COWBOYS VS. BEARS GAME PRIMER: Jason Garrett press conference | 2013 Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears | Sean Lee
Jason Garrett: Controlling own destiny | Sean Lee outlook (19:43)
- Standings and health position heading into December playoff run
- Sean Lee’s outlook as of today
- Dealing with the Lance Dunbar injury/replacement going forward
- Four players worked out for Dunbar’s available roster spot
- Teams need/decision to add a fullback to the Dallas Cowboys roster
- Does bringing in a dedicated FB shift team away from this seasons established routes
- How weather in colder months is affecting the decision to add a full-back
- How extreme cold affects a quarterback
- Addressing recent ‘drops” by Dez Bryant
- Thoughts on rookie RB Joseph Randle becoming more active in the offense
- Tyron’s Smith’s athletic ability and alertness during turnover track-down situations
- Thoughts on facing Jay Ratliff considering all of the circumstances involved
- (quick questions related to Jay Ratliff with Jason Garrett’s turn back to Bears focus)
- Terrance Williams recent rookie slump after few big games during Miles Austin’s absence
- Tyron’s Smith’s improvement this season and what distinguishes him from others
- How he addresses the reputation for the team not ‘finishing’ as the season closes out
- How they kept Sean Lee focused on a healthy return and his healing process
- The keys to the last two wins without Sean Lee in the lineup
- Question above lead to a series of comments related to ‘Next Man Up’
- Plans with strong side linebacker now that Kyle Wilbur has stepped up in that role
- How Kyle Wilbur affects plans with strong side LB Justin Durant’s return this week
- Fitting in flexible Kyle Wilbur who was originally drafted as 3-4 defensive lineman
- Tony Romo’s leadership development over the course of his years in Dallas
- Does any player bring the speed and breakaway traits that Dunbar has shown
- If Tanner/Randle don’t get chances, will ‘lead dog’ RB Murray get more downs
- Comparison of how RB Murray has played before and after his injury this season
- Impact of having to play without Dwayne Harris in the Oakland and Giants games
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Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware missed practice Wednesday with shoulder and elbow injuries. He played in only 59 of 95 plays in Sunday’s game after leaving with a shoulder strain. He left with 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter and returned for one play of overtime. He said Wednesday that he would play Sunday.
Five other players missed practice, which was moved indoors to Cowboys Stadium. Linebacker Brady Poppinga and nose tackle Robert Callaway had travel problems getting back to DFW after the two-day Christmas break. Defensive end Jason Hatcher (thigh) said he would play Sunday. Linebacker Victor Butler (groin) also was out. Nose tackle Jay Ratliff, who had sports hernia surgery two weeks ago, will be out again this week.
Linebacker Alex Albright (knee) was limited.
Receiver Dez Bryant (finger), running back DeMarco Murray (foot), running back Felix Jones (knee) and linebacker Ernie Sims (concussion) were full participants.
RELATED: Jason Hatcher’s thigh will be fine come Sunday, he says
Defensive end Jason Hatcher said he missed practice only as a precaution. His thigh will be "100 percent by the time Sunday comes," Hatcher promises.
"It’s doing good," Hatcher said Wednesday. "I’m a veteran. I understand. I listen to my body. It was one of those days I felt like I should have just rested a little bit more. Tomorrow, I’ll do a little bit more.
"Am I worried about me playing Sunday? No."
Hatcher has had 68 tackles, 4 sacks and 21 quarterback pressures this season.
RELATED: DeMarcus Ware promises to play through pain
Linebacker DeMarcus Ware said he will not wear any type of harness on his strained shoulder nor will be take a pain-killing injection. But he will be in the lineup come Sunday.
"I feel a lot better right now," Ware said Wednesday. "I’m going regardless."
Ware, who already was playing with a hyperextended elbow, had to leave last week’s game with 30 seconds remaining in the third quarter after "tweaking" the shoulder. He returned for a third-down play in overtime. Ware played 59 of 95 plays. He did not practice Wednesday.
"I’m going to tell you something, 75 percent of DeMarcus Ware is probably better than 90 percent of the guys who play the position at the end of the day," Cowboys defensive end Jason Hatcher said. "I’ll take 75 percent vs. no DWare any day. Wherever he is right now, I’ll take it."
Ware has never missed a game in his NFL career and has failed to start only one of 127 games. He didn’t start a 2009 game against New Orleans because of a neck injury.
Ware has 11.5 sacks this season, but only 2.5 have come in the past seven games. He has been without a sack in three of his past five games.
The Cowboys nearly made it through a whole season without having to move a practice indoors, but they now have had to do it twice in three practices. Last Thursday, high winds forced the Cowboys to move their practice to Highland Park High School’s indoor facility. That was the first time Dallas had a practice moved from their outdoor practice facility at Valley Ranch.
Today, the Cowboys will practice at Cowboys Stadium because of slick conditions on their outdoor practice fields. The Cowboys were unable to practice at Cowboys Stadium last week because of the state championship football games played there.
In 2010, the Cowboys moved four practices — three to Cowboys Stadium and one to TCU. In 2011, Dallas moved three practices to the stadium. The Cowboys used indoor facilities at Coppell High School and at Southlake Carroll in 2009 when 13 practices were moved.
The Cowboys have not had an indoor facility since theirs blew down during a severe thunderstorm on May 2, 2009.
Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne said he still needs to pass one concussion test to be able to play Sunday against the Steelers, and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan said Claiborne got dizzy on Thursday.
“He got a little dizzy yesterday, so I’m not sure about his availability for this game,” Ryan said. “But I know he’s doing everything he can, and he’s got to pass these tests.”
Claiborne said he needs to pass an impact test, but that he’s prepared this week as if he will play. Claiborne did not practice Wednesday and was limited Thursday and Friday. The Cowboys listed him as questionable.
“Right now, I’m feeling pretty good,” he said. “It’s still a day-by-day process. It’s just all I can do right now, is take it day by day and see how I feel coming up on game time.”
The Cowboys signed veteran cornerback Michael Coe this week to cover themselves.
“We’ll be fine with him,” Ryan said of Coe. “He’s a good football player. He’s got a lot of talent. He’s a smart kid, so if he needs to play, he’ll play, and we’re excited about him. He’s got a lot of good talent.”
Ryan also praised another cornerback the Cowboys picked up two weeks ago off the New England practice squad, Sterling Moore, who came in against the Bengals when Claiborne went out.
“They let their guard down on him, and we slipped up and gobbled him up,” Ryan said. “He’s been an excellent football player. He’s playing all over the place for us. He’s playing inside. He’s playing outside. He’s playing safety. He’s a smart guy , but he’s a very talented kid and we really got something here with this guy.”
RELATED: Claiborne, Livings, Ware and Bryant questionable
Five Cowboys are listed as questionable for Sunday’s game on today’s injury report: cornerback Morris Claiborne (concussion), offensive guard Nate Livings (concussion), receiver Dez Bryant (finger), linebacker DeMarcus Ware (elbow) and safety Charlie Peprah (foot). Ware did not participate in Friday’s practice. The others were limited.
Among those listed are probable are center Ryan Cook (knee), running back DeMarco Murray (foot), running back Felix Jones (knee) and left tackle Tyron Smith (ankle). Jay Ratliff, who underwent surgery Thursday for a sports hernia, is out for Sunday’s game.
IRVING — Brian Orakpo won’t play. Neither will Sean Lee, Fred Davis, Barry Church, Adam Carriker or Kenyon Coleman. When the Cowboys and Redskins take the field Thursday, many of the principal players for both squads won’t be joining them.
Injuries suffered this season have forced them to the sideline for the foreseeable future and have adversely affected their teams. The Redskins are 4-6. The Cowboys are 5-5. And it seems both clubs would have better records if they had their full complement of frontline starters available.
The misfortune experienced by both Washington and Dallas isn’t some rare occurrence. It happens in the NFL.
