NFC East: eric frampton

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cowboys had a hard time getting much of an advantage at Cowboys Stadium with a 17-15 regular-season record in the $1.2 billion home.

Playing under the AT&T Stadium name for the first time, the Cowboys were able to overcome a tepid start to beat Cincinnati 24-18.

What it means: The Cowboys got what they wanted in their final showing of the preseason from their regulars on offense and defense.

The Cowboys have not played their starters in the last preseason game since 2006, and Jason Garrett will not want to risk the likes of Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, Sean Lee and Brandon Carr on Thursday against Houston.

To avoid their first losing preseason since 2001, however, the Cowboys will have to beat the Texans.

First-team offense gets in end zone: In their first five drives of the preseason, the Romo-led offense failed to get in the end zone. They started 0-for-2 on Saturday before Bryant took matters into his own hands with five catches on a 12-play drive that ended with Romo hitting Bryant on a bullet fade over cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.

The Cowboys closed the first half with an eight-play drive that covered 52 yards with Miles Austin being the featured target. Austin had a 23-yard gain on a third-and-6 and closed the drive with a 12-yard score going across the back of the end zone for a Romo throw.

Offensive line moves: For the fourth time in four preseason games, the Cowboys rolled out a different combination on the offensive line with Doug Free playing right guard, Jermey Parnell at right tackle and Mackenzy Bernadeau at left guard. Only left tackle Tyron Smith and center Travis Frederick played in their original positions.

Romo was sacked on the first play of the game for an 8-yard loss and the running game averaged only 2.5 yards per carry in the first half. The first-team line played a series into the third quarter before calling it a night.

Will this be the combination the Cowboys roll out for the Sept. 8 opener against the New York Giants? Possibly, if Ronald Leary is unable to return from surgery to his right knee. The Cowboys are confident Leary, who has never played in a game, can return in time, but they might choose to go with this grouping.

Defense continues to take it away: The offseason emphasis continued with two first-half takeaways from a defense that might bend but has yet to break.

For the third time in four preseason games, the Cowboys came up with a takeaway on their first drive of the game. Safety Barry Church poked the ball free from wide receiver Marvin Jones and cornerback Brandon Carr came up with the loose ball at the Dallas 4.

In the second quarter, rookie cornerback B.W. Webb came up with a pick of Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton on a seam throw to receiver Mohamed Sanu. Undrafted safety Jeff Heath forced a fumble in the third quarter.

The first-team defense did not allow a touchdown in three preseason appearances totaling roughly three quarters.

Digital board gets plunked: In the first football game at AT&T Stadium, on Aug. 21 2009, Tennessee’s A.J. Trapasso hit the center-hung digital board with a punt. It was not hit again by a punt until Saturday, when Cowboys punter Chris Jones hit it in the first quarter.

There have been 274 regular-season punts at AT&T Stadium since its opening that have not hit the board.

It might bear watching this year.

On Jones’ re-kick, Cincinnati’s Brandon Tate scored a 75-yard touchdown for the Bengals’ only first-half points.

Who didn’t play: Cornerback Morris Claiborne (knee) missed his fourth straight preseason game -- and third because of injury -- but the hope is that he can practice some next week and possibly play in Thursday’s finale against Houston. WR Cole Beasley (foot), RB Lance Dunbar (foot), S Matt Johnson (foot), S Eric Frampton (calf), LB Brandon Magee (concussion), LB Ernie Sims (groin), OL Ryan Cook (back), OG Ronald Leary (knee), OG Nate Livings (knee) and DE Anthony Spencer (knee) did not dress for the game.

What’s next?: The Cowboys will have to pare down their roster from 88 to 75 by Tuesday’s deadline, two days before they play their fifth and final preseason game of the summer. Former head coach Wade Phillips (2007-10) makes his return to AT&T Stadium on Thursday as Houston’s defensive coordinator. The final cut to 53 players is Aug. 31.

Brandon Magee suffers concussion

August, 20, 2013
IRVING, Texas – Cowboys rookie linebacker Brandon Magee will not play Saturday against Cincinnati after suffering a concussion in Monday’s practice.

