Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett speaks to the media as his team begins their preparations for opening night with the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium. Garrett discussed:
- Spencer and Leary’s (injury and) practice update
- How conditioning factors into gameday decisions
- Jones and Bosworth Special Teams, expected impact
- Lissemore trade and appreciation for his contributions
- Aspirations for the post-season
- Transition to regular season from offseason
- Selvie and Spencer rotation
- Doug Free commitment, regardless of role
- Running scheme changes with different linemen
- Decision behind keeping six safeties on roster
- Safeties role on Special Teams, next man up when needed
- Adjusting to all of the changes on offense and defense
- Claiborne decision on playing time
- TE Smith becoming more rounded
- Excitement around 53-man roster and setting practice squad
- New York Giants record at Cowboy Stadium
- Improvement of team over last season during offseason
- Frederick’s quick grasp of center position
- B.W. Webb overcoming ups and downs
- Spencer, committee approach until he’s in condition
- DTs opportunities and expectations of young players
- Motivation and drive of veterans for playoff run
- “Make today important” approach to preparation and winning
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Two big bits of injury news pertaining to the Cowboys’ season opener is grabbing attention.
As many people no doubt saw on Saturday night, the Giants lost safety Stevie Brown for the season during their loss to the New York Jets. Brown made a textbook interception of an awful pass thrown by rookie quarterback Geno Smith, and he tore his ACL while being tackled on the return.
It’s a devastating blow, especially as the Giants were so close to wrapping up their final test of the preseason. However, since the loss of Brown, the team has received several bits of good news in anticipation of the opener against the Dallas Cowboys in 13 days.
Safety Antrel Rolle and cornerback Corey Webster are slated to return to the field this week ahead of New York’s preseason finale against New England. It’s pretty crucial timing, as the Giants were set to take the field without three of their starting four defensive backs.
Rolle rolled his ankle – no pun intended — several weeks ago, but he has been adamant he would be fit for the start of the regular season. Webster has been battling groin and MCL injuries for most of training camp, but Giants coach Tom Coughlin told reporters on Sunday he would return this week, as well.
Perhaps the bigger news coming out of New Jersey on Monday is that injured defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, whose return from back surgery has dominated Giants training camp headlines, was activated from Physically Unable to Perform list Monday.
Pierre-Paul doubtless has plenty of work to do before he’d be cleared to line up against the Cowboys on Sept. 8, but with 13 days to spare, he can now begin that process.
It’s a bit of the opposite scenario for the Cowboys. Starting cornerback Morris Claiborne returned to practice on Monday, which further solidifies his confidence that he’ll be good to go for the opener. With any luck, the Cowboys just might have four healthy starters in the secondary to start the year.
On the other hand, defensive end Anthony Spencer and defensive tackle Jay Ratliff – particularly Ratliff – don’t look like the locks for Week 1 action that they once were. Neither player has returned to practice, but Spencer said last week he has not yet started running on his convalescing knee.
Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones has typically been steadfast in his belief that Ratliff would be ready for the Giants game. But Jones didn’t sound so sure when asked about it on Saturday night after the Bengals game.
It’s not quite September yet, so there’s still time for more developments for both teams. But the window of recovery time is closing rapidly.
With Organized Team Activities kicking off today for the next three weeks, I thought I would take a few moments to give you some of my thoughts:
- Despite all the questions that will be asked of Tony Romo on Tuesday about the comments made by Jerry Jones during the offseason, I honestly believe that nothing will change in his approach to how he gets ready to play these games and his interactions with Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan. Starting quarterbacks around the league have input to the type of plays that the club is going to run each week. When Brett Favre was a first year starter for us in Green Bay, Mike Holmgren would go through each play that week and ask Brett what he felt comfortable with. Tony Romo has always been a hard worker in his preparation and knowledge of what the plan was going into the game. I can speak from experience in visiting with him after games and being amazed with his ability to recall play by play, read by read of what happened to him in a game. You don’t do this by accident, you have this ability because you are really locked into what is happening on the field but also what the coaches are trying to do and this will never change.
