Category Archives: Dallas Cowboy player press conference

DALLAS COWBOY EVOLVING: Carter has gone from untested rookie to defensive signal caller in one calendar year

Dallas Cowboys inside linebacker Bruce Carter evolving in 2012-2013 - The Boys Are Back blog

In the span of one calendar year, Dallas Cowboys inside linebacker Bruce Carter has gone from untested rookie to the signal-caller of the team’s defense heading into Sunday’s game at Atlanta (7-0).

Carter, a second-round draft choice in 2011, spent the first six weeks of last season rehabbing from knee surgery for a torn ACL suffered during his senior season at North Carolina. He was activated for the first time on Oct. 29 and played in the final 10 games, primarily on special teams.

Carter has been a starter this season and, because of a season-ending toe injury to teammate Sean Lee, will call the defensive signals for the Cowboys (3-4) for the second consecutive week against the Falcons.

“It’s a whole lot different. Last year, I was just kind of nervous coming in to play in my first game in the NFL,” Carter said, reflecting on the increased responsibility he has shouldered for the Cowboys within the past year. “This year, I’m really in the mix. The situation is different, with Sean (Lee) being out. I’m trying to take it one play at a time and just study as much as I can and make sure everyone is on the right track.”

Coach Jason Garrett praised Carter, who played all 60 defensive snaps in last week’s 29-24 loss to the New York Giants, for playing “particularly well” in his debut as the Cowboys’ defensive signal-caller. Carter said he is adjusting to his new role and hopes to continue making progress against Atlanta.

“It’s obviously going to take a little bit to get used to, but I think it went pretty well,” Carter said. “I think we did a great job of communicating.”

In terms of whether he feels like a veteran on the field, Carter said: “I still feel like I’m young. There’s still a lot of my game ahead of me. I’m learning every day … I wouldn’t say I’m a rookie on the field. I’ve played, obviously. But I still feel like I’m young in the NFL.”

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS: Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants rematch (Videos)

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo scrambles for a TD vs New York Giants - The Boys Are Back blog

 

VW Quick Snap: Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants – Click HERE to watch

Experience the sights and sounds (Brad Sham) of the Dallas Cowboys near-comeback win vs. the New York Giants at Cowboys Stadium. Presented by Volkswagen. Duration – 3:42

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Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and Tony Romo react following game with New York Giants. Editors note: Poor audio

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Dallas Cowboys This Morning: Case Of The Mondays

Mickey Spagnola breaks down the Cowboys heartbreaking loss to the New York Giants.

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The Dallas Cowboys’ frantic final drive of the game ends with three Tony Romo incompletions that seal the New York Giants’ 29-24 victory.

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Jerry Jones: Couldn’t Start Any Worse

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones speaks about his teams slow start, and the heartbreaking final plays.

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Jason Witten: Clock is Ticking on This Team

Jason Witten talks about losing another close game and what the team needs to do in order to improve moving forward.

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Tony Romo: I would have booed us too

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo talks about playing a tough first half and fighting to come back in a close loss.

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LISTEN LIVE–RIGHT NOW: Dallas Cowboy’s postgame show on the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network

GAMEDAY - Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants - NFL - The Boys Are Back blog

From within The Boys Are Back (The blog for TRUE BLUE fans of the Dallas Cowboys)

you can LISTEN LIVE to Dallas area sports broadcasts

while you read, browse, or work around the house.

You can also catch Dallas Cowboys talk shows, pregame/postgame interviews,

commentary, analysis, and daily/weekly shows with some of the

key players and coaches of America’s Team.

.

CLICK ON THE BUTTON BELOW AND LISTEN TO THE POSTGAME SHOW LIVE!

Interviews start about 30 minutes after final snap

Show ends at 5:30 to 6:-00 pm CDT

Listen Live to: The Fan 105.3 Dallas (KRLD) … Flagship of The Dallas Cowboys Radio Network!


CLICK ON THE BUTTON BELOW AND LISTEN THE POSTGAME SHOW LIVE!

RIGHT NOW!

CLICK HERE

Listen the Cowboys Postgame Show LIVE, and hear directly from coach Jason Garrett, quarterback Tony Romo, Jerry Jones, and other players/coaches.

INSPIRATIONAL ROLE PLAYERS: Injury won’t prevent Cowboys’ Sean Lee from helping teammates

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING — In an example of the leadership and attitude the Dallas Cowboys will miss, linebacker Sean Lee talked to the media Thursday for the first time since it was revealed he must undergo season-ending toe surgery and was placed on injured reserve.

Lee, the team leader in tackles and the quarterback of the defense, is disappointed, but doesn’t feel sorry for himself.

He said he will be back better than ever next season.

In the interim, he will help his teammates as much as he can and believes they can still improve and have a successful season without him.

"It was frustrating because you want to be out there," Lee said.

"It’s one of those things. It’s part of the game. You have to be positive because if you’re negative you’re not going to get any better. My view is you’ve got to take the next step and that’s just working on getting better."

Lee said he initially didn’t think the injury was that serious, but that was before his foot swelled up the Monday after the Carolina game.

"I didn’t think it was going to be something that I’d be out for the rest of the season, especially with the way it happened, a fluke play where trying to make a tackle, their tight end lands on my foot as I’m driving, falls over the pile, bends my toe all the way back to my foot," Lee said.

Lee said there was no avoiding surgery. He will be sidelined three to four months after the surgery but should be healthy by February.

Lee won’t be on the field, but he plans to help Bruce Carter, who will take over the play-calling, and Dan Connor, who will replace him in the starting lineup.

Witten’s role

In the season opener, tight end Jason Witten served as an inspiration to his teammates. Sunday, he hopes to mean even more.

Witten played in the season opener against the New York Giants, a day after being cleared after sitting out with a lacerated spleen. Witten had two catches for 10 yards, but the Cowboys credited him for playing a big part in their 24-17 victory.

