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Cowboys News: Four keys to a Thanksgiving win over the Buffalo Bills

Check out today’s news about the Dallas Cowboys.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Film room: 4 keys to a Cowboys win vs. Bills, including a mismatch Dallas can exploit in the passing game-John Owning, Dallas Morning News

How the Cowboys can beat the Bills, broken down in four easy bites.

Robert Quinn’s potent speed rush has been a hugely effective weapon this year, but the downside is that when it’s not successful, it often gives quarterbacks a giant alley to either escape the pocket or scramble for positive yards -- the latter of which occurs in the above clip.

Quinn, who is double-teamed by the tight end and running back, opts to take a wide track outside to try to attack the pocket. Unfortunately, Quinn isn’t able to capture the edge, enabling the tight end to run him beyond the apex of the quarterback’s drop and creating a giant void for Driskel to pick up yards.

Fortunately for Dallas, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence was in hot pursuit as linebacker Leighton Vander Esch rallied toward the line of scrimmage, forcing Driskel to slide, which stopped the bleeding.

On top of being more disciplined in their rush lanes, the Cowboys would be wise to eschew their tendencies to run a variety of pass-rush stunts and twists upfront. Defensive line stunts and twists are a great way to create confusion among the protection and manufacture a pass rush, but they often can create voids in the rush for the QB to exploit with his feet. Here’s an example:

3 & Out: A Win/Win For Cobb & Beasley - Staff, dallascowboys.com

Both current Cowboy, Randall Cobb, and ex-Cowboy, Cole Beasley, have settled well into roles on their new teams in 2019.

The 2018 Cowboys won a ton of close games. They were 9-3 in games decided by a touchdown or less and 5-2 in games decided by a field goal or less. This year, they’ve lost five games by a combined 22 points, making them 0-4 in games decided by a touchdown or less.

This isn’t a two-year thing, either. In 2016, that magical 13-win season with Prescott and Elliott as rookies, they went 7-2 in games within a touchdown or less. In 2015, reeling without Tony Romo, they went 2-6 in those games on their way to a 4-12 season.

Is it simply the law of averages this year? If you go back at look at each of the five losses, they got off to slow starts and didn’t make enough plays at the end. You call it coaching, or execution, or both. The bottom line is, the Cowboys are a few plays away from being 8-3. Maybe 9-2.

Then again, as Jason Witten reminded Tuesday, you are what your record says you are.

5 Thanksgiving Day Games We’ll Never Forget - Mickey Spagnola, dallascowboys.com

Here are five Cowboys Thanksgiving classics you will never forget.

Now this one sticks in the craw of Redskins fans to this day. The Cowboys were playing Washington for the second time in three games, and after beating the Cowboys in the first one, 28-21, Redskins linebacker Diron Talbert proclaimed that all Washington had to do was knock quarterback Roger Staubach out of the game to win since the Cowboys only had some unknown rookie named Clint Longley as their backup. Well, they did knock Staubach woozy in the second quarter and in comes the raw Longley. The Redskins were up 16-3 in the third quarter before Longley led the Cowboys to three second-half touchdowns, earning Longley the “Mad Bomber” nickname and causing offensive lineman Blaine Nye to proclaim, since no one was sure just how much the live-wire rookie knew, that this was a case of, “The triumph of the uncluttered mind.”

With Jason Garrett on notice, Greg Roman is coach on the rise - Patrick Conn, wfaa.com

If Jason Garrett does not return, could Dallas eye Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman?

Roman, who is a long-time coordinator and assistant, has yet to get his crack at becoming a head coach. However, given what he has done in his first season as the playcaller in Baltimore, and the success he has had with Lamar Jackson in the former Heisman winner’s first full season as a starter, it’s worth pondering just how much of a difference he would make in the Lone Star State if he were making the game decisions in Dallas.

Roman has spen the last three years with Baltimore, but this is the first season where he has been responsible for calling the plays. And the Ravens have responded with one of the most dynamic offenses in the league on their way to a 9-2 record where they sit atop the AFC North.

Roman has also made stops as an assistant in San Francisco and Buffalo. He was the offensive coordinator for the 49ers during the Jim Harbaugh era, which included an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII where, coincidentally, they lost to the Ravens. Spanning the years in which he has been coordinator, he has three straight seasons with the No. 1 rushing attack in terms of yards and touchdowns.

Michael Irvin On Cowboys Struggles: ‘I Want To See Somebody Get Angry’ – Staff, CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Cowboys’ legend Michael Irivin wants to see some emotion out of his former team.

Irvin, who remains passionate about the play of his former team, says that he is annoyed by the fact that he doesn’t see his same passion reflected in the players on the field.

“I don’t see that. And the issue is I would like to see someone get upset about it. I’m tired — T-I-Red — of hearing the same answers. We’ll get better. We’ll get to work on it. We’ll go work on it and get better at it,” continued Irvin. “I want to see somebody get angry, to let me know that winning a Super Bowl is engrafted in their spirit, and they’re not on that path right now, and it’s not acceptable to them. That’s what kind of gets under my skin.”

It’s enough to get under fans’ skin as well, as the Cowboys have one of the more talented rosters in the league that has shown itself capable of racking up points on the offensive end. Quarterback Dak Prescott leads the league in passing yards (3,433) and is tied for fourth in passing touchdowns (21). Running back Ezekiel Elliott is seventh in rushing yards (919 yards) and wide receiver Amari Cooper is sixth in receiving yards (886). And, on the defensive side of the ball, the team ranks in the top 10 in both yards per game allowed (318.5) and points allowed (19.1). Yet, here they are, fighting for the division with an Eagles team that has not had anywhere near the same level of production.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett facing must-win game vs. Bills - Clarence Hill Jr, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

If he wants to keep his job, it sure seems like Jason Garrett must find a way to win against Buffalo on Thanksgiving.

While some players, like running back Ezekiel Elliott, remain oblivious to the criticism of the coaching staff by owner Jerry Jones, there are others who heard him loud and clear.

Tight end Jason Witten said he would expect nothing less from Jones and that his criticism is warranted.

“Passion, emotion, the energy he brings, that is line 1 for Mr. Jones, I feel like from my perspective,” Witten said. “He wants to win. He expects to win. He feels like he’s put a great team together, which he has, and we haven’t played to our expectations of where we should be. That’s completely fair. I think it’s just the raw emotion of it all. He’s been around a lot of great football and knows what he wants it to look like.”

The pressure is on Garrett, but the players feel it, too.

“We’re the players,” guard Zack Martin said. “This thing goes all the way around. We’ve got to do a better job executing.”