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NFL: Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

‘Angry’ Cowboys have ‘chippy’ practice Sunday; ‘No one’s happy, that’s for sure’ – Jon Machota, The Athletic
If Jason Garrett’s panicked or concerned about his future he’s not showing it.

During Garrett’s off-the-record time with reporters on Sunday, his demeanor was the same as it has been during most of the previous sessions that have become known over the years as the “walk-off.” He seemed to be in a good mood, answering questions with great detail, smiling, upbeat, confident. Garrett certainly didn’t appear to be nervous about his current situation. After all, his team is now 6-6, fresh off one of their worst performances of the season, at a time when a relatively healthy group should be playing at its best. If things don’t turn around quickly, it’s clear that team owner Jerry Jones is ready to go in another direction at head coach.

But Garrett isn’t showing signs of being bothered by any extra pressure. Often times during the “walk-off,” the Cowboys coach will pull up his left sleeve and check his watch, a signal that he has to leave soon for practice. Despite being surrounded by a group that has been writing about his dwindling chances of keeping his dream job, Garrett never looked at his watch once on Sunday. He was as relaxed as if the Cowboys had already clinched the division and a first-round playoff bye.

NFL Panic Index: A dreadful NFC East, new Chargers heartbreak and other damage from Week 13 – Lindsay Jones, The Athletic
Should Cowboys’ fans panic? Absolutely.

Panic Index Level: Scream into the void (special NFC East edition)

I would like to formally submit two proposals to the NFL, both involving the NFC East. 1) No NFC East team shall make the playoffs this year, instead, the second-place team in the NFC West shall receive a home playoff game; and 2) the last-place team in the NFC East shall face relegation to the XFL. Alas, someone from the NFC East will make the playoffs, and the only solace the Eagles and Cowboys can take this weekend is that the other also had a miserable Thanksgiving week.

Philadelphia Eagles: This feels like it should be rock bottom for the Eagles, losing to the Dolphins and we hope that Eagles fans enjoyed whatever schadenfreude they could on Thanksgiving, but surely the only thing that made the Cowboys feel any better this weekend was watching Miami’s punter throw a touchdown to the kicker against Philadelphia.

Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys on Thursday night reached the anger stage in the levels of grief and perhaps they reached bargaining on Sunday, when the Eagles also lost spectacularly in Week 13, leaving Dallas to ponder its playoff possibilities. It’s crazy to think that a team that had as bad of a five-day stretch as Dallas did can remain in first place in the division.

5 reasons why the Cowboys’ linebackers haven’t played up to their lofty expectations - John Owning,
Want to better understand how the linebacker play has declined in 2019? This is the best analysis you’ll find.

Even when the Cowboys linebackers read the play correctly, they are, at times, sabotaged by poor run fits or passively taking on blocks. Here’s a perfect example:

On this play, pay close attention to Jaylon Smith, who is aligned is the middle linebacker. Instead of using his speed to outpace the right guard to get in position to fill his gap and meet the running back in the hole (as Lee properly showed later in the game), Smith instead slows up for some reason and passively takes on the block. From there, Smith does little to beat the block and gets bullied past the first-down marker as a result.

Look at Smith’s terrible pad level and body positioning as he takes on the block. His pad level is simply too high, eliminating any chance he has to mitigate his size and strength disadvantage with leverage at the point of attack. Because linebackers are smaller and weaker than offensive linemen, it’s paramount that they are aggressive and violent with their attack if they want to be effective stacking and shedding blocks (here’s an example of Vander Esch attacking blocks the proper way). Smith is neither here, which is another example of the poor technique demonstrated by the Dallas linebackers.

From the GM’s Eye: It’s Hot Seat Season, and changes are likely coming for the Giants, Cowboys, Jags and Panthers – Michael Lombardi, The Athletic
The bells are tolling on the Jason Garrett era in Dallas.

Our Jay Glazer said on FOX NFL Sunday this weekend that Jason Garrett has to win the Super Bowl to keep his job, and I agree. Making the playoffs won’t save Garrett, winning one game in the playoffs won’t either. Garrett has been the Cowboys’ coach since the middle of the 2010 season and has produced just three winning seasons during his tenure. Why are people surprised that Garrett’s hot seat is burning? Garrett is the classic 8-8 coach, he never makes the team better, he never gets his team to play above their level, and, most importantly, he never wins a big game. In his 10 years with the ‘Boys, Garrett has won just two playoff games. Losing to the Bills at home on Thanksgiving Day makes this an easy decision for owner Jerry Jones.

