The Dallas Cowboys released long snapper Charley Hughlett, tackle Levy Adcock, punter Delbert Alvarado, tight end Harry Flaherty, receiver David Little, tackle Tyrone Novikoff, receiver Raymond Radway, running back Javarris Williams and cornerback C.J. Wilson. They also waived/injured receiver Donavon Kemp and linebacker Caleb McSurdy.
Kevin Kowalski, a guard/center who hasn’t been able to go at all since the start of training camp, has been placed on the physically unable to perform list.
An MRI on Dez Bryant‘s injured knee revealed patellar tendinitis, according to a source, which should only require rest before the star receiver can return to practice.
Bryant hurt his knee Monday practicing against the Chargers when he slipped coming out of a break. The MRI revealed no major structural damage and provides a much less severe diagnosis than originally feared when Bryant limped off the field. It’s unknown at this time how long Bryant will be out.
Patellar tendinitis is also known as "jumper’s knee," and occurs most frequently in athletes who jump routinely, as Bryant did when he soared into the air to snag a ball in the back of the end zone Saturday.
The Cowboys are short in receiving threats, with Miles Austin and Jason Witten both sidelined. A spleen injury to Witten and a lingering hamstring issue for Austin raised the dependence on Bryant in the passing game. Bryant was one of the few starters not dealing with an injury in training camp, besides missing the end of a practice in Oxnard, Calif., with a sore hamstring.
The receivers finished Saturday’s preseason game healthy against the Chargers, but they couldn’t stay on the field in Monday’s practice against San Diego, as Bryant, Andre Holmes and Donavon Kemp joined the injury list.
Kemp also suffered a knee injury and Holmes left with a sore back. Wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said he knew Holmes’ tight back flared up on him, but he didn’t see what happened to Bryant, who slipped coming out of a break and limped off the field.
“Hopefully it’s not anything too serious,” Robinson said.
Bryant’s been on point with Tony Romo throughout the preseason, making athletic catches routinely, including a one-handed grab in the back of the end zone against the Chargers that was called back for a penalty and ruled out of bounds. Bryant didn’t play much against the Chargers, catching two passes for 15 yards on three targets.
Kevin Ogletree took a majority of the first-team snaps in practice after Bryant’s departure. He said Bryant “became a man” this offseason and preseason with his consistent play.
Ogletree also didn’t see the play that forced Bryant to the sidelines.
“We all know his talents and how hard he works and his determination and drive and competitiveness,” Ogletree said. “You can give a bunch of words to describe his role on the team and how important he is to us. He’s a leader, one of our best players and I’m praying for him. I’m sure he’ll be fine. He’s a strong kid.”
The injury to Austin already bumped Ogletree to the starter opposite Bryant. His practice reps increased more when Bryant left Monday.
He said the practices at the end of training camp are essential with the Sept. 5 opener against the Giants looming in a couple weeks.
“It was a great opportunity for myself and some of the other young guys to get some extra practice reps with some unfamiliar corners and secondary’s and defenses,” Ogletree said. “It’s something I think we took advantage of as a group today.”
PHOTO: Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant appears to get both feet down inbounds while making a touchdown reception in Saturday’s preseason game vs. San Diego. ‘Holding’ was called on the Dallas offensive line. Tony Romo appeared to be throwing the ball away, and Dez Bryant leaped up and caught the ball with one hand.
A Cowboys team that can’t afford to lose any more offensive skill players holds its breath as it awaits the result of an MRI on Dez Bryant’s right knee.
The receiver suffered the injury during a one-on-one drill in the early part of Monday’s practice with San Diego and didn’t return. On his way to have the MRI, Bryant replied “yeah’’ when asked by reporters if he was OK.
The club won’t know if he is OK until it receives the results later today.
“Hopefully this injury is not too severe,’’ head coach Jason Garrett said. “But if it is, we’ll deal with it and go forward.’’
The offense has had a lot to deal with this training camp. Receiver Miles Austin hurt his hamstring and has been held out since the opening days of camp. Tight end Jason Witten lacerated his spleen against Oakland and has availability for the regular-season opener on Sept. 5 is in doubt.
That left quarterback Tony Romo without his three top targets for the majority of Monday’s practice. Kevin Ogletree and Dwayne Harris lined up with the starters with John Phillips at tight end.
“Dez has become a man out here,’’ Ogletree said. “We all know his talents, how hard he works, his drive and competitiveness. He’s one of our best players.
“I’m praying for him. I’m sure he’ll be fine.’’
Garrett and owner Jerry Jones have both commented that Bryant’s conditioning is noticeably improved in this camp compared to his first two. Bryant did have him hamstring tighten up two days before the Cowboys played the Raiders, but he played in that game and hauled in a 24-yard reception from Romo.
“Dez has been outstanding,’’ Garrett said. “He’s been outstanding all through the off-season. He really came back committed to being in the best shape possible. He’s practiced really well.
“I think he’s matured in a lot of ways as a receiver.’’
Receivers Andre Holmes (back) and Donovan Kemp (left knee) were also forced to leave practice early with injuries.
Here’s what stood out from Day 11 of Cowboys’ training camp practices Saturday in Oxnard, Calif.:
- The Cowboys spent a lot of time working on their hurry-up offense Saturday and working more on situational plays. The defense had the upper hand most of the practice.
- Actor Ashton Kutcher was in attendance for the Saturday afternoon practice. He spent some time watching practice with owner Jerry Jones and talked with QB Tony Romo after the practice.
- Recently signed veteran OL Derrick Dockery took first-team left guard repetitions and Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ronald Leary continued to rotate at first-team right guard.
- With starting C Phil Costa out with a back injury, David Arkin took first-team reps at center with Harland Gunn at second-team center and Pat McQuistan at third team. Over the last three days, McQuistan has seen work at offensive tackle, blocking tight end and now at center.
- During the morning walkthrough, QB Tony Romo and C David Arkin spent some extra time working on shotgun snaps, which have been one of the big issues of camp because of all the injuries at center.
- QB Tony Romo gave some fans high-fives along the fence line as he came out onto the field for the afternoon practice and stopped to sign a few autographs. That’s been rare for him this camp.
- WR Raymond Radway continues to fade. He struggled catching kickoff returns early and also had his problems during team drills. Radway appeared to run the wrong route – going long instead of breaking his route short – during team drills. QB Kyle Orton threw the pass underneath as Radway streaked down the field, allowing safety Danny McCray to make an easy interception. Later, Radway dropped a pass in team drills.
- WR Dez Bryant used a double move in 1-on-1 drills to beat CB Brandon Carr for a touchdown deep. Bryant then beat rookie CB Morris Claiborne for a catch along the left sideline. Bryant, however, missed the last half of the afternoon practice because of tightness in his hamstring.
- In 1-on-1 drills, WR Donovan Kemp dropped a pass on a slant route. WR Cole Beasley also had a drop along the right sideline. CB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah intercepted a pass intended for WR David Little. WR Tim Benford had a drop after beating CB Mario Butler in coverage. WR Andre Holmes used three moves to finally get free from Owusu-Ansah and make a catch. CB C.J. Wilson dropped a pass intended for Beasley that he should have intercepted.
- Twice during 1-on-1 drills, speedy CB Teddy Williams ran step-for-step down the sideline with WR Kevin Ogletree and WR Raymond Radway. Tony Romo didn’t even attempt a pass with Williams blanketing Ogletree, and the pass to Radway was incomplete. Both times, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan yelled, “Nice coverage, Teddy.”
- In individual receiving drills and during team drills, RB Javarris Williams dropped passes in the flat.
- LT Tyron Smith had a false start during a hurry-up situation inside the red zone. The offensive line scrambled to get to the line of scrimmage in a hurry and before Tony Romo snapped the ball to spike it, Smith moved.
- CB Brandon Carr had a pass breakup in the end zone against WR Kevin Ogletree on a pass from Tony Romo.
- Safety Barry Church continued his strong play by breaking up a pass from Tony Romo intended for TE Jason Witten near the goal line. Church nearly intercepted the pass.
- Safety Gerald Sensabaugh broke up a pass in the end zone from Tony Romo and almost intercepted the ball.
- RB DeMarco Murray dropped a quick pass out to the left flat from Tony Romo.
- CB Orlando Scandrick had good coverage on WR Andrew Holmes on a deep past down the left sideline from Tony Romo. The ball was overthrown and Scandrick almost intercepted the pass, getting one hand on it.
- LB DeMarcus Ware would have sacked Tony Romo during team drills, flying past him before he threw the ball.
- WR Dwayne Harris dropped a pass to the left side from QB Kyle Orton. Safety Danny McCray was there with tight coverage.
- LB Bruce Carter broke up a pass over the middle from Tony Romo, but the ball hit both of his hands and he should have made the interception.
- On back-to-back plays during team drills, the secondary maintained tight coverage and QB Kyle Orton would have been sacked both times.
- CB Brandon Carr knocked down a quick pass out to the right side intended for WR Kevin Ogletree from QB Tony Romo in a hurry-up situation.
- The Cowboys’ first-team offense was finally able to score late in practice in a hurry-up situation, with QB Tony Romo connecting with TE Jason Witten for a short touchdown pass.
- WR Andre Holmes used his 6-4 height to pull down a Hail Mary pass to end team drills with a touchdown catch from QB Kyle Orton. Holmes jumped over a pack of players in the middle of the end zone to pull down the ball.
