Dallas Cowboys: Andre Holms

Matt Johnson, Danny Coale among 5 to watch

August, 25, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas – Preseason game No. 3 is usually about the starters, but for the Cowboys it’s still about finding players to fill roles, in part because of injuries.

ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins previews the Cowboys' third preseason game against the Rams, who the team might cut, surprises in camp and more.

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That being said, we give you five players to watch after Tony Romo & Co. pack it up for the night.

Matt Johnson The fourth-round pick has practiced only three more times than you or I in training camp because of a hamstring injury. He missed all but one day of the organized team activities and minicamp because of league rules. Now he gets to put those months of frustration to work against St. Louis. He never really had a chance to earn a starting safety spot because of the hamstring injury, but the Cowboys like his potential. He has to be considered a lock to make the roster even with the limited work but he can show tonight whether he can handle a special teams role.

Danny Coale A stress fracture and quadriceps injury kept Coale in much the same boat as Johnson, but Coale’s roster spot just doesn’t seem as secure. Such is the price of seeing guys like Cole Beasley, Andre Holmes, Tim Benford and Kevin Ogletree get more snaps. Coale had some nice work in the two practices against the Chargers and showed some good hands and the ability to get open. He is still working on getting his speed and quickness back. He has not worked much on special teams but he was a holder for Delbert Alvarado on field goals.

Adrian Hamilton The Cowboys like how he can get after the passer. That seems to be a natural trait, but there are some adjustments he is still making at outside linebacker in terms of run responsibilities and coverage. But teams just don’t let pass rushers go. What Hamilton has to do is show he can cover kicks. It’s been a little adventurous in that regard but if he wants to claim one of the final linebacker spots, he better do it tonight.

Phillip Tanner The broken hand came at the wrong time, but Tanner has a lot of value as a special teamer and the third tailback. He runs with pretty good power. He is pretty good in pass protection, too. If there is a player pushing Tanner for a spot, I believe it’s Lance Dunbar, who might get in the return game mix, and not Jamize Olawale, who had a touchdown run last week. Tanner is a better all-around back and will get his chance to show his toughness. He will play with his right hand wrapped tight, but that shouldn’t be a problem.

Clifton Geathers I had him in the five to watch for the San Diego game and I’m still waiting. He looks the part, but he just has not made enough plays at this point. Coaches and scouts do not want to give up on his size and potential, but sometimes potential can be a killer, too. I wondered if Geathers could push a veteran like Marcus Spears out of a spot, but he’s not done enough yet to warrant that. If he flashes tonight vs. the Rams then he could get in the mix again.

Cowboys follow same plan with Ware, Ratliff

December, 28, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys are following the same practice plan for DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff they used last week in order to make sure the Pro Bowlers are good to go for Sunday’s kickoff against the New York Giants.

Ware (stinger) and Ratliff (rib muscle strain) did not practice Wednesday but they will practice Thursday. They were limited last week and listed as questionable heading into the Philadelphia game but played the entire game.

“I’ll be out there tomorrow,” Ware said. “I feel great. I was just taking a little time off, me and Jay, to sort of recoup and get ready for this game.”

Linebacker Sean Lee (illness) did not practice but he should be good Thursday. Safety Danny McCray (ankle) also hopes to practice Thursday.

Running back Felix Jones (hamstring) was limited, but coach Jason Garrett said Jones, “seemed like he was running fairly well.” Jones did not practice last week and was removed from the Eagles’ game in the first quarter as a precaution. Cornerback Mike Jenkins (shoulder) was also limited but he will play Sunday.

Nose tackle Josh Brent returned to practice for the first time in more than a month from a knee injury. He was limited, as were wide receivers Kevin Ogletree (knee) and Andre Holmes (hamstring). Wide receiver Laurent Robinson (shoulder) took part in a full practice as did punter Mat McBriar (foot).