Mick Shots: Always A Pothole Around The Corner

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FRISCO, Texas – Have maintained this for as long as covering this National Football League, and here we go again, yet more evidence.

It just goes to show ya, it's always sumpin'.

Bad enough the Cowboys have been playing without Tyron Smith and for at least another week, maybe two, Dak Prescott. They just got back Michael Gallup, but then lost Jourdan Lewis right before the start of Sunday's game against Washington. And last year's leading tackler Jayron Kearse has missed the past three games, though jumping back into practice on Wednesday, then having to place defensive end Tarell Basham on injured reserve three weeks ago. And we haven't seen James Washington, still on IR.

But now this: The Cowboys lose reliable veteran deep snapper – that's right, a deep snapper – Jake McQuaide for the entire season, placing him on season-ending injured reserve, having torn his left triceps Sunday on what was his final play of that 25-10 victory over Washington, blocking after his punt snap with two minutes left in the game.

Come on, man, how many potholes in a month's time?

So there the Cowboys were on Tuesday, working out four deep snappers, and realize these guys don't grow on trees, and at best, teams only have an "emergency" one somewhere on the game-day active roster just in case with little to absolutely no experience. Not a guy who can take over for the remainder of a season.

The Cowboys are playing this smart. They have signed two of those four workout guys to the practice squad – Matt Overton, last on the Rams practice squad after snapping for six other NFL teams (the Chargers twice), and Tucker Overton, having snapped for the Houston Gamblers of the USFL this year – to snap it out for the job. And since they filled McQuaide's spot on the 53-man roster with backup quarterback Will Grier, still needing one Sunday in Los Angeles with Dak on the mend and having already used up Grier's maximum three elevations from the practice squad, the winner will be elevated to the game-day roster for Sunday.

And the shame of this is the Cowboys special teams have been spotless, kicker Brett Maher making 10 of 11 field goal attempts and five of six extra points, the only miss a block. And punter Bryan Anger, has been near perfect, only shanking that one against the Commanders, causing special teams coach John Fassel to tell him afterward, "OK, you only get one every 11 years," so he just used that "one" up.

"Just got to figure it out so we're all on the same page," Maher said of having to change deep snappers for the first time in the middle of a season. "Got to get comfortable with them professionally and personally."

The Cowboys can only hope they get as lucky as they were the last time they were forced to make an in-season deep snapper change. That occurred in 2005, when Bill Parcells became impatient with rookie Jon Condo after just three games. That's when they brought in some guy named L.P. Ladouceur, at the time the Cowboys out in California practicing at San Jose State between back-to-back games on the West Coast against San Francisco and at the time Oakland.

L.P. only performed flawlessly for 16 years before the new staff in 2020 brought in McQuaide. We'll see which guy they decide to take a shot with, and guarantee you the leash will be a short one.

But at least this injury to McQuaide didn't happen in the middle of a game that Maher hit on four of four field goals since the game-day emergency snappers are tight ends, either Jake Ferguson or Dalton Schultz.

  • Sack City: What are the chances of this happening? The game before the Cowboys faced Cincinnati, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was sacked seven times in their opener by Pittsburgh. Then the week before the Cowboys faced the Giants, Daniel Jones was sacked three times by Carolina. Then the week before the Cowboys played Washington, Carson Wentz was sacked nine times by the Eagles. And now this past Sunday in advance of the Cowboys playing the defending Super Bowl champion Rams, Matthew Stafford is sacked seven times, hit another 11 times and pressured 17 more times Monday night by the 49ers. Those Cowboys with 15 sacks in four games and a combination of 59 QB hits and pressures must be drooling once again.
  • Proud Alum: Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy, whose first coaching job was at Fort Hays State University in Kansas as a graduate assistant, will be honored on Friday with an Alumni Achievement Award, the association's highest recognition first established in 1959 to honor graduates of the university for outstanding achievement in a career or personal achievement. After playing and graduating at Baker University, an NAIA school, McCarthy worked as a graduate assistant coach for two seasons at Fort Hays State (1988-89), finishing with a degree in sports administration.
  • A Real Homecoming: Before Tony Romo arrived in Green Bay for Sunday's CBS telecast of the Packers-Patriots game at Lambeau Field, he enjoyed a homecoming of sorts Friday night in his hometown of Burlington, Wis., where the high school he graduated from in 1998 held the official dedication ceremony of its new artificial turf field at Don Dalton Stadium, naming it Tony Romo Field. Even though Romo never played at the new stadium, the Burlington Area School District thought it appropriate to name the field after the most famous athlete in school history. Romo contributed to the new field as a way of supporting the community. "It's just humbling, and I feel real lucky that Burlington and Burlington High School and the people there think enough of me to do that," Romo would say.
  • Shorties: Guess cornerback Trevon Diggs is proving to those doubters out there he is about more than just the interceptions, which he has two now in four games after is NFL-leading 11 last year but leads the NFL with nine pass breakups … To go with their 15 sacks, one behind NFL-leading Philadelphia, the Cowboys also have 15 tackles for losses, giving the defense a total of 30 negative plays, third most in the NFL so far … Offensive lineman Connor McGovern needs to catch a break, returning after missing the previous two games with a sprained ankle against Cincinnati, only to get rolled up on early in the Washington game, suffering another sprained ankle he played through, though fully participating in Wednesday's practice … Sure was great to see fifth-round draft choice Damone Clark's three-week NFI practice window begin Wednesday, trying to ramp up after having neck vertebrae fusion surgery in March after the NFL Scouting Combine. For starters, the guy has special teams written all over him … The Cowboys coaching staff had a feeling fifth-round pick DaRon Bland could handle filling in for Lewis (groin) at the last minute on Sunday, having played well in training camp and then also on special teams before his first NFL game snaps on defense … And while the Cowboys survived the short week after playing Monday night at the Giants, now it's the Rams turn, having played Monday night in San Francisco, but at least they aren't changing time zones nor arriving home at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday like the Cowboys did. And when head coach Mike McCarthy was asked will that give his team an advantage in Sunday afternoon's game, he remarked rhetorically, "Does it give us an advantage? I hope so."

And for the last word this week, we turn to McCarthy when asked how linebacker Micah Parsons has been handling the extra attention offenses have been giving him since he hasn't recorded a sack in the past two games after two each in the first two games.

"How has he handled it? I think it's constant," he said of the attention. "No. 1, it's reflective in the type of player that he is. But I think he's dealing with it in a good way, so he's a team player. It's been awesome just to watch him mature and come on in some of the other areas outside of just playing. He's going to be dealing with it for the rest of his career. It's not going away anytime soon. I think [defensive coordinator] Dan [Quinn] and the staff are very cognizant of it, and we've got to keep trying to create targeting issues not only for the offense, but make sure we're giving him opportunities to make plays."

And when asked if what's taking place is any different than what took place last year during his NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year season, McCarthy said, "I would say yes, just for the fact they have more video on him. So now he has tendencies from when he's playing the open end, in the normal D. Are they trying to run the ball at him, those types of things. Those are things we're very aware of, just making sure to continue giving him opportunities where he could make plays."

No joke, and Washington sure tried to expose his size when playing the open end on run downs, running right at Parsons with those big ol' offensive tackles.

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