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Blog: Offensive Tackle Signed To Practice Squad; Witten Off To Fast Start; More
Welcome to the 2017 DallasCowboys.com Writers' Blog, your daily resource for up-to-date news and notes throughout the season. Read
Cowboys Make Practice Squad Move, Sign OT
(Sept. 20; 5:45 p.m.) – The Cowboys released offensive lineman Dan Skipper (Arkansas) from their practice squad and signed rookie offensive tackle Jarron Jones (Notre Dame).
Jones, undrafted this past spring, went to training camp with the Giants and converted to offensive tackle from defensive tackle, his position at Notre Dame. The Giants waived him at final cuts after preseason.
The Cowboys signed Skipper as a rookie free agent this past spring and waived him at final cuts.
Witten Leading The NFL In Catches After 2 Games
Witten is leading the entire league in catches (17) after two games, and he’s coming off a game-high 10 for 97 yards and a touchdown in the Cowboys’ 42-17 loss at Denver.
That gives him a very-early pace for 136 catches over 16 games, which would easily eclipse his career high of 110 in 2012.
Of course, Witten and the offense are a seeking better collective results. The Cowboys produced one of their worst offensive performances in recent memory against the Broncos, gaining only 268 yards and 16 first downs. With quarterback Dak Prescott facing pressure most of the day, Witten was a strong option underneath last Sunday.
There’s no question the offense wants to make more explosive plays in the passing game. Prescott delivered four completions of 20 yards or more in the season-opening win over the Giants, but Witten’s 28-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter was their only explosive play in Denver.
Cowboys Make Two Roster Moves During Tuesday Off Day
(Sept. 19, 3:13 p.m.) – Three weeks after acquiring him in a trade, the Cowboys have released linebacker Jayrone Elliott.
Elliott was one of the newest additions to the roster, as Dallas sent a conditional seventh-round draft pick to Green Bay to secure his services during final roster cuts back before the start of the season.
The team hasn’t announced it as of yet, but it’s highly likely Elliott was released to make room for Damontre’ Moore, who is returning from suspension this week. Moore was suspended the first two games of the season for an arrest that stemmed back to his time with the Seattle Seahawks last season.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett confirmed on Monday that Moore would be rejoining the team this week, but the Cowboys have until Wednesday to make the move official.
Elliott was with the Cowboys for two games. He was active in Week 1 but did not play, and he was inactive last Sunday against Denver. Given his inactivity during his time in Dallas, the Cowboys should hold on to the seventh-round draft pick they offered to the Packers to get him.
Elsewhere, the team also brought a familiar face back to its practice squad. The Cowboys re-signed Jameill Showers one week after releasing him. They released guard Nate Theaker to make room on the 10-man squad. Read
Damontre' Moore Set To Return To Roster After Suspension
“We’re just going to get him back into the fold this week,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on Monday. “We’ll get him back into practice and just see how he does and see how he stacks up against the rest of them.”
Moore was suspended in August for an arrest that stemmed back to his time with the Seattle Seahawks last season. He was allowed to be at the team’s facility and work out during his two-week absence, but the Cowboys may now add him to their 53-man roster.
Garrett said no roster move has been made to free up space for Moore as of yet. What they decide to do will likely be dictated by injuries, as several members of their secondary are coping with issues after Sunday’s loss in Denver.
The Cowboys have until Tuesday afternoon to make a roster move. Read
Stephen Jones Hopeful Chidobe Awuzie Can Practice This Week
(Sept. 18, 1:37 p.m.) -- In the wake of Sunday’s 25-point loss in Denver, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones had least had some good news on the injury front.
Jones talked to 105.3 FM The Fan in Dallas on Monday morning, and he shared a positive update on Chidobe Awuzie’s hamstring.
“Chidobe never got loosened up and we decided not to push that issue with him and do anything that might further put him in a negative position,” he said. “We were conservative with him and did an MRI on him, and we think there’s nothing further there.”
Awuzie exited Sunday’s game in the first half with the hamstring injury and did not return. He said following the game that it was the same hamstring that bothered him during training camp.
The rookie cornerback said that he wants to play next Monday against the Arizona Cardinals, but he ultimately left that up to the team’s athletic training staff.
“It’s definitely my goal to play,” he said. “Even today I wanted to play, but you’ve always got to be smart. It’s up to the trainers, and I know they’re going to do their best job to get me on that field.”
Jones echoed that sentiment on Monday, expressing optimism that Awuzie will be able to participate in this week’s practices leading up to Week 3.
“Hopefully he’ll be able to work back into practice this week and hopefully be ready to go,” he said. Read
Judge Denies NFL's Request For Stay Of Elliott's Injunction
The NFL has also filed an emergency motion for a stay to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. According to reports, the league requests a ruling no later than Sept. 26.
As long as the injunction is in place, Elliott remains eligible to practice and play. He had eight carries for nine yards and four catches for 14 yards in the Cowboys’ 42-17 loss to Denver on Sunday.
The Cowboys next play at Arizona on Monday, Sept. 25.
(Sept. 17, 1:31 a.m.) – It might be too soon to speculate on Ezekiel Elliott’s long-term future, but Jerry Jones feels good about the short term.
Asked Sunday if he thought Elliott would be available to play for the rest of the 2017 season, the Cowboys’ owner/general manager was unsure. But he was willing to comment on Elliott’s availability for the team’s Week 3 game against Arizona.
“Well, I don’t know about that, but I sure think he’ll play Monday night,” Jones said.
Elliott’s ongoing battle against the NFL has followed the Cowboys for roughly five weeks now. The Pro Bowl running back successfully filed for an injunction against his six-game suspension, allowing him to play while his legal team takes the matter to court.
However, the NFL recently filed an appeal of that injunction, requesting that Elliott serve his suspension while the issue is determined in court.
It remains to be seen how things will unfold, or how much – if any – time Elliott will miss. With all the twists and turn the situation has taken, Jones quipped that media members are more attuned than most.
“Well, I’ll tell you – my hat’s off. I think you, the media, are doing a great job of helping me understand some of the nuances – really are,” he said. “As we all see, there are a lot of if’s and but’s here. And because of that, and because it’s got courtrooms all over it, I can’t make a comment about it. Because I don’t want to influence that.”
Dak Prescott Blames Himself For Offense’s Struggles vs. Denver
Quarterback Dak Prescott blames himself.
“If I make more plays, we give ourselves a chance in that game,” the second-year quarterback said. “I just simply didn’t make the plays. There’s no excuse for it. Playing like that, you won’t win games. It doesn’t matter who you play.”
Facing a Broncos secondary he calls “one of the best in the league,” Prescott completed 30 of a career-high 50 pass attempts for 238 yards and two touchdowns. Dealing with pocket pressure for much of the game, he threw two interceptions. The second one was returned 103 yards for a touchdown by Aqib Talib to seal the Broncos’ blowout victory.
Late in the first quarter, Prescott landed awkwardly while tackled from behind and had both his ankles re-taped. After the game he said he was fine. His main concern was missed throws leading to failed drives and an unbalanced offense. The Cowboys converted only 3 of 14 third down chances, and All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott got only eight carries for nine yards.
“They did a good job with sticky defenders; they were on us,” Prescott said. “They made me throw in tight windows and tight areas and I simply didn’t make some of them.
“It doesn’t matter who you play. When you play the way I played tonight, you’re not going to win many games in this league.”
More Milestones For Jason Witten Despite Lopsided Loss
The veteran tight end reached two more career milestones: With a game-high 10 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown against the Broncos, he moved past Cris Carter and Marvin Harrison for fourth on the NFL’s all-time career receptions list (1,106).
And, now with 12,044 career receiving yards, he became only the second NFL tight end (Tony Gonzalez – 15,127) ever to reach 12,000 career receiving yards.
After the game, Witten recognized the significance of joining Gonzalez in the record books. But his thoughts were on the Cowboys’ blowout loss to Denver.
“My mind is so focused on helping this team win,” he said. “It’s so much bigger than just me. Certainly I recognized the people that helped me along the way to help me achieve something like that. But it’s kind of hollow right now.”
Secondary Depth Tested With 2 Corners Leaving Sunday’s Game Early
Awuzie, the Cowboys’ second-round pick, made his second NFL appearance after dealing with a hamstring injury for part of preseason. He had been replacing starter Anthony Brown on the outside when Brown moved into the slot in subpackages.
Carroll, the other starter on the outside, left the field with the assistance of the athletic training staff after taking a hit to the helmet.
Scandrick, the Cowboys’ 10-year veteran, had surgery last Monday to repair a fracture in his left hand. The team is hopeful he won’t miss much time.
Terrance Williams Active For Week 2 vs. Denver; Two Rookies To Debut
(Sept. 17, 1:18 p.m.) – It’s a day of debuts for the Cowboys’ 2017 rookie class.
The two rookies may be asked to help offset injuries, as the Cowboys could be without two key veterans for the game. Orlando Scandrick has already been ruled out after he had surgery on a broken hand last week. Terrance Williams practiced Friday and was officially listed as “questionable,” but the Cowboys undoubtedly activated Brown in case Williams isn’t available at any point on Sunday afternoon.
Perhaps the most notable inactive, for a second-straight week, is McFadden. The Cowboys’ coaching staff will once again go with Alfred Morris as Ezekiel Elliott’s primary backup. Morris carried the ball four times for just one yard in relief of Elliott last week, but the Cowboys feel that he is the better all-around option as the backup running back.
Scandrick’s injury might have given cause for the Cowboys to activate Benwikere, after they traded for him during roster cuts two weeks ago. However, with Lewis recovered from a hamstring injury that limited him during training camp, the coaching staff opted to give the rookie a look against the Broncos.
With Jay Elliott and Anthony Hitchens both inactive for this game, the Cowboys will be playing with just five linebackers. Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith and Damien Wilson figure to start, while Justin Durant and Kyle Wilber can fill in as needed.
The other pecking orders on the Cowboys’ depth chart remain the same. With Rush sitting out, Kellen Moore will once again back up Dak Prescott. With Jonathan Cooper once again sitting, look for Joe Looney and Byron Bell to be the primary depth behind offensive line starters Chaz Green and La’el Collins.
The Broncos’ inactives for Sunday are quarterback Paxton Lynch, running back Devontae Booker, cornerback Brendan Langley, guard Billy Turner, defensive lineman Ahtyba Rubin, wide receiver Jordan Taylor and defensive end Zach Kerr.
Witten Set To Pass "Too Tall" Jones For Most All-Time Cowboys Games Played
Witten might have missed more during that rookie season if he hadn’t made his designated weight the following week. With his diet restricted due to the injury, his old head coach Bill Parcells had a solution:
Baby food. Sweet potato, specifically.
“I thought, ‘This guy’s got to be kidding,’” Witten recalled Thursday. “Come to find out, he was serious. I missed one game and was able to get back out there.”
Witten had his own solution to making weight that week. Little did Parcells know, the rookie had a five-pound weight hidden in his sweatpants pocket when he stepped on the scale.
“That was a gutsy move on my end as a 20-year-old kid to make that decision,” Witten said with a laugh. “Here I am 15 years later.”
This Sunday, the 15-year veteran tight end is set to pass Ed “Too Tall” Jones for the most games played all-time by a Cowboy (225).
Another week, another major milestone. Last Sunday, Witten passed Michael Irvin for first on the franchise’s all-time receiving yards list.
This week’s record, maybe more than any other, illustrates Witten’s commitment to excellence. Many injuries came close to keeping him off the field on a given week: a spleen injury in 2012, an ankle injury on a short week before a Thanksgiving game.
Yet Witten has always been driven to show his teammates “I’m going to give everything I have.”
“A lot of luck goes into, too,” he said. “I don’t want to make it seem like I’m some Hercules or something, because that’s not the case. You’ve got to be lucky with it and being healthy is part of that.
“When you think of the great players over the course of this organization and their ability to be available week in and week out, to join that list it really is humbling because those guys were some mentally tough and physically tough football players.”
Byron Jones Added To Cowboys' Injury Report
(Sept. 14; 4 p.m.) – Cowboys starting safety Byron Jones was added to Thursday’s injury report with a groin injury that limited his participation in practice.
Rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis practiced fully for the second straight day, seemingly putting him on track to make his NFL debut Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
Click here for the Cowboys' and Broncos' injury reports.
Talented Matchup Between Cowboys' WRs and Broncos' Secondary
(Sept. 14; 3:30 p.m.) – As good as the Denver Broncos’ front seven is with Von Miller and Co., their “No Fly Zone” secondary remains among the NFL’s best defensive backs group.
It’s a unit that led the league in pass defense the last two seasons under Joe Woods, who was promoted from defensive backs coach to defensive coordinator in the offseason, replacing Wade Phillips.
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett spent the final season of his playing career (2004) in Tampa Bay when Woods was coaching the Bucs’ defensive backs.
“When you get a chance to be around a guy on the practice field and be a part of a team, you see how guys respond to him,” Garrett said. “He was a younger coach at the time but you could tell he was well-respected by the players and by the other coaches. It doesn’t surprise me one bit he’s had the success he’s had.”
This Sunday, the Cowboys’ offense must find ways to move the ball and score points against a Denver defense with talent all over the field, including Pro Bowl cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris. The Cowboys counter with a dynamic receiving group that includes Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley, though Terrance Williams (ankle) has missed practice this week.
“Probably the best (defense) in the AFC,” Prescott said. “They’re great in the back end. They’ve got All-Pro cornerbacks. They’re fast. They’re savvy guys.”
Cowboys Re-Sign WR Brian Brown To Practice Squad
(Sept. 13; 6 p.m.) – The Cowboys brought back a training camp standout on Wednesday, as they signed wide receiver Brian Brown to their practice squad.
Brown signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent last spring, and he enjoyed a productive training camp before he was ultimately released during final roster cuts.
The Cowboys released safety Jameill Showers to make room for Brown on the practice squad. This will be the first time Showers hasn’t been with the team since he signed as an undrafted free agent in 2015. He spent his first two seasons with the team as a quarterback, but the coaching staff moved him to safety after Dak Prescott eventually took over the starting job.
Anthony Hitchens Improving “Every Single Day” Since Knee Surgery
“I’ve gotten better every single day since I got out of surgery,” he said Wednesday. “That’s all I can ask for.”
In the Cowboys’ Aug. 26 preseason game, Hitchens suffered a tibial plateau fracture in his right knee with an initial recovery timetable of eight weeks. A scope confirmed no ACL damage. Jaylon Smith started at middle linebacker in Hitchens’ place against the Giants.
Hitchens is currently focused on his rehab with the athletic training staff. He’s also watching film, still preparing as if he were healthy enough to play right now.
“It’s always good news when it’s not an ACL,” Hitchens said. “I’m just thankful that it wasn’t and I’m just trying to get better each and every day so I can be my best when I get back.”
Scandrick & Williams Sit Out On Wednesday; Rookie Corners Practicing
(Sept. 13, 12:05 p.m.) – For a second-straight week, the Cowboys have to be encouraged by their injury status at the outset of practice on Wednesday.
Scandrick and Williams were both injured during Sunday’s win against New York, but the prognosis on both seems to be favorable. Williams hurt his ankle on the first play from scrimmage on Sunday, but he finished the game and tallied six catches for 68 yards.
“I would see him as a limited practice player at most,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett of Williams on Wednesday.
Garrett confirmed that Scandrick underwent successful surgery on his broken hand on Monday evening. He seems unlikely that the veteran corner would suit up against the Broncos on Sunday, but the Cowboys are optimistic he’ll be back sooner rather than later.
“He had the surgery the other night and it went well,” Garrett said. “We'll take his situation day by day, but he's in good spirits and I think physically he's on the mend.”
While Scandrick recovers, there were encouraging signs from the Cowboys’ two young cornerbacks. Chidobe Awuzie was present and participating on Wednesday after tweaking his ankle in the final seconds of Sunday’s win. Jourdan Lewis, who is working his way back from a hamstring injury, was also participating in practice.
“I would anticipate Jourdan practicing a little bit more and hopefully Chidobe handles the work well and can do more as the practice goes on,” Garrett said.
Crawford Continues Making Progress With Ankle In Return vs. Giants
Crawford tallied two tackles against the Giants, working mostly at left end. His presence added necessary depth to the line rotation with Damontre’ Moore (two games) and David Irving (four games) suspended.
Crawford missed the entire preseason due to the ankle injury and worked hard on his rehab with the athletic training staff. He knew he’d be “a little rusty” in his return.
“Felt a lot better than I expected it to going into the game,” he said. “I’m just working on getting my ankle right and everything. It’s a work in progress; I know that. I know how injuries go.”
Jerry Jones Expects Elliott To Play Sunday As NFL Appeals Injunction
(Sept. 12; 9:30 a.m.) – Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones told 105.3 The Fan that he expects running back Ezekiel Elliott to play in Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos but didn’t speculate beyond this week regarding the NFL’s appeal of Elliott’s preliminary injunction.
Reports surfaced Monday that the NFL filed its appeal with the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and planned to file for an emergency stay of the injunction blocking Elliott’s six-game suspension for violation of the league’s personal conduct policy.
Last Friday, a Texas federal judge granted Elliott the injunction and temporary restraining order, paving the way for Elliott to remain on the field for the foreseeable future while the case moves through the court system. A timetable for a ruling on the league's appeal is uncertain.
“We’ve got a good narration going with the media, really doing in my mind a pretty good job of explaining it to our fans,” Jones said Tuesday during his weekly radio segment. “I’m not going to try to trump that, but I do expect him Sunday.”
Elliott rushed for 104 yards and gained 36 receiving yards in last Sunday’s 19-3 win over the New York Giants.
Scandrick Expected To Have Surgery On Fractured Hand
It’s currently uncertain whether Scandrick will be available for Sunday’s Week 2 matchup against the Denver Broncos.
Scandrick left for the locker room in the first half of the Cowboys’ season-opening win over the New York Giants and was subsequently ruled out of the game. Team owner/general manager Jerry Jones confirmed Scandrick’s fracture after the game.
Rookie Chidobe Awuzie took more defensive snaps with Scandrick out of the lineup.
NFL Files Appeal Of Ezekiel Elliott’s Preliminary Injunction
(Sept. 11; 9 a.m.) – The NFL has filed an appeal of running back Ezekiel Elliott’s preliminary injunction that currently blocks his six-game suspension for violation of the league’s personal conduct policy, according to NFL.com and other reports.
The league filed the appeal with the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Last Friday, a Texas federal judge granted Elliott a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order that prevents the league from imposing the six-game suspension. The ruling paves the way for Elliott to remain on the field for the foreseeable future while the case moves through the court system.
Elliott gained 140 all-purpose yards in Sunday’s season-opening win over the New York Giants. Speaking publicly for the first time since the league suspended him Aug. 11, the second-year running back said he’s grateful to have the opportunity to continue playing while the process plays out.
“Just relief, just relief – the fact that I finally get a fair trial, the fact that I finally get a chance to prove my innocence,” he said. “I’m just happy that I’m able to be with these guys for as long as it’s permitted and just not having to miss time and not being away from them.”
A timeline for a ruling on the league’s appeal is uncertain. The Cowboys next play at the Denver Broncos this Sunday.
Williams Leaves in Walking Boot; Expects To Be Ready
It’s hard to think he would have one of the more productive games of the night, but that’s what happened. He returned to catch six balls for a team-high 68 yards – all of which with what he described “just a sprain” to his right ankle, which was in a walking boot after the game.
Williams said the doctors told him he was fine but that it wasn’t going to painful to run.
“It bothered me a little bit,” Williams said. “Not really when I was out there but more standing around on the sidelines.”
When asked about his status for Sunday’s game with the Broncos, Williams said he hopes to be ready.
“I hope so but I’m going to go in (Monday) morning and see what they say,” Williams said. “If it’s just based off of pain-tolerance, I say, let’s go.”
Scandrick Exits With Fractured Hand; Updating Chido's Ankle
The most notable would be the hand injury suffered by Orlando Scandrick, which forced him out of the game in the first half. Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones described it as a fracture of his left hand.
Jones said he wasn’t sure if the injury would require surgery or simply protection, but he was optimistic it wouldn’t hold the veteran cornerback out too long.
“It looked like that they could do some work on it tomorrow and possibly have him ready for future games,” Jones said. “I’m not trying to dismiss it, but it’s something that we’d hope and think he can play with – just from the initial thing I looked at.”
Rookie cornerback Chidobe Awuzie tweaked his ankle on one of the game’s final plays and was looked at by team athletic trainers after the final whistle. Awuzie said Brandon Marshall landed awkwardly on his ankle while he was making a tackle, but he thought he’d be fine.
“When I tackled him, he kind of rolled up on my ankle. But I should be good,” he said.
