Tag Archives: Harland Gunn

OFFICIAL ROSTER CUTS: Dallas Cowboys down to 53 players.

The Dallas Cowboys just officially announced their cuts today. There aren’t any surprises, but here’s the complete list from the team:

  • Jeff Adams OT
  • Baraka Atkins LB
  • Ben Bass DT
  • Tim Benford WR
  • Robert Callaway DT
  • Rudy Carpenter QB
  • Shaun Chapas FB
  • Danny Coale WR
  • Lance Dunbar RB
  • Clifton Geathers DT
  • Harland Gunn OG
  • Saalim Hakim WR
  • Adrian Hamilton LB
  • Ronald Leary OG
  • Orie Lemon LB
  • Jamize Olawale RB
  • Pat McQuistan OT
  • Akwasi Owusu-Ansah CB
  • Lionel Smith CB
  • Andrew Szczerba TE
  • Eddie Whitley S
  • Teddy Williams CB

Among those players cut, the Cowboys would probably want to bring back these players for their practice squad, which can’t be set until 11 a.m. Saturday:

  • QB Rudy Carpenter,
  • WR Danny Coale,
  • RB Lance Dunbar,
  • LB Orie Lemon,
  • RB Jamize Olawale,
  • LB Andrian Hamilton
  • OG Ronald Leary

The Cowboys waived/injured guard Daniel Loper on Friday night.

The Cowboys traded their 2013 seventh-round draft pick to Miami for center/guard Ryan Cook on Friday morning. Cook, a seven-year veteran out of New Mexico, was originally a second round pick (51st overall) in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He played his first five years with the Vikings before signing with Miami as a free agent on September 5, 2011. Cook has started 40-of-77 career games, making starts at right tackle, right guard and at center.

GAMEDAY: Dallas Cowboys vs. San Diego Chargers – What to watch for

The Dallas Cowboys face the San Diego Chargers in the second game of the preseason. Here’s a preview:

Who’s not playing: It would take you an hour to figure out who’s not playing for the Cowboys. We give you the highlights: OLB DeMarcus Ware, OLB Anthony Spencer, WR Miles Austin, TE Jason Witten, G Nate Livings, NT Jay Ratliff and C Phil Costa are the projected starters who will miss the game.

Injured Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten watches from the sidelines during Dallas Cowboys training camp - The Boys Are Back blog

The starters play how much, again?: Jason Garrett wanted the first-team offense to go about 8-to-10 plays in the preseason opener at Oakland. Tonight, maybe into the second quarter, with center David Arkin expected to go into the third, maybe fourth quarter. When Arkin comes out, expect Harland Gunn to take over the center snaps. With second-team tackle Jeremy Parnell out, Jeff Adams slide in and take some snaps. Safety Barry Church played with the second team a little bit at Oakland. It could continue again.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Raymond Radway (86) during Dallas Cowboys training camp - The Boys Are Back blog

Who needs to play well: It’s easy to say everybody, but based off the Raiders game and the last two days of practice, we’ve come up with a few names: WR Raymond Radway, CB Morris Claiborne, DE Marcus Spears, DE Kenyon Coleman, CB Mario Butler and G Ronald Leary.

Mo debuts: First-round pick Morris Claiborne will make his NFL debut at the Chargers. He’s not sure if he’ll start, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the Cowboys come out in a three-cornerback setup with Orlando Scandrick and Brandon Carr alongside Claiborne. The rookie needs the snaps against different competition and he might play the entire first half. He’s battled Dez Bryant, Kevin Ogletree among others for nearly two weeks of practices, when he’s been healthy, so it will be interesting to see him against someone else.

About the series: If you’re scoring at home, this is the 14th meeting between the teams. Dallas holds the preseason series advantage at 7-6. The Chargers won the last meeting, in 2009, 20-17.

Calvin Watkins

RELATED: Five players to watch vs. San Diego Chargers

Preseason game No. 2 kicks off tonight at Qualcomm Stadium against San Diego Chargers and for some players their time to make an impression is running out.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree (85) during Dallas Cowboys training camp - The Boys Are Back blog

Here is a look at five guys to watch:

Alex Albright – He was everywhere against Oakland on Monday, credited with a game-high nine tackles, and he will start tonight because of DeMarcus Ware’s absence due to a slight hamstring strain. Albright is a virtual lock to make the team, but he can show he can be a regular contributor on the defense with a good performance. He will also play some inside linebacker again, which would help the team’s ability to carry more players at other positions when they make the final cuts.

Mario Butler – After a so-so offseason, Butler has done much better when the pads came on. He is not the fastest or quickest, but he has a knack for being in the right spot at the right time. He understands his limitations and stays out of trouble. He can play in the slot some and has taken some turns at safety. As the Cowboys ponder how many corners and safeties to keep, Butler could be that swing guy the way Alan Ball was a swing guy for a few seasons.

Ronald Leary – He came in with a lot of acclaim as an undrafted free agent but he has leveled off over the last week of camp. Against Oakland he tired and did not fire off the ball as well as he had been earlier in camp. The Cowboys have guaranteed him $214,000, a high number for an undrafted player, so he should make the team, but with a good showing tonight he could still work his way into the starting lineup or at least one of the active offensive linemen on Sundays.

Kevin Ogletree – Nobody likes hearing this but Ogletree has had a nice camp. Of the guys competing for the No. 3 receiver spot he has the most ability to play as a starter should something happen to Miles Austin or Dez Bryant. He does not help much on special teams but if he can prove to be reliable and make plays regardless of the quarterback tonight, he can cement a spot on the roster. Even with Andre Holmes good outing vs. the Raiders, Ogletree is still the leader for the No. 3 spot.

Mana Silva – He was a late-season pickup in 2011 after he was signed of Buffalo’s practice squad and had four special teams’ tackles. He had an interception to clinch the win at Oakland on Monday and Rob Ryan is intrigued about this prospect. Silva, however, will need to make his mark on special teams to make a dent because the Cowboys still like Matt Johnson’s potential even though the fourth-round pick has taken part in one full-padded practice in camp.

Todd Archer

GAMEDAY: 5 things to watch in tonight’s Dallas Cowboys vs. Oakland Raiders preseason opener

Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Bruce Carter, right, appears to be in the lead for one of the Cowboys' starting inside spots - The Boys Are Back blog

After two weeks of training camp, the Dallas Cowboys are ready to hit someone else. They will get that chance tonight in their preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders. Don’t expect to see many of the front-line players on the field for more than a series, because this game is more about the backups and young players.

The Cowboys will get a good look tonight at rookie receiver Cole Beasley, left, while Dez Bryant will play little or not at all - The Boys Are Back blog

  • The Cowboys had planned to take an extended look at the backup receivers battling for the No. 3 job even before Dez Bryant and Miles Austin suffered hamstring injuries. Look for Kevin Ogletree and Dwayne Harris to start with the starters sidelined. But the question is whether Cole Beasley, Andre Holmes and Tim Benford, who have played the best in camp, can continue to perform under the lights and the pressure of a game.
  • Who’s at center? With Phil Costa nursing an ailing back and Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski sidelined indefinitely, it will be mystery meat for the Cowboys at the position. David Arkin is expected to start, but he has struggled with snaps all camp. Linemen Harland Gunn and Pat McQuistan also have been cross-trained at center and will play there tonight.
  • Bruce Carter, who has had a strong camp, is the favorite to win the inside linebacker job opposite Sean Lee. But the starting spot will not be given to Carter. He will share first-team reps against the Raiders with veteran Dan Connor as they have done in practice the past two weeks. Carter has shown range, coverage ability and a nose for the football, but must show it in a game.
  • Rookie defensive end Tyrone Crawford had been one of the raves of camp because of his quickness and pass rush skills. Thought to be a project, Crawford has been a quick study and could vie for immediate playing time. He will get a look at left and right end and tackle on passing downs.
  • Quarterback Tony Romo and the first-team offense and defense likely will go one series, or certainly no more than eight or nine plays. The Cowboys don’t want to risk injuries to their front-line players. Several starters are not expected to play due to injury, including Austin, Costa, nose tackle Jay Ratliff and defensive end Jason Hatcher. Bryant’s status is a game-time decision.

Courtesy: Clarence E. Hill Jr.

DAY 11 TRAINING CAMP: Dallas Cowboys Observation Deck

Dallas safety Brodney Pool (23) covers receiver Andre Holmes (15) during Dallas Cowboys Training Camp - The Boys Are Back blog

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.

Brandon George

BIGGEST CONCERN – 2012 SEASON: The Dallas Cowboys offensive line

LT Tyron Smith Jermey Parnell Jeff Adams Tyrone Novikoff
LG Nate Livings Derrick Dockery Ronald Leary
C Phil Costa Bill Nagy Kevin Kowalski Harland Gunn
RG Mackenzy Bernadeau David Arkin Daniel Loper
RT Doug Free Pat McQuistan Levy Adcock

RED: Injury concerns

Injuries piling up at Center, starting to become a concern

When the Dallas Cowboys arrived at training camp nearly two weeks ago, the center position was hardly a concern.

