Daily Archives: August 22nd, 2011

RECAP: SD @ DAL

Dallas Receiving

REC

YDS

AVG

TD

LG

TGTS

M. Johnson

2

35

17.5

0

28

3

M. Bennett

3

33

11.0

0

19

4

K. Ogletree

3

27

9.0

0

14

4

M. Rucker

2

21

10.5

0

12

4

J. Witten

3

17

5.7

1

6

3

F. Warren

2

14

7.0

0

7

2

C. Clay

1

14

14.0

0

14

1

D. Bryant

2

13

6.5

0

7

3

L. Miller

3

12

4.0

0

9

4

R. Radway

1

11

11.0

0

11

2

J. Holley

1

10

10.0

0

10

1

J. Phillips

1

7

7.0

0

7

1

P. Tanner

1

3

3.0

0

3

2

J. Cleveland

0

0

0.0

0

0

2

D. Harris

0

0

0.0

0

0

1

L. Leong

0

0

0.0

0

0

2

F. Jones

0

0

0.0

0

0

1

T. Poots

0

0

0.0

0

0

1

Team

25

217

8.7

1

28

41

San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner and Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett visit before the start of a preseason NFL football game  Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Team Stat Comparison

SD

DAL

1st Downs

18

23

Passing 1st downs

10

15

Rushing 1st downs

5

4

1st downs from Penalties

3

4

3rd down efficiency

5-11

8-12

4th down efficiency

1-1

0-1

Total Plays

56

65

Total Yards

239

313

Passing

147

204

Comp-Att

20-28

25-42

Yards per pass

5.3

4.9

Rushing

92

109

Rushing Attempts

26

20

Yards per rush

3.5

5.5

Red Zone (Made-Att)

2-3

1-2

Penalties

7-45

7-68

Turnovers

0

3

Fumbles lost

0

2

Interceptions thrown

0

1

Defensive / Special Teams TDs

0

0

Possession

29:21

30:39

NYG starting CB Terrell Thomas tears ACL, out for season

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants starting cornerback Terrell Thomas is probably going to miss the season after suffering a major injury to his right knee in the closing seconds of a first half preseason game against the Chicago Bears.

Thomas was hurt with 22 seconds left in the half when it appeared that Jason Pierre-Paul hit his from the side on a pass play.

Thomas walked to the locker room and the preliminary diagnosis was a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which is usually season ending.

Aaron Ross will probably step into the starting lineup along with Corey Webster. Giants first-round draft pick Prince Amukamara broke a foot in his first training camp practice a couple of week ago. He is not due back until midseason.

Phillip Tanner’s helmet-less run brings back memories for Jason Witten

Running back Phillip Tanner’s 23-yard  helmet-less touchdown run in the fourth quarter certainly conjured up images of tight end Jason Witten’s signature catch and run against the Eagles, sans a helmet.

Of course, thanks partly to Witten’s run, Tanner’s play never happened. The NFL put a new rule in place this season blowing a play dead at the spot of the helmet coming off a player’s head. The play would have also been nullified by an illegal shift.

Still there is no taking away the charge of seeing a player risk a head injury by running successfully without a helmet.

“It’s a spur of the moment,” Witten said.  “It seemed like he wasn’t phased by it either. But its a good rule to have in place cause I can still feel that one.

But to have that mind set to keep running, there is something to be said for that”

Witten said watching Tanner did bring back memories for him.

“I was wondering what was I thinking,” Witten said. “The bigger question is what was Tony Romo doing throwing it to me.  But it was my signature play for a long time. Hopefully I will have a lot better than that. It was a neat play.”

Clarence Hill

Jason Garrett not happy with performance

Jason Garrett not happy with performance, says Cowboys were exposed and have a lot things that need to be addressed

The mantra of it’s okay, we’ll get them next time, left the Cowboys when Wade Phillips fired last season.

Jason Garrett is holding the Cowboys accountable for how they perform in the practice and it games.

To that end, he was not happy with last night’s performance against the Chargers and let the players know it in no uncertain terms after the game.

