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Game Notes

Cowboys Wishlist: Can Ezekiel Elliott Hit 100 Rushing Yards Again?

Mauricio Rodriguez



Dallas Cowboys: 3 Keys to Victory Against the Saints 1

The Dallas Cowboys are about to play under the lights of Sunday Night Football versus the New Orleans Saints. They'll do so in Mercedez-Benz Superdome against a Saints' team that will not count with their starting quarterback, Drew Brees. Even still, the Saints are coming off a win versus the Seattle Seahawks and they're expected to be the first real threat for the Cowboys in 2019. Despite facing a backup quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, don't expect this to be an easy game.

Without further ado, let's get to this week's edition of "Cowboys Wishlist." Make sure to let me know what your wishes are in the comments section below or tweet me @MauNFL! This season, if you tweet me your wishes beforehand, they'll be featured here.

Wish #1: Ezekiel Elliott Crosses 100-Yard Mark

You might read wish #1 and say "Well, that's easy. Zeke always has 100-yard games." The thing is, the Saints have not allowed any running back to run that much since 2017. Their defense has played 29 straight games without allowing such a performance.

Elliott is off to the best start of his career and already has two 100-yard games through three weeks of the season. Drew Brees might be out for tonight's battle, but the Saints' defense is still pretty good. It'll be fun to see how this battle turns out.

Film Room: Cowboys Young LBs Face Another Test In RB Alvin Kamara

Wish #2: Limit Alvin Kamara Once Again

Kamara is one of the best offensive players in the NFL. His ability to impact both the running and passing game make him a serious threat in any game against any opponent. This is one of the most intriguing match-ups on this game. When the Cowboys shocked the Saints last season, they did so by masterfully limiting Kamara's impact on offense. They managed to hold him to 36 rushing yards and 36 receiving yards.

But you know how football works. It's all a huge chess match. I can't wait to see how Sean Payton & Co. try to free Kamara against the Cowboys. And of course, how Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard plan to pull it off for the second consecutive year. Coming off a 161-yard, two-touchdown performance versus Seattle, Kamara is the biggest threat for the Cowboys' defense by far.

Wish #3: Byron Jones Beats Michael Thomas

Another quality offensive weapon for the Saints is Michael Thomas. He's been one of the best wide receivers in the NFL since he arrived. He just became the third player in league history to have over 300 catches and 4,000 yards after his first 50 games of his career.

Last season, CB Byron Jones beat Thomas in one hell of a battle. Thomas finished the night with only five catches and 40 yards (he led the Saints in receiving yards that game). It was one of those games when Jones truly proved his skills as a shutdown corner.

Things might not be very favorable this time around, but I had to include my wish of Jones proving once again why he deserves to get paid by the Cowboys.

Kellen Moore: Has the Student Become the Master?

Wish #4: Kellen Moore Keeps Foot on Gas

I've wondered for the first three weeks of the season whether or not Kellen Moore will be equally aggressive against tougher opponents. So far, they've let Dak Prescott sling the football all over the field and he's been successful. Will they go back to being a ground-and-pound offense now that they're facing a tougher defense?

I sincerely hope not. I don't believe that will be the case. Moore has proven his creativity and genius play-calling has the chance to be something special. They should stick to what's made them so good through the first three regular season games. If the trend continues, Moore will only surprise us even more.

Wish #5: Devin Smith Steps Up in Gallup's Absence

Devin Smith might be a real deal. His career was off to a slow start given plenty of injuries that kept him out of the gridiron. However, there's a reason why he was a second-round draft pick for the New York Jets and why he earned a spot on the Cowboys' 53-man roster at a position in which the team was loaded.

So far, we've seen flashes from Smith but with this being the first "real" game of the year, it'll be fun to see how Smith does taking Gallup's place for this stretch, specially against the tougher opponents such as New Orleans. Dak Prescott has praised Smith at practice. I wish CB Eli Apple lines up across of him to have fun watching Moore's offense for the fourth straight week.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Wishlist: Can Ezekiel Elliott Hit 100 Rushing Yards Again?" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!

I love to write, I love football and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I've been rooting for America's team all the way from Mexico ever since I can remember. If you want to talk football, I'm in... You'll find me at @MauNFL.


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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Game Notes

Randall Cobb has Breakout Game in Tough Loss vs Vikings

Matthew Lenix



Randall Cobb has Breakout Game in Tough Loss vs Vikings

When NFL free agency began this past March the Dallas Cowboys spent the month making several additions to their roster. Veterans George Iloka (only one not currently on the roster), Kerry Hyder, Christian Covington, and Robert Quinn were added to help on the defensive side of the ball.

Offensively, there was a huge hole to fill when Wide Receiver Cole Beasley signed a four-year 29 million dollar deal to play for the Buffalo Bills. The Cowboys would then sign Randall Cobb about a week later to a one-year deal. The seasoned pro was brought in as an upgrade over Beasley in the slot to compliment Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup. Also, with his unique ability to play on the outside as well, it would allow Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore to present different looks for opposing defenses.

In his first seven games of the season, Cobb struggled to find his place within this offense. He produced 25 receptions for 274 yards, with his lone touchdown coming in the season opener vs the New York Giants. He had four or fewer receptions five times and his most productive game only produced 69 yards. However, last night against the Minnesota Vikings was a glimpse of how productive Cobb can be in this system.

Cobb finished with six receptions for 106 yards Sunday night. This was his first 100-yard game since Week 1 in 2018. Four of his catches went for 20 yards or more, five went for first downs and he scored his second touchdown of the season. Dak Prescott showed supreme confidence in looking for Cobb on crucial third-down situations.

That's exactly what Cobb can do for this offense. He provides another reliable threat in the Cowboys aerial assault. When Cobb plays at a high level it will only free up Cooper and Gallup to wreak havoc on the outside.

Last night's game was a perfect example of this. Cooper had 11 receptions for 147 yards and Gallup added four catches for 76 yards, each scoring touchdowns. It doesn't allow a defense to lock in on one receiver and take them completely out of the game.

Cobb playing well also has an impact on the running game. The better he plays the more defenses will have to focus on stopping himself, Cooper, and Gallup. What does that do? The Cowboys won't face as many eight or nine-man fronts which will give All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott the opportunity to wear down opposing defenses by playing ball control, which is the Cowboys bread and butter.

Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come from Cobb as the playoff push heats up. If he can continue to build chemistry with Prescott it will only improve one of the NFL's best passing offenses while simultaneously increasing Elliott's ability to be effective by taking extra defenders away from the box. Will Cobb make this a regular occurrence for the rest of the season? Only time will tell.

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