Dallas Cowboys: Rudy Carpenter

Cowboys make roster moves, still two to go

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
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IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys will make their final cuts today to reach the 53-man limit, but they have already notified 21 players that they have not made the cut.

According to sources, the Cowboys have informed Shaun Chapas, Adrian Hamilton, Danny Coale, Eddie Whitley, Orie Lemon, Ronald Leary, Pat McQuistan, Jeff Adams, Teddy Williams, Harland Gunn, Daniel Loper, Clifton Geathers, Rudy Carpenter, Lionel Smith, Baraka Atkins, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Andrew Szczerba, Ben Bass, Saalim Hakim, Tim Benford and Robert Callaway of their release.

They have two more roster moves to make by 7 p.m. after the trade for offensive lineman Ryan Cook from Miami.

The Cowboys would like to bring some -- like Hamilton, Coale and Leary -- back on the practice squad if they clear waivers.

Leary was the apple of Jerry Jones’ eye as an undrafted free agent and early in training camp, but he will not be on the 53-man roster.

The Cowboys considered drafting Leary despite a knee condition, but ended up guaranteeing him $214,000 in base salary and signing bonus to sign as an undrafted free agent. When the interior line was hit by injuries early in camp Leary took some first-team snaps but he hit a wall midway through camp.

Cowboys cuts: Countdown to the 53-man roster

August, 31, 2012
8/31/12
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We'll fill you in on the latest cuts as the Cowboys whittle the roster to get to 53:

* WR Danny Coale will be waived, according to sources, and will become the second fifth rounder in as many years to not make the final cut, joining cornerback Josh Thomas. Coale missed most of the offseason with a stress fracture in his foot and was limited early in training camp. He played in the final two preseason games and the team hopes he can slip through waivers and on to the practice squad. (Thu.)

* FB Shaun Chapas (per source): Seventh-round pick spent most of last season on the practice squad before a late-season call up to the active roster. (Thu.)

* LB Adrian Hamilton (per source): Dallas Carter High product got caught in a numbers crunch at outside linebacker. (Thu.)

* QB Rudy Carpenter: "Thankful for the opportunity Dallas its been great!" he tweeted. (Thu.)

* LB Orie Lemon (per source): He returned an interception for a touchdown in the preseason finale against Miami. The Cowboys hope to bring him back to the practice squad. (Thu.)

*WR Tim Benford: "Everything happens for a reason! Gotta keep pushing and go even harder," he tweeted. (Thu.)

Stephen McGee can't help Cowboys

August, 30, 2012
8/30/12
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- In three seasons, Stephen McGee has shown no indication he will ever become a starting NFL quarterback.

So it's time for the Dallas Cowboys to move on. The same goes for Rudy Carpenter.
Roster spots are just too valuable to invest in a third quarterback, who has no shot to ever unseat Tony Romo or backup Kyle Orton.

When the Cowboys signed Orton to a three-year contract with a $5 million signing bonus in the offseason, it was an indictment of McGee, a fourth-round pick in 2009.

If Jason Garrett truly believed in him, he would've given McGee an opportunity to earn the backup job. The day the Cowboys acquired Orton, McGee's days were numbered.

Besides, McGee will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The odds he'd be on the roster next season are less than zero.

Read the full story here.

Rudy Carpenter understands the QB situation

August, 30, 2012
8/30/12
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ARLINGTON, Texas – By now, Rudy Carpenter has learned how to deal with the emotions that come with the final cuts.

“My first couple of years in the NFL it was really hard, a lot of anxiety and you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Carpenter said. “Now this is my fourth time going through it and I just kind of learn to accept that it is what it is and a lot of times you can’t do anything about it. They’re going to make the decision that’s best for their organization and the team.”

Carpenter completed 4-of-10 passes for 48 yards and was sacked once in the second half of Wednesday’s 30-13 win against Miami. Stephen McGee played the first half with 124 yards through the air, completing 9-of-18 passes. He was also sacked once.

Carpenter is practice squad eligible but McGee is not. It is possible the Cowboys could keep only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster.