It wasn’t so much the 20-7 setback as it was the three turnovers, mental breakdowns and gaffes on defense.

Never mind that it was just the second preseason game. Garrett said things must be cleaned up now, especially the turnovers.

“What I told the team after was, without having seen the stats, I bet we had more yards,” Garrett said. “I bet we ran for more yards. I bet we threw for more yards. I bet we were better on third down. But ultimately it comes down to we turned it over three times and they didn’t  turn it over at all. We need to do a better job taking care of the football. We need to do a better job getting it away from them. That is statistic No. 1 in  the NFL and we lost tonight. I think that was a big reason why.”

Garrett was not done either.

He said “we live in reality. There was some things that happened that exposed us. There were a number of mental mistakes. We need to play better. There are some things that happened tonight that are mistakes that we shouldn’t have made. There were some good things that happened but there were a lot of things that need to be addressed.”

Clarence Hill

Rob Ryan: It’s all my fault

Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan sounded like a broken record after his  first-team defense gave up 152 yards to the Chargers. He took the blame  for a defensive performance that left something to be desired.

“It’s a work in progress,” Ryan said. “It’s the second preseason game. I’m  not crying about anything. Hell, it’s all my fault, and we’ll be just fine.”

Chargers starter Philip Rivers was 8-for-11 for 92 yards and a touchdown. The  touchdown came when tight end Randy McMichael was uncovered on a  7-yard pass. Cornerback Alan Ball and strong safety Gerald Sesnabaugh  double-teamed Vincent Jackson. Ryan said a safety should have covered McMichael,  with Ryan taking the blame for that not happening.

“We’re not running everything we’ve got obviously,” Ryan said. “But we’re  evaluating people. We’re evaluating the process. That’s how it goes. Would we  have liked to have played better? Absolutely. We had the red-zone coverage,  where the guy’s wide open, was me trying to get cute with them, and double 83 on  a call that should have a safety on 81. So that’s completely my fault. Guys are  playing hard. We’re not playing perfect by any stretch. But I know we’ll play  better. It’s taking time. Obviously, we’re not playing our whole stuff, but I  mean, hell, we’ve got no excuses. We’ll play better this week, and we’re looking  forward to it.”

Garrett admitted the defense, which allowed the most yards and the most  points in team history last season, is “not where it needs to be right now.”  Ryan, though, isn’t worried.

“There’s no panic over here,” Ryan said. “Hell, I’ve been in this league a  long time. I’ve got to keep learning our players better and call things that  we’re comfortable playing. I think right now I’m trying to be too cute with  the calls, and it’s hurting our guys. They’re not playing as aggressive. We’ll  play better. It’s a learning process. That’s a hell of an offense we went  against. That’s just the way it is. We’re not going to hang our head here. We’re  going to go to work and be ready to go this next preseason game and have a good  plan for them.”

POLL: Who wins this week … Dallas or Minnesota?

MIN: Biggest concern – Easy … it’s the O-line

Welcome to the most important week of the summer.

Returning to Winter Park for a 1 p.m. practice today, the Vikings have reached the part of their preseason where more than baby steps are required to keep the pace.

Coach Leslie Frazier will treat this week more like he would a regular-season game. Practices will have a regular-season tempo, there will be specific game-planning for the Cowboys, and the starters will play into the second half on Saturday night at Mall of America Field. How long they play hasn’t been determined, but coaches always mark the third preseason game as the one in which starters get reacquainted with returning to the field for the second half.

As far as baby steps to get to this point, the Vikings deserve a passing grade, all things considered. The defense was stifling in Saturday night’s 20-7 win at Seattle, while the offense showed some rhythm after a slow start. Yes, the offense still hasn’t scored a touchdown, but that 81-yard drive from inside their 1-yard line was impressive, especially considering it came without Percy Harvin (ribs) and Visanthe Shiancoe (hamstring), two major parts of a new offense still taking its baby steps.

