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Now the quarterback-running back combo for the Dallas Cowboys will have to figure out how to get back to the playoffs in what could be a critical season for the future of coach Jason Garrett.
The Cowboys (9-7) missed the postseason a year after being the top seed in the NFC when Prescott had one of the best rookie seasons for a quarterback in NFL history and Elliott led the league in rushing.
Dallas can blame a slow start while Elliott used the courts to fight his six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations [url=http://www.billscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-ramon-humber-jersey]Ramon Humber Jersey[/url] , and the three straight losses after he finally ran out of legal options.
All along, Prescott often struggled, throwing more than three times as many interceptions with a passer rating nearly 20 points lower for an offense that dropped to 14th in the NFL from fifth.
”If you want to call it that,” Prescott said, still refusing as he had before the season to acknowledge the term ”sophomore slump” after a season-ending 6-0 win over Philadelphia with the Cowboys already eliminated from the playoffs.
”I think I played some of my best ball of my career this year and obviously I played some of my worst ball of my career this year. So you can call it what you want. But like I said, I learned from it and call it a growing year.”
Garrett has missed the playoffs in five of his seven full seasons, but owner and general manager Jerry Jones reiterated on his radio show Tuesday that Garrett will return.
Jones also said he planned to bring back offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli while suggesting there will be changes to the coaching staff.
But Jones has said he believes the Cowboys have the pieces to end a nearly 25-year run without a trip to the Super Bowl, or even an NFC championship game. A second straight season without the playoffs could be the end for Garrett.
”He certainly has the mentality of doing things differently,” Jones said. ”Again, not just to be doing them differently, but basically recognizing that we have got some things we need to do differently.”
Offseason story lines for the Cowboys, who have alternated between making and missing the playoffs the past four seasons:
ALL IN WITH DAK: Jones and Garrett still speak about Prescott in terms of a franchise quarterback. He’s an extreme bargain as a fourth-round pick, and next offseason will be the first time they have to think about his second contract. If the Cowboys flop again, it will be an interesting dilemma. ”We think he’s an awfully good quarterback to have leading your franchise [url=http://www.officialsabres.com/authentic-adidas-rasmus-ristolainen-jersey]Rasmus Ristolainen Jersey[/url] ,” Garrett said.
ELLIOTT OFF THE FIELD: With the NFL investigation that led to a suspension still looming last offseason, Elliott had trouble keeping his name out of the headlines. He was caught on video pulling down a woman’s shirt during a St. Patrick’s Day parade – an incident that was referenced in the league’s letter detailing his punishment, although it wasn’t a factor in the ruling.
A quiet offseason will be an important step in putting the suspension behind him. ”I think he’s aware how difficult it was this year in terms of things off the field,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said on his radio show Tuesday. ”I’m more convinced than ever that he wants to be a great player in this league.”
DECLINING DEZ: There’s no question that receiver Dez Bryant is trending downward since his All-Pro season in 2014, which earned him a $70 million, five-year deal. He hasn’t come close to a 1,000-yard season and probably has one year left to prove he’s worth the big contract. Bryant said he battled knee tendinitis and frustration over his role in the offense.
CLASS OF 2014: The top three topics on contracts during the offseason are the Cowboys’ top three picks in 2014: right guard Zack Martin; defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who tied for second in the NFL with 14+ sacks; and linebacker Anthony Hitchens. The Cowboys want to get an extension done with Martin even though the two-time All-Pro has the fifth year on his rookie deal remaining. Lawrence could get the franchise tag.
Corrects previous version with Tuesday for comments from Jerry Jones, not Monday.
Brian Anderson stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning with the game tied, one out and the bases loaded.
The Marlins’ rookie took the situation in stride like a veteran.
Anderson hit a game-ending sacrifice fly to lift the Miami Marlins over the San Francisco Giants 5-4 on Wednesday night.
”In a situation like that, the pressure’s not on you, it’s on the pitcher,” Anderson said. ”I tried to stay within myself and get something in the strike zone, something I could elevate.”
J.T. Realmuto had two hits and scored twice for the Marlins [url=http://www.billscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-adolphus-washington-jersey]Adolphus Washington Jersey[/url] , who have won three straight for the first time since winning four in a row April 28-May 1.
Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run home run and Buster Posey had three hits for the Giants, who entered the series winning eight of 10 but have dropped the first three games against last-place Miami and eight of the last nine in the series.
”Yyou can’t take any team lightly,” McCutchen said. ”This is the big leagues and regardless of their record or how many fans are in the stands, you’ve got to be ready to go.”
Reyes Moronta (2-1) allowed the first two hitters to reach in the bottom of the ninth, prompting manager Bruce Bochy to call on Hunter Strickland. Pinch-hitter J.B. Shuck hit a hard grounder down the first-base line, but Posey was able to dive to keep the ball in front of him, preventing the Marlins from scoring.
However, Strickland got himself into a 3-1 count against Anderson with one out. Anderson connected on a flyball to center field caught by Gorkys Hernandez, whose throw home was too late to catch Miguel Rojas.
”He didn’t crush it, but he got it deep enough,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
It was the Marlins’ third walk-off win of the season.
San Francisco’s Evan Longoria broke a 3-all tie with a hit in the seventh off Tayron Guerrero. It was Longoria’s team-leading 11th go-ahead RBI of the season.
The Marlins responded with a two-out RBI double in the eighth by Justin Bour off Sam Dyson, tying the game at 4.
It was the third time in the game the Marlins trailed but bounced back to draw even.
”We’re doing what we’re hoping, we’re getting the lead,” Bochy said. ”We’re just having a hard time holding it.”
Drew Steckenrider (3-1) pitched a scoreless top of the ninth.
Andrew Suarez allowed five hits and two runs in five innings for the Giants [url=http://www.billscheapshop.com/cheap-authentic-doug-flutie-jersey]Doug Flutie Jersey[/url] , pitching in his hometown in front of a number of friends and family members. He struck out three and walked two.
”I just didn’t really have a feel for a lot of pitches later in the game,” Suarez said. ”I just think with all of the humidity and sweating so much, the ball was a little slick. But you have to compete and keep throwing strikes.”
Miami’s Caleb Smith pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits and three runs.
He also had two hits at the plate.
”That was pretty fun,” Smith said. ”I’ve been working on it.”
McCutchen’s two-run blast in the first was his seventh of the season.
The Marlins tied the game at 2 on base hits by Cameron Maybin and Lewis Brinson in the fourth.
The teams traded runs in the sixth. Austin Jackson gave the Giants a 3-2 lead before Bour tied it with a base hit.
The retractable roof was open for the 15th time this season, the most in a year since Marlins Park opened in 2012.
Giants: 1B Brandon Belt (appendix) is likely to have a couple rehab starts with the goal of joining the team on the next homestand beginning June 18 instead of playing this weekend in Los Angeles. … RHP Johnny Cueto (left ankle) will have another bullpen session Friday. … RHP Jeff Samardzija (right shoulder) will have a rehab start with Triple-A Sacramento on Friday with a pitch limit of 60-65 pitches.
Giants: RHP Dereck Rodriguez (1-1, 5.25 ERA) will start Thursday’s series finale. Rodriguez, the son of former Marlins catcher and Hall of Famer Pudge Rodriguez, spent a lot of time around the Marlins when his father helped lead them to a World Series title in 2003.
Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (2-2, 4.08) is 4-0 with a 2.43 ERA in five career starts against the Giants.
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