2013 COWBOYS PRESEASON ROSTER: Dallas waives nine players, three moved to Injured Reserve | Team down to 75 players
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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)
2013 DALLAS COWBOYS PRESEASON: Jason Garrett press conference–Prior to roster cut-down to 75 players
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.
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media from Valley Ranch following his teams morning practice.
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