So you’re saying there’s a chance?
Nick Eatman: The Cowboys have certainly entered the “prove it” stage, where you just can’t really count on them until they show you they can. In other years, maybe you get a better sense from what you see in practice or what you hear and see in the locker room. But all we’re hearing is the confidence from the player on virtual interviews that they still believe this team is better than its 2-7 record. If that truly is the case, it needs to start showing up on Sundays, preferably this Sunday. Personally, I think the Cowboys are playing better but I do think the Vikings are as well. I just don’t see the Vikings laying off the running game the way Pittsburgh and Philly did. Dalvin Cook was a problem last year and everything suggests he’ll be more of the same. Who knows, maybe they rely on assistant coach George Edwards this week to help scout the Vikings. But I see another game to the wire, but I’ve got the Cowboys on the short end of a 23-20 outcome.
Jerry Jones said struggling Ezekiel Elliott is still best player on Dallas Cowboys - Clarence Hill, Star-Telegram
Jerry told us how he really felt.
Elliott ranks 11th in the NFL rushing yards with 572 yards, 382 behind league leader Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings, the Cowboys’ opponent Sunday.
Owner Jerry Jones remains firmly behind Elliott.
He blames the injuries on the offense line and the lack of continuity at quarterback, following the season-ending injury to Dak Prescott, for Elliott’s struggles.
Jones doubled down further by saying that his $90 million running back is still best player on the Cowboys.
“Well, I think we’re selling him short,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan on Friday. “You say, ‘Well, numbers don’t sell anything short.’ But I think you’re selling him short. I know the impact he has on opposing defenses. I know what I see him do relative to the kind of thing he brings to football. His physicalness, his enthusiasm, his ability to just his innate — he’s our best football player. He’s our best one. And having said that, we just got to have more chances to expose him to the defense and we’re going to do that.”
Jones was asked clarify if he was saying Elliott was the team’s best running back or best player.
The owner didn’t waffle.
“In my mind, he’s our best player,” Jones responded.
Kellen Moore needs to cook up more success in the red zone.
Over the last couple years (or more) the Cowboys seem to have to settle for three points in the red zone more often than one would think is reasonable. I understand that the defense gains an advantage by having to defend a smaller field, but with the weapons this team has this year and over the last few, do you see this as more of a play-calling or personnel issue rather than just stout defense? — MIKE LUCAS / ROCHESTER, NY
Rob: The Cowboys are currently 29th in red zone efficiency, scoring touchdowns just under 52% of the time. And you make a valid point: although the offense was better there last year (15th at 57%), they were actually worse two years ago when they won 10 games and the division (29th at 48%). I don’t have an exact answer for why because it’s probably a combination of personnel (especially this year with the injuries) and situational play-calling in some cases. They’ve also simply turned it over a few times, including Garrett Gilbert’s interception against the Steelers. But it’s worth noting they were much better scoring touchdowns inside the 20 (68%) in the first five games before Dak got hurt.
Week 11 Final Vikings-Cowboys Injury Report: Cleveland Out, Smith & Dantzler Questionable - Craig Peters, Vikings.com
The Vikings are a tad bit banged up.
EAGAN, Minn. — Vikings rookie Ezra Cleveland, who has started the past four games at right guard, has been ruled out of Minnesota’s Week 11 game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak told media members Cleveland suffered an ankle injury early in Minnesota’s win at Chicago but battled through it and played the entire game.
He did not practice for the third consecutive day on Friday.
Kubiak said the Vikings have been working veteran Brett Jones and second-year pro Olisaemeka Udoh at right guard. Either would be the fourth player to start at the position for the Vikings this season.
Pat Elflein opened the season there after moving from left guard but suffered an injury in a Week 2 practice that required surgery. He was released earlier this month. The Vikings then turned to second-year pro Dru Samia, who started four games before suffering a wrist injury.
Stephen Jones provides update on Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott’s recovery - Josh Clark, 105.3 The Fan
DALLAS (105.3 The Fan) - It’s been over a month since Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was lost for the season with an ankle injury, and fans must be wondering how he’s doing these days.
