Daily Archives: September 5th, 2011

Buehler may expand role again as kickoff specialist

The Cowboys have two kickers, and they plan on using both. Rookie Dan Bailey  will get most of the field-goal work in practice, but David Buehler isn’t only  the kickoff specialist.

“The initial thought is [Bailey] is going to handle most of the field goals  and the extra points,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “[Buehler] will get  some work in some situations as a field-goal kicker. Dan will get most of the  work in that area.”

Buehler, who was only 24 of 32 on field goals and missed two extra points in  2010 in his first season in that role, will continue to work on field goals in  practice. He could be used on long field goals, having gone 8-of-11 from 40-49  yards, 4-of-6 from 50 and beyond last season. Buehler also could find work on  the other special teams. He was used on returns and in punt coverage in his  rookie season when he was the kickoff specialist.

“He’s a very good athlete and has embraced that role in the past,” Garrett  said of special teams. “We’ll work him into that. He has not done a lot of that  up to this point, we’ll see how he acclimates himself to doing that stuff again.  We’ll give him the opportunity.”

Buehler has 51 touchbacks in his two seasons, which is what kept him on the  roster despite kickoffs being moved from the 30 to the 35-yard line.

Coincidence? Jets pick up former Cowboy Andrew Sendejo on week of game

The Jets claimed safety Andrew Sendejo from the Cowboys on Sunday, a week before the teams meet in the season opener. The Jets likely will pick Sendejo’s brain about the Cowboys.

But Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he didn’t think the Jets claimed Sendejo simply because their schedule has Dallas on it for the opener.

“I don’t,” Garrett said, “because I think he’s a really good player. And I think he’s a guy that did a lot of good things for us, and it didn’t surprise us at all that somebody would claim him. He’s a smart football player, and he’s very good in practice, took advantage of his opportunities in games, and I think he’s just a guy that they liked. Because we liked him to, and I think a lot of teams around the league liked him.”

The Cowboys, though, are taking no chances.

“I know Rob [Ryan] out there today, we have a package called 21 that’s just the personnel we use for the scout team, and Rob had everything changed,” Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said, chuckling. “They had some stuff up before, and so we get out there today, and then all of a sudden, he’s changed all the stuff they were doing before. It’s interesting. I think Rob probably thought  maybe that was some of it, because he changed all his stuff. That was pretty  funny.”

New OL Derrick Dockery, FB Tony Fiammetta said they’ll be up to speed soon

IRVING — Offensive guard Derrick Dockery and fullback Tony Fiammetta participated in their first practice Monday with the Cowboys after signing Sunday. Both said they don’t expect it to take them very long to learn the Cowboys’ offense.

“I’m just trying to learn as I go,” Fiammetta said. “I just got in last night. My first time at the facility was this morning. I’m just trying to absorb as much and be a sponge and trying to learn the offense as quickly as possible. I’m definitely coming to a winning organization and I want to do whatever I can to help this team win games this year.”

Dockery, the Garland native and former Texas Longhorn, was waived in March by the Washington Redskins after he had fallen out of favor with coach Mike Shanahan. He had started 111 consecutive games until Shanahan benched him in Week 3 last season. He said the Cowboys’ system is a better fit for him.

“It’s what I like to do,” Dockery said. “It’s more downhill, more power, but at the same time, I can do anything. We’ll run a little zone, mix it up, so whatever it takes. I feel like I’m in great shape and ready to roll.”

Dockery said he’s never been a part of an offensive line that’s so young. He said he’ll be up to speed soon.

“I’ve never had a problem learning an offense,” Dockery said. “Right now, I’m just going to get into the playbook as much as I can and try to get things rolling.

“I’m going into my ninth year. I’ve played a fair amount of games. My expectations every year are to come in and compete and try to be a starter and try to help the team in any way I can. I just know one thing: When I come out here, coach is going to get my very best effort. I’m going to put my best foot forward. I’m just looking forward to this opportunity.”

Jason Garrett: Newman must practice before starting

IRVING, Texas – After sitting out all but the first few days of training camp, cornerback Terence Newman won’t simply be thrown into the fire on opening night.

