Dallas Cowboys: Saalim Hakim

Cowboys make roster moves, still two to go

August, 31, 2012
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.

Five to watch: QB Rudy Carpenter gets a shot

August, 29, 2012

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?


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.

Phillip Tanner returns to practice

August, 23, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas – Out since Aug. 3 with a broken right hand, Cowboys running back Phillips Tanner returned to practice Thursday at Cowboys Stadium.

Tanner is not sure he will be able to play Saturday against St. Louis. With only one practice in the last three weeks, the Cowboys would likely give him time to work his way back and play in the Aug. 29 preseason finale vs. Miami. He wore a protective cast over his hand Thursday.

“It felt good,” Tanner said. “I made sure I stayed into it mentally, that’s the most important part. I did well on that. But as far as conditioning, no matter how much conditioning you do, it always feels good to get back out there.”

Tanner, a Dallas Kimball grad, is battling Jamize Olawale and Lance Dunbar for the No. 3 running back job behind DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones. He made the team last year as an undrafted free agent but was placed on injured reserve because of a hamstring injury.

Wide receiver Andre Holmes (back), tackle Jermey Parnell (neck) and wide receiver Saalim Hakim (finger) also returned to practice.

Cowboys without 19 players vs. Chargers

August, 18, 2012
SAN DIEGO – The Cowboys will be without 19 players in tonight’s game against San Diego, including backup tackle Jermey Parnell, who came up lame the last two days in Oxnard, Calif., with a sore neck.

The remaining players to miss the game are not a surprise but account for 20 Pro Bowl appearances from Jason Witten (seven), DeMarcus Ware (six), Jay Ratliff (four), Miles Austin (two) and Mike Jenkins (one).

Saalim Hakim, Phillip Tanner, Matt Johnson, Isaiah Greenhouse, Kyle Wilber, Kevin Kowalski, Danny Coale, Witten, Ratliff, Anthony Spencer, Jason Hatcher, Phil Costa, Nate Livings, Parnell and Lance Dunbar are with the team and will not play.

Caleb McSurdy had Achilles surgery in Dallas on Thursday and is out for the year. Wilber has returned to California after undergoing surgery to his left thumb. He will miss 3-4 weeks.

Fourteen Cowboys don't make trip to Oakland

August, 13, 2012
ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon previews the Cowboys' preseason game against the Raiders and is asked if he can see the Cowboys as Super Bowl champions in the next five years.

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ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Cowboys kept 14 players back in Oxnard, Calif., to work on conditioning as they opened the preseason against Oakland.

Wide receiver Saalim Hakim, wide receiver Miles Austin, cornerback Mike Jenkins, running back Lance Dunbar, running back Phillip Tanner, guard/center Kevin Kowalski, guard Bill Nagy, center Phil Costa, guard Nate Livings, wide receiver Danny Coale, tight end John Phillips, nose tackle Jay Ratliff, linebacker Anthony Spencer and defensive end Jason Hatcher did not make the trip.

The Cowboys' starters are expected to play a series or two in the first quarter with the reserves taking the bulk of the action.
OXNARD, Calif. -- Here's the daily injury report from Cowboys training camp:

* WR Danny Coale said he hopes to practice Thursday. He hasn't participated in any training camp practices because of a broken toe. "Today it felt better than yesterday," said Coale, who is wearing a plate in his shoes to protect the toe. "I haven't run routes in 12 weeks, and I have run routes the last four days." Coale has been getting some work during the morning walkthroughs and rehabbing during the practices.

* Cornerback Orlando Scandrick twisted his right ankle during the early portion of practice. He missed a few snaps during defensive drills but was able to return without further problems.

*Wide receiver Saalim Hakim has a small bone chip in his finger and will wear a splint for awhile.

*Running back Phillip Tanner underwent surgery on the fifth metacarpal of his hand. He'll miss a few weeks.

*Cornerback Mike Jenkins visited Dr. James Andrews in Penscola, Fla., on Monday to get his surgically repaired shoulder looked at. Andrews did not clear Jenkins for practice and he's listed as week-to-week.

