PACKERS VS. COWBOYS PRIMER: Jason Garrett press conference | Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers | 2013-2014 NFL Game 14 of 16 | Friday Practice
Jason Garrett: Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers | Friday Practice (7:43)
- Jason Witten’s role and respect garnered in the Cowboys locker room
- Sean Lee’s progress this week in Dallas Cowboys practices
- Who plays weak side linebacker (WLB) vs. Green Bay Packers
- With Dwayne Harris likely out, who will be returner in Sunday’s game
- Which Dallas lineman will face Green Bay’s Clay Matthews
- Challenges facing CB Morris Claiborne with fathers death and his injury recovery
- Impression of Matt Flynn in games he’s played for the Packers; pre-draft
- Deflating concerns if Aaron Rodgers ends up playing instead of Matt Flynn
- Surprised/Impressed by Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy this season
- How do you test a player to see if they are, in fact, ready to play with an injury
- This season’s perception of a Home Field Advantage in AT&T Stadium
- If Sean Lee’s injury similar to Jason Hatchers injury in any way
- Recovering from a muscle strain vs. nerve issue in a players neck (Sean Lee)
- Tiger Balm
Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin – Defensive Struggles; Changes
MAXIMIZING MARINELLI’S MISFITS: Dallas Cowboys defense looking for pass-rush spark | DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee locker room interviews
IRVING, Texas– After the first four games of this season, the Dallas Cowboys had already garnered 14 sacks.
After the next four, or the second quarter of the season, the Cowboys had just seven more.
The third quarter of the season – games played in November – the Cowboys’ defense mustered only five quarterback sacks.
And one game into this December run, the Cowboys have just one sack.
That’s not exactly the kind of trend this team is looking for as it now must win at least two games, perhaps all three of the final three to make the playoffs.
So where’s the rush?
“We’ve got to get back to that,” said DeMarcus Ware, who has been banged up for parts of this season and has just six sacks this year. “It’s on us. We’ve got to get more pressure on the quarterback. This is the time of year when the lights come on. So we have to be better.”
And maybe, Green Bay will be the opponent that allows that. At least statistically, that could happen if backup Matt Flynn plays for Aaron Rodgers, who has tried to come back from a broken collarbone.
The Packers have allowed 37 sacks this year, which ranks 23rd in the NFL. Of those 37 sacks allowed, 12 have come in the last two weeks with Flynn under center.
But while the Packers have endured their share of injuries, the Cowboys aren’t feeling sorry for them, especially when it comes to their defensive line. Since the first day of training camp when expected contributor Tyrone Crawford suffered a torn Achilles, it’s been one injury after another. The Cowboys have played nearly 20 different defensive linemen since the start of the season, although the starters haven’t changed much.
One of the players signed in training camp was George Selvie, who is tied with Ware for second on the team in sacks with six. But he hasn’t recorded one since the Vikings game, going four straight weeks without dropping the quarterback.
“I just have to keep working at it,” Selvie said. “You can’t get down on yourself. You have to keep fighting out there. That’s what we all have to do as a team. (Sacks) will come. You just have to keep getting the pressure.”
Coach Jason Garrett was asked if players such as Selvie has hit the proverbial wall.
“I think he’s a good consistent football player and has been all year long for us,” Garrett said of Selvie, who was flagged for two illegal hits on the quarterback against the Bears. “He was around the quarterback a little bit the other night in the ballgame. He comes to work every day. He’s not a dynamic, dynamic, dynamic pass rusher, but to me every game he shows up and somehow positively impacts the game.”
Selvie, of course, is starting for Anthony Spencer, who signed a $10.63 million franchise tag this year, only to play in one game because of a knee injury that eventually needed microfracture surgery.
The Cowboys have been blessed to have Selvie, who has started all 13 games at defensive end. They can’t say the same for Ware, who has started 10 games, missing the only three games of his career back in late October because of a quad strain that he says has healed 100 percent.
After Ware and Selvie, the Dallas Cowboys will likely have a new face this week in Edgar Jones, who has been on IR/Designated for Return since Week 2. Jones has been out with a groin injury that needed sports hernia surgery. He has practiced this week and Garrett said the Cowboys are expecting him to play.
At this point, after signing guys like Everette Brown, Jarius Wynn and Martez Wilson, not to mention numerous other ends who have already been signed and released, the Dallas Cowboys are hoping for some kind of spark.
RELATED: DeMarcus Ware “Knows For A Fact” that he’ll be a disruptive force
DeMarcus Ware & Sean Lee (3:14) | (Watch this Video)
DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee discuss the state of the Dallas Cowboys defense and give updates on their injury status’.
IRVING, Texas – There’s no doubt in DeMarcus Ware’s mind that he can still be and will be a disruptive force going forward.
It’s been a tough stretch for Ware, who has just two sacks in his last seven games and is in danger of finishing a season with single-digit sacks for the first time since his rookie year, but he believes he’ll get back to his previous form.
“Every week, you’ve got to be your worst critic, and that’s me,” Ware said. “For me, I know I haven’t been playing the way I need to be playing. So you go back to the drawing board and say, ‘Hey, what am I doing wrong or what do I need to change to be more effective?’ It’s just the small things. It goes back down to fundamentals, doing the bags, doing tackling drills, doing those types of things.”
It’s not an issue of health, according to Ware, who dealt with a thigh injury as his sack totals dipped in the middle of the season. He said he came out of the Raiders game healthy and has felt fine physically since.
He also said there are no excuses as long as he’s feeling healthy and himself, which he apparently is.
Ware asked a reporter what his name was, to which the reporter replied, ‘DeMarcus Ware.’
“All right, ain’t nothing changed,” Ware said. “I don’t feel like nothing’s changed. December, it’s always a time where the lights turn on and you’ve got to separate yourself apart from everybody. That’s what we have to do these last three games, and we’re going to do that.”
The Cowboys’ defense needs Ware to become the player he was in training camp and at the beginning of the season if its to turn things around and start reaching the quarterback. Ware said the most significant issue the defense has faced in recent weeks is giving up the big play. He also said defenders haven’t been consistent in their fundamentals, and that includes himself.
He said it’s more on the players than the coaching staff to turn things around.
“The coaching, the scheme is really good,” Ware said. “It always goes back down to fundamentals, doing the right things at the right time. And it’s all about timing. Our defense is all about hustle, hustling to the ball, getting strip sacks, making the big plays. We haven’t been consistent doing that these last games.”
But Ware said he knows for a fact he’ll get back to the level he’s accustomed to playing, and neither Ware nor head coach Jason Garrett believe his switch from 3-4 outside linebacker to 4-3 defensive end has been the reason for his statistical decline. At times, Ware will still play 4-3 end while standing up, as he was accustomed to doing most of his career.
Though Ware said he’s healthy, Garrett referenced the injury Ware’s fought through as a possible reason for limited productivity.
“He has been dealing with the injury for a lot of the year,” Garrett said. “Get him healthy and get him ready to go, and really focus on this challenge right here. Don’t worry about how we got to this point. Just get going. Put your hand on the ground and go affect the ball game.”
Garrett’s still got confidence in his top outside rusher and believes he’ll return to form this week.
“He can do what he needs to do,” Garrett said “There’s no question about that. Again, he’s dealing with an injury and he’s coming off the injury and hopefully he heals up more and more as it goes.”
COWBOYS GAME 14 PRIMER: Injury and Practice update | 2013 Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers | Sean Lee limited
IRVING, Texas – Sean Lee was not on the field for the beginning portion of today’s practice.
Lee had been a limited practice participant all week since straining his neck against the Bears on Monday night, but he was off the field entirely for the first time this week today.
“He worked through yesterday’s practice on a fairly limited basis,” head coach Jason Garrett said before Friday’s practice. “He was in there a lot, but some of the other guys were getting some action as well. That happened the other night in the ballgame where it was a neck type issue. He’s as tough a guy as there is. We talked about (Jason) Witten, and Sean Lee’s cut from the same cloth. We’ll see how he is today.”
Garrett said Lee’s injury is similar to anyone’s in that they’ll try to predict how he can handle it with physical exams and scans and based off what the player’s saying and how he’s reacting.
Lee said after Wednesday’s practice that this weekend he’d try to play through the injury, which is more muscle related than nerve related, and suit up for the game against the Packers. Lee said there wasn’t necessarily a specific protocol he had to pass in order to play this weekend but that he’d continue to get tested throughout the week.
