2013 COWBOYS INJURY UPDATE: Dallas linebackers Sean Lee and Justin Durant practicing on the Texas-2 Tundra
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys returned to practice Thursday for the first day of practice for the Chicago Bears.
The team practiced in freezing, rainy conditions at Valley Ranch, and they welcomed back a pair of long-looked-for faces to the fold.
Linebackers Sean Lee and Justin Durant both returned to practice in full pads as the Cowboys began their preparations for their Monday night tilt against Chicago. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he’s hopeful both players can go through a full practice regimen in his first week back from a hamstring strain.
It was near freezing and raining as the Cowboys took to the field Thursday morning – an effect of the winter storm system moving into the Dallas area this week. Garrett said the team embraces the chances to practice in the elements, as it should be good preparation for game time temperatures in Chicago – which are expected to be in single digits.
“We want to practice here, outside. The weather has been good to us, going off to play in some of these northern cities where the weather is bad. A couple of weeks ago against the Giants, we got some bad weather down here in the days leading up to that,” he said. “We thought that was a positive, just to get out and practice in it. And it sounds like the weather is not going to be great here the next couple of days, so we’ll certainly embrace that opportunity.”
IRVING, Texas – Two of the NFL’s top 10 receivers this season both reside on the upcoming opponent of the Dallas Cowboys.
The Cowboys have faced some of the toughest receivers in the league this season, from Calvin Johnson to Victor Cruz to the plethora of options at Peyton Manning’s disposal, but Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall could be the best duo they see all year.
“They’re real strong,” said cornerback Orlando Scandrick. “They both go up and catch the ball and highpoint well. We have faced good guys that go up, but I don’t know if we’ve faced two guys that go up and get the ball like these guys and are having seasons like these guys.”
Both Marshall and Jeffery are two of the bigger receivers in the game, each standing at least 6-3 and more than 215 pounds. They’ve totaled more than 2,000 combined receiving yards already this season and each ranks in the top five receiving in the NFC.
“There’s no question they’re awfully good outside,” said head coach Jason Garrett. “They have big, strong receivers who can go and get the football. Both Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery are guys who can make plays out there when they’re contested. I think their quarterbacks do a great job of giving them a chances to do it.”
The 6-foot-4 Marshall’s got an inch on Jeffery, and the Dallas Cowboys saw just how dominant and difficult to cover Marshall can be. When the teams met last year in Dallas, Marshall hauled in seven catches for 138 yards.
That was before Jeffery came on as an elite threat. Now that he has, teams are put in a bind trying to figure out which player to focus on.
“Teams now have to play fair,” Marshall said. “He’s starting to put on tape and show the NFL that the Chicago Bears have two wide receivers that can dominate. If you want to double me or roll coverage, Alshon is going to be on the other side licking his chops and taking advantage of each opportunity.”
Jeffery only had three catches against the Dallas Cowboys last year, but he’s a completely different receiver from the player he was last year.
After finishing with 24 catches for 367 yards last year, Jeffery’s already beyond the 1,000-yard receiving mark this year with 70 catches for 1,109 yards and five touchdowns.
“They’re big,” Garrett said. “All of their weapons, the guys who make a lot of plays on the ball, are big, strong guys who are long. They have good ball skills and they make those contested catches. You just have to compete, you have to do a good job at the line of scrimmage and certainly at the point of the catch.”
Jeffery’s developed a rapport in recent weeks with backup quarterback Josh McCown, who’s the likely starter for the Bears on Monday, and is coming off a 249-yard, two-touchdown receiving day.
Scandrick said what makes Jeffery special apart from his big frame is his body control.
“He doesn’t spend a lot of time at the line of scrimmage,” Scandrick said. “He just takes his release, uses his body to shield you and goes and gets the ball.”
Despite all that, Scandrick believes the Cowboys have a good game plan to try to restrict what the Bears can do. In addition, the frigid Chicago temperature could also have an effect on the passing game for both teams.
Then again, Scandrick’s not preparing for the weather to halt the Bears’ plan too drastically.
He said it doesn’t take much to throw up a jump ball to those two guys, in which case the corners can’t get distracted with the receivers’ height. Both Scandrick (5-10) and the 6-foot-tall Brandon Carr will surrender at least three inches to the Bears’ top receivers.
“You just play the ball,” Scandrick said. “You don’t want to get caught up into thinking how tall he is. You play the ball and hopefully you come down with it.”
Scandrick and DeMarcus Ware believe the key for the defense eliminating the big plays that have bit the Cowboys’ defense in the past. Scandrick said there were too many times last week when the Raiders’ receivers got on top of the defense, but he thinks the game-plan this week should help the Cowboys out more.
As always, he looks forward to the challenge of playing two of the best receivers in the game.
“I’m so competitive,” Scandrick said. “I love these moments, and I feel like we’ve got a bunch of competitive guys on this team. We’re all up for the challenge.”
Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher said he’s been outfitted with a neck brace that will reduce the chance he gets another stinger. It’s so restrictive, it keeps him from moving his neck back.
“I can’t even see in my stance, hardly,” he said Thursday, smiling about it with reporters. “I have to get down super low.”
But he said he’ll take part of the brace off down the line so he can have more range of movement.
“I’ll take that off eventually, in about three or four weeks from now, I’ll take that off so I can get my neck back,” he said.
Hatcher was limited again in practice Thursday. The native of Jena, La., missed the New Orleans game two weeks ago because of a stinger.
“That hurt me bad, just going home to my home state and not being able to help my team,” he said. “I’m not saying the outcome would have been different or whatnot, but I’m pretty sure knowing me, a healthy me, I could have done some stuff to help my team. So I’m excited to be back, just excited to see how this game is going to go for me, as well as my team.”
BOYS BYE-WEEK BREAKDOWN: Sean Lee-less linebackers are an issue that the Texas-2 Defense must overcome
Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Breakdown
This article is part of a series. To see all related posts, click HERE. Enjoy!
Top Performer: Sean Lee
When you have a defense that has struggled like this Cowboys one has for games, it is hard to really find some bright spots in their play. You can say that Orlando Scandrick and Jason Hatcher are two players that come to mind but Sean Lee would be right there with them. Lee’s season didn’t start off as well as it needed to but after the Kansas City game, he has been consistent in the way he has played, even though there have been others around him that have not done the same. Lee leads the club in tackles, tackles for loss and interceptions which is no surprise.
What makes Lee so special, is his nose for the ball. There are very few players in this league that play with the smarts and the defensive awareness that he is able to show down after down. There were times when Sean Lee was the best defensive player on this team and that’s saying something when you also have DeMarcus Ware.
Need More From: Bruce Carter
When Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett made the decision to switch from the 3-4 scheme to 4-3, and knowing Bruce Carter’s game from his days at North Carolina and observations with the Dallas Cowboys, this switch should have been a perfect fit for him.
