1. You’ve been knee-deep in Randy Gregory news this week. So I’ll keep my thoughts to five brief statements.
First, this is all on Gregory now. He can’t use. He can’t miss tests. He has be exactly where he’s supposed to be every single day for the rest of his NFL career and the rest of his life. Period.
Second, the Cowboys are right to support him. They’ve provided support to every player that wants it, just like any company should provide to a troubled employee. But it’s a two-way street. I hope Gregory understands that.
Third, this shows why the pre-draft process is so important. The Cowboys knew about all of this and selected him anyway. They went in with their eyes open. Perhaps they shouldn’t have made the pick. But they knew what they were getting into. Right now Gregory looks like a clear miss and from the standpoint of personnel decision-making that’s on the Cowboys.
Fourth, the Cowboys’ pass rush may be just fine. There’s a good chance that all of the injured linemen from the Philly game will be on the field for the divisional playoff game. And this is a pass rush that has gotten much better the last month. Gregory was a microscopic part of that.
Fifth, keep drafting defensive ends. The Cowboys shouldn’t get complacent about the position. They have some nice pieces under contract for the next few years, but no dominant rusher. Keep looking. At this point you just hope Gregory can be a depth guy for you at some point.
2. It’s the weekend and Cowboys players should take a cue from Dak Prescott and what he did during the Cowboys’ bye week in October. Go visit your grandma. Or your grandpa. Or your parents. Just go visit someone that will keep you out of trouble.
3. Wess Moore of Fox Sports Radio in Arkansas and I talked Cowboys-Eagles and the playoff bye week earlier this week. We delved into players with injuries and the players the Cowboys hope to get back for next week’s Divisional Playoff game.
I appear with Wess after every Cowboys game. Listen in at foxsportsarkansas.com if you don’t live there.
4. The Cowboys end up with five players on the All-Pro Team.
One of them is linebacker Sean Lee, who richly deserved the honor. Yes, the Pro Bowl snubbed him, but there is one clear difference between Pro Bowl and All-Pro voting — fans vote for the Pro Bowl and don’t vote for All-Pro. That’s why players put far more stock in All-Pro selection than the Pro Bowl. It’s nice to be liked by the fans. But it’s even better to be recognized by your peers, which is what All-Pro voting is for. Hopefully this is the first of many such nods for Lee, a player that I’ve always felt was All-Pro material if he could just stay healthy.
5. Wild Card playoff predictions? Why not? I’m lame … er, I mean, game… (note this may run Sunday but predictions were made before Saturday’s games).
Houston over Oakland: I think Brock Osweiler is the quarterback least likely to cost his team the game. I guess. Ugh. I do NOT want to watch this game.
Seattle over Detroit: I see the Lions giving the Seahawks a real tough game. But Seattle at home in January is probably too much to overcome.
Pittsburgh over Miami: Matt Moore has done fantastic work in place of Ryan Tannehill. But the ride ends Sunday afternoon.
Green Bay over N.Y. Giants: I know the Giants beat the Packers in Lambeau the last time they played in the playoffs. And I know it’s going to be cold. But the Packers are rolling right now and, don’t you just kind of want to see the Giants lose after seeing this?
And some of y’all wanna keep giving Tony Romo the business about Cabo in 2007? Please. At least Romo went on vacation on a bye week.
6. Need some reading material for the bye week? Let me help because, I mean, it’s going to be brisk this weekend (that’s my way of saying build a fire and stay inside):
By the way: As you scan these links and dig in, you see nobody gets more 1-on-1 interviews and more exclusive info than our Mike Fisher. He's got 1-on-1 visits this week alone with everybody from Scott Linehan to Jaylon Smith to Jerry Jones to Tony Romo ... much of it Cowboys Premium info ... and first thing Monday morning, we're going to offer you an incredibly affordable deep dive into REAL Cowboys Nation coverage. Stay tuned.
7. The Cowboys sign OG Jonathan Cooper. The Cowboys need short-term depth at guard and Cooper should provide that. He’s never lived up to the billing of a first-round pick, but injuries have played a big role in that. He’s still athletic and he still has the right frame to be a solid NFL guard. With Ron Leary hitting free agency and La’el Collins entering the final year of his contract in 2017, it’s possible Cooper sticks around after this season and competes for a swing guard role. It’s a perfect low-risk, high-reward type of signing the Cowboys’ next-door neighbors, the Texas Rangers, have gotten pretty good at the past few years. It’s also the type of signing you never see in the NFL in January. Bravo to the Cowboys for pouncing.
8. It’s our Tweet of the Week:
How nice of Q-Car to reach out. Was this his way of asking Jason to keep him in mind for Super Bowl tickets?
9. This week’s great moments in headline porn: “$700 a seat: Demand for Cowboys playoff tickets reach ‘insane’ levels” from startelegram.com
Imagine what happens when and if the Cowboys win a playoff game.
10. In case you missed it, here are the home and road opponents for the Dallas Cowboys in 2017:
Home: Redskins, Giants, Eagles, Rams, Seahawks, Chiefs, Chargers, Packers
Road: Redskins, Giants, Eagles, Broncos, Raiders, Cardinals, Niners, Falcons
Initial thoughts? It’s a great road schedule from a fan’s perspective. There are two trips to the Bay Area (I’m personally interested in Oakland because the Raiders may move soon and I haven’t been to a football game there yet). San Francisco’s new stadium is terrific. Their Niners Fall of Fame is worth the price of admission. Denver is a great experience I highly recommend the upper deck on the visitor’s side, which gives you a view of the Rocky Mountains. The Falcons are getting a new stadium for 2017. At home the Cowboys may host both Los Angeles teams (assuming San Diego exercises its LA option soon), plus they get to renew acquaintances with the former Dallas Texans (Chiefs). And, the Packers come to town. Competitively speaking, this could be rough. There are six playoff teams, and the Broncos and Redskins were knocking on the door.
One last thing. Good luck to our friend Mark Lane, who is taking his services to FoxSportsTexarkana.com as their Cowboys insider. He’ll do great work there and make sure you keep following him at @therealmarklane on Twitter.
Want to talk more Cowboys? Hit the CowboysHQ.com message boards or hit up Postins @PostinsPostcard or Mike Fisher @FishSports on Twitter.