Position: Linebacker Height/Weight: 6-5, 245
College: Texas Tech
NFL Exp: 1st Year
How Acquired: FA for '07
Hometown: Southlake, TX
Fitting In: The best place for Saldi to make his place on the roster is on special teams. The linebacker will find himself low on the depth chart at outside linebacker, so Saldi must make an impression on special teams if he's to have any chance of making the team. A versatile athlete, he might be a prime candidate for the practice squad.
So Far: Saldi has played mostly at the Will outside linebacker position and on the kickoff coverage team. But when three of the team's top four outside linebackers include DeMarcus Ware, Greg Ellis and first-round draft choice Anthony Spencer, fitting into one of the available outside linebacker spots is a tall order.
Best Asset: Saldi spent the summer playing for the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europa, which enabled him to gain significant experience after not playing last year once the Cowboys released him following training camp. Unlike some of the other young free agents, at least he has some pro game experience.
You Should Know: Saldi's father, Jay Saldi, played for the Cowboys from 1976-82 as a tight end. John grew up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, going to Southlake Carroll High School and Texas Tech University.
A Mouthful: "I got some playing time last year in some preseason games, then this year the first game in Texas Stadium was pretty surreal. It was a great experience." -Jordan Hofeditz
Stopping The Run
One thing Phillips said he is looking forward to seeing in these practices with Denver is how his team stacks up against the run.
"This is probably the top running teams in the last five years," Phillips said of the Broncos. "This is a formidable running game that we're going against, which will be good work for us."
Since Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan took over in 1995, no team has produced more 100-yard rushing performances than Denver's 88. Even more impressive than the stat is how many different backs the Broncos have used as a featured runner in that span, ranging from Terrell Davis, Clinton Portis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Ruben Droughns, Tatum Bell and Quentin Griffin.
This year, the Broncos are counting on Travis Henry, whom they acquired in the off-season.
In their preseason opener Monday night in San Francisco, the Broncos rushed for 181 yards.
The Cowboys re-signed punter Sam Paulescu to the roster on Tuesday, which brings them back to the 85-player limit for training camp.
Paulescu has been with the Cowboys all off-season and went to training camp with the club in San Antonio, but was released on Aug. 3.
While his chances of beating out Pro Bowl punter Mat McBriar are rather bleak, he could at least provide some relief to McBriar during the preseason games. And at the same time, that would give him more exposure from other clubs possibly looking for a new punter when teams make final roster cuts at the end of the month.
No Hard Feelings
Phillips said Tuesday he holds no animosity towards the Broncos organization or owner Pat Bowlen, who fired him as head coach after the 1994 season.
Phillips spent two years as head coach, going 16-16 with one playoff appearance.
"I thought I did the best I could. They didn't think so, so they changed," said Phillips, who had previously served as Denver's defensive coordinator from 1989-92. "But Pat Bowlen, I respect him. I think he's a really good owner. I enjoyed working for him and I think he enjoyed me being there."
While Phillips has some history with the Broncos, there are a few familiar faces from Denver who will be returning to Valley Ranch. Former Cowboys players include Ebenezer Ekuban, a first-round pick in 1999; wide receiver Quincy Morgan; offensive tackle Jacob Rogers, a second-round pick in 2004; and safety Steve Cargile . . . Broncos assistant head coach Jim Bates was a defensive assistant in Dallas from 1996-99 and current Denver defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach Bob Slowik was a defensive assistant with the Cowboys in 1992.