little nugget that proves you were exactly right.

Here is a stat that may blow your mind (I hope). In the history of the Dallas Cowboys, there have been 21 occasions of a QB rating over 125 and zero Cowboys takeaways (those two things often go hand in hand, of course). The Cowboys’ Win-Loss record over their history in this situation is now 2-19. The wins?

Sunday’s game — and October 30, 1972, when they played the Detroit Lions at brand-spanking-new Texas Stadium on Monday Night Football.

In this QB scenario, they are 0-19 against the world — and 2-0 against Detroit.

Eatman: Let’s Get Dallas vs. Houston Every Year - Nick Eatman, DallasCowboys.com
This is an interesting argument for a yearly contest between the Cowboys and the Texans. But it leaves out one obvious point: This is probably a much bigger deal for the team on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Every workplace from Dallas to Houston likely has passionate fans for both teams. Imagine what that would generate around the entire state if the Cowboys and Texans regularly played in a meaningful game.

There’s no way games like this wouldn’t boost ratings. Plus, from a financial standpoint, there are lots of sponsorship dollars on the table every year. Games like this would only enhance the importance of marketing in your area, or in this case, the areas in between the cities.

Flip Side: What Is Deshaun Watson’s Fatal Flaw? - Bryan Broaddus, DallasCowboys.com
How the Cowboys' defense handles Texans QB Deshaun Watson is one of the biggest keys to the coming game.

Watson is very similar to Pat Mahomes when it comes to arm talent and passing style. He has complete confidence in his ability to deliver the ball anywhere on the field. You have to be ready to defend him moving around the pocket, once again due to his teammates struggling to consistently protect for him.

He throws equally well to his left as he does to his right. The Texans have receivers that are exceptional talents. DeAndre Hopkins reminds me of Odell Beckham Jr. and the problems he can create on all levels of the field. Watson has developed a connection with Hopkins and he takes every advantage to get him the ball. Watson is especially skilled at delivering the ball to these receivers on the move.

Where Watson has had his issues: it has been throwing the interception. In all four of his games this season he has thrown at least one of them and for the Cowboys defensively that is a welcomed sight.

Top weapons the Cowboys must stop when they face the Texans - Patrik Walker, 247 Sports
This lists some other players the Cowboys need to be concerned about, including the biggest name of the group.

J.J. WATT - DE

You know the name, and you most certainly know his game.

Watt was forced to the sidelines for 11 games in 2017 with a fractured leg, on the heels of playing only three games in 2016 due to back surgery for a herniated disc. That was then and this is now, of course, because he's been on the field for all four of the Texans games thus far and he looks to be in prime form. Following a bit of a slow start sack-wise, he's now reeled off five in the last two games alone, with teams having a difficult time accounting for both him and Clowney -- among others like Mercilus.

Four-time pro bowler. Four-time First-Team All-Pro. Three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

It took a spin from Tony Romo with an accompanying bomb to Terrance Williams to help save the Cowboys in the last matchup four years ago, and there better be some sound protection and a little bit of magic from Prescott and Co. this time around as well.

How Krispy Kreme doughnuts played a role in Cowboys C Joe Looney's TD-paving block for Ezekiel Elliott - Brandon George, SportsDay
Not only is Joe Looney doing an excellent job filling in for Travis Frederick, he is rapidly becoming the MQP (most quotable player) for the team.

Looney invoked his own "Feed Me" tactic Tuesday, joking that he had some extra motivation to get downfield Sunday to block for Elliott on the screen pass.

"Everybody was just so surprised about how fast I was running and I told them there was a little Krispy Kreme box down there that I saw," Looney said, smiling, "and I had to go down there and get me one of them."