The opening practice of the Cowboys’ first game week took just minutes to produce an injury scare. We’ve got the latest on Tyler Smith’s hamstring and what it means for Sunday’s season kickoff. We’ll also preview the health status of both Donovan Wilson and Sam Williams, and we’ll explain why this weekend’s matchup with one of the Cowboys’ oldest rivals comes with so many unknowns.
Meanwhile, one of the Giants’ defensive stars is eager for a rematch against CeeDee Lamb, Jayron Kearse embarks on a very important season, Terence Steele is all smiles after his massive extension, and the Cowboys’ rookie kicker gets the seal of approval from head coach Mike McCarthy. All that, plus who’s picking Dallas to make the Super Bowl… and why ESPN’s latest full-season simulation would be the worst season imaginable for Cowboys fans. All that and more in this edition of News and Notes.
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Cowboys LG Tyler Smith exits practice with hamstring discomfort :: Dallas Morning News
The second-year lineman left the field just minutes into the first game-week practice of 2023. A person familiar with the matter reports that Smith’s hamstring tightness is just a minor issue. The plan is for him to see how the muscle responds to rest and rehab before Wednesday’s practice, but the situation will bear close monitoring.
Donovan Wilson not practicing but ‘getting close’ :: The Mothership
Wilson remains sidelined with a calf injury suffered in late July but continues to work off to the side with trainers during practice. Mike McCarthy says he’s “not ready to put a status on him,” but admits that the safety coming off his best year and a freshly-signed three-year deal in the offseason is “getting close.”
Tyler Smith headlines Monday injury concerns for Cowboys :: Cowboys Wire
Smith and Wilson aren’t the only Cowboys players already dealing with injury. Jourdan Lewis got in some work on Monday as he continues his comeback. Nahshon Wright is ineligible for action until Week 5, but he’s now out of his walking boot. Sam Williams was in street clothes during Monday’s practice as he nurses a case of turf toe.
Cowboys 53-man roster, elevation-eligible players vs Giants for Week 1 :: Cowboys Wire
Remember that Ronald Jones is suspended for the first two games of the season, and that Trey Lance doesn’t have to be on the active list in order to enter the game for emergency duty. We’ve got a full look at who may be eligible for a gameday elevation from the practice squad; everybody’s counter sits at zero right now.
Terence Steele ‘overcome with emotion’ upon signing extension :: The Mothership
The former undrafted free agent says his new $86.2 million extension will only make him work harder. “There’s more work to be put in so I won’t be complacent,” he told reporters Monday. Steele believes the diligence he’s shown in rehabbing his ACL tear “probably had something to do with” the club’s decision to make a long-term commitment to him. “I’ve heard some people come back and they’re not the same, so I just wanted to make that a point coming back that I’ll keep progressing like I have.”
‘No comparables’: Cowboys prep for familiar Week 1 foe who brings heavy dose of unknown :: Cowboys Wire
The Giants and Cowboys have met 121 times in the regular season, with Dallas winning 11 of the past 12. But this time around, there will be a whole lot of X-factor. Of the 22 listed Giants starters for Week 1, only 11 saw the field the last time the two teams met on Thanksgiving. Mike McCarthy is expecting 35% of New York’s plays to be looks the Dallas defense has never seen before.
Giants’ Adoree’ Jackson looking forward to rematch with Cowboys’ CeeDee Lamb in Week 1 :: SNY
The Giants cornerback hasn’t forgotten about the one-handed touchdown grab Lamb made against him in the fourth quarter of last year’s Week 3 meeting. “Just a great throw and catch, it’s just one of those things you just nod your head, tip your hat off to them, and just keep back lining it up.” After being injured for their Week 12 rematch, Jackson is eager to finally face Lamb again this Sunday night. “It’s all about taking this series personal because you never know when it’ll be your last snap.”
Jayron Kearse is critical to Cowboys, but faces uncertain future :: Cowboys Wire
Kearse helped usher in a new era of dominant safety play in Dallas in 2021. He’s become a key cog in Dan Quinn’s defense in his hybrid role, but he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. Fellow safeties Donovan Wilson and Malik Hooker got new financial commitments from Dallas, Micah Parsons will need a record-breaking contract soon, and younger (read: cheaper) players like DeMarvion Overshown, Markquese Bell, and Israel Mukuamu look like they all could be in line to handle Kearse’s duties in 2024.
Cowboys’ Mike McCarthy ‘very impressed’ with rookie kicker Brandon Aubrey entering 2023 NFL season :: CBS Sports
McCarthy says he’s not worried about his rookie kicker heading into the regular season. The two 59-yard field goals he made in the preseason finale certainly helped. “I do have confidence in him,” McCarthy said. “Those deep kicks are his strength. I don’t worry about his ability. He has clearly passed that test. He is high in that area. He just needs opportunities.”
Cowboys must embrace strengths of RBs without becoming too transparent :: Cowboys Wire
Tony Pollard is expected to take on a bigger workload, but he’s never surpassed 200 carries in his career. To remain explosive, he’ll need other RBs to help shoulder the load. How the Cowboys divvy up the rushing is one of the biggest questions surrounding the 2023 season. But it won’t pay to be predictable; players like Deuce Vaughn and Hunter Luepke have to do more than run only plays designed for their obvious strong suits.
Super Bowl LVIII predictions: Who represents AFC, NFC in Vegas? Which team wins Lombardi Trophy? :: NFL.com
Four of the network’s 34 experts pick the Chiefs to beat Dallas in the Super Bowl, and two have Buffalo topping the Cowboys to finally hoist a Lombardi. One single panelist is putting his money on Dallas to win their sixth championship, with a victory over Cincinnati sealed by the newest iteration of the Doomsday defense.
2023 NFL simulation: 285 game predictions, including playoffs :: ESPN
Simulation No. 3,818 of the network’s 20,000 is pure nightmare fuel for Cowboys Nation. In it, Dallas loses the first two games of the season before barely beating Arizona. And then they drop the next three to start 1-5. They struggle to reach 3-6 through Week 10, and then they fall out of playoff contention altogether. A Week 15 loss to Buffalo puts McCarthy’s job in jeopardy, and the Cowboys finish 2023 with the No. 2 draft pick in 2024. Yikes.