Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and owner Jerry Jones met Tuesday at the club’s Valley Ranch training complex to discuss the receiver’s contract situation, two sources said.

Bryant
Bryant
The two also spoke briefly in the locker room after Saturday’s preseason game about the prospect of getting a deal done before the start of the regular season on Sept. 7. Bryant has repeatedly said he doesn’t want to discuss a new contract once the season begins.

Bryant and the Cowboys have been discussing a long-term deal for several months, but have been unable to reach an agreement.

Bryant, who caught 93 passes for 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns, considers himself a top-5 NFL receiver and wants to be paid like one. Those players earn about $12 million per season. The Cowboys view him more as a top-10 receiver and would like to pay him in the $8-10 million range.

They have often compared him to DeSean Jackson, who signed a three-year, $24 million deal with Washington in the offseason.

The sources said Bryant and Jones had an amicable meeting Tuesday in which Jones reiterated to Bryant how much he wants him to be with the Cowboys long-term.

After the Cowboys signed left tackle Tyron Smith to an eight-year, $98 million contract extension during training camp, the NFLPA reportedly looked into the negotiations because the Cowboys circumvented Smith’s agent and persuaded Smith to agree to a deal that would keep him tied to the Cowboys until the 2023 season.

Right now, one source said the biggest impediment to getting a deal done is the amount of guaranteed money.

If the sides don’t reach an agreement, the Cowboys could put the franchise tag on him and pay Bryant $12.3 million next season.

Jason Witten at No. 25 in #NFLRank

August, 27, 2014
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IRVING, Texas -– As ESPN continues its #NFLRank countdown, Jason Witten has made his appearance in the offense’s top 100.

The nine-time Pro Bowl tight end checked in at No. 25, down four spots from 2013 after he caught 110 passes, an NFL record for tight ends. Witten had 73 catches for 851 yards and eight touchdowns last season. There are three tight ends ranked higher than Witten: Vernon Davis, Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski.

He is the fourth Cowboy to check in on offense. DeMarco Murray was No. 91, Tony Romo was No. 61 and Tyron Smith was No. 40.

The only player left to find out? Dez Bryant. Last year, Bryant was No. 28.

If you’re waiting for a member of the defense to check in, don’t bother. The Cowboys are one of three teams without a defender in the top 100.

For the full list so far, click here.
IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett truly cares about character.

Character is a critical element to Garrett's football philosophy and an integral part of the fabric of how he tries to build a team. It’s a subject he eagerly discusses in great detail, as he did during his Tuesday news conference.

McClain
“Are you the right kind of guy?” Garrett said. “Are you part of this team that we're trying to build? Can you play the way we want to play? That’s a really important consideration. So every time we talk about personnel, those are the things that come into my mind. Does this guy represent what we want?

“I can stand in front of the team and make great speeches and show them clips of movies and inspire them in a lot of different ways and tell them what we’re all about. And then if we take a player and have this guy on our team that doesn’t really represent any of that other stuff, the players look at you like, ‘Yeah, this is what he stands for. This isn’t what he stands for.’ We believe in building something that we’re all going to be proud of.”

Therein lies the real risk of the Cowboys’ trade for twice-retired middle linebacker Rolando McClain.

The deal with the Baltimore Ravens made perfect sense for the Cowboys on paper. At the most, it would cost the Cowboys a swap of their sixth-round pick for the Ravens’ seventh-round pick, so there is no real risk in terms of value. After Sean Lee’s season-ending knee injury, Dallas was desperate to add a playmaker at middle linebacker, and McClain has that potential as a 25-year-old former eighth overall pick.

But how does McClain represent all those intangible attributes that Garrett values so greatly?

“We’ll see,” Garrett said. “Rolando McClain was a great football player coming out of Alabama and if anybody watched him play in college, you’d be pretty impressed with everything that I was just talking about. I know someone really well down there who runs that program who really endorsed him for all the reasons that we’ve talked about, not just physical ability, just everything he was all about.

