Next week, NFL staffers will be heading to Canton, Ohio, for the Hall of Fame Game. In future years, it’s possible it won’t be the only Hall of Fame Game of the season.
The NFL is considering naming a big, regular-season contest “The Hall of Fame Game” in an effort to increase interest in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It sounds like the game would take place in the normal home city, but there might be events and promotions around the game related to the Hall. The game might be a prime-time affair.
Next week’s matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins will bring a lot of fans to Canton for the festivities. Everyone’s mind will be on the Hall of Fame for one week, but the NFL is hoping to extend that interest the rest of the year.
As long as an NFL team doesn’t have to give up a home game, the idea doesn’t appear to have any downside.
EDITORS NOTE: This information is continually updated. Click HERE for the latest scheduling news.
|2013 preseason national TV schedule|
Network (time ET)
Sunday, Aug. 4
Cowboys vs. Dolphins ( Hall of Fame Game)
NBC (8 p.m.)
Thursday, Aug. 8
Bengals at Falcons
ESPN (8 p.m.)
Thursday, Aug. 15
Chargers at Bears
ESPN (8 p.m.)
Friday, Aug. 16
Buccaneers at Patriots
FOX (8 p.m.)
Sunday, Aug. 18
Colts at Giants
FOX (8 p.m.)
Monday, Aug. 19
Steelers at Redskins
ESPN (8 p.m.)
Thursday, Aug. 22
Panthers at Ravens
ESPN (8 p.m.)
Friday, Aug. 23
Seahawks at Packers
CBS (8 p.m.)
Saturday, Aug. 24
Rams at Broncos
CBS (8 p.m.)
Sunday, Aug. 25
Saints at Texans
FOX (4 p.m.)
Sunday, Aug. 25
Vikings at 49ers
NBC (8 p.m.)
The NFL’s 2013 preseason schedule is out. The preseason kicks off with the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 4 on NBC, featuring two of 2013 Hall of Fame inductee Bill Parcells’ former teams in the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.
New York Giants
|vs. Miami (HOF)at Oakland
|No Gameat Pittsburgh
New York Jets
at New England
|No GameNew England
at New York Jets
|No Gameat Tennessee
Editors note: As of the date of this post, only date ranges were announced (below).
Hall of Fame Game — Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio;
Week 1 — Aug. 8-11;
Week 2 — Aug. 15-19;
Week 3 — Aug. 22-25;
Week 4 — Aug. 29-30
Editors Note: To keep up with the most recent, up-to-date information regarding the Dallas Cowboys 2013-2014 NFL Schedule and 2013-2014 Dallas Cowboys NFL Calendar click on the button below:
We still aren’t sure what teams will open up the NFL regular season, but we know how the preseason will start now.
The Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys will play in this year’s Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio on August 4 at 8 p.m. ET. The Cowboys organization will be on hand the day before to see one of their great players, guard Larry Allen, get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Dolphins also have a connection to this Hall of Fame class: Bill Parcells finished his career as Executive Vice President of Football Operations. (Parcells also coached the Cowboys to the playoffs in Tony Romo’s first season as a starter.)
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin spoke about the game on NFL Network’s “NFL AM” on Tuesday.
“We have 11 draft picks, we have a young football team, so I think this will be a good opportunity for us to get a little more game experience for some of our guys, get a chance to evaluate our rookies one extra time in a game atmosphere.
“It’s a privilege, it’s an honor for our organization to take part in the festivities surrounding the 50thanniversary of the Hall of Fame Game,” Philbin said.
The game will be the first chance to see Mike Wallace and all the other Miami signings as the Dolphins play in Miami’s new uniform for the first time. (The new uniform and logo will be unveiled officially on April 18.)
Playing in the Hall of Fame Game means that the Cowboys and Dolphins will play five preseason games in 2013, instead of the usual four. They will also be allowed to start training camp early.
The Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins will kick off the 2013 preseason in the NFL/Hall of Fame Game. Tickets to the 2013 edition of the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. The nationally televised NFL preseason classic is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. EDT kickoff at Fawcett Stadium on Sunday, August 4th and will be broadcast by NBC.
The Cowboys return to Canton for the fifth time. Dallas holds a 1-3 record in the Hall of Fame series. Their last appearance came in 2010 with a 16-7 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. That game was preceded by an overtime loss, the only sudden death occurrence in Hall of Fame Game history, to the Cleveland Browns in 1999. Dallas’ two other appearances were against the Oakland Raiders in 1979 and the Chicago Bears in 1968.
