Dallas Cowboys: Hall of Fame Game

Live in-game chat: Dallas Cowboys-Miami Dolphins

August, 4, 2013

Most starters to sit vs. Dolphins

August, 4, 2013
CANTON, Ohio -- Not only will Tony Romo sit out tonight’s Hall of Fame Game against Miami, but so will most of the Cowboys’ other starters.

In addition to Romo, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, Barry Church, Will Allen, Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr, Jason Hatcher and DeMarco Murray went through a series of 100-yard sprints two hours before kickoff, which is a sign they will not play.

The only projected starters for the regular-season opener who are currently healthy enough to not take part in the sprints were tackles Tyron Smith and Doug Free, center Travis Frederick, and linebacker Justin Durant.

With an extra preseason game, the Cowboys are being cautious with their starters, especially after a number of injuries to their offensive and defensive lines since training camp started. The Cowboys lost Witten to a lacerated spleen in the first quarter of last year’s preseason opener.

The starters are expected to play in the Cowboys’ second preseason game at Oakland on Friday. After a long return to Oxnard, Calif., from Canton, the players will be off Monday and have two full practices before playing the Raiders.

Rookie wide receiver Terrance Williams will not play against the Dolphins and is doubtful to play against the Raiders because of a concussion.

Romo expressed a desire to play against the Dolphins. He did not do any work in the offseason because of surgery to remove a cyst from his back in April. He has not missed a day of work in training camp and even took full part in a practice in which he was supposed to sit last week.

Mail call! Ready for some (exhibition) football?

August, 2, 2013
Well, another week of training camp is in the books for the Dallas Cowboys. Next up: the Hall of Fame Game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday night.

Sean Lee joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the Cowboys' upcoming season and his role on the team.

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But we're sure you have questions about a number of topics, with injuries -- especially on the offensive line -- leading the way. So, as the Cowboys steamroll toward the regular season, we want to know what's on your mind.

We're asking you guys to weigh in. What concerns you? What about the team do you like? What are your expectations?

You can let us know by hitting up the mailbag today. Calvin Watkins will answer your questions on this blog Sunday so get them in quickly.

Cowboys preseason schedule released

April, 4, 2013
The Dallas Cowboys released their preseason schedule Thursday.

ESPN Insider Ed Werder joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Tony Romo's contract extension and what needs to happen for Romo to lead the Cowboys to a championship.

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The Cowboys will kick off the preseason against the Miami Dolphins in the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday, Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio.

The Oakland Raiders will host the Cowboys in the second preseason game the weekend of Aug. 9-11. The Cowboys will then visit the Arizona Cardinals the weekend of Aug. 16-18.

The first preseason game at Cowboys Stadium will be the weekend of Aug. 23-25 against the Cincinnati Bengals. The finale will most likely be Aug. 29 when the Cowboys host the Houston Texans.

Exact dates and game times haven't been determined. The Cowboys will open training camp in mid-July in Oxnard, Calif.
PHOENIX -- The Cowboys will play the Miami Dolphins in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 4, it was announced Tuesday morning.

ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins joins Galloway & Company to discuss the latest from the NFL owners meetings, Tony Romo's contract situation and much more.

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The Cowboys have played in the Hall of Fame Game four times, with the last appearance coming in 2010, when they earned a 16-7 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

There are some positives and negatives with playing in this game:

  • It's a chance for the Cowboys and their fans to honor former Cowboys offensive lineman Larry Allen, who will be inducted with the Class of 2013. Former Cowboys coach and Dolphins executive Bill Parcells also is a member of this year's Hall class.

  • Because they'll now have five preseason games, it'll allow starters to become familiar with the new 4-3 defense. On the offensive side, it'll allow players to get used to a new playcaller (Bill Callahan?), if the Cowboys decide to go that direction.

  • The Cowboys can now open training camp early because of the Hall of Fame Game. Because you can start at least 15 days before the first preseason game, the Cowboys can kick off camp July 21 in Oxnard, Calif.

  • Traveling to play in five preseason games can be an emotional and physical drain. The Cowboys most likely will open camp in Oxnard, then travel to Canton for the first preseason game. The Cowboys could then return to Oxnard for another week of camp and play a road preseason game on the West Coast against San Diego, Oakland or even Seattle. After the second preseason game, the Cowboys can break camp and come back to Dallas to finish the rest of the preseason. Lots of airline miles and hotel nights in July and August.

  • Having that extra preseason game should help some players recovering from injuries to get two or possibly three preseason games of work. Injured players such as Barry Church (Achilles), Jay Ratliff (sports hernia), DeMarcus Ware (shoulder) Sean Lee (toe) and others might not be cleared to participate in the first preseason game but could be ready to go for the second.
  • It’s silly to panic after one preseason series, but the starting offense’s red-zone stall in the Hall of Fame Game was all too familiar.

    As Calvin Watkins pointed out, the Cowboys were a mediocre red-zone team last season. That’s inexcusable for a team that features a massive offensive line and a running back known as the Barbarian.

    But it’s tough to be a physical football team if you operate out of the shotgun inside the 5. The Cowboys’ final two snaps of their 14-play, 63-yard opening drive were incomplete passes out of the shotgun. Marion Barber didn’t touch the ball on that set of downs.