"It went down to the last minute," Witten said Thursday. "Obviously, looking back at this film, there is a lot of emotion with that. Probably not the healthiest I’ve ever been. It was a big win for our team to go on the road and beat them."

Witten lacerated his spleen Aug. 13 in the preseason opener on a hit by Oakland linebacker Rolando McClain. He returned to noncontact work in practice the week before the season opener, but he wasn’t cleared until seeing a specialist in New York the day before the game.

He played in his 140th consecutive game, though it was not his best game. In playing 53 of 68 plays, Witten had as many penalties (2) as catches and more penalty yards (15) than receiving yards.

He has 33 catches for 320 yards and a touchdown this season. Only Dez Bryant has better numbers, 36 catches for 378 yards and two touchdowns. Miles Austin has a team-leading four touchdowns.

Injury update

Running back Felix Jones returned to practice Thursday, though he was limited. Jones missed Wednesday’s practice with a bruised knee.

Jones is expected to start for the Cowboys on Sunday against the Giants. DeMarco Murray will miss his second consecutive game with a foot injury.

Jones was the only change to the practice report Thursday.

Linebacker DeMarcus Ware (illness) did not return to practice as he said he would. Center Phil Costa (ankle) also did not practice. He is wearing a protective boot and using crutches.

The Cowboys were without safety Matt Johnson (hamstring) and defensive lineman Sean Lissemore (ankle). Center Ryan Cook (hamstring) and linebacker Anthony Spencer (pectoral) were full participants.

Editors Note: Keep track of the Dallas Cowboys (and opponents) injury status HERE.

DREAM TEAM: Charlie Peprah finally plays for his favorite team

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IRVING, Texas — Growing up in Plano, Texas, Charlie Peprah was a Dallas Cowboys fan. Emmitt Smith is the reason he’s playing football now.

So when Peprah walked into the Cowboys locker room this week after signing a contract, the safety was living the dream.

"I love the Cowboys," Peprah said. "Once I was employed by the Packers, they became the enemy and I could care less about them, other than that, that was my squad. That’s the reason why I started playing football was Emmitt Smith. That’s why I wore 22 in high school. To be here is cool to become full circle. I would love to finish my career here, it would be great. Just something you thought wouldn’t actually happen, but I’m glad it did."

After graduating from Plano East High School, Peprah went to Alabama and played in 50 games. In 2005, he was a second-team All SEC selection at defensive back. He was a fifth-round pick of the New York Giants but didn’t make the roster and signed with the Green Bay Packers. He played with the Packers from 2006 to 2008 and then spent one season, 2009, with the Atlanta Falcons. But in 2010 and 2011 he returned to the Packers and earned a Super Bowl ring.

In the offseason, Peprah underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and his recovery took a while. He turned down opportunities to sign with several teams, including the New York Giants, and he took physicals for the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears.

But nearly two weeks ago, a healthy Peprah worked out with 14 other players at Valley Ranch. The Cowboys said of the defensive backs that worked out, he was the best.

This week, the Cowboys made the move official.

"I mean that’s the business and once (the surgery) happened, my main focus was to get healthy before I throw myself out there," he said. "That was the hardest thing for me is to not bite on some of the opportunities that were out there coming my way."

Peprah will see limited work on special teams and certain defensive packages to give Danny McCray a break.

"I’m trying to learn the defense and contribute in any way I can," he said. "The goal for me is obviously be a starter, but who knows what plans they have for me."

FILLING THE VOID: Dan Connor calls it "bittersweet" to play in Sean Lee’s spot

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Dan Connor to fill in for Sean Lee - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Dan Connor called his ascension into the team’s starting lineup a “bittersweet” experience because the opportunity came from a season-ending injury to Sean Lee, the team’s leading tackler and Conner’s longtime friend and former college teammate at Penn State.

“To step in and play for him, it’s bittersweet. It’s not a good feeling for me,” Connor said. “I talked to him on the phone last night and he’s putting on a brave face … My heart breaks for him. He’s a great friend of mine. He leads the defense. He knows it inside and out and he works the hardest. And he was having a spectacular season.”

Lee, who is facing season-ending surgery for ligament damage in his big toe, made 77 tackles in Dallas’ first six games. Connor joins Bruce Carter and Ernie Sims, a veteran signed today, as the primary bodies in the mix at inside linebacker for Sunday’s game. But he acknowledged a committee approach will be necessary to replace the versatile Lee.

“It’s going to be hard to replace a guy like that. He’s unreplaceable,” Connor said. “A lot of guys are going to have to step in at different positions and we’ve got to pick up the slack from what we’ve got.

“It’s hard to say one guy’s going to go in there and do what Sean Lee does. I think he’s the top player in the game right now at that position. We’ll get a couple of different guys who are good at certain things and do it that way. And have Bruce in there with the (radio receiver in his) helmet, calling the defense. He did a great job with it last week. He got the helmet and he was making the checks and he really took control and did an unbelievable job.”

2006 NINTH OVERALL PICK: Ernie Sims has never played in a 3-4 defense, ready for a new beginning

Ernie Sims signed by the Dallas Cowboys - The Boys Are Back blog

Ernie Sims has never played in a 3-4 defense. He hasn’t played much inside either. But that’s why the Dallas Cowboys signed him.

Sims, signed Wednesday after Dallas put starting inside linebacker Sean Lee on injured reserve, is getting a crash course in the team’s sub-packages.

"Do I think I can play? Yes," Sims said. "If you look at me earlier in my career, I’ve been probably smaller than I am right now. I’ve actually gained about 5-6 pounds of lean mass. I’m stronger, faster and obviously bigger than I was my first couple of years in the NFL. I’m pretty confident in my ability. Obviously only time will tell."

