THESE BOYS AREN’T BACKING DOWN: It’s a love-hate relationship between offense and defense | Dez Bryant and Tyler Patmon draw national headlines | 2015-2016 Dallas Cowboys training camp
You’ve undoubted heard, late in Sunday’s Dallas Cowboys training camp practice, Dez Bryant got into a spat with cornerback Tyler Patmon. Continue reading →
EXPECT EXTRA-LONG EXTRA POINT: NFL owners approve PAT rule changes for 2015 season | Kickers moved back 15 yards | Defensive scoring opportunity created
The NFL has been tinkering with the PAT in hopes of making it a more difficult and therefore entertaining play for spectators. Continue reading →
GOING DEEP–BEYOND THE HUDDLE: Dallas Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence answers your questions | True-Blue special feature
Dallas Cowboys rising star DeMarcus Lawrence answers fan submitted questions. A part of being a True-Blue is getting to know your players, beyond their jersey numbers and stats. Check out his answers: Continue reading →
GOING DEEP–BEYOND THE HUDDLE: Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick answers your questions | True-Blue special feature
Dallas Cowboys rising star Travis Frederick answers fan submitted questions. A part of being a True-Blue is getting to know your players, beyond their jersey numbers and stats. Check out his answers: Continue reading →
TONY ON THE TUBE: Tony Romo on Jimmy Kimmel Live from Austin | Feelings about losing DeMarco Murray | Future of the Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo shares his feelings about losing DeMarco Murray and talks about the future of the Dallas Cowboys.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo recalls the controversial Dez Bryant “catch” made during the playoffs and talks about being an underrated player.
DIRECT YOUTUBE LINK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEDC69r-uwY
2014 COWBOYS CAMP COVERAGE: Dez Bryant continues rise as player and team leader | “Walk around like a champion” | NFL Network interviews with Dez Bryant and Jerry Jones
Dez Bryant: “Walk around like a Champion” | 8:07 | Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant chats with Rich Eisen and Michael Irvin about his strong desire to win in the 2014-2015 season under the new offense. (Watch Video | No Audio)
Jerry on drafting Manziel “It was that close” | 8:00 | Jerry Jones sits down with Michael Irvin and Rich Eisen to discuss the upcoming 2014-2015 NFL season and how the Dallas Cowboys nearly drafted Johnny Manziel last May. (Watch Video | No Audio)
Dez Bryant: Contract will take care of itself | 4:39 | Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant meets with the media after a recent morning practice to talk about his expectations for the wide receiver group heading into camp. (Video | Audio)
RELATED: Dez Bryant continues to rise as a player and a young team leader
OXNARD, CA – By almost any measure, whether it’s his gaudy statistics, his rapidly-approaching payday or even his Madden rating, Dez Bryant is considered one of the league’s top receivers.
THE BOYS ARE BACK: Wheels down in Oxnard | Dallas Cowboys rested and ready | Dallas Cowboys 2014-2015 Training Camp
Upon wrapping up the team minicamp on June 19, which followed several weeks of Organized Team Activities (OTAs), official Dallas Cowboys on-field action ceases for awhile, giving the players about five weeks off before they report for training camp in Oxnard, Calif., on July 22.
OFFSEASON HOOPS AND HOOPLA: Jason Garrett and Tony Romo spotted in Durham this weekend | Romo’s back rehab is on schedule (video)
Ah, yes! Lifestyles of the rich and famous.
Most college basketball fans would kill to see a Duke-North Carolina game.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and head coach Jason Garrett took in the classic college basketball rivalry last night. Here’s betting Romo and Garrett had pretty choice seats, too. And while most would be thrilled to be somewhere up in the nose-bleed seats.
So which team will a former Eastern Illinois quarterback (Romo) and a former Princeton quarterback (Garrett) root for in the Tobacco Road classic? Take a hint from the duo sporting Blue Devils gear in the photo above.
Romo and Garrett were actually on the court at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Friday, playing PIG with current Blue Devil Quinn Cook, former Devils great Jason Williams, and basketball operations assistant coach Casey Stevenson. Check out the short video HERE from Instagram.
Garrett, you may remember visited with Coach K a few years ago and tried to pick up some pointers.
Romo and Garrett were in Durham, N.C. to also work with Duke football coach David Cutcliffe.
Cutcliffe was instrumental in helping Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning rehab after his 2011 neck surgery. Cutcliffe, who worked with Manning on rebuilding his mechanics, is doing the same with Romo.
IRVING, Texas — Updates about Tony Romo’s recovery from surgery have been few and far between this offseason, but those few have been positive.
Romo and Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett attended Duke’s 93-81 win against rival North Carolina on Saturday night in Durham, N.C. Following the game, Romo spoke on the set of ESPN Gameday about his rehab.
“It’s going good. We’re getting close now. Usually it takes three months, it’s just normal kind of roundabout date that they give you and we’re right on schedule — really, ahead in a lot of ways,” Romo said. “Just going to be ready to go here in about a month and rehab is going good, no setbacks of any kind. Mine was just a normal small version of it, so I should be good to go here shortly.”
That falls more or less in line with what Garrett and owner/general manager Jerry Jones have said at other points since the season ended. Both Garrett and Jones have expressed optimism that Romo would be ready to go for the Dallas Cowboys offseason program.
Romo underwent the surgery Dec. 27, two days before the Cowboys’ season-ending loss to Philadelphia. The week prior, against Washington, he came up limping after dodging a Redskins’ pass rusher. He was able to finish out the Cowboys’ 24-23 win, though that game was his last of the season.
With roughly two and a half months having passed since the operation, Davis asked Romo when he’d start to throw and “go full speed.”
“I mean you do little things. You progress, everything is a progression. You kinda, whatever it is, whether it’s running or lifting, everything just starts small and you progress up,” Romo said. “So we’ve already started a lot of that stuff going. Now it’s just going to the next step every week or two and just attacking. For me, it’s like anything else, just another thing to attack and improve and I’m always up for that.”
