Tag Archives: Pat McQuistan

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.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Dallas Cowboys vs. Miami Dolphins

Dallas Cowboys vs Miami Dolphins helmets

Preseason.

It’s finally coming to an end.

The Miami Dolphins visit the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium tonight to close it out.

Here’s a preview.

Stephen McGee vs. Rudy Carpenter: The Cowboys are thinking about going with two quarterbacks. Tony Romo and Kyle Orton have guaranteed roster spots. After that, McGee, the third quarterback since 2009, and Carpenter, who is trying to make the active roster, will get a shot Wednesday night. McGee has been inconsistent this summer in camp practices and in three preseason games. Carpenter has led the third unit on a touchdown drive. McGee is the better talent, but roster issues could force the Cowboys to go with just two quarterbacks, unless someone emerges.

Claiborne and Spears should play: First-round pick Morris Claiborne and veteran defensive end Marcus Spears should play a little on Wednesday. Here’s why. Claiborne, who missed the first preseason game with a knee sprain, needs to get more snaps before getting ready for the New York Giants on opening night. Spears is getting snaps with the second team and will most likely get a few snaps just to either keep him sharp or see if the Cowboys still want him on the team.

What’s uncertain?: The third quarterback for one thing. And in reality, it doesn’t matter who the No. 3 receiver is. Kevin Ogletree, Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley will make the team, but who gets the sixth receiver spot is the question. Andre Holmes? Danny Coale? Tim Benford? The swing tackle is Jermey Parnell, but who out of Pat McQuistan, Daniel Loper, Derrick Dockery and Ronald Leary make the team? Orie Lemon, Shaun Chapas, Jamize Olawale, Adrian Hamilton, Lance Dunbar and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah are competing for a some of the final three or four roster spots.

The series with the Dolphins: The Cowboys lead the preseason series 4-2 and lost the last meeting 17-3 in South Florida. In that game, Sept. 1, 2011, receiver Raymond Radway fractured his leg on a pass in the end zone at the end of the game. Radway missed the regular season. He was cut this week by the Cowboys.

Connections: Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland was a former executive with the Cowboys, and Brian Gaine, the Dolphins’ assistant general manager, worked in the personnel department with the Cowboys. At one point the Dolphins had many former Cowboys. Now, there are only a few. Linebacker Kevin Burnett, for one, plays for the Fins.

Parking, parking, parking: For the second consecutive time, the Cowboys and Texas Rangers are playing at nearly the same time. Rangers first pitch is around 6:05 p.m. CT. Kickoff is scheduled for around 7:30 p.m. CT. Cowboys Stadium parking lots open at 2:30 p.m. East Plaza is open at 3:30 p.m. and stadium gates to all plazas open at 5:30 p.m. Fans who have pre-purchased parking in the Ranger Lots A-B and M will have their passes honored. Stadium officials ask fans to get their early due to the Rangers game.

By the way: Regular season starters like Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Brandon Carr and Sean Lee won’t play. Just telling you.

Local TV and radio: The game kicks off at 7:30 p.m., on KTVT/Ch. 11 (CBS).

The Dallas Cowboys Radio Network - 105_3 The Fan KRLD

In many markets, you can listen to ‘The Voice of the Dallas Cowboys”, Brad Sham on The Dallas Cowboys Radio Network for pregame, play-by-play action, and post game interviews and analysis.

In the Dallas area, tune to 105.3 FM.  In all other cities, click HERE for more information.

PROJECTION: Dallas Cowboys 53-man roster

The Boys - The Boys Are Back blog

IRVING, Texas — Go ahead and put most of these names in ink.

There are a handful of roster spots up for grabs entering Wednesday’s preseason finale, but the vast majority of the decisions will have already been made. The toughest calls come at the last spots for receiver, offensive line, defensive end and how to handle Matt Johnson’s situation (great potential, but can’t count on him this season).