Garrett didn’t say Lee would be out for this practice, and it could be a precautionary measure. Garrett said it can be tough sometimes to balance resting a player and making sure he’s physically ready by the weekend.
“You have those challenges with all injuries,” Garrett said. “Whenever you’re talking about a head and a neck, you’re particularly careful. There’s no question about that, particularly with a guy who has as much contact as he does.”
Before returning for last Monday’s game in Chicago, Lee missed two games with a hamstring injury.
In addition to Lee being out, Bruce Carter, Dwayne Harris and Morris Claiborne all were off the field as well. The trio had missed practice all week with hamstring injuries.
COWBOYS GAME 14 PRIMER: Jason Garrett press conference | 2013 Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers | Thursday Practice
Jason Garrett: Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers | Thursday Practice (7:11)
- How do you build confidence after coming of a big loss
- Focusing on upcoming opponent ‘mentality’
- Miles Austin productivity (4 catches in 3 games) since returning from injury
- Are key players, such as Miles Austin, 100% healthy
- (inaudible question) Related to Miles Austin injury and decline in his stats
- Sean Lee’s practice yesterday and hopes for him playing vs. Green Bay Packers
- If team relies on players like Austin and Ware based on prior year production
- Tony Romo and Sean Lee’s role and involvement in game planning
- If at a point where team feels it can win a game with the running game
- If confidence was gained in the running game vs. Chicago Bears
- What’s on the top of a list of things JG can “count on” going into the final three games
- Evaluating issues with four different defensive coordinators since 2010
- Durant and Holloman inactive status vs. Bears; thoughts that went into that decision
Jason Garrett: Preparing For Both Quarterbacks (6:20)
Mike McCarthy: Packers Prepared To Play With Flynn (5:50)
|(Audio | Video)||(Audio | Video)|
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Jason Garrett press conference: Game breakdown after game film review (16:39)
- Coming back from loss on a short week
- Evaluation of players focusing on ‘task at hand” vs. Bears on Monday Night Football
- Whether he’s confident that Monte Kiffin is the right man for the job
- (inaudible question) Related to LBs playing in nickel and dime
- Fixing issues or managing recurring issues with this defense
- Jeff Heath and Wilcox rotation at safety
- Analyzing George Selvie’s QB penalty
- Weather blitzing is a part of Kiffin’s strategy.
- Are Hatcher and Ware healthy enough to influence pass rush
- Ware’s self critical statement and how JG see’s his impact
- Is outscoring DAL D (points yielded) a part of the game plans going into each week
- How the offensive run game graded vs. Bears; aspects to build on
- How the offensive passing game graded vs. Bears
- Can you win by running the ball against teams that are having success throwing
- Evaluation of FB Tyler Clutts and his role in the run game success vs. Bears
- Mental aspects of scoring right before the half, regarding either team
- Necessary to “win out” in order to get into playoffs
- Reputation for JG teams to continually fight, regardless of score. That done on MNF?
- Are the issues with this years defense the scheme or the personnel?
- When defensive scheme was changed to 4-3, how long was adjustment expected to take
- Acclimating new players coming in from the streets
- What makes JG feel confident in Kiffin’s ability to get defense competitive
- How many times can a DC be given a chance to bounce back from bad performances
- Morris Claiborne status and if Sterling Moore will be nickel CB
- Harris/Carter status after re-tweaking hamstring vs. Chicago: Sean Lee’s neck injury
- Addressing hamstring issues; conditioning staff and what can be done
- Team and player responsibility for staying warmed up and stretched.
- Injury analysis on team vs. other teams in NFL
GAME FILM BREAKDOWN | Week 14 | Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears (4:03)
Three key plays from Monday night’s game against the Chicago Bears (Watch this Video)
CHICAGO – Dallas Cowboys writers share their initial feelings of the Cowboys 45-28 loss to the Bears at Soldier Field.
Eatman: I couldn’t have been more wrong. I knew better. I just thought or wanted to think this team was better. Honestly, I thought when the Cowboys marched down and scored like that on the first drive, I had a sense this could be a blowout. Well, it was. The defense was simply awful from the coaching, to scheme to execution to tackling to making plays on the ball. The weather might have been a factor for one team, but not both.
Kavner: This wasn’t at all the game most of us expected. Rather than the sloppy offensive performance I anticipated with a subzero wind chill, the Bears’ offense picked apart the Cowboys through the air. I thought DeMarco Murray would run well and he exceeded those expectations, but as the Bears’ lead expanded, the Cowboys’ success running the ball mattered less and less, and at no point did they seem to stand a chance without a pass rush to affect Josh McCown or his mammoth receivers who continued to snag most passes thrown their way. The Cowboys pride themselves on resiliency and playing through the whistle, but that was far from the case on Monday night. Dez Bryant did come up with a touchdown but finished with just two catches. The Cowboys also had two interceptions fall through their hands, as nothing went their way in Chicago and the Eagles kept sole possession of first in the division.
David Helman: To some degree, I had a pretty good grasp on what was going to happen at Soldier Field. I said the Cowboys backs would run the ball well. I said the Bears’ balance would be hard to deal with. I even correctly predicted a Joseph Randle touchdown run. Of course, I also said the game would be competitive — which was way off the mark. It’s one thing to look utterly helpless against Drew Brees in an air-conditioned dome, but against Josh McCown in adverse conditions? The Cowboys defense has a lot of work to do and not much time to do it. The playoffs look like a long shot if this team can’t rebound in a big way.
First Take | Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears | NFL 2013 Game 13 of 16 (3:34)
Here were the gut feelings posted Monday afternoon:
CHICAGO – A share of the NFC East lead left the grasp of the Dallas Cowboys a day ago as the Eagles took care of business and went to 8-5 as snow poured down Sunday against the Lions.
COWBOYS VS. BEARS POSTGAME: Press conferences and NFL highlights video | Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears | 2013-2014 NFL Season – Game 13 of 16
Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears Highlights (3:53)
Backup quarterback Josh McCown destroys the Dallas Cowboys defense as he passes for four touchdowns and runs for another to lead the Chicago Bears to a dominant 45-28 victory in Week 14 of NFL action. (Watch this Video)
Jason Garrett speaks to the media following the Dallas Cowboys 45-28 loss in Chicago.
Tony Romo speaks to the media following the Dallas Cowboys loss at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
Cold, cold cold … and so was the weather.
The Dallas Cowboys defense looked frozen at times, simply no match for a Bears offense that came into the game ranked eighth in the league. Chicago scored on all eight of its possessions, aside from a kneel down at the end, on their way to a dominating 45-28 victory.
Bitterly cold, the game-time temperature was just 8 degrees with a wind chill of minus-7. In fact, it was the coldest regular-season game in Dallas Cowboys history, second only to the famed Ice Bowl in the 1967 NFL Championship when Dallas played at Green Bay with the thermometer reading minus-13.
Of course, it’s hard to tell if that played much of a factor in the Cowboys’ ineptness. Dallas has seen a patchwork defense of no-name free agents and rookies hold their own recently, the team winning three of its last four games, but it all caught up to them tonight.
The Bears had their way with the Cowboys, racking up 490 yards of total offense to just 328 for Dallas, also owning the time of possession, 36:38 to 23:22.
Chicago Bears backup quarterback Josh McCown completed 27-of-36 passes for 348 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery torched the Cowboys secondary, finishing with 100 and 84 receiving yards, respectively.
Running back Matt Forte was virtually unstoppable as well, rushing for 102 yards on 20 carries, while adding another 84 receiving yards off of five catches.
The Cowboys ground game actually enjoyed a stellar night, the team rushing for 198 yards overall with DeMarco Murray carrying the ball 18 times for 146 yards. But, it just wasn’t enough with the defense unable to do its part. In the air, Tony Romo was good on 11 of his 20 pass attempts, three of which went for touchdowns, but totaled just 104 yards. No Cowboys receiver caught more than two passes in the game.
Making matters worse, two players the Cowboys were happy to have back in the lineup were unable to finish the game. Return man extraordinaire Dwayne Harris reinjured his hamstring while Sean Lee suffered a neck injury, both leaving in the third quarter.
The first quarter was dominated by extended scoring drives for each team with Dallas actually looking strong on its opening possession. After Harris returned the kickoff out to the Dallas 25, Murray carried his team down the field in 12 plays, running the ball six times for 52 yards, before Romo eventually capped the drive with a 2-yard pass to Bryant for a 7-0 lead.
But the Bears answered, reeling off a 12-play series of their own, traveling 78 yards mainly through the air. McCown had connections of 11, 15, 7 and 14 yards with Forte rushing three times for 20 yards. Chicago finally scored when McCown found a wide open Earl Bennett in the end zone to even things ups, 7-7.
The second quarter saw more of the same as each team again exchanged long drives, although the Bears were next on the board after a 10-play, 65-yard series that saw McCown provide all the damage needed. After hitting Marshall on passes of 20 and 15 yards, as well as an 11-yarder to Jeffery, the quarterback scrambled 10 yards for a first down to the Cowboys 10-yard line, then three plays later, went the final 7 yards with a run up the middle, diving into the end zone for the 14-7 advantage.
Dallas responded with a seven-play, 68-yard drive that evened the score again, Murray running five times for 33 yards with Witten stiff-arming his way across the goal line on a 10-yard touchdown pass. The grab marked his seventh of the year, which ties the second most for his career in a single season, equaling his 2007 effort. He recorded nine scores in 2010.
Unfortunately, the Cowboys could do little to stop the Bears passing attack. Chicago kicked a 27-yard field goal on its next possession, then when Dallas couldn’t run out the clock with 1:27 left in the first half, the Bears got the ball again with 47 seconds to play.
That was plenty of time. McCown hit Forte for nine yards, Jeffery for seven and then Marshall for 19 to set Chicago up with first-and-10 at the Dallas 25-yard line. With 17 seconds left, McCown threw pass to the back, right corner of the end zone, where Jeffery made a sensational catch, hauling in the toss over B.W. Webb and Jeff Heath while keeping both feet in bounds for the score.
Chicago then had the luxury of the first series of the second half and quickly added another three points, Robbie Gould splitting the uprights from 34 yards out.
That drive saw Orlando Scandrick drop a potential interception in the end zone, which was then followed on the next Bears possession by Bruce Carter not taking advantage of a pick opportunity as well. Then, even worse, Sterling Moore did actually corral a bobbled ball for what appeared to be an interception, only to have it called back when Brandon Carr was called for defensive holding.
Given those gifts, Chicago took advantage and tacked on another touchdown, as Forte caught a pass from 4 yards out. The Bears then went for 2 with Marshall catching McCown’s offering to up the lead to 35-14.
Which soon enough became 42-14. The Cowboys, having driven to the Chicago 41, decided to go for it on fourth down, the first time they’ve done so all year, only to have Romo have to throw the ball away almost immediately when a defender came in untouched.
Chicago then needed only three plays to reach paydirt, Michael Bush taking a pass from McCown 17 yards for the score, their run of consecutive possessions putting points on the board up to seven.
The Cowboys managed to reach the end zone again, as Dallas went 69 yards in eight plays, doing so primarily on the ground, even though they faced such a deficit, content to let the clock run. Romo threw a pass to Cole Beasley, who made a nice catch for the touchdown, but it was far too little, too late.
Chicago tacked on another field goal, just because they could, the Cowboys then officially throwing in the towel by sending out Kyle Orton to play quarterback for his first action of the year. The backup did manage to lead the team to another touchdown, rookie Joseph Randle earning his second score of the season.
Finally, the chilly night came to a merciful end, Dallas losing 45-28. Because the Eagles defeated the Lions, Dallas dropped into second place in the NFC East and will now face the 6-6-1 Packers at home next Sunday.
CHICAGO – A share of the NFC East lead left the grasp of the Dallas Cowboys a day ago as the Eagles took care of business and went to 8-5 as snow poured down Sunday against the Lions.
The 7-5 Cowboys have a chance to get back atop the division in the frigid conditions of Chicago with a Monday Night Football matchup against the 6-6 Bears, who are also fighting to get atop their division.
Here are the gut feelings for Dallas Cowboy writers Eatman, Kavner and Helman.
Eatman: I think it’s normal to look at another team like the Bears and get caught up in what they do well. Guys like Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte and then factor in the cold and the playing conditions and it sometimes seems unfathomable for this Cowboys to win this game in this stadium in this month. But the Bears are 6-6 too and if you remember back earlier this year, they had a couple of wins in the final seconds or they should be a lot worse than 6-6. Obviously they did enough to win them but my point is, this team can get beat no matter the team or the conditions. I think the Cowboys are better and they grind out a win. I see Jason Witten playing well and the return of Sean Lee will lead to more third-and-long situations. I see Selvie with two sacks. It’ll be close but I like Dallas, 23-19.
Kavner: If the Giants game a few weeks ago seemed sloppy, this one should take that to another level. With temperatures nearing the single digits and wind being a factor as well Monday in Chicago, it’s not going to be the prettiest offensive football game. That’s despite three of the best receivers in football taking the field in Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. I expect a lot of running when the wind’s against each team and a lot of quick passes with a few back shoulder fades mixed in when it’s behind them, which Bryant will score on. I predict Jeffery ends up the game’s leading receiver, Marshall finds the end zone, but DeMarco Murray gets going and J.J. Wilcox secures a game-sealing pick as the Cowboys keep pace in the NFC East and leave chilly Chicago with a 21-17 win.
Helman: It’s encouraging to think the Cowboys are just two weeks removed from snagging a road win in harsh conditions. But this trip to Chicago feels like a different animal, as far as I’m concerned. The Bears are much more balanced than the Giants or Raiders, with a top-notch running back and two hard-to-handle wide receivers. They don’t defend the run well, and I think the Cowboys will take advantage of that. I’m calling for DeMarco Murray and Joseph Randle to both find the end zone. I think Chicago’s weapons on offense are too much, though. Sean Lee’s return should help keep Forte in check, but I look for Brandon Marshall to have a big day in a close Bears win.
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When: Monday, December 9th, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. (Dallas time)
Where: Soldier Field | Chicago
Watch on TV: ESPN | DirecTV
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DALLAS COWBOYS GAME 13 PRIMER: Chicago Bears preparing to face former defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli
IRVING, Texas – Bears coach Marc Trestman had a decision to make when he replaced Lovie Smith in Chicago. For his part, he wanted to retain Rod Marinelli as the team’s defensive coordinator.
It was an understandable decision. The Bears led the league in takeaways in 2012 with 44, and they finished fifth in total defense. Chicago maintained a fearsome reputation on defense during Marinelli’s four-year stay – one season as defensive line coach, and three as defensive coordinator.
But after a talk with Trestman, Marinelli opted to leave.
“I have tremendous respect for Rod, and I’m sure he would tell you that we had a great conversation, Trestman said. “I laid it all out for him and certainly wanted him to stay. We certainly respected his decision to move on.”
That decision may have had more to do with loyalty than any other issue. Marinelli and Smith both got their NFL starts in 1996 for Tampa Bay, under Tony Dungy and current Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. During the Cowboys’ bye week, Marinelli told reporters he had only gone to Chicago to reunite with his close friend.
“I’ll say this – he is one of my very best friends,” Marinelli said of Smith. “I went there because of him, not for any other reason. We had a long tenure together in Tampa, and I just – I believe in him.”
Marinelli added that he feels similarly about Kiffin, which helps explain why he chose to make his way to Dallas after leaving the Bears in January.
“I just think, for me, that was Lovie’s defense,” he said.
In Dallas, Marinelli’s influence as defensive line coach has been hard to miss. With a constantly rotating cast of characters, he has coaxed the Dallas Cowboys to 28 team sacks, including a career-high nine from Jason Hatcher.
“I have so much respect for him. I’ve said that so many times, but I’ll say it again – he’s a special guy. He’s an icon at what he does” Kiffin said. “He isn’t just a defensive line coach — he was a head coach, he was a coordinator. He can be whatever he wants to be.”
That also includes intangibles, in addition to mechanics. Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett praised Marinelli’s ability to teach fundamentals, but he said there’s an extra quality to his expertise.
“He also does a good job of coaching the guys emotionally — where your emotions need to be to play this game at a high level,” Garrett said. “I think he does that in practice, he does that in the game. He’s just an awfully good coach. I’ve learned a lot from him.
None of that is to say the Cowboys are dominating statistically. But it wasn’t lost on Trestman that Dallas is one of the best in the league at creating takeaways – which was Chicago’s specialty under Marinelli.
“Their ability to create turnovers has been their number one asset. They’ve got approximately, what, 25 turnovers right now,” Trestman said. “It’s enabled their offense to play on a short field and help them out at times.”
