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Wed. Practice Report: Cowboys Still Looking For Help At Guard

Posted Aug 7, 2013


OXNARD, Calif.– The Cowboys made an attempt to sign a veteran guard on Tuesday, although Brandon Moore turned down the club, choosing to stay retired.

That doesn’t mean the Cowboys are done looking for help on the interior line.

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones, the team’s director of player personnel, said Wednesday the club will continue to explore all avenues to improve the team, citing the ability to sign veterans in free agency, trade for help or maybe just wait until the roster cuts and see who is available.

“We’re always looking,” Jones said. “We’ll always do that. Right now we’re going to continue looking for ways to improve our team.”

When asked about possibly signing free-agent vet Brian Waters, Jones declined to discuss individual players. Earlier in the day, head coach Jason Garrett was more forthcoming when asked about Waters, a 12-year veteran.

“Brian Waters has been a really good player in this league for a long time,” Garrett said in his daily press conference. “I think he’s a six-time Pro Bowler. He’s the NFL Man of the Year. He played a long time in Kansas City. A couple of years ago he came in late to New England and had a Pro Bowl year for them when they went to the Super Bowl. The biggest issue for Brian right now is he hasn’t played in 18 months. So you have to factor those things in. Anybody who’s out there on the landscape we’re interested in at any position to try to help our football team.”

Meanwhile, the Cowboys continued to play both Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ron Leary as the starting guards in practice. Leary should start in the game Friday against the Raiders but it’s uncertain if Bernadeau will get the nod, just a week after returning from a hamstring injury he sustained the first day of training camp.

The Cowboys still have injuries on the line with guard Kevin Kowalski (knee) and Ray Dominguez (shoulder).

Quick Hits:

  • Tight end James Hanna took most of the reps in the “12 Personnel” with the first team offense. Hanna was paired with Jason Witten, while Gavin Escobar rotated into the second-team offense. 
  • Cornerback Morris Claiborne sat out Wednesday with soreness in his left knee after he injured it during Tuesday’s practice. He said “I don’t know at this point” about his status for Thursday’s walkthrough or Friday’s game against Oakland. Claiborne said he expects to be on the field at walkthrough.
  • Miles Austin bounced back in a big way from an off day Tuesday. Austin was a nightmare for the defense to deal with in full-team drills, as he caught multiple balls across the middle for big gainers. That success in the middle of the field was particularly vexing for linebacker Sean Lee, who expressed his frustrations quite vocally – as usual.
  • Lance Dunbar got some personal satisfaction at the expense of Ernie Sims one day after the pair’s confrontation. Dunbar caught a swing pass during full-team drills and wound up one-on-one with Sims, who he promptly shook out of his shoes en route to a nice gain. It was the first of two missed chances for Sims, as he’d later drop an open interception.
  • Yellow resistance cords haven’t been as big a factor at training camp as they were at OTA’s and minicamp. But tackle Jermey Parnell was working them with trainers during practice Wednesday, which is the most strenuous activity he’s gone through recently.
  • As they did last Friday before the flight to Ohio, the Cowboys removed their pads and helmets for the final portion of Wednesday’s practice. The last 20 or so minutes of the afternoon were spent doing walkthrough and prep for the Oakland game.

Notable Standouts:

Sean Lissemore, DT: Maybe it has something to do with working with the second-team defense behind tackle Nick Hayden, but Sean Lissemore was dominant in team drills. Of course, he was facing newly-signed guard Dennis Godfrey. But Lissemore was beating his guy off the line and twice tapped quarterback Kyle Orton for a possible sack.

Kyle Orton: He doesn’t always get much attention but he had a few nice deep balls in the team drills. He fired a perfect lob to Gavin Escobar from his own end zone in one team period. He also connected on a few deep throws to his receivers in the one-on-one drills. He’s got nice touch on his passes, especially down the seam of the field.

Dez Bryant, WR: He’s a candidate for this spot every day. But he seemed to be even more Dez-like on Wednesday. Bryant took advantage of Claiborne and Carr being out of practice, but he was abusing corners such as Brandon Underwood and Sterling Moore on the outside. Bryant had a deep ball past Underwood on the first play of team drills and earlier, had a one-handed snag in the back of the end zone, reminiscent of his grab against the Chargers in last year’s preseason game that seemed to be about 11 feet off the ground.

Play of the Day:

In a rare superstar-on-superstar collision, DeMarcus Ware snuffed out a reverse play to Miles Austin by darting into the backfield past tight end James Hanna. Ware was ready and waiting for Austin as he got the handoff and collided with the unassuming receiver. Ware didn’t exactly try to blast the Cowboys’ No. 2 wide receiver but his force was hard to contain and he promptly dropped Austin to the ground.

“They had a reverse and I hit him a little bit on the reverse just to let him know I was there. That’s what this game’s about.”

Austin landed straight on his back, but got up quickly.

“I wasn’t blindsided, that was right in my face. What are you going to do, man? That’s a big dog. He gets them paws on you…you’ve just got to bounce back and go on to the next play. I walked up to him later and was like, ‘Man, you got me.’ To be honest, he said he let up, so I’m glad he didn’t let me have it for real.”

Photos from Wednesday's afternoon practice in Oxnard >>

Injury Report:

Missed Practice:
CB Morris Claiborne (knee)
CB Brandon Carr (non-injury)
WR Terrance Williams (concussion-like symptoms)
LB Alex Albright (back)
G Kevin Kowalski (leg)
G Ray Dominguez (shoulder)
T Jermey Parnell (hamstring)
DE Anthony Spencer (knee)
DE Tyrone Crawford (Achilles)
DT Jay Ratliff (hamstring)
OT Demetress Bell (conditioning)

Transactions:

Aug.  1 – Released DE Cameron Sheffield and CB Devin Smith. Signed G Jeff Olson and T James Nelson.
Aug. 2 – G Mackenzy Bernadeau passed his physical and returned to practice.
August 6 – Released P Spencer Benton and DE Monte Taylor. Signed DE Jabari Fletcher and G Dennis Godfrey.

Schedule:

Thursday, August 8
10:30 a.m. (PDT)         Walk-Thru

Friday, August 9
Preseason game #2 at Oakland Raiders (7 p.m. PDT)

Photos from Wednesday's afternoon practice in Oxnard >>

Image Map