Tyron Smith looks like he’ll play on Sunday.
FRISCO, Texas – A team spokesman for the Dallas Cowboys announced Friday that left tackle Tyron Smith received an MRI for his neck on Thursday and that the results were “favorable.”
Smith spent almost all of the 2020 season recovering from neck surgery to address an issue that had lingered over the prior few seasons. Head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed Friday that some sort of neck issue “showed up in practice” Thursday and that, given Smith’s history, it was a “no-brainer” to schedule an MRI.
Mike McCarthy: Final Prep For NE; Injury Updates
“Obviously with his history, we’re just being smart,” McCarthy said.
Smith had limited participation Thursday. The Cowboys will have a short practice Saturday before heading to New England, and Smith is expected to be listed as “questionable” on Friday’s injury report heading into the game.
Injury update leading up to week six.
FRISCO — This time last year, Malik Hooker was just starting his recovery from a torn Achilles’ tendon as a member of the Indianapolis Colts.
A year later, the veteran safety is back healthy and contributing to an impressive start by the Cowboys’ revamped defense.
“This is probably the best, both playing and physically, I’ve felt in a while. It’s like I’m back out there having fun again,” Hooker said Friday. “… For me to finally be back mentally, emotionally and physically at where I’m at now, I couldn’t ask for better.”
The Cowboys signed Hooker early in training camp and he gradually worked back into practice. Active for each of the last four games, Hooker has 12 tackles (one for loss) and a pass breakup in the secondary rotation. His playing time has continually risen, up to roughly 50% of the snaps in last Sunday’s win over the Giants.
Should the Cowboys consider trading for a veteran CB?
FRISCO - Let’s eventually call this “Anatomy of a Rumor.’’ But let’s first get to the straight dope on the idea of the Dallas Cowboys engineering an NFL trade for Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden.
A team source tells me the Cowboys are not presently pursuing such a trade and have not engaged in conversation with the Steelers about Haden.
That doesn’t mean Dallas couldn’t and shouldn’t be buyers ahead of the November 2 NFL trade deadline. At 4-1, and heading to New England this weekend with a chance at taking clear control of the NFC East, loading up for a title run makes plenty of sense.
In that spirit, another team source reminds me to “never say never.’’ But that’s not a confirmation of any present movement, just a general sentiment.
So where did this “rumor’’ come from?
It first came to my attention via Cowboys fans who directed me to a tweet from something called “Notoriety Sports Network,’’ which posted this:
“Reports: The Cowboys have contacted the Steelers about acquiring CB Joe Haden, who is entering the final year of his current contract in Pittsburgh.’’
Under the radar player for week six.
This week the Dallas Cowboys will be facing off against another speedy/deep threat receiver in Nelson Agholor. This type of receiver early in the season has been somewhat of a problem for a certain Cowboys cornerback at times, and knowing the New England Patriots, they are going to do whatever they can to get this one-on-one matchup this week. For that reason, Anthony Brown is our under-the-radar player to watch in week six.
In week one of the 2021 season, Brown was cooked by Antonio Brown for a 47-yard touchdown pass, and overall Brown gave up eight completions for 127 yards on nine targets, that’s an 88.9% completion percentage. Then against the Carolina Panthers and their speedy receiver D.J. Moore, Brown gave up seven completions for 107 yards on 13 targets, that’s a 53.8% completion percentage according to Profootballreference.com advanced defensive stats. If you compare him to the other two cornerbacks the Cowboys have started in Trevon Diggs and Jourdan Lewis, you see a trend.
Amari Cooper forever.
Still, the Cowboys, in general, and Amari Cooper, in particular, have been given a rare opportunity. Normally, you don’t return to the scene of the crime for eight years when you’re talking about NFC teams playing in AFC stadiums. They just don’t compete that often. But Sunday’s game at New England is a product of the league’s new 17-game schedule. Every NFC East team plays on the road against the AFC East club that finished in the same position in 2020.
So while the Washington Football Team has already gone to Buffalo to get whacked, Dallas travels to New England to face a rookie quarterback and a far, far different team from the one that delivered a 13-9 win over the Cowboys just two years ago in Jason Garrett’s final season.
Cooper took his only zero with Dallas that afternoon. No catches, no yards. In fact, Stephon Gilmore caught more of Dak Prescott’s passes intended for Cooper than Cooper did.
“I have not even thought about that,’’ Cooper said this week. “It’s in the past. They don’t really have the same guys who were covering me during that game.’’
Gilmore, in fact, was traded to Carolina two weeks ago although he’s currently on injured reserve, anyway. Cooper’s brain is filled with chess strategies and Rubik’s Cube algorithms, so it’s logical he doesn’t see a real connection between his unpleasant experience from the last trip to Foxboro and Sunday’s game. But while both the Cowboys and Patriots have undergone massive lineup changes since that contest two years ago, there are reasons to watch Cooper and see if his game is undergoing some needed changes of its own.
The Cowboys are 4-1 and flying high in the NFC East with thoughts of playoff success not that far down the road. But they still must become a successful road team to make that happen, and it doesn’t matter if their travel schedule looks fairly comfortable. It’s silly to think losses at New England or Minnesota or especially Kansas City are impossible, and that’s where an improved Cooper comes into play.
Command Performance: Will Mac Jones Lead the Patriots to Victory Over the Cowboys? - Mike D’Abate, Patriots Maven
Can the Cowboys defense contain the Patriots offense?
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones has certainly impressed his share of players, coaches, media and fans through the first five games of the 2021 NFL season. While the Pats first-round draft choice has been far from perfect this season, he has continually exuded a confidence and command at the helm of the Pats offense. He will need an equal, if not greater, effort and positive attitude in order to lead New England to victory this Sunday over the formidable Dallas Cowboys.
The word ‘command’ seems to be synonymous with Jones, as of late. When speaking with reporters on Thursday, Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy praised the Pats young quarterback’s maturity and poise, using ‘command’ multiple times in his description of Jones’ prowess:
“I think he looks very, very comfortable, confident, in-command of the offense,” McCarthy said of Jones. “It doesn’t look like they’re [Patriots coaching staff] holding anything back. (He) can make all the throws, so I think he’s off to an excellent start.”
Despite being 2-3 through his first five games of the season, Jones is indeed off to a great start for his NFL career. In fact, he is quickly becoming one of the most accurate rookie passers in recent memory. The 23-year-old now has 135 completions, tying him with Cincinnati Bengals’ quarterback Joe Burrow for the most by any rookie quarterback in his first five starts in NFL history. He is exhibiting a great deal of accuracy, completing just over 71 percent of his passes on the season; including a 78 percent completion percentage on Sunday against the Texans. Jones was also quite efficient off play-action, where he completed 9-of-11 passes, averaging 11.6 yards per attempt. Perhaps his most impressive stat in Week Five was his 70 percent conversion rate (7-of-10) on third down.
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