<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Blue Star]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcdfw.com/blogs/blue-star http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:03:08 -0500 Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:03:08 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Jerry Has "No Issue" with Redskins' Nickname]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:16:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jerry-jones-camp-2014-day0-01.jpg

A lot of folks around the country are of the opinion that the Redskins is a highly offensive nickname, a slur by the word’s very definition, and one that should be changed. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is not one of them.

Jones stood by fellow owner Dan Snyder with some specious reasoning in an appearance on 105.3-FM The Fan on Tuesday. Namely, he doesn’t see much of a difference between the Cowboys’ name and the Redskins’--which, even for Jerry, is crazy talk.

I don’t have an issue with it,” Jones said, via Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I know it’s not meant in any way to denigrate… It’s like Cowboys to me. We should all feel that way about it. It’s a great part of the tradition of the league.

“If Snyder wants to keep it they should keep it. It’s pretty pointed that this name is one of pride. This name is one of competition. This name is one of a lot of great things that have happened with that franchise and should be looked at that way.”

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Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 Photojournalist]]>
<![CDATA[Garrett: James Hanna "Under-appreciated"]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:08:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/454598417_1.jpg

Dallas Cowboys tight end James Hanna has had a quiet season where the stat book is concerned, but that doesn’t mean he has a very real impact on the offense, according to head coach Jason Garrett.

This impact has been felt exclusively in the blocking game, as Hanna has no catches on just one target in 2014.

I think he’s a good player in the run game and a good player in the pass game," Garrett said, per ESPN Dallas. "I think he’s under-appreciated athletically, and I think he’s getting better technically as blocker.

“He’s a young player who continues to grow. He wants to be a good player and there’s a reason he’s playing. He’s worthy of having opportunities. We ask him to do a lot of things and some of it’s not fancy stuff that’s glamorous -- it’s some of the dirty work -- but he embraces it and gets better at it.”

Hanna was drafted by the Cowboys out of Oklahoma back in 2012 and, to date, has 20 catches and is still looking for his first career touchdown.

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<![CDATA[Emmitt Not Ready to Confer Triplets 2.0]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:55:09 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/triplets-2-getty.jpg

Then: Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.  Now: Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant.

The new “Triplets” are doing what the old ones accomplished back in the ‘90s. And a 6-1 start will lead to a Super Bowl. Right, Emmitt?

“It’s too early,” Smith said this morning on KRLD-FM. “You want to see this for the next three or four years.”

Obviously Smith is correct. Six consecutive wins by talented offensive players doesn’t come close to approaching three Super Bowls in four years in the ‘90s. Nonetheless, the NFL’s all-time leading rusher is one of the many former critics now attempting to wedge his way onto the bandwagon.

“To be able to watch the Cowboys absolutely committing themselves to running the football has been phenomenal for me as a fan,” Smith continued. “Watching DeMarco Murray perform under those type of situations has been an absolute pleasure. To me, that’s the one thing the Cowboys were definitely missing was a complete running game or commitment to the running game. Now that they have it, they’re starting to see the balance that I believe is the formula for success.”

Fans forget that the early ‘90s’ Cowboys featured the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense. Still, it’s nice to see a running game setting up a passing game.

And it’s refreshing – and a reality check – to hear Emmitt saying the Cowboys and their fans shouldn’t go too fast too soon.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images, NBC 5 Sports]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys' Confidence in Durant Paying Off]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:46:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457127498.jpg

Through seven weeks, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Justin Durant is rewarding his teammates for voting him a team captain prior to the season.

Durant, who has missed two games with injury, has 39 tackles, two forced fumbles, four passes defensed and an interception. He was involved in both of the fumbles in Sunday’s 31-21 win over the Giants, forcing one and recovering another.

The eight-year veteran Durant draws motivation from the faith his teammates showed in him when they made the aforementioned vote.

"When the guys voted me as captain on the team, I just still can't believe to this day that they believed in me that much," Durant said, per ESPN Dallas. "I think it's part of my job to go out there and show them why they voted me captain. I try to play every play like it's my last. I'm not really a big talker, so I try to lead by example as much as I can."

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<![CDATA[Amobi Okoye To Practice on Thursday]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:32:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/amobi-okoye-master-splinter.jpg

After missing over a year with a serious and rare brain condition, Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Amobi Okoye will return to practice this week.

According to ESPN, Okoye will return Thursday.

He didn’t play at all in 2013 after being diagnosed with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, and spent part of last year in a medically induced coma, putting his NFL future in jeopardy. Nonetheless, Dallas signed him to a one-year deal in the offseason, setting up a reunion between Okoye and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, who spent time together in Chicago.

Since signing, Okoye has been limited to doing rehab work with strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik. Thursday will mark Okoye’s first time practicing since 2012.

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<![CDATA[Jerry Impresed by DeMarcus Lawrence ]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:19:54 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/152439367.jpg

Cowboys rookie defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence continues to impress in practice.

The Cowboys second round pick back in May, Lawrence returned to practice last week after spending the first six weeks of the season on the injured reserve/designated to return list with a broken foot, suffered back in training camp during a one-on-one drill against Tyron Smith.

Lawrence spent that six weeks lifting weights, and according to those at Valley Ranch, there’s a notable difference in his physique.

Lawrence had everybody frothing at the mouth a little bit out there last week,” owner Jerry Jones told 105.3-FM The Fan, per the Dallas Morning News. “He has really improved his body during this time off. He’s used it to really have a lot of strength work. It’s something that he didn’t do as much [in college] as he’s doing now. He’s had quite a physical improvement.”

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<![CDATA[Power Rankings: NFC East]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:01:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457134694.jpg

In a weekly post, we'll talk about where teams in the NFC East sit after each weekend of play.

1. Dallas Cowboys (6-1) — The Cowboys aren't just the best team in the division, they might be the best team in the NFL, and at least the NFC with the Denver Broncos making a case. After their road win in Seattle, the Cowboys picked up a win in their first divisional game of the year as they held off a desperate Giants team on Sunday afternoon using their winning formula of a dominant running game and a dangerous passing attack to complement it.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (5-1) — Coming off a bye week, the Eagles have a big test this week as they travel to Arizona, which is a really tough place to play. Nick Foles has fallen off drastically from his MVP-caliber 2013 season, but it hasn't been all his fault. The Eagles' running game is a mess but should improve with the return of several injured offensive linemen. The Eagles' defense isn't great, but it's been very opportunistic this season by forcing turnover after turnover and finding the end zone some, as well.

