Anthony Armstrong’s stint with the Cowboys this past season lasted 26 days. But the receiver from Carrollton will get another chance to make the team. He played in one game for the Dallas Cowboys, failing to record any statistics in Dallas’ 27-24 overtime victory over Pittsburgh on Dec. 16.
Armstrong was signed to Dallas’ reserve/future list along with a group of eight other players, including tight end Colin Cochart, guard Ray Dominguez, receiver Jared Green, long snapper Charley Hughlett, receiver Carlton Mitchell, linebacker Cameron Sheffield, tackle Aderious Simmons and cornerback Brandon Underwood.
Cochart was on the Cowboys’ active roster for 10 days in September. Hughlett had been a member of the team through training camp until being cut Aug. 27.
The Cowboys had previously signed the following players to the reserve/future list: Cornerback Vince Agnew, receiver Tim Benford, receiver Danny Coale, defensive end Ikponmwosa Igbinosun, cornerback Micah Pellerin, defensive tackle Brian Price, linebacker Brashton Satele, tight end Andre Smith, quarterback Nick Stephens and linebacker Monte Taylor.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – In just another example how the 53-man roster is never final, the Cowboys made a late roster move this morning, just a few hours before the season opener.
The club signed rookie tailback Lance Dunbar to the active roster, likely meaning the undrafted rookie from North Texas will indeed play tonight against the Giants for his NFL debut.
To make room for Dunbar, the Dallas Cowboys released tight end Colin Cochart, who was just claimed off waivers from the Bengals last week. Cutting Cochart doesn’t exactly indicate that Jason Witten will play Wednesday.
The Cowboys are sticking with “game-time decision” for Witten, who visited his doctor for the lacerated spleen injury on Tuesday. Witten flew up after the team but is now in New York with his teammates.
Dunbar, who missed the first two preseason games with a hamstring injury, had an electrifying end to the preseason with a 105 rushing yards, including a 59-yard touchdown run against the Dolphins.
He impressed the Cowboys with his speed and quickness all throughout the summer. Dunbar will likely play mostly on special teams, including kickoff return. However, Felix Jones is expected to be the primary return specialist, but Dunbar could get also be back as a side returner.
When the Cowboys trimmed the roster down to 53 last week, Dunbar and his college teammate Jamize Olawale, survived the first big cut, although the roster remained at 54. In the end, the Cowboys cut both Dunbar and Olawale and re-signed them to the practice squad, which now has seven players.
IRVING — Even though he was limited, Jason Witten practiced in pads Saturday for the first time since suffering a lacerated spleen in the team’s Aug. 13 preseason opener.
“I’m doing everything I can to put myself in position to play, see if I can get cleared in time,’’ Witten, the seven-time Pro Bowler, said. “I’m doing more and more each day. It feels really good. I feel really good.’’
But Witten is still waiting to learn if the doctors and the team’s medical staff will allow him take the field Wednesday against the New York Giants.
He is holding out hope he will be permitted to play but added “obviously, it’s beyond me.’’
In the event he is cleared, he is expected to wear additional Kevlar padding to protect his mid-section. The Cowboys, though, have prepared themselves in case Witten can’t play. On Saturday, they acquired former Cincinnati tight end Colin Cochart off waivers. Cochart, signed as an undrafted free agent in 2011, played in 10 games last season and made five catches for 44 yards and a touchdown.
But Giants tight end Martellus Bennett (Marty B), who played with Witten the previous four seasons, said Cochart may not be needed. Knowing Witten’s history of playing with injuries, Bennett told New York reporters, “I wouldn’t be surprised if he picked up his spleen, held it in his hand and tried to run routes.”
RELATED: SCOUTING REPORT – TE Cochart can give Cowboys blocking boost
On Saturday morning the Cowboys put in a claim for and were awarded tight end Colin Cochart from the Cincinnati Bengals. Here is a scouting report from what I was able to observe.
Games viewed: Preseason 2012, New York Jets, Atlanta, Green Bay
- Cochart has nice size and a thicker lower body. Plays as a true in line “Y” but can also give you something as a “U” or “M” guy as well.
- Not the most fluid moving athlete up the field on routes. Is more like Phillips than Witten or Hanna. Is not the type that is going to get open naturally. But you do see him do some athletic things when it comes to adjusting on the move.
- Showed really nice awareness on the goal line against the Jets to push his man to the tackle, then pick up the linebacker. Only saw one time and that was against the Falcons where he missed on his adjustment on the second level in getting the linebacker.
- Did a nice job of walling off his man on the down block. Stout enough to hold that position and allow the ball to get to him. Makes the effort to finish blocks, can get into his man and has some snap to his game. Good initial pop but his hands will get outside the frame work of defender and he becomes a push-shove blocker.
- Can get some push one on one against linebackers but didn’t see many opportunities against linemen. Used some in pass protection as well, got a little over extended against the Falcons but didn’t give up a sack or pressure.
- As mentioned, most routes were limited for him and only saw one chance to catch the ball and that was a pass to the flat that he can to turn back, adjust and grab against Green Bay.
- What he brings is a big body at the point of attack that is used to playing along the line. Not going to beat you with his hands but how he is able to block.
Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst – Scout
RELATED: Jason Garrett on former Dallas Cowboy TE Marty B
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said former backup tight end Martellus Bennett is going to do a nice job for the Giants and will play in the NFL for a long time.
He said Bennett did what he was asked to do with the Cowboys – run-block and pass-protect – while playing behind a seven-time Pro Bowl tight end in Jason Witten.
“We drafted Martellus, and Martellus had a role as our backup tight end, or our second tight end,” Garrett said. “We used him a lot. The personnel group that he played in most, what we called ‘12’ – two receivers, two tight ends and one back – we probably used that more than any other personnel group in our offense, and certainly we used that personnel group probably as much as anybody in our league. Martellus’ role for us was to be a run-blocker. He did that very well. And a pass protector. He did that very well. And when he had opportunities to catch the ball, for the most part he did a pretty good job.”
Bennett caught 85 passes for 846 yards and four touchdowns in four seasons with the Cowboys, who drafted him in the second round in 2008 out of Texas A&M. He never scored after his rookie year, however, and in his best receiving season, caught 33 passes with a 7.9 average. He played in 60 games.
“The business of the NFL is, you can’t keep everybody when their contracts run out,” Garrett said. “So we feel good about what Martellus did here. He’s going to go up to New York and do a nice job for them. He’s going to play a long time in this league.”
RELATED: Tom Coughlin – NY Giants preparing as if Witten will play in opener
IRVING, Texas – The NFL scheduled the defending champion New York Giants to kickoff the season in a marquee game against the Dallas Cowboys because they considered it to be a star-studded matchup.
With that in mind, Wednesday’s game just wouldn’t be the same without Witten on the field.
Despite the seriousness of his spleen injury, Witten’s status for the game remains up in the air, and he did participate, at least on a limited basis, in Saturday’s practice. Witten has been the image of durability and toughness during his eight-year career only missing one game.
For that reason, the New York Giants are preparing themselves for the game as if Witten will play. In a conference call with reporters on Saturday, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin talked about their stance on Witten.
“We usually take the position that the player is going to play,” Coughlin said. “If it’s otherwise, it’s otherwise, but we’re not going to be surprised the other way. We’re not going to say that he’s not going to play and then he plays.”
Coughlin went on to explain the importance of Witten to the Cowboys. He explained the danger that he poses as a weapon if a team does not come in prepared to face him.
“All you’ve got to do is look at the tape,” Coughlin said. “He leads the team in receptions far and away. The quarterback is very comfortable in all circumstances getting him the ball. He does an outstanding job of maneuvering and getting open and finding a way to advance the ball once he catches it.”
Coughlin also recognized the difference Witten can make and what the Cowboys’ offense would truly be getting back with the return of their starting tight end.
“He’s very versatile and used in a lot of different ways,” Coughlin said.
Coughlin is justifying his preparation to face Witten based on the danger of being caught off guard if he does play, but like the rest of us he has no idea one way or the other if Witten will take the field Wednesday night.
IRVING, Texas – Nothing is ever final when it comes to the roster.
After cutting 23 players to get down to the 53-man limit Saturday night, the Dallas Cowboys made more moves Saturday, just before their first regular-season practice in preparation for the Giants.
The Cowboys have claimed tight end Colin Cochart (6-4, 260) off waivers from the Bengals. In doing so, they have officially waived quarterback Stephen McGee, who initially survived Friday night’s cuts.
Minutes earlier, coach Jason Garrett was asked in his Saturday morning press conference about keeping three quarterbacks on the roster. He said they valued the position and McGee, but Garrett also hinted that it’s the time of year to make tough decisions.
The addition of Cochart could be an indicator of Jason Witten’s availability for Wednesday’s game with the Giants. Witten is expected to practice Saturday for the first time since suffering the lacerated spleen injury.
Cochart played in 10 games last year as a rookie in Cincinnati, including three starts. Considered more of a blocker, Cochart caught five passes for 44 yards and one touchdown in 2011.
The Cowboys have also re-signed eight players to the practice squad, virtually getting everyone back they wanted. The squad includes:
- RB Lance Dunbar
- RB Jamize Olawale
- DT Robert Calloway
- WR Danny Coale
- LB Orie Lemon
- DE Ben Bass
- WR Tim Benford
- G Ronald Leary
Five of the eight players were undrafted rookies.
IRVING — The Dallas Cowboys have parted ways with third-string quarterback Stephen McGee from Texas A&M. The Cowboys cut McGee on Saturday morning, less than 24 hours after they had set their 53-man roster with McGee a part of it.
McGee will be replaced on the 53-man roster by tight end Colin Cochart, who was waived Friday by the Cincinnati Bengals. The 25-year-old Cochart (6-4, 254) was signed by the Bengals in 2011 as an undrafted free agent out of South Dakota State. Cochart was the only undrafted free agent rookie to make the Bengals’ initial 53-man roster last year. He played in 10 games, catching five passes for 44 yards and one touchdown.
McGee, 26, was entering the final year of his rookie contract. He had been the Cowboys’ third-string quarterback since the team selected him in the fourth round of the 2009 draft. He was entering the final year of his contract.
McGee tweeted this out just after his release Saturday, “Thankful for my time in Dallas and the opportunity to meet many wonderful people. God is doing some cool things in this city. Press on.”
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett talked on Saturday morning about how they “value the quarterback” and having three quarterbacks on their roster, but with starting tight end Jason Witten unlikely to play in the season opener Wednesday at the Giants because of his lacerated spleen, the Cowboys felt the need to add a tight end for depth.
Cutting McGee leaves the Cowboys with only two quarterbacks on their roster: Starter Tony Romo and backup Kyle Orton.