3 & Out: Zeke And Emmitt; A Plan For Irving; More


FRISCO, Texas – "We got back to our old self."

That's how Ezekiel Elliott described the Cowboys' revival on offense against the Lions. A two-score lead in the second half always helps, but this is a three-year proven formula: 27 or so pass attempts for Dak Prescott, 25 or so carries for Elliott, 5 or 6 receivers involved downfield.

Elliott led the way with, in my opinion, the best game he's played as a Dallas Cowboy.

He leads off this week's 3 & Out:

I Know…

it's unfair to directly compare anyone with the great Emmitt Smith. But Elliott's primo performance against Detroit got me curious.

Elliott posted a personal-best 240 scrimmage yards (rushing and receiving) against the Lions. He now has reached at least 200 scrimmage yards three times in three seasons: vs. Detroit last Sunday, at San Francisco in 2017 and at Pittsburgh in 2016.

How many 200-yard all-purpose games did Smith have in his 15-year career? I count four, including playoffs.

No surprise here: The Cowboys are 7-0 all-time when either man has hit that 200-yard mark.

Another Zeke-Emmitt connection: Last Sunday, Elliott became the only Cowboys player besides Smith to get at least 150 rushing yards (152) and a receiving touchdown in the same game. Smith did it with a separated shoulder against the Giants in January 1994. We all saw Elliott limp through knee and ankle soreness against Detroit.

Our digital team just completed a Deep Blue documentary on Smith's "Cold Shoulder" game in the Meadowlands. Will Zeke get his own doc some day? Hmmmm.

I Think…

it's more than just coach-speak when Jason Garrett says he's got to see how David Irving looks this week before deciding whether the versatile defensive lineman will debut Sunday at Houston.

Yes, Irving did post two sacks last year in his first game back from a four-game suspension. Maybe he's just a rare player in that regard. But these are different circumstances.

Last year, Irving took part in training camp and preseason before his suspension started. This year he was excused from all of camp to handle personal matters and was ineligible to practice these first four weeks. So, if we track it back to last season, when he missed the final four games with a concussion…

Irving hasn't been in a padded practice since two days before last Thanksgiving. That's 308 days without putting the pads on.

Can he flip a switch Sunday? We'll see. He's an amazing talent, and he's been working to stay in shape. The Cowboys are a little thin at defensive tackle right now, too. Even 10-15 snaps could be impactful.

I Have No Idea…

how much money DeMarcus Lawrence will be making this time next year, but at this rate, it'll be um, significant.

Lawrence (5.5) leads the NFL in sacks after four weeks and continues to establish himself as one of the most complete defensive linemen in the game. He's already making a ridiculous chunk of one-year change: $17. 1 million on the franchise tag.

He and the Cowboys can't negotiate an extension until after the season. Lawrence never scoffed at the franchise tag this year, but one can assume he'll prefer long-term security next time around.

It will all play out a few months from now, but I have hard time believing this will ever become a Le'Veon Bell-Pittsburgh type of situation. As team executive vice president Stephen Jones said Monday on 105.3 The Fan, "No one respects him more than I do."