But in a league where there is little margin for error, a series of serious injuries can ruin a team’s season or at the very least change its course. Mitigating the impact of the personnel losses is particularly different because the NFL’s economic structure, with its hard salary cap, restricts the financial flexibility needed to add dependable replacements when the stars go down. Quick-fix solutions are usually not attainable.
The teams that already have capable backups in place can survive a stretch when the overall health of their players is nearing a crisis point. The New York Giants did so in 2011. The Green Bay Packers stayed afloat the season before. Both organizations went on to win the Super Bowl after catching the injury bug.
But it’s uncertain whether Redskins or the Cowboys will be able to forge ahead successfully without the players they’ve already lost. In the end, the misfortune may be too much to overcome.
RELATED: Dallas Cowboys Injury and Practice Update
For details … click HERE
IRVING, Texas — Before Cowboys practice on Friday, coach Jason Garrett said starting running back DeMarco Murray was doubtful for Sunday’s game against Cleveland.
Well Murray didn’t practice on Friday at Valley Ranch and he most likely will miss his fifth consecutive game with a sprained foot.
"He is doing more and more each day," Garrett said. "Ran a little bit more yesterday so that’s a positive thing."
Cornerback Mike Jenkins (back) and center Ryan Cook (knee) also missed practice.
Cowboys centers Ryan Cook and Phil Costa were not seen on the field at practice Friday.
Cook, who wasn’t in uniform, headed into the team’s weight room wearing a brace on his right knee. He has missed practice the last two days because of a sore knee.
Costa has been out since injuring his ankle Oct. 21 in a victory over Carolina. With Cook and Costa sidelined, the Cowboys are expected to slide Mackenzy Bernadeau over from right guard. Bernadeau’s spot, in turn, would likely be filled by reserve Derrick Dockery.
With Jenkins out, it allows the Cowboys to give Vince Agnew more snaps in some passing situations.
Tight end John Phillips (ankle) and fullback Lawrence Vickers (knee) were expected to practice. Defensive end Sean Lissemore (ankle), center Phil Costa (ankle) and safety Matt Johnson (hamstring) didn’t practice.
|Name||Position||Injury||Practice Status||Game Status|
|Sean Lissemore||DT||—||Did Not Participate In Practice||—|
|Matt Johnson||S||—||Did Not Participate In Practice||—|
|Mike Jenkins||CB||—||Did Not Participate In Practice||—|
|Dan Connor||LB||—||Full Participation in Practice||—|
|Phil Costa||C||—||Did Not Participate In Practice||—|
|Lawrence Vickers||RB||—||Limited Participation in Practice||—|
|Jay Ratliff||DT||—||Full Participation in Practice||—|
|DeMarco Murray||RB||—||Did Not Participate In Practice||—|
|Ryan Cook||C||—||Did Not Participate In Practice||—|
|John Phillips||TE||—||Limited Participation in Practice||—|
To see the Cleveland Browns injury update, click HERE
The Dallas Cowboys had only two changes to their injury report from Wednesday. Receiver Dwayne Harris (neck) was added to the report as a limited participant, and Jason Hatcher (shin) had a full practice after being limited Wednesday.
But Dez Bryant (hip), DeMarco Murray (foot) and Dan Connor (neck) still are among those who did not practice. Murray is expected to miss a third consecutive game, and Bryant said he expects to play.
Running back Felix Jones again was limited with a bruised knee.
Center Phil Costa (ankle), safety Matt Johnson (hamstring), defensive lineman Sean Lissemore (ankle) and receiver Kevin Ogletree (hamstring) also missed Thursday’s practice. Ogletree said he is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his injured right hamstring later Thursday, but he is not concerned.
Costa still is wearing a walking boot.
Editors Note: Keep up with the Dallas Cowboys (and upcoming opponents) injury and practice status right here, on The Boys Are Back. Click HERE or use find the “Injury Update” page at the top or right side of this blog.
IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys were without two of their top three wide receivers, a starting defensive end and their starting running back for Sunday’s game at Atlanta was limited with a knee injury.