“I think it’s a blessing and a curse,” Carpenter said of having practice squad eligibility. “Everybody comes to OTAs and training camp to make the 53-man roster. It’s a big deal to do that but it’s also a blessing for me that I’m practice squad eligible because it’s another avenue to stay here in Dallas and try and develop and let next year happen and maybe it happens for me then. But obviously my goal personally is to make the active roster.”

Rapid Reaction: Cowboys 30, Dolphins 13

August, 29, 2012
8/29/12
10:49
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys wrapped up the preseason with a 30-13 win over the Miami Dolphins at Cowboys Stadium on Wednesday night. Unlike last season, when wide receiver Raymond Radway was injured in the closing seconds of the preseason at Miami, there were no such major health issues coming from this game. This was the last chance for several players to make an impact on the coaches and scouts, and join the 53-man roster.

What it means: The Cowboys finish the preseason 3-1 and have to make some hard decisions regarding the No. 3 quarterback spot, whether to keep a fourth running back or which running back to keep, whether Orie Lemon and Mario Butler make the team, and whether Danny Coale and Matt Johnson should earn paychecks in September.

McGee vs. Carpenter: There is this battle for the No. 3 quarterback position. Stephen McGee played the first half, led one touchdown drive and converted 13 first downs. He completed nine of 18 passes for 124 yards. The Cowboys led 20-6 at the break. Rudy Carpenter also led the Cowboys on a touchdown drive -- capped by a 58-yard run by Lance Dunbar -- and finished 4-of-10 for 48 yards. In addition, Carpenter had a 21-yard scramble. But it would appear neither quarterback did enough to secure a spot on the roster.

Only one starter plays: Between both units, only center Phil Costa played. Costa missed the first three preseason games with a strained lower back, and the Cowboys wanted to give him some snaps before putting him in a regular-season game. Costa didn't have any bad snaps, and it's unknown whether he had any blown assignments. David Arkin replaced Costa.

The running game is strong: There are no questions regarding the status of DeMarco Murray as the starter. Felix Jones has been guaranteed a roster spot by owner/general manager Jerry Jones. We thought the No. 3 running back gig was going to Phillip Tanner, but Dunbar came on strong Wednesday night. Dunbar ran with a burst, scoring on a 58-yard run. Let's not forget about Tanner, who burst up the middle for a 1-yard score. Dunbar rushed 15 times for 105 yards, and Tanner rushed for 48 yards on nine carries.

Lemon made his case: If linebacker Lemon was a bubble player, he should make the roster. He returned an interception 26 yards to give the Cowboys a 10-6 lead in the second quarter. Lemon was active on defense and, given what he does on special teams, should make the 53-man roster. Adrian Hamilton also was fighting for a roster spot, but he hasn't shown his pass-rush abilities on a consistent basis with the Cowboys.

Cowboys lose three players: Guard Derrick Dockery left the game for personal reasons, and fellow guard Daniel Loper suffered a hamstring injury. Cornerback Lionel Smith departed the game with a concussion. None of the three returned.

Who played well: Tyrone Crawford, Orie Lemon, Phillip Tanner, Lance Dunbar and Dan Bailey.

Who didn't: Teddy Williams, David Arkin, Stephen McGee.

Bailey is perfect: Kicker Dan Bailey finished the preseason 8-for-8 on field goal attempts. Bailey made kicks of 25, 30 and 26 yards Wednesday night. The Cowboys didn't have any concerns about him heading into the preseason, but unlike last season when the team had a kicking competition, nothing was going on here. It was all Bailey. The longest kick of the preseason by Bailey was 49 yards.

Ryan Tannehill makes the start: The eighth pick of the NFL draft, quarterback Ryan Tannehill made the start for the Dolphins and completed 5-of-7 passes for 35 yards. The former Aggie played with a presence and threw some strong passes, but he still has a ways to go to help the Dolphins.

What's next? The Cowboys must cut their roster to 53 players by Friday night and then finalize their practice squad roster with as many as eight players. The team will practice over the weekend at Valley Ranch and prepare for the regular season opener at the New York Giants.

