Cowboys Huddle-Up: The Audio, The Contracts

IRVING - I go 1-on-1 with Dan Bailey, Ron Leary, Henry Melton and Barry Church in summing up the Cowboys' OT win over Houston ... and you get the sounds of the locker room! Plus the McClain/Lee/Carter vision, the truth about DeMarco's deal and, hey, how about an extension for coach Garrett?!

The Big Lead: Sounds of Winning

The sounds of the Dallas Cowboys' winning locker room following Sunday's 20-17 OT victory over Houston? We've got 'em!
*Here, Ron Leary discusses with me the handling of J.J. Watt.

*He kicked the game-winner and had a rare miss, and Dan Bailey details both with me.

*Surprised by the 4-1 start? Henry Melton goes 1-on-1 with CowboysHQ and swears he's not.

*A guy ready to both enjoy the win and prep for Seattle? That's Barry Church.

A linebacking vision

Cowboys fans have a vision: 2014 middle linebacker Rolando McClain, playing like a Pro Bowler as he is, paired with his predecessor, the injured-for-this-season middle linebacker Sean Lee, playing like the Pro Bowler he is projected to be ... together in 2015.

Those dreamy Cowboys fans will be happy to know that Stephen Jones is openly sharing their vision.

"I certainly see a situation where we're going to be trying to sign him to a long-term contract and keep him here with the Dallas Cowboys,'' chief operating officer Jones said Monday on 105.3 The Fan with "G-Bag Nation.'' He's certainly made a difference. He goes about his business the way we want to see them go about their business.
"We want to keep good football players that do the right thing on and off the field. Everything we see so far from Rolando is he's one of those guys.''

That's not necessarily the reputation McClain brought to town as a twice-retired former first-round draft pick labeled as a "bust'' by many. He was lured out of retirement by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones with a cheap $700,000 offer on what was termed a "no-risk'' deal. Instead, it's been all reward, McClain emerging as a speak-softly/big-hit leader of the Cowboys, a surprising 4-1.

He wouldn't be a Cowboy at all, of course, had Lee -- the incumbent at middle linebacker and a budding star lost for the season in the spring due to a knee injury. But Lee will be back next year. And Stephen Jones wants McClain to do the same.

"I think he'd be a great complement in there with Sean Lee in terms of the way Sean plays the game,'' Jones said. "It may be a situation where if he were the Mike (middle linebacker) and Sean moved over and played some Will (weakside) for us, it may help Sean in terms of the wear and tear on his body. There's a lot of thoughts there.''
The Cowboys are a ways away from this, as Lee isn't fully recovered and McClain has said nothing about his future except to express his happiness at finding a team that matches his "hunger.'' Another piece of the linebacking puzzle could be Bruce Carter, who has joined McClain in being key to Dallas' fine start. But Carter is also on the final year of his deal, and the Cowboys have many contractual issues in the to-do file, including Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and even head coach Jason Garrett.

But Lee and Carter flanking McClain? That's worth dreaming about.

"We're more focused on what's going on here right now,'' Jones said, "but (McClain) falls in that same category as DeMarco (in terms of fitting the profile). I know he's somebody that we'd like to keep around here."

By the way: Want the real scoop on DeMarco contract talks? CowboysHQ has that exclusively for Premium Cowboys Fans later on Tuesday.

Cowboys Comprehensive

Dallas turned the ball over three times, twice inside the opponents red zone, and still managed to win. Dallas allowed over 150 yards and two scores on the ground, and still managed to win. Dallas blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead, and still managed to win. Dallas missed a game-winning field goal attempt, and still managed to win. Dallas only scored three points in the first half, and still managed to find a way to win.

This was because Dallas offset these shortcomings with several categories on the opposite side of the ledger. Dallas was 8 for 14 on third down conversions, good for 57% for the club that entered the contest second in the league. Dallas ran 19 more plays than the Texans and outgained them 456 to 330. They doubled Houston’s net passing yardage 316 to 154.

And it all added up ... how? The best X-and-O's man in the business, KD Drummond, gets it done in "Cowboys Comprehensive.''

How the Cowboys kicked Houston

From inside AT&T Stadium we guide you through how the Cowboys Kicked the Texans In OT - Our game story here.

A twisting way to learn to win

"We did far too many things,'' coach Jason Garrett said of Sunday's game against Houston, "that don't allow you to win in this game.'' Ah, but the Cowboys did win. So in a wonderfully twisted way, Garrett's words of caution are also words of praise. I explain amid the dirty underwear and the cut-up ankle tape and the unwanted sandwiches in the Cowboys locker room. A twisting way to learn to win.

The Final Word

“One of the things we have to do as a team is we have to give our fans reason to cheer. There are a lot of Cowboys fans there (at Cowboys home games). When we do things the right way and give our fans reason to cheer and be loud, typically things work out well for us. We felt that the other night when we played New Orleans and we certainly felt that a lot in [Sunday’s] game.” - Jason Garrett, who, by the way, we sense is about to be involved in contract-extension talks himself.

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