Marinelli’s role isn’t limited to just defensive line, as Kiffin said. It also isn’t limited to the defensive side of the ball. Marinelli’s three-year stint as a head coach in Detroit, which saw the Lions post the NFL’s only winless campaign, gave the veteran some valuable experience to bring to future staffs.
“He had a tough go in Detroit with the players, and no disrespect to Detroit, but just the whole situation,” Kiffin said. “But this guy – and not just myself — I know the head coach leans on him a lot, too. We all do.”
From one stop to another and on to the Cowboys, that seems fine with Marinelli, who said confidence is key during the highs and lows of a coaching career.
“When I was in Detroit that was a great experience for me, because it’s what I believed in. It didn’t work, but I never lost confidence, I never lost faith – I went to Chicago and kept working,” he said. “If you have a belief and it’s tested, and you crack with that, then it’s not a belief. So you better get a big semi to run over me, and you’d better do it three times.”
Related articles from The Boys Are Back archives:
DALLAS COWBOYS HISTORY: The Great Wall of Dallas | Cowboys trenches paved the way for an NFL historic run | Special Feature
As we sit four weeks from what might be the first Dallas Cowboys playoff run in a few years, it’s time to take a look back at a little Dallas Cowboys history. If you’re a regular reader on this website you may remember that “trenches” is a common theme. We all know that winning teams (and subsequently NFL clubs with postseason) success usually comes down to the walls (trenches) they’ve built. Obviously it takes time for these men to coalesce and become cohesive as a single unit. I’m not suggesting that the 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys offensive line compares to the 1990’s line that helped win three titles in four years. However, Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys organization has added key components in recent years. This five part video series from NFL Films reminds us all of what can happen with the right mix of trench men. Enjoy!
The Great Wall of Dallas- The Perfect Unit | (4:20) | (Watch this Video)
See which players comprised “The Great Wall of Dallas”. Check out the guys who came out of nowhere to form one of the best offensive lines in NFL history. They helped pave the way for three NFL Hall of Famers.
The Great Wall of Dallas- Their First Super Bowl | 5:54 | (Watch this Video)
Actor Gary Busey used to hang around the Dallas Cowboys. Learn about Busey’s fandom and check out how the Dallas Cowboys won their first Super Bowl with “The Great Wall of Dallas.”. Buffalo Bills fans may want to skip to the next video.
The Great Wall of Dallas- Nate the Kitchen | 7:00 | (Watch this Video)
Former Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Nate Newton was known for being extremely overweight, but that does not mean he did not make light of the situation. See how he compared to former Chicago Bear William ‘the refrigerator” Perry and gained stardom thanks to John Madden.
The Great Wall of Dallas- The End of the Line | 5:36 | (Watch this Video)
Mark Tuinei and Erik Williams had very interesting roads to success. See how the two became a big part of the Dallas Cowboys and also how Nate Newton overcame drug issues to help give back to the community.
The Great Wall of Dallas- Where Are They Now? | 10: 52 | (Watch this Video)
Find out what Nate Newton, Mark Stepnoski, John Gesek and Kevin Gogan are doing now. Also, see which former member of the great offensive line passed away, but left lasting memories for all of his teammates.
Courtesy: NFL | NFL Films | NFL: A Football Life series | Dallas Cowboys
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IRVING, Texas - While the Dallas Cowboys will be playing in cold weather on Monday night, they were forced indoors yesterday because of heavy frozen rain and sleet in the Dallas area that left a blanket of ice on the Cowboys’ practice fields at Valley Ranch.
The Cowboys attempted to get the ice removed before practice but instead opted to bus the team to Highland Park High School in Dallas, where the Cowboys practiced in the school’s indoor facility.
While some of the coaches stayed overnight at Valley Ranch, a few of the players had to be picked up by staff members and team officials to get them in the facility for practice and meetings.
The practice, which was closed to the media, was like a normal Thursday practice on a normal week. With the Cowboys playing on Monday night, head coach Jason Garrett has tried to simulate a regular routine, even moving the normal Tuesday day off to Wednesday. The Cowboys are leaving on Sunday afternoon for the Monday night game.
“Ideally you’d like to be out today and simulate the elements we’re going to play in Monday night,” Garrett said. “But we couldn’t get that done. The field is ice. You have to get the ice off the field. Rather than wait 3-4 hours to get that done, we thought we should go to Plan B. This was a good alternative for us. We’re hopeful to be out there (Saturday).”
As for yesterday’s practice, offensive coordinator Bill Callahan said the change of venue didn’t have a negative effect.
“I thought practice was great. When you get into an environment where it’s enclosed and you’re on a Field Turf, it lends itself to a fast practice. Because of the travel, we cut down on the number of reps we had today. I thought the players did a great job of executing. More than that, the tempo of practice compared to (Thursday), coming off the long break, we came up a few notches. It was encouraging to see.”
The expected temperatures for kickoff Monday night in Chicago have actually gone up, but will still be treacherous. The low on Monday is 13 degrees with a high of only 27. With the winds gusting around 20 mph, the wind chill could be around zero or below-zero by kickoff.
When asked about the double-edged sword of wanting to practice in the elements of the game, but also having a practice environment that isn’t distracting to the flow of practice, Callahan said coaches can’t always have it both ways.
“We’ve had some good outside work done in the last few weeks,” said Callahan, who coached in Oakland and Nebraska in his career. “I remember being with the Raiders, we’d practice in the 85 degree weather and then fly from sunny California to the cold northeast and you’d have to play the elements or even in Denver. Players adapt pretty quickly.”
Whether they practice in the elements or not, some players don’t think the preparation matters much on game day.
“I’m not a believer that it helps at all,” cornerback Orlando Scandrick said. “Whether you practice in it or you play in it, you’re going to be cold. You’ve got to have the mental toughness and the focus and the will to go out and do it. I don’t like being cold, period.”
The weather doesn’t seem to bother tight end Jason Witten, who said he won’t be wearing any sleeves come Monday night.
“Football ain’t meant to be played like that,” Witten said with a smile. “But I do bundle up there on the bench. But no, I don’t allow that to get in the way. When you’re out there playing, you can’t worry about the elements. It’s always tough. Both teams have to play in it.”
As for the guy throwing the ball to Witten, he doesn’t seem too concerned about cold-weather games either.
Tony Romo, who grew up in Burlington, Wisconsin and played at Eastern Illinois said if he sticks to his mechanics, the cold air and high winds will have no factor in his performance.
“I’ve played a lot of our games in cold weather. I think you become comfortable with it over time. The more technically sound and fundamental you are with your throwing motion, you can neutralize that stuff and take advantage of it.”
Overall, Garrett said there won’t be a lot of discussions about the weather come Monday night, other than making sure the players are prepared.
“Certainly we’ll try to make sure we’re wearing the right gear and making sure our cleats are right so we can be most effective,” Garrett said. “I don’t think you want to overdo that, but you certainly want to make sure what you’re wearing on your feet is right for those conditions.”
Dallas Cowboys move practice inside: Locker room reacts
COWBOYS VS. BEARS GAME PRIMER: Jason Garrett press conference | 2013 Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears | Thursday Practice
Jason Garrett: Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears | Thursday Practice (9:00)
- Bears receivers compared to other WRs the Cowboys have faced this year
- Dealing with the height of Chicago Bears WRs and TEs
- What makes Rod Marinelli such a good DL coach and past defensive coordinator
- Rod Marinelli’s use of motivational videos for team
- The use of the term ‘rushmen” in Marinell’s player development
- His connection with Marc Trestman
- DeMarco Murray’s running style on a potentially bad field
- Discussions and team preparation for playing in cold or adverse conditions
- Decision process for practicing in cold/wet conditions this time of year
- Morris Claiborne (hamstring injury recovery) progress up to this point
- Sean Lee and Justin Durant practice status and outlook
- Decision on dime and nickel situations now that LBs are returning
- Dwayne Harris status and recovery progress
- Strengths and traits that separate Dwayne Harris from Cole Beasley in returns
- Team/coaches awareness of NFL sideline rule violation (Mike Tomlin fine)
- NFL not Ultimate Frisbee and players can run after the catch (RAC)
- Passes short-of-marker and down-the-field passing philosophy in bad weather
- Julius Peppers vs. Tyron Smith matchup
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2013 COWBOYS INJURY UPDATE: Dallas linebackers Sean Lee and Justin Durant practicing on the Texas-2 Tundra
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys returned to practice Thursday for the first day of practice for the Chicago Bears.