This year’s contest marks the Dolphins’ fourth journey to Canton. Miami is 0-3 in previous visits. Miami suffered losses in the Hall of Fame Game to the Bears in 2005, St. Louis Rams in 2001, and the Philadelphia Eagles in 1978.
The game will be played just one day after the newest class of enshrinees is formally inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday, August 3. Three of the seven members of the Class of 2013 have ties to the participating teams.
Guard Larry Allen is the 14th longtime member of the Cowboys franchise to earn election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He starred for the team from 1994 to 2005 during which time he was named All-Pro seven times. Bill Parcells finished his Hall of Fame coaching career with four seasons in Dallas from 2003-06. He also spent time in the Dolphins front office after his coaching career as the club’s Executive Vice President of Football Operations from 2007-2010. Wide receiver Cris Carter closed out his playing career with the Dolphins in 2002.
Joining Allen, Carter, and Parcells in the Class of 2013 are defensive tackles Curley Culp and Warren Sapp, tackle Jonathan Ogden, and linebacker Dave Robinson.
The demand for tickets for this year’s NFL/Hall of Fame Game is expected to be substantially higher than previous years. This year’s game will serve not only as the culminating event of the annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, but as an exclamation point for the Hall of Fame’s 50th Anniversary Golden Reunion Celebration. More than 120 previously elected members of the Hall of Fame are expected to be in Canton to celebrate the Hall of Fame’s 50th Anniversary. It will be the largest gathering of Hall of Famers in one place at the same time.
In addition to recognizing the members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013 during the game, plans are being formulated to also recognize many of the returning Hall of Fame members.
While he was able to do that, the focus shifted quickly to the issue of play-calling and the possible change next season involving Bill Callahan’s role on the sidelines.
Whether or not Callahan’s situation will be different, many faces surrounding him certainly will be.
Garrett shared some stories about the new coaches, including his involvement with the former Buccaneers assistants Monte Kiffin, Rod Marinelli and Rich Bisaccia when Garrett played for Tampa Bay in 2004.
Here’s a short briefing from Garrett on each of his new assistants, including Wes Phillips who has been here for six seasons but is now the new tight ends coach.
Garrett on defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin: Early on, I think he was on to me because every day
after practice I would walk up to him and ask him a football question. He’s a very generous and gracious guy. I learned not only from watching him and how he handled himself and meetings, but just being around him. He’s very gracious and generous. We developed a relationship back then. My respect level for him is really off the charts. We’re fortunate to have him here to coordinate this defense. He’s done it better than anyone else has.
Garrett on defensive line coach Rod Marinelli: He’s one of those guys who talks about the greatness of
the game of football. He talks about preparing the right way. There’s great honor about playing and coaching this game and doing it the right way. The way he conducted himself that year I was around him, was really, really impressive to me. As impressive as a football coach as I’ve ever been around.
Garrett on special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia: He’s been one of the premier teams guys in the league. He just has an infectious personality. It’s particularly important for a special teams coach.
He’s got a great demeanor. The players play as hard for him as I’ve ever seen players play for any coach. He’s a great teacher, loves the game. He’ll be a great resource for us. He’ll make this team better.
Garrett on wide receiver coach Derek Dooley: When I was a player here in the 90’s, he was coaching receivers at SMU. Our relationship goes back that far. We coached together on Nick Saban’s staff with the Dolphins in 2005-06. We’ve known each other well. He played receiver at Virginia and has a great receiver background. He and I know each other well. He knows our system and I think that transition will be really good for us.
Garrett on tight end coach Wes Phillips: He’s really someone who is my right-hand man. We spent some time together putting the offense in a number of years ago. He’s really been a great asset and resource for me. Wes was a quarterback himself and coached receivers earlier in his career.
Garrett on running back coach Gary Brown: He’s really a guy I have a tremendous amount of respect for. I’ve known him for afar and competed against him. This is really a football guy. I’m excited about him. Often times, guys that play in the NFL don’t have a willingness to do what’s necessary to coach at this level. He’s a really bright guy. He’s someone who is a really, really good teacher. I know him the least of the guys we hired but I might be as excited about him as anybody else.
Garrett on asst. offensive line coach Frank Pollack: Frank played for Bill Callahan at Northern Arizona in the late 80’s and they go way back. Some of the contributions he can make, along with his relationship with Bill, can make us a really good football team.
THROWBACK 1934: Detroit Lions begin an NFL tradition–hosting annual Thanksgiving Day game (Special Feature)
Thanksgiving Day football, once a tradition among the high schools and colleges of America, has more or less faded into oblivion in most sections of the country.
But it is still alive in the National Football League in two franchise cities, Detroit and Dallas, where Thanksgiving Day football has become a normal, expected way of life. Beginning in 1966, Dallas has missed playing on the holiday only in 1975 and 1977.