It is possible Magee will not be able to play in the preseason final against Houston on Aug. 29. Wide receiver Terrance Williams suffered a concussion on Aug. 2 and missed the first two preseason games. Magee led the Cowboys with six tackles last week against Arizona.

Defensive tackle Sean Lissemore returned to the practice field Tuesday after a 10-day absence because of a groin injury suffered during training camp in Oxnard, Calif. Lissemore played in the first two preseason games.

Lance Dunbar (foot), Cole Beasley (foot), Ryan Cook (back), Ronald Leary (knee), Nate Livings (knee), Morris Claiborne (knee), J.J. Wilcox, Matt Johnson (foot), Eric Frampton (calf), Ernie Sims (groin), Jay Ratliff (hamstring, hernia) and Anthony Spencer (knee) are not practicing.
IRVING, Texas – Running back Lance Dunbar suffered a sprained left foot that could keep him out of the Sept. 8 regular-season opener against the New York Giants.

Dunbar, who is expected to be a big part of the offense as a third-down back, is in a protective boot and could need 3-4 weeks to return, according to a source. Dunbar had a 43-yard catch against Arizona on Saturday but fumbled at the end of the play. He returned to the game and did not mention being hurt in the locker room after the 12-7 loss to the Cardinals.

Wide receiver Cole Beasley suffered a sprained foot on Aug. 9 at Oakland and has yet to return to practice. Running back DeMarco Murray missed six games last year with a sprained foot.

The Cowboys welcomed back guards Kevin Kowalski (knee) and Ray Dominguez (shoulder) to the practice field, increasing their interior line depth.

Nate Newton joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett live in studio for 30 minutes of Cowboys reaction, analysis and real talk.

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Rookie safety J.J. Wilcox remains away from the team following the death of his mother last week in Cairo, Ga.

Also sitting out: Morris Claiborne (knee), Matt Johnson (foot), Eric Frampton (calf), Ernie Sims (groin), Alex Albright (impending back surgery), Toby Jackson (groin), Anthony Spencer, Travis Chappelear, Jay Ratliff, Beasley, Ryan Cook (back), Ronald Leary (knee) and Nate Livings (knee).
OXNARD, Calif. -- Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne missed another day of practice with a sore left knee.

Claiborne suffered the injury last week and hoped to play in the second preseason game. His status for Saturday's preseason game at Arizona is in question.

"I believe anything is a setback," Claiborne said after Monday's practice. "This is a big setback. It might not be to somebody else, but it is to me. I have big goals for myself."

Claiborne said he hasn't undergone an MRI or X-ray because there is nothing structurally wrong with the knee.

"At this point, I'm just following directions, just going through the treatments," Claiborne said. "I thought I would be ready the next day, and, obviously, I wasn't."

Also, cornerback B.W. Webb sprained his right ankle and missed the team drills. J.J. Wilcox (personal matter), Matt Johnson (foot), Eric Frampton (hamstring), Alex Albright (back), Ernie Sims (groin), Jay Ratliff (hamstring), Anthony Spencer (knee), Sean Lissemore (groin), Cole Beasley (foot), James Nelson (ankle), Ryan Cook (back), Ray Dominguez (shoulder), Kevin Kowalski (knee), Nate Livings (knee) and Darrion Weems (sore chest) didn't practice.
NEW ORLEANS -- Greetings once again from the bayou, which is nowhere near NFC East country but still close enough to smell the links.

Washington Redskins

The guy who beat up Trent Williams in a Honolulu night club last week was the owner of the club. I think it's safe to say that club won't be doing much Pro Bowl week business in the future.

Is it okay for Redskins fans to root for the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl on Sunday? As you might expect, there are different perspectives on this.

New York Giants

We have discussed here the Giants' offensive line, and the idea that while it was a surprise strength in 2012, the team has significant questions to answer on the line moving forward into 2013 and beyond. Ohm Youngmisuk agrees, and examines those issues here.

There are mock drafts aplenty, and here's one that has the Giants taking BYU defensive end Ezekial Ansah with the 19th pick of the first round. Ed Valentine notes that Ansah didn't have a great Senior Bowl week, but if the Giants like his tools I can't imagine that would dissuade them too much from taking him if he's the best available pass-rusher at that spot.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys obviously do not want to be known as an organization whose defensive tackles all drive drunk, but recent events have forced them to confront that very issue. A statement from Cowboys executive Calvin Hill on Monday asserted that the team is stepping up its efforts to prevent incidents like Jay Ratliff's and Josh Brent's before they occur.

On the positive front, the Dallas Morning News is doing a series on five Cowboys who exceeded expectations in 2012, and No. 5 is safety Eric Frampton. Assuming new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is installing some semblance of his famed Tampa 2 defense, the Cowboys will need to be deep at safety in 2013, and Frampton could be a helpful player.

Philadelphia Eagles

LeSean McCoy's Twitter account was not hacked Saturday night, as he halfheartedly claimed Sunday that it had been. That really was him arguing on a nasty level with the mother of his child. McCoy released a statement Monday saying he regretted the incident and his attempt to cover it up. The lesson is to think before you tweet. And especially before you tweet a boatload of times while angry late on a Saturday night. If you have learned nothing else from reading the NFC East blog, I hope you learn this.

Jason La Canfora believes the Eagles will not necessarily decide by Feb. 6 whether to keep Michael Vick or cut him. If they don't cut him by that date, $3 million of his $16.5 million salary for this year becomes guaranteed. But it might be worth it for the Eagles to spend $3 million to keep Vick available to them as an option. I still don't see any way Vick plays for the Eagles in 2013 on his current contract.

Breakfast links: False starts in Dallas

September, 26, 2012
You got questions, I got links.

Dallas Cowboys

Among Calvin Watkins' observations from Sunday's game is a very interesting suggestion that the false-start penalties might not be completely the fault of the men committing them. Calvin writes that a large part of the problem is that backup center Ryan Cook, who arrived in the final week of preseason and is playing in place of injured starter Phil Costa, is having trouble with Tony Romo's cadence. Man. I know we've discussed the idea of whether Bill Callahan can help this line improve as the year goes along, but there are serious, fundamental problems he's dealing with, and he has some work to do just to bring it up to baseline acceptable. Callahan is coaching a remedial-level offensive line.

With Barry Church done for the season, the Cowboys have signed safety Eric Frampton, a career special-teamer whose presence could free up Danny McCray to play on the defense more. This shows that there are no very good solutions out there at safety at this point in the season, and the Cowboys are going to have to mix and match to replace Church.

Philadelphia Eagles

Second-year punter Chas Henry had a great first week but wasn't good in Week 2 or Week 3, so he's out and former Cowboys punter Mat McBriar (who lost the job to Henry in camp) is back in and fired up about it. People were asking me on Twitter if the Eagles were trying to "send a message" by cutting Henry after their first loss of the year. I think they were just trying to improve their punting.

Jeff McLane went to the tape (and the stopwatch) to address the questions of whether and why Michael Vick holds onto the ball too long. His findings are interesting, and as usual there's plenty of blame to go around.

New York Giants

The Giants hate that the Eagles have beaten them seven out of the past eight times, and the taste of the most recent loss -- last December's home loss to Vince Young -- lingers for an angry bunch that's hoping to take care of business against its rivals Sunday night in Philadelphia.

The expectation among those who cover the Giants is that Ahmad Bradshaw will reclaim his starting running back job now that he's healthy again, but we're all eager to hear what Tom Coughlin has to say, starting today, about how the carries will be divvied and what role remains for super-sub Andre Brown the rest of the year.

Washington Redskins

The NFL is expected to fine Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan $25,000 for his outburst against the officials at the end of Sunday's game. As I wrote here Monday, the league has no choice but to stand behind its officials, regardless of the job they're doing, as long as they insist on perpetrating the replacement-officials farce. Also, Shanahan was way out of line. That combination of stuff means a big fine for Kyle.

One of the big stories this week in Washington is the number of hits rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III has been taking as he's running around and directing the Redskins' frantic-but-productive offense. Stephen Whyno takes a look at the issue.