Happy New Year to all of you! Before we get into the latest on the Dallas Cowboys, we are hoping for the best for all of the readers here, and everyone who has survived that awful year we just put behind us. Now, on to the headlines!
Kellen Moore, Andy Dalton closing out Cowboys' season with résumé builders - Todd Archer, Dallas Cowboys Blog- ESPN
Dallas has seen both Kellen Moore and Andy Dalton excel the past few games. It's great for the team’s hopes to pull off a miracle finish, but may just increase the chances both Kellen Moore and Andy Dalton are headed for better opportunities.
But how the Cowboys have closed the season has been a résumé enhancer for both coordinator and quarterback, especially considering last week's home win against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Cowboys racked up 513 total yards of offense versus Philly, eclipsing 500 yards for the fourth time this season, tying for the most in team history with the 1978, 1966 and 2019 offenses. (By the way, Moore was the Dallas coordinator in 2019, as well.)
Dallas also had three pass plays of more than 50 yards, the most by a team in the NFL this season.
Troy Aikman Calls Cowboys the Best in the NFC East, Praises Dak Prescott - Matthew Lenix, Inside the Star
Wait, wasn't Aikman just saying the team was lost and rudderless? Oh, well, the new opinion is certainly more enjoyable.
Hall of Famer and former Cowboys great Troy Aikman joined 105.3 The Fan on Wednesday. The three-time Super Bowl champion had this to say about the Cowboy’s recent turnaround.
“I will say this. I have said it throughout the year. I do feel that the Cowboys are the best team in the division,” Aikman said. “And some would say, ‘Ok well who cares? What does that necessarily mean?’. Well, what I think it means is that they could go into the postseason, and they are capable. We know what they are on the offensive side of the ball, and the defense is playing better. They’re at least getting the takeaways and doing some of the things that they’ve had a hard time doing the last couple of years. And this team is capable, when they’re playing well, I think they’re capable of giving anybody a run.”
Zeke Focused On Playoff Chase, Not 1,000 Yards - Rob Phillips, DallasCowboys.com
We all know that running backs don't matter. Except, of course, when they really do.
The veteran running back is not listed on Wednesday’s injury report after returning from a calf injury last Sunday to rush for a season-best 105 yards in the Cowboys’ 37-17 win over the Eagles.
“I’m feeling good. I felt good after Sunday,” he said. “I’d probably say Sunday I probably felt the freshest I’ve felt since that first Philly game (Nov. 1).”
With 937 yards through 14 starts, Elliott needs 63 yards in Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Giants to reach 1,000 – a notable milestone for NFL running backs.
“To get 1,000 yards, it would mean a lot. I’m not really worried about it. I want to win this football game and get a shot in the playoffs,” he said. “But I mean, getting 1,000 yards in this league, it’s not easy. It’s definitely not easy. And it is an accomplishment, but it’s not really something I’m focused on.”
Tank Lawrence: Dallas Cowboys 'Playing Awesome Football' - Mike Fisher, Sports Illustrated DeMarcus Lawrence is the best player on the Cowboys' defense and has some remarks on the competition the team has faced in the three-game win streak, and they should carry some weight.
The Cowboys have “righted the ship,” to use COO Stephen Jones’ words, in the sense that they have forged a three-game win streak.
And for one of the rare stretches this year, the defense has done its share, during the stretch having forced 10 takeaways while allowing an average of just 19 points per game.
Is it because they’ve feasted on have-nots Cincinnati, San Francisco and Philadelphia with their combined record of 14-29-2 - have-nots who are floundering without their planned top QBs?
“We don't have Dak, so I don't understand that comment," he said of that line of thinking. “It doesn't matter who we're playing against. Everybody is an NFL-caliber player, and I feel like everybody is good enough if they're in the NFL."
Will the Dallas Cowboys have to say farewell to Sean Lee? Angel Torres, Fansided
No one will be surprised if the veteran linebacker hangs up his cleats this year. It doesn't mean it will be easy to see.
If this is indeed the last time we see Sean Lee in a football uniform, I wish this great warrior the best in the future and I hope that the team can somehow introduce this great person into a coaching role as I truly believe his impact on these Dallas Cowboys is not yet complete.
Thank you Sean Lee for all of the great memories.
Mike McCarthy seems to be a master at getting his teams to play well in December.
“It’s a mind-set,” McCarthy said. “It’s something that’s talked about as far as how we train, scheduling. I think scheduling, how you train your football team is obviously very important, probably more important than maybe some others think. We spend a lot of time in that. I believe in trend lines and the opportunity to try to hit certain targets.”
In 13 seasons, McCarthy’s Green Bay teams had just two sub-.500 records in December/January.
Having a healthy team, finding an offensive and defensive rhythm and forcing turnovers are the keys late in the season.
At one point the Cowboys lost four consecutive games and appeared done. They have overcome injuries to key players such as quarterback Dak Prescott, tackles Tyron Smith and La’el Collins, right guard Zack Martin and numerous defensive players.
“I think it’s funny because I take pride in like two or three weeks ago, maybe a month ago, I was sitting up here saying, we still have a shot,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said. “It was after the Philly game, I’m saying, ‘We’re still in it.’ You guys [the media] are like, ‘Yeah, right.’ I can just hear it in your tone of voice. I’ve said it a couple of times since then. Everyone’s like, ‘Yeah, right.’ And now we’re here Week 17 and we’re right there in the mix.”
Why the Giants will win the NFC East: Cowboys crumbling would be a fitting cap to atrocious division - Cody Benjamin, CBSSports.com
The view from enemy territory is a bit more negative. And in past years, this was likely a good point to raise, as we saw Dallas drop must-win last games repeatedly. Will things be different in the new year, or just more of the same?
But the Cowboys' 3-0 stretch came against three bottom-half pass defenses in San Francisco, Cincinnati and Philadelphia. Letting Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper feast on no-name Eagles backups is one thing; asking them to overcome untimely turnovers by dominating James Bradberry, Logan Ryan and Patrick Graham's "D," which ranks 10th in the NFL in points allowed per game, on the road in a must-win game is another. (Don't forget Cooper's occasional away-game disappearing act, either.)
On the offensive side of the ball, Daniel Jones will now be weeks removed from the injuries that have obviously hindered his range as of late. The Giants' unit isn't exactly inspiring, but it's also the same one that dropped 34 points on the Cowboys earlier in the year, when ex-Dallas coach Jason Garrett happily schemed things up against his old squad. This game, again, isn't so much about the G-Men as it is the almost cosmic inevitability of a Cowboys collapse. Try convincing us that Garrett getting the best of Mike McCarthy and the Cowboys in a do-or-die Week 17 wouldn't be a fitting cap to 2020.
Some interesting remarks about making some of the 2020 pandemic changes permanent.
NFL Players Association president JC Tretter is calling for the elimination of offseason practices, including minicamp and organized team activities, citing the NFL’s relative quality of play during the 2020 pandemic-influenced season.
“I believe the changes implemented this season have demonstrated that we can put an entertaining product out on the field while further reducing wear and tear on our players’ bodies,” the Cleveland Browns center wrote in a newsletter released Thursday. “There is no reason for us to ever return to the previous offseason program.”
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