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Sullivan: Signs Of An Elite Team, Irving's Play, Among Thoughts

Some of the thoughts that run through an oversized, bald head:

  • For the second time in three years, each as improbable as the other, the Cowboys dropped their season opener and then won five straight games. Here we are at 5-1. One could honestly make the case that this is one of the three most impressive teams in the league thus far. Minus Tony Romo and mostly Dez Bryant. This has been a coaching job for the ages, from Jason Garrett down to the lowest rung of assistants. This is showing up for the 20th high school reunion and the kid who missed out on the 200 points for writing his name on the SAT is now running a Fortune 500 company. Unreal stuff.
  • I've written and talked about the Dak Prescott/Romo situation enough the last week, so I'm only going to offer this: We may never, ever know the answer, but it's curious as to who has the final say in this decision. Jerry Jones is not and has never been the kind of owner he is often portrayed to be. There is nothing I've written in my two decades doing this with more truth than that last sentence.
  • Also, Garrett has more say than any head coach since Jimmy Johnson, including, yes, Bill Parcells. The Ezekiel Elliott pick was more or less his call entirely.
  • The game was sloppy for the most part. Nothing wrong with that, though. Winning minus a top-tier performance is the first and foremost sign of an elite team. Let's be honest, too. This certainly appears to be the best Cowboys squad since at least 2007.
  • Not sure what to say about Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense. Even though it upsets my buddies back home in Boston, I have never seen a better quarterback. On Sunday he looked like Brandon Weeden despite the Cowboys mounting little pass rush. They finished with just one quarterback hit. And it wasn't just this one game for Rodgers. It's been a struggle for the last year or so.
  • The first week of training camp, I tabbed David Irving as my breakout player of the year for the Cowboys. He promptly exited stage left for the nearest milk carton. Nah, he just hasn't been healthy and, well, he's still not feeling great. But my, oh my, just a ridiculous breakout game for the kid. Not often a player has the forced fumble and the recovery, especially when the latter is 3 yards away. Four tackles, too. There is no one with a bigger upside on the defense.
  • Through four games, the Packers had allowed 171 rushing yards – as in total, the second fewest since 1933. The Cowboys rushed for 191 alone. The offensive line has been like the Avengers the last four games, each of them a blocking superhero in and of himself. Do the kids still say mad props? Probably not, but kudos to Ron Leary and Doug Free. As for Zack Martin, everyone seems to be missing out. He's not playing like an All-Pro. He's playing like a future member of the Ring of Honor.
  • The block in the back by Brice Butler might just be the dumbest penalty in the eight years of my covering the team. Heck, throw in the six years I covered high school football and it still might rank first. I did enjoy how he went to the turf immediately after, almost like he crumbled, as if he could disappear and the flag wouldn't be thrown.
  • I know, I know, every week, every Thoughts column, I rave and rave about Anthony Brown. And there's really nothing else to say, right? Well, it's gone from this kid being drafted 189th overall and playing out of his mind to now everything Prescott and Elliott are doing at their positions, Brown is too. This is an incredible story that simply isn't receiving the attention it deserves. He's probably the most impressive Cowboys rookie cornerback since Everson Walls.
  • Elliott continues to astound. Has a legit chance at 2,000 yards, and barring injury, he's going to break Eric Dickerson's rookie rushing record. I was among the boneheads who didn't think that was doable entering the season. Wish the fans could have seen him those first few practices. He was gasping for air during drills, obviously wasn't in great shape. Like those old-school guys with full-time jobs in the offseason, he's worked himself into tip-top condition for when it matters most.
  • Lucky Whitehead saw two offensive touches and took them for 61 yards combined. Two of the key plays of the game. The 26-yard run late in the first half, when the Cowboys have seemingly always run and punted in those situations, was the most underappreciated snap of the game. That entire drive was like watching your dog drive a car. It was that bizarre, shocking, eye-twitching, whatnot. No timeouts, the conservative play-calling of the last decade, the rookie quarterback, and they cruised downfield like two kids playing against no defense in the backyard.
  • Can only hope that Morris Claiborne is OK following that head-to-head collision with Sean Lee. After six weeks, one could make the argument that "Mo" is hands down a Pro Bowl pick, if not up for All-Pro consideration. When he told me his goal of being a Pro Bowl selection before Week 1 and I tweeted it, it was blown up by the masses as ridiculous. He's worked so hard the last year. The extra week off will certainly help.
  • In terms of talking heads and social media, the next 14 days are going to be anything but chill. Yes, the Cowboys are 5-1, but there hasn't been a quarterback controversy more engaging for the Dallas faithful since Danny White and Gary Hogeboom in 1984. And fortunately for Tom Landry, that was long before social media and news cycles.

Check out Jeff Sullivan's column each week in *Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine. Find out more at You can also follow Jeff on Twitter, @SullyBaldHead, or email him at*

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