NFC East: Jarius Wynn

IRVING, Texas -- Once the Dallas Cowboys said goodbye to DeMarcus Ware on Tuesday, their plan was to replace their all-time leader in sacks with a number of guys.

New defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli wants to bring defensive linemen at quarterbacks in waves the way the Seattle Seahawks did it in 2013. It is a plan that makes sense and it’s how the Cowboys operated in their Super Bowl days of the 1990s.

So far the Cowboys' answer to losing Ware has been Jeremy Mincey and Terrell McClain, who have agreed to deals, according to sources. They aren’t done shopping by any stretch, but how much better are these guys compared to the likes of Jarius Wynn, Everette Brown, Drake Nevis, Corvey Irvin and the rest of the linemen the Cowboys trotted out there in 2013?

Mincey has 20 sacks in his career. McClain has one.

The Cowboys are hoping these guys turn into George Selvie, whose seven sacks last year were more than Ware. Selvie was a training-camp gift. He developed into a solid player, but can the Cowboys bank on another seven-sack season (or more) from Selvie in 2014?

For all of you asking about Jared Allen or Julius Peppers, look at who the Cowboys have targeted so far. If the price tags on Allen and Peppers come way down, then maybe the Cowboys will have a chance to make a deal. If they don’t, then forget it.

For years people have criticized Jerry Jones’ spending. Now when he shows some restraint, people wonder what the heck he is doing.

Mincey and McClain won’t make anybody forget Ware, or maybe even Anthony Spencer, but they won’t be the end of the Cowboys’ work to rebuild the defensive line either.

Free-agency primer: Cowboys

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» AFC Free-Agency Primer: East | West | North | South » NFC: East | West | North | South

Key free agents: Jason Hatcher, Anthony Spencer, Brian Waters, Danny McCray, Ernie Sims, Jarius Wynn

Where they stand: After finishing with the worst-ranked defense in the NFL in 2013, the Cowboys need help everywhere, but mostly on the defensive line. The need could be even greater if the Cowboys are unable to come up with a new deal for DeMarcus Ware, who is set to make $12.25 million in 2014 and count $16.003 million against the cap. Coming off an 11-sack season, Hatcher is likely to command more money from another team that will make it unlikely for the Cowboys to match, but they will not close the door on keeping him. Spencer is rehabbing from knee surgery and could be had on a short-term deal that will not involve a lot of money. The rest of their free agents are more fill-in types who will be allowed to test the market if not allowed to leave altogether.

What to expect: Not much. Last year the Cowboys added safety Will Allen and linebacker Justin Durant in free agency on short-term, low-money deals. The approach will be more that way than setting the market on a player as they did in 2012 for cornerback Brandon Carr (five years, $50 million). Executive vice president Stephen Jones said the Cowboys can be "efficient" spenders in free agency. The Cowboys will have to create space under the cap to sign players to modest deals. The best bet is for them to look for low-cost help on players on the line looking to rebound from down years or injuries. They also could look at safety, though Jerry Jones said at the NFL scouting combine that they liked their young safeties such as J.J. Wilcox. Whatever money the Cowboys do have is more likely to be set aside for Tyron Smith and/or Dez Bryant.

2014 Cowboys free agents: Jarius Wynn

February, 28, 2014
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Jarius Wynn
Position: Defensive end
Type: Unrestricted
2013 salary: $715,000

Summary: He was signed on Oct. 15 and played Oct. 20 against the Philadelphia Eagles. He started one game – at defensive tackle – and finished the season with 12 tackles, a sack, three tackles for loss and six pressures. He started the year with the San Diego Chargers, making three tackles and a sack in five games.

Why keep him: Depth, depth and more depth. Wynn wasn’t bad as a rotation player and he offered some position flexibility by being able to move inside if needed. While that is not his strong suit, he can get a defense through a game. His six pressures tied for sixth on the defense.

Why let him go: Not to be cavalier about a position that held the Cowboys back in 2013, but they can do better. Perhaps Ben Bass, who missed last season with a shoulder injury, can provide the depth they want from their defensive linemen and have more pass-rush ability. Plus, the Cowboys figure to address the position in the draft as well.

Best guess: He will be allowed to look around and if the Cowboys find themselves in a pinch later in free agency, they can give him a call.
IRVING, Texas -- In this copycat league that is the NFL, all of a sudden everybody needs tall and long conerbacks like Seattle’s Richard Sherman. One problem, there aren’t that many of those kinds of guys around.

Plus from a Dallas Cowboys’ perspective, they have already allocated their cornerback resources in Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick. So scratch that possible remodel.

Where the Cowboys can attempt to emulate the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks is with their defensive line.

[+] EnlargeDeMarcus Ware has reached double-digit sacks for seven consecutive seasons, but he'll need four sacks in the final three games to keep the streak alive.
AP Photo/James D. SmithFor years, Dallas has relied on DeMarcus Ware to provide a pass rush. Adding depth to the defensive line could be a priority this offseason.
The Seahawks do what Rod Marinelli wants to do with the Cowboys. He just did not have enough quality players, rolling through 20 defensive linemen in 2013 because of injuries and poor play.

Seattle’s defensive line accounted for 33.5 sacks from eight players. The Cowboys defensive line had 28 sacks from six players.

Michael Bennett led the Seahawks with 8.5 sacks. Fellow free-agent pickup, Cliff Avril, was second with eight. Clinton McDonald had 5.5, and Chris Clemons had 4.5

Jason Hatcher led the Cowboys with 11, followed by George Selvie with seven and DeMarcus Ware with six. Kyle Wilber had two sacks from his defensive end spot before he was switched to outside linebacker later in the season. Everette Brown and and Jarius Wynn each had one sack.

The Cowboys want to rotate defensive linemen as much as possible to keep them fresh. That is a great approach when you have players worthy of being in the rotation. In the Super Bowl win against the Denver Broncos, the Seahawks had four linemen take at least 41 of 69 snaps, led by Bennett, who played 47. In the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers, they had four linemen take at least 31 of 55 snaps. In the divisional-round win against the New Orleans Saints, they had five linemen take at least 43 snaps.

That rotation kept opposing quarterbacks Peyton Manning, Colin Kaepernick and Drew Brees under pressure. The pressure could come from the inside or the outside. And it would come with mostly just four rushers, which allowed that back seven to be even more aggressive.

For far too long the Cowboys’ pass rush has been Ware and nobody else. This past season it was Hatcher, and sometimes Selvie and Ware. The Cowboys hope Tyrone Crawford can develop after missing last season with an Achilles injury, but the defensive line needs a ton of help.

For the Cowboys to make a jump in the defensive rankings -- forget being a top-five or 10 unit -- they need a better pass rush. For a better pass rush, they need better players. To get better players in free agency they need to hope the defensive line market is as slow as it was in 2013 when Bennett received a one-year, $5 million deal, and Avril received two years and $15 million from the Seahawks. That could allow Dallas to either keep Hatcher (unlikely), or get lucky with some other prove-it type deals. The easier way to get better players is the draft, but will the right players be available at the right time?

If the Cowboys get a better pass rush, their secondary will look a lot better.

Five Wonders: Quick decision on staff?

December, 31, 2013
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IRVING, Texas -- For the next six or seven months the Dallas Cowboys will be wondering about the plays that could have made the difference in finishing 8-8 for the third straight year or making the playoffs.

We're just wondering about five things in the end-of-season installment of Five Wonders:

Away we go:
  • I wonder if the Cowboys make quick decisions in regards to their coaching staff. The decision to fire Rob Ryan last year came 11 days after the season ended. With six teams looking for head coaches, the Cowboys would be wise to make any moves sooner rather than later. A lot of times the search for assistant coaches becomes a game of musical chairs. They often just switch golf shirts and gym shorts. You don't want to be the last team looking for assistant coaches with the top choices already scooped up. And as a mini-wonder inside a wonder, I wonder if Jason Garrett's future could make it hard for the most sought after assistants to say yes. Would they be willing to come to Dallas with a head coach that will be on the hot seat and possibly in the final year of his deal or go to a more stable job -- and one with less stature -- than the Cowboys?
  • I wonder if Jason Witten will end up with the same cruel fate as Tony Gonzalez. Witten will enter his 12th season with the Cowboys in 2014 and he is already the franchise leader in catches. He is second to Michael Irvin in receiving yards. Gonzalez is the only tight end in NFL history with more catches than Witten. By next season only Gonzalez will have more receiving yards as a tight end than Witten. Shannon Sharpe had 10,060 in his Hall of Fame career. Witten will enter 2014 with 9,799 yards. For all that Gonzalez accomplished he won only one playoff game in his career. That came last year with the Atlanta Falcons. He returned to the Falcons this year thinking he could go out on a Super Bowl run and they finished 4-12. For all that Witten has done, the Cowboys have won one playoff game. It has to be maddening for the eight-time Pro Bowler.
  • I wonder if the Cowboys wanted Tony Romo to have his back surgery sooner rather than later to make sure he is involved in the offseason program. Romo could not take part in the conditioning last year because of a procedure to remove a cyst from his back. If you remember, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Romo was “uniquely running mountains” in California the weeks before training camp to help his conditioning. It was among my favorite quotes of the season. He checked in at 236 pounds, the most he has ever weighed since joining the Cowboys. In 2012, Romo was listed at 230 pounds. In 2011, he was 227. The generally feeling is that Romo will need three months to recover from the back surgery. By having him ready for the conditioning program the Cowboys will be able to monitor Romo much better this spring and make sure he is in better shape when camp starts.
  • I wonder how much of an effect the new contract Robbie Gould signed with the Chicago Bears will impact any discussions the Cowboys have with their kicker, Dan Bailey. Gould signed a four-year deal with the Bears worth up to $15 million and included $9 million guaranteed. Bailey is set to be a restricted free agent. The Cowboys would likely place the second-round tender on him, which will be a little more than $2.1 million. The first-round tender would be close to $3 million. Gould is 31 and has a Pro Bowl to his credit. He has made 86 percent of his kicks in his career. Bailey turns 26 next month and had a Pro Bowl-type season though was not picked. He has made 90.8 percent of his kicks in his first three seasons and has missed two kicks in each of the past two seasons. He has been clutch. He has improved on kickoffs. Jason Garrett said Bailey might be the best at his job than any player the Cowboys have. The Cowboys bought out the free agent year of safety Barry Church last year with an extension and should do that with Bailey.
  • At the midway point of the season the Cowboys really had no idea what to do with Kyle Wilber. Injury forced them to play him at strong-side linebacker and I wonder if they found what could be a long-term answer at the position. In training camp and early in the season he had a number of chances to lay claim to extra playing time with all of the injuries on the defensive line but he was passed by George Selvie, Jarius Wynn and Everette Brown. Once he moved to linebacker, he performed well. He took the job with six games to go and could force Justin Durant out. If the Cowboys make a move on Durant it would save them $1.25 million in salary cap space in 2014. Wilber is set to make $570,000 next season. In a 4-3 scheme, the strong-side backer might be the least important position because of how much nickel defense is used. The nickel corner will play more snaps in a season than a strong-side linebacker with the way the game is played. Wilber performed well, was a good tackler, appeared to fit in well at the spot and was tough. Sometimes in personnel it's better to be lucky than good.

Pondering the 46: Down to the corners

December, 28, 2013
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IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys have yet to place Tony Romo on injured reserve. They really don't have the need to make the formal move just yet, so as we Ponder the 46, Romo will be one of the inactives.

Sean Lee is out with a neck strain. Ernie Sims is doubtful but he has not practiced the last two weeks because of a groin injury. Darrion Weems and Jakar Hamilton will also be inactive. Martez Wilson has been inactive the last two games, so he is likely to be down for his third straight game.

That leaves one spot and with Morris Claiborne coming back from a hamstring injury, rookie cornerback B.W. Webb is in the crosshairs.

Webb has been active for every game, but he lost his playing time to Sterling Moore the last few games. Maybe the Cowboys cover themselves by bringing a fifth cornerback to the game in case Claiborne aggravates his hamstring again, but they have had only four active for the season.

Perhaps they could go lighter on the defensive line, but with LeSean McCoy running and DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher, Jarius Wynn and George Selvie all nicked to some degree, that doesn't seem to be the wise choice.

So the inactives will be: Romo, Lee, Sims, Weems, Hamilton, Wilson and Webb.

Bruce Carter says he's ready for Sunday

December, 18, 2013
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IRVING, Texas – Dallas Cowboys linebacker Bruce Carter declared himself ready to play Sunday against the Washington Redskins after taking part in a limited portion of Wednesday’s practice.

Carter
Carter
“I’ll be fine,” said Carter, who did not play last week against the Green Bay Packers because of a hamstring issue. “Really got to run a lot, explode a little bit, come out of some cuts and whatnot, so everything felt good.”

The Cowboys need Carter more than ever before. With Sean Lee expected to miss his second straight game with a neck injury, Ernie Sims battling a groin injury and Justin Durant on injured reserve, Carter will be the most experienced linebacker.

“My job is to try to lead the defense to a victory and just play as good as we can, when things get out of hand try to get everybody to calm down and just try to get back to our game plan and play sound,” Carter said. “I’m up for the challenge. I know what’s ahead of me and we just got to go out there and execute.”

Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (stinger) and defensive end Jarius Wynn (chest) were also limited in practice.

Defensive ends DeMarcus Ware and George Selvie did not practice because of sore backs. Sims and Lee did not practice, and neither did cornerback Morris Claiborne and wide receivers Terrance Williams and Dwayne Harris, who have hamstring injuries.

Cowboys need more from Ware, Hatcher

December, 17, 2013
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IRVING, Texas -- Of the nine defensive linemen on the Dallas Cowboys roster, only three were with the team when training camp began and Nick Hayden was far from a lock to make the cut.

[+] EnlargeDeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher
Tim Heitman/USA TODAY SportsThe Cowboys defense stands a better chance with DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher on the field at the same time.
DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher are the two mainstays left and both have been banged up. Ware missed three games with a quadriceps injury. Hatcher missed one with a stinger that has been problematic for two months.

If the defense is to have a chance to succeed, the Cowboys need Ware and Hatcher. But here's a question: Why are they not in the game more?

Jason Garrett said the Cowboys, "believe in the rotational system that Rod [Marinelli] uses."

It's fine to rotate players. You want players to remain fresh through the course of a game. But do they need to come off the field together?

Of the 69 defensive snaps in Sunday's loss to the Green Bay Packers, Ware and Hatcher were on the field together for 44 of them. There were 13 snaps where one or the other was on the field. There were 12 snaps in which neither was on the field, including goal-line snaps in the fourth quarter before Andrew Quarless' touchdown. Hatcher was not on the field for James Jones' 3-yard touchdown catch and Eddie Lacy's game-winning score.

At different times the Cowboys' defensive line featured Everette Brown, Drake Nevis, Corey Irvin and George Selvie. At one point they had Ware and Edgar Jones at defensive end with Jarius Wynn and Irvin at tackle.

"It's real important to keep that group fresh up front," Garrett said. "If you're looking for guys to put pressure on the quarterback, being fresh is a big part of that. The best defenses line I've been around rotated guys. So we'll continue to do that. It's not exclusive. They don't always come out together. They don't always play together. But occasionally they do, sometimes they're on the sideline together and you have to battle through that. The other guys have an opportunity to step up and make an impact on the game. George Selvie did a fantastic job in yesterday's game. He made a lot of plays, tackle for losses, sacks and impacted the game in a positive way. Everett Brown did as well. We have to get that across the board."

But there is a time and place for everything. In the most crucial snaps -- like on the goal line -- Ware and Hatcher must be on the field.

Five Wonders: Season on line Sunday?

November, 19, 2013
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IRVING, Texas -- Refreshed off the bye week, Five Wonders is back and ready for action.

We'll start with this mini-wonder: Does anybody more than wonder whether the Dec. 29 meeting between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium will be to win the NFC East?

I wonder it, but only if the Cowboys beat the New York Giants this week.

On to the wonders:

SportsNation

Who will have a bigger impact in Sunday's game vs. the Giants?

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    27%
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    73%

Discuss (Total votes: 9,336)

• I wonder if the season is on the line Sunday against the New York Giants. The Cowboys would still be alive because of the state of the NFC East, but at 5-6 and reeling it would be hard to see a turnaround. They would have lost three of four and the only win came on a 90-yard drive in the final minute against the Minnesota Vikings. The Cowboys carry emotional baggage with them no matter how much Jason Garrett attempts to keep them in the present. Injuries have piled up again. Questions about the scheme have rumbled on both sides of the ball. There is a lot on the line this week. The Giants have won four in a row to claw back into the race after a 0-6 start. Their wins have not come against the best quarterbacks but winning breeds confidence and the Giants have confidence. Maybe the feeling comes from the 32-point loss to the New Orleans Saints before the bye, but the Cowboys sure seem fragile mentally right now as well as physically.

[+] EnlargeBill O'Brien
Abby Drey/Centre Daily Times via Getty ImagesIf the Cowboys fail to make the playoffs this season, Penn State coach Bill O'Brien could be an interesting choice to replace Jason Garrett.
• I don't believe owner and general manager Jerry Jones wants to replace Garrett. I truly believe he wants Garrett to be the Cowboys' head coach for a long time. But if the Cowboys don't make the playoffs this season, it would not surprise me if Jones made a move. That would be four straight seasons without a playoff appearance. Jones can sell anything, but selling a status quo wouldn't be easy. One thing I don't wonder about is if Lovie Smith would get an interview. I believe he would. But here's another guy I wonder about: Penn State coach Bill O'Brien. I don't know all of the particulars of the buyout at Penn State, but O'Brien was tempted by the NFL last season. His background with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady gives him a plus, and how he has handled the mess that has enveloped Penn State gives him a few more pluses. His time running the Patriots' offense, however, means more to me. The Cowboys drafted Gavin Escobar to be more of a "12 personnel" team but the Cowboys have not been creative enough in getting people involved. They are running the same plays they did with Anthony Fasano and Martellus Bennett as the second tight end and they were not able to produce. O'Brien made the Rob Gronkowski-Aaron Hernandez package work well with Brady. Do I believe O'Brien would get an interview? I don't know any of it, but I would have him on the list. Not that Jones would listen to me.

• The Cowboys drafted Kyle Wilber with the idea that he could play outside linebacker in a 3-4. With the move to the 4-3, he was moved to defensive end. Now he is playing some outside linebacker again because of an injury to Justin Durant. I wonder if Wilber is a man without a position. When Anthony Spencer went down in training camp with a knee injury, Wilber got the first look and then saw Ben Bass take some of his snaps. Then it was George Selvie who took them later on. When DeMarcus Ware got hurt in the season, Wilber took over but then saw Jarius Wynn take over the starting spot. Wilber always was a tweener, but the coaches have yet to feel like he can handle the full-time duty. If they did, they wouldn't be moving him around so much, especially because the defensive end spot is much more valued in this scheme than strong side linebacker.

• I wonder if we'll see a more engaged Bruce Carter now that Sean Lee is out of the lineup. There is no other way to say it then this: Carter has been a disappointment this season. The Cowboys did not need him to be Derrick Brooks in this defense, but they needed him to be productive. He had two sacks in the first two games. He had a pass deflection and a quarterback pressure. He has just two pressures and a pass deflection in the last eight games. He has one tackle for loss. The weak-side linebacker spot is designed to be the playmaker in this defense. When the Cowboys lost Lee last year to a toe injury, Carter stepped up his game before an elbow injury KO'd him for the year. The Cowboys need that Carter and not the Carter that ended the New Orleans game. We can pick on just about everybody on defense from that game, but Carter was ready for that game to end sooner than it did.

Back in June I wondered if people were sleeping on just how effective Lance Dunbar would be when the season started. I pegged him in for 30 catches out of the backfield. I saw his speed and elusiveness as being a big part of a revamped offense. I was wrong. While not as big a disappointment as Carter, Dunbar has not been able to deliver on offense. He has four catches for 21 yards and 15 carries for 48 yards. Some of it is injury. Some of it is ball security. Some of it is scheme. Jerry Jones said he wanted to see Dunbar more involved. Bill Callahan said he would like to get Dunbar more involved. Sometimes there's just not enough of the football to go around. Dunbar has seen his role taken by Cole Beasley to a degree because of the use of the "empty” package. Maybe things change in the final six games, but I would be surprised.

Need a semi to stop Rod Marinelli

November, 15, 2013
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IRVING, Texas -- So far it has been a trying season for the Dallas Cowboys' defense. They have allowed more 400-yard passers than any defense in history. They have allowed more first downs in a game than any in NFL history. They have allowed more yards in a game than any defense in Cowboys history.

Confidence might be an issue for some, but not defensive line coach Rod Marinelli.

[+] EnlargeDallas' Rod Marinelli
Casey Sapio/USA TODAY Sports"I think if you have a belief and it's tested and you crack with that, then it's not a belief. You better get a big old semi to run over me and it better be three times because it ain't changing," Rod Marinelli said on how he coaches.
“I believe in what I do so hard and so well. I’ll tell you when I was in Detroit that was a great experience for me because it’s what I believed in and it didn’t work and I never lost confidence,” said Marinelli, whose Lions were 0-16 in 2008. “I never lost faith. I went to Chicago and I kept working. I think if you have a belief and it’s tested and you crack with that, then it’s not a belief. You better get a big old semi to run over me and it better be three times because it ain’t changing.”

The Cowboys have run through a ton of defensive linemen. Corvey Irvin is the latest this week. Marinelli takes them off the assembly line, coaches them and has them ready in a matter of days.

“I’m the source of energy for them, OK?” Marinelli said. “And I’m the source of all the energy in that room and I’ve got to set the tempo and the tone and the standards in that room. I don’t care where you came from you now have to rise to my level. And they’re trying.”

George Selvie has responded with six sacks. Nick Hayden has been mostly decent. Drake Nevis has filled in nicely. Jarius Wynn and Everette Brown have been able to provide some pressure. Jason Hatcher should return Nov. 24 against the New York Giants after missing the loss to the New Orleans Saints with a stinger. DeMarcus Ware should be healthier after missing three of the past four games with a quadriceps strain.

“You look at yourself first,” Marinelli said. “Coaching better and the details. I don’t care who’s out there, if you’re asking him to do something you’re coaching him and he’s not doing it, you always look at yourself. I guess I always look at the positive. I am, that’s just me. I believe we keep this kind of group coming together right now we’ll have a chance to keep improving. All we have to do is just make steps, keep making steps each week and then if we do that we’ll get better and better. We get Hatch, who’s got a chance, DeMarcus, you’ve got two impact guys and you can fill around those guys pretty good.”

Quick change for Everett Dawkins

November, 7, 2013
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IRVING, Texas -- Last week defensive tackle Everett Dawkins was them. Wednesday was different.

Last week he was on the Minnesota Vikings' practice squad helping them get ready to play the Dallas Cowboys. On Wednesday, he was a Cowboy.

"It was a good win for us," Dawkins said of the 27-23 outcome.

The Cowboys signed Dawkins off the Vikings' practice squad after waiving defensive tackle Marvin Austin. There's a strong possibility he plays on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, just the way Drake Nevis, Jarius Wynn and Austin played in their first week with the Cowboys.

"I played in the preseason, but I didn't play on a Sunday yet," Dawkins said. "That's something I've always wanted to do, so it's a great feeling."

The Vikings picked Dawkins in the seventh round. The Cowboys had a third-round grade on him.

"Somebody sent me a text message of the picture," Dawkins said. "I guess it was on the internet."

Dawkins was glad to be in Dallas for another reason: It snowed in Minneapolis on Tuesday.

"It's just crazy, but that's how the NFL works though," Dawkins said. "I just have to make sure I take advantage of everything to my full potential and just go and show I'm not one of the guys that's leaving."

'Next man up' makes plays for Cowboys

November, 4, 2013
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- A week ago Everette Brown was at the Dallas Cowboys' Valley Ranch facility preparing for a workout. On Sunday, Brown played a big role on the defensive line in the 27-23 win against the Minnesota Vikings.

Brown
Brown had a strip sack of quarterback Christian Ponder on the final drive of the game and was credited with two tackles and a quarterback hurry.

“We’ve had a little sequence here where we bring them in on Wednesday and they play on Sunday,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We’ve been doing that for about eight weeks. I think one of those guys we brought in Wednesday (for practice) had a sack for us, so the ‘next man up,’ philosophy is alive and well with our football team and certainly our defensive line.”

Brown wasn’t the only new face. Jarius Wynn, who signed with the Cowboys on Oct. 15, started in place of Kyle Wilber, who had replaced DeMarcus Ware for two games. Wynn had one tackle and a hellacious hit on Ponder on Nick Hayden's fumble recovery for a touchdown.

Drake Nevis played a ton with Marvin Austin knocked out in pre-game warmups because of a back strain and Jason Hatcher and Hayden knocked out in the game because of a stinger and back injuries. Nevis signed on Sept. 24. Austin signed on Oct. 21.

“Just going out there, working hard, listening to the coaches and really just diving in and knowing what to do when that time comes,” Wynn said.
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys' defensive line shuffle continued on Monday when the team agreed to a deal with Everette Brown.

Brown, a former second-round pick of the Carolina Panthers in 2009, worked out for the Cowboys on Monday, as did defensive end Adrian Tracy.

It is the third straight week the Cowboys have signed a free-agent defensive linemen. Jarius Wynn was signed on Oct. 15 and Marvin Austin was signed on Oct. 21.

Brown has not played in a regular-season game since 2011 when he was with the San Diego Chargers. He spent time with the Detroit Lions (2012) and Philadelphia Eagles (2013). He had six sacks for the Panthers in 2009-10.

Before the deal can become official, the Cowboys have to release a player from the 53-man roster.

The Cowboys re-signed guard David Arkin to the practice squad after he was released over the weekend to make room for safety Jakar Hamilton. Arkin, a fourth-round pick in 2011, did not take an offensive snap in parts of three seasons.

“There's probably nobody on our football team who works harder and is more committed than David Arkin,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s the right kind of guy and he's working at it and he's getting better. I think he has improved over the last couple of years and that's why we're happy to get him back and put him back on the practice roster and continue that development.”

Cowboys no names come through again

October, 21, 2013
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PHILADELPHIA -- Five of the eight defensive linemen the Dallas Cowboys used against the Philadelphia Eagles joined the team after training camp began. Two joined in September. Two more joined the 53-man roster last week.

Last Thursday Jason Hatcher, the biggest name of the No-Name bunch, organized a trip to a local comedy club to get to know each other a little better.

Name tags were not needed.

“Nah, I know them,” Hatcher said, “but it’s just goes to show you man when you play for each other, you love one another off the field and you spend time with each other , you know on the field it’s going to be something special. Just go out there and work your butt off for each other.”

Hatcher had his sixth sack of the season, tacking on to his career high. George Selvie (signed July 24) had the first multi-sack game of his career (1.5 sacks). Jarius Wynn (signed last Tuesday) split the sack with Selvie. Caesar Rayford (signed Sept. 3) had Matt Barkley by the ankle on Barry Church's interception in the fourth quarter.

“It’s what football’s about, you know,” defensive line coach Rod Marinelli said. “At the end of the day, it’s still a blue-collar game of men who want to go out and work, fight, compete, and opportunities. That’s what I see it as. It’s special.”

Upon Further Review: Eagles Week 2

September, 16, 2013
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PHILADELPHIA -- An examination of four hot issues a day after the Philadelphia Eagles' 33-30 loss to the San Diego Chargers:

[+] EnlargeChip Kelly
AP Photo/Brian GarfinkelChip Kelly said he made some mistakes during his first regular-season loss as an NFL head coach.
Crash course in the NFL rulebook: Football coaches don’t like to admit mistakes, but Chip Kelly acknowledged he didn’t know he could keep Michael Vick in the game by calling time out after Vick was nicked on the Eagles’ pivotal final possession.

“That’s on me,” Kelly said Monday. If he had known, he said, he would have used one of his three timeouts at that point.

Vick was slow to get up after being hit by San Diego’s Jarius Wynn on first down at the Chargers 14. Referee Terry McAuley blew his whistle for an injury timeout, meaning Vick had to leave the field for at least one play -- unless Kelly called time himself. Nick Foles came in for one play, an incomplete pass to DeSean Jackson.

“I made mistakes,” Kelly said. “No one coaches a perfect game, no one plays a perfect game.”

Kelly's time management also questionable: Kelly also said he should have bled time off the clock on that same possession, but his thought process was a little clearer.

The Eagles got the ball on their own 29, trailing 30-27, with 3:05 left in the fourth quarter. After throwing an incompletion, Vick completed three passes for 46 yards and scrambled once for 11. The Eagles moved to the San Diego 14 in 56 seconds. Kelly chose to keep the gas pedal to the floor.

“We were throwing the ball and it was working,” Kelly said. He said it wouldn’t have been “difficult” to shift gears and take more time in that final sequence. Instead, the Eagles kicked a game-tying field goal and left the Chargers 1:51 for their game-winning drive.

“We should have run the clock,” Kelly said. “That’s my decision.”

Philip Rivers wasn’t just standing around: Kelly mocked ball-control offenses last month, saying time of possession only showed which offense was better at “standing around.” In college, though, you don’t face 10-year veterans playing their 118th NFL game.

Rivers continually ran the play clock down. But he was using the time to diagnose the Eagles' defense and change the Chargers’ offensive calls.

“They basically put the game in his hands,” Kelly said. “He was making a lot of checks up at the line of scrimmage.”

The Eagles can’t do much to fix their secondary on a short week: Bradley Fletcher, who missed Sunday’s game with a concussion, was cleared to practice Monday. His return will help the Eagles' secondary improve for Thursday night’s game against Andy Reid, Alex Smith and the Chiefs.

Unfortunately for coordinator Bill Davis, Brandon Hughes did not practice because of a hamstring injury. His availability for the Chiefs game is unknown.

As far as the safety situation, Nate Allen likely will start again. Rookie Earl Wolff got plenty of playing time Sunday, but is still making too many mistakes, Kelly said.

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