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Cowboys Defense has Been Inconsistent, Must Change vs Eagles

Matthew Lenix

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Cowboys Defense has Been Inconsistent, Must Change vs Eagles

During the first month of the 2019 season, the Dallas Cowboys defense was feeling pretty good about themselves. They were only allowing 14 points a game and held three of their four opponents under 20 points. Their most impressive stretch was during weeks 3-4 when they only gave up six field goals and no touchdowns in those two games. However, the last two weeks have been a little different as their play has left little to be desired.

When the Green Bay Packers came to town two weeks ago the Cowboys defensive unit had the difficult challenge of stopping Aaron Rodgers. What they weren't expecting was that another player with the same first name would make their Sunday a stressful one, and that was Aaron Jones. By halftime, he already had two touchdowns as the Packers held a commanding 17-0 lead, which quickly went to 24-0 with just over nine minutes left in the third.

Jones would have a career high 182 all-purpose yards (107 rushing, 75 receiving) and rush for four touchdowns on 26 total touches. With Jones consistently picking up chunks of yardage and moving the chains it never allowed the Cowboys defense to establish any rhythm. The Cowboys rush defense has been elite since 2016, finishing no lower than 8th in that category so these types of performances don't occur often.

Rodgers didn't throw a single touchdown but he didn't have to with Jones being so productive running the football. It allowed the Packers to possess the ball for over 37 minutes and hold off the Cowboys comeback attempt with a 34-24 victory.

Last Sunday against the New York Jets the Cowboys got back to doing what they do best on defense which is stop the run. They would hold Le'Veon Bell and company to only 56 yards on 20 carries.


Quarterback Sam Darnold made his return after being out since Week 1 with Mononucleosis. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, Darnold looked like he never missed any time at all. He had a career day with 338 yards and two touchdowns while connecting with seven different receivers.

The Cowboys stormed back in the second half but a failed two-point conversion in the final minute ended the game and gave them their third consecutive loss.

In back to back weeks, the Cowboys defense has allowed a player to have a career-best performance against them. Granted, this unit has been a little banged up with a few guys dealing with injuries but that's life in the NFL, every team deals with that. With the talent the Cowboys have on defense there shouldn't be issues with consistency. Yes, they play hard, in fact, there might not be a defense that swarms to the ball better than them. While maximum effort is key there has to be focus and discipline and this unit isn't showing that right now. The Cowboys need to figure things out on defense quickly with the Philadelphia Eagles coming to town this Sunday who feature a talented offense led by Carson Wentz.

If they can keep Wentz and the Eagles offense on the sidelines that will allow the Cowboys offense to play ball control with Ezekiel Elliott and set up the play-action passing game, which is their bread and butter.

First place in the NFC East is on the line and the Cowboys will need their defense to set a tone. Having a third consecutive underwhelming performance will find the Cowboys starting down the barrel of four straight losses heading into the bye week with the division rival New York Giants waiting when they return to action. We'll see if this unit can turn it around in a game that should be approached as a must-win.


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Report: Cowboys G Connor Williams to Undergo Arthroscopic Knee Surgery, Expected to Miss a Few Weeks

Matthew Lenix

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Report: Cowboys G Connor Williams to Undergo Arthroscopic Knee Surgery, Expected to Miss a Few Weeks

The Dallas Cowboys received a bit of bad news today. According to ESPN's Todd Archer, Guard Connor Williams will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday.


Todd Archer on Twitter

Connor Williams will have surgery on his knee Tuesday but the hope is he will be able to return after a few weeks. Xavier Su'a-Filo will likely move into the left guard role, which is how the Cowboys handled Williams' absence last year because of a knee... https://t.co/M55eVtYCIJ

Williams suffered the injury in Sunday's 28-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. This is a minor procedure but will keep Williams sidelined for a few weeks. Backup Guard Xavier Su'a-Filo is expected to fill in during his absence, just like he did in 2018 when Williams missed time with a knee issue. More to come.


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Game Notes

Jason Garrett Reminds Everyone That Kellen Moore Calls the Plays

Jess Haynie

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Jason Garrett, Kellen Moore

There's a lot of blame game being played around the Dallas Cowboys right now after a demoralizing home loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Even the head coach seems to be getting in on the act as Jason Garrett went out of character and got unusually specific in explaining Kellen Moore's responsibility for play-calling.

Garrett is not known for calling people out. In fact, many fans have criticized him for not being more critical of his players. He tends to speak in vague, nebulous terms when it comes to discussing the Cowboys' weaknesses or failings after a loss.