Dallas Cowboys Ernie Sims with family - Ernie Sims IV - The Boys Are Back blog

Sims was the ninth overall pick of the Lions in 2006 and became an immediate starter, starting 50 consecutive games before injuries forced him out of the lineup in 2009. The Lions traded him to Philadelphia in a three-way deal for tight end Tony Scheffler and a seventh-round pick. He had only 2.5 sacks and an interception in 56 career starts for the Lions.

Sims, who played one season for the Eagles and spent last season in Indianapolis, said he has grown up a lot since then.

"This is a brand-new beginning for me. It really is," Sims said. "I’ve been through a lot in the NFL. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown up as a young man. A lot of people when they see me, they say he looks familiar, but is that the same guy? I’m still the same guy. I just look different. I cut all my hair off. I don’t carry myself like I did. I’m married now. I’ve got a beautiful young son now. My motives and my mindset is totally different now. What I’ve been through in the NFL is really just completely changed my life. That’s why I say this is a totally new beginning for me. When I say I’ve got something to prove, I’ve got something to prove. It’s game time."

Sims said the transition from the 4-3 to the 3-4 isn’t a big deal.

"it’s really just X’s and O’s," Sims said. "It’s the same principles. It’s the same things going on in every defense that I’ve played in. The good thing about me is I’ve played in several different defenses with several different teams with several different defensive coordinators. …I’ve seen all the different defenses you can play in, all the different schemes and coverages. That kind of gives me an upper hand with me trying to adjust to this new defense."

NO MORE ROOM SERVICE: Brian Moorman will handle punting for the rest of the season

Dallas Cowboys Punter Brian Moorman - Now starting with Chris Jones on IR - The Boys Are Back blog

Punter Brian Moorman knew the deal when he signed with the Dallas Cowboys: He wasn’t long for Dallas. His stay was expected to be only as long as it took Chris Jones to return from a knee injury. But the Cowboys placed Jones on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday, allowing Moorman to get out of a hotel and into a rental property.

"I came in to spell him and get him healthy," Moorman said. "I knew my place. I told him right from the start’ I’m not here to replace you and here to help you as much as I can.’ It’s been great. I think Chris is a great punter, and he’s got a long future in this league. Just look at what he’s done, and what he’s capable of doing. You don’t want it to come down to something like that – an injury to cost somebody to lose their season like that. You stay positive and just get him healthy and get him back for next year."

Jones is the team’s second punter to go on injured reserve in two seasons. Mat McBriar finished last season on IR with a cyst in his left leg.

Jones sprained his left (kicking) knee when he was roughed in the Tampa Bay game on Sept. 23. The Cowboys signed Moorman to take his place for the Oct. 1 game against the Bears. But Jones returned Oct. 14 against the Ravens when Moorman injured his groin in practice the week of that game.

Jones later was diagnosed with a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament, though he won’t require surgery. He said his one punt in the game against the Ravens did not make the injury worse.

"I rehabbed it and rehabbed it and rehabbed it and strengthened it," Jones said. "I figured it would be something I could play with and just kind of manage it that way. But I guess it was a little too much. Now I’ve got some time to get it back."

Jones averaged 45.2 yards a punt with a 40.0 net and had six punts inside the 20. Moorman has averaged 44 yards a punt with a 42.3 net. He has had four of seven punts downed inside the 20.

"I’ve hit the ball better this year going back to training camp than I’ve ever hit it in my career," said Moorman, released by the Bills after 179 consecutive starts because of his 32.7 net average there this season. "I feel my confidence has never wavered, and I don’t think my ability has ever wavered. It’s been an unfortunate situation this year that I’ve come into. But sometimes you run into adversity. It’s just kind of how you rally and move on. I was lucky to be able to quickly come to a new team and be able to put the past behind me, and that’s just what it is. It’s the past, and I’m looking forward to the future, and I’m happy to be a Dallas Cowboy."

LISTEN LIVE–RIGHT NOW: Dallas Cowboy’s postgame show on the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network

Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers 2012 - The Boys Are Back blog

From within The Boys Are Back (The blog for TRUE BLUE fans of the Dallas Cowboys)

you can LISTEN LIVE to Dallas area sports broadcasts

while you read, browse, or work around the house.

You can also catch Dallas Cowboys talk shows, pregame/postgame interviews,

commentary, analysis, and daily/weekly shows with some of the

key players and coaches of America’s Team.

.

CLICK ON THE BUTTON BELOW AND LISTEN TO THE POSTGAME SHOW LIVE!

Interviews start about 30 minutes after final snap

Show ends at 5:30 to 6:-00 pm CDT

Listen Live to: The Fan 105.3 Dallas (KRLD) … Flagship of The Dallas Cowboys Radio Network!


CLICK ON THE BUTTON BELOW AND LISTEN THE POSTGAME SHOW LIVE!

RIGHT NOW!

CLICK HERE

Listen the Cowboys Postgame Show LIVE, and hear directly from coach Jason Garrett, quarterback Tony Romo, Jerry Jones, and other players/coaches.

CHAMPIONSHIP RUN: Jason Witten has no problem with Jerry Jones’ comments

IRVING, Texas — Earlier this week on KRLD-FM, Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said the Cowboys have a team to compete for a Super Bowl this year.

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) reaches for a long third quarter pass that glances off his fingers against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The Boys Are Back blog

Today, Jason Garrett’s focus was Sunday’s opponent, Carolina, and he did not want to address Jones’ comments.

Tight end Jason Witten has no problem with Jones’ comments.

Yeah, every man in this room should believe that,” Witten said. “If you don’t, get out of here. But you have to go prove it every week. A lot of games we’ve done good things and a lot of things we have to improve on. Absolutely. Did the Giants think it at 7-7? That’s the way this league goes. I’m not saying that’s the formula for doing it. You have to still win games. Let’s get it corrected. We feel we have the men in this room who can do it. Now you have to go show it.”