Carter hasn’t been as good as Lee in the way he has played, there is something just not right with what we have seen from him. Despite being 3rd on the squad in tackles, he hasn’t had those dominate performances running to the ball playing on the weak side in this defense. Now with Sean Lee out for at least two games, there will be pressure on Carter to make more plays, which he was able to do last season once Lee went down in the Carolina game. Remember what Sean Lee said about Bruce Carter when he said “There are things that Bruce can do athletically, that I only dream about.” Now is the time for Bruce Carter to step up and do those things that Sean Lee believes he can do.
Six-Game Forecast: Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Ebeflus needs to buy time
If this group is lucky, Sean Lee will only miss the Giants and Raiders contest before returning against the Bears. It appears that DeVonte Holloman is back in the mix and will work to get ready to face the Giants most likely on that strong side in place of Justin Durant, who also injured his hamstring against the Saints. Kyle Wilber who has played linebacker and defensive end during his career with the Cowboys. He will now go back to linebacker to add depth to the position along with Kyle Bosworth and Cameron Lawrence.
Without Lee in the lineup, it appears that Holloman, Sims and Carter would be the starters, unless something changes with the health of Holloman, then more adjustments would have to be made. What this group has to do, is do a better job of getting off blocks in the running game which was a huge issue against the Saints last Sunday. Since the Eagles game, these players have not been at their best when it has come to stopping the run and that has to change quickly despite their best player on the sideline for the next two weeks.
IRVING, Texas — Since May 16, the Dallas Cowboys have signed, traded, acquired, put on injured reserve or released 28 defensive linemen. They saw another, Josh Brent, retire on July 18.
Everett Dawkins and Hall Davis are the latest additions. Dawkins was signed off the Minnesota Vikings’ practice squad to the active roster, and Davis filled the final practice-squad vacancy.
There has been an incredible amount of movement on the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive line. If you remember the Travis Chappelear era consider yourself fortunate.
Check out these transactions by date involving only the defensive line:
May 16 – Signed Anthony Hargrove
June 5 – Waived/injured Robert Callaway
June 11 – Signed Jeris Pendleton
June 20 – Cut Hargrove
June 25 – Signed Jerome Long
July 18 – Josh Brent retired
July 26 – Signed George Selvie and Landon Cohen
July 31 – Cut Ike Igbinosun, signed Toby Jackson
Aug. 1 – Waived/injured Cameron Sheffield
Aug. 6 – Waived Monte Taylor, signed Jabari Fletcher
Aug. 12 – Signed Travis Chappelear
Aug. 13 – Claimed Thaddeus Gibson
Aug. 19 – Waived Chappelear, Jackson
Aug. 21 – Signed Jason Vega
Aug. 26 – Cut Pendleton
Aug. 31 – Cut Fletcher, Gibson, Long, Vega; acquired Edgar Jones from Kansas City
Sept. 1 – Traded Sean Lissemore to San Diego
Sept. 2 – Signed Vega to practice squad
Sept. 3 – Acquired Caesar Rayford from Indianapolis
Sept. 5 – Chappelear waived off injured reserve
Sept. 7 – Placed Ben Bass on injured reserve; re-signed Long
Sept. 17 – Cut Cohen, signed David Carter
Sept. 24 – Cut Long, signed Drake Nevis
Sept. 25 – Placed Anthony Spencer on injured reserve
Oct. 15 – Cut Carter, Signed Jarius Wynn
Oct. 16 – Released Ratliff off reserve/PUP
Oct. 18 – Signed Vega off practice squad; placed Jones on IR to return list
Oct. 21 – Signed Marvin Austin
Oct. 29 – Released Vega; signed Everette Brown
Oct. 31 – Signed Vega to practice squad
Nov. 5 – Cut Austin
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick had arguably the best game of his career Sunday against the Vikings. Five tackles, four pass deflections and an interception. Most importantly, he made plays on an astonishing nine of ten opportunities in the game.
He was given a defensive game ball by the Cowboys. He also graded as the second-best cornerback in NFL for his play this week by Pro Football Focus.
“He played really well,” coach Jason Garrett said. “Probably his best game. He got the defensive game ball. He showed up in a lot of different ways. There are a lot of different ways that we evaluate and grade our players. One of them on defense with the defensive backs is there were 10 chances that went his way and he won nine of them. He had three pass breakups, an interception, a critical tackle at the end of the ballgame. He was very active throughout the game.”
It was the continuation of what has been a strong season by Scandrick who has been one of the team’s most consistent defensive performers along with linebacker Sean Lee, defensive tackle Jason Hatcher and cornerback Brandon Carr.
Scandrick attributes his strong play to being named a full-time starter for the first time in his career. The six-year veteran replaced a struggling Morris Claiborne in Week 2 and has not looked back.
Scandrick said there is a certain freedom in your play when you don’t have to look over your shoulder every time you make a mistake. Starting has only boosted his already sky-high confidence and allowing him to play loose and focus only on making plays.
PERPLEXED IN THE METROPLEX: Jerry Jones frustrated because teammates could have used a healthy Jay Ratliff
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was cordial when initially asked about defensive tackle Jay Ratliff signing with the Chicago Bears two weeks after being cut by the Cowboys because he was too injured to play this season.
“We wish him the best,” Jones said on his radio show on KRLD-FM. “Sounds like we could be playing him when we meet the Bears.”
The Dallas Cowboys face the Bears Dec. 9 in Chicago. It appears that Ratliff will be ready to go by then after telling the Bears he needs a couple of weeks to get ready.
That he will be ready at all is what’s perplexing to Jones and the Cowboy after Ratliff missed all of training camp and the preseason recovering from a sports hernia surgery that his representatives said was much more serious than reported.
Ratliff was placed on the physically unable to perform list for the first six weeks of the season. And when he still wasn’t ready to return and gave the Cowboys the understanding that he would not be ready to play at all this season, he was released.
Ratliff was cleared to play by his surgeon a week later and began soliciting offers from other teams, culminating with his signing with the Bears.
Jones chaffed when asked if he was fooled and misled by Ratliff.
“No one fooled anybody here,” Jones said. “We thought we had a good clear understanding of his injuries and what he thought about them. He was very articulate about that. It’s very unfortunate. We could use a healthy Jay Ratliff. His teammates could use a healthy Jay Ratliff. We were counting on him from the get go. It’s ironic we would end up playing him. That’s frustrating.”
ARLINGTON, Texas – Worked out on Monday, signed on Tuesday, practiced on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday … so naturally Everette Brown had a big sack and forced fumble in the final seconds of Sunday’s win over the Vikings.
Now, Brown didn’t get a turnover, but the play was still a big play to help prevent Minnesota from driving deep in Dallas territory.