*Cornerback Morris Claiborne did some rehab work with the cords while his left knee was wrapped.

Cowboys sign wide receiver David Little

August, 5, 2012
OXNARD, Calif. -- The Cowboys signed wide receiver David Little on Sunday. The team will have to release a player to make the move official.

Little, the 2011 Lone Star Conference receiver of the year, participated in the Cowboys' rookie minicamp this summer but wasn't offered a contract.

With injuries to receivers Saalim Hakim, Miles Austin and Danny Coale, the Cowboys are seeking more bodies for training camp. As it stands, the Cowboys have eight healthy wide receivers, not including Little.

Team executive Stephen Jones said Saturday that the team is looking to sign a wide receiver and quite possibly a running back because of injuries.

Cole Beasley on way back to camp

August, 5, 2012
OXNARD, Calif. -- Cole Beasley is apparently returning to Cowboys training camp only two days after telling coach Jason Garrett his "heart wasn't in it."

Garrett left the door open for Beasley, an undrafted wide receiver from SMU, to return but after Saturday's afternoon practice executive vice president Stephen Jones seemed to close it by saying, "We've moved on."

His return helps a position that had been getting thin with injuries to Miles Austin (hamstring) and Saalim Hakim (finger). Danny Coale has been activated off the physically unable to perform list but he cannot practice in pads until Tuesday. The Cowboys are also bringing David Little for a workout. He was at the team's rookie minicamp on a tryout basis.

To create a roster spot for Beasley, who was on the reserve/left squad list, the Cowboys waived linebacker Aston Whiteside.

Beasley made a name for himself with a productive offseason to put himself in the mix for one of the backup wide receiver spots, which made his departure surprising.

And now his return is equally as surprising.

Cowboys not after veteran WRs

August, 4, 2012
OXNARD, Calif. – As visions of Plaxico Burress, Terrell Owens or even Patrick Crayton dance in the minds of Cowboys fans aching for a veteran wide receiver, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said no.

The Cowboys will search for wide receivers with injuries (Miles Austin, Saalim Hakim) and defections (Cole Beasley), but not any name receivers.

“It’s not like the offense line,” Jones said, referring to the additions of veterans Derrick Dockery and Daniel Loper. “We’re looking more for guys to come in maybe compete and get on the practice squad or something. But we’re not looking at veteran guys at this point.”

The search is made a little more difficult by the fact that teams are allowed 90 players at training camp after being limited to 80 in recent years.

“It’s hard to find guys, especially guys who you want and who are in shape and can be productive,” Jones said. “It’s not easy.”
OXNARD, Calif. -- Wide receiver Miles Austin did not finish Saturday’s practice after suffering a hamstring strain.

Executive vice president Stephen Jones said he did not believe the injury was serious was serious, but Austin does have a history with this injury.

Austin missed six games in 2011 because of pulls to both hamstrings but believed the work in the offseason would help him avoid problems with his legs this year.

“He’s fine,” Jones said. "When you start to get sore and tight, we’ve just got to be careful.”

Careful because of Austin’s history?

“No, with everybody,” Jones said. “If it tightens up, you’ve got to be responsive to it. You’re in it for the long haul, not for getting through (where) it’s a deal that becomes worse.”

Injuries, albeit minor in nature, are starting to pile up for the Cowboys. Defensive end Marcus Spears did not finish practice because of a possible concussion. He took a test on the field during the workout but had his helmet taken away.

“I don’t know what the verdict is,” Spears said. “I’ll see when I get up in the morning how I’m feeling.”

Tight end John Phillips left early with a right ankle injury and running back Lance Dunbar came out of practice with a hamstring injury. The Cowboys were already without Anthony Spencer (hamstring), Morris Claiborne (knee), Mike Jenkins (shoulder), Jason Hatcher (groin), Bill Nagy (ankle), Mackenzy Bernadeau (hip/knee), Kevin Kowalski (ankle), running back Phillip Tanner (hand), Nate Livings (hamstring) and wide receiver Saalim Hakim (finger).

