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IRVING (105.3 THE FAN) – Dez Bryant insists that he wants to play and the Cowboys insist that they’re offended by the suggestion that they’d do anything but go all-out to win at Buffalo on Sunday.
So no, they’re not “tanking.” But yes, what I’ve termed on 105.3 The Fan as “organic tanking” is absolutely in play.
It applies to Bryant, listed as “doubtful” and unlikely to play after missing practice all week with a foot injury. The Cowboys will give QB Kellen Moore his first career start and have elevated QB Jameill Showers from the practice squad (replacing the IR’ed Tony Rono) as part of the sane movement.
Lose on purpose? No. priorities in addition to winning – like protecting dinged-up veterans and eyeballing young prospects and hey, if you happen to lose, “lose with valor”?
Yessir. That’s “organic tanking”: you don’t lose on purpose … It just kind of happens.
Cornerback Mo Claiborne (hamstring) is definitely in this same boat; don’t look for him to play. Other Cowboys may have incentives, besides pride, to participate. That would go for consecutive-game ironman Jason Witten and possibly for players like Greg Hardy and Sean Lee, who have contracts which feature performance-based salaries.
But ultimately the benefits of somehow “losing with valor” outweigh most of the rest. Dallas’ draft position is enhanced, its future schedule in weakened and premier athletes who only have so many snaps to give are allowed to save ’em up for when they matter to the Cowboys.
Like, next year, when you hope you never have to consider “organic tanking” again.