However, when it comes to Thanksgiving Day football, NFL style, most fans first think of the Lions and the tradition that was started in 1934. It was their first year in Detroit after a local radio executive, George A. Richards, had purchased the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans and moved the team to Detroit. The Spartans were members of the NFL from 1930 to 1933.
With the Spartans, not only was Richards bringing a proven, quality team to Detroit, he was also bringing at least one super-star, Earl "Dutch" Clark, one of the most versatile backs ever to play the game. Clark had an outstanding supporting cast in the Detroit backfield with a big, talented line anchored by Frank Christiansen.
Even though he knew there was some risk in scheduling a game on Thanksgiving Day, Richards also recognized that his Lions were taking a back seat to the baseball Tigers on the sports pages. So as one way of attracting Motor City fans during the team’s first season, he opted for the Thanksgiving Day contest.
The matchup between the Lions and the World Champion Chicago Bears proved to be an all-time classic. The 1934 Lions had not allowed a touchdown until their eighth game and entered the game with the Bears with a 10-1 record. But with 11 straight wins, Chicago had an even better record. Still a win would put the Lions into a first-place tie with the Bears with only a game left, a repeat clash with the Bears in Chicago, just three days later on December 2.
The 26,000 tickets for the Turkey Day clash in the University of Detroit Stadium, were sold out two weeks in advance of the game. It was estimated that another 25,000 would have attended had there been seats available.
The Bears edged out the Lions 19-16 in the classic holiday struggle and then prevailed 10-7 three days later to clinch the NFL Western Division crown.
Not despondent over the last two losses, Richards reasoned that his team had done well in its first year in Detroit. His confidence was rewarded the next year when the Lions won the 1935 NFL Championship. The key game in the title drive came on Thanksgiving Day, when the Lions defeated the Bears 14-2 to clinch the West championship.
Thus the football-on-Thanksgiving tradition became firmly established in Detroit. With the exception of a six-season gap from 1939 to 1944, the Thanksgiving Day game has been played with no interruptions.
The Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day heritage gained national attention in another way, starting with the very first game in 1934. Knowing the publicity potential of radio, Richards along with NBC Radio, set up a 94-station network to broadcast the Lions-Bears showdown. The famous announcing team of Graham McNamee and Don Wilson described the action.
RELATED: NFL HISTORY – Thanksgiving Day game results 1920-2011
NFL games on Thanksgiving have included some great performances and memorable moments over the years. The legendary Harold "Red" Grange (left) made his pro debut for the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving 1925. In 2008, quarterback Tony Romo (right) led the Dallas Cowboys to a convincing 34-9 win over the Seattle Seahawks by throwing for 331 yards and 3 TDs.
IRVING, Texas – If one team beat another team 19 out of 21 teams, you wouldn’t call it a coincidence.
If a guy made 19 of 21 free throws, he’d be a good free-throw shooter.
So if Tony Romo has won 19 of his 21 games in the month of November, there’s got to be something there, right? Maybe?
Well, the Cowboys at least hope so, especially with this team sitting at 3-4 and needing some kind of spark to make a run at the playoffs.
In the past, that spark has occurred in November, especially with Romo as the quarterback. Since he took over as the starter back in 2006, Romo is a remarkable 19-2 record in the month of November with losses occurring against Washington in 2006 and then in Green Bay in 2009.
Last year, the Cowboys went 4-0 in November, beating Seattle, Buffalo, Miami and Washington. So the schedule can often play a factor, considering all four of those teams missed the playoffs in 2011.
And it’s not just Romo as the Cowboys have been somewhat successful without him in November. In 2010, with Romo out with broken collarbone, Jon Kitna led the team to a 2-2 record during a 6-10 season.
The Cowboys’ PR staff keeps all kinds of stats regarding Romo’s record as a starter when different things occur. For instance, they’ve got his record at home, on the road, indoors, outdoors, when plays on turf or grass, when he throws no picks, one pick, when he’s sacked once or more, or not at all, when the offense has more than 300 yards …. and so on.
None of the stats have a higher winning percentage than Romo playing his ‘A’ games in November (90 percent). The next would be when Romo has a QB rating of over 100.0 … the Cowboys are 33-9 (78.5).
Whether it’s the fact the Cowboys usually get more home games in November with the Thanksgiving game, coupled with being at home the week before, or it’s the time of year the Cowboys just start clicking … or a simple coincidence that keeps trending every year – the Cowboys need it to continue more than ever this year.
