By Shawn S. Lealos
The Dallas Cowboys are still mathematically eligible for the playoffs, but one more loss will knock them completely out. With games coming up against the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, and Washington Redskins, the chance of winning out is slim. While only the diehard Cowboys fans hold out hope, many are already looking to the 2016 NFL Draft. Here is a look at the Dallas Cowboys news heading into this weekend’s New York Jets game.
Will Cowboys Play for High Draft Spot?
Players like Sean Lee and Jason Witten, as well as head coach Jason Garrett, have preached that this team will fight regardless of their record. However, with the chances of making the playoffs slim, the time to fight might have passed this team by. The biggest thing that some fans are noticing is that the Cowboys could end up with a top five draft pick if they lose out this season. Three teams have worse records than Dallas and three have the same record. This could be the Cowboys’ chance to cash in on an injury plagued season with a high draft pick. However, Dallas doesn’t want to hear that. “The makeup of the guys on our football team is outstanding,” Garrett said. “The football character is outstanding. They come to work. They practice hard. They play hard. So I don’t expect anything different.”
Dez Bryant Will Not be Shut Down
Coming off a broken foot in the opening game of the NFL season, Dez Bryant has not seemed back to 100 percent since returning. Some think Bryant returned too early and his play has suffered for it. With the Cowboys possibly one loss from eliminating their playoff hopes, there are some who think Bryant should shut down to allow his body to finally heal up. However, Bryant isn’t one to want to stop playing and owner Jerry Jones said it won’t happen. “We’ll go balls-out with Dez,” Jones said. “I’m not so sure the foot is an issue apart from the fact that it limited him very early in the season … In my mind, it is completely related to lack of practice, repetition.”
Matt Cassel Remaining Starting Quarterback
With Dallas facing the end of their season, questions arise at quarterback. Since releasing Brandon Weeden, the Cowboys have put their trust in Matt Cassel. The one-time NFL starting quarterback has disappointed. Cassel has started seven games for Dallas since coming over from Buffalo and has a 1-6 record as starter. His quarterback rating is a low 73.5 and he has five touchdowns and six interceptions in seven games. Dallas has the winningest quarterback in college football on the roster, but Garrett has no intention of playing Kellen Moore. “We believe in Matt Cassel. We believe he can win games for us,” Garrett said. “We will evaluate the tape before we talk about anything regarding personnel. Matt battles. He competes.”
Cowboys Release Cornerback Tyler Patmon
Heading into the New York Jets game, the Dallas Cowboys further reduced their secondary help. With Morris Claiborne once again battling injuries, the Cowboys waived fellow cornerback Tyler Patmon. The cornerback who did some good things in 2014 was demoted earlier in the season. After the Packers loss, the Cowboys not only demoted him, but they also waived him completely. Rookie Byron Jones will probably take over as the nickel corner for the rest of the season with Jeff Heath getting more playing time at safety. “We just felt like that was the best move for our team right now going forward, and we’re going to work through what the substitution is going to be on the back end for this ballgame,” Garrett said.
Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos. Examiner.com.