Daily Archives: August 10th, 2012

MOUNTING FRUSTRATION: Jerry Jones holding his breath about O Line even before todays injury to Phil Costa

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was already worried about the interior offensive line and holding its breath about whether it would hold up in front of quarterback Tony Romo.

And that was before center Phil Costa left practice on Friday with a back injury. David Arkin took reps in his place on the first team.

The Cowboys don’t believe the injury is serious but it came at a bad time with just one practice remaining before the preseason opener against the Raiders.

It’s also another setback for the interior offensive line that is already without three players because of injury in guard Bill Nagy (ankle), center Kevin Kowalski (ankle) and guard Nate Livings (hamstring). Guard Mackenzy Bernadeau returned to practice this week for first team after being undergoing hip and knee surgeries in the offseason.

The Cowboys have not decided if he will play against the Raiders as they choosing to remain cautious.

It all Jones admittedly frustrated.

"I think frustration is probably good in this case," Jones said.  I must tell you that I am holding my breath a little bit because I need the interior of this line to be a source of confidence for Tony and to feel good about his protection in there. We can talk about the running game. I know that helps protect him in our passing game. But I look at it principally by it beginning with protection for him. That’s got me a little angst right now, but I am liking some of the things I am seeing in there, although Costa raised his head late out here in the afternoon, but I don’t know how serious it is."

Clarence Hill | FWST

RELATED: Injury Report: Phil Costa hurts lower back

The Dallas Cowboys were just starting to get healthy and then center Phil Costa hurt his lower back and missed the last 45 minutes of practice Friday afternoon. David Arkin and Harland Gunn moved up the depth chart to get snaps. Costa’s status is uncertain, but it comes at a bad time with the Cowboys having just one more practice before the preseason opener at Oakland on Monday night.

Other notes:

  • Nose tackle Jay Ratliff got some more snaps in practice Friday after getting — well sneaking — in one snap Thursday afternoon. Ratliff (foot) looked pretty good moving around on the field. After he came out, Ratliff had a chat with the trainers to talk about how he’s feeling. Ratliff is used to playing with power and quickness and he displayed that Friday.
  • Tight end John Phillips didn’t practice in pads but did pat-and-go without a helmet in the walkthrough.
  • Guard Mackenzy Bernadeau (hip and knee) worked with the first and second teams and showed some power and good lateral movement during the practice.


Editors Note: An in-depth post will be available in the morning about this issue, with related video and articles.

COWLISHAW: Ten receivers who are still available

SportsDay columnist Tim Cowlishaw answered reader questions during a live chat Thursday. Here are some highlights:

I would like to know , if you think it is a good idea for the Cowboys to sign Plaxico Burress to a contract or trade for James Jones or Percy Harvin. The Cowboys need a solid number 3 receiver. what are your thoughts? Have a great day!

Cowlishaw: I continue to believe that the bigger concerns at WR are 1 and 2, not 3. Can Dez stay out of trouble and produce for four quarters? He has had one 100-yard game in his pro career. Can Miles Austin bounce back? He has had declining numbers ever since his 2010 breakout season got him Kim Kardashian (briefly) and a rule-breaking contract. If they perform and Witten performs, there aren’t too many worries in terms of pass receiving production. If they don’t, then your question is valid and I don’t see any of the candidates for the No. 3 job duplicating Laurent Robinson’s last season. Then again, Robinson wasn’t here at this time a year ago.

Why won’t the Cowboys bring in a wideout for a tryout?

Cowlishaw: I will answer a question with a question. Why are fans so wrapped up in third wide receiver talk? Is this a holdover from the Drew, Tony and Butch days? I don’t think so. Quick, who was the 3rd WR on the Cowboys Super Bowl teams in the 90s? Heck, the 2nd WR (Alvin Harper) was irrelevant in lots of games (yes, he made big plays, too, I was there). If the key players perform, the battle between Radway-Beasley-Coale-Ogletree will be insignificant.

I think Chris’s question regarding bringing in a wideout might have been due to Miles’s injury history and the likelihood of a suspension for Dez. Would either of these factors make it reasonable for the team to shop for a veteran receiver?