“Oftentimes players get to a certain place or have different things happen in their lives that maybe the best isn’t brought out in them, because of what they’ve done or because of an environment they might be in. We believe in second chances, and it really doesn’t matter where guys come from. We feel like giving him an opportunity to show that he is that guy that everybody thought he was when he was in college is a good bet.”

Telling stats about each starting QB

August, 27, 2014
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Russell Wilson, Tom Brady and Peyton ManningGetty Images

NFC EAST


Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys: Romo has led 13 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime over the past three seasons, two more than any other quarterback. Romo also ranks fifth in Total QBR in the fourth quarter and overtime since 2011.

Eli Manning, New York Giants: Manning led the NFL with a career-high and franchise-record 27 interceptions last season, five more than any other QB. It was the most interceptions by any QB in a season since Brett Favre in 2005 (29).


Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles: Foles threw 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions last season. Foles' touchdown-to-interception ratio of 13.5 was the best by any qualifying QB in a season in NFL history.


Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins: Griffin ranked fifth in the NFL with a Total QBR of 73.2 on the 0-to-100 scale as a rookie in 2012. Last season, his rating plunged to 40.1, 29th in the NFL. Griffin had the league's largest decrease in Total QBR from 2012 to 2013.


NFC WEST


Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals: Palmer led the NFL with 145 passes thrown 15 or more yards downfield last season, but he also led the league with 13 interceptions on such throws while finishing 17th in yards per attempt and 29th in touchdown-to-interception ratio on deep passes.

Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers: Kaepernick has been blitzed on a league-high 38.3 percent of his dropbacks over the past two seasons. But he's also one of the best QBs against the blitz, with the third-highest QBR since the start of 2012 (75.2).

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: Including playoffs, Wilson is 28-9 as a starter over the past two seasons. That's the most wins by a starting QB in his first two seasons in NFL history and tied with Peyton Manning for the most wins in the NFL since 2012.

Shaun Hill, St. Louis Rams: Shaun Hill is 13-13 with a 50.1 Total QBR (50 is average) in his career as a starting quarterback. Sam Bradford is 18-30 in 48 career starts and has never posted a Total QBR over 50.3 in a season.


NFC NORTH


Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears: During his first four seasons in Chicago, Cutler was sacked on 7.6 percent of his dropbacks, the highest rate among qualifying QBs. In his first season under Marc Trestman in 2013, Cutler was sacked on just 5.0 percent of his dropbacks (sixth-lowest rate in NFL).

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: Stafford threw 16 touchdown passes and six interceptions in his first eight games last season. In his last eight games, he threw 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, tied with Joe Flacco for the most interceptions in the NFL over that span.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: Over the past three seasons, Rodgers ranks first in the NFL in yards per attempt (8.5) and touchdown-to-interception ratio (5.1), second in Total QBR (78.9) and third in completion percentage (67.5).


Matt Cassel, Minnesota Vikings: Cassel completed 73 percent of his passes and averaged 8.9 yards per attempt last season when targeting Greg Jennings. When targeting all other players, he completed 59 percent of his passes for 6.9 yards per attempt.


NFC SOUTH


Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: Ryan was pressured on 203 dropbacks last season, 20 more than any other quarterback. From 2009 to 2012, he was pressured an average of just 113 times per season.


Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: In his three NFL seasons, Newton has been sacked, hit while throwing or hit while carrying the ball 467 times. That's more than double the total for any other quarterback. Next closest is Ryan Fitzpatrick, at 230.


Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: Brees has thrown for 5,000 yards in four seasons, including each of the past three. Every other player in league history has combined for four seasons with 5,000 or more passing yards.


Josh McCown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: McCown had the league's third-highest completion percentage (51.2) on passes 15 or more yards downfield last season. Seventeen of his 21 completions on such throws were to Alshon Jeffery or Brandon Marshall.


AFC EAST


EJ Manuel, Buffalo Bills: Manuel was among the NFL's least effective QBs on third down last season. Manuel ranked last in the NFL in yards per attempt (5.2) on third down and second to last in completion percentage (47.5).


Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: Tannehill was sacked 58 times last season, the most in a season since Jon Kitna for the Lions in 2006 (63). Tannehill has been sacked 93 times in his career, the most by any player in his first two NFL seasons since Jake Plummer in 1997-98 (101).

Tom Brady, New England Patriots: In 2013, Brady had his lowest completion percentage (60.5) in a full season since 2003, his fewest yards per attempt (6.9) since 2006 and his fewest TD passes (25) since 2006. However, Brady also threw a league-high 163 passes to rookies last season.

Geno Smith, New York Jets: Over the first 13 weeks of 2013, Smith was the NFL's lowest-rated QB with a Total QBR of 21.6. Over the last four weeks of 2013, Smith was the league's second-highest rated QB with a QBR of 78.9, trailing only Peyton Manning.


AFC WEST


Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos: Last year, Manning became the fourth player in NFL history to set the single-season record for passing yards and passing TDs in the same season. He joined Dan Marino (1984), Sid Luckman (1943) and Cecil Isbell (1942).

Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs: Over the past three seasons, only 17 of Smith's 1,171 passes have been intercepted, giving Smith the lowest interception percentage (1.45) of any QB since the start of 2011. Smith also ranks fourth in win percentage over that span, trailing only Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.

Matt Schaub, Oakland Raiders: Schaub ranked last in the NFL with a Total QBR of 13.4 on play-action passes last season. Over the previous five seasons (2008-12), Schaub was the third-highest rated QB on play-action passes (86.0 Total QBR), behind only Kurt Warner and Peyton Manning.

Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers: After entering 2013 with a career completion percentage of 63.6, Rivers led the league with a 69.5 completion percentage last season. Rivers also had just 13 turnovers in 2013 after turning it over 47 times from 2011-12 (tied for second most in NFL).


AFC NORTH


Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens: Flacco has started 96 of a possible 96 games since his rookie season in 2008. According to Elias Sports Bureau, that's the second-longest starts streak by a QB to begin his career since the merger. Flacco trails Peyton Manning (208).

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals: Dalton is 30-18 with 80 touchdown passes and 49 interceptions in 48 regular-season starts. In three postseason starts, he's 0-3 with one touchdown and six interceptions. Cincinnati has scored 33 total points in Dalton's three playoff starts.

Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns: Hoyer was 3-0 and completed 59.4 percent of his passes with a 47.5 Total QBR last season. All other Browns QBs were 1-12 and completed 55.0 percent of their passes with a 31.7 Total QBR.


Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: Over the past three seasons, Roethlisberger has the league's highest completion percentage (51.8), most passing yards (1,837), most TD passes (18) and second-highest Total QBR (60.5) when he's under duress or hit while throwing. The average QBR on such plays in that span is 26.9.


AFC SOUTH


Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston Texans: Fitzpatrick is 27-49-1 in 77 career regular-season starts. The only active QB with more regular-season starts who has never started a playoff game is Jason Campbell (79).


Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: Luck has thrown for 8,196 yards since entering the league in 2012, the most ever by a QB in his first two seasons. Only seven quarterbacks have thrown for more yards than Luck since the start of his rookie year.

Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars: Henne's average pass was just 6.5 yards downfield last season, giving him the shortest average pass attempt in the NFL. Fifty-five percent of Henne's attempts were within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.


Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans: After backing up Matt Hasselbeck as a rookie in 2011, Locker has missed 14 games with injuries over the past two seasons. Of the 20 quarterbacks drafted in the top 10 since 2000, only Rivers and Matt Leinart threw fewer passes in their first three seasons than Locker's 563.

DeMarcus WareJohn Leyba/The Denver Post/Getty ImagesDeMarcus Ware returns to Dallas on Thursday as a member of the Broncos.

IRVING, Texas -- DeMarcus Ware never really got the chance to say goodbye when the Dallas Cowboys released their all-time leader in sacks last March.

On Thursday Ware will get the chance to once again say hello when the Denver Broncos visit AT&T Stadium for the preseason finale, and the Cowboys’ fans and organization will get a chance to say thank you.

"Being able to come back and have the opportunity to absorb some of the things I have done and seen down there," Ware said, "it’s going to be great. I’m looking forward to it."