The Dallas Cowboys are 2-3 and have lost their past two games. But owner, PRESIDENT, and general manager Jerry Jones is more confident than ever that his team can make a title run this season because of how it played in Sunday’s 31-29 loss at Baltimore.
Jones said he is disappointed in the loss but he did see positive things that the Cowboys can build on.
"It’s terribly disappointing. But we played physically. We did things that we can win with in the future," Jones said on his radio show on KRLD/105.3 FM. "We’re 2-3, so that’s five games into a 16-game season. We don’t have time to have a bad time here. We’ve got to have some wins to make sure we’re in the hunt. We are fresh off, I keep pointing it out, a world champion that won nine of 16 ballgames last year.
"We know that you want your team as healthy and as in sync as it can be as we get on in to the end of the season. We know that we’ve played one division game and won it. We’ve got those guys, the Giants, coming back in here. We know that’s going to be a big game for us. All of those things give us a chance to take a team that is evolving into — if you look at the pluses yesterday — evolving into a team that can compete for the championship. Not next year, this year.
"Let me emphasize that," Jones said. "I’m not into everybody getting better, learning for years to come. It’s this year."
Murray out this week
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones confirmed on Tuesday that running back DeMarco Murray will miss at least Sunday’s game at Carolina with a sprained foot.
Jones said on his radio show that magnetic resonance imaging results showed ligament damage, but no fractures.
Murray will likely miss a few games, but the injury will not sideline him for the season.
"I think we were encouraged that his sprain was not any more serious than it is," Jones said. "He’s a tough guy. I regret that we’re not going to have him against Carolina."
The return of center Phil Costa and his impact on the record-setting rushing performance against the Ravens was more than just lip service from Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett.
According to Pro Football Focus, every Cowboys offense lineman played well in the game as the team rushed for 227 yards, the most ever against the Ravens. But the site rated Costa as the best lineman in the game for both teams, saying he was dominant in the middle and got the best of every Ravens defender they put in front of him.
It was Costa’s first game since suffering back injury on the first series of the season opener against the New York Giants.
The Dallas Cowboys signed cornerback Vince Agnew to the practice squad and released cornerback Mario Butler.
Agnew was one of 16 players the Cowboys worked out on Friday. Agnew originally signed with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Central Michigan on July 28, 2011. He was released on September 3 and immediately signed to their practice squad where he spent most of the 2011 season.
He was released by Miami on August 31, 2012.
DENVER (AP) — The days of lugging around 500-page playbooks and stacks of DVDs are over for half of the players in the NFL.
Their teams have gone digital, replacing the old-fashioned thick paper playbooks with iPads that put everything from X’s and O’s to notifications, scouting reports and video cut-ups at their fingertips.
"Technology is taking over the world and we’re just trying to keep up with it," Green Bay Packers backup quarterback Graham Harrell said.
The number of teams using iPads for playbooks and game film has increased this season from two to 14. In the NFC, the Bears, Cardinals, Cowboys, Lions, Packers, Panthers, Redskins and Seahawks are using the tablets as are the Bengals, Broncos, Chargers, Colts, Dolphins and Ravens in the AFC.
Other teams, such as the Chiefs, Titans and Saints, are using iPads for some things but haven’t completely abandoned three-ring binders, and the Bills are considering switching over next year, when the NFL makes game film available in high definition, coach Chan Gailey said.
The Ravens and Buccaneers were the first teams to go digital last year, although Tampa Bay returned to the traditional playbooks this season under a new coaching staff.
The top model iPads that feature 64 gigabytes of data and retail for $829 each are loaded with about $700 worth of programming, and most teams issue them to roughly 120 players, coaches, scouts and other personnel. That works out to roughly $180,000 per team.
Broncos video director Steve Boxer figures it will take about a year to begin realizing a cost savings from ditching the paper playbooks that consumed trees, money and manpower and kept copy machine repairmen on speed-dial.
Daily itinerary updates, diagrams and video are automatically pushed to each iPad so a player can have the video clips of a practice or game downloaded by the time he gets out of the shower. Because the video isn’t streaming, he can watch it on the airplane or at his apartment, whether or not he has a Wi-Fi connection.
Apps developed by PlayerLync in suburban Denver or Global Aptitude out of Baltimore allow players and coaches to highlight sections in yellow on the tablet’s touchscreen and to write notes with a stylus just as they would with a pencil on paper playbooks. Those notes are saved on servers and can be downloaded again at any time for future reference.
"I don’t think there’s any minuses unless you lose it and have to pay that fine," Dallas defensive end Marcus Spears said.
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 Cowboys will make their final cuts today to reach the 53-man limit, but they have already notified 21 players that they have not made the cut.
