Dallas Cowboys: Junior Siavii

Scout's Eye: Thoughts on the cut to 53

September, 5, 2010
9/05/10
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Scout's Eye
The amazing thing about following a training camp from start to finish is that you think you have an idea of a direction a team is going, then when it gets down to the final cuts there are still surprises that you never thought were coming.

The trade of wide receiver Patrick Crayton was a surprise to me. I really believed that Crayton would be on this roster to help in the transition and growth of Dez Bryant and as an insurance policy if Roy Williams continued to struggle as he had in years past.

Crayton had an outstanding camp. He was consistent in practice every day and when given the opportunity in games, he was able to deliver plays.

His replacement in that role will be Kevin Ogletree. Ogletree is often praised by Jerry Jones, so it’s understandable why Crayton was traded. Jones is big on “progress stoppers,” and Crayton was viewed as that. Jones wants Ogletree to have every chance to succeed, much like Crayton did.

I do see talent in Ogletree, but the question I have is whether I see that nasty, between-the-hashes, receiver that makes plays in traffic on tough downs. My answer is no. It takes fire in your gut to want to go inside and fight for football. To run across the middle or in the red zone to buy space so your quarterback can find you.

Tony Romo had a friend in Patrick Crayton. It was never pretty, but it worked. Kevin Ogletree will have big shoes to fill and Jones is betting on it, much like he did with Flozell Adams and Doug Free.

Sam Hurd on the roster makes perfect sense to me. Hurd is that guy that fills a role and a need. You have to have core special teamers if you are going to have any success on Sunday. Hurd is your man and Holley is not.

Money should not have been the factor here, and for the special team’s sake, I am glad to see it was not. On cut day, there are tough decisions to make, and to the Cowboys this was a tough call but the right call. Sam Hurd is a better player than Jesse Holley and he will continue to prove that.

On the defensive side of the ball, there were two moves that really surprised me. And with the way the roster tends to move on opening week and after the first game, it might change again. I was surprised that cornerback Cletis Gordon and nose tackle Junior Siavii (who is on his way to Seattle) were released.

Gordon appeared to have the fourth cornerback job nailed down in camp with his play in practice and in the preseason games. I will say this about Gordon: His last game against the Dolphins was not his best game.

The Cowboys have some position flexibility here. Safeties Akwasi Owusu-Ansah and Alan Ball can both play the corner spot if needed. Owusu-Ansah had been working in the slot on certain packages already in camp, so that isn’t a hard transition. He will get the first opportunity to play off the bench as the fourth corner because you don’t want to take Ball out of the role as the starting free safety.

In the San Antonio portion of camp, Josh Brent to me really arrived on the scene. Despite the broken hand, he played with power, quickness and effort. He was a very active nose man inside.

Siavii is a strong player with a big body, which is something that defensive line really doesn’t have. Against the Texans, he had one of his better games and then I thought there was a chance that the Cowboys were going to keep three nose tackles. Because of Brent’s play, Siavii raised his game.

Where I missed the boat about the defensive line was with Sean Lissemore. Lissemore was injured a great deal during camp so he became an afterthought to me. In the Dolphins game, he played well. He was strong, mobile and good assignment-wise.

Sometimes teams try to protect their draft and hold onto guys who might not have shown much in camp, keeping them on the active roster to give them time to develop. In this case, the Cowboys feel that Lissemore has more upside and is better to have on the roster now than a player like Siavii, who might have limited upside and the club knows what they have in him.

Junior Siavii headed to Seattle

September, 5, 2010
9/05/10
12:16
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It didn't take long for nose tackle Junior Siavii to find a job.

After getting cut by the Cowboys on Saturday, Siavii will sign a contract to play with the Seattle Seahawks according to his agent, Frank Bauer.

Siavii is catching a plane to Seattle this afternoon.

Siavii, entering his fifth NFL season, was on target to become the backup nose tackle with the Cowboys. But the team decided to go with younger Josh Brent and Sean Lissemore as backups to Jay Ratliff.

So who played well vs. the Texans?

