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Fri., Dec. 19, 2014 9:30 AM to 10:20 AM CST
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Wed. Garrett Presser: Free's Guard Reps Only A Numbers Issue
IRVING, Texas – Head coach Jason Garrett couldn’t understand why the first five questions at his press conference Wednesday all had to do with Doug Free playing right guard and Jermey Parnell playing right tackle with the first team at practice.
Garrett said the Cowboys are looking at different combinations along the offensive line to adjust for injuries, and Free also played his normal position of right tackle later in the day.
“When you’re low on numbers, you’ve got to mix guys in at different spots,” Garrett said. “I wouldn’t read too much into anything about what we’re doing with our offensive line.”
Free checks in at 6-6, 325 pounds, which is taller and lighter than Mackenzy Bernadeau, who had been taking the first-team right guard reps, but moved over to left guard at the start of Wednesday’s practice.
Garrett said Free possesses the physical traits to play anywhere along the line, and the team will try out different combinations for the first and second-team groups. He also said it makes sense to keep Free in his right-handed stance by keeping him on the right side of the line.
“He’s tall and long, so he’s probably best suited to play tackle, but those aren’t bad traits to have when you’re a guard, either,” Garrett said.
Garrett also discussed a few other topics, including the return of J.J. Wilcox and another injury for the cornerbacks.
- Orlando Scandrick had been taking reps as the starting cornerback with Morris Claiborne out, but Garrett said Scandrick missed practice Wednesday with a groin strain. Garrett didn’t anticipate it to be serious, and Claiborne’s also made progress in his rehab from a knee injury.
- Wilcox practiced Wednesday for the first time since the passing of mother. The Cowboys gave him as much time as he needed. Garrett said it was good to have him back and he had a good practice and frame of mind, but it’s difficult not to have a few mental lapses while going through that tragedy. Garrett also said he thought a lot of guys reached out to Wilcox, which is one of the great aspects about being part of a team.
- Garrett said Kyle Wilber is progressing ona daily basis in his new role as a defensive end and is a good special teams player, but he needs to come off the ball quicker and more explosively.
- Garrett confirmed that Wednesday was a veteran day for Jason Witten, Miles Austin, DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher. None of them are injured.
- Ron Leary and Nate Livings are both still considered day-to-day, and Garrett said it’s important they get back on the field before playing in a ballgame. Jay Ratliff is also still working on getting stronger, and he’ll have checkups throughout the preseason.
- The Cowboys have had an affinity for running to their left side behind Tyron Smith, but Garrett said it’s important to have balance running behind the left and right side. He said a team doesn’t want to be heavy in any one area of the offense. Garrett said the Cowboys ran well in the Hall of Fame Game and need to find that balance once again after passing more the last couple weeks.
- Cowboys’ alumni will be at the Silver and Blue Debut at AT&T Stadium on Thursday. Garrett said he anticipated 40 or 45 alumni attending, and it’s a great opportunity for the current players to interact and absorb knowledge from some of the former Dallas greats.
- There’s not a lot of game-planning that goes on for preseason games, but Garrett said there will be more in this upcoming game against the Bengals than in any other, with the starters playing more in this contest. Still, the majority of preparation that occurs is for the Giants opener.