IRVING, Texas – None of the defensive players who were inactive for Saturday’s preseason game returned to practice Monday at Valley Ranch, while the offense received a mixed bag of news.
Guards Kevin Kowalski and Ray Dominguez returned from knee and shoulder injuries, respectively, but running back Lance Dunbar missed practice for the first time with a foot sprain.
Five offensive players were out Monday, including Dunbar, wide receiver Cole Beasley (foot) and offensive linemen Ryan Cook (back), Ron Leary (knee) and Nate Livings (knee). Leary and Livings are both on the mend from knee scopes.
Safety Matt Johnson (foot) thought he’d be able to return in some capacity Monday, but he wasn’t on the field during the early portion of practice available to the media. Morris Claiborne, whose day-to-day knee injury has now become week-to-week, was also out.
Some good news for the defense was the return of safety Will Allen, who left Saturday’s game after injuring his ribs. Head coach Jason Garrett said after the game the injury wasn’t serious and he could have returned.
The usual suspects were still out on defense, including Anthony Spencer (knee) and Jay Ratliff(hamstring), while Ernie Sims, Sean Lissemore and Eric Frampton are all still recovering from injuries suffered toward the end of camp.
J.J. Wilcox hasn’t returned yet for personal reasons, but has been given as much time as he needs following the death of his mother and is expected back around the middle of this week.
Travis Chappelear and Toby Jackson weren’t at practice for the beginning portion, either. Chappelear wore a boot as he left the field Saturday.
Missing Lawrence Vickers, who is recovering from back surgery, the Cowboys gave themselves a look at two players at fullback in OTAs this week.
Caleb McSurdy, a linebacker taken in the seventh round last year, and Kevin Kowalski, an undrafted offensive lineman two years ago, both gave it a shot.
“We did work out McSurdy as a fullback as well as a linebacker when he was coming out of school, so he has a little versatility that way,” coach Jason Garrett said.
McSurdy even got a shot at a pass during 11-on-11 goal-line work. The ball, from Kyle Orton, was a little low and wide, so McSurdy didn’t make the catch.
But the Cowboys just wanted to get a feel.
“It wasn’t a full-speed deal, obviously,” Garrett said. “It gives us a chance to look at a few of those kinds of things that you might need to get to at some point once we get into training camp and in preseason.”
McSurdy spent all of his rookie year on injured reserve after suffering an Achilles tear in training camp.
Kowalski spent most of last year on PUP because of a foot injury.
The Dallas Cowboys have activated center Kevin Kowalski. To make room for him on the roster, they moved safety Matt Johnson to injured reserve.
Kowalski underwent surgery for severe tendinitis in his ankle and was placed on the physically unable to perform list to open the season. He returned to practice only last week.
The move is a strong indication that the club does not believe starting center Ryan Cook, who has a hyperextended knee, will be able to play in Sunday’s game against Cleveland. Mackenzy Bernadeau will slide over to start at center while veteran Derrick Dockery will assume Bernadeau’s job at right guard.
Kowalski will likely be active for the game as a backup center, since it’s clear the club has no faith in reserve guard/center David Arkin.
Johnson had been carried on the active roster the entire season even though a series of hamstring injuries meant he never played in a regular season game and rarely practiced. This move means he can now focus on getting ready for the 2013 season.
IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys will activate guard/center Kevin Kowalski off the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday and will have a three-week window in which to call him up to the active roster or hold him out for the season.
Kowalski has not practiced this year because of a serious case of tendinitis, which required training camp surgery. He has been running for the last month. If he is able to return, then the Cowboys would have to create a spot on the 53-man roster.
Kowalski played in 11 games last year as a rookie at guard and center and the Cowboys hoped he would be able to compete for the starting center spot over the summer.
“Fortunately being on PUP I’ve been able to sit in the meetings all year long, so I’ve stayed engaged in that aspect of knowing what’s going on and understanding both positions,” Kowalski said.
Phil Costa is expected to miss at least three more weeks if not more with a severe ankle injury. With Ryan Cook as the starting center the Cowboys have dressed David Arkin as the backup but he has yet to play a snap.
“I just need to go out there and try to improve and get back into it,” Kowalski said.
IRVING, Texas – Kevin Kowalski is eligible to come off the physically unable to perform list on Oct. 15, and the second-year center/guard is hoping to be back on the field in about a month.
Kowalski had surgery during training camp because of a severe case of tendinitis in his ankle. He first felt the pain in March, and when rest wasn’t able to cure the problem he opted for surgery.
“We’re making good progress, just kind of seeing how it goes from here and hopefully I’ll get back in the next month or so,” Kowalski said.