“I wouldn’t say dropping like flies,” Jones said, “but we’ve got some work to do and we’ll probably start looking at bringing in some guys. It’s not been anything that’s catastrophic that we’re concerned for the long haul, but this is training camp. We go through this every year.”

Jones said the team will look at running backs and wide receivers but not tight ends, with the hopes of having a handful in for a workout Sunday.

Mackenzy Bernadeau, Danny Coale off PUP

August, 4, 2012
OXNARD, Calif. – Mackenzy Bernadeau and Danny Coale are closer to making their on-field debuts with the Cowboys now that the team has activated them from the physically unable to perform list.

Bernadeau and Coale will not be able to be in full pads until Tuesday because of league rules stating players must have a three-day acclimation period before full practices.

The Cowboys signed Bernadeau to a four-year deal worth $11 million as a free agent in March from Carolina with the idea of him locking down the right guard spot, but he suffered a hip injury that required surgery early in the offseason. Later he needed minor knee surgery that slowed down his progress.

Coale is coming off surgery to repair a stress fracture he suffered in May. He missed all of the organized team activities, the June mini-camp and the first week of training camp in Oxnard, Calif., but passed the conditioning test on Friday.

Bernadeau has yet to take the conditioning test, but his return would help the interior of an offensive line that has been beset by injuries. The Cowboys had newly-signed guards Derrick Dockery and Daniel Loper working with the second team offense in Saturday’s walkthrough. The Cowboys lost Bill Nagy (ankle) and Nate Livings (hamstring) early in camp and arrived in California without the services of Bernadeau and Kevin Kowalski (ankle).

Executive vice president Stephen Jones did not rule out Bernadeau seeing some time at center in camp. The plan had been to keep him only at guard, but the injuries to Nagy and Kowalski could change that. David Arkin has added center duties to his resume, but he struggled badly in Saturday’s walkthrough with shotgun snaps.

Coale’s return comes at a good time as well with the wide receiver position thinning. The Cowboys placed Cole Beasley on the reserve/left squad list and sent Saalim Hakim to Dallas to see a hand specialist for a dislocated finger. Coach Jason Garrett said the team is exploring the idea of adding a wide receiver or two.

Coale, the team’s fifth-round pick, is in the mix for the No. 3 wide receiver role, but Garrett acknowledged he will be behind.

“Disappointing for us and for him he got hurt early on in the offseason program, but he handled his rehab really well,” Garrett said. “I think it reflects in how he ran yesterday. Again, it’s a foot injury, so we’ve got to be careful putting him out there. You can have all the will you want, but if the things’ not healed to the extent it needs to be healed, we don’t want him to have a setback.”

Phillip Tanner needs surgery

August, 4, 2012
OXNARD, Calif. – Phillip Tanner needs surgery to repair a broken bone in his right hand that will knock him out of the Aug. 13 preseason opener at Oakland, but the Cowboys are hoping the backup running back misses only 1-2 weeks.

Tanner suffered the injury during the special teams portion of Friday’s practice and was in a cast for Saturday’s walkthrough. He is scheduled to return to Dallas on Monday to have the surgery.

“At first glance when I heard that I said, ‘Wow, he’ll be out a long time,’” coach Jason Garrett said, “but I was told Emmitt Smith, in the mid ‘90s, had a similar injury and had surgery and literally played the next week. I don’t want to make any comparisons to that, but that sheds a little light on the extent of that injury. We’re hopeful it goes well and he’ll be back in a short period of time.”

When Tanner returns, he will wear a glove that offers extra protection.

As the backup to DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones, Tanner is not Smith, the NFL’s all-time leading rusher, but he has importance on the roster because of his special teams ability. On offense, Tanner’s absence will give undrafted rookies Lance Dunbar and Ed Wesley more practice time, and on special teams it could open a spot for a defensive back for a bigger role.

“Injuries provide opportunities,” Garrett said. “There are other guys who are backups in those spots and you’ve just got to make sure they get their reps and they get their chance. They’ll be able to show us that in practice but also in the Oakland game certainly.”

Wide receiver Saalim Hakim will also return to Dallas to see a hand specialist because of what Garrett called a dislocated finger. Hakim also suffered the injury during Friday’s special teams portion of practice.

“We’ll see how he responds,” Garrett said. “The challenge for both those guys is they catch the ball and they carry the ball. A lot of hand injuries become issues for them. We don’t expect [Hakim] to be back in the real near future. He’ll be out a week or so.”

Injury report: Tyrone Crawford hurts calf

August, 3, 2012
OXNARD, Calif. -- The biggest news was first-round pick Morris Claiborne sitting out Friday’s practice because of a sore knee, but he wasn’t the only Cowboy lost during the three-hour session.

Rookie defensive end Tyrone Crawford left after the “blue” practice with a right calf injury. He missed almost all of the organized team activities and minicamp in the offseason with the injury.

Running back Phillip Tanner left with a hand injury and wide receiver Saalim Hakim dislocated a finger during the special team’s portion of practice.

If there was a positive it was that the team did not lose any more offensive lineman after losing two in the first week of camp in Nate Livings (hamstring) and Bill Nagy (ankle). Executive vice president Stephen Jones said Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau (knee, hip) could return soon.

Safety Gerald Sensabaugh passed his conditioning test and will make his full-practice debut Saturday. He had knee surgery last month and had been taking part only in the walkthroughs.

Camp observations: Pads come on

August, 1, 2012

OXNARD, Calif. -- Wednesday marked the first day of pads during Cowboys training camp, so we’ll have an over-stuffed number of observations.

** You can get a better sense of offensive line play with pads finally on. Before suffering a knee injury, Nate Livings did a nice job sealing off ILB Orie Lemon for a decent gain by Phillip Tanner. Line coach Bill Callahan thought the line did a nice job coming off the snap for the first day in pads. The pass protection, however, was a little spotty. RG David Arkin did a nice job of warding off LB Bruce Carter on a DeMarco Murray run that would’ve been a first down.

** LB DeMarcus Ware was able to get a sack and a pressure of Tony Romo on back-to-back plays after using his speed to get around Tyron Smith and then his power. DE Jason Hatcher had two sacks, including one in which he slid past C Phil Costa to get Romo.

** While Hatcher would have had sacks, those plays continued and one resulted in a Brandon Carr interception in which he ripped the ball away from WR Kevin Ogletree. CB Morris Claiborne tipped the first pass, but as he was falling to the ground WR Dwayne Harris was able to make the catch.

** For the second straight day S Barry Church had an interception on Romo, which came after he was able to break up a slightly late throw to TE Jason Witten. Church has been one of the better defenders so far in camp.

** Best drill of camp so far: wide receivers and corners working on press coverage. Because it came closer to the fans, the players might have been more hyped. WR Dez Bryant was able to shrug off CB Morris Claiborne twice, but the rookie came back on the last rep and did a nice job slowing Bryant off the line. Secondary coach Jerome Henderson kept reiterating he wanted the corners to stay on top of the receiver. This corner group will be more physical at the line than in recent years.

** He gave up a deep ball to WR Raymond Radway, but it should be noted that Claiborne rebounded from that big play with a nice breakup of a back shoulder pass to Bryant from Romo.

** Romo’s best throw of the day might have been his second when you factor in the pressure he faced as well as the tight window in which he was throwing the ball. Needing Bryant to clear free for a split second, Romo stepped up into the pocket and delivered a ball over a linebacker and purposely low where only Bryant could make the catch with Claiborne on his back.

** Too many false starts by the offense. The first team had three in an eight-play span in the first two team periods. The second-team offense had one.

** WR Tim Benford has had a nice start to camp, but it might take some time for people to forget his drop when he was unable to hold on to an Orton deep ball with no defender within 15 yards. CB C.J. Wilson and S Eddie Whitely had a miscommunication that led to the breakdown but were bailed out.

** NT Josh Brent was slow to get up on an Ed Wesley run after he was hit from the side. He did not miss a snap.

** Rookie OLB Kyle Wilber took advantage of Wesley on one play with one of the bigger hits of the practice on the TCU-ex. The hit was made easier after DE Tyrone Crawford slipped through the line to slow down the running play.