Ware will not be playing and neither will his long-time Cowboys teammates Tony Romo and Jason Witten as both teams will rest their starters for the regular season, but his daughter and son will be on hand to see him in Broncos’ colors.

"I thought I was always going to be a Dallas Cowboy," Ware said. "That was really, really big for me. I played well for nine years. So I never thought they would get rid of me."

From a business perspective, the Cowboys decision to release Ware was not difficult. He was set to count $16 million against the salary cap and was coming off a career-low six sacks after missing the first three games of his career with a quadriceps injury.

Ware, who turned 32 in July, had elbow surgery in the offseason and had been slowed by numerous injuries the last two seasons.

From a personal perspective, the Cowboys’ decision was difficult. Coach Jason Garrett and executive vice president Stephen Jones spoke about their admiration for Ware, the No. 11 pick of the 2005 draft, who made the Pro Bowl from 2006-12 and was one of the NFL’s most dominant pass-rushers.

[+] EnlargeDeMarcus Ware
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsIn nine seasons with the Cowboys, DeMarcus Ware accumulated 117 sacks.
"Very strange and difficult to boot because of what we think about him," Jones said of Ware’s visit. "I mean he’s like family. He obviously, in our mind, he’s a shoe in to the Hall of Fame and he spilled his bucket here for us, and it’s difficult, but that’s part of the business. At the same time we’re happy for him because of what he was able to do in terms of his business with the Broncos and it sure is a good situation for him. I’ve said it from Day 1 he’s one of my all-time favorites and I wish him nothing but the best."

The Broncos signed Ware to a three-year, $30 million deal that guaranteed him $20 million the day after he was cut by Dallas. After losing in the Super Bowl last season, the Broncos view Ware as one of the final pieces to win a Super Bowl this season.

The Cowboys are not in that position and had to make some salary-cap decisions. They never made a firm offer to possibly keep Ware, in part because they did not want to spoil what had been a great relationship with a low-ball deal.

The Cowboys, however, do not have a replacement for Ware on their current roster. They selected DeMarcus Lawrence in the second round, but he suffered a broken foot in training camp and could miss the first 3-6 regular season games.

"It'll be difficult but at the same time I hope it all goes well for him," Jones said. "I hope he gets to the Super Bowl."

To get there the Broncos will need the Ware that racked up double-digit sacks every year from 2006-12. Ware had 20 sacks in 2008 and 19.5 sacks in 2011. His 117 career sacks are a team record.

Injuries, however, sapped Ware of a lot of his strength. He was unable to practice as much as he or the team would have liked.

"When I look at him the last couple of years, I look at him with admiration and say, ‘Wow! This is a tough guy,’" Garrett said. "He’s a mentally tough guy. He’s a physically tough guy. He’s doing everything that he can to put it on the line for our team and for his teammates. My association with him has been nothing but positive. He’s one of the best guys I’ve ever been around and one of the best players. Statistically he wasn’t what he was throughout his career last year (because of the injuries). I anticipate a lot of great football ahead for him."

Playing with Peyton Manning, Ware should see a lot of double-digit leads, which means teams have to pass more, which means he will have more opportunities to rush the passer. Playing next to Von Miller will provide him with more one-on-one blocks than he had with the Cowboys even when Greg Ellis and Anthony Spencer enjoyed Pro Bowl seasons. Ware is also 10 pounds lighter (255) and has not missed a day of practice this summer.

"At the end of the day my goal is to always be very effective and get to the quarterback as much as I can and to get back to my old self," Ware said. "Pass-rushers want to get those double digit sacks. They want to make those big plays. How effective can I be this year? I think I can get back to my old self. I know I can."

But whatever happens with the Broncos, he will forever remain a Cowboy. He has a deal in place with Jerry Jones to retire as a member of the Cowboys and almost assuredly will one day will join the club’s hallowed Ring of Honor.

"I played for a great organization with the Dallas Cowboys," Ware said, "and that will always be home for me."

Phillip Thomas to visit doctor

August, 26, 2014
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ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins safety Phillip Thomas will visit Dr. James Anderson in North Carolina to see if he can determine the cause of Thomas' latest soreness.

