IRVING, Texas– Head coach Jason Garrett wouldn't provide any new scoop on the cuts that will happen Tuesday afternoon, but he did touch on a variety of other subjects, including the health of Morris Claiborne.
Garrett said the coaches need to discuss his practice later today, but he participated much more fully and was in competitive situations and responded to them well.
As Garrett, the coaches and the staff discuss how to get the team down to 75 players, they'll need to consider how some backups can contribute on special teams, as well. Garrett said a big part of cutting down the roster is considering special teams, as well as considering which 46 players will go to the game and be active every week.
The head coach said in an ideal world, the Cowboys can keep players who can develop into position players and perform well on special teams until then.
"There's spots for those guys," Garrett said. "I do think they do have to have some ability to go in the game on offense or defense."
- The Cowboys take today's cuts very seriously, and Garrett went through briefly how each cut goes. "I speak with every player we release," he said. "I'm the person who gives them that news."
- Those players may talk to their position coaches and special teams coaches, if that's been their role. Garrett said it's a really important process, because most of the players that are cut have made a tremendous commitment to the team over a long period and have helped make the team better. He said just because they don't have a role this year on the Cowboys doesn't mean they couldn't help another team, and Garrett respects that process.
- The final game still matters in terms of figuring out who makes the final 53-man roster. Garrett said there's still a lot of competition and more determinations to be made.
- It's difficult for Garrett and the coaches to evaluate Matt Johnson fully, given his injury history. He said the coaches need to well evaluating the different settings he's been able to play in, and then make the best decision from that. It's easier to evaluate a veteran safety such as Eric Frampton, who's also played for other teams.
- The Cowboys went through two hard practices with full pads Monday morning and Tuesday, according to Garrett. He said it's not all Giants preparation, because he doesn't want the game plan to get too stale over a long period of time. "You want to keep it fresh," he said.
- Garrett said Miles Austin's looked great in practice, and it's just as valuable that he got to rest occasionally as well. He reiterated that sometimes trainers and coaches need to protect the hardworking Austin from himself, and the receiver's responded well and understands his body better now. His mindset is still that he's a free agent from Monmouth, according to Garrett.
- Nick Hayden could end up starting at defensive tackle this year to start the season. He's been starting throughout the preseason and Garrett has noticed him get better throughout the year. "It's a great environment for all those defensive linemen," Garrett said. "We have really good coaches throughout our football team."
- Hayden's rise to the starting lineup is an example of the Cowboys being as objective as possible in evaluating players, regardless of where they came from. Garrett said it's important to do that democratically. "We preach it really every day," he said. "It doesn't matter where you come from, it matters what you do once you're here."
- Garrett said the transition on Dan Bailey's missed field goal wasn't as clean as it needed to be and that the timing was off, because "you never see Dan Bailey kick a ball like that." [embedded_ad]
- The team hasn't made any definitive decisions on who's starting on the line, but will try to do so in the next few days. There's still an ongoing discussion about who the best five offensive linemen are and the combinations that work best.
- Quarterback Alex Tanney will play some Thursday night. Garrett said he's done a good job making sure he understands the offense quickly.