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Cowboys news: Tyron Smith’s odds of playing this week, and other injuries

Everything you might have missed from Tuesday

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NFL: Preseason-Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones updates injury status of Tyron Smith, DeMarcus Lawrence - Calvin Watkins, Dallas Morning News

Tyron Smith may have missed the game against the Falcons on Sunday, but it seems like there’s a good shot of him suiting up against the Seahawks. Jerry Jones said that the main reason Dallas kept the All Pro left tackle out was to prepare for the Seattle game.

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Tuesday starting left tackle Tyron Smith has a stinger and remains hopeful he can play in Week 3 at Seattle.

Smith missed the Week 2 victory over the Falcons but Jones said the absence was by design. The Cowboys believe Smith’s injury is a short-term issue.

“So, I feel as good as you can feel,” Jones said on KRLD-FM of Smith’s neck. “I don’t know. Nobody knows right now until we get out there and see how he’s operating during the week here at practice. But for the longer term, I feel good about it.”

Hayden Hurst thanks Dak Prescott for public stance on mental health - Jason Owens, Yahoo Sports

Dak Prescott made headlines prior to the start of the year for opening up about his own personal struggles over the past year, and it caught the attention and respect of Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst, who made that known after the game on Sunday.

Decoding Kellen Moore: Dak’s big day salvages Cowboys’ disastrous start - Bob Sturm, The Athletic

The Cowboys offense had a banner day statistically speaking despite missing their two starting offensive tackles. Bob Sturm of The Athletic does his best to break down the analysis of how that happened.

There is no shortage of Cowboys analysis out there, and many of my colleagues have been a bit alarmed about the first-down runs and the somewhat disappointing amount of first-down passes. Well, I don’t think I feel as strongly about that. Clearly, we all want more passing as it is far more efficient and productive in general. With backup offensive linemen, you want to fire off the ball and not just ask them to protect. I think Dallas has been trying to emphasize that with Zeke running hard as usual.

I would say that Joe Looney, Connor Williams and Zack Martin were all pretty strong, and are happy to see Aaron Donald off the schedule. Grady Jarrett was disruptive on some wide runs, but didn’t do anything crazy. Deion Jones is a fine blitzer, but that will happen. You have to stay out of third-and-long to not invite that.

Undrafted second-year man Brandon Knight holds up well for a swing tackle and has now played three games for Dallas, and we have never freaked out about his battle level. Undrafted rookie Terence Steele is giving you what he has, but he is extremely young and raw. He needs time to develop before you put him out there on an island by himself as a rookie. He racked up three penalties and a fair number of pressures, but I think he has probably hit his ceiling for expectations through two games.

How Cowboys pulled off improbable ‘Watermelon Kick’ to aid wild comeback vs. Falcons - Jori Epstein, USA Today

The Cowboys’ thrilling and most improbable comeback against the Falcons on Sunday wouldn’t have happened without the unconventional onside kick recovery. Special teams coordinator John Fassel broke down what he dubbed the “Watermelon Kick.”

“It is really the ‘Watermelon Kick’ where it’s laying on the turf like a watermelon and you spin it like a watermelon would spin,” Cowboys special teams coach John Fassel said Monday evening. “But it spins a lot better than a watermelon.”

Zuerlein toe-tapped the ball left, spinning it just slowly enough for linebacker Justin March and defensive end Dorance Armstrong to finagle themselves underneath it while receiver Cedrick Wilson and cornerback C.J. Goodwin pursued the ball from behind. Goodwin hoped the unusual play would confound opponents enough that they “stand there looking crazy.” A scheme well-drawn to be “kind of playing that mind game” with the opponent, receiver Amari Cooper said.

“Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes, pounce!” Fassel described his mindset from the sideline mere yards away. “And then there it goes. It seems like forever, then it happens so fast.”

Why did the Cowboys go for 2 down 9 points against the Falcons? It’s all about knowing the future - Brian Burke, ESPN

One of the bigger points of controversy during the game on Sunday was Mike McCarthy’s decision to go for two at the time that he did. There has been endless debate on this, but ESPN’s lead analytics writer Brian Burke explains the rationale behind the move.

Think of it this way: If a team is down by 15 with time dwindling, the most plausible path to victory — by far — is to tie the score with one 7-point score and one 8-point score, while holding the opponent scoreless. Convention says to take the 7-point score early, then hope to convert a 2-point play on the second score. Kicking the extra point first keeps the team’s hopes alive and delays virtual elimination from contention for as long as possible.

But wouldn’t it be a shame if a team came back from down 15 points and scored two touchdowns to get within a final two-point conversion — only to fail? What if that team could look into the future and know whether the conversion attempt succeeds, and then play the rest of the game with that knowledge in hand? That’s exactly what the Cowboys did on Sunday.

And yes, they failed. Here’s what coach Mike McCarthy said about the play. Either way, though, McCarthy & Co. made the decision based on knowledge. The Cowboys knew, at the very least, that they needed to score two touchdowns and convert a 2-point conversion to tie. So instead of delaying the decision on the inevitable 2-point attempt, it was better to know what they needed to try to win the game.

Cowboys expected to allow more fans at next home game at AT&T Stadium - Calvin Watkins, Dallas Morning News

The Cowboys were one of the few teams to be able to have fans in their stadium so far this season, and the crowd certainly made its presence known on Sunday. Jerry Jones suggested they could have even more at the next home game.

Cowboys officials had fans sectioned in pods throughout AT&T Stadium to promote social distancing, displayed numerous hand sanitizer stations, didn’t accept cash at concessions areas among other health conscious efforts.

“To the end that teams want to be aggressive and put fans in the stands safely and have fans out there that are not vulnerable to the extent that aren’t as opposed to others, do it that way,” Jones said of increasing the home attendance.

“But have those fans out there. I think the NFL has done a great job of going on time, getting in the thick of it. We’ve actually kind of had to wake up, if you will, to some degree our fans by not having preseason, by kind of having this COVID mentality. And, so, these early part of this season has been a wakeup call, so to speak, but, boy, here it comes.”

5 Bucks: McCarthy Too Risky; Dak Is Real & More - Bucky Brooks,

The Cowboys have been content to play at regular speed on offense until they fall behind and need points. Maybe they should consider a more uptempo speed of play all the time.

Tempo. tempo. tempo.

After watching the Cowboys rally from a significant deficit (26-7) utilizing some hurry up, no-huddle tactics, Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore should consider playing faster with Prescott at the helm. The fifth-year pro not only displays complete control of the offense when the unit is in “go, go, go” mode but the frenetic pace appears to help him find his rhythm as a passer. Part of that is due to the quick-rhythm concepts that are featured on the no-huddle menu. Quick passes, screens, and intermediate routes with an available check-down are the main entrees on the menu, which enables Prescott to quickly string together a series of completions.

As a result, the Cowboys gobble yards and first downs while keeping a weary defense on the field on extended drives. Pass rushers are no longer energetic or effective off the edges, and the coverage begins to collapse with Prescott enjoying more time to attack from the pocket. With defensive coordinators also reluctant to blitz due to potential communication issues, the Cowboys see fewer exotic looks or pressures when playing at a faster pace.

Considering how the quarterback, running back and offensive line benefit from facing a worn-down defense forced to play basic fronts and coverage, the Cowboys should keep their foot on the gas from beginning to end going forward.

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