Dallas Cowboys: Aaron Rouse

5 Wonders: Can Cowboys pro department hit again?

September, 25, 2012
9/25/12
1:00
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- Another Tuesday, another Five Wonders and we’ll leave the inter-touchdown-ception from last night’s Green Bay-Seattle game to some other folks. This is strictly about the Cowboys.

On to the Wonders:

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If the Cowboys lost a game because of a bad call by the refs, would you stop watching NFL games?

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    23%
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    77%

Discuss (Total votes: 7,637)

**I wonder if the Cowboys’ pro scouting department will be as successful in finding players this year as it was last year. Maybe one of the five players they try out today -- Don Carey, Antwaun Molden, Tyrone Culver, Eric Frampton or Aaron Rouse -- signs and becomes a big contributor to the defense and/or special teams in 2012. The Cowboys did a pretty good job last year finding players, including from Laurent Robinson, Montrae Holland, Tony Fiammetta and Sammy Morris. None of the players available are perfect so you have to accept some flaws, but the players from last year all helped the Cowboys win games. They hope to be as lucky this year.

** After seeing what Seattle did to Green Bay on Monday night, sacking Aaron Rodgers eight times in the first half, I wonder if we need to re-assess the Cowboys offensive line a little. Or at least tip the cap to Seattle’s defense. Playing with that crowd noise certainly gives them an edge in rushing the passer. Ah, who am I kidding? I wonder just how much Chicago’s defense is licking its chops to get after Tony Romo. The Bears have a league-high 14 sacks in the first three games and have one of the most dangerous pass rushers in Julius Peppers and he doesn’t even lead the team in sacks. Last week marked only the fourth time Romo has been sacked at least four times and the Cowboys have won the game. I wrote this after the game, but the pass protection must improve in a hurry with teams like Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and the Giants on the docket.

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ESPN NFL analyst Ed Werder weighs in on the Seattle-Green Bay game and the implications that it holds for NFL officiating.

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**I wonder if Jerry Jones will do a little “I told you so” to Mike Jenkins or the media and fans. While I’d hope Jones would back off his all-is-well notion regarding the replacement refs, I’ll give him a nod in the team’s thinking with Jenkins. Injuries happen and the Cowboys were without Gerald Sensabaugh, so the coaches came up with the idea of putting Brandon Carr at safety in the nickel defense. It worked out great. Now they have lost Barry Church for the season with an Achilles tear and there’s some thought that Carr might be able to play more safety. Why? Because the Cowboys have Jenkins. Jones kept saying the Cowboys would need Jenkins and they would not trade him, no matter how tempting or no matter how much Jenkins’ camp asked. Now the Cowboys need Jenkins and he played extremely well against Vincent Jackson. Jenkins’ style of play fits perfectly with what Rob Ryan wants to do and Jenkins knows he has to play well in order to get a big contract. It might be a perfect storm for the team and Jenkins. And I’ll add this wonder: Can the Cowboys keep Jenkins in 2013? I wouldn’t rule it out.

** I wonder what happened to Doug Free. In 2009, he showed he could play after taking over for Marc Colombo. In 2010, he moved to left tackle and was considered the best linemen on the team. After the lockout ended, the Cowboys signed him to a deal worth $8 million a year and if they hadn’t, they wouldn’t have had a tackle and would’ve seen him go to Philadelphia to protect Michael Vick’s blindside. Something is not right with Free. His best asset has been his athleticism. He could overcome a poor step or set and recover. He’s never been the strongest offensive lineman but he would play low enough and could move enough to be solid. Jason Garrett said Free has to be “firmer.” Too often he’s getting pushed back in the pocket or not generating enough movement in the run game. Confidence can be a funny thing and I wonder if he’s lost confidence as he’s moved back to right tackle.

** I liked the aggressiveness the Cowboys showed in attempting an onside kick in the second quarter against Tampa Bay. They should have shown just as much aggressiveness and faith in the defense the previous week in Seattle late in the first half on a fourth-down play. But on Dan Bailey’s attempt, I wonder if the field surface played a part in the Cowboys not converting. During the week, Bailey is attempting those onside kicks in practice on grass. Cowboys Stadium has artificial turf, so maybe the ball slid more on the turf than it did during the week on grass. Or maybe Bailey was so excited for the play that he just hit it too far. Tampa Bay was aligned deep and the play was there if Bailey didn’t touch the ball so far.

Source: Five DBs will audition for Cowboys

September, 25, 2012
9/25/12
10:54
AM ET
IRVING, Texas -- Antwaun Molden is not the only defensive back the Cowboys will be working out today at Valley Ranch. Four more will be making auditions to fill a roster spot that will be open because of Barry Church’s season-ending Achilles tear.

Tyrone Culver, who spent the last four years with Miami, Eric Frampton, who spent the last five years in Minnesota, Don Carey, who played last year for Detroit, and Aaron Rouse, the MVP of last year’s UFL Championship Game, will be looking for a job, according to a source.

Culver played in the preseason finale against the Cowboys on Aug. 29 and made two tackles. He was among the Dolphins’ final cuts. Carey was waived/injured by the Lions because of a hamstring injury and played in only five games last year. He started 10 games for Jacksonville in 2010 and had 55 tackles and an interception. Molden is a cornerback by trade, but the Cowboys will give him a look at safety with his 6-1, 198-pound frame.

Frampton has not started a game in his career and has mostly been a special teamer.

Rouse has not played in the NFL since 2009 with the New York Giants when he recorded a sack of Tony Romo. He has 18 starts in his career with New York and Green Bay with four interceptions.

The Cowboys are also considering re-signing Mario Butler, who was cut last week from the active roster to make room for linebacker Orie Lemon. He could also be brought back to the practice squad.

Cowboys-Giants key matchups

December, 5, 2009
12/05/09
3:31
PM ET
We'll look at one key matchup from both sides of the ball:

New York Giants WR Steve Smith vs. Dallas Cowboys nickel back Orlando Scandrick: The competition to start at right cornerback ended when Scandrick struggled mightily in the September loss to the Giants.

Mike Jenkins has emerged as the Dallas secondary's best playmaker since then. Scandrick has not been as effective in the slot as he was during his surprising rookie season.

Although Scandrick doesn't play in the base defense, he'll still see plenty of Smith. The Giants' No. 1 receiver works out of the slot in three- and four-wide sets and does his best work on third downs. He leads all NFL receivers with 28 catches on third down. Those receptions have gone for 315 yards and three touchdowns, both of which rank second in the league on third downs.

Smith's most memorable play in his 10-catch, 134-yard performance against the Cowboys earlier this season came when he was working against Scandrick in the slot. He made such a magnificent double-move on his touchdown catch that Scandrick fell to the Cowboys Stadium turf.

If Scandrick doesn't fare better Sunday than he did that night, the Giants will consistently keep drives alive by going to Smith in the slot.

Cowboys QB Tony Romo vs. Giants safeties: Romo never found Kenny Phillips on a deep interception in the first Cowboys-Giants meeting. The Giants probably wish they could hide their safeties sunday.

Phillips, who picked Romo off twice in September, is on injured reserve with a knee injury. FS Michael Johnson is questionable for Sunday because of a groin injury.

If Johnson plays, the Cowboys will likely try to test his range. If he doesn't, C.C. Brown will start next to Aaron Rouse. Brown originally filled in for Phillips and was benched after being burned several times. He was replaced by Rouse, who was waived by the Green Bay Packers early in the season.

Aaron Ross, drafted in the first round as a cornerback, plays safety in the nickel and dime packages to give the Giants some coverage ability on the back end. But New York is still susceptible to the deep ball, especially on first and second downs.

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