Cowboys News: Anthony Brown off COVID list while Diggs, Cooper attend CFB championship
The Cowboys hope to welcome all of their COVID players back this week, starting with cornerback Anthony Brown. They’ll need all the personnel they can get for their wild-card matchup with San Francisco, as the early line has Dallas just a 3-point favorite. But would the Cowboys hit a three-pointer if it came to that? Special teams coordinator John Fassel admitted that kicker Greg Zuerlein is having a “psychological” issue that’s causing his frequent misses this season.
All that, plus ticket prices skyrocketed after the 49ers were announced as the postseason opponent; San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan talked about the rivalry between the two clubs. COVID concerns aren’t over; Mike McCarthy talked about players being smart and possibly even entering a hotel bubble… all while two star players flew to Indianapolis to hang out on the crowded sidelines of the CFP National Championship Game. The Cowboys rank No. 1 in one impressive category, we’re handing out end-of-year awards, the Dallas coordinators are drawing more interest, and there could be more yellow flags on the horizon in Sunday’s game. Here’s all the News and Notes.
Updates: Brown back from COVID list; Neal status :: The Mothership
Cornerback Anthony Brown has been taken off the Reserve/COVID list; Mike McCarthy said the team’s other starters on the list- Micah Parsons, Tyron Smith, and Jayron Kearse- should be back by Thursday. Linebacker Keanu Neal, meanwhile, injured an arm and shoulder against the Eagles, but should return midweek. Tony Pollard is also expected to be ready to play after sitting out Week 18.
Kellen Moore, Dan Quinn on Broncos HC radar; Denver requests to talk to both Cowboys coordinators :: Cowboys Wire
Both Cowboys coordinators are on the list of candidates to take over in Denver after defensively-minded Vic Fangio was fired over the weekend. Quinn has history with Broncos GM George Paton, but Moore is seen as a rising star in this year’s version of the coaching carousel. With Dallas in playoff prep, the interviews likely won’t happen this week.
Dallas Cowboys open as 3-point favorites against the San Francisco 49ers :: Blogging the Boys
DraftKings Sportsbook like the Cowboys as 3-point favorites versus San Francisco, at least to start the week. Most experts expect a close game, given the 49ers’ success in running the ball and a Cowboys defense that has been susceptible to the ground game on occasion.
Cowboys' Fassel doubles down on Zuerlein confidence: 'I'm going to be right' :: Cowboys Wire
The Cowboys kicker is connecting on PATs at a career-low rate. He’s missed six field goals on the season. According to Zuerlein’s special teams coordinator, he’s having a “confidence” problem as the team heads into the playoffs. But Fassel’s confidence in his kicker is unwavering. “I love Greg, I believe in Greg, and I’m not supporting him just because of my experience over the last ten years,” Fassel said. “I just have full faith in Greg. I do, and if I’m wrong, then I’ll be wrong.”
Cowboys sideline exclusive: Playoff ticket prices nearly triple after matchup with 49ers announced :: Dallas Morning News
As of Sunday night, tickets for the Cowboys’ first-round game could be found on third-party sites starting at $168 for standing room only. By Monday, most upper deck seats were priced in the mid- to upper-$300s, with some as high as $520 apiece.
Amari Cooper, Trevon Diggs attend National Championship :: Amari Cooper (Instagram)
McCarthy stresses need for players to be smart about COVID during playoffs :: Jori Epstein (Twitter)
Some Cowboys will self-isolate in hotel bubble :: Michael Gehlken (Twitter)
3 Stars: Cowboys' offense regains rhythm in blowout of Eagles :: Cowboys Wire
It’s hard to narrow down the star performers of Saturday’s season-ending blowout of Philadelphia, but a couple of the usual suspects made the list. Ezekiel Elliott looked solid in an 87-yard effort that put him over 1,000 on the year, and Dak Prescott returned to elite form as he tossed five touchdowns for the first time in his career. Two of them went to Cedrick Wilson, who put on a show in relief of Michael Gallup.
After 5-year drought, McCarthy back in playoffs :: The Mothership
Mike McCarthy’s last postseason win took place in AT&T Stadium, when a 56-yard field goal beat Dallas and sent Green Bay to the conference title game. That was at the end of the 2016 season, when Dak Prescott was just a rookie. This time around, Prescott is his veteran quarterback, and McCarthy will be on the home-team sideline in Arlington as he looks to extend his head coaching playoff record to 11-8. “I never had any doubts [about returning to the playoffs],” the coach said Monday. “I feel like this is where I belong. I know this is where we belong.”
Dallas tops final 2021 DVOA ratings :: Football Outsiders
The Cowboys have finished the season as the best in the league… at least according to the advanced metric of Defense-adjusted Value Over Average. It’s the first time Dallas has ended No. 1 in that category since the ’90s dynasty days. Best in the AFC? The New England Patriots.
49ers-Cowboys epic rivalry shaped Shanahan's childhood :: NBC Sports Bay Area
Growing up the son of the 49ers’ offensive coordinator in the mid-’90s, Kyle Shanahan had a front-row seat for NFL history. He had just turned 15 when San Francisco beat Dallas in January 1995 to earn a trip to Super Bowl XXIX. “That’s the coolest part of my childhood growing up, I feel like,” the current 49ers coach said as he prepares to renew the storied postseason rivalry.
Cowboys could see plenty of flags with officiating crew assigned to Sunday's game :: Matt Owen (Twitter)
Cowboys Wire's 2021 Team Awards: Who is Dallas' MVP? :: Cowboys Wire
The Cowboys Wire staff was in lockstep, naming Zack Martin the best offensive lineman, Prescott the offensive MVP, and Micah Parsons the defensive rookie of the year. There was almost no agreement on the Cowboys’ best play of 2021, though, as seven different moments were nominated. In the end, it was CeeDee Lamb’s walkoff wave against New England.