The team practiced in freezing, rainy conditions at Valley Ranch, and they welcomed back a pair of long-looked-for faces to the fold.
Linebackers Sean Lee and Justin Durant both returned to practice in full pads as the Cowboys began their preparations for their Monday night tilt against Chicago. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he’s hopeful both players can go through a full practice regimen in his first week back from a hamstring strain.
It was near freezing and raining as the Cowboys took to the field Thursday morning – an effect of the winter storm system moving into the Dallas area this week. Garrett said the team embraces the chances to practice in the elements, as it should be good preparation for game time temperatures in Chicago – which are expected to be in single digits.
“We want to practice here, outside. The weather has been good to us, going off to play in some of these northern cities where the weather is bad. A couple of weeks ago against the Giants, we got some bad weather down here in the days leading up to that,” he said. “We thought that was a positive, just to get out and practice in it. And it sounds like the weather is not going to be great here the next couple of days, so we’ll certainly embrace that opportunity.”
IRVING, Texas – Two of the NFL’s top 10 receivers this season both reside on the upcoming opponent of the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys have faced some of the toughest receivers in the league this season, from Calvin Johnson to Victor Cruz to the plethora of options at Peyton Manning’s disposal, but Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall could be the best duo they see all year.
“They’re real strong,” said cornerback Orlando Scandrick. “They both go up and catch the ball and highpoint well. We have faced good guys that go up, but I don’t know if we’ve faced two guys that go up and get the ball like these guys and are having seasons like these guys.”
Both Marshall and Jeffery are two of the bigger receivers in the game, each standing at least 6-3 and more than 215 pounds. They’ve totaled more than 2,000 combined receiving yards already this season and each ranks in the top five receiving in the NFC.
“There’s no question they’re awfully good outside,” said head coach Jason Garrett. “They have big, strong receivers who can go and get the football. Both Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are guys who can make plays out there when they’re contested. I think their quarterbacks do a great job of giving them a chances to do it.”
The 6-foot-4 Marshall’s got an inch on Jeffery, and the Dallas Cowboys saw just how dominant and difficult to cover Marshall can be. When the teams met last year in Dallas, Marshall hauled in seven catches for 138 yards.
That was before Jeffery came on as an elite threat. Now that he has, teams are put in a bind trying to figure out which player to focus on.
“Teams now have to play fair,” Marshall said. “He’s starting to put on tape and show the NFL that the Chicago Bears have two wide receivers that can dominate. If you want to double me or roll coverage, Alshon is going to be on the other side licking his chops and taking advantage of each opportunity.”
Jeffery only had three catches against the Dallas Cowboys last year, but he’s a completely different receiver from the player he was last year.
After finishing with 24 catches for 367 yards last year, Jeffery’s already beyond the 1,000-yard receiving mark this year with 70 catches for 1,109 yards and five touchdowns.
“They’re big,” Garrett said. “All of their weapons, the guys who make a lot of plays on the ball, are big, strong guys who are long. They have good ball skills and they make those contested catches. You just have to compete, you have to do a good job at the line of scrimmage and certainly at the point of the catch.”
Jeffery’s developed a rapport in recent weeks with backup quarterback Josh McCown, who’s the likely starter for the Bears on Monday, and is coming off a 249-yard, two-touchdown receiving day.
Scandrick said what makes Jeffery special apart from his big frame is his body control.
“He doesn’t spend a lot of time at the line of scrimmage,” Scandrick said. “He just takes his release, uses his body to shield you and goes and gets the ball.”
Despite all that, Scandrick believes the Cowboys have a good game plan to try to restrict what the Bears can do. In addition, the frigid Chicago temperature could also have an effect on the passing game for both teams.
Then again, Scandrick’s not preparing for the weather to halt the Bears’ plan too drastically.
He said it doesn’t take much to throw up a jump ball to those two guys, in which case the corners can’t get distracted with the receivers’ height. Both Scandrick (5-10) and the 6-foot-tall Brandon Carr will surrender at least three inches to the Bears’ top receivers.
“You just play the ball,” Scandrick said. “You don’t want to get caught up into thinking how tall he is. You play the ball and hopefully you come down with it.”
Scandrick and DeMarcus Ware believe the key for the defense eliminating the big plays that have bit the Cowboys’ defense in the past. Scandrick said there were too many times last week when the Raiders’ receivers got on top of the defense, but he thinks the game-plan this week should help the Cowboys out more.
As always, he looks forward to the challenge of playing two of the best receivers in the game.
“I’m so competitive,” Scandrick said. “I love these moments, and I feel like we’ve got a bunch of competitive guys on this team. We’re all up for the challenge.”
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys could get their top returner and coverage player back for Monday night’s matchup against the Chicago Bears.
Dwayne Harris described himself as questionable for the game with a hamstring injury he sustained against the Giants, but he’s running routes and doing sprints and hopes he can be ready to go in Chicago.
“I’ve just got to keep it as warm as possible if I do play,” Harris said. “I’ve just got to see how I feel. I can’t say I’m going to be able to go or I’m not going to be able to go, because I’ve been running around and feeling good. We’re just going to see how it feels come game day.”
Harris, who’s second in the league in both punt return average and kick return average, was sorely missed in last Thursday’s game against the Oakland Raiders. Not only is Harris the team’s top returner, but he’s also their best special teams player on the coverage units and still leads the team in special teams tackles despite being out last week.
Wide receiver Cole Beasley filled in as a punt returner for Harris, while rookie Terrance Williams served as the kick returner against the Raiders. Harris tried to boost Williams’ spirits after the rookie fumbled the opening kickoff on Thanksgiving.
“I gave him some words,” Harris said. “It was a rough thing to happen to him, first kickoff return you fumble and they score on it. It’s going to make you down, but I just tell him there’s a lot of football to play. You’ve got to keep your head up and keep going.”
Harris said he’s going to go through this week of practice to see how it feels before making a conclusion on his playing status. Harris and cornerback Morris Claiborne were the only players listed as non-participants in Thursday’s practice, with both suffering from hamstring injuries.
Harris sustained a hamstring injury early in his NFL career, but he said this one is different because it’s lower down on the back of his leg closer to his knee. Typically, the higher hamstring pulls are the ones that take longer to heal.
“It’s not a bad pull, but it’s one of them things you’ve got to take care of or it’ll get worse,” Harris said.
The hamstring isn’t yet 100 percent and still feels sore, but if Harris feels ready to go later in the week, he said he’ll be on the field.
“I’ve been running full speed,” Harris said. “I went out last week and ran, came out today and ran. I ran some routes today, did routes Monday. So I’ve been feeling good.”
The one bright spot for Harris is the rest allows him to rest the bevy of injuries he fought through previously during the season. He said he’d been playing with a shoulder injury, a hip injury and a tear in his lower abdomen.
“It definitely gives me a chance to get a little bit more healthy,” he said. “It just gives me a chance to rest up, get my whole body back together, so that way I can be back to my old self and be back quicker, faster and more explosive.”
THREE LITTLE (JUICED) BEARS: Former Cowboys Joe DeCamillis, Martellus Bennett, and Jay Ratliff content being out of Hollywood atmosphere
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — While complimentary overall of the Dallas Cowboys, three former members of the organization now with the Chicago Bears considered the atmosphere there “Hollywood” compared to their current locale.
Martellus Bennett said everything in Chicago is based on football, and there’s a different type of chemistry.
Bears special teams coach and assistant head coach Joe DeCamillis spent four years with the Cowboys (2009-12) and said “there can’t be two different spectrums.” Two more former Cowboys — Bears defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff and tight end Martellus Bennett — agreed as the teams prepare to face each other Monday night at Soldier Field.
Asked about the biggest difference between the Bears and Cowboys, Ratliff didn’t hesitate.
“Football, first-class organization,” he said of the Bears. “Just to put it bluntly, and it’s not a shot — if they take it like that, so be it. Here, it is all about football. You can really just focus on your craft. Focus on what it is you do. And no matter what’s going on, you never forget what you’re here for. That’s a good thing.”
A four-time Pro-Bowler, Ratliff was picked by the Dallas Cowboys in the seventh round of the 2005 draft, but he was released by the club on Oct. 13 and signed by the Bears on Nov. 2. Ratliff made his Bears debut Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, participating in 23 snaps, and his workload will increase Monday night against his former team.
Ratliff said earlier in the week that Monday’s matchup is “just another game,” but that isn’t the case for DeCamillis.