Brown, who said his focus was starting up a new Smoothie shop with his fiancée in Charlotte before the Cowboys called him last week, is the latest of several defensive linemen who have rolled through the organization this year.
In fact, if you’re scoring at home, Brown is the 16th defensive linemen to play a snap for the Dallas Cowboys this season. That doesn’t include Jay Ratliff, Tyrone Crawford, Ben Bass and Sean Lissemore, who once figured into the rotational plans for this D-line.
“Every week, it’s a new guy,” said Jason Hatcher, who has been the most consistent and the best lineman so far this year. “But I think they’re coming in and doing a great job of contributing right away. I give them credit and Rod (Marinelli) for getting them ready. They were big again today.”
One of the biggest plays of the game occurred from a trio of defensive linemen who might not have been in the NFL at all had it not been for the Cowboys giving them a shot.
Nick Hayden scored his first career touchdown by falling on a loose fumble in the end zone. George Selvie stripped the ball right before Jarius Wynn blasted Christian Ponder.
“I got him pretty good … it felt good, too,” Wynn said. “But it’s nice to come in here and help this team any way I can. I feel more comfortable now.”
Speaking of comfortable, Hayden looked right at home in the end zone after his first touchdown since his high school days.
Afterward, Hayden displayed what appeared to be a rather rehearsed dance.
“It was me rocking out,” Hayden said. “I just played the air-guitar and then smashed it at the end. It’s something we had talked about before for a sack dance. But I just used it today with my touchdown. I’ve got some other (dances), too, if I ever need them.”
While Hayden is far from the new guy anymore, he was also one of the players back in training camp just trying to revive his career.
“This group … we’re relentless,” Hayden said. “We’ve got new guys coming in each week, but they’ve been stepping up for us. It’s been great. We just try to learn from Coach Marinelli. He’s done a great job with us. We just keep playing for him.”
|George Selvie end zone strip and Nick Hayden recovery for TD replay||Locker room comments from Marinelli’s Misfits and Sean Lee|
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THE TEXAS-2-MUCH SCHEME: Despite turnovers, Dallas Cowboys defense on pace to be worst in NFL history
DETROIT — The Dallas Cowboys defense has improved in the turnover department.
They forced four turnovers Sunday and have 18 on the season, two more than they had all of last year. But those turnovers weren’t enough to get them a victory, as they became the second team in NFL history to lose a game when having a plus-4 turnover margin.
“That’s a shame,” defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said. “We talk about turnovers and we did what we needed to do. We just didn’t make things as tough as we should have and of course we didn’t stop the pass. You can’t give up big chunks like that, gosh darn it.”
The turnovers were nice and are usually the difference maker in the outcome, but the yardage allowed by the Cowboys’ defense is staggering this season.
They allowed 623 yards Sunday and are now on pace to give up 6,760 yards on the season, which would be a team record and one of the worst in NFL history. They are also on pace to give up 5,062 passing yards, which would set an NFL record.
Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson had 329 receiving yards, the second most all-time in a single game. More troubling, though, is that the Cowboys’ defense allowed the Lions to march 80 yards in 50 seconds in what proved to be the game-deciding drive late in the fourth quarter. Earlier in the fourth quarter, they allowed two eight-play, 80-yard touchdown drives.
“When it matters most, when it’s time to get off the field, when it’s time to put a dagger in them in the last drive of the game, we weren’t able to do that,” cornerback Brandon Carr said. “That’s what cost us in the end.”
Said defensive tackle Jason Hatcher: “I put it on the defense. We should have closed the game out and we didn’t.”
DALLAS COWBOYS RISING STAR: Marinelli Misfit George Selvie making a name for himself in Texas-2 Defense
IRVING, Texas – You know that half-a-sack George Selvie was credited with this past Sunday in Philadelphia, the one he shared with the just-arriving Jarius Wynn?
Well, upon further review, Selvie was credited with a full sack. That then officially gave him two sacks in the game.
In turn, that now gives him five sacks in seven games.
Let that sink in: George Selvie, now officially the leader of “Them Other Guys,” is second on the Dallas Cowboys in sacks, just one behind Jason Hatcher, who’s having a Pro Bowl start to this 2013 season.
Why, Selvie has one more sack than DeMarcus Ware, at this point likely to miss his second game in a row Sunday after having played in every one of the first 134 of his career.
Those five Selvie sacks, they would have been the third most on last year’s Dallas Cowboys team – for the entire season.
Five sacks. Until last year that total was just one less than Anthony Spencer’s career-high over his first five years in the NFL, and until this year one more than Hatcher’s previous seven-year career-high.
Five sacks. Just one less than the team’s previous high by a player not named DeMarcus Ware from 2009-2011, and just three less than what Greg Ellis and Bradie James posted in 2008.
And on July 25, three months to the day this Friday, with all 32 NFL training camps in full swing, this very guy, George Selvie, was sitting at home in Pensacola, Fla., out of work, having been released by Tampa Bay back on May 6.
He had just turned 26, released for the fourth time since he was a seventh-round pick in 2010 out of South Florida, and his mind was understandably beginning to wonder, “What do I do now? What do I do after football?”
Please don’t pinch the dude. Let him be.
Selvie, the guy who had never started even once over his 36-game NFL career the previous three seasons – drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2010, released on the final cuts of 2011, claimed by Carolina only to be released four weeks later, then signed by Jacksonville five weeks later, playing 16 games over two seasons with the Jaguars before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2013 and signed a month later by Tampa Bay this offseason – now is tied for 12thin the NFL with those five sacks. He’s in the same company with the likes of Cameron Jordan, Ryan Kerrigan, LaMarr Woodley and a half-sack behind Elvis Dumervil.
To further appreciate what Selvie has done so far this 2013 Dallas Cowboys season, a flashback to this summer is necessary, back to when the Dallas Cowboys called, more so out of necessity. Remember, the Cowboys lost Tyrone Crawford for the season the first practice of training camp (torn Achilles) with Spencer having his knee scoped about a week later.
They were simply looking for warm bodies at that time, defensive end types who were athletic, had high motors, could play the strong side, all with a decent amount of speed and … out of work. The list of candidates Will McClay’s pro scouting department had handy kicked out one George Selvie.
“I was coming to training camp like, they probably just think of me as a [camp] body,” said Selvie during his interview this week that can be heard in its entirety on the Jason Garrett Show, locally at 11 p.m. Saturday on CBS-11. (Watch Video | Play Audio)
Understand, camp body is a derogatory term, meaning a guy simply needed to fill out the 80-man roster and help facilitate training camp practices at minimum wage then discarded before the final 53 is assembled. The percentages are against these guys, especially coming into camp a week late, with no OTA practices or minicamps under their belt.
