Dallas Cowboys: Eric Frampton

Why a fullback doesn't make sense for Cowboys

December, 4, 2013
12/04/13
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IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys seemed to make a lot of fans happy on Tuesday when they signed a fullback. It wasn’t Lawrence Vickers, which still had some upset, but at least Tyler Clutts actually has played fullback in an NFL game.

To me, however, the signing does not make a lot of sense.

The Cowboys’ pro personnel department deserves a lot of credit for finding guys. George Selvie, Nick Hayden and Jarius Wynn have all helped this year. You can go back to last year for guys like Ernie Sims, Sterling Moore and Eric Frampton. And who can forget the Laurent Robinson signing?

This is not a knock on Clutts, who was described by a personnel chief as a “workmanlike lead blocker.” He might be another solid find. I just don’t see how he fits in what the Cowboys do well in their running game.

The weather will be cold in Chicago on Monday. It could be cold when the Cowboys play the Washington Redskins. And Jason Garrett keeps saying you want to be a physical team in December. I get all of that, but what the Cowboys do best when they run the ball is spread the field with three wide receivers.

Maybe it’s the curse of Tony Fiammetta, another pro department find who helped DeMarco Murray bust out in 2011. The fullback is a revered spot around here, going back to Walt Garrison and leading us to Daryl Johnston.

But it is also a dying position with offenses designed to pass the ball more or run out of “11 personnel,” like the Cowboys.

The Cowboys offensive line is not the ‘90s version of the Cowboys’ line. They do not overpower people. The scheme is not really a power scheme. They look to create creases, not gaping holes. Nate Newton and Larry Allen are not walking through that door to do that.

Murray is averaging 5.5 yards per carry for his career when he runs out of three-wide receiver looks. This year the Cowboys have gained 531 yards on 114 carries and scored five touchdowns out of 11 personnel. Against the Raiders they had 92 yards on 11 carries in 11 personnel. Lance Dunbar’s 45-yard run came out of 11 personnel. Even without that run the Cowboys averaged 4.7 yards a pop when they ran out of three-wides.

So this brings me to Clutts. Will he play five snaps a game? Is it worth it? Was using a tight end or linebacker Kyle Bosworth at fullback that bad? Not really.

The Cowboys could have gone a number of different ways in replacing Dunbar, who was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with a knee injury. They worked out Clutts and a handful of other runners that have barely made their mark in the NFL. Would any of those guys helped? If you’re going to look for a runner, find a tested runner -- even one that has not played this year -- who might have six weeks left in him.

The better move would have been to poach from a practice squad. They did it late last year with tackle Darrion Weems. Maybe he develops into a backup. Maybe he never develops. But they at least had the chance to develop a player. They could look at any position really. In my Five Wonders post, I wondered why they don’t add a No. 3 quarterback for the stretch run. He’d be inactive for the final four games anyway, so at least get a guy in here to learn how they do things as they head into the offseason.

Maybe Clutts will help the running game, but statistics suggest otherwise.

Cowboys look for special teams upgrade

September, 2, 2013
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IRVING, Texas -- It was no secret the Dallas Cowboys’ special teams’ play was poor in the preseason. The Cowboys are doing their best to shore it up in time for the regular season.

In the past two days, the Cowboys added Edgar Jones in a trade from the Kansas City Chiefs and picked up Kyle Bosworth off waivers from the New York Giants. They chose to keep six safeties and three appear to have special teams written all over them in Danny McCray, Eric Frampton and rookie Jeff Heath.

Coach Jason Garrett said the team’s intention was to make special teams upgrades after the Cowboys' final cut to 53 players.

“We like them as position players and what they can do for us in a role, but they’ve been very good special teams players for us and for their teams,” Garrett said of Jones and Bosworth. “We’re excited to see them play. Got them integrated into practice this morning and they’re ready to go.”

Because of his background with assistant coach Rich Bisaccia, tight end Dante Rosario was viewed as a core special teams’ player, but he was dealt to Chicago on Monday and had a few miscues in the preseason.

Can the special teams’ units be up to speed for Sunday’s game against the Giants?

Lance Dunbar was expected to be the kick returner, but he has a foot injury that could keep him out. Frampton’s availability is in question because of a calf strain. McCray has missed the last three days of practice with a hamstring strain. Heath has never played in a real game. Jones and Bosworth have to get used to what Bisaccia wants.

