Showdown With Saints Awaits; Injury Updates - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have a big challenge awaiting them next Thursday, but who’s going to be available?
Prescott threw for a season-high 289 yards without left tackle Tyron Smith, who warmed up before the game but ultimately was still bothered by the neck stinger he suffered against the Falcons. Garrett said Smith likely will not practice with contact when the players return to work Sunday. “We’ll just try to put some distance between these stingers and see if he’s able to go next Thursday night,” Garrett said. The Cowboys will also monitor the work of defensive end Taco Charlton, who has missed the last two games with a shoulder injury.
Tyron Smith has elbow injury to go with stinger - Charean Williams, ProFootballTalk
And it’s not just Tyron’s neck that is giving him trouble.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett revealed in a conference call Friday that Smith also is dealing with a right elbow injury. It is unclear when that injury occurred. But Smith wore a brace on his arm as he stood on the sideline during the game. He won’t practice Sunday, but Smith is expected to play Thursday against the Saints. “I do [expect Smith to play],” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “We didn’t expect him not to play [against Washington].” Smith has dealt with injuries the past three seasons, missing seven games. Veteran Cameron Fleming filled in for Smith against Washington. Preston Smith had a good day against Fleming, making eight tackles, 1.5 sacks and four quarterback hits.
Jerry Jones: Cooper even helping surging Cowboys on defense - Schuyler Dixon, Miami Herald
The addition of Cooper is sparking the offense, but the Cowboys owner believes it’s contagious.
Amari Cooper’s 90-yard touchdown catch was soon followed by DeMarcus Lawrence’s first career interception in a Dallas win over Washington that pulled the Cowboys even with the Redskins atop the NFC East. Call Jerry Jones crazy, but the Cowboys owner and general manager believes those two big plays are connected. And he’s suggested as much several times in the month since he traded his next first-round pick in the draft to Oakland for a new No. 1 receiver. “It’s got this entire bunch involved,” Jones said of Cooper’s impact during a three-game winning streak that put the Cowboys back in contention. “It had to do something, especially defensively. My whole point is there’s no question he’s added a spark.”
The Morning After: Cowboys grab first place with another strong divisional win – The Athletic
Amon many other things, Sturm takes a look at how Amari Cooper’s arrival has transformed the Cowboys offense from a putrid 3rd down offense to a 1st down machine.
This team had Ezekiel Elliott and the same strong defense in the first two frustrating months of 2018 and it didn’t seem to affect the win-loss totals nearly enough. Why? Because the offense could not convert a meaningful play at a important moment. Third downs tell quite a tale about a passing game having to defeat a passing defense. There is no deception from the possibility a play might be a run, because on third and more than 2, teams in this league are passing the ball if they wish to continue their current drive.
For all of September and October, the Cowboys offense was putrid at moving the chains. The distance of the third down was largely irrelevant; they couldn’t convert anything. When the Cowboys decided they must trade away their 2019 first-rounder, they likely did so because of the reality of being so awful at extending drives. Through the trip to Washington, they were 29th in the NFL — 29 for 91, 31.9% — and ranked only ahead of the three ridiculous offenses with rookie quarterbacks in Cleveland, Buffalo, and Arizona.
The front office had to do something fast. Yes, better QB play and pass protection and a few more hit throws when guys do have a chance to make a catch would be nice.
But the opportunities were not there because the targets were not good enough. This was said for weeks at a time, but it is worth repeating: When 2018 started, you would be hard-pressed to find NFL teams with less talent at the pass-catching positions than the Cowboys gave their offense. They had to address the issue if they believed a player was of high-enough quality to transform an offense on 3rd downs.
Enter Amari Cooper.
Since Amari has joined the offense, the Cowboys’ third-down rankings have shot up from 29th in the NFL to eighth. They have converted 26 of 54 3rd downs in the month of November, which means no team in the league has moved the chains more than the Dallas Cowboys this month.
Converted third downs mean longer drives. Longer drives mean more shots at big plays and a better-rested defense. And that means everything improves simultaneously.
Amari Cooper isn’t playing better in Dallas; he’s just getting used better - Austin Gayle, Pro Football Focus
Amari Cooper is finally getting the attention he deserves, and the results have followed suit.
The Dallas Cowboys’ new wideout hasn’t developed any new tricks or skills in Dallas; he’s just finally being used right.
In Weeks 9-12 (four games), Cooper’s target share has nearly doubled compared to his days in Oakland, as he’s accounted for 24.0% of the team’s total targets and has been targeted on 21.3% of his routes. He’s also averaged 7.25 targets per game with Dallas, which is another strong increase compared to his 5.0 targets per game average with the Raiders earlier in the season.
Cooper, of course, has had his fair share of spectacular routes with the Cowboys that have garnered national attention, as his ability to create separation on short and intermediate routes has been on full display in Dallas. But that’s nothing new for Cooper; his elite route-running has always been a part of his game.
Cooper will continue to put on a show with his elite route-running ability as he has done his entire NFL career. He’s just finally getting rewarded with a proper amount targets for his efforts in Dallas.
Cowboys are going to have some tough business decisions to make - Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk
The Cowboys have a lot of young players showing out this season, but they’re going to have some difficult decisions soon.
Between the promised contract extension for quarterback Dak Prescott, the second contract to be given to receiver Amari Cooper, and the looming second franchise tag for defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, the Cowboys will encounter major financial obligations in the not-too-distant future. Lawrence will make $20.5 million in 2019, if tagged again. And if a long-term deal will be negotiated for Lawrence, $20.5 million for 2019 and an even higher number for 2020 fully guaranteed at signing will be the starting point.
Florio writes a good headline, and will manage to scare a few gullible Cowboys fans, but his understanding of the salary cap seems to be fairly limited.
They can afford those players. Dallas has gotten awesome deals out of their O-line other than Collins which gives them flexibility https://t.co/AWpfdpapfp— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) November 24, 2018
Amari Cooper, Cowboys may have flipped script of entire season with one monstrous quarter vs. Washington -Tim Cowlishaw, SportsDay
And one of those tough decisions could be new receiver sensation, Amari Cooper.
After posturing for a more modest victory over Washington on Thursday afternoon -- the Cowboys led 10-7 at halftime -- Dallas let Amari Cooper turn on the jets and put on a show in the second half for a 31-23 victory that left the Cowboys and Redskins with 6-5 records. Washington lost its quarterback for the year a week ago. Dallas may have found its wide receiver for the next half-dozen seasons Thursday afternoon. “Amari looks like he’s making a bid for his cash,’’ Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Thursday night. Fairly big money ($13 million) was already on the books for Cooper next season. The big plays finally arrived in the third quarter.
Scout’s Notebook: How The Defense Got To McCoy - Bryan Broaddus
Despite the Cowboys injuries along the offensive line, the backups continue to hold up nicely.
Just a really nice job by Xavier Su’a-Filo and Cam Fleming of sorting out things on the back side of the Ezekiel Elliott touchdown run. The Redskins tried to run a blitz to the left side, as Su’a-Filo picked up Preston Smith to the inside and Cam Fleming turned Mason Foster to the outside. That gave Elliott the space to cut to the inside of the blocks. Joe Looney did a nice job of sealing off Da’Ron Payne, as well.
‘As good as it gets’: Cowboys are playing their best football, but they’ll have to step it up to compete with Saints - Kate Hairopoulos, SportsDay
It was a great win on Thursday, but there is no time to celebrate.
Executive vice president Stephen Jones planned to watch the Saints’ game against Atlanta that followed Dallas’ win on the holiday. He joked that he may be better off not watching an eventual 31-17 win by New Orleans (10-1). The Saints have won 10 straight, their only loss coming against Tampa Bay, 48-40, in the season opener. The Cowboys, tied for first in the NFC East at 6-5, are playing their best football of the season. They’ll have to be even better to compete with New Orleans. “Hopefully, you grow from these experiences,” Jones said. “Hopefully, we’ll be better next week, ‘cause we’ve got a serious team coming to town.”