Cowlishaw: I don’t think there’s a veteran to shop for. I have said Plaxico would be an OK signing but I was never in favor of Owens or Edwards (who both landed in Seattle, telling us a lot about the Seahawks). If Dez is suspended I presume it will be for one game. Miles isn’t on the injury report for New York yet. Let’s hold off on the panic button here.


A LOOK AT 10 RECEIVERS WHO ARE STILL AVAILABLE: Things went south in a hurry for the Cowboys’ receiving corps when Laurent Robinson bolted for Jacksonville. With Dez Bryant struggling through off-field issues, Miles Austin fighting yet another hamstring injury and a slew of unproven wideouts in training camp. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, options aren’t exactly plentiful in free agency, with most of the available wideouts either over the hill or harboring injury concerns. But if the Cowboys do decide to comb the market, here’s a look at 10 of the most well-known receivers who are still looking for jobs.  Louis DeLuca/Staff Photographer

Courtesy: Tim Cowlishaw | DMN


Plaxico Burress: Burress has plenty going for him — he’s big (6-5, 232 pounds), tough, and an ideal end zone target, which are often in short supply. He also quashed any questions about his ability to play after two years away from the NFL by hauling in 45 passes for 612 yards and eight touchdowns with the Jets in 2011. There have been reports that Burress is seeking more money than most think he’s worth, but if he’s not signed in a few weeks’ time, he may have no other choice but to lower his asking price.  Louis DeLuca/Photographer

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NFC EAST UPDATE: Andy Reid returns to Eagles after son’s funeral

Andy Reid thank you message - The Boys Are Back blog

Andy Reid returned to the Philadelphia Eagles a day after his 29-year-old son’s funeral, saying it’s "the right thing to do."

Garrett Reid, the oldest of five children for Andy and Tammy Reid, was found dead Sunday morning in his dorm room at Lehigh University where he was assisting the team’s strength and conditioning coach during camp.

Andy Reid was back on the sideline for a walkthrough Wednesday and plans to coach the preseason opener against Pittsburgh tonight at Lincoln Financial Field.

"You feel the strength of the team," Reid said when asked why he came back so soon. "I felt it with my family the past couple of days, and I feel it with the team. I’m a football coach, that’s what I do, and I know my son wouldn’t want it any other way."

Andy Reid returns to team - The Boys Are Back blog

Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid, right, stands on the field as sign shows a photo of his son Garrett Reid, who died Sunday, before an NFL preseason football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, Aug. 9, 2012, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Andy Reid moment of silence - The Boys Are Back blog

Philadelphia Eagles’ Michael Vick and coach Andy Reid stand on the sideline during a moment of silence for Reid’s son Garrett

Andy Reid with Mike Tomlin - The Boys Are Back blog

Andy Reid and Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin meet at the end of the game.

Andy Reid with Ben Roethlisberger - The Boys Are Back blog

Head coach Andy Reid of the Philadelphia Eagles talks with Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers before a preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field on August 9, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

EDITORS NOTE: More than likely, if you’re reading this post … you are either somebody’s son or you have a son of your own. Understandably, there is a lot of jabbing and posturing about other NFL teams here, particularly against our NFC East foes. However, there are times when the gloves need to come off. Especially with an issue as personally devastating as this. I hope you’ll join me in wishing Andy Reid and his family the best as they work through this difficult time. 


ORIGINAL POST:  Garrett Reid, oldest son of Eagles coach Andy Reid, found dead

DAY 10 TRAINING CAMP RECAP: Jason Garrett Press Conference and related articles

Video - Jason Garrett Press Conference - The Boys Are Back - Press play

Jason Garrett Press Conference – Jason Garrett spoke to the media following his teams walkthrough. Press PLAY to watch – Duration: 19:51

EDITORS NOTE: Garrett also speaks about previous coaches that he’s worked under and their influence on his coaching philosophy and style. I encourage our readers to ALWAYS listen to the videos posted here on The Boys Are Back blog. In part, they are the basis for nearly every article published and often the subject matter used in radio and television shows regarding the Dallas Cowboys. Watching the videos puts all of the written words into context. Enjoy!

RELATED: Cowboys protecting Ratliff, after he ‘snuck’ into a practice play

Nose tackle Jay Ratliff got into a play in practice on Thursday before anybody knew it. He was only supposed to do individual drills.

“What he is trying to do is put his pads on and go through individual, and he snuck himself into one play yesterday, and that’s not going to happen today,” coach Jason Garrett said.

“He has a relentless nature about him, so sometimes we have to protect him from himself.”

Ratliff is recovering from plantar fasciitis, a painful injury of the foot. It limited his work in the offseason and in training camp to this point.

Garrett said Ratliff won’t play on Monday night against Oakland, is possible for the San Diego game and more likely for the third preseason game.

So how did he get in that one play?

“Well, again, he just sneaks in the huddle, and sometimes you lose track of things,” Garrett said. “He’s always in the huddle: ‘Wait a second. Get him out of there.’ So it was one of those kind of deals. But that’s his nature. Like I said, he’s a relentless player. He loves to play, he loves to work at it. It’s killing him to be away from it. We just need  to ease him in the right way.”

Courtesy: Carlos Mendez | FWST

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NO MO IN O(AKLAND): Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne expected to play in San Diego

Morris Moore, 8, of Los Angeles gets an autograph from Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne - The Boys Are Back blog

PHOTO: Morris Moore, 8, of Los Angeles gets an autograph from Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne, the team’s first-round draft pick, took the field Thursday for the first time since being diagnosed with a sprained knee last week.

Claiborne participated in the morning walkthrough, but not the afternoon session, in pads. Although coach Jason Garrett said Claiborne has not been ruled out for Monday’s preseason game against Oakland, Claiborne said trainers have indicated a more likely date for his debut will be Aug. 18 against San Diego.

"I plan on playing in the preseason," said Claiborne, who hopes to don pads for today’s workout. "It looks like I won’t be playing Monday, but I’m looking forward to the next [game]. I’m just doing what the training staff wants me to do right now."

Claiborne, who had off-season wrist surgery, has received limited practice time since being taken with the sixth overall pick in April. That is why Garrett called it "really valuable" that Claiborne was able to take part in Thursday’s walkthrough.

"We feel like it is a big part of our learning. In the short period of time that … Claiborne has practiced, he’s picked things up really well," Garrett said. "He’s working hard to get his treatment right. We don’t think it’s going to be a long-term thing at all."

Claiborne said he anticipates wearing a protective sleeve on his knee, along with a wrist brace, when he returns to contact drills.

Courtesy: Jimmy Burch | FWST

RELATED: Stephen Jones suggests that Morris Claiborne needs to play through injury

Stephen Jones suggests that Morris Claiborne needs to play through injury - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones wasn’t holding back Friday morning. The interviews at training camp aren’t always the most revealing but this was one of the exceptions.

Jones somewhat surprisingly admitted that he’s disappointed with the team’s top draft pick, Morris Claiborne, who has been sidelined with injuries for most of the off-season.

“Our young guys got to get healthy,” Jones told the Elf & Slater Show on 105.3 [KRLD-FM]. “There’s no excuse. All of them.”

Jones then mentioned rookie safety Matt Johnson and rookie defensive end Tyrone Crawford before saying, “Mo Claiborne’s got to get out there. The times he’s been out there, it’s been impressive. But he certainly can’t make the club in the tub, if you will. He’s got to get out there. It’s time. We got to start having a mentality that we’re going to play through things.”

Jones added: “You don’t ever see Jason Witten missing practice, and he’s going on 10 [seasons]. He just won’t miss. So, we got to have the young guys step up and play better.”

The cornerback out of LSU, who was the sixth overall pick, missed all of rookie mini-camp, organized team activities and mini-camp because of a surgically repaired left wrist. Recently, Claiborne has missed several days of training camp after spraining the MCL in his left knee last week.

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne stretching - The Boys Are Back blog

Claiborne participated in today’s walkthrough practice but is not expected to play in the Cowboys’ preseason opener Monday in Oakland.

Courtesy: Jon Machota | DMN

GOING LONG: Jerry Jones using Ben Franklin procedure for the Dallas Cowboy decisions

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talks to the media - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones compared his decisions as general manager in deciding what he is going to do at third receiver to being a modern day Ben Franklin.

He is going to the let the preseason play out and then pick a guy or go after another guy on free agency based on his evaluation of what’s best for the team,  which is why doesn’t feel pressure to make a decision on a veteran free agent like Plaxico Burress right now.

“It’s the Ben Franklin procedure,” Jones said. “He would take a sheet of paper and put why and why not. He would look at the plusses and minuses and he would fill in on each side and decide which ever shape he was in. That’s the long way of saying why or why not!

Courtesy: Clarence Hill | FWST

Photos Courtesy: Dallas Morning News

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree (85) is chased by linebacker Sean Lee (50) - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree (85) is chased by linebacker Sean Lee (50)


Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dwayne Harris (17) catches a pass - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dwayne Harris

.Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley (14) catches a pass - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley (14)

.Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) runs after a catch - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) runs after catch


Dallas Cowboys tight end James Hanna (84) catches a pass - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys tight end James Hanna (84)


Dallas Cowboys tight end James Hanna, a rookie from Oklahoma, wears No. 84. But his knowledge of predecessors who also donned that digit is limited. Asked by a reporter if he knew of any other notable No. 84 in franchise history, he identified Jay Novacek, a standout tight end from the 1990s. Asked about Pettis Norman, a star tight end in the 1970s, Hanna said: “I don’t know about that. Not familiar with him.”

He is familiar with outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, who has helped him with his technique during training camp. Asked to cite the moment he realized the NFL would be significantly different from college, Hanna said:  “The first time I blocked DeMarcus Ware. Or tried to. It didn’t go well.”

Dallas Cowboys special teams coach Joe DeCamillis congratulates wide receiver Andre Holmes - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys special teams coach Joe DeCamillis congratulates wide receiver Andre Holmes


Cowboys receiver Andre Holmes had a couple of notable catches on fades in the red zone, including one against cornerback C.J. Wilson. Holmes (6-foot-4, 223 pounds) is the team’s tallest receiver and his production in those situations figure to play a prominent role in whether he makes the 53-man roster.

“I’ve been working on that. I felt like it kind of paid off today,” said Holmes, who has strung together a series of solid practices after falling behind others when he failed his pre-camp conditioning test. “I’m trying to show something to the coaches. It’s what I’ve got to do.”

Holmes showed significant emotion after one fade route and indicated he planned to keep the emotional edge front and center.

“It’s not a relief. I know I’m going to make those plays all the time,” Holmes said. “I was just a little more fired up today. That’s what I’m going to be doing every day.”

NEW SPORTS SITCOM: NBC’s “GO ON” starring Matthew Perry

GO ON Show on NBC with Matthew Perry - The Boys Are Back blog

A sportscaster with anger issues must attend grief counseling to keep his job.

Matthew Perry ("Friends," "Mr. Sunshine") stars as Ryan King, a recent widower and sports talk radio host ready to get back to work after the loss of his wife. Ryan’s boss, Stephen, played by John Cho ("Star Trek," "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle"), has a different plan in store for Ryan, making him attend grief counseling before returning to the air. A reluctant Ryan finds himself in a support group for "life change," where he meets an oddball cast of characters, all with their own backstories filled with varying degrees of loss.

On his very first visit, Ryan convinces the group to deviate from their normal session and starts a tournament-style competition (March Sadness!) to find out whose story is the worst. Ryan’s total lack of interest in "the healing process" proves distracting and he soon butts heads with the by-the-books group leader, Lauren, played by Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti ("The Playboy Club"). Back at work, Ryan is confronted with the fact that he hasn’t really processed his grief and realizes Lauren and the other members of the group might be key in helping him move on. Also starring are Tony Award-Winner Julie White ("Transformers") as Anne, Bill Cobbs ("The Muppets," "Night at the Museum") as George and Suzy Nakamura ("Dodgeball") as Yolanda.

"Go On" is a touching new comedy created by Emmy Award-winning writer/executive producer Scott Silveri ("Perfect Couples," "Friends"). Todd Holland ("Malcolm in the Middle"), Karey Nixon ("Free Agents," "Miss/Guided") and Jon Pollack ("Up All Night," "30 Rock") also serve as executive producers. The pilot was directed by Holland.

STARRING: Matthew Perry (Ryan King), Laura Benanti (Lauren), Julie White (Annie), Suzy Nakamura (Yolanda), Tyler James Williams (Owen), Brett Gelman (Mr. K), John Cho (Stephen)

GO ON comedy on NBC with Matthew Perry - The Boys Are Back blog

Press the PLAY button to watch the pilot – NEW EPISODE PREMIERE SEPT 11 TUESDAYS 9/8c

LINK:  http://www.nbc.com/go-on/video/Pilot/1412723 GoON Show

Press the PLAY button to watch Fan Chat with John Cho – Duration 2:45

LINK: http://www.nbc.com/go-on/video/fan-chat-with-john-cho/1412541

LETT THREAT: Dallas Cowboys Tyrone Crawford has a bull rush but looking to Leon Lett for another move

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Tyrone Crawford - The Boys Are Back blog

Rookie defensive end Tyrone Crawford said he’s got a good bull rush, but he needs to find another pass rush move to pair with it.

For that, he’s turning to Leon Lett.

“He’s forgotten more moves than I know,” Crawford said after Monday’s practice, when he talked about his showing the Blue-White scrimmage. Coach Jason Garrett said he liked what he saw of Crawford’s pass rush in the live part of the scrimmage.

“I feel like I have a pretty decent pass rush as far as bull rush, but I definitely need to work something off my bull rush,” he said. “That’s definitely something me, Coach Baker and Big Cat have been working on. Hopefully, I can do that in this first game.”

Crawford was slowed a little last week by a calf injury. And he missed the OTAs and minicamp with a calf strain.

But he didn’t miss a day with the latest injury.

“Just coming off that calf, the physical side of it is a little hard,” he said. “But I felt like I was more mentally prepared than maybe I would have been if I was in there playing. I don’t know. The mental part of it, I feel better about. But the physical part, I definitely got to work on some things.”

BIG CAT - Dallas Cowboys Leon Lett - The Boys Are Back blog

Lett was an intern with the Cowboys last year, and they decided to bring him back for another year after the positive influence he had on another end, Clifton Geathers.

“He really grew as a player,” Garrett said of Geathers. “He was kind of flapping around in his career, and he really grew as a player. I think Leon had a lot to do with that.”

Crawford said Lett is understanding as a coach, but pushes hard.

“When you’re doing something wrong, he’ll tell you, and then he’ll get you right on what you’re doing,” Crawford said. “He likes to rep things. Back when I was injured, my calf was still a little bit sore and everything, and he had me out there going 100 times on the sleds.”

So does Crawford see himself in anything Lett did as a player?

Crawford smiled.

“I cannot even compare myself to Big Cat,” Crawford said. “He’s a great pass rusher. I’m just going to take everything in. Everything he says, I’m going to take it in, learn from him as much as I can. Hopefully, I can become the pass rusher that he was.”

Courtesy: Carlos Mendez | FWST

YOUTH MOVEMENT: Jerry Jones dismisses Burress speculation, Dallas Cowboys focusing on young receivers

YOUTH MOVEMENT: Jerry Jones dismisses Burress speculation, Dallas Cowboys focusing on young receivers - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones squelched speculation about ongoing discussions with free-agent receiver Plaxico Burress, who played last season for the New York Jets.

“Not at all. We haven’t even discussed that internally at all. That has not been discussed at any level within our organization, one way or another,” Jones said after today’s evening practice.

Jones did say the Cowboys would “look at any option” later in camp, once they have monitored the progress of the young receivers seeking to land roster spots behind starters Miles Austin and Diamond Dez Bryant. But the Cowboys want to let the young receivers show what they can do in pre-season games before turning their focus toward a veteran receiver.

Jones praised today’s efforts by former SMU receiver Cole Beasley. Andre Holmes also made some notable catches in today’s practice.

“We’re not trying to trade and we’re looking forward to this run of pre-season games to look at these young guys. We like what some of them are doing,” Jones said. “We saw Beasley made some catches out there today. We’re going to stick right there, for right now.”

Courtesy: Jimmy Burch | FWST

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