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Cowboys news: Dallas hopes continue to dwindle with 25-3 loss to Washington

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Mike McCarthy says Cowboys’ lack of response to Jon Bostic’s illegal hit on Andy Dalton was unexpected - SportsDay Staff, Dallas Morning News

NOT defending Andy Dalton was a total team effort.

The only thing that may have been worse than the hit on Dalton was the Cowboys’ response to it or lack thereof.

Not a single Cowboys player started a scuffle or even exchanged words with Bostic after the illegal hit on Dalton.

After the game, coach Mike McCarthy said it was not the type of response, or lack thereof, that he expected.

“We speak all of the time about playing for one another, protecting one another,” McCarthy said. “It definitely was not the response you would expect.”

Dallas Cowboys QB Andy Dalton suffers concussion in loss to Washington - Todd Archer, ESPN

The last time the team utilized three QB’s: 2015, with Tony Romo at the helm.

Dalton, who was making his second start in place of Prescott, took a hit to the head from linebacker Jon Bostic as he slid to the turf with 6:22 to play in the third quarter. Bostic was ejected from the game; Dalton went straight to the locker room for further examination and was replaced by rookie Ben DiNucci.

Before the injury, Dalton completed 9 of 19 passes for 75 yards. He was sacked three times and lost a fumble on the Cowboys’ first possession, which led to a safety. He had one pass intercepted on a throw that was behind running back Ezekiel Elliott and tipped into linebacker Cole Holcomb’s hands.

According to a team spokesman, Dalton was alert and doing much better than he was when he came off the field following the hit. He was in “good spirits” and will be flying home with the Cowboys.

Cowboys vs. Washington score, takeaways: Andy Dalton knocked out of game as Washington rolls - Patrik Walker, CBS Sports

The why’s behind the what:

Why the Cowboys lost

Attitude.

Granted, there wasn’t much the Cowboys could do about being forced to field an injury-ravaged offensive line, but the fact Dalton continues to hold the ball longer than he should only exacerbates the protection issues. So did Dalton Schultz, for that matter, after dressing up as a turnstile for Halloween and allowing Landon Collins to blow past and get a strip sack on Andy Dalton in the first quarter, only to then recover the fumble and give up a safety — as noted above. The Cowboys had great momentum when their beleaguered defense got a stop on fourth-and-1, but 12 real life minutes later, Washington had jumped on them with a score of 9-0.

‘Keep your mouth shut and play’: Jimmy Johnson blasts anonymous Cowboys criticizing coaches - Joey Hayden, Dallas Morning News

Jimmy Johnson’s not having any of it.

Jimmy Johnson, the former head coach who led the Cowboys to two Super Bowl victories, gave his thoughts on the situation Sunday morning during Fox’s NFL pregame show calling it “B.S.”

“Unnamed players criticizing the coaching — if you’re not going to put your name on it, keep your mouth shut and play,” Johnson said. “You look at these defensive players, maybe they’re not quite as good as they think they are.

“The last few years, they had Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard — high-energy coaches and they overachieved. Now, they went from a 4-3 to a 3-4, some of these defensive players don’t really know what they’re doing, they’re not motivated, and they’re underachieving.”

Who, exactly, is Dallas Cowboys backup quarterback Ben DiNucci? - Steve Gardner, USA Today

Mr. DiNucci has quite the background.

In his senior season at the Harrisonburg, Virginia, school, DiNucci was named the Colonial Athletic Association player of the year, leading JMU to a 14-1 record and a title-game matchup against undefeated FCS powerhouse North Dakota State.

In that game he held his own against Bison QB Trey Lance, who’s expected to be a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft. DiNucci completed 22-of-33 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns, and led the Dukes to the NDSU 5-yard line in the closing seconds before he was intercepted in the end zone to close out a 28-20 loss.

That season, DiNucci led all FCS passers with a 70.9% completion percentage and ranked second nationally in pass efficiency with 29 touchdown passes and just six interceptions.