- Two weeks ago, these rookies got a big taste of what will be expected of them each day they step on the practice field under this coaching staff. In my years in the NFL, I have always been a huge fan of bringing in the rookies early before the veterans just for this reason. Let the rookies get that feel of the pace and let them make mistakes that can be corrected then and there. In training camp coaches are teaching with the thought of getting ready to play games and don’t always have the time to go back and make major corrections. In these OTAs and mini camps, it’s easier to take a step back and coach these rookies using the examples of these veteran players as examples. Terrance Williams didn’t have the best start to his rookie camp but now he can study how Dez Bryant and Miles Austin run their routes and with that mental picture it can help him get a better understand of what he is going to have to do to be successful going forward.
- Injuries made things very difficult for this squad last season. In this first OTA practice, there will be a few players that will not take part in the action, but guys like Sean Lee, Barry Church, Bruce Carter, Jay Ratliff and Matt Johnson will be in the mix. These camps will be especially important for a guy like Johnson who lost his entire rookie season to a hamstring problem that never healed. When this camp opens it will be Johnson and Church at safeties to start.Kyle Wilber is another player like Johnson that will also be looking for a second chance to show better at defensive end. Players that will be limited in the camp will be DeMarcus Ware, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Danny Coale, who will have his hands full in an attempt to make this squad at wide receiver.
- It was this time last year where I noticed several players that appeared to make that jump from one season to another. Dez Bryant physically looked in better shape and his routes were run with purpose. Dwayne Harris played with better quickness and Barry Church stepped up and begun his quest to win the starting job. Players that I am going to keep an eye on that could possibly make that jump are: Jermey Parnell, Tyrone Crawford, Ronald Leary and James Hanna. Of these four players, Crawford has the most experience and he was only a rookie. Parnell will be given every opportunity to start over Doug Free. I feel like Leary is most likely a year away but Hanna is very intriguing to me. Just watching him play during training camp and then going back and talking to folks about how he practiced each week gives me a great deal of hope that he could develop into something special. I like what I am hearing about using this “12” personnel group but my gut tells me that Hanna will be the one that takes advantage of the situation to work with Witten. I do like Gavin Escobar a great deal but he doesn’t move up the field like James Hanna does. Keep an eye on these four players and see who makes that jump in 2013.
- I will be very interested to see how much progress that cornerback B.W. Webb is going to make the next three weeks. He was clearly the best corner on the field during the rookie mini-camp and with the veterans in the mix will he be able to carry that over now that they are here? Webb did play mainly on the right side and on the depth chart as it sits, he is behind Mo Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick. He will not start ahead of Claiborne but can he show enough ability to work ahead of Scandrick not only on the depth chart but in the role of the nickel corner. Webb has the talent to put pressure on Scandrick but he doesn’t have the experience. I see this competition as a good thing because last season it just wasn’t there and Scandrick knew that but with Webb on the squad, it’s going to make him have to elevate his level of play to keep his job.
Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Scout
Today, kicks off the first of three OTA’s scheduled by the Dallas Cowboys …
|May 21-23||Organized Team Activities (OTAs)|
|May 28-30||Organized Team Activities (OTAs)|
|June 3-6||Organized Team Activities (OTAs)|
For more information about upcoming calendar events, click on the button below:
The NFL usually releases the official regular-season schedule in the week prior to the NFL draft, but that will not be the case this year.
“The schedule is not finalized, and no release date has been determined,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement today (Monday).
The NFL told Sports Business Journal on Monday the schedule will come out in the next week or two. While the schedule in recent years has come out in the week before the draft, that isn’t always the case. The 2010 schedule was unveiled only two days before the draft. That was the first year the NFL moved to a Thursday night primetime start for the draft.
If you’re looking for a best guess as to the schedule’s release, April 23 would be it. But that’s just a guess. The schedule also might come out after the draft in another effort to “stretch out” the NFL calendar and keep football high in the headline stacks.
The announcement of this year’s schedule technically hasn’t been postponed because it never officially was set in the first place. This much we know: The Baltimore Ravens will open the season on the road in the NFL’s kickoff game.
EDITORS NOTE: The league released the 2013-2014 NFL Schedule today (April 18, 2013) … check it out HERE.