Anderson performed the original Lisfranc surgery on Thomas last summer. Thomas, who missed two weeks with a hamstring injury, now is sidelined because of soreness in his left foot -- the same one that needed surgery.

“We’re going through all the avenues to make sure he gets checked out the right way,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said.

Thomas won’t play in Thursday’s preseason finale at Tampa Bay. He’s become a more important player with Brandon Meriweather suspended for the first two games. The Redskins likely would start Bacarri Rambo with Thomas out -- and might have done so anyway.

The Redskins also used corner E.J. Biggers at safety at times last season and could do so now in certain packages.

Thomas' injury also makes this week's cuts interesting. If he won't be ready for the opener, the Redskins might have to keep an extra safety for a couple weeks. They will have a roster exemption for Meriweather. But it could mean one of the young safeties, Trenton Robinson and Akeem Davis, makes the roster.
IRVING, Texas -- DeMarcus Ware and Jason Witten were teammates for nine years and developed a close friendship.

The business of the NFL separated them when the Dallas Cowboys decided to part ways with Ware, the franchise’s all-time leader in sacks, but they were able to reconnect on a conference call Tuesday afternoon.

With Ware returning to AT&T Stadium on Thursday with the Denver Broncos, his new team, he took time on a conference call to discuss his tenure with the Cowboys, how it started and how it ended.

In between, he and Witten had a good back and forth.

With Ware in the middle of an answer, Witten said, "Nobody cares what you’re saying. D-Weezy."

Ware: “Who’s this?”

Witten: “It’s Witt. You’re lucky we’re not playing [Thursday] night.”

Ware: “Hey what’s up man? You don’t want to see me man. Come on now.”

Witten: “You’re lucky we’re not playing.”

Ware: “Hey, Witt, they got me dropping a little bit now so I sure enough don’t have to stick you.”

Witten: “I’d love to see you in coverage. I don’t want to see you off the edge. That’s all I don’t want to see.”

When informed Witten was gone, Ware said, “Y’all got me riled up. Got one of my boys on the phone now.”

Enough to ask Broncos coach John Fox if he could play Thursday?

“No, I’m good,” Ware laughed. “It’s the fourth preseason game. I’m good.”
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Mario Manningham was not one of the 15 players on the cut-down list Tuesday when the New York Giants reduced their roster from 90 to 75 players, but that doesn't mean he's making the team. The Giants still have a lot of sorting out to do at the wide receiver position before final cuts are made Saturday, and Manningham and his balky knee still have to show they belong.

Manningham
"He's had some spurts the last couple of weeks where he's done some things on the practice field, but it hasn't carried over into games," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said after Tuesday's practice. "He'll get another chance."

The Giants used Manningham a fair bit with their first-team offense in Friday night's preseason game against the Jets, and they're likely to give him a good look in Thursday's preseason finale against the Patriots. First-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. missed all of training camp with a hamstring injury and is unlikely to be ready for the Sept. 8 season opener, camp star Marcus Harris was placed on injured reserve Tuesday and there remain some open spots on the roster at wide receiver.

"Any of the guys who are left know it goes from 75 to 53," Coughlin said. "You're ending up in a numbers game, and it is competitive."

Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and Beckham are sure things to make the roster at wide receiver. Jerrel Jernigan, who's been running with the first team in Beckham's place all summer, looks like a strong bet as well, especially since he's Cruz's primary backup at the slot receiver position. Undrafted rookie Corey Washington has caught a touchdown pass in each of the Giants' first four preseason games and has obviously helped his cause. Preston Parker, who caught 40 passes for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2011 but was out of football last season, appears to be the primary punt returner right now with Beckham and Trindon Holliday hurt, and that could help him earn a spot as a wide receiver as well. Julian Talley also survived Tuesday's cuts and therefore remains a candidate to be kept.

The Giants are likely to keep four tight ends when they cut the roster to 53 on Saturday, which might make it tough to keep six wide receivers, but if they need Parker for punt returns (or as a reserve wideout) while Beckham gets healthy, they may not have a choice.