QUARTERBACKS (2)

Tony Romo  Kyle Orton

If Stephen McGee wants to stick around for a fourth season, he needs to give the front office and coaches good reason to keep him with a strong performance in the preseason finale. At this point, it makes more sense to try to put Rudy Carpenter on the practice squad.

RUNNING BACKS (3)

DeMarco Murray  Felix Jones  Phillip Tanner

Tanner didn’t help his cause with a blown assignment in pass protection that almost got Orton killed against the Rams, but he’s a solid No. 3 back and core special teams player. North Texas alums Lance Dunbar and Jamize Olawale are good practice squad candidates.

FULLBACKS (2)

Lawrence Vickers  Shaun Chapas

Chapas, a fixture on first-team special teams units Saturday, is likely to last only one week on the roster. An extra fullback can help mask the lack of depth at tight end in case Jason Witten misses the season opener.

TIGHT ENDS (3)

Jason Witten  John Phillips  James Hanna

The Cowboys could opt to go with rookie Andrew Szczerba as temporary insurance instead of Chapas.

Danny Coale

WIDE RECEIVERS (6)

Miles Austin  Dez Bryant

Kevin Ogletree  Dwayne Harris  Cole Beasley  Danny Coale

It comes down to Coale vs. Andre Holmes, the Jerry Jones pet cat who reported to camp in poor shape and has shown no consistency. Holmes has more upside. Coale, who has hardly been on the field due to injuries, is more likely to contribute this season. The Cowboys envisioned Coale as a Sam Hurd-type No. 4 receiver/special teams stud (without the felonious side business, of course) when they invested a fifth-round pick in him.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (9)

Tyron Smith  Doug Free  Nate Livings  Mackenzy Bernadeau  Phil Costa

David Arkin  Jermey Parnell  Ronald Leary  Pat McQuistan

Is being a third guard good enough reason to keep Derrick Dockery? He probably wouldn’t be active on game days due to his lack of position versatility. McQuistan has experience at tackle, guard, blocking tight end and has even worked some at center. Addressing the lack of depth at center would be a wise move after Week 1.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (7)

Jay Ratliff  Jason Hatcher  Kenyon Coleman  Sean Lissemore  Marcus Spears

Tyrone Crawford  Josh Brent

Clifton Geathers (6-foot-7, 325 pounds) looks the part, but he hasn’t done enough to push Coleman or Spears off the roster. The Cowboys can save a little money by cutting (or perhaps trading) one of the veterans, but keeping both gives them quality depth in the defensive end rotation.

INSIDE LINEBACKERS (4)

Sean Lee  Bruce Carter  Dan Connor  Orie Lemon

Lemon is a guy you notice a lot in practices and preseason games. He has developmental potential and can contribute now on special teams.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS (5)

DeMarcus Ware  Anthony Spencer

Victor Butler  Kyle Wilber  Alex Albright

Can the Cowboys get pass rusher Adrian Hamilton through waivers onto the practice squad? It appears that they will try. He’s not getting reps with the first-team special teams units, a strong sign that they don’t see him as a fit for the 53-man roster this season.

CORNERBACKS (5)

Brandon Carr  Morris Claiborne

Orlando Scandrick  Mike Jenkins  Mario Butler

Jerry Jones has said there is a roster spot for Jenkins, meaning the Cowboys don’t plan for him to start the season on the physically unable to perform list. That doesn’t mean he’ll be ready for the season opener.

SAFETIES (4)

Gerald Sensabaugh  Barry Church  Danny McCray  Mana Silva

What to do with fourth-round pick Matt Johnson? He has hardly practiced because of a hamstring injury and he strained the other hamstring in his preseason debut Saturday night. The Cowboys could try to get him through waivers to the practice squad or put him on injured reserve, essentially making this a redshirt season. With such limited practice time, putting him on the 53 would be a waste of a roster spot.