“I know I’m very good at special teams and I know I’m a really good backer,” Bosworth said. “Obviously being the first day here I don’t really know they system that well. I know it’s going to take time, but I can be utilized on special teams right away, no problem. And I absolutely have no problem with that, I love it. I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

W2W4: Five things for Texans-Cowboys

August, 29, 2013
8/29/13
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IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys meet the Houston Texans in the preseason for the first time since 2010 at AT&T Stadium. Intrastate pride might be on the line for the fans of both teams, but little else.

With 75 players on the roster, some jobs remain but most are filled. Here’s what we’ll be looking at tonight:

Job fair: With 18 roster moves to make by Saturday’s cut-down date, most of the decisions have likely been made. There are perhaps two open spots with as many as eight guys looking to fit the square peg. Would the Cowboys carry five tight ends? How about six receivers? Nine defensive linemen?

Defensive tackle Sean Lissemore, tight end Andre Smith, wide receiver Anthony Armstrong, cornerback Micah Pellerin, tackle DeMetress Bell, guard David Arkin and guard Kevin Kowalski can make their cases tonight. Linebacker Brandon Magee (concussion), safeties Eric Frampton (calf), Danny McCray (hamstring) and Matt Johnson (foot) will have to watch and sweat out the final decisions.

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Tanney time: Maybe Kyle Orton opens the game, but the Cowboys will give Alex Tanney most of the work.

With needs at other positions and injury questions going into the opener, Tanney is looking more like a practice-squad fit than a 53-man roster fit. If he plays lights out, he could change the equation or at the very least get another team to keep him on the 53-man roster the way Matt Moore did a few years ago.

Check out the Texans: Last year the Cowboys closed the preseason against Miami and traded for veteran offensive lineman Ryan Cook a few days later based on what they saw in that game.

With the Cowboys moving to a pure zone blocking scheme this year, check out the Texans’ offensive linemen. Assistant offensive line coach Frank Pollack spent five years with the Texans (2007-11) and will have a good idea of what would be a good fit with the Cowboys.

As unsettled as the Cowboys are with their starting offensive line they’re more unsettled with the backups. A case could be made they don’t have a ninth or 10th guy (if they choose to reach double digits) on their current roster to fill out the line.

Earning practice squad jobs: Tanney has been talked about, but there will be seven other spots to fill. The Cowboys like to keep receivers and defensive backs on the practice squad because of the amount of running in practice, so guys like Danny Coale, Tim Benford and Pellerin bear watching.

And the line play will have candidates to, like defensive end Jerome Long and offensive tackle Darrion Weems. Linebacker could be another spot of interest with Cameron Lawrence and Taylor Reed.

The digital board: Chris Jones hit it last week with a punt against Cincinnati and the Bengals returned the re-kick 75 yards for a touchdown, continuing a preseason-long issue of special teams’ miscues. Jones is unlikely to hit it again, but watching it to see the clock tick down will be more important because it brings us closer to the start of the regular season.

Bubble Watch: Jeff Heath

August, 26, 2013
8/26/13
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IRVING, Texas -- Rookie safety Jeff Heath might be going from training camp body to member of the 53-man roster.

“He doesn’t look like an undrafted free agent from a little, small school,” secondary coach Jerome Henderson said after Saturday’s 24-18 win against Cincinnati. “He looks like a kid who belongs, and he does.”

How small of a school? Saginaw Valley State, a Division II school.

Heath has done in training camp what the Cowboys hoped they would see from Matt Johnson, last year’s fourth-round pick from Eastern Washington. Johnson has not practiced since aggravating a foot injury in the Aug. 4 Hall of Fame Game against Miami, and it is not looking like Johnson will be able to practice this week in order to play against Houston on Thursday.

Against Cincinnati, Heath had one of the biggest hits, forcing a Cobi Hamilton fumble along the sideline in the third quarter. He finished with two tackles.

With injuries to Johnson and Eric Frampton and J.J. Wilcox’s absence due to the death of his mother, Heath moved up to the No. 2 defense for a week or so of camp. He has been running with the first-team kickoff and punt coverage teams on special teams.

The fight is not over because the Cowboys have showed incredible patience with Johnson, who did not play as a rookie due to multiple hamstring injuries, and because Frampton is a dependable veteran special teams player. That said, Heath has put himself in the conversation to make the 53-man roster.

