Dallas Cowboys: Eddie Lacy

Cowboys need more from Ware, Hatcher

December, 17, 2013
12/17/13
1:10
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IRVING, Texas -- Of the nine defensive linemen on the Dallas Cowboys roster, only three were with the team when training camp began and Nick Hayden was far from a lock to make the cut.

[+] EnlargeDeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY SportsThe Cowboys defense stands a better chance with DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher on the field at the same time.
DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher are the two mainstays left and both have been banged up. Ware missed three games with a quadriceps injury. Hatcher missed one with a stinger that has been problematic for two months.

If the defense is to have a chance to succeed, the Cowboys need Ware and Hatcher. But here's a question: Why are they not in the game more?

Jason Garrett said the Cowboys, "believe in the rotational system that Rod [Marinelli] uses."

It's fine to rotate players. You want players to remain fresh through the course of a game. But do they need to come off the field together?

Of the 69 defensive snaps in Sunday's loss to the Green Bay Packers, Ware and Hatcher were on the field together for 44 of them. There were 13 snaps where one or the other was on the field. There were 12 snaps in which neither was on the field, including goal-line snaps in the fourth quarter before Andrew Quarless' touchdown. Hatcher was not on the field for James Jones' 3-yard touchdown catch and Eddie Lacy's game-winning score.

At different times the Cowboys' defensive line featured Everette Brown, Drake Nevis, Corey Irvin and George Selvie. At one point they had Ware and Edgar Jones at defensive end with Jarius Wynn and Irvin at tackle.

"It's real important to keep that group fresh up front," Garrett said. "If you're looking for guys to put pressure on the quarterback, being fresh is a big part of that. The best defenses line I've been around rotated guys. So we'll continue to do that. It's not exclusive. They don't always come out together. They don't always play together. But occasionally they do, sometimes they're on the sideline together and you have to battle through that. The other guys have an opportunity to step up and make an impact on the game. George Selvie did a fantastic job in yesterday's game. He made a lot of plays, tackle for losses, sacks and impacted the game in a positive way. Everett Brown did as well. We have to get that across the board."

But there is a time and place for everything. In the most crucial snaps -- like on the goal line -- Ware and Hatcher must be on the field.

Ernie Sims set for MRI

December, 15, 2013
12/15/13
10:56
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys linebacker Ernie Sims will undergo an MRI on his hip/groin on Monday after he was forced from Sunday's 37-36 loss to the Green Bay Packers on the final play of the first half.

Sims, who started at weak-side linebacker and moved to middle linebacker after Justin Durant aggravated a hamstring injury, was hurt as part of a group that tackled running back Eddie Lacy.

"When I tackled Lacy I kind of opened up and as I went to the ground everybody landed on me," Sims said. "I tried to come back but that thing’s painful. I can’t explain the pain I feel."

Sims said X-rays were negative.

With Sims and Durant out of the game (and Sean Lee and Bruce Carter inactive because of neck and hamstring injuries) the Cowboys turned to rookie DeVonte Holloman at middle linebacker and undrafted rookie Cameron Lawrence on the weak-side.

The Packers were able to dominate in the second half, putting up 299 yards on offense, 19 first downs and scoring 34 points.

"Those guys tried to hang in there the best they could," coach Jason Garrett said. "There are some things they did well and obviously some things they will learn from."

The Cowboys might need them to learn in a hurry. Lee is considered "week to week," with his sprained ligament in his neck. Carter could need more time as well and Durant had missed three games with a hamstring injury.

Second-round mock draft: NFC East

April, 26, 2013
4/26/13
8:58
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The second and third rounds of the NFL draft are set for tonight back at Radio City Music Hall, and the second will begin at 5:30 p.m. CT. After a first round that saw nine offensive linemen, one quarterback and no running backs taken Thursday, it's possible tonight will have more star power than the first night did. Scouts, Inc. has done a second-round mock draft Insider, and this is what they've come up with for the NFC East's teams.