    The shotgun in punch-it-in territory is a personal pet peeve of mine, but it seems to be a formation that offensive coordinator Jason Garrett goes to often in such situations. Why does the Princeton-educated play-caller do that?

    Garrett said his formation choices are often dictated by what the defense does. The Bengals were blitzing heavily up the middle, according to Garrett, so he wanted to spread them out.

    Garrett often says the Cowboys pride themselves on being a physical football team. Can a team have that personality in a finesse formation like the shotgun?

    “You need to be a power, physical football team really in all your personnel groups,” Garrett. “We’ve done that fairly well from what we call 11 personnel, our three-wide receiver sets. Obviously, when we’re in the bigger personnel groups, we run it pretty well too.

    “That’s the nature of your football team – the guys you have, the aggressiveness with which you play – and you better be physical with all of your groups. We try to do that.”

    They didn’t succeed often enough out of the shotgun within sniffing distance of the end zone last season. That trend continued in the preseason opener.

    Scout's Eye: Hall of Fame Game preview

    August, 8, 2010
    AM ET
    Five things to watch in the Hall of Fame Game:

    *The first offense and defense will get a couple of series at the most. The most important areas to watch here is timing and execution of the plays or defense called.

    The last thing you want is to come out and look sloppy with your frontline players. On offense, fumbled snaps, dropped passes, missed blocks or poor assignments lead to unproductive plays and waste the limited time the squad is on the field. Ideally, you want Tony Romo to enjoy a clean pocket to make his throws. Unnecessary hits and having to avoid potential sacks are never good signs. You want your offense to have a rhythm. You want to see the line blocking, the receivers running good routes, and the backs having vision to hit the holes. Jason Garrett and the offensive coaches want it all to come together in that short time.

    On defense, you don’t want blown assignments, The goal should be to line up correctly and play sound technique. Getting off blocks, defending passes and most importantly, not allowing big plays will be the key.

    The young players on the second and third teams will make mistakes but you really want to build continuity and confidence with your ones.

    *Offensive tackle Doug Free has enjoyed a productive two weeks of camp.

    On a daily basis, he has worked against two of the better rushers in the NFL in DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Free has improved each day and Wade Phillips has called him the most consistent offensive linemen in the camp to this point. Free’s footwork and technique has been solid and he appears more comfortable working now on the left side.

    Free will have the opportunity to work against two veteran defensive ends in Antwan Odom and Frostee Rucker for the Bengals. Odom is a nice pass rusher but has been banged up a little in camp and has missed some time so he might actually see more of Rucker.

    *The pre season will be No. 3 quarterback Stephen McGee’s time to shine.

    The club knows what they have in backup Jon Kitna, so the bigger question is whether McGee be that “quarterback of the future.” Wade Phillips said that he is trying to develop McGee in that manner.

    There are some traits to like in McGee. He does have a strong arm, he is mobile and is intelligent.

    If McGee does struggle, it’s that he needs to do things quicker. The quarterback clock in his head needs to move faster.

    During practice, you can see Jason Garrett and Wade Wilson working with him. Stephen McGee will get the opportunity to prove he belongs and trust me, the front office and the coaches will be watching him every step of the way this summer.

    *Nose tackles Josh Brent and Junior Siavii are now in a battle for that backup position behind Jay Ratliff.

    Brent has been impressive in the three practices that he has had. Siavii has been steady but is limited as a player. Brent has quickness, power and is a better pass rusher. Siavii has power and does a decent job against the run.

    Brent, in my view, has much better upside than Siavii and the way that Brent plays this preseason could put Junior on the street.

    *Kicker David Buehler has been impressive in his attempt to win over the front office and the coaches with his ability to be the club’s starting kicker. There is no doubt when you watch Buehler on a daily basis that he has tremendous leg strength and power off his foot.

    Now the real test has arrived, the preseason games. Buehler needs to be consistent and take advantage of every opportunity he gets in these games.

    In the OTAs and minicamps this spring, I saw an inconsistent kicker that struggled to even make the simplest of kicks. The slightest bit of struggle will force the Cowboys to have to make a decision on his future as the placekicker.

    There is a plan in place if Buehler fails and these pre season games will determine that.

    Cowboys release preseason schedule

    March, 31, 2010
    PM ET
    The Dallas Cowboys released their preseason schedule Wednesday afternoon.

    As expected, the Cowboys open the preseason against the Cincinnati Bengals in the Hall of Fame Game on Sun., Aug. 8 in Canton, Ohio. The game will be played at 7 p.m. CT and shown nationally on NBC.

    The Cowboys then return home to play the Oakland Raiders at Cowboys Stadium. There currently is speculation that the Raiders are interested in discussing a trade for Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.

    The third preseason game will be in San Diego, which lines up the Cowboys to shift their training camp from San Antonio to Oxnard, Calif.

    Dallas will then head back to Texas, where they will visit the Houston Texans in the fourth preseason game at 7 p.m. on Sat., Aug. 28. The game will be broadcast nationally by CBS. The Cowboys also play the Texans during the regular season.

    The Cowboys then close the preseason at Cowboys Stadium vs. the Miami Dolphins.

    Final dates and times for the preseason games against the Raiders, Chargers and Dolphins -- and the regular-season schedule -- will be announced by the NFL at a later date.