Witten does not believe Jones is putting more pressure on the players.

“I think he’s trying to be optimistic,” Witten said. “I think he watches the tape and sees that we’re doing a lot of good things. I don’t think it’s more than that. I don’t think he’s trying to build us up or anything like that.”

TAKING IT PERSONAL: Kevin Ogletree explains his part in getting back to line of scrimmage and penalties

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Kevin Ogletree spoke for himself and Pro Bowl veteran Miles Austin on Monday about not getting back to the line of scrimmage in time to help the Cowboys try to run another play and get closer for a game-winning field goal try.

“That’s a personal mistake, for sure,” he said. “You want to, at that stage in the game, it’s very critical to at least get aligned to run a play, since the plays are so important. We just got to get that mentality that everything is happening fast, and it’s going to happen fluid.”

Ogletree and Austin were criticized for not hustling back to the line after Dez Bryant’s catch to the 34-yard line with 20 seconds to play. The Cowboys wanted to spike the ball to stop the clock and run another play, but instead used their last timeout to stop the clock at six seconds and try the field goal.

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett blamed himself for a play call that took the wideouts so far down the field, but Ogletree accepted blame. Austin declined comment to reporters Monday at Valley Ranch.

“I know that’s my job to get there and get to the line,” he said. “I know Miles and I both feel bad about what happened, because we know the outcome. We know we missed the field goal and how close that was and how precious yardage was at the end of the day. So getting back to the line of scrimmage, maybe getting the play called, I think this will all be great for us going forward in learning a lesson.”

Ogletree also accepted blame for the illegal shift penalties. He was called for three (one declined) against the Ravens.

“I think the referees are doing an awesome job just calling things how they see it,” he said. “When a guy is not set or in a shift or a motion, someone before you moves, everyone has to be set. No one can be moving. So if a guy is moving a couple of fingers, hasn’t put every bit of pressure on his fingers on the line, he’s technically not set, so I can’t move until that happens. I have to do a better job at taking a look at that game plan and really just executing.”

Ogletree said the Cowboys coaches spend “numerous” hours teaching alignments and responsibilities.

“I think we’re more than anything letting our teammates down,” he said. “Of course, you let your coaches down, and everyone’s a part of this deal when you don’t have that success you want. I think I said this a second ago, but I really think what happened yesterday is going to be helpful going forward. Just because I know what type of guys we have. I know that feeling I have right now, it’s going to be good for us.”

LISTEN LIVE–RIGHT NOW: Dallas Cowboy’s postgame show on the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network

From within The Boys Are Back (The blog for TRUE BLUE fans of the Dallas Cowboys)

you can LISTEN LIVE to Dallas area sports broadcasts

while you read, browse, or work around the house.

You can also catch Dallas Cowboys talk shows, pregame/postgame interviews,

commentary, analysis, and daily/weekly shows with some of the

key players and coaches of America’s Team.

.

CLICK ON THE BUTTON BELOW AND LISTEN TO THE POSTGAME SHOW LIVE!

Interviews start about 30 minutes after final snap

Show ends at 5:30 to 6:-00 pm CDT

Listen Live to: The Fan 105.3 Dallas (KRLD) … Flagship of The Dallas Cowboys Radio Network!


CLICK ON THE BUTTON BELOW AND LISTEN THE POSTGAME SHOW LIVE!

RIGHT NOW!

CLICK HERE

Listen the Cowboys Postgame Show LIVE, and hear directly from coach Jason Garrett, quarterback Tony Romo, Jerry Jones, and other players/coaches.

READY FOR RAVENS: Anthony Spencer returns to practice, anticipates playing

Linebacker Anthony Spencer returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis.

He did miss mostly individual drills and some third-down work as he continues to be cautious with the strained pectoral muscle that kept him out the Bears game two weeks ago.

Spencer plans to do more in practice on Friday in anticipation of playing against the Ravens on Sunday.

As long as there are no setbacks, Spencer said he believes he will play. He still doesn’t not have full range of motion. He plans to be cautious, so he doesn’t tear the muscle, which would sideline him for the season.

“I don’t want to tear it,” Spencer said. “I am going to be careful with it. If I have any doubts, I won’t play. But right now, playing is the goal. It feels a lot better.”

The Cowboys run defense suffered without Spencer against the Bears. Victor Butler started in his place and recorded one tackle.

If Spencer can’t go, look for Alex Albright to split time with Butler at the position.

HOMECOMING HONOR: Dallas Cowboys WR Cole Beasley’s No. 11 high school jersey number retired

Cowboys Chargers Football

IRVING, Texas — On Friday night, Cole Beasley’s No. 11 jersey was retired at Little Elm High School.

Beasley, the Cowboys’ rookie wide receiver, rushed for 1,184 yards and 12 touchdowns while also passing for 1,570 yards and 12 touchdowns in his senior season at Little Elm.

In his last three high school games, Beasley rushed 60 times for 430 yards and five touchdowns.

"It’s an honor to get your jersey retired from any place really," Beasley said prior to the ceremony. "It’s a great opportunity to go back to my high school …"

Beasley chose the bye week to get his jersey retired and his school responded with a solid 49-14 homecoming victory over Frisco Liberty.

Beasley was in Monday night’s game against Chicago for 13 plays and had a pair of 7-yard catches, his first receptions of his NFL career.

“It was great to finally get my feet wet and get on the field,” Beasley said.

COWBOY STAR STRUCK AT SIX: CB Brandon Carr ‘stoked’ to finally meet childhood hero, Troy Aikman

Dallas Cowboys CB Brandon Carr grew up in Michigan but he was not a fan of the Detroit Lions - The Boys Are Back blog

Brandon Carr grew up in Michigan but he was not a fan of the Detroit Lions. He cheered for the Dallas Cowboys and Troy Aikman was one of the players he admired most.

