IRVING, Texas – Dez Bryant chose not to respond to Lions coach Jim Schwartz’s day-after jabs at him.
Bryant and Schwartz got into a heated discussion after the Cowboys’ receiver made a juggling catch down the Detroit sideline during Sunday’s second half, a play ruled an incompletion after a replay review. Schwartz rubbed it in with an exaggerated incomplete signal from the sidelines, along with some choice words, and didn’t stop there.
Schwartz threw a couple of jabs on his radio show the next day, remarking that he didn’t remember Bryant catching a pass after the first quarter and adding that he’d never seen a receiver celebrate an incompletion so much.
Bryant laughed when the comments were relayed him, but he opted to take the high road.
It’s a safe bet, however, that Bryant would love a chance to see the Lions again in the playoffs.
Bill Parcells would not have liked the provisions of the new collective bargaining agreement guaranteeing players four consecutive off days over their bye week, including the weekend.
The former Cowboys head coach would force players to stay in town as long as possible, separating their off days, because he so feared his players jetting off somewhere far away from the reservation and getting themselves in trouble, or if nothing else, completely forgetting about their football responsibilities.
For Cowboys coaches, the hope is that this down time is a chance for players to rest their respective bumps and bruises, get healthy and refreshed, and be ready to go next week in preparation for a tough game against New England. They’re truly on their own for the time being, and can go visit their school, go see their parents, stay at home, anything.
The worst case scenario is for some to treat the four days off as a miniature spring break, over-doing it at the club, or getting themselves in trouble somehow, so decision-making was emphasized with the players on their last day together for this week, on Wednesday morning.
“We had a nice hour-and-a-half life skills meeting this morning,” Jason Garrett said. “It’s mandated by the league, but it’s great for everybody to hear.”
Last year, when their season was ended short of the playoffs, Garrett encouraged his players to watch the postseason games to gain an appreciation for what they were missing, and what they could personally do to get the team in the hunt in 2011. There is no such directive this weekend.
“I think it’s probably a personal choice,” Garrett said. “One of the things that I find for myself, and I think our coaches and players find as well, is sometimes you’re drawn to it. You say, ‘Ah, I’m not going to watch football.’ And then all of a sudden the game’s on and you get caught up in it. I think we have a combination of guys. Some guys will want to get away from it. Some guys will want to watch it, and be real in-tune to what’s going on this weekend.”
IRVING, Texas — The Cowboys held their final practice of the bye week at Valley Ranch on Wednesday morning before taking a league-mandated four-day break Thursday through Sunday.
The players practiced without pads, and injured players like Miles Austin (hamstring), David Buehler (groin) and Orlando Scandrick (ankle) continued to rehab.
The coaching staff will work at the office through Thursday, then take a three-day weekend. Many will do some work from home before next week’s on-field preparation in earnest for the Patriots.
Before practice, the team held a league-mandated, 90-minute life skills meeting. Among the points of emphasis was safety during the bye with many players likely to travel on a long weekend.
“The biggest thing,” head coach Jason Garrett said, “is you have to get ourselves healthy physically, get ourselves refreshed mentally and emotionally, get ready to get back to work on Monday.”
TBAB comment: Going to be a LONG four-day lull … that’s torture for us TRUE BLUES!!! I don’t want to post re-hash on the Detroit loss. We need something to keep us busy. Any ideas? Going to put up some polls … maybe historical facts … throwback posts … etc. If you have ideas … post a comment.
PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisberger’s left foot is good enough to play. James Harrison’s right eye is not, and he’ll need surgery.
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday he expects Roethlisberger to be under center when his struggling team faces surging Tennessee on Sunday at Heinz Field.
Roethlisberger sprained his left foot in the fourth quarter of a 17-10 loss to Houston. An MRI on Monday revealed no significant damage but Tomlin said his quarterback could be limited early in the week.
Lawrence Timmons will start in Harrison’s spot at outside linebacker, with veteran Larry Foote replacing Timmons at inside linebacker.
Courtesy: Boston Herald
RELATED: See what Texans did to this Steelers star’s face
Steelers linebacker James Harrison left Sunday’s game with this grisly injury.
He posted a picture of the injury inflicted by the Texans linemen. Harrison underwent surgery Wednesday for the broken orbital bone and now sports the bandaged look.
The Steelers have no released a timetable for his return.
Courtesy: Houston Chronicle
IRVING — Dez Bryant yelled across the locker room at Valley Ranch on Wednesday, alerting everyone who was in his vicinity.
“I’ll be 100 percent next week,” Bryant said after the team’s light practice.
Bryant, who said he is around 85 percent healthy at the moment, is still recovering from the deep thigh bruise he suffered in the season opener against the New York Jets. This weekend, he will have a chance to rest because the Cowboys don’t play a game until Oct. 16, when they travel to Foxboro, Mass., to face the Patriots.
On Sunday, Bryant made a considerable impact in the first 20 minutes of the game, collecting three receptions for 37 yards and two touchdowns. However, he didn’t make a catch in the second half.
“It’s been hard because he hasn’t been able to practice very much, but he’s gotten himself to the point where he’s been able to loosen that thing up and get through ballgames,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.
Safety Gerald Sensabaugh was clearly knocked senseless in the first half of Sunday’s loss to the Lions, needing a few minutes on the ground and then some help from the training staff to get off the field.
However, Sensabaugh doesn’t worry about being ready to play in two weeks after the bye. He said he could’ve played not only this week, but even back in the game against the Lions.
“I was good to go during the game, but I guess with the new precautionary reasons anytime you’re a little woozy they have to take you out of the game and you can’t come back,” Sensabaugh said. “They won’t even let you go back on the field and watch the game. I was kind of disappointed in that. I really wanted to be a part of the game.”
And Sensabaugh was needed, too. For a guy that has the NFL scouting combine record with a 46-inch vertical leap, Sensabaugh’s athletic ability could’ve been used to face Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, who had two fourth-quarter jump balls for touchdowns.
“That was pretty much my responsibility the whole game was to play on top of Calvin and make sure he didn’t get any jump balls and play over the top of him,” Sensabaugh said. “That was pretty much the game plan for me. But you have to give credit to Calvin, he’s a big play receiver and can go get that jump ball. He’s a lot taller than everybody but we just have to find ways to come down with that football and make sure he doesn’t catch it.”
Obviously the Cowboys didn’t get that goal accomplished against the Lions and with the Patriots up next, it will be yet another challenge. Sesnabaugh said having a full slate of corners with Orlando Scandrick expected to return should be a big boost.
“It’ll help out a lot. We’ve got guys in there playing good now, but Orlando is one of the core guys.” Sensabaugh said. “That’s a real big piece of the puzzle to our defense.”
Defensive end Sean Lissemore said he wasn’t surprised by the short kickoff that came to him in Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions. And he didn’t act like it, scooping the ball up cleanly and running 38 yards with it, the longest kickoff return of the season for the Cowboys.
He wasn’t surprised because special teams coach Joe DeCamillis works on it in practice.
“The first time I ever got the ball was kind of on surprise, and I dropped it,” Lissemore said. “It bothered me a lot, so we repped it a few times. When it came to me, I was prepared for it. I kind of knew what to do.”
Besides the return, Lissemore made two tackles and got a quarterback hit as he played more than usual on the defensive line in the absence of Jason Hatcher, who missed the game with a strained calf. Lissemore played 18 plays, tying his season high. He played eight snaps against the Jets and eight against the 49ers.
“Hatch went down, and that increased my role in the nickel and dime pass rushing packages,” Lissemore said. “Hatch is a heck of a pass rusher. I try to do the best job that I can. I feel like I’m more comfortable in the base, in the run packages. That’s what I’ve been doing more in the games in the past. They needed me more in that role, so I had to step up and do the best that I could.”
Cowboys inside linebacker Sean Lee has seen his defensive snaps increase each of the past two weeks. He played 62 against the Redskins and 68 against the Lions.
Lee, who has a history of injuries, may have fewer special teams duties because of his increased role on defense.
“Absolutely, you have to monitor him, and we’ve done that already with him the more he’s played as a starting linebacker for us and the snaps are accumulating on defense,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday. “We have to keep an eye on that. We still think he can be a special teams contributor, but we do that with players all throughout our team. If there’s a particular role that they can have, even though they’re a starting player, we’ll keep them in that role. If there’s somebody else that we feel can take that role and do it successfully, we’ll try to make the adjustments there. That’s an ongoing thing. That’s a week by week thing, depending on the availability of players.”
Lee leads the team with 47 tackles.
In two games this season, the Cowboys didn’t have a fullback on their 47-man game day roster. Or not a fullback in name.
Tight end John Phillips mainly filled that role in games against the Jets and the Lions, but defensive tackle Josh Brent got three snaps in the goal-line offense.
“He’s certainly comfortable doing it,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of Brent. “He’s a very good athlete, and he’s confident in that role.”
In Brent’s one play against the Jets, Tony Romo threw an incompletion. On a fourth-and-goal play against the Lions, Felix Jones ran behind Brent but failed to get in the end zone. Brent also was on the field on a 1-yard touchdown pass Romo threw to Jason Witten.
“It’s something I did in college, so it’s something I’m a little comfortable with,” Brent said.
He graded his blocking as “average.”
“It’s something that’s not first nature to me, but just by the position that I play there are some similarities between fullback and defensive line,” he said.
Brent has never caught a pass or been asked to run with the ball, though Illinois did have plays in its playbook for him. Brent said he can handle the ball just fine, if asked.
“I’m an athlete,” he said.