Cowboys News: Parsons as ‘Little L.T.,’ who’s healthy at RB, must-win December?

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The Cowboys are finally getting the band back together. With the entire coaching staff and every player except Nahshon Wright back from COVID protocols, the Cowboys are nearing full strength for their Week 14 showdown in the nation’s capital. Except for Tony Pollard, maybe; he sat out Wednesday practice with some sort of foot injury. Ezekiel Elliott says he’s full-go, though… as is the defense, now new and improved with DeMarcus Lawrence, Neville Gallimore, and Randy Gregory. That will affect where rookie phenom Micah Parsons takes his snaps on Sunday, but one teammate says it hardly matters because he’s already a gamewrecker of legendary proportion.

Elsewhere, a look at who Washington will be without… and who is lighting it up for the Football Team. We examine an incredible stat about Coach McCarthy’s annual November nosedive, we look at why so many ex-NFLers (like Cowboys Jason Witten and Jon Kitna) are going back to the high school gridiron, we rank the Cowboys’ Top 30 players, and we dig into what has to happen over the course of the next five games for the road to LA to go through Dallas. All that, plus a fascinating look at the first woman to ever put on the iconic Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders uniform. That’s all up in News and Notes.

Micah Parsons, The Cowboys' 'Little L.T.'? :: The Mothership

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Fans gushing over the rookie linebacker is one thing. Veteran teammates doing it is something else. And when it comes to one comparison that many have drawn this season, even DeMarcus Lawrence admits he has to agree. “I heard somebody called him The Little L.T., and I was like, ‘Yes. We do have a Little L.T. on our team.'” Lawrence Taylor was the first and only player to win NFL Defensive Player of the Year in his first pro season; Parsons is in the conversation to follow suit.

Micah Parsons challenges Zack Martin for top spot in Week 14 Cowboys Player Rankings :: Cowboys Wire

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A good bit of movement in the player rankings since Week 11. Welcome to the Top 30, Malik Turner, Trysten Hill, Malik Hooker, and Carlos Watkins. Elliott and CeeDee Lamb drop a bit, Amari Cooper and DeMarcus Lawrence see their stock rise… and don’t look now, but rookie Micah Parsons is now the second-best player on the roster.

Micah Parsons looks to make most of limited snaps at LB :: Jon Machota (Twitter)

Will Taylor Heinicke pose a problem for the Dallas Cowboys? :: Inside the Star

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The WFT quarterback has posted a passer rating of above 100 three times over their four-game winning streak, completing over 70% of his passes in that span and passing for seven touchdowns to only two interceptions. Good thing the Cowboys have their defensive stars back in action.

Cowboys RB Tony Pollard misses practice with foot injury, Elliott's knee 'progressing' :: Cowboys Wire

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Pollard popped up on Wednesday’s practice report as a non-participant due to a foot injury. The team reportedly classified it as not a long-term concern. Ezekiel Elliott, meanwhile, practiced in full and told reporters, “They’re going to have to drag me off the field,” when asked about the knee injury that has prompted rumors of the team sitting him for games.

Cowboys sign former Falcons RB Ito Smith to practice squad :: Cowboys Wire

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Atlanta’s fourth-round pick in 2018 has been signed by Dallas to provide an insurance policy on the practice squad… and maybe something more as the team enters its final five-game stretch. Smith tallied 689 yards on 175 carries over 35 games on Dan Quinn’s Falcons roster.

Cowboys 2021 playoff outlook: Preview of Dallas' remaining games, what to improve, how to obtain No. 1 seed :: CBS Sports

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It would be unfair to suggest that every game is a “must-win” for Dallas from here on out, but it’s also not far off. With a four-way race to the NFC’s top seed, the Cowboys can presumably afford to lose one more game, max, if they want the bye and home-field advantage. And then they also need help. That Jan. 2 game versus Arizona is shaping up to be a monster matchup with massive implications.

Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy to return to team Thursday for final WFT prep :: Cowboys Wire

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“The protocol experience has been an education, to say the least, but I feel great. I’m ready to go,” McCarthy said. After a full 10 days holed up in a hotel with COVID, the head coach will be back in the team facility Thursday. He even joked that he’s so eager to return to work that he’d be in the office one minute after midnight to help the team prep for Washington.

December has historically been Mike McCarthy’s best month as a head coach in the NFL :: Blogging the Boys

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Perhaps no one was happier to turn the most recent calendar page than the Cowboys coach. Over his long career, McCarthy’s win percentage in November games is- inexplicably- 20 points lower than every other month. For what it’s worth, he has posted his highest winning percentage in December.

Washington DE Montez Sweat placed on COVID-19 list, will miss at minimum Week 14 vs. Cowboys :: Yahoo Sports

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The Football Team will be without another of its star defensive ends this weekend. Sweat was placed on the team’s Reserve/COVID list on Wednesday. As an unvaccinated player, Sweat will have be quarantined for a minimum 10 days, meaning he may also miss Washington’s next game versus Philadelphia, too. He’s already missed the previous four games with a fractured jaw.

Cowboys' Randy Gregory's practice window opens; aiming to play Sunday :: Cowboys Wire

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The Cowboys officially have 21 days to decide whether the defensive end is ready for active duty, but they may take just three. Gregory is expected to play Sunday at Washington after a four-game absence with a foot fracture. It will mark the first time he and DeMarcus Lawrence have been on the field together since Week 1.

Dak Prescott gifted his Cowboys teammates new Jordans :: RJ Ochoa (Twitter)

Meet the first woman to wear the Cowboys Cheerleaders uniform :: Texas Monthly

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The outstanding America’s Girls podcast series continues with the story of Vonciel Baker, the longest-ever-tenured member of the legendary Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. She was on the squad for eight seasons, beginning with their very first year… and she holds the unique honor of being the first person to ever physically put on the iconic uniform that ended up in the Smithsonian.

Why 169 former NFL players have turned to coaching high school football :: ESPN

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After experiencing football at its highest level, an increasing number of players are going back to where it all began by coaching high school teams. Former Cowboys tight end Jason Witten is among them. So is former Dallas quarterback and QB coach Jon Kitna. “It was just a realization that I wanted to help,” Kitna says, “do what I could do, to get them to college, to get the academic piece even if football wasn’t going to be their long-term thing. To help people chase dreams.”

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