Mike McCarthy needs Cowboys to succeed in his Green Bay return for more reasons than one - Kevin Sherrington, The Dallas Morning News
The Cowboys cannot afford a slip up this week given how poorly the Packers are playing as of late.
Breakups are never easy, but the only saving grace of Mike McCarthy’s departure from Green Bay after a nice, long stay was that the locals didn’t run him out on the street named after him. The exit “left a dent,” as the Cowboys’ coach put it Monday. And Aaron Rodgers drove the bus that made it.
A Bleacher Report story in spring 2019, citing unnamed sources, alleged that Rodgers changed roughly a third of McCarthy’s plays, questioned his coaching IQ and might even have been the source of rumors that the head coach skipped meetings to take massages.
Sunday’s game represents an opportunity for McCarthy to get the last laugh, not that he’s the type to do so. At least not in public. But his team better give him reason to yuk it up, or we can question just how good the Cowboys really are.
Because if they can’t beat the mess the Packers have become in losing five in a row for the first time since 2008, they’re probably not going anywhere.
Consider how bad it’s going up in Titletown: The five-game losing streak includes losses to both New York teams as well as Washington and Detroit. Or “that team,” as Rodgers called the Lions. The latest loss also cost them the services of their best defensive player, linebacker Rashan Gary, with a torn ACL, as well as Romeo Doubs, one of the receivers charged with replacing Davante Adams. They miss Adams. The nine points the Packers put up against Detroit make three times this season they’ve scored 10 points or fewer. The quarterback was a primary culprit against the Lions, throwing three picks, two in the red zone.
If the price is right, why not?
Free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is being heavily linked to the Dallas Cowboys. The rumor mill is swirling and it gives Cowboys fans the sexiest bit of free-agent gossip they’ve had in quite some time.
Sure it’s been a minute (or several) since the Cowboys seriously pursued a big-name free agent. However, the math isn’t too hard to do on this one from both sides.
For Beckham Jr., he’d have the opportunity to once again play under one of the biggest spotlights in sports. This time close to family, with a quarterback firmly in place, and on a team that can position itself to make numerous deep playoff runs for years to come.
Bringing OBJ to Dallas is also the type of signing that feels like vintage Jerry Jones. In classic Jerry fashion, he’s already adding gasoline to the fire, driving speculation that there’s genuine interest. The question is whether or not Jones will open up his pocketbook enough to give his team a chance to win now.
Will the Cowboys make a deeper run in the playoffs than Philly this year?
The Dallas Cowboys will be making a “trap-game’’-level mistake by failing to recognize the many hills that must be climbed - step by step by step - in order to ascend toward their goal of championship contention.
But at least one NFC exec believes one of those hills will crumble on its own.
“I could see (the Eagles) being a one-and-done,’’ an anonymous NFC exec tells Jeremy Fowler in an ESPN survey. “They haven’t had to go 15 rounds with anybody yet. I just wonder if they are battle-tested.
“I think a few late-season losses would actually help them.”
In truth, a “few late-season losses’’ for the undefeated Eagles would also help somebody else - the Cowboys.
The Eagles are the only unbeaten team still standing in the NFL, but some critics point out that they’ve only got two of their eight wins against teams that are currently above .500 - and that one of those victories came against a Cowboys team that used Cooper Rush at QB in place of the then-injured Dak Prescott.
And when the rematch is staged on Christmas Eve, Prescott figures to be a factor for a Dallas team with a ..... against Philly.
Giving Elliott extra rest should pay dividends later on in the year.
All indications with the Cowboys this week have pointed towards Ezekiel Elliott making his return to the field against the Packers. Elliott, of course, sat out against the Bears just before the bye week after suffering a knee sprain the week before.
Owner and general manager Jerry Jones told 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday that he expects Elliott to play on Sunday, while head coach Mike McCarthy said on Wednesday morning the veteran running back would practice, though they would watch his reps.
As for Zeke himself? Not so fast.
“I’m not sure if I’m ready to go,” Elliott said. “I just need to get some more reps to see where I’m at.”
Now, maybe that was a bit of gamesmanship from a guy who has missed two career starts due to injury and is well known for wanting to be on the field and has played through injury before. Despite playing coy when asked if he would play, Elliott did say that there was urgency to play against the Packers even if it is cautious urgency.
As long Dallas continues to play up to par, this should be an easy win.
The first game of the second half of the season starts Sunday for the Cowboys in the primetime afternoon slot against the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers are not a good football team this year. The offense is in a funk, and some starters found themselves banged up in the loss against the Lions.
Romeo Doubs suffered a high-ankle sprain last Sunday, typically a 4-6 week recovery. He was in a walking boot and crutches after the game.
The Cowboys had a well-needed bye week to heal up and get some guys rest after an impressive 6-2 start.
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