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Cowboys news: Neville Gallimore and Randy Gregory returning for a late-season push

The Cowboys get defensive reinforcements before three straight games against NFC East opponents, a deep dive into the Ezekiel Elliott situation, reviewing the New Orleans Saints game, and more.

Denver Broncos v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The Returns of Randy Gregory, Neville Gallimore are Coming Right on Time for Dallas - Matthew Lenix, Inside The Star

The Cowboys keep getting healthier.

Gregory was having his best season in the NFL before he suffered a calf injury and landed on injured reserve just days before the Cowboys’ Week 10 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons. He’s amassed five sacks (led the team before his injury), two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and 12 quarterback hits in the seven games he’s played in.

With the aforementioned Lawrence back in the starting lineup, adding Gregory back in the mix gives the Cowboys two bonafide studs that can not only rush the passer but can defend the run. Gregory’s bend on the edge is the best on the Cowboys defense and the more havoc he causes getting pressure the more one-on-one opportunities Lawrence will get and vice versa. Also, Lawrence and Gregory creating double teams for opposing offensive lines will free up rookie Linebacker Micah Parsons who has 10 sacks in the first 12 games (7.5 in his last five games).

Gallimore suffered an elbow injury during the preseason and hasn’t played yet in 2021. He returned about a week ago and began his 21-day practice window, and with Brent Urban out for the season after having triceps surgery, Gallimore being a force on the interior with rookie Osa Odighizuwa and Trysten Hill will be vital for the Cowboys as they push for the playoffs.

Jerry Jones and the Cowboys’ Confusing Message to Ezekiel Elliott Is Setting Him up for Further Injury Down the Road- David Esser, Sportscasting

Elliott is clearly playing hobbled and it is only getting worse.

Elliott is averaging a career-worst 63.8 rushing yards per game this season. He’s battling a seemingly never-ending list of injuries and ailments, and it’s drastically worsening his play. Elliott hasn’t recorded a 100-yard rushing game since Week 5, and the Cowboys are increasingly shifting responsibilities toward backup RB Tony Pollard.

Playing running back in the NFL is a brutal business. Players are subject to constant, vicious hits, and the shelf life for RBs tends only to be a few years. Glance around the NFL right now, and you’ll see a long list of starting RBs on injured reserve, Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, Chris Carson, and Dalvin Cook, to name a few.

Elliott hasn’t been subjected to an IR trip quite yet. However, it’s clear the former first-round pick isn’t himself at the moment. Serious questions emerged regarding his health this past weekend, as reports circulated about the Cowboys pondering the idea of holding Eliott out for their game against the New Orleans Saints.

Report Card, Snap Counts from Cowboys’ Week 13 win over Saints- Zeke Barrera, Cowboys Wire

The offensive reinforcements did not disappoint in the Cowboys' Thursday night win.

Wide Receivers: B+

Michael Gallup – 64 snaps (91%)

CeeDee Lamb – 62 snaps (89%)

Amari Cooper – 24 snaps (34%)

Malik Turner – 18 snaps (26%)

Noah Brown – 12 snaps (17%)

Simi Fehoko – 3 snaps (4%)

With his full compliment of receivers, Prescott was able to distribute the ball and allow each player to shine. On the Cowboys’ first scoring drive, both Cooper and Lamb recorded big completions, en route to a Gallup toe-tap in the back of end zone.

It was Lamb who led the team in receiving yards with 89 on seven catches. His work after the catch was some of his best all season, showing off the elusiveness that warrants putting the ball in his hands. He showed it with this catch, which went in the books as a run, for an additional 33 yards.

Cowboys Week 13 vs. Saints: The good, bad, and ugly- Tyrone Starr, The Landry Hat

This entire game was ugly but a win is very good.

Cowboys vs Saints: The good

While the offense continues to struggle (we’ll get to that soon), the defense finds ways to keep this team in games. On this night, the defense arguably straight-up won it for the Cowboys. With defensive end Demarcus Lawrence coming back from injury, the pass rush looked lively.

Lawrence was credited with six pressures Thursday night, while the team hit Saints quarterback Taysom Hill six times, sacking him twice. The steady stream of stress successfully caused havoc with the Saints’ passing game as Hill had 22 incompletions, including four interceptions.

One of those interceptions was registered by defensive tackle Carlos Watkins who returned it 29 yards for the score. Trevon Diggs added another which also added to his league-leading total of nine and if you remove the garbage-time 70-yard score, the Saints’ passing game would have been held to under 200 yards.

Jimmy Johnson’s Biggest Coaching Regret Was a 1-Year Issue for Him but a Long-Term Disaster for the Dallas Cowboys- John Moriello, Sportscasting

Michael Strahan, who tormented Cowboys QBs for years, almost wore the star.

Jimmy Johnson’s biggest regret in coaching was his miscalculation on Michael Strahan

Speaking last week on Fox’s NFL show during a discussion of the New York Giants retiring Michael Strahan’s number, Jimmy Johnson admitted that the 1993 NFL Draft didn’t go the way he hoped, resulting in the Dallas Cowboys missing out on a future Hall of Fame defensive end.

“The biggest regret I have in my entire career involved you,” Johnson told Strahan. “Here we’re getting ready for the draft. I flew Michael up to Dallas. I sat down with him. I told him I was going to draft him. And because he came from a little school, I was always looking for a bargain, Texas Southern. So, I was thinking I could get him late in the second round.”

The Cowboys held the overall 46th and 54th picks that day, and Johnson went so far as to send a scout to Strahan’s home on draft day. However, the Giants picked 40th and snared Strahan. He would go on to play 15 seasons and record 141.5 sacks.

Is Dak Prescott Letting Down the Offense?- Kevin Rice, Inside The Star

Let’s hear the argument.

Dak looks slower in reading the field. He made a few pre-determined reads on Thursday against the Saints. He is very reluctant to use his legs to make a play. It looks like he is missing simple passes; we are used to seeing him complete with his eyes closed. Combine this with a highly inconsistent run game, and the Cowboys are getting abysmal results.

The Cowboys are 21 for 68 (30.8%) on third down since and 3/8 (37.5%) on fourth down since week nine. The third-down numbers indicate the Cowboys are not sustaining drives.

Since week nine, Prescott, per rbsdm.com, ranks 19th in EPA+CPOE compared to ranking 7th in that category when the offense was rolling in weeks 1-6. Dak has been ranked 24th in success rate percentage at 42.4% since week 9. He was ranked second with a success rate of 55.7% from weeks one to six.

When your quarterback isn’t playing well, it’s hard for an offense to play well consistently. Combined with Tyron Smith being out for much of November, Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb missing time, and a hobbled and ineffective Zeke, it’s not a surprise that the Cowboys’ offense has been struggling.

The Cowboys look to get healthy during this mini-bye week with ten days off and right the ship with some NFC East contests looming in their future.

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