Third quarter: Cowboys 27, Dolphins 13

August, 29, 2012
8/29/12
10:07
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- We have 15 minutes left and the Cowboys are leading the Dolphins, 27-13.

Highlights:

* Cowboys front got some good pressure on Miami quarterback Matt Moore to start the second half. They forced Moore out of the pocket twice, and Tyrone Crawford picked up a third-down sack.

* Quarterback Rudy Carpenter started the second half and his first pass was a deep attempt to Andre Holmes.

* Cornerback Lionel Smith took a shot from running back built like a fullback Jorvorskie Lane and left the game with a concussion and won't return. Guard Daniel Loper left the game with a right hamstring injury and won't return. Loper was already dealing with an elbow issue. Guard Derrick Dockery left for personal reasons.

* Jerry Jones says Felix Jones has a roster spot, but the running back should be worried about playing time heading into the season. Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner played well in the first half. Dunbar, who is competing with Tanner to become the No. 3 running back, had a strong 27-yard punt return and broke free for a 58-yard touchdown run. It was the longest rushing touchdown of the preseason.

* Teddy Williams gave up a 20-yard completion in this quarter and looks like a man who is still learning the game. When you take chances on players such as Williams, who didn't play college football, and you switch his position from wide receiver back to receiver, there are bound to be problems. Williams isn't playing with confidence and is still trying to figure things out. It might be too late for him to make this team despite his speed and athletic ability.

* The Dolphins were 0-for-8 on third down until Lamar Miller's 6-yard run gained a first down late in the quarter.

* A little surprised to see Victor Butler in the game. He's backing up Anthony Spencer at outside linebacker and has played well the entire summer. But as the season starts, and given the injury status of several players, Butler should have sat the second half.

Five to watch: QB Rudy Carpenter gets a shot

August, 29, 2012
8/29/12
1:00
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IRVING, Texas – For at least 18 players, tonight’s game against Miami will be the last time they put on a Cowboys jersey for a game.

The Cowboys have 75 players under contract but have to get to the 53-man limit Friday. It’s possible they could cut more and claim players off waivers.

Tonight is all about the backups as the Cowboys rest most of their regulars in preparation for the regular season opener at the New York Giants, but can a player change the minds of the coaches and front office staff with a good showing?

Maybe.

Here are five guys to watch:

QB Rudy Carpenter: Calvin Watkins wrote about Stephen McGee, so I’ll look at the other quarterback playing tonight. Carpenter does not have McGee’s measurables but he knows how to play the game. I think that’s why Jason Garrett likes him. Maybe he sees a little of himself in Carpenter. What helps Carpenter is that he has practice squad eligibility left, unlike McGee.

RB Lance Dunbar: His hamstring injury really hurt his chances, but he’s in the mix for the No. 3 tailback spot. Where he might be able to make a difference is in the return game, so let’s hope he gets some opportunities. He is fast, elusive and can hit it. The key for a kick returner is to be decisive. Too often the Cowboys' returners have not been decisive (think Teddy Williams) and the returns hardly get to the 20. Dunbar has a chance to turn some heads tonight.

WR Saalim Hakim: Like Dunbar, he was done in by an injury early in camp. He broke his finger and missed three weeks. He saw some action vs. St. Louis and had a catch negated by a penalty. But he’s another guy to watch on special teams. He could be a terror as a gunner on the punt team with that speed. Now, is it enough to keep on the 53-man roster? Probably not. But it could buy him a spot on the practice squad.

LB Adrian Hamilton: He’s been on this list before and has become something of a pet cat for a lot of fans. He had a sack vs. the Rams. He played well in the opener at Oakland, too. If he harasses the Dolphins’ quarterbacks tonight, maybe he makes it too hard for the Cowboys to cut him. Pass rushers don’t grow on trees, but he’s not even close to a finished product. With injuries at a lot of spots, it’s hard to put a redshirt year on a guy on the 53-man roster.