Three days after back surgery, Tony Romo made it to Valley Ranch for the final team meeting.
“I think that just speaks to what he is,” tight end Jason Witten said. “Going to find a way to come in, see the guys. It was obviously an emotional time. No team stays the same. It’s just what he’s all about. I thought it was great of him to come and be here and just share this time. It’s tough, and he’s a big part of this team. That was very stand-up of him to be here in the midst of the pain I’m sure he’s in.”
Asked if he is worried about Romo’s future, Witten said the quarterback will come back better than ever next season.
“Obviously, it’s been a tough eight months for him physically,” Witten said. “But I feel confident in him. I know what he’s made of. I know how he works, I know how he competes, I know how he trains. But he’ll bounce back and be even better next year. He’ll use this time to evaluate and get healthy and provide perspective and be a better quarterback because of it. I’m confident he’ll come back. I know what he’s made of. I’ve seen it for a long time, how he goes about it, and he’ll bounce back and be better than he’s ever been. I believe that to the bottom of my heart.”
Witten said it was also an emotional week for Romo.
“Obviously, it was difficult not having him out there,” he said. “You know, it was an emotional week for him. Fighting with him every week, you go into that last game, I know it was tough for him not to be in that moment with us, leading that charge. But yeah, he’ll be back. Better than ever.”
This article contains a portion of information contained in the following video:
Jason Witten: Talks about the Cowboys 2013 seasons end
In the aftermath of the Dallas Cowboys 24-22 season-ending loss to the Eagles Sunday night, defensive end DeMarcus Ware said he would consider taking a pay cut to help the team manage the salary cap.
(Editors comment: No, he didn’t say that. The media twisted his words. DeMarcus Ware expressed his willingness to help restructure his contract to help the Dallas Cowboys salary cap).
Ware clarified those comment Monday.
“The question was with the salary cap stuff and everything, would you be able to maneuver some things in your contract,” Ware said. “I said I’ll do what I need to do to help the team out. It’s nothing new to me. But pay cut and restructure are two different things. You hear what I’m saying. Clar-i-fy.”
So you didn’t say pay cut?
“No, I didn’t say that,” Ware said. “I said I will do whatever I need to do to maneuver some things around to help the team out. I’m for that.”
Ware is scheduled to make a base salary of $12.2 million next season including a $500,000 workout bonus. Ware’s 2014 cap figure is $16 million.
The looming question is how much Ware is worth at this point. He had just six sacks in 2013, his fewest since his rookie year 2005.
Ware also battled elbow, quad and back injuries this year. He plans to have surgery to clean up issues with his elbow in the off season.
But he will be 32 next season and there is also a question of whether he has lost a step.
“Not at all. Not at all,” Ware said. “Like going back into training camp, I felt better than I have in a long time. Then the little injuries happen with the quad and your elbow and your back so you sit back and think about what can I do now this off-season to make sure this doesn’t happen again, because I know exactly where I can be and how I can play. Injuries took a toll on me a lot this season. But that’s no excuse because I got out there and played. I’ve got to figure out some way to get healthy this off-season for next season.”
DeMarcus Ware postgame interview: I will do whatever I need to help team out
NO CHANGE, FOR THE SAKE OF CHANGE: Veterans express faith in Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett
IRVING, Texas – A third straight 8-8 season hasn’t lost the core veterans’ faith in Jason Garrett.
“When you think about the thing that he brings to the team, him being a great leader to us, motivating us, each and every week no matter what the circumstance is, he’s had three seasons where he’s been 8-8 and not part of the NFC East championship, but that lets you know that he is there,” Ware said. “We do have opportunities and we can’t forget that. He’s a great coach and I’m behind him 100 percent.”
It appears their owner/general manager feels the same way, as Jerry Jones has stated his belief in Garrett and how he’s decided to move forward with Garrett regardless of the bitter ending.
Jones said records don’t always indicate the talent of a coach. He also pointed to the fact that the Dallas Cowboys have been in position to win the division three straight years, rather than the fact that they failed to cash in on that opportunity every time.
If frustration would build on any group of players, it’s the veterans who’ve been through the consistent disappointments for years upon years. That group would include Witten, but he’s also behind his head coach entirely.
He said it’s reassuring to hear Jones’ faith in Garrett and the likelihood of the head coach sticking around. Meanwhile, six other coaches were immediately canned after a failed season, including Mike Shanahan with the NFC East rival Redskins.
“I think the guys in this locker room would do anything for Coach Garrett,” Witten said. “We’re so fortunate to have him. You want to win for each other, but you also want to win for a guy that pours everything into your football team for a head coach and gives you every opportunity.”
Witten said he understands it’s a bottom-line business, and the bottom line is the Cowboys haven’t made the playoffs with three straight opportunities in Week 17 win-or-go-home games. But he’s glad to hear from Jones that Garrett will likely have another chance to change that fate.
“That was great for me to hear and I think for our team to hear, because he’s very well respected in this locker room and guys are all in for him as the head coach,” Witten said.
From 5-3 to 8-8 to 8-8 to 8-8, it’s difficult to point to or to justify significant progress made during Garrett’s tenure as a head coach when looking at wins and losses. But while the record wouldn’t show it, Witten said there has been progress in some areas.
“Last year, we didn’t run the ball very well,” he said. “This year, we proved that we could. There’s different things. We didn’t turn the ball over very much.”
Ultimately, though, he knows the Dallas Cowboys need to find ways to not just say things need to change. He said the Cowboys have to find ways to do it and come out the other end.
Rather than focus on yet another late season defeat, Cowboys players said Garrett’s final message centered more on how proud he was of the group and to be a part of their journey. But the tone from his head coach and his owner both weren’t cheery.