The Winners and Losers of NFL Week 13 - Rodger Sherman, The Ringer
If there’s going to be an 8-8 team hosting a playoff game the NFL big-wigs would certainly prefer it be the Dallas Cowboys.

And so, the 6-6 Cowboys remain in line for a playoff spot. Every other NFL division leader is currently 8-4 or better. There are six NFC teams 7-5 or better, and one of them will miss out on the playoffs to make way for the NFC East’s representative.

There is only one winner here—and it’s certainly not anybody in the NFC East, even if they’re playing the damn Dolphins. It’s whichever TV network gets a Cowboys playoff game, considering Dallas’s last two games have been the two most-watched NFL games of the season and the Cowboys’ last playoff game was the most-watched divisional-round game of all time. Giving a 7-9 or 8-8 team a home playoff game obviously sucks, but if that 7-9 team is the Cowboys, the NFL won’t mind.

'I love it here’: Amari Cooper is happy with the Cowboys, wants to sign long-term - Calvin Watkins,
Worried about Amari Cooper’s pending free agency? Don’t. Cooper is happy to be a Cowboys and wants to remain in Dallas.

Amari Cooper comes across as a thoughtful man. He’s careful with his words, while he’s direct and honest he doesn’t present himself as a person who belittles you. It’s refreshing to see given some other diva-like wide receivers the Cowboys employed over the years.

Cooper can be a stand-alone No. 1 wide receiver without any messy drama. Take his current position on his contract status. He’s going to become a free agent next spring and while his agents have held talks with the Cowboys, nothing is close to being finalized.

Cooper has elected to table talks for after the season and has done so in a quiet, peaceful way. No sit-ups in the driveway (Terrell Owens), no holdouts (Michael Thomas) or bold proclamations (Antonio Brown). The Cowboys’ leading receiver just wants a new contract whenever it happens. And on Monday afternoon, Cooper made his feelings known he wants to be here long-term.

“Of course. Like I just said, I love it here,” Cooper said. “I want to be here. I just love this situation, my teammates. I just feel it’s the place for me.”

First Place is Nice, ‘But We Have To Fix Ourselves’ - Nick Eatman,
The Mothership’s Eatman gets the lowdown from the players as they prepare for the upcoming tilt against the Bears.

“The biggest thing we’ve got to understand is that we have to play at the level we expect to be at,” Witten said. “We have to fix ourselves and not worry about anything that’s going on outside of us. I really believe that. It’s nice that Miami won that game, there’s no doubt about that, but we have to worry about us.

And just like Witten has full confidence that the Cowboys can turn this around and get back on track during December, he expects the Eagles to likely do the same, making it even more important that his team rights the ship.

“It’s good to see that (Miami) won,” Witten said. But (the Eagles) are a good football team and will be in the hunt down the stretch. We’ve got to play them in a few weeks.”

Dak Prescott said he’s heard the Cowboys are “fortunate” and “lucky” to still be in first place. But at this point, the quarterback said words – whether it’s inside or outside the locker room – don’t mean much.

Big Picture: Cowboys Still in First Place of Division - Staff,
The Cowboys’ high-flying offense has struggled against quality defenses.

The Cowboys will likely be without both linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (neck) and DT Antwaun Woods (knee) for another game. But there’s a chance that Jeff Heath (shoulder) can return. Michael Bennett is dealing with a foot injury and Amari Cooper suffered a bruised knee but both are expected to play this week.

The Cowboys might have one of the most potent offenses in the NFL this year, but against the best defenses, it has been a different story. The Cowboys are 0-4 against the 10 best defenses in the league. Dallas lost to the Bills this past Thursday, and will face No. 5 ranked Chicago this week.

Special teams has remained a big problem for the Cowboys, especially in the last few games. Against Buffalo on Thursday, the Cowboys had two missed field goals, including one that was blocked. There has been a blocked punt at New England that led to a score, coupled with big returns on kickoffs and punts in the previous two games.

BTB Podcast

Chris Petersen is suddenly available. Should the Cowboys be interested? We discuss on the latest episode of The Ocho.

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