There’s 1 QB Everyone Wants The Cowboys To Trade For - Andrew Holleran, The Spun

So who’s the mystery coveted man?

Jerry Jones told 105.3 The Fan following Prescott’s injury that it is “unlikely” that Dallas will make a move for another QB.

“We’ve got our quarterback in Andy Dalton,” Jones said earlier in October.

While the Cowboys seem to have made it clear that there won’t be any notable quarterback trades, that’s not stopping people from speculating. There is one quarterback potentially on the market that everyone wants to see in Dallas.

That quarterback is Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The veteran NFL quarterback was benched in Miami despite leading the Dolphins to a 3-3 start. The AFC East franchise has opted to go with rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Fitzpatrick was understandably heartbroken by the decision.

Dallas Cowboys: Mike McCarthy is already on thin ice - Brandon Semon, NFL Spin Zone

Is McCarthy’s position really tenuous?

Do you know who personally brought in Mike Nolan as the defensive coordinator? Head coach Mike McCarthy. Nolan was last seen as a DC for the 2014 Atlanta Falcons when his defense ranked last in the league in yards allowed and No. 27 in points allowed. There’s a reason he hasn’t been in the NFL since then.

Not only is McCarthy personally accountable for bringing in Nolan as the defensive coordinator but his offensive gameplan is still one-dimensional as the Cowboys attempt 48.3 passes per game (most in the NFL) but average 25.5 rushing attempts/game which ranks No. 23 in the league (per Pro Football Reference).

The lack of a run-game was seen in Green Bay when McCarthy neglected running back Aaron Jones, who is now a certified superstar at the position, and it is now shown in Dallas as Ezekiel Elliott is having the worst year of his career as he averages 16.8 rushing attempts per game for 68.8 yards with five touchdowns and just as many fumbles.

It’s easy to blame coaches for the Cowboys’ struggles, but the reality is their personnel just hasn’t been good enough - Calvin Watkins. DMN

Maybe the Cowboys talent has been overrated.

Inside linebacker Jaylon Smith is an easy target of fans and media, and he gave up a touchdown to tight end Logan Thomas when he failed to secure a tackle.

The run defense is in shambles as evident by the 208 rushing yards allowed to Washington.

Where is the physicality up front? Where are the linebackers?

It was pretty telling that on a third-and-nine, Washington quarterback Kyle Allen was able to run for 13 yards. It should have been a coverage sack, but with no pressure, Allen scooted down field for the first down. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch was chasing Allen but couldn’t get to him.

When the trade deadline arrives on Nov. 3, the front office needs to take another hard look at this roster. It’s not very good. Only so much can be accomplished with the salary cap and what Prescott will command in salary in 2021.

Yet, Cowboys’ fans have been tricked into believing this team has talent.

It does, but not enough to be considered elite or even just competitive.

Scouts’s Take: O-Line Dominated In The Trenches - Bucky Brooks, DallasCowboys.com

The Cowboys got dominated up front.

The Cowboys’ O-Line can’t control the trenches.

It is unreasonable to expect the Cowboys’ reshuffled offensive line to overpower a premier defensive front but the WFT frontline dominated the trenches. The Cowboys could generate a push at the line of scrimmage to create Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard to maneuver on the ground. And the unit struggled mightily handling the WFT’s pressure package in pass protection. The WFT registered six sacks and eight QB hits as they battered and bruised Andy Dalton and Ben DiNucci in the pocket. Although the Cowboys’ offensive line has been decimated with injuries, the unit has to play better to give the offense a chance to succeed going forward.

Zeke never had a chance.

The All-Pro running back was intent on making amends for his disappointing performance in Week 6 but never had a chance to get going against WFT. Elliott was bottled up by the WFT loaded front early in the game but churned out a few positive runs that kept the offense on schedule. The “three yards and a cloud of dust” tactics were part of a game strategy designed to keep the Cowboys in the game by alleviating the pressure on Dalton. With the Cowboys unable to contain the WFT offense and the O-Line losing the battle in the trenches, Elliott never had a chance to make his mark on the game due to limited opportunities on the ground.

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