But in a radio appearance this morning, Garrett didn't mince words on who was deciding the plays during the Cowboys' final drive.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Jason Garrett on @1053thefan on the two run plays late: "Kellen's calling the game. In that situation it's 2nd and 2. He felt like he had a good opportunity against a favorable box to run the ball in those situations. On each of those plays we had options beyond just the run.

Jason did try to excuse his offensive coordinator's decisions with some context, but he also made sure to clarify who was responsible for those calls. It was not very Garrett-like, and it may speak to his own growing frustration and concern over his future.


Garrett is on the final year of his contract and the Cowboys' front office has made it clear that any extension depends on the results of the 2019 season. With Dallas now dropping to 5-4 and only leading the division by a head-to-head tiebreaker over the Philadelphia Eagles, the future is increasingly unclear.

Jason Garrett famously uses "we" and "us" terms when talking about the negatives, not wanting to assign blame to any particular player or person when things aren't going well. That he strayed from this well-established behavior today may be an anomaly, but it shouldn't be ignored.

With a tough second-half stretch coming in this 2019 schedule, Garrett may be starting to feel like a dead man walking. We'll see in the coming weeks if this leads to anymore shifts in his usual demeanor with the media.


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Game Notes

Dallas Cowboys Good, Bad, and Ugly from Week 10 Against Vikings

Brian Martin

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Dallas Cowboys Good, Bad, and Ugly from Week 10 Against Vikings

Well Cowboys Nation, the Dallas Cowboys let yet another winnable game slip to their grasp Sunday night after the devastating 28-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. By my count, that's three out of four games the Cowboys probably should have won this season. But, probably… maybe… and should have don't mean diddly squat in the NFL.

I'm not going to beat around the bush today because I would likely end up going into a long winded rant about what took place last night. So, let's go ahead and jump right into this week's edition of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. As always, please feel free to use the comment section to voice your opinions and thoughts on the subject.

The Good

Dak Prescott

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

Unlike in weeks past, I had absolutely no problem deciding what to go with this week for this category from the Dallas Cowboys Week 10 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings. I don't think anyone would argue that the good had to be Quarterback Dak Prescott's play and the Cowboys overall passing game. This unit was the sole reason they had a chance to win at the end.

Prescott was simply phenomenal Sunday night. He threw for 397 yards, three touchdowns, and only one interception. He was on point last night and was dropping dimes all over the place. It's one of the reasons why both Amari Cooper (147 yards, 1 TD) and Randall Cobb (106, 1 TD) both went over the 100 yard mark in receiving, and Michael Gallup wasn't too far behind (76 yards, 1 TD). All in all it's an MVP caliber performance from No. 4, but unfortunately it wasn't enough to seal the victory.


The Bad

Brett Maher

Dallas Cowboys K Brett Maher

I thought and thought about what I wanted to go with in this category and I'll have to admit, I had a hard time deciding. There were individual players who deserved a nomination here, but in the end I think the bad for the Dallas Cowboys was them getting off to yet another slow start against the Minnesota Vikings. Unfortunately, it's been a trend for them this season.

It all started when Jason Garrett decided to send out Kicker Brett Maher to attempt an ill-advised 57 yard field goal. Maher is capable of making such kicks, but there's a time and place to use that kind of weapon. Last night on the opening drive of the game was not one of those times. After the missed FG, the Vikings had excellent field position and scored a quick TD. Not long after they scored another TD to go up 14-0 after another stalled drive by the Cowboys offense. It's a hole they were never quite able to dig themselves out of.

The Ugly

Dalvin Cook

Minnesota Vikings RB Dalvin Cook

Deciding what to go with here in this category was pretty easy after narrowing down what I wanted to put in the bad category. I think the ugly for the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night against the Minnesota Vikings was their defensive play. In all honesty, it was absolutely sickening to watch the Vikings have their way with the Cowboys defense. Dallas has far too much talent on that side of the ball to be manhandled like they were.

The tackling was atrocious and so was the execution. I'm pretty sure the game plan was to neutralize Dalvin Cook the way they did Saquon Barkley in Week 9, but the league's leading rusher (Cook) would have none of that. He pretty much did what he wanted. He ran through arm tackles and had room to run, whether it was as a rusher or receiver. It looked a lot like what Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones did to the Cowboys in Week 5. It was completely inexcusable and unacceptable!

What is your good, bad, and ugly from the Dallas Cowboys Week 10 matchup?


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