August, 30, 2010
8/30/10
2:50
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IRVING -- With all the negativity coming from the Cowboys' 23-7 loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday night, there had to be some positive things coming from this game.
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Nate Newton shares his thoughts on the Cowboys' terrible performance against the Texans on Saturday night.

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Right?

Doug Free, Leonard Davis, Jay Ratliff, Junior Siavii and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah earned some praise from coach Wade Phillips.

"Free played real well again, Leonard Davis played real well," Phillips said. "We had particular guys that did real good things. Ratliff played really well. They couldn't block him, which is normal. We took him out and he was, 'Let me back in. Let me back in.' We took him out in the first quarter, at times, and he went back in some. Guys like that. And some of the young guys did good things."

Boys on the bubble: Who has to go?

August, 30, 2010
8/30/10
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Siavvi/Hurd/McCannUS Presswire/AP PhotoWhat will the future hold for Junior Siavii, Sam Hurd and Bryan McCann? The Cowboys will be cutting five players Tuesday, so we'll see.

After cutting veteran safety Patrick Watkins on Monday, the Cowboys still need to release four more players from the 80-man roster. Some teams have done so already, such as the Jets, Bengals and Chiefs.

Dallas has some interesting decisions to make at a few positions, so here's our weekly look at the bubble players.

OFFENSIVE LINE

The bubble: Mike Tepper, Travis Bright, Will Barker and Pat McQuistan

Outlook: It seems 10 players will earn checks this fall who are offensive linemen. The injury to Sam Young (sprained MCL in right knee that keeps him out three to four weeks) won't hurt his status. Young, Doug Free, Alex Barron, Marc Colombo and Robert Brewster are the tackles in 2010. The inside positions are unsettled somewhat. Bright is a long shot to overtake Phil Costa as the No. 3 center, but McQuistan could make a case for himself if Montrae Holland struggles vs. Miami on Thursday night. But we doubt it.

WIDE RECEIVER

The bubble:Sam Hurd and Jesse Holley

Outlook: Hurd has done a decent job of catching the ball, but he's not making anybody say, "Hey he should be on the team because he's special." Special teams is the same way. The Cowboys know he can do it, but there are some younger players who have more upside than Hurd. Holley was in the lead to make this team on special teams, but fell off the last two games. The Cowboys should keep five wide receivers. At some point, Dallas might try to trade Hurd for a sixth- or seventh-round pick. If that can't happen, Hurd could be sent home.

TIGHT END

The bubble:Martin Rucker and Scott Sicko

Outlook: When Rucker (hamstring) was deemed healthy, he was able to participate in practices and games but he hasn't impressed anyone enough. Sicko had to be convinced to come to training camp, and he should have stayed home. A concussion also slowed his progress. The Cowboys have an interesting decision here because they could keep Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett and then go with two fullbacks. If it happens, Rucker and Sicko will go home. But Sicko could be worth keeping. If he clears waivers, he could move to the practice squad.

DEFENSIVE BACKS

The bubble: Pat Watkins, Jamar Wall, Bryan McCann, Danny McCray

Outlook: It's about consistency. McCray had three special teams tackles last week vs. San Diego. So how many did he have vs. Houston on Saturday? Zero. If McCray makes this team, it's because of his special teams work. Barry Church is a better safety than him, and it seems McCray is missing in action against the run. Watkins can still make this team over McCray, but if it's a financial thing, McCray makes $320,000; Watkins will earn $1.17 million. (UPDATE: Watkins was officially cut Monday morning.)

NOSE TACKLE

The bubble:Junior Siavii and Josh Brent

Outlook: There are some in the organization that love Brent, but Siavii is a better run stopper and he could move to end if necessary. Siavii, overall, is a better player, but it wouldn't be a surprise if the Cowboys kept three nose tackles. In 2006, they did. Brent, if he stays, will be inactive on Sundays.

LINEBACKER

The bubble:Leon Williams, Steve Octavien, Brandon Sharpe, Victor Butler, Jason Williams and Brandon Williams.