3. New York Giants (3-4) — The Giants have lost two straight to the two teams above them in the division and right now appear to be a distant third in the NFC East pecking order. Eli Manning had a good game against the Cowboys, but the Giants running game struggled.

4. Washington Redskins (2-5) — So this is what it's come to, huh? The Redskins found their savior at quarterback in Kirk Cousins, who was apparently on his way to supplanting RG3 under center. Then, Cousins struggled so badly, he was benched for Colt McCoy. Yikes. The Redskins are a mess, and things look to get even worse with a trip to Arlington on Monday night.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Just Might See RGIII]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:42:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/196*120/Robert+Griffin+III+RGIII+RG3+454033560.jpg

Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has already all but named former Texas hero Colt McCoy as his starting quarterback for Monday night's game against the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

But there is some speculation the Cowboys could see another former Texas high school football star if Robert Griffin III can return from an ankle injury that has sidelined him since Week 2. By most accounts, it seems the plan for RGIII, the former Heisman winner for Baylor, is to work back into practice this week and then possibly return in Week 9.

As far as the Cowboys are concerned, they'd rather see McCoy because Griffin has had a pretty good career against America's Team. In his three starts against Dallas, he's 2-1 with 650 passing yards and 169 rushing yards including a massive game on Thanksgiving Day a couple of years ago.

McCoy entered the game last week against Tennessee to start the second half and seized the starting job from Kirk Cousins when he went 11-for-12 for 128 yards and a touchdown. It will be his first start since he was part of the ongoing quarterback carousel in Cleveland.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Parnell Draws Praise After Starting Debut]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:37:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457517772.jpg

When Doug Free went down with a fractured bone in his foot in the Dallas Cowboys' win over Seattle two weeks ago, the alternative wasn't too promising.

In fact, many folks were left wondering why Jeremy Parnell was on the Cowboys' roster after the team broke training camp, when Parnell was, for lack of better words, awful. But in Sunday's win over the New York Giants — the Cowboys' sixth straight victory — Parnell played every offensive snap at tackle and drew some pretty solid reviews from his head coach.

"Technically it's always a work in progress with a player who hasn't played that much and that's something we can hone in on when he gets a chance to see the tape to continue to try to improve," Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett told ESPN Dallas. "But the game never seemed too big for him. It looked like he communicated well with Zack [Martin] and with Jason Witten in the blocking schemes and handled that part of it well.

"He's played the way he's played in games before, which is good. What's exciting is he can improve immensely and I think he'll improve with experience and coaching. He has an attitude that he wants to get better. I think it's a nice opportunity for him to continue to grow as a player."

Free is only expected to miss two, possibly three, more games with a minor injury, but it certainly wouldn't hurt for Parnell to show he can be effective because as great as the Cowboys' offensive line has been, depth has been a concern. Parnell playing well for a few weeks could alleviate that.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Justin Durant Has Big Day Against Giants]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:06:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/justin-durant-10.21.14.jpg

Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli was full of praise for linebacker and defensive captain Justin Durant after Sunday’s 31-21 victory over the visiting New York Giants.

Durant had eight tackles, recovered one fumble and forced another. The recovered fumble led to a Dallas touchdown and the forced fumble, recovered by defensive tackle Henry Melton, sealed the victory.

He’s a terrific linebacker. Everybody is seeing it right now,” Marinelli said, per the Dallas Morning News. “He is our captain. He’s a heck of a ball player. He’s aware, heady, fits our system to a T.”

Durant himself wasn’t content with the Cowboys’ defensive performance.

“We had a bad game. We didn’t play our game,” Durant said. “I felt like we gave up a lot of stuff. A couple of those plays were definitely on me. I have to clean up what I’m doing and get my eyes right. We have a lot of stuff to get better at.”

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<![CDATA[Tony Romo is Playing at an Elite Level]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:06:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457510812.jpg

You know who’s having a horrible fall?  Presbyterian Hospital. Clayton Kershaw. Oh yeah, and Tony Romo haters.

Hear that? The golden silence? They’re all muted in the corner, impatiently waiting for December. Because, for now, there’s no way around it: The Cowboys are 6-1 because their quarterback is playing at an elite level.

How elite?

Since his season-opening, three-interception performance against the 49ers that had his critics repeating “same ‘ol choker,” Romo has almost been perfect. During Dallas’ six-game winning streak he’s thrown 13 touchdowns and only three interceptions for a quarterback rating of 115.2.

Add to that his spin-to-win escapes against the Texans and Seahawks and Romo is playing better quarterback than anyone this side of Peyton Manning. Not bad for a guy who takes Wednesdays off to continue strengthening his surgically repaired back and who had to take a pain-killing shot for sore ribs just to play against the Giants.

Sure Romo’s being helped by DeMarco Murray’s assault on the NFL rushing record. The run sets up the pass, I get it. It certainly helps Romo be confident that he doesn’t have to produce a miracle on every play. Still, he’s far from a conservative bus driver.

Despite the Cowboys’ commitment to the run, Romo’s Top 10 in every passing category. He’s 1st in completion percentage, 4th in rating, 5th in touchdowns and 10th in yards. Last time the Cowboys had a quarterback with a rating this high after seven games, the year was 1976 and the player was Roger Staubach.

Romo isn’t merely not losing games, he’s helping the Cowboys win games.

Sorry, haters.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[On Deck: Washington Redskins]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:10:40 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/2014-redskins-at-cowboys.jpg

On Deck will be here all season to provide you with everything you need to know (and a few things you don't) about every Cowboys game during the 2014 season.

The Opponent: The Redskins are oddly coming to town on the heels of a victory after their come-from-behind win over Tennessee on Sunday led by none other than Colt McCoy after he replaced the one-time quarterback savior Kirk Cousins at halftime. Redskins coach Jay Gruden has already named McCoy, the former Longhorns star, as the Redskins' starter for the Monday night game.

Past Meetings: The Cowboys are 64-42-2 in their team history against their NFC East rival Redskins and won both meetings in 2013 after the Redskins got the season sweep in 2012.

Key Matchup: Cowboys secondary vs. Redskins receivers — With Brandon Carr hampered by a minor hamstring strain, it seems likely he'll be able to play, especially with the extra day of rest. The Cowboys' secondary, led by cornerback Orlando Scandrick and safety Barry Church, has been really solid all season — a huge surprise. Now, they have to contain two electrifying receviers in Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson.

