Sole control of the NFC East is on the line in Week 7 as the Dallas Cowboys host the Philadelphia Eagles. One of these 3-3 teams will get the win and the division lead, and both are going to have to do it despite some significant injuries on their rosters.
Which team is going into the this game the most shorthanded? Let's see what the final injury reports for this week revealed.
- CB Anthony Brown (hamstring) - OUT
- WR Amari Cooper (ankle/quad) - Questionable
- WR Randall Cobb (back) - Questionable
- OT Tyron Smith (ankle) - Questionable
- OT La'el Collins (knee) - Questionable
- C Joe Looney (back) - Questionable
- G Zack Martin (back/ankle) - Questionable
- DE Dorance Armstrong (neck) - Questionable
- CB Byron Jones (hamstring) - Questionable
Things were looking a lot worse earlier in the week when nearly all of these guys, except Armstrong and Martin, missed Wednesday's practice. But by Friday everyone but Anthony Brown was able to participate in some capacity. Dallas isn't ruling any of them out until they absolutely have to.
The unfortunate debate here is which absence, if it happens, most hurts the Cowboys. Does Amari Cooper mean more to the offense than Tyron Smith? Let's hope we don't have to find out.
Amari has said he plans on playing this week, and that will be huge if Randall Cobb is out again with his back injury. We saw last week how Tavon Austin and Cedrick Wilson were able to do some work in the offense, but they can only do so much without Cooper drawing that franchise WR attention.
On the offensive line, Tyron Smith and La'el Collins were able to practice both Thursday and Friday. That's highly encouraging for their chances to play tomorrow. I think Dallas could be okay if Smith starts and Cam Fleming plays right tackle, but obviously having Collins out there is much more preferable.
One guy I'm not worried about is Zack Martin. He's been gutting it out with nagging injuries for over a year now and didn't miss a day of practice. He will be out there Sunday, and that's vital to the Cowboys' efforts of slowing down Fletcher Cox from the Eagles' defensive line.
With Brown already out at cornerback missing Byron Jones as well would be a major blow. As excited as we are about Jourdan Lewis getting more playing time, Dallas only goes four-deep at the position. Backup C.J. Goodwin is a special teams stud but not a strong CB option. Hopefully Byron can go and keep the top three solvent.
- RB Darren Sproles (quad) - OUT
- WR DeSean Jackson (abdomen) - OUT
- OT Jason Peters (knee) - OUT
- DT Tim Jernigan (foot) - OUT
- LB Nigel Bradham (ankle) - OUT
- CB Avonte Maddox (concussion, neck) - OUT
- CB Ronald Darby (hamstring) - Questionable
The Eagles have confirmed five starters who will be out this week. As much as we've been stressing the Cowboys' injuries, Philly has its own problems and they should have a major impact on the game.
DeSean Jackson's return to the Eagles has been frustrated with injuries. He's only appeared in two of their six games in 2019 and is about to miss this important showdown with Dallas. Philadelphia had hoped Jackson would bring some explosion to their passing game, but they're going to have to keep waiting.
Another major blow on offense is losing left tackle Jason Peters. While the Eagles do have first-round rookie Andre Dillard stepping in to play, his first NFL start comes against the red hot Robert Quinn. The Cowboys veteran DE has five sacks in just four games so far in 2019.
On defense, a starter at every level is going to miss the game. After already losing DT Malik Jackson to injured reserve, now his backup Tim Jernigan will also be out with a foot injury. As long as Dallas can handle Fletcher Cox's presence, this could set up Ezekiel Elliott for a big rushing day.
At linebacker, Philly will be very shorthanded with starter Nigel Bradham going out the same week that they cut starter Zach Brown. The rest of their LB group is inexperienced and has been mostly special teams players. The Cowboys are sure to look for ways to exploit this weakness.
Starting CB Avonte Maddox will miss this game as the other starter, Ronald Darby, returns from a three-game absence. That will put third-year players Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas into focus; they were the Eagles' second and third-round picks in the 2017 draft. It could also means some playing time for former Cowboy Orlando Scandrick, who is currently near the bottom of Philly's CB Depth chart.
Jason Garrett Reminds Everyone That Kellen Moore Calls the Plays
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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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