Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher said he’s been outfitted with a neck brace that will reduce the chance he gets another stinger. It’s so restrictive, it keeps him from moving his neck back.
“I can’t even see in my stance, hardly,” he said Thursday, smiling about it with reporters. “I have to get down super low.”
But he said he’ll take part of the brace off down the line so he can have more range of movement.
“I’ll take that off eventually, in about three or four weeks from now, I’ll take that off so I can get my neck back,” he said.
Hatcher was limited again in practice Thursday. The native of Jena, La., missed the New Orleans game two weeks ago because of a stinger.
“That hurt me bad, just going home to my home state and not being able to help my team,” he said. “I’m not saying the outcome would have been different or whatnot, but I’m pretty sure knowing me, a healthy me, I could have done some stuff to help my team. So I’m excited to be back, just excited to see how this game is going to go for me, as well as my team.”
COWBOYS VS. GIANTS GAME PRIMER: Jason Garrett press conference | Thursday practice | 2013 Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett had the expected response when told owner Jerry Jones guaranteed his return for next year.
The man, who preaches “process” and taking it “one day at a time, one game at a time”, said his focus is only on Sunday’s game against the Giants.
“We’re talking about practicing well today,’’ Garrett said. “That’s what we’re going to focus on, and that’s something we emphasize to our team. That’s something we have to live as a coaching staff. We understand we have a great challenge this week and we’re trying to get ready for it.’’
As a long-time player and son of a former coach and a scout, Garrett understands the nature of the business. No matter what Jones says, he knows that if the Cowboys don’t get in the playoffs, anything could happen. His approach of always doing your best every day has been the same since he took over the Cowboys and it won’t change now with Jones’ vote of confidence.
“I think it’s the nature of the league,’’ Garrett said. “You have to focus on what you’re doing each and every day to play your best football on Sunday. That’s what the focus is.’’
Garrett certainly has the support of the Cowboys locker room. The players greeted news of Garrett’s job security with excitement.
Said quarterback Tony Romo of Garrett’s impending return: “It’s good. I think he is a fantastic coach. We are lucky to have him. He is doing a great job here right now. We’re continuing to try and win games and Jason’s done a great job putting us in position to have that opportunity and I think he’s done a great job. Anytime that happens, it’s always just a positive.”
Receiver Dez Bryant was in full agreement, saying Garrett is the best coach he has been around.
“He’s the guy. Coach Garrett is the guy,” Bryant said. “This stuff is a process. Don’t count us out quick, because we’re still here. We believe we’ve got a shot at doing something good this year. Coach Garrett does a great job. I pay attention to him. I listen to him. I love him. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever been around.”
Jason Garrett: Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants practice (8:18)
- Matching intensity of the outspoken New York Giants players
- Preparations for playing in windy, cold environments this time of the year
- Linebackers DeVonte Holloman limitation and addition of Orie Lemon
- Precautions with DeVonte Holloman’s neck injury
- Expectations for 3-4 LB Orie Lemon coming back to play in Dallas’ 4-3 scheme
- Dez Bryant’s handling of the New York Giants comments in the past week
- Troy Aikman’s radio comments about line of scrimmage delay’s vs. Saints
- Mindset of the New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys mindset this week
- Tailored player motivation through overcoming adversity and rewards for playing time
- Running short high percentage plays to Witten/Dez in slumps; vs. broad list plays
- How the recent NY Giants have changed their attack; two-back base offense
- DeMarcus Ware and Morris Claiborne’s practice yesterday
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IRVING, Texas – With the Dallas Cowboys fighting for their playoffs lives here in the final six-game stretch of the season, owner Jerry Jones didn’t make it sound like his head coach is actually fighting for his job.
In fact, he has said that in the past and reiterated it again to reporters at today’s Valley Ranch practice.
Jones said Jason Garrett returning as head coach in 2014 does not hinge on making the playoffs this year.
And when asked directly if Garrett would be the coach next year, Jones emphatically said, “yes.”
“It’s not that (an Armageddon year) for Jason, and I’m disappointed that we don’t have a better record,” Jones said. “But he has got us in position to win the division and got a team here that I firmly believe has the ability to be one of the better-playing teams at the end and in position to get in the playoffs. We see logically how to get in the playoffs, we have that, for all practical purposes, in our control. Now that’s a pretty good spot to be in after 10 games. And so a lot of this story is to be played out. It does not have a bearing on whether or not he will be our coach next year.”
Jason Garrett, who joined the Cowboys in 2007 as the offensive coordinator, took over Wade Phillips in the middle of the 2010 season when the Cowboys were 1-7. As interim head coach, Garrett led the Cowboys to a 5-3 finish before being named the official head coach in 2011.
The injury laden Dallas Cowboys have finished 8-8 the last two years and have lost the season finale both seasons with the NFC East title and a playoff spot on the line.
Jason Garrett is 26-24 including the eight games as interim head coach in 2010.
DALLAS COWBOYS OWNER JERRY JONES: Jason Garrett safe in 2014 (4:14)
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys will add a player they’re familiar with as they enter the weekend with some uncertainty about the health of their linebackers.
Orie Lemon, who signed with Dallas after going undrafted out of Oklahoma State in 2011, will rejoin the Cowboys from the Cardinals’ practice squad. The move bolsters a linebacker spot in need of some depth.
Sean Lee and Justin Durant both haven’t practiced this week after hamstring injuries sustained against the Saints.
The move could also be protection for DeVonte Holloman, who’s been battling a neck injury and just went through contact for the first time since the spinal contusion. The team was going to see how the rookie responded to that.
Lemon was with the Chiefs and Cardinals this year after playing in five games for the Dallas Cowboys in 2012. He registered a combined five tackles with Dallas last year before going on injured reserve after hurting his hamstring while playing special teams in the Nov. 4 tilt against the Falcons.
PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME: NFL fans can select their top 15 candidates to make it as 2014 HOF finalists
The list of 126 nominees has been trimmed to 25 modern-era semifinalists and it includes a former Dallas Cowboys head coach that won two Super Bowls and the key defensive player who helped him get there.
Johnson, who replaced Tom Landry as Dallas Cowboys head coach in 1989, spent five years in Dallas and guided the team to back-to-back Super Bowl titles in 1992 and 1993.
Johnson left coaching after that season, only to return in 1996 for a four-year run in Miami.
Charles Haley is the only player with five Super Bowl rings, winning two with the 49ers, where he played from 1986-91 and three in Dallas.
Haley joined the Dallas Cowboys in 1992 and is often considered the last key ingredient to those Super Bowl winning teams that included the “Triplets” on offense with Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.
Other first-year nominees include Marvin Harrison and Steve Wisniewski, who was actually a Cowboys’ second-round pick in 1989 but was traded to Oakland for more picks, including one used to draft Daryl Johnston just 10 selections later.
Here’s the complete list of modern-era semifinalists is as follows:
Morten Andersen, K – 1982-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-2000, 2006-07 Atlanta Falcons, 2001 New York Giants, 2002-03 Kansas City Chiefs, 2004 Minnesota Vikings
Steve Atwater, S – 1989-1998 Denver Broncos, 1999 New York Jets
Jerome Bettis, RB – 1993-95 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 1996-2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
Derrick Brooks, LB – 1995-2008 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tim Brown, WR/KR – 1988-2003 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders, 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Dallas area)
Don Coryell, Coach – 1973-77 St. Louis Cardinals, 1978-1986 San Diego Chargers
Roger Craig, RB – 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings
Terrell Davis, RB – 1995-2001 Denver Broncos
Edward DeBartolo, Jr., Owner – 1977-2000 San Francisco 49ers
Tony Dungy, Coach – 1996-2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2002-08 Indianapolis Colts
Kevin Greene, LB/DE – 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers
Charles Haley, DE/LB – 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys
Marvin Harrison, WR – 1996-2008 Indianapolis Colts
Joe Jacoby, T – 1981-1993 Washington Redskins
Jimmy Johnson, Coach – 1989-1993 Dallas Cowboys, 1996-99 Miami Dolphins
Walter Jones, – T – 1997-2008 Seattle Seahawks
John Lynch, FS – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos
Karl Mecklenburg, LB – 1983-1994 Denver Broncos
Andre Reed, WR – 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins
Will Shields, G – 1993-2006 Kansas City Chiefs
Michael Strahan, DE – 1993-2007 New York Giants
Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League
Aeneas Williams, CB/S – 1991-2000 Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals, 2001-04 St. Louis Rams
Steve Wisniewski, G – 1989-2001 Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders
George Young, Contributor – 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League
The list of 25 semifinalists will be reduced by mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists. That list increases to 17 finalist nominees with the inclusion of the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame’s Seniors Committee. The Seniors Committee nominees, who were announced in August, are:
- Ray Guy – Punter (1973-86 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders)
- Claude Humphrey – Defensive end (1968-78 Falcons, 1979-81 Eagles)
COWBOYS GIANTS GAMEDAY PRIMER: Jersey boys want to give Dez Bryant some of his own medicine | 2013 Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said the game is “like a Super Bowl to us,” which actually kind of makes sense. At 4-6, the Giants are working with a razor-thin margin of error. It’s not win-or-go-home, though it might as well be.
Yesterday, Giants safety Will Hill turned his attention to Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant. Hill offered up the defense’s strategy on how to unsettle the All-Pro.
“Get your hands on him,” Hill said, via NJ.com. “He doesn’t like to be touched, like most receivers in this league. But really him. He doesn’t like to be touched.”
“You just have to be physical with him,” cornerback Prince Amukamara agreed. “He’s a big guy. You just have to use his medicine against him. I think that is the key.”
Consider Bryant a sleeping giant right now. The Dallas Cowboys targeting their best player a grand total of two times, in what should have been a shootout with the New Orleans Saints.
You can safely assume coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Bill Callahan have drawn up a game plan this week that calls for Tony Romo to look Bryant’s way early and often. We’ll see if the Giants’ handsy game plan has any effect.