Not only did they have a young starter in Phil Costa entering his second full season at center, but they had two second-year backups that have versatility to play guard.

But a high-ankle sprain to Bill Nagy, coupled with a nagging ankle injury for Kevin Kowalski that got worse, and suddenly the center spot has the Cowboys scratching their heads as they prepare to start the preseason Monday night in Oakland.

Do they go get a veteran center and crowd the position even more, or simply try to make do and piece the position together until either one of the young guys catches on or the injured players return.

For now, it sounds like the Cowboys are going with Option No. 2. But don’t think they haven’t done their due diligence with the first option as well.

“Trust me, we’ve scoured the short lists,” head coach Jason Garrett said in regards to free-agent center. “We’ve talked to different agents about trying to address that. Right now, we feel like the best way to address it is with the guys we have in house. If someone comes available that is attractive to us, we’ll certainly address it that way.”

For now, the Cowboys are using the players on the roster to patch up the center spot, particularly with the backup spots.

Guards David Arkin and Harland Gunn have worked at center in practice and on Thursday, tackle/guard Pat McQuistan took a few snaps before practice.

Costa isn’t expected to have much competition now for the starting job, but don’t be surprised if the Cowboys at least explore the option of using Mackenzy Bernadeau at center, at least as a backup.

While he on Thursday was practicing for the first time since joining the Cowboys, Bernadeau might be an option down the line. For now, he’s a guard and that’s where the focus will remain.

“We’ve just got to see him play guard first,” Garrett said. “That’s where he’s most comfortable. That’s one of the things that we liked about him when we signed him in free agency was his position flex. He has played center, had the ball in his hands before, so that’s a positive thing. But right now we just want to see him break the huddle and play some football first and foremost, and hopefully he’ll function in practice and keep growing day-by-day.”

In the last few days, there have been several poor snaps, with botched shotguns and quarterback-center exchanges. Garrett, a former quarterback in his own right, said most of the center issues this team has stem from injury.

“We felt very good about our center, our backup center, our third center, the guys who can play both center and guard going into training camp – we just had a rash of injuries,” Garrett said. “So you try to adjust as best as you can. Arkin’s done a nice job. He hasn’t snapped before in his life and he’s just taking snaps at guard and then he goes over and he’s trying to learn to play center. We’re trying to cross-train some other guys. It’s part of what you go through when you have a rash of injuries at a particular position. You just try to scramble a little bit and come up with a way to handle it.”

Players on the street include former Cowboys Pro Bowler Andre Gurode, along with other vets Jeff Faine, Jason Brown and Jamaal Jackson.

But most of those guys would likely come in looking to start. The Cowboys have that guy in Costa, whom the coaches and scouts will say has improved tremendously over the offseason.

Costa said his on-field communication with the starting quarterback has been one of the most important aspects he’s tried to improve this year.

“Being on the same page with Tony is really important, making the calls and helping him out in that respect is important,” Costa said. “I’ve been working on the techniques and that makes a big difference.”
Garrett said he’s seen a different player in Costa this year.

“We have more confidence in him. He’s played center for us in games, and for the most part he’s done a pretty decent job,” Garrett said. “He’s had some hiccups over the last year or so with that as well. When you have the ball in your hands it’s a big responsibility. There’s a reason why centers typically are among the smartest guys up on the offensive line because they can handle some of that responsibility, intellectually and also the responsibility that comes with having the ball in your hands. So we’re always working on it, we’re always emphasizing it to our team. We’ve just got to do it better.”

Nick Eatman

EDITORS NOTE: Excellent video below. You owe to to yourself to check out this show. An MP3 download is also available for your computer or phone. Enjoy!

VIDEO - Cowboys Break show - The Boys Are Back blog

Cowboys Break: Who Makes Team On O-Line (Press PLAY to watch/listen)

The Break takes a look at the offensive line today as they continue to break down a position each day of training camp. Duration: 1:01:35 (Download the MP3 HERE)

RELATED: Jerry Jones not concerned about bad snaps, said that’s what practice is for

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is not concerned about the spate of bad snaps that have turned practice into a circus at times. He said he has no interest in signing a center just to get through practice and believes centers Phil Costa and David Arkin will improve.

“That is what practice is about,” Jones said. “That gives you a good chance to see if the guy can think about the snap as well as concentrate on what he is doing out there. Arkin hasn’t been doing this much, so I give him some slack. Costa needs more consistency.

Clarence Hill

RELATED: Derrick Dockery takes a few snaps with first team

Veteran guard Derrick Dockery who joined the team a week into training camp has opened a few eyes of late.