According to sources, the Cowboys have informed Shaun Chapas, Adrian Hamilton, Danny Coale, Eddie Whitley, Orie Lemon, Ronald Leary, Pat McQuistan, Jeff Adams, Teddy Williams, Harland Gunn, Daniel Loper, Clifton Geathers, Rudy Carpenter, Lionel Smith, Baraka Atkins, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Andrew Szczerba, Ben Bass, Saalim Hakim, Tim Benford and Robert Callaway of their release.
They have two more roster moves to make by 7 p.m. after the trade for offensive lineman Ryan Cook from Miami.
The Cowboys would like to bring some — like Hamilton, Coale and Leary — back on the practice squad if they clear waivers.
Leary was the apple of Jerry Jones’ eye as an undrafted free agent and early in training camp, but he will not be on the 53-man roster.
The Cowboys considered drafting Leary despite a knee condition, but ended up guaranteeing him $214,000 in base salary and signing bonus to sign as an undrafted free agent. When the interior line was hit by injuries early in camp Leary took some first-team snaps but he hit a wall midway through camp.
Todd Archer | ESPN Dallas
Editors Note: This is NOT the official release that will be filed by the Dallas Cowboys. That deadline is at 7:00 pm. Check back here for the ‘official’ release, once it’s submitted to the NFL.
RELATED: Dolphins trade Ryan Cook to Dallas for seventh-round pick
The Miami Dolphins traded backup center Ryan Cook to the Dallas Cowboys late Thursday night, acquiring a 2013 seventh-round pick for a player who wasn’t going to make Miami’s 53-man roster.
The Dolphins acquired Cook, who was the Vikings’ 2006 second-round pick, off the waiver wire last year and he played center and guard for the team in 2011. But Cook was beaten out by rookie Josh Samuda, an undrafted prospect from UMass, for the backup center spot.
Samuda, a Hollywood Hills product, was one of camp’s most pleasant surprises, and is expected to make Miami’s 53-man roster today.
Cook, who has started 40 NFL games, spent most of camp as the third-team center and never manned the guard spot, which happens to be Miami’s weakest area. But he did surprisingly start Wednesday night’s 30-13 loss to Dallas, which was clearly an audition.
Cook was slated to earn $1 million this season, but moving him clears all but $100,000 from Miami’s books.
The Cowboys have been struggling with their depth this camp because of numerous injuries to key reserves, which include center Phil Costa, who has been limited by a back injury.
The Cook trade now means the Dolphins could have multiple picks in the second, third, seven and possibly the sixth-round (it is conditional) of the 2013 NFL draft because of trades involving Brandon Marshall and Vontae Davis.
Courtesy: Omar Kelly | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Dallas Cowboys rookie guard Ronald Leary said his performance in the preseason games disappointed him because he made “silly mistakes.”
“It wasn’t where I wanted it to be,” he said after Wednesday night’s preseason finale against the Miami Dolphins. “I don’t blame anybody else but myself. I didn’t perform. I went back and watched the film. The mistakes I made were silly mistakes, technique mistakes.”
Leary, undrafted out of Memphis, was one of the Cowboys’ top targets after the draft. The Cowboys went after him because he had third-round quality, falling out of the draft only because of concerns about a knee problem that could affect him in the future.
Despite being a favorite of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Leary said he never thought he was guaranteed a spot on the roster.
“I never thought like that, from Day 1,” he said. “I know my performance hasn’t been where I want it to be. I felt like I had a lot better night tonight. So right now, I’m putting it in God’s hands. It’s up to the coaches now.”
Leary said his mistakes come from foot placement. His feet aren’t going where they need to go, but not fast enough.
“Your hands are where your feet are, so if your feet aren’t right, your hands aren’t going to be right,” Leary said. “Coach tells us that all the time. My big emphasis has been on just getting my feet right. I work with JP all the time. Every day after practice, we’re doing extra stuff. He’s been helping me. He had the problem before, too. He worked on it. I just keep working on it. We’ll just see where it goes the next few days.”
COSTA ON THE ROSTA: Garrett hopeful Costa will practice Monday; Jerry Jones expects him in preseason final
While Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was a little more cautious in saying that he hopes injured center Phil Costa will practice on Monday and then determine whether he will make his preseason debut against preseason final against the Dolphins on Wednesday, owner Jerry Jones had no doubts about the center’s availability.
"I’m expecting him to play Wednesday," Jones said. "It would surprise me if he doesn’t play Wednesday."
Costa has missed the first three preseason games with a back injury. The Cowboys would like to get him some time on the field against the Dolphins with guards Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings to gain some chemistry before the season opener against the Giants Sept. 5
So the Dallas Cowboys went through their offseason OTAs and a minicamp and after watching all the practice tape, it was obvious this team felt the need to add more depth and experience at tight end.
That was proven yesterday when they claimed John Nalbone off waivers from the Seahawks. To make room, the Cowboys cut rookie free agent George Bryan, from North Carolina State.
So Nalbone will enter his third training camp. The Cowboys will be his seventh different team to play for – just three years after being a fifth-round pick of the Dolphins.
So you’re getting excited about Nalbone huh? No probably not. Judging by the responses, he’s not exactly the popular vote to back up Jason Witten or even John Phillips, or even to be around.
But that’s where there seems to be an issue at tight end, and it’s been that way for about six years now.
There is a middle ground here the Cowboys haven’t quite figured out. It comes down to finding an adequate backup for Jason Witten – you know the seven-time Pro Bowler, who is a good blocker, a great pass-catcher and as good a team leader that has been around in more than a decade.
Plus, he rarely comes off the field and has only missed one game in his life, and none since 2003.
The Cowboys have tried to the route of drafting one. In fact, they’ve spent two second-round picks and both times they were considered failures. We saw Anthony Fasano join the team in 2006 and it wasn’t two years before he was deemed as a bust. The Cowboys sent him to Miami for a fourth-round pick just before the 2008 draft. That’s when they took Martellus Bennett in the second round and after four years, we know how that turned out.
The question for me has always been the same: are these guys really getting a fair shot to prove themselves behind Witten?
And I’m not suggesting they should play more – at all. It comes down to taking a guy in the second round – twice – who will probably never get the chance to be a great tight end because you already have one.
Before you say “New England does it” – just remember the Cowboys have a different offense and scheme. They rely on their outside receivers way more than the Patriots. And plus, Aaron Hernandez isn’t much of a tight end, but more of a big receiver.
My point is, while you could argue this team needs more depth at tight end, or needed to draft one higher than the sixth round, you have to wonder if they’ll ever get the chance to live up to expectations because of playing time.
You almost wonder if the Cowboys will eventually add Jason Witten’s replacement, if and when the time comes to really replace him.
It’s not here at the moment so therefore, the Cowboys seem to be just filling in the spots. Personally, I think John Phillips is going to have a good season. He’s that jack-of-all-trades guy and that’s really what you need for any backup spot. He’s not only the second tight end, but will likely be the second fullback, too.
There are some out there who think the Cowboys needed to upgrade at tight end and get a better player behind Witten. I wouldn’t agree with that. Phillips has been here long enough and should be able to handle the responsibilities just fine.
Courtesy: Nick Eatman
Commentary: After reading through this post, I agree with Nick’s final assessment. I like John Phillips. Keep him as the backup TE and continue to work him into the offense as a blocking tight end, fullback, and Witten type-receiver. Phillips made some nice plays last year and is beginning his fourth year. Without Bennett around, Phillips will get more turf time to develop this year.
Signing Nalbone is puzzling to me. You now have five TE vying for no more than 3 roster spots. Behind Phillips, the Cowboys have two rookies … newly drafted James Hanna and free agent Andrew Szczerba. Keep the most promising of those two. My best guess would be Hanna. When it’s time to replace Witten (assuming that John Phillips hasn’t developed into a suitable replacement) … draft a stud or sign a quality free agent.
|Szczerba, Andrew||TE||6-6||260||R||Penn State|
The Dallas Cowboys open the regular season on national TV against the defending World Champion New York Giants.
The team’s pre-season opener doesn’t have the same ring, but it too will be nationally televised.
The Cowboys open on the road against the Oakland Raiders on Aug. 13 (Monday night) in a game that will be televised on ESPN. The game is schedule to kick-off 7 p.m. locally.
The club returns to Oxnard, Calif. for training camp which means the first two games will be on the West Coast. The Cowboys will visit the San Diego Chargers for a game the week of Aug. 16-20 before returning home.
The Cowboys final two games at Cowboys Stadium will be against St. Louis (Aug. 23-26) and Miami (Aug. 29-30).
Specific dates and times have not been set for the final three pre-season games. But since the Cowboys open the regular season on Sept. 5, their game against the Dolphins will likely be scheduled on Aug. 29 to leave a full week to prepare for the game against the Giants.
The Cowboys training camp plans have not been finalized, but they are likely to report to Oxnard that last, full week in July, meaning the California portion of camp will run in the neighborhood of 30 days. Rookies can be asked to report up to five days before the rest of the team which will add to the prolonged stay.
Indianapolis has cast a wide net in its search for a general manager, so wide that it extends to Valley Ranch.
