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Cowboys news: Tyron Smith may be lost for the season

Plus a lot of talk about effort on the defense.

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Dallas Cowboys v Chicago Bears Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Somedays the news just isn’t good.

Report: Tyron Smith gathering medical opinions on neck, shutting him down for season being considered - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
Some of the other offensive line issues make this possibility so devastating.

This news is hardly ideal at any point in time, but the Cowboys are dealing with a number of injuries all over their team and especially along the offensive line. La’el Collins’ situation has been noted, there’s this with Tyron Smith, and let’s not forget that starting center Joe Looney is expected to miss 2-3 weeks with a sprained MCL.

The Cowboys have second-year undrafted free agent tackle Brandon Knight whom they started in place of Smith in Weeks 2 and 3, but while he is someone who can theoretically handle himself in the NFL it’s finding a second tackle beyond him that is the challenge. Earlier this week Dallas signed Greg Senat to the 53-man roster on top of adding William Sweet to the practice squad amid a handful of roster moves. Cam Erving is also eligible to return from injured reserve himself whenever he is ready from a health standpoint.

We will be watching this EXTREMELY closely, so stay tuned for further developments.

Cowboys’ Woods says team can't go full-speed for 70 plays - Josh Clark, 105.3 The Fan
Just in case you missed it, this quote from Xavier Woods has set off a bit of a firestorm in the media - and made a bit of a stir for the team as well.

"Our effort’s been good. I mean on certain plays some guys, I mean me included, there may be a lack but overall the effort is there. I mean you don’t expect, we’re in the NFL, you don’t expect guys (to go) full speed for 70 plays. That's not possible," Wood said. "We're going to push as hard as we can. You don't expect a backside corner to make a play on the opposite side. (If) he's running full speed the whole time it's just not possible to be honest."

‘You don’t expect guys full-speed for 70 plays’: Cowboys don’t see effort issues – Jon Machota, The Athletic
It’s been quite the topic this week. Even within the locker room, there are some apparent disagreements. Now, will they find some solutions against the Giants?

The players have also said that they didn’t believe effort was a problem in a game when they at one point allowed 34 unanswered points, then failed to make a stop after the team rallied to pull within 41-38 with 3:42 remaining.

“Effort isn’t the issue,” linebacker Joe Thomas said. “I think guys are playing physical, but we need it on a more consistent basis. … That (effort criticism) is outside-the-building noise. It doesn’t really affect us inside the building. If there was an effort issue, it would’ve been addressed inside the building. I don’t think that was an issue at all. It’s just communication. When we’re all on the same page and we know what’s going on, we play faster, and it looks a lot better.”

When asked specifically about (DeMarcus) Lawrence’s claim that the group played soft, Thomas said “some plays” on Sunday were not up to their standards.

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy -- Everyone on same page despite Xavier Woods' comment on effort - Todd Archer, ESPN
Head coach Mike McCarthy tried to calm the waters roiled by Xavier Woods' and DeMarcus Lawrence's comments.

"I think it was a situation of trying to answer questions after a poor performance is the way I would classify it," McCarthy said Thursday of Woods' comments. "I don't think it's a statement that can be laid up against every possible situation in football as far as hypotheticals and things like that. We've addressed our performance Sunday. It was poor. The coaching on pursuit and expectations is on-line with everybody's expectations and understanding on how you play this game."

On Monday, McCarthy said effort was not an issue and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan backed him up, although in his post-game comments, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence called the unit's play "soft."

Cowboys’ McCarthy says Vander Esch is “ahead of schedule” - Josh Clark, 105.3 The Fan
There is a little positive injury news. The defense obviously needs some help, and the return of Leighton Vander Esch would certainly qualify - but just don't rush him, please.

"I would say he's ahead of schedule. He's definitely chomping at the bit to get back. Obviously, there's a medical procedure and process he must go through and clear. The doctors and the trainers feel really good about where he is. If I would go off my personal communication with him he would have played in week 2. He's really pushing it and wants to get back, but we have to make sure he's clear and is ready to go."