Rapid reaction: Cowboys 24, Bengals 18

August, 24, 2013
8/24/13
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cowboys had a hard time getting much of an advantage at Cowboys Stadium with a 17-15 regular-season record in the $1.2 billion home.

Playing under the AT&T Stadium name for the first time, the Cowboys were able to overcome a tepid start to beat Cincinnati 24-18.

What it means: The Cowboys got what they wanted in their final showing of the preseason from their regulars on offense and defense.

The Cowboys have not played their starters in the last preseason game since 2006, and Jason Garrett will not want to risk the likes of Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee and Brandon Carr on Thursday against Houston.

To avoid their first losing preseason since 2001, however, the Cowboys will have to beat the Texans.

First-team offense gets in end zone: In their first five drives of the preseason, the Romo-led offense failed to get in the end zone. They started 0-for-2 on Saturday before Bryant took matters into his own hands with five catches on a 12-play drive that ended with Romo hitting Bryant on a bullet fade over cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.

The Cowboys closed the first half with an eight-play drive that covered 52 yards with Miles Austin being the featured target. Austin had a 23-yard gain on a third-and-6 and closed the drive with a 12-yard score going across the back of the end zone for a Romo throw.

Offensive line moves: For the fourth time in four preseason games, the Cowboys rolled out a different combination on the offensive line with Doug Free playing right guard, Jermey Parnell at right tackle and Mackenzy Bernadeau at left guard. Only left tackle Tyron Smith and center Travis Frederick played in their original positions.

Romo was sacked on the first play of the game for an 8-yard loss and the running game averaged only 2.5 yards per carry in the first half. The first-team line played a series into the third quarter before calling it a night.

Will this be the combination the Cowboys roll out for the Sept. 8 opener against the New York Giants? Possibly, if Ronald Leary is unable to return from surgery to his right knee. The Cowboys are confident Leary, who has never played in a game, can return in time, but they might choose to go with this grouping.

Defense continues to take it away: The offseason emphasis continued with two first-half takeaways from a defense that might bend but has yet to break.

For the third time in four preseason games, the Cowboys came up with a takeaway on their first drive of the game. Safety Barry Church poked the ball free from wide receiver Marvin Jones and cornerback Brandon Carr came up with the loose ball at the Dallas 4.

In the second quarter, rookie cornerback B.W. Webb came up with a pick of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton on a seam throw to receiver Mohamed Sanu. Undrafted safety Jeff Heath forced a fumble in the third quarter.

The first-team defense did not allow a touchdown in three preseason appearances totaling roughly three quarters.

Digital board gets plunked: In the first football game at AT&T Stadium, on Aug. 21 2009, Tennessee’s A.J. Trapasso hit the center-hung digital board with a punt. It was not hit again by a punt until Saturday, when Cowboys punter Chris Jones hit it in the first quarter.

There have been 274 regular-season punts at AT&T Stadium since its opening that have not hit the board.

It might bear watching this year.

On Jones’ re-kick, Cincinnati’s Brandon Tate scored a 75-yard touchdown for the Bengals’ only first-half points.

Who didn’t play: Cornerback Morris Claiborne (knee) missed his fourth straight preseason game -- and third because of injury -- but the hope is that he can practice some next week and possibly play in Thursday’s finale against Houston. WR Cole Beasley (foot), RB Lance Dunbar (foot), S Matt Johnson (foot), S Eric Frampton (calf), LB Brandon Magee (concussion), LB Ernie Sims (groin), OL Ryan Cook (back), OG Ronald Leary (knee), OG Nate Livings (knee) and DE Anthony Spencer (knee) did not dress for the game.

What’s next?: The Cowboys will have to pare down their roster from 88 to 75 by Tuesday’s deadline, two days before they play their fifth and final preseason game of the summer. Former head coach Wade Phillips (2007-10) makes his return to AT&T Stadium on Thursday as Houston’s defensive coordinator. The final cut to 53 players is Aug. 31.

Brandon Magee suffers concussion

August, 20, 2013
8/20/13
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IRVING, Texas – Cowboys rookie linebacker Brandon Magee will not play Saturday against Cincinnati after suffering a concussion in Monday’s practice.

It is possible Magee will not be able to play in the preseason final against Houston on Aug. 29. Wide receiver Terrance Williams suffered a concussion on Aug. 2 and missed the first two preseason games. Magee led the Cowboys with six tackles last week against Arizona.

Defensive tackle Sean Lissemore returned to the practice field Tuesday after a 10-day absence because of a groin injury suffered during training camp in Oxnard, Calif. Lissemore played in the first two preseason games.

Lance Dunbar (foot), Cole Beasley (foot), Ryan Cook (back), Ronald Leary (knee), Nate Livings (knee), Morris Claiborne (knee), J.J. Wilcox, Matt Johnson (foot), Eric Frampton (calf), Ernie Sims (groin), Jay Ratliff (hamstring, hernia) and Anthony Spencer (knee) are not practicing.

Dunbar (foot) may miss Cowboys' opener

August, 19, 2013
8/19/13
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IRVING, Texas – Running back Lance Dunbar suffered a sprained left foot that could keep him out of the Sept. 8 regular-season opener against the New York Giants.

Dunbar, who is expected to be a big part of the offense as a third-down back, is in a protective boot and could need 3-4 weeks to return, according to a source. Dunbar had a 43-yard catch against Arizona on Saturday but fumbled at the end of the play. He returned to the game and did not mention being hurt in the locker room after the 12-7 loss to the Cardinals.

Wide receiver Cole Beasley suffered a sprained foot on Aug. 9 at Oakland and has yet to return to practice. Running back DeMarco Murray missed six games last year with a sprained foot.

The Cowboys welcomed back guards Kevin Kowalski (knee) and Ray Dominguez (shoulder) to the practice field, increasing their interior line depth.

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Rookie safety J.J. Wilcox remains away from the team following the death of his mother last week in Cairo, Ga.

Also sitting out: Morris Claiborne (knee), Matt Johnson (foot), Eric Frampton (calf), Ernie Sims (groin), Alex Albright (impending back surgery), Toby Jackson (groin), Anthony Spencer, Travis Chappelear, Jay Ratliff, Beasley, Ryan Cook (back), Ronald Leary (knee) and Nate Livings (knee).

Cowboys missing 10 defensive players

August, 17, 2013
8/17/13
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GLENDALE, Calif. -- The Dallas Cowboys will be without 10 defensive players for Saturday afternoon's preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Three of the missing defensive players, Anthony Spencer, Jay Ratliff and Morris Claiborne, are starters.

Sean Lissemore, Ernie Sims, Alex Albright, Matt Johnson, J.J. Wilcox, Eric Frampton and Toby Jackson are also out on the defensive side. Wilcox is missing the game for a personal reason. His mother died Tuesday.

On offense, Nate Livings, Ronald Leary, Kevin Kowalski, Ryan Cook, Ray Dominguez and Cole Beasley are out because of injury.

The Cardinals are missing Jarett Dillard, Jonathon Amaya, Ryan Williams, Javier Arenas, Dan Giordano, Rashard Johnson, Karlos Dansby, Kory Sperry, Jeff King, Dan Williams, Ricky Lumpkin and Frostee Rucker.

In terms of significant lineup changes, David Arkin starts at left guard for the Cowboys with Leary and Livings out. Tyrann Mathieu will start for the Cardinals at safety over Johnson, who is absent because of of an injury.

Absences giving Jeff Heath a chance

August, 15, 2013
8/15/13
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OXNARD, Calif. – Jeff Heath’s chances of making the Cowboys’ 53-man roster were remote at the starting of training camp and remain so as the team readies to close training camp, but the undrafted safety will not be able to complain about the opportunity.

With J.J. Wilcox missing practice to deal with the death of his mother and Matt Johnson (foot) and Eric Frampton (calf) dealing with injuries, Heath is getting a chance to show what he can do.

“You want everyone to be healthy, but injuries happen in football,” Heath said. “Once they do, you want to take advantage of them. I always felt like I had a chance, but now I’ll get a couple more reps, so that will be good.”

Heath will have to make his mark on special teams. He was working as the personal protector on the punt team. At Tuesday’s practice he was able to break up a pass to tight end Gavin Escobar, but he mistimed his jump on a deep ball to Anthony Armstrong, giving up a big completion.

Coach Jason Garrett said Heath “is certainly in the mix for this whole thing.”

It is quite a jump from Saginaw Valley State, where Heath started 30 of 35 games and had seven interceptions. He had a few other opportunities as an undrafted free agent but chose the Cowboys, in part because of the team’s willingness to give long shots a chance.