The GBag Nation took some time to check up on Prescott during their weekly conversation with Cowboys COO Stephen Jones on Friday afternoon.
“I haven’t run into Dak in the last couple of weeks. What I do is get these amazing reports on how he’s doing. It shouldn’t come as any surprise. He does everything to the 9s and the 10s, he just does it the very best. He’s been so diligent in his rehab, and that shouldn’t surprise anybody,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan. “They said (the team’s medical staff), if anything, he’s ahead of schedule and rolling. We expect him to have a full recovery. He avoided any of the complications that come anytime you have a bone that breaks the skin. You worry about infections and he certainly avoided any of that. We’re just fortunate to have a guy like Dak. It’s been tough not having him out there because his leadership is right at the top with his skill, and what he brings to the table as a quarterback in the NFL.”
It’s prospect season.
Cincinnati at UCF, 2:30pm CT, ESPN
It’s always easy to give all the love to the ‘Power 5’ schools in action, but how about some of the best ‘Group of 5’ schools over the past decade duking it out? Cincinnati has seen a resurgence to the credit of head coach Luke Fickell and the play of redshirt junior Desmond Ridder, who I’m not going to throw into this article because I’m not entirely sure he will declare for the draft this time around. UCF is in a bit of a down year after back-to-back losses to fellow American Athletic Conference foes Tulsa and Memphis, but still boast multiple NFL-ready individuals especially in the secondary.
Myjay Sanders, UC (Edge Rusher) – Sanders is a physical freak off the edge standing at 6-foot-5 and nearly 260-pounds but wears his weight extremely well. He started all 14 games last season for the Bearcats and has elevated his play this year by beating double-teams to the tune of sacks or tackles for loss in five of the seven games already this season. Motor, hands, speed, it’s all there for Sanders off the line of scrimmage and you can see him get to the outside shoulder on the first step of his attack. This is an early candidate for ‘Pet Cat’ territory.
Keep an eye on these five things.
3. In their defense
A month ago, these two teams held the honor of being the two worst teams in the league in terms of defenses allowing the most points scored. The Cowboys were dead last, allowing 36.3 points per game while the Vikings were next giving up 32.0 points per contest. Both these units were thought to be better defensive teams as Minnesota finished fifth-best in points allowed last season while the Cowboys pulled in a respectable 11th-best a year ago. Both defenses had some talented pieces, but they just weren’t putting it together on the football field.
Things have improved in recent weeks for both teams. The Vikings defense has averaged 18.3 points allowed over their last three games, where they’ve given up season-low in points scored for each of their last three opponents. The Cowboys defense has had three straight games where they haven’t given up more than 25 points in a game. That may not seem like much, but that’s a nice improvement considering they allowed at least 34 points in each of their previous five games.
While this game will feature a lot of big names on the offensive side of the ball, don’t be surprised if it’s the defense that steps up and decides this one.
Garrett Gilbert is looming.
This week as the Cowboys prepare to face the Minnesota Vikings, it’s time to have a short leash with Dalton as the starting quarterback. He hasn’t shown anything aside from that final quarter against the Giants.
Against the Arizona Cardinals, Andy Dalton and the Dallas Cowboys laid an egg, never really finding a rhythm offensively. The defense held the Cardinals offense in check for the first quarter. However, Kyler Murray started hitting some big plays and the Cowboys couldn’t ever respond. Dalton was 34 of 54 for 266 a touchdown, two interceptions, and took a safety.
The following week when facing the Washington Football Team it was more of the same. The Andy Dalton led offense couldn’t do anything. Dalton was 9 of 19 for 75 yards and an interception. Then he was hit with a cheap shot to the head by Washington Linebacker Jon Bostic, forced into the concussion protocol, and at the same time spent time in the COVID-19 protocol as well.
It hasn’t been a good season for Andy Dalton. And sure, you could talk about the struggles that he’s had to deal with on the offensive line and the matchups the Cowboys faced, however, I don’t know if that holds much water.
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