Chaz Green Shows Progress In First Career Start At Left Guard
Green appeared to work well with the rest of the Cowboys’ offensive line as the offense racked up 392 total yards, including 140 from running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Green, who competed with Cooper in preseason, previously played guard for only one half in his entire college career. The 2015 third-round pick played well in two starts for Tyron Smith at left tackle last season.
He called Sunday’s performance “a good start” at his new position.
“Definitely, that’s something I can build off of,” he said. “I also don’t want to relax. It’s the NFL; every week you’ve got a challenge with a guy right across from you.
“I’m so much more confident out there at left guard. I understand the offense. I understand the techniques and what I need to do. Just keep building from there.”
Witten Reaches Two Milestones During Productive First Half vs. Giants
Witten, already the franchise all-time leader in receptions, caught six passes in the half for 49 yards to move past Tim Brown for sixth place in NFL history in career receptions (1,095).
Late in the half, Witten gave the Cowboys a 13-0 lead with a 12-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Dak Prescott. He’s starting his franchise-record tying 15th NFL season tonight.
Darren McFadden & Odell Beckham Jr. Headline The Inactives For Season Opener
The Cowboys released their seven inactives prior to kickoff, as NFL rules stipulate that only 46 of a team’s 53 players can suit up for a game. With Elliott active and McFadden’s limited role on special teams, the Cowboys opted to sit the veteran running back down.
On the other sideline, the New York Giants also declared Pro Bowl receiver Odell Beckham Jr. inactive with the ankle injury that has bothered him for the last two weeks.
These are all fairly straightforward, in keeping with the Cowboys’ good health during the week. Rush will sit for his first career regular season game, giving the nod to Kellen Moore as the Cowboys’ backup quarterback. Lewis and Hitchens are both coping with injuries, making it logical to sit them down.
Benwikere’s absence is tied to Chidobe Awuzie, who has been deemed healthy enough to participate in his first regular season game. Cooper will also sit, as Chaz Green has been ruled healthy enough to play – and will likely start at left guard.
Brown was always likely to be inactive, as the Cowboys’ other five receivers are healthy and expected to participate in Sunday’s game.
The Giants’ other six inactives, other than Beckham, are quarterback Davis Webb, wide receiver Tavarres King, running back Wayne Gallman Jr., linebacker Keenan Robinson, offensive lineman D.J. Fluker and tight end Matt LaCosse. Read
21 Months Since His Injury, Jaylon Smith Ready For Regular-Season Debut
Some thought the devastating knee injury and nerve damage Smith suffered in his final college game on New Year’s Day 2016 might prevent him from playing another game, period.
As Smith readies for his long-awaited NFL regular-season debut Sunday night against the New York Giants, he won’t take any of it for granted.
But he’s also focused on the present. After all, Sunday night is just the beginning.
“I believe with what I went through and the magnitude of it, it’ll always be with me,” he said. “But for me, I’m focused on nothing but being successful.”
Smith back enjoying the on-field camaraderie with his teammates. And throughout this process, he’s been grateful for the entire organization’s support, including Dr. Dan Cooper, the Cowboys’ team physician who performed Smith’s surgery in 2016, and Britt Brown, the Cowboys’ associate athletic trainer who oversaw his rehab.
Smith said he got more and more comfortable in training camp practice and preseason games. His teammates can see it, too.
“It’s been unbelievable what he’s been able to do,” linebacker Sean Lee said. “Being out there with him I’m extremely comfortable. The type of work he’s put in to come back, what he looked like in OTA’s, what he looked like in training camp, he’s ready to play. I’m excited to be out there with him, excited to make plays with him.”
Beckham Listed As “Questionable” For Giants; More Injury Updates
(Sept. 8; 3:30 p.m.) – Odell Beckham’s availability for Sunday’s opener is uncertain – the Giants’ Pro Bowl receiver is officially listed as questionable with an ankle injury – but Cowboys Pro Bowl wideout Dez Bryant wouldn’t be surprised at all if Beckham suited up despite sitting out practice all week.
“He’s the heart and soul of that squad,” Bryant said Friday.
It's Been A Frustrating Wait, But Jourdan Lewis Is Staying Patient
All players deal with injury at one point or another, but consider this fact. Lewis was drafted by the Cowboys more than four months ago, and he just worked into his first padded practice on Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s been pretty frustrating,” Lewis said on Friday. “Actually having my first NFL reps, padded – actually being Wednesday – was kind of crazy if you think about it. You’re a rookie and you’re just getting into your first padded practice.”
Lewis worked with the team throughout the offseason program, but his entire training camp was hampered by a hamstring injury he suffered at the outset. He has been rehabbing the injury diligently, but this past week offered his first opportunity to practice in an 11-on-11 format.
“I’m just happy to be out there, getting in the groove of things and trying to get back out there and fully going,” he said.
It’s doubtful Lewis makes his debut along with the rest of his fellow rookies against the Giants. The Cowboys want to make sure he’s fully ready to go, rather than risk re-aggravating the injury. Lewis did say his progress has been encouraging, though.
“It’s getting better, and that’s all we can ask for,” he said.
In the meantime, Lewis said he’s doing his best to say sharp on the mental side of the game – familiarizing himself with the playbook and the game plan. The wait might be agonizing, but hopefully it won’t last too much longer.
“It’s definitely been frustrating, but it’s a learning curve. Just try to stay in everything, try to be mentally focused and prepare for it when I do get my chance.
Linehan Says Rush-Moore Backup Competition Is A “Healthy Situation”
There might not be a permanent decision anytime soon, either.
“They’re going against the No. 1 defense (on scout team), so I think that’s a big plus,” Linehan said.
Asked if the backup competition could be a week-to-week proposition, Linehan said, “Don’t know for sure right now. Right now I’d say week to week. At some point I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a definitive No. 2, but I like the fact that they’re competing and getting better as we share the reps. I think that’s a really healthy situation for us.”
Cowboys Looking Healthy At Wednesday Practice; Zeke Practicing
(Sept. 6, 11:47 a.m.) – The Cowboys appear to be remarkably healthy heading into their matchup against the Giants – even for Week 1.
The first practice of the week began Wednesday morning, and Anthony Hitchens was the only member of the 53-man roster who did not participate while the media was in attendance.
There are still some players that bear monitoring. Chaz Green is working back from an ankle problem, and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Jourdan Lewis likely won’t participate fully in practice. The rookie corner is still coming back from a hamstring injury. Tyrone Crawford is also working his way back to practice after missing the past few weeks with a lateral ankle sprain.
Having said that, it has to be considered encouraging that the vast majority of the Cowboys’ roster was able to take the field for the first practice of the week.
There are no injury concerns for Ezekiel Elliott, but all eyes were on him during the open portion of practice. Elliott is eligible to play against the Giants on Sunday, although his six-game suspension was upheld by NFL arbitrator Harold Henderson on Tuesday night.
Garrett said Elliott will focus on what he can control heading into this game, while the Cowboys wait to hear whether a Texas judge will grant him a temporary restraining order, which would potentially allow him to play in subsequent weeks.
“He’s going to practice today and the rest of the week and he’s able to play in this ball game on Sunday,” Garrett said. “That’s really where our focus is – nothing really beyond that. That’s what we’ve been planning for all along.”
Prescott, Scandrick Voted Among Captains For 2017 Season
After a team vote, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Dak Prescott, Jason Witten, Sean Lee, Tyrone Crawford, Orlando Scandrick and Dan Bailey will serve as captains for the upcoming season. That’s a whopping six captains.
NFL teams typically feature five captains – two on offense, two on defense and one on special teams. The Cowboys made an exception, given the leadership displayed by both Crawford and Scandrick. Garrett said the team tried to add in a seventh captain, but NFL rules didn’t allow it.
Travis Frederick served as an offensive captain in 2016 after Tony Romo went down with a back injury. It’s a testament to Prescott’s ownership of the offense that he was elected a captain heading into just his second season.
Nzeocha Returns to Practice Squad; Rookie WR Cut
A seventh-round pick in 2015, Nzeocha has played in only eight games, including six last year. He has four tackles on defense and another on special teams. Injuries have plagued Nzeocha since he arrived, including a knee injury he sustained in college at Wyoming.
To make room, the Cowboys released Brian Brown, an undrafted rookie wide receiver from Richmond. Brown had a few nice catches throughout the preseason and training camp and figured to be a player in the team’s plans moving forward. The Cowboys still have one receiver on the practice squad in rookie Lance Lenoir.
Jerry Jones: Tyrone Crawford Is "Ready" To Play Sunday Against New York
Jones held his weekly interview on 105.3 FM The Fan on Tuesday morning, and one of the numerous topics he covered was the health of Tyrone Crawford. The veteran pass rusher has been sidelined since Aug. 8, when he suffered a lateral ankle sprain during a training camp practice.
The injury looked grisly at the time, but the Cowboys were optimistic he’d be able to return for the season opener – and that does in fact look to be the case.
“He's ready. He'll play Sunday night," Jones said.
That could be a big boost for a defensive line that is without two contributors in David Irving and Damontre’ Moore, both of whom are suspended to start the year. Crawford appeared in 14 games last season and finished third on the team with 4.5 sacks.
Rico Gathers Placed On Reserve/Injured List
Gathers has been in the concussion protocol and out of practice since an accidental helmet-to-helmet collision in training camp practice on Aug. 15. He will be eligible to return to the active roster from Reserve/Injured after a league-mandated eight weeks. Teams are permitted to recall two players from IR during the season.
Gathers, a sixth-round pick in 2016, has shown progress in his transition from college basketball to the NFL. He caught a touchdown pass in each of the Cowboys’ first two preseason games.
Cowboys Trade For Green Bay OLB Jayrone Elliott
(Sept. 3, 2:26 p.m.) – With Anthony Hitchens sidelined by injury, the Cowboys took steps to address their linebacker depth on Sunday afternoon.
The Cowboys traded an undisclosed 2018 draft pick to Green Bay in exchange for Jayrone Elliott, who is entering his fourth season after going undrafted in 2014. To make room on the roster, they released third-year linebacker Mark Nzeocha.
Elliott played as an outside linebacker in the Packers’ 3-4 scheme, featuring on special teams while also contributing to the pass rush. It’s unclear how exactly the Cowboys intend to use him, but his ability to handle three roles has to be seen as a positive.
Through three seasons, he has posted 47 tackles with four sacks and an interception.
Cedric Thornton Released; Cowboys Claim DT Price Off Waivers
(Sept. 3; 1:15 p.m.) – A day after reaching the 53-man limit, the Cowboys’ roster tweaks continued with a somewhat surprising veteran release: defensive tackle Cedric Thornton, who signed a four-year, $18 million contract in March of last year.