Outlook: Jason and Brandon Williams (not related) will be here, but not without some raised eyebrows. Octavien and Butler played steady, so their spots seem secure. The Cowboys could go with nine linebackers, or maybe 10. If it's 10, who is better: Leon Williams or Brandon Sharpe?

Scout's Eye: Oxnard Day 11

August, 26, 2010
8/26/10
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This is the time of year where as a personnel guy you look at your board in your office at camp and try to really figure out where those final roster spots are going to come from. The questions going into camp where at left tackle, free safety and kicker.

At tackle, Doug Free has come in and from day one has been focused on the task at hand. It started in San Antonio and has carried over to the preseason games and into Oxnard. His ability to work against DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer on a daily basis proved that he can handle this job. His technique improved each day and you never saw that period of time where you really thought he would struggle with the transition.

Alan Ball and Mike Hamlin were in competition for the safety spot opposite Gerald Sensabaugh. Hamlin started off well, but Ball has been more instinctive and showed better range, then Hamlin who got dinged and it was over for his chance. Hamlin will get another opportunity to shine in replacing Sensabaugh these last two preseason games.

Ball has been steady and error free on the back end. He is a fluid moving player that his cornerback mates have come to appreciate. The importance of a safety with range and ball should never be under valued.

Roster spots on this squad will be tight. Does this team just carry five receivers instead of six? Is Jesse Holley really better than Sam Hurd? Can one of those safeties, Church or McCray, be that guy that takes Hurd’s place on the 45 each week?

I have been jumping up and down for guys like Bryan McCann and Josh Brent. But is Junior Siavii, who has had a much better camp since the arrival of Brent, too strong for Brent to take his job? Brent, to use a scouting term, has huge “upside” but Siavii is strong and is a hard guy to move.

Maybe this squad is looking for that type of player to play behind Jay Ratliff, who is undersized for the position but through quickness, explosiveness and desire is one of the better defensive players in the NFL.

Jerry Jones spoke of the possibility of keep three players at nose tackle. Maybe not a far-fetched idea if you only carry two quarterbacks, five wide receivers or make a trade during camp. To carry extra players, you have to take from another position.

The number that seems to be the most consistent to me is the 10 offensive linemen. Five starters, Montrae Holland, Alex Barron, Phil Costa, Robert Brewster and Sam Young will make up this group.

I have been the most impressed with Sam Young. This guy has a chance to be that next Doug Free type of player. At practice on Wednesday, he showed the ability to pass line stunts and understand what his responsibility is in the scheme. He shows good toughness, smarts and the ability to stay on his feet, which at times can be difficult for young linemen.

With two preseason games still ahead, watch what happens ahead with Hurd, Holley and Stephen McGee. Also pay very close attention to what happens at linebacker and defensive line, which could affect other positions.

Also keep this in mind too as you are watching this team: Is there someone else out there that will get released that is better than what the Cowboys are playing with? Waiver claims also give you a chance to help your squad improve.

Position battle: Keep both backup NTs?

August, 25, 2010
8/25/10
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OXNARD, Calif. -- As he was discussing the Cowboys’ intentions to keep a close eye on the waiver wire after final cuts, Jerry Jones suddenly changed the subject.

“Let me mention another couple of players: [Junior] Siavii and Josh Brent,” Jones said. “I’m really comfortable with what we’ve done to get us depth and get us a backup, insurance policy with [Jay] Ratliff. I’m not saying that they make up for Ratliff not being in there, but I am saying that those two players are really having a good camp.”

The perception is that the Cowboys can keep either Siavii or Brent, but not both. Neither has worked at all at defensive end, so it doesn’t seem to make much sense to have two backups for an All-Pro who rarely takes a snap off.

But Jones claims that the Cowboys could keep the veteran Siavii and supplemental seventh-round pick Brent.

“I think it’s just what the cost is in terms of what you’re having to give up on other parts of your roster to get it done,” Jones said. “Junior is playing the best of what I can remember since he’s been drafted. I give a lot of credit to Paul [Pasqualoni] and Wade [Phillips]. Josh is certainly making a good account of himself. We’ve got numbers in our defensive line that could push some other parts of our roster.”