And in Selvie’s mind on his way to the West Coast, this just might be his last call.
“I’m going to go out here and try to prove myself,” he said of his thinking when getting the call and traveling all the way from Pensacola that same day to Oxnard, Calif., jumping into practice the very next day. And stuff just fell in place.
“I was blessed to be in the situation I’m in now, just fell in place for me – but I am where I am.”
Fell in place? More like crashed down in place. Ten days after arriving in Oxnard, Selvie demonstrated he was more than a camp body in the Pro Football Hall of Fame preseason game, recording five tackles, two sacks, three quarterback hits and two tackles for losses against Miami.
Come on, was this for real or one of those one-time wonders?
Judging from emails and phone calls to Talkin’ Cowboys, fans would have just as soon left Selvie in Canton, Ohio, to be measured for his yellow jacket. There actually were questions about the possibility of trading Spencer. Just let Selvie take his place and grab $10.6 million in cap relief.
So there we were, on the tennis courts at training camp, interviewing Selvie on Talkin’ Cowboys, letting him know of his new-found celebrity, but quickly finding out, as Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett likes to say, he is the right kind of guy.
“It’s just been crazy,” he said at the time, “because Twitter and stuff. I was like, got my phone, ‘I don’t want no part of that.’ I got a lot to do, you know what I’m sayin’, I got a lot to do.
“People are like, ‘Great start …’ but I still got … look I know the feeling.”
And he then began earning his eventual nickname coined by defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, who Selvie readily credits for much of his success: Bricklayer. You know, come to work every day, work hard and lay those bricks down one at a time.
And yes, things fell in place. Obviously, Crawford was done for the season. Spencer was on his way to being done for the season. Ben Bass, a guy who could play defensive tackle, defensive end, was headed for injured reserve, too. Suddenly, he looked up one day and basically when it came to defensive ends, it was DeMarcus Ware, Kyle Wilber and … George Selvie.
Man, after never starting in any of those first 36 games he played in the NFL, there he was, under the glare of Sunday Night Football at AT&T Stadium, starting. Starting, mind you, for the first time in his career, no more than six weeks removed from wondering just what he would be doing for the rest of his life.
Nearly two months later and now Selvie is a fixture in the Dallas Cowboys lineup, having started all seven games and now standing second on the team in sacks, tied for second in tackles for losses (3) and third in quarterback pressures (11) behind some guys named Ware and Hatcher.
Meteoric rise would be an understatement, and not likely in his wildest dreams …
“No, I couldn’t have imagined it,” says Selvie when thinking back to those lonely moments in Pensacola, having trudged back home after Tampa Bay released him to contemplate his future.
“But this is the best football I’ve played, the stats show those are the facts, and I’ve had the opportunity to go out there and play, rush the passers, actually get out there on the field. I never had that [opportunity] in the past, but now I do.”
And aren’t the Dallas Cowboys darn glad he does, too.
So don’t even think about it, no pinching allowed.
George Selvie 1-on-1 interview with Mickey Spagnola (3:10)
Mickey Spagnola sits down for a 1-on-1 interview with Dallas Cowboys DE George Selvie.
NO “I” IN TEXAS-2 DEFENSE: Sean Lee believes other teammates more deserving of Defensive Player of the Week Award
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee doesn’t think much of being named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Philadelphia Eagles. He led the team with 11 tackles and recorded an interception.
Lee said it didn’t have a perfect game and that other teammates were more deserving. Mostly, his focus on helping the Cowboys continue to improve defensively rather than an individual award, while pointing out that they are just two games removed from giving up 51 points in a loss to the Broncos.
“I think there are guys on our defense who played better than I did who probably could have gotten that award instead of me,” Lee said. “It was a great team effort and great win. The key for us is to continue cause you look back two games ago and we gave up 51 points. We still have room to improve.”
Jay Ratliff left the building only a week before his No. 90 and his locker went to another defensive tackle. Marvin Austin has taken over both after the Dallas Cowboys signed him Tuesday.
Austin spent two seasons with the Giants after they made him a second-round pick in 2011. He spent two games with the Dolphins this season before his release Oct. 15.
“It’s definitely a new beginning and a lot to build on,” Austin said.
Austin, listed at 6 foot 2, 312 pounds, still was pouring with sweat a half hour after practice. He admits he is not in football shape.
“Not good enough,” Austin said. “To be honest with you just the way they practice and the way they want you to go out there and play, I’ve got to keep working every day to get in shape to go out there and perform.”
Austin hopes defensive line coach Rod Marinelli can work the same magic with him as Marinelli has with several no names along the defensive line.
“His record speaks for itself and coach [Monte] Kiffin also,” Austin said. “The way that those guys coach, and the success they’ve had in this league, I have no excuses.”
While facing Detroit’s Calvin Johnson is daunting enough, the Dallas Cowboys might have to do it without one of their starting safeties.
Rookie J.J. Wilcox suffered a knee injury in today’s practice and will undergo an MRI later in the afternoon. The Cowboys are fearing a possible MCL sprain but at this point, before the test results, it doesn’t appear to be a season-ending injury. The injury occurred in the red-zone drills when he battled tight end Gavin Escobar for a ball in the end zone and came down awkwardly on his knee.
A third-round pick from Georgia Southern, Wilcox has been improving each week, and made a key play in last week’s game against the Eagles when he deflected away what appeared to be a touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson. Wilcox also had an interception that was called back when replay officials said the ball first hit the ground, ruling an incomplete pass.
If Wilcox doesn’t play, the Dallas Cowboys will likely start rookie Jeff Heath, who is battling an injury of his own. Heath sustained a right forearm injury last week but said the injury won’t keep him out of practice or the game.
The Cowboys also have Danny McCray, who is one of the team’s better special teams contributor. But if Wilcox can’t go, it’s likely the club would need to add a fourth safety – possibly rookie Jakar Hamilton, who is currently on the practice squad. To sign Hamilton, the Cowboys would have to release another player.
Wilcox is currently seventh on the team with 28 tackles. He took over as a starter in Week 3 against the Rams and started five straight games. He made a career-high nine tackles against Denver.
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys’ top tackler of the season earned the team’s first NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors this year for his performance in last weekend’s 17-3 win against the Eagles.
Sean Lee was given the honor after recording one of three Cowboys interceptions in the win and leading the team with 11 combined tackles, including one for a loss, marking the fifth straight game he’s led the team in tackles.
The interception was Lee’s second of the year, and it’s also the second time in Lee’s career that he’s been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week. He last was given the honor his rookie season for his performance against the Colts on Dec. 5, 2010, in an overtime win against Peyton Manning. Lee recorded two interceptions that game, including one for a touchdown.
