Dallas Cowboys: Frank Kearse

Zack Martin can keep wearing No. 70

May, 13, 2014
5/13/14
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IRVING, Texas -- Zack Martin has already changed numbers.

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Which 7th-round pick has the best chance to make an impact for the Cowboys this season?

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    10%
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    48%
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    21%
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    10%
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    11%

Discuss (Total votes: 7,574)

With the release of defensive tackle Frank Kearse on Monday, the Dallas Cowboys’ first-round pick was able to move from No. 71 to No. 70, the number he wore at Notre Dame.

Second-round pick Demarcus Lawrence will wear No. 90, which was last worn by Jay Ratliff. Consider it a smart move that he was not given No. 94 with the comparisons that will come to DeMarcus Ware. Actually, the Cowboys could keep Ware's No. 94 off limits for as long as possible, considering his status in the franchise's history.

Here are the assigned numbers for the rest of the draft class:

Anthony Hitchens, No. 59
Devin Street, No. 15
Ben Gardner, No. 71
Will Smith, No. 40
Ahmad Dixon, No. 36
Ken Bishop, No. 66
Terrance Mitchell, No. 30

Looking at the picks: Rounds 4-7

May, 7, 2014
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IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys have 11 picks in the upcoming NFL draft. Over the next two days we will look at the players taken at those 11 spots in the past five drafts to get an indication of the type of player who could be available.

Today we look at Rounds 4-7:

Fourth round (No. 119 overall)
2009 S D.J. Moore, Chicago
2010 LB A.J. Edds, Miami
2011 RB Delone Carter, Indianapolis
2012 LB Keenan Robinson, Washington
2013 S Phillip Thomas, Washington

Notable: Moore has played in 47 games -- three starts -- in his career and has two interceptions. He might be the best pick. Carter had 499 yards in two years with the Colts and was with Jacksonville last season. The Redskins have not gotten much from their last two fourth-rounders. Thomas suffered a foot injury in the preseason and was on injured reserve in 2013. Robinson has torn both pectoral muscles in his first two seasons.

Fifth round (No. 158)
2009 LB Cody Glenn, Washington
2010 C Matt Tennant, New Orleans
2011 DB Jermale Hines, St. Louis
2012 DE Jack Crawford, Oakland
2013 TE Luke Willson, Seattle

Notable: Crawford played in 15 games last season for the Raiders but does not have a sack yet in his career. Willson played in every game last season for the Seahawks and caught 20 passes for 272 yards and a touchdown. Glenn, Tennant and Hines are out of the NFL.

Seventh round (No. 229)
2009 WR Manuel Johnson, Dallas
2010 C Erik Cook, Washington
2011 DB Jonathan Nelson, St. Louis
2012 RB Bryce Brown, Philadelphia
2013 DL Everett Dawkins, Minnesota

Notable: Johnson kicked around mostly on the practice squad for the Cowboys. Dawkins spent a brief stint with the Cowboys last season. Brown is a talented runner but he’s behind LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles. Cook’s older brother, Ryan, spent the last two seasons with the Cowboys.

Seventh round (No. 231)
2009 DB Jamarca Sanford, Minnesota
2010 OT Selvish Capers, Washington
2011 DL Frank Kearse, Miami
2012 WR Toney Clemons, Pittsburgh
2013 DE Ty Powell, Seattle

Notable: Kearse is with the Cowboys and could be a rotation player in 2014 after spending a few weeks with the team last season. Powell is now with the Buffalo Bills. Clemons caught three passes for 41 yards last year for Jacksonville and is now with Carolina.

Seventh round (No. 238)
2009 DB Stoney Woodson, NY Giants
2010 DT Ricardo Mathews, Indianapolis
2011 TE Daniel Hardy, Tampa Bay
2012 WR Junior Hemingway, Kansas City
2013 WR Aaron Mellette, Baltimore

Notable: Mathews is the most accomplished player and signed as a free agent with Houston after making six starts for the Colts. Hemingway caught 13 passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns last season. He caught one pass for 10 yards vs. the Cowboys.

Seventh round (No. 248)
2009 TE Cameron Morrah, Seattle
2010 DT Kade Weston, New England
2011 DB Eric Hagg, Cleveland
2012 OL Kelvin Beachum, Pittsburgh
2013 S Daimion Stafford, Tennesse

Notable: Beachum has worked into a starting role with the Steelers after his career at SMU. He started 12 of 15 games in 2013. Hagg and Morrah are now teammates in Denver.