Possibly the most unexpected observation to this point is how comfortable new quarterback Donovan McNabb has looked with a little more than two weeks in the offense. He’s been decisive, sharp on the short and intermediate passes, threw a nice longer pass to Michael Jenkins and has shown he still can move around in the pocket.

So as we head into the big-boy steps part of the preseason, I wouldn’t put McNabb among the top five concerns at this point. Here are my top five:

1, The offensive line.

Most coaches want their starting five in place by the third preseason game. The Vikings are unsettled up front, to say the least. They still don’t know who their right guard is. Their left tackle looks like a guard and made a major mistake that gave Seahawks DE Raheem Brock an open path to McNabb. That can’t happen. Not to a 34-year-old QB who hasn’t survived all 16 games since 2004. The O-line is easily the biggest concern on this team.

2. The third cornerback.

The backup corner that’s turned more heads this summer than any other is Marcus Sherels. That’s good for the undrafted ex-Gopher, but he’s the No. 6 corner on the team. He isn’t going to move ahead of Chris Cook or Asher Allen, two young players the Vikings have a lot more invested in. Cook especially needs to start playing like a second-round draft pick. Or like he did last season before knee injuries derailed his career. He has it in him. In this division, the Vikings hope he relocates that ability in a hurry.

3. Strong safety.

The seemingly never-ending battle between preferred candidate Tyrell Johnson and Jamarca Sanford trudges on. Sanford started the preseason opener. Johnson started the second game. Whoever starts this week has the inside track for the regular-season opener. Rookie Mistral Raymond is a possibility. He would play free safety and Husain Abdullah would move to strong. The Vikings probably don’t want to show Philip Rivers a rookie free safety on Sept. 11. The good news is there’s nowhere to go but up from the Vikings’ safety play in recent years.

4. The receivers.

Harvin, Bernard Berrian and Jenkins are the starters. Greg Camarillo probably is the fourth receiver (and second slot guy in four-wide sets). The fifth receiver could be the winner from a pool of interesting prospects. Devin Aromashodu would get my tentative vote. Harvin is explosive, but not a No. 1 receiver that can line up wide and present a physical mismatch. Jenkins has the size and deceptive speed, but he’s never proven to be that No. 1 guy. And one wonders if Berrian, the split end, can be a deep threat if the offensive line can’t give McNabb the time needed to throw deep. And what happens to Berrian’s attitude if he’s not a big part of the offense?

5. Injuries.

This is the week that Shiancoe, Harvin, Camarillo and others need to be on the field. It will be the only chance to play extended minutes as full units before the regular season begins. That’s especially important for a brand new offense that’s going to have to score touchdowns to keep up with the Chargers in San Diego. There needs to be a test run with a full complement of players.

Source:

Mark Craig has covered football and the NFL the past 20 years, including the Browns from 1991-95 and the Vikings and the NFL since 2003.

Injury report: Who’s hurt and their status

JOEL PRINCE / Staff Photographer
San Diego Chargers linebacker Darryl Gamble (49) tries to tackle Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones (28) as he outruns the defense in the first quarter of the NFL preseason game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011.
Published 22 August 2011 04:19 PM

Injury Report

Status Changed

RB; DeMarco Murray; Hamstring; Out, Should return to practice Tuesday, placed on non-football injury list

DE; Marcus Spears; Groin; Out Indefinitely

Status Unchanged

DE; Jason Hatcher; Toe; Out, Day-to-day

WR; Miles Austin; Hamstring; Out, Day-to-day

K; David Buehler; Hip; Out indefinitely

G; Montrae Holland; Back; Out, Day-to-day

RB; Tashard Choice; Calf; Out, Day-Day

LB; Keith Brooking; Hamstring; Out, Expected to return to practice Tuesday

CB; Mike Jenkins; Neck; Limited but practicing

LB; Bruce Carter; Knee; Out, Placed on non-football injury list

WR; Teddy Williams; Hamstring; Out indefinitely

K; Kai Forbath; Quadriceps; Out, Placed on non-football injury list

CB; Terence Newman; Groin; Out, Three weeks

Tony Romo on his interception: ‘That was disappointing’

ARLINGTON — The Cowboys had just crossed into San Diego’s territory and seemed to be piecing together a productive drive. Then, with less than five minutes remaining in the first quarter, quarterback Tony Romo dropped back and threw a pass intended for Kevin Ogletree, who was running a crossing route.