The Cowboys have until Nov. 3 to activate Kowalski off PUP. Once they activate him they have a three-week window to either add him to the 53-man roster or rule him out for the season.
Kowalski said he started running and doing on-field training Tuesday for the first time. He appeared in 11 games last year as an undrafted rookie, playing center and guard. The Cowboys hoped he would have been able to compete for the center job in the offseason with Phil Costa, but the injury took care of that.
“I’m very anxious,” Kowalski said. “I’m looking forward to being back out there and being healthy again and having an opportunity … It’s a process, but I’m kind of going through all of that right now so hopefully when I get out there I’ll be able to perform.”
IRVING — The Dallas Cowboys are being stricter about who they consider drafting.
In turn, they’re being stricter about who they consider signing after the draft.
The result of the approach, born under former coach Bill Parcells, appears to mean a higher quality of undrafted free agent is going to training camp with the team lately, and so more are making the squad.
Former SMU receiver Cole Beasley made the Cowboys’ 53-man roster this week as an undrafted rookie, joining four such players who made it in 2011 and four in 2010. In the three years before that, Kevin Ogletree was the only undrafted rookie to make the team.
"We used to put 250 players on the board, however many get drafted. Now we put about 100, 120 players on our board, and they’re just the players we want," pro personnel director Stephen Jones said in training camp at Oxnard, Calif., last month.
"We don’t think about, ‘That guy is going to get drafted,’ so we put him on our board. If he doesn’t fit what we want, even though he may get drafted in the first or second round, we don’t put him up there. It keeps us focused not only all the way through the draft, but also through college free agency."
Last year, the leading scorer on the team came out of the leftover draft pool. Kicker Dan Bailey had the second-highest field goal percentage by a rookie in team history, making 32 of 37 kicks, and set an NFL record for consecutive kicks made by a rookie (26).
Guard Kevin Kowalski played in 11 games, linebacker Alex Albright played in all 16 and running back Phillip Tanner played in eight and scored a touchdown.
The undrafted class of 2010 has yielded a starting safety, Barry Church, and the starting center, Phil Costa.
"I just think if you have an attitude that it doesn’t matter where players come from, it matters what they do once they come here, I think you’re more susceptible, or more able, to find some of those guys, and that’s been our approach," coach Jason Garrett said.
Jones said the approach is a holdover from Parcells’ days as head coach (2003 to 2006). He drafted to a template and paid no mind to players who didn’t fit it.
"He may not fit from a scheme standpoint or from a cultural standpoint or a character standpoint, and those guys, we don’t want them on our football team," Jones said. "So let’s focus on guys that we do like. I think that’s the biggest change is the philosophy there — let’s go after Dallas Cowboys."
The Cowboys’ biggest hits with undrafted players came while Parcells was head coach.
Under his watch, the team found Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo and Pro Bowl receiver Miles Austin. Nine other undrafted players made the initial 53 in Parcells’ four seasons.
"We’ve evolved from a personnel department, I think, when you look back at the way we used to do it versus the way we do it now," Jones said. "We’ve got better scouts, better people. We’ve got better philosophies.
"And pretty much every time we sign those 15 to 20 guys, we sign them from our draft board. I think that’s why we’ve had some really good success with players who weren’t drafted."
On the day of final cuts in the NFL, the Cowboys continued to address a problem area from last season by bolstering the interior of their offensive line.
The Cowboys acquired veteran offensive lineman Ryan Cook from the Miami Dolphins for a 2013 seventh-round draft pick. Cook (6-6, 325) will be a backup center and guard for the Cowboys.
Cook, 29, has started 40 of the 77 games. A second-round pick out of New Mexico in 2006, has started games at center, right guard and right tackle.
The Cowboys were able to get an up-close look at Cook on Wednesday at Cowboys Stadium when he started at center against Dallas in the preseason finale.
“We knew that there was a possibility here, so we really evaluated him in the ballgame,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday on “The Fan” KRLD-FM (105.3). “This really was done for our depth, plus he’s very capable because he’s started several games in the NFL. He’s very capable of getting out there and competing. Hopefully you’ll see a lot of him this year.”
The Cowboys still plan to start Phil Costa at center. Costa started Wednesday and was in for 12 offensive plays. He had been out since Aug. 10 with a back injury but is expected to play in the season opener Wednesday at the Giants.
The Cowboys signed free-agent guards Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau this off-season with the expectation that they would start. Both battled injuries but are healthy now.
Ankle injuries to reserve interior offensive linemen Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski hurt the Cowboys’ depth. Nagy was waived in mid-August, and Kowalski has been placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, keeping him out of the team’s first six games.
The Cowboys started working guard David Arkin at center in training camp, but he struggled with his shotgun snaps throughout the preseason. Arkin, a fourth-round draft pick in 2011 out of Missouri State, didn’t appear in any games last season.
“We all know that we’ve been struggling to some degree with Kowalski out the entire spring as well as during training camp,” Jones said. “We have counted on him for depth and don’t want to totally dismiss him, but he’s down the road with where we are and what we’ve seen.”
Brandon George | DMN
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.
|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.”
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!
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.
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.
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."
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.
- 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.
IRVING, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys will place cornerback Mike Jenkins on the physically unable to perform list as he continues his rehabilitation from offseason shoulder surgery.
He will be joined on PUP by guard Mackenzy Bernadeau (hip), wide receiver Danny Coale (foot), guard/center Kevin Kowalski (ankle) and safety Matt Johnson (hamstring).
Dallas Cowboys center Phil Costa said he is watching a lot of tape of New York Jets center Nick Mangold.
That is the model for Costa as he works under new Cowboys offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who helped develop Mangold into a Pro Bowl player.
“I’ve watched tons of tape of Mangold,” Costa said Wednesday at Cowboys Golf Club, where he was set to play in the Cowboys’ annual sponsor appreciation golf tournament. “It’s fun to watch him. He does all the calls that we are using now. Watching him on the field and how he applies them and his technique. He’s a great player, so it’s fun to watch him on tape.”
Costa started every game at center for the Dallas Cowboys last year, but he is expected to have competition for the spot this year. Free agent signee Mackenzie Bernadeau and second-year guards Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski have played center.
“He certainly faces competition,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We have a lot of guys, some young guys who we like there, but Phil did a good job for us last year. He’s another one of those guys who came into last season and earned that position – undrafted free agent two years ago, undersized, too this, too that, too much the other, but just said, ‘Hey, I’m a good football player,’ and tried to show us that everyday. He’s a serious-minded kid. He works hard. He’s tough. I think he’s an underappreciated athlete. We’re seeing that more and more now.
“I just think the experience of playing will help him. Having said all that, he’s got to compete every day to earn that job.”
Last year, Costa benefited from the experience of right guard Kyle Kosier. They shared the line-calling duties. But with Kosier’s release, that part of the game falls to Costa now.
“The center definitely takes a lot of responsibility with making all the calls and reading the safeties,” he said. “It’s important you know. We’re watching tons of film right now, just trying to learn everything that we’re putting in. In the long run, it’s going to be pretty good.”
With Callahan, Costa said he is learning more about the center position than he ever imagined.
“You can be in there for days and weeks and months, you can always learn something new,” he said. “That’s what’s fun about it.”
Bill Callahan, the Cowboys’ new offensive line coach, has been around plenty of powerful offenses and offensive lines.
He was the head coach for the Oakland Raiders team that reached the Super Bowl in 2003 behind Rich Gannon and the league’s top passing offense. Two years earlier, with him as offensive coordinator, the Raiders led the league in rushing behind Pro Bowl guards Steve Wisniewski and Lincoln Kennedy.
He was the offensive line coach for head coach Ray Rhodes and offensive coordinator Jon Gruden for three years in Philadelphia, from 1995 to ’97, when the Eagles were one of the top-five offensive teams in the NFL with quarterbacks Ty Detmer and Rodney Peete and running back Ricky Watters.
In college at Wisconsin, Callahan was the offensive line coach for the 1993 Rose Bowl championship team that had a 1,600-yard rusher and a 900-yard rusher. At Nebraska, his teams used the West Coast offense and set many of the school’s passing records.
Most recently, Callahan was the offensive line coach and assistant head coach with the New York Jets. In his first year with the Jets, 2008, he helped develop rookie center Nick Mangold into a Pro Bowl player, along with veteran guard Alan Faneca and tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson.
The Cowboys hope to tap into that experience as an offensive line builder when Callahan, 55, takes over as the replacement for the retired Hudson Houck.
The Cowboys will go into 2012 with the reshaping of the offensive line as a major priority. Last year’s No. 1 pick, Tyron Smith, will be considered for a move from right tackle to left tackle. Veteran right guard Kyle Kosier, who rarely had a full practice week because of foot problems, might not return. Veteran left guard Montrae Holland will try to recover from biceps surgery. And left tackle Doug Free had a poor year in his first season at the position.
The Cowboys hope Callahan can shape the development of young players such as backup guard Kevin Kowalski, fourth-round pick David Arkin (a guard who wasn’t active for any game last year) and center Phil Costa, who played all 16 games last year but showed he has a long way to go at the position.
Callahan does not have much of a tie to the Cowboys or head coach Jason Garrett.