Thornton’s departure created a spot for the Cowboys to claim first-year defensive tackle Brian Price off waivers from the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Price, undrafted out of UT-San Antonio a year ago, spent time on the Packers’ active roster and practice squad last year.
The Cowboys chose to move on from Thornton despite his guaranteed $3 million base salary for 2017. Last year he was a reserve behind Terrell McClain in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s rotation.
McClain’s free-agent replacement this year, Stephen Paea, worked primarily with the starting defensive line ahead of Thornton in preseason. A hamstring injury sidelined Thornton for part of camp.
Thornton appeared in 13 games for Dallas last season, recording 22 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
Cowboys Sign RB Brandon Brown-Dukes
(Aug. 31; 10:45 a.m.) – For now, the Cowboys are back at 90 players with the signing of running back Brandon Brown-Dukes on Tuesday.
Before Thursday’s preseason finale against the Houston Texans was canceled so the Texans could travel back to Houston and see their families in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the Cowboys likely planned to give Brown-Dukes some carries with starters and veterans expected to rest or play sparingly.
The Cowboys had an open roster spot after placing cornerback Leon McFadden on the Reserve/Injured list. The team must trim the roster to 53 players on Sept. 2.
With the game canceled, the Cowboys will hold a closed practice Thursday at AT&T Stadium that will be televised locally on CBS-11 and 20 other markets throughout the southwest. During practice, select Cowboys players will participate in a live telethon. Funds raised from the telethon will be dedicated to The Salvation Army for the purpose of supporting the ongoing relief efforts to assist those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Read
Texans Issue Official Statement on Game Cancellation
The Houston Texans release the following statement after deciding to cancel Thursday's game.
“The Houston Texans have made the decision to travel back to Houston after local authorities have now found a safe route for the team to drive home today. The fourth preseason game scheduled for Thursday night in Dallas will be cancelled. At this time, the priority of our organization is getting our players, coaches and staff back home to be reunited with their families, many of whom have been evacuated from their homes and are currently sheltered. The team feels it is imperative to get back home to help the Houston community recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
Robert, Janice, Cal and Hannah McNair will make a donation equal to the money that would have been generated from ticket sales from Thursday’s preseason game in Arlington to recovery and relief efforts.
Fans that have purchased tickets to Thursday’s game will have the option to donate the money to relief efforts or request a refund through Ticketmaster. Further details regarding refunds will be announced later today.
The Houston Texans sincerely appreciate the support shown by the Dallas Cowboys and our NFL family during this difficult time.”
Thursday's Cowboys-Texans Preseason Game Canceled
(Aug. 30, 10:47 a.m.) – Roughly 48 hours after it was announced, Thursday’s relocated preseason game between the Cowboys and Texans has been canceled.
It’s the latest twist in what has been whirlwind week after Hurricane Harvey slammed the Houston area and the Gulf Coast. The Texans traveled to Dallas on Saturday night after a preseason game in New Orleans, unable to return to Houston due to flood and extensive storm damage.
The Texans have been using the Cowboys’ facility at The Star to practice this week, and the two teams’ preseason contest – original slated to be played in Houston – was relocated to AT&T Stadium.
In the time since, the Texans have opted for an opportunity to return home to their families and community.
The Cowboys made all tickets to the game available for $25 on Tuesday night, with all of those proceeds going to hurricane relief efforts. Fans who have already purchased tickets may get them refunded. Otherwise, that money will still go toward storm relief.
Cowboys officials are in the process of determining whether an event can still be held on AT&T Stadium on Thursday night -- be it a practice, a scrimmage, an autograph session or something similar.
Cowboys Place CB Leon McFadden On Reserve/Injured List
McFadden had missed the last several practices with a hamstring injury.
The roster move puts the Cowboys closer to reaching the NFL-mandated 53-man limit by Sept. 2. The team has one more preseason game Thursday against the Houston Texans at AT&T Stadium and then will focus on final roster cuts.
Preseason Finale With Texans Officially Moved to AT&T Stadium
(Aug. 28; 5:20 p.m.) As expected, Thursday’s preseason finale with the Texans has been officially moved to AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
The NFL made the announcement Monday afternoon, not long after the Texans finished up their practice at Ford Center here in Frisco.
With the relentless rain from Hurricane Harvey that has hit the city of Houston, the league has decided to divert the game from NRG Stadium to AT&T Stadium.
As of now, ticket and parking information is unavailable but will be announced later in the week.
Hurricane Forces Texans To Dallas; Practicing At The Star & Maybe More
(Aug. 27; 6:20 p.m.) While football obviously takes a backseat to the catastrophic events taking place in Houston, the Cowboys have not only opened up their facility for the Houston Texans, but are prepared to even host Thursday’s preseason finale, which was scheduled at NRG Stadium.
Hurricane Harvey and the massive amounts of rain prevented the Texans from returning to Houston after Saturday’s preseason game in New Orleans. Instead, the team traveled to Dallas, where they are expected to practice indoors at The Star on Monday and Tuesday in Frisco.
The Cowboys have scheduled practices at Ford Center, which are open to the public. Houston will alternate its practice schedule around the Cowboys’ plans. Dallas is scheduled for a night practice at 5 p.m. on Monday and then 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday. It’s likely the Texans will stagger their practices, going in the morning on Monday and in the afternoon Tuesday.
For now, there has been no official word on moving the game to AT&T Stadium. On Saturday, Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said it’s not their decision to make but if the Texans and the NFL decide to go that route, they will make sure AT&T Stadium is ready for action.
Anthony Hitchens, Chaz Green Leave Game With Injuries vs. Raiders
Hitchens was helped off the field by team athletic trainers with a knee injury, according to a press box announcement. Earlier in the second quarter, Green limped to the locker room with an ankle injury. Cornerback Duke Thomas also suffered a knee injury in the first half.
The severity of each injury is unknown at this point.
Cowboys Sign New WR & LB To Fill Roster Vacancies
(Aug. 25, 3:43 p.m.) – The Cowboys have released two injured players ahead of Saturday’s game against Oakland, replacing them with two new names.
The team announced Friday that it had waived/injured wide receiver Corey Washington and linebacker John Lotulelei, after both players sustained injuries in the last few days. Washington had only been with the team for a week or so, while Lotulelei had been with the Cowboys throughout the offseason program after signing a futures contract in January.
The Cowboys held workouts on Friday, and they signed two of those – wide receiver Karel Hamilton and linebacker Lamar Louis. Hamilton is a rookie who signed with Cincinnati after going undrafted in the spring. The Bengals released him last weekend.
Louis is in his second NFL season and has spent time with three clubs. He signed with Arizona after going undrafted in 2016, and he was ultimately released in Week 2 of last season. He later spent a month with the New Orleans Saints. The Baltimore Ravens signed him last December, and he remained there through the 2017 offseason until he was released last week.
It seems like a good bet that both players will have opportunities to make an impression in the Cowboys’ preseason finale against Houston next week. Read
Elliott To Be Excused From Practice During Next Week’s Appeal Hearing
Two weeks ago, the NFL suspended Elliott six regular-season games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
Jones said a Cowboys representative will attend the appeal hearing. He did not want to speculate on a timetable for a ruling by Harold Henderson, who was appointed by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to hear the appeal.
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said Thursday that he's leaning toward playing Elliott for the first time this preseason Saturday night against the Oakland Raiders at AT&T Stadium. The All-Pro running back is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.
Stephen Jones: AT&T Stadium Available If Necessary For Preseason Finale
(Aug. 25; 11:48 p.m.) – With Hurricane Harvey moving toward Houston, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said AT&T Stadium’s “doors are open” as a contingency plan for next Thursday’s preseason finale against the Texans, currently scheduled to be played NRG Stadium in Houston.
“Yes, we’ll make it available if we need to,” Jones said. “We want to help them in any way we can.
“We’re working with them. Certainly our door is open. We think so much of them, Mr. (Bob) McNair and the Texans, and if we can help them in any way, then obviously our doors are open to help them out if they need help.”
Chaz Green Knows Staying On The Field Is Critical In Camp Competition
Injuries held him back his first two seasons in the league – and as he competes with Jonathan Cooper at left guard in this year’s training camp, he also continues to fight against cramping due to dehydration.
“It’s something I’ve been dealing with my whole career,” Green said. “It’s definitely frustrating but it’s kind of part of what it is to be an athlete.”
Green has battled cramping in practice in his first two seasons in the league, and he left late in practice Tuesday for the same reason. He continually works with the athletic training staff to combat the issue, and he has practiced the last two days at both guard and tackle.
But with La’el Collins entrenched at right tackle, left guard is Green’s best chance to start.
He said he only played guard once at the University of Florida: one half against Vanderbilt his senior year. The 2015 third-round pick missed most of his rookie season with the Cowboys due to hip surgery, and he was the backup swing tackle last year before a back injury ended his season.
Now he’s adjusting to guard, and doing everything he can to stay on the field.
“I’ve said this in the past: The more reps I get, I tend to do better out there, especially at a new position,” Green said. “It’s key. It’s something they’ve talked to me about. I know myself. Just got to do what I can to stay on the field as much as possible.”
Garrett Updates Status Of Chaz Green & Charles Tapper
“He had a good day’s work yesterday,” Garrett said. “That happened at the later part of practice, so we do anticipate him going today.”
Tapper left practice with a neck injury, but Garrett was optimistic that the problem doesn’t seem too serious.
“The X-Rays and the tests were negative, which was positive for us, but we’ll see how he feels today,” Garrett said.
Elsewhere, Garrett said the Cowboys’ veterans will have their usual off day during the practice cycle. Darren McFadden, Cole Beasley, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Tyron Smith, Sean Lee and Orlando Scandrick will all sit out of the competitive portions of practice. Those absences are not injury-related.
Crawford Looking To Return From Ankle Sprain “Sooner Than Later”
“He’s doing a lot of stuff on the side with our trainers and with our strength staff. And he’s got a real good spirit about him,” Garrett said. “I think that was a scary situation for all of us when it first happened. But we got some good news afterward and we don’t anticipate him doing anything this week or even next week. We’re hopeful in the next couple of weeks he’ll be back ready to go again.”
The Cowboys’ regular-season opener is Sept. 10 against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium.
Crawford was carted off the practice field Aug. 8 in Oxnard, Calif., after his ankle bent awkwardly during a play in team drills. Initially, he feared the worst.
“When you have a time in your career (2013) where you tear your Achilles, that’s the first thing that goes through your mind when something happens around your ankle area,” he said. “That’s the first thing that went through my mind. I heard a little pop. Immediately started praying, hoping it wasn’t, and thank God it wasn’t.”
