ARLINGTON — At Joseph Randle’s locker, where he was surrounded by reporters, a football was tucked in his stall. It was a little memento from the first touchdown he scored in the same game he got his first NFL carry.
“That’s the rock, right there,” he said. “I’ve got to keep that one.”
Of course, Randle’s 1-yard dive into the end zone during the fourth quarter of Dallas’ 31-16 victory didn’t come without assistance. Randle, while in a crowd of Redskins defenders, was pushed across the goal line by rookie center Travis Frederick (photo below). As a way of acknowledging Frederick’s contribution, Randle asked Frederick to autograph the football that is now his souvenir.
“I told Travis to sign it for me,” said Randle, who finished with 17 yards and the touchdown. “But he was like, ‘Nah, I can’t do that. I can’t sign your ball.’”
Randle laughed along with the reporters near him. He seemed surprised by the attention he received.
“We wanted to see him play in a real game, get him a couple of snaps,” Dallas Cowboys running back coach Gary Brown said. “And he responded well…I’m looking forward to seeing him practice some more.”
Randle, meanwhile, will savor his first touchdown, and that rock, as long as he can.
Kyle Bosworth had been practicing with the offense in short-yardage and goal-line situations for a few weeks, but it wasn’t until Sunday that he got to play on that side of the ball. Bosworth, who makes his living as a linebacker, got to play three snaps at fullback against the Washington Redskins.
It’s the first time the Plano West graduate has been on offense since high school.
“It was a great experience,” Bosworth said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve played fullback. I know they want me to be versatile and as a utility player as possible. It was just the next step in the process. It was really exciting I got the three plays.”
The Cowboys lack a true fullback on their roster after cutting Lawrence Vickers in the off-season. Bosworth is a perfect fit in the team’s jumbo package, which also utilizes an extra offensive tackle in Jermey Parnell.
“I think we had three short-yardage plays in the game, and he did a good job,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of Bosworth. “He’s learning. He hasn’t really done it before. But I thought one was particularly good. I thought a couple of other runs were OK. I think he’s just learning how to do it. He’s not afraid to stick his nose in there. We know that. That’s a positive thing.”
The Cowboys converted on all three plays Bosworth played. DeMarco Murray had a 1-yard run on third-and-one on the fourth snap of the game. On the Cowboys’ second drive, Murray followed Bosworth into the hole for a 2-yard gain on third-and-one. Then, on their third drive, Phillip Tanner gained 2 yards on a third-and-1 behind Bosworth.
“I was pleased with the second and third [plays],” Bosworth said. “The first one could have been better. But I was 3-for-3 in getting the first downs, so that’s good.”
Bosworth laughed when asked if he’d start lobbying to get a pass thrown his way.
“Man, I have great hands,” he said. “I know coach throws me a lot of balls when we’re in scout team and stuff like that, and I haven’t dropped one yet. Knock on wood. But progression. I hope that comes, because that would be just unbelievable. But in time. I’m good with blocking right now.”
Bosworth played three plays on offense, 19 on special teams and none on defense against the Redskins.
Dallas Cowboys defensive line coach Rod Marinelli apologized moments after getting a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct in Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins, coach Jason Garrett said.
“He’s a stand-up guy,” Garrett said. “As soon as the flag happened, he turned to me and apologized. But if everybody brings it like Rod Marinelli brings it, we’ve got a really good chance of being a good football team.”
The penalty gave Washington a first down after Jason Hatcher’s sack would have set up second-and-20. Initially, the play was ruled an incompletion, but a replay reversed the call. Marinelli had argued that the quarterback was down.
Garrett described what happened like this:
“He had a short conversation with the official on the play that Hatcher got the sack,” Garrett said. “I think initially, they ruled it that the quarterback had thrown the ball away, and I think we all saw that his knee was down, and I think Rod was just trying to let the official know that, and I guess the official didn’t like how he said it.”
Hatcher laughed about it Monday.
“We got him on a grade sheet. I think he got an F today for that penalty,” he said. “He fought for my sack, so I got a sack. That’s my fifth one of the season. I thank him for that.”
IRVING, Texas — A day apart in September of 2011, the Dallas Cowboys signed DT Jay Ratliff and TE Jason Witten to five-year contract extensions.
Each player had two years remaining on his deal at the time, but the Cowboys wanted to reward the Pro Bowl performers with new contracts in hopes that they would retire with the club. The Cowboys also received some salary-cap relief in the early part of the contracts even though it cost them up-front cash.
Yesterday, Ratliff was cut by the Dallas Cowboys amid acrimony stemming from a groin injury suffered last season that is still bothering him today. Witten, meanwhile, was on the practice field getting ready for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The adage that has been repeated by many lately is you don’t pay age in the NFL. Well, sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t.