But defensive end Kenyon Coleman played for Callahan in 2002 with the Raiders. Callahan has worked under Rex Ryan, the brother of Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson played for Callahan in 1998 when he was offensive coordinator for the Raiders. And Callahan coached Rodney Peete, the brother of Cowboys running backs coach Skip Peete, with the Raiders in 2001.
Montrae Holland, who was re-signed after Bill Nagy went on injured reserve with a fractured right ankle, went on injured reserve himself Monday with a partially torn left biceps. The Cowboys re-signed guard Daniel Loper, who was released last week, to take Holland’s spot on the roster.
"You can just imagine," Holland said Monday of his frustration. "It’s pretty bad. I want to be there for my teammates. Not being able to finish is something I didn’t want to happen. I just want to be there for my team."
Holland had started the past 10 games. Nagy, a rookie, started the season opener before being replaced by Derrick Dockery. But Dockery fractured his tibia and sprained his MCL against the 49ers, and Nagy returned to the lineup until he was injured against the Patriots in the fifth game of the season.
"The situation is what it is," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "You just have to get the next guy ready to play. Each guy has done a nice job stepping up and handling the situation as well as they can. …We will have to do that one more time."
Dockery will return to the starting lineup this week, according to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Dockery was inactive Saturday and rookie Kevin Kowalski replaced Holland after Holland was injured.
"It’s just about preparation, being ready," said Dockery, who is in his ninth NFL season and has made 112 starts. "I’m not a rookie. That helps out. We’re playing a really good defense. They have some good players, so you have to be on top of your game."
Kowalski has played 85 plays this season, according to Pro Football Focus, including 15 against the Eagles on Christmas Eve.
"I think I did a decent job in there," Kowalski said. "I obviously have a lot to improve on, a lot to learn from. It’s just another experience I can learn from."
Safety Danny McCray (ankle), receiver Andre Holmes (hamstring) and nose tackle Josh Brent (knee) sat out the start of practice. But linebacker DeMarcus Ware (stinger) and center Phil Costa (concussion) were back on the field.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Costa could play Saturday against the Bucs.
“We’ll see,” Garrett said. “He has had no symptoms since the ball game. We’ve gone through the protocol. He’s on schedule. He didn’t do anything the last couple of days, but we intended that right from the start. He is on schedule to be able to play if he responds here in the next couple of days.”
Still, Garrett concedes that undrafted rookie Kevin Kowalski could start. Kowalski replaced Costa against the 49ers for 19 plays after Costa injured his knee. Kowalski also played nine plays at left guard against New England after Bill Nagy fractured an ankle.
“Kowalski could start,” Garrett said. “Again, we’re monitoring here. We’ll see how he [Costa] does in practice today and tomorrow and how he responds to all his work.”
Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) is on the ground after being injured in the first half.
IRVING, Texas — Sammy Morris is officially a member of the Dallas Cowboys.
Morris, 34, played 11 years in Buffalo, Miami and New England but has not played this year after getting cut by the Patriots in training camp. He had a workout with Kansas City this season.
"I hadn’t heard anything for a while so I assumed that I’m going to ride into the sunset," Morris said. "So I got the phone call. … I all but said I was done in my mind, but it didn’t turn out that way."
To make room for Morris, the ex-Texas Tech running back, the Cowboys placed rookie running back DeMarco Murray on injured reserve because of an ankle injury suffered Sunday against the New York Giants that requires surgery.
With Felix Jones as the only healthy tailback on the roster, the Cowboys needed Morris. He has rushed for 2,955 yards in his career but could move into a third-down role to help spell Jones, who had 106 yards on the ground and six catches for 31 yards against the Giants.
"He’s certainly the right kind of guy in the role that he’s had in his career," coach Jason Garrett said of Morris. "He’s done it as well as anybody."
Addressing another injury, the Cowboys also signed safety Mana Silva off Buffalo’s practice squad since Barry Church is heading to injured reserve because of a shoulder injury that will require surgery.
Silva, 6-foot, 206 pounds, went to training camp with Baltimore as an undrafted free agent out of Hawaii and spent part of the season on the Ravens’ practice squad. He had seven tackles in the preseason. At Hawaii, he intercepted 14 passes.
The Cowboys needed to sign Silva after Church’s right shoulder popped out twice in Sunday’s loss to the New York Giants. Church was replaced by Danny McCray, who did not practice last week because of a high left ankle sprain.
Center Phil Costa, who suffered a concussion in Sunday’s game against the Giants, did not take part in Tuesday’s walkthrough practice. While owner Jerry Jones expressed optimism that Costa would be able to play vs. the Bucs, the second-year center has to pass a series of mandated tests before being allowed to practice.
If Costa can’t play, undrafted rookie Kevin Kowalski will start.