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Spears expects to be back in time for regular season opener.
"I'm doing fine," Spears said. "It's a strain, so it's going to take a while for it to get back. I know the moment I feel like I'm ready to go and I'll be going."
However, he is frustrated that it will take away from him learning the new defense under coordinator Rob Ryan.
Spears was re-signed by the Cowboys late in July after the lockout was lifted. Dallas and Spears agreed to a five year contract worth $19.2 million. Spears missed the final eight games of the 2010 season with a strained calf, so hopefully this isn't becoming a trend with Spears.
The regular season begins on September 11 as the Cowboys visit New Meadowlands Stadium to take on the Jets on Sunday Night Football.
The Cowboys have brought in Shayne Graham to compete with David Buehler, Dan Bailey and Kai Forbath for the Cowboys’ kicker job. Buehler and Forbath are out with injuries, leaving Bailey as the only healthy kicker in camp.
The Dallas Cowboys' roster continues to take shape as we're now less than a month away from Dallas' first regular season contest against the New York Jets on September 11. On Tuesday, the Cowboys released linebacker Alex Daniels and cornerback Ross Weaver, according to Calvin Watkins.
Both Weaver and Daniels were nursing injuries. Per Watkins:
Daniels (ankle) and Weaver (whiplash) were both trying to recover from injuries suffered during training camp. The Cowboys currently have 85 players on their roster.
Here are the linebackers on the roster: Isaiah Greenhouse, Sean Lee, Keith Brooking, Bruce Carter, Kenwin Cummings, Mike Balogun, Bradie James, Victor Butler, Orie Lemon, Brandon Williams, Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware.
Both Weaver and Daniels are 24 years old as well. Neither were expected to contribute much, if anything, to the Cowboys in 2011.
Jerry Jones announced his pleasure with Phil Costa to the local media over the weekend, saying that he expects the second year lineman to play 'a lot for the Cowboys, now.'
The Cowboys decided Monday to move veteran Kyle Kosier to right guard, at least temporarily while Montrae Holland recovers from his back problem. The move has the potential to clear the way for David Arkin to enter the starting lineup, as Kosier will now be next to Tyron Smith, and Arkin will be between veterans Doug Free and Andre Gurode.
Arkin will still have to beat Holland out for the starting spot whenever Holland returns (he was initially expected back at practice in time for Sunday’s Blue-White scrimmage), but the alignment is much more realistic than Arkin and Smith both starting their first NFL games alone on the right side with an abbreviated camp behind them. Arkin should get plenty of time to show his progress Thursday in Denver with Holland unavailable.
Offensive line coach Hudson Houck told media Monday that Holland shouldn’t have any problem shifting to the left side. Kosier played on the right side in Detroit before he came to Dallas as a free agent.
Unlike the quarterback position, NFL teams can withstand the loss of a running back mid-season and still have success. For the first time since being drafted in the first round of the 2008 Draft, Felix Jones will have the opportunity to be the No. 1 back on the Cowboys’ depth chart. After three years of limited action, Jones is poised to be ‘the man’ in Dallas’s backfield. Dallas Cowboys fans should feel nothing but excitement about the possibility of the running game being vastly improved in 2011.
Ever since Jones missed the final ten games of his rookie year, the concern with the former 22nd overall pick in the ‘08 Draft was whether he’d be able to withstand the physical rigors of being a workhorse type running back that rushed the ball 250 times or more. Perhaps wanting to make sure they got some value and productivity out of Jones, the Cowboys limited the former Arkansas product to 116 and 185 carries in ’09 and ’10 respectively.
With just one year left on his rookie contract, now is the time to see if Jones can hold up as the No. 1 back. If he breaks down and endures an unfortunate injury, so be it. As mentioned, you can plug and play at the running back position much more easily than you can at QB, wide receiver or offensive line.
The path is now clear for Jones to assume the starting duties with Marion Barber’s signing in Chicago. Tashard Choice, who looked like he might supplant both Barber and Jones during his successful rookie campaign in ‘08, injured his calf in the first practice of training camp and has yet to return to practice since. Choice and DeMarco Murray, the team’s third round selection in April’s Draft, are both expected to return to practice next week.
Jones feels ready to capitalize on his first real opportunity as an every-down back in the NFL:
“Everybody has their competition level where they want to be the best,” Jones said. "Obviously, I want to be the best player and I continue to keep thinking like that and I want to compete and be better in my craft. That’s how I look at it.