Wide receiver Dez Bryant did not practice because of a sore hip but he is expected to be ready for Sunday’s game at Atlanta. Bryant was hurt as he came crashing down on the turf on a near game-winning touchdown catch Sunday against the New York Giants.
Kevin Ogletree, the team’s No. 3 receiver, did not practice because of a hamstring strain. He was at practice in pads during the open portion of the session to the media.
Defensive end Jason Hatcher did not practice because of a bruised shin. While he is expected to be OK for Sunday’s game, Marcus Spears worked with the starters on Wednesday.
Felix Jones was limited with a bruised knee. He was limited in two of three practices last week but was able to play a full game against the Giants.
Linebacker Dan Connor did not practice because of a stinger that is likely to keep him out of the Falcons’ game. The Cowboys would turn to Orie Lemon and Ernie Sims to replace Connor, who was already subbing for an injured Sean Lee.
Running back DeMarco Murray (foot), center Phil Costa (ankle), defensive end Sean Lissemore (ankle) and safety Matt Johnson (hamstring) did not practice, as expected.
IRVING — The Dallas Cowboys are disappointed with their 2-2 start.
But there is nothing they can do about that now.
So cornerback Brandon Carr said the Dallas Cowboys have let go of the first four games and returned Monday after their bye focused on the second quarter of the season, which arguably features the toughest stretch of the year, with three of the next four on the road.
"Guys are just eager to get out there and to have fun, just to get out there and mix it up a little bit," Carr said Monday.
The upcoming schedule takes them to Baltimore on Sunday, Carolina the next, home against the New York Giants, and then to Atlanta. With a road game at Philadelphia the following week, the Cowboys have four of the next five on the road.
"We have to focus on the now, and the now is the Baltimore Ravens," he said. "This week, getting ourselves prepared both mentally and physically for a 60-minute dogfight, and that’s what we’re going to get."
The best news coming out of last week’s bye is that Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff and a number of other injured defenders are ready to return.
The others include linebacker Anthony Spencer, who missed the Chicago Bears game with a strained pectoral muscle, and defensive end Kenyon Coleman, who missed the past two games with a hyperextended knee.
Ratliff missed the first four games with a high ankle sprain.
He practiced on Monday and should be ready to make his season debut against Baltimore.
"Getting Jay back is like getting three guys back," defensive end Marcus Spears said Monday. "In the nickel packages, in the base packages and then teams actually game plan for Jay Ratliff."
Center Phil Costa practiced Monday for the first time since going out with a back injury on the first series in the season opener against the New York Giants.
He worked with the first team and appears ready to step back into the starting lineup for Ryan Cook, who replaced him the past three games.
Though Cook missed practiced on Monday because of a lingering hamstring issue, Costa’s possible return to the lineup could give the line comfort and improve the communication, hopefully resulting in better protection and few false starts.
The Cowboys signed former North Texas running back Lance Dunbar to the active roster from the practice squad and signed receiver Raymond Radway to the practice squad.
Dunbar, an undrafted free agent who played in high school at Haltom, was added to help the kickoff return unit. He will also be a gunner on punt coverage, but his biggest role is on kickoff returns where Felix Jones ranks 24th in the NFL, averaging 21.5 yards per return.
The Cowboys’ average starting field position on kickoff is the 19-yard line, ranking 31st in the league.
"They just want somebody to make plays, get past the 20," Dunbar said Monday.
"I think I can do that. This is my time. I can’t let it pass."
IRVING — Multiple Cowboys players who had been sidelined with injuries were seen in uniform at practice today at Valley Ranch.
Nose tackle Jay Ratliff, who had been out since suffering a left high-ankle sprain Aug. 25, was stretching along with center Phil Costa, who hasn’t played since hurting his back on the first offensive series of the Cowboys’ victory over the New York Giants on Sept. 5. Also back was rookie safety Matt Johnson (hamstring/back), linebacker Alex Albright (neck) and Kenyon Coleman, who missed the previous two games with a right knee injury.
It’s uncertain how much activity all four players will be involved in Wednesday because an official practice report won’t be released by the club.
