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Cowboys news: Cowboys head to Philadelphia as banged up as ever

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Dallas Cowboys v Washington Football Team Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy not completely ruling out Andy Dalton for Philadelphia Eagles game - Todd Archer, ESPN.com

Could Andy Dalton play on Sunday night football?

FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy would not completely rule out Andy Dalton for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles, but owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Dalton “should be ready to go next week” during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Friday.

The team listed Dalton as doubtful on Friday.

Rookie Ben DiNucci has taken the first-team quarterback work this week in practice and would start the first game of his career. He completed 2 of 3 three passes for 39 yards after Dalton suffered a concussion on a hit in the third quarter of a 25-3 loss to the Washington Football Team last Sunday.

The Cowboys (2-5) play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 8 at AT&T Stadium before their bye week.

Dalton is in the concussion protocol and was at Friday’s walk-through but not a participant. He was in the quarterback meetings on Thursday.

“If Andy would practice [Saturday], that would be the only chance he would have to play in the game,” McCarthy said Friday. “As of right now, he’s not scheduled to practice.”


Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles: Which team is set up for success in NFC East? - Todd Archer, ESPN.com

Philly and Dallas - two dumpster fires.

It’s the movable object versus the stoppable force as the Philadelphia Eagles host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC) in a tussle for superiority in the sub-mediocre NFC East.

How bad is it?

The Eagles (2-4-1) are the first team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to lead a division after Week 7 with two wins or fewer, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Excluding the 1982 strike-shortened season, when technically the league didn’t have divisions, the NFC East’s combined win percentage of .268 (7-20-1) is the second-lowest by a division through Week 7 since the merger. Only the 1984 AFC Central (.214) was worse.

When it’s this awful, the ceiling is pretty close to the floor. Dallas (2-5), for example, has the second-best chance among NFC East teams of making the playoffs (8.4%) behind Philly, per ESPN’s Football Power Index, yet has the fourth-highest chance in the NFL of securing the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft (4.3%).

Eagles reporter Tim McManus and Cowboys reporter Todd Archer assess the damage ahead of this matchup and figure out which team is better set up for success.


Whitt’s End: Cowboys Screwed Themselves, Free Agency Edition - Richie Whitt, SI.com

Another bad year of free agency from the Jones’ hurts.

*From Xavier Woods’ preposterous angles to Dontari Poe’s attractiveness to HaHa Clinton-Dix’s cameo, it’s fair to question both the Cowboys’ coaching and talent evaluation.

Signed to be a playmaking safety, Clinton-Dix fizzled and remains a free agent. Poe and cornerback Daryl Worley likewise didn’t immediately find new teams after this week’s releases. Dallas did get a conditional 6th-round pick for Everson Griffen, but the lack of interest/value from other teams is a stinging indictment of Dallas’ personnel appraisals.

Griffen was a captain last Sunday in Washington and Poe was a starter. In their absence, we will get to see more of Randy Gregory’s return and 5th-round pick Bradlee Anae’s development.


Mailbag: Position Switch For Jaylon Smith? - David Helman, DallasCowboys.com

Position switch coming from Jaylon Smith?

Could and should the Cowboys move Jaylon Smith in a more DE/rusher hybrid position, similar to Aldon Smith, where he is more of a stand-up pass rusher and not dropping into coverage? — KYLE LEINAN / DES MOINES, IA

David: To be honest, that’s one thing I was hoping we’d see from the get-go under Mike Nolan. Jaylon Smith is clearly at his best when he’s able to move downhill toward the line of scrimmage. He has problems when he’s asked to move laterally or play in space. I’m not sure if you could afford to move him to a pass rushing position full-time because of depth issues, but it’s definitely something I’d like to see more of.


Dallas Cowboys Need to Blow It Up During 2020 NFL Trade Deadline - Chris Roling, Bleacher Report

Team Tank!

With the trade deadline approaching, the Dallas Cowboys have started to purge the roster.

Jerry Jones and the front office offloaded defensive end Everson Griffen by dishing him to the Detroit Lions for a conditional sixth-round pick. The group then dumped defensive tackle Dontari Poe and cornerback Daryl Worley after trying—and understandably failing—to find trade partners.

And here’s the thing: Why stop there?

The Cowboys acquiring that trio of players ahead of the 2020 season was considered a win-now move for a would-be Super Bowl contender. Finally free of the clutches of Jason Garrett and with Mike McCarthy leading things, they would surely help turn around the defense.

Instead, Griffen managed just 2.5 sacks and a 56.6 Pro Football Focus grade. Jones bashed Poe when speaking to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen post-release for his conditioning, never mind the 55.7 PFF grade and seven total tackles in as many games. Worley, who was signed to be part of a secondary trying to withstand the loss of Byron Jones, managed the worst PFF grade of all three at 53.1.

Those three might have been cut as the Cowboys desperately search for answers on the defensive side of the ball even if the offense had managed to drag the roster kicking and screaming into contention, anyway.


What the Cowboys offense should expect from the Eagles defense - David Howman, Blogging the Boys

Can the Cowboys offense do better than three points?

Ben DiNucci really picked the best/worst time to make his first career start. On Sunday Night Football, national prime time television, playing for America’s Team in a game that will have big implications on the fate of the NFC East. After all, someone has to win this division; why can’t it be the seventh-round rookie nobody had heard of until now?

It certainly won’t be easy though. We know how banged up this offensive line is - in limited time last week, DiNucci was sacked as many times as he threw the ball - but the receiver corps is still top notch. And unlike Andy Dalton, DiNucci possesses some positive mobility that can help mitigate the poor pass protection.

The problem? This Eagles defense has a darn good defensive front. Only the Buccaneers and Steelers (who Dallas plays next week, of course) have more sacks on the year than Philadelphia. And they’re doing that with the sixth-lowest blitz rate in the NFL, too. Much like the Football Team last week, this is a group that creates pressure routinely without having to send an extra rusher. And they’re even better at disrupting the quarterback than Washington.

A lot of the pass rush comes from the edges, where defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has a three-headed monster of Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, and Josh Sweat. Together, those three make up 12.5 of the Eagles’ 24 total sacks. Graham leads the team with six sacks (third-most in the NFL), and is sixth in the NFL in pass rush win rate for edge rushers; similarly, the Eagles as a whole are fifth in team pass rush win rate, winning at a 52% rate.


5 free agents the Cowboys should finally wise up and sign - Steven Mullenax, The Landry Hat

Are you still going all in or are you down with the tank?

Cordy Glenn, Offensive Tackle

On Sunday, the Cowboys’ offensive line was forced to field one of their worst starting fives in recent memory against Washington due to various injuries. And that resulted in six sacks and quarterback Andy Dalton suffering a concussion.

The potential return of both right guard Zack Martin and center Joe Looney gives this unit hope against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week Eight, Still, the Cowboys can’t be happy with the current group they have along the depth chart. And plenty can happen between now and the end of the season as we haven’t even reached the midway point as of yet.

One of the major obstacles the Cowboys are battling with the group is inexperience. Last weekend, three of the Cowboys’ five starters are essentially rookies. Center Tyler Biadasz was a fourth round selection this year.

Right tackle Terence Steele was an undrafted rookie free agent this offseason. And right guard Connor McGovern missed his entire rookie season last year with a pectoral injury and recorded his first offensive snaps against the New York Giants just three weeks ago.

The Cowboys not only need more experience along their very young O-Line, they need bodies. With both starting tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins out for the season, someone like free agent offensive tackle Cordy Glenn fits the bill as a potential addition.

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