Seventh round (No. 251)
2009 WR Derek Kinder, Chicago
2010 DB Stevie Brown, Oakland
2011 DB Tommie Campbell, Tennessee
2012 K John Potter, Buffalo
2013 OL T.J. Johnson, Cincinnati

Notable: Brown found a home with the New York Giants in 2012 and had a two-interception game against the Cowboys. He did not play last year because of a knee injury but re-signed with the Giants in March.

Seventh round (No. 254)
2009 OL Trevor Canfield, Arizona
2010 LB Josh Hull, St. Louis
2011 DL Cheta Ozougwu, Houston
2012 No selection
2013 TE Justice Cunningham, Indianapolis

Notable: Ozougwu was Mr. Irrelevant and is now with the Bears. He had one sack in seven games last year. Cunningham made it to the Colts active roster last year but was a late-season pickup by St. Louis. Hull recently signed with New England and has mostly been a special teamer.

Re-setting Cowboys D-line

April, 28, 2014
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IRVING, Texas -- With Anthony Spencer re-signing over the weekend, the Dallas Cowboys now have 12 defensive linemen on their current roster.

Is that enough?

Probably not. And as explained on Saturday, the Spencer deal should not preclude the Cowboys from going after more defensive linemen in the draft.

Let’s reset the Cowboys defensive line:

Ben Bass: Signed through 2014 -- A restricted free agent after the season, has to show he can stay healthy.

Tyrone Crawford: Signed through 2015 -- Coming off torn Achilles, but expected to be main contributor this season.

Nick Hayden: Signed through 2014 -- An unrestricted free agent after the season, he was a starter last year and had some moments.

Frank Kearse: Signed through 2015 -- A late-season addition in 2013, more of a depth player.

Terrell McClain: Signed through 2016 -- A free-agent pickup, he could take over the one technique spot this year from Hayden.

Henry Melton: Signed through 2014 -- Team holds a three-year option on his deal that would guarantee him $9 million. The key free-agent signing.

George Selvie: Signed through 2014 -- A revelation last year with seven sacks, he will be counted on more in 2014. He is an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Anthony Spencer: Signed through 2014 -- He is coming back from microfracture surgery but his rehab has gone well recently. The one-year deal allows him to make good this year to cash in next year.

Martez Wilson: Signed through 2014 -- His measurables have the team intrigued at what he could be in a full year with Rod Marinelli. He is an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Tristan Okpalaugo: Signed through 2014 – He was a futures signing after the season and team is hoping they found a diamond in rough.

Caesar Rayford: Signed through 2014 – Acquired in trade from Indianapolis last summer, he is a project but looks the part.

Jeremy Mincey: Signed through 2015 -- A free-agent pickup, he can play either end spot and move inside in passing situations.

Analysis: The only player with a contract past 2015 is McClain, which is one of the reasons why defensive line remains a need. The main reason, however, is they can still use an infusion of talent and a natural pass rusher … Melton’s deal could run through 2017 if the Cowboys pick up his option. For that to happen, however, he will have to perform close to his Pro Bowl level with the Chicago Bears in 2013 … Position flexibility helps. Bass, Crawford, Mincey and Selvie have the ability to play end and tackle depending on the situation.

Cowboys position breakdown: D-line

January, 29, 2014
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Cowboys reporters Calvin Watkins and Todd Archer breakdown the Cowboys, position by position, analyzing what the players did in 2013, what they can do in the future and what the team can do to improve the position in 2014.

Under contract: DeMarcus Ware, George Selvie, Nick Hayden, Corvey Irvin, Martez Wilson, Everette Brown, Frank Kearse, Ben Bass, Tyrone Crawford, Edgar Jones, Caesar Rayford

A look back: Jason Hatcher had the best season of his career with 11 sacks and was added to the Pro Bowl, but the defensive line play in 2013 was shoddy and played a big part in why the Cowboys finished last in the NFL in defense.

Spencer
Monte Kiffin’s defense is predicated on the front four getting pressure, and they did not affect the quarterback enough. From the first day of training camp on, the group was beset by injury. Tyrone Crawford tore his Achilles on the first day. Jay Ratliff never played a down and was cut in October. Anthony Spencer played in one game before needing microfracture surgery on his knee. The Cowboys used 20 different defensive linemen during the season. They hit on George Selvie, who started every game and had seven sacks, and received some moments from Nick Hayden as well, but the group just wasn’t good enough.

DeMarcus Ware missed three games with a quadriceps strain and had a career-low six sacks. He had four sacks in the first three games. Whether it was injury or age, Ware was not the same player in 2013 as he was even in 2012, when he had 11.5 sacks but was limited by shoulder and elbow injuries.

A look ahead: The biggest decision the Cowboys have to make is on Ware. He is to count $16.003 million against the salary cap with a $12.25 million base salary. Do the Cowboys ask him to take a pay cut, or do they restructure his deal in order to create room?

It is a delicate decision that owner and general manager Jerry Jones has been loathed to make in the past. There is no way Ware can count that much against the cap.

It seems almost a given that Hatcher will leave as a free agent. The team does not have the cap space to keep him, and it is difficult to commit big money to a soon-to-be 32-year-old defensive end. The chances of Spencer returning as a free agent are better just because his price will be kept low.

Crawford could be the key to the group, but the Cowboys should not bank on him being an every-down player coming off the injury. He played well as a rookie in 2012, but did not have a sack. His plus, however, is versatility. He could play all along the line. The question for Selvie is whether 2013 was an anomaly or a sign that he finally figured it out.

A look out: Last season's free-agent market was light for defensive linemen, so that could help the Cowboys in possibly keeping Hatcher, but he will take the best offer with this being his last chance to cash in.

Finding free agent help will be difficult, so the best chance to improve is in the draft. They made a mistake in not choosing a defensive lineman last year, and they can’t do that again this year. They need to find a pass-rusher, a run defender and a multi-faceted player. Getting one or two in the early rounds seems imperative.

Position breakdown:

Quarterbacks
Running backs
Tight ends
Wide receivers

Cowboys snap counts: defense

January, 6, 2014
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IRVING, Texas -- No team in the NFL needed more players on defense than the Dallas Cowboys in 2013.

They had 41 defenders with cornerback Brandon Carr playing the most (1,116 snaps) and Dez Bryant playing the least (three). The Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints had the second most with 32 players on defense.

In training camp, the Cowboys’ projected defensive line was Anthony Spencer, Jason Hatcher, Jeremiah Ratliff and DeMarcus Ware. Hatcher played the most snaps (747) but that was only 66 percent of the snaps. Ware missed three games and played 628 snaps (55 percent). Spencer played 34 snaps in one game before his season ended. Ratliff, of course, played none before his release.

Nick Hayden played the most snaps on the defensive line (821). George Selvie did not join the team until training camp began and played 744 snaps.

With Hatcher and Spencer set to be free agents and Ware coming off a career-low six sacks, the Cowboys need to refurbish their defensive line in a way where Hayden and Selvie are not playing as much.

The Cowboys used 20 defensive linemen during the season, although Kyle Wilber moved to linebacker late in the season and played 501 snaps.

It might not have seemed this way, but Jeff Heath played only 79 more snaps than J.J. Wilcox.

Defensive snaps:

1,116 – Brandon Carr
1,088 – Orlando Scandrick
1,015 – Barry Church
874 – Bruce Carter
821 - Nick Hayden
747 – Jason Hatcher
744 – George Selvie
702 – Sean Lee
628 - DeMarcus Ware
594 - Jeff Heath
515 - J.J. Wilcox
506 – Morris Claiborne
501 – Kyle Wilber
380 – Ernie Sims
275 – Jarius Wynn
254 - Drake Nevis
207 – DeVonte Holloman
197 – Justin Durant
178 – B.W. Webb
163 – Will Allen
153 – Everette Brown
144 – Caesar Rayford
117 – Corvey Irvin
81 – Sterling Moore
72 - Edgar Jones
63 – Cameron Lawrence
49 – David Carter
46 – Jason Vega
45 – Jerome Long
38 – Landon Cohen
34 – Anthony Spencer
34 – Frank Kearse
24 – Kyle Bosworth
22 – Micah Pellerin
20 – Everett Dawkins
20 – Martez Wilson
16 – Jakar Hamilton
15 – Marvin Austin
8 – Danny McCray
6 – Orie Lemon
3 – Dez Bryant

Pondering the 46: Room for Spurlock?

December, 21, 2013
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IRVING, Texas -- Sometimes when Pondering the 46, you have to figure out how to get a player to the game and not how to come up with seven inactive players.

That’s the case with receiver/returner Michael Spurlock this week against the Washington Redskins.

The Cowboys would not have signed him this week if they were pleased with their return game in Dwayne Harris' absence. Even if Terrance Williams didn’t have a strained hamstring, Spurlock would be here.

But how does he make it to the 46?