Tom Ciskowski, the Cowboys assistant director of player personnel, is one of several candidates the Colts have expressed an interest in interviewing. The club has contacted the Cowboys and received permission to speak to Ciskowski.
Ciskowski keeps a low, public profile, but has risen through the ranks since he joined the club in 1992. He took over as the Cowboys director of college and pro scouting when Jeff Ireland left for Miami in 2008 and acquired his current title in 2011.
Baltimore’s Eric DeCosta, Atlanta’s Lee Snead and Philadelphia’s Ryan Grigson have also been given permission to speak to Indianapolis.
Note: Dallas’ general manager was not interested in interviewing for the position!
Two former Cowboys assistant coaches, Tony Sparano and Todd Haley, were fired from their head coaching jobs on Monday.
Sparano, a Cowboys assistant for five seasons (2003-07), was fired as head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Another former Cowboys assistant, Todd Bowles, was named as the interim head coach. Sparano was in his fourth season with the Dolphins.
In Kansas City, the Chiefs parted ways with Todd Haley after two-plus season as head coach. Haley was an assistant coach from 2004-06. He left the Cowboys to become offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals for two seasons, the final of which culminated in Arizona’s first trip to the Super Bowl.
Sparano and Haley joined Jack Del Rio (Jacksonville) as NFL head coaches who have been fired this season.
Interesting note: all three men had ties to the Dallas Cowboys. Del Rio was a linebacker for the team from 1989-91.
More about Sparano and Haley below:
Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan
ARLINGTON – The secondary’s struggles continued and the Dallas Cowboys proved vulnerable during stretches of the their 20-19 victory over Miami. But Dallas’ brash defensive coordinator was satisfied as he sauntered out of the locker room.
Asked about the defense’s performance, Rob Ryan replied, "I wouldn’t it call it real strong, but we’re happy with the win."
While the Cowboys did surrender 352 total yards, they conceded only one touchdown. Dallas proved particularly strong inside its own red zone — holding the Dolphins to four field goals in a game the Cowboys would win by a one point.
"I think we executed better than we have been," Ryan said. "It was a point of emphasis. Our guys worked their ass off. They try so hard. We had to be exact out there and we were in the red zone. It really helped us."
Miami Dolphins cornerback Vontae Davis (21) intercepts a Tony Romo pass
Tony Romo wasn’t the only Cowboy who had to overcome a shaky start Thursday.
Laurent Robinson said Romo’s second interception actually wasn’t the quarterback’s fault. Although it appeared that Romo underthrew Robinson on the sideline route, the receiver took full responsibility.
“I was supposed to stop right there, but I was reading something on the run, and I thought I was supposed to go deep,” Robinson said. “I made a bad play. I’ve got to watch the film to see what happened and do better than that.”
It didn’t stop Romo from looking his way. Robinson was targeted 12 times, twice as much as any Cowboys receiver, and he responded by catching seven passes for 79 yards with two touchdowns.
He has now caught a touchdown pass in five consecutive games and has a total of seven during that span.
“He seems like he always finds me. It’s kind of crazy,” Robinson said. “I call it a little I-AA connection because he went to Eastern Illinois and I went to Illinois State.”
Robinson made a nice grab on the first 5-yard touchdown pass, which was low and a bit behind him. Then, in the fourth quarter, as Romo scrambled away from defenders, he raced all the way across the back of the end zone and hauled in an 18-yard pass in the left corner.
“When I see him scramble, I’m scrambling,” Robinson said. “I’m running the same direction as him so he can see me. He made a great throw, and it was an easy catch for me because he put the throw right on the money.”
Ron T. Ennis/Star-Telegram
Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (29) breaks through the line as the Miami Dolphins play the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday November 24, 2011.
DeMarco Murray may not have had another 100-yard game, but what he did in the final three minutes earned even more respect from his teammates.
After back-to-back catches by Jason Witten moved the ball the Dolphins 35-yard line, Murray got the ball five consecutive times and picked up a pair of critical first downs to move the Cowboys in position for a short field goal.
“That right there, to me, is more meaningful than the 150 yards he’s had in previous weeks because things are tough running there,” tight end Jason Witten said, noting how the Dolphins were stacking eight and nine men in the box. “He understands what he’s got to do there: stay in bounds, keep the clock running, get the hard yards. It’s a sign of a really good back.”
Murray passed the credit to the offensive line, which struggled much of the day with penalties but came through in the end.
“It was a tough defensive line,” he said. “They definitely gave us all we could handle, but we definitely finished.”