SPECIALISTS (3)

Dan Bailey  Chris Jones  L.P. Ladouceur

No drama here after rookie deep snapper Charley Hughlett’s release Monday. The Cowboys were willing to pay more for the proven commodity.

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.

PRESEASON WEEK ONE: 2012 Dallas Cowboys 53-man roster projection

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Raymond Radway makes catch during Dallas Cowboys Training Camp (Star-Telegram Ron Jenkins) - The Boys Are Back blog

The regular season starts for the Dallas Cowboys in just a few weeks. Here’s our first of weekly projections on how the 53-man roster will shake out.

Quarterbacks (2)

Tony Romo  Kyle Orton

Comment: Teams that keep three like the third to be a young quarterback that can one day develop into a starter. Does Stephen McGee still fit that profile? Cowboys could save a roster spot here and try to slip Rudy Carpenter by on the practice squad for protection.

Running backs (5)

DeMarco Murray  Felix Jones

Phillip Tanner  Lance Dunbar  Lawrence Vickers

Comment: The Cowboys like Dunbar, but he picked a bad time to get injured. He needs to get on the field soon to earn a spot.

Wide receiver (5)

Dez Bryant  Miles Austin

Andre Holmes  Danny Coale  Cole Beasley

Comment: Even though Kevin Ogletree is starting now that Austin is injured, it’s not a lock he makes the team. If the team adds a veteran here as the season nears, a distinct possibility, he could lose his spot to a younger player with more upside. If the Cowboys decide to keep six here it will likely be at the expense of a running back.

Tight end (3)

Jason Witten  John Phillips  James Hanna

Comment: No intrigue here.

Offensive line (10)

Tyron Smith  Doug Free  Phil Costa  Mackenzy Bernadeau  Nate Livings

Ronald Leary  David Arkin  Jeremy Parnell  Pat McQuistan  Derrick Dockery

Comment: There remains a lot to sort through here but injuries to Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski have thinned the field.

Defensive line (7)

Jay Ratliff  Kenyon Coleman  Jason Hatcher  Tyrone Crawford  Sean Lissemore

Josh Brent  Clifton Geathers

Comment: One veteran is likely to go as the Cowboys try to get younger in the line. Marcus Spears is odd lineman out at this stage but it could be Coleman.

Linebacker (9)

DeMarcus Ware  Anthony Spencer  Sean Lee  Bruce Carter  Dan Connor

Victor Butler  Kyle Wilber  Alex Albright  Orie Lemon

Comment: Who excels on special teams will have an edge on the final couple of spots.

Secondary (9)

Morris Claiborne  Brandon Carr  Mike Jenkins  Orlando Scandrick

Mario Butler  Barry Church  Gerald Sensabaugh  Matt Johnson  Danny McCray

Comment: Mana Silva is still in the running for a spot. He makes plays.

Specialists (3)

Dan Bailey  Chris Jones  LP Ladouceur

Comment: Jones is no Mat McBriar as a punter, but he’s the best the team has in camp. It wouldn’t hurt to watch the waiver wire here.

Courtesy: David Moore

Editors Note: RED indicates an injury concern going into the season.

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

SCOUTING REPORT: Bryan Broaddus – A cure for the Center-QB exchange problems

Just a few ideas from Oxnard:

Dallas Cowboys QB Kyle Orton - The Boys Are Back blog

* On Thursday I asked Jason Garrett about the quarterback–center exchange problems the offense has had during this camp. In  my years working in this league as a scout, I was always taught that if the ball goes straight down to the ground, it’s most likely that the quarterback pulled out from underneath too soon and it’s his fault. I have seen a couple of balls end up like this during camp, but I thought Garrett’s answer was actually a better one. He is not trying to make excuses for David Arkin or Phil Costa, but both the centers and quarterbacks should share in the blame for the ball being on the ground. Arkin, especially, has never played center, and Kyle Orton needs to realize that and try to work with him if he needs more pressure, or to put his hands differently to help Arkin get a feel. What I have noticed about Arkin’s high snaps in the shotgun is that when your butt goes up, the launch angle of the ball goes high. Arkin needs to snap like he is sitting in a chair. When your butt is down, the ball stays down. It’s an old long snapper’s trick.