That 2010 season included three NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors for Cowboys players. DeMarcus Ware and Bryan McCann were both named defensive players of the week, in addition to Lee.
The last Cowboys player to take home NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors before Lee this week was Brandon Carr last season for his performance against the Steelers. No Cowboys player won the award in 2011.
Dwayne Harris is the only other player to be given player of the week honors this year. He’s been named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week twice this year, once for his returning skills and once for his coverage skills.
IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys have once again added another defensive lineman. This time, he’s a little more well-known than some of the others.
The Cowboys have added beefy Marvin Austin, a former second-round pick of the Giants in 2011. Austin missed all of his rookie season with a torn pectoral muscle and played in just eight games last year for the Giants, who cut him after the last preseason game. Austin was then picked up by the Dolphins but cut two weeks ago.
The Cowboys had an open spot on the roster having putting defensive end Edgar Jones (groin) on injured reserve.
Austin is a former college teammate of Dallas Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter, who was also taken in the second round of the 2011 draft.
Today, coach Jason Garrett commented on Austin’s versatility as a tackle, stating, “he can play both defensive tackle spots.”
“What we know about him is a lot of really positive things,” Garrett said. “There are some positive physical traits and some positive character personality traits you want to tap into it. You want to give a guy a blank slate when he comes in and hopefully the environment you create for him brings out the best in him.”
Austin is yet another player high-profile college player whom the Cowboys have added to bolster the defensive line depth, along with George Selvie and Drake Nevis, a former LSU All-American and third-round pick. Selvie was a college standout at South Florida but taken in the seventh round.
The Cowboys have also signed veteran Jarius Wynn last week and played him in the game against Philadelphia. Jason Vega was signed last week to make his Cowboys debut with DeMarcus Ware ailing.
Overall, 14 different defensive linemen have suited up for the Dallas Cowboys in the first seven games.
The Dallas Cowboys are hoping Marvin Austin is ready to become the 15th this weekend in Detroit.
NO SHAME IN NO-NAME: Dallas Cowboys Texas-2 Defense holds NFL’s third-ranked offense out of the end zone
PHILADELPHIA – With his game-sealing pick, Brandon Carr waved goodbye to the departing Eagles’ crowd and the shared division lead all at once.
The Dallas Cowboys’ defense, including a horde of “no-name” linemen who were forced into action with DeMarcus Ware out, held the league’s top rusher in check and forced three interceptions against the Eagles as they soared past Philadelphia for sole possession of first place in the division with a 17-3 win.
Just two weeks removed from the 51-points yielded to the Broncos, the Cowboys have allowed just 19 combined points their last two weeks to the Redskins and Eagles. Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin believes seeing less can be a good thing and contributed to those performances.
“When you become a good defense, you play fast and you know what you’re doing,” Kiffin said. “Like I say, see a little or see a lot. When you see a lot, you see nothing, and we were seeing a lot earlier in the year. When you just see a little bit and you read your keys, you’ve got a chance.”
The defense gave the Cowboys more than just a chance. They solidified the win by holding the league’s third-ranked offense out of the end zone entirely.
“It’s very encouraging to see our defense play as well as it played today and fundamentally that was the plan from the word, ‘Go,’” said owner/general manager Jerry Jones. “We played well. There wasn’t a lot of confusion out there.”
The victory moved the Cowboys to 3-0 in the NFC East for the first time since 2007 and marked their first road win of the season. They did it all without their all-time sack leader, who missed the first game of his career with a thigh injury.
With Ware battered up, the Dallas Cowboys needed all the help they could get on a defensive line comprised of players no one would recognize before the season began, outside of Jason Hatcher. The Cowboys signed defensive end Jarius Wynn this week and made him active. They brought up defensive end Jason Vega from the practice squad and made him active, as well.
The line already featured a defensive tackle in Drake Nevis who was signed just weeks prior, and a defensive end in Caesar Rayford who came to the team after the preseason.
At least on Sunday, none of that mattered, thanks in large part to tremendous coverage on the back end that allowed consistent pressure from the front four.
“It’s what football’s about,” said defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. “At the end of the day, it’s still a blue collar game. The men who want to go out and work, fight, compete get opportunities.”
The Cowboys bothered Nick Foles all day, led by a player who joined the team in training camp. George Selvie finished with 1.5 sacks to notch the first multi-sack game of his career. He shared a sack with Wynn on the last play of the third quarter, which knocked Foles out of the game.
Hatcher also added a sack in his dominant start to the year, giving him six now for the season. He said he didn’t even think the defense played as well as it should, yet the Cowboys still held the Eagles to three points. Hatcher credited Marinelli for having the ability to plug and play new people the last couple weeks without any ill effects.
“He cares about you, unlike some coaches that just care about their job, he cares about you as an individual,” Hatcher said. “He’s an awesome guy to play for.”
It helped that Foles was wildly inaccurate, completing just 11-of-29 passes for the Eagles before going down. It only got worse for Philadelphia’s offense later, as Matt Barkley came in and threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter, with Sean Lee, Barry Church and Carr all securing one apiece.
Carr’s pick sealed the deal, and the corner was stellar throughout, giving DeSean Jackson fits on the outside. He helped to hold the speed threat to just three catches and 21 receiving yards on eight targets, and he finished with an interception, two passes defended and a tackle for loss.
“Me and Orlando (Scandrick) had the task of following him around the field,” Carr said. “It’s just one of those matchups where you’ve got to stay on him for 60 minutes. A guy with that speed, it’s easy for him to slip past you. You don’t want to be in a foot race with him.”
Perhaps even more impressive was what the defense did to the Eagles’ other primary playmaker, LeSean McCoy, who led all NFL running backs by 99 rushing yards entering the game. McCoy averaged just 3.1 yards per carry, running 18 times for 55 yards, and averaged 4.3 yards per catch Sunday.
It wasn’t always pretty football for either team. The vaunted Eagles offense was forced to punt nine times after going 4-for-18 on third down. The Cowboys also punted nine times but took advantage when they moved down the field, scoring both times they got inside the 20. The Eagles went 0-for-2 in red zone efficiency.
Despite scoring just 17 points, the Cowboys’ offense still included three players with at least six catches and 50 yards apiece. Dez Bryant led all players with eight catches for 110 yards and had a game-high 16 targets.
There were major contributions from Terrance Williams, whose fourth-quarter touchdown reception gave the Cowboys a 14-point lead and marked the rookie receiver’s third straight game with a touchdown, and Cole Beasley, who was a mismatch once again in the slot with six catches for 53 yards.
Rookie running back Joseph Randle got his first start of his career, rushing for 65 yards on 19 carries and catching three passes for 28 yards. Phillip Tanner went in at the goal line to bowl in for the Cowboys’ only rushing touchdown and first score of the game.
That touchdown by Tanner in the third quarter alone would have been enough to win the game on a day where the Dallas defense dominated to put the Cowboys atop the division. Still, Hatcher isn’t yet satisfied.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do,” Hatcher said. “We didn’t play as well as we should tonight, but we held them to three. It’s kind of scary when you look at it. We’ve just got to be more consistent.”
COWBOYS EAGLES GUT-CHECK: Dallas writers review predictions made prior to NFC East division showdown
First Take presented by Nationwide (3:33)
PHILADELPHIA – Beat writers Nick Eatman, Bryan Broaddus, David Helman, and Rowan Kavner share their initial feelings of the Dallas Cowboys’ 17-3 win at Lincoln Financial Field.
Chalk this up as my most inaccurate prediction of the season — though I doubt anyone is complaining. Simply put, I just did not see that defensive performance coming. The Cowboys completely stifled one of the league’s best offenses and the league’s most dynamic players in LeSean McCoy. It was a sometimes ugly but ultimately satisfying win. The Dallas offense wasn’t always pretty, but their receivers stepped up to make enough good plays to seal the win. Even more important — this team is undefeated through half of the division slate.
For the second straight week, it was not at all the shootout everyone expected. I thought Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy would be much more infallible than they were Sunday. Credit that to heavy pressure from Jason Hatcher and George Selvie, as well as tremendous coverage on the back end. I was on track with Terrance Williams scoring a touchdown for the third straight game and Dez Bryant going off, but was off on the Joseph Randle prediction. Phillip Tanner got it instead. Williams and Cole Beasley continue to offer more than anyone could have imagined. The way the Cowboys’ defense was playing, Tony Romo and his offensive threats didn’t need to do too much. In addition, Dan Bailey wasn’t needed for any late heroics I thought the Cowboys would have to have.
I was about as wrong as one person could be on this one. It wasn’t high-scoring, the defense did play, they did stop LeSean McCoy and Miles Austin was no factor. It doesn’t matter what the opposition did, this is a big win for Dallas. To get to 3-0 in the NFC East having beaten every team in the division now, is a big confidence boost for a team that figured out how to win without their best defensive player and starting tailback. Wasn’t pretty but yet they still found a way to beat Philly on the road.
The stats will not say that he had a monster game but for having to fill the shoes of a monster player in DeMarcus ware, Kyle Wilber did all right. Wilber battled Jason Peters all game long which I had a feeling he would do. Where Wilber was giving up size and weight, he was able to hang in there against this dynamic rushing attack of the Eagles. He got pressure off the edge against Nick Foles and later Matt Barkley. Wilber and his defensive line mates, were outstanding in getting off blocks and rallying to the ball but more importantly, they were able to tackle and prevent the Eagles from pulling off any huge plays. That was the difference in the game today.
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This was Cowboys-Eagles, right? Two of the NFL’s most high-powered offenses against two of the worst defenses in the league? Chip Kelly’s quick pace against Tony Romo’s aerial attack? Air it out, throw it around, go, go, go?
So much for that.
In a game that was far from the high-octane shootout most expected, Dallas came out on top, 17-3, and in the process, improved its record to 4-3 and took sole possession of first place in the NFC East.
The Cowboys came into this affair ranked second in the NFL in points per game (30.5) and 13th in yards per outing (349.8). Likewise, the Eagles owned the fourth-highest average in points (27.7) and were third in yards (499.8).
On the defensive side of the ball, Dallas had surrendered an average of 25.3 points per game, which was 21st in the NFL, its 413.2 yards given up per contest, ranking 30th. For their part, the Eagles defense ranked dead last in yards per game (420.2) and 29th in points (29.8).
All the makings for video-game-type numbers.
Except the Dallas defense, was stellar. With DeMarcus Ware sidelined with an injury, the defensive line held its own, providing continuous pressure and helping limit the Eagles to only 278 total yards of offense. Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles was just 11 of 29 with 80 yards passing, while running back LeSean McCoy was held to 55 yards on 18 carries.
Meanwhile, although the Cowboys struggled themselves to move the ball in the first half, punter Chris Jones keeping plenty busy, in the second half, they did seem to make some adjustments. Spreading the offense out allowed for more movement, and in the end, Dallas finished with 368 total yards.
Making his 100th career start, Tony Romo, who aired it out more as the game went along, posted 317 passing yards and a touchdown. With his performance, he now has more completions and more passing yards than any quarterback in history through his first 100 starts.
The primary beneficiary of all that throwing was Dez Bryant, who surpassed the century mark with 110 yards receiving on a game-high eight catches. The rookie Terrance Williams continued to shine as well, catching a touchdown for the third straight game and finishing with 71 yards on six grabs.
Fellow rookie Joseph Randle, making his first career start, was steady in place of the injured DeMarco Murray, earning 93 yards from scrimmage off 19 carries and three receptions.
Still, it wasn’t a pretty beginning. In fact, midway through the second quarter, the two teams had combined for more punts (11) than first downs (10). And, the only points in the first half came late in the second frame, when Dallas started on its own 36-yard line, and finally worked deep into enemy territory, reaching the Philly 20. Romo had connections of 14, 15 and10 yards to Cole Beasley, Bryant and Williams, respectively, but once the drive stalled, Dan Bailey came out for a 38-yard field, splitting the uprights for three.
On their next possession, the Eagles tried to even things up, crossing midfield to the Cowboys 42. But on fourth-and-1 with 14 seconds left, Philadelphia curiously elected to try a 60-yard field goal rather than go for it and Alex Henery’s attempt, while long enough, sailed wide left.
But after picking up the field goal before the break, the Cowboys gained more momentum as the second half got underway. Things got started when Dwayne Harris brought the ball out of his own end zone and returned it to the Dallas 34-yard line.
From there, Romo kept the offense spread out, and kept Bryant active, as he hit the receiver on passes of 12, 11 and 19 yards during the drive, the last getting the Cowboys down to the Philly 2-yard line. And while Dallas seemed destined for another field goal when a third down pass attempt to Bryant fell incomplete in the end zone, a pass interference call on the Eagles gave the visitors a first down at the 2.
On the very next snap, Phillip Tanner then barreled into the end zone, Dallas jumping out to a 10-0 lead.
The Eagles tried to make a game of it, and after Romo was picked off by linebacker DeMeco Ryans, returning it to the Dallas 30, seemed to be in prime position to narrow the gap. But from there, Philadelphia could muster only 17 more yards and had to settle for a 31-yard field goal as the clock ticked into the fourth quarter, the score 10-3.
But any thoughts of a comeback were quickly squashed by the Cowboys, as Romo marched his team 72 yards in 10 plays. The quarterback efficiently spread the ball around, connecting on passes to Bryant, Randle, Jason Witten and Beasley, capping the drive off with a slant to Williams from nine yards out to up Dallas’ advantage to 17-3.
With Foles leaving the game with concussion symptoms, rookie Matt Barkley made his NFL debut at quarterback, and didn’t fare much better for the Eagles, throwing an interception to Sean Lee on his first possession, and then another one to Barry Church on his second.
On his third drive, the youngster had the Eagles on the doorstep, reaching the Dallas 12-yard line, but with just over a minute left on the clock, cornerback Brandon Carr pulled down yet another interception in the end zone, Romo simply having to take two knees to run out the clock.
With the victory, the Cowboys captured their first road win of the 2013 season, and moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC East. They’ll next head to Detroit to take on the Lions, who are also 4-3 after losing today to the Bengals.
IRVING, Texas – Forget three or four weeks. DeMarcus Ware might still be playing this weekend against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Dallas Cowboys’ all-time sack leader doesn’t know his status yet, but he’ll travel with the team on the flight to Philadelphia, and he thinks he’ll be a game-day decision. He said he doesn’t need to practice this week to remain a possibility to play.
“I’m not going to be out three or four weeks,” Ware said. “I don’t know where that came from, but somebody said it. My recovery’s pretty fast, and I’m feeling pretty good today.”
Ware has never missed a game in his career, despite suffering hamstring, shoulder and elbow injuries last year and dealing with stinger problems this season. The latest thigh injury had many thinking he’d be out multiple weeks, but he said he’s already started running and will continue to work off to the side at practice before the ultimate decision is made.
He admitted the leg is still sore, but he’s continuing to get treatment and believes he’ll be in proper shape if he’s able to go this weekend. Ware said he can’t worry too much about his remarkable games played streak, which sits at 134.
“I think when you look at it, the bigger picture is always important,” Ware said. “You don’t want to ever be defined as just a number. You want to be somebody that when you get out there, you’re wreaking havoc and playing. If I can do that this week, I’m going to get out there and play.”
In addition to running, Ware said he can also plant and cut. It wouldn’t really be a surprise to see him return to action and play, despite the initial prognosis.
Ware’s iron man streak of consecutive games played continued even after getting carted off the field with a neck injury in 2009 that left him temporarily motionless. He played six days later against the Saints after missing practice throughout that week.
“I know that I can get through injuries, but you never can (predict) what one injury’s worse than another,” Ware said. “Each week, just like I took it with that injury, you’ve got to take it that whole week and make a game-day decision.”
He said he needs to weigh the importance of being on the field this week against the potential for future harm. He said he needs to be able to run, pass-rush and change direction with ease, particularly considering the speed at which the Eagles play.
If Ware can’t go, Kyle Wilber will get the call at defensive end. Wilber went in after Ware’s injury last week, recorded a strip sack on Robert Griffin III and secured the fumble.
“Last week, when I went down, Wilber went in there and made a big play on a really great tackle,” Ware said. “I know that he can get out there and play, me just showing him a lot of things, his confidence level has boosted through the roof. You’ve got to let him keep playing that way, and I know he can get the job done.”
Wilber continues to talk to Ware as the second-year player prepares himself for a starting opportunity. Head coach Jason Garrett preaches the “next man up” philosophy, while Wilber hears from defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin that everyone in the defensive room should consider himself a starter. For Wilber, it’s now time to play like one.
“It’s pressure and it’s a challenge, but it’s good pressure and a good challenge,” Wilber said. “You want to be a dependable guy, so the team looks at you like, ‘This person right here, we can count on him.’”
Wilber went from 240 pounds last year to 248 pounds this year, as he made the move from linebacker to defensive end. He said it’s difficult for him to put on weight, but eventually he’d like to be around the 255-pound mark. Strength and conditioning coach Mike Woicik is pushing him to help reach that total.
It’s been tough for Wilber to serve as a backup since getting drafted in the fourth round in 2012. He’s accustomed to starting, and last year was particularly tough for him after getting injured because he felt like he didn’t help the team.
“You have to kind of motivate yourself,” Wilber said. “It’s kind of hard being a backup, especially behind a Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer. You’re not seeing yourself getting a lot of playing time. You definitely have to prepare yourself mentally.”
He may now get his chance to stand out on a “no-name” defensive line. Well, almost a no-name defensive line. Wilber said Jason Hatcher has become more of a household name after his five-sack start to the season.
“As long as we’ve got ‘Hatch,’ I feel like we’re good,” Wilber said. “He’s one of the best three-techniques out there.”
Wilber, however, feels like a no-namer until he demonstrates what he can do consistently. Even after his performance last week against the Redskins, he knows teams aren’t going to strategize for him, but they will have to plan for his presence.
He feels more ready than ever for a starting role if Ware can’t go, and a lot of that has to do with the star pass-rusher getting him ready.
“Definitely,” he said. “D-Ware, he’s still on me, still coaching me up. He’s making sure I can do everything.”
The Dallas Cowboys received a lot of criticism for choosing to trade back and select center Travis Frederick in the first round of April’s NFL Draft.
However, through the first six weeks, the Dallas Cowboys are looking pretty wise.
Frederick stepped in as a starter, anchoring the Dallas offensive line from Day One. Although he struggled early in the season, the 31st overall pick has played well the last four weeks. In fact, the former Wisconsin standout has been so impressive that the folks at Pro Football Focus have given him the fourth-highest grade among 2013 first-round picks through the first six weeks.
New York Jets 3-4 defensive end Sheldon Richardson, Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and San Diego Chargers right tackle D.J. Fluker are the only rookies to grade higher than Frederick, who is ranked seventh among NFL centers and first when it comes to run blocking efficiency.
According to the PFF grade book, Cowboys starting offensive linemen received the four highest grades on the offensive side of the ball against Washington. Right tackle Doug Free led the way with Frederick second, left guard Ron Leary third and right guard Brian Waters fourth. Left tackle Tyron Smith was 11th among the team’s offensive players.
Other offensive grades …
Tony Romo received the Dallas Cowboys’ lowest individual grade and his worst of the season for his performance against Washington. Romo completed 18 of 30 passes for 170 yards, one touchdown and one interception. PFF has Romo currently ranked seventh among quarterbacks, trailing Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford.
Dez Bryant is ninth among receivers. Dallas rookie Terrance Williams is 77th and Miles Austin is 84th.
Doug Free remains No. 1 among all offensive tackles. Tyron Smith is 22nd. Brian Waters is 11th among guards and Ron Leary is 33rd.
Dan Bailey is third among kickers and Dwayne Harris moved up to seventh among kick returners.
Over to the Texas-2 defense …
Second-year Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III received his worst grade of his NFL career on Sunday. Griffin only received one negative grade during his standout rookie season. He has received three negative grades already this year.
