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Cowboys News: Ravens likely to get Lamar Jackson back from the shelf for Tuesday

Your Monday morning edition of Cowboys news...

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

Who’s Playing, Who’s Not vs. Cowboys - Clifton Brown, BaltimoreRavens.com

Who will be on the pitch Tuesday for the opposition... and who won’t.

Nine players are listed as questionable, including Pro Bowl defensive end Calais Campbell (calf), starting nose tackle Brandon Williams (ankle), veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin), starting safety Chuck Clark (knee) and outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson (illness).

Neither Clark nor Ferguson have missed a game this season, but neither of them have practiced this week. Smith has not practiced either after suffering his injury in Wednesday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Campbell and Williams were limited participants Saturday, and they both hope to return to bolster the defensive line. Campbell has not played since injuring his calf Nov. 8 against the Indianapolis Colts, while Williams has not played since suffering his ankle injury Nov. 15 against the New England Patriots.

Four players listed as questionable were full participants in Saturday’s practice – starting safety DeShon Elliott (knee/ankle), offensive lineman D.J. Fluker (ankle), cornerback Devontae Harris (thigh) and inside linebacker Kristian Welch (ankle).

What Urban Meyer to Texas Could Mean To Cowboys - Matthew Postins, Sports Illustrated

This could have significance in more than one way...

Now, Strong — and for that matter Herman — doesn’t have Meyer’s considerable reputation nor his ties in the coaching community. Meyer can get basically anyone he wants.

So, how could that impact the Cowboys? The easiest way to determine that is to look at the Cowboys’ coaching bios. Below are the four Cowboys coaches that make the most sense for Meyer to poach, should he want to do so:

Maurice Linguist, cornerbacks: You might not know his name, but Linguist could be Meyer’s No. 1 target if he’s turning his eyes to the Cowboys’ coaching staff. The Mesquite native played at Baylor and had a quick ascent in the college ranks, coaching at Minnesota, Mississippi State, Iowa State, the University of Buffalo, James Madison, Valdosta State, and Baylor. His immediate post before joining the Cowboys in 2020 was at Texas A&M. So he has Texas ties, he was recently in the recruiting game and he has been both a secondary coach and a defensive passing game coordinator. Meyer would love to tap into that.

Doug Nussmeier, quarterbacks: Nussmeier has been with the Cowboys for three years, but he has a considerable college resume as an offensive coordinator at Florida (post-Meyer), Michigan (where he overlapped with Meyer’s time at Ohio State), Alabama, Washington and Fresno State. He has a national championship ring as a coach with Alabama. If any member of the Cowboys’ staff could step out of The Star and into the highly-combustible world of the Texas Longhorns’ offense it’s Nussmeier.

Is Lamar Jackson playing on Tuesday night? Fantasy injury update for Cowboys-Ravens - Matt Lutovsky, SportingNews.com

The all-important question ahead of Tuesday...

Jackson will remain on the COVID list until at least Monday, but he will be eligible to come off in time to start Tuesday’s game against Dallas. He hasn’t been allowed to practice all week, but a report from the Ravens’ official website says Jackson is “fully engaged” in the virtual meetings and is up to speed with the gameplan. It’s expected that Jackson will play in what amounts to a must-win for the Ravens — especially after backup Robert Griffin III (thigh) was placed on IR — but obviously it will depend on how he feels and if the Ravens feel comfortable with his health.

It’s tough for fantasy owners to wait out Jackson, as the only alternatives if he doesn’t play are Andy Dalton and Trace McSorley. However, given Jackson’s immense upside in this favorable matchup (Dallas allows the 11th-most fantasy points per game to QBs) and the likelihood that he suits up, he’s worth leaving in your lineups ahead of Tuesday’s game. However, it’s important to have either Dalton or McSorley on your roster so you can sub them in if needed.

When Dak Prescott went down, Ezekiel Elliott had an opportunity to step up for the Cowboys. Why hasn’t he? - David Moore, Dallas Morning News

Zeke is not the player he’s been in year’s past.

Dallas was still capable of competing in this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad division. But the emphasis would need to shift back to where it was when Prescott entered the league four years earlier.

Ezekiel Elliott.

Five games remain in the regular season. The Cowboys, inexplicably, still have hope of winning the NFC East as they leave for Baltimore to face the Ravens in a coronavirus delayed spectacle Tuesday night.

But face it. If the once-dominant running back was going to carry this team on his shoulder pads into the playoffs, there would have been more evidnce of it by now.

Elliott scraped together just 32 yards rushing in the team’s Thanksgiving Day loss to Washington. He’s been held to fewer yards on the ground only once in his Cowboys career.

That output wasn’t an aberration. Elliott was 10 games deep into this season before registering his only 100-yard game. He’s been held to less than 55 yards rushing in six games this season.

Opponents limited Elliott to less than 55 yards on the ground only six times in the first 48 games of his professional career.

This offense is no longer built to lean on Elliott. Injuries across the offensive line have destroyed that identity. Mike McCarthy’s staff doesn’t tilt toward the run game like the previous coaching staff.

Ravens WR Dez Bryant prepares for reunion with Cowboys after two years out of NFL: ‘He’s just on a mission’ - Daniel Oyefusi, Baltimore Sun

The ‘Boys will see a familiar face lining up across from their defense.

On Tuesday night, Bryant for the first time will face the Dallas Cowboys, the team who drafted him and with whom he spent his first eight seasons, becoming the franchise’s all-time leader in touchdown catches before a somewhat messy divorce after the 2017 season.

In his first video conference call with reporters since signing with the Ravens, Bryant downplayed any lingering animosity between him and the organization, calling it “water under the bridge.” He thanked Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, with whom he developed a strong personal relationship, and said the matchup with his former team is “going to be an exciting moment.”

Jones exchanged similar pleasantries earlier in the week, saying during a radio interview with 105.3 The Fan in Dallas that Bryant was “an eternal light of positiveness for our game.”

“It’s cool; it’s kind of cool. I’m excited,” Bryant said Saturday. “I’m looking forward to it. A lot of those guys on the team I know; I’m real good friends with. [They’re] hell of a [good] football players. Whenever we line up across from one another, I think it’s going to be fun. Like I said, it’s going to be an exciting moment.”

In a sense, Bryant’s pairing with the Ravens has been years in the making. The team reportedly offered Bryant a multiyear contract after his release from the Cowboys, but he declined it in search of a more lucrative one-year deal.

Dallas Cowboys: One winner, one loser from Mike Nolan’s new scheme - Lucas Mascherin, The Landry Hat

Nolan’s had a rollercoaster of a first season in Dallas:

Think of one player on the Dallas Cowboys that has disappointed you so far this season. You’re thinking about linebacker Jaylon Smith, aren’t you? I knew it.

Statistically speaking, Smith is playing very well. He is on pace to finish the season with a career-high in tackles and tackles for a loss of yards. He is also holding quarterbacks to a 73.2 percent completion percentage while missing only 6.5 percent of his tackles. Both are career lows.

It’s more than his basic statistics that tell the story, though. When watching the games, you will see Jaylon has a difficult time adapting to being aggressive and attacking. He will get caught up in linemen, make a wrong read, or will leave a gap that allows the running back too much space. Situations like that do not show up in basic stats.

Jaylon Smith is better off as a conservative linebacker that reacts to the plays. Someone that can be patient, make the read, and then go to make a play. In Mike Nolan’s defense, he is not allowed to go and make those reads.

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