Cracks in the foundation have deteriorated into giant cavities, with the pressure of a once-promising now-bitter season weighing on those closest to the proverbial fire.
Things took a turn for the snippy Thursday, when star Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott declined to speak to reporters during open locker room availability. Elliott also turned down a Monday conference call, hoping to avoid another monotonous line of questioning — and subsequent narrative-spinning.
“So y’all can ask me the same questions? Y’all do every week,” were his exact words, per NFL Network’s Jane Slater. “Then ask me the same question, I give you the same answer twice, but y’all just re-worded it. Y’all be trying to get me. Y’all gonna phrase it for the response y’all want.”
Quarterback Dak Prescott, unlike Elliott, did hold court on Thursday. But the newly-minted Good Guy Award winner — given to the player who exemplifies professionalism in dealing with the media, ironically enough — snapped back at a query involving lame-duck head coach Jason Garrett, who’s likely coaching his last Cowboys game.
“I think it’s the last game on mine as well. I’ll be damned if I speak on anybody else’s future or their place,” said Prescott, slated to become an unrestricted free agent.
The coup de grace occurred following Dallas’ final Week 17 practice on Friday. Allow Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to paint the picture:
A Cowboys media relations staffer ushered us out of the locker room with the comment, “let’s do this again next week.”
I replied: “That ain’t up to us.”
A Cowboys player: “It ain’t up to us, either”
Me: “It was.”
Another Cowboys player: “Shots fired”
Shots fired and tables turned.
Just another day in Cowboys Land.
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Dak Good to Go for Sunday
Nursing a sprained AC joint in his right (throwing) shoulder, Prescott got in a limited practice Friday after doing next to nothing on Wednesday and Thursday. He was removed from the injury report and will start Dallas’ 2019 capper versus Washington.
“[Prescott] is in a good frame of mind,” assured Garrett.
In related news, left tackle Tyron Smith (back), Jones (ankle), and nose tackle Antwaun Woods (hip/ankle) are listed as questionable. Smith is tentatively expected to suit up while Jones, spotted in a walking boot Friday, might be a game-time decision. Defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (shoulder) was removed from the injury report.
Linebacker Joe Thomas, starting in place of Leighton Vander Esch (neck, injured reserve), has been ruled out with a knee injury. Recently-signed Malcolm Smith, who made his Cowboys debut last week, will work in Thomas’ stead.
Stephen Jones Speaks on Finale
The surly state of affairs within The Star is attributed to the Cowboys’ damaging Week 16 defeat to the Eagles in which they were thoroughly outclassed. But all hope certainly is not lost heading into Sunday.
A Dallas victory coupled with a Giants win over Philadelphia would bring the NFC East title back to the Lone Star State for a second consecutive year. Conversely, a loss to the Redskins or an Eagles win would officially eliminate the Cowboys from playoff contention.
“Make no mistake about it, winning this game is very important to me, very important to the players, very important to this team,” team vice president Stephen Jones said Friday, via The Athletic.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL