2014 GAME 9 INJURY UPDATE: Arizona vs. Dallas | OLB Justin Durant season ends; MLB McClain sits | LB Tim Dobbins signed | Breaking down the breakdown | Emphasis placed on solid tackling | Cowboys-Cardinals Injury and Practice Report

2014 GAME 9 INJURY UPDATE - Arizona vs. Dallas - OLB Justin Durant season ends; MLB McClain sits - LB Tim Dobbins signed

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have signed linebacker Tim Dobbins to the active roster and moved Justin Durant to season-ending injured reserve. 

The move isn’t a big surprise, as Durant tore his bicep during Monday night’s loss to the Washington Redskins. It does come contrary to Cowboys coach Jason Garrett’s indication that the team is still weighing its options regarding Durant’s injury.

“We’re still involved in that process and gathering the information about where he is, how severe the injury is, what the timetable is for the injury,” Garrett said Wednesday morning.

It didn’t seem likely Durant’s prognosis would be less than the eight weeks remaining in the regular season, which prompted the roster move.

Dobbins was a fifth-round pick out of Iowa State in the 2006 NFL Draft. He’s played eight seasons with three different teams – San Diego, Miami and Houston – and amassed 253 total tackles in that time span.

His last stint was with the Atlanta Falcons, but he was released following training camp before the start of the 2013 season. Dobbins’ best season came in 2010 with the Miami Dolphins, when he notched six starts and made 47 tackles in 16 total appearances on the year.

Rolando McClain was another Dallas linebacker to miss Wednesday’s practice, which comes as more of a surprise. Garrett didn’t include McClain in his rundown of injuries from the loss to Washington.

Elsewhere at practice, the vast majority of the Cowboys’ absences were to be expected. Tony Romo missed, as he usually does on Wednesdays, after Garrett said he was “day-by-day” at his daily press conference.More on this, below.

Doug Free was also absent, though Garrett said he was hopeful the tackle could do something this week. Ronald Leary attended practice, but he sat out of the proceedings with his groin injury. Garrett said he was hopeful Leary would be able to work his way back later this week.

Suspended defensive tackle Josh Brent attended practice, and he wore jersey No. 56 – though he did not participate. Brent is ineligible to play until after the team’s bye week, but the Cowboys expect him to work on the side of practice in the coming weeks.


RELATED: Jason Garrett lists Tony Romo as “Day-by-Day”

IRVING, Texas — Tony Romo has been labeled “day-by-day” with his back contusion, according to Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.

Garrett spoke to the media Wednesday after the team received Romo’s CT scans on the injury he suffered Monday night against the Redskins. The injury will be enough to keep the quarterback out of practice Wednesday, but his availability the rest of the week remains to be seen.

“It’s a day-by-day thing with Tony, we’ll see how he handles the pain and we’ll see how functional he is as the week goes on,” Garrett said. “We’ll see what his availability is for this ball game.”

It isn’t exactly unusual for Romo to miss a Wednesday practice – that was his schedule for the duration of the Cowboys’ six-game winning streak, as part of his rehab from his back surgery in December. With the short week to prepare for Arizona, though, this won’t work as a typical Wednesday.

The Cowboys have a less-intensive practice today, which Romo will miss. Garrett was optimistic the quarterback would be able to improve his workload going forward.

“We don’t anticipate him doing a whole lot, but as the week goes on hopefully he progresses and can handle the pain and can function,” he said.

That goes along with what Cowboys owner/general manager said on 105.3 The Fan on Wednesday morning. Jones said there was no medical issue with the injury that would hold Romo out this weekend – but rather it’s a matter of Romo’s ability to handle the pain.

“There’s nothing to his injury that technically won’t function. This is a function of pain tolerance,” Jones said. “But it’s a serious issue that you could look at people that have had a similar type injury and they haven’t played the next week, so that would cause you some concern about him playing.”

Garrett repeated that the injury is not related to Romo’s herniated disc or his cyst removal from last season, but rather a byproduct of playing football – “he got hit.”

While Romo recuperates, the Cowboys will lean on backup Brandon Weeden to handle the lion’s share of practice reps – again not uncommon, given Romo’s usual absences at Wednesday practices.

“We anticipate Weeden getting work, we anticipate Dustin Vaughan getting work, we don’t anticipate Romo doing much,” Garrett said. “We’ll see how he feels with his rehab today and how he feels tomorrow and make those decisions as we go.”


FILM BREAKDOWN: Grading the pass protection breakdowns

IRVING, Texas — It’s a short week before Arizona comes to town, so there isn’t a lot of time to review the tape of the loss to Washington. That said, let’s look back and reveal how the Redskins managed to generate so much pressure on Tony Romo and the Dallas offense, among a number of other things.

Here’s the notes from the Washington film:

  • In reviewing the sacks that the Dallas Cowboys gave up against the Redskins, it was surprising that they were able to get rushers home, because these were blitzes that Tony Romo and this offense had seen before – there was nothing exotic or special in the way they were run.

