Regardless of the situation, a game week is always filled with news and storylines from both sides of the ball.
Each week, Cowboys Catch-Up will get you fully prepared, reviewing some of the top stories and videos of the week. Head into Sunday's game by catching up on everything you need to know from this week, courtesy of the DallasCowboys.com staff.
Most of the world didn't know who Garrett Gilbert was a few weeks ago. Then he almost pulled off an upset against the undefeated Steelers. He joined Dani Surek and Brad Sham to talk about his journey thus far. [Watch Gilbert on the Cowboys Hour] Who do the Cowboys need to see more of over the next eight weeks? A veteran like Sean Lee? A rookie like Neville Gallimore? The DallasCowboys.com staff give their answers. [Read Monday's Fast 5 on who needs to step up] Andy Dalton has officially cleared COVID-19 protocol and returned to practice. "But even with that, McCarthy wasn't ready to name him the starter against the Vikings," Nick Eatman writes. [Read Eatman on Dalton's status]
Dave called the NFC East an "abomination" and Kelsey claimed the winner will be "impressive in all the wrong ways." [Watch The Star At Night duo begrudgingly admit the Cowboys have a real shot at the playoffs]. How would you describe the Cowboys' defense halfway through the season? "They have shown signs of improvement in the last few weeks, but defensive lapses have been a consistent theme in the first year of Mike McCarthy's head coaching tenure," David Helman puts it. [Read Helman's review of the defense up to this point] Derek, Ambar, Nick, and Dave took listener questions, and when one of those questions concerned next year's draft the debate got a bit heated. [Watch the draft talk on Cowboys Break]
Few players, if any, have been more important and accomplished more in 60 years of the Dallas Cowboys than Emmitt Smith. The NFL's all-time leading rusher revisits some of his favorite memories on the Legends Show. [Watch Emmitt look back on an incredible career] Andy Dalton was cleared to return to action, but Danny McCray and Barry Church aren't on the same page about who should be starting under center. [Watch the Player's Lounge debate over Sunday's quarterback] The Cowboys had a bye week to prepare and veteran quarterback returning to the field? Will their offense improve? Kyle Youmans and Isaiah Stanback take a look at the offensive tape. [Watch Film Room to see what the Cowboys' offense might have in store] If the Cowboys were in any other division the playoffs would be out of the question, but Mickey Spagnola says Dallas might very well the the favorite in the NFC East. "The Cowboys, even though they are dead last in their East division, are only 1.5 games out of first place," Spagnola writes. "For this season, the East is definitely the place to be." [Read all of Mick Shots]
This isn't the first year Cowboy fans and media have looked for who to blame. But when we look back, were we pointing fingers at the wrong ones? "For several years, Jeff Heath was the scapegoat for a Dallas secondary that just couldn't make enough plays," David Helman writes. "It was never fair, because the reality was that Jeff Heath was a good football player doing his best in a bad situation." [Read all of Helman's Writer's Block] Jaylon Smith preached attention to detail for the defense this week. "For Smith and the Cowboys, getting in the right alignment is going to be crucial this week more than ever," Nick Eatman writes. "Minnesota's Dalvin Cook leads the NFL with 954 rushing yards. The Vikings have a similar running scheme as the Browns, who lit up the Cowboys for over 300 rushing yards back in Week 4." [Eatman on Jaylon's commitment to communication] It's been an extremely unpleasant three weeks for Andy Dalton, but the veteran is back to try to lead the Cowboys to the playoffs. [Watch Dalton talk about what he's been through in the past month]
The Cowboys have settled for three points in the red zone more than an offense with such explosive weapons would hope. Why haven't they had more success in the red zone? Nick Eatman and Rob Phillips try to answer that question. [Read Friday's mailbag] Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has heard the constant criticism about his team, especially the high-priced players such as Ezekiel Elliott. But on his weekly radio segment Friday, Jones said Zeke is still the team's best player.