Daily Archives: September 2nd, 2013

AROUND THE NFC EAST: Shanahan confirms RG3 will start Week 1

AROUND THE NFC EAST - Shanahan confirms RG3 will start Week 1

Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan officially announced that Robert Griffin III will be under center when the defending NFC East champions open their 2013 season against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday.

Griffin, the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, sat out the entire preseason while recovering from surgery in January to repair both the lateral collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments in his right knee. The standout quarterback sustained the LCL injury in a win over Baltimore in December, then tore the ACL in Washington’s loss to Seattle in the NFC Wild Card Playoffs.

The former Heisman Trophy winner was cleared to play by renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews last week, and Shanahan confirmed the expected during his Monday press conference.

“I feel very good where Robert’s at, and he’ll be our starter on Monday night unless there’s some crazy setback that we don’t anticipate,” said Shanahan.

Shanahan also reiterated that Griffin, who also tore his ACL in the same knee during his sophomore season at Baylor in 2009, will not be under any restrictions.

“If we didn’t feel like Robert was full-go and he wasn’t ready to play and do all the things that you ask a guy to do, then he would not be playing in this game,” he stated. “We believe he can do everything that a quarterback is asked to do and if that’s sprinting out, if it’s running the option, if it’s dropping back, we think he can do all those things because he’s proved it to us in practice, and there hasn’t been a setback so that’s been a great sign.”

Courtesy: Mike Jones | The Washington Post

Photo courtesy: Jonathan Newton | The Washington Post

SPECIAL TEAMS ACE: Edgar Jones’n to be a Dallas Cowboy

Dallas Cowboys banner - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

Edgar Jones, traded to the Cowboys from the Kansas City Chiefs over the weekend, said he knows he is in Dallas because of special teams, and that’s fine. It is what has kept him in the NFL, he said.

“I emphasize it myself,” he said. “That’s why I’ve been blessed to be around in the NFL on special teams. First, I try to be accountable and put it on myself. I know that’s what’s looked upon me when I got here, to help out on special teams and contribute as much as I can.”

Jones said he understood early in his NFL career that he had to find something to be known for.

“I enjoy it, man. You’re on special teams, you only get 20, 25 plays a game, but each play is going 100 mph,” he said. “I’ve just always enjoyed special teams. I found my knack and what it was that I could do, and it was covering kicks and protection.”

Jones, who grew up in Monroe, La., said he is glad to be close to home, despite the shock of being traded. He spent last year with the Chiefs and his first five years with the Baltimore Ravens.

“This is a league where you just adapt,” he said. “Anything can happen, and when it happens, you just respond. Whether you take it in a good or bad way, I took it in a good way. I feel like God worked things out for a reason for me to be here. This has always been one of my favorite teams. Close to family and stuff like that. Just getting the opportunity to play for a great team, I was excited about it. You embrace it, man.”

CORNERBACK ON TRACK: Morris Claiborne shaking off rust

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne got a full practice and then some on Monday for the first time in month.

Sidelined since the first week of the preseason because of sore knee, Claiborne took all the first reps and some scout team reps in preparation for Sunday’s season opener against the Giants.

“I got all the reps today and scout team,” Claiborne said. “I didn’t get all the scout team, but some. It’s been good for me because I haven’t been out there. To get those extra reps, trying to get into some shape will be good. I feel like I’m getting closer. I know if I had to go play a game tomorrow I feel like I can get through that whole game, but I’m going to get a little winded. I ran some sprints after practice. That’s why I’m still a little winded.”

In addition to working on his conditioning, Claiborne is using the extra reps to shore up his technique and get his body to catch up with his mind.

“I feel like I can clean up my feet a little bit,” Claiborne said. “I’m a little bit all over the place right now, but I know that’s no problem. I feel like my mind is right. I feel like my mind is ready. I’ve just got to get by body caught up with my mind.”

The second-year cornerback, however, expects the Giants to come after him with quarterback Eli Manning and receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks just as he experienced last year as a rookie.

“Well, last year I knew they were going to come after me regardless of the fact, if I had double coverage, triple coverage, they were coming at me,” Claiborne said. “But last year I learned a lot going against those receivers, they’ve got some good receivers over there, getting that work in, try to carry over what I learned last year all the way up to this year.

Oh, yeah, I expect everybody to (come at me again),” he continued. “It’s my mindset, each and every play they’re coming after me. I like it. It’s good for me when guys throw the ball at me to actually seize the moment and have a chance to go make a play.”

HOMECOMING: Kyle Bosworth childhood dream to be a Dallas Cowboy

America's Team - Every boy should love the Dallas Cowboys - The Boys Are Back blog 2012

IRVING – Kyle Bosworth grew up dreaming of playing for the Dallas Cowboys.

On Sunday, the linebacker’s dream was realized when the Cowboys claimed him off waivers from the New York Giants.

“I’m really excited to be here, really happy with how everything turned out, and I’m just ready to do everything I can for this team to make it a championship team,” Bosworth, a Plano West graduate who idolized Dat Nguyen as a youngster, said Monday.

Bosworth said being cut by the Giants on Saturday “was definitely a low.” But, thanks to the Cowboys, his sadness didn’t last long.

“I’ve never been released before, so it was definitely a low,” the fourth-year pro said. “I had a moment where it just wasn’t going right, and a couple of hours late I got a call from my agent saying the Cowboys picked me up off of waivers, and that turned it around.

“So, it was definitely a very, very low to high quick, like a lighting bolt.”

Bosworth got picked up mainly for his skills as a special teams performer, something he said he has no problem with.

“That’s what I’ve doing every year since I’ve been in the league,” he said. “I know I’m very good at special teams and I know I’m a really good backer…I can be utilized on special teams right away, no problem. And I absolutely have no problem with that, I love it. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

Another reason Dallas signed Bosworth is he might be able to provide inside skinny on what New York is up to. Asked if quarterback Tony Romo has talked to him about what the Giants are planning for the season opener, Bosworth said, “Yeah, we’ve talked about it a little bit, but not too much. I’m sure that’s for later.”

CHICAGO TRADE: Dallas Cowboys deal TE Dante Rosario to the Bears

CHICAGO TRADE - Dallas Cowboys deal TE Dante Rosario to the Bears - The Boys Are Back blog 2013

IRVING, Texas –The Dallas Cowboys traded tight end Dante Rosario to Chicago for a 2014 seventh round pick this morning ahead of the first practice of the regular season.

Rosario joined the team in early June and worked through the duration of training camp before being dealt to the Bears.

They now have an open roster spot less than a week before Sunday’s season opener against the Giants.

Tight end was position of strength for the Cowboys as they had kept five tight ends on original 53-man roster on Saturday with Jason Witten, James Hanna, Gavin Escobar and Andre Smith joining Rosario.

The trade with the Bears was the third trade by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in as many days. The Cowboys acquired defensive end Edgar Jones from the Chiefs on Saturday and traded defensive tackle Sean Lissemore to the Chargers on Sunday.

Positions the Cowboys could target for the extra roster spot include cornerback, defensive line and offensive line. 

RELATED: Rosario move more about faith in Andre Smith

IRVING, Texas – When the front office decided to keep five tight ends on the active roster, I had a feeling there was potentially a different plan in place, and this (Monday) morning we learned what that plan was.

Dante Rosario was traded to the Chicago Bears for a conditional seventh round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Rosario was brought in to be a jack-of-all-trades type of a player, a stunt man that did those dirty jobs that no one else wanted to do. He had a special teams history with Rich Bisaccia from the Chargers and that alone made me believe that he had a real shot to stay on this roster, but his play in the preseason was less than spectacular.

