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Cowboys news: Offensive line injuries keep piling up; plus locker room turmoil

The Cowboys news, as we see it.

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Dallas Cowboys v New York Jets Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Cowboys LT Brandon Knight has knee surgery, will be out at least a couple of weeks - Dallas Morning News Staff

The Cowboys have already suffered more losses on the offensive line than one can count, but on Tuesday it was revealed that backup left tackle Brandon Knight - who became the starter after Tyron Smith was shut down - will miss a few weeks now too.

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy announced on Tuesday that starting left tackle Brandon Knight will be out for “at least a couple of weeks.” He said Knight had knee surgery after he was hurt late in the Cowboys loss to the Cardinals on Monday.

Knight is the most recent injury for the Cowboys’ decimated offensive line. Dallas also lost All-Pro guard Zack Martin to a concussion on Monday. Even before Monday’s game, the Cowboys were already missing some key contributors. Joe Looney suffered a right knee sprain in Week 4 against the Browns and remains out.

Discontent in Dallas? Cowboys players reportedly say coaching staff is ‘totally unprepared’ - Bryan DeArdo, CBS Sports

The Cowboys can point to a lot of different reasons for their poor start to the season - injuries, the shortened offseason, struggles in changing scheme - but on Tuesday some anonymous players started also pointing to the new coaching staff as the driving factor.

After keeping any issues internal during the season’s first six games, at least two Cowboys players have decided to break ranks, telling NFL Network’s Jane Slater that the team’s coaching staff is “totally unprepared.”

“They don’t teach,” the unnamed player told Slater. “They don’t have any sense of adjusting on the fly.”

Another Cowboys played added, “They just aren’t good at their jobs.”

It’s safe to say that Mike McCarthy’s first season in Dallas has not gotten off to the start that he or team owner Jerry Jones would have liked. While the Cowboys’ offense is dealing with the loss of quarterback Dak Prescott, Dallas’ defense is allowing the fifth-most points in league history after six games. The Cowboys’ defense is also tied with Las Vegas and Green Bay for the fewest forced takeaways in football.

Jerry Jones ‘not in feel-good mood’ about Dallas Cowboys’ 2-4 record despite NFC East lead - Todd Archer, ESPN

Jerry Jones is arguably the Cowboys’ biggest fan, and he’s usually one to focus on the bright side of things; that was what helped him keep Jason Garrett around for a decade. But after Monday night’s embarrassment, Jones was in no mood for silver linings.

“I’m not in a feel-good mood, frankly, that we’ve got manna from heaven being in the East,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. “These things have a way of evening out as you go along. Certainly, the NFC East is having its challenges now. ... When you’re not playing better than we are, it’s hard for me to basically look at the end game, which is win the East, and get excited that we’re better. [That] ‘we may be slow, but we’re ahead of you’ syndrome. We’ve got to get better to have the kind of season that makes sense for us.”

Despite the frustrations, Jones believes in the roster, head coach Mike McCarthy — who has a 13-20-1 record in his past 34 games — and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, whose unit is on pace to allow an NFL-record 581 points.

“What I do feel good about with the entire group is our ability,” Jones said. “We do have the ability, and we have the talent to make adjustments with the personnel we have. We just haven’t done it. We will not have success until we take our personnel we got today and put it out there not giving ourselves a big hole to dig out of.”

Source: Randy Gregory added to Cowboys’ 53-man roster - Dallas Morning News Staff

Here’s a sliver of good news for Cowboys fans: Randy Gregory is officially able to play again! After being able to practice with the team the last few weeks, the talented pass rusher is finally eligible to play in a game, and has been added to the 53-man roster.

A source told The Dallas Morning News’ Calvin Watkins on Tuesday that Randy Gregory has been added to the Cowboys’ 53-man roster. Cornerback Saivion Smith and wide receiver Ventell Bryant were waived in a corresponding move.