Ratliff had just turned 30 when he signed and was entering his seventh season. Witten turned 29 a few months before signing but was entering his ninth season
The Cowboys did not get a return on Ratliff on the most recent extension. He played in only 22 games after signing on Sept. 9, 2011. He recorded only two sacks and seven tackles for loss.
And now he’s gone.
Witten, now 31, has not missed a game, playing through a lacerated spleen early last season, and has 220 catches for 2,321 yards and 11 touchdowns since the extension. Last year, he set an NFL record for catches in a season by a tight end with 110 and played in his eighth Pro Bowl.
And still he plays on.
IRVING, Texas – Here are some thoughts from the practice fields at Valley Ranch as the Dallas Cowboys prepare for Sunday’s game in Philly.
As much as DeMarco Murray is holding out hope that he could somehow get himself healthy enough to playing this Sunday against the Eagles, I just don’t believe that is possible. Murray will most likely miss this game and try to get himself ready to go next week in Detroit.
In his place, will be a combination of Joseph Randle and Phillip Tanner to carry the load. Randle got the majority of the snaps with the first offense and should continue to get that work Thursday and Friday. Going to be some important work in preparing for the Eagles, who like to move their front and bring pressure from their linebackers for blitz pickup.
Davin Meggett was signed for the practice squad on Tuesday, but look for the Cowboys to just roll with Randle and Tanner this week.
Finding a Role
Coming out of Oxnard, I really believed that Bill Callahan was going to take full advantage of Lance Dunbar and his skill set, but injuries have once again put those plans on hold. Where Callahan might turn to for some of those special packages or wrinkles that coaches like to use in the game, could come from the dynamic, Dwayne Harris.
This Cowboys offense has so many possible weapons and options with guys like Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley, that Harris presents some interesting options. When you watch Harris in the open field with the ball in his hands, you see a player that really understands how to make defenders miss and is outstanding in setting up blocks.
More and more when we watch these games, including the college ones, it’s about getting the ball to your play makers as quickly as possible. Garrett and Callahan have could up with some creative ways to move the ball with these skill guys but I would not be one bit surprised with what we have seen from Dwayne Harris the last several weeks, that this staff works with Harris like they would have Dunbar. It would be the smart thing to attempt.
Turning The Corner
There have been times this season where Kyle Wilber has looked spectacular and others times where you would have never know he was on the field. His play last week against Trent Williams, who is one of the better left tackles in the league, was solid.
We all saw his sack-fumble in the 4th quarter which gave his team a little breathing room. Even before that play, Wilber was holding his own against the nasty, powerful Williams which was an outstanding sign because there have been times where he has not played well against power. In studying Wilber’s game, he looked more comfortable in the way he was handling the extended playing time.
This week, against the Eagles, he will most likely be making his first NFL start in a divisional game on the road. Wilber will be matched up against Jason Peters who in my book is not as talented as Trent Williams but does have similar type of power. Where Wilber can take advantage of Peters, is with his own foot quickness. Peters can get out of his stance slow on his pass set and Wilber needs to be ready for those times.
Wilber will need to attack Peters on the edge and not try to battle him toe-to-toe. Wilber needs to make this an all-day battle with Peters attacking him like he did Williams and get that one clinching play on him like he did last week.
New Man For Job
Jerry Jones and Will McClay continue to work with this roster each and every day, McClay and his pro staff went out and signed Jarius Wynn, who played the first five games of the 2013 season with the San Diego Chargers, on the defensive line.
McClay did not like the work of what he had seen from David Carter and instead of sitting on his hands with an unproductive player which this team might have done in the past, they made the switch to Wynn who can play either tackle or end.
Where Wynn is working right now is at tackle with Jason Hatcher, Nick Hayden and Drake Nevis. Wynn should be better than Carter against the run and give them a little more inside on the rush. Wynn did have a sack earlier in the season in a game against the Eagles. Look for him in the rotation on Sunday.
IRVING, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys gave wide receiver Miles Austin a day off today to make sure he is closer to 100 percent to play Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Austin was on the elliptical machine at the start of practice. He played in Dallas’ win Sunday against the Washington Redskins but did not have a catch after missing two games with a hamstring strain.
Running backs DeMarco Murray (knee) and Lance Dunbar (hamstring) are also missing from practice, as is DeMarcus Ware, who has a quadriceps strain that could keep him out Sunday. Murray has hopes of playing, but owner and general manager Jerry Jones already ruled him out.
Defensive end George Selvie returned to the practice field after he sat out Wednesday’s workout because of a sore shoulder.
Linebacker DeVonte Holloman is not practicing because of a neck strain he suffered Wednesday. Defensive end Edgar Jones (groin) is also not at practice. He did not play against Washington.