So much so that he has thrown himself into the competition for a possible starting job with Nate Livings, Mackenzy Bernadeau, Ron Leary and David Arkin. Dockery alternated some first team reps in practice with Arkin on Thursday.

“I was impressed with Dockery today,” owner Jerry Jones said. “Dockery has a chance to be what he wasn’t last year because of his late arrival last year and his injury situation last year. He did look impressive out there to me.”

Bernadeau and Livings were signed in free agency to be the starters but both have missed time in camp with injury. Bernadeau practiced on Thursday for the first time, alternating at the other guard spot with Leary.

If Dockery continues to impress, it could give the Cowboys even more of a chance to try Bernadeau at center where he compete with Phil Costa.

Clarence Hill

RELATED: Mackenzy Bernadeau excited to practice for first time

Guard Mackenzy Bernadeau took practice reps with the Cowboys first time in camp.

Actually they were his first reps since joining the Cowboys in free agency with a four-year, $11 million contract after spending the first four years of his career with the Panthers.

He has been sidelined since May because of hip and knee surgeries and began training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

"Yeah it’s always good to get reps with your teammates," Bernadeau said. "I’m excited about that. I’m feeling great. I want to get in there and get as many reps as I can.

It’s been a while since I’ve been out there with the guys. Getting the reps, being there, working hard and being able to hit people will be fun."

Bernadeau alternated first team reps with rookie free agent Ron Leary but that’s just part of the process for Leary who was signed to help solidify the Cowboys offensive line.

Bernadeau said he was eager to prove himself to his teammates.

"Yeah you have to earn the respect of your teammates," Bernadeau said.  "We have a great group of guys here that I’ve worked with. I’ve got their respect but you still want to prove yourself on the field every day and every practice. So I look forward to doing that."

Bernadeau will work first at guard but the Cowboys will give him some reps at center as well in hopes that he can compete with Phil Costa for the starting job or at least give them an option there in case of injury. Costa’s primary two backups and would be competitors for the starting job _ Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski _ are sidelined for the entire preseason and possible into the regular season with ankle injuries.

Bernadeau took some snaps in some preseason games in Carolina but none in the regular season. He said he is ready to do whatever is asked of him.

"I’m just going to do what I’m told," Bernadeau said. "I’ll be ready to compete."

Clarence Hill

MOUNTING FRUSTRATION: Jerry Jones holding his breath about O Line even before todays injury to Phil Costa

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was already worried about the interior offensive line and holding its breath about whether it would hold up in front of quarterback Tony Romo.

And that was before center Phil Costa left practice on Friday with a back injury. David Arkin took reps in his place on the first team.

The Cowboys don’t believe the injury is serious but it came at a bad time with just one practice remaining before the preseason opener against the Raiders.

It’s also another setback for the interior offensive line that is already without three players because of injury in guard Bill Nagy (ankle), center Kevin Kowalski (ankle) and guard Nate Livings (hamstring). Guard Mackenzy Bernadeau returned to practice this week for first team after being undergoing hip and knee surgeries in the offseason.

The Cowboys have not decided if he will play against the Raiders as they choosing to remain cautious.

It all Jones admittedly frustrated.

"I think frustration is probably good in this case," Jones said.  I must tell you that I am holding my breath a little bit because I need the interior of this line to be a source of confidence for Tony and to feel good about his protection in there. We can talk about the running game. I know that helps protect him in our passing game. But I look at it principally by it beginning with protection for him. That’s got me a little angst right now, but I am liking some of the things I am seeing in there, although Costa raised his head late out here in the afternoon, but I don’t know how serious it is."

Clarence Hill | FWST

RELATED: Injury Report: Phil Costa hurts lower back

The Dallas Cowboys were just starting to get healthy and then center Phil Costa hurt his lower back and missed the last 45 minutes of practice Friday afternoon. David Arkin and Harland Gunn moved up the depth chart to get snaps. Costa’s status is uncertain, but it comes at a bad time with the Cowboys having just one more practice before the preseason opener at Oakland on Monday night.

Other notes:

  • Nose tackle Jay Ratliff got some more snaps in practice Friday after getting — well sneaking — in one snap Thursday afternoon. Ratliff (foot) looked pretty good moving around on the field. After he came out, Ratliff had a chat with the trainers to talk about how he’s feeling. Ratliff is used to playing with power and quickness and he displayed that Friday.
  • Tight end John Phillips didn’t practice in pads but did pat-and-go without a helmet in the walkthrough.
  • Guard Mackenzy Bernadeau (hip and knee) worked with the first and second teams and showed some power and good lateral movement during the practice.

 

Editors Note: An in-depth post will be available in the morning about this issue, with related video and articles.

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