Daily Archives: November 25th, 2013

THE FOCUS FACTOR: The 6-5 Dallas Cowboys still have a lot of work to do

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – With a 4-0 record in the NFC East, the Dallas Cowboys appear to be in control of the division, but Jerry Jones is not ready to order up any banners just yet.

“I know the caliber of the teams,” Jones said. “I see how close these games are. You see what you did within the framework of a ballgame and you know how close it is. But we’ve given ourselves a chance. We’ve got a short week, but Oakland does, too. We want to come back and make the most of this win.”

At 6-5, the Dallas Cowboys are atop the NFC East again and could take sole possession of first place with a win against the Raiders. Their 17-3 win against the Philadelphia Eagles gives them a tiebreaking edge heading into Thursday’s game.

Jason Witten has been around the Cowboys long enough to know one win — even one as satisfying as the 24-21 win against the New York Giants — does not a season make. He knows it will mean little if the Dallas Cowboys cannot follow it up with a win on Thursday against the Raiders.
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“We needed to get this win on the road against a division opponent like this, but we’re 6-5, you know?” Witten said. “We’ve got a lot of football to play and we’re still right in the hunt. We’re one game above .500. We’ve got a lot more wins to get.”

NFL RIVAL NEWSPAPER HEADLINES: 2013 2014 Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants postgame press | Jason Hatcher eats Giants video

Here’s what the covers of the New York Post and New York Daily News looked liked on Monday morning.
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Must see video: Hatcher ate Giants
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Jason Hatcher with blood on his face: “I Just Ate A Giant”

Jason Hatcher speaks with the press immediately after his Dallas Cowboys win (holiday feast) over the New York Giants. (Watch Video)

2013 DALLAS COWBOYS ROSTER: Offseason standout Sterling Moore returns to team

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IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have brought back a player that seemingly had a good training camp but has been on the street for the entire season.

Cornerback Sterling Moore rejoins the Dallas Cowboys this week and will likely play against the Raiders Thursday. Once again, Morris Claiborne has a hamstring injury and is expected to miss the Thanksgiving Day game.

To make room for Moore, the Cowboys have released tight end Andre Smith, who has been inactive eight of 11 games this year.

Claiborne had missed two straight games with a hamstring injury he sustained against the Lions on Oct. 27. He returned against the Giants and technically started the game as the Cowboys opened up in nickel. He played the first half but the injury occurred in the third quarter and he did not return.

The Dallas Cowboys continued with Orlando Scandrick shadowing Victor Cruz all over the field, and B.W. Webb played on the outside, opposite of Brandon Carr.

Moore, who joined the Dallas Cowboys last season off the New England Patriots practice squad, was cut just before the start of the regular season when the team trimmed the roster down to 53 players.

Since Moore was not practice-squad eligible, the Cowboys kept Micah Pellerin on the squad and eventually called him up to the roster two weeks ago. Pellerin was waived Thursday to make room for linebacker Orie Lemon.

Moore was among the Cowboys’ final cuts on Aug. 31 when they made the somewhat surprising decision to go with only four cornerbacks on the 53-man roster. Moore is not a stranger to having to play on a quick turnaround for the Cowboys. Last year he officially had one day of practice before playing against the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 2 after he was signed off the New England Patriots’ practice squad.

He finished with six tackles and two pass breakups in six games.

Tight end Andre Smith could return to the practice squad if he clears waivers.

The Dallas Cowboys had hoped cornerback Micah Pellerin would clear waivers last week, but he was claimed by the Tennessee Titans. If Pellerin had returned to the practice squad, the Cowboys would have called him up to the active roster for the second time this season.

Without Claiborne, the Cowboys could use rookie B.W. Webb outside and keep Orlando Scandrick in the slot when they play their nickel defense.

PRYING EYES IN THE SKY: Communication tweaked in the Dallas Cowboys offense by Wade Wilson elevation

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — For all the discussions regarding Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett’s move to relay the offensive plays to quarterback Tony Romo for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants, it was all about improving communication and reiterating the value of quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson.

This season when Bill Callahan took over the play-calling duties, Wilson moved into the role of relaying the signals to Romo. But when Garrett decided to take over for the Giants game, Wilson moved to the press box and tight ends coach Wes Phillips moved to the sidelines.

Cowboys officials contend Wilson helped in the play calling by seeing the defense from the press box, in comparison from the sidelines because he can recognize defenses better.

“I thought it was an opportunity to get Wade upstairs to see the game that way,” Garrett said. “Wade has great eyes. He sees the game as well as anybody I know. Just getting him up there I thought was good for us. We brought Wes Phillips down and Wes does a great job just interacting with the players and I just thought the whole thing worked out well.”

The Cowboys’ offense wasn’t great, the windy conditions had something to do with it, but Romo threw for 250 yards and finished a solid game-winning fourth-quarter drive to help the Cowboys defeat the Giants, 24-21.

The rushing attack had a solid effort, gaining 107 total yards including 86 from starter DeMarco Murray. While the third-down issues continued, going 4-for-12 overall, the Cowboys needed to do something with the offense.

Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said the change wasn’t about Garrett or Callahan but more about Wilson helping the offense.

“That’s the wrong interpretation of the decision,” Jones said when asked whether it was about Garrett. “The decision was to give Wade, who is standing on the sidelines an aerial view of the field. It was all about that and it’s a skill that we’ve long [for], since [we] haven’t taken advantage of Wade Wilson. Wade Wilson is outstanding and can do a better job for us.”
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Jason Garrett: Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants postgame press conference

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media after the win over the 2013-2014 New York Giants. (Watch Video | Play Audio)

CASTING A GIANT SHADOW: Orlando Scandrick matched up stride for stride with Victor Cruz

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – He heard all the talk this week. He knew how important this game was to his team and he knew the individual challenge that was in front of him.

But not until Sunday morning in his hotel room did Orlando Scandrick officially get jacked up for the game.

No it wasn’t what Jason Pierre-Paul said or even Brandon Jacobs – or any a Giants player for that matter. So who managed to get the Dallas Cowboys corner so riled up? Hall of Fame player and coach Mike Ditka, who is now on ESPN’s pre-game show.

“He said the Cowboys don’t have a guy on defense that can stop Victor Cruz,” Scandrick said. “I just said ‘alright then.’ Coming from a guy who traded away his whole draft class for one player and got fired. But that got me going. He talked about Victor Cruz’s stats and probably just sees our ranking. But I took that personal.”

It showed.

Scandrick played arguably his best game of the season, as he matched up stride for stride with Cruz just about every play. Even when the coaches tried to switch up the plan after Morris Claiborne left the game with a hamstring, Scandrick had to plead with the coaches.

“I begged them … Begged them to let me stay with Cruz,” Scandrick said. “I was just confident in the matchup. I knew I could stay with him. I’m glad they let me stick with him.”

Scandrick said this was the first time the coaches ever let him follow Cruz all over the field, both inside and outside.

“I’ve done with (Wes) Welker but the Patriots do things different because they’re always in 11 personnel. The Giants mix it up a lot. But I’m just glad they let me stay with him.”

Cruz finished the game with two catches for 27 yards but lost a key fumble on his first catch when Scandrick ripped the ball out, resulting in a 50-yard touchdown return by rookie Jeff Heath for the first score of the game.

“I really respect Victor Cruz and he’s a fun player to play against,” Scandrick said. “You want to play your best against a guy like that. He’s had some games but I feel like I’ve played well, too.”

Sunday was better than “well” for Scandrick. And it’s one if the big reasons the Dallas Cowboys flew home 6-5 and tied for first place in the division.

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