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Cowboys news: Key pieces appear to be on the way for Dallas heading into Thanksgiving Day showdown

The Cowboys news for your holiday.

Dallas Cowboys v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

LT Tyron Smith cleared to play vs. Raiders; Cowboys optimistic WR CeeDee Lamb will return - Staff, DallasCowboys.com

As the Cowboys are set to play in their annual Thanksgiving Day game, some key players are expected to return.

– Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb is officially listed as questionable to play against the Raiders, but he was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice, an encouraging sign for his availability Thursday as he moves through the final step of the league’s concussion protocol.

Left tackle Tyron Smith (ankle) was a full participant in practice again Wednesday, and his game status for Thursday is not in question, according to the official injury report.

Chauncey Golston’s NFL path had many exits, but this Cowboys rookie was too driven to stop short - Michael Gehlken, Dallas Morning News

The Cowboys' third-round draft pick has been impactful for the defensive line, but there were numerous roadblocks that could’ve derailed his NFL dream along the way.

A couple months ago, Cowboys defenders conducted an exercise in which each player wrote a word or phrase to describe himself. Golston chose “driven.” Drive fueled the rookie defensive end’s journey from East Detroit to the NFL. It continues Thursday on Thanksgiving against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Nothing came easy for Golston.

Still, the third-round pick kept driving.

When money was tight. When his crime-dense neighborhood presented potholes and wrong turns. When a traumatic leg injury suffered in high school led to emergency surgery. When his long body frame was gangly, needing time to build the strength required to compete at the highest levels.

Golston demonstrated a maturity beyond his years. That same maturity has helped him begin his NFL career, as he’s part of a Cowboys rookie class that has helped mitigate injuries to veteran defensive linemen.

“The man that Chauncey became is the man that he’s been all his life,” said Linda Golston, Chauncey’s mother. “He’s been a man. Rather than being a young kid, he was always a thinker. He loved school. Always on the honor roll, scholarship. He just had such a positive attitude.”

“Looking back at it, I’m really proud of my younger self,” Golston said. “I wouldn’t say that I have changed too much from how my younger self was. I’ve kept that mentality.”

Dallas Cowboys will be keen on bouncing back after poor offensive performance against Kansas City Chiefs - Star Staff, Inside The Star

Last Sunday was a game to forget for the Cowboys' offense. Luckily, the quick turnaround means they didn’t have time to linger on the performance.

Why the Cowboys lost could be attributed to a few things. For one, Prescott overthrew a number of passes while his intended targets mostly failed to live up to their side of the deal, dropping catches when the ball did find them.

That set the tone for the rest of the game and it didn’t help that the officials didn’t see things their way. At one point during the third quarter, they could have closed the gap to three points but for the non-DPI call that would have pushed them to the one-yard line. The decision didn’t go their way, controversially.

As noted before, the defense did a stellar job. That was the case throughout the game as they kept Mahomes to 14 completions and an interception while denying him any TDs. Rookie Micah Parsons had himself quite a game, making a pair of sacks and forcing a fumble amid what has been a terrific first season in the pros. But that was hardly enough to win them the game as the offense refused to make use of the opportunities.

Elliott will play through knee pain to boost Cowboys’ rush attack: ‘We’re a better football team when we can run it’ - Todd Brock, Cowboys Wire

It’s no secret Ezekiel Elliott is banged up at the moment, but the Cowboys star running back knows his team needs him. For him, that’s all that matters.

The last time Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott didn’t log double-digit carries in a game was Week 2… of the 2017 season. In fact, prior to Sunday’s nine-attempt outing versus Kansas City, that was the only contest of Elliott’s pro career in which he was active but had fewer than 10 rushes.

On a day when the entire Cowboys offense was stuck in neutral, the Dallas ground attack was abandoned early. Ignoring Tony Pollard’s 31-yard direct-snap scamper (the longest play of the game) as an anomaly, the Cowboys rushing tandem averaged 3.4 yards on their other 15 combined totes.

It might be easy to think back on the scenes of Elliott limping around after being dragged down awkwardly by Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay as the reason for a lightened workload, but Elliott played through the rest of the game. And he says he’ll do so again on Thursday when the Raiders come to town.

“I mean, my knee,” Elliott sighed to reporters at The Star on Tuesday. “It’s all right. I mean, it’s sore. But it’s been sore. I would say it doesn’t feel any different than it did this time last week.”

Gut feeling: staff picks for Cowboys-Raiders - Staff, DallasCowboys.com

Looking for some insight on how the Boys’ Thanksgiving Day clash with the Raiders might go? The staff over at DallasCowboys.com have you covered.

Rob Phillips: Is this a statement game for the Cowboys? I guess you could look at it that way because the Chiefs have accomplished so much the last couple years. But the Cowboys have already established themselves as one of the best teams in 2021. Except for the hiccup against Denver, they’ve been pretty consistent all year, and I think their balance on offense is the deciding factor for me Sunday. Defenses have tried to take away the big play from Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott this season. Dallas has shown the ability to hand it off to Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard and control a game that way. Both teams can score in a hurry, so I agree there probably will be a fair share of points scored — just maybe not quite as many as most seem to think. I’ll take the Cowboys, something like 27-24.

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