Who's Hot: McCoy was pretty great in relief of Cousins. He played the entire second half and went 11-for-12 with 128 yards and a touchdown on his first pass of the game — a 70-yarder to Garcon. Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson, another ex-Longhorn and Plano East grad, had seven tackles against the Titans.

All of the Cowboys' offensive playmakers came up with big days in their win over the Giants on Sunday. Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and even Gavin Escobar had big games, and oh yeah, DeMarco Murray extended his 100-yard game streak to start the season to an NFL record seven games. Church had a great game at safety, highlighted by his forced fumble in the fourth quarter to allow the Cowboys to take a 28-14 lead.

Who's Not: The Redskins' running game, led by workhorse back Alfred Morris, had 18 carries in Sunday's win, but averaged just three yards per carry in the game.

The Cowboys defensive line isn't playing poorly, but they're still having trouble pressuring quarterbacks. On Sunday, Eli Manning had plenty of time to sit back and pick apart the Cowboys secondary.

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<![CDATA[Tony Romo Praises AT&T Stadium Crowd]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:59:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457517418.jpg

Two weeks ago, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was a little miffed over how many Houston Texans fans packed AT&T Stadium, effectively removing any semblance of a home-field advantage for the team. It was so bad that Romo had to go to a silent snap count at home for the first time in his career.

On Sunday, with the rival New York Giants in town, there was no issue with the crowd noise. Romo lavished praise on the fans present after the 31-21 victory.

It was outstanding out there,” Romo said, per the Dallas Morning News. “We have such a strong contingent of fans across America, and obviously here they showed up today.

“They were a big part of that win and I think that is going to continue at home. It felt a lot like what Seattle had up there, so that is pretty big.”

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<![CDATA[Cowboys Waive Michael Sam]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 15:37:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GERRY_MCCARTHY__1409761483_39578161-620x503.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys have waived defensive end Michael Sam, the NFL's first openly-gay player, from the team's practice squad.

Sam, 24, joined the Cowboys on Sept. 3 after being cut from the Rams. He was drafted by St. Louis in the 7th round and totaled nine tackles and three sacks in three preseason games before being cut by the Rams. 

He never played in a game for the Cowboys and the team has not released a statement on his departure.

After the announcement, Sam tweeted thanks to team owner Jerry Jones for the opportunity, as well as friends, family, teammates and fans.  He added he was disappointed, but looked forward to fight for an opportunity to play every Sunday in the NFL.

According to DallasCowboys.com, the release of Sam makes room for linebacker Troy Davis who worked out with the team Monday.

Sam is a Texas native who played high school football at Hitchcock High School before playing for Missouri.  While at Missouri, he was named SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year and had 11 1/2 sacks in the 2013 season.

The 6-1 Cowboys are off to their best start since 2007 when then finished the regular season at 13-3.  Monday night they'll face an NFC East rival, the 2-5 Washington Redskins, in Arlington.



Photo Credit: Gerry McCarthy / Dallas Morning News Staff Photographer
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<![CDATA[McCoy Set to Start Against Cowboys]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:20:44 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/colt-mccoy-cowboys.jpg

University of Texas product Colt McCoy will start against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night if Robert Griffin III isn’t ready to go, Washington Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said on Monday.

McCoy led the Redskins to a comeback win over the Titans after Kirk Cousins was benched. Griffin hasn’t played since Week 2, when he suffered a dislocated ankle, and Gruden doesn’t sound all that optimistic that he’ll be ready for the Cowboys.

"He still has a long ways to go to show that he can play, to show that his ankle is 100 percent,” Gruden said, per ESPN. “He has to be 100 percent ready to go. We don't want to put him out there at 85 percent, have it be weak and have him do something else to it. We want to make sure he's ready to go when he's out there.”

McCoy went 11 for 12 against Tennessee, a performance that, for obvious reasons, drew some high praise from Gruden.

"He does have great intangibles," Gruden said. "He's a very good competitor. I feel like he'll get us in the right play and make the right throw. I've always liked his demeanor. He has the intangibles to be a good quarterback. He has a great opportunity Monday."

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<![CDATA[Carr Dealing With Hamstring Issue]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:03:53 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457509654.jpg

Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr is dealing with a hamstring strain, but the team doesn’t believe it’s very serious, head coach Jason Garrett said this week.

Like the rest of the Cowboys who came away from Sunday’s win banged up, Carr will benefit from the fact that their next game is on Monday night, against the Redskins. With the extra day, Garrett will give his players an extra day off.

You do get a bonus day and different teams use the bonus day in different ways,” Garrett said, per ESPN Dallas. “Maybe earlier in the season teams might use it as a practice day but we chose to give our players off and let them do stuff on their own, do their rehab and get their running done, get their preparation started. We’ll come in on Wednesday as if it’s a Tuesday, we’ll clean up the game from Sunday and then get ready to go back to work on Thursday.”

Carr, who played every defensive snap against New York, has 21 tackles and five passes defensed this season.

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<![CDATA[Jason Garrett Not Worried About Contract Status]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:53:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457134182.jpg

Like owner Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett isn’t interested in discussing his contract status.

After leading the Cowboys to three consecutive 8-8 finishes in three full seasons as head coach, Garrett has the team looking surprisingly good through seven games, at 6-1. Their next test comes in the form of a Monday night game with the Washington Redskins, and that’s where Garrett is putting all his focus.

“I just know where I need to focus, where our team needs to focus and it needs to focus on playing our best football,” Garrett said, per ESPN Dallas. “The way we do that is we focus on being our best today, do a great job evaluating that game, get ready for the players coming in, let’s go to work.

“That’s really what I think about.”

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<![CDATA[Dan Bailey Fine After Taking Shot to the Leg]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 09:03:39 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457134542.jpg

Cue a sigh of relief.

Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey is feeling fine after taking a shot to the leg while kicking an extra point in the third quarter of Sunday’s 31-21 victory over the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium.

I just kind of got leg whipped a little bit,” Bailey said, per Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas, “but it’s not a big deal.”

Bailey, who is currently the most accurate kicker in NFL history (knock on wood), sure didn’t show any lingering effects after the play. He booted the ensuing kickoff through the back of the end zone and put the nail in the Giants’ coffin in the fourth quarter with a 49-yard field goal.

“I don’t necessarily look at it from a make-or-miss standpoint,” Bailey said of that late-game field goal. “Obviously, yeah, you’re aware of the situations and what’s going on. I think you have to be. But once you get out there you put it on the back burner and just focus on going one for one.”

