Elliott, Cooper on final injury report; Aikman fires up Giants
There are some big names on the Cowboys’ final injury report heading into their Week 5 game versus the Giants, but head coach Mike McCarthy isn’t treating it like a big deal. He says his stars will be ready to go on Sunday. The Giants, meanwhile, will be without some of their top talent, and the New York players who are left got a little extra motivation this week… from Cowboys legend Troy Aikman, of all people. We’ll crunch the numbers to preview a winner and go inside a few of the minor plotlines for the NFC East showdown.
Elsewhere, La’el Collins has his day in court fighting his five-game suspension, John Fassel now has a theory on why Greg Zuerlein missed those kicks in Week 1, and Jerry Jones gets candid about cutting Jaylon Smith. We’re also looking at the Cowboys’ improving red-zone numbers, picking a quarter-pole MVP, handing out a trophy for something called an NVP, examining how close NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith came to getting the boot, and thinking about goal-line carries… for Connor McGovern?!? Here’s the News and Notes.
Updates: Final injury report heading into Sunday :: The Mothership
Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, and Randy Gregory are officially listed as questionable for Week 5 versus New York, but coach Mike McCarthy didn’t sound concerned about the availability of any of them. Dorance Armstrong and Donovan Wilson have been declared out. Trevon Diggs practiced fully; Ty Nsekhe and Carlos Watkins are questionable.
Cowboys’ Collins fights suspension in court, Prescott testifies regarding bribe :: Cowboys Wire
At Friday’s court hearing, details were learned of the alleged bribe La’el Collins offered to a vendor tasked with obtaining urine test samples from the offensive lineman. Dak Prescott acted as a witness on Collins’s behalf and laid out details on what he saw and heard. Attorneys for Collins tried to argue that his suspension should be lifted because the Cowboys “could lose” without him, despite their 3-0 record in the games Collins has already missed and the fact that rosters for Sunday had already been submitted to the league. A judge’s ruling on the matter could come at any time.
Giants have extra motivation after Troy Aikman’s comments: ‘Oh we’ve heard it’ :: SportsNet New York
The former Cowboys quarterback said on Dallas radio this week that the Giants “aren’t in Dallas’s class.” While New York coach Joe Judge jokingly claimed that the team doesn’t even have a bulletin board for posting such material, his players are well aware of the comments. “Oh, we’ve heard it,” one player said via text. “It’s all over the place.”
Giants’ Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton among 4 out vs. Cowboys :: Giants Wire
The Giants will be without two of their wide receivers and a notable defensive back when they visit Arlington. Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton will not be available as targets for quarterback Daniel Jones; safety Jabrill Peppers will be sidelined as well. Along the New York offensive line, Ben Bredeson is out, and Andrew Thomas is questionable to play.
Big Facts: The Parsons-Barkley connection & more :: The Mothership
Among the mini-storylines to keep an eye on this Sunday, look for Micah Parsons to try bottling up the running back who hosted him at Penn State on his first recruiting trip. It will be also be a homecoming of sorts for the four Giants assistants who used to be on staff in Dallas. And look for Blake Jarwin in the end zone; five of his seven career touchdowns have come against Big Blue.
Cowboys Wire Podcast: Cowboys’ insane offensive efficiency is rendering foes defenseless :: Cowboys Wire
The latest episode of the podcast was recorded before the midweek bombshell shakeup at linebacker. Instead, K.D. Drummond and Ryan O’Leary discuss the success Kellen Moore is having with the Dallas offense and what the Cowboys need to do in order to put away teams late in games.
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott found unlikely inspiration after injury — thanks, in part, to a Giants safety :: USA Today
Much of the recovery process for the Cowboys quarterback after his brutal injury last October was mental. He found inspiration in two books: Kobe Bryant’s biography, and a title by a sports performance consultant who worked with Michael Jordan and Dwayne Wade. The books, amazingly, came from Logan Ryan, the Giants defender who tackled Prescott on the fateful play. “I just wanted him to know: ‘Hey, man: I’m rooting for you,’” Ryan said.
Dak Prescott gets trophy from Nickelodeon :: Dallas Cowboys (Twitter)
Week 5 win probabilities, score projections | Game Theory :: NFL.com
You can’t argue with math. Cynthia Frelund’s model projects the Cowboys to be 31-22 victors over the Giants on Sunday, with a win probability of 67%. Their probability of covering the -7 spread is 53%, with an over/under of 52.
Cashing In: Cowboys turning red-zone opportunities into touchdowns in 2021 :: Cowboys Wire
Week 1 saw the Cowboys still stuck in neutral when it came to red zone success (a familiar refrain in recent years), but over Weeks 2 through 4, the team has scored a touchdown on nine of 11 trips inside the opponents’ 20. They’ll look to keep those numbers up against the Giants, who are allowing red zone touchdowns at a 71% clip.
Every NFL team’s MVP after the first 4 weeks of the season :: USA Today
A few names come to mind when picking the player who’s been most valuable to the 3-1 start in Dallas, but in the end, it’s an easy choice. Prescott leads the charge, throwing for 10 touchdowns against just two interceptions, one of which was a maddening drop that fell to the defender. But the running game is also eating, because defenses are scared to leave the Cowboys’ plethora of passing options open to their surgical quarterback.
Jaylon Smith considers himself an ‘elite’ player; views release from Dallas as ‘business’ :: Jon Machota (Twitter)
Jerry Jones frank on Jaylon Smith’s release from Cowboys, injury guarantee: ‘Something has to give’ :: Cowboys Wire
The Cowboys owner candidly spoke about Smith’s release on Friday. During a radio interview, Jones admitted that Smith was still “plagued” by the injury he suffered in college despite his incredible comeback to playing form while in Dallas. The billionaire also remarked, “You can’t have it all,” when explaining the decision to cut the onetime Pro Bowler, oddly likening it to driving a used Ford Bronco while owning an airplane.
Did short kickoffs have effect on Greg Zuerlein’s misses in Week 1? :: Michael Gehlken (Twitter)
NFL Players Association board of player representatives votes to retain executive director DeMaurice Smith :: ESPN
In a conference call of player representatives from all 32 NFL teams, Smith received 22 votes in favor of him staying as executive director, barely clearing the two-thirds threshold necessary to prevent an open election. Eight reps voted to remove Smith; two abstained. Smith has held the job since 2009.
Will Connor McGovern get any handoffs at fullback position? :: Jori Epstein (Twitter)