Cowboys News: Joseph, Williams back at practice; Governor’s Cup M.I.A.?

The Cowboys seem to be gaining roster strength as Sunday’s intrastate matchup with Houston nears; three key defenders were back at work Thursday after missing the previous day’s practice. The Texans, on the other hand… They’ll be without two of their primary wide receiving threats. James Washington is looking “explosive” according to someone who’s seen a lot of him, and Tyron Smith is back to his loud-grunting, bruise-causing ways in just his second practice back. The two teams will square off for the Governor’s Cup, but word is that the trophy itself has actually gone missing while on the Texans’ watch.

Meanwhile, former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett could be about to get a Pac-12 job offer, and Dak Prescott is ready to act as a reference. Micah Parsons is the highest-scoring pass rusher in the league (but not No. 1, apparently), and check out what happened when he and Trevon Diggs both had their eyes on the same souvenir after their win over Indianapolis. All that, plus Anthony Barr’s getting it done in the shadows, Maliek Collins looks to show his old team how far he’s come, and Jason Witten is teaming up with an old enemy for a good cause. News and Notes, up next.

Updates: Three key players return to practice :: The Mothership

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Kelvin Joseph and Sam Williams were back at practice Thursday, at full go after sitting out the previous day with illness. Johnathan Hankins was also back at work after dealing with a personal matter.

'It's ridiculous': Tyron Smith already making impact back at Cowboys practice :: Cowboys Wire

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After rehabbing for the past three months, Tyron Smith somehow looks bigger and stronger now to his teammates. Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott both confirmed the left tackle could still pack a punch after seeing him at practice this week. “Oh, yeah, just to hear his grunts again,” Prescott said. “Tyron is very loud when he’s blocking and pass setting. When you hear that, you realize that guy is back.”

Texans WR Brandin Cooks OUT vs. Cowboys With Calf Injury :: SI.com

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The disgruntled wide receiver, thought to be a trade target of the Cowboys earlier this season, now won’t face them when they meet in Week 14. Cooks is dealing with a calf injury that sidelined him last week; wideout Nico Collins will also sit with a foot injury.

Explosive runs for, against among 6 things Cowboys should know about Texans :: Cowboys Wire

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The Texans must feel like they’re due for a win, but the offense lacks firepower, gives up sacks by the boatload, and is prone to throwing interceptions. Defensively, they can be run on, and there are injury concerns up and down the roster. It’s a gross mismatch, at least on paper.

Lamb on potential of Washington: 'He's explosive' :: The Mothership

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OBWho? After suffering a foot injury in camp, Washington may be very close to making his Cowboys debut, perhaps even this Sunday. Lamb, the Oklahoma alum who saw a lot of him at Oklahoma State, offered a warning to opposing defenses: “Very explosive. He’s your deep-threat guy, so just be careful, is all I’m gonna say.”

2022 NFL season's top 10 edge rushers: No. 1 spot goes to Browns' Myles Garrett over Cowboys' Micah Parsons :: NFL.com

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They both scored identical 97s according to Next Gen Stats, but Garrett gets the slightest of edges over Parsons in this ranking of the league’s top pass rushers. Parsons leads the NFL with an 18.8% QB pressure rate since being drafted in 2021 and is absolutely in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation.

Anthony Barr: The man who lives in the shadows :: Inside the Star

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He’s not racking up the stats that others are collecting, but the former Viking has been a valuable pickup for the Dallas defense. Without the veteran’s effective zone play in coverage, sacks and tackles for loss would be coming a lot less frequently for players like Micah Parsons. On any other team, Barr would be the guy in the spotlight.

Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs fought over Stephon Gilmore's jersey last week :: NFL (Twitter)

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Texans defensive lineman Maliek Collins primed for big performance against former team in Week 14 :: Texans Wire

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Maliek Collins looks to build off a standout Week 12 performance against Miami by showing out against his former club on Sunday. Collins will need to get involved early and often against Dallas to have any chance of making an impact. He last played for the Cowboys in 2019.

Symbol of Cowboys-Texans rivalry, the Governor’s Cup, is missing. Again. :: Dallas Morning News

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Despite the two teams sharing the Lone Star State, Cowboys-Texans just isn’t much of a rivalry. It might have been for a time in the Bum Phillips “Luv Ya Blue” era, when the Houston team was called the Oilers, but these days, neither the Cowboys nor the Texans organizations seem to know where the trophy they play for even is. A Cowboys spokesperson said because the Texans were the last team to win in both the regular (2018) and preseason (2021), it technically should be in their possession. A Texans rep responded upon inquiry, “I haven’t heard about the Cup in a long time.”

Report: Former Cowboys HC Jason Garrett finalist for job at Stanford :: Cowboys Wire

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Garrett has not been a head coach since leaving Dallas after the 2019 season with an 85-67 regular-season mark. If hired by the Cardinal, it could set up some fascinating clashes with Garrett’s former teammate, Deion Sanders, who was recently named the next head football coach at Colorado, also in the Pac-12. Sacramento State’s Troy Taylor is also said to be a finalist for the Stanford job.

Dak Prescott offers himself as job reference for Jason Garrett :: Jon Machota (Twitter)

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Former Cowboys tight end Jason Witten seems to really love coaching in his post-playing days :: Blogging the Boys

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Watching the collision course the Cowboys and Eagles are on this season, the legendary tight end was reminded of some of his own battles against them over his Canton-worthy career. But his current job as an award-winning high school coach has brought him a whole new appreciation for the game, with a very different perspective. He’ll team up with ex-Eagle Brian Dawkins to honor veterans at this weekend’s Army-Navy game in Philadelphia.

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire