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Mid-Day Report: Matt Johnson Day-To-Day With Ankle Injury


OXNARD, Calif. – Second-year safety Matt Johnson seems to be the Cowboys' main casualty from Sunday's Hall of Fame Game.

Johnson's status was one of the lead questions posed to Cowboys coach Jason Garrett at his Tuesday press conference. The verdict seemed iffy, but perhaps optimistic, as the team tries to round into healthy condition.

"It's really-day-by-day right now, he's got a little bit of a foot and ankle that he's dealing with," Garrett said. "He dealt with a little bit of an ankle last week going into the ball game. It's a little bit related but maybe a little bit of something new."

Garrett reiterated that Johnson's injury is considered "day-to-day," but he added a perplexing caveat.

"It's one of those injuries that could be day-to-day, it could be a little while. When I say 'a little while,' it may be next week. We'll see how he feels the rest of this day, but we're hopeful he can practice today."

As with most Cowboys injuries, it's a wait-and-see situation.

Here are some more notes from Tuesday morning's team walkthrough and Garrett's press conference:

  • Brandon Carr missed walkthrough Tuesday morning, but not with any kind of injury. Garrett said Carr's fiancée had a baby. "The timing couldn't have been more perfect," according to Garrettwith the Cowboys taking off on Monday.
  • Garrett said Friday's game against Oakland will focus much more like a typical preseason opener. The coaching staff intends to determine starters' playing time on an individual basis, as a handful of starters saw playing time against Miami while the majority did not.
  • With just two days to work before departing for Oakland, Garrett said both Tuesday's and Wednesday's practices will be in full pads.
  • Ronald Leary played the vast majority of Sunday night's win against Miami – 62 snaps, according to Garrett. A lot of that had to do with necessity, as several offensive linemen were unavailable. But Garrett said Leary played well, though he tired out toward the end.
  • The offensive line depth will be bolstered going forward, however. Mackenzy Bernadeau was at walkthrough again Tuesday after returning last week. Bernadeau will be at practice this week, and he hopes to be able to settle into a routine.
  • The Cowboys' special teams players seem to have been put on notice after some shaky play Sunday night. Garrett said he held a team meeting – "a little bit of a come to Jesus meeting" – to demand better of his younger guys.
  • "To play at that field, with the big Hall of Fame logo on the middle of the field, 100 yards from the 280 busts, the great history and tradition – there's a standard that comes with it," Garrett said. "And I think they understand that maybe a little bit more now than they did at eight o'clock this morning, and we'll see how they respond this afternoon."
  • "He helped himself a lot -- he's helped himself really every single day he's been here," was Garrett's response to a question about whether George Selvie helped himself with two sacks against the Dolphins. True to NFL form, Garrett said Selvie needs to keep it up.
  • Garrett again addressed the "mechanics" of the new role of offensive coordinator Bill Callahan as playcaller. He said the coaching staff communicates consistently, but he was happy with Callahan's commitment to run the ball. [embedded_ad]
  • The quick turnaround of this week's game is something Garrett said should test his young players. It's also a good primer for the Cowboys' routine, as Garrett said the franchise is accustomed to strange schedules due to Thanksgiving games and other primetime opportunities.
  • Garrett said it was a pregame decision to include running back Lance Dunbar into the opening series with starters like Doug Free and Tyron Smith. He said Dunbar's running abilities are underrated.
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