Carr liked the Cowboys and playing football so much as a six-year-old that his parents bought him a replica Aikman uniform as a Christmas present. Carr was eager to mention having that uniform when he signed with the Cowboys in March. His father even passed along photos of his son wearing the outfit for a May story in The Dallas Morning News.

Entering his first season with the club, Carr had never met the Hall of Fame quarterback. But that changed the Friday before the Cowboys played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3.

Aikman, an NFL analyst for FOX, was at Valley Ranch, preparing for FOX’s coverage of the Cowboys’ game against Tampa Bay. Following that practice, Carr tweeted: “Remember the first NFL jersey I wore many Christmases ago..? Yep, finally met the man! #)Stoked.”

Did Carr find time to tell Aikman about wearing his jersey around the house as a youth?

“I left that out,” Carr said with a smile. “I was hoping he’d read it one day.”

A few days later, Carr ran into Aikman again, this time at a United Way event at Charlotte and Shy Anderson’s house in Highland Park.

Aikman and Carr chatted longer than they did following that Friday practice, but Carr admits he was mostly a listener.

“Oh man, I just try to go with the flow of the conversation,” Carr said. “I didn’t want to sound like too much of a fanatic. We just talked about the (Tampa Bay) game. Just small talk. I tried not to open my eyes too big and seem too star struck.”

DETERMINED TO GET THROUGH SLUMP: Dallas Cowboys Dez Bryant says there’s ‘no excuse’ for drops

DETERMINED TO GET THROUGH SLUMP - Dallas Cowboys Dez Bryant says there’s ‘no excuse’ for drops - The Boys Are Back blog

ARLINGTON – One of the key plays in the Cowboys’ 34-18 loss to the Chicago Bears was a 25-yard Charles Tillman interception return for a touchdown.

The play stands out because it gave the Bears a 10-0 lead and showcased some apparent miscommunication between Tony Romo and Dez Bryant.

Bryant ran deep and Romo threw short. Tillman didn’t stay with Bryant, he waited and was in perfect position to make the grab near the visiting sideline and jog in for the game’s first touchdown.

“You just have to give credit to the defensive back,” Bryant said. “We thought that he was going and he stopped and he played it. He just made a good play on it.”

Bryant, who said there was no excuse for his three dropped passes, was one of the last players to exit the locker room, still sitting in his game pants after the majority of the team had already showered and departed. He remained available to reporters until all of their questions were answered.

“I know what kind of team we are,” Bryant said. “We’re a great team. We’re a family and we play good football. Tonight, it was just unfortunate for us. They were the better team. They came out and played and came out with the W.”

Bryant added: “I feel like we’re mentally tough and we’re going to get through it. We’re going to get ready for Baltimore.”

Bryant finished with eight receptions for 105 yards, his second 100-yard receiving game of his professional career.

LISTEN LIVE–RIGHT NOW: Dallas Cowboy’s postgame show on the Dallas Cowboys Radio Network

From within The Boys Are Back (The blog for TRUE BLUE fans of the Dallas Cowboys)

you can LISTEN LIVE to Dallas area sports broadcasts

while you read, browse, or work around the house.

 

You can also catch Dallas Cowboys talk shows, pregame/postgame interviews,

commentary, analysis, and daily/weekly shows with some of the

key players and coaches of America’s Team.

.

CLICK ON THE BUTTON BELOW AND LISTEN TO THE POSTGAME SHOW LIVE!

Interviews start about 30 minutes after final snap

Show ends at 12:30 to 1:-00 am CDT

Listen Live to: The Fan 105.3 Dallas (KRLD) … Flagship of The Dallas Cowboys Radio Network!


CLICK ON THE BUTTON BELOW AND LISTEN THE POSTGAME SHOW LIVE!

RIGHT NOW!

CLICK HERE

Listen the Cowboys Postgame Show LIVE, and hear directly from coach Jason Garrett, quarterback Tony Romo, Jerry Jones, and other players/coaches.

OVERDUE OFFENSE: Dallas Cowboys confident that sluggish offense will awaken soon

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett (left) and quarterback Tony Romo - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING — For the first time with Tony Romo as quarterback, the Cowboys are coming off back-to-back games with under 300 yards.

They did not rush for 50 yards in either game.

They couldn’t score more than one touchdown in either game.

Romo’s passer rating sunk to the mid-70s.

But they got a split out of the two games against Seattle and Tampa Bay, so at 2-1 going into tonight’s game against the Chicago Bears, the Cowboys’ belief in their offense remains.

"My confidence doesn’t wane," coach Jason Garrett said. "I believe in the players. I believe in what we do. We just have to do it better."

The 2-1 record is what keeps Romo going, too.

After throwing for 307 yards and three touchdowns in a sparkling season opener against the Giants, he has thrown only one touchdown pass and has been intercepted twice.

But he is not frustrated.

"No. It’s about winning and losing," he said. "That’s what it comes down to. You want to execute to the highest level each week. But at the same time, we know that getting a win is as important as anything else. And all the other stuff is just about getting better.

"But if you lose, you’re still going to have the same process. If you win, you still have the same process about trying to figure out how to be better the next week as a player, as a unit, as an offense or defense, whatever it is."

Garrett does make an allowance for the Seahawks and Buccaneers’ effective defensive lines, which gave headaches to the Cowboys’ still-developing offensive line.

But he said those won’t be the last two good fronts the Cowboys face, and they’ll see another one tonight when the Bears bring one of the NFL’s most productive front four in terms of sacks.

"We played some good defenses. There’s no question about that," Garrett said. "They are good on the front, they have good rushers and good linebackers, and each of those teams have good cover guys. But you’re going to face that every week. There are 13 other teams that are good in those areas, too."

For the Cowboys, the troubling spots are penalties and the way they are executing plays.