Crawford is out of a protective boot and seems to be moving around well. He said he's started in his on-field rehab work with Britt Brown, the Cowboys' associate athletic trainer/director of rehabilitation.
“We’re working to be back sooner than later, definitely,” he said. Read
Cooper Rush Will Get Some More 2nd-Team QB Reps, Garrett Says
Kellen Moore took the majority of the second-team work Monday, but late in practice Rush was given a few reps. The undrafted rookie has been productive in three preseason games, throwing four touchdowns and no interceptions.
“From minute one, rookie minicamp all through the OTA’s and certainly through training camp and his first few preseason games, he’s ready for his opportunities," Garrett said. "So yesterday we gave him some work with the twos and he did a nice job with that. We moved Kellen Moore to work with the threes. We moved them back again during practice. Just wanted to see how each of those guys responded.”
Moore played well in the Hall of Fame Game against Arizona, posting a 100.6 passer rating with one touchdown and one interception. In the last two preseason games he’s completed 18 of 38 passes for 200 yards, and he lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown against the Colts this past Saturday.
Garrett was asked if Rush’s work with the second team is a product of what he’s done or what Moore hasn’t done.
“Probably a combination,” Garrett said. “I thought Kellen has done some really good things and then other times hasn’t been as good. And Cooper has taken advantage of his opportunities when he’s gotten them. That’s the big thing we try to emphasize to all our players. “If you get 20 reps in practice and work two, maximize them. … Each of those guys has done a good job of that.”
Rod Smith’s “No. 1 Fan,” Jaylon Smith, Is Proud Of His Big Brother
"That's my big brother. He's doing his thing,” Jaylon said. “He's very comfortable back at the running back position. Last year, he switched to fullback, a position he never played before. They asked him to gain 10 pounds. He's confident. He's looking like his old self."
While Jaylon has worked diligently to return from his 2016 injury, Rod has impressed the Cowboys in training camp while competing for a backup running back spot.
Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension, pending appeal, could help pave the way for Rod to make the team. A strong preseason performance like last Saturday night certainly helps, too.
“I’m really proud of him,” Jaylon said. “I’m his No. 1 fan.”
As Zeke Rests, Cowboys Show Their Running Back Depth In Win
That’s six yards per carry in limited work for Elliott’s primary backups, both established veterans and former 1,000-yard rushers.
“We always approach every day as to be the starters because you’re one play away,” Morris said. “Every day in practice we show up and let it be known we can carry the load just like we have in the past and can continue doing in the future.”
One miscue was McFadden’s lost fumble inside the red zone on the offense’s second series. He wasn’t sure what caused the fumble, but overall he was productive running behind the Cowboys’ starting offensive line.
“It felt good being out there and being able to work with those guys,” he said. “They do a great job up front. Anytime I can I get behind those guys and run, I love it.”
Proof of the team’s depth at running back, Rod Smith also continued his strong preseason with seven carries for 53 yards in the second half.
“No difference than we’ve seen in camp,” quarterback Dak Prescott said. “Everybody on this team would say the same, that tonight was just another extension of what he’s done all camp long -- a guy that runs hard, drives his knees, breaks tackles. He was a broken tackle a way from a long touchdown, as you see. He’s just a great guy that goes out there and shows his all every time.”
Jones Still Gathering Thoughts On Elliott Suspension; Team “In Support Of Zeke”
The suspension is currently under appeal and reportedly will be heard Aug. 29.
“I have said I just want to get my thoughts together, see some more cards played and just see kind of how this thing turns out,” Jones said. “I know that they’ve got a real important date set and want that to have every opportunity it can to have things in its best light. But we certainly are in support of Zeke.”
Garrett Reflects On Oxnard Camp; Three Competitions In Final Practice
The team held its final practice on the West Coast, a combination of work in pads and shells, on Thursday. The players will fly home Friday, play their third preseason game Saturday against the Colts at AT&T Stadium, then resume a camp-like format next week with a series of practices at The Star in Frisco.
“I thought we had a really good camp,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “I thought guys came in, they were ready to practice. They did a good job preparing themselves in the time that we had off before camp and we got right to work. To me, having the opportunity to play in the Hall of Fame Game was really good for our team, a chance to see a lot of young guys in a game-type environment has been good for us. I think it’s helped their development and growth throughout camp. And now to have three more games to get some of the more veteran players ready and to get our entire football team evaluated the way we need to, it’s a great opportunity for us.”
As he’s known to do at the end of camp, Garrett decided to finish the final practice with a little friendly competition. He promised to tweak the team’s remaining Thursday schedule (meetings, walkthrough, regular curfew time) if the players met three challenges.
They did. Quarterback-turned-safety Jameill Showers threw a pass that hit the star logo on the River Ridge Complex tower, safety (and former high school kicker) Jeff Heath kicked a field goal, and offensive lineman Dan Skipper fielded a punt from Chris Jones.
The Best Jason Garrett Impression That Cooper Rush Can Give
Quarterback Cooper Rush didn’t fare so well.
“He got booed in the first three words,” Dak Prescott said.
Plan B for Rush: Do an impression of head coach Jason Garrett.
“It was great,” Prescott said. “The redhead, the resemblance. He did a great job.”
Asked to rate Rush’s impersonation, Garrett smiled and said, “It’s hard to know. He’s a better quarterback than an impressionist.”
Indeed, Garrett and the Cowboys are pleased with Rush’s progress in camp. The undrafted rookie has shown poise and composure in the second half of the first two preseason games, throwing a touchdown in each game.
Perhaps that’s the best Garrett impression Rush can make: Catch on in the league as a backup with upside. Garrett played 13 years, including seven with the Cowboys as a member of two Super Bowl teams.
“He has a good feel for playing,” Garrett said of Rush. “A lot of the stuff we look for that maybe stuff other people don’t see, he gets the ball out of his hand quickly, sometimes he’ll speed up through a progression because there is a guy rushing him, he knows he has to get it out of his hand.
“I think he manages the game well. He’s poised and composed, he handles success and adversity. Those are the things that you want to see in a young quarterback. He demonstrated that in his first two outings.”
Jerry Jones Not Prepared To Comment About Ezekiel Elliott Suspension
(Aug. 15, 6:43 p.m.) – Jerry Jones said he intends to discuss Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension and subsequent appeal at some point – but not quite yet.
The Cowboys’ owner and general manager was stopped by reporters after his team’s Tuesday practice, just a few days following the announcement of Elliott’s six-game suspension. But even as the NFL Players Association announced it would appeal the ruling, Jones said he isn’t prepared to comment.
“I don’t have anything to say about any of the appeal or anything about that issue, today,” Jones said. “But certainly I’ll be visiting with you guys about it in the future. Right now, today, is just not the time for me to talk about it.”
Jones was asked a variety of follow-up questions, such as whether he was upset about the ruling or whether he had spoken to Elliott. He declined comment on all of them, but he did allow that he intends to speak about the situation at some point in the future.
“I’m not going to visit about that,” he said. “I’m best going to comment on this thing when I have all of our thoughts and plans in place.”
The Cowboys switched out a few players near the bottom of the roster on Tuesday, adding four new players.
(Aug. 15; 4:10 p.m.) – Among those are two cornerbacks who worked out for the team after walk-through practice here in Oxnard. Dajuan Butler and John Green were signed to the roster to help with cornerback depth that has been depleted thanks to hamstring injuries to Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis and Marquez White.
The Cowboys also signed tight end M.J. McFarland, who was with the team briefly in the offseason and wide receiver Corey Washington.
To make room, the Cowboys waived guard Ruben Carter and linebacker Lucas Wacha. Tight end Connor Hamlett (ankle) was waived/injured and wide receiver Javonte Herndon received an injury settlement.
Justin Durant Passes Physical, Expected To Return To Practice
For the second straight year, Durant signed a one-year deal with Dallas in mid-July. This year he entered training camp coming off elbow surgery.
A 10-year veteran, Durant appeared in 13 games last season and registered 54 tackles.
It’s uncertain how much work Durant will get in practice as he works his way back into the linebacker rotation. As a free agent, he did not participate in an NFL offseason program while recovering from his elbow injury.
Updating Injury Status On Tyron Smith, Rookie CBs
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett addressed the media Monday afternoon and updated several injury issues facing the team – namely, Tyron Smith, who missed last week with tightness in his back.
“We’re going to try to work Tyron back in there,” Garrett said.
Smith might not have a full workload, as the aim is to manage his back properly through the preseason. But smith participated in the team’s morning walkthrough, so his ability to do some work in practice is in line with the Cowboys’ assessment that the injury isn’t a serious issue.
Elsewhere, it was encouraging to see cornerbacks Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis participate in the morning walkthrough. However, both players are still recovering from hamstring injuries, and Garrett said neither will participate in the competitive portions of practice.
Taco Charlton Hopes Sack vs. Rams Is “First Of Many”
Starting at right defensive end, the Cowboys’ first-round pick was more active with about 10 more snaps than his debut in the Hall of Fame Game against the Arizona Cardinals. Early in the game he had a quarterback pressure and hustled across the field to chase down running back Malcolm Brown.
His sack, late in the first quarter, helped force the Rams to punt from deep in their own territory. The Cowboys would then drive for a field goal.
“It felt good to finally get one,” Charlton said. “Hopefully this is the first of many, but it felt good to finally get one in an NFL game.”
Charlton said he played 16 snaps against the Cardinals on Aug. 3. Head coach Jason Garrett said at first glance, the rookie appeared to be around the ball more in his second game.
“When you’re a defensive lineman, you have the opportunity to go against our offensive linemen in practice, what a great opportunity to get better,” Garrett said. “And you’re not going to win all the time, you’re going to lose a lot. But you just have to keep battling. He’s certainly done that.”
Injury Updates: Connor Hamlett Hurts Ankle; Stephen Paea Sits Out; More
Hamlett’s injury adds to a list of Cowboys players who have been sidelined. Defensive tackle Stephen Paea did not travel with the team to L.A. due to swelling in his knee. Among those who did not play were Tyrone Crawford (ankle) left tackle Tyron Smith (back), Sean Lee (hamstring), Brice Butler (foot) and rookie Jourdan Lewis (hamstring).
Lee Walks Into Locker Room With Hamstring Injury
Head coach Jason Garrett will address the matter in his post-practice press conference but the vibe here at camp is that Lee’s setback isn’t too serious.
He walked into the locker room midway through practice without a noticeable limp. He was held out of Wednesday’s practice for a veteran day.