When asked if Vander Esch could play in Sunday's game, McCarthy said he wasn't ruling it out, but they want to see how he looks in pads Thursday before making any determinations.

Mick Shots: There Has To Be A Sunny-Side Up - Mickey Spagnolas, DallasCowboys.com
When it comes to the Cowboys, Spagnola can be kind of like the guy who knows a hurricane is coming at his home, and thinks, "Well, the lawn does need watering." But he does point out some reasons there are at least some faint glimmers of hope, even though the news on Tyron Smith makes things even grimmer.

Still Time: No one is happy with this 1-3 start, for sure. But there are 12 games to go, enough time to right the ship. And if we look at this realistically, after four games, most folks probably figured the Cowboys would be no better than 2-2. Likely losing at the L.A. Rams and at Seattle, then winning home games over Atlanta and Cleveland. So while 1-3 looks really bad, and bad because of having given up 146 points in three games, a 36.5-point average, the Cowboys realistically are just one game off what probably was a reasonable pace – that loss to the Browns, comparable to last year's loss to the Jets. There's time.

Cowboys 100: Facts and stats ahead of Week 5 matchup versus Giants | Mark Lane, wfaa.com
Just a sample, chosen totally at random and not because it paints such a negative picture of Daniel Jones and also sneaks in a dig at another division rival's QB.

- Jones is tied with Kyler Murray and Ryan Fitzpatrick for the third-most interceptions with five.

-Among quarterbacks who have played every game, Jones’ 6.0 yards per pass attempt are the third-lowest in the league.

-Among quarterbacks who have played every game, Jones’ 9.8 yards per completion are the fifth-lowest in the NFL.

-Among quarterbacks who have played every game, Jones’ 68.3 passer rating is the second-lowest in the NFL.

-Jones is tied with Carson Wentz for the third-most sacks in the NFL with 14.

The ugly, the bad and the good: Breaking down Daniel Jones’ inconsistent play – Dan Duggan, The Athletic
Here's something else while we are on the subject of the opposing QB this week.

To get a better understanding of why Jones hasn’t taken the Year 2 leap common among top quarterbacks, I reviewed film from Sunday’s game with Tony Racioppi, who is the offensive coordinator at The Hun School of Princeton and a trainer to quarterbacks at all levels, including former Giant Davis Webb.

Racioppi’s biggest takeaway was that Jones too often locked his eyes onto his first read.

“Sometimes you’ll pick guys instead of reading it out,” said Racioppi, who was a two-time All-American quarterback at Division III Rowan University. “Sometimes you’re fooled — you think it’s a certain coverage and it ends up not being a certain coverage. Sometimes you’ll make decisions based on your pre-snap read instead of your post-snap. Pre-snap gives you an idea and a plan, but then it’s all about post-snap, what happens. Sometimes when you’re younger, you lock on either from a pre-snap standpoint or you’re locked onto No. 1. He had a great career at Duke, but if there was a big knock on him, he would stare down No. 1. I think a lot of times you see the fumbles and you see the sacks because he just kind of locks on.”

Could Week 17 become Week 18? - Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk
You may not want to hear this, but the NFL is likely to have to make some more adjustments if they hope to get this season in during a pandemic that is anything but over. This is an interesting suggestion. And think about it: We'd get an extra week of football.

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo made an interesting suggestion on Wednesday, while he and I were discussing the situation during his weekday show on SiriusXM: Move Week 17 to Week 18, and then play the makeup games in what was Week 17.

That makes sense, for multiple reasons. Beyond ensuring that the playoffs will start immediately after the regular season ends and keeping the top seeds from having three weeks between games, it preserves the significance of the final Sunday of the regular season, with all unresolved playoff spots and seeds determined as all teams play on the same day.

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