OT Jeff Adams: Again, this is more about the practice squad. He did a nice job vs. San Diego game before he just ran out of gas in the fourth quarter when Jermey Parnell was kept out of the game with a neck injury. If Adams plays well, then maybe the Cowboys don’t keep four tackles on the 53-man roster, but that seems like a little bit of a stretch. At the very least, he can show he has a chance to grow with more work on the practice squad.

W2W4: Cowboys vs. Dolphins

August, 29, 2012
8/29/12
8:00
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It's finally coming to an end.

The Miami Dolphins visit the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on Wednesday to close the preseason.

Here's a preview.

Stephen McGee vs. Rudy Carpenter: The Cowboys are thinking about going with two quarterbacks. Tony Romo and Kyle Orton have guaranteed roster spots. After that, McGee, the third quarterback since 2009, and Carpenter, who is trying to make the active roster, will get a shot Wednesday night. McGee has been inconsistent this summer in camp practices and in three preseason games. Carpenter has led the third unit on a touchdown drive. McGee is the better talent, but roster issues could force the Cowboys to go with just two quarterbacks, unless someone emerges.

Claiborne and Spears should play: First-round pick Morris Claiborne and veteran defensive end Marcus Spears should play a little on Wednesday. Here's why. Claiborne, who missed the first preseason game with a knee sprain, needs to get more snaps before getting ready for the New York Giants on opening night. Spears is getting snaps with the second team and will most likely get a few snaps just to either keep him sharp or see if the Cowboys still want him on the team.

What's uncertain?: The third quarterback for one thing. And in reality, it doesn't matter who the No. 3 receiver is. Kevin Ogletree, Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley will make the team, but who gets the sixth receiver spot is the question. Andre Holmes? Danny Coale? Tim Benford? The swing tackle is Jermey Parnell, but who out of Pat McQuistan, Daniel Loper, Derrick Dockery and Ronald Leary make the team? Orie Lemon, Shaun Chapas, Jamize Olawale, Adrian Hamilton, Lance Dunbar and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah are competing for a some of the final three or four roster spots.

The series with the Dolphins: The Cowboys lead the preseason series 4-2 and lost the last meeting 17-3 in South Florida. In that game, Sept. 1, 2011, receiver Raymond Radway fractured his leg on a pass in the end zone at the end of the game. Radway missed the regular season. He was cut this week by the Cowboys.

Connections: Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland was a former executive with the Cowboys, and Brian Gaine, the Dolphins' assistant general manager, worked in the personnel department with the Cowboys. At one point the Dolphins had many former Cowboys. Now, there are only a few. Linebacker Kevin Burnett, for one, plays for the Fins.

Parking, parking, parking: For the second consecutive time, the Cowboys and Texas Rangers are playing at nearly the same time. Rangers first pitch is around 6:05 p.m. CT. Kickoff is scheduled for around 7:30 p.m. CT. Cowboys Stadium parking lots open at 2:30 p.m. East Plaza is open at 3:30 p.m. and stadium gates to all plazas open at 5:30 p.m. Fans who have pre-purchased parking in the Ranger Lots A-B and M will have their passes honored. Stadium officials ask fans to get their early due to the Rangers game.

By the way: Regular season starters like Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Brandon Carr and Sean Lee won't play. Just telling you.

Camp observations: Tony Romo sharp

August, 20, 2012
8/20/12
4:36
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SAN DIEGO – Tony Romo was sharp in Monday’s practice against San Diego, and it could've been better if not for three drops.

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Romo went 20 of 28 in team and seven-on-seven drills against the Chargers but was done in by drops by Felix Jones, Kevin Ogletree and DeMarco Murray.

I spent the nearly two-hour session watching the Cowboys’ offense, so these observations will focus only on that side of the ball:

** RB Felix Jones must be fighting the ball. He had a drop in the games against Oakland and San Diego and was unable to hold on to a simple check down from Romo in Monday’s practice. It’s somewhat alarming because Jones has been a reliable pass catcher.