Regardless, the numbers game doesn't seem to favor Manningham unless he blows the Giants away with a strong showing Thursday night. Maybe the fact the opponent is the Patriots, the team against which Manningham's career highlight came, will inspire him before it's too late.
Most significant move: The Redskins released veteran backup linebacker Rob Jackson, a move that in truth was only mildly surprising. Jackson was not playing on special teams and did not have the speed the Redskins are trying to find defensively. Jackson will forever be remembered by Redskins fans for his game-ending interception off Dallas’ Tony Romo to clinch the NFC East title in 2012. But his future was in doubt when he entered camp, in part because the Redskins drafted Trent Murphy in the second round. And with young linebackers such as Gabe Miller and Everette Brown having better camps, Jackson was let go.

Young backups: The Redskins will go with a youthful group of offensive line backups after releasing veteran guard/center Mike McGlynn. Again, not a big surprise given his training camp performance. But he had the most experience of the backups. However, if they keep less than 10 linemen -- as they should -- then McGlynn was an easy player to release. They can use guard Chris Chester at center in an emergency if something happens to starter Kory Lichtensteiger. But it also means that the other potential backups include two rookies in Morgan Moses and Spencer Long and two others who have not started a game in guard Josh LeRibeus, who has appeared in five games, and tackle Tom Compton, who has appeared in 15. Both their work has primarily come on special teams. Another potential player is tackle Maurice Hurt, who has appeared in 21 games with nine starts (eight in 2011).

What’s next: The Redskins have a tough decision to make at running back when getting to the final 53. They still have all their running backs and will have to cut perhaps two or three players whom they like. But some of them will be eligible for the practice squad, including Chris Thompson, Lache Seastrunk and Silas Redd. Thompson had a big edge early in camp, but the inability to stay healthy has left him in jeopardy. One other thing to watch: what happens with defensive end Stephen Bowen. If the Redskins feel he’ll be ready early in the season, they might keep seven defensive linemen. If not, he could remain on the PUP list.

Redskins' cuts: LB Rob Jackson, OC/G Mike McGlynn, LB Adrian Robinson, TE Matt Veldman, WR Rashad Ross, CB Bryan Shepherd, LB Jeremy Kimbrough, DE Jeremy Towns, G Adam Gettis, FB Stephen Campbell, WR Cody Hoffman, WR Rashad Lawrence, S Ross Madison and DE Jake McDonough. TE Mike Caussin was placed on injured reserve.
ASHBURN, Va. -- Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden threatened to do something that hasn't been done in five years: play some of his starters in the final preseason game. But he said they finished the week with a good practice, eliminating the need for them to play Thursday.

Gruden had debated playing some of his offensive starters in the finale, wanting to finish on a stronger note than what they showed against Baltimore on Saturday. Gruden seemed agitated in the portion of practice open to the media, chastising quarterbacks for their throws, including Robert Griffin III.

Afterward, Gruden said there was a "10 percent chance" some of the offensive starters would play. He dropped it to zero percent Tuesday.

"It's my intent now, after a couple good days of practice, to let the other guys play," Gruden said, "let the backups play. So we can solidify those roles. We have our starters. In general, we feel pretty good about who they are and now we need to find the key backups and who they are and make sure they get ample reps to show what they can do."

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jay gruden

Most significant move: It wasn’t surprising, but the release of rookie kicker Carey Spear stands out because it wasn’t the result of Alex Henery locking up the kicker position. The Eagles are still looking to upgrade. They traded for Colts rookie kicker Cody Parkey, and will be watching the waiver wire for more candidates in the next few days. The kicking situation is still very much unsettled, which is not a good feeling with the season bearing down. On the other hand, good candidates keep becoming available: veteran Jay Feely and former Temple kicker Brandon McManus, among others.

Shift at center: The Eagles released Julian Vandervelde late Tuesday afternoon with an injury settlement, getting their roster to 75. Vandervelde, the backup to center Jason Kelce last season, had surgery on his back earlier this month. But even before he was injured, Vandervelde’s job was in peril. David Molk, whom the Eagles signed back in January, had impressed Chip Kelly and the coaches with his smarts and his agility. The Eagles have been very pleased with the play of their second-team offensive line, and Molk has been a big part of that.

