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Cowboys news: Dallas set to honor Hall of Fame coach Jimmy Johnson with Ring of Honor induction

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Super Bowl XXVII RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys set to celebrate ‘big picture moment’: HOF coach Jimmy Johnson’s induction to Ring of Honor vs. Lions - Garrett Podell, CBS Sports

Johnson will take his rightful place amongst the Cowboys greats.

Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Larry Allen, Darren Woodson and Charles Haley. What do all those names have in common? They were were the star-studded core of the Dallas Cowboys’ 1990s dynasty teams that won three Super Bowls in a four-season span whose contributions to that run resulted in being inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor.

However, one name has been missing from that Ring of Honor group for a long time: Hall of Fame head coach Jimmy Johnson. At halftime on Saturday night against the NFC North champion Detroit Lions, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones will welcome his 1990s co-architect into the team’s Ring of Honor three years after he was named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020.

The first coach to win a college national title and a Super Bowl, Johnson is the person many point to as more responsible for the Cowboys’ 1990s dynasty than Jones, a distinction that broke the two apart for decades. Johnson oversaw the fastest turnaround in NFL history, as the Cowboys went from being a 1-15 outfit in 1989 to back-to-back Super Bowl champions just three years later in the 1992 season. An extremely innovative coach, Johnson used trades, a whopping 51 total at the time, and an ahead of the curve draft value chart to engineer the quickest turnaround in NFL history. He famously traded Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings for a bounty of picks that helped build the Cowboys’ Super Bowl rosters.

Johnson’s Cowboys repeated as champions in 1993 before shockingly stepping away just months later with there being controversy over whether he resigned or if Jones fired him. Dallas won its third and most recent Super Bowl two years later in 1995 with a roster that was mostly comprised of Johnson’s players, but Barry Switzer was the head coach. The Cowboys haven’t reached as far as the NFC Championship Game since.

“I think those are big picture moments,” Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday when asked about Johnson’s Ring of Honor induction and if he incorporates moments from the team’s history into his weekly team messaging. “The history and tradition of the Dallas Cowboys is impeccable. So yeah, definitely. We have a tremendous video department. Roxanne does an incredible job with our messaging and videos there. There’s always a tribute to the past. I think that’s important. I think that those are the guys that laid the foundation for the success of the Cowboys. I think it’s great when Jerry acknowledges those guys when you see them around here. It’s part of the spirit and blessing of being a Dallas Cowboy.”

Cowboys: Fan-favorite rookie to receive major opportunity to prove doubters wrong - Tyler Browning, AtoZ Sports

Deuce Vaughn will get his first big chance to show his worth.

Since being drafted, Deuce has had a very minimal impact on the field, though. He has only played in 53 snaps, but then again for a sixth-round pick, that is not necessarily that bad.

Deuce resonates with fans for a couple of reasons. One was that phone call with his dad on draft day, the other is his size. Deuce is currently one of the shortest players in the NFL coming in at 5’5 1/4. Being that short, he is quite obviously an underdog, and everyone loves an underdog story.

As we enter the final stretch of the season, the Cowboys came across a predicament as Rico Dowdle has been ruled out ahead of their matchup with the Lions.

Normally they would just elevate Malik Davis from the practice squad to replace who is out, but Davis has already been elevated three times this year. This means he is out of elevations, so they have to turn to another player unless they opened a spot on the 53-man roster for him.

Enter Deuce Vaughn.

“Deuce will be up this weekend,” Mike McCarthy told 105.3 The Fan on Friday. “We got a plan and looking forward to it.”

Tyron Smith’s improving status a good sign for Cowboys and Terence Steele - Reid Hanson, Cowboys Wire

Smith's presence will be critical against the Lions for multiple reasons.

If an offensive line has a weak link somewhere, there are things a team can do about it. Teams can devote extra players to assist that weak link from time to time. They can use RBs and TEs to chip block before they go out in their routes. They can even roll the pocket away from the weak link. Hope is not lost.

If a team has two weak links? Now that’s when it gets tricky.

Such was the case in Week 16 against Miami. With Tyron Smith out, the Cowboys turned to Chuma Edoga in relief. No longer could they devote all their extra resources to RT to help out Terence Steele. They had an even bigger weakness in Edoga.

As a result, the two tackles gave up a combined nine pressures. Dak Prescott played with his head on swivel and often had to flee the pocket before downfield routes had fully matured. It was a tough day made harder because of the two tackles and there weren’t enough extra resources to fix it.

When Week 17 the final injury report was released, Smith’s name came up as a limited participant in practice and carried a questionable status for the Week 17 game. While this is technically just a 50/50 proposition, Mike McCarthy indicated optimism.

2023 NFL Season, Week 17: Four things to watch for in Lions-Cowboys on Saturday night - Christian Gonzales, NFL.com

The Cowboys need to take advantage of being at home where they have lit up the scoreboard this season.

1. Can Dak Prescott and the offense get back on track at home? After going on a five-game winning streak, the Cowboys have dropped their last two games (at Buffalo and at Miami). During Dallas’ win streak, the offense averaged 40.2 points per game and 437.4 total yards. The last two weeks, it’s been a struggling unit. Mike McCarthy’s offense has averaged 15 points per game and 267 total yards. With Dallas hosting a Detroit defense that has allowed 23.7 points per game, it’s an opportunity to turn things around. Despite the recent struggles, Prescott’s push as an MVP candidate could unfold in the final two regular season games. In 2023, the Cowboys QB currently leads the league with 30 pass touchdowns, throwing for 3,892 yards and seven interceptions. No. 1 receiver CeeDee Lamb has reaped the benefits from Prescott’s play. Lamb, who ranks second with 1,424 receiving yards, has been a reliable option along with Brandin Cooks and tight end Jake Ferguson. The Cowboys have a chance to maintain a perfect home record against the visiting Lions on Saturday.

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