** WR Kevin Ogletree's drop is a tough grade, but a drop nonetheless after he was easily able to slide by CB Quentin Jammer at the line of scrimmage. Romo’s throw was a tad long and went just off Ogletree’s fingertips. But the ease in which Ogletree got by Jammer was impressive. Ogletree had a productive practice with the extra attention, catching six of Romo’s 20 completions.

** In Jason Witten's absence, the tight ends have not been involved as much in the passing game but that sort of changed Monday. John Phillips and James Hanna were active. Hanna put together a catch of at least 25 yards after getting past the Chargers linebackers unnoticed.

** WR Andre Holmes did not make it through the practice because of back tightness. He was unable to hook up with Romo on the first play of team drills and was replaced by Dwayne Harris.

** The Cowboys like to run reverses but they have not had much success during camp. They didn’t have success with it Monday either. LB Shaun Phillips snuffed out a reverse to Harris, doing a good job of not following the pack.

** Kyle Orton went 14 of 20 in the practice but barely overthrew WR Danny Coale on a deep ball down the middle in which the rookie could not get an extra jump on the pass. Coale, however, had his best practice of camp in part because he got so much work.

** Interesting to note that backup quarterbacks Stephen McGee and Rudy Carpenter split the third-team snaps with both quarterbacks taking two snaps in seven on seven and two in team drills.
SAN DIEGO -- At the end of Saturday night's second preseason game, the numbers showed No. 3 quarterback Stephen McGee completing 9-of-16 passes for 86 yards with an interception and a fumble. McGee's two turnovers led to San Diego touchdowns.

Now, you can't blame everything on McGee. The interception was on a tipped ball and the fumble came when tackle Jeff Adams missed a block off a blitz.

But McGee missed a wide open Dwayne Harris down the middle of the field and elected to dump off a pass to James Hanna on a third-down play, forcing the Cowboys to attempt a field goal.

Rudy Carpenter, playing with the same offensive line, finished 6-for-9 for 78 yards with one touchdown. Carpenter led the Cowboys to three first downs.

McGee led the offense to five first downs on six possessions.

"I thought Stephen did a nice job," coach Jason Garrett said. "He handled the different situations that came up in the game well. I think that’s a really important thing when you’re a quarterback going into the end of a game like this. Somebody misses a block and there’s a sack for a 9-yard loss. Do you get frustrated? Or let the emotions get to the best of you? Do you come back and try to execute the next down? I thought he really did a good job of that throughout. We moved the ball a little bit with him."

Garrett said last week his preference was to keep three quarterbacks, as long as it didn't make the Cowboys short at another position. But McGee hasn't looked impressive in two preseason games, and Carpenter is moving the ball downfield.

McGee has been under duress for the majority of the time he's been on the field, but Carpenter seems to have a better feel for the position.

"He moved around, made some throws in the pocket and made some throws on the move," Garrett said of McGee. "I think he’s getting better and better with every chance he gets."

Mike Jenkins' shoulder feeling better

August, 19, 2012
8/19/12
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SAN DIEGO – Here are five random thoughts from the Cowboys' 28-20 loss to San Diego on Saturday:

* I spoke briefly with Mike Jenkins in the locker room after the game and he said that his surgically-repaired right shoulder is feeling better and better every day. He is working through some scar tissue issues that have hampered his strength, but his range of motion is fine. He isn’t ruling out being available for the Sept. 5 opener at the New York Giants, but he will take another trip to Pensacola, Fla., to visit with Dr. James Andrews for a checkup.

* At some point Saturday I started to feel badly for Stephen McGee. Sometimes he just had no chance because of the blocking. Sometimes he made the mistake, like on the sack/fumble when he should’ve gotten rid of the ball quickly. But then Rudy Carpenter comes in and completes 6-of-9 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. Maybe San Diego called off the dogs with a 15-point lead for that final drive, but Carpenter has a feel for the position.