According to PFF, DeMarcus Ware is second among 4-3 defensive ends, trailing only St. Louis’ Robert Quinn. George Selvie is 20th.
Ware is first in run stop percentage and fourth in pass rush productivity.
Jason Hatcher, who received his highest grade of the season on Sunday, is fourth among defensive tackles. Tampa Bay’s Gerald McCoy, New York Jets’ Damon Harrison and Seattle’s Brandon Mebane are ahead of him.
Sean Lee has moved up to seventh among inside linebackers. Carolina’s Luke Kuechly holds the top spot. Lee is second in tackling efficiency but 22nd in pass coverage.
Barry Church, who was in the top five safeties a couple of weeks ago, has fallen to 23rd.
Brandon Carr is 14th among corners. Orlando Scandrick is 65th and Morris Claiborne is 95th. Former Cowboy Terence Newman — now in Cincinnati — is 12th.
Scandrick is fifth when the grades focus just on slot coverage.
Carr was thrown at 12 times Sunday, allowing only four catches for 55 yards. Pierre Garcon was targeted 15 times Sunday and Carr was defending on 10 of them. Garcon caught two of those passes for 29 yards.
Know the opponent …
With the Dallas Cowboys playing in Philadelphia Sunday, here’s a look at a few Eagles grades.
Left guard Evan Mathis is the highest graded offensive linemen in the NFL and running back LeSean McCoy is the league’s highest-graded running back.
Philadelphia’s top five defensive players: Defensive end Fletcher Cox, defensive end Cedric Thornton, outside linebacker Trent Cole, defensive lineman Vinny Curry and cornerback Brandon Boykin.
In the bag …
The Dallas Cowboys are at their best defensively when their line is causing problems for the opposing quarterback. Of Dallas’ 17 sacks this season, 12 have come in the team’s three victories and four of the other five came in the one-point loss in Kansas City.
Here’s the breakdown:
Week 1 vs. Giants, a 36-31 win: 3 sacks.
Week 2 at Chiefs, a 17-16 loss: 4 sacks. Week 3 vs. Rams, a 31-7 win: 6 sacks. Week 4 at Chargers, a 30-21 loss: 1 sack.
Week 5 vs. Broncos, a 51-48 loss: 0 sacks.
Week 6 vs. Redskins, a 31-16 win: 3 sacks.
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr playing without putting pressure on himself, unlike last year.
Brandon Carr, coming off perhaps his most impactful game with the Dallas Cowboys since signing his $50.1 million free agent contract.
“I don’t feel pressure any more,” the veteran cornerback said Monday at Valley Ranch. “I put it on myself last year. It’s a new year. I’m still working, still trying to get better. I’m going to continue to evolve as a player. I’m not going to put pressure on myself. I’m going to continue to have fun and show the passion I have for this game and make plays.”
Carr had six tackles, a tackle for loss, and three pass breakups against the Redskins on Sunday. Instead of playing just one side of the field, he stayed with the Redskins’ No. 1 target, Pierre Garcon, and limited him to six catches for 69 yards on 15 targets.
“You can call it what you want to call it,” Carr said. “I’m going to go out there and do my job wherever they match me up, or on the side I play. I’m going to try to shut it down. It’s a compliment to me and a great challenge for me. I have been working to get to this level for six years now.”
Carr said he still sees himself developing.
“I’m still a work in progress, but I’m down for any task or challenge they present to me,” Carr said. “Any receiver they tell me to go out and cover or give them my best shot, that is what I’m going to do every Sunday.”
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones stated the obvious on his radio show this morning. He said the defensive line is the Dallas Cowboys biggest concern six weeks into the season.
The loss of defensive end DeMarcus Ware for at least a week or two is the latest setback up for a unit that is already without ends Tyrone Crawford and Anthony Spencer for the season and has seemingly given up hope of getting back defensive tackle Jay Ratliff at any point this season.
The Cowboys are scouring the waiver wire and the streets for help up front but Jones said the team will not trade a future high draft pick to get a defensive lineman.
“It’s pretty well known, I imagine, around the league, some of the issues we got with our defensive front,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM], “so if some other GMs or personnel people are sitting there saying, ‘I bet Dallas might be interested in this lineman,’ then their wheels are turning, too. That could still happen, but we’re not going to be in a position, and don’t want to give up a high draft pick to get a defensive lineman right now.”
The Cowboys are expected to sign veteran defensive end Jarius Wynn, who has five years of experience with the Packers and Chargers.
ARLINGTON – The Dallas Cowboys did what they were expected to do tonight, defeat a struggling Washington Redskins team at home.
Here are five thoughts on the Cowboys’ 31-16 win over the Redskins on Jerry Jones’ 71st birthday.
1.) It didn’t look like it for the first three quarters, but overall the Cowboys played above the level of their competition. A week after matching arguably the best team in the league, Dallas played around with a sub-par Washington group for three quarters. To their credit, they separated themselves when it mattered.
2.) Give that man the game ball. Dwayne Harris was the game’s MVP. Harris’ 86-yard punt return for a touchdown and his 90-yard kickoff return that set up Terrance Williams’ TD. The 26-year-old continues to makes plays when given the chance. As Jerry Jones would say, Harris’ arrow is pointing up.
3.) The worst news of the night was that DeMarco Murray (ankle) and DeMarcus Ware (quad) spent the entire second half wearing baseball caps and shorts on the sideline. If their injuries keep them out for an extended period of time the Cowboys are obviously in trouble.
4.) Give the defense a little credit. Yes, they didn’t play a great opponent, but they bounced back — and did it without Ware. Jason Hatcher, Sean Lee, Kyle Wilber, Orlando Scandrick and Brandon Carr all made big plays when needed. Monte Kiffin’s scheme still has holes that make it difficult to believe that they can contain the league’s top offenses.
5.) Even in a poor division, a win over an NFC East opponent is still valuable. If the Cowboys win the games they are supposed to win – like they did tonight – a division crown and home playoff game seem likely. After six weeks, the Cowboys are tied for the division lead at 3-3.
As we all know, Peyton Manning used his ‘once every five-year” quarterback keeper to score against the Dallas Cowboys last week. Let’s take a look at the play …
Denver in I-formation with a wide receiver set left
Receiver shifts to right side, Dallas defense adjusts
Play in motion, Manning fake handoff to running back, Ware in pursuit, secondary set for run defense
Bruce Carter breaks free, heads toward Manning. Church recognizes play, but is out of position.
Bruce Carter and Barry Church in pursuit as Peyton Manning approaches goal line
Manning crosses into end zone, Carter pulls back
Peyton Manning scores touchdown on quarterback keeper.
The play, from the end zone …
Carter sees Manning rolling out towards the end zone
Manning scores one of the key plays in the game.
See it for yourself … check out NFL Game Rewind