It was probably 50-50 if he played Saturday in Los Angeles but it’s likely not going to happen now.
Tapper Dealing With Hip Soreness; Says Back Is Fine
Tapper, who made his game debut last week against the Arizona Cardinals, said the long trip back from Ohio on Hall of Fame weekend likely contributed to the muscle spasms he’s dealing with this week. He didn’t take part in team drills on Wednesday.
The good news: Tapper says his back isn’t an issue. He spent his rookie season rehabbing a back injury and still does core workouts to help strengthen that area.
He’s listening to the athletic trainers and hopes to be back to full participation soon. Last week was a start.
“A whole year I’ve been missing playing football,” he said, “to finally get out there and run around and have some fun.”
(Update: Tapper worked back into some team drills on Thursday.)
Dak Looks Up To Roger Staubach On And Off The Field
One Cowboys legend in particular Prescott has enjoyed visiting with since entering the league: Hall of Famer Roger Staubach, who was known for his scrambling ability as a quarterback, too.
“He’s just a great guy,” Prescott said. “He definitely gives me advice, talks about me running and stuff like that on the football field. But he’s just a guy that I like to watch and look at over his whole life in everything that he’s done, from being in the military serving our country to playing this great game and now the businessman he is.
“He’s just somebody that you’re forced to idolize. So any chance I get to just talk to him, it’s special to me.”
Garrett: Tyrone Crawford Will Be Out “A Little Bit” With Sprained Ankle
“We don’t anticipate him practicing here in the next few days, but maybe not as quite as serious as everyone initially reported,” Garrett said.
The Cowboys haven’t listed a specific timetable for Crawford’s return. Four preseason games are left, and their Sept. 10 regular-season opener is just over four weeks away.
Crawford has been working at defensive end in the base defense and moving inside to defensive tackle in the nickel defense.
“He’s just a really hard-working guy,” Garrett said. “Football’s very important to him. He’s a great example to his teammates and he’s getting better and better and better.”
Garrett, Cowboys Not Alarmed By Smith’s Back Issues
While he’s been relatively healthy all summer long, Smith has now started to experience more issues with his back, causing him to sit out of a few practices over the last two weeks. And even when he’s returned, Smith hasn’t looked himself, getting beat a few times in pass-rushing drills.
Head coach Jason Garrett said Smith is dealing with “tightness” in his back but doesn’t seem overly cocnered at this point.
“We don’t think issue is related to anything in his past,” Garrett said. “For a guy like that, we just want to be deliberate bringing him back.”
Garrett said Smith won’t practice on Wednesday, but that was more scheduled as six other vets – Bryant, Witten, Crawford, Lee, Scandrick and McFadden are taking veteran rest days.
Jaylon Feels “Great” As He Gets Set For More Reps Wednesday
“I feel great, I really do,” Smith said. “Just taking it day by day.”
Lee starts at the weak-side (WILL) spot. Smith has been practicing mostly at middle linebacker (MIKE) but played WILL in college.
Head coach Jason Garrett said the team hasn’t decided whether Smith will make his debut this Saturday against the L.A. Rams, but he “absolutely” expects Smith to play in preseason. The Cowboys have four games left.
Smith says the padded practices have been good preparation for game action, whenever it comes.
“Cowboys practice is tough,” he said. “You’ve got to grind it out and it’s something that I’ve been doing and when you get in the games that’s the fun part.”
Crawford Carted Off With Apparent Ankle Injury
Defensive linemen Tyrone Crawford appeared to have a significant right ankle injury towards the end of Tuesday’s afternoon practice, forcing him to be carted off the field.
Crawford, who has been playing mostly defensive end as of late, tried to chase down Ezekiel Elliott on a play. But when the running back reversed field, Crawford stopped abruptly and went down immediately. He was on the field for a few minutes and expressed obvious frustration as his teammates tried to offer support.
It wasn’t far on the field from when Crawford suffered a torn Achilles and missed all of the 2013 season.
Stay turned for more details.
5 Players Who Have Stood Out To Stephen Jones So Far In Camp
Who and what has stood out to Stephen Jones so far in practice and games? In a visit with reporters Monday, Jones mentioned five players: Read
- The early receiver battle between first-year veteran Andy Jones and seventh-round pick Noah Brown. “I think Andy’s come a long ways and I think Noah brings a skill set to the table that’s going to be interesting in terms of that competition," Stephen Jones said.
- Jones said linebacker Jaylon Smith has “answered the bell every time” in terms of his work back from last year’s knee injury and nerve damage.
- Second-round cornerback Chidobe Awuzie’s start to camp. Jones said the Hall of Fame Game was a good early test that he will continue to build on in preseason.
- Jones praised first-year defensive end Charles Tapper’s productivity prior to the lower body tightness that sidelined him for most of Monday’s practice.
"Too Early To Speculate" On a Contract Extension for Zack Martin
“We’re making our rounds there, and it takes time,” Jones said. “That’s usually kind of how these things work. There’s a whole lot of zero progress, then all of a sudden you make some.”
Jones said when the Cowboys arrived at training camp that they would try to work out a new deal for their All-Pro guard. Martin still has two seasons left on his rookie contract, but the Cowboys would prefer to secure him for the long-term, as they’ve done with other offensive line building blocks like Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick.
“It’s too early for me to speculate whether we’re close or whether this thing can get done or not,” Jones said. “Obviously, we would love to get it done. But there’s two sides to this, and certainly it’s not easy to figure out exactly where it should be.”
Martin has been a Pro Bowler in all three of his professional seasons, and he has been named first-team All-Pro twice. When he does eventually sign a new deal, it’s bound to be a hefty one. However tough the negotiation might be, Jones said he was happy in the knowledge that Martin wants to be with the Cowboys – and the Cowboys certainly want him with them.
“As I said, I fully suspect we’ll figure something out at some point in time, and he’ll be a Dallas Cowboy for most of his career,” he said.
Tyron Smith and Maliek Collins Return to Practice on Monday; Other Injury Updates
“We do anticipate those guys doing some work in practice,” Garrett said.
Smith missed the last two days of practice before the Cowboys’ trip to Ohio with back tightness. Collins has been out a bit longer, as he suffered a hip flexor injury during the first padded practice of camp.
Two injured players from the Hall of Fame Game will sit out to start this week. Anthony Brown is still recovering from the hamstring injury he suffered in the win against Arizona, and Joe Looney is sitting out with a toe injury.
“Don’t anticipate either of those guys practicing,” Garrett said. “Anthony is dealing with a hamstring, Joe is dealing with a toe. We’re taking each of those situations day by day.”
Elsewhere, it doesn’t sound like either Ryan Switzer or Jourdan Lewis is quite ready to return to the fray. Both players are recovering from hamstring injuries, and Garrett said all the Cowboys’ hampered players are working their way back on their own schedules.
“Some of those guys will be limited. It varies from guy to guy – warming up on the side, doing individuals,” he said. “Some guys will do some team as we go. There’s a group of guys who are kind of in that limited category.”
Cowboys Find Some Normalcy in Oxnard
The Cowboys made it back on the practice field here in Oxnard for the first time in nearly a week. Monday’s practice was a sense of normalcy for the Cowboys, who spent four days in Ohio, both playing in Thursday’s Hall of Fame Game, along with the weekend of festivities surrounding Jerry Jones’ induction.
The Cowboys did have one practice spliced into the hectic week when Jason Garrett had the team working out at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland on Saturday afternoon before the team went to the Hall of Fame ceremony in Canton. View Gallery.
Witten, Sean Lee Comment On Jerry Jones’ HOF Enshrinement
"It was a special weekend for the Jones family and all of us who have been a part of the Dallas Cowboys organization over the years.
It certainly was an honor well deserved for a man who respects the game, has given his life to it, and has done so much for the betterment of our game.
Tonight ensures that his accomplishments won't soon be forgotten, and his legacy memorialized for generations of the future.
It was neat for the world to see what we get to see so often — with an owner like Jerry, it makes you want to be the best you can possibly be every day, to represent the Star the right way."
“To see Mr. Jones enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is something special for our entire football team, and we are all honored to be a part of it.
His hard work, not only within our organization, but around the entire NFL, has solidified the future of our game and made it what it is today.
His passion for the game is on display each and everyday, and it is evident to the entire organization. It makes everyone more determined to get their job done.
His leadership and drive represent the values of both the Star and the NFL shield.”
Anthony Brown Leaves Game Early With Tight Hamstring
Brown, a nine-game starter as a rookie a year ago, said his hamstring tightened up diving for the ball on an extra point by the Arizona Cardinals.
Exiting the game early was likely a precautionary move by the team. Head coach Jason Garrett told reporters he didn't think the injury was too serious.
“Just put some ice on it and go to treatment in the morning," Brown said.
First Official Game Without Romo… Still Includes Romo
Minutes before kickoff, Tony Romo was walking down the hallway when he ran into Miles Austin. Then he saw Marc Colombo and the two had a quick chat.
No, this wasn’t 2008 all over again. Just a press-box scene here in Canton as Romo made his way to the broadcast booth for a “practice run” with new CBS partner Jim Nantz. The Cowboys’ all-time leading passer, Romo hasn’t officially retired from football but appears to be in full swing in his new gig as the analyst on the CBS’ No. 1 team.
Austin is now serving as a scout for the Cowboys, while Colombo is an assistant offensive line coach who watches the games from the upstairs coaching booth.
Jerry Jones Says Jaylon Smith Is "Unlikely" To Play Against Cardinals
As recently as Tuesday afternoon, the Cowboys’ head coach declined to tell reporters who would and wouldn’t be playing when his team faces the Cardinals on Thursday night.
Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones provided at least a clue after Tuesday’s practice, though. Jones was asked about the possibility that Jaylon Smith participates on Thursday, and he wasn’t encouraging.
“I’m not going to get into it, right now – but I think it’s unlikely,” he said.
That’s not a huge surprise. Smith is still working his way back from a major knee injury and has gone through just four padded practices since training camp began. The Cowboys will likely wait to get him a bit more acclimated before inserting him into a game environment.
Jerry Jones Excited For Canton As HOF Enshrinement Draws Closer
Visiting with reporters after practice, Jones said he’s looking forward to catching up with old college teammates from the University of Arkansas who are expected to attend. And of course, he’s proud that his family and the Cowboys team will be there two nights after Thursday’s Hall of Fame Game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Jones’ wife, Gene, will present him Saturday.
How’s the prepared induction speech coming along?
“I’m in good shape with my time, let’s put it like that,” he said with a smile.