Among the players who were not present or weren’t in uniform were linebacker Anthony Spencer (strained pectoral muscle), center Ryan Cook (strained left hamstring), punter Chris Jones (left knee) and tight end John Phillips.
NO WALKTHROUGH: Dallas Cowboys adopt "training camp mode" for today’s workout before players take break
Instead of a walkthrough, Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said today’s workout at Valley Ranch will involve “more of a training camp mode” in the wake of Monday’s 34-18 loss to the Chicago Bears. It will be the Cowboys’ only workout of the week before players take a four-day break and return to work Monday to begin preparations for the team’s next game, Oct. 14 at Baltimore.
Garrett said he reviewed videotapes with players this morning and the team will work today “in helmets and shells … Cowboys vs. Cowboys in the practice, more of a training camp mode” before taking time off for their bye week. Garrett said he stressed the importance of responsible, off-field behavior to players during their break.
“That’s always something you try to address with them whenever they have time off and they’re going to be away for a little bit. Just remind them of what we’re trying to get accomplished here and who they are and how they want to represent themselves, their families and our teams,” Garrett said.
Jason Garrett speaks to the Dallas media as his team prepares to take the field for their final practice before the bye week.
Click HERE to watch video – duration 10:28
The long road to recovery for Mike Jenkins should end Saturday, when he’s eligible to begin practicing for the first time since his shoulder surgery.
Head coach Jason Garrett said the Dallas Cowboys doctors gave Jenkins an in-house exam and forwarded that information to Dr. James Andrews, who gave the cornerback permission to return and avoid the Physically Unable to Perform List to begin the season.
Jenkins fought through injuries throughout 2011, including shoulder, hamstring and neck issues, to finish tied for the team lead with 10 pass deflections.
“He hasn’t practiced a whole lot of football in a while,” Garrett said. “Conditioning is certainly a factor, getting himself acclimated to just playing football is a factor. We’ll evaluate him day by day. It’s good to see that he is cleared. It’s going to be good to have him out on the practice field on Saturday.”
Garrett isn’t concerned with how much Jenkins will play or how they’ll use the fifth-year defensive back yet. He just wants to see him running in full pads with the team. Garrett said during training camp that Jenkins would have to practice before he could start playing in games.
“All we want to do with Mike Jenkins is get him back on the practice field, see how he’s moving around,” Garrett said. “We’re not overly focused on any particular role that he has.”
Jenkins started the last three seasons at right cornerback after winning the job in 2009. Following the acquisitions of first-round pick Morris Claiborne and free agent Brandon Carr, Jenkins role is still unclear this year. Garrett said he hasn’t had any conversations with Jenkins about playing special teams.
IRVING — Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten isn’t idle anymore. He was working on the resistance cord with an athletic trainer during the early part of the team’s Monday morning practice at Valley Ranch.
Witten was told he needed to be idle for seven to 10 days after he lacerated his spleen during the Cowboys’ first preseason game at Oakland on Aug. 13. His status for the season opener Sept. 5 at the Giants is still in doubt. He’ll learn more about his condition when he visits a doctor Tuesday.
Other notables from the first 20 minutes of the Cowboys’ practice Monday (that was all the media was allowed to observe):
- WR Dez Bryant was also working on the resistance cord with an athletic trainer. He’s battling tendinitis in his right knee, but he’s expected to play in the season opener.
- Starting center Phil Costa was in uniform and working with the first-team offensive line in practice. He’s been out with a back injury since Aug. 10.
- WR Miles Austin and LB DeMarcus Ware — both nursing hamstring injuries — weren’t in uniform for practice. Neither was CB Mike Jenkins (right shoulder). Austin and Ware are expected to be ready to play in the season opener. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said that Austin wouldn’t likely return to practice until the end of the week (in other words, at the earliest Thursday, the day after the Cowboys’ preseason finale against Miami). Jenkins won’t likely play in the season opener because he has yet to fly to Florida to visit with Dr. James Andrews again and be released to practice.
- Third-round pick DE Tyrone Crawford missed practice Monday morning because he was sick.