What’s next: The Eagles held on to all of their running backs and cornerbacks and most of their wide receivers and linebackers. Those cuts will be tougher because of special-teams considerations. The Eagles wanted to give the players one more opportunity to show their worth in the preseason. And with the starters already working on the season opener against Jacksonville, there is plenty of playing time against the Jets available.

Eagles’ cuts: TE Blake Annen, OL Michael Bamiro, OL Karim Barton, WR Kadron Boone, WR B.J. Cunningham, OL Donald Hawkins, TE Emil Igwenagu, LB Jake Knott, DE Joe Kruger, S Daytawion Lowe, DE Frances Mays, S Davon Morgan, K Carey Spear, OL Julian Vandervelde, DE Alejandro Villanueva.

Dallas Cowboys cut-down analysis

August, 26, 2014
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Most significant move: The Matt Johnson era has not officially ended, but the safety was waived by the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday as part of the roster moves to reach the NFL-mandated 75-player limited.

A fourth-round draft pick in 2012, Johnson never played in a game. He missed his rookie season with recurring hamstring injuries as well as a back injury. He suffered an ankle injury in the 2013 preseason and was placed on injured reserve after having surgery.

Despite his limited practices, the Cowboys liked Johnson’s potential and kept waiting for him to get healthy. He suffered a hamstring injury early in training camp this summer in Oxnard, California, and was unable to return to practice. He returned to Dallas early to see if back problems were causing the hamstring issues but no relation was found.

If Johnson clears waivers, he would revert to injured reserve and the Cowboys could eventually receive an injury settlement.

Cowboys remain patient: By placing Amobi Okoye on the reserve/non-football illness list, the Cowboys are buying more time on the veteran defensive tackle. He will be unable to play in the first six games of the regular season but he will be able to continue his conditioning work as he attempts to return from anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, a brain disease that left him in a coma for three months last year. Okoye was cleared for full football activities by his doctor on Aug. 14, but the team is choosing to be cautious in his return after such a long layoff with the hope he could return by midseason.

Cowboys' moves: QB Caleb Hanie, WR Chris Boyd, TE Jordan Najvar (waived/injured), G Wayne Tribue, DL Adewale Ojomo, DE Ben Gardner (injured reserve), DT Amobi Okoye (reserve/NFI), LB DeVonte Holloman (waived/injured), CB Justin Green (waived injured), S Johnny Thomas (waived injured), S Matt Johnson (waived injured), P Tom Hornsey, LS Casey Kreiter
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin said rookie Weston Richburg and veteran John Jerry would start at left guard and right guard, respectively, in Thursday's preseason finale against the Patriots. Richburg is replacing Geoff Schwartz, who will miss at least a few weeks, if not more, with a toe injury he suffered in Friday's preseason game. Jerry is replacing Brandon Mosley, who has missed the last three days of practice with a back injury.

"He's up and moving, so obviously that's a good sign," Coughlin said of Mosley, who's been the first-team right guard since Chris Snee retired on the eve of training camp.

Jerry
Mosley's injury has offered a fresh chance for Jerry, who missed the start of camp following spring knee surgery and hasn't shown much. If he looks good Thursday night, there's certainly a chance he could steal the job from Mosley. It's also possible that Richburg will lock down left guard in Schwartz's absence and that Schwartz could play right guard upon his return.

The Giants got good news Tuesday when they learned Schwartz would not need surgery, but it remains unclear how much time they can expect him to miss.

"He's very optimistic, and hopefully that's going to mean the recovery will be as fast as possible," Coughlin said of Schwartz. "Obviously, we can't rush him back. It certainly would be good to get him back as soon as possible, but it's not going to be easy."

