The Cowboys didn’t get the real win, but they did get something out of that game.
They came up short, of course, but let’s give a little credit where it’s due. The Steelers are a top-flight championship contender. And sure, they might have been looking passed the Cowboys because, let’s face it, Dallas has been a joke all season. But it’s not like Pittsburgh has anything pressing on their schedule in the next couple of games. They’re playing 2-5-1 Cincinnati at home next week, after all. This didn’t fall into the “trap game” category for the visitors.
The Cowboys finally looked like a team that wasn’t feeling sorry for themselves. Up and down the roster, they appeared to be fighting–and mostly winning–a game in which they were initially thought to have no shot at competing in. So even in a loss, this was fun to watch. The defense continued to show signs of life. That fourth down stop early in the second quarter was gutty.
For their part, the offense was able to find grooves even with journeyman Garrett Gilbert helming the attack. I hadn’t really kept up with him since his college days at Texas, so I’d completely forgotten that has a bit of an arm. His passes didn’t flutter to receivers, and his decision-making was mostly fine. Look, my tepid praise is the loser’s lament. I get that. But the football landscape around here has been so bereft of simple effort that, even in defeat, there were redeeming qualities. At this point, it’s better to accentuate the positive. What we didn’t see is a team out there going through the motions and looking like they couldn’t wait to hit the postgame spread. This was progress.
Stephen Jones Praises Gilbert but Confirms Dalton is Still Starting QB - Jess Haynie, Inside The Star
After Gilbert’s performance on Sunday, there was a thought he might stay in the job. Stephen Jones says no to that.
Even if the front office is shutting down any though of Garrett taking the job away now, that’s based on an assumption of how Dalton will perform once he returns. If Andy keeps struggling as he did before his concussion, they could easily hand the keys over Gilbert.
Talk is cheap and we know how little votes of confidence really mean. What Stephen Jones said today is just statement of the current reality and could change again as soon as Week 12.
For all we know, it’s could even be a smoke screen to keep Minnesota guessing. Nothing is truly certain until either Dalton or Gilbert walk out and take the first snap of the next game.
But it’s reasonable that the Cowboys want to see how Dalton can perform with Zack Martin back up front and helping stabilize the offensive line. Remember, Martin was injured early in the Arizona game (Dalton’s first as starter) and missed the following game against Washington when Dalton was concussed.
John Fassel’s trickery background is finally starting to really show itself with the Cowboys - RJ Ochoa, Blogging The Boys
More of Rico Dowdle at kick returner?
One particular moment from Fassel’s time in St. Louis jumped to my memory when we saw the trickery between Cedrick Wilson and C.J. Goodwin. You might recall a particular day during the 2014 season (better times!) when the Rams were hosting the reigning Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks. This is obviously a divisional matchup and an important game and generally Jeff Fisher’s Rams gave the Seahawks fits.
At one point the Seahawks punted the ball and the Rams put their plan into action. Tavon Austin, who would later become a Cowboy himself, faked the Seahawks out (thanks to some help from his Rams teammates as well) into thinking that he was going to field the punt. Spoiler alert... he did not.
Stephen Jones vows that Mike McCarthy will ‘absolutely’ be Cowboys coach next season - Jason Owens, Yahoo Sports
Mike McCarthy gets a vote of confidence.
Addressing McCarthy’s status has become a weekly task for Jones as the Cowboys pile up losses. He has repeatedly had McCarthy’s back, calling him in October “the right head guy for the job.” The Cowboys recorded their fourth straight loss on Sunday, this time at home to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jones cited patience and stability as management philosophies on coaching decisions while noting the team’s loyalty to previous head coach Jason Garrett, who had 10 years on the job before the Cowboys fired him last offseason.
“You’re changing a culture,” Jones said. “You change when you change the leadership. And certainly, we like stability. That’s why we stayed with Jason for 10 years, and we know these things don’t happen overnight in terms of when you turn things around.”
Tough blow to the promising start from the rookie center.
But it’s the latest setback for a Cowboys offensive line that has tried a variety of starting lineup combinations this season due to injuries at multiple positions.
Looney began the season at the starting center but spent three weeks on Reserve/Injured with a sprained knee.
“Unfortunate for (Biadasz) because he was making a lot of progress,” Jones said. “But the great news is we’ve got a leader in the room there in Joe who’s done a good job for us for several years here.”
Cowboys VP Stephen Jones: Dak Prescott ahead of schedule in injury recovery - Jori Epstein, USA Today
Great news, now they just need to make sure they pay the man!
But amid a five-week stretch with four different starters, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones offered a glimmer of good news about the team’s quarterback luck.
Five-year starter Dak Prescott, who suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle on Oct 11, is ahead of his recovery schedule.
“He’s been able to avoid any setbacks,” Jones said when asked if Prescott had avoided infection akin to what Washington quarterback Alex Smith battled back from. “If anything, he’s ahead of schedule—which shouldn’t be surprising, the way he goes after every challenge.
“It’s full speed ahead with Dak, and he’s done a great job to this point.”
This team is talented so drafting more high draft picks can only bolster this team’s chances in the future.
2021 NFL Draft Order (Week 9)
New York Jets (0-7)
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7
Dallas Cowboys (2-7)
New York Giants (2-7)
Washington Football Team (2-6)
Los Angeles Chargers (2-6)
New England Patriots (2-5)
Cincinnati Bengals (2-5-1)
Carolina Panthers (3-6)
As things stand right now the Dallas Cowboys are currently slotted to pick third overall in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. The good news is they can’t fall any further due to them being on their bye week, but could actually move up one spot ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars if they somehow beat the Green Bay Packers this week. It’s unlikely, but stranger things have happened.
Now, I don’t know whether you’re #teamtank or not but securing a high draft pick in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft may be the only silver lining we have for the Dallas Cowboys this year. As such, it’s okay to be a little conflicted as to whether or not you want to root for or against the Cowboys as the season progresses. After all, all we want is what’s best for the team moving forward.
Let’s hope that no one tests positive for the Dallas Cowboys.
Officially, the Cowboys have entered what the NFL describes as the “Intensive Protocol,” which is designed to “mitigate the risk of further transmission among the team and to offer as much protection as possible to players and staff.”
Other aspects of the Intensive Protocol include all virtual meetings, stricter guidelines for practices and walk-throughs and limited access to the weight room.
Testing of the players will continue throughout the bye week. Once the new protocol is lifted, the Cowboys will return to the facility to prepare for the Nov. 22 game in Minnesota.
Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore said the cancelled Wednesday practice was more of a “get back to basics” session.
“Usually, it’s just a little bit of a self-scout opportunity to re-evaluate ourselves,” Moore said. “It’s a unique circumstance. We’re used to having to adjust on the fly.”
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