“I knew some of their best players, Miles (Austin) and Tony (Romo), they were undrafted guys,” Heath said. “Every year all around the league you hear stories of undrafted guys. I’ve always had the mindset that it’s not how you get there, it’s what you do once you’re there.”

W2W4: Cowboys training camp Day 17

August, 14, 2013
8/14/13
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OXNARD, Calif. -- The Cowboys will have a closed practice to the public.

Wilcox's mother passes: Rookie safety J.J. Wilcox's mother, Marshell, died of Lupus on Tuesday. Wilcox left the team Sunday after it arrived from Oakland. The Cowboys will give Wilcox as much time as necessary to take care of his family.

Getting ready for Arizona: The Cowboys have worked on their third preseason opponent, the Arizona Cardinals, the last two days in practices. Coach Jason Garrett will probably use his starters for the first quarter, and if an offensive drive is extending into the second quarter, he will let them finish the drive. There are several players not expected to participate due to injuries, including Nate Livings, Alex Albright, Sean Lissemore, Kevin Kowalski and Eric Frampton, among others.

Young players rising: Terrance Williams, who missed the first two preseason games with a concussion, has returned with a force and is practicing well. Joseph Randle is running to contact and showing good vision in practices. DeVonte Holloman, with a pick in the team drills Tuesday, is doing a nice job in pass coverage. Jeff Heath could make this team on special teams and is doing a good job on defense with the third team.

Rough and tumble practices: There were some verbal jabs Tuesday involving Sean Lee and Terrance Williams, a hard hit from Will Allen on Jason Witten and more smack talk from various others. Will it continue Wednesday? It seems like the Cowboys are ready to play another team.

Kyle Wilber leaves practice briefly

August, 13, 2013
8/13/13
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OXNARD, Calif. -- Cowboys defensive end Kyle Wilber left Tuesday's practice briefly because of an apparent hip injury.

Wilber did return to practice and recorded a sack.

Toward the end of practice, backup defensive lineman Jeris Pendleton appeared to have hurt his left shoulder. He did not return.

Morris Claiborne (knee), J.J. Wilcox (personal), Matt Johnson (foot), Eric Frampton (hamstring), Alex Albright (back), Ernie Sims (groin), Jay Ratliff (hamstring), Anthony Spencer (knee), Sean Lissemore (groin), Cole Beasley (foot), Kevin Kowalski (knee), Ryan Cook (back), Ray Dominguez (shoulder) and Nate Livings (knee) sat out practice.

Lissemore did some sprints during practice and Ratliff remains on the PUP.

W2W4: Cowboys training camp: Day 16

August, 13, 2013
8/13/13
11:43
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OXNARD, Calif. -- The Cowboys are nearing the end of training camp and are in preparations for their third preseason game of the summer at Arizona.

Here's a preview:

Injuries piling up: Cornerback Morris Claiborne (knee) is the latest Cowboys player out, and it appears he won't practice this week. There are a few other players, including Eric Frampton (hamstring), Alex Albright (back), Ernie Sims (groin), Sean Lissemore (knee) and J.J. Wilcox (personal), who most likely won't play against the Arizona Cardinals. With the bulk of the injuries on defense, it leaves the unit short-handed.

More zone read: The Cowboys worked on defending the zone read offense in Monday's practice. The Cowboys will face two teams -- Philadelphia and Washington -- who use a form of it, and the Oakland Raiders ran a few plays in the second preseason game against them. Dwayne Harris was the quarterback for the zone read and coach Jason Garrett said his team has to prepare for it for when they see it during the season.

Waters update: There's nothing really to report Tuesday morning regarding Brian Waters. The Cowboys have made an offer to Waters, but he's still thinking about it. The Cowboys are trying to bolster the interior of the offensive line because of injuries to Ryan Cook, Kevin Kowalski and Nate Livings and the unknown with Ronald Leary, who hasn't played in a NFL regular season game. The Cowboys want a veteran presence as a swing guard in case of more injuries.

Armstrong moving up: If the Cowboys keep six receivers, Anthony Armstrong has the lead for a spot. His special teams play will help in the discussion as to whether to keep him, but he's doing a nice job with his route running and catching tough passes. Jared Green is still in the mix, but his two drops against the Raiders in the fourth quarter didn't help his cause.

Claiborne still bothered by knee soreness

August, 12, 2013
8/12/13
8:54
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OXNARD, Calif. -- Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne missed another day of practice with a sore left knee.