When the ball was delivered, Ogletree was flanked by safety Eric Weddle and cornerback Antoine Cason. Weddle cut in front of Ogletree and snagged the pass.

Romo immediately regretted the play.

“We were moving it on the drive when I threw the interception,” said Romo, who completed 8 of 12 pass attempts for 58 yards and one touchdown in the Cowboys’ 20-7 loss Sunday. “That was disappointing because we had a good rhythm going, and we were in position to take that one down the field. I just need to make sure I don’t hurt our team with that interception. I’ll look at the tape, learn from it and make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Terrelle Pryor won’t be a Dallas Cowboy

The Oakland Raiders used a third-round pick Monday in the NFL’s supplemental draft to select former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

The Raiders announced the selection on Twitter. Oakland forfeits its third-round selection in the 2012 draft.

Pryor will not be eligible to practice with or play for Oakland during the regular season until the team’s sixth game. When he was allowed to enter Monday’s draft, he was handed a five-game suspension by Commissioner Roger Goodell. Pryor has said he will not appeal the suspension.

His selection by the Raiders hardly is surprising. Oakland often makes bold moves in the draft because owner Al Davis covets size and speed. Pryor ran a 4.36 in the 40 during his workout for 17 NFL teams Saturday. At 6-foot-5 and 232 pounds, he is similar in height to JaMarcus Russell, the LSU quarterback chosen No. 1 overall by the Raiders in the 2007 draft.

But Pryor is much more mobile. As a junior, Pryor had his best season statistically, throwing for 2,772 yards and 27 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. He also ran for 754 yards and four scores while helping the Buckeyes win the Sugar Bowl.

Oakland’s starting quarterback is Jason Campbell, now in his second season with the Raiders after being acquired from Washington, where he spent five seasons.

RELATED:

Cowboys quiet in supplemental draft

The NFL’s supplemental draft is over.

The Cowboys chose not to take part.

The club did not use a pick in Monday’s draft. That means it will retain all of its current picks in 2012.

The supplemental draft is a chance for qualified underclassmen who didn’t request early entry into the regular draft to have a chance to enter the NFL. If a team chooses to take part, it will lose that corresponding pick in the regular draft.

The Cowboys did jump into the supplemental draft last season, using a seventh round pick to select nose tackle Josh Brent. The club lost that pick in the 2011 draft, but still picked up two players in the seventh round _ Bill Nagy and Shaun Chapas _ through previous trades

Dez Bryant: ‘One drop is too many’

ARLINGTON — Dez Bryant hauled in two passes Sunday night, two more than he had in the preseason opener. However, he should’ve had three.

Bryant dropped a short Tony Romo pass on third-and-four in the first quarter. The grab would’ve been enough for a first down, but Bryant got caught trying to do too much.

“I took my eyes off the ball,” Bryant said after the Cowboys’ 20-7 loss to the San Diego Chargers. “I shouldn’t have done that. My standards are real high about catching the football. One drop is too many.”

Bryant added that Cowboys receivers coach Jimmy Robinson let the second-year playmaker know that the drop was the only one he’s allowed this year. Bryant also noted that he was happy the mistake occured in a preseason game.

Trying to make a play before having possession is what Bryant did on the play. And that’s not a surprise considering Bryant believes he can take even the shortest pass to the end zone.

“I look to score every time I touch the ball. That’s the way you’re supposed to play football,” Bryant said. “I feel like if you play offense, you should feel like nobody should bring you down. Nobody. I don’t care if it’s 100 guys. You got to keep those legs moving.”

Bryant finished with 13 yards receiving Sunday. He didn’t have a grab in Dallas’ 24-23 win over the Denver Broncos in the preseason opener. He was targeted once in that game but Romo’s pass bounced short.