Gregory was conditionally reinstated from suspension in September, began practicing on Oct. 7 and is first eligible to play a game on Sunday at Washington. When he plays, the 6-foot-5, 255 pound Gregory is a force and in his brief career has seven sacks and 23 quarterback hits in 28 total games. The Cowboys valued Gregory so much, they extended his contract through the 2021 season just days after his reinstatement.

Cowboys’ Jerry Jones: ‘Glaring Difference’ Between QBs Dak Prescott, Andy Dalton - Paul Kasabian, Bleacher Report

There were some people saying before the game on Monday that Andy Dalton may actually have been better than Dak Prescott, but that was quickly put to rest. Jerry Jones even admitted the discrepancy between the two was “glaring.”

On Tuesday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan (h/t Jori Epstein of USA Today) there was a “pretty glaring difference” between Prescott, who suffered a season-ending dislocation and compound fracture of his right ankle on Oct. 11 against the New York Giants, and Andy Dalton, a former backup now thrust into the starter spotlight.

“That was the pretty glaring difference out there last night,” Jones said. “But it doesn’t have to stay that way.”

Dalton completed 34 of his 54 passes for just 266 yards (4.9 yards per pass attempt). He threw a garbage-time touchdown to wide receiver Amari Cooper with 2:48 remaining and also tossed a pair of second-half interceptions.

The Cowboys never should have paid Ezekiel Elliott. Loss to Cardinals just provided more proof. - Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas Morning Star

For those who are firmly in the “Running backs don’t matter” camp, the massive contract extension Dallas gave to Ezekiel Elliott last year was always a bad idea. But after the poor performance of Elliott this year, vindication has come in a big way for that side.

They are going to lose a bunch of games this season because no team loses its quarterback and starting tackles and center (if you count Travis Frederick) and, for one night, its best guard and one of its few elite talents in Zack Martin without paying a price. But they ask precious little of Zeke in their pass-happy offense, and on Monday night they got even less.

It’s a reminder of how little attention Cowboys management was paying to the NFL landscape in the summer of 2019 when they honored Elliott’s holdout and made him the highest-paid back in the league (a $15 million per year average since eclipsed by Carolina’s Christian McCaffrey). The last thing any NFL team ever wants is the highest-paid back on its payroll, which is why I suggested Zeke has no trade value whatsoever. If the Cowboys wanted to get rid of him — they don’t, they aren’t that creative and forward-thinking — nobody is looking to add a huge salary cap hit at the running back position for 2021 with a declining player who now can’t stop fumbling along with not being able to break runs of any consequence.

Elliott had 12 carries for 49 yards and caught eight passes (mostly desperation dump-offs by Dalton) for a measly 31 yards. Twenty touches for 80 yards when nearly half of them are through the air is hardly elite. It’s pedestrian.

Yet here the Cowboys are because the Joneses got scared and were afraid of what might happen if they opened the 2019 season against the Giants and Redskins and Dolphins without Zeke (Hint: They probably would have won all three games anyway). And so they compared Todd Gurley’s contract with Le’Veon Bell’s contract and gave Zeke a little more.

Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott takes blame for blowout loss to Arizona Cardinals - Todd Archer, ESPN

While some are busy making the case that the coaching staff is inept, Ezekiel Elliott decided to take the blame upon himself. After fumbling twice and not putting up much else, Zeke took responsibility for his poor performance against the Cardinals.

“I don’t think we can use that as an excuse,” Elliott said of not having Prescott, who suffered a season-ending compound fracture and dislocated right ankle in Week 5. “I’m just going to keep saying it over and over — I started the game out with two fumbles, gave the ball away and gave them all the momentum they need to go take off. I want to say I’m sorry and this one is on me. I need to be better.”

“I mean, when you’re fumbling every game obviously teams are going to lock in on it and go for it even more,” Elliott said. “That’s even more of a reason I need to figure it out, man. I don’t want to keep talking about it, but I’ve got to figure out a way to figure it out.”

“Every player that plays in this league, no different on our football team, if you don’t take care of the football, it does affect your opportunities,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “Tony got an opportunity, and I thought he did some really good things with his opportunities.”

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