* Watch the second offensive line in the game against the Raiders on Monday night. There are no rookies in it, which I don’t think is a bad situation when you are trying to evaluate your squad on offense. Jeremy Parnell is the left tackle, Derrick Dockery is at left guard, Arkin is the center, while Daniel Loper is at right guard and Pat McQuistan is at right tackle. It’s a nice mix of some veteran players with a group of first and second year guys as well. It looks like a much better unit than the third, with Levy Adcock, Harland Gunn, Tyrone Novikoff and Jeff Adams out there. Your offensive line plays a large role in how your offense looks in these preseason games once the starters are out. Jason Garrett and his staff will get a chance to look at those younger players in the fourth quarter but until then, they will be able to get a much better read on the skill players, hopefully without many mistakes.

Dallas Cowboys safety Mario Butler - The Boys Are Back blog

* I really have liked what I have seen from Mario Butler in this camp when he has been asked to play both as a corner and in the safety spot. These preseason games are huge for him. The coaches have put him in a spot to make this team in a reserve role and on special teams. If Butler struggles, rookie Lionel Smith or C.J. Wilson will look to take that spot. I really do like Smith because he can play inside on the slot as well.

* Before we came to camp in California, some members of the front office told me that wide receiver Cole Beasley was going to get an extensive look during camp to see if he could line up in the various roles at wide receiver. In the morning walkthrough, Beasley was running with the first receiver group when they went to the three wide receiver package, playing in the slot. Beasley will also take the first rep when the team goes on the punt return against the Raiders on Monday night.

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley - The Boys Are Back blog

Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Scout

UPDATE: Mario Butler misses morning drills for birth of child

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Mario Butler missed this morning’s walkthrough to join his significant other in the birth of their child. Coach Jason Garrett said he was unsure about the timetable for Butler’s return to practice.

RELATED: Cole Beasley strong since returning to camp, draws praise from Stephen Jones

Two days away from training camp seems to have done wonders for former SMU receiver Cole Beasley, who had another strong practice Tuesday. Beasley left the team briefly to attend to personal issues but has turned in back-to-back strong efforts in Oxnard.

“I think he’s actually playing better now than he did the first couple of days of camp,” said Stephen Jones, the Cowboys’ director of player personnel. “Obviously, there were some things he needed to get straightened out in his mind. And it looks like he’s gotten that done.”

Jones said that is why the Cowboys remained “open-minded” when Beasley approached coach Jason Garrett and acknowledged thoughts about ending his football career. Beasley, a rookie, missed two days of camp before returning.

Courtesy: Jimmy Burch | FWST

NICK EATMAN: Assessing OT after the latest moves

Dallas Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith - The Boys Are Back blog

Fans want to see improvement. So it’s only natural for them to be annoyed, disinterested or even frustrated to see a former player who didn’t work out the first time, re-signed to the squad once again.

It happened here a few weeks ago when the Cowboys brought back Akwasi Owusu-Ansah for the third time. The latest move brings Pat McQuistan back again.

I can’t argue about the first one. But for McQuistan, who worked on Friday and is expected to finalize a contract before the start of Tuesday’s minicamp, it seems like a pretty solid move.

Here’s a guy who knows the system – at least in terms of Jason Garrett’s offense. He will be new to Bill Callahan, but then again, maybe that’s a good thing.

And offensive tackle is a position that appears to be in good shape, especially with the starters. Tyron Smith has the makeup of a guy who will be on the left side for many years to come and Doug Free might not have had a great season as the left tackle, but he should be just fine on the right side. I consider him a young 28 since he didn’t really play much until halfway into his third season.