* So I read in Teddy Williams' bio that he was a sprint champion at UT-San Antonio with a time of 10.25 in a 100-meter win in an NCAA Regional event. Why doesn’t he play that fast? Williams was given a chance to return kicks against San Diego and he just didn’t get up to speed fast enough. Covering a punt, he couldn’t close on Roscoe Parrish. At corner, he doesn’t show the top-flight speed. There’s track fast and football fast.

* Raymond Radway was also a track guy, but at Abilene Christian. He might have had the most memorable play of the game because of his speed. McGee’s interception by Shareece Wright came on a throw to Radway, who was on the ground as Wright turned up field. Radway got up and caught Wright at the Cowboys' 2. San Diego scored two plays later, but I would guess Jason Garret will show that play to his players because of the effort. Radway probably won’t make the team, but his effort should be noted.

* Because of Jermey Parnell’s stiff neck, Jeff Adams was able to see more action than the undrafted backup tackle from Columbia ever could have imagined. And he didn’t do poorly until he just ran out of gas. Clearly he was tired in the fourth quarter on a steamy night after seeing only limited time in training camp.

Rudy Carpenter seeks snaps, impact

August, 13, 2012
8/13/12
11:27
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FREMONT, Calif. -- There's a strong feeling that the Cowboys may only go with two quarterbacks when the regular season begins.

Tony Romo and Kyle Orton will be headed to East Rutherford, N.J., for the season opener against the New York Giants on Sept. 5. Whether or not the Cowboys will have a third quarterback on the roster is uncertain.

Stephen McGee and Rudy Carpenter are battling for the No. 3 spot, it seems. McGee is getting more snaps than Carpenter in practice. Yet in the Blue and White scrimmage, it was Carpenter who led the offense to a score and McGee didn't.

Carpenter might get a chance to showcase what he can do during Monday night's preseason opener against the Oakland Raiders. It's expected Romo and Orton will play the first half, with McGee and Carpenter perhaps sharing the second half.

"For me, personally, I try not to worry about that stuff," Carpenter said. "I just try to worry about doing my job, executing the offense and communication with the guys I'm in the huddle with. We've got to move the chains."

McGee has a better arm and command of the offense than Carpenter, but McGee doesn't challenge the defense downfield with deep throws. He rather dump it off to a running back or tight end. It seems McGee has happy feet, but he's practicing with the third- and fourth-team offenses, so you might give him a pass.

Carpenter takes more chances downfield, which allows him to move the ball.

"I've played a lot of football, even though I haven't played in a lot of real games in the NFL," said Carpenter, who has played with Tampa Bay and two stints with the Cowboys. "I've started 44 games in college (Arizona State) which is a lot. I've played in every preseason game that I've been a part of and started a couple of preseason games. So at the end of the day, it's route combinations and executing the offense, moving the football and not turning it over. I try not to think about (becoming the No. 3 quarterback) and try and do my job."

Rudy Carpenter with solid scrimmage

August, 5, 2012
8/05/12
9:20
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OXNARD, Calif. -- Rudy Carpenter’s welcome to the Blue and White Scrimmage on Sunday was not a good one.

His first throw down the sideline to wide receiver Raymond Radway was underthrown and intercepted by cornerback Lionel Smith.

“It’s frustrating for me too because I would say the strength of what I do is just move the chains, make good decisions with the football and throw it accurately,” said Carpenter, who had not taken a snap in the full-team practice in six days. “The one thing I have to try to do is just constantly stay in the moment.”

Carpenter responded by completing his next three passes, including a deep throw down the sideline to Tim Benford on the same route as Radway’s. The third-team offense got to the defense’s 1, but it was unable to punch it in for a touchdown.

“I’ve been fortunate and got to play a lot of games in college and so far in the NFL playing a lot of preseason games,” Carpenter said. “It’s one of the things where every play you have to press the re-set button, see the coverage, make the right throw and not ever second-guess yourself. It’s one of the things that makes Tony Romo so good or Brett Favre so good. They bounce back play after play and not be affected by bad things that happen.”

W2W4: The Blue and White scrimmage

August, 5, 2012
8/05/12
8:00
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OXNARD, Calif. -- Ah, the famous Blue and White scrimmage is today at 2:30 p.m. PT. If you come out, expect the younger players to get more action than the veterans.