“There’s a tone of disappointment from everybody because of the way we ended the season,” Ware said. “But you can’t sort of look at it and be so negative about that, knowing that you had the guys in place to get the job done but you just didn’t pull it through. There were, I don’t know, five games where we lost within either a point or two.”
In total, the 2013 Dallas Cowboys finished 2-5 in games decided by three points or fewer and 1-4 in games decided by two points or fewer.
“You’ve got to be able to look and think about, ‘What could we have done to get over that hump and win those games?’ Ware said. “That’s what you’ve got to think about this offseason and let that be the motivating factor to keep pushing.”
The Jason Garrett Show: Attitude following loss | Injuries at LB | 2:03
RELATED: The Jason Garrett Show: Kirk Cousins | Shanahan’s offense | 1:58
Dallas Cowboys 1-on-1 interview with linebacker DeVonte Holloman | 3:02
BONUS VIDEO: Who inspires who? Some boys are born to inspire men
The Incredible Story Of Tyler Sampson | 3:01 (Watch this Video)
Why do you love football? Tyler Sampson is a finalist in the Together We Make Football trip to Super Bowl XLVIII. Vote for him here http://www.togetherwemakefootball.com/contest.html?v=finalists&i=tyler
COWBOYS @ REDSKINS PRIMER: Jason Garrett press conference | 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys game 15 | Thursday
Jason Garrett Press Conference: Cowboys vs. Redskins | Thursday Practice (15:52)
- Coach Jason Garrett’s gift from Dallas media
- What challenges Washington QB Kirk Cousins presents for the Dallas Cowboys
- Without much tape (game film), what goes into game planning against Cousins
- What can be done to get DeMarcus Ware going again; injury status
- Pass rush and quarterback pressure with defensive line
- Assessment on Heath and Wilcox the past few weeks
- Lack of experience at safety in some games this season
- Effects of two back-to-back losses; seeing results of team mentality win/lose
- Signs that Tony Romo will bounce back from Green Bay loss
- Teams Cross-Training philosophy that begins every preseason
- Comparing the challenges of injuries this season compared to last year
- Recent messages from team leaders up and in front of teammates
- DeVonte Holloman’s adaption to MLB and difference in responsibilities
- Why Jason Hatcher popped back up on todays injury report
- Importance and recent success of scoring on the opening drive
- Progress of OL since DeMarco Murray went out 6-8 weeks ago and returned
- Recent incorporation of Gavin Escobar into offense, his progress to date
- How having Escobar might help the Cowboys offense with Williams dinged up
- Murray wanting opportunities to ‘finish’ games
- Positive/Negative reinforcement style with recent tough losses
- How much pressure is on the offense to put up points with latest defense issues
- What it means to the team with Tyron Smith playing so well at left tackle
- Travis Frederick progress and grade on film
- How does this OL compare to the other lines Jason Garrett has had during his tenure
- If worried about Travis Frederick hitting a wall with his development
2013-2014 MEDIA DAY: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins | 5:18
2013-2014 MEDIA DAY: Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins | 5:22
Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant took to Twitter last night to explain why he walked to the locker room with 1:21 left in the 37-36 loss to the Packers.
It came after the game-sealing interception from quarterback Tony Romo. Bryant walked off after the replay officials reversed the call on the field that the pass was incomplete, giving the interception to cornerback Tramon Williams.
Bryant, after declining to speak with reporters after the game, later explained his actions in a tweet on @dezbryant:
“I walked back to the locker room because I was emotional…it had nothing to do with my teammates we had it… We fought and didn’t finish.”
Bryant was the only Cowboys player to leave the field early, but quarterback Tony Romo refused to criticize him for his actions.
“It’s an emotional game,” Romo said. “You get to the end there, obviously, it’s not fun for any of us to lose a football game. It’s not an enjoyable process the way it ends, no matter how it ends. It’s always tough emotionally so it is what it is.”
Bryant had a solid game, finishing with 11 catches for 153 yards and a touchdowns. However, he could have had better numbers as Romo underthrew him on two deep balls and overthrew him on another in the end zone.
“I think the worst thing you can do sometimes with Dez is overthrow him,” Romo said. “Obviously, you’d like to hit him perfectly in stride. He’s such a great athlete, he comes down with most of them. I look back and I wish I had one or two where I gave it a little bit more. But usually, I make sure if I err ever it’s slightly less because he always goes up and gets it. Obviously, I look back, I’ll push those down the field if I have that opportunity.”
RELATED: Dez Bryant couldn’t stand to watch Green Bay kneel the ball down
Dez Bryant regrets it. He wishes he wouldn’t have walked off the field with 1:21 left and the Green Bay Packers a couple kneels away from a 37-36 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
Bryant spoke about the incident Monday morning as the Cowboys were on their annual visits to area children’s hospitals, which included Bryant visiting Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.
“I was wrong,” Bryant said. “It didn’t have anything to do with my teammates. I just … I couldn’t watch Green Bay kneel the ball down on the field after a tough loss like that.
“I was very emotional. I cried when I got into the locker room. I didn’t want to show that stuff on the sideline.”
The Cowboys blew a 23-point halftime lead and wasted an impressive performance by Bryant. He had 11 catches for 153 yards and a touchdown. The TD catch might have been the most remarkable of all, as he grabbed the ball away from several Green Bay defenders and kept his feet inbounds near the back of the end zone.
But that catch was overshadowed by Bryant’s early exit.
“Whenever I’m out on the football field, it’s all about the team,” Bryant said. “I’m a team guy and that’s what I think about and that’s what I focus on. I extremely, extremely apologize for leaving, but my teammates and coaches understand. I am a very emotional player and we didn’t finish.”
The hospital visit, though, did provide some comfort for Bryant and the other players to get away from the tough loss by bringing smiles to children’s faces.
“This is something I really enjoy doing,” Bryant said. “Whenever you’re able to make someone’s day, you should feel good about it.”