3 (35). Philadelphia Eagles: John Cyprien, S, Florida International

In this scenario, West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is off the board, taken by Jacksonville with the night's first pick, and the Eagles end up with the best remaining safety to fill a position of perennial need. Other possibilities I could imagine for the Eagles here include a defensive lineman with a 3-4 background, Stanford tight end Zach Ertz or Smith if he's available. I doubt they'll trade up for Smith (because they could have done so last night), and if he's gone I'm guessing they wait a few rounds for someone like Arizona quarterback Matt Scott.

15 (47). Dallas Cowboys: Kawann Short, DT, Purdue

After getting the interior offensive line help they so badly needed in the first round, this mock has the Cowboys turning to the interior of the defensive line, where Jay Ratliff always seems banged-up and Jason Hatcher is entering the final year of his contract. Short is a big talent whose question marks are about motivation and inconsistent college production. He could be a developmental guy for them -- help some in a rotation in the first year but more as a down-the-road replacement for one of the starters. I'd also have no issue with the Cowboys addressing safety here with someone like Cyprien or D.J. Swearinger. Could see them looking at a running back like Eddie Lacy or Montee Ball. And no, I absolutely do not think it would be a mistake for them to take another offensive lineman such as Menelik Watson or Larry Warford here.

17 (49). New York Giants: Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU

Linebacker is a need for the Giants. But as we've discussed, it's not one on which they tend to spend valuable resources. This is still a relatively high pick, and while Minter makes sense, I could easily see them spending this on a safety like the ones we've mentioned, a cornerback like Johnthan Banks or Jamar Taylor, a defensive end like Tank Carradine or even one of those running backs. They do like to have depth there.

19 (51). Washington Redskins: Johnthan Banks, CB, Mississippi State

Finally, the Redskins make their first pick of this year's draft, and it's at a position where they need immediate help and long-term depth. This draft is deep in defensive backs, and the Redskins should be able to take advantage of that with a good cornerback or safety at this spot. Tyrann Mathieu is still on the board in this mock, but I'd be surprised if Washington went that way, especially with so many less questionable options available. Cyprien, Swearinger or Shamarko Thomas make sense if they want to go safety. Banks, Taylor, Blidi Wreh-Wilson or Banks' teammate, Darius Slay, are among the good options at corner. If they don't take a defensive back here, maybe it's because a tackle like Watson or Terron Armstead fell to them. And you can't rule out wide receiver as a possibility here either.

W2W2: Draft Day 2 for the Cowboys

April, 26, 2013
4/26/13
8:00
AM ET
IRVING, Texas -- Here is a quick preview for Day 2 of the NFL draft.

PODCAST
Nate Newton joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the first round of the NFL draft.

Listen Listen
What to expect: The Cowboys have the 47th (second), 74th and 83rd (third round) selections of the draft. Don't expect a trade at this stage of the draft because the Cowboys, who entered the draft with six draft picks, made a deal Thursday night to get the extra selection they wanted.

Needs: Defensive line, defensive back, wide receiver, running back and offensive line are positions of need. The Cowboys picked up a center in Travis Frederick with the 31st overall selection, but there are still positions that need to be filled. There's a possibility the Cowboys will try to get a defensive lineman with one of their three picks Friday night.

Mel Kiper’s best available prospects: LB Manti Te’o, Notre Dame; RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama; QB Geno Smith, West Virginia; QB Matt Barkley, USC; S John Cyprien, FIU; TE Zach Ertz, Stanford; RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin; LB Kevin Minter, LSU; DT John Jenkins, Georgia; OT Menelik Watson, Florida St.

Cowboys best available: S Shamarko Thomas, Syracuse; WR Terrance Williams, Baylor; DT Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State; RB Montee Ball, Wisconsin; T Terron Armstead, Arkansas Pine-Bluff.

Day 1 recap: The Cowboys moved from No. 18 to No. 31 and also grabbed a second-round selection in a trade with San Francisco. The Cowboys bypassed several key players, including defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who went to Minnesota at No. 23. Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Floyd didn't fit the Cowboys' 4-3 scheme. Also, the team had a chance to move up, but Jones said there were two players who they coveted and they were gone by the 10th pick of the first round.

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