    It was rushers off the weak side (Parnell), a twist stunt from a defensive end, a safety from depth and an inside linebacker firing through the “A” gap — all part of the packages that Jim Haslett uses in his 3-4 scheme. Give Haslett credit for how he was able to dial up those blitzes at the right opportunity, while other times he would show blitz and drop into coverage. His use and mix kept this Cowboys offense off balance all night.

    What Haslett was banking on was that he was going to get a rusher home before Romo was going to get rid of the ball. The Cowboys did adjust by going with a max protection, with both Jason Witten and James Hanna staying in to block three different times in the game, then several other times with just Witten or Hanna staying in to help the offensive line. I do not feel like it was a lack of game planning or adjustments but more in the line of lack of execution and that starts with Romo, going through Murray, this offensive line and the receivers.

    Romo has made a living of dealing with defensive coordinators that blitz him. Murray is as reliable as they come when it comes to knowing where to fit and being physical to pick up the blitz. For some reason as a group when they needed to make a play to get things going offensive against the blitz and run Haslett out of it – they just couldn’t get it done and it cost them an opportunity to win this game, offensively.

  • If there is a position on the field where you notice if a player is playing well or poorly, it is the quarterback. Romo has been nothing short of brilliant since the struggles that he had opening day against the 49ers. I thought this game against the Redskins was similar to that 49ers game in the sense that I felt like that Romo was not his normal self when it came to his execution of the game plan from a physical side.

    There were several snaps even before the hit that he took in the back where he missed throws that we normally don’t see him miss. He just wasn’t as sharp with his touch and accuracy when it came to get the ball to his play makers. He missed two open passes to Witten in the first quarter that he never struggles with. The second of the two — Witten came back across the field on a drag and all Romo had to do is give him a little touch pass and Witten is out the gate — but instead the ball is too high and hard, leaving Witten no shot.

    He missed a throw on an out pattern to Dwayne Harris where Harris came right back down the stem and instead of leading him to the sideline, he threw it much too wide, making Harris have to make a circus catch to even try to get close.

    Even the catch that Dez Bryant made on his incredible touchdown was very low and to the left. If Bryant doesn’t grab that ball with one hand it’s skipping to the sideline. The early hits and sacks probably did nothing to help Romo early in this game, but for a quarterback that normally doesn’t leave plays on the field he had a few too many and he would most likely tell you the same thing.

  • It was nice to see Henry Melton have the type of game that we have expected from him since he arrived in the offseason.

    We have seen Melton play mainly as the under-tackle or three-technique in this scheme. In some nickel packages he has lined up in a two-point stance and played almost like a linebacker in the middle of the defense.

    He hasn’t been as effective rushing that way, but against the Redskins they used him as a defensive end off the left side while moving Anthony Spencer to the right side in an attempt to generate a little more pressure. Melton looked good coming off the edge, but where he played his best was at that under-tackle — and not only against the run, where he was able to knife into the backfield and make a stop.

    Where Melton really jumped off the screen was in his ability to rush Colt McCoy. He finally appears to have that explosive burst and quickness after several games this season where he appeared very ordinary. The hope is that he will continue to improve even more over these next several games as he gains confidence in that knee.


LOOKING BACK, MOVING ON: Jason Garrett bothered most by missed tackles

IRVING, Texas – Other than losing the game, and seeing his starting quarterback on the turf for several minutes, head coach Jason Garrett was rather annoyed by another aspect from Monday’s game:

Poor tackling.

“That’s the biggest thing that jumped out at me from watching the tape is the tackling,” Garrett said on Tuesday. “And unfortunately for us, a few of those plays were possibly tackles for loss. We have him trapped in the backfield and they wiggle free and they make a 10-12 yard run, an 18-yard run, those plays hurt you. And some of our best tacklers, didn’t tackle well.”

Specifically, guys like Barry Church and Rolando McClain both missed their share of open-field tackles. Church called it the worst game of his career and described his own play as “terrible.”

The Redskins ran for 123 yards on 31 carries for a 4.0 yard average. Alfred Morris led the way with 73 yards on 18 attempts. There was a big play in the third quarter when Washington trailed 7-3 and had first-and-25 but Roy Helu ran for 18 yards to get the Redskins back in position to score. On the play, Helu broke at least three tackles down the left sideline for a big chunk of yards.  Two plays later, they took the lead.

McClain ranks second on the team with 57 tackles, while Church is third with 52. The leading tackler is Justin Durant with 61, but he’s out for the season, with a torn bicep injury.

“The best defensive teams tackle well and we’ve did that a lot this year,” Garrett said. “Those games should be four or five yards are four or five yards because we have a lot of guys to the ball and a lot of hats around the ball and we make tackles. We didn’t’ do that as much as we need to (Monday) night.”


In their own words … plus, local analysis shows …

Jason Garrett: Romo’s Health; Importance Of Practice Rep | Listen/Download | 11:37

Cowboys This Morning: Should Injuries Concern Cowboys? | Listen/Download | 1:56

Talkin’ Cowboys: Looking Ahead To Arizona | Listen/Download | 57:19

Cowboys Lunch Break: Mid-Season Review | Listen/Download | 1:01:15

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