Editor’s Comment: I’m going to share my own opinion of this situation. If you have one, I encourage you to express it in the comment section below. The media at large is making light of Dez Bryant’s emotional and tearful reaction to this loss. No, he shouldn’t have left. No, he will not do it again.
If you follow the Dallas Cowboys closely (like most regular visitors on this site), you already know how emotional Dez Bryant is. That’s a big part of his personality. HE’S DETERMINED TO WIN! The coaches and players are quick to point out that his emotions are one of the key elements that make his such a valuable member of the team. Most of the players that Jason Garrett has kept with his team, or brought in, have the same type of workmanlike traits. The thing with Dez is that he wears his emotions on his sleeve. He’s outwardly expressive. I think that’s a good thing and also believe it’s something that this locker room needs. A player that HATES losing that bad needs to be heard. With only two games remaining, this could be something that ignites or unites this team. They sure need it. The players on this roster want to win for Jason Garrett, the coaches … and veterans Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and DeMarcus Ware. You can add Dez Bryant to that list.
Photo above: Dallas Cowboys on their annual visits to area children’s hospitals, which included Bryant visiting Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.
MAXIMIZING MARINELLI’S MISFITS: Dallas Cowboys defense looking for pass-rush spark | DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee locker room interviews
IRVING, Texas– After the first four games of this season, the Dallas Cowboys had already garnered 14 sacks.
After the next four, or the second quarter of the season, the Cowboys had just seven more.
The third quarter of the season – games played in November – the Cowboys’ defense mustered only five quarterback sacks.
And one game into this December run, the Cowboys have just one sack.
That’s not exactly the kind of trend this team is looking for as it now must win at least two games, perhaps all three of the final three to make the playoffs.
So where’s the rush?
“We’ve got to get back to that,” said DeMarcus Ware, who has been banged up for parts of this season and has just six sacks this year. “It’s on us. We’ve got to get more pressure on the quarterback. This is the time of year when the lights come on. So we have to be better.”
And maybe, Green Bay will be the opponent that allows that. At least statistically, that could happen if backup Matt Flynn plays for Aaron Rodgers, who has tried to come back from a broken collarbone.
The Packers have allowed 37 sacks this year, which ranks 23rd in the NFL. Of those 37 sacks allowed, 12 have come in the last two weeks with Flynn under center.
But while the Packers have endured their share of injuries, the Cowboys aren’t feeling sorry for them, especially when it comes to their defensive line. Since the first day of training camp when expected contributor Tyrone Crawford suffered a torn Achilles, it’s been one injury after another. The Cowboys have played nearly 20 different defensive linemen since the start of the season, although the starters haven’t changed much.
One of the players signed in training camp was George Selvie, who is tied with Ware for second on the team in sacks with six. But he hasn’t recorded one since the Vikings game, going four straight weeks without dropping the quarterback.
“I just have to keep working at it,” Selvie said. “You can’t get down on yourself. You have to keep fighting out there. That’s what we all have to do as a team. (Sacks) will come. You just have to keep getting the pressure.”
Coach Jason Garrett was asked if players such as Selvie has hit the proverbial wall.
“I think he’s a good consistent football player and has been all year long for us,” Garrett said of Selvie, who was flagged for two illegal hits on the quarterback against the Bears. “He was around the quarterback a little bit the other night in the ballgame. He comes to work every day. He’s not a dynamic, dynamic, dynamic pass rusher, but to me every game he shows up and somehow positively impacts the game.”
Selvie, of course, is starting for Anthony Spencer, who signed a $10.63 million franchise tag this year, only to play in one game because of a knee injury that eventually needed microfracture surgery.
The Cowboys have been blessed to have Selvie, who has started all 13 games at defensive end. They can’t say the same for Ware, who has started 10 games, missing the only three games of his career back in late October because of a quad strain that he says has healed 100 percent.
After Ware and Selvie, the Dallas Cowboys will likely have a new face this week in Edgar Jones, who has been on IR/Designated for Return since Week 2. Jones has been out with a groin injury that needed sports hernia surgery. He has practiced this week and Garrett said the Cowboys are expecting him to play.
At this point, after signing guys like Everette Brown, Jarius Wynn and Martez Wilson, not to mention numerous other ends who have already been signed and released, the Dallas Cowboys are hoping for some kind of spark.
RELATED: DeMarcus Ware “Knows For A Fact” that he’ll be a disruptive force
DeMarcus Ware & Sean Lee (3:14) | (Watch this Video)
DeMarcus Ware and Sean Lee discuss the state of the Dallas Cowboys defense and give updates on their injury status’.
IRVING, Texas – There’s no doubt in DeMarcus Ware’s mind that he can still be and will be a disruptive force going forward.
It’s been a tough stretch for Ware, who has just two sacks in his last seven games and is in danger of finishing a season with single-digit sacks for the first time since his rookie year, but he believes he’ll get back to his previous form.
“Every week, you’ve got to be your worst critic, and that’s me,” Ware said. “For me, I know I haven’t been playing the way I need to be playing. So you go back to the drawing board and say, ‘Hey, what am I doing wrong or what do I need to change to be more effective?’ It’s just the small things. It goes back down to fundamentals, doing the bags, doing tackling drills, doing those types of things.”
It’s not an issue of health, according to Ware, who dealt with a thigh injury as his sack totals dipped in the middle of the season. He said he came out of the Raiders game healthy and has felt fine physically since.
He also said there are no excuses as long as he’s feeling healthy and himself, which he apparently is.
Ware asked a reporter what his name was, to which the reporter replied, ‘DeMarcus Ware.’
“All right, ain’t nothing changed,” Ware said. “I don’t feel like nothing’s changed. December, it’s always a time where the lights turn on and you’ve got to separate yourself apart from everybody. That’s what we have to do these last three games, and we’re going to do that.”