Claiborne suffered the injury last week and hoped to play in the second preseason game. His status for Saturday's preseason game at Arizona is in question.

"I believe anything is a setback," Claiborne said after Monday's practice. "This is a big setback. It might not be to somebody else, but it is to me. I have big goals for myself."

Claiborne said he hasn't undergone an MRI or X-ray because there is nothing structurally wrong with the knee.

"At this point, I'm just following directions, just going through the treatments," Claiborne said. "I thought I would be ready the next day, and, obviously, I wasn't."

Also, cornerback B.W. Webb sprained his right ankle and missed the team drills. J.J. Wilcox (personal matter), Matt Johnson (foot), Eric Frampton (hamstring), Alex Albright (back), Ernie Sims (groin), Jay Ratliff (hamstring), Anthony Spencer (knee), Sean Lissemore (groin), Cole Beasley (foot), James Nelson (ankle), Ryan Cook (back), Ray Dominguez (shoulder), Kevin Kowalski (knee), Nate Livings (knee) and Darrion Weems (sore chest) didn't practice.

Weight room accident KOs Darrion Weems

August, 12, 2013
8/12/13
3:15
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OXNARD, Calif. – Backup offensive tackle Darrion Weems will miss time because of a chest injury that happened off the field, not on it.

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According to coach Jason Garrett, Weems had the 325-pound bench press bar slip out of his grasp and land on his chest. Weems did not practice Sunday and is not expected to practice Monday.

“He’s got this thumb issue where he can’t put his thumb around the bar, so it’s kind of an open hand and the thing just kind of rolled off on him. ... We think he’s going to be back, but I’m sure it’s pretty painful.”

Defensive tackle Sean Lissemore, linebacker Ernie Sims (groin) and safety Eric Frampton (hamstring) will miss a “few days,” according to Garrett, putting their availability for Saturday’s preseason game at Arizona in jeopardy.

The Cowboys’ final two preseason games will be at AT&T Stadium against Cincinnati on Aug. 24 and Houston on Aug. 29.

“We’re hopeful on all of them (to play when the team returns home), but I’m not so sure it’s Cincinnati for all of them,” Garrett said. “It might be Houston. Some of them might practice towards the end of the week. We’ve just got to see how they respond to stuff.”

W2W4: Cowboys training camp: Day 15

August, 12, 2013
8/12/13
11:30
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OXNARD, Calif. -- The Cowboys enter the homestretch of training camp on Monday.

Defensive injuries: The Cowboys lost three defensive players to injuries and one more to a personal matter. Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is minus four players: Sean Lissemore, Eric Frampton, Ernie Sims and J.J. Wilcox. The injuries have left the Cowboys thin at the safety position because Frampton (hamstring) and Wilcox (personal matter) missed the team portions of Sunday's practice and second-year safety Matt Johnson (foot) won't practice this week. The defensive line was already missing two players, Anthony Spencer and Jay Ratliff, to injuries and add Lissemore to the mix and the Cowboys are down to 12 linemen on the 90-man roster.

Offensive line getting better: The more snaps Ronald Leary, the left guard, and Mackenzy Bernadeau, right guard, are getting the better the offensive line is becoming. Leary and Bernadeau missed practice time due to injuries early in camp, but each has looked good in the last four training camp practices. The team is still waiting for Brian Waters to make a decision regarding signing with the team. If he doesn't the Cowboys will stick with Leary and Bernadeau as the first-team guards for now.

Armstrong building a case: The Cowboys might keep five wide receivers, but Anthony Armstrong is putting in work to maybe force the team to add a sixth one. Tim Benford and Jared Green are also in the mix for a possible sixth spot, but Armstrong is the leader in the clubhouse because he's running good routes, catching tough passes and doesn't have mental mistakes. He's also doing a good job on special teams, something that the sixth receiver is going to do regardless.

Running backs becoming welterweight champs: Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar are not Floyd Mayweather, considered the best fighter, pound-for-pound, in boxing. Yet, in the last couple of practices, Dunbar and Tanner have gotten into scraps. Tanner on Sunday and Dunbar last week. The best position group on the team could be the running back position where Dunbar, No. 2 behind DeMarco Murray and Tanner, No. 3, in front of rookie Joseph Randle, are running to contact and showing great vision. The Cowboys are expected to keep four running backs, but it could drop to three if Tanner struggles on special teams, which he's not. So expect four on the roster.

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