They have 12 false starts, five holding penalties (plus one declined) and two delay-of-games in three games.

Romo has been sacked seven times.

On top of that, his favorite target, tight end Jason Witten, has five drops. That is a normally reliable — and important — part of the Cowboys offense.

"It’s a combination of a lot of things," Romo said. "Penalties, negative plays. We need to do the little things better. That will help us a lot because we’re already doing enough good things. We just need to minimize the stuff that you can control. The stuff that should be stuff that we’re good at."

The Cowboys scored in the 30s or more four times last year. It was five times in each of the previous two years, four in 2008 and eight times in 2007.

The last time they went over 30 was at Tampa Bay last year, five games ago.

Could one good scoring half or game spring the Cowboys?

"Sure, but I don’t think we like to think about it that way: ‘Hey, let’s go score 40,’" Garrett said. "Let’s go execute ball plays. If we execute ball plays and do things the right way on a consistent basis, our offense will be the consistent offense and the good offense that we’ve seen in the past."

And paired with what right now is the league’s No. 1 defense? Defensive end Marcus Spears can imagine.

"We’re 2-1, so they’re doing something to put us in position to win games," he said. "And we just want to continue to support them. But when we’re rolling and they’re rolling and our special teams are rolling, we’re tough to beat. We see their work. There’s no criticism from us. We see what type of guys are over there. When it really starts firing like a well-oiled machine, it’ll be something beautiful to watch."

DALLAS DEBUT: Brian Moorman must account for Hester

Dallas Cowboys punter Brian Moorman - former Buffalo Bills punter - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, Texas – Adjusting to a new locker room and teammates won’t be punter Brian Moorman’s most difficult task in his first week in Dallas.

Each time Moorman boots the ball across the field against the Bears, the most dangerous returner in football history will await each punt. Devin Hester’s 12 career punt return touchdowns rank first all-time.

“He’s obviously one of the best, if not the best, in the league,” Moorman said. “You’ve got to have a lot of respect for him and what he has accomplished and what he can accomplish every time he touches the ball. It’s obviously something we’re talking about and we’re going to try to prepare for.”

Hester’s only had six returns this season and hasn’t taken one back for a score. But one of those punt returns went for more than 23 yards, and Chicago coach Lovie Smith said the game changer is still capable of breaking one loose.

Hester returned two punts for touchdowns last season and three the year before. Since 2007, when he returned four of his 42 punt returns for touchdowns, punters started to learn their lesson. Hester’s never returned more than 33 punts in his previous four seasons, as punters stay away from the game changer.

“As a returner, it’s just hard to be special and have a touchdown on returns every game,” Smith said. “You go through some spells where it doesn’t happen. You get that momentum going, then you run off a couple games. Not scoring right now, I can see why you would question where Devin is right now, but he’s a young player still, and I still believe his best returns are ahead of him.”

The last time Hester went a whole season without returning a kick or a punt for a touchdown was in 2009, when his season was limited with a calf injury. After the 2007 season, Hester also moved into a more permanent role in the offense as a receiver.

But Smith said teams are still cautious when they send the ball deep to Hester.

“I know Devin hasn’t taken one back to the house yet this year, but he’s been close and getting better and better,” Smith said. “He’s just another weapon to try to get points on the board. We put a big emphasis on playing special teams around here. Guys know if they can just give Devin a little bit of space, there’s a chance that they can see something special.”

Moorman’s not the only one who has to prepare for the dynamic returner. Kicker Dan Bailey said he’s been more consistent on his kickoffs, but even if he kicks it deep against Chicago, Hester could still take the ball out.

The Dallas Cowboys vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cowboys Stadium 2012 - Dan Bailey sets up for a kick - The Boys Are Back blog

Hester’s recorded seven combined kick returns of more than 40 yards in his two previous seasons, including one touchdown. He’s averaged 27.3 yards per kick return this year, taking four of his seven returns for more than 20 yards. Bailey said he knows at any point Hester can record his first kick return touchdown of the season.

“He’s one of the best ever,” Bailey said. “He’s that guy that could be nine deep and is still going to bring it out. That’s just his mentality. I’m going to take it as a personal challenge and try to go head-to-head with him and eliminate his chances as much as I can. Hopefully as a team we all can do that even more, collectively.”

The last time Hester played the Cowboys in 2010, he was more dangerous as a receiver than a returner, catching four passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. He only returned one punt for negative yardage, while Dez Bryant returned a punt for a touchdown against the Bears.

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant in the spotlight - The Boys Are Back blog

The Cowboys will need to swarm the returner again if they want to keep him in check. Special teams ace Danny McCray will likely be starting at safety this week, but head coach Jason Garrett said they may need him to stay on certain special teams units to account for Hester.

“Hester is a big-time returner,” Garrett said. “Everybody knows that. Might go down as one of the greats ever in this league. So, it’ll be a real challenge for us. We’ll need all hands on deck.”

ROMO ON THE RUN: Tony Romo showing patients during offensive slump

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) makes a call at the line of scrimmage - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING — Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has spent the past two games being used as a piñata by opposing defensive linemen and watching his favorite receiver, tight end Jason Witten, let a season’s worth of passes slip through his fingers.

Although there has been no public grumbling from Romo, teammates understand the frustration that is building within their offensive leader as the Cowboys (2-1) prepare to face Chicago (2-1), the team that leads the NFL in sacks (14), in Monday’s game at Cowboys Stadium.

“We’ve been around Tony long enough that we can tell, based on his facial expressions, how he’s feeling. He shows his emotions to us,” said offensive guard Nate Livings. “So he doesn’t have to say anything. We see what he’s going through.”

