Nick Eatman is the recent published author of: “If These Walls Could Talk: Dallas Cowboys” a collection of stories from the Cowboys' locker room, sideline and press box, with a foreword written by Darren Woodson.
IRVING, Texas – When the schedule was released back in April, one of the first things that stood out was the placement of the bye week in mid-November.
That meant the Cowboys had to go 10 straight weeks, including a trip overseas to London and back, before getting a break.
Right now, the team is seven games into it and at 6-1, maybe they wouldn't even want to stop the flow, considering their six-game winning streak.
Still, the aches and pains are starting to pile up, and even if it's not a full week, just an extra day off would be beneficial. And that's exactly what head coach Jason Garrett gave his players this week, with the Cowboys having an extra day this week before the Monday night showdown with the Redskins on Oct. 27.
Instead of having an extra practice day, the Cowboys elected to give the players off on Monday and Tuesday before having them arrive at Valley Ranch in the middle of Wednesday to watch the game tape of the Giants.
For Garrett, he said the team thought rest was more important than repetition at this point in the year.
"Absolutely. I think it's important to take advantage of that," Garrett said of the extra day. "You do get a bonus day and different teams use the bonus day in different ways. Maybe earlier in the season teams might use it as a practice day, but we chose to give our players off and let them do stuff on their own. Do their rehab and get their running done, get their preparation started. We'll come in on Wednesday as if it's a Tuesday, we'll clean up the game from Sunday and then get ready to go back to work on Thursday."
The Cowboys will practice Thursday and Friday and then have a lighter walk-through on Saturday and an even shorter one Sunday.
Quarterback Tony Romo has been resting his back and other ailing injuries on Wednesdays and will likely just sit out of Thursday this week.
The Cowboys are hopeful to get linebacker Bruce Carter back on the field Thursday with a shot to play Monday night.
Garrett said cornerback Brandon Carr played through a slight hamstring injury on Sunday against the Giants and will be monitored this week, but the Cowboys aren't expecting it to be a lingering issue.
[embeddedad0]Garrett said the coaching staff will get an extra day for the Redskins, and while other teams tend to use the additional time to get ahead on the schedule and perhaps jump to Arizona game film, that won't be the case.
"No, we focus on this team who we're playing – the Redskins on Monday night," Garrett said. "Our energy will be to that. Because of the bonus day, the days may be a little shorter for us in a good way where we can spread the work out. We'll start our preparation. The coaches are watching tape on Washington right now."
The extra day of practice this week is obviously the same for both teams, and the Cowboys understand it could give Washington some time to perhaps change quarterbacks, assuming starter Robert Griffin III can return from the ankle injury he suffered in Week 2. The Redskins benched Kirk Cousins for Colt McCoy, who is expected to get some first-team reps in Washington this week with the outside shot of Griffin returning.
"I think the biggest thing you do in that kind of situation is see how differently they play," Garrett said of preparing for multiple quarterbacks. "Is the system different or the plays that they run different? Then you try to study the tape where each of the guys are playing and make that evaluation and go forward from there if there are any real tendencies. It looks like from what I've seen without going into any deep study that the offense is fairly consistent, fairly similar when they play each of their quarterbacks, and it looks like Colt McCoy played really well in the game (Sunday). We certainly have to be ready for that as well as the other guys."