Jones’ point that Siavii and Brent have both performed well is accurate. But three nose tackles? Consider me skeptical.

Could Jones’ eagerness to discuss the subject be a sign that the Cowboys hope to get something in return for one of Ratliff’s reserves?

Tony Romo's back; Dez Bryant's boot

August, 13, 2010
8/13/10
10:06
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Now that we've gotten a few hours sleep, we have an updated injury report for you from Thursday night's Cowboys' 17-9 loss to the Oakland Raiders.

Quarterback Tony Romo suffered a sore back, but he's OK. He's scheduled to practice Saturday. Romo dealt with a sore back in 2008 as the result of a few hard hits, which was the case of getting sacked three times Thursday.
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Romo appeared to be in discomfort while sitting on the bench during the second half. After the game, he said, "I'm fine."

* The walking boot on rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant will remain on for at least another day. Bryant is recovering from a right high ankle sprain and the team is being cautious. Friday will mark two weeks since he's worn the boot. Bryant is scheduled to lose the boot and begin his rehab Saturday in Oxnard, Calif.

* Linebacker Stephen Hodge keeps saying he's not sure when he'll start to practice. Hodge is recovering from microfracture surgery and will continue to rehab once the team gets to Oxnard, Calif.

* Safety Mike Hamlin has a sprained neck and said he suffered a concussion. Hamlin said Thursday night his headaches were subsiding.

* Nose tackle Junior Siavii suffered a cut on his forehead and some bruising on his eyes after making a tackle without a helmet. Siavii said he doesn't have a concussion and finished the game without any problems.

* Coach Wade Phillips said tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle), linebacker Sean Lee (quad) and safety Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (shoulder) are scheduled to return to practice on Saturday and should be ready for the third preseason game at San Diego on August 21.

Scout's Eye: Hall of Fame Game preview

August, 8, 2010
8/08/10
7:53
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Five things to watch in the Hall of Fame Game:

*The first offense and defense will get a couple of series at the most. The most important areas to watch here is timing and execution of the plays or defense called.

The last thing you want is to come out and look sloppy with your frontline players. On offense, fumbled snaps, dropped passes, missed blocks or poor assignments lead to unproductive plays and waste the limited time the squad is on the field. Ideally, you want Tony Romo to enjoy a clean pocket to make his throws. Unnecessary hits and having to avoid potential sacks are never good signs. You want your offense to have a rhythm. You want to see the line blocking, the receivers running good routes, and the backs having vision to hit the holes. Jason Garrett and the offensive coaches want it all to come together in that short time.

On defense, you don’t want blown assignments, The goal should be to line up correctly and play sound technique. Getting off blocks, defending passes and most importantly, not allowing big plays will be the key.

The young players on the second and third teams will make mistakes but you really want to build continuity and confidence with your ones.

*Offensive tackle Doug Free has enjoyed a productive two weeks of camp.

On a daily basis, he has worked against two of the better rushers in the NFL in DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Free has improved each day and Wade Phillips has called him the most consistent offensive linemen in the camp to this point. Free’s footwork and technique has been solid and he appears more comfortable working now on the left side.

Free will have the opportunity to work against two veteran defensive ends in Antwan Odom and Frostee Rucker for the Bengals. Odom is a nice pass rusher but has been banged up a little in camp and has missed some time so he might actually see more of Rucker.

*The pre season will be No. 3 quarterback Stephen McGee’s time to shine.

The club knows what they have in backup Jon Kitna, so the bigger question is whether McGee be that “quarterback of the future.” Wade Phillips said that he is trying to develop McGee in that manner.

There are some traits to like in McGee. He does have a strong arm, he is mobile and is intelligent.

If McGee does struggle, it’s that he needs to do things quicker. The quarterback clock in his head needs to move faster.

During practice, you can see Jason Garrett and Wade Wilson working with him. Stephen McGee will get the opportunity to prove he belongs and trust me, the front office and the coaches will be watching him every step of the way this summer.