JON MACHOTA / Special Contributor

ASK NOW: Brad Sham answers your Cowboys questions at 1 p.m. Monday

Louis DeLuca/The Dallas Morning News Radio announcer Brad Sham is pictured before the Dallas Cowboys-New York Giants NFL football game at New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on Sunday, November 14, 2010

Brad Sham, the radio voice of the Dallas Cowboys for more than three decades, answers your questions about the team in a live chat at 1 p.m. Monday. Ask your questions in the Coveritlive module below, and Mr. Sham will answer them for an hour or so.

DMN

Good and bad: How 2 rookie offensive linemen fared vs. Chargers

Rookie offensive lineman Bill Nagy said if Cowboys coach Jason Garrett asked him to play tight end, he’d do that, too.

As a seventh-round draft pick out of Wisconsin, Nagy just wants a chance to play somewhere. Anywhere.

The Cowboys started Nagy at left guard in their second preseason game Sunday night against San Diego, giving him a chance to not only make the final 53-man roster but also put himself in position for more playing time.

Nagy, who has also worked at center in training camp, was one of several Cowboys given more prominent roles Sunday night against the Chargers because several starters missed the game with injuries.

Nagy was given the same chance that rookie David Arkin — the fourth-round pick out of Missouri State — received in the first preseason game against Denver. Nagy played the entire first half after a week of practicing with the first team.

Nagy and Arkin have worked with the starters while Montrae Holland has remained sidelined since Aug. 5 with a sore back.

Nagy (6-3, 300) seemed to stand his ground better than Arkin (6-5, 307), not getting pushed around as much at the point of contact. Arkin struggled in the second half against the Chargers.

Nagy showed his quick feet on the Cowboys’ first play, pulling and crossing over to the right to deliver a block that helped spring running back Felix Jones for a 6-yard gain.

On the next play, Chargers defensive tackle Antonio Garay fought off Nagy to hit Tony Romo and force an incompletion.

“These guys are definitely putting up a wall and giving me lanes to run through,” said Cowboys running back Felix Jones, who finished with 56 rushing yards on seven carries.

“They are creating all the runs for me, and I am just taking advantage of it.”

DMN: Brandon George

Injury Update: Spears, Holland down; others nearing comeback

ARLINGTON, Texas — If Rob Ryan’s going to fully evaluate his defense in preseason, it’d be nice if he could get close to a fully healthy cast on the field.

That hasn’t been the case, and although it doesn’t appear serious, now defensive end Marcus Spears is dealing with a groin strain he suffered in Sunday’s game.

Spears is a stabilizing presence on the defensive line. Assuming he can get back promptly, there does seem to be a chance that fellow starter Keith Brooking (hamstring) and key reserve defensive end Jason Hatcher (toe) will practice this week. Starting cornerback Mike Jenkins has also been day-to-day with a stinger.

The healthier they all get, the better perspective Ryan will have of his entire unit.

Same goes for head coach Jason Garrett on offense. He said wide receiver Miles Austin (hamstring) is likely to practice this week, and for the first time all preseason, running backs DeMarco Murray (hamstring) and Tashard Choice (calf) could be back very soon.

Garrett said guard Montrae Holland (back) is further behind schedule than the above-mentioned players. The longer he’s out, the more likely the Cowboys go with Phil Costa, David Arkin or Bill Nagy at left guard — barring a veteran signing.

RELATED POST:

ARLINGTON, Texas — WR Miles Austin (hamstring) and DE Jason Hatcher (toe) did not play in the preseason game against the Chargers here at Cowboys Stadium.

Austin hasn’t practiced since Tuesday due to a tight hamstring, and Hatcher’s toe has been bothering him since Thursday’s practice with the Chargers at Valley Ranch. The Cowboys will play it safe with both guys.

Kevin Ogletree will start in Austin’s place.

Lineup changes: With Montrae Holland (back) still sidelined, seventh-round rookie Bill Nagy will start at left guard following a week of first-team reps. The Cowboys started fourth-rounder David Arkin in the preseason opener against Denver and have established a rotation in practice.