This roster is jammed full at 90 players. That’s a lot of guys of course, but over the last few months, with a dozen practices and several other days trying to come up with stories to write, you’d think just about every guy is mentioned somewhere.
Either someone got twisted an ankle here, made a great catch there, or did anything to get mentioned in a possible position battle.
But with 90 players, a few can get overlooked. Maybe it’s a bad thing, but maybe it’s not the end of the world, considering how we like to mention guys who make mistakes or struggle.
Either way, here’s a group of five guys who just haven’t been heard from too much over the last month.
Maybe that will change for the better – or worse – come training camp.
G Harland Gunn – A rookie free agent from Miami, Gunn somewhat resembles fellow undrafted rookie Ron Leary, but Jerry Jones certainly didn’t mention his name in the post-draft press conference like he did Leary. And he’s definitely rotating first-team snaps at guard like Leary. Gunn needs to take advantage of those late preseason game snaps.
WR Donovan Kemp – There are a lot of players vying for those backup spots and even a few undrafted guys like Cole Beasley and Tim Benford have flashed potential. For now, Kemp hasn’t really made any noise. For some positions, it’s not always a bad thing, but receivers are one of the few spots where you can get noticed in a non-padded practice. Kemp, an undrafted rookie from UTEP, needs to come on strong at camp, especially in those first few practices when it’s only rookies and quarterbacks out there.
LB Isaiah Greenhouse – He’s the only player on this list who was actually here last year. But while Greenhouse made some news by switching positions and jersey numbers – moving from LB to FB, so far he’s been rather quiet since he’s moved back to LB. Then again, we haven’t seen a ton of special teams drills. That’s where Greenhouse will have to make his mark, and force the Cowboys to keep him because he’s one of the best kick-covering players on the squad.
FB Jamize Olawale – You’d like being a local guy from North Texas, he’d get some attention. But that UNT love is going to fellow undrafted rookie RB Lance Dunbar. Olawale caught the Cowboys’ attention in the rookie minicamp when he was invited as a tryout guy and ended up getting signed. So far, he hasn’t really made a splash, especially since Lawrence Vickers is here, with 2011 draft pick Shaun Chapas behind him. Like many other rookies, big plays in preseason games and/or special teams is vital.
FS Eddie Whitley – The rookie from Virginia Tech is probably the most under-the-radar player on this entire team right now. And that’s too bad considering safety has always needed an upgrade and Gerald Sensabaugh and Matt Johnson have missed most of the summer. What could help Whitley in the preseason games is special teams. Virginia Tech players have traditionally been good in the kicking game because it’s of high importance at his school. But Whitley will need that, and a few big plays on specials teams to get over that radar.
Ok, so there’s a handful of guys. Someone else who follows this team might have had a completely different five that likely would’ve includes guys such as LB Baraka Atkins, OT Tyrone Novikoff, LS Charley Hughlett, DE Ben Bass and OT Jeff Adams.
Then again, it’s not always a bad thing to be on here. Some players are missing because they have been noticed – for all the wrong reasons.
Don’t forget it’s late June. Offseason work is over but the real stuff begins in late July. I wouldn’t be surprised if a guy like Romo or Austin would’ve been on this same list when they were rookie free agents years ago.
Courtesy: Nick Eatman
WIDE RECEIVER ROSTER RACE: Dwayne Harris, better versed in playbook, expects tough competition in training camp
Dwayne "Hairy” Harris said he expects a tough competition for the receiver spots in training camp.
The second-year receiver, a sixth-round pick out of East Carolina a year ago, is in the running with Kevin Ogletree, Andre Holmes, Raymond Radway and Danny Coale, at a minimum, for the third, fourth and fifth receiver spots, if the Cowboys keep that many.
But the Cowboys will also have three undrafted rookies in camp, Donavon Kemp, Tim Benford and Saalim Hakim.
That’s a lot of competition for three spots behind Miles Austin and Diamond Dez Bryant.
“It’s going to be tough,” he said Thursday at Cowboys Stadium after the final minicamp practice of the offseason. “Everybody wants a roster spot. Everybody wants to show the coaches what they can do. I wouldn’t expect anybody to come out here and not give their all. It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be fun.”
Harris allowed himself a bit of a smile at that thought. He’s already been through a training camp and won a job. He did it last year, making the team after averaging 23 yards on six catches in the preseason, including a 76-yard touchdown.
This year, he’ll have more of a head start, thanks to the OTAs and minicamp he didn’t have last year.
“Every day I got a little better, progressed every day,” he said. “My knowledge of the playbook got better every day. I think just the whole offseason helped out a lot. Last year, we didn’t have this much time to learn the playbook. It was harder for the rookies coming in. I think this year made it easier for everybody.”
Harris did not catch a pass in the regular season last year. He returned 15 punts and eight kickoffs. His 28.9 average on kickoff returns led the team.