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Notes: McClain's Status, Back Talk, Marinelli, More


IRVING, Texas – Rolando McClain isn't going to give away any hints.

The Cowboys' middle linebacker made his way back to the practice field Friday for the first time this week, but he wouldn't divulge much about how much he practiced or if he'll play Sunday.

"I went through the drills they asked me to go through," McClain said.

McClain injured his groin and missed the Rams game after a strong showing against the Titans. It's possible he could return this weekend against the Saints. He said he's staying engaged mentally so he can be ready to play if he's cleared to go. 

"Feels better than yesterday, taking it day-by-day," McClain said. "There's a chance that it may feel better tomorrow. We'll see how it feels."

McClain and defensive tackles Henry Melton and Terrell McClain all practiced for the first time this week on a limited basis Friday and are listed as questionable for Sunday.

Defense Vs. Defense?

Most defensive coaches want to outplay the opponent's offense.

Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, meanwhile, wants to outplay the opposing team's defense.

"Well, that's how you win a game," Marinelli said. "At the end of the day, we've just got to outplay their defense. If they get so many takeaways, we've got to get more takeaways. If they give up so many points, we've got to give up one less. It's a way you can go out and win the game mindset-wise, and just keep playing every down."

Marinelli was complimentary of the Cowboys' offensive side of the ball, calling that group a "heck of an offense," and he appreciates what the running game has been able to do for the defense to keep that group fresh. 

"The way we're running the ball is awesome," Marinelli said. "Playing great team football, to me. When they run it, control it like that for us, it's big time. Keeps us off the field a little bit more, keep guys a little bit fresher. Obviously, it makes a lot of different for us. We're running the ball big time."

All of the Lights

Saints coach Sean Payton has a lot of history in Dallas, but it's playing on Sunday night that excites him the most heading into the weekend.

"I think more so when you get a chance to play on Sunday night or a primetime game," Payton said. "I've got a lot of close friends back there with that organization and have a property back there and spend a lot of time back there with my children, so look, there's a uniqueness about that program that's special. So just having those opportunities, and then to play when the schedule comes out and you see that it's a Sunday night game, that's exciting."

Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant's equally thrilled to get to play to a national audience.

"It's Sunday night, all eyes on us," Bryant said. "Not only us, but the Saints. Last game shown on TV, don't nobody want to get embarrassed. Both sides going to bring it. It's going to be a great game to watch."

Never Say Never

The fans voted the Cowboys as the winners of this week's GMC Never Say Never Award for their 34-31 win over the Rams after trailing 21-0. The fans picked the Cowboys' rally, which was the largest come-from-behind regulation win in franchise history, over the Seahawks and Eagles, who both had close victories.

The award honors the league's best moments or plays of the week that represent determination and perseverance.

-Nick Eatman

Back to Back

Tony Romo's back continues to be a topic of interest, but Romo said it's not pain that holds him back. [embedded_ad]

"What happens is you just end up, if you do too much or you do something that puts a lot of pressure in certain areas, you'll then feel it," Romo said. "But you don't look for it. You just go and do it. You know there are certain moves or things that'll put more pressure or inflammation as you continue to do it, so you try and make sure that you're doing those the right amount of reps and numbers."

Romo said earlier this week that he felt much better in Week 3 than he had the previous two weeks. He also said he's not expecting pain when he makes movements during the course of the game.

"I think it's just, over time, through torque, the things that continue to happen after you get surgery, it just kind of develops normal soreness coming back from a surgery of any kind," he said. "You just want to kind of guard against that so you're not feeling some of those effects."

It's the torque that can sometimes cause fatigue in the back as he works his way back, but he said the back continues to feel better every week.

"You just want your strength to always be there," he said. "Through fatigue sometimes, the strength, when you come back from surgery the more you use it, it just gets less. The good thing was in Week 3 I was able to have, what felt like I was able to fire and have my full strength. That was nice, because I didn't have that the first couple weeks."

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