IRVING, Texas – While all eyes weren't exactly fixated on the players on the 53-man roster, having all but two of them on the practice field Wednesday is an important thing for the Cowboys as they start their installation process for the 49ers game.
Photos from Wednesday's practice at Valley Ranch.
Certainly, the focus shifted towards newly-signed defensive end Michael Sam, who was wearing No. 46 on the field in his first day as a practice squad member.
Sam worked with the defensive ends and linemen and will be a part of the scout team, helping the offense get ready for San Francisco's defense.
As for the players expected to play in the game, only Anthony Spencer and Darrion Weems were not on the field. Spencer is still rehabbing a knee injury that required microfracture surgery nearly a full year ago. Spencer only played in one game last season – Week 2 at Kansas City – before undergoing surgery.
While Spencer missed all of the preseason and training camp, the Cowboys obviously feel like he could return before Week 6, which is why they chose to keep him on the roster and not place him on PUP (Physically Unable to Perform). Doing that means Spencer would not be able to practice or play until the seventh game of the season.
As for Weems, he continues to rehab a shoulder injury that kept him out all of training camp.
Weems and Spencer are expected to be two of the seven inactive players for Sunday.
As for players who did make it on the field, defensive end George Selvie (shoulder) was in uniform although Jason Garrett said he would be limited. That's probably the same for defensive tackle Terrell McClain (ankle), who missed all four preseason games. McClain did practice in a limited role on Monday. Defensive tackle Henry Melton was also in uniform and is expected to start.
The Cowboys need cornerback Morris Claiborne to start as well, considering Orlando Scandrick is serving the first of a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Claiborne has been banged up with a shoulder injury that he says will require him to take a pain-relieving shot before the game.
Claiborne was in uniform and practicing on Wednesday.