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Cowboys Offensive Line Needs to Set the Tone Against the Jets, Regain Confidence

Matthew Lenix



Cowboys Offensive Line Needs to Set the Tone Against the Jets, Regain Confidence

Just three weeks ago the Dallas Cowboys were setting pretty at 3-0 coming off back to back impressive performances by the offensive line. In Week 2 they gave Quarterback Dak Prescott so much time in the pocket that he would complete 18 consecutive passes (14 of 14 in the second half) and toss 3 touchdowns. Also, All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott ran for 111 yards on 23 carries as the Cowboys beat the Washington Redskins 31-21. The following week they completely dominated the Miami Dolphins defensive front as both Elliott and rookie Tony Pollard rushed for over 100 yards in a 31-6 victory. The previous two weeks, however, have been a struggle as the unit has faced stiffer competition.

Rolling into New Orleans to face the Saints you had to think the gameplan would be to establish the run and play ball control with such a high-powered offense on the other sideline. However, the Cowboys offensive line was bullied all night long as Elliott was consistently stopped for minimal yardage. He would finish with only 35 yards on 18 carries. As a result of this, the Cowboys became one dimensional at times and could never get any rhythm going offensively. The Cowboys lost 12-10, spoiling a great performance by the defense.

Last Sunday the Green Bay Packers came to Arlington for a showdown of NFC powerhouses. Although the Elliott ran for 60 yards on 10 carries in the first half, turnovers put the Cowboys behind several scores early. This forced Prescott to throw for the majority of the game and the Packers pass rush took full advantage. Prescott was under pressure regularly and the Packers racked up eight quarterback hits and 3 sacks. Granted the Cowboys were definitely not at full strength with All-Pro Left Tackle Tyron Smith out due to a high ankle sprain. Also, starting Right Tackle La'el Collins suffered an MCL sprain and exited the game early.

Smith is expected to return this Sunday and there's optimism Collins will be on the field as well. Head Coach Jason Garrett elaborated on the status of Collins against the New York Jets earlier this week:

“We’ll see. We’ll take him day by day, ” Garrett said Monday. “He hurt his knee in the game and was not able to finish, obviously. He’s a tough guy, so we’ll give him every chance as we go, and the MRI was fine today. But again, we’ll just see how he does day by day this week.”

If the Cowboys can get both of their starting tackles back it will make going up against a tough Jets defensive front a lot easier. The offensive line hasn't played it's best in the last few weeks so it will be important to establish some dominance, particularly in the running game to set the tone on the road. This will go along way in the Cowboys ending a two-game losing streak and keeping pace for control of the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles, who come to AT&T Stadium next Sunday for a first-place battle. When you win in the trenches you win ball games, that should be the focus for the Cowboys offensive line this week as they look to get some confidence back.


Player News

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

Matthew Lenix



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...

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



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



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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