“Ever since I got drafted, really ever since I got to Arkansas, I’ve been trying to do what I can do on the field,” Jones said. “Every opportunity I can get, I try to maximize it any way. That’s how I look it. Just go out there and show what you got. Do your best and don’t worry about being compared to who.”
For more Cowboys coverage and discussion, make the trip over to Blogging The Boys.
Less than two weeks into camp and three days before the Cowboys play their first preseason game, we have begun to see the key positions and players of interest emerge.
He may have been in the news for recently saying that the Dallas Cowboys would kick the ass of the NFL’s newest all-hype team (referring to the Philadelphia Eagles of course), but when he’s not carrying on the Ryan traditoin of talking smack at every conceivable opportunity, Rob Ryan is hard at work installing new packages and wrinkles to the Cowboys’ defense.
The Cowboys finished the 2010 season 26th in passing yards allowed (3894), 29th in both yards per passing attempt (7.7) and QB rating (92.8) allowed. The Cowboys tried to secure an instant upgrade at CB during free agency by making a play for Nnamdi Asomugh. They of course came up empty handed in the sweepstakes and began training camp with Terrance Newman, Orlando Scandrick and Malcolm Jenkins as the top trio on the depth chart. Newman suffered a groin injury on Wednesday though, and is expected to miss the rest of training camp and likely all of the preseason schedule.
That’s not necessarily the worst news in the world in a normal year, but there is very little that is ‘normal’ about the 2011 NFL season so far. Lockout and shortened preparation time aside, the Cowboys are also learning the ins and outs of first year defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. The long haired brother of Rex shares a similar philosophy to Wade Phillips, but obviously there are numerous differences in the terminology and packages between the two aggressive defensive minds. Newman is a veteran though and will be just fine provided he recovers fully from a physical standpoint.
Jerry Jones certainly doesn’t sound concerned about Newman, nor does he feel like the Cowboys needed to sign Asomugha in order to make significant improvements defending the pass. When asked by Randy Galloway Thursday if he felt the Cowboys had enough talent and depth on their roster to contend, Jones had this to say:
"Yes I do, yes. We wouldn’t be signing these one-year agreements on these safeties if we weren’t trying to do something this year seriously. So I do think it can. I think what we’re going to do with our secondary will be a little more friendly to Scandrick, it will be a little more friendly to Newman when he gets back out there. By the way, Scandrick is probably having at corner the best camp of all. There’s a fresh look. Rob [Ryan] gives them a fresh look when he sees things that he hasn’t seen because he’s just gotten here. Jenkins is showing some things; he’s going to play Jenkins in a way that’s going to give him a more positive approach to how he plays the game. But all of these things will be a positive for us."
Cowboys fans have to be thrilled to hear that Scandrick has looked so good. The former fifth round pick out of Boise State has shown promise during his first three NFL seasons, but for understandable reasons wasn’t quite entrusted to be one of the team’s top two starters. Expect that to change this year though. As for Malcolm Jenkins, an ’09 first rounder, sounds like Ryan has some interesting new ways to deploy him.
When asked about Ryan and his stle, Jones said:
"I did. I visited with Mike Holmgren at length about Rob before Jason hired him, and he was talking about said ‘you’ve got to watch him on third down, third and long he’ll get a little out there one; and two, he’ll upstage your coach, the media gravitates towards him like bees to honey. So all of those things, and I’m not smiling when I say this, those are not negatives. And there’s never been a coach that’s aggressive that’s had some third and longs that he’d like to take back."
Jones elaborated on why Ryan has already had a positive influence on the atmosphere at camp when asked about just how different of a personality Ryan has compared to head coach Jason Garrett:
"Well I know this, I don’t want to get in a battle of wits with Jason Garrett, you will come out a little scathed. So I would have loved to be a part of that. But he has such respect for him — Jason does for Rob as a coach. And frankly you’ve to appreciate Rob’s style with the players. He just has that timing that you have when you can communicate with people effectively. He does it well, does it with a lot of humor, it impacts the offense as well. I was talking with Jason Witten the other day, he said was right over there on the sideline and Rob caught a pass on a linebacker, and Rob proceeded to call Jason a very colorful name. And Jason just had to smile as he was going to back to the huddle. It’s infectious. It’s good stuff."