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<![CDATA[Terrance Williams Surpasses Rookie TD Total]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:34:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457511448.jpg

With a second quarter touchdown catch in Sunday’s victory over the New York Giants, Terrance Williams has six touchdown catches on the year--one more than his total in 2013, his rookie season.

In his second year in the NFL, Williams has become a significant playmaker for the Cowboys, and one of quarterback Tony Romo’s go-to targets. He has at least one touchdown in five of the team’s seven games this year and doesn’t appear to be slowing up any.

Terrance works his butt off,” Romo said after Sunday’s 31-21 win, per Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. “He is getting better and better. I have full trust in Terrance at this point. He is going to be a really good player.”

Stay on top of the latest Dallas Cowboys news with NBCDFW.com. Follow NBC DFW on Facebook or have breaking Cowboys news sent directly to your phone with Blue Star SMS alerts. Text "bluestar" to 622339 (NBCDFW) to subscribe, text HELP for more info, and text STOP to end the subscription. Message and data rates may apply.Read more about it here.



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<![CDATA[Bruce Carter Expects to Return This Week]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:12:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455881854.jpg

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter is glad the team is slated to face the Washington Redskins on Monday, giving him an extra day to recover from the strained right quad that has kept him out for the past three games.

It’s huge,” Carter said of the scheduling, per Rainer Sabin of the Dallas Morning News. “Any time you can steal a day that can help with an injury or get your body back 100 percent, it’s a big deal.”

Before his injury, Carter had stacked up 25 tackles, a sack and an interception. He said after Sunday’s win over the Giants that he’ll return to practice this week, and expects to play against the Redskins.

“They’ll work me in and do different things and see how it goes from here,” Carter said.

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<![CDATA[Murray Makes NFL History With Start]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:00:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/4575133801.jpg

We've been tracking for the past few weeks, and the list of company has dwindled every week in terms of guys in the same category as Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray when it comes to 100-yard rushing games to start the season.

First, it was "only Jim Brown and O.J. Simpson" who had as many 100-yard rushing days to start a season as Murray. Then, last week, Murray joined Brown — one of the all-time greats — as the only players in NFL history to run for 100 yards in his team's first six games of the season.

Now, Murray stands alone.

With his 128 yards on 28 carries in Sunday's win over the New York Giants, Murray became the first player in NFL history to rush for 100 yards in his team's first seven games of the season.

As a reference point to Murray's dominance this season, let's take a quick look at the league's rushing leaders, a list that Murray obviously sits at the top of with a wide margin.

  1. DeMarco Murray, 913
  2. Le'Veon Bell, 542*
  3. Arian Foster, 513*

*Plays Monday night

There you go, even assuming Bell and Foster have 100-yard games on Monday night, they're still going to be some 250-300 yards behind Murray.

This pace is remarkable and is something all football fans should be enjoying because it's hard to imagine it lasting too much longer with Murray's insane workload. However, it's paying off in wins, so the Cowboys will ride it as long as they can.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry Proud of Garrett, Not Ready to Discuss New Deal]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:59:32 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457508598.jpg

With the Dallas Cowboys riding a six-game win streak, owner and general manager Jerry Jones just keeps getting higher and higher on head coach Jason Garrett, who has finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs in each of his three full seasons as head coach.

"I don't know that anybody has had a better, brighter vision of Jason's future than I do," Jones said, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas. "I've always thought he had the potential to be a serious consistent winning coach in the NFL and still think that. I'm just proud that he has structured his staff the way that he has, the way he's coaching them the way he has, I'm glad he's coaching the coaches the way he is. They have a great appreciation for what he's bringing to the table, as it should be. It's his staff.

"I'm just glad to see him have this kind of success. His players hang on every word and they're seeing what he's preaching works. That's an ideal set of circumstances for a coach that is looking for a big future in the NFL."

Garrett is in the final year of his current contract, meaning he entered the year as a so-called lame duck coach. And while Jones is happy with Garrett, he still won’t discuss a new deal for his coach at this point.

"We've got so many contracts that we're supposed to be needing to be talking about now that things are going good," Jones said. "I'm not even going to begin to start anywhere. I'm just going to squat."

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<![CDATA[Terrell McClain Breaks Out]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:48:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/terrell-mcclain-10-20-14.jpg

After recording just five tackles and one quarterback pressure in three games before Sunday, Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Terrell McClain had a mini-coming out party in the second half of the victory over the visiting Giants, with three tackles, including two for a loss. He also forced a fumble that he himself recovered, but the referees ruled that the runner’s forward progress had been stopped, negating what would’ve been a big play.

Of course, Dallas overcame the bad call to defeat New York, 31-21.

I don’t know what it was,” McClain said, per ESPN Dallas. “It was just something that hit me. We came in at halftime and say, ‘That wasn’t us in the first half. We’ve got to come out and play our ball.’ Just had to go out there and let it go.”

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones took notice of McClain’s big half.

“He was just driven out there,” Jones said. “He's playing for a jersey in practice. Rod (Marinelli) has got him wondering if he's going to get (one of the eight) jerseys to come in there and play on the defensive line.”

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<![CDATA[Welcome to the Party, Gavin Escobar ]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:15:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457508310.jpg

Jason Witten had only two catches for 27 yards Sunday against the Giants.

Yet the Cowboys won. And, even more surprising, their tight ends had a huge, positive impact on the game.

It’s not some dramatic changing of the guard or a chink in the future Hall of Famer’s skills, but Gavin Escobar is suddenly blossoming into the player the Cowboys predicted when they drafted him with the 47th pick in 2013.

Make that suddenly, and finally.

Through the first six games Escobar had only six passes thrown his way. But against New York he was a legit weapon, catching two touchdowns – including the 26-yarder that put Dallas ahead for good in the third quarter. At 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds, he should be too big for cornerbacks and too agile for linebackers. It’s taken a while, but Sunday was a glimpse of his potential.

The Cowboys have long envisioned Escobar as the Aaron Hernandez to Witten’s Rob Gronkowski. A two tight-end monster that gives secondaries nightmares.

It was also Escobar, by the way, who had the key seal block on the right end that allowed DeMarco Murray to convert the key 3rd-and-1 as the Cowboys drove for the game-clinching field goal late in the fourth quarter.

On Sunday the Cowboys put up 423 yards of offense and 31 points with only two catches from Witten, one from Terrance Williams and none from Cole Beasley.

Better late than never, Escobar seems to have finally arrived.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Three Phases: Cowboys-Giants]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:09:41 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/4575143321.jpg

Every week, we'll grade the Cowboys on the three phases of the weekend's game.