*Nose tackles Josh Brent and Junior Siavii are now in a battle for that backup position behind Jay Ratliff.

Brent has been impressive in the three practices that he has had. Siavii has been steady but is limited as a player. Brent has quickness, power and is a better pass rusher. Siavii has power and does a decent job against the run.

Brent, in my view, has much better upside than Siavii and the way that Brent plays this preseason could put Junior on the street.

*Kicker David Buehler has been impressive in his attempt to win over the front office and the coaches with his ability to be the club’s starting kicker. There is no doubt when you watch Buehler on a daily basis that he has tremendous leg strength and power off his foot.

Now the real test has arrived, the preseason games. Buehler needs to be consistent and take advantage of every opportunity he gets in these games.

In the OTAs and minicamps this spring, I saw an inconsistent kicker that struggled to even make the simplest of kicks. The slightest bit of struggle will force the Cowboys to have to make a decision on his future as the placekicker.

There is a plan in place if Buehler fails and these pre season games will determine that.

Position battle: Josh Brent makes plays

August, 5, 2010
8/05/10
5:57
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SAN ANTONIO – The battle for the backup nose tackle job is on.

Supplemental seventh-round pick Josh Brent has been disruptive despite wearing a cast to protect his broken left hand. It’s probably not a coincidence that incumbent Junior Siavii had his best practice Thursday after seeing Brent made some plays.

Siavii, who Pasqualoni describes as “steady,” is a run stuffer who holds his ground in the middle. The 6-foot-2, 312-pound Brent is the type of nose tackle you notice creating problems in the backfield.

“He’s got explosiveness,” defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni said. “He’s got quickness in his feet. He’s got quickness in his hands. He’s got good flexibility. He’s got a knack for playing with leverage. He’s one of those bigger guys that can play with his knees bent low to the ground in a leverage position, which means he has the ability to get under the pads of the blocker.”

Pasqualoni called Brent “raw” and said the rookie is adjusting to the technique the Cowboys want him to play. Pasqualoni added that there have been plays when Brent has been knocked off balance.

However, Pasqualoni acknowledged that Brent’s performance with a cast on has been impressive.

“He’s doing pretty good,” Pasqualoni said, “but he’s got a ways to go.”

Scout's Eye: Day 10 observations

August, 3, 2010
8/03/10
8:09
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My thoughts from Monday’s practice:

*Safety Alan Ball is playing like the real deal in this training camp.

The more I watch him, the more I am convinced that Ball can do the job asked of him this season. He has played with range, awareness and confidence.

During Monday’s practice, Ball was in a goal-line drill where he was in man coverage on John Phillips. Phillips tries to run underneath the formation along the line of scrimmage going right to left, while the offensive flow was moving right. It was a well-designed play by Jason Garrett and would have worked perfectly if Ball hadn’t reacted so quickly to the route to prevent the touchdown.

In speaking with Orlando Scandrick, Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman, they had nothing but praise for Ball in what it means to have a safety that can cover as much ground on the back end as Ball. There has been talk about Ball’s size or lack of it for the job, but Ball is not a blow-'em-up type of player, rather a drag-down guy or one that can hold on until help arrives.

Paired with the physical play of Gerald Sensabaugh, Alan Ball is playing like a nice fit at free safety.

*Spent the majority of the practice trying to get a handle on the play of nose tackle Josh Brent, who has missed most of camp with a broken hand.

The team was in full pads but was working on goal line and short yardage at three-quarter speed, so it was tough to get a real feel for him. It’s a shame that Brent is playing with one hand only. His left hand has only his thumb exposed, which makes it very difficult to control blockers.

At the nose, it’s critical that you use you hands to play off blocks. Brent doesn’t have this advantage.

In watching his play, he does play with some initial quickness and a burst. If he did struggle in one area, it was that his pad level was a little high and he allowed Travis Bright to work him out of the hole, but he later played with some better reps.

In my view, Junior Siavii appears to be the top backup right now for the nose tackle job, but with five preseason games and the fact that Jay Ratliff should play very little, Brent will get a serious look.

*Watching the goal-line and short-yardage work for the offense reminded me what an outstanding player Jason Witten really is. I know this isn’t breaking news, but he is such a difficult player to defend.

For a large man, Witten does an outstanding job of working in a small, tight area. He has a feel of how to free himself and move in and out of the traffic. Witten knows how to work the middle of the field, square up and present himself as a target to the quarterbacks. His hands are beyond dependable and if he does have to make a play in traffic, he can be successful because of the way he can position his body to shield a defender.

The mistake that Garrett and the offensive coaches made last season was asking Witten to help at times in the passing game as a blocker in the red zone. They need to get him in the route as much as possible, and in the talks I have had with coaches, this is more of the plan.

The coaches know what a special player they have in Witten, and look for him to be much more of a factor in the red zone this season.

Scout's Eye: Week 1 observations

August, 2, 2010
8/02/10
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As the first week of training camp for the Cowboys comes to a close, Scout’s Eye wanted to take a look back at some of the developments that have taken place here in San Antonio.

*One of the precamp questions centered around the position switch of offensive tackle, Doug Free from the right side to the left and how much of an adjustment that would be.

The first two practices were a struggle for Free to say the least. Free was working hard on his own to try and correctly get his “kick slide” working in order to get the proper depth and width when taking on defenders such as DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer, who are two of the better pass rushers in the NFL.

[+] EnlargeDoug Free
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezDoug Free is making progress during camp in his transition to left tackle.
After his initial problems of giving up the corner too quickly, Free has been able to play with solid technique to match his smarts and effort.

One of Free’s finest moments came on a one-on-one pass rush rep that he was able to execute against Ware. Off the snap, Ware tried several pass rush moves to throw Free off and try to get him off balance but was unsuccessful. Free showed nice patience and punch by making Ware have to restart his rush thus killing his chances of making a sack.

*Can a rookie really be this good? In wide receiver Dez Bryant’s case, the answer is “yes.”

From the time that he has stepped foot on the practice field here in San Antonio, Bryant has been electric.

There were questions about his timed speed (4.56), but watching him run routes and gain separation on defensive backs will make you forget what that 40 time was. There are players that time fast and there are those players that play fast. Bryant is one of those guys that plays fast.

Bryant appeared to be picking up what Jason Garrett and the offensive coaches were asking him to do. Just saw more teaching than correction from receivers coach Ray Sherman.

Bryant’s hands and ability to adjust to the football are a quarterback’s best friend. Very impressed by the way he has been able to adjust to the football in full stride.

The downside to all this is that Bryant will spend the next 4-6 weeks nursing a high ankle sprain. Hurt near the end of practice on Saturday, I worry about Bryant missing reps in the offense and the opportunity to work with Romo.

This trainer staff is one of the best in the NFL, so there is some hope for the Cowboys that he could be back on the field sooner than later.

*In my view, replacing Ken Hamlin at safety for the Cowboys was the absolute right move.

You can say what you want about lining guys up and being a great teammate. The bottom line for a defensive back is to make plays. It’s about covering receivers, knocking down passes and creating turnovers. It’s about having the ability to cover ground and get to the football.

Alan Ball has done a nice job at free safety and for that matter, Mike Hamlin has as well. I have been impressed by the movement skill of Ball along with the way that he has shown the ability to play the ball in the air.

Sunday, when tired legs set in for the skill guys, Ball still looked quick in his drills and in the way he reacted. In talking to guys like Newman, Jenkins and Scandrick, to a man they couldn’t be happier to have a safety that can play with some range.

*Can these five preseason games shake out some depth inside at both the offense and defensive lines? This is a question that will take the remainder of the camp to answer.

On the offensive side, I don’t see a quality backup at center. Bright has his limitations as does Costa.

On defense, injuries have taken practice time away from Brent and Lissemore. As good as Jay Ratliff is, he cannot play the entire game. Junior Siavii gives you great effort and desire but for being a strong guy, he struggles to get off blocks and has no pass rush moves to speak of. I am very interested to see Brent get the opportunity to try and replace Siavii because there is something there.

