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Cowboys news: Cowboys must win trench battle on Turkey Day to take division lead

The Cowboys don’t fare well when they don’t win the battle up front.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys Know Division Rematch Starts Up Front - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
The last time the Cowboys lost the battle in the trenches. If they plan to take the lead from Washington they have to win that battle this time.

The line is prideful group that wasn’t proud of their performance against a talented Washington defensive front.

“You never want to have a game like that, but you are what you put on tape,” Martin said. “We’ve got to get back to what we do well, and I think we’ve done that over the last few weeks. And it’s a big challenge for us. But that’s not who we want to be, what we showed last time in Washington.

“There are still some things we need to clean up in protection, but we’re getting better every week and I think guys have bought in. I think there’s still a lot to get better at, but it’s been trending in the right direction.”

There are plenty of legitimate reasons for the Cowboys’ reversal. This one isn’t getting enough traction - David Moore, SportsDay
The Cowboys have a lot of things going right but their turnaround so far has been boosted by the shift in their fourth quarter play.

The Cowboys have scored 30 points in the fourth quarter during this two-game winning streak. That qualifies as an eruption for this offense. The team scored just 28 fourth-quarter points in the first month of the season. It scraped together only 23 points in that frame in October.

But Dallas has now scored four touchdowns and a field goal on its last seven fourth-quarter possessions. Sunday afternoon, after seeing a 10-point lead evaporate, Prescott picked up a third-down conversion to rookie Michael Gallup on a comeback route when double coverage took away the option route to Cole Beasley. Four plays later, he spotted Beasley isolated on the middle linebacker and hit him with a pass for 19 yards to set up Maher’s winning field goal.

Cowboys offense finally cashing in on team’s best defense since Wade Phillips was in charge - Michael Sisemore, Blogging The Boys
It took half of the season but this offense is finally taking advantage of opportunities presented by the best Cowboys defense in a while.

Two wins in a row seems like something so small to be excited about but it’s the way they are winning that warrants the optimism. Thanks to Cooper, the passing offense has improved with every week. Dak Prescott has been the biggest benefactor seeing his passer rating rise from 88.6 through seven games to 96.2 over the last three. His completion percentage improved from 62.3% to 69.6%. Since the bye week, Dak Prescott’s completion percentage is first in the NFC East, fourth in the NFC, and ninth-best in the NFL.

Cowboys-Redskins have more than tradition on the line on Thanksgiving - Todd Archer, ESPN
The Cowboys know that a lot is riding on this game with Washington and that this division is there for the taking.

The Cowboys were 3-5 at the midway point and shaken. Calls for Garrett’s job were growing louder. Dak Prescott’s future was questioned. With a three-game winning streak, the Redskins were 5-2 and appeared like they would take control of a weak division, but they have lost two of their past three games.

And here we are.

“It’s just fitting for football fans on Thanksgiving, and certainly for our fans, to have a lot at stake on a national holiday is a big deal for us,” Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “You know what Thanksgiving means to the Cowboys and to our tradition. We’re so proud to have done what we’ve done for the NFL on Thanksgiving Day. To have it boil down to a game of this substance, that will be a treat for us on Thanksgiving Day.”

Redskins don’t know if Trent Williams, other injured starters will play versus Cowboys -Kareem Copeland, The Washington Post
Alex Smith isn't the only Washington player that could be missing on Thanksgiving Day against the Cowboys.

Coach Jay Gruden said [Chris] Thompson (ribs), [Jamison] Crowder (ankle) and [Quinton] Dunbar (shin) all worked with trainers on the side during the morning session.

[Trent] Williams was close to playing last week after returning to practice for the first time since the surgery, but wasn’t able to go on Sunday. He is trying to play with a cast on his right thumb.

“Hopefully we’ll get those guys a little bit of running and we’ll get a better feel after,” Gruden said of the afternoon workout. “I’m not for sure on anybody right now. It’s hard to gauge because we’re just walking-through on a short week. Guys will have to make a significant improvement.