Offense: A

Tony Romo had one big blemish with a key interception that led to Giants points, but other than that he had one of his better games of the year and was perfect in the second half as the Cowboys eventually pulled away to win their first division game of the season and their sixth straight game. DeMarco Murray was awesome once again, going for 128 yards on 28 carries and putting the game on ice in the closing minutes, and Dez Bryant had a huge game as well. Romo also found another weapon in Gavin Escobar, who caught his second and third touchdowns in two games and is emerging as a primo red zone target.

Defense: B

You could see the Cowboys' defense beginning to show some weakness on Sunday against Eli Manning, who tossed three touchdowns, but they also stepped up when it mattered most as Barry Church forced a key fumble in the fourth quarter to pretty much put the game away for the Cowboys. Church also had a team-high six tackles.

Special teams: A

Dan Bailey only had to kick one field goal, but it was a biggie. With a minute left, Bailey drilled a 49-yarder to give the Cowboys the two-score advantage and win the game.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Cowboys 31, Giants 21: Whitt Watch Top 10]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:03:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/4575133801.jpg

The Cowboys are 6-1. I never expected to type that this season. And, admit it, you never thought you'd read it.  Here are the top 10 highlights from the game.

10. Nobody mentioned/noticed Jermey Parnell today. Which means Jermey Parnell – Doug Free’s stand-in – had a fantastic day.

9. At the game? Guy Fieri. A-Rod. Rascal Flatts. Roger Staubach. Apparently America’s Team is still America’s Team.

8. Wish I had a dollar for every time Fox’s Troy Aikman uses the word “job” to describe a play. As in, “Dez Bryant does a remarkable job in beating the press coverage.” By my count he uttered it 13 times this afternoon. I'd have like, $13.

7. Two horrible spots by the refs, in particular by the line judge – whose main job is to accurately spot the ball. There will be a day when football evolves to a better sport void of human estimations and archaic chain gangs. And during that first game we’ll all wonder how the heck we put up with the old system for all those years.

6. The Cowboys have four consecutive games with more than 400 yards of offense. Haven’t been able to say that since 1976.

5. Despite all the offense, play of the game was made by safety Barry Church. Cowboys’ defense couldn’t stop the Giants, until his stop-and-strip of tight end Larry Donnell.

4. Gavin Escobar just may be a player yet. Two more touchdown catches and a fantastic clearing block on DeMarco Murray’s crucial 3rd-and-1 conversion on the game-clinching drive. Rare that the Cowboys score 31 points and have such a dominant day with Jason Witten contributing only two catches for 27 yards.

3. Another 128 rushing yards for Murray. That’s a record seven consecutive games to start the season. And no fumbles. He’s not better than Jim Brown, but he’s now authored a better start to a season.

2. If Dan Bailey was a baseball pitcher, he’d be the best closer in the game. None of us had any doubts about his 49-yard field goal to seal the deal. Did we?

1. The Cowboys weren’t perfect against the Giants. But their game-winning drive was. After New York scored to make us all nervous at 28-21, the Cowboys didn’t give New York the ball back until it trailed by 10 with a minute left. Murray converted a 3rd-and-1. Dez made a key catch. And the 6-1 Cowboys closed a game like an elite contender should. Impressive.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Images from the Sideline: Cowboys Vs. Giants]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 11:59:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cowboys-v-giants-2014-lede.jpg The Dallas Cowboys are 6-1 after defeating the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 Sports, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Hold Off Giants, 31-21]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:03:46 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457516222.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys are 6-1 after defeating the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Cowboys got the scoring started with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Tony Romo to Gavin Escobar, Escobar’s second touchdown in as many weeks. Romo finished 17-23 for 279 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

The Giants tied it and took the lead in the second quarter with touchdown pases from Eli Manning to Odell Beckham Jr., first, and then, sprung by an interception by Romo, Daniel Fells.

The Cowboys tied it back up with an 18-yard pass from Romo to Terrance Williams. They kept up the onslaught in the second half.

The Cowboys needed just over three minutes to drive 93 yards on their first drive of the second half, a drive that was capped by a beautiful, 26-yard pass from Romo to Escobar, to give Dallas the 21-14 lead. After the Cowboys forced a fumble, recovered by Justin Durant, DeMarco Murray cashed the turnover in for a touchdown. He went for 128 yards on 28 carries and the touchdown today, and is the first player in NFL history to post seven straight 100-plus yard games to start a season.

The Giants answered with another touchdown by Beckham Jr. to come within a touchdown, but that was as close as they’d get.

Bailey extended the Cowboys’ lead back to 10 with a 49-yard field goal, 31-21, then, on the last New York drive of the game, Durant forced a fumble that was recovered by Henry Melton. Which sealed the win.

Dez Bryant also had a nice day, with 151 yards on nine catches.

At 6-1, the Cowboys will host the Redskins next Monday night.

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<![CDATA[Cowboys, Giants Tied at Half, 14-14]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:04:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rolando-mcclain-giants.jpg

After an up-and-down first half, the Dallas Cowboys are tied with the visiting New York Giants, 14-14.

The Cowboys got the scoring started with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Tony Romo to Gavin Escobar, Escobar’s second touchdown in as many weeks.

The Giants tied it and took the lead in the second quarter with touchdown pases from Eli Manning to Odell Beckham Jr., first, and then, sprung by an interception by Romo, Daniel Fells.

The Cowboys tied it back up with an 18-yard pass from Romo to Terrance Williams.

Romo finished the half 8/14 passing for 113 yards, two touchdowns and the interception. DeMarco Murray remains hot, going for 73 yards on 13 carries in the first half.

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<![CDATA[Cowboys-Giants Game Day Twitter Chat]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 12:08:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Cowboys-Seahawks2.jpg

Join the writers and editors of SportsDay and the Blue Star Blog as we discuss the Cowboys game against the New York Giants, live, beginning at 3:25 p.m.

Offer your comments in the ScribbleLive module below and SportsDay editors will incorporate them when possible.



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<![CDATA[Dez Calls for Cowboys Fans to Pack JerryWorld]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 14:43:01 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456305802.jpg

The last time the Dallas Cowboys played a home game, it didn't seem like much of a home game.

Fans of the Texans packed AT&T Stadium to see the Cowboys eke out an overtime victory over Houston in Week 5, and were loud enough that Tony Romo had to use a silent snap count at home for the first time in his career. Romo joked after the game that he’d consider buying up tickets to keep opposing fans out of JerryWorld.