I, for one, am interested to see how that mainfests itself on Sundays, particularly early in the season when offenses are potentially still trying to iron out the kinks in their execution.
For more Cowboys coverage, check out Blogging The Boys.
The Cowboys suffered their first serious injury of their abbreviated 2011 training camp, as starting corner Terence Newman suffered a groin injury in Wednesday’s practice. An MRI indicated the severity of the injury, expected to keep Newman out for 4-6 weeks. With the club’s season opener in New York 38 days away, the injury could threaten Newman’s availability against the Jets.
Newman tweeted Wednesday night:
A little groin pull and be back for the jets! The man upstairs has my back and I have his. Thanks for the encouragement. Have a good night.
DeMarco Murray and Bruce Carter are the two remaining unsigned Cowboys draft picks, and news came Thursday that once Murray does sign he will join Carter on the sideline. Murray suffered a recent hamstring injury while working out and appears to be at least two weeks from returning to action, according to Todd Archer.
The timing of the injury is unfortunate, since Murray hopes to take win significant snaps as a passing down back, thanks to his receiving talents and ability in college to handle blitzers. Those areas are complicated in the NFL, and Murray has spent zero time on the field with coaches. Compounding his difficult task is an abbreviated camp that has preseason games scheduled to begin around the time he is ready to return.
Carter appears to be even less of a contributor, as the Cowboys are expected to place him on the physically unable to perform list once he has signed, and no timetable for his return will be given until the club can examine his progress since they last checked him out before the draft.
Now that the Dallas Cowboys have officially reported to San Antonio to kickoff training camp in 2011, it's now safe to look ahead to Dallas' schedule leading up to the 2011 regular season. The Cowboys, as is custom, will be playing four preseason games this year - three of which are in August and one in September.
First off, the Cowboys officially begin practicing on Thursday, July 28th. Players and staff reported to San Antonio for camp on Wednesday, but the first practice and walkthrough won't actually be held until Thursday.
The Cowboys' first preseason game is scheduled for Thursday, August 11 against the Denver Broncos at home in Dallas. There had been rumors that this game would be rescheduled for August 13, but that has yet to occur.
Dallas will then play host to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, August 21 in the second week of preseason play.
The Cowboys will conclude their preseason in Miami against the Dolphins on Thursday, September 1 as the final tuneup before the Cowboys open up the 2011 regular season in New Jersey against the Jets on September 11.
As Roger Goodell put it on Monday, football is back. It's officially back for the Dallas Cowboys as members of the team and staff reported to San Antonio on Wednesday as the Cowboys get their 2011 training camp underway.
Head coach Jason Garrett, entering his first full season as a head coach in the NFL, is set to hold a press conference on Wednesday afternoon - tentatively scheduled for 3 p.m. You can watch the press conference on Dallas' official website here.
It's certainly a relief for fans to see the Cowboys opening training camp, just knowing that football is officially back for the next decade. Still, this training camp is going to be crucial for Garrett and the Cowboys. Not only does the regular season begin in just over 40 days, but the entire offseason is occurring in a week with players being released along with free agents and draft picks being signed.
So far, the notable releases for the Cowboys prior to camp beginning include Marion Barber, Roy Williams and Leonard Davis. Marc Colombo could very well end up released if he doesn't agree to restructure his contract.
The Cowboys will hold their first practice and walkthrough on Thursday.
With the new basic agreement finally reached on Monday, the Cowboys face a frantic week ahead as they fill out their roster and commence training camp concurrently.
Business hours have come and gone on Thursday, the day many predicted that the NFL Lockout would come to an end. There’s still time for the owners to meet and ratify a new collective bargaining agreement before shutting things down for the day though as both parties have worked well into the evening in recent days to try to hammer out the final details of a deal before any more time passes.
Dez Bryant, second-year wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, is one guy who can’t wait for the lockout to be lifted. Bryant has taken flak in the media all offseason — some of it deserved, most of it undeserved. Something tells me that once Bryant gets back on the gridiron and is making plays, he’ll stop being the subject of so much critique and commentary.
On Wednesday, Bryant joined Ben & Skin on ESPN Radio Dallas to talk about his long offseason, his eagerness to get back to work with the ’Boys, and the status of his ankle as he and other players around the league await word about the lockout.
Here’s a few excerpts from the interview (transcription via: Sports Radio Interviews).
How are you feeling health wise?
“I feel great. In my honest opinion I think that my ankle is fine, but whenever the lockