Monthly Archives: August, 2013

KANSAS CITY TRADE: Chiefs special teams vet Edgar Jones to Cowboys

KANSAS CITY TRADE - Chiefs special teams vet Edgar Jones to Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys traded for defensive end Edgar Jones from the Kansas City Chiefs, according to the Chiefs’ Twitter account tonight.

Jones, 28, is a special teams veteran who spent his first five seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, who signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Southeast Missouri in 2007. He was a pass rusher in college but also played tight end and linebacker with the Ravens.

Jones, 6-foot-3 and 263 pounds, He will take the roster spot of Nate Livings, who was placed on injured reserve.

Jones had a special teams score in a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season.

 

TWENTY-TWO BUSTED BUBBLES: Cutdown leaves a few players vying for practice squad positions

Jerry Lewis - Labor Day Weekend MDA Telethon host - Comedian Jerry Lewis - The original Nutty Professor

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys are finally back to 53 players on the roster. And that’s the part that likely won’t change.

The actual guys that make up the entire roster – top to bottom – will certainly be shuffled around here over the Labor Day weekend, probably starting as early as Sunday or Monday.

But for now, the Cowboys have turned in their 22 roster moves to get down to 53 players before Saturday’s 5 p.m. deadline.

One of the more notable roster moves includes safety Matt Johnson, who was placed on injured reserve Saturday afternoon and will be lost for the season.

Other notable cuts Saturday include wide receivers Anthony Armstrong and Danny Coale, quarterback Alex Tanney and cornerbacks Sterling Moore and Micah Pellerin.

While Johnson was placed on IR, he’s one of three more 2012 draft picks not on the 53-man roster, along with Coale and Caleb McSurdy, a seventh-round pick who missed all of last year with a torn Achilles.

Here are the official roster moves from Saturday:
 
Placed on IR:
Matt Johnson, S
 
Waived:
Jakar Hamilton, S
Tim Benford, WR
Danny Coale, WR
Anthony Armstrong, WR
Kendial Lawrence, RB
Alex Tanney, QB
Kevin Kowalski, G/C
Edawn Coughman, OT
Jabari Fletcher, DE
Thaddeus Gibson, DE
Taylor Reed, LB
Micah Pellerin, CB
Sterling Moore, CB
Xaiver Brewer, CB
Ray Dominguez, G
Jerome Long, DT
Demetress Bell, OT
Jason Vega, DE
Caleb McSurdy, LB
Cameron Lawrence, LB
Brandon Magee, LB

NFL ROSTER CUTDOWN DAY: Meet your 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys

Your 53 Dallas Cowboys Roster 2013-2014 - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, Texas – While the focus on this day is typically the players who are released, here’s a look at the guys who actually made the team – for now.

Quarterback (2): Tony Romo, Kyle Orton – The Cowboys decided once again to keep just one backup for Romo. Alex Tanney had promise and will likely get back to the practice squad if he’s not claimed off waivers. For now, the team had too many needs at other positions to keep a luxury third quarterback.

Running Back (4): DeMarco Murray, Lance Dunbar, Joseph Randle, Phillip Tanner  –  Four running backs is not uncommon, but it’s usually three tailbacks and a fullback. With no fullback on the roster, the Cowboys will stick with four runners, especially with Lance Dunbar (foot) banged up. Randle and Tanner will provide some depth and special teams ability.

Wide Receiver (5) – Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Dwayne Harris, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley – The Cowboys decided to cut veteran Anthony Armstrong, who had a good camp and preseason and is likely the fastest player on the team. Armstrong could get resigned in Week 2 when his roster would not be guaranteed. Beasley’s ability to work the middle of the field proved to be too valuable.

Tight Ends (5): – Jason Witten, Gavin Escobar, James Hanna, Dante Rosario, Andre Smith -The Cowboys have shown they will use more tight ends this year. Jason Witten will get most of the touches, but there will be plenty of packages that featured both James Hanna and Gavin Escobar. This spot might see some changes before the start of the season. Rosario is really the only fullback-type player on the roster, but Smith did enough things to keep him around.

Offensive Line (10): Tyron Smith, Ron Leary, Travis Frederick, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Nate Livings, Doug Free, Phil Costa, Darrion Weems, David Arkin, Jermey Parnell – This position was tough to cut because of the injury situations to Leary and Livings. Don’t be surprised if there are more moves to make on Sunday.

Defensive Line (9) – DeMarcus Ware, Anthony Spencer, Jason Hatcher, Nick  Hayden, George Selvie, Kyle Wilber, Ben Bass, Landon Cohen, Sean Lissemore – The Cowboys might be in the process of making moves here. Keeping Cohen and Lissemore was somewhat surprising. Cohen is probably the closest thing to a one-technique the Cowboys have as backups. Lissemore’s concussion could play a role in keeping more tackles.

Linebacker (5) – Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Justin Durant, Ernie Sims, DeVonte Holloman: Like the others, expect some changes here. The Cowboys decided not to keep a sixth linebacker, releasing Brandon Magee, Cam Lawrence and Caleb McSurdy. Holloman was so impressive in the preseason, he likely jumped several players on the projected depth chart. Don’t be surprised if Sims works his way into the starting lineup at some point.

Defensive Backs (10): Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr, Barry Church, Will Allen, Orlando Scandrick, B.W. Webb, J.J. Wilcox, Danny McCray, Eric Frampton, Jeff Heath: Six safeties made the club. It’s somewhat surprising that both McCray and Frampton made the team. McCray had to take a considerable pay cut but the Cowboys will need his special teams experience. Cutting both Sterling Moore and Micah Pellerin was a surprise as well. The Cowboys currently have just four cornerbacks.

Specialists (3) – Dan Bailey, Chris Jones, L.P. Ladouceur – No surprises here. These three were the expected group last January and nothing has changed.

NO TERMS OF ENDEARMENT: Plaintiff attorney in NFL concussion suit calls Jerry Jones a “hard-ass”

NO TERMS OF ENDEARMENT - Plaintiff attorney in NFL concussion suit calls Jerry Jones a “hard-ass” - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

There was a humorous, Dallas Cowboys-related moment today during a media conference call to announce terms of the concussion lawsuit settlement between the NFL and 4,500 former players.

Christopher Seeger of Seeger Weiss LLP, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs, was asked if he is concerned the players left money on the table by settling the suit.

“I think you all can assume that the NFL and the NFL owners are pretty tough individuals,” he said. “In fact, you’ve got one down in Texas who I would call a hard-ass. I think that’s a fair characterization.

“These are not easy people to negotiate with, and these were contested, hard-fought battles. And I believe we got everything we could possibly get out of the NFL in this litigation.”

Seeger was asked to clarify the Texas owner to which he was referring _ not that there was much doubt about the answer. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is a power-broker on several key owner committees, so it seems likely that he was directly involved in negotiations.

“Oh, oh, oh, sorry,” Seeger said. “I don’t even know who the owner in Houston is, frankly. I hope I didn’t offend him. I’m talking about the one in Dallas.”

DALLAS COWBOYS SPECIAL TEAMS: Danny McCray agrees to salary reduction

DALLAS COWBOYS SPECIAL TEAMS - Danny McCray agrees to salary reduction - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have apparently decided to keep Danny McCray on the roster for a fourth season.

But not before he reduced his salary from the $1.323 million price he was initially slotted for during the offseason.

McCray, one of the team’s top special teams players the past three seasons, has been a special teams captain the last two years. He was a restricted free agent this year and the Cowboys issued him the original draft tender of $1.323 million considering he was undrafted.

Terms of McCray’s new salary were not revealed by the Cowboys, but it’s expected the backup safety is now making in the range of $700,000.

McCray had to start 10 games at safety last year when Barry Church went down with an Achilles injury. White he finished with 87 tackles, good for second on the team behind Anthony Spencer (107), McCray struggled at times at safety, especially in coverage.

In 2012, McCray was second on the team with 18 special teams tackles, finishing behind Eric Frampton (21), who has been injured the last three weeks with a calf strain. His spot on the roster is still up in the air. His $715,000 price tag is favorable to the Cowboys, along with his experience to play safety and special teams. But his injury status could be a reason the Cowboys might be forced to go long at safety when they reduce to 53 players by Saturday.

McCray made the team as an undrafted rookie from LSU in 2010 and promptly led the special teams in tackles with 28. He came back with a team-high 19 during an injury-riddled 2011 season. But McCray became the first player since Bill Bates (1989-90) to lead the Cowboys in special teams tackles in consecutive years.

2013-2014 ROSTER BATTLE: Predicting who will make the Dallas Cowboys final 53

2013-2014 ROSTER PROJECTION - Predicting who will make the Dallas Cowboys final 53 - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

IRVING, Texas – As I write this story, there is a personnel meeting going on down the hall from me.

Having sat in that room for a number of years, the feelings I had never changed. Along with the draft, this was the most important day of a scout’s year. In this meeting with Jerry and Stephen Jones, there is going to be a healthy debate on how this roster is going to be shaped.

For five weeks there have been meetings, practices and games to evaluate to put together the best 53 players for the upcoming season. There is going to be a time where a coach is not going to agree with a scout and vice versa, but in the end, both parties have to put their feelings aside and do what is right for this organization.

I no longer sit in those meetings, but I still have a strong enough feeling of what this team might try and do in selecting its best 53 players. So with that being said, here is my crack at the roster.

Quarterbacks: 2

Tony Romo and Kyle Orton

I understand the thoughts of trying to keep Alex Tanney as the third quarterback on this roster but I need his spot on the roster to help me try and win games now. This club is too banged up injury wise to carry him on this roster. My hope is to get him to the practice squad. If it works out great, if not I am moving on. That’s just part of the NFL you deal with.

Wide Receivers: 5

Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Terrence Williams, Dwayne Harris, Cole Beasley

There was a side of me that was trying to get Anthony Armstrong on this squad as the fifth receiver but Beasley is just too valuable to the offense to put him on the street. Another position that you would like to carry an extra player but numbers play a factor here.

Tight Ends: 4

Jason Witten, James Hanna, Gavin Escobar, Dante Rosario

Andre Smith would be an option here but he doesn’t play all the positions on the offense and the coaches have confidence in Rosario on special teams even though I thought he had a rough night against the Texans. Just a gut feeling but Smith has played well enough to be a guy that you would consider claiming.

Offensive Line: 10

Tyron Smith, Ronald Leary, Travis Frederick, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Doug Free, Jermey Parnell, Phil Costa, Nate Livings, David Arkin, Darrion Weems

I am not totally comfortable with that final spot because they could decide they still want to work with Demetress Bell but I am going with the younger Weems, who I believe has more to work with. That last spot could also come down to a waiver claim. But we need to remember is that if Free plays at guard, this club is going to need a swing tackle. I kept Livings because his salary is guaranteed. However, he could be a candidate for IR, which would give the Cowboys an open spot.

Running Backs: 4

DeMarco Murray, Lance Dunbar, Phillip Tanner, Joseph Randle

Two of the four backs play major roles on the special teams. There is a side of me that believes that we might not see Dunbar in this opening game against the Giants, so Tanner and Randle will be asked to help Murray get through this game.

Defensive Line: 9

Demarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher, Nick Hayden, Anthony Spencer, Kyle Wilber, George Selvie, Ben Bass, Landon Cohen, Jason Vega

I feel better about the starting four with Spencer in the lineup over Selvie. Hayden will give the defense nice effort inside and if Bass can continue to play like he did against the Texans, then the nickel pass rush will be better. My surprise in this group is that the front office decides to keep Jason Vega which means that Sean Lissemore is out of the mix. Like Cohen, there is something to Vega’s game that interests me. In Lissemore’s spot you can play Cohen at the one behind Hayden. Like the offensive line, this is a position that you could see a waiver claim or two.

Linebackers: 6

Sean Lee, Justin Durant, Bruce Carter, DeVonte Holloman, Ernie Sims, Cameron Lawrence

I had no trouble with five of the six that I wanted to keep, it was that sixth spot that had me thinking. As much as I thought that Brandon Magee could have been a factor on this roster after the draft, it just hasn’t been the case. I didn’t see that nose for the ball until they played against Arizona then he suffered a concussion in practice the following Monday after the Arizona game. I really believed that he was going to be more active but that just wasn’t the case. Cameron Lawrence has made plays and when he has been asked to play snaps, he has done a nice job. I believe he gives you something as a backup linebacker and potential core special teamer. He gets my last spot over Magee.

Defensive Backs: 10

Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Will Allen, Barry Church, B.W. Webb, Sterling Moore, J.J. Wilcox, Orlando Scandrick, Jeff Heath, Eric Frampton

At that this position, I kept Frampton over McCray because I know that he can be a core special teamer but I also felt like that he could play snaps in the secondary and be productive doing it. With two rookie safeties behind Allen and Church, I needed that veteran player and I just felt better about Frampton doing that job. There also might be a consideration of savings between the two that I have to measure. 

Specialist: 3

Dan Bailey, Chris Jones, L.P. Ladouceur

No questions with this group. Solid.

Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Scout


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2013-2014 ROSTER BATTLE: Dallas Cowboys receiver Anthony Armstrong believed to be among final roster cuts

Dallas Cowboys cut wide receiver Anthony Armstrong 2013 - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys don’t have to officially turn in their 22 roster cuts until Saturday’s 5 p.m. deadline.

However, some of the players being released have already been informed by the team.

According to reports, veteran wide receiver Anthony Armstrong has been let go by the Cowboys. However, the club might not make all of the moves official until Saturday.

Armstrong had a good training camp, showcasing his experience and blazing speed.

But with the club likely keeping four tight ends, it appears only five receivers will be kept. Armstrong, who turned 30 last March, has four years of NFL experience under his belt. If on the Week 1 roster, Armstrong’s salary for 2013 would be fully guaranteed.

That means it’s possible the Cowboys could bring back Armstrong at some point after Week 1. Last year, they signed Armstrong on Nov. 26 and then cut him on Dec. 22 to add Ron Leary to the roster from the practice squad. Armstrong was then signed on Jan. 7, cut on March 27 for salary-cap reasons and then re-signed on April 9.

So the veteran knows a thing or two about the business side of the NFL. But it’s not a guarantee Armstrong isn’t claimed by another team.

In five preseason games, Armstrong had just four catches for 47 yards. He played on just about every special teams unit as well.

For now, it’s likely the Cowboys will keep five receivers: Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Terrance Williams, Dwayne Harris, and Cole Beasley.

Armstrong does not have practice-squad eligibility. If the Cowboys keep any receivers on the practice squad, the candidates would likely be Tim Benford, Eric Rogers, and Danny Coale.

Also, rookie linebacker Taylor Reed, an undrafted free agent from SMU, announced via twitter he was also waived by the Cowboys Friday.

2013-2014 ROSTER BATTLE: Many Dallas Cowboy backups struggle in preseason finale

2013-2014 ROSTER BATTLE - Many Dallas Cowboy backups struggle in preseason finale

ARLINGTON, Texas – The preseason ended in underwhelming fashion for the Dallas Cowboys’ backups trying to make their final impressions Thursday at AT&T Stadium.

The backups got the work all day against a Texans team that rushed for 190 yards in a 24-6 loss in the fifth and final preseason game for the Dallas Cowboys.

“They did a good job running the football on us,” said head coach Jason Garrett. “It didn’t seem like we were getting lined up very quickly on defense and some of that goes to a lot of young players playing and those guys responsible for making those calls and adjustments. That goes into the evaluation as well.”

The thrashing doesn’t mean a whole lot going forward outside of deciding final roster spots. Tackle Jermey Parnell and linebacker Ernie Sims were the only potential starters to find the field Thursday.

Just three years ago, the Cowboys played the Texans in the fourth preseason game of the year and lost by 16 points in the dress rehearsal. Dallas faced Houston again when it actually mattered in Week 3 of the regular season and won by 14, so the score of Thursday’s lopsided defeated shouldn’t be dwelled upon.

But many of the backups didn’t exactly leave a lasting impression in the game.

The offense managed just 219 total yards to the Texans’ 427. Houston had eight more first downs than Dallas and finished with a 42 percent third-down efficiency to the Cowboys’ meager 21 percent. The special teams didn’t make any drastic mistakes this week and Chris Jones dropped five punts inside the 20-yard line, but the Cowboys also allowed a 29-yard punt return to the Texans.

“You want to play better than we played tonight in all three phases of our football team, but again, a lot of young guys were playing, a lot of different combinations of guys for us and for them,” Garrett said. “You try to evaluate individuals as much as you evaluate the whole group.”

While the game didn’t mean much to the starters who were held out, it did hold significant value for the players on the bubble attempting to make the 53-man roster.

Alex Tanney threw 31 of the Cowboys’ 32 passes, as he got the majority of the work throughout the day but was pressured and battered around constantly, getting sacked seven times. The Cowboys failed to score a touchdown throughout the day, despite getting into Houston territory multiple times.

Tanney finished 17-of-31 with 177 yards and one interception. Garrett and the coaching staff will take into account the barrage of defenders in his face as they assess the quarterback.

“But then you have to assess how he responds to that,” Garrett said. “That’s part of playing this position. It looked like he kept his composure, moved around, kept his eyes up the field, but just couldn’t get into much of a rhythm throughout the football game.”

Some of the players entering Thursday’s game knew beforehand they had a decent chance at cracking the final roster. But they know that doesn’t mean their spot is completely safe.

Cole Beasley, who could hardly put weight on his injured foot a week ago, managed to heal up enough in time to make a final impression, catching two passes for 30 yards and nearly breaking enough tackles on a catch in Texans’ territory to get past the defense. Beasley said he may have had enough pep in his step to break free if he wasn’t injured recently, but the foot felt good enough to play through.

“Hopefully I did enough to make it, and at least I’ll have another opportunity to get better and keep improving and come back and try to get a role somehow,” Beasley said.

The Cowboys now have one day to make decisions on their 53-man roster. As the backups wait to hear their fate, the starters will continue to prepare for the opener against the Giants, which they’ve had their sights set on since training camp.

“It’s what everybody wants to see,” Bryant said. “Both teams are going to come in, and we want to put on a show.”

RELATED: 2013 preseason finale confirms no need for 3 QBs on roster

2013 preseason finale confirms no need for 3 QBs on roster - Alex Tanney - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

ARLINGTON, Texas – Honestly, this article was planned out long before the final outcome of the matchup with the Texas Thursday – a night that mercifully ended a five-game preseason schedule.

So it’s not actually news-breaking at this point, considering the Dallas Cowboys barely did anything on offense in this 24-6 loss to Houston.

The Cowboys don’t need three quarterbacks on the roster.

Alex Tanney got all but one series Thursday night – a golden opportunity to showcase his skills. He had the chance to prove he could orchestrate drives, throw the ball on the run and make plays in and out of the pocket.

Plain and simple, Tanney had nearly four quarters to prove he needed to be on this 53-man roster.

At some point, he might be on this team. Right now, the Dallas Cowboys simply can’t afford to keep him. With the offensive line injuries, they need to go longer with guards and centers. They likely need to keep more safeties than normal and keeping a sixth receiver or a fifth tight end is actually more of a debate than keeping a third quarterback.

You know, we’ve seen this before.

Just three years ago, the Cowboys were in this same situation going into this very game – the fifth and final preseason contest against Miami. Heading into the game, it seemed like Stephen McGee was on the outside looking in, in terms of making the 53-man roster. He needed a great game to basically save his roster spot – and he delivered. Not only did he lead the Cowboys to a win, but he threw for 304 yards and a touchdown.

Tanney needed that performance Thursday night. Needless to say it didn’t happen. Was it all his fault? Not at all, considering the second-team offensive line might have been the worst-looking group the Cowboys have thrown out there in several years. But then again, if you’re worried about the first-team line, certainly the second group is going to struggle.

But back to Tanney, who was 17 of 31 for 177 yards and one interception (58.1 QB rating). He was on his back most of the night, getting sacked seven times, although it felt like 22 times with that dreadful final drive in the fourth quarter. 

It was 10 years ago when Tony Romo was pretty much in the same situation. Only that year, Romo and Clint Stoerner were battling for the No. 3 spot. Romo fired a 60-yard touchdown to Randal Williams and that was just enough to prove he had potential and was worth keeping. We all know what happened next.

And yes, I might have been the first one to say this early in training camp, but Tanney does remind me of a YOUNG Romo. Not the Romo that has started for this team since 2006. But the young, athletic, live-arm thrower who really doesn’t know everything there is to know but is just out there slinging it. That’s the Romo I remembered 10 years ago and I’ve seen Tanney flash the same type of skills.

Obviously, keeping Romo was the right call. But right now, it’s not something the Cowboys should do.

For every Romo, there’s a Matt Baker, Matt Moore, Jeff Mroz, Nick Stephens, or Dalton Williams. Earlier this week, a reporter asked Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones if the club had learned its lesson by cutting Moore back in 2007. Jones was quick to reply with some honesty, pointing out that Moore not only has been a so-so quarterback on a so-so team, but he wouldn’t have ever played over Tony Romo.

I think Tanney should be one of the 22 cuts the Cowboys make Saturday afternoon to get down to 53 players. Certainly, he’s good enough to bring back to the practice squad. And he’d be a good scout team quarterback because not only does he give you a strong arm in the pocket, but he’s also athletic enough to at least run the zone-read stuff that they’ll see a few times this year. No, I’m not saying he’s quick like Robert Griffin III or Michael Vick, but he’s a lot closer to that than Kyle Orton.

The point is, there will be other Alex Tanney’s out there.

If, and it’s a pretty big if after this performance, Tanney gets claimed by another team that wants to put him on the 53-man roster, the Cowboys will be fine. I really don’t see any NFL team deciding Tanney is good enough for their squad.

Maybe that’s the silver lining in Thursday’s night game. Tanney likely will get cut but his performance here probably doesn’t have any team foaming at the mouth to sign him.

I hope this doesn’t come across as a rip-job toward Tanney. I actually like his potential. I think he’s got a nice arm, good awareness in the pocket, quick feet and he’s got that moxie that all good quarterbacks must have.

And obviously he’s got good accuracy or he wouldn’t have a YouTube video on his trick-shot passes. But he certainly wasn’t filming that video with a pass rush in his face. It makes a difference.

I think Alex Tanney should and will be with the Cowboys next week. But it’ll likely be on the practice squad. And if he doesn’t make it, the Cowboys can’t worry about it.

NFL GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Houston Texans vs. Dallas Cowboys | NFL Preseason 2013

GAMEDAY RESOURCES - Houston Texans vs. Dallas Cowboys–NFL Preseason 2013 - Cole Beasley

ARLINGTON, Texas – For just about every key player on the Dallas Cowboys roster, Thursday’s game with the Texans will be nothing more than a front-row seat to the preseason finale.

Neither team will likely play any of its starters. Still, it’s an important game for several backup and reserve players who are still trying to solidify a spot on the roster or their role on the team.

Let’s check out the players to watch in tonight’s game with the Texans.

Cole Beasley – This should be the first game action for Beasley since he suffered the foot sprain against Oakland earlier in the preseason. That night against the Raiders, Beasley was nearly unstoppable making several plays from the slot including an adjusting, high ball catch from Kyle Orton in the red zone. Beasley begin to work his way back into practice on Monday, then on Tuesday received a full load to once again get him into the flow. As he sits on the roster, he is the fifth receiver with Anthony Armstrong trying to grab that final spot from him. With the injuries to this team and the possibility of having to go long at a position or two, not sure how they would be able to carry six receivers on the active roster. Another situation that you also have to factor in is how Garrett uses his “12” personnel package.  With Jason Witten, James Hanna and Gavin Escobar, all three of these guys can play out of the slot which means less reasons for them to have to carry the extra receiver.

Micah Pellerin – Don’t believe Micah Pellerin is fighting for a roster spot on this club or how he plays tonight will sway that decision one way or another. Pellerin’s play through the last three weeks has put him in a position where he could make this roster as a free agent. His skill in coverage along with his physical style of play has got him noticed by the front office and this coaching staff. Where Pellerin has made the most improvement in his game throughout the training camp is with his technique and you can truly tell that by working with Jerome Henderson and Joe Baker, he has become a much better player from observations in the Spring. He is doing a much better job of staying in position defending the route and has done a much better job of finishing the play. He is a highly competitive kid and you can see that he hates to get beat. He did struggle some in the Miami game but since then, he has been in nice form.

Anthony Armstrong, WR: When he was just a rookie with the Dallas Desperados, fans have no problems rooting for him to make this team. Armstrong absolutely goes about his business the right way. He works extremely hard to improve. He understands the game and the business side of it. But he never stops smiling and keeps the perfect attitude throughout this grueling process. Right now, Armstrong is definitely on the bubble. He needs to either be better than Cole Beasley or prove to the coaches that he simply can’t be cut. Armstrong needs a great game on special teams and a long  pass on offense to showcase his speed surely wouldn’t hurt.

Jeff Heath: When the rookie safety blasted the ball carrier last week to force a fumble against the Bengals, a consensus feeling trickled through the press box last Saturday night: Jeff Heath just made the team. That may be the case. Now, watch him Thursday night to see if he’s got a chance to make the 46. Forget the 53, Heath made it. Now we need to see if he’s good enough to actually suit up and play come Sept. 8 against the Giants. Watch how the Cowboys use Heath on special teams and how he does in extended time at safety. The team feels good enough about his potential to keep him around. But now we need to see if he’s ready to contribute right away.

Alex Tanney, QB: The Cowboys might have wanted to use him sparingly Thursday to avoid other teams from seeing him, but with Nick Stephens released, it appears there might be a heavy dose of Tanney. The Cowboys will have a difficult decision to make on the 53-man roster if Tanney plays exceptionally well. Let’s see if he can play his way onto this roster.

Sterling Moore, CB: Moore was one of the most physical corners during training camp, but he hasn’t stood out as much during the game. It would be surprising to see him left off the 53-man roster. He needs to make some more plays on the ball and demonstrate that same physicality in the games to ensure he’s safe from the cuts, with other corners behind him playing well.

Danny Coale, WR: If ever there was a time for Coale to show his stuff, this would be it. It’s a given that Dez Bryant and Miles Austin are going to sit against Houston, and Terrance Williams and Dwayne Harris probably won’t spend much time on the field, either. Coale said Tuesday that he’s finally getting back into some sort of comfort level after soreness in his knee sidelined him during training camp, and hopefully that shows in the game. Cole Beasley has probably already solidified his spot on the roster, and Anthony Armstrong is right behind him if the team decides to keep six wide receivers. A big night from Coale might be the only thing that saves him from the roster spot chopping block.

Cameron Lawrence, LB: Same logic applies. We’ve seen Lawrence on special teams and in some playing time, but the Texans game promises to be a much bigger audition. We know that Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Ernie Sims and Justin Durant have secured roster spots. DeVonte Holloman is a safe bet, given his fantastic preseason. That leaves probably one roster spot to fight for between Lawrence, Taylor Reed , Caleb McSurdy and Brandon Magee – if the Cowboys keep any of them at all. Thursday night would be a good time to show what all Lawrence can bring to the table.


GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Trackers and Scoreboards

gametrax - dallas cowboys vs. houston texans 2013 preseason

View NFL|Dallas Cowboys game stats and scores online while you watch or listen to the game.

Click HERE to choose from a list of popular online game trackers.

GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Sounds of the game

Listen to the “Voice of the Dallas Cowboys” Brad Sham on KRLD in Dallas.

The Dallas Cowboys Radio Network - 105_3 The Fan KRLD

Click HERE. Don’t live in the Dallas area? Click HERE.


Houston Texans: SportsRadio 610 AM.

Texans games can be heard locally on The New Bull @ 100.3

and Univision America 1010 AM (Spanish).

Click HERE for affiliates.

GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Watch the game

To watch on TV tonight, tune to:

CBS11/Cowboys TV in Dallas | KTRK-TV in Houston

CBS 11 Dallas Ft Worth - Dallas Cowboys - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

Out of market? Click HERE to watch online (NFL Sunday Ticket)

When: Thursday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. (Dallas time)

Where: AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium), Arlington, Texas

Live Stream: NFL Preseason Live

Watch on TV: No national coverage; check local listings

GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Bookmark The Boys Are Back blog

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Check back here for box scores, videos, pictures, highlights, resources, recaps, interesting articles, and Dallas Cowboys information all season long. Signup for email alerts, RSS feeds, or add The Boys Are Back to your favorites.

Enjoy the game!

GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Houston Texans vs. Dallas Cowboys postgame coverage

LISTEN LIVE–RIGHT NOW

Dallas Cowboys Postgame Show

on the

Dallas Cowboys Radio Network

Note: The show starts approximately 30 minutes after the game is over.


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NFL CONCUSSION LAWSUIT: League, ex-players agree to $765M settlement proposal

NFL CONCUSSION LAWSUIT - League, ex-players agree to $765M settlement

PHILADELPHIA — The NFL has reached a tentative $765 million settlement over concussion-related brain injuries among its 18,000 retired players, agreeing to compensate victims, pay for medical exams and underwrite research.

A federal judge announced the agreement Thursday after months of court-ordered mediation. It came just days before the start of the 2013 season.

More than 4,500 former athletes — some suffering from dementia, depression or Alzheimer’s that they blamed on blows to the head — had sued the league, accusing it of concealing the dangers of concussions and rushing injured players back onto the field while profiting from the kind of bone-jarring hits that make for spectacular highlight-reel footage.

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The NFL long has denied any wrongdoing and insisted that safety always has been a top priority. But the NFL said Thursday that Commissioner Roger Goodell told pro football’s lawyers to “do the right thing for the game and the men who played it.”

The plaintiffs included Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon and the family of Pro Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide last year.

Jim McMahon on his controversial dementia worries - NFL Lawsuit

Under the settlement, individual awards would be capped at $5 million for men with Alzheimer’s disease; $4 million for those diagnosed after their deaths with a brain condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy; and $3 million for players with dementia, said lead plaintiffs’ lawyer Christopher Seeger.

Any of the approximately 18,000 former NFL players would be eligible.

Senior U.S. District Judge Anita Brody in Philadelphia announced the proposed agreement and will consider approving it at a later date.

The settlement most likely means the NFL won’t have to disclose internal files about what it knew, and when, about concussion-linked brain problems. Lawyers had been eager to learn, for instance, about the workings of the league’s Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee, which was led for more than a decade by a rheumatologist.

In recent years, a string of former NFL players and other concussed athletes have been diagnosed after their deaths with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE. Those ex-players included Seau and lead plaintiff Ray Easterling, who filed the first lawsuit in Philadelphia in August 2011 but later committed suicide.

About one-third of the league’s 12,000 former players eventually joined the litigation. They include a few hundred “gap” players, who played during years when there was no labor contract in place, and were therefore considered likely to win the right to sue.

Download the complete press release PDF here.

Read the text of Brody’s order that outlines the proposed settlement here.

THE MYSTIQUE OF AMERICA’S TEAM: NFL’s 1993-1994 NFC Championship–San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys History - 1994 NFC Championship - Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers - Jimmy Johnson

HISTORIC MOMENTS: NFL’s 1994 NFC Championship Game

On January 23, 1994 the Dallas Cowboys defeated the San Francisco 49er’s 38-21, and Jimmy Johnson’s famous “How bout them Cowboys!” quote from the previous year’s NFC Championship Game in Candlestick Park.

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Editors comment: As a reader pointed out, the original title of this post suggested that this NFC Championship lead to the “Making of America’s Team.” In fact, the term “America’s Team” became popular after Bob Ryan (of NFL Films) used it while preparing the Cowboys 1978 season highlight film. Also, Jimmy Johnson’s “How ’bout them Cowboys” quote came after the 1992-1993 NFC Championship Game in San Francisco. 


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KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES’: Cowboys Super Bowl quest includes the fountain of youth and secret sauce

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES’ - Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl quest includes the fountain of youth and secret sauce 

ARLINGTON – Jerry Jones will outlive us all. Some wonder if Jerry Jones is slowing down. He’s 70 years old. But the Dallas Cowboys owner insists he is as mentally sharp as he was when he bought the team in 1989.

This has always been a working theory around these parts, admittedly rooted in a gut feeling rather than tangible medical evidence.

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But now … now we have something to work off. The Dallas Cowboys owner received some very unusual news during a recent visit to the doctor. He shared said unusual news with the media.

The doctor convinced him he has the perspicacity of someone nearly half his age.

“I’ve been told that I have, by CAT Scans, that it’s like the brain of a 40-year-old,” Jones crowed. “…The guy really did not know it was me. I was there anonymously. He said, ‘And so I just wanted to come down. I saw your chart. I know how old you are. That part is really impressive.’”

Jones remains confident in his abilities to manage the organization and earn another Super Bowl title.

“I know more about what I’m doing than hopefully I did 25 years ago,” he said, referring to the time he entered the NFL as an owner.

Jones’ comments came, of course, one day after his son, Stephen, the team’s executive vice president, declared, “We’re convinced we’ve got the secret sauce to put this thing back together again and win championships.” (see below)

By promoting Jerry’s 40-year-old brain and Stephen’s secret sauce this week, the Jones Family seems to think the Dallas Cowboys have what it takes to return to glory.

RELATED: Stephen Jones says Cowboys have the ‘secret sauce’ to win championships again

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES’ - Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl quest includes the fountain of youth and secret sauce - Stephen Jones and Jerry Jones

IRVING — What’s going to make the Cowboys better than 8-8 this year? The “secret sauce,” says executive vice president Stephen Jones.

Answering a question from reporters about whether his father, owner Jerry Jones, hears criticism, Stephen said it is motivation.

“Obviously we feel like we have a great organization in the Cowboys, but we can always be better. We look for ways to be better,” Stephen said. “We do that both on the field and off the field. We’re convinced we’ve got the quote-unquote ‘secret sauce’ to ultimately put this thing back together again and win championships.”

The sauce includes making the playoffs, and Stephen was asked if the Cowboys’ record will be better than 8-8.

“We certainly expect it to be,” he said. “We want people to be accountable. Our commitment when we started was no more 8-8s. I think we’ve got good personnel. I think we’ve got a great staff. I think we can do that. We need to stay healthy. We need to stay focused. We need to get better every day. And I think we’ll be better than 8-8.”

Stephen said his father still has a drive to work and succeed, even at age 70.

“You don’t run across many people like him that are driven to be successful, not only in business, but I think he’s equally driven for the Cowboys to win championships,” Stephen said. “We’ve won them. He certainly doesn’t want to think we’re through winning them. I don’t think we’re through winning them. … I think it’s still out there for us to go get. We just have to keep working hard and keep holding everyone accountable to one another. I think good things will come.”

TEXAS 2 TWISTER: Dallas Cowboys DT Jay Ratliff vows to return

TEXAS 2 TWISTER - Dallas Cowboys DT Jay Ratliff vows to return - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jay Ratliff finally broke his silence regarding the groin and hamstring injuries that have landed him on the Physically Unable to Perform list, sidelining him for at least the first six games of the season.

Ratliff, 32, said he’s extremely disappointed in the setbacks in his rehab and vowed that he would return to the field with season, while alluded to tensions with the Cowboys training staff as reasons why he worked away from the facility during the off season.

“Absolutely I’m disappointed,” Ratliff said of the team’s annual kickoff luncheon at AT&T Stadium on Wednesday. “But everyone knew what the issue was way before hand. Everyone knew what it was since last year. I’m not going into much more detail other than that…It’s for sure it’s not a hamstring tweak. Thank you.

Ratliff missed ten games last season, including the last six because surgery to repair a sports hernia. He didn’t use the Cowboys doctors for surgery and paid for his own rehab in the off season.

Ratliff returned the Cowboys for OTAs and minicamp and appeared to be gearing up for training camp when he suffered a hamstring injury during pre-camp conditioning drills.

Asked why he rehabbed away from the Cowboys’ Valley Ranch headquarters, Ratliff declined to go into details.

“I’d rather not say,” Ratliff said. “Let’s just keep the focus on these guys going out there and playing and winning games. I’m not going to be here and be a distraction to anybody. Just stay as professional as possible about the whole situation. But everyone that is involved knows what is going on.”

Ratliff said he “absolutely” believes he will return to the field this season.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones offered a similar answer regarded his expectations of Ratliff not only return in 2013 but playing at a high level.

But Jones acknowledged the loss of the former Pro Bowler for the first six games of the season is a huge setback for the Cowboys.

Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin crafting the Texas 2 Defense in Dallas - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

Ratliff was expected to be a key component in defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin’s 4-3 scheme. The Cowboys envisioned Ratliff being an inside pass rusher from the under tackle position in Kiffin’s defense similar to Hall of Famer Warren Sapp was during their time together in Tampa Bay.

dallas cowboys owner jerry jones - the boys are back blog

“It is a setback. No, it is a setback,” Jones said. “We will have to adjust just as we would if it was a mid-season injury. What we’re doing there and his status is that hopefully will move the process along faster. We’re hopeful this will let us rehab-wise, strength-wise that we can do more than just address this where he is.”

Jones said he didn’t know of any tension between Ratliff and the athletic training staff.

“I don’t know about that,” Jones said. “What I’m saying I don’t know any of the details and I don’t have any comment on that.”

Jones also refused to second-guess the decision to allow Ratliff to participate in the pre-camp conditioning test, where he complicated his rehab from the sports hernia with the additional hamstring injury.

“Again, everybody that was involved in the decision thought he could run the conditioning test for sure,” Jones said. “So everybody involved in that decision thought he could run it. Everyone. 100 percent.”

dallas dallas cowboys nose tackle jay ratliff (90) tackles eli manning - the boys are back blog

Jones said there no thought from anyone on the Cowboys that Ratliff won’t play this season. He said if that was the case they would have done something different to address the position and not just him on PUP.

Despite the setback, Jones said his hopes and expectations for Ratliff haven’t changed. Once he get’s healthy and returns to the field, the Cowboys believe he will be an impact player in the defense and help extend the season beyond the 10 games that would be left and into the playoffs.

“I hope he’s an All-Pro player,” Jones said. “I hope he can be. He can have let’s see, he could have certainly 13, 14 to go if it went like you’d like for it to be. A player like this as we again we’re just getting tested on our depth right out of the shoot, right off the bat, but hopefully we’ve got the depth to hold it until we can get him out there.”

2013 COWBOYS PRESEASON ROSTER: Dallas waives nine players, three moved to Injured Reserve | Team down to 75 players

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IRVING, Texas – The locker room at Valley Ranch got a little less crowded this (Tuesday) afternoon.

The Dallas Cowboys released nine players, moved two to injured reserve and placed another on the IR/PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list on Tuesday in compliance with the first of two NFL cut deadlines.

The first round of cuts were to:

  • kicker Brett Maher,
  • quarterback Nick Stephens,
  • wide receivers Anthony Amos,
  • Eric Rogers and
  • Jared Green,
  • tight end Colin Cochart,
  • guard Dennis Godfrey,
  • cornerback Brandon Underwood and
  • linebacker Deon Lacey.

Defensive end Tyrone Crawford and guard Ryan Cook, who were lost to injury earlier in training camp, were placed on injured reserve. Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jay Ratliff was moved to the team’s PUP list.

The Monday morning release of defensive tackle Jeris Pendleton give the Cowboys 10 total cuts to this point.

2013 TRAINING CAMP WRAP-UP - Jason Garrett end of 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys training camp press conference

“It’s something we take very seriously. I speak with every player who we release. I’m the person who gives them that news,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. “And then whether they’re an offensive player or a defensive player, they’ll talk to the coordinator and the position coach and maybe the assistant position coach.”

These latest roster moves give the Cowboys 75 active players, as mandated by NFL rules. The team must trim the roster down to 53 – the final number allowed for the regular season – by Saturday evening.

A cursory look through the first batch of cuts shows the Cowboys focused primarily on offense in order to reach the required 75 roster spots. Seven of the nine cuts made today (Tuesday) were on the offensive side of the ball.

Almost all of those losses will directly impact Thursday night’s preseason finale against Houston, which promises to feature almost no starters.

“You’d like to be able to keep all the guys,” Garrett said. “You’d like to not have to make the cut down today and you’d like to say ‘All you guys are playing Thursday night and we’re going to give you a chance to show and play,’ as opposed to the end of the game, where you played three plays and we’re making a big evaluation on just a handful big of snaps. Unfortunately that’s not how the whole thing works.” 

Four Dallas Cowboys QBs in 2013 Training Camp - Tony Romo - Kyle Orton - AlexTanney - Nick Stephens

The release of Stephens gives the Cowboys just three quarterbacks heading into the game. With starter Tony Romo guaranteed to sit out, it’s likely that Alex Tanney will see as much as two quarters’ worth of playing time – if not more.

Three cuts at the wide receiver position also promise to give more reps to what is suddenly a much smaller group. Starting receivers Dez Bryant and Miles Austin are sure to sit against the Texans, and it’s doubtful Terrance Williams or Dwayne Harris will play too long, either.

That leaves plenty of game time to be split up between four remaining receivers: Cole Beasley, Anthony Armstrong, Tim Benford and Danny Coale.

Cochart finds himself as the odd man out on a team that looks likely to keep as many as four tight ends. Second-year tight end Andre Smith was retained and will have one more opportunity to prove himself after making an impressive 27-yard reception in the preseason win against Cincinnati.

Godfrey was with the team for roughly three weeks after offensive line injuries forced the Cowboys to sign him from the Arena Football League’s San Jose Saber Cats during their stay in Oxnard, Calif.

Miami Dolphins vs. Dallas Cowboys, Aug. 4, 2013 - DeVonte Holloman

Lacey’s dismissal drops the team’s linebacker corps to nine players, which will drop even further when the starters take a seat for the Houston game. That leaves the competition for the final linebacker spots to Cameron Lawrence, Caleb McSurdy, DeVonte Holloman, Taylor Reed and Brandon Magee – assuming Magee has recovered from a concussion suffered early last week.

Underwood had brought up the tail end of the cornerback competition alongside rookie Xavier Brewer for the duration of this training camp. It’s hard to say for sure, but it’s interesting to note that Brewer nabbed an interception during his last on field action before the cuts.

The release of Maher shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but it’s worth pointing out that dismissing the backup kicker likely means starter Dan Bailey will be called on for a full night of action against the Texans.

STUD REMAINS SIDELINED: Dallas Cowboys DT Ratliff out at least six weeks

STUD REMAINS SIDELINED - Dallas Cowboys DT Ratliff out at least six weeks - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys had been optimistic about Jay Ratliff’s chances of returning to the field for the season opener against the Giants.

Now, the earliest they will see the defensive tackle on the field will be Oct. 20 against the Eagles.

Ratliff was placed on Reserve/PUP today (on Tuesday) in an effort to trim the roster down to 75 players. The Cowboys also put Tyrone Crawford (torn Achilles) and Ryan Cook (back) on injured reserve, along with releasing nine players.

Ratliff is dealing with both a hamstring and groin injury, a possible re-aggravation from his sports hernia surgery he underwent last December.

The defensive tackle missed all of training camp nursing what was believed to be only the hamstring injury he sustained on July 20 at the conditioning test in Oxnard, Calif. He stayed with the team for the remainder of camp when other injured players were sent back to Dallas early for rehab.

Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones, the team’s director of player personnel was asked Tuesday if he thought Ratliff would even play at all in 2013.

“I feel confident that he will. I believe in Jay. I think he’s a competitor,” Jones said. “There’s some things that can be frustrating when you have injuries. Jay has a real injury. Those things happen. I’m convinced that we’ve got a (rehab) program now — he’s had a few setbacks — that hopefully will put him on the road where he can play for us at some point this season.”

The four-time Pro Bowler missed 10 games last year – the final six games with the groin injury and the first four because of a high ankle sprain. He also missed most of camp with a nagging foot injury.

The last 12 months have also included a heated exchange with Jerry Jones in the locker room last December and then a DWI arrest in January. His hearing was recently pushed back to February 2014.

Until Ratliff gets back, the Cowboys will likely start Nick Hayden and Jason Hatcher at tackle with a backup rotation of Sean Lissemore, Ben Bass, and perhaps Landon Cohen, a journeyman vet who has taken advantage of extra snaps with Ratliff out.

RELATED: Jerry Jones on Jay Ratliff starting season on PUP

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admitted the obvious today (Tuesday) when he confirmed on his radio show that defensive tackle Jay Ratliff could start the season on the physically unable to perform list, sidelining him for the first six games of the season.

Ratliff has been sidelined since the start of training camp with hamstring and groin injuries. The Cowboys had long held out hope that he could return for the season opener against the New York Giants on Sept. 8.

But Ratliff has yet to take his rehab to the point where it’s realistic he could be ready by then. Jones is still holding out hope but he can’t deny that sitting Ratliff for the first six weeks of the season might be the best move and the Cowboys only move.

“It’s certainly more of a possibility than I would’ve ever thought two to three weeks ago,” Jones said Tuesday on the New School show on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM]. “But we’ve got to look at the next two weeks, carefully look at his progress over the next two weeks.”


Editors test … click on button below to download the MP3 file (Box.com)

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2013 DALLAS COWBOYS PRESEASON: Jason Garrett press conference–Prior to roster cut-down to 75 players

DALLAS COWBOYS 2013 PRESEASON - Jason Garrett press conference–Roster cut-down to 75 players- Sidelines

IRVING, Texas– Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett wouldn’t provide any new scoop on the cuts that will happen Tuesday afternoon, but he did touch on a variety of other subjects, including the health of Morris Claiborne.

Garrett said the coaches need to discuss his practice later today, but he participated much more fully and was in competitive situations and responded to them well.

As Garrett, the coaches and the staff discuss how to get the team down to 75 players, they’ll need to consider how some backups can contribute on special teams, as well. Garrett said a big part of cutting down the roster is considering special teams, as well as considering which 46 players will go to the game and be active every week.

The head coach said in an ideal world, the Cowboys can keep players who can develop into position players and perform well on special teams until then.

“There’s spots for those guys,” Garrett said. “I do think they do have to have some ability to go in the game on offense or defense.”

  • The Cowboys take today’s cuts very seriously, and Garrett went through briefly how each cut goes. “I speak with every player we release,” he said. “I’m the person who gives them that news.”
  • Those players may talk to their position coaches and special teams coaches, if that’s been their role.  Garrett said it’s a really important process, because most of the players that are cut have made a tremendous commitment to the team over a long period and have helped make the team better. He said just because they don’t have a role this year on the Cowboys doesn’t mean they couldn’t help another team, and Garrett respects that process.
  • The final game still matters in terms of figuring out who makes the final 53-man roster. Garrett said there’s still a lot of competition and more determinations to be made.
  • It’s difficult for Garrett and the coaches to evaluate Matt Johnson fully, given his injury history. He said the coaches need to well evaluating the different settings he’s been able to play in, and then make the best decision from that. It’s easier to evaluate a veteran safety such as Eric Frampton, who’s also played for other teams.
  • The Cowboys went through two hard practices with full pads Monday morning and Tuesday, according to Garrett. He said it’s not all Giants preparation, because he doesn’t want the game plan to get too stale over a long period of time. “You want to keep it fresh,” he said.
  • Garrett said Miles Austin’s looked great in practice, and it’s just as valuable that he got to rest occasionally as well. He reiterated that sometimes trainers and coaches need to protect the hardworking Austin from himself, and the receiver’s responded well and understands his body better now. His mindset is still that he’s a free agent from Monmouth, according to Garrett.
  • Nick Hayden could end up starting at defensive tackle this year to start the season. He’s been starting throughout the preseason and Garrett has noticed him get better throughout the year.  “It’s a great environment for all those defensive linemen,” Garrett said. “We have really good coaches throughout our football team.”
  • Hayden’s rise to the starting lineup is an example of the Cowboys being as objective as possible in evaluating players, regardless of where they came from. Garrett said it’s important to do that democratically. “We preach it really every day,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where you come from, it matters what you do once you’re here.”
  • Garrett said the transition on Dan Bailey’s missed field goal wasn’t as clean as it needed to be and that the timing was off, because “you never see Dan Bailey kick a ball like that.”
  • The team hasn’t made any definitive decisions on who’s starting on the line, but will try to do so in the next few days. There’s still an ongoing discussion about who the best five offensive linemen are and the combinations that work best.
  • Quarterback Alex Tanney will play some Thursday night. Garrett said he’s done a good job making sure he understands the offense quickly.

Jason Garrett press conference - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys training camp update - Dallas Cowboys vs. Cincinnati Bengals wrap up - The Boys Are Back blog
Jason Garrett Press Conference 8/27/2013 (Duration – 21:40)

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media from Valley Ranch following his teams morning practice.

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DALLAS COWBOYS 2013 PRESEASON: Jason Garrett press conference–Practice update following dress rehearsal game

Jason Garrett press conference - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys training camp update - Dallas Cowboys vs. Cincinnati Bengals wrap up - The Boys Are Back blog

Jason Garrett Press Conference 8/26/2013 (Duration – 18:17)

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media from Valley Ranch following his teams morning practice. Garrett discusses:

  • Morris Claiborne at today’s practice  | Status for NYG game
  • Injuries from Cincinnati Bengals game on Saturday
  • Offensive line performance vs. Bengals
  • Doug Free grade at right guard
  • DT Nick Hayden versatility and playmaking ability
  • Special Teams breakdowns
  • Second punt (re-punt) concerns for any game (fatigued players)
  • 2013-2014 Special Teams progress and solidifying unit with starters
  • No justification for giving up TD on re-punt due to winded players
  • Dez Bryant progress and ways to improve
  • Jay Ratliff hamstring and groin injury recovery status
  • Jay Ratliff slow recovery and comparison to other similar injuries in league
  • Doug Free as a viable guard
  • Doug Free’s willingness to play guard or either tackle spot
  • Right Tackle Jermey Parnell rotation and growth into position
  • OT Darrion Weems impressions as young pass protector
  • Miles Austin on 3rd downs and redzone; recovery from 2012 injuries
  • What can Jay Ratliff injury allow him to do with staff – weight room
  • DeMarco Murray and emphasis on eliminating offensive turnovers
  • Running game in 2013 vs. 2012; offensive line personnel improvements
  • Coordinating the running play techniques in practice
  • What influenced 2013 zone running scheme
  • Roster cut down to 75 players
  • NYG game planning weaved into process gradually
  • Terrance Williams on the DPI play vs. Cincinnati Bengals
  • Ratliff Reserve/PUP list option
  • Confidence in new Special Teams coach

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2013-2014 DALLAS COWBOYS ROSTER: NFL-mandated cut-down to 75 due by 3 p.m. tomorrow

2013-2014 DALLAS COWBOYS ROSTER - NFL-mandated cut-down to 75 due by 3 p.m. tomorrow

IRVING, Texas – Several big names returned to practice Monday morning, while the Dallas Cowboys also began the process of cutting their roster down.

The team released defensive tackle Jeris Pendleton on Monday morning. It’s the only cut the team is expected to make Monday, which gives the Dallas Cowboys 12 more cuts to make in order to reach the NFL-mandated number of 75 by 3 p.m. Tuesday. 

Pendleton made seven tackles during his preseason action. He played Saturday against Cincinnati, but he did not record any statistics.

While Pendleton left the roster, key defenders Morris Claiborne and Ernie Sims rejoined the team at Monday morning’s practice. Sims has been missing for several weeks with a groin injury, while Claiborne appears to be recovered from the knee injury that sidelined him in Oxnard, Calif.

Wide receiver Cole Beasley also returned to practice after injuring his foot during the Cowboys’ loss to Oakland on Aug. 9.

As if the Cowboys didn’t have enough problems at the guard position, starter Mackenzy Bernadeau missed practice with an ankle injury. Safety Danny McCray was also held out of practice with a hamstring injury, while defensive tackle Jason Hatcher missed with a minor groin injury.

COUNTDOWN 2013-2014 NFL SEASON: New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys in race to get healthy for opener

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Two big bits of injury news pertaining to the Cowboys’ season opener is grabbing attention.

As many people no doubt saw on Saturday night, the Giants lost safety Stevie Brown for the season during their loss to the New York Jets. Brown made a textbook interception of an awful pass thrown by rookie quarterback Geno Smith, and he tore his ACL while being tackled on the return.

It’s a devastating blow, especially as the Giants were so close to wrapping up their final test of the preseason. However, since the loss of Brown, the team has received several bits of good news in anticipation of the opener against the Dallas Cowboys in 13 days.

Safety Antrel Rolle and cornerback Corey Webster are slated to return to the field this week ahead of New York’s preseason finale against New England. It’s pretty crucial timing, as the Giants were set to take the field without three of their starting four defensive backs.

Rolle rolled his ankle – no pun intended — several weeks ago, but he has been adamant he would be fit for the start of the regular season. Webster has been battling groin and MCL injuries for most of training camp, but Giants coach Tom Coughlin told reporters on Sunday he would return this week, as well.

Perhaps the bigger news coming out of New Jersey on Monday is that injured defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, whose return from back surgery has dominated Giants training camp headlines, was activated from Physically Unable to Perform list Monday.

Pierre-Paul doubtless has plenty of work to do before he’d be cleared to line up against the Cowboys on Sept. 8, but with 13 days to spare, he can now begin that process.

It’s a bit of the opposite scenario for the Cowboys. Starting cornerback Morris Claiborne returned to practice on Monday, which further solidifies his confidence that he’ll be good to go for the opener. With any luck, the Cowboys just might have four healthy starters in the secondary to start the year.

On the other hand, defensive end Anthony Spencer and defensive tackle Jay Ratliff – particularly Ratliff – don’t look like the locks for Week 1 action that they once were. Neither player has returned to practice, but Spencer said last week he has not yet started running on his convalescing knee.

Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones has typically been steadfast in his belief that Ratliff would be ready for the Giants game. But Jones didn’t sound so sure when asked about it on Saturday night after the Bengals game.

It’s not quite September yet, so there’s still time for more developments for both teams. But the window of recovery time is closing rapidly.

RIVAL HEADLINE–CINCINNATI: A.J. Green showing few signs of injury

A.J. Green jokes around with the other Bengals receivers prior to their preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys - The Enquirer - Jeff Swinger

PHOTO: A.J. Green jokes around with the other Bengals receivers prior to their preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys – The Enquirer – Jeff Swinger

ARLINGTON, TEXAS — Since returning to practice on Aug. 14, A.J. Green has looked like he barely missed a step after missing two weeks due to a bruised knee.

In his first preseason action on Saturday, Green got some game action in and finished with 3 receptions for 42 yards.

“I felt good out there. It was good to get back and get my wind back,” Green said. “I was a little tired out there at the beginning. Once the second half came, I got my second wind and I felt good out there again.”

Green got involved early. He caught the first pass on a little slant for a 9-yard completion on the second offensive play. His best play was a 26-yard reception off play action during the third quarter to move the Bengals into the red zone.

Later in the drive, Green appeared as if he got a touchdown after outmuscling Cowboys corner Micah Pellerin in the right corner of the end zone, but the official ruled that Green had one foot out of bounds. On replays it appeared as if Lewis could have challenged the call (see notes below). That later resulted in a Quinn Sharp 28-yard field goal to bring the Bengals within 14-10.

Said Green of the play: “I thought I did but it was toe-heel. It all can’t be in one motion. I need to work on just getting the toe down and just falling out of bounds.”

Dalton was happy to have Green back but also noted of his performance that it is what he expects. The first offense is likely only to get a series or two of work in Thursday’s preseason finale against Indianapolis.

TACKLES ANGST: Right tackle Andre Smith injured his left knee during the second quarter, which caused some nervous moments for those who were starting to envision what life might be like without both starting tackles for the Sept. 8 opener at Chicago.

Smith though appeared to be fine in the locker room after the game as he was walking normally and smiling (see notes below).

“He should be ready to go for Chicago,” coach Marvin Lewis said.

Left tackle Andrew Whitworth did not make the trip to Dallas as he is still coming back from offseason knee surgery He has been limited throughout camp and there are some increasing concerns on if he will be ready for the opener. Whitworth comes into the season with the longest starting streak on the team at 67 games, including the postseason.

Anthony Collins got the start in place of Whitworth while Dennis Roland saw increased snaps at right tackle after Smith left.

BAD NIGHT FOR KIRKPATRICK: Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick led the Bengals in tackles with eight but that’s the only good thing you can say about his game.

Kirkpatrick had his problems going up against Dez Bryant during the first half and gave up the Cowboys first touchdown, which was a 5-yard completion to Bryant early in the second quarter. Kirkpatrick was also called for pass interference twice in the first half.

To say it was a learning experience for Kirkpatrick would be kind.

“That’s what he needed to have,” Lewis said. “They got to put in battle still – Brandon Thompson, Margus Hunt, Devon Still, that group of backup players needs to be pushed into the action like that. That was good.”

Kirkpatrick was unavailable for comment after the game as he was being treated for concussion symptoms.

WELCOME BACK: Defensive end Margus Hunt, who played at Southern Methodist, got his first NFL sack in the third quarter when he took down Alex Tanney for a 7-yard loss.

“The first half was difficult because of the way the tackle played. He was really physical and I wasn’t able to compete with that. It took me awhile to get into the groove,” said Hunt, who had 3 tackles, including the sack. “Eventually in the second half I was able to take what we have practiced all week and put it into the game. I was able to put pressure and punch away.”

Running back Rex Burkhead, who is from Plano, had 2 carries for 8 yards and 2 receptions for 14 yards.

SACK MASTER: Defensive end Dontay Moch got his second sack of the preseason and has 5.5 in the past seven preseason games. It might not be enough though to make the 53-man roster in what is a pretty deep defensive line group.

Moch though does have a chance to come back via the practice squad if he can clear waivers.

“You know, honestly, it’s not really up to me. It’s just how the coaches feel about my performance and where I can contribute as a player to this team. As of right now, I just feel like I’m making those steps to show that I can be a factor.”

INACTIVES: Defensive end Carlos Dunlap returned to practice this past week after missing the last two weeks due to a concussion. Dunlap though is still working his way back and was held out of Saturday’s game.

Preseason injuries have hampered Dunlap throughout his career. He missed two games in 2010 due to a concussion and knee strain. In 2011, a knee strain forced him out of the entire preseason and last year he only saw a couple series in the preseason opener before suffering a knee injury. Out of 16 preseason games, Dunlap has played in only four.

Wallace Gilberry got the start in place of Dunlap.

The other listed pregame inactives were QB Zac Robinson (PUP/elbow), WR Andrew Hawkins (ankle), CB Brandon Ghee (concussion), RB Bernard Scott (PUP/knee), FB Chris Pressley (PUP/knee), S George Iloka (wrist), LB Brandon Joiner (knee), LB Sean Porter (shoulder) and OG Otis Hudson (foot).

LB James Harrison, DE Robert Geathers and CB Adam Jones, who did not practice for much of the week, also got the night off.

RARE PRESEASON TRIP: The trip to Dallas marks the furthest trip out west for a preseason game for the Bengals since they faced Arizona in 1996.

Courtesy: Joe Reedy | Bengals beat-writer | Cincinnati Enquirer


The Boys Are Back editor comments: A.J. Greens foot was clearly out of bounds. It was not by a heel … more than half of his foot was on the white chalk. Green didn’t outmuscle Cowboys corner Micah Pellerin (who injured his hand on the play by nudging Green out of bounds). A Lewis challenge would have resulted in a Bengals lost timeout.

Bengals right tackle Andre Smith (along with their backup Dennis Roland) had his hands full with DeMarcus Ware, followed by emerging Cowboys DE Ben Bass. 

When your leading tackler is a cornerback (Dre Kirkpatrick), that’s what you call “a bad day at the office”! That’s not a good thing. That honor (in a winning effort) usually goes to a linebacker. Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant owned Kirkpatrick during this game. Kirkpatrick has a ton of upside, but this was not his day.

Young Cincinnati DE Margus Hunt had a hard time with Dallas’ recently activated right tackle Jermey Parnell paired with (last years starting right tackle) Doug Free at right guard. His sack came against the Dallas Cowboys third-string unit lead by QB Alex Tanney.

To me, it’s amusing to refer to practice squad hopeful DE Dontay Moch as your sack master!

The Bengals lost to the (at the time, another NFC East team) Arizona Cardinals 13-10 on Saturday 08/10/1996. Something happens when they cross the mighty Mississippi River!

2013 PRESEASON INJURY UPDATE: Dallas Cowboys Bernadeau and Hatcher on bikes; Claiborne and Beasley return

DALLAS COWBOYS INJURY UPDATE - 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys injuries

Cornerback Morris Claiborne and receiver Cole Beasley returned to practice with the season opener 13 days away, but guard Mackenzy Bernadeau and defensive tackle Jason Hatcher stayed in as the Cowboys began the final week of preseason.

Claiborne’s final chance to play in the preseason is Thursday in the finale against the Houston Texans. He has not played in a game because of a “jammed” knee he suffered in training camp on Aug. 6. Beasley hurt an ankle in the preseason game against Oakland on Aug. 9.

Bernadeau, who played left guard Saturday against the Bengals, has an ankle injury. He and Hatcher rode the exercise bike as practice began Monday.

Guard Ronald Leary also did not make it out for the start of practice. Leary is recovering from knee surgery less than two weeks ago.

Also not out for the start of practice were linebacker Brandon Magee (concussion), safeties Matt Johnson, Eric Frampton and Danny McCray, defensive linemen Anthony Spencer and Jay Ratliff, running back Lance Dunbar and center Ryan Cook.

HOMERS POINT OF VIEW: Cincinnati headline – Bengals first-team struggles in Dallas dress rehearsal

Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimer shows his frustration with his defense against the Dallas Cowboys

ARLINGTON, TEXAS — After solid victories in the first two preseason games, the Bengals looked like they were roaring along as they went into Saturday night’s contest against Dallas in what is commonly known as the dress rehearsal game.

Instead, the Bengals put on a display that brought their roar down to a meow. Maybe, the DJ at AT&T Stadium was on to something when they played the Meow Mix theme as the Bengals came on the field before the game.

The 24-18 loss to the Cowboys also reinforced an old equation – when you commit four turnovers and your defense can’t get off the field on third down, you aren’t going to win many games.

“Now, we can quit having all that smoke puffed up our butts and we can get to work,” coach Marvin Lewis said after the game. “There were some bright spots during the game. We did some things well but not enough, long enough.”

Two of the turnovers were committed by the first team offense. Marvin Jones fumbled deep in Dallas territory on the opening drive and Andy Dalton threw his first interception of the preseason on a deep ball intended for Mohamed Sanu.

Dalton and the first unit were in for 28 plays (16 pass, 12 run). He finished 12 of 16 for 113 yards and a subpar passer rating of 68.0. The running game generated only 44 yards with 30 of that coming on the third-quarter drive that led to a Quinn Sharp 28-yard field goal. The first team was 0 for 2 scoring touchdowns in the red zone and their lone points came courtesy of a Quinn Sharp 28-yard field goal on their last series of the night.

“The fact we hurt ourselves is the biggest thing,” Dalton said. “You can look at all the bad but there are still some good stuff mixed in there. We did move the ball well, but didn’t get the points to show for it.”

Defensively, the Bengals (2-1) forced only two three-and-outs in 10 possessions. The Cowboys (2-2) were 9 of 16 converting third downs and all three of their touchdown passes came on third down – two by Tony Romo and one by Kyle Orton.

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones (82) hangs on tight as he is taken down by the Dallas Cowboys inside linebacker Bruce Carter (54) and cornerback Morris Claiborne (24).

Dallas ran 75 plays and ended up having the ball for 39 minutes, 31 seconds.

“I don’t know if it was a lack of focus for us. We had some good plays, but on third down we just couldn’t get them off the field,” linebacker Vontaze Burfict said.

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis reacts after a Dallas Cowboys second quarter touchdown

Added Lewis: “We’ve got to get to work and get our guys wind going to get ready for the opener. I thought it was a positive for the defense as they had to stay out there for a couple of long drives. Hopefully those are good opportunities for our defensive players to blow their pipes out pretty good.”

Tony Romo was 13 of 18 for 137 yards and two touchdowns in a half of work while Dez Bryant (6 receptions, 54 yards) and Miles Austin (4 receptions, 59 yards) each had a touchdown.

On the opening drive, Dalton and the offense looked like they were going to pick up from where they left off in the Tennessee game. Dalton completed his first six passes for 56 yards and got A.J. Green quickly involved on the second play with a 9-yard completion on a slant pass. Green finished with 3 receptions for 42 yards.

The drive ended without points though when Brandon Carr forced Marvin Jones to fumble after a 14-yard completion to the Dallas 4. It was the Bengals’ third lost fumble of the preseason.

On the ensuing drive, Dallas moved the ball to their own 30 when the Bengals got their second punt return touchdown of the preseason, this one by Brandon Tate.

Tate’s 75-yard punt return came courtesy of something that you only get at AT&T Stadium. On Chris Jones’ first punt he hit the giant scoreboard that hangs above the field, which brought about a rekick.

“(Special Teams Coordinator) Darrin (Simmons) always tells us that nothing good happens for the punt team on a re-kick, and we made them pay,” Tate said. “I give all the credit to the other 10 guys out there with me. Everybody blocked it perfectly, and all I had to do was find the hole and shoot through it. Nobody really had a good shot at me.”

After that, Dallas started to get things in gear. The Cowboys went on a 12-play, 87-yard drive which culminated in Romo’s first touchdown pass of the preseason, a 5-yarder to Bryant, who dominated Dre Kirkpatrick on the drive. Romo was 6 of 6 on the drive and Bryant had 5 receptions for 53 yards.

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis takes a look at the big screen against the Dallas Cowboys

Dallas would take the lead late in the first half when Austin got past Taylor Mays in coverage and caught it in the back of the end zone. In the second quarter Romo was 8 of 13 for 98 yards and two touchdowns and the Cowboys were 4 of 6 on third-down conversions.

After Sharp’s field goal, Orton came on for Dallas and led a 14-play, 86-yard drive that culminated in a 7-yard touchdown pass to DeMarco Murray where there were a litany of missed tackles.

Josh Johnson came on midway through the third quarter and led the Bengals to a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter, a 4-yard completion to Cobi Hamilton that was the final play of a 14-play, 60-yard drive. Ryan Whalen caught a two-point conversion from Johnson to bring the Bengals within a field goal. Hamilton atoned after he turned the ball over in the third quarter on a fumble after running a reverse for a 18-yard gain.

Dan Bailey added a 26-yard field goal to put the margin up to six with 52 seconds remaining. After a Dane Sanzenbacher return gave the Bengals good field position, they drove the ball to the Dallas 49 before Johnson was picked off by Xavier Brewer. Johnson was hit by Landon Cohen as he threw the ball.

Courtesy: Joe Reedy | Bengals beat writer | Cincinnati Enquirer

POSTGAME VIDEO LINKS FROM CINCINNATI:

Marvin Lewis postgame 8/24: Marvin Lewis after the Bengals 24-18 loss at Dallas

Andy Dalton postgame 8/24: Andy Dalton after the Bengals 24-18 loss at Dallas

POSTGAME SCOUTING REPORT: Mackenzy Bernadeau, Tyron Smith, and rookie Travis Frederick were outstanding

TEXAS 2 DEFENSE - Starters continue to excite in 24-18 preseason win at AT&T Stadium - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

Some thoughts from the radio booth at AT&T Stadium:

I am looking forward to getting back to Valley Ranch on Sunday and taking a look at this game film from Saturday night for a couple of different reasons. I am interested to see if Doug Free was better at guard in the game or did he struggle to the point that this experiment proved that he just needs to stay at right tackle.

I do know from my seat that Mackenzy Bernadeau and Tyron Smith were outstanding on the left side. There were plenty of plays where Smith, Bernadeau and rookie Travis Frederick did a great job of getting the down linemen for the Bengals turned at the point, which created lanes or cut them off so that the ball could work backside. Where this offensive line had success was in its ability to get hats on hats controlling the front. It was an impressive showing for the left side of the line, despite having just started working together on Monday. With this kind of play, it might be something these coaches would like to consider going forward, moving Ronald Leary to the right side.

DRESS REHEARSAL REVIEW - Tony Romo believes the starters on the right track

As a whole, the offense was able to out-tough a defense that prides itself on being a physical one. Whether it was point-of-attack blocking by the line or the wide receivers on the edge, I really thought that they took the fight to the Bengals. These backs drove the ball hard front-side but when they saw the opportunity to cut it back, they made decisive cuts and finished the runs.

As the game wore on, in the broadcast booth, Brad Sham, Marc Colombo and I were wondering why DeMarco Murray was in the game in the second half after seeing action in the first. But what we learned from head coach Jason Garrett after the game was that Murray put the ball on the ground in the first quarter and he wanted to remind Murray how important it was for him to protect their ball. When Murray returned to the lineup, it was clear that Garrett’s message did not fall on deaf ears.

Garrett and this staff have run a tough camp. They have had physical practices and tonight their work paid off against a Bengals club that is not use to being knocked around the way they were.

Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Scout

MESSAGE SENT AND RECEIVED: Jason Garrett impressed with DeMarco Murray response to benching

MESSAGE SENT AND RECEIVED - Jason Garrett impressed with DeMarco Murray response to benching - The Boys Are Back blog 2013 - Fumble

ARLINGTON, Texas – As his defense continues to force turnovers, Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has to hope he got his message across about committing them.

Garrett created one of the dominant storylines of Saturday nights’ 24-18 win against Cincinnati when he benched running back DeMarco Murray for fumbling during the Cowboys’ second possession of the night.

“We took DeMarco out in the first half because he put the ball down,” Garrett said. “So we gave Phillip Tanner the chance to play with the ones in the first half.”

MESSAGE SENT AND RECEIVED - Jason Garrett impressed with DeMarco Murray response to benching - The Boys Are Back blog 2013 - Jason Garrett on sidelines

It was a nightmare start for Murray, who was slated to see his biggest chunk of playing time this preseason. He had three carries for just five yards when he lost a fumble – which was eventually recovered by right tackle Jermey Parnell – in the first quarter.

When Murray was yanked for Tanner, he had just four carries for six yards.

“I don’t know why De Mo got benched, you know, but we’re a real close family. So when they said another guy go in, that’s what I was going to do,” Tanner said. “De Mo is really supportive, you know, he’s my guy. Everything that I was able to do out there tonight I give all credit to him.”

Murray didn’t speak to reporters, so it’s uncertain to know how he felt as Tanner rumbled for 39 yards on 14 carries to finish out the first half. But whatever his opinion was on the benching, he put it into a torrid third quarter.

Murray lined up behind second-string quarterback Kyle Orton and the starting offensive line after halftime, and he quickly atoned for his problems. He carried eight times on the opening drive of the third quarter, including four in a row to start the possession, tallying 45 yards.

MESSAGE SENT AND RECEIVED - Jason Garrett impressed with DeMarco Murray response to benching - The Boys Are Back blog 2013 - Murray effort leads to TD

He capped off his return when he evaded three different tacklers en route to a seven-yard touchdown reception from Orton.

“There is no question that we had a little in-house resolve about what we would do if we should turn the ball over, and I think he came back with that resolve,” said Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones. “I still think he had an attitude after he finished that third quarter. I think he still had an attitude when he hid over there, but I think Jason’s making a point.”

Tanner wasn’t the only one who wasn’t sure why Murray left the field. Wide receiver Dez Bryant didn’t know until after the game why Murray had been replaced, but he wasn’t surprised at the response.

“DeMarco is a great back, and he always has that chip on his shoulder. That’s what makes him who he is,” he said.

MESSAGE SENT AND RECEIVED - Jason Garrett impressed with DeMarco Murray response to benching - The Boys Are Back blog 2013 - Murray touchdown

Murray finished the night with 12 carries for 51 yards – the best average on the team – and two receptions for 14 yards and the touchdown.

It appears as though the message was received, much to Garrett’s satisfaction.

“I thought he did a good job. He’s a pro, and he’s a damn good football player,” Garrett said. “You can’t let not taking care of the football when you’re a running back diminish you as a player. And he’s just not going to do that – he’s not going to put the ball on the ground. I thought he responded well to it.”

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