Scout's Eye: Day 6 observations

July, 30, 2010
7/30/10
9:03
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My thoughts from Thursday practice:

*When you are building your team, you set out with a plan in mind to try and obtain more talent than your division opponents and the other teams in the league. That talent is added through the draft or through free agent signings. To the organization, free agents are the players that you can’t add during the draft that fill in your roster.

One of the best additions to this roster in several years has been that of linebacker Keith Brooking. From a personnel man’s standpoint, Brooking is a dream. He brings toughness, smarts, leadership and passion to the game.

Keith Brooking
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezVeteran Keith Brooking has proved to be nothing but an asset since he's arrived with the Cowboys.
When studying him during practice, you see a sideline to sideline player. When the ball goes outside, Brooking defeats blocks to get there.

Guard Pat McQuistan tried to reach him on a play in 9-on-7 but Brooking used his hands to control McQuistan, work outside and make the tackle. In the same drill, Brooking took on fullback Deon Anderson -- same result, fires his hands inside, takes on the block to make the tackle.

In pass coverage, he is no different in his ability to read and react to the football. In the nickel, backs or tight ends in his area are tightly covered. Tashard Choice tries to run an option route inside but Brooking is right there in coverage, tight on his hip to defend the ball.

In pro free agency, you have the opportunity to help your team or hurt your team with your additions. In this case it was a huge get for the Cowboys.

*There is no doubt in my mind that nose tackle Jay Ratliff is a “Blue” player. In the Cowboys scouting lingo that would be an “elite” player. A real difference maker, one that can turn the direction of a game by his play.

As wonderful as it is to have a “Blue” player, you need players behind him that are not “Orange” or “not for us”. When you study the backups at the nose tackle spot, you see some borderline “Orange” players.

Junior Siavii does nothing for me to be real honest and by taking a shot on a supplemental pick in Josh Brent, the club might be thinking the same way. There are too many times where Siavii gets hooked up on blocks and cannot escape. In one-on-one pass rush drills, he has trouble with Travis Bright and Phil Costa.

The Cowboys have to be looking forward to Brent getting back into the rotation soon because in the short time that he was in there, he mixed it up well.


*Speed will always get you a look regardless how much football you have played. This is the case of the newest Cowboy Teddy Williams.

A much decorated track star from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Williams donned the pads for the first time since high school and took part in an NFL practice.

The first thing that popped into my mind about this was when Jerry Jones broke into the NFL one of the owners he really leaned on was Oakland Raiders owner, Al Davis. This is the type of move that Davis would make. Get a guy that can really run and give him a look.

Davis fell in love with a former Cowboy that could really run in Randal Williams. Williams hung around for a couple of seasons until Davis realized, he could not play.

In my view, there really is no harm in this at all. Williams didn’t look totally out of water to me moving around. Even if he makes mistakes, his speed can run him out of a lot of problems.

Cowboys practice report: Day 5, Pt. 1

July, 28, 2010
7/28/10
11:31
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SAN ANTONIO -- Wednesday was a walkthrough practice with numerous veteran players getting a morning off. Jay Ratliff, Tony Romo, Anthony Spencer, Keith Brooking, Orlando Scandrick, Terence Newman, Marion Barber, Leonard Davis among other vets were given the day off so the younger players could get a look.

*Martellus Bennett (ankle), Josh Brent (hand), Sean Lee (strained quad), Jason Hatcher (hyperextended elbow), Sean Lissemore (groin), Akwasi Owusu-Ansah (shoulder) and Stephen Hodge (knee) did rehab in the morning.

*Stephen McGee and Matt Nichols were the quarterbacks for the morning session. The offensive line had two different centers in Phil Costa and Travis Bright and there were a variety of players coming in at different spots on defense.

*Victor Butler, the outside linebacker, had a rough day. He dropped two potential interceptions. After the first drop, linebackers coach Reggie Herring said, "catch it." Wade Phillips and Herring were both on the linebacker Jason Williams on consecutive plays for blown assignments.