“Trent is a little bit different because it’s his thumb and it’s just a matter of if he can feel comfortable gripping with that cast on. If he does, I think he’ll go. Only time will tell.”

Geoff Swaim Needs Surgery, Should the Cowboys even use a Tight End? - John Williams, Inside The Star
Should Cowboys scrap tight end from their offensive plans with latest wrist injury to Geoff Swaim?

With the Dallas Cowboys and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan’s insistence on using a tight end, it seems there’s a huge hole at the position heading into Sunday’s first place showdown with the Washington Redskins.

But in reality, is there?

For weeks, I’ve been screaming for this team to use more 10 personnel (one running back and zero tight ends) as its primary passing formation because it gets their best pass catching weapons on the field at the same time. Swaim has been solid and consistent in his first year as a starter, but the rest of the tight end group has disappointed. So why even run a tight end out on the field.

The Dallas Cowboys have options that could replace the tight end in the passing game without actually using a tight end.

Dak Prescott has third-most wins since 2016 - Stefan Stevenson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
He may never be the prolific-passing quarterback that everyone drools over but Dak Prescott has shown to be a winner.

Prescott’s 12 game-winning drives since 2016 are second only to Matt Stafford’s 13 for most in the NFL, including Sunday’s drive that set up Brett Maher’s game-winning field goalagainst Atlanta.

It has been Prescott’s calling card in his first three seasons. While he may not excite fantasy team owners with gaudy numbers, more often than not, he performs well when the game is on the line.

He has his three best passing completion games this season since Amari Cooper joined the team, including a season high 72.2 percent two weeks ago in the win at Philadelphia. With the game tied at 20-20 and four minutes left, Prescott led the team on a 75-yard touchdown drive to beat the Eagles.

Report: Michael Gallup intends to play on Thanksgiving against Washington - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
We’re all thinking of the Gallup family during this tough time.

Shortly after the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday horrible news hit the team. Michael Gallup’s brother had died as a result of suicide.

Gallup’s status in the Cowboys game this Thursday against the Washington Redskins immediately became unknown due to him taking a leave of absence to be with his family. This is something that transcends football and it goes without saying that the Gallup family has been in all of our thoughts.

It’s Tuesday and the reality of a Thursday game is that it’s a short week. Almost 48 hours away from kickoff it’s been reported that Michael Gallup intends to play on Thanksgiving after all.

'His family is our family': How the Cowboys plan to support Michael Gallup in the wake of his brother's death - Brandon George, SportsDay
The Cowboys locker room was noticeably somber after Sunday's last-second victory against the Atlanta Falcons after news circulated within the team of one of their own player's personal tragedy.

“Our team and our entire organization are deeply saddened by the news of Michael’s loss,” Jerry Jones said Monday in a statement. “His family is our family. We share in the grief and pain that comes with something so personal and tragic. We offer our support, care and comfort for Michael, and we ask that all of those who have sons and daughters and brothers and sisters join us in keeping Michael and his wonderful family in their thoughts and prayers.”

Dallas Cowboys: Quick turnaround doesn’t phase Dak, Zeke - Stefan Stevenson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Cowboys don't care how many games they'll play in such a few amount of days, they just want to keep winning.

“In my three years we’ve been able to handle it pretty well,” Quarterback Dak Prescott said. “This team, this organization is used to a Thursday game, the quick turnaround, every team’s got to do it. You just have to make sure you get film and everything you normally do in a full week, get it done in a short week. We’ve done a good job in preparation and mindset.”

“You know it’s one of those challenging weeks,” said Ezekiel Elliott, who has 273 yards and two touchdowns and 115 yards and a touchdown receiving over the past two games.

“You just physically can’t go out there and get those physical reps. Your body is beat up from playing two days ago. You’ve just got to make sure you get those good mental reps and you get in that film room and just really like paying attention to those plays we’ve got cued up for this week and make sure I’m cued in on everything and ready to go.”

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