Also, Kenyon Coleman will start at left defensive end in place of Igor Olshansky after a week of first-team reps. Marcus Spears will start at right end.

Other inactives include K David Buehler (hip), K Kai Forbath (quad), WR Teddy Williams (hamstring), CB Mike Jenkins (stinger), RB Tashard Choice (calf), RB DeMarco Murray (hamstring), CB Terence Newman (groin), LB Keith Brooking (hamstring) and LB Bruce Carter (knee).

37-Day Wait For Next Cowboys Home Game

When the schedule comes out each April, a lot of people are quick to search for advantages and disadvantages. It’s futile to count wins and losses before the season starts, but not so pointless to search for quirks in the scheduling which could have an effect on the team.One such oddity is upon the Cowboys now, a bizarre 37-day stretch between Sunday’s preseason game and the homer opener, Sept. 26 against Washington, Week 3. In the regular season, the NFL would never put a team on the road four games in a row – it’d be cruel and unusual punishment.

But since these last two of the preseason don’t actually count – at Minnesota on Saturday and at Miami on Sept. 1 – the league had no issue ordering the extended road trip.

“That’s a long time, to be honest with you, to stat off a year” Bradie James said. “I don’t know how many teams have done that. But we’ve got to play the cards. That’s the hand that we’re dealt, and we’ve got to go out and play well.”

The Cowboys open the season with a visit to the New York Jets, and play at San Francisco in Week 2.

In years past the NFL frequently sent the club on the road to start the season because of the heat in Texas, but Cowboys Stadium is climate controlled. The Cowboys have opened the season with a road game each of the last three years.

To get away from that heat, the team will at least practice at the stadium this week and when necessary moving into the season.

Difficult To Judge Special Teams Play

It was a big night for guys like Felix Jones, Gerald Sensabaugh and Barry Church, but the Cowboys’ biggest winner on Sunday might actually be kicker David Buehler, and he didn’t even play.

While Buehler was out with a hip injury, rookie challenger Dan Bailey had the big opportunity of taking every kick. However, he was only on the field three times all night – for two kickoffs and an extra point. It’s going to be tough for Bailey to prove he can make field goals consistently in the NFL if he doesn’t get to try them, at least.

Down 20-7 in the fourth quarter, Jason Garrett elected to go for a fourth-down conversion near his own goal line late in the game rather than give Bailey a short attempt.

“It crossed our mind, but we were close down there,” Garrett said. “I don’t know how much value we would have gotten out of it.”

Whereas last week Bailey produced touchbacks on two of his five kickoffs, both his kicks were returned Sunday. It might’ve been by design that he was asked to kick shorter, allowing for a return. San Diego busted a 36-yarder to start the game, but Church tackled returner Richard Goodman inside the 20-yard line on Bailey’s second quarter kickoff, fielded two yards deep.

The Chargers weren’t exactly cooperative. Their young leg Rickey Schmitt booted four unreturnable kickoffs. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah only got to return one kickoff, going 26 yards, and one punt, for 11.

Special teams coach Joe DeCamillis got to see his guys in punt coverage plenty.

In addition to Church, special teams tackles were awarded to rookie corner Josh Thomas, fullback Isaiah Greenhouse and tight end John Phillips. Fullback Jason Pociask and running back Phillip Tanner notched assists.

jellis dallascowboys.com

Time To Give Tanner More Touches

Coming out of training camp, Lonyae Miller had that role of “camp surprise” even though it was very premature considering there isn’t any tackling going on.

The games obviously mean more for any position, especially at running back.

And after two games, it’s clear to me that Phillip Tanner is just a little bit better than Miller. He may not know the offense as much and maybe he gets trucked on a blitz pick-up – which is certainly a big deal considering the starting quarterback missed 10 games last year when a fullback missed a block that ended Romo’s season, but Tanner has something about him when he gets the ball in his hands.

And he doesn’t stop when his helmet comes off, even though new NFL rules state the play is over. So Jason Witten’s memorable play against the Eagles will always stand out because the NFL is eliminating that from happening again.

Still, for an undrafted rookie from Middle Tennessee State, the visual of Tanner running into the end zone without a lid might help his overall chances .

“Absolutely . . . he’s shown up,” Garrett said of Tanner. “He’s shown up since day one. A guy who hasn’t been with us all offseason and is really just learning the offense from the start of camp, but he’s picked it up. He has a knack for playing and has really good instincts. He’s shown that in every opportunity he’s gotten.”

And maybe it’s time for opportunities, although that might be difficult if DeMarco Murray and Tashard Choice are coming back soon. But there’s a chance neither of them play next week in Minnesota.

If so, maybe Tanner should get a few more carries than Miller. Maybe Tanner needs second-team reps so we can get a better evaluation.

It’ll likely come down to special teams play anyway. But when it comes to running the ball, Tanner seems to have a little more than Miller. And it’s to the point the Cowboys should give him more touches.

nickeatman dallascowboys.com

Murray Passes Physical; To Practice Tuesday

When the Cowboys resume practice Tuesday at Cowboys Stadium, it will be just a light walk-through for the majority of the roster. For rookie DeMarco Murray, it will be his first NFL practice of any sort. The third-round pick from Oklahoma has passed his physical and will be ready to practice with the Cowboys as early as Tuesday. Murray suffered a hamstring injury before the start of training camp in mid-July and has been working daily with the athletic trainers and strength coaches in an attempt to return to action. Murray’s absence has been even more significant considering the Cowboys have been without Tashard Choice since the first day of camp when he suffered a calf injury. Choice is also expected to return to practice at some point this week. In the meantime, Felix Jones has carried the load as the starter, including an impressive 56-yard effort on seven carries. Lonyae Miller had a good camp but has been overshadowed by rookie free agent Phillip Tanner in the two preseason games. Tanner had 31 yards on four attempts against the Chargers Sunday night. His most memorable play so far doesn’t even count on the stat sheet but Tanner certainly caught the attention of fans, media and most importantly, his coaches and teammates when he kept running after his helmet came off and found the end zone for a would-be touchdown. New NFL rules state the play is over once the ball-carrier loses his helmet and a motion penalty negated the play as well. But with Miller and Tanner fighting out for a possible final roster spot, you wonder how many reps they will now receive with Murray and possibly Choice joining the mix.

nickeatman dallascowboys.com

Terrelle Pryor works out, says he won’t appeal suspension

GREENSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Terrelle Pryor worked out for 17 NFL teams Saturday and said afterward he wouldn’t appeal his five-week suspension at the start of the NFL season

With the former Ohio State quarterback trying to prove he should be taken in Monday’s supplemental draft, spectators included Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and director of football operations Kevin Colbert and Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay.

Pryor, appearing in top shape, worked out at a high school stadium near his hometown of Jeannette, Pa. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds and threw an array of passes.

“I would like the opportunity to play quarterback,” he said, “but I’ll do anything that a team needs me to do to win.”

Former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel also made an appearance, supporting his former star player after resigning under pressure amid an NCAA investigation that Pryor and others improperly sold memorabilia.

Pryor left school for the NFL after Tressel’s departure.

“Did great,” Tressel said of the 6-foot-5, 232-pound Pryor. “He would help lots of teams.”

The NFL allowed Pryor into the draft Thursday with the caveat that he wouldn’t be allowed to practice for the team that selected him until Week 6. The quarterback would have faced a five-game suspension had he stayed at Ohio State.

Pryor’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told The Associated Press on Thursday that “we accept that voluntarily.” But the player’s attorney, David Cornwell, told ESPN Radio on Friday that it was “likely” the five-game punishment would be appealed once Pryor signed an NFL contract.

Pryor said Saturday there would be no appeal. He also said he would sign with any team that picked him in the supplemental draft instead of trying his chances again in the regular draft in the spring.