Back Issues Sideline Tyron Smith From Tuesday Practice
(Aug. 1; 12:22 p.m.) –For second straight day, left tackle Tyron Smith is not practicing with the team here in Oxnard. On Monday, Smith was among six veterans with a scheduled day off but the Cowboys held out Smith, who is dealing with some minor back tightness. Smith battled through injury back and neck issues last year, forcing him to miss three starts in 2016.
Smith wasn’t on the field for the first part of Tuesday’s practice but came out later in the session, but not in uniform.
Smith is one of several starters who will likely be held out of Thursday’s preseason opener with the Cardinals in Canton.
Expect head coach Jason Garrett to address the matter and more in his daily press conference, which is schedule around 1:15 p.m. (PDT).
Chaz Green To Miss "A Week Or So"; 6 Vets, Jaylon Smith Resting Monday
“We think it’s a shorter rather than a longer timetable for it,” Garrett said.
Garrett also said the same six veterans who rested the first day of pads last Wednesday will be held out again today: Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, Darren McFadden, Sean Lee, Orlando Scandrick and Tyrone Crawford.
First-year linebacker Jaylon Smith will also rest Monday after practicing pads two straight days.
“I think he’s getting better and better," Garrett said. "He’s very active, he’s around the ball a lot. He’s moving better, and he’s done a really good job with the work we’ve given him.”
League Officials Update Ruling On Brice Butler Penalty
The Cowboys were at the center of two officiating controversies last season – Ezekiel Elliott’s famous leap into The Salvation Army’s red kettle at AT&T Stadium last December, as well as the notorious flag on Brice Butler for huddling illegally during the playoff loss to Green Bay.
NFL officials met with members of the media on Monday at the Cowboys’ training camp, and elaborated on updates to the rule book this year.
League rules this year stipulate that Elliott’s leap will still be a penalty in 2017. Players are now allowed to celebrate as a group, and they can legally go to the ground while celebrating. But Elliott’s use of the kettle is still considered as the use of a prop – which is still illegal.
Butler should be able to avoid a similar fate this year. Officials clarified that they will now be able to issue a warning in the event of an illegal substitution. A second offense will prompt an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Chaz Green Expected To Miss Some Time With Shoulder Injury
Green underwent an MRI and the injury won’t require surgery, Jones said.
It’s unclear how much time Green will miss, but Jones did say the team is fortunate the injury occurred with several weeks before the Sept. 10 regular-season opener.
Green, a third-round pick in 2015, has worked at guard and tackle this offseason as the Cowboys look to tweak their offensive line at a couple of spots following Doug Free’s retirement and Ronald Leary’s free agent departure. Hip, foot and back injuries limited Green’s availability in his first two seasons.
Garrett Updates Justin Durant's Status
That’s to be expected, since Justin Durant joined the roster just a week before training camp. The veteran linebacker has mainly worked with the athletic training staff while he prepares to play football again.
“He’s done a really nice job with the work we’ve given him,” said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. “It’s mostly been on the side. He’s in meetings. He’s out there just trying to get himself physically right to go through this.”
Durant is no stranger to the NFL grind, given that this will be his 11th professional season. As they do with all players returning after an absence, the Cowboys are being sure to ease him in slowly. But given that this team started training camp a full week early, Durant will have tons of time to get himself involved.
“We just want to make sure he’s got his feet underneath him and he’s ready to go before we put him out there,” Garrett said. “Not being with us in the spring, he has been working out, he is coming off the injury, we’re just going to make sure he’s ready to go. We have plenty of time to do that.”
Jones Sidesteps Kaepernick Question
(July 29; 7:52 p.m.)The signing of veteran quarterback Luke McCown prompted reporters to ask what many fans are wondering as well, Why not sign Colin Kaepernick?
Jerry Jones was asked that same question in a couple of different ways but the owner/GM wasn’t taking the bait. In fact, he never actually referenced the former 49ers quarterback in his answers, which geared more towards explaining why McCown fit into the plans as a third quarterback here in camp.
“We really have our guys set in a way that Luke fit what we wanted from our third quarterback,” Jones said. “Dak is obviously No. 1 and Moore is obviously No. 2. So we’re looking for somebody we can evaluate and train and possibly be a quarterback of the future. The real thing is we’re looking for what fits our team talent-wise. Talent-wise. We liked Luke very much.”
Jones was asked several other questions about Kaepernick and why he hasn’t signed with the team.
“Nothing surprises me in the NFL … at all,” Jones said. “We have been very fortunate that it looks we have our quarterback of the future.”
Jerry Jones Names 3 Young Standouts
(July 29; 7:24 p.m.)The Cowboys don’t always like to pinpoint players who are performing well, but then again, Jerry Jones isn’t afraid to speak his mind.
When asked about a couple of guys who have caught his eye, the owner didn’t hesitate to name a trio of young players, starting with linebacker Jaylon Smith.
“I really like what I’m seeing from him,” Jones said of Smith. “He’s improving a lot over the last couple of days. He had some explosion and some speed. He’s got instincts.”
Jones also mentioned cornerback Marquez White, the sixth-round pick from Florida State.
“White is a guy that we know is very instinctive,” he sad. “That was a key interception he had down there.”
“I thought Green did some good work out there,” Jones said. “He’s getting better every time he’s out there.” Read
Cowboys Anticipated Moore’s Suspension Before Signing
“We understand what that situation as when we signed him,” Garrett said in Saturday’s press conference. “He’s made great strides in our evaluation by our player engagement people. We went ahead and made that signing under our conditions, knowing full well suspension was a possibility. Our eyes were wide open.”
Moore was given a two-game suspension by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The defensive end’s issues occurred long before the Cowboys decided to sign him as a free agent.
Garrett Updates On Switzer, Maliek Collins; Plan For Lewis
Defensive tackle Maliek Collins is also expected to sit out again after suffering a hip flexor in the first padded practice of camp on Wednesday.
Garrett said both players will be evaluated day to day.
Rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis will participate in more drills Saturday, his second practice since rejoining the team.
“We don’t anticipate him being involved in one-on-ones, but we anticipate him doing most everything else,” Garrett said.
Cowboys Add Veteran WR Javontee Herndon
Veteran receiver Javontee Herndon was one of several receivers invited to work out for the team this week, and he eventually signed on Friday. Running back Jahad Thomas, who has been battling a hamstring injury since the spring, was waived/injured to make room on the 90-man roster.
Herndon went undrafted out of Arkansas in 2014. He signed with the Chargers, where he recorded 24 catches for 195 yards during the 2015 season. He spent last season on injured reserve with a knee injury.
Switzer Updates Hamstring Injury, Hopeful For Quick Recovery
“Nothing I’m really too concerned about,” he said.
Switzer hurt his hamstring in seven-on-seven drills Thursday morning when he got grabbed from behind while taking a pass from quarterback Kellen Moore up the field.
The Cowboys are off Friday and return to practice Saturday.
“I know my body pretty well,” Switzer said. “Hopefully it is a day-to-day (timetable). I recover pretty fast.”
Hillman Excited For Opportunity In Dallas
Hillman had to learn two different offenses quickly last year. The Vikings signed him a week into the season. Then the Chargers claimed him off waivers in November.
Thursday, the Cowboys added Hillman for depth with rookie Jahad Thomas (hamstring) unable to practice. The club views him as a versatile back who’s capable of contributing on third downs in passing situations.
Hillman played four seasons with the Broncos (2012-15), starting 10 games in 2015 and rushing for a total of 863 yards and seven touchdowns that year. The Broncos and Cowboys have similar running styles, running backs coach Gary Brown said, so there’s some familiarity for Hillman.
In the short term, he’s just looking to get up to speed quickly.
“Whenever you’re signed to another team right when the season starts, you don’t have that start,” he said. “So now, getting into a camp and actually getting acclimated to a team and learning the playbook and kind of making a name for yourself is a little easier.” Read
Switzer Limps Off Field With Training Staff
The rookie from North Carolina participated in team drills and 1-on-1 but came up limping with an apparent hamstring injury after a deep route.
Switzer went into the portable medical tent and did not return to practice. Head coach Jason Garrett told reporters Switzer injured his hamstring and will be re-evaluated.
The Cowboys were already down one receiver by cutting Lucky Whitehead. They worked out three players on Tuesday but decided not to sign one. Instead, that spot from Whitehead went to veteran running back Ronnie Hillman. Read
Linemen Battle in First Camp Fight
(July 27; 12:44 p.m.) It took just two days of full pads for things to get rather chippy here at training camp in Oxnard.
And for defensive linemen Tyrone Crawford, it was really his first day out there after getting a veteran day off Wednesday.
Crawford was in the middle of action on at least three occasions, including a skirmish with All-Pro guard Zack Martin, who locked him down on two straight 1-on-1 pass rush drills, prompting Crawford to retaliate with a punch. It was one several shoving matches between the offensive and defensive lines in the morning drill.
Crawford had plenty of words to say for his “teammates” in the white jerseys.
Ronnie Hillman Signs With Cowboys For Running Back Depth
It's uncertain if Hillman, a five-year vet who spent four years in Denver, will be on the field for the Cowboys' morning practice Thursday. The players are off on Friday.
While there is plenty of speculation this move was made in an attempt to cover themselves in case of a potential Ezekiel Elliott suspension, the Cowboys need some current help at running back with rookie Jahad Thomas sitting out with a hamstring injury.
Hillman started 11 games in 2015 with the Broncos, rushing for 863 yards and seven touchdowns. He also caught a career-high 24 passes that season.
Last year, he played for both San Diego and Minnesota, but failed to score a touchdown for the first time in his career.
Hillman takes the roster spot vacated by Lucky Whitehead, who was released earlier this week.
Rookie Jourdan Lewis Expected To Rejoin Team Wednesday Night
Garrett said Lewis “hopefully” can do something in practice Thursday. The team is off on Friday.
“You know, we did a lot of due diligence on him and that entire situation, we spent a lot of time on it before picking him,” Garrett said of Lewis’ exoneration. “So that outcome was not unexpected to us.”
Lucky Whitehead Claimed By The New York Jets
Whitehead was released by the Cowboys on Monday, hitting the waiver wire a day later. The New York Jets claimed him on Wednesday afternoon. Along with Morris Claiborne, Whitehead is the second former Cowboy to join the Jets this year.
Given the sudden nature of Whitehead’s release, there has been plenty of discussion about the decision. The third-year receiver’s name was eventually cleared in the shoplifting incident he was initially tied to in his home state of Virginia, but Cowboys officials said Tuesday they were comfortable with their decision.