This move is more about the type of training camp that Andre Smith was having. Smith was projected more as a blocker that was too slow and clumsy to be any type of a threat in this “12” personnel package, but he proved he was far from that type of tag. He was able to get down the field and become a reliable target.

There were several practices in Oxnard and in the Cincinnati game where we observed soft hands and nimble moves on routes. His ability to sustain and stay square on blocks at the point was noticeable as well. He gives them some power at the point of attack that the other tight ends don’t provide.

After the roster reduction on Saturday, I spoke with several teams that were disappointed that Smith was not on the street to be claimed. The overall belief was he was much better than just some ordinary tight end that you get for camp. He had some qualities of the type of player that you could play down after down and not struggle at the position. I like what they were able to do in moving Rosario, which was something they worked hard on, but to keep Andre Smith was a real bonus in my book.

Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Scout

BISACCIA’S BOYS: Recent roster moves show emphasis on Special Teams

BOLSTERING BISACCIA’S BOYS - Recent roster moves show emphasis on Special Teams

IRVING, Texas – This time of year is always a tough time to make judgments on the roster. And it’s not for a lack of news, but only because we should know by now the roster is far from fluid.

We’ve already seen a few changes since Saturday’s 22 roster moves to get down to 53 players.

But if we’ve seen any kind of theme here in the last few days pertaining to the roster, it’s a rare emphasis on improving the special teams units.

For starters, the Cowboys decided to keep both Danny McCray and Eric Frampton as backup safeties, along with Jeff Heath and J.J. Wilcox. McCray and Frampton have lead the team in special teams tackles over the last three years.

McCray has been the special teams captain the last two years. He showed last year that he struggles as a safety, especially in coverage. But when it comes to covering kickoffs and punts, few have been as good or consistent as McCray in recent history.

The one decision the Cowboys didn’t make regarding the kicking game centered on wide receiver. They chose to keep just five receivers, including Cole Beasley, who is a better route-runner and slot player than Anthony Armstrong. However, Armstrong played with every special teams unit and had more speed than arguably any other player on the squad. 

After the cuts, the Cowboys started making more special-teams related moves. A few hours after trimming the roster to 53, the club put Nate Livings on IR and traded a seventh-round pick to Kansas City for linebacker Edgar Jones, a six-year veteran who thrives on special teams. He is a hybrid linebacker/defensive end as a position, but special teams is his forte.

On Sunday, after the Cowboys sent Sean Lissemore to San Diego for 2015 seventh-round pick, they filled his spot by claiming linebacker Kyle Bosworth from the Giants. Yes, it’s that Bosworth – he’s the nephew of former Seattle Seahawk first-rounder Brian Bosworth. And Kyle is another local product, having starred at Plano West before attending UCLA. He played the last two years for the Jaguars, playing 25 games, including five starts last season.

Again, Bosworth is a special-teams player. That will be his role here with the Cowboys.

They tried to fill Alex Albright’s (lost during the preseason, placed on waived/injured list) spot from within. Rookies Brandon Magee, Cam Lawrence and Taylor Reed, along with first-year pro Caleb McSurdy all made it to the final preseason game. But the Cowboys chose to put all of them on waivers on Saturday.

The goal was to bring Magee back to the practice squad, but he was claimed off waivers by the Browns. Lawrence, an undrafted rookie from Mississippi State, has been added to the Cowboys’ practice squad.

But the Cowboys weren’t confident in any of them being ready to play Sept. 8 against the Giants. That’s why Bosworth has been signed. The same goes for Jones. And ditto for having both McCray and Frampton on the team.

I’m sure new special teams coach Rich Bisaccia is appreciative. After watching five games in the preseason, it was clear the kicking game had its issues. Although sometimes those tend to show up more because the players are being shuffled more than a deck of a cards in Vegas.

Who knows if the special teams miscues will carry over into the regular season. But if they do, it’s not likely they can blame personnel on this one.

%d bloggers like this: