Tony Romo to be ready for full work week

September, 1, 2014
Sep 1
IRVING, Texas – Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is expected to practice three straight days for the first time this summer when the players return to practice on Wednesday.

During training camp Romo never worked more than two straight days as he worked his way back from December back surgery. He did not play in the preseason finale on Aug. 28 against the Denver Broncos and sat out one of the two full days of practice.

Coach Jason Garrett said Romo had a “good day” in Monday’s practice. Players will be off on Tuesday and return for practice on Wednesday-Friday.

“The thing I kept reminding Tony about as we went through this process, starting all the way back in the spring was the goal is to be ready for the 49ers, Sept. 7 at our stadium,” Garrett said. “So we’re going to find our way, somehow, someway we’re going to get you to that point to where you’re ready to go and hopefully behind that. Play that game and that’s the start of a heckuva year for you.”

That doesn’t mean Romo will take every snap in every practice like he did five years ago or like he did last year during the week. In all likelihood Romo will be listed as limited in practices because he will not do everything.

“I think the whole thing is semantics,” Garrett said. “We’re going to get him into a routine and get himself ready to play. If the standard is based on what he did six years ago, I don’t know if that should be the standard. We’re going to get him ready to play. At different times last year, he was able to more things than at other times. But that’s really every guy on our team.”

Romo played in only two of the Cowboys’ four preseason games. He completed 14 of 23 passes for 167 yards with a touchdown in games against the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins. He was sacked three times and hit once more in the first half against the Dolphins.

“I think the last couple of weeks, I think we’ve seen Tony really be himself,” Garrett said. “He’s moved around in practice very spontaneously, made a lot of throws. He’s taken hits in games. He’s come back from all that stuff. He’s worked very hard to get himself to a point where he’s 100 percent with his back and it’s going to be a work in progress for him just like it would be for anybody coming off of any kind of injury. He’s really looked like himself to me. I think he’s got that look on his face. He’s got confidence about his body being where it needs to be. He like everybody else is just getting ready for this challenge this weekend.”

Practice report: George Selvie sits out

September, 1, 2014
Sep 1
IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys defensive end George Selvie was the only player expected to practice on Monday not taking part in the session.

Selvie has not practiced since hurting his right shoulder Aug. 23 against the Miami Dolphins. He missed most of the offseason rehabbing from shoulder surgery, but said after the game the shoulder would not keep him out of Sunday’s regular-season opener against the San Francisco 49ers. He was doing conditioning work on the side during the portion of practice open to the media.

Anthony Spencer is not practicing but will not play against the Niners as he comes back from a knee injury. The Cowboys chose to put Spencer on the active roster as opposed to the physically unable to perform list, which would have cost him the first six games.

Defensive tackle Terrell McClain is practicing for the first time since suffering a high ankle sprain in training camp.

Defensive end Lavar Edwards, picked up in a trade from the Tennessee Titans, and safety C.J. Spillman are at practice. Linebacker Korey Toomer is expected to be added to the roster on Tuesday when the Cowboys place defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (foot) on injured reserve/designated to return.

Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith debate whether Cowboys owner Jerry Jones should put Jimmy Johnson in the Cowboys Ring of Honor.

Dallas Cowboys waive Ahmad Dixon

September, 1, 2014
Sep 1
IRVING, Texas -- In order to make room for veteran safety C.J. Spillman on the 53-man roster, the Dallas Cowboys have waived Ahmad Dixon.

Dixon had an eventful summer, leading the Cowboys with 12 tackles in their preseason opener against the San Diego Chargers, showing up late to a walk-through that left him benched for the second preseason game and earning a $22,050 fine for hitting a defenseless receiver in the third preseason game.

If Dixon clears waivers, he could be brought back to the practice squad.

At the time Dixon was drafted, the Cowboys hoped he would develop into a special teams' ace, but they opted to keep Jemea Thomas, who was claimed off waivers from the New England Patriots last week, and go with Spillman, who led the San Francisco 49ers with 19 special teams' stops in 2013.

Dixon was one of the Cowboys' five seventh-round picks and the third to be cut, joining Will Smith and Terrance Mitchell. Ben Gardner is on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. The only seventh-rounder currently on the 53-man roster is defensive tackle Ken Bishop.

Cowboys to kick up Niners' prep work

September, 1, 2014
Sep 1
IRVING, Texas -- The preparation for the San Francisco 49ers begins in earnest today, but the Dallas Cowboys have been looking at regular-season-opening opponent for some time now.

It started during training camp in Oxnard, California, and continued last week with two practices leading into the preseason finale against the Denver Broncos.

The 49ers have not lost a season opener under coach Jim Harbaugh, but they will be without three of their better defenders in linebacker Aldon Smith (suspension), linebacker NaVorro Bowman (injury) and defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey (injury). They could also be without defensive tackle Ray McDonald, who was arrested over the weekend on domestic violence charges.

“I know from our perspective (on offense), we’ve got a lot of respect for the way they play defense,” tight end Jason Witten said. “They’re a hit-you-in-the-mouth 3-4 team. Really good players across the board. It’s going to be a tough challenge. We’re going to see what we’re made of early in the year.”

And that’s why the Cowboys kicked off their prep work so early.

NFL Nation's Kuharsky sizes up Edwards

September, 1, 2014
Sep 1
IRVING, Texas – Defensive end Lavar Edwards will practice for the first time with the Dallas Cowboys on Monday after he was acquired Saturday from the Tennessee Titans for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2015.

Jason Garrett will explain how Edwards will fit in the Cowboys' scheme, but NFL Nation Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky was brought in to offer something of a scouting report.

Archer: The Cowboys need defensive line help, especially pass rushers. Can Edwards fill that kind of role?

Kuharsky: I think he's a decent prospect who might develop into something. The Titans aren't very deep, but they are deep on the defensive line. And with the shift to a 3-4 he's not a system fit in Nashville.

Archer: He was a fifth-round pick last year. Is this a case of the Titans trading a player they would've cut and was he a disappointment?

Kuharsky: Bad job turning a fifth into a seventh. Good job turning a guy they were going to cut into a seventh. He didn't shine or get in front of anyone on the depth chart, but it was a pretty good crowd ahead of him. The edge rushers they need now are outside linebackers, not ends.

Archer: The Cowboys see the Titans early in the season, could they get something from Edwards on the defensive scheme?

Kuharsky: I always tend to think that stuff is overrated. He should have a generally understanding of the scheme. But I'd think Cowboys coaches are better equipped to dissect what DC Ray Horton is doing and will do than Edwards will be.

Spillman agrees to deal with Cowboys

August, 31, 2014
Aug 31
IRVING, Texas -- Safety C.J. Spillman has agreed to sign with the Dallas Cowboys, a source said.

Spillman, 28, a special teams player who was credited with a career-high 25 tackles last season, was cut Saturday by the San Francisco 49ers. He played 59 games for the 49ers over the last four seasons after beginning his career with the San Diego Chargers, where he played for Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia.

Spillman’s knowledge of the 49ers’ schemes could be useful to the Cowboys as they prepare for their season opener against San Francisco.

The Cowboys need to make a roster move to create a spot for Spillman. They'll need to do the same in regards to linebacker Korey Toomer, who has also agreed to a deal with Dallas.

Cowboys to add LB Korey Toomer

August, 31, 2014
Aug 31
IRVING, Texas -- Linebacker Korey Toomer will sign with the Dallas Cowboys after he cleared waivers.

The Cowboys have to make a move to create a roster spot before Toomer's addition becomes official.

The 6-foot-2, 234-pound Toomer, a fifth-round pick in 2012, was one of the Seattle Seahawks' final cuts. He has yet to play in an NFL regular-season game, getting put on the practice squad in 2012 before going on injured reserve and spending last season on the non-football injury list.

Toomer had impressive measurables coming out of Idaho. He was timed at 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash at his pro day, where he had a 10-foot-10 broad jump and a 42-inch vertical leap.

Cowboys make practice-squad additions

August, 31, 2014
Aug 31
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys added to their practice squad Sunday with five players who were among Saturday's final cuts.

Running back Ryan Williams, who led the Cowboys in rushing in the preseason, cleared waivers and agreed to rejoin the practice squad. The new practice-squad rules gave Williams, who played in only five games in three years with the Arizona Cardinals, more eligibility.

The Cowboys also added defensive end Kenneth Boatright, linebacker Will Smith, linebacker Keith Smith and center Ronald Patrick, who were among their final cuts.

The Cowboys signed defensive back Micah Pellerin to the practice squad as well. He spent time on their active roster last year and was recently cut by the Tennessee Titans. If the Cowboys were not awarded Jemea Thomas on waivers last week, they would have signed Pellerin.

The Cowboys wanted to sign LaRon Byrd to the practice squad but he was claimed by the Cleveland Browns.

The Cowboys have four open spots remaining on the practice squad.

Cowboys claim OG Hawkins, cut OT Wetzel

August, 31, 2014
Aug 31
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys claimed guard Donald Hawkins off waivers from the Cleveland Browns.

Dallas released offensive tackle John Wetzel to make room for Hawkins. Wetzel can be placed on the practice squad if he clears waivers.

Hawkins, a 6-foot-4, 310-pound undrafted rookie out of Texas, played three preseason games with the Philadelphia Eagles before being released. He was claimed off waivers by the Browns last week before being released again Saturday.

Five wonders: All about the roster

August, 31, 2014
Aug 31
IRVING, Texas -- Five Wonders is usually a Tuesday staple during the regular season, but after Saturday's final cuts we decided to break it out on Sunday.
  1. For the first time since 2011 with Stephen McGee the Cowboys have kept three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster with Dustin Vaughan joining Tony Romo and Brandon Weeden. I wonder if the Cowboys did not want to risk losing Vaughan at the final cuts and might look to cut him in the next day or two after the opposing teams settle their roster. It would be a way to sneak him through waivers and onto the practice squad. It might be a reach and nobody truly can “sneak” a player through waivers these days, but I believe teams are reluctant to add young quarterbacks to the roster in which they have no previous relationship. Vaughan really progressed since signing in May. He was erratic in the spring but started to come on in camp and in the preseason. Will he ever be a starter? I wouldn't go that far, but he has enough tools to make him worth developing. He has a big arm and he showed some surprising mobility.
  2. Last week Jerry Jones said there would be no additions to the Ring of Honor this year, but that could be subject to change. I wonder if he will put Ryan Williams in there after the 112 yards he put up on the ground in three preseason games. I kid, I kid. But the Cowboys' decision to cut Williams was panned by a lot of people. I had one guy tell me Williams was the Cowboys' best runner, and I wonder if I needed to introduce him to DeMarco Murray. Williams had a good summer. He ran hard. He showed some good vision against the Baltimore Ravens and the Miami Dolphins. But there is more to being a backup running back than just running the ball. The fourth tailback has to play special teams. Williams was only OK and certainly not as good as Joseph Randle, who is the third tailback. When it was ones against ones in the first preseason game, Randle did a nice job and enough to show the Cowboys he was worth keeping but he would have been inactive every week. If Williams clears waivers, which is a distinct possibility because of his injury history and lack of production with the Arizona Cardinals, then he could be brought back to the practice squad and signed to the active roster at any point.
  3. On Tuesday I expect the Cowboys to put rookie defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence on injured reserve with a designation to return. Lawrence can't go on that list sooner than Tuesday. I wonder if the Cowboys look to bring back Kenneth Boatright or Dartwan Bush to the active roster. Boatright and Bush were among the final cuts and also practice-squad eligible. To me, I would put Boatright on the active roster because he has more pass rush. Even with the addition of Lavar Edwards, I don't see enough natural pass-rushers on this roster.
  4. If you're wondering about whether the Cowboys will add veteran players after these cuts, I think you should stop. Maybe Kevin Vickerson of the Denver Broncos would make sense. He was hard for the Cowboys to block in the last preseason game. But I had people ask via Twitter if the Cowboys would go after Champ Bailey. Well, if it was the Bailey everybody remembered, I would say yes, but that guy never would have been available. But here's the big reason as to why I don't think they'll go after many (or any) vested veterans: if they are on the roster the first week of the regular season, they are guaranteed their base salary for the rest of the season. I believe that played a part in the departure of veteran guard Uche Nwaneri at the final cuts.
  5. I wonder who the 53rd player on the roster is right now. Could it be tackles Darrion Weems or John Wetzel. I wonder if Wetzel played better in the Broncos game that it would have spelled the end for Weems, who hurt his shoulder the first week of camp. I wonder if it is safety Jemea Thomas, who has yet to have a full practice with the club after getting picked up off waivers from the New England Patriots. I wonder if it is linebacker Cameron Lawrence, who figures to be a key special teamer, or fullback Tyler Clutts. The bottom of this roster should not exhale for quite some time. The Cowboys will be rolling through players over the next few days, weeks and months.

Cowboys will look to fill practice squad

August, 31, 2014
Aug 31
IRVING, Texas -- With the final cuts made, the Dallas Cowboys can go about forming their practice squad Sunday morning.

Players like wide receiver LaRon Byrd, running back Ryan Williams, offensive linemen Stephen Goodin and Ronald Patrick and defensive linemen Dartwan Bush and Kenneth Boatright were among the final cuts and could be brought back if they clear waivers. Linebacker Will Smith and cornerback Terrance Mitchell were seventh-round picks and among the final cuts and could be brought back if they are not picked up by another team.

Starting the season on the practice squad isn’t such a bad thing.

Last year the Cowboys called up Jakar Hamilton, Micah Pellerin and Jason Vega from the practice squad to the active roster. They also signed four players from other teams’ practice squads: Chris Greenwood, Frank Kearse, Everett Dawkins and Orie Lemon.

Coach Jason Garrett is pleased the practice squads will be expanded from eight to 10 players in 2014.

“It’s a challenge as the year goes on guys get hurt,” Garrett said on Friday. “You get compromised on the practice field. You’re asking guys to do some things, sometimes you’re asking offensive guys to do some defense or vice versa. It’s better to have that, be able to function over the course of a 17-week season, maybe more than that is just a development of young players. It’s so valuable to be in this environment to practice players against good players in an NFL atmosphere. It just helps this so much with their growth and development. I think it’s a real positive for so many different reasons.”

First 53: Dallas Cowboys initial roster

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
This is the first 53-man roster of the season for the Dallas Cowboys, not the final one. It will change soon and several times.

Having said that, here is an initial look at the 2014 Cowboys:

Tony Romo
Brandon Weeden
Dustin Vaughan

Vaughan, the undrafted free agent from West Texas A&M, surviving the cuts is a mild surprise. The Cowboys haven’t kept a third quarterback on the roster in recent years, but they saw enough potential in Vaughan to determine he was worth developing and didn’t want to expose him to waivers. They had a sixth-round draft grade on Vaughan.

DeMarco Murray
Lance Dunbar
Joseph Randle
Tyler Clutts

Ryan Williams was the best player to be cut by the Cowboys. The former second-round pick, whose three seasons in Arizona were ruined by injuries, proved that he is healthy and an NFL talent. He just got caught in a numbers game and couldn’t contribute as much on special teams as Randle, who also ran well during the preseason. There was some question about whether the Cowboys would keep a fullback, but head coach Jason Garrett believes Clutts can help enough in short-yardage and goal-line situations to justify the roster spot.

Dez Bryant
Terrance Williams
Cole Beasley
Dwayne Harris
Devin Street

If the Cowboys had the luxury of keeping six receivers, LaRon Byrd would probably be on the roster. The big receiver should end up on the practice squad if he clears waivers, but he never really had a chance to crack this top five, which features four proven playmakers and a fifth-round pick.

Jason Witten
Gavin Escobar
James Hanna

It would be nice to have a better blocker among the backups. The coaches need to find ways to utilize Escobar’s receiving ability.

Tyron Smith
Ronald Leary
Travis Frederick
Zack Martin
Doug Free
Mackenzy Bernadeau
Jermey Parnell
John Wetzel
Darrion Weems

It’s a curious decision to keep tackles Wetzel and Weems over guard Uche Nwaneri, who started 91 games over the past six seasons for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Nwaneri didn’t perform well in the preseason finale, but neither did Wetzel, and Weems didn’t play the whole preseason.

George Selvie
Henry Melton
Terrell McClain
Jeremy Mincey
Tyrone Crawford
Davon Coleman
Ken Bishop
Nick Hayden
Anthony Spencer
DeMarcus Lawrence
Lavar Edwards

The Cowboys traded a conditional seventh-round pick to get Edwards from the Tennessee Titans. This group is expected to be trimmed to 10 when the Cowboys place Lawrence, the second-round pick recovering from foot surgery, on the short-term injured reserve, meaning he will miss the first eight games. When Josh Brent is added, will it cost Hayden his job? The Cowboys should still search for pass-rushing help.

Bruce Carter
Justin Durant
Kyle Wilber
Anthony Hitchens
Rolando McClain
Cam Lawrence

Seventh-rounder Will Smith was one of two draft picks who didn’t survive the cuts. The first five players listed in this group are still competing for starting jobs and will continue to, maybe for the whole season. Lawrence is one of the Cowboys’ best special teamers.

Brandon Carr
Morris Claiborne
Sterling Moore
Tyler Patmon

The Cowboys are taking a risk by only going with four cornerbacks while Orlando Scandrick is suspended, especially considering Claiborne’s durability issues. So it wouldn’t be a surprise if they added to this group. Seventh-rounder Terrance Mitchell had a golden opportunity to make the team after Scandrick’s suspension and 2013 fourth-round pick B.W. Webb’s release, but his lack of discipline led to his release. Mitchell could end up on the practice squad.

Barry Church
J.J. Wilcox
Jeff Heath
Ahmad Dixon
Jemea Thomas

Jakar Hamilton is expected to have a spot on the team after finishing his four-game suspension. Without him, the Cowboys don’t have any center-fielder type safeties on the roster.

Dan Bailey
Chris Jones
L.P. Ladouceur

Never any questions here.

Cowboys' Anthony Spencer off PUP list

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
IRVING, Texas -- As expected, defensive end Anthony Spencer is on the Dallas Cowboys' active roster.

The Cowboys had to remove Spencer from the active/physically unable to perform list to add him to the 53-man roster. He will not play in the Sept. 7 regular-season opener against the San Francisco 49ers, but if he was kept on reserve/PUP, he would have missed the first six games of the season.

On Friday, coach Jason Garrett said he was not sure when Spencer would be able to practice. Spencer, who will play right defensive end, had microfracture surgery on his left knee last fall and has gone through a painstaking rehab process. In the last few weeks, the Cowboys have said Spencer is ahead of schedule on his comeback.

The Cowboys also have rookie defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence on the active roster despite a broken foot. He is likely to be placed on injured reserve with a designation to return. He needs to be on the 53-man roster through Tuesday in order to be placed on the short-term IR. With this designation, he would miss the first eight games of the season but be eligible to practice starting in Week 6.

Dallas Cowboys cut-down analysis

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
Most significant move: It’s not so much who the Dallas Cowboys cut, but who they kept. For the first time since 2011, the Cowboys will keep three quarterbacks. In 2011 they had Tony Romo, Jon Kitna and Stephen McGee. Undrafted rookie Dustin Vaughan will join Romo and Brandon Weeden. For now. Vaughan has made great strides since May and finished the preseason with 212 yards on 22-of-43 passing with a touchdown. With Romo’s return from back surgery at least a minor issue, the Cowboys figured it was worth keeping Vaughan as a developmental player. It’s possible the Cowboys could cut Vaughan if they need help elsewhere in the next few days, which potentially would give them a chance to sneak the West Texas A&M product through waivers. Tailback Ryan Williams led the Cowboys in the preseason with 112 rushing yards and caught a team-high nine passes but was among the final cuts. With needs elsewhere, the Cowboys did not deem it necessary to keep four tailbacks. If Williams clears waivers, he could be brought back to the practice squad.

See you in a month: Cornerback Orlando Scandrick and safety Jakar Hamilton cannot have contact with the Cowboys for the next month now that they are on the suspended list. Both players will miss four games with Scandrick violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy and Hamilton violating the substance abuse policy. They will be allowed back on Sept. 29 and eligible to play Oct. 5 against the Houston Texans. Despite losing Scandrick, the Cowboys opted only to keep four corners on the roster: Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Sterling Moore and Tyler Patmon.

Changes coming: The Cowboys kept 11 defensive linemen, but by Tuesday that number is expected to be 10 when rookie defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence is moved to short-term injured reserve as he returns from foot surgery. Lawrence will have to miss the first eight games, but can start practicing after six weeks. The Cowboys hope Lawrence will be able to be a designated pass rusher over the final eight weeks of the season. When he broke his foot in training camp, he was close to becoming the starting right defensive end. By putting Lawrence on short-term injured reserve, the Cowboys would not be able to use the designation on another player this season.

What’s next: A word to the wise for those on the bottom of the Cowboys’ roster: don’t celebrate. The Cowboys will be active in adding players either through trades, waivers or free agency. It’s not just about upgrading the bottom of the roster. The Cowboys need to upgrade starters and key backup roles at every level of their defense. Last year the Cowboys added four players after the final cuts before the season opener. They could potentially add more players this year, so dire is the state of the defense.

Cowboys moves: RB Ryan Williams, RB Phillip Tanner, RB D.J. Adams, WR LaRon Byrd, WR Jamar Newsome, WR Dezmon Briscoe, TE Asa Watson, T Josh Aladenoye, G Uche Nwaneri, G Stephen Goodin, C Ronald Patrick, DT Zach Minter, DE Kenneth Boatright, DE Caesar Rayford, DE Dartwan Bush, LB Will Smith, LB Orie Lemon, LB Keith Smith, LB Dontavis Sapp, CB Terrance Mitchell, S Keith Smith, Orlando Scandrick (suspended), Jakar Hamilton (suspended)