That included four sacks and multiple knockdowns, triggering two lost fumbles in pass-rush situations, in last week’s 16-10 victory over Tampa Bay. It has included an NFL-high five dropped passes this season by Witten, a seven-time Pro Bowler whose season average for drops had been three per year over the past four seasons (2008-2011), based on data collected by STATS, Inc.

“I’m sure he’s wondering what’s wrong,” Witten said of his uncharacteristic drops of Romo passes. “At the end of the day, those are big plays for him, big plays for our offense. You don’t just get built in to get those throws … next time because of what number is on the back of the jersey. It’s a show-me game.”

And Romo, for now, is showing remarkable patience while maintaining a positive outlook about a Dallas offense that is tied for last among NFL teams in scoring average (15.6 per game). The Cowboys’ 47 points marks the fewest in a three-game stretch by a Romo-led offense since 2009.

Despite Romo’s 89.3 passer rating and 64.8 completion rate, the offense regularly plays from behind the chains because of 12 false-start penalties in three games. But Romo said Friday that his confidence level working behind the team’s rebuilt offensive line remains high — he gave it a “10” on a 1-10 scale — and that frustration, from his perspective, has yet to surface.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) warms up - The Boys Are Back blog

“No,” Romo said. “It’s about winning and losing. You want to execute to the highest level each week. But at the same time, [winning and losing] is what it comes down to. All the other stuff is just about getting better.”

From an offensive standpoint, Romo acknowledged the Cowboys “need to do the little things better” if they are to build on their 2-1 start. Toward that end, he has addressed the offense’s shortcomings, particularly the pre-snap penalties, in discussions with teammates.

“You’re always letting the team know what you need to do to be successful,” Romo said. “And me being in a leadership role, that obviously needs to be addressed.

“We need to do the little things better. That will help us a lot because we’re already doing enough good things. We just need to minimize the stuff that you can control. The stuff that should be stuff that we’re good at.”

At the top of the list, Romo cited penalties and negative-yardage runs. So did offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who said shortcomings in those areas against Tampa Bay put the offense in too many obvious passing situations that led to too many “hellacious hits” on Romo, who is 32.

“We have to do a better job keeping Tony clean,” Callahan said.

Romo, who was sacked a career-high 36 times last season, downplayed any concerns about residual hits taking a toll on his abilities or his escapability in the pocket. In fact, he cited making creative plays as part of his job description.

“If somebody gets beat, my job is to help them out once in a while and [make a play],” Romo said. “You don’t want to make a living at that. But, at the same time, part of my job is to do that. And they are going to make me look better on other plays.”

But those “other plays” have been few and far between the past two weeks, when Dallas managed just one offensive touchdown against Tampa Bay and during a 27-7 loss to Seattle. Romo figures to do his fair share of freelancing, once again, against the Bears’ stellar pass rush.

In those scramble situations, Romo said he’s “always judging and balancing” his next move based on the circumstances at hand: score, down-and-distance, time remaining.

“You just learn over time what you can do with certain things,” Romo said.

And when things go awry, as they have the past two weeks, Romo has learned to be patient and avoid letting frustrations become public. Even if teammates sense he is masking his emotions.

“It’s not always going to go perfect back there,” Romo said. “But … just keep grinding away and you can do some things. We’re going to continue to get better. I feel very confident.”

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) hands the ball of to Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray - The Boys Are Back blog

DALLAS’ TRIPLE-CORNER FLEX DEFENSE: Dallas Cowboy CB Brandon Carr willing to play safety the rest of the season; three cover corners could be the solution to pass-happy NFL.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson (83) is unable to grab a touchdown pass as Dallas Cowboys CB Brandon Carr (39) defends - The Boys Are Back blog

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr has accepted the accolades that accompanied his surprising – and successful – debut as an NFL safety in Sunday’s 16-10 victory over Tampa Bay. Carr played much of the game at safety in place of injured starter Gerald Sensabaugh, who skipped the contest with a strained calf.

Carr’s future could include an extended run at that position now that Barry Church, the other starting safety, is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. Sensabaugh’s availability remains day-to-day, said coach Jason Garrett, which could mean additional time for Carr at safety while Morris Claiborne and Mike Jenkins handle the cornerback spots.

Although he signed a five-year, $50.1 million contract in the off-season to be the Cowboys’ shutdown cornerback, and coaches still consider him their best player at that position, Carr said he would embrace an extended run at safety if that is in the best interest of the team.

“If that’s what we have to do for us to get our best 11 on their 11 and to get off the field and win ball games, I’m all for it,” Carr said. “I came here with one thing in mind and that was to win ball games.”

Although he last played safety in high school, and only briefly then, Carr said he is willing to spend the rest of the season there if coach Jason Garrett and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan believes it is in the team’s best interest.

“If this is the role that I’m going to have to have this whole season, then I’m going to accept it and be ready to work and have everybody ready to go when my number’s called,” Carr said.

Because the Cowboys are expected to sign a veteran safety this week to replace Church, who is headed to the injured reserve list, Carr’s days at the position may be numbered. But it became clear against Tampa Bay that having three cover corners on the field at the same time _ Carr, Jenkins and Claiborne _ can be a positive defensive move in today’s pass-happy NFL.

Might the three-corners defense become a Cowboys’ staple going forward? 

“I have no clue,” Carr said, smiling. “That’s the good thing about being a player. After each game is over with, you tell me what to do and I say, ‘Ok, coach’ and get ready and prepare myself for Sunday. Each week is going to be exciting to see what new wrinkle we add to our defense. I feel like we have a lot of guys that can play a lot of positions, so, hopefully, that will help us out in our versatility and our different looks. It’s going to be fun.”

RELATED: Jason Garrett credits Rob Ryan, Jerome Henderson for idea of Carr to safety

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett enjoys the win - The Boys Are Back blog

Jason Garrett gave defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and secondary coach Jerome Henderson credit for finding a way to have Brandon Carr play safety and Mike Jenkins to play cornerback while also keeping Vincent Jackson in check.