“I’m not going to lie to you and say it’s like Ratliff and say it’s like any other game,” DeCamillis said. “Anytime you leave some place you always have a little bit more juice going back against them.”
As for the differences between the Bears and Cowboys organizations, DeCamillis said “there, it’s a lot different from the standpoint of just the things that go on. It’s a little bit more like Hollywood, and here it’s a little bit more, probably a little tamer. But they’re both great organizations, and both have had a lot of storied tradition and championships. That’s the main thing.”
A second-round pick of Dallas in 2008, Bennett spent his tenure with the Cowboys as a backup before leaving in 2011 to take a free-agent deal with the New York Giants. Coming off a breakout season in 2012, in which he caught 55 passes for 626 yards and five touchdowns, Bennett signed with the Bears in free agency.
Bennett is currently on pace to better those marks, and apparently Chicago’s atmosphere is more conducive for him to do it.
“I mean, I’m a Hollywood person. I would agree with [DeCamillis and Ratliff],” Bennett said. “Since I’ve been born, I’ve been meant to be on Disney. But they don’t really like to take too many kids from the ‘hood and put them on Disney nowadays. But for the most part, it’s different. Everything here is based on football, and [there's] just a different type of chemistry with this team. Everybody is just about football all the time. We have our relationships and we have fun; there’s not really any cliques or anything. It’s just a bunch of guys who come together every week, play football, and tell jokes.”
Jay Cutler caught an underhanded snap from Bears quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh early in practice Thursday. He dropped back to pass, shuffled right, then forward, then threw a 10-yard pass to his left.
The simple passing drill was a significant milestone for Cutler as he returned to practice for the first time since suffering a high left ankle sprain Nov. 10.
But the favorable news stopped there.
He will miss Monday night’s game against the Cowboys, his fourth straight on the sideline. Coach Marc Trestman on Thursday ruled him out 10 days after Cutler said on his radio show he “would be pretty disappointed if I wasn’t able to play for (the Cowboys) game.”
Trestman, however, reiterated his belief Cutler will play again this season, meaning the Bears should expect to change quarterbacks from backup Josh McCown to Cutler during the final postseason push this month.
“I know the type of fighter Jay is,” left tackle Jermon Bushrod said. “I have only been here for a few months, but I know the passion he has toward this game and toward this team. We want him to come back and be himself. But if things don’t work out, they don’t work out, and we’ll go hit it with Josh.”
Cutler quarterbacked the scout team during Thursday’s practice. He declined the Tribune’s interview request afterward.
Trestman was not sure of Cutler’s status for the Dec. 15 road game against the Browns, saying that will be evaluated next week. Cutler on his radio show Nov. 25 characterized a return for the Browns game as a worst-case scenario.
Trestman said Cutler was not deflated because he failed to meet his Dec. 9 target to return.
“Jay is very clear on where he is medically,” Trestman said. “He’s continuing to progress. We’ve been very, very clear that he has to be released by the doctors before he can play, and he has come to terms with that. He’s a strong-willed and strong-minded guy. He can’t control this decision on Monday other than to continue to work on his rehab.”
Cutler sprained his ankle late in the first half Nov. 10 against the Lions. He stayed in the game and played into the fourth quarter after Bears medical staffers expressed belief he could not damage the ankle more extensively.
Since then, the Bears have insisted Cutler did no additional harm to ankle by continuing to play.
Cutler on Nov. 18 created an air of mystery about the injury when he said on his radio show: “There are a couple of ligaments we’re a little bit worried about that are different than a normal high ankle sprain.”
Neither the team nor Cutler offered further details or explanation.
Cutler’s injuries have been a major subplot in the final season of his contract. He has not finished a game since the Oct. 10 victory over the Giants. He suffered a torn groin muscle against the Redskins on Oct. 20 and was sidelined for the Nov. 4 game against the Packers.
The Bears have won two of the four games Cutler has missed this season. McCown, who started all four of those, will start Monday.
Trestman, meanwhile, looks to Cutler’s return.
“I was encouraged today just by the work that he got in considering the injury wasn’t that long ago, so we’ll see where he is next week,” Trestman said. “But it was a good first day for him to come out and get some work. He threw the ball very, very well.”
Courtesy: Rich Campbell | Tribune reporter
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have filled out their practice squad by signing two players.
Tight end Jameson Konz, who played at Kent State, and running back George Winn, who played collegiately at Cincinnati.
Winn will likely take some of the scout teams reps of Phillip Tanner and Joseph Randle, who will likely be used more in the offense with Lance Dunbar (knee) now out for the season. Winn was recently with the Steelers and Raiders’ practice squads. He also spent time this offseason with Houston and New England.
Konz was released off Seattle’s practice squad earlier this year. He’s also played some defensive end in the past with the Seahawks, who originally signed him in 2010.
The Cowboys waived Andre Smith two weeks ago and hoped to retain him on the practice squad. But he was claimed off waivers by the Browns, who also plucked quarterback Alex Tanney from the squad that same week.
Without Smith, the Dallas Cowboys have just Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar and James Hanna on the roster. Konz will likely the scout-team reps at tight end.
With Tanney no longer around, veteran Kyle Orton handles all of the scout team snaps at quarterback.
The addition of Wynn and Konz fills up the squad back to eight players. The Cowboys have three receivers on the practice squad with Tim Benford, Jamar Newsome and Lanear Sampson. Defensive end Caesar Rayford and offensive lineman John Wexler and guard Ray Dominguez.
It’s coming down to the wire. The fate of the 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys season will be determined in the next four weeks. Will the ‘boys take it to the next level or will another NFC East team step up? As of today, the Dallas Cowboys must face the Chicago Bears on the road, the Green Bay Packers at home, the Washington Redskins on their turf, and close out by hosting the 7-5 Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. The Dallas Cowboys have a shot to take the division. Do you think they will? If not, then who?
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IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys now have a true fullback on their roster.
The Cowboys signed Tyler Clutts after he was among five running backs to work out for the team. To make room for Clutts, running back Lance Dunbar, who had knee surgery Tuesday, was placed on injured reserve.
Clutts, 6-2, 254 pounds, played in four games earlier this season for the Miami Dolphins before his release. He has played for the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears. He caught eight passes for 48 yards for the Bears in 2011.
The Cowboys did not carry a fullback on their active roster this season and parted ways with veteran Lawrence Vickers on July 12. They had used tight ends Jason Witten and James Hanna and linebacker Kyle Bosworth at fullback in different situations this season.
With a cold weather game coming Monday night at Chicago and another one possible on Dec. 22 at Washington, the Dallas Cowboys could be forced to run the ball more, but coach Jason Garrett does not believe the signing would be a shift from what they have done this season.
“You certainly want to be able to run the ball and be physical in bad weather games,” Garrett said. “Sometimes you’re not able to throw the ball as well as you’d like because of the conditions and the next best thing to do is run it. Being physical, being able to run downhill would certainly help you in those kinds of environments.”
RELATED: Scouting Report – New Dallas Cowboys fullback Tyler Clutts
Tyler Clutts | 6-2 | 254 | 4.94 40-Yard Dash | Fresno State
Game film viewed:
Miami regular season 2013: Cleveland, Indianapolis, Atlanta, New Orleans
Clutts was a defensive end at Fresno State before being converted to fullback when he made the transition to the professional game. He got his start in the Canadian Football League with Edmonton.
He then made stops in the NFL with Cleveland, where he played with current Dallas Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown. Clutts was with the Browns in 2011, then Chicago 2011-2012. He played for Houston in 2012, where he worked in a zone running scheme, before finally heading to Miami for the first four games of the 2013 season.
- Plays as a true fullback in “I” formation; will also line up offset and on the line as a tight end or wing (Editors note: Think Jason Witten’s usual spot or sometimes DeMarco Murray).
- Good path to search out defender. Can locate the correct man on the move.
- Shows a good initial pop and strike, but I thought he needed to do a better job with overall sustain. Likes to grab and hold for control.
- Needs to be careful in the way he uses his hands. Didn’t see any holding calls, but they were always on the outside of the frame work of the body.
- Will try and dig linebacker out of the hole. He had times where he was square to strike at the point, then others where he was on the edge and got him knocked off.
- Thought he needed to do better job of running through his man when inside at the point of attack. Needs to keep his feet working once he is engaged.
- Thought he was a much better blocker when he was leading the play on the outside or to the edge. Just played more comfortably when he could work to the outside, find his man, then try to secure his block. Did a better job of staying with his man this way.
- Will strike his man, then work up the field or into the flat. I did not have the opportunity to see him use his hands catching the ball for the Dolphins (Editors note: Because he didn’t have any with Miami. Only receptions were with Chicago in 2011. 8 for 48 yards with 6 yard average. Included his longest catch of 10 yards). Appeared to be good in getting into his route, really saw no issues here.
- Played on special teams for the Dolphins as the right back in the second line working on the two-man wedge. Was able to work to his spot to execute his assignment. Would like to have seen him do a better job of attacking his man, then catch the block to control. Was told that in the workout for coaches, he worked as a deep snapper but really just an emergency option at best.
- Has the bulk and square build to be a dependable blocking full back, but I would have liked to see more nasty play when he got the opportunity. Didn’t see a guy that just hammered defenders with his play. Will be interested if we see that from his play now that he is on this roster.
COWBOYS VS. BEARS GAME PRIMER: Jason Garrett press conference | 2013 Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears | Sean Lee
Jason Garrett: Controlling own destiny | Sean Lee outlook (19:43)
- Standings and health position heading into December playoff run
- Sean Lee’s outlook as of today
- Dealing with the Lance Dunbar injury/replacement going forward
- Four players worked out for Dunbar’s available roster spot
- Teams need/decision to add a fullback to the Dallas Cowboys roster
- Does bringing in a dedicated FB shift team away from this seasons established routes
- How weather in colder months is affecting the decision to add a full-back
- How extreme cold affects a quarterback
- Addressing recent ‘drops” by Dez Bryant
- Thoughts on rookie RB Joseph Randle becoming more active in the offense
- Tyron’s Smith’s athletic ability and alertness during turnover track-down situations
- Thoughts on facing Jay Ratliff considering all of the circumstances involved
- (quick questions related to Jay Ratliff with Jason Garrett’s turn back to Bears focus)
- Terrance Williams recent rookie slump after few big games during Miles Austin’s absence
- Tyron’s Smith’s improvement this season and what distinguishes him from others
- How he addresses the reputation for the team not ‘finishing’ as the season closes out
- How they kept Sean Lee focused on a healthy return and his healing process
- The keys to the last two wins without Sean Lee in the lineup
- Question above lead to a series of comments related to ‘Next Man Up’
- Plans with strong side linebacker now that Kyle Wilbur has stepped up in that role
- How Kyle Wilbur affects plans with strong side LB Justin Durant’s return this week
- Fitting in flexible Kyle Wilbur who was originally drafted as 3-4 defensive lineman
- Tony Romo’s leadership development over the course of his years in Dallas
- Does any player bring the speed and breakaway traits that Dunbar has shown
- If Tanner/Randle don’t get chances, will ‘lead dog’ RB Murray get more downs
- Comparison of how RB Murray has played before and after his injury this season
- Impact of having to play without Dwayne Harris in the Oakland and Giants games
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THE NEXT MAN UP: Jason Garrett’s 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys find a way to win, even without centerpiece Sean Lee on the field
The Dallas Cowboys are 2-0 without Sean Lee in the middle of the defense, but it’s not like his influence has not been felt.
DeMarcus Ware said Lee remains a big presence everywhere except the field, continuing to work with his replacement, Ernie Sims, like a coach.
“When you have guys like Lee still in there, in the meeting rooms, still teaching Ernie what to do – everybody in this league is athletic – but if you can instill what you do mentally first, especially like Sean Lee, he’s showing them so many things and what to key on, and they’ve gotten better,” Ware said after the Thanksgiving Day victory against Oakland. “He’s still there, but just in another person’s body, of Ernie’s or whatever.”
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Lee has been missed, but there have been benefits.
“It caused us to do some moving around a little bit,” he said. “It’s probably caused us to see Wilber, who was steady against the Giants and again tonight. That may be a blessing for us.”
Lee said the defense has played “fantastic” without him.
“I think it shows you have a lot of guys who have worked hard, who have stepped up – guys like Kyle Wilber and Ernie Sims, who put in a ton of work,” he said. “And you have to give them a ton of credit, because they’ve been a huge reason why we’ve been able to win these two football games.”
Sean Lee said he is on track to play in the next game, Dec. 9 at Chicago.
AROUND THE NFC EAST: 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles set up for a December to remember
The Dallas Cowboys sat alone atop the NFC East for three days, but it wasn’t meant to last.
Although it’s true the Cowboys still own the tiebreaker against Philadelphia, it’s fair to say Dallas was hoping for a little help from the Arizona Cardinals, who traveled to Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday afternoon.
It didn’t happen, as the Eagles outlasted the Cardinals, 24-21, to improve to 7-5 and tie the division standings heading into the final month of the season.
You could argue that late penalties negated a crucial interception from Nick Foles, or point out that another flag allowed Philadelphia to run the clock out when they seemed poised to have to give the ball back to Arizona.
It’s immaterial at this point. Foles played another fantastic game, and the Eagles are once again breathing down the Cowboys’ necks.
The idea of a Week 17 meeting between Philadelphia and Dallas for the division championship is starting to materialize.
Each team has three games remaining before that point, but it’s pretty easy to imagine both squads sitting on seven or eight wins when the Eagles come to AT&T Stadium on Dec. 29.
The interesting notion, at this point, is the improving prospects of the NFC East. The Giants and Redskins are in trouble, yes. New York rallied from a 14-0 deficit Sunday night to defeat Washington, 24-17.
The loss drops the Redskins from 2012 division champions to 3-9 in 2013 and a non-factor in the playoff race. The Giants are still alive with a 5-7 mark, but to say they’ll need some help is generous.
But even if it’s a two-team race after Week 13, the NFC East doesn’t seem like the laughing stock it was in September and October. Dallas wins the tiebreaker with the Eagles based on head-to-head record, but Philadelphia sits just outside the NFC’s second wildcard spot.
At this point, we’re a San Francisco loss and an Eagles win from having both Philadelphia and Dallas in the playoffs. As long as Chip Kelly’s crew keeps winning, they’ll be a factor in both the division and wild card race.
Of course, there’s still a long way to go. Philadelphia hosts NFC North leader Detroit next weekend, and the Cowboys travel to play 6-6 Chicago in the cold.
But even if it’s a two-team race, the NFC East looks much more interesting than it did just a month ago.
RAIDERS AND BRAIDERS: Dallas Cowboys create a hair raising event on Thanksgiving Day inside AT&T Stadium
Photos courtesy, clockwise from top left: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports; John F. Rhodes/Special to the DMN; Brandon Wade/AP
Just for fun, here are some locks frozen in time by super fast shutter speeds during the annual Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving day game.
No words on what these players and performers were grateful for on the holiday. Good hair, I presume.
Whether blonde, brunette or somewhere in between, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have hair to die for.
Photo courtesy, Louis DeLuca | DMN | Thursday, November 28, 2013
Dallas Cowboys strong safety Danny McCray (40) and cornerback B.W. Webb (20) gave Oakland Raiders kick returner Taiwan Jones something to dread during the Dallas Cowboys victory at AT&T Stadium.
Photo courtesy: Tom Fox | DMN
Singer, actress, and Grand Prairie native Selena Gomez’ hair was kinky and her skirt was stringy as she performed for philanthropy during the Dallas Cowboys vs.Oakland Raiders halftime show at AT&T Stadium.
Special thanks: Michael Hamtil | DMN
ARLINGTON, Texas – All right, admit it, you were piping-hot mad when Terrance Williams fumbled the opening kickoff, and some Jenkins you probably never heard of – Greg, not Mike – picks up the loose ball and goes 23 yards for a Raiders touchdown in just 12 seconds.
You were spittin’-molars mad when that former Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Andre Holmes guy hauls in four receptions for 56 yards … in the first half. You remember him. Only on the Cowboys practice squad late last season. Available for the Patriots to sign him to their 53-man roster because he couldn’t hang on to the same type of passes with the Cowboys that he was catching at AT&T Stadium for the Raiders.
Guessing that you were cursin’-mad when the erstwhile 4-7 Raiders, losers of three of their previous four games and able to score more than 20 points only once during that span, had taken a 21-7 lead over the Cowboys with just 1:56 left in the first half before 87,572 disbelieving souls.
All the cred the Dallas Cowboys had gained with that spine-tingling 24-21 victory over the New York Giants four days earlier at MetLife to move to 6-5 was going right out the window like a bad pumpkin pie.
Same ol’ .500 Cowboys. Admit it, you said it, or at least were thinking it, right?
