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Cowboys news: The Cowboys are having a terrible, and confusing, week

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Washington Football Team v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

COVID Moves Cowboys-Ravens To Monday, Dec. 7 - David Helman,

No more Thursday night football for Dallas and Baltimore.

FRISCO, Texas – What’s one more hurdle to overcome in a season of non-stop adversity?

Fresh off their Week 12 loss to Washington on Thursday evening, the Cowboys are seeing their schedule drastically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic for the first time this year, as next week’s Thursday night game against Baltimore has now been moved to Monday, Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. CT.

The Ravens are currently dealing with an ongoing outbreak of the virus on their roster, which prompted their division game against Pittsburgh to be moved off of Thanksgiving. The game was initially re-scheduled for Sunday, but with the team still facing positive tests, the NFL has moved it to Tuesday night.

Obviously, this is a bit of a schedule change for the Cowboys. Initially, this was going to be a seven-day work week, with back-to-back Thursday games against Washington and Baltimore.

Instead, the team is now essentially on a mini-bye week, with a six-day schedule after that ahead of a Monday night game.

Mike McCarthy’s failed gambles contributing to Cowboys’ brutal season - Todd Archer,

What were your thoughts on the Cowboys’ fourth-down decisions?

ARLINGTON, Texas — Little has gone right for Mike McCarthy in his first year as Dallas Cowboys head coach.

Some he has had no control over, like dealing with a virtual offseason program, shortened training camp and no preseason games because of the coronavirus pandemic. Throw in the season-ending injuries suffered by Dak Prescott, Tyron Smith, La’el Collins and other expected key contributors.

Then came the death of strength and conditioning coordinator Markus Paul less than 24 hours before the Cowboys (3-8) lost to the Washington Football Team, 41-16, on Thursday.

Players repeatedly praised McCarthy for being sensitive to their needs during the springtime social unrest that followed after the death of George Floyd. And players praised McCarthy for how he helped everybody grieve the loss of Paul.

“Coach McCarthy is a remarkable person,” Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith said. “He’s a guy that loves and cares. And he knows what he’s doing. We’ve got to figure it out. It’s not all on him. It’s a team effort. We play a team sport, and winning is the name of the game. All is well, but nothing matters when you lose. You have to win, especially playing for America’s Team. All of these things we’re experiencing right now is only going to make us stronger. We don’t have any quitters. We have fighters in this organization from top to bottom.”

It’s the things that McCarthy can control, however, that have raised concerns this season.

Further Review: Another Fourth-Quarter Collapse - Nick Eatman,

The Cowboys have to be better in the final quarter.

On the heels of an emotional win in Minnesota, followed by the tragic and sudden death of strength and conditioning coach Markus Paul, it was hard to predict the outcome of Thursday’s game in Washington.

Even head coach Mike McCarthy admitted he wasn’t sure how his team would perform.

While they battled for three quarters, the Cowboys fell apart in the fourth and dropped a 41-16 game to Washington.

Before we turn the page, let’s take one last further review at the key players, moments, milestones and stats from this game.

Injured Cowboys linemen Martin, Erving to miss several weeks - Schuyler Dixon, Seattle Times

Two more offensive lineman to miss time. Make it stop.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dallas Cowboys offensive linemen Zack Martin and Cam Erving will be out several weeks if not longer after getting injured in the Thanksgiving loss to Washington.

Martin and Erving went out on the opening drive Thursday. Erving exited first with a sprained knee, and Martin injured his left calf on the final play before a field goal. Washington won 41-16.

A four-time All-Pro right guard playing right tackle for a line that has been in flux all season because of injuries, Martin is likely to miss consecutive games for the first time in his seven-year career. Martin missed a game earlier this season because of a concussion.

It’s the second knee injury of the year for Erving. Signed as the backup tackle in the offseason, Erving was injured blocking on a field goal in the opener against the Los Angeles Rams and missed five games. He was making his fifth straight start at left tackle.

The Cowboys (3-8) haven’t had the same starting five in the offensive line for more than two consecutive games this season. Left guard Connor Williams is the only lineman to start every game in the same spot.

Jerry Jones defended Ezekiel Elliott and Jaylon Smith, saying he is fine with the resources put there - RJ Ochoa, Blogging the Boys

Jerry... can you not.