Ron T. Ennis/Star-Telegram
Miami Dolphins quarterback Matt Moore (8) is brought down by Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (94) as Jay Ratliff (90) approaches on Thursday November 24, 2011. A penalty nullified the sack
The Dallas Cowboys collected four sacks against Matt Moore, but none came from the team’s leader in that category. DeMarcus Ware, who came into the game with 14 sacks, appeared to have his 15th early in the fourth quarter, but the play was negated by an illegal contact penalty against Abram Elam.
Victor Butler registered his third sack, tying a season high, and Kenyon Coleman had his first sack in five years. The other sacks came from Orlando Scandrick and Sean Lee.
Ware said he also was impressed by the play of Anthony Spencer, who was in the Dolphins backfield all afternoon, finishing with a team-high eight tackles, including three for losses.
“I don’t know he gets back there, but he finds ways to make those tackles and make them third and 5, second and 12,” Ware said. “Those are the plays that we need.”
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant
Dez Bryant has been asking for a chance to return punts, and he finally got his wish in the fourth quarter Thursday.
Bryant, who hasn’t returned a punt since Miles Austin injured his hamstring against Seattle on Nov. 6, came in to field the Dolphins’ final punt with just over three minutes left in the game. Bryant dodged several tacklers on his way to a 20-yard return to the Cowboys 36-yard line, giving the team a spark before its 54-yard drive for the game-winning field goal.
“The way he competed and got that return in was a significant play for us,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.
The Cowboys also used Felix Jones on kickoff returns, although he didn’t have any carries against the Dolphins. Jones averaged 18.5 yards on four returns.
“We’re looking for spots,” coach Jason Garrett said. “… Those are play-making type guys. … They certainly have a significant role on our offense. But when you get the ball I their hands, that’s a good thing … and I thought Dez did a really nice job handling that.”
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo
Mr. Randy Galloway and Mac Engel debate the reasons for the Dallas Cowboys’ recent roll. Is it Tony Romo? DeMarco Murray? Or the quality of the opposition? (Nov. 22, 2011) Video by Kathy Vetter/Star-Telegram
ARLINGTON — Seemingly overmatched and definitely outplayed in so many areas, including the defensive front, the secondary, the offensive line, and on top of all that, the quarterback throws a couple of what-the-heck-was- that picks to start the game.
There were obviously more than enough butt-whippings on Thanksgiving afternoon for the Cowboys to end up a cooked turkey.
“A lot of things on this tape we aren’t going to like,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.
Actually, it’s a game tape that would be better off torched.
But NFL rules say that after 60 minutes of clock time, you add up the points for both teams, and…
Photo courtesy: Richard W. Rodriguez/Star-Telegram
Dan Bailey kicked a 28-yard field goal as time expired as the Dallas Cowboys snapped the Miami Dolphins’ three-game win streak in a see-saw game in Arlington, Texas.
ARLINGTON, Texas — Forget that improbable dream of winning out after an 0-7 start.
Forget that nutty notion of a nine-win season or, almost assuredly, a miraculous late push for a playoff berth.
A late Dallas Cowboys drive, ending with Dan Bailey’s 28-yard field goal as time expired, dealt the Dolphins a heartbreaking 20-19 Thanksgiving Day loss, ensured Miami can finish no better than .500 even if it wins its final five games, and likely foiled any chance of the Dolphins scripting a magical, memorable end to this angst-filled season.
“Helplessness” is how Brandon Marshall described his emotions as he watched the Cowboys drain the clock late, with Miami out of timeouts. “This really hurts. There are a few plays, at the end, that we should have made and we didn’t.”
The Dolphins (3-8) played brilliantly at times, and valiantly throughout, but were again snakebitten by troubling early-season deficiencies, including a penchant for squandering late leads. This marked the fourth time Miami lost a game that it led with less than 6:50 left.
Ahead 19-17 and with a chance to run out the clock with 4:47 to go, the Dolphins went three-and-out, using up only 1:33.
“There wasn’t a doubt in our mind that we were going to win the game,” Davone Bess said. “In that four-minute situation, we’ve been pretty efficient buying some time and running the ball. But we didn’t.”
Dez Bryant’s 20-yard punt return gave the Cowboys possession at their 36 with 2:59 left. Jason Witten, held without a catch in the first half, caught passes of 23 and 6 yards from Tony Romo to move the ball to the Dolphins 35.
Five successive runs by DeMarco Murray – of 6, 9, 3, 4 and 5 yards – pushed the ball to the Miami 8, setting up Bailey’s winning kick, which extended his field goal streak to 26 in a row.
“Extremely frustrating,” said Reggie Bush, who ran 16 times for 61 yards. “We have nobody to blame but ourselves.”