Dallas Cowboys: W2W4

W2W4: Cowboys practice Day 4

July, 24, 2013
OXNARD, Calif. -- The weather here is fantastic.

Wake up and it's about 60 degrees, watch practice in the late afternoon and it's in the 70s. But enough about the weather out here, let's preview the fourth day of training camp practice.

Bass vs. Wilber: Ben Bass took over as the first-team defensive end at Tuesday's practice over Kyle Wilber. Will that continue today? I assume so, but at times the Cowboys are mixing and matching players at different spots to see what they can do. Bass is a defensive tackle and Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin moved him to end. The Cowboys always want their linemen -- on the offensive and defensive sides -- to have position flexibility. This is the case with Bass. Can he maintain the spot? We'll see today.

Offense catching up: The offense gut beat up in the first two days of training camp. There were dropped passes, linemen on the ground, plenty of yelling from the coaches at the offensive players. Tuesday's third practice was different. Forget about what Dez Bryant is doing to the defense for a moment, but the interior of the line performed better Tuesday with fewer linemen hitting the ground and the quarterbacks getting more and more time to complete passes. There were more defensive coaches upset than offensive coaches. Kiffin threw his hat down twice Tuesday and secondary coach Jerome Henderson yelled at his secondary players. Linebackers coach Matt Eberflus told his group if they made a mistake they were going to run sprints.

Wide receiver battle: Let's get this out the way now: Miles Austin, Dwayne Harris and Bryant are locks to make the roster. Terrance Williams is on the 53 too because he's a third-round draft pick. Williams is getting snaps with the first-team in three receiver sets, but he's not performing like he should keep that role. Williams has dropped some passes and isn't getting off the line of scrimmage fast enough on a consistent basis. Maybe he needs more time to develop, but right now, Eric Rogers and Jared Green are playing better than him. Slot receiver Cole Beasley has been steady, but nothing special right now. If the Cowboys keep five receivers, that last spot is going to be a fight.

More hamstring issues: The Cowboys are awaiting the MRI results on backup tackle Jermey Parnell's hamstring. He's another player out because of the injury. Jay Ratliff, Mackenzy Bernadeau and James Hanna are on the list too. There's one thing for a player to get hurt as a result of getting hit or something happening in a non-contact drill, but are players getting stretched enough? Are the players following directions of the strength and conditioning staff? Something is not right.

If you come today: Practice starts at 4 p.m. PT on Wednesday. Watch for these players: B.W. Webb, who struggled Tuesday, needs to bounce back. Dez Bryant is someone you can watch every day. Tyron Smith's battles vs. DeMarcus Ware are fun. Linebacker Ernie Sims doesn't get a lot of press, but he's a solid player who understands his role; monitor how he's always around the ball.

W2W4: Cowboys Day 1 of training camp

July, 21, 2013
OXNARD, Calif. -- The day we've all been waiting for arrived Sunday, when the Cowboys opened up training camp practices.

Every day we'll give you a preview on the festivities.

Who will practice? Tony Romo, who underwent offseason surgery to remove a cyst from his back, has been cleared to practice. Romo missed offseason workouts while recovering, but was working out in Southern California prior to the team's arrival for the start of training camp. The Cowboys, however, will not have a complete 90-man roster practice on Sunday. Nate Livings (foot), Ronald Leary (calf) and L.P. Ladouceur will miss Sunday's session with what the team is describing as minor injuries. Several other players (DeMarcus Ware, Danny Coale and a few others) could be limited in their work the first couple of practices.

Jones' 25th: Jerry Jones, 71, will have his 25th training camp as owner of the Cowboys. His first camp was in 1989 in Thousand Oaks, Calif., just east of Oxnard, where the team now holds camp. Jones is noted for saying some pretty interesting things during his training camp opening news conference. Saturday afternoon was no different. Jones said coach Jason Garrett's job isn't tied to making the playoffs. The comment surprised some in the media and maybe some fans.

What's new? The Cowboys have a new defensive coordinator (Monte Kiffin), offensive playcaller (Bill Callahan), defensive scheme (4-3 from a 3-4), outside linebacker (Justin Durant), starting center (Travis Frederick) and safety (Will Allen). Off the field, the Cowboys have two trucks, one positioned at the far end of the field and another near the main entrance, that will sell team merchandise. Autograph seekers 12 and under will be positioned closest to the players as they walk off the field near one of the end zones next to the entrance. If you're an adult wanting an autograph, you better get to the practice fields early and find a good spot along the fence near the sidelines.

The left guard is … Livings and Leary are at the top of the depth chart but with each out due to injuries, who takes over? David Arkin should see time at this spot. This is an opportunity for Arkin to establish himself as someone to keep for the 53-man roster. Arkin is on the bubble, so every snap he gets with the first team will be valuable to him.

Practice times: As we said, get here early. There is a 3 p.m. PT rally with the practice to start at 4 p.m. It should last until nearly 6 p.m. It's the first of 18 practices, but only 17 are open to the public. The practice on Aug. 14 is closed. From Sunday through Aug. 16, when they break camp, the Cowboys will have four off days.

W2W4: Cowboys vs. Eagles

December, 2, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cowboys and the Eagles have their rematch at Cowboys Stadium. Unlike the first meeting, when the Eagles felt they had playoff hopes, this time, at 3-8, the hopes are gone. The Cowboys aspire to make the playoffs, and as the December portion of the schedule starts Sunday night, this is a chance to move forward.

A preview.

The series: The Cowboys haven't faced any team more than they've faced the Philadelphia Eagles (107 times). A victory for the Cowboys would give them the series sweep, the first time that's happened since 2009 and the 18th time overall. Of the 107 games between the teams, 48 were decided by two or more touchdowns and 40 decided by a touchdown or less.

The return of DeMarco Murray: After missing six games with a sprained foot, starting running back DeMarco Murray returns to the lineup. The Cowboys' running game has gone badly without him. Felix Jones replaced Murray in the starting lineup. Murray was averaging 4.4 yards per carry on the season before his injury and rushed for 93 yards on 14 carries in his last game, a loss to Baltimore on Oct. 14.

Nick Foles again: Michael Vick won't play because of a concussion, so the Cowboys face Nick Foles. After Vick went down in the first game with the Cowboys, Foles completed 22 of 32 passes for 219 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Eagles won't change their offense just because Foles is on the field. So expect spread formations and deep passes.

Morris Claiborne's rematch: The rookie cornerback allowed a touchdown and four receptions and was penalized five times in the first game. It was a rude welcome to the Eagles rivalry. Claiborne said he won't let that game bother him going into the rematch. The Eagles won't have the speedy DeSean Jackson, who beat Claiborne on a 31-yarder in the first meeting.

Sunday night troubles: Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has dismissed the Sunday night losses, now at eight straight, because his team beat the New York Giants in the regular-season opener on a Wednesday night. The Cowboys haven't won on a Sunday night in a while and are 20-24 in Sunday night games.

December to remember: As great as Tony Romo has been in November (21-4), he's bad in December. Romo is just 8-13 in December. Playing at Cowboys Stadium isn't a special place for Romo and his team, either. The Cowboys are just 1-4 in December at Cowboys Stadium.

Last time you see Andy Reid? The Eagles' coach is on the hot seat because of how bad the Eagles have been. Injuries, inconsistency and poor decisions with the personnel have hurt Reid this season. In 14 NFL seasons, Reid is 129-89-1 with an impressive 52-35 record in the NFC East. Regardless of what happens Sunday night, this appears to be the last time Reid will coach against the Cowboys as the head coach of the Eagles.

W2W4: Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

September, 5, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Finally. The 2012 season begins tonight when the Dallas Cowboys visit the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.

There are all sorts of subplots in a game like this. Here's a nice little preview.

The series: The Cowboys lead the all-time series, 56-42-2, but the Giants have won seven of the last 10 meetings, including a two-game series sweep in 2011. In the last 10 games between the teams, five were decided by a touchdown or less with three games decided by four points or less. The Cowboys have lost their last two season openers yet still own the best winning percentage in league history in such games (.667; 34-17-1). The Giants have a .598 winning percentage in season openers (49-33-5). The Cowboys are 5-0 in openers against the Giants.

Will Jason Witten play? The Cowboys tight end is doubtful with a slightly lacerated spleen. He underwent a CT scan Tuesday and the results weren't made available. If the scan is clean, Witten could play. If he doesn't play, expect John Phillips and rookie James Hanna to get the bulk of the snaps at tight end.

Rookie debuts: First-round pick Morris Claiborne will make his NFL debut on Wednesday night. The cornerback missed the entire offseason program as he recovered from wrist surgery and he missed valuable practice time during training camp with a sprained knee. But Claiborne played in two preseason games and, ready or not, he will start at corner with Brandon Carr on the other side. Defensive end Tyrone Crawford, wide receiver Cole Beasley and Hanna are the other rookies expecting to make their debuts Wednesday night.

Revenge is in the air: The Cowboys had a chance to clinch a playoff berth with a victory in the regular-season finale at MetLife Stadium last season but lost, 31-14. Cowboys players hinted all summer they've forgotten about that game, but little by little the Cowboys have talked about beating the Giants. Revenge is in the air, but would it mean anything? It depends on whom you speak with. If the Giants lose, they'll say no big deal and that they've dealt with this in the past. If the Cowboys win, it sets the tone for their season.

Numbers game: The fine people at ESPN Stats & Information found this little item regarding quarterback Tony Romo: He was sacked six times against the Giants in the regular-season finale, tying a career high. Romo was sacked 21 times over the final seven weeks of the 2011 season. Only San Francisco's Alex Smith (23) was sacked more. Want more? Eli Manning has 31 career touchdown passes in 15 regular-season games against the Cowboys, his most against any opponent. Only three players have thrown for more touchdowns against the Cowboys.

The weather: It rained in the New York area Tuesday and there's a 20 percent chance of it happening Wednesday night. The low is supposed to be 72.

Did you know? This is just the second time in Cowboys history they've played a game on Sept. 5. The Cowboys won their only other Sept. 5 game back in 1983, a 31-30 victory over the New York Giants.