Jason Garrett said Newman, who turned 33 on Sunday, will have to prove that he is healthy and ready to play in practice before he gets the green light to play against the Jets. Newman hurt his groin during the first week of training camp in San Antonio.

Newman did not work with the team in Monday’s bonus session, instead performing rehab and conditioning work with athletic trainers off to the side. The Cowboys won’t have an official injury report until Wednesday, at which time they will designate players as having full or limited participation in practice.

“Absolutely, he has to practice,” Garrett said. “The degree to which he has to practice, we don’t have any concrete rules about, but you have to practice. We have to have a great feeling about him having prepared on the practice field before playing in the game Sunday night.”

Fellow starting cornerback Mike Jenkins was also hurt early in camp, suffering a stinger, but he returned to practice a couple weeks back. Jenkins was kept from contact, but at least has plenty of full-speed repetitions that Newman hasn’t gotten.

“We just have to see those guys, really on a day-to-day basis,” Garrett said. “We knew that Terence was going to be out for a while, and we pointed to about this time for him to come back. So we’ll see how he responds this week, over the next couple of days, and see if he can prepare the way he needs to prepare to play a ball game.”

In 2008, when Newman suffered a similar groin injury early in camp, he missed the season opener at Cleveland.

Orlando Scandrick would get the start if Newman cannot play.

RELATED: More Rest For Spears, Newman And Costa

The Cowboys won’t release an official injury report until Wednesday, as Monday’s work is a Week 1 bonus in preparation for the New York Jets, but a handful of players weren’t able to take advantage of the extra session.

Cornerback Terence Newman (groin), who has been out since the first week of training camp in San Antonio, did not suit out, but worked on resistence cords with team athletic trainers. Defensive lineman Marcus Spears (groin), who has been out since the second preseason game, did not dress for the workout either.

New starting center Phil Costa, who has a sprained knee, stayed in to receive treatment. He missed the last two weeks of the preseason, but the Cowboys are confident he will be ready to go on opening night.

Also working with trainers was linebacker Bradie James (foot), who came to practice dressed out but did not take part in position drills during the portion of the session open to the media. Miles Austin (hamstring), began the morning working on cords and was dressed out, but sat out position drills as well.

Cornerback Mike Jenkins and guard Kyle Kosier did practice with their respective position groups, however.

More jersey number switches

With a new contract and a new scheme, maybe Marcus Spears figured it was time to switch jersey numbers, too. After six years with No. 96, Spears is moving up two, switching to No. 98.

The veteran defensive end talked to reporters for a while Monday about various things from the new scheme and contract to his groin injury that should have him practicing on Wednesday.

Spears’ new number shouldn’t have any significance to his play on the field. We never saw a change in former Cowboys safety Roy Williams, who oddly went from 31 to 38 after six seasons as well.

In freeing of No. 96, defensive end Clifton Geathers took the number, moving from No. 66.

This is one of several number switches the Cowboys had in the last few days. Kenyon Coleman went from 98 to 99, Abram Elam from 24 to 26, Alex Albright from 47 to 55, Dwayne Harris from 14 to 17 and Bruce Carter from 53 to 54.

Running back Phillip Tanner originally tried to get 24, but new fullback Tony Fiammetta requested the number, keeping Tanner back at 34.

Cowboys signed former Chargers WR Laurent Robinson

The Chargers couldn’t fit Robinson on their roster, but San Diego coach Norv Turner is tight with Dallas coach Jason Garrett and may have put a good word in. They also have very similar offensive systems. In Dallas, Robinson will battle Dwayne Harris, Kevin Ogletree, and Jesse Holley for reserve wideout snaps.

NFL writer: If Cowboys have disappointing season, Jason Garrett could be replaced

The Cowboys have released nearly half of their offensive starting lineup from last season and the roster continues to embrace a youth movement.

Head coach Jason Garrett seems to have his hand in on the changes, meaning he is part of the future.

It’s difficult to find scenarios that would force Jerry Jones to make a coaching change at the end of the 2011 season. However, one NFL writer says Garrett is a dark horse candidate for being on the hot seat.

“I know he just got hired and did very well after the mid-season firing of Wade Phillips ,” Yahoo.com’s Michael Silver said Monday. “I just wonder whether Jerry Jones’ heart was really in this hire. He reacted to the obvious bump in the Cowboys’ fortunes, but you can make the case that Jason Garrett was very much a part of the prior regime, which tanked.”

Silver recommended a possible successor to Garrett, but that head coach signed a contract extension Monday that will keep him in New Orleans through the 2015 season.

“If the Cowboys have another disappointing season,” Silver said, “with all those big names out there, and the possibility of maybe Sean Payton, if there’s a way to get him free, that would be a perfect match for both of those guys. So, watch out.”

TBAB Commentary: This Yahoo over at Yahoo! is an idiot. Any coaching shakeups in Dallas (after this season) will be position or coordinators below Garrett … not Garrett himself. Jerry Jones is very comfortable with his decision to elevate Jason Garrett. That Sean Payton ship sailed a long time ago. Silver is way off-base and completely out of touch. Yes, Jerry Jones’ window for success is short … but it’s not going to be a one-year trial. Jason Garrett will have an opportunity. He’ll make support staff changes, if and when that becomes necessary. If you keep up with Dallas at all … it’s clear that Jerry Jones stands fully behind Jason Garrett … has been supportive from the very beginning. Jason Garrett has been groomed for a number of years in Dallas. No way that Jerry Jones throws in the towel so quickly. Jerry Jones sees elements of several successful coaches within Garrett’s style … including Landry, Parcells, and Jimmy Johnson … all of which won Super Bowls … and earned reputations as team builders.

Buddy Ryan expected at Cowboys’ opener, Rob Ryan says

Former Philadelphia Eagles coach Buddy Ryan has cancer again. That’s what his youngest son, Rob, reported at Valley Ranch on Monday. Rob Ryan, the Cowboys’ first-year defensive coordinator, told reporters the latest diagnosis came last week.

“The cancer is in his glands and has spread to his neck,” Rob Ryan said.

This is the fourth time Buddy Ryan, 77, has been diagnosed with cancer.

“He’s beaten it every time,” said Rob Ryan, who is optimistic about the prognosis. Buddy Ryan, was a notorious Cowboys adversary when he coached the Philadelphia Eagles from 1986 to 1990. He later coached the Arizona Cardinals in the 1994 and 1995 seasons.

When the Cowboys open the season against the New York Jets on Sunday night at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium, Rob’s twin brother Rex, will be coaching the Jets while Rob will be on the Cowboys sidelines.

Buddy Ryan will be there. “He will be operated on after the game,” Rob Ryan reported. The operation will be in Kentucky where Buddy lives.

QB Pryor tries to clear air on Wonderlic score

What’s in a Wonderlic score? For Oakland Raiders rookie quarterback Terrelle Pryor, enough that he came out and defended himself against a report about a very low score.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Pryor received a seven on his test — which he took on his August 20 pro day — only to take it again the next day to improve to 21. He took to Twitter on Wednesday to try to set the record straight.

“Funny thing is I scored a 22 on my Wonderlic,” Pryor tweeted. “Get it right ask @RosenhausSports.”

Drew Rosenhaus is Pryor’s agent.

Pryor’s claim was backed up — sort of — by Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, who administered both tests. Colbert would not confirm the score of the first test but told ESPN.com that Pryor’s second test was significantly improved.

Colbert declined to disclose Pryor’s score on the second test.

“The report of a seven test score is erroneous,” Colbert said. “I administered both tests and I can tell you that his score was significantly higher than that. I informed all teams and scouts interested in him about the score. In scouting, we always go with the higher Wonderlic score.”

Though Wonderlic scores are supposed to be confidential, Colbert said he received clearance from the NFL to reveal that Pryor’s score was better than the reported seven.

The Wonderlic, which is annually administered during the NFL Scouting Combine, has stirred controversy in the past as it pertains to quarterbacks possessing high football IQs. Certain players’ scores have leaked to create controversy.

The most notable player with a low score to have a great career was Hall of Famer Dan Marino, who reportedly scored a 16. Conversely, first-round busts JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf scored a 24 and a 27, respectively.

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