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Cowboys news: Reinforcements could be on the way for Dallas

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NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

McCarthy “Optimistic” His Injured DBs Can Play - David Helman,

Cowboys could get all their injured defensive backs yet for San Francisco matchup.

FRISCO, Texas – Reinforcements just might be coming this weekend.

The Cowboys’ secondary has been decimated by injury in the past month, but there’s hope around the facility that things might change against San Francisco.

The trio of Trevon Diggs, Anthony Brown and Donovan Wilson all practiced on Thursday afternoon, and Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy was encouraged by what he saw.

“I would put all three of them in the same category, I’m optimistic they’ll play on Sunday,” McCarthy said. “The work has been good so far, they participated in the mock game that we just had. So far everything looks good.”

That would obviously be huge news to this depleted Dallas secondary, which hasn’t seen any of those three players in the lineup in quite some time. Diggs broke a bone in his foot during the Nov. 8 loss to Pittsburgh, so his absence has been the longest. But Brown has also been absent since he re-injured his ribs in the Nov. 22 win against Minnesota, while Wilson has been out since Thanksgiving with a groin injury.

Cowboys Draft At No. 4? But Who? The Top Mock Names - Bri Amaranthus, Cowboy Maven

Who are the most popular options in the top five for the Cowboys?

The top three picks are all but locked in by the New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars and Cincinnati Bengals.

So which highly-touted player would the Cowboys draft? Gathering scouting information, there seems to be a consensus for possible players that would be great fit for the Cowboys, come April … All are on the defensive side of the ball. Here is a roundup of names you may want to learn now:

Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II

At 6-2, Surtain provides length to challenge receivers downfield. Son of former Dolphins star cornerback Patrick Surtain Sr., Surtain II is a physical defender and rarely out of position. Pro Football Talk’s latest Mock Draft has the Cowboys drafting Surtain II with the fourth pick.

Penn State inside linebacker Micah Parsons

Parsons ability to rush the passer would be a welcome addition to the Cowboys roster. Possibly the best defensive product in the 2021 draft class, Parsons’ speed and athleticism stand out among the rest. NBC Sports’ latest mock draft has the Cowboys drafting Parsons with the fifth pick.

Miami defensive lineman Jaelan Phillips

Some No.1-overall-rated high-school recruits don’t pan out in college … Not in Phillips’ case. The explosive edge rusher, who is 6-5, 266 pounds, has the tools to be a monster in the league. CBS Sports’ latest mock draft has the Cowboys drafting Phillips with the fifth pick.

Cowboys running back Tony Pollard should see his opportunity to shine on Sunday - Justin Morris, Blogging the Boys

Tony Pollard szn.

You know that incredibly giddy feeling you get when, in what seems to be the result of utter happenstance, you stumble upon a bit of loose cash or coinage in previously worn clothes? It’s like winning free money, and although nothing new was actually added to your lump sum, it sure feels like it to your brain. That’s because you had no previous knowledge of the jewels that were hiding unbeknownst in your back pockets.

Yet there they remained the entire time – stagnant, dormant, just waiting to be unearthed.

Such is the case with the Dallas Cowboys and their recent exhumation of high-caliber running back Tony Pollard. The jack-of-all-trades Swiss army knife has done it all for the Cowboys this season. He’s been a consistent force in both their offensive schemes and on special teams.

But what makes his new emergence even more ebullient to a team with a profuse need for answers is this: not only is he a fresh bit of newly-acquired currency to help repair Dallas’ misfortunes, his highly-rising stock can serve as an enticing investment to increase their offensive net worth over time. And right now (granted, Dak Prescott remains sidelined), that total is near bankruptcy.

Pollard’s not even close to his full potential as a weapon out of the backfield, or on the receiving end. In what was supposed to be Ezekiel Elliott’s Jay-Z-esque “takeover” year after Prescott’s injury, the man whom he shares nearly everything with – from film room sessions to the brunt of practice time – has stolen the spotlight right from underneath his nose.

Cowboys’ Jerry Jones Predicts NFL Will Add 17th Game - Mike Fisher, Cowboy Maven

17 games in 2021? Jerry surely thinks so.

FRISCO - Does Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones believe the NFL will add a 17th game to the regular-season schedule beginning in 2021?

“I do,’’ Jones said. “My personal opinion is that (we) will. Now, we didn’t agree to it the other day at our meeting. But we’ve agreed to look at it ... We’ve got it in our (new) collective bargaining agreement (to do it).”

The concept is indeed covered in the CBA, and one of the additional conversations centers on simultaneously reducing the number of preseason games from four to three.

WAS QB Alex Smith OUT Sunday, Helping Cowboys Playoff Chances - Jess Haynie, Inside the Star

Don’t count them out just yet..

The Washington Football Team is currently in first place in the NFC East and three games ahead of the Dallas Cowboys. Catching up to win the division and the playoffs is going to take a miracle for Dallas, but the first step may have just happened as QB Alex Smith has been ruled out of Sunday’s game between Washington and Seattle with a leg injury.

Smith’s absence will bring second-year QB Dwayne Haskins back into the starting lineup. Haskins was benched for Kyle Allen after going 1-3 to start the season.

The job eventually went to Smith after an injury to Allen and the veteran has helped stabilize Washington’s offense. They’ve won their last four games and are the front-runners now in the NFC East.

Thankfully, Smith’s is minor compared to what he endured from 2018-2019. But it will keep him out this week and perhaps longer, and that may be exactly what the Cowboys needed to get back into the playoff picture.

Dallas is still alive by the slimmest of margins. With only three weeks to go, they need to win every game the rest of the season and have Washington lose all of theirs to steal the NFC East and make the postseason.

Dallas Cowboys: Terence Steele is showing signs of life - Mitch Larson, The Landry Hat

Terrence Steele has been... good?

Don’t look now, but Dallas Cowboys‘ rookie tackle Terence Steele just might be showing signs of life. It’s taken a bit of time, but Steele is finally making weekly progress and has quietly improved leaps and bounds from where he was to start the season.

Last Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, Steele had the best game of his young career, allowing just one pressure and no sacks while playing every offensive snap. A massive improvement from where he was just a few short weeks ago.

It’s true that no one is going to confuse the 2020 Bengals defense with the ’85 Bears. Cincinnati currently ranks 31st in pressure percentage, sacks, quarterback hits, and tackles for a loss. They don’t generate much pressure, and when they do they are rarely able to capitalize on it.

If you are a Cowboys’ fan though, it doesn’t matter how good or bad Cincinnati’s defense is. What does matter is that after an incredibly rough start, Steele has quietly strung together a few quality performances in a row. After allowing seven sacks and 33 pressures in his first nine starts, Steele has been much improved over his last four games.

Terence Steele was never supposed to start this early into his NFL career. He signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent out of Texas Tech and was a likely candidate to land on the practice squad for his first season. A rash of injuries along the offensive line threw him into the starting lineup much earlier than expected and it’s clearly shown with his play on the field.

Whitt’s End: How Cowboys Jaylon & Jerry Are ‘Trippin’ - And Getting It Wrong - Richie Whitt, Cowboys Maven

Why is this team the way that it is.

*Remember way back when everyone rooted for Jaylon Smith because of his warm-’n-fuzzy comeback story? Me neither. Because these days the linebacker – despite being praised for his community service as the Cowboys’ NFL Man of the Year nominee – is a favorite bullseye for all that’s wrong with this team.

Smith blows assignments. Misses tackles. Gives love taps to opposing runners after first-down runs. And, of course, never ever never misses an opportunity to hog the spotlight and do his silly “Swipe” celebration after a rare highlight play.

The damning consensus is that Smith cares about himself more than fans care about winning and losing. Ouch.

Those who know Jaylon pretty well (including our own Mike Fisher) swear by Smith. But ...

He did little to change this perception Thursday when asked if it bothered him that the Cowboys were flexed out of primetime this week. Said Smith, “If the owner ain’t trippin’ we good.”

No, Jaylon, we ain’t good. In no way, shape or form is 4-9 “good.”

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