*Just because it was a walkthrough doesn't mean the coaches weren't on the players for doing well. After McGee had a pass knocked down by Junior Siavii, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett had a disgusted look on his face and said, "get in the huddle." McGee was a little off at times, he threw a high pass to Dez Bryant, but it was caught. Bryant was wide open on the route.

So just who is Joshua Price-Brent?

July, 20, 2010
7/20/10
9:58
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The Cowboys selected defensive tackle Joshua Price-Brent from Illinois in the seventh round in last week's supplemental draft.

At his Pro Day, Price-Brent had 18 teams observe him. According to NFL.com, four teams sent personnel directors.

Former Cowboys executive Gil Brandt, who works for NFL.com, reported from the Pro Day:



"Price-Brent measured in at 6-foot-1 and 321 pounds," Brandt said. "He ran the 40-yard dash twice, each time clocking in at 5.38 seconds. He did 22 reps on the bench press to go with a 29-inch vertical jump. He had an 8-foot, 10-inch broad jump, a 7.71-second three-cone drill and a 4.74-second short shuttle."




It seems Price-Brent will move from end to defensive tackle and in the Cowboys' scheme will play the nose tackle position. Cowboys officials believe Price-Brent has had a tough upbringing but feel he's a good enough player who has learned from his mistakes to take a chance on.

He was declared academically ineligible by Illinois in the spring and spent 30 days in jail for a DUI.

However, Price-Brent is in good shape. One scout said he's built like a ox and could challenge for the backup nose tackle spot that is currently held by Junior Siavii.

At worse, if things don't work out with Price-Brent, all the Cowboys lost was a seventh rounder in 2011 draft, but that could get picked up again via trade with another team come the draft weekend.

Broaddus Breakdown: Defensive line

June, 28, 2010
6/28/10
11:59
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Seventh in a series breaking down the Cowboys by position (previous entries):

Roster locks: Jay Ratliff, Igor Olshansky, Marcus Spears, Stephen Bowen, Jason Hatcher

Good bet: Junior Siavii

On the bubble: Sean Lissemore, Marcus Dixon

Long shots: Junior Aumavae, Lorenzo Washington

[+] EnlargeJay Ratliff
Ronald Martinez/Getty ImagesJay Ratliff is on the small side for a nose tackle, but he's tough to block on both running and passing plays.
Jay Ratliff might not fit the mold of a traditional nose tackle, but the way he plays with leverage, strength and movement causes problems for the majority of centers in the NFL. He’s active, he’s relentless, he’s just darn hard to block. He’s just as effective against the run or pass. He’s a sideline-to-sideline player. The only knock against him is his size, but he more than makes up for it.

Igor Olshansky is known as a run stuffer, but he’s not a bad pass-rusher. He’s powerful and has the ability to hold the point of attack. If he has a deficiency, it’s struggling with his lateral play, but he’s good at the point of attack and moving forward. And the guy gets a push as a pass rusher.

There’s nothing flashy about Marcus Spears. He’s been steady, but you’ve always expected more out of the former first-round pick. He has his moments of solid play against the run but doesn’t give you much as a pass-rusher. The fact the Cowboys haven’t extended his contract gives you a strong clue of what they think about him. They like having him, as long as it’s at their price.

Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher are very good nickel players, run or pass. They’re both good athletes, play with good technique and pursue to the ball very well. They give you something as upfield pass rushers, particularly with Bowen as an inside rusher. They’re both playing under one-year tenders and could earn lucrative extensions with continued productive play, but I don’t see either challenging for Spears’ starting job this season.

Junior Siavii was much better early in the season than late. He showed the ability to give you 10 or 12 good plays, but that’s about his limit. He’s a try-hard, high-effort guy who holds his ground, but he’s not going to make many plays. Bill Parcells would have referred to him as a hold-the-fort player. The Cowboys should eventually try to upgrade at backup nose tackle.

I like the little bit I’ve seen of Sean Lissemore. He made an impression with his relentlessness during pass-rush drills in minicamp.

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