That memory fresh, receiver Dez Bryant called for Cowboys fans to fill the place up on Sunday, when the rival Giants come to town, and get loud while they’re there.

We do need more Cowboys fans there,” Bryant said, per the Dallas Morning News. “That’s exactly what we need. and we need them to be a little bit louder whenever [New York’s] defense is on the field. I’m not hearing them, I need to hear them some more. We need all Cowboys fans and we need them to be as loud as possible to affect the opponent.”

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<![CDATA[DeMarcus Lawrence Impressing Since Return ]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 14:37:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/152439367.jpg

In two days of practice since returning from the injured reserve/designated to return list, second round pick DeMarcus Lawrence has left coaches impressed.

Lawrence suffered a fractured foot back in July, while working against Tyron Smith in a training camp drill. He was only eligible to return to practice this week, and he won’t be available for a game until Week 9.

Since he’s been off he has been in the weight room,” said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “He looks great. He has filled out even more. He’s had a couple of days of practice. He has fresh legs now. But he really looks quick and explosive. Now he has a chance over the next couple of weeks to hone in on his skills, hopefully we will get him going.”

Once Lawrence does finally make his debut, the Cowboys expect him to make an impact immediately.

“The expectations are high,” said executive vice president Stephen Jones. “You hate when a rookie misses a lot, but he’s almost like a first-round pick for us. We gave up a second and a third rounder and got him high in the second. Our trainers actually said it’s probably good for him [that he had some time off]. He’s reshaped his body. But he’s got two weeks here to get ready to go. I fully expect him to be a significant contributor starting right after Week 8."

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<![CDATA[Cowboys Will Keep Feeding Murray]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:49:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457133888.jpg

A week after head coach Jason Garrett declared that the Cowboys would like to cut down on DeMarco Murray’s workload, the team went to Murray a healthy 29 times in the victory over the Seahawks.

Now, Garrett says the team wants to continue to feed Murray the ball, but that they’ll keep mixing Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar in to keep the NFL’s leading rusher in 2014 fresh.

“The biggest thing is you want to continue to run the ball well. And DeMarco’s a big part of that,” Garrett told the team’s website. “But at the same time, we’d like to get the other guys some opportunities. We did some of that the other day. And we think that’s good. We think that’s good for the individual guys, DeMarco included, but also getting Joseph and Lance chances out there because they’ve done well with them.

“It obviously keeps him fresher during the game and over the course of the season. But he’s going to carry the ball a lot.”

In last week’s win, aside from Murray’s 29 carries, Joseph Randle had 52 yards on five carries. Tony Romo ran with the ball twice and Lance Dunbar got one carry.

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<![CDATA[Tony Romo Says He's Feeling Good]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:32:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457133640.jpg

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is still dealing with some sore ribs and a sore ankle, five days after being knocked around a bit in last week’s victory over the Seattle Seahawks, but he practiced on Thursday and, per Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas, says he’s fine.

Romo was held out of practice on Wednesday, but that’s more or less standard operating procedure for the veteran at this point.

In the Seattle game, Romo took a shot to the ribs from linebacker Bobby Wagner, a hit that left him on the turf at CenturyLink Field. He later suffered a minor ankle injury that left him walking with a limp, but he assured reporters after the win that his back was just fine.

“He's a warrior,” receiver Dez Bryant said of Romo.

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<![CDATA[Nick Saban Happy to See McClain's Turnaround]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 13:16:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/185377021-1200.jpg

University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban has been keeping an eye on Rolando McClain this year, as his former player turns over a new leaf with the Dallas Cowboys and, understandably, he likes what he sees.

Ro’s always been a guy that I’ve had a lot of respect for,” Saban said recently, per the Dallas Morning News. “He was a great leader here and a great player here, a very mature guy. But again, some things sometimes take priority. Before you can really focus on what you’re trying to do as a football player, you have to get those things right in your life. I think he has, and I’m happy to see that he’s having a good year and the Cowboys are doing well.”

McClain, who played for Saban from 2007 to 2009, has 27 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and two interceptions this season. The former 8th overall pick came out of retirement and joined the Cowboys in July, after Sean Lee suffered a season-ending torn ACL, after Dallas sent a sixth round pick to Baltimore in exchange for his services.

To this point, to say it was a steal is a massive understatement.

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<![CDATA[Place Your Bets: Week 7]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:23:58 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455862256.jpg

If you live in Nevada, Oregon, Montana or Delaware, you're in luck. Otherwise, go to Canada or Europe and get your bet on for the NFL weekend! All games are Sunday unless otherwise noted.

1. Atlanta at Baltimore (-7.0) — The Falcons are just ugly, especially on the road. They don't play defense and they can't run the ball, letting teams just hone in on Matt Ryan and make things difficult for him. At home, Joe Flacco has been great, and against this Falcons' secondary, expect more of the same. It's not going to be pretty.

2. Seattle (-7.0) at St. Louis — The Seahawks are a far different team on the road than they are at home, where they're near-unbeatable against anyone other than Dallas. For a while Monday night, it looked as if the Rams would give a scare to a similar San Francisco team before the 49ers pulled away. Expect the Seahawks to bounce back from their loss to the Cowboys and do the same.

3. Cincinnati at Indianapolis (-3.0) — These are two solid teams, but in a home environment with arguably the best quarterback going right now, the Colts and Andrew Luck should be able to hold on and beat the Bengals in what essentially is a pick 'em game

4. Minnesota at Buffalo (-5.5) — The Bills have been a good team since Kyle Orton took over for E.J. Manuel, and the Vikings are very so-so, especially since their running back fill-ins have begun to look ordinary. Expect a good Bills defense to continue that trend and give rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater fits at home.

5. New York Giants at Dallas (-6.5) — Everything plays in the Cowboys' favor on this one. It's just too good to be true. Normally, that'd be cause for concern, but not this time. The Giants are an aging, banged up team who had an emotional loss of their No. 1 receiver last week in an embarrassing loss to a division foe. Now, they run into arguably the best team in football riding a five-game win streak.

Last week: 2-3. 2014 season: 12-13.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Manning Hoping to Continue Arlington Trend ]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:05:21 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tlmd_elimanning4827208.jpg

Last season, Eli Manning lost his first career game in Jerry Jones' Arlington fortress.

On Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys will look to hand him his second in a game that heavily favors the Cowboys but doesn't consider Manning's rich history in the NFL's grandest stadium. In fact, it was Manning who came to town to open the stadium in 2009, leading the Giants to a shootout victory and then proceeding to autograph the wall in the visitors locker room.

Since then, Manning's fortunes have continued in Arlington, for the most part.

He's now 4-1 all-time and has two of his five career 400-yard games against the Cowboys in their home stadium with better numbers basically across the board than when he plays Dallas in the Meadowlands. This year, the Cowboys hope to send Manning back to New York a loser for the second straight year.



Photo Credit: EFE]]>
<![CDATA[Tony Romo Set to Make History Sunday]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 17:03:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/453705926.jpg

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is set to make some history on Sunday as, assuming he starts the matchup against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium, he will pass Roger Staubach in career starts.

It will mark Romo’s 115th start in the blue and silver and put him in second on the all-time list behind Troy Aikman, who started 165. But obviously, any time a Cowboys quarterback passes Staubach in any category, it’s kind of a big deal.

"Roger is the elite of the elite," Romo said, per Calvin Watkins of ESPN Dallas. "I think anytime you're good at anything and you're mentioned in the same breath, playing the same number of games, it's obviously a huge honor. You're just humbled by it, but knowing Roger the way I do, he's excited by what we've been doing. I'll be excited to see him after one of these home wins and get a chance to communicate with him."

Romo and Staubach have become friendly in the eight and a half years since Romo became the starter in Dallas, and Staubach has been an unwavering supporter of the current Cowboys signal caller.

"It's been great. I think just knowing you have a guy like that reaching out and saying positive things and believing in me, it makes you feel that you are doing something right.,” Romo said. “He's been great to me and my family, and we will be huge Roger Staubach fans.”

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<![CDATA[Joseph Randle Apologizes to Teammates]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:09:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/453712038.jpg

Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle apologized to his teammates on Wednesday following his misdemeanor arrest for theft earlier this week.

Randle allegedly shoplifted a pack of underwear and a tester bottle of cologne from a Dillard’s department store on Monday night in Frisco.

“It was hard coming back into the locker room, looking at people who care about me in the eyes, knowing that I did something stupid,” Randle said, per Rainer Sabin of the Dallas Morning News. “I had to talk to them about it. I can’t just go like nothing happened. I had to address the issues. We’re trying to move forward from it. This is not a distraction from the team. We’re just trying to get ready and keep winning like we have been doing and play our rival team, the Giants, this week. That’s what we’re trying to focus on.”

Indeed, Randle will not be suspended for the incident and is set to play in Sunday’s NFC East matchup with the Giants at AT&T Stadium, but head coach Jason Garrett has said that the team will fine the second-year back a substantial amount. Randle is coming off his best game of 2014 thus far, with 52 yards on five carries in the win over the Seahawks.

“I know there’s big-time consequences for things in life,” Randle said. “I disappointed a lot of people who really care about me like my brothers on my team, the coaches around here, this whole organization, people who have supported me, my family, my dad. I let a lot of people down. I am really just trying my best to make it up to them and do whatever I’ve got to do to get past this.”

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<![CDATA[Tyron Smith Returns After MRI on Ankle]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:27:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tyron-smith-good-start.jpg

Dallas Cowboys left tackle and reigning offensive player of the week Tyron Smith was forced to miss most of the team portion of Wednesday’s practice to undergo an MRI on his ankle, but he was back on Thursday after the results came back negative.

Apparently, Smith’s ankle was hurt during last Sunday’s victory over the Seahawks in Seattle, but the MRI on Wednesday came back negative.

“It (MRI results) came back that it was a positive for us if that makes sense,” head coach Jason Garrett said on Thursday, employing some delightful wordplay.

Obviously, seeing Smith return to the field will bring a sigh of relief for Dallas coaches, who have already lost one tackle this week, in Doug Free, who will miss three to four weeks with a fractured foot, also suffered in the Seattle game.

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<![CDATA[Cowboys Brief Players About Ebola]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 13:45:04 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/10p_jerry_jones_photo_reax_1200x675_317065795627.jpg

With three confirmed cases of the Ebola virus and one death in the area, the Dallas Cowboys staff, led by head trainer Jim Maurer, have discussed the disease with the players, Jerry Jones said this week.

Jim has made them aware of it,” Jones said, per David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. “The league has sent some things out that he has made them aware of. The biggest thing is so they are educated and understand where it is. It’s just education.”

ESPN reported Wednesday that, in anticipation of their trip to North Texas this weekend, the New York Giants have been briefed on Ebola as well. While cornerback Prince Amukamara opined that some players might not bring family members on the trip where they otherwise would, quarterback Eli Manning says the team isn’t overly concerned.

"I'm not worried about myself or the team," Manning said. "With what we're doing and where we're staying, I think we'll be fine."

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<![CDATA[DeMarco Murray Returns to Practice]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 13:14:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457133638.jpg

Pro Bowl running back DeMarco Murray was one of several big name Cowboys to return to practice on Thursday, after being held out on Wednesday.

Murray missed that Wednesday session with an unknown illness that had reportedly been bothering him since the win over the Seahawks last Sunday. Also back on Thursday were quarterback Tony Romo, who usually gets Wednesdays off but is also dealing with a sore ankle and ribs, and defensive end Anthony Spencer, who was held out as a precaution.

Of course, linebacker Rolando McClain missed Thursday as planned, as he attends to a personal matter. Head coach Jason Garrett said earlier this week that he expects McClain to rejoin the team on Friday.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Could Jerry Get Some Recognition?]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 12:06:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/jerry-jones-camp-2014-day0-03.jpg

The Cowboys are 5-1 with a very real chance of being 9-1 by the time they have a bye in Week 11. Pretty crazy, isn't it? Find me someone who legitimately saw this coming, and I'll call you a liar.

So who deserves credit for this shocking start?

You could start with the young, mammoth offensive line. Then move on to DeMarco Murray, who's on pace to shatter all kinds of NFL single-season rushing records. Then, of course, there's the defense that's outperforming any and all expectations led by new defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

But what's behind all of that? Gulp ... Jerry Jones.

Jones has been one of the NFL's worst general managers, and in many ways, best owners in recent NFL history. Sure, he points to those three Super Bowls that were set up and won by Jimmy Johnson (yes, even the last one that came with Barry Switzer as head coach).

But if things continue the way they are this year, you could point to a lot of decisions made by Jones that will have led to their unexpected success in 2014.

It started back in May when the Cowboys ultimately drafted Zack Martin, a guard out of Notre Dame, with their first-round pick instead of a sliding Johnny Manziel. The story, of course, goes that Jones wanted to take Manziel and was adamantly talked out of the idea by those below him. But it was ultimately him who pulled the trigger and went the safe, not-sexy route by picking Martin.

Jones also traded a sixth-round pick to Baltimore to take a low-risk flier on oft-troubled linebacker Rolando McClain, who's gone on to arguably be the Cowboys' best defensive player in the absence of Sean Lee.

So yeah, calling Jerry Jones the NFL Executive of the Year might be a major case of jumping to conclusions, but so does saying the Cowboys will be 9-1. But given their upcoming schedule, that idea is totally within the realm of possibility.



Photo Credit: Jose Sanchez, NBC 5 Photojournalist]]>
<![CDATA[Surprising Cowboys Eyeing 9-1 Start]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 11:58:45 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/453705378.jpg

This is the part where we become irrational. Where folks who predicted the Cowboys would win 6 games this season suddenly stake them as Super Bowl favorites. And where critics-turned-believers squint a little bit and foresee … 9-1?

Doug Free’s out. Tony Romo’s not practicing. DeMarco Murray’s carrying too heavy a load. Blah, blah and more blah.

The Cowboys may not be the best team in the NFL, but they are undoubtedly on the best roll. Romo’s spinning away from sacks for highlight-film completions and Rod Marinelli is working nothing short of miracles with a defense predicted the worst in NFL history.

And just like that, a team that started with 50/1 Super Bowl odds is now expected to be 9-1 heading into late November. Expected, as in, favored in the the next four games it plays.

The Cowboys will be favored by Las Vegas oddsmakers over the Giants Sunday afternoon in Arlington, and again in home games against the Redskins and Cardinals, and obviously in their London trip to play the hapless Jaguars.

Unless they wake up from this improbable dream, that’s a 9-1 start, the likes the Cowboys haven’t seen since they started 12-1 in 2007.

Sometimes you can’t explain a hot streak. You just need to ride it.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Fantasy Land: Studs and Duds, Week 7]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 11:40:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457127840.jpg

A two-time champion in a hardcore keeper league, including some know-it-all media "experts," Adam Boedeker gives his fantasy expertise on a weekly basis.

Stud of the Week

Joe Flacco, QB, BAL — Flacco was on pace last week to put together the greatest game in NFL history for a quarterback, tossing five touchdowns, including four in the first quarter alone. This week, he stays at home against a porous Atlanta Falcons defense and should be in store for another big day with Torrey Smith and Steve Smith at his disposal.

Honorable mention: Tony Romo, DAL (vs. NYG); Lamar Miller, MIA (at CHI); Terrance Williams, DAL (vs. NYG); DeSean Jackson, WAS (vs. TEN).

Dud of the Week

Matthew Stafford, QB, DET — No Megatron apparently means no Stafford, which isn't too much of a shock. With the Saints' defense on top, expect the Lions to lean on the run with Johnson likely still sidelined with an ankle injury.

Honorable mention: Frank Gore, SF (at DEN); Khiry Robinson, NO (at DET); Wes Welker, DEN (vs. SF); Brian Quick, STL (vs. SEA).



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DeMarco Murray Brushes Off Workload Concerns]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:55:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/455442130.jpg

There’s been a lot of talk about DeMarco Murray’s workload of late.

After Murray carried the ball a career-high 31 times in the overtime victory against the Texans, head coach Jason Garrett publicly stated that the team would cut back on Murray’s touches. Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders then responded to Garrett’s call by calling for Dallas to keep feeding Murray, to not get away from what was working.

In Sunday’s win over the Seattle Seahawks, Murray’s carries were down from the week before--from 31 to a meager 29.

Murray is staying out of this conversation entirely, and says he isn’t concerned with the workload.

I don’t really hear it,” Murray told the team’s website. “I’m just concentrating on doing my job so I can help this team win. Whatever they ask me to do, like I’ve said, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability.”

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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bruce Carter Says He'll Miss Giants Game]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:44:10 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/456305854.jpg

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter won’t play in Sunday’s NFC East matchup with the Giants at AT&T Stadium but believes he’ll be back in Week 8.

Carter has missed the past two weeks with a quad injury suffered in the win over the New Orleans Saints. Before that, he had been putting together quite a nice season, with 25 tackles, a sack and an interception.

Carter will spend this week doing rehab work in anticipation of next week’s meeting with the Redskins.

I ran today, did some band work, did some squats,” Carter said, per the Dallas Morning News. “I should be back next week. I feel good. It’s just a matter of getting my strength back and getting myself back in shape.”

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<![CDATA[DeMarcus Lawrence Feeling Good]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 14:03:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/demarcus-lawrence-injury_1200x675_313532995930.jpg

Cowboys second round pick DeMarcus Lawrence will return to practice on Wednesday for the first time since suffering a fractured foot in training camp and has said the foot “feels excellent” going in.

The rookie defensive end is certainly confident--he said before his injury that he was going for double-digit sacks in his rookie season--but admits that he’ll have to allow some time to get his feet back under him.

I’ve been playing football all my life, so I don’t feel like I’m way behind,” Lawrence said, per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News, “but I feel like I’m going to have to get better, quicker.”

Lawrence spent the first six weeks of the season on the injured reserve/designated to return list. In that time, the Cowboys’ defense has been very pleasantly surprising, and has played a huge role in the team finishing that span with a 5-1 record.

“It feels great knowing that the team can produce and the things these guys are doing without you,” Lawrence said. “It just makes me feel like I can come in and help a lot more and we can be even better than we are right now.”

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<![CDATA[Cowboys Add OT Tony Hills]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 13:45:27 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tony-hills-10.15.14.jpg

In the wake of the news that right tackle Doug Free could miss the next three to four weeks with a fractured foot, the Dallas Cowboys have signed veteran offensive tackle Tony Hills, a University of Texas product who was born in Dallas and raised in Houston.

To make room on the roster for Hills, the team cut defensive end Lavar Edwards.

Drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft, Hills spent three seasons with the team before moving onto the Broncos in 2011. He spent 2012 with the Colts, and had stints with the Bills and Raiders last year.

Hills was on the Miami Dolphins practice squad before signing with Dallas, where he will join Donald Hawkins as the team’s backup offensive tackles.

Hawkins certainly has an advantage, [Hills] is just getting here,” said head coach Jason Garrett, per the Dallas Morning News, “but we like this guy. He has a little experience, so we’ll see.”

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