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Notes: Vickers Surgery, Brent Status, Randle's Club
IRVING, Texas – Fullback Lawrence Vickers underwent minor back surgery Friday, but owner/general manager Jerry Jones doesn’t think it will keep him out long.
Vickers’ durability wasn’t a major concern last year, playing in all 16 games. Jones doesn’t seem worried about the fullback, who’s set to earn $1.2 million next season.
“It won’t keep him out of training camp, but will limit him during training,” Jones said. “As we stand here right today, he’s going to be fine.”
While the addition of another pass-catching tight end in the draft could add more two and three tight end sets, Jones said he also wants a fullback on the roster.
“We’re going to be in some two-back stuff,” he said.
Mum on Brent
Jones said defensive tackle Josh Brent has been to Valley Ranch some in the last few weeks, but didn’t try to speculate or reveal to what extent.
Brent, who faces vehicular manslaughter charges for a Dec. 8 accident that killed teammate Jerry Brown, has a trial date set for Sept. 23. Brent is free on $100,000 bond but wears an electronic monitoring device on his ankle.
Jones did say Brent has been in the building, but chose not to elaborate.
“To the degree that he can, I want him around,” Jones said. “He has been out here. But that’s all I want to say. I’m sensitive about the fact he’s going to be judged. I’m sensitive that it’s looking like he’s anticipating a result. He doesn’t feel that way. If you’re out here ready to play, it might imply that you’re going to play. Somebody looks at that and thinks maybe he’s not. Normally, people, until sentenced, will get to go to work.
“Are you being presumptuous if you’re out here ready to go. So he may be advised in a different way.”
When asked if he’s counting on Brent to play this year, Jones gave a quick reply.
“I just can’t answer that,” Jones said. “I don’t want to be a part of anything that would influence anything, out of fairness to what he’s got ahead of him.”
Jones sees fifth-round draft pick Joseph Randle as a mirror to DeMarco Murray, but he’ll have to get healthy before he can be the complete back the Cowboys see him as.
Randle has what head coach Jason Garrett described as a “thumb issue,” that he doesn’t think will be a lingering problem. Jones said Randle would wear a club on his hand early on and be monitored, but he doesn’t seem concerned.
Jones said he sees Lance Dunbar as a natural third down back, but he sees Randle’s skills as comparable to Murray.
“One of the reasons we wanted him was because he really mirrors what Murray is, relative to a complete three-down back,” Jones said. “Look at everything he does at Oklahoma State and see how familiar that looks if you look over there at Murray.” They’re pretty comparable with what they’re doing.”
First-round pick Travis Frederick may have the ability to play center or guard, but it certainly sounds like Jones is leaning toward using him at the former position.
“We needed some base,” Jones said. “We’ve got some guys that I’m excited about, (Ronald) Leary, (David) Arkin, we’ve got guys that can come in and we’ve got people that I think can play. They’ll be a lot better player with this kind of base, and frankly, with this kind of smarts. (Phil) Costa’s smart, I don’t want to take anything away from that. But this is going to make us better.”
Jones said the Cowboys “thought a lot” of Syracuse’s Justin Pugh, another offensive lineman with position flex, who went with the 21st pick. But Jones thought Pugh was more of a finesse player than Frederick.
“We needed size, and we needed strength for what we had,” Jones said. “We can, right now, have guys that can move beside him that we can play with, but what we didn’t have on campus was a guy that we could play with really at this level that had his kind of strength.
In Jones’ words, the Cowboys had to have him. They couldn’t risk losing him, particularly after eight other offensive linemen went off the board. Jones knows where people might have projected Frederick to go, but he also knows it wasn’t worth the gamble to wait and see. He sees Frederick as a starter and the best center on the board.
“It’s no secret, all you’ve got to do is be watching anything you want to watch around here and read anything you want to read, and you can really see where he generally was expected to go,” Jones said. “Like I said, I’ll take risks with all of them. I won’t take any risk here.