FRISCO, Texas -- It's Tuesday. It's time for Five Wonders. Why delay?
Away we go:
I wonder how the Dallas Cowboys' schedule will affect Tyron Smith's status this week and going forward. After Sunday's game against the Eagles, the Cowboys play on Thanksgiving against the Los Angeles Chargers. That's a quick turnaround for any healthy player, let alone one with a few nagging injuries like Smith. I wonder if it would make sense to have Smith play against the Eagles and then have him sit against the Chargers. I'm normally a "football players play football in football season," guy but the Eagles' game is of more importance, which I'm sure coach Jason Garrett would completely disagree with, than the Chargers' game because of NFC tiebreaker scenarios. Would you rather have Smith against the Eagles or the Chargers? I'd take the Eagles every day of the week.
Rookie defensive back Chidobe Awuzie has missed six of the last seven games because of a hamstring strain. It was an injury that bothered him since the summer and the Cowboys effectively shut him down for the last five weeks, limiting his work in practice. He could play this week against the Eagles. I wonder if the Cowboys would take a similar plan with Sean Lee. Ah, who am I kidding? I know the Cowboys can't take that approach with Lee. He means too much to this defense, but just like Smith, there might be more discretion used in his return. I wonder if the Cowboys would limit Lee's work just to manage him through a game, putting together some kind of rotation. Some Sean Lee is better than no Sean Lee, right?
I've mentioned this before, but I wonder if the Cowboys revisit the idea of getting linebacker Anthony Hitchens signed to a multi-year extension. He was everywhere for the Cowboys against Atlanta. According to the press box stats, he had 10 tackles and a tackle for loss. Hitchens is set to be an unrestricted free agent after the season. Given Lee's injury history and Jaylon Smith's continued recovery from a major knee injury, Hitchens should be a must-keep for the Cowboys. He can play multiple positions. He is instinctive. He is a good locker room guy.
Let's stick with the defense for a third straight wonder: Anthony Brown's second season has not been as productive as his first season for whatever the reason. He leads the Cowboys with eight penalties. He has been picked on more this year than he was as a rookie. Or at least so it seems. I wonder if the Cowboys would go with rookie Jourdan Lewis in the base defense as the starter opposite Orlando Scandrick. Sometimes we make too much of starting, especially given how much teams use their nickel defense, but maybe Brown would do more with less, so to speak. This move would be more about what Lewis can be in the future than what the rookie is right now.
One week after catching nine passes for 141 yards, Terrance Williams had one catch for 9 yards on four targets against the Falcons. I wonder how that happens. How can a receiver be such a big part of the game plan one week and then disappear the next? The offensive line breakdowns likely contributed to it. More often than not Williams has longer developing routes than the other receivers, so considering the pressure he was under from the opening snap, not getting the ball to Williams makes some sense. But Cole Beasley had just two catches, too, and his routes are much faster developing.