The Cowboys’ defense needs Ware to become the player he was in training camp and at the beginning of the season if its to turn things around and start reaching the quarterback. Ware said the most significant issue the defense has faced in recent weeks is giving up the big play. He also said defenders haven’t been consistent in their fundamentals, and that includes himself.
He said it’s more on the players than the coaching staff to turn things around.
“The coaching, the scheme is really good,” Ware said. “It always goes back down to fundamentals, doing the right things at the right time. And it’s all about timing. Our defense is all about hustle, hustling to the ball, getting strip sacks, making the big plays. We haven’t been consistent doing that these last games.”
But Ware said he knows for a fact he’ll get back to the level he’s accustomed to playing, and neither Ware nor head coach Jason Garrett believe his switch from 3-4 outside linebacker to 4-3 defensive end has been the reason for his statistical decline. At times, Ware will still play 4-3 end while standing up, as he was accustomed to doing most of his career.
Though Ware said he’s healthy, Garrett referenced the injury Ware’s fought through as a possible reason for limited productivity.
“He has been dealing with the injury for a lot of the year,” Garrett said. “Get him healthy and get him ready to go, and really focus on this challenge right here. Don’t worry about how we got to this point. Just get going. Put your hand on the ground and go affect the ball game.”
Garrett’s still got confidence in his top outside rusher and believes he’ll return to form this week.
“He can do what he needs to do,” Garrett said “There’s no question about that. Again, he’s dealing with an injury and he’s coming off the injury and hopefully he heals up more and more as it goes.”
IRVING, Texas – While the Dallas Cowboys will be playing in cold weather on Monday night, they were forced indoors yesterday because of heavy frozen rain and sleet in the Dallas area that left a blanket of ice on the Cowboys’ practice fields at Valley Ranch.
The Cowboys attempted to get the ice removed before practice but instead opted to bus the team to Highland Park High School in Dallas, where the Cowboys practiced in the school’s indoor facility.
While some of the coaches stayed overnight at Valley Ranch, a few of the players had to be picked up by staff members and team officials to get them in the facility for practice and meetings.
The practice, which was closed to the media, was like a normal Thursday practice on a normal week. With the Cowboys playing on Monday night, head coach Jason Garrett has tried to simulate a regular routine, even moving the normal Tuesday day off to Wednesday. The Cowboys are leaving on Sunday afternoon for the Monday night game.
“Ideally you’d like to be out today and simulate the elements we’re going to play in Monday night,” Garrett said. “But we couldn’t get that done. The field is ice. You have to get the ice off the field. Rather than wait 3-4 hours to get that done, we thought we should go to Plan B. This was a good alternative for us. We’re hopeful to be out there (Saturday).”
As for yesterday’s practice, offensive coordinator Bill Callahan said the change of venue didn’t have a negative effect.
“I thought practice was great. When you get into an environment where it’s enclosed and you’re on a Field Turf, it lends itself to a fast practice. Because of the travel, we cut down on the number of reps we had today. I thought the players did a great job of executing. More than that, the tempo of practice compared to (Thursday), coming off the long break, we came up a few notches. It was encouraging to see.”
The expected temperatures for kickoff Monday night in Chicago have actually gone up, but will still be treacherous. The low on Monday is 13 degrees with a high of only 27. With the winds gusting around 20 mph, the wind chill could be around zero or below-zero by kickoff.
When asked about the double-edged sword of wanting to practice in the elements of the game, but also having a practice environment that isn’t distracting to the flow of practice, Callahan said coaches can’t always have it both ways.
“We’ve had some good outside work done in the last few weeks,” said Callahan, who coached in Oakland and Nebraska in his career. “I remember being with the Raiders, we’d practice in the 85 degree weather and then fly from sunny California to the cold northeast and you’d have to play the elements or even in Denver. Players adapt pretty quickly.”
Whether they practice in the elements or not, some players don’t think the preparation matters much on game day.
“I’m not a believer that it helps at all,” cornerback Orlando Scandrick said. “Whether you practice in it or you play in it, you’re going to be cold. You’ve got to have the mental toughness and the focus and the will to go out and do it. I don’t like being cold, period.”
The weather doesn’t seem to bother tight end Jason Witten, who said he won’t be wearing any sleeves come Monday night.
“Football ain’t meant to be played like that,” Witten said with a smile. “But I do bundle up there on the bench. But no, I don’t allow that to get in the way. When you’re out there playing, you can’t worry about the elements. It’s always tough. Both teams have to play in it.”
As for the guy throwing the ball to Witten, he doesn’t seem too concerned about cold-weather games either.
Tony Romo, who grew up in Burlington, Wisconsin and played at Eastern Illinois said if he sticks to his mechanics, the cold air and high winds will have no factor in his performance.
“I’ve played a lot of our games in cold weather. I think you become comfortable with it over time. The more technically sound and fundamental you are with your throwing motion, you can neutralize that stuff and take advantage of it.”
Overall, Garrett said there won’t be a lot of discussions about the weather come Monday night, other than making sure the players are prepared.
“Certainly we’ll try to make sure we’re wearing the right gear and making sure our cleats are right so we can be most effective,” Garrett said. “I don’t think you want to overdo that, but you certainly want to make sure what you’re wearing on your feet is right for those conditions.”
Dallas Cowboys move practice inside: Locker room reacts
ARLINGTON, Texas – All right, admit it, you were piping-hot mad when Terrance Williams fumbled the opening kickoff, and some Jenkins you probably never heard of – Greg, not Mike – picks up the loose ball and goes 23 yards for a Raiders touchdown in just 12 seconds.
You were spittin’-molars mad when that former Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Andre Holmes guy hauls in four receptions for 56 yards … in the first half. You remember him. Only on the Cowboys practice squad late last season. Available for the Patriots to sign him to their 53-man roster because he couldn’t hang on to the same type of passes with the Cowboys that he was catching at AT&T Stadium for the Raiders.
