Tyron’s status is still unclear; Backups to Rotate, DallasCowboys.com

Coach McCarthy isn’t giving an early indication of Tyron Smith’s status at the start of the week like last week.

“I don’t know. It’s too early. We’ll see what he does in Wednesday work,” McCarthy told The Star on Monday afternoon, chatting playfully with reporters. I have a statement for you. I know you were thrilled to have it early last week. I can’t give it to you this week.

Smith has been struggling with ankle injuries for half the season. He missed three games (Denver, Atlanta, Kansas City) in November, only to return for the next three. But against Washington, he curled up again, forcing him out of that game and he then missed Sunday’s start against the Giants.

But if Smith doesn’t play, it looks like McCarthy could use two players in his place.

Last Sunday, the Cowboys launched Terence Steele at left tackle, but also used a rotation with veteran Ty Nsekhe.

I liked it. It’s something we’ve talked about over the week and I think it’s something that’s been beneficial for both guys,” McCarthy said. “I think Terence had over 40 reps and I think Ty came in at around 28. I liked how it worked out and thought it was a good change for the other side. I think it was good to play against these two guys.

Cowboys drop to second with shocking losses by Bucs, Cards – Jess Haynie, Inside The Star

Playoff seedings are tricky calculations, but the Cowboys are in a good place.

Arizona and Tampa are both 6-4 against the NFC, making it a tiebreaker Dallas should hold for the rest of the season. However, things get complicated if the Cardinals’ current losing streak continues.

While the Buccaneers beat the Cowboys in Week 1, Tampa’s head-to-head tiebreaker is currently overturned by the three-way tie between them and Arizona. In this situation, the conference record takes precedence over any head-to-head victory.

Of course, that could still change in the final three weeks of the regular season. Not only could overall and conference records change, but the Week 17 game between Dallas and Arizona could significantly alter tiebreaker scenarios.

While all of this is currently tentative, it’s still great to see the Cowboys climb the potential playoff rungs and leave that fearsome No. 4 spot. The 5th seed likely being either Arizona or the Los Rams. Angeles, building and drawing a less skilled team is arguably Dallas’ main focus for the remainder of the regular season.

So no, nothing was concluded or written in stone yesterday. But at the very least, the Cowboys are in a better potential position now than they were 24 hours ago.

Why home-court advantage in the playoffs could be so important for the Cowboys in the 2021 season – Dave Halprin, Blogging The Boys

It’s always better for the opposing team to come to you in the playoffs.

Except for this glaring stat that came out ahead of Sunday’s game against the New York Giants.

At home, Dallas has scored a touchdown on 78.3 percent (18 of 23) of red-zone appearances, the second best in the league. On the road, he scored touchdowns on 33.3 percent (8 of 24) trips, tied for second most. The club is looking to straighten out the odd split in Sunday’s road game against the New York Giants.

Only the San Francisco 49ers (82.4%) are more efficient in home games than the Cowboys. Only the Detroit Lions (29.4%) are worse off.

The Cowboys actually improved that stat by 33% in touchdowns scored in the red zone on the road on Sunday, but not by much. Dallas was two of five touchdowns in the red zone. They scored on a run from Ezekiel Elliot after the Dallas defense put them on the 13-yard line after an interception. They also scored on a short pass to Dalton Schultz. Three other times they have settled for home goals, although one of them came as time ran out in the first half.

The Cowboys offense has struggled lately, and that’s definitely part of the problem. The Cowboys don’t want to go into the playoffs with that kind of red-zone problem on the road, playing strong teams that can take advantage of it. Overall, the Cowboys are scoring touchdowns in the red zone at around 54%.

Cowboys take extra precautions against COVID – Rob Phillips, DallasCowboys.com

The Cowboys are taking further steps to stay healthy the rest of the season.

Head coach Mike McCarthy said the team plans to move to virtual Wednesday-Friday meetings this week ahead of Sunday’s home game against Washington.

“We’re just trying to do everything we can to reduce the risk and keep our guys safe,” McCarthy said.

Assistant special teams coordinator Matt Daniels tested positive for COVID on Monday, McCarthy said, and defensive tackles Osa Odighizuwa and Trysten Hill did not play against the Giants due to COVID protocols.

No other players signed up to the Reserves/COVID roster on Monday, McCarthy said.

COVID cases are on the rise in the NFL, with three Week 15 games (Washington-Eagles, Raiders-Browns and Rams-Seahawks) rescheduled for Monday and Tuesday. The league and NFLPA also announced new protocols that include a more targeted testing plan for players and staff.

On the brink of the playoffs, Cowboys are still trying to fix offense – Schuyler Dixon, The Bellingham Herald

The Cowboys offense is still under intense investigation.

Dallas’ defense again led the way in a 21-6 victory at the New York Giants, with the Cowboys becoming the first team since Detroit in 2007 to force at least four turnovers in three consecutive games in the same season.

Now Dak Prescott and the offense are spending another week trying to figure out what went wrong since he suffered a calf injury in an overtime win at New England in Week 6.

“I think it’s good that we’re still playing complementary football,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “Trust me, we know who’s productive and the things we need to do a little better. I say it every week, they are very responsible.

Dallas scored on five possessions against the Giants. The three drives that ended in field goals (68, 58 and 37 yards) were longer than the two that ended in touchdowns (13 and 29).

In the first seven games, the Cowboys never had less than 380 yards on offense. In the past seven years, they have failed five times.

In other words, if Dallas is to advance to the divisional round for the first time since the last of the franchise’s five Super Bowl titles to complete the 1995 season, the offense will have to find its start-of-season form.

How the Dak and DeMarcus bet could fuel a Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl run – Clarence E. Hill Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Putting money on the table can be a great motivator.

Offense, once the focal point of the team’s success, has an ongoing gamble with defense that has fueled the team’s three-game winning streak with four turnovers in each game. Meanwhile, the 10-4 Cowboys offense has scored four touchdowns in the last three games combined, including just two against the lowly 4-10 Giants.

A cash bonus is now in play each week based on touchdowns and turnovers.

“The defense is kicking our [rear] but those are the turnovers against touchdowns that we created this week,” Prescott said. “They obviously won this one, but we will make sure it continues. We’ll keep rolling it for us to find out at the end of the year. Great party, hopefully.

The celebration would be truly great if the end of the season came at Super Bowl 56 in Los Angeles, ending a 21-year drought for the Cowboys who have not played the last game since the 1995 season, the last of their three Super Bowl. titles in the 1990s.

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