It sounds like Mr. Jerry Jones was right there with you, saying, “You really, if it were like the rest of us, you could have gotten your enthusiasm down a little bit.”
Heck, bet some of you were reaching for the remote, or at least the Alka-Seltzer if you already had indulged in your Thanksgiving dinner that was about to come up. Reminiscent of the same shape Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo had been in Wednesday night and the morning of the game.
“We just had to get up out of our comfort zone,” mercurial wide receiver Dez Bryant explained. “I guess we were feeling too comfortable.”
Guaran-darn-tee you they then were the only ones feeling comfortable at that point, the Raiders starting to believe this was going to be a runaway.
But just like that, as if one of those blue norther’s came blowing in from Oklahoma, the gritty Dallas Cowboys dragged you and the Raiders back in. Jettisoning Oakland, 31-24, while creating a not-since colorful holiday collage, as in …
Not since Oct. 13 against the Washington Redskins had the Cowboys scored as many as 31 points or as many as four touchdowns in one game.
Not since Sept. 22 had the Dallas Cowboys rushed for more than the 144 yards they pounded the Raiders with.
Not since Dec. 6, 2004, against Seattle had a Cowboys running back rushed for the three touchdowns DeMarco Murray did on this day in a single game.
Not since Oct. 6 against Denver had the Cowboys converted a higher percentage of third downs than the 54 percent they did so against the Raiders.
Not since Sept. 22 against the Rams had the Cowboys held a team to fewer than the 50 yards rushing they held the Raiders to, and to think Oakland came into the game as the NFL’s fourth-ranked rushing team.
Not since the first four games of the season had Romo completed 70 percent of his passes, going 12 of 12 in the second half and 17 of 19 from the final possession of the first half to finish at 71.8 for the day.
Maybe having just three days between games suits the Dallas Cowboys well, because …
Not since the middle of October had the Cowboys won the two straight games they now have won in a five-day span, first at the Giants, 24-21, and then this one over the Raiders – only the second time in the last 15 games that they have won back-to-back outings.
So then, not since the 2009 season when the Cowboys finished 11-5 did they have a better record (8-4) than their now 7-5 record after 12 games. By the way, puts them back in first place by a half-a-game over the 6-5 Eagles. Philadelphia must now match the Cowboys today when playing the red-hot Arizona Cardinals at home.
And, not since Dec. 16, 2012, that’s 14 games ago, have the Cowboys been as many as the two games over the .500 mark as they are now. Sitting with this weekend off and 10 whole days between meeting the Bears on Monday night in Chicago.
Well then, maybe having grandiose postseason dreams will not jinx this team, just as wearing those blue jerseys at home did not on Thursday, nor did Tony Romo having the cover story on the Sports Illustrated that arrived in mailboxes on Wednesday.
If your head needs leveling off, leave it to Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. He’s the steady-as-she-goes believer, saying after the Cowboys completed their-two-game Thanksgiving week sweep, “You have to be careful about taking a global point of view. You’ve just got to get back to work.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to get away for the next couple of days and then get back to work next week on Chicago. We’re focusing on our preparation and what to do to win a ballgame.”
Maybe there is something to Garrett’s even-keeled approach that more of you need to appreciate. Because if not, for sure panic would have set in late in the second quarter when rookie quarterback Matt McGloin and running back Rashad Jennings had the Raiders up 21-7.
As if awakening from a winter slumber, the Dallas Cowboys only consumed 1:21 of the 1:56 left in the second quarter to march the 73 yards for Murray’s second of three touchdowns. And that began an offensive onslaught of four scores in five possessions to finally reach thirtysomething for the first time in a month. Coming up just one yard short from scoring a fifth touchdown. Using a bit of common sense, Dan Bailey’s field goal from the one, put the Cowboys up 10 with just 1:56 remaining in the game.
Just keep on grinding, keep that head down, and when it’s over, then and only then do you even dare take a global view.
“Everything is happening right now at the right time,” Cowboys veteran defensive end DeMarcus Ware said before the team headed out for some well-deserved rest the next four days, “but you can’t get complacent with where you are, and we aren’t, and we know we have a big game coming up.”
Heavens no, not at this point, not taking a 7-5 record and a two-game winning streak into Chicago next time out while no worse than tied for first in the NFC East.
And goodness knows, not when there is a real chance to break that same ol’, same ol’ mold for the first time since … 2009.
You guys enjoy the break, too.
When Green Bay visits Dallas on Dec. 15, it could be a crucial game for the Cowboys’ playoff hopes.
And the Packers might come to Texas without their star quarterback.
There’s speculation (from the drama queens at NFL.com) that if Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) can’t play next week against Atlanta, Green Bay might shut the quarterback down for the season, if the Packers are out of the playoff race.
Rodgers, who did not play in Thursday’s loss to Detroit, was cleared to practice on a limited basis earlier this week and did some throwing on the field Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Packers are 5-6-1 and in third place in the NFC North.
When asked Friday whether Rodgers has a chance to play against Atlanta, coach Mike McCarthy replied, “I don’t know that.”
“I just know when we came off the field Wednesday that he wasn’t ready to play yet,” McCarthy added. “So, we’ll see how the testing goes. But it needs to be the right thing. I know he wants to play, I know he’s trying to gear up each and every week to play, but we’ll see what happens next week.”
Feeling the sting of the Packers’ most lopsided loss since they fell 35-0 at home against New England in McCarthy’s first season as coach in 2006, at least one frustrated player commented on how much Rodgers has been missed.
Green Bay didn’t have a victory in its five November games after Rodgers went out after the first series of the loss to Chicago on Nov. 4. The last time the Packers were winless in a full month of games was December 1990, when they went 0-5.
“It definitely made things a lot more difficult without Aaron,” left guard Josh Sitton said Thursday. “I think we all know that. There’s no denying that. You can’t say, ‘Hey, we can go and play just as good without Aaron.’ We haven’t won a game without him in five weeks. He’s the best player on this team. Yeah, we need him, but there’s a lot more going on than just that.”
COWBOYS POSTGAME INJURY UPDATE: Dallas RB Lance Dunbar will undergo season-ending surgery on his left knee
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys picked up a much-needed win on Thursday, but it seems like it comes with a price.
Today, the Cowboys learned running back Lance Dunbar, who had a career-high 82 rushing yards in Thursday’s win over the Raiders, will likely be out for the season with a knee injury.
Dunbar is expected to undergo surgery on his left knee. The official injury diagnosis is a posterior lateral corner (Posterolateral Corner) that needs to be repaired.
The loss is a big setback considering how much of a spark Dunbar gave the Dallas Cowboys in their 31-24 Thanksgiving Day win over the Oakland Raiders. While DeMarco Murray found the end zone three times on the ground, it was Dunbar who gave the Cowboys’ offense a much-needed jolt.
Dunbar had 12 carries for 82 yards, including a 45-yard run that set up a touchdown.
But late in the fourth quarter, with the Cowboys trying to grind out the clock, Dunbar was hit in the backfield by a blitzing Raiders cornerback. The second-year running back from North Texas went down immediately holding his left knee. He eventually got up and gingerly walked off the field.
After the game, both owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett described it as a hyper-extended left knee. Dunbar said he expected to be “all right” and sounded optimistic for his chances of playing in the next game against Chicago on Dec. 9.
However, today’s MRI revealed more than just a hyper-extension.
Without Dunbar, the Cowboys will likely call on either rookie Joseph Randle or Phillip Tanner to rotate with Murray.
Before Thursday’s game, Dunbar hadn’t received more than five carries in a game this year. He had three carries for 20 yards the week before in New York and figured to have an increased role in the offense.
That carried over into Thursday’s game, where Dunbar also had a reception for 12 yards.
This injury is just the latest setback for Dunbar, who has had untimely injuries this year. He suffered a foot injury in preseason that sidelined him for Week 1 against the Giants. When he came back in Week 2, he lost a fumble against the Chiefs, which likely kept him from getting extended carries and touches in the later weeks.
He suffered a hamstring injury the week before the Redskins game, where Murray also got hurt. So instead of getting his chance to start with Murray out, Dunbar also sat out the same two games.
But that gave Randle a chance to play, which is something he’ll likely be asked to do more in the final month of the season now.
A popular page on The Boys Are Back website was revised today. Complete with new pictures and updated information. Enjoy!
To check it out, click on the page titled ‘Dallas Cowboys Uniforms” or on the button below:
Original post from October 12, 2011: