Cowboys Monday Huddle-Up: News + Views

IRVING - The Cowboys try to 'rectify things,' DeMarco is in the middle of an ethical debate, and Dallas tries to adjust its body clock with final preparations for the mid-week trip to Chicago. CowboysHQ Monday Huddle-Up!

The Big Lead

We engaged in a spirited and (I hope) thoughtful debate this morning on 105.3 The Fan, my buddy Mac Engel insisting that DeMarco Murray's personal life -- a former Sooners teammate is alleging Murray is having an affair with his wife -- is not fair game for media work.

Me? I recognize how sensitive this matter is, especially because it doesn't just involve win/loss records, big-money contracts (which we give you the scoop on regarding DeMarco in our Premium coverage) and reputations and adults; there are children involved. So I'll let others handle the jokes (and there will be jokes) and stay in my lane:

If a player's personal life is impacting his on-field life ... it inches closer to being fair game.

In hundreds of cases in my career, I can cite examples of how I've handled these sorts of things, and almost every time, I had the benefit of perspective from the player involved in the trouble. (See: Irvin, Michael Jerome.) With DeMarco, he is extremely reserved with the media, almost angrily so, to be frank.

So there will be little insight offered by him, I am sure.

Which will leave the audience wondering: Did he miss that block, fumble that ball, drop that pass ... because of nasty off-the-field accusations and distractions?

And when we reach that point, we all realize it's "fair game'' ... or at least "fair enough'' for all of us to be thinking, wondering, speculating.

The McClain Conundrum

Rolando McClain deserves positive reviews for what he attempted to do on Thursday; from the very start, he was on one leg, a Cowboys source telling us at the game's beginning that his right knee was problematic.


McClain tried to fight through it, the sort of thing that causes Cowboys fans to believe he's fully devoted to this Cowboys cause.

But his contract is up. He'll have earned the right to be devoted to his own financial wants and needs. What can Dallas pay Rolando McClain and what can he command? We've got the breakdown in CowboysHQ Premium.

We're opening a bar!

It's every American man's dream (second only to the sex) and we're doing it: We're We're opening a bar! It's called 'The Maverick' and I'd love for you to like us on Facebook and then come see us this week during our (very) soft opening in preparation for the weekend, when we blow it out with burgers, our 30 TVs (including a 200-inch screen) and DFW's hottest band, Incognito.


Come say hi at "The Maverick''!

Third-down flip

The Dallas Cowboys' climb to 6-1 was driven, in many ways, by their excellence on third down. The slippage to what is now an 8-4 record (one not good enough to have Dallas in the playoffs were they to start today) can be traced to slippage in that area.

"We were so good on third downs,'' coach Jason Garrett said. "We haven’t been as good lately. There were some protection issues and then inefficient throwing the football or catching the football (in the Thanksgiving loss to Philly) … Earlier on in the year, on third downs, we were making those plays. We haven’t made them lately. We have to get back to doing that.''

The Romo difference

Tony Romo's Thursday work? About as poor as it gets for him, as he posted his worst QB rating (53.7) in his last 80 starts. Is the short week -- and thus no "Romo Wednesday'' -- the culprit?

The Cowboys will stay aware from excuse-making here, though Romo himself expressed disappointment at failing to make throws against Philly he would normally make -- throws that I might argue he was unable to make because of lack of rest and lack of strength going into the game.

“That was disappointing when I look back on it,” Romo said. “Just disappointing in some throws that I wouldn’t normally miss. The natural things that take over weren’t as exact as they normally are and I need to do a better job at that. I’ll make sure of that this week.”


This isn't a "short week,'' per se, but it's an odd one: Sunday was a Valley Ranch practice (with Romo resting). Wednesday is "like a Saturday,'' a travel day to chilly Chicago for Thursday night's game against the Bears. It's not normal, but it will have to do.

“Getting back into what feels like the normal routine will help this week,” Romo said. “The little things that help you get to where you need to be.”

Onside kicks

Tyron Smith (stomach virus) missed Sunday's work. Also out: safety Jeff Heath (thumb surgery and probably not ready this week), cornerback Tyler Patmon (knee) and linebacker Dekoda Watson (hamstring). ... The Cowboys added linebacker Will Smith and receiver Chris Boyd to the practice squad while releasing wideout Kerry Taylor from the 10-man developmental unit. Boyd, you will recall, was with Dallas this summer. At 6-4, his scout-team use will likely be to mimic the Bears' tall wide receivers.

The Final Word

Garrett says his offensive line is "a heck of a group,'' and in general, of course, there is no argument. But that group did get battered by the Eagles and I assume got battered in the film room this week, too.


"They’re the right kind of guys,'' he said. "I think they’re tough physically and mentally, and I think they’ll respond well. They have a tremendous amount of pride in being a good unit. I think they’ll watch the tape and they’ll try to rectify things."

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