Vikings starters still have no TDs

JUDD ZULGAD  Star Tribune

Updated: August 21, 2011 – 11:30 PM

The Vikings’ first-team offense has played four series and 31 plays over the first two preseason games. That has led to three drives that ended with Chris Kluwe punts and one that Ryan Longwell completed with a field goal.

But with the Vikings learning a new offense and 21 days until the regular-season opener at San Diego, how much stock should be put into the fact quarterback Donovan McNabb has yet to lead a touchdown drive?

“We just tried to improve from the first game with the opportunity that we’ve had,” McNabb said Saturday following the Vikings’ 20-7 victory at Seattle. “I think that was the biggest [thing] for all of us was try to improve off of the first game.”

McNabb completed six of 11 passes for 40 yards and had a long completion of 12 yards as the Vikings opened the exhibition schedule with a 14-3 loss on Aug. 13 at Tennessee. On Saturday, he completed six of eight throws for 81 yards with a long of 23.

Coach Leslie Frazier and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave are certain to want to see McNabb and the offense take a step forward Saturday when the Vikings play their preseason home opener against Dallas. The stakes will be increased a bit, too, as the Vikings will game-plan for the Cowboys. They did not game-plan for the Titans or Seahawks.

“We’ll actually structure practices now,” Frazier said. “We’ll be out of training-camp mode and structure it as if we were getting ready for a game during the season. We’ll do some game-planning, not to the degree that we would if we were playing a regular-season game. We’ll go through simulation of what a game week is like.”

Frazier said Saturday night that he and his coaches would sit down on Sunday and discuss how much the starters would play against Dallas. The players were off Sunday and will return to work at Winter Park on Monday.

McNabb and the other starters will see their most extensive work of the preseason. Starters from many teams usually get their most work in the third exhibition — it wouldn’t be surprising to see McNabb play into the third quarter — and then do close to nothing in the finale, which in the Vikings’ case will be Sept. 1 against Houston at Mall of America Field.

Frazier did say he liked what he saw from his top offense Saturday at CenturyLink Field, even if they didn’t get in the end zone.

“[I] really was encouraged by the fact they were able to move the football as well as we were,” he said. “This is not an easy place to play whether it be the preseason or regular season. We seemed to be composed and really seemed to have a handle on what we wanted to get accomplished. We went into this game and we wanted to be able to establish an identity up front with our offensive line, along with our defensive line. I really thought we got in a rhythm with our first unit, and that was encouraging.”

It took awhile for them to find that rhythm. The Vikings’ only offensive series of the first quarter lasted three plays. But McNabb returned in the second quarter to direct a 13-play, 81-yard drive that began at the Vikings 1 and stalled at the Seahawks 18. Longwell completed it with a 36-yard field goal.

“That was big for us,” McNabb said of getting out of a backed-up situation. “Obviously it was tough field position to be in and being able to sustain a drive to get down in our red area and be able to have an opportunity to score. That was big for us. But again we have to be able to capitalize on that.

”… We came out with three, but still we want to be able to come out with seven. Obviously, in the tough division that we’re in we’ve got to score points.”

McNabb, as has been his custom, was able to spread the ball around during the series. He completed passes to running back Adrian Peterson (2, 2 yards), tight ends Kyle Rudolph (17) and Jim Kleinsasser (23) and wide receivers Michael Jenkins (21) and Devin Aromashodu (9) before his attempts for Peterson and Rudolph on second and third down fell incomplete.

“For myself, obviously, being in a new offense and being around new guys, that was kind of something that I try to go into each practice and trying to get comfortable with one another,” McNabb said. “Those guys get comfortable with me. Coming out here in game situation, we had opportunities, just didn’t capitalize.”

McNabb, Frazier and Musgrave all will hope to change that on Saturday night.

NEXT GAME: Dallas Cowboys @ Minnesota Vikings

With the preseason games completed with Denver and San Diego games, it’s time to look ahead to the Minnesota Vikings. Look forward posts that relate to them this week … from Minnesota, Dallas, and the National sports media.

Sat, Aug 27 @ Minnesota (KTVT/CBS 11)

7:00 PM

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