It’s a short week. The Dallas Cowboys are still sore from a 24-21 victory over the New York Giants Monday.
But the team is focused on Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day battle against the Oakland Raiders – not just because of what it means to their NFC East title hopes but because of what it means to the tradition of the franchise.
There are a lot of games on Thanksgiving Day, but there was a time when the Cowboys were the staple of the football holiday fare – a fact that played a huge role in the popularity of the franchise and it’s America’s Team moniker.
“I’m not an expert on this, by any means, but I think we all have a sense that we grew up watching football on Thanksgiving,” coach Jason Garrett said. “The Cowboys were always a big part of that – great teams, great coaches, great players, and memories that we all had for a long, long time. We take great pride in what we do each and every day, and we understand the opportunity that we have to play and coach in the National Football League, and certainly to have the opportunity to play and coach in this ballgame.”
Said tight end Jason Witten, “Your family eats and you watch the Cowboys play. It’s special to be in that game.”
The Cowboys had planned to wear their throwback blue jerseys and their throwback helmets for Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day game against the Oakland Raiders.
But that was before the NFL sent out memo in September banning throwback helmets because of safety concerns regarding concussions because the helmets might not be broken in properly.
With the throwback helmets off the table, the Cowboys decided against the throwback jerseys and will go with the regular blue road jerseys against the Raiders.
Vice-president Stephen Jones said it’s all about “putting player safety first and foremost.”
This will be the first time since 1964 that the Cowboys will wear their blue jersey at home and it not be a throwback jersey.
The Cowboys signed linebacker Martez Wilson to a two-year deal Tuesday and will try him at defensive end, believing he can be a pass rusher.
Wilson was a third-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2011 out of Illinois. He played in 13 games as a rookie, collected one sack, and played in 16 games last year and had three sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, plus a blocked field goal.
But an elbow injury in training camp hampered his development, and he didn’t get a lot of snaps in the Saints’ new defensive scheme and he was released Oct. 22 after playing in four games. He had one sack. He was claimed by Oakland and played three games before being released last week.
To make room, the Cowboys released defensive tackle Everett Dawkins, who played in one game.
The Cowboys also lost practice squad quarterback Alex Tanney, who was signed to the active roster by the Cleveland Browns.
The Cowboys released linebacker Taylor Reed from their practice squad.