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Cowboys news: Special teams could be a key when Dallas plays the Packers after the bye

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Dallas Cowboys v Denver Broncos Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images

Punts could provide big opportunities when Cowboys face vulnerable Packers in Week 10 - CowboysWire, Todd Brock

Don’t look away on fourth downs.

The numbers seem to suggest that Cowboys return specialist KaVontae Turpin is due to house-call a punt return sometime soon.

The schedule suggests it might even happen the next time Dallas takes the field, with an upcoming opponent who is particularly vulnerable to problems on both ends of their punts.

Cowboys players and coaches are enjoying their bye week and using the time to recuperate before beginning Week 10 game prep in earnest. But the Nov. 13 trip to Green Bay has been circled on the calendar since the day schedules were released.

And while much of the focus that day will be on Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy’s return to Lambeau Field, the undrafted rookie Turpin is no doubt hoping he’ll be able to make a leap of his own by finally returning a punt to the end zone.

He did it in the preseason, and he’s come close this regular season. Turpin is averaging 14.7 yards per punt return, placing him third leaguewide. He’s one of just four players with three returns of 20 yards or more, and he has the NFL’s second-longest punt return (52 yards) through eight weeks of play.

The Packers are currently atop the wrong kind of list, allowing record pressure on their punter in 2022.

Two teams have given up an official blocked punt this season; Green Bay is one of them.

The Jets got to Packers punter Pat O’Donnell in Week 6 and turned the double-thud into six points after safety Will Parks alerted his coaches to a pressure opportunity.

The other team to have allowed a punt block this year? The Rams, who have given up two, one apiece to Atlanta and… the Cowboys.

‘Sledgehammer & Sword:’ Why Ezekiel Elliott & Cowboys RB Committee Here To Stay -, Logan McDonald

Why fix what’s not broken?

In the Cowboys 49-29 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday, Pollard ran for 131 yards and three touchdowns, while doing so at an explosive 9.4 yards per carry rate. Meanwhile, Elliott has yet to surpass 100 yards rushing in a game this season.

Now, the running back debate has been re-awakened in Dallas. However, this controversy only exists in the media and among fans, not inside the organization.

“[Pollard] played a total of 30 plays, and I think that’s his max - as far as total play count - because then the juice doesn’t become the same and he’s not as quick, not as fast,” running backs coach Skip Peete said after the Chicago game. “When he got that long run on third-and-1, soon as he got to the sideline he said, ‘Coach, I’m done. Done for the game. I’ve got no more.’”

That’s quite a frank admission. It’s not an insult ... but it is insightful.

Additionally, Elliott and Pollard each serve their own unique roles in Dallas. Elliott tends to be more of a physical, pounding runner, while Pollard (in addition to his undeniable ability to break tackles) provides the big-play skill.

Jimmy Johnson details split with Jerry Jones in book, and some Cowboys fans won’t like it - The Dallas Morning News, Time Cowlishaw

More light is shed on the end of Jimmy Johnson’s Cowboys’ tenure.

At one point, Johnson lays out in print how his contract gave him control over assistants, trainers and everything connected to the football side of the organization. That became the greatest sticking point as the team was accelerating from 1-15 to Super Bowl-ready in an unimaginably short time frame. Jones wore the title of general manager as soon as he bought the team and got rid of Tex Schramm. But he had granted Johnson most of the power that normally comes with it.

Jones has a tendency to gloss over these facts, but those of us who were around remember the way it was. The week before the first San Francisco championship game I was talking to my fellow beat writer Ed Werder in the halls of Valley Ranch when Jones walked by and asked what we were up to. We said we were just discussing if the Cowboys win and go to the Super Bowl whether or not Jones would have his own table for media sessions.

”I don’t know,” Jones said, “what do other general managers do?”

Werder burst out laughing, and Jones had a sly grin on his face. Once Johnson was gone and Barry Switzer had arrived, that all changed, of course. Subsequent coaches have never held the kind of power Johnson wielded in the early ‘90s.

A year later as the team was getting ready to play Buffalo a second time, Johnson wanted to show me the clauses in his contract that gave him the power Jones was arguing belonged to the owner-GM. In fact, we had to go into Norv Turner’s office because he was using Jimmy’s contract as a basis for his negotiations with Washington at the time. As I walked in and Johnson looked through the contract for the pertinent clause, the head-shaking look on Norv’s face said plenty about the dysfunctional relationship that was piloting America’s Team to another Super Bowl.

But Johnson‘s book says little about how badly he wanted out, how he had his Corvette driven to Atlanta for that Super Bowl so he could drive to South Florida and buy property there and set the stage for his life after the Cowboys. In the two months between the Super Bowl and the owners’ meetings where Jerry made the infamous “500 coaches could win with his team” remark in front of Werder and Rick Gosselin, Johnson had done no preparation for a draft he was hoping to escape. He just didn’t know how it would happen.

Cowboys scold Ezekiel Elliott after RB ‘leaks’ Thanksgiving helmet they revealed 4 months ago - Yahoo Sports, Jack Baer

Throwback helmet is causing a stir.

There might be a crossed stream or two in the Dallas Cowboys marketing department, or maybe the team just enjoys a little chaos in its social media feeds.

An odd Wednesday began when Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott posted an apparent throwback helmet onto his Instagram story with no explanation.

Reading between the lines wasn’t hard. The helmet was clearly going to be something the Cowboys were going to wear (likely on Thanksgiving), and because Elliott was the only one posting it at the time, he had probably leaked it, to the dismay of the Cowboys’ marketing team.

That social media blip and ready-made narrative of Elliott leaking something he shouldn’t have was fun enough to get some coverage and chatter, with headlines like “Ezekiel Elliott leaks Cowboys’ helmets for Thanksgiving game” and “Ezekiel Elliott unveils Cowboys’ Turkey day helmets ... blows team’s big surprise!?!

The Cowboys apparently confirmed the leak when they quote tweeted an NFL media partner with a “C’mon bruhhhh...” message directed at their running back

But here’s where things get a little weird. The team had already revealed the helmets. With great fanfare.

Back in July, the team sent out a press released revealing they planned to wear the throwback helmets for Thanksgiving with an attached photo, while posting a video showing off the headwear to their social media feed. A lot of people tweeted about this helmet.

Brandin Cooks to Cowboys - Still? Could Texans WR ‘Protest’ His Way to Being Cut? -, Mike Fisher

Only time will tell.

Cooks remains on the Texans roster ... but as the 7-0 Eagles play at 1-5-1 Houston tonight on “Thursday Night Football,’’ sources tell us Cooks will be inactive.

Maybe because of his wrist.

Maybe because he’s pissed.

OK, mostly because he’s pissed.

Is there precedence for such a thing? About a year ago, Odell Beckham Jr. did it and ended up a Super Bowl hero in Los Angeles. And heck, right there in Houston, Deshaun Watson just did it and ended up with $230 million guaranteed in Cleveland. (Come to think of it, didn’t Matthew Stafford, Russell Wilson, Davante Adams, Stefon Diggs and Matt Ryan all recently nudged their way to new cities?)

There are a handful of reasons why a Cooks deal didn’t happen - yes, it’s “complicated’’ - and both teams share the burden of blame there. But that doesn’t have to be Cooks’ problem.

He is, in effect, sitting out Thursday’s outing in a sort-of protest for one game. Could he do so again next week? And again? All along citing his “sore wrist’’? Or maybe not even bothering to make up a reason beyond the obvious one?

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