Three interceptions help beat Redskins - Stefan Stevenson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Cowboys defense has been playing well, but they’ll have their toughest challenge of the season next Thursday.
No matter how good the Dallas Cowboys’ defense had played in 2018, the unit needed more turnovers to take it up another notch. After a slow start, the turnovers have started coming and Thursday’s three interceptions in a 31-23 win over the Washington Redskins shows the defense is peaking at just the right time. Dallas has forced five turnovers during a three-game win streak after forcing only eight in the first eight games. “That’s just a testimony to what coach [Rod Marinelli] has been preaching all year long,” said defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who collected his first-career interception and returned it 13 yards to set up Amari Cooper’s 90-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. “In order to be an elite defense, we have to get takeaways and we ended up doing it today.”
Think the Cowboys should waltz to the NFC East title? Proceed with caution -- the division is far from decided - David Moore, SportsDay
The Cowboys took a big step in the right direction in their quest to win the NFC East, but what’s the outlook for the rest of the season?
The Cowboys can play their best football Thursday night and still lose to a white-hot New Orleans team. Washington and Philadelphia, which have already lost to the Saints by a combined total of 65 points, are counting on the fact that Dallas will become the Saints’ 11th consecutive victim. If that happens -- sorry to throw day-old giblet gravy on the Cowboys’ win streak -- what does it do to the division race? Let’s take a closer look at the schedules and play out a few scenarios.
Washington has no games left against teams with winning records. The Redskins’ remaining opponents have a winning percentage of .380.
New Orleans is the last opponent the Cowboys face -- at the moment -- with a winning record. The Cowboys’ remaining opponents have a winning percentage of .490.
Philadelphia’s schedule is easily the most difficult. Five of the team’s final six games are against teams with winning records. The Los Angeles Rams and Houston headline a list of opponents with a combined winning percentage of .594.
As NFC East remains wide open, Giants and Eagles heading in opposite directions - A.P., SportsDay
While the Giants are one of the Eagles’ easiest remaining opponents, it’s not a gimme by any means.
Here are things to know about the Giants-Eagles matchup:
The Eagles are missing three-fourths of their starting secondary, their starting nickel cornerback and their top backup. The fifth cornerback could be out, too. Cornerback Ronald Darby and safety Rodney McLeod are out for the season and cornerback Jalen Mills has a foot injury. Cornerbacks Sidney Jones and Avonte Maddox are also sidelined and Rasul Douglas is questionable. The Eagles will have to count on three guys who have limited experience: Cre’Von LeBlanc, De’Vante Bausby and Chandon Sullivan. It could mean a big day for Shepard and Odell Beckham Jr.
Jerry Jones Issues Statement on Bob McNair - Nick Eatman, Dallas Cowboys
Texans owner Bob McNair passed away on Friday and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones issued a statement.
Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones issued a statement on Friday after the passing of Texans owner and founder Bob McNair, who died at the age of 81.
“Bob’s stature, and the manner in which he carried himself and guided his franchise, commanded the respect of everyone in the ownership room of the NFL. His love for his team, and especially his players, was unsurpassed by any NFL owner that I have known. I am most grateful and indebted to him for bringing Houston back the the NFL and re-establishing that great metropolitan area in our state as an NFL city. I am privileged to have been his friend. We have lost a great Texan, sportsman and a wonderful person.
Dallas Cowboys Post Game Speech Following Win Over Washington Redskins - Dallas Cowboys 2018 - YouTube
Watch this video and see how Michael Gallup gets the game ball after the death of his brother this week, and how the normally dispassionate Jason Garrett, who lost his father earlier this year, gets very emotional when he tells his players to call their mothers and their fathers.