Jerry Jones said he would not devote the resources going towards Ezekiel Elliott and Jaylon Smith elsewhere even if he could

Again, there are a lot of Cowboys fans who wish they could fire up the DeLorean and stop the team from handing out the deals that they did to both Elliott and Smith. This isn’t to speak ill about them as people, but the business of football is a business, and some decisions are obviously not great ones.

Jerry Jones continues to not feel that way. Speaking on 105.3 The Fan on Friday morning, he spoke with incredible pride about both players and said that even if he could, he would not trade the resources spent on Elliott and Smith for anything else.

“Well I like what we’ve spent and what we done even going all the way back to picking him on Jaylon Smith. That’s been a home run. He’s everything and more we thought he could be coming back from the injury when we got him in the second round. He was on the first round board. So that’s, that is absolutely a winner.”

“I’ve said this before. Zeke is, our best player. He certainly, yesterday, would, he was up against a tough situation with where we are. But still, I like both those players. I think we’re lucky to have both of those guys.”

“I wouldn’t take the resources. I would not take those resources that I’m putting there and trade not having those guys for those resources. I would not do that.”

Randy Gregory Eats on Thanksgiving vs Washington - Matthew Lenix, Inside the Star

Randy Gregory is the real deal.

It’s been a long journey for Defensive End Randy Gregory to make his way back to the field for the Dallas Cowboys. After an indefinite suspension that forced him to miss the entire 2019 season, Gregory was conditionally reinstated on September 4 and signed a one-year contract extension on September 8 that will pay him up to $2.1 million in 2021.

Gregory would have to sit the first six games of the season. After only six snaps in Week 7, he’s played at least 42% of the team’s defensive plays in three of the last four games. It all came together Thursday against the Washington Football Team as the former second-round pick had the first multi-sack game of his career.

The first of Gregory’s sacks came on the first possession of the game. He runs an inside stunt and gets around the right guard and brings down Alex Smith for a seven-yard loss on 3rd and 7 after he was forced to step up due to pressure from DeMarcus Lawrence. For a brief moment, it seemed as if that may have been Gregory’s only impact on the game after he went down to a knee and grabbed his head before heading to the blue medical tent for further evaluation. It turned out that he got poked in the eye and returned shortly after.

His second sack came with about five minutes left in the first half.

3 things we learned from Cowboys-Washington: What doomed Dallas vs. the run; silver lining for the pass rush - John Owning, Dallas Morning News

What did we learn from the week 12 shellacking?

Bad communication, missed assignments let Gibson run wild in 4th quarter

The Cowboys’ defense was plagued by bad run fits and poor gap integrity through most of the first half of the season, which is why it was one of the worst run defenses in the league.

But over the previous two games against Pittsburgh and Minnesota, the Cowboys’ run defense appeared to turn a corner. They were getting better play from defensive tackles and better run fits from linebackers and defensive backs while limiting miscommunications and busts that had plagued them.

The Cowboys reverted back to old ways against Washington, as Gibson and Peyton Barber gashed their run defense to the tune of 172 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries (5.55 yards per carry).

Both of Gibson’s fourth-quarter touchdown runs were good examples of dreadful run defense by the Cowboys.

On the first of those runs, there was no one in the backside B-gap, allowing Gibson to cut back into a giant running lane after pressing the line of scrimmage. The result: Gibson goes untouched for the 23-yard touchdown.

It’s clear the vacated backside B-gap was either a miscommunication between linebackers and safeties or just poor assignment football.

Dallas Cowboys’ Andy Dalton reacts to 4th down call, more injuries, and losing a coach - Stefan Stevenson, Star-Telegram

The Cowboys starting quarterback speaks.

Andy Dalton is now 1-3 as a starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys after his team lost to Washington 41-16 Thursday at AT&T Stadium.

Although Dallas trailed by four early in the fourth quarter, a failed fake punt and a pick six thrown by Dalton helped Washington build a comfortable final score.

Dalton threw for 215 yards on 25 of 35 passing. He had a 54-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper in the first half and nearly had a touchdown pass to CeeDee Lamb just before halftime but the rookie had a rare drop. The Cowboys (3-8) dropped to last place in the NFC East with the loss.

Dalton discussed those plays, plus the despair that surrounded the team when strength coach Markus Paul died on Wednesday after collapsing at the Cowboys’ headquarters in Frisco Tuesday morning, during his post-game press conference. Here’s an edited portion of his comments.

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