We know Dwayne Harris, Sean Lee and Morris Claiborne are out with injuries, even though Claiborne is officially listed as doubtful. Ernie Sims is likely to be out, too, but he is doubtful with a groin injury. We know Darrion Weems and Jakar Hamilton will be inactive.

Williams is listed as questionable. If he can’t play, then Spurlock gets that spot. If he can play, then the Cowboys will have to figure out where they go light.

It can’t be at linebacker. They have only five healthy linebackers. It can’t be on the offensive line. They have to take seven to the game. It can’t be quarterback, tight end, secondary or the specialists either.

We’re down to running back and defensive line. Phillip Tanner has special teams value, and if they need to run out the clock late I would think they would go with him if something happened to DeMarco Murray.

So now we’re down to the defensive line. Two weeks ago Everette Brown did not dress. Last week it was Martez Wilson. Jarius Wynn is questionable with a chest injury. They need to get after Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, so pass rush will be at a premium. I think they will carry all of their ends. That leaves newcomer Frank Kearse. Signed on Wednesday off the Tennessee Titans practice squad, he brings some size to the line, but that might not be enough to get him on the 46.

The inactives: Lee, Harris, Claiborne, Hamilton, Weems, Sims, Kearse.

Cowboys LBs a mixed, matched unit

December, 18, 2013
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IRVING, Texas -- At the beginning of the season the Dallas Cowboys' defensive line was hit by injuries and they have been forced to add new players all season. On Sunday Frank Kearse could be the 19th different defensive lineman to play in a game for the Cowboys.

Now the Cowboys' linebacker corps is as thin as a piece of paper as they prepare for Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins.

“You always have guys who are at certain points with their health over the course of the week and you've got to make your judgments,” coach Jason Garrett said. “The big thing we try to do is make sure we have all of the contingency plans in place. If this guy is not available, who is playing? What happens if he gets hurt, who goes in and all that stuff. We have a lot of discussions about that as coaches at all positions with all injuries. You deal with them the best you can and you go forward.”

Sean Lee is expected to miss his second straight game with a neck injury. Ernie Sims did not practice because of a groin injury and his availability for the Redskins' game is in doubt. Justin Durant's season ended on Tuesday because of a hamstring injury.

Bruce Carter said he will return after not playing last week against the Green Bay Packers. DeVonte Holloman could start his first game at middle linebacker. Kyle Wilber, who was a defensive end last month, will start at strongside linebacker. They have Cameron Lawrence and Orie Lemon as backups. Defensive end Edgar Jones has some linebacker experience from his 3-4 days.

“Right, we understood we don't have really any depth right now at linebacker so if we can get guys back healthy like me, try to get Ernie there, he's been banged up,” Carter said. “We just need to get anybody really.”

Before the loss to the Packers Holloman had never played middle linebacker in a game.

“Just knowing what to look for before it happens,” Holloman said. “Guys that have been in the fire before, they can see things coming a lot faster than guys just thrown out there or their first time out there. So just seeing a couple of things before they come at you.”

When the Cowboys lost Durant and Sims last week, they had to rely on hand signals from the coaches to the players since only two communication devices are allowed in players' helmets. Carter will be the signal-caller Sunday with Holloman serving as the backup.

It does not help that the Redskin feature the NFL's third-ranked rush offense, led by Alfred Morris.

“We know we've got a little extra tutorship going on and things like that,” defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said. “We've just got to do the best we can. We're going to show up and we're going to play hard and whoever is out there is going to do a heck of a job. When we walked into that meeting this morning, ‘Man, we're upbeat. Let's go. Let's go, man.' We've got a couple of games to go and hopefully another one after that. But you only play one at a time. You've got to play 60 plays, 65 plays, whatever it is, so don't worry about the second game. Don't worry about Philadelphia. Let's play 60, 65 plays at the very best of our ability and then play hard. That's what we've got to do.”

Cowboys add DL Frank Kearse

December, 18, 2013
12/18/13
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IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys filled out their 53-man roster by signing defensive tackle Frank Kearse off the Tennessee Titans' practice squad.

Kearse replaced Drake Nevis, who was released Tuesday. A seventh-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2011, Kearse played in 14 games with the Carolina Panthers in 2011-12 and had 23 tackles and 1.5 sacks. He was cut by the Panthers over the summer and had been on Tennessee's practice squad since Nov. 26.

If he plays Sunday against the Washington Redskins he would be the 19th defensive linemen the Cowboys have suited up this season.

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