** S Mana Silva had an active day on defense and on special teams. He opened it up in the blue practice with a pass breakup of Stephen McGee, reading a slant to WR Saalim Hakim. During special teams, he had one would-be tackle on punt coverage and was able to shed Tanner twice in blocking drills. Against Kyle Orton, he showed great range in batting down a throw to Harris.

** Ogletree made sure he went through a drill the right way after dropping a pass in individual drills. Instead of waiting his turn as the receivers changed routes, Ogletree went back to the end of line and made the catch before moving on.

** TE John Nalbone did not practice in the afternoon because of personal reasons.
OXNARD, Calif. -- Every Wednesday we’ll be bringing you Five Wonders, with today being the official training camp debut of the award-winning fixture. And by award-winning I mean the gold star my children put on my computer a long time ago.

With no further ado, here we go:

* Jason Garrett likes to say his receivers need to run, run and then run some more. As a group they have to be in the best physical condition of any players on a team. But I wonder if the Cowboys should monitor how much work they give Miles Austin. He missed six games last year because of hamstring injuries to both legs, and the offense missed him. Given Dez Bryant’s issues, the Cowboys need Austin more than ever, so it might be wise to limit Austin some. It’s a balance Garrett has to find of getting players ready for a season while not taxing them so much that they become susceptible to injury. And while I wonder about this, I don’t believe the Cowboys are wondering about it at all.

* I wonder if this is the year defensive end Clifton Geathers gets into the mix. He has been with the Cowboys for parts of the last two seasons, playing in five games last season and garnering five tackles. At 6-foot-7, 325 pounds, he is definitely a candidate for the All-Airport team. He just looks like a player. And he’s also cheaper than Kenyon Coleman and Marcus Spears. Coleman has a $1.9 million salary. Spears is set to make $2 million. Geathers is set to make $540,000. You can’t discount the financials in these decisions. The Cowboys jettisoned their veteran offensive linemen last year and they chose not to sign Mat McBriar over $300,000. The Cowboys are getting younger and cheaper, and if Geathers can show he can handle more of a role he could slide two veterans out of the mix.

* Last year the Cowboys hit on several veteran free agent finds during the season, from Laurent Robinson to Tony Fiammetta to Montrae Holland to Sammy Morris. I don’t have to wonder too much if they have confidence in the pro scouting department to find help again in 2012. For all of the fans wanting the Cowboys to sign a veteran wide receiver like Plaxico Burress or at least Patrick Crayton, I’d say the team is being patient when it comes to the receiver group. And remember the money. Robinson signed for the minimum salary benefit last year before blowing up as the No. 3 receiver. The Cowboys didn’t look for a veteran last year at wide receiver, and their decisions to look into Josh Gordon and Dezmon Briscoe seems to indicate they will do the same this year.

* I wonder why there is not more concern over the foot injury of nose tackle Jay Ratliff. He was not able to take part in any on-field football work during the offseason because of plantar fasciitis and he can only go through the walkthrough practices early in camp. The Cowboys don’t want Ratliff to aggravate the injury in camp, but this is something that has been problematic for at least three months. While a difficult nose tackle to block because of how active he is, he needs his feet to help with leverage. Without leverage Ratliff is just another guy. And let’s not forget that his sack total has decreased in each of the last four seasons from 7.5 to six to 3.5 to two.

* I wonder if Saalim Hakim can get into this wide receiver mix. I cannot believe I typed that after the performance Hakim put forward in the rookie minicamp after the draft, because as a receiver he showed a remarkable ability to not catch the ball. But now Hakim, who is the younger brother of Az-Zahir Hakim, the former St. Louis wideout from the Rams’ Greatest Show on Turf days, is in much better shape and is catching the football. Hakim made his way on to the Cowboys’ radar with his work on special teams for Jim Fassel in the UFL. Hakim’s speed should make him a factor on special teams here, but he had an eye-popping run after catch on Monday that had one defender groan, "That (expletive) is fast." It was almost as if Hakim glided above the ground as he sped down the sideline.