Dallas Cowboys: Tom Brandstater

A possible look at Cowboys practice squad

September, 3, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- Perhaps eight of the Cowboys’ 26 cuts on Saturday could be back on the practice squad by 11 a.m. Sunday.

The guesses, provided they clear waivers?

QB Tom Brandstater, WR Teddy Williams, CB Josh Thomas, CB Mario Butler, FB Shaun Chapas, LB Orie Lemon, WR Manny Johnson and S Andrew Sendejo.

Brandstater gets a spot with an eye toward 2012. This is likely Jon Kitna’s last year, so why not keep Brandstater around to learn the system, run some scout team with Stephen McGee and have a third guy familiar with the surroundings next year? It would not preclude the team drafting a quarterback next year.

At wide receiver and corner, you need guys who can run all day and keep guys on your 53-man roster fresh, so that’s why I’m taking two of each.

Thomas and Butler were candidates to make the final roster and you can never have enough cornerbacks, although the Cowboys tested that theory last year by keeping only three on the 53-man roster. Williams brings speed to the wide receiver spot and Johnson knows the system.

With only three inside linebackers on the 53-man roster, Lemon would provide some cover in practice. Without a fullback on the active roster, Chapas could be a call-up at any moment.

With 10 offensive linemen, I'm not sure they need a practice squad guy, but it wouldn't surprise me to see them add a player.

Tom Brandstater ready for action

September, 1, 2011

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Tony Romo will not play tonight and Jon Kitna missed two days of practice with a sore back, so the Cowboys will use Stephen McGee and Tom Brandstater as their quarterbacks against Miami.

McGee took over snap in last year’s preseason finale, but since 2007 the Cowboys have given guys like Rudy Carpenter, Richard Bartel and Matt Moore most of the work.

Brandstater, who was signed Aug. 7, took some snaps in last week’s win at Minnesota and completed his only pass for 31 yards to Manny Johnson.

“I feel confident in my ability to know the offense,” Brandstater said. “The coaches and players have been great helping me learn it. Watching Tony and Jon has been great too. Me not being here long enough is not going to be an excuse. I’ve got to go out and play well and just kind of trust it and feel it and not worry about how long I’ve been here.”

Todd Archer's practice observations

August, 15, 2011

** With Jon Kitna resting because of a back strain, Stephen McGee took the reps with the No. 2 offense and Tom Brandstater was able to get more work than he has received since joining the team. In on-air drills, McGee missed back-to-back throws down the field to Jesse Holley and Raymond Radway.

** WR Kevin Ogletree and CB Josh Thomas got into a little scuffle during the “blue” practice that features the younger players. There have not been many fights among players in camp.

** The situation of the day was fourth-and-short with the offense attempting to draw the defense offside. It worked for the first-team offense when Tony Romo was able to get NT Jay Ratliff to bite. The defense held strong on its next two tries, and if it hadn’t then the coaches might have been apoplectic.

** DE Kenyon Coleman blew up the first run of team period by pushing rookie RT Tyron Smith into the path of RB Felix Jones. Later, Coleman put rookie G David Arikin on his back, leading to a Chris Randle interception of McGee. This was Coleman’s first day working with the No. 1 defense.

** For the second time in camp, WR Dez Bryant was unable to pull off a double reverse to WR Miles Austin. Bryant’s flip was too fast to handle and led to a fumble. It might be time to switch the roles of Austin and Bryant on that play.

** Romo completed 10-of-20 passes during team drills. His best throw came on a deep out to Bryant, who made an incredible grab over Orlando Scandrick near the sideline. It even had S Gerald Sensabaugh praising Bryant.

** On the next play, Scandrick made a perfect read of a throw to Ogletree, who turned into a defensive back on the play and broke up the sure pick. Scandrick thought he was held.

** Romo was short on throws just over defenders shoulders to Jones and Austin. Jones would have run away from the linebacker with the middle of the field open and Austin would have had a touchdown.

** Dan Bailey has missed four of his last five kicks. He closed the two-minute drive led by the first-team offense by pushing a 45-yarder wide to the right. The second-team offense worked on closing out a game with runs, highlighted by three carries apiece by Lonyae Miller and Phillip Tanner before Mat McBriar had to punt.

** S Barry Church had another productive day. He hung on Jason Witten’s hip to force an incompletion, blew up a bubble screen to WR Lyle Leong and would have had a big hit on TE Martin Rucker.

Todd Archer's practice observations

August, 13, 2011
** Two days after the preseason win against Denver, players were in shells for Saturday’s practice. The pads will probably return for Sunday’s workout.

** The stars were removed from the rookies’ helmets for practice. They had them for the Broncos game.

** Rookie WR Raymond Radway had a drop while running routes on air but made two nice catches right in front of owner and GM Jerry Jones. The first was a leaping grab down the middle from Stephen McGee and the second was on a perfectly placed pass from Tony Romo just over S Abram Elam and CB Alan Ball.

** CB Orlando Scandrick made a good read on a Romo throw to WR Miles Austin along the back line of the end zone, dropping off the underneath receiver to make the pick. Scandrick ran out of the end zone, which might not have pleased the coaches too much because he would not have made it to the 20.

** S Barry Church was beaten by TE Jason Witten for a touchdown just under the goal post but on the next play he was able to break up a throw from Kitna to Martin Rucker in 7-on-7 drills.

** LT Doug Free was pulled for a snap because of a false start. He was replaced by Jermey Parnell.

** After practice, NT Jay Ratliff spent time working with rookie center/guards Bill Nagy and Kevin Kowalski. He did the same thing last year with Phil Costa, who made the team as an undrafted free agent.

** The Cowboys are using the visitor’s locker room at Cowboys Stadium so fans taking tours can see where the players get ready for games. They have also set up a makeshift weight room and mini-field with blocking sleds by the locker room.

** CB Ross Weaver left practice early with what appeared to be a left ankle injury. He rolled into players along the sideline on a running play.

** David Buehler was perfect on attempts from 29, 34, 43 and 44 yards, while Dan Bailey missed wide to the right from 43 yards.

** QB Tom Brandstater was sharper Saturday than in his first few practices. He hit FB Shaun Chapas in the flat for a touchdown in team drills and connected with WR Tysson Poots for a nice gain out of the slot.