After the starters, you’ve got Jermey Parnell, who isn’t exactly a new name anymore, arriving at the end of the 2010 season. But he’s still only played three games in his career, and just a handful of snaps as a tackle. Parnell was given a nice contract extension back in April that should keep in the fold for another year after his, simply buying the Cowboys more evaluation time.

But bringing back McQuistan gives this team some depth – experienced depth – at a couple of spots. While offensive tackle is his natural spot and where he will play here in Dallas, he does have the flexibility to play guard, if needed. That’s extremely valuable as you get closer to the season and trying to figure out who stays on the roster.

Plus, McQuistan should help this team in the preseason, an area the Cowboys wanted to improve. We’ve seen too many preseason games in the past where the offensive line couldn’t even function long enough to give anyone around them a chance to succeed. With McQuistan and Parnell likely manning the second- and possibly third-team tackle spots, that should be good enough to evaluate everyone.

And obviously this move should signal the Cowboys aren’t extremely high on their rookie tackles They released Notre Dame’s Taylor Dever, but he isn’t that far behind the other three rookie still on the roster in Levy Adcock, Jeff Adams and Tyrone Novikoff.

So you don’t have to do cartwheels for the move, but this one seems to make a little more sense than some of the other return visitors. 

CONTRACTS: Dallas Cowboys sign three draft picks | OT Pat McQuistan also signed

The Cowboys have begun the process of signing their rookie draft picks with wide receiver Danny Coale, tight end James Hanna and linebacker Caleb McSurdy coming to terms.

In the past, the Cowboys have waited until the week before training camp to begin talks with the agents but will take a more proactive approach this year, especially with most of the deals a mere formality because of the new collective bargaining agreement.

Coale, Hanna and McSurdy received four-year deals. They will receive base salaries of $390,000, $480,000, $570,000 and $660,000 from 2012-15.

Coale, the Cowboys’ fifth-round pick, was drafted with the idea that he would compete for the No. 3 wide receiver role, but a broken foot suffered on the first organized team activity will leave him on the sideline until training camp begins in July. The Cowboys like his feel for the game and his ability to play inside and outside. He left as Virginia Tech as the school’s second-leading receiver in catches and yards. He can also return punts.

Hanna, a Flower Mound, Texas, native, was the 186th overall pick and 16th pick in the sixth round. In four years at Oklahoma he caught 52 passes for 720 yards and nine touchdowns. He had a career-high 27 catches for 381 yards as a senior to go along with two touchdowns. He opened eyes at the NFL combine with a 4.46-second 40-yard dash and brings the ability to stretch the field vertically at tight end.

McSurdy, 6-1, 245 pounds, was the Cowboys’ seventh-round pick, No. 222 overall. He was a two-year starter at Montana and had 131 tackles as a senior. He is competing for a backup inside linebacker spot with Orie Lemon and Isaiah Greenhouse.

The Cowboys have yet to sign first-rounder Morris Claiborne, defensive end Tyrone Crawford (third), linebacker Kyle Wilber (fourth) and safety Matt Johnson (fourth). None have been able to take part in the OTAs, but Johnson will be on hand for this week’s minicamp. Claiborne (wrist), Crawford (calf) and Wilber (finger) are injured.

Courtesy: Todd Archer | ESPN Dallas

RELATED: Cowboys sign Pat McQuistan

The Dallas Cowboys announced Friday that they have signed offensive tackle Pat McQuistan. McQuistan, 29, was Dallas’ seventh-round pick in 2006.

A Cowboy from the day he was drafted through 2009, McQuistan stands 6-foot-6, 319 and has experience at both guard and tackle. He’ll be primarily a tackle in Dallas, competing for a roster spot behind Tyron Smith and Doug Free.

McQuistan bounced from the Dolphins to Saints over the past two seasons.

In a corresponding move, the Cowboys waived undrafted rookie tackle Taylor Dever.

Courtesy: Evan Silva | NBC Sports

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