Several players to miss the scrimmage: The following players are not expected to participate in the scrimmage: Saalim Hakim, Lance Dunbar, Phillip Tanner, Kevin Kowalski, Bill Nagy, Nate Livings, Daniel Loper, Derrick Dockery, Danny Coale, Mike Jenkins, Morris Claiborne, Matt Johnson, Jay Ratliff, Anthony Spencer, Miles Austin, Jason Hatcher and possibly Marcus Spears and John Phillips.

Wide receivers need to step up: Stephen Jones said the Cowboys could sign two wide receivers in the next 48 hours. It's more about the departure of Cole Beasley and the injury to Austin. But none of the backups have emerged as the No. 3 receiver. The scrimmage today is the right time for some receiver to take over. Andre Holmes has done some nice things in the last two days of practices, as have Kevin Ogletree, Dwayne Harris and Raymond Radway. Consistency is an issue for these players. It will be interesting to see how Tim Benford looks today. He's had one good day of camp, but maybe the scrimmage will give him a chance to impress the coaches.

Quarterback battles: This isn't about Tony Romo or Kyle Orton. Those quarterbacks are fine. But for Stephen McGee and Rudy Carpenter, this is their first chance to lead the offense in an controlled setting such as this. McGee's roster spot seems uncertain and Carpenter, in limited reps, has done some good things. Carpenter doesn't have the arm strength McGee has, but this could be his chance to move up the depth chart with a good effort.

A preseason feel: The Cowboys will come out and work out like normal in the Sunday walkthrough, but before the scrimmage starts the players will exercise as if this were a preseason game. Coach Jason Garrett wants to give the younger players a feel for what a preaseason game is like.
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IRVING, Texas – Jason Garrett was imploring players early in Thursday's practice to get through Day 2 of the pre-training camp workout at Valley Ranch with the same bounce in their steps as they had on Day 1.

Even with the early starting time, the heat was taking its toll on some players, with several cramping up and needing rest. With only four healthy players, the wide receivers are getting a ton of work and feeling it.

At different times, Cole Beasley, Tim Benford, Saalim Hakim and Donavon Kemp needed to take a few minutes.

On to the observations:

** For the second straight day, Kyle Orton went deep with his first throw on seven-on-seven, this time connecting with undrafted rookie WR Cole Beasley, who ran past CB Teddy Williams, a former NCAA sprint champion. Beasley made a nice adjustment on the throw to his outside shoulder, holding on to the football as he fell to the ground.

** The secondary and linebackers are aggressive in coverage, coming up with a number of deflections. LB Ashton Whiteside, undrafted out of Abilene Christian, had two, batting down Stephen McGee passes to tight ends James Hanna and Andrew Szczerba.

** CB Lionel Smith, undrafted out of Texas A&M, was able to break on a Rudy Carpenter pass to the flat for a deflection, coming off his receiver for a nice play. CB Mario Butler had the only interception of the session when a Carpenter pass across the middle sailed into his arms.

** FB Jamize Olawale might have a chance to make this team after earning a roster spot following a rookie camp tryout. He was able to grab a low pass almost off the ground without losing a step and turning upfield. It was an athletic play that speaks to his receiver skills at North Texas. His true test will come when the pads come on and he has to lead block.

** TE James Hanna had a nice afternoon, snatching two passes with linebackers closing on him fast. His first came on an Orton pass near the sideline, beating Butler to the ball. The second came from Orton as well with LB Orie Lemon on his hip.

** CB Mike Jenkins did some conditioning work and if his ability to throw a football means anything, then his right shoulder needs some work. Jenkins could hardly throw an overhand pass 10 yards, not that that is in his job description. But it was a little unsettling to see after months of rehab.

** RB Lance Dunbar has some quick feet. During team run drills, the North Texas back was able to adjust to the back side of the running play after a hole closed quickly. With Ed Wesley on hand for Thursday’s practice, Dunbar was able to stay a little fresher.

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