OXNARD, Calif. – Former Jets guard Brandon Moore was the primary topic of debate during head coach Jason Garrett's daily press conference between the morning walkthrough and afternoon practice Wednesday.
Garrett said he had a conversation Tuesday night with Moore, who was expected to sign with the Cowboys. It seemed then that it would work out, but Moore had a change of heart. He woke up the next morning and decided he didn't want to play football anymore.
"You just try to address the needs where you have them, and Brandon's a guy who's been a good football player in this league for a long time," Garrett said. "He's been a starter for the Jets for a number of years. Bill Callahan coached him and has a relationship with him, and we had a conversation with him and thought he might be able to come in and help our team out."
The Cowboys are depleted on the offensive line, particularly on the interior. Guard Nate Livings is out after minor surgery on his knee, while guard Mackenzy Bernadeau is just now returning to practice after missing the beginning of camp and most of the offseason. Interior offensive linemen Ryan Cook and Kevin Kowalski have also been out with injuries during most of camp.
Garrett said the Cowboys will continue to look around the league at players that can help the team, but football's not a good game to play if a player isn't 100 percent committed.
"We respect that decision and we'll try to evaluate that position and see if we can address it as we go forward," Garrett said.
Here are some other notes from Garrett's conference:
- Travis Frederick played mostly at center, but he also got some work at guard during the Hall of Fame Game. The Cowboys have said they'd like Frederick to be their center, but Garrett said the team has a while to figure out their best five offensive linemen to start against the Giants in the opener.
- Bernadeau is back at practice, but Garrett said there's obvious rust right now as he works back in from injury. Bernadeau also missed a lot of time before last season, and Garrett said that's where players grow and develop. He said Bernadeau needs to get more snaps, which could happen this weekend.
- Free agent guard Brian Waters is also available and could be a target to sign. Garrett didn't want to speculate whether or not the team would try to reach a deal with the veteran, but he also didn't deny that he was a possibility. "The biggest issue with Brian right now is he hasn't played in 18 months, so you have to figure those things in," Garrett said.
- The Cowboys had their first fight of camp Tuesday, as Ernie Sims and Lance Dunbar got in a tussle that then involved other teammates. Garrett didn't mind it and said the healthy competition is good for the team, but he also has to remind guys they're teammates.
- Speaking of Sims, Garrett was complimentary of how the linebacker's performed since he joined the team midway through last year. He said he came in with a "this is my last chance" mindset.
"Ernie has done that, and he really has played well," Garrett said. "He's played well on defense, he's played well on special teams, he's playing with a little bit of a chip on his shoulder."
- The defense dominated the majority of team drills Tuesday. Garrett said the offense has to respond during the afternoon practice Wednesday.
- Kicker Dan Bailey drilled a 59-yarder at practice Tuesday. Garrett said there could be a compelling argument that he does his job as well as anybody on the team. He said Bailey's a great football player, outstanding athlete and as cool as they come on the field. He also complimented Bailey's preparation. [embedded_ad]
- The Cowboys will head to Oakland tomorrow, where Jason Witten got hurt in the preseason last year. Garrett was more concerned with Witten personally than on the football field. "There were a lot of emotions we all had," Garrett said. "Whenever you talk about an injury to an internal organ, you're certainly very concerned." He described Witten, who vowed to play in the opener right after he heard he injured his spleen, as a great example "for football and really all of humanity."