NFC East: Jerome Long

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cowboys’ injury-depleted defensive line didn’t just get by against the Giants. The Dallas front four was a dominant force.

In fact, the four Cowboys who received the highest grades from’s play-by-play evaluation of the season-opening win were starting defensive linemen.

[+] EnlargeDallas' Rod Marinelli
Casey Sapio/USA TODAY Sports"I'm really proud of some of these guys coming in off the bus," Dallas Cowboys defensive line coach Rod Marinelli said.
Much of the credit must go to defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, the most overqualified position coach in the league.

It’s not necessarily a surprise to see defensive end DeMarcus Ware and defensive tackle Jason Hatcher at the top of the list, although this was their first game in a 4-3 scheme. It’s much more noteworthy that defensive end George Selvie and defensive tackle Nick Hayden, a couple of fill-in starters for former Pro Bowlers, performed so well.

Selvie figured his football career could be over when he didn’t get signed all offseason, then seized his opportunity when the Cowboys called him after Anthony Spencer needed knee surgery the first week of training camp. Hayden was out of football last season, but he’s consistently impressed the Cowboys coaches since signing in the spring.

The Cowboys also got quality contributions from reserve defensive tackle Landon Cohen, who was out of football last year and signed with the Cowboys the same day as Selvie, and reserve defensive tackle/end Jerome Long, who was released in the cuts to 53 and re-signed the day before the opener.

“Man, they did an awesome job,” said Hatcher, who had a sack and a hurry. “Hayden just had a monster game. Selvie came in and a few guys came in off the street. Long came in like yesterday and spared us a few plays.

“When you have leaders on the D-line, it’s easy to bring guys in and show them the way. Hats off to those guys, man. They did a tremendous job coming in off the street and doing what they do.”

Ware picked off an Eli Manning screen pass on the first snap of the game. He was relatively quiet the rest of the night, recording one hurry and one pass defensed, but his mere presence as a pass-rushing threat made a major impact.

Selvie benefitted from the Giants sliding protection towards Ware. The 26-year-old journeyman had a critical sack in the red zone, two hurries and a fumble recovery.

Hayden anchored the Dallas run defense, which held the Giants to 3.6 yards per carry, and forced the fumble that safety Barry Church returned for a touchdown.

“I’m really proud of some of these guys coming in off the bus,” Marinelli said. “They played very well and played very hard. We’ll get better.”

Cowboys to re-sign DL Jerome Long

September, 6, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- Needing as many able bodies along the defensive line as possible for Sunday’s game against the New York Giants because of injuries, the Dallas Cowboys will re-sign Jerome Long, who was among the team’s final cuts last week.

To make room for Long, Ben Bass, who dislocated his left shoulder in Thursday’s practice, is expected to be placed on injured reserve. A source indicated Bass would miss at least a month with the injury. It’s the second time in two seasons Bass has ended up on injured reserve.

Teams can only use the returnable injured reserve designation on one player, so the Cowboys wanted to protect themselves some by not using it on Bass. Long signed with the Cowboys on June 25 and played in five preseason games before being released Aug. 31.

With Long’s knowledge of the scheme, ability to play end and tackle and non-guaranteed salary, he was the best fit.

“He understands the scheme better than anybody,” defensive tackle Jason Hatcher said. “He’s one of those guys who got caught up in a numbers game. I thought he did a good job at the three-technique and he can play end. He can spare me a lot and you’ve got [Landon] Cohen. He can play the three-technique and nose. We’re not worried about the game at all.”

Maybe, but Hatcher knows his snap count will be high Sunday. High for DeMarcus Ware, too.

“It’s just really going to test our character,” Hatcher said. “The guys who are here, me and D-Ware, we’ve got to do a little more. Our workload’s going to be a little more. We can handle it.”