Guessing that you were cursin’-mad when the erstwhile 4-7 Raiders, losers of three of their previous four games and able to score more than 20 points only once during that span, had taken a 21-7 lead over the Cowboys with just 1:56 left in the first half before 87,572 disbelieving souls.
All the cred the Dallas Cowboys had gained with that spine-tingling 24-21 victory over the New York Giants four days earlier at MetLife to move to 6-5 was going right out the window like a bad pumpkin pie.
Same ol’ .500 Cowboys. Admit it, you said it, or at least were thinking it, right?
It sounds like Mr. Jerry Jones was right there with you, saying, “You really, if it were like the rest of us, you could have gotten your enthusiasm down a little bit.”
Heck, bet some of you were reaching for the remote, or at least the Alka-Seltzer if you already had indulged in your Thanksgiving dinner that was about to come up. Reminiscent of the same shape Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo had been in Wednesday night and the morning of the game.
“We just had to get up out of our comfort zone,” mercurial wide receiver Dez Bryant explained. “I guess we were feeling too comfortable.”
Guaran-darn-tee you they then were the only ones feeling comfortable at that point, the Raiders starting to believe this was going to be a runaway.
But just like that, as if one of those blue norther’s came blowing in from Oklahoma, the gritty Dallas Cowboys dragged you and the Raiders back in. Jettisoning Oakland, 31-24, while creating a not-since colorful holiday collage, as in …
Not since Oct. 13 against the Washington Redskins had the Cowboys scored as many as 31 points or as many as four touchdowns in one game.
Not since Sept. 22 had the Dallas Cowboys rushed for more than the 144 yards they pounded the Raiders with.
Not since Dec. 6, 2004, against Seattle had a Cowboys running back rushed for the three touchdowns DeMarco Murray did on this day in a single game.
Not since Oct. 6 against Denver had the Cowboys converted a higher percentage of third downs than the 54 percent they did so against the Raiders.
Not since Sept. 22 against the Rams had the Cowboys held a team to fewer than the 50 yards rushing they held the Raiders to, and to think Oakland came into the game as the NFL’s fourth-ranked rushing team.
Not since the first four games of the season had Romo completed 70 percent of his passes, going 12 of 12 in the second half and 17 of 19 from the final possession of the first half to finish at 71.8 for the day.
Maybe having just three days between games suits the Dallas Cowboys well, because …
Not since the middle of October had the Cowboys won the two straight games they now have won in a five-day span, first at the Giants, 24-21, and then this one over the Raiders – only the second time in the last 15 games that they have won back-to-back outings.
So then, not since the 2009 season when the Cowboys finished 11-5 did they have a better record (8-4) than their now 7-5 record after 12 games. By the way, puts them back in first place by a half-a-game over the 6-5 Eagles. Philadelphia must now match the Cowboys today when playing the red-hot Arizona Cardinals at home.
And, not since Dec. 16, 2012, that’s 14 games ago, have the Cowboys been as many as the two games over the .500 mark as they are now. Sitting with this weekend off and 10 whole days between meeting the Bears on Monday night in Chicago.
Well then, maybe having grandiose postseason dreams will not jinx this team, just as wearing those blue jerseys at home did not on Thursday, nor did Tony Romo having the cover story on the Sports Illustrated that arrived in mailboxes on Wednesday.
If your head needs leveling off, leave it to Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. He’s the steady-as-she-goes believer, saying after the Cowboys completed their-two-game Thanksgiving week sweep, “You have to be careful about taking a global point of view. You’ve just got to get back to work.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to get away for the next couple of days and then get back to work next week on Chicago. We’re focusing on our preparation and what to do to win a ballgame.”
Maybe there is something to Garrett’s even-keeled approach that more of you need to appreciate. Because if not, for sure panic would have set in late in the second quarter when rookie quarterback Matt McGloin and running back Rashad Jennings had the Raiders up 21-7.
As if awakening from a winter slumber, the Dallas Cowboys only consumed 1:21 of the 1:56 left in the second quarter to march the 73 yards for Murray’s second of three touchdowns. And that began an offensive onslaught of four scores in five possessions to finally reach thirtysomething for the first time in a month. Coming up just one yard short from scoring a fifth touchdown. Using a bit of common sense, Dan Bailey’s field goal from the one, put the Cowboys up 10 with just 1:56 remaining in the game.
Just keep on grinding, keep that head down, and when it’s over, then and only then do you even dare take a global view.
“Everything is happening right now at the right time,” Cowboys veteran defensive end DeMarcus Ware said before the team headed out for some well-deserved rest the next four days, “but you can’t get complacent with where you are, and we aren’t, and we know we have a big game coming up.”
Heavens no, not at this point, not taking a 7-5 record and a two-game winning streak into Chicago next time out while no worse than tied for first in the NFC East.
And goodness knows, not when there is a real chance to break that same ol’, same ol’ mold for the first time since … 2009.
You guys enjoy the break, too.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – He heard all the talk this week. He knew how important this game was to his team and he knew the individual challenge that was in front of him.
But not until Sunday morning in his hotel room did Orlando Scandrick officially get jacked up for the game.
No it wasn’t what Jason Pierre-Paul said or even Brandon Jacobs – or any a Giants player for that matter. So who managed to get the Dallas Cowboys corner so riled up? Hall of Fame player and coach Mike Ditka, who is now on ESPN’s pre-game show.
“He said the Cowboys don’t have a guy on defense that can stop Victor Cruz,” Scandrick said. “I just said ‘alright then.’ Coming from a guy who traded away his whole draft class for one player and got fired. But that got me going. He talked about Victor Cruz’s stats and probably just sees our ranking. But I took that personal.”
Scandrick played arguably his best game of the season, as he matched up stride for stride with Cruz just about every play. Even when the coaches tried to switch up the plan after Morris Claiborne left the game with a hamstring, Scandrick had to plead with the coaches.
“I begged them … Begged them to let me stay with Cruz,” Scandrick said. “I was just confident in the matchup. I knew I could stay with him. I’m glad they let me stick with him.”
