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Cowboys news: Saying goodbye before they get ready for the Ravens

And a Dak story you have to read.

Atlanta Falcons v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Markus Paul Funeral Plans: Cowboys Will Attend Virtually - Mike Fisher, SI | Cowboysmaven

In addition to preparing for the Ravens, the Cowboys had an emotional moment as they try to heal and recover from the loss of beloved coach Markus Paul. Our thoughts and prayers go to his family and loved ones.

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m., Thursday at North Colony Church of Christ in The Colony. The Cowboys, who will spent Wednesday evening as a group watching the Steelers-vs.-Ravens game, and will spend much of Thursday studying Baltimore as the next opponent, will also spend Thursday morning as a team in virtual attendance of the funeral.

Paul's family made it clear that he was "surrounded by love'' in his passing. And the Cowboys have expressed their love for him as well.

“The loss of a family member is a tragedy, and Markus Paul was a loved and valued member of our family,'' team owner Jerry Jones said.

'I feel for you, and I'm here for you' - Matthew Tabeek, AtlantaFalcons.com

No snippet from this great article about the brief conversation over mental illness between Falcons TE Hayden Hurst and Dak Prescott can do it justice. You need to click and read the whole thing.

Hayden's own battles with depression, substance abuse and attempted suicide have been well-documented. He wrote a first-person account of those struggles for The Players' Tribune and he's also appeared on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" to discuss mental illness. Hayden also talked to AtlantaFalcons.com about how hitting rock bottom ultimately led him to find his happy place.

Listening to both Hayden and Prescott, one thing is clear: The more it is out there, the more it is talked about, the better it can be for everyone. That said, it's still sometimes hard to find the right words to describe the effects of depression.

"I can't really explain it. It's hard to unless you've been through it," Hayden said. "But, depression, when you feel like nobody's there … when you're in the headspace and in that dark spot, you do – you feel alone. Nobody's there. Nobody cares."

Cowboys' Dak Prescott making progress in recovery from season-ending injury: 'I know my team needs me' - Patrik Walker, CBSSports.com

Dak talks about his recovery and plans for the future.

"For me, as I talk about the mental capacity, it's about creating and making small victories," he said of his progress. "Each and every day, when I wake up and I go in for rehab, it's about, for me, seeing my leg or seeing my body do something that it didn't do the day before or creating a feeling that I didn't have the day before -- so I know that I'm continuing to get better. And at the end of the day, I know my team needs me. I know that they need me now for support but they'll need me again later, so it's about helping them, whichever way that I can and however I can.”

Robert Griffin III Exits Game Vs. Steelers, What Does This Mean For Matchup With The Cowboys? - Kevin Brady, Inside the Star

This seems significant.

In a strange Wednesday afternoon game, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III was taken out in the second half with a hamstring injury. He injured his hamstring on a second quarter scramble, as he helped lead the Ravens down the field to end the half.

NFL playoff picture: Will Ravens’ Covid loss kill their postseason hopes? - James Dator, SBNation.com

It's kind of depressing when the Cowboys are seen as an easy win despite the Ravens still being severely affected by the protocol. Depressing, but not really inaccurate.

Unquestionably the easiest remaining schedule in the NFL, the Ravens have at least four of their final five games which should be wins — assuming the team doesn’t have further injuries due to Covid. It looks like Lamar Jackson will miss this week’s game, but should be available next, assuming there aren’t any more setbacks. In addition, we don’t currently know the severity of Robert Griffin III’s hamstring injury, adding more unknowns to the scenario. That said, we’ll work under the assumption that everything from this point on is a best case scenario for the team.

In Week 13 the Ravens face the Cowboys. Enough said about this one, really. If the Ravens have to carry as many injuries into this one as they did vs. Pittsburgh there’s an outside chance Dallas could win, but considering how close they played the Steelers — this should be a win.

Record: 7-5

Cowboys' CeeDee Lamb reveals secret to acrobatic catch vs. Vikings and emulating Dez Bryant - Patrik Walker,CBSSports.com

So much has gone wrong for the Cowboys, but one bright spot is the emergence of rookie WR CeeDee Lamb.

Still, there was a lot to be excited about when it came to Lamb, so much so that owner Jerry Jones awarded him the famed No. 88 -- a move blessed by team legends Michael Irvin and Dez Bryant.

"Be you and be great," said Bryant after news broke of the jersey choice.

As Lamb readies take the field against the his predecessor, what's mostly become a lost season hasn't derailed his electric ability. Despite being forced to acclimate to a carousel of quarterbacks (and corresponding poor QB play) following the Week 5 loss of Dak Prescott and being a rookie without minicamp or a preseason to ramp up, he's already etched his name into the Cowboys record books in 2020. Additionally, he's delivered the high point of an otherwise abysmal and wildly handicapped Cowboys season, when he contorted his body to grab a bad throw from Dalton for a touchdown in the Week 11 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

DeMarcus Lawrence is HOW fast? And 4 more stats to know for the NFCE - Dan Morse, Cowboys Wire

There isn't much worth remembering from the embarrassment on Thanksgiving. But here is a little reminder of why DeMarcus Lawrence is actually one of the best in the league.

2.1 - Time it took for DeMarcus Lawrence to record a sack

In the third quarter of the Cowboys’ game against the Washington Football Team, while the game was very much still in hand, Washington faced a 3rd and 1 from deep in Dallas territory, nursing a 4-point lead. A first down would have put them around the 10-yard line with a chance to make this a two-score game.

But then they somehow forgot to block DeMarcus Lawrence.

Lawrence had Smith in the grasp and the whistle blown dead in just 2.1 seconds, the fastest sack in the NFL this season. That caused Washington to settle for the field goal, keeping this a one-score game until the fourth quarter.

2020 NFC East on pace to be worst division in NFL history – Jon Machota, The Athletic

It is shaping up to be a record setting-year for the division. That's not a good thing.

The NFC East is on pace to have only the third team in NFL history make the playoffs with a losing record. The others were the 2010 Seattle Seahawks (7-9) and the 2014 Carolina Panthers (7-8-1). The Seahawks went on to defeat the New Orleans Saints in their wild-card matchup before losing to the Chicago Bears in the divisional round. The Panthers also won in the wild-card round, defeating the Arizona Cardinals before falling to the Seahawks in the divisional round.

This season’s NFC East has a chance to be worse than both of those teams, possibly sending a team with only five or six wins to the playoffs. The NFL Draft impact is also interesting. All four teams are currently in position for a top-eight pick. However, a playoff team can’t pick higher than 19th. Members of all four teams would say right now that they’d prefer making the playoffs, even if it means probably losing in the wild-card round. But it will cost them in April when, instead of selecting at the top of each round, they’ll be picking in the middle.

Walkthrough: Quarterbored | Mike Tanier, Football Outsiders

OK, at least this is funny. Painfully so, but still funny.

Mike McCarthy's signature passing concept is the Everyone Run Straight pattern. It's usually run from a spread formation, often from an empty backfield. The underlying principle of Everyone Run Straight is that if everyone runs straight, one or all of them will transform into Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, or Jermichael Finley circa 2011 and beat his man up the field. If that doesn't happen, it's on the quarterback to morph into young Aaron Rodgers and make a play.

McCarthy keeps defenses off guard by mixing in Everyone Run Straight Then Stop, which looks so much like the "Spacing" plays from the Madden video games of the mid-2010s that it's probably where he got the idea. The Cowboys ran Everyone Run Straight Then Stop against Washington on third-and-goal in the third quarter on Thanksgiving. Shockingly, everyone was covered.

McCarthy picked up some new concepts during his barn sabbatical/self-promotional tour, and his receivers now sometimes crisscross, though they look hesitant when they do so, as if the play was not installed properly or they were violating some sacred taboo. McCarthy also dreamed up all sorts of fake punts and end arounds during his gap year, and the football world is much poorer as a result.

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