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Cowboys news: Doom, gloom - and a couple of rays of hope

It’s not all bad for Dallas. Just mostly.

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Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles
Michael Gallup’s improvement was one of the few bright spots this year.
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Cowboys Look To Control What They Can Control - Rob Phillips,
Nothing sums up just how badly Dallas has squandered their opportunities better that the first sentence of this article.

For the first time this year – in the last week of the regular season – the Cowboys no longer control their playoff destiny.

Last Sunday’s 17-9 loss at Philadelphia put the Eagles (8-7) in control of the NFC East in Week 17. To clinch the division and make the postseason for the second straight year, the Cowboys (7-8) need a win Sunday at home against Washington (3-12) and an Eagles loss on the road against the New York Giants (4-11).

Matchups: Cowboys To See More Screen Passes? - Nick Eatman, Rob Phillips, & David Helman,
One thing that the Cowboys have done with some consistency is make fairly poor players look kinda great, especially quarterbacks. Here's this week's candidate.

Case Keenum – The veteran quarterback is expected to draw his eighth start of the season Sunday in place of rookie Dwayne Haskins, who injured his ankle last week against the Giants. Keenum played poised in the second half, completing 16 of 22 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown. Beginning the year as Washington’s starter, he had two touchdown passes in a Week 2 loss to the Cowboys. Keenum only has four interceptions this season and typically doesn’t force throws, so the Dallas defense will have to knock him off his spot. The Cowboys hit him only three times in that September meeting, but they also didn’t have defensive end Robert Quinn due to suspension. Quinn leads Dallas with 10.5 sacks and will look to provide pressure off that right edge.

The 5 most fireable NFL coaches of the 2019 season - Christian D'Andrea,
As the subhead notes, no one is likely to be surprised by who is at the top (bottom?) of this list.

1. Jason Garrett, Cowboys

Garrett may have seen his last shot to keep his job march off the turf as the Eagles celebrated the 17-9 win that moved them to the top of the NFC East. The underachieving Cowboys, stuck in a feedback loop of botched calls and big, meaningless performances, dropped to 7-8 and out of the playoff picture.

That may signal the end of the Garrett era in Dallas. The 10-year veteran is staring down what could be only his second losing season as the Cowboys’ head coach, but the lingering sense he always could have done more will ultimately be his undoing. None of his teams embody that more than the 2019 edition.

One Gift For Each NFC Team This Offseason | Jonah Tuls, The Draft Network
The gift for the Cowboys is obvious, and that is the saddest part of it all.


Unless Jason Garrett can somehow bring this Dallas Cowboys team back from the dead and to the Super Bowl, there is no possible way he comes back in 2020 as head coach. However, fans have been told this narrative for over a decade and will need to see it to believe it. If Garrett is indeed let go, it would be the biggest gift for Cowboys fans, regardless of what happens in the offseason. This team has several big decisions to make in the spring regarding contracts, but as long as someone else is at the helm, the Dallas fan base will have hope next season.

Coaching carousel, contracts and draft needs: 5 biggest Cowboys questions heading into 2020 – Jon Machota, The Athletic
So many looming things. This is the big picture one.

5.) What is the future of the division? Philadelphia appears to have the most stability, considering they might be the only team with the same head coach. The Cowboys, Redskins and Giants may all have new coaches in 2020. How will that impact things? Will the division still come down to a two-team race between the Cowboys and Eagles? Can the Giants and Redskins use their picks at the top of the draft to significantly improve their rosters? If the Cowboys beat the Redskins on Sunday, Washington will have the No. 2 overall pick. That means a good opportunity to draft Ohio State defensive end Chase Young. Some believe he’s the best overall player in the draft. That’s not exactly what the Cowboys want to see twice a year for the foreseeable future.

Which Part of the Cowboys' Flop is Dak Prescott's Fault? - Mike Fisher, Sports Illustrated
The Eagles loss was perhaps the worst performance by Dak Prescott of the entire season, at the absolute worst time, injury and all.

It "begins with'' Dak in every negative way because that's why the QBs get the big bucks. (And yes, the Jones family's commitment to sign Prescott to a franchise-QB-level contract remains in place.) Prescott was, in this game, awful in terms of raw numbers (25 of 44 passing) for 265 yards, awful in terms of The Eye Test (he was high, low, short, wide) and awful in terms of the bottom line.

If your offense fails to score a touchdown, you're awful.

Are the Dallas Cowboys reconsidering future with Amari Cooper? | Clarence Hill, Jr, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Does not having Amari Cooper on the field for the final offensive play of the Eagles loss signal that he may not be returning for the Cowboys? You be the judge if this is legit or just drama.

It only stands to reason that if you feel your best chance to win a game and a division title is with Tavon Austin, who is worth just $3 million in yearly salary, then why would give Cooper a contract extension worth $18 million or more annually?

That’s Cooper’s asking price after making $13.9 million in the final year of his contract in 2019.

And the Cowboys seemingly answered their own question with their curious decision-making in the final moments against the Eagles.

Unless Cooper is hurt, and he says he’s healthy and so do the Cowboys, despite him dealing with foot, knee and ankle injuries for much of the season, the bottoming out of his stock since the middle of the season has been shocking.

NFL’s future GMs: Annual list of names to watch - Albert Breer, Sports Illustrated
My first inclination is to ignore this in the hopes no one else sees it. But it's out there now in Breer's top ten list of future NFL GMs.

Will McClay, assistant director of player personnel, Cowboys: If this list was in ranking order, rather than in alphabetical order, McClay might be No. 1. He’s coached, he’s scouted, he’s worked in analytics and he’s helped put together one of the NFL’s best rosters. I don’t know if he’d leave Dallas, but if I were another team, I would make the effort to find out.

NFL Panic Index 2019: Patriots look like good again before the playoffs - staff

The Cowboys' hopes of backing into the playoffs are slim, but still exist. And the Giants may be recovering some form at just the right time.

Panic index: Yes, Philadelphia has looked good the last three weeks in defeating the Giants, Washington, and the Cowboys, and it’s doing everything it needs to get into the playoffs. The Eagles are favored and should win in New York. But if they don’t play as sharp as they have been, the Giants could take away Philly’s playoffs hopes — assuming Dallas can also beat Washington, that is.

Cowboys WR Michael Gallup has Shined in 2019 - Matthew Lenix, Inside the Star
There has been precious little good news about the Cowboys, but Michael Gallup's season is one thing to point to.

In a season that has been full of frustration for the Cowboys, Gallup has been one of the few positives as he has established himself and a valuable piece to one of the best offenses in the NFL. He’s already improved by leaps and bounds and he’ll only get better going forward, especially once he gets his dropped passes under control which is one of the final steps in his maturation process. It’s safe to say, the Cowboys hit a home run when they turned in Michael Gallup’s draft card last April.

Glass Half Full Point of View Observations From the Cowboys 2019 Season - Brian Martin, Inside the Star
Gallup isn't the only good thing from this frustrating season.

If you want to know who I believe improved the most this season and was arguably the most consistent, look no further than Right Tackle La’el Collins. I believe he not only played at a Pro Bowl level, but was also the Cowboys best offensive lineman this season. I’ll admit I wasn’t completely on board when he received an extension, but I’m glad he did now.

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