In other Giants injury news:
  • First-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. and kick returner Trindon Holliday missed practice again with hamstring injuries. Tackle Charles Brown and tackle/guard James Brewer sat out with shoulder and back injuries, respectively.
  • Cornerback Prince Amukamara is making good progress in his return from a groin injury, but he won't play Thursday night.
  • Running back Peyton Hillis appeared to be practicing in full. Hillis missed a few weeks of camp with an ankle injury but has returned to practice this week. He made a nice juggling catch on a wheel route with Jacquian Williams covering him in practice Tuesday.

Henry Melton: 'I'm feeling good'

August, 26, 2014
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IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Henry Melton is healthy to play in Thursday’s preseason finale.

Melton
Whether Melton, who hasn’t played this preseason, will get any game action before the regular season begins is to be determined.

Melton, who is coming off a torn ACL suffered in September and sat out the last two weeks with a strained groin, said he has been “full go” in practice this week. It’s up to the coaches to decide whether he’ll get any time against in Thursday’s exhibition against the Denver Broncos, when the vast majority of starters will watch from the sideline.

“It doesn't matter to me,” Melton said. “I'm feeling good. Sitting out a week let my knee heal a little bit more, but it did set back my conditioning. One day of pads, I might need more reps before game time. But we will see.”

Coach Jason Garrett indicated last week that he planned to have Melton and cornerback Morris Claiborne -- the two defensive starters who haven’t played a down this preseason -- chip off the rust with some playing time against the Broncos.

However, Garrett said Tuesday that the coaching staff is still considering whether that’s in the team’s best interest.

“We’re still going to use the next couple of days to make that decision,” Garrett said. “See how they did today, see how they feel tomorrow. There is some real value for those guys to play in the game. You obviously balance that with giving them a chance to rest even more before the game next week.”
IRVING, Texas -- What is the Dallas Cowboys' identity?

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones has an idea.

In announcing a partnership between the Cowboys and Hublot, a Swiss watchmaker, on Monday night at AT&T Stadium, Jones came up with a slogan.

Jones
Jones
“We’re the glitz and glamour of the NFL,” Jones said. “Tex Schramm told me, ‘Let Houston down there at the time, let them have the checkered table clothes and saw-dust floors. Cowboys do not mean getting on a horse and riding. They mean the glitz and glamour of Dallas.’ That’s what we want to be. And obviously we want to show how to kick their you-know-what with glitz and glamour.”

Has glitz and glamour replaced Super Bowls and winning?

Well, as always with the Cowboys, it depends on which Jerry Jones is speaking.

On Monday, that was Owner Jerry speaking. Jones is a business man’s business man. He can sell anything to anyone. He can build a $1.2 billion stadium in the middle of a recession. He can sell out the largest stadium in the NFL with a team that has won two playoff games since its last Super Bowl win on Jan. 28, 1996.

General Manager Jerry was not speaking Monday, at least not in front of the Hublot execs and friends on hand for the announcement.

And that’s where the issues always come up with the Cowboys. The other 31 teams don’t have these issues. The other 31 teams have a separation between ownership and football that always gives the perception that football matters most.

With the Cowboys, that’s not always the case. There’s not another team that would have a press conference involving key players like Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Tyron Smith and DeMarco Murray, as well as the head coach, Jason Garrett, with a practice that started at around 8:15 the next morning.

There are many things that come with dinner in being involved with the Cowboys. Owner Jerry and General Manager Jerry are at the top of the list.

Garrett
Garrett
Garrett has said on more than one occasion since taking over as coach in 2011 that he is trying to build a tough, physical football team. Glitz and glamour are not among the prerequisites for the “right kind of guys” he is seeking.

As Jones made the glitz and glamour comment Monday night, Garrett smiled.

At his Tuesday press conference, Garrett was asked how he feels about the Cowboys being the “glitz and glamour” of the NFL.

“Maybe that’s a reference to the organization and the history and the deal that they made with Hublot, a watch maker from Switzerland,” Garrett said. “Certainly our football team is based on having the right kind of guys who love to play football and go out there and work hard each and every day and try to have the kind of demeanor, attitude, body language of a tough-minded football team. That’s what we’re trying to build here.

“Business decisions are different than what we’re trying to accomplish with our football team.”

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell.

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