The Cowboys needed a way to make up for the loss of safety Gerald Sensabaugh, and putting Carr at safety was one way to do that and also to open up snaps at cornerback for Jenkins, who had been working his way back from offseason shoulder surgery.

“I think it was a real good idea by Rob and by Jerome early on in the week to do that,” Garrett said. “I think it was a great job by Brandon Carr of embracing the idea, saying, ‘Hey, I can do this. Absolutely, I’m excited to do this. I haven’t played safety since high school.’ He was kind of champing at the bit to do it.

“The concerns we had in the discussion was, they have this big guy, Vincent Jackson, and we have this big corner, this is the best matchup, should we really do this? And I think the combination of him playing corner but also playing safety and getting Jenks out there was a good way to go, and I think everybody responded really well to it.”

Garrett said now that Carr has put in some time at safety, the Cowboys have developed a little versatility.

“It’s nice to have that option in your hip pocket,” he said. “If we get in trouble and don’t have other options, we can say, let’s go back and do that again. We obviously want him to play corner. That’s what we feel like he’s best at. But to be able to do that with a guy to absorb an injury, that’s a good thing to have in your hip pocket going forward.”

AN UGLY WIN IS STILL A WIN: Tony Romo doesn’t impress with stats, but is very satisfied with the outcome

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) instructs his teammates - left - The Boys Are Back blog

Tony Romo entered with a 3-0 record against the Bucs, with a 70.1 completion percentage, 908 yards, 11 touchdowns, no interceptions and a 144.8 passer rating.

This one wasn’t so pretty.

Romo went 25-of-39 for 283 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. He also lost two fumbles.

The Cowboys had 297 total yards, as the Dallas defense saved the day.

“I don’t want this to go by without talking about how great it feels really to win this game, with the way that our defense played and our ability to grind it out on the offensive side when nothing was easy,” Romo said. “This is a very, very satisfying win, even though it’ll kind of get lost in the shuffle as you move through the season sometimes, because of the way it looked. But these are the kinds of wins that you have to have. We’ve played better on offense before and lost football games. We’ve played better as a team sometimes with the way that it looks and lost games. But to win the game with the way that we did today really excites me and gives us a chance going forward.” 

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) instructs his teammates - right - The Boys Are Back blog

Romo was sacked four times, losing fumbles on two of them, while taking four other hard shots.

"Obviously, it’s not good enough," center Ryan Cook said. "We would like, in a perfect world, to have no shots [on Romo], no pressures and for him to sit back in the pocket all day and throw the ball. But that wasn’t the reality today. We’ve got to do a better job of protecting him and giving him time to make those long throws down the field."

COWBOYS GAMEBALL: Brandon Carr doubles as safety, depth at cornerback proves valuable

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson (83) is unable to grab a touchdown pass as Dallas Cowboys CB Brandon Carr (39) defends - The Boys Are Back blog

ARLINGTON, TexasComing into Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay, the Cowboys were burdened with filling the void of Gerald Sensabaugh, who was nursing a calf injury.

Danny McCray was ready to play significant snaps, but it was Brandon Carr who stepped up and showed his versatility. The fifth-year cornerback was a surprise starter at safety, playing there on nickel downs and allowing Mike Jenkins to start at cornerback.

The move allowed the Cowboys to take advantage of their depth at the cornerback position. Since Jenkins came back from his shoulder rehab, the Cowboys have been experimenting with ways of getting him onto the field to contribute.

Through two weeks of the season (and the entire preseason), Carr stood out as the Cowboys’ best lockdown corner. Many expected him to spend the entire game matched up with lengthy Buccaneers receiver Vincent Jackson. Instead, the Cowboys put faith in Carr’s discipline and versatility by moving him over to safety to serve as a security blanket in certain situations.

It is a credit to Carr that the Cowboy’s felt so strongly about his defensive awareness that they would instruct him to play anything other than the position at which he was the NFL’s most prized free agent this offseason.

“Whatever it takes to win, I’m down for it,” Carr said. “We put Jenkins out there at corner and it wasn’t a letdown at all. He held his own.”

While the move was a surprise to many watching the game, Carr explained that he had been preparing to play safety all week.

“I got a head start, I think it was Monday they let me know,” Carr said. “I just had to get my mind right, watch extra film, not at corner, but at safety, just to get a different feel for how things were going to be thrown at me. I think I did a decent job.”

When asked after the game how much experience he had at safety, Carr provided a lighthearted, if not revealing, response.

“60 minutes,” Carr joked. “I took a couple snaps in high schools back in my early, early days playing, but other than that, it’s been a long, long time.”

After starting safety Barry Church went down, the Cowboys required contributions from every defensive back on the roster.

Despite depth concerns at safety, the result was a very impressive defensive effort and a near shutdown of the Buccaneers passing game. Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman was limited to only ­110 yards passing after racking up 243 yards against the Giants in his last game.

Morris Claiborne explained that the Cowboys have such talent at cornerback that when Carr moved over to safety, the coverage did not miss a beat.

“We have a lot of depth on this team and we have a lot of guys that can fill in when other guys are down,” Claiborne said. “We won’t lose too much.”

The Cowboys’ cornerbacks were also able to keep their impressive streak of not allowing a wide receiver to score on them all season. In fact, Tampa’s only touchdown of the game – a one-yard pass to tight end Luke Stocker – came after a Tony Romo interception gave the Buccaneer’s terrific field position. Jackson, the $55 million free agent addition, was held to just one reception for 29 yards.

When asked if he thought the cornerback core was attempting to build upon something special, Claiborne did not hesitate.

“Oh yeah, I think we are,” Claiborne said. “Coach Henderson does a good job with us, preparing us and getting us ready to go out and play ball. And we take a lot of pride in ourselves, to get ourselves ready to go out and play.”

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