Jason Garrett Rest Six Key Veterans Today
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said at his daily press conference that Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Darren McFadden, Tyrone Crawford, Sean Lee and Orlando Scandrick won’t participate in Wednesday’s practice.
That falls in line with the way this team has operated in recent years. Those six veterans are among the Cowboys’ most tenured players, and the intention is to keep them fresh over the course of a six-week preseason – not to mention the 16-week regular season that follows.
Resting Wednesday puts them on a favorable schedule for the remainder of the week. Those six players will practice when the Cowboys return to work on Thursday morning, which will give them a lengthy recovery time with an off day coming on Friday.
Jerry Jones’ Hall Of Fame Speaking Order Announced
Here’s the complete speaking order for the 2017 class:
The enshrinement ceremony begins Aug. 5 at 6 p.m. Central. Jones’ wife, Gene, is scheduled to present him.
The Cowboys play the Arizona Cardinals in the Hall of Game in Canton on Aug. 3.
Jaylon Smith Looking Forward To Putting The Pads On In Training Camp
Smith has participated in the first two non-compete practices here in Oxnard. Head coach Jason Garrett said last year’s second-round pick will start off on a limited practice schedule as he continues to recover from his 2016 knee injury that resulted in nerve damage.
He’s looking forward to his first work in pads – another step forward in his return to the field.
“Very confident, very confident in myself and everything that I’ve done thus far,” Smith said Tuesday. “The strength staff, the rehab (staff) – associate athletic trainer/director of rehabilitation) Britt Brown, (head athletic trainer) Jim (Maurer) – we have a plan set in place. We won’t deteriorate from it. It’s just about working every day. Everything I’ve done, we’ve started off slow, we continue to progress and I’ve succeeded in everything thus far.” Read
Jerry Jones Reminds Media Of His Loyalty; Lewis Situation & More
(July 25, 7:17 p.m.) Jerry Jones has been criticized for years that he is overly loyal to his players, keeping them on the roster for far too long. So the owner felt the need to talk to the media Tuesday and explain his side of the team’s reasoning for cutting Lucky Whitehead, pointing out that if he’s too loyal to players, then imagine the reasons that forced them to part ways with the wide receiver.
“There’s nothing at all unusual in my mind here. I’m not going to specifically go on about any payer but I am going to say this is business as usual and I really won’t go into my parameters about why a player is here or not.”
For the entire statement, click HERE
Jourdan Lewis Ruled Not Guilty In Domestic Violence Trial
After a two-day trial in his home state of Michigan, Lewis was ruled “not guilty” Tuesday on misdemeanor charges of domestic violence and assault and battery in an incident stemming back before this year’s NFL draft.
Lewis, an All-American cornerback during his college career at Michigan, was arrested March 15 for an incident involving his ex-girlfriend. He plead not guilty. The Cowboys drafted him No. 92 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft and were confident in his character, having reviewed the specifics around his case.
From the time he was selected on April 28, Lewis maintained his innocence and was confident he’d be exonerated.
“I think it’ll be squashed, right then and there – that first trial date,” Lewis said the night he was drafted. “I’m just looking forward to getting into training camp.”
Cowboys “Moving On” From Lucky Despite Recent Developments
(July 25; 12:42 a.m.) –Seven words. That’s all Stephen Jones wanted to say about the Lucky Whitehead situation, despite reports that the recently-cut receiver had been cleared of shoplifting charges in Virginia.
Still, the Cowboys aren’t changing their stance and have no intention of bringing Whitehead back.
“We’ve made a decision… we’re moving on,” Stephen Jones said in a brief media session after the walk through. Jones went on to repeat that exact statement seven more times.
Moments later, head coach Jason Garrett had a similar response of “We’ve made a decision we felt was in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys and we’re moving on.”
Even when one media member walked out of the press conference because of Garrett’s lack of answers, the head coach stuck to his stance. He did add “We know a lot of things about our players that you guys don’t know.”
Whitehead has had several minor issues over his two years with the team, including being held back from making a trip to New York for a game last December because he missed a morning meeting.
Jourdan Lewis Away From Start Of Camp Due To Court Case
Head coach Jason Garrett did not know if Lewis would be ready to join the team in Oxnard this week.
Lewis, a third-round pick, was widely considered one of the best cover corners in April’s draft, able to play outside and the slot.
After being drafted, Lewis has expressed confidence he will be fully exonerated, and the Cowboys said they did their due diligence on the situation and felt comfortable drafting Lewis.
Whitehead's Release Doesn't Change Switzer's Goal
(July 24, 7:04 p.m.) It’s an obvious storyline, which explains why Ryan Switzer was swarmed by reporters after practice on Monday.
Switzer was drafted No. 133 overall in April with the idea that he could contribute on offense and handle the Cowboys’ punt returner role. His primary competition for playing time, Lucky Whitehead, was released Monday afternoon.
“Obviously we’ll be praying for Luck, wish the best for him. I hope he lands on his feet – which I know he will,” Switzer said. “But for me, it’s more about coming out here and contributing to the team the way I can and making sure I do the right things to better myself and better my family.”
The position battle between Switzer and Whitehead was widely expected to be one of the most interesting components of this training camp. Instead, that particular battle is over after one day. But Switzer answered like a seasoned vet when he was asked if the competition was over.
“There’s always competition. Just because Luck’s not here doesn’t mean – really anything, for me,” he said. “The best ones always find a way to better themselves. The best love to compete. They always find competition. Whether that be going against our guys, whether that be preseason, whether that be Week 1 against the Giants – there’s always competition. So I’ve got to make sure I stay ready and, when my time is called, produce.”
Garrett Says Team Gathering Information on Whitehead Situation
According to multiple reports, a story broke Monday morning that Whitehead was arrested in Virginia back in June for allegedly shoplifting. Other reports suggest Whitehead missed his court hearing earlier this month and could be facing stiffer penalties.
“Again, we’re still gathering information on this and we’ll act accordingly,” Garrett said in his daily press conference from Oxnard.
The third-year receiver was on the field Monday morning for the walk-through practice. Afterwards, he was escorted off the field by a member of the PR staff, avoiding reporters seeking a comment on the matter.
Whitehead has been in the news recently when he announced on social media his dog was stolen from his house and being held on ransom. However, the dog was returned to his home a few days later.
This is now the latest off-field incidents that has become the overarching theme of camp.
For more info click HERE
Dak Prescott Embracing Second Camp In All-New Spotlight As The Starter
Monday morning, he took the field for the Cowboys' opening camp walkthrough as the unquestioned starter and a leader on a team that won 13 games last year.
The expectations are different. Prescott’s approach doesn’t change.
“Last year I came in and I was just trying to figure everything out,” Prescott said. “Being in this offseason, everything that I say, people are listening to. Everything that I do, people are watching. Not just you guys, but my teammates and the coaches as well. But that’s fun to me. That’s something that I embrace. I want that. I have to be at my best at all times. It’s something that I take pride in.”
Jerry Jones Reflects On His Wife's Credentials To Present Him For The HOF
Given how much his three children – Stephen, Charlotte and Jerry Jr. – have meant to the organization during his tenure, any of them would have been a logical choice.
But if there’s one person who can step back and evaluate the whole picture, Jones said it’s his wife, Gene – who he eventually selected to do the honors.
“Of course the one that can sit there and see the whole picture and add it up for everyone in a good way, that has been around the other 99 percent of the time when it’s just not as much fun as holding a Super Bowl trophy -- that is Gene,” he said.
Even if she might prefer to stay behind the scenes, Jones said his wife has never been afraid to take him to task about football matters – which he demonstrated in a hilarious anecdote.
“I will never forget pillow talk,” he said. “I came home, she didn’t even look at me. ‘You just can’t leave it alone can you? Just when it gets really comfortable you have got to shake it up. How in the world is Jimmy not our coach?’”
Jerry Gets Reflective to Describe Salary Cap Defections
During Sunday’s opening press conference, Jerry Jones went back to the memory banks to better illustrate why the Cowboys couldn’t keep departed free agents such as Brandon Carr, Barry Church, Ron Leary, Terrell McClain and Morris Claiborne.
Well, I remember landing in Little Rock right after I had bought the team (in 1989) and I had this little smaller jet and I had a writer on the plane with me. And a five-year-old dirty Bronco pulled up. And the guy gets out and that five-year-old Bronco sits there dirty and he said, 'I don't get this, Mr. Jones. My goodness, you have this airplane yet you're driving around out here in this Bronco. This doesn't jive. It's not consistent.' And I said, 'It makes perfect sense. If you want to fly this plane, you've got to drive five-year-old Broncos. You can't have it all.' And that's exactly what the cap is about. You really can't have it all. You can't do that in this world that we're in with the cap. You've got to plan ahead and look at it."
Byron Jones Says Younger DBs Already “Get It”
More importantly, Jones says he plans to be more vocal, especially with the Cowboys drafting four defensive backs in 2017.
“As an older guy who has been here for three years, now it’s my time to step up and lead these younger guys,” Jones said. “They’re smart and talented but they just need someone to lead them.”
“These young guys are great because there’s not much that needs to be told to them,” Jones said. “You see them coming to the meetings on time and sit in the front. They get it. There’s not much for me to do. That’s great in a leadership role - having young guys who take it seriously.”
Cowboys Arrive In Oxnard Looking To “Build Something Special”
(July 22; 5 p.m.) The Cowboys are back in Oxnard, Calif., for training camp -- their 12th extended stay on the West Coast since 2001.
The team arrived late Saturday afternoon as scheduled with its first practice set for Monday. Camp in Oxnard breaks Aug. 18 and will continue at The Star in Frisco with six practices open to the public.
For tight end Jason Witten, the excitement of his 15th camp with the Cowboys feels similar to his first camp back in 2003.
“That stomach always is turning the last couple nights (before camp),” Witten said. “I love this part of it. I’ve talked to you guys before about the offseason and going through that process. To me, this is one of the best parts about the season is getting the team together and going back to training camp.”
The next 27 days will build the foundation for what the team hopes to be a step forward after a 13-3 record and trip to the divisional round in 2016.
“Guys have been training for months waiting to come out here as a team to build something special,” safety Byron Jones said.
Durant To Start Camp On Non-Football Injury list
(July 22; 2:43 p.m.) Newly-signed linebacker Justin Durant will begin training camp on the Active/Non-Football Injury list.
For the second straight year, Durant remained a free agent throughout the offseason and signed with the Cowboys in mid-July. Having missed the offseason program, he'll likely need some time to get his conditioning right before starting practice. He's eligible to be activated from NFI at any time during camp.