Scandrick said this was the first time the coaches ever let him follow Cruz all over the field, both inside and outside.
“I’ve done with (Wes) Welker but the Patriots do things different because they’re always in 11 personnel. The Giants mix it up a lot. But I’m just glad they let me stay with him.”
Cruz finished the game with two catches for 27 yards but lost a key fumble on his first catch when Scandrick ripped the ball out, resulting in a 50-yard touchdown return by rookie Jeff Heath for the first score of the game.
“I really respect Victor Cruz and he’s a fun player to play against,” Scandrick said. “You want to play your best against a guy like that. He’s had some games but I feel like I’ve played well, too.”
Sunday was better than “well” for Scandrick. And it’s one if the big reasons the Dallas Cowboys flew home 6-5 and tied for first place in the division.
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.”
IRVING, Texas – Dez Bryant wouldn’t be baited so easily.
Whether it was the Calvin Johnson debate, or the sideline debates, the Dallas Cowboys mercurial receiver has been the focus of several storylines this season.
That simple fact made Bryant a prime candidate to respond to recent comments from Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
Following New York’s win Sunday against Green Bay, Pierre-Paul told reporters the Giants were going to “put it on” the Cowboys. He followed up by adding: “It’s going to be a fight. It’s going to be a dogfight. There’s going to be a lot of blood spilled out there.”
Bryant smiled ruefully when asked for his take, but he didn’t bite, saying it goes with the territory of competition.
“He’s supposed to feel that way,” Bryant said. “You’re an opponent, and we’re the opponent for them. It’s great confidence.”
That wasn’t the only thing Bryant had to be happy about. As has been noted, Miles Austin returned to practice after several weeks coping with the same hamstring injury he suffered in Week 3.
Austin contributed 10 catches for 72 yards in the season-opening win against New York – a fact Bryant said could only help the Cowboys offense.
“You put a smile on my face saying that. It’s going to be great – it’s going to be outstanding,” he said. “You’ve got Terrance Williams, you’ve got Jason Witten, you’ve got Miles Austin, you’ve got me, you’ve got Cole Beasley – what more can you ask for?”
The answer to that is probably more production. The offense has sputtered in recent weeks, lowlighted by a miserable 193 total yards during the Week 10 loss in New Orleans – just 44 of which belonged to Bryant.
It stands to reason the Giants will also try to limit Bryant. They held him to just 22 yards on four catches in Week 1. But on top of Austin’s return, the Giants must also prepare for two more weapons – Beasley and Williams – who weren’t prominently involved during the first meeting.
Bryant said that combination should make it hard for New York to focus too much on him.
“I’m just giving you my opinion — it’s going to be kind of hard. We’ve got some tremendous players on this team,” he said. “You see Beas – if you give him space, you’re dead … We got Miles back – big, shifty, strong, fast. Terrance will blow right past you.”
“We have a lot of talent on this team,” Bryant added. “I’m just another part to it, and whenever I have opportunities to get my hands on the ball, I’ll try my best to do something with it.”
As far as responding to Pierre-Paul, though, he wasn’t having it.
“It ain’t about proving anybody wrong,” he said. “We’re just trying to go out there and play some great football and try to execute the plays we practice on each and every day in practice.”
COWBOYS WORKING ON WRINKLES: Jason Witten confident that opportunities are coming for Dallas’ offense
Jason Witten said it’s frustrating when he and Dez Bryant get coverage that limits them, but he said the Dallas Cowboys coaches are working on wrinkles to solve that.
“It’s been tough with the coverage we have seen,” he said. “When the opportunities are limited, it makes it tough. We will work through that. The bye comes at a good time to get guys healthy and review and try to get a couple wrinkles.”
But Witten said it’s not up to the system as much as the players.
“At times, the execution has been there. We have seen success,” Witten said. “But overall, it hasn’t been good enough. We have to do a better job of it. We feel confidence in the system and the players within the system. That’s what’s good about the system. It’s held up for a long time. We have to continue to work within it.”
Witten said Jason Garrett emphasized the opportunity the Dallas Cowboys have at the top of the NFC East.
“Obviously, we know we have to play a lot better football if we want to win this division,” Witten said. “We have a great opportunity to reflect on that and say, ‘We know we have to play better, here is how we are going to do it,’ and just execute. As an offense, our focus is to find ways to do those things. There are all kinds of wrinkles of putting guys in different situations and plays, but ultimately, us executing this system we have had success in and been a powerful offense.”
Editors comment: Listen to Jason Witten’s full interview with media for more details about the Dallas Cowboys plans during the bye-week. Same advice applies to any video posted here, including the one below. Enjoy!
Dallas Cowboys play caller Bill Callahan – 3rd down issues; consistency (4:28)
Dallas Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware said a team like the Saints will take advantage of a defense that doesn’t have its most experienced players, like the Cowboys on Sunday night.
“I mean, when you have five guys, six of the starters out, the best way to fix it is get your guys back,” Ware said, asked what the Cowboys can do to get better following the 49-17 loss. “Sometimes you have guys in there who sort of don’t know what they’re doing because it’s probably their first time playing in a long time. When you have a team that doesn’t make mistakes and sort of exposes you that way, with those guys that are in the game, that’s what they did. So you’ve got to get the guys back who know what’s going on and use that bye week to make a big push.”
Ware said the scheme is fine.
“It’s the play. You’ve got to be fundamentally sound,” he said. “It’s so simple, but the thing is you’ve got to be fundamentally sound when you’re doing it.”
Ware said it was a helpless feeling for him when he wasn’t in the game. He aggravated his quadriceps injury on a sack in the second quarter and was in and out of the game. He said the leg is good, however.
“I’m doing everything I can not to let it happen again,” he said. “It was something minor on the sack. The play I got the sack, it’s just my knee hit the ground and tweaked it a little bit, and it was like that the whole game.”
Ware said he’s optimistic about playing in the Giants game, and he looked back on the season as a whole as the Dallas Cowboys hit their bye week.
“It was a lot of ups and downs,” he said. “There wasn’t enough consistency like we needed. Right now we’re half and half. We’re at 5-5. We’ve got to find some way to take this bye weekend and rejuvenate ourselves, get all the guys back and come to the table with a relentless demeanor of trying to win every game out.”
NEW ORLEANS – The Saints went marching in … again and again and again.
With injuries continuing to decimate the Cowboys defense and the offense unable to do much of anything, Dallas was simply dominated by New Orleans, losing 49-17 in front of a primetime national audience on Sunday Night Football.
“That did not feel good,” said owner/general manager Jerry Jones. “Anything that would go along with losing that you can say, it’s embarrassing when you lose. It’s embarrassing to not be representative, not be competitive, all of those things.”
The Dallas Cowboys started this game with a slew of injuries already hampering the defensive unit, this time Jason Hatcher, who is having a Pro Bowl-caliber season, unable to go due to a stinger suffered last week against Minnesota.
“It hurt me not being out there tonight,” Hatcher said. “Not that I say things would have been different, but I really think I could have helped my team. It hurt sitting over there just seeing my team get beat on.”
But things would only get worse for the unit, as the last person the team could afford to lose would leave the game. Early in the second quarter, Sean Lee, the quarterback of the defense, was sent to the locker room with a left hamstring injury and did not return, the severity not immediately known.
Lee plans on getting an MRI on Monday to get a better idea of the severity of the injury.
“Don’t know the severity, but obviously it’s not good,” Lee said. “So we’ve got to figure it out, and I’ll do whatever I can to rehab and get back as fast as possible.”
He was followed in the third quarter with fellow starting linebacker Justin Durant also being sidelined with a hamstring injury. And while DeMarcus Ware did come back, he was still hobbled by his right quad injury, obviously not 100 percent.
At some points during the night, especially at the end when Ware was rested, only three of the eleven projected defensive starters going into training camp (safety Barry Church, cornerback Brandon Carr and linebacker Bruce Carter) were actually in the game for the Cowboys.
So, the fact that Drew Brees and the Saints offense basically had their way with the Dallas defense probably shouldn’t have come as any surprise. The Saints finished with 625 yards of total offense, and set a new single-game NFL record with 40 first downs.
“They were able to move the ball both by running it and throwing it,” said head coach Jason Garrett. “It’s well documented we have a lot of different guys playing for us, we understand that, but we didn’t get the job done and they did.”
Brees finished the night with 392 passing yards and four touchdown tosses, narrowly missing out on becoming the fifth quarterback this season to throw for 400 yards against the Cowboys defense. Nine different players caught passes for New Orleans, with Marques Colston leading the way with 107 yards off seven grabs.
Unfortunately, the Saints didn’t just do their damage in the air, as they also rushed for 242 yards, Mark Ingram having a field day against the depleted Cowboys, running for 145 yards on 14 carries.
“There just were very few plays that we stopped,” Garrett said. “They did a lot of different things. They ran the ball when they wanted to run it. I thought Drew Brees did a fantastic job reading the coverage and finding the right guy.”
With the injury issues affecting the Dallas defense, the Cowboys needed a big game from their offense. They didn’t get it.
Facing Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who served in the same capacity for Dallas the previous two seasons, Tony Romo and Co. could do nothing, Ryan getting his revenge on his former team.
The Dallas Cowboys quarterback finished with just 128 yards on 10-of-24 passing, the second time in the last three games that he has failed to complete at least 50 percent of his passes. Backup tight end James Hanna led all Dallas receivers with three catches while Dez Bryant hauled in only one.
“We didn’t do a good enough job just finding the other guys and making them pay with the other guys who were getting isolated,” Garrett said. “We weren’t able to drive the ball the way we wanted to. We didn’t do a very good job on third down to sustain drives.”
Also not helping was a plethora of penalties. The Cowboys rushed for 89 yards, but had 11 penalties for a total of 82 yards. In all, Dallas only totaled 193 yards of offense in the game, running just 43 plays. Again, New Orleans had 40 first downs alone.
The Cowboys had the opportunity to make an early statement when Dwayne Harris beat his man on the punt coverage and then recovered a muffed punt by Darren Sproles to set Dallas up at the New Orleans’ 22-yard line. But the offense could muster only three yards, hurting themselves again with a false start penalty. On came Dan Bailey for a 37-yard field goal, the surefooted kicker good on his attempt to stake the Cowboys to an early 3-0 lead.
That didn’t last long, though. Starting at their own 20, the Saints marched right down the field, going 80 yards in nine plays with Breese hitting Colston from 22 yards out for the score and a 7-3 advantage.
Dallas then faced a scary moment when on the ensuing kickoff, Harris broke loose down the left sideline for a nice 34-yard return to the Cowboys 28. But already out of bounds, Harris was then pushed by linebacker Kevin Reddick, falling headfirst into a Saints player who was standing on the sidelines. The play was clearly a late hit, but no flag was thrown.
Harris, perhaps the best special teams player in the NFL, suffered a neck injury and went to the locker room, but did return to the game.
Undaunted, the Cowboys did something they’ve failed to do with any regularity in recent games – run the ball. As the drive pushed into the second quarter, Dallas handed the ball off to Murray seven times during the possession, his biggest gain coming on a 35 run around the left end which set the offense up at the Saints 32.
Murray then capped off the drive with another scamper around the left end from 7 yards out, diving into the end zone to give Dallas back the lead, 10-7.
Again, though, New Orleans had an answer. And this time it came at an even bigger cost to the Cowboys.
With the Saints starting at their own 20, Brees threw a short pass over the middle to running back Pierre Thomas. The linebacker Lee was in on the tackle, but in the process injured his hamstring, lost for the game.