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Cowboys News: How an improved passing game could impact Ezekiel Elliott

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NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Passing Success Could Be Huge Boost For Zeke - David Helman, dallascowboys.com

It may sound counter-intuitive, but could success in the passing game could enable Cowboys’ running back Ezekiel Elliott to eclipse his production in previous seasons?

For a guy who commands the attention of every defensive coordinator he faces, that’s got to sound sweet for Elliott. Sunday wasn’t the first time the All-Pro running back has been faced with loaded boxes, and it won’t be the last.

But what was new was how effectively the Cowboys made their opponent pay for that added attention. Prescott exploited a New York secondary that was starting a rookie cornerback, completing an outstanding 78 percent of his passes and finishing with a perfect passer rating.

“Last week they were playing it tough in the box and we were opening up and taking shots,” Elliott said. “If that’s working, we’re going to keep going back to it until they do something to stop it.” That’s where the fun begins. If the Cowboys can continue to throw the ball effectively, defenses will have no choice but to pay more respect to that aspect of the offense.

Tavon Austin, Tyrone Crawford with injury concerns post-Giants game - K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire

Wide receiver Tavon Austin and defensive linemen Tyrone Crawford are two of the players on the Cowboys’ injury report from Wednesday.

Washington showed a weakness against speed receivers in their loss to Philadelphia. That’s something Austin should be able to take advantage, but as the Cowboys fourth receiver the team can afford to ensure he’s fully back to 100% before rolling him back out onto the field.

Crawford’s situation is being framed as managing his injury, but he did not play well in his handful of snaps on Sunday. Crawford played 43% of defensive snaps after missing the entire preseason following offseason hip surgery. He had just one quarterback hit and zero tackles in his 30 snaps.

Also of note, WR Randall Cobb (rib) will participate in practice on Wednesday. Garrett also said the team was pleased with Byron Jones (hip) and his performance after also missing all offseason.

Amari Cooper is the Ideal Star you Want on Your Roster - Matthew Lenix, Inside The Star

With all the diva wide receivers out there in today’s day and age, Amari Cooper is the type of guy you want to lead your offense.

The willingness to be patient has paid off once again for Cooper as Atlanta Falcons star wideout Julio Jones inked a three-year 66 million dollar deal last week. The contract is fully guaranteed with 64 million guaranteed at the time of signing. Once again the ability to wait and play the market has Cooper sitting pretty when his time comes.

His situation is a little different from his All-Pro teammate Ezekiel Elliott who signed a six-year 90 million dollar mega-deal last week with 50 million is guarantees. Running backs have a shorter shelf life than any other position so it's no surprise they have more urgency locking down their financial futures. Plus Elliott was only set to make 3.9 million this season as opposed to 13.9 for Amari, that's a huge difference.

Plus, if Amari were to be franchise tagged in 2020 it would cost the Cowboys around 18 million. That's 32 million potential dollars for Cooper over the next two years even if a deal isn't reached which makes it easier to be patient.

Dallas Cowboys: Temper expectations for Jason Witten return - Mac Engel, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Just because Jason Witten is back, don’t expect tons of production out of the 37-year-old future Hall of Famer.

This Jason Witten looks like an old vet who is squeezing out one more year. As long as everyone is cool with that, and keeps expectations reasonable for a 37-year-old man, this will work out for the team, himself, the quarterback, the coach, the owner and the fans.

The last thing any team wants from an older player is to be in the way of progress; that’s a cute way of saying, keep the vet around provided the young guy behind him has room to play and develop.

It’s a stretch to say the Cowboys have a tight end or two they are developing for a long run. They have a three-headed TE of Witten, Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz.

Trysten Hill was surprised about being inactive for Cowboys' season opener, hopes to play vs. Redskins - Calvin Watkins, Dallas Morning News

The Dallas second-round pick was inactive in the season opener on Sunday, but hopes to contribute in Week Two against the Washington Redskins.

The Cowboys wanted the position flexibility of defensive end Kerry Hyder over Hill, who is mainly a three-technique (pass rushing) defensive tackle. Hill can back up starting three-technique Maliek Collins, but Tyrone Crawford, a starting defensive end, can also move to the interior of the line.

Despite what the Cowboys wanted to do with their active roster on game day, Hill was caught off guard by the decision.

"Yeah, it's something I understand now and something I'm able to put behind me," he said. "And that's the beautiful thing about football is the next week comes up and you can earn a spot and that's what I look forward to doing."

Dallas defense has long way to go to be elite - Darreck Kirby, Dallas Sports Fanatic

Despite an overall solid performance on Sunday, some believe the Dallas defense still has a long way to go to be considered elite.

In truth, the most troubling trend following the defense reaches back to last season. As Bob Sturm pointed out on BAD Radio Wednesday afternoon, through the first twelve weeks of the season last year, which goes through the New Orleans standout game, the defense allowed a total of 35 “explosive” plays.

An explosive play is a play of 20 or more yards, so allowing just 3 per game is pretty strong, to say the least. The problem is that from that time on, through the next seven regular-season games, that same defense has allowed 30 explosive plays.

The Manning to Latimer play mentioned above is one such explosive play. Another, of course, would be the 59-yard run by Barkley on the Giants’ second snap of the game. We’re talking about a nearly 50% increase in explosive plays allowed by the same defense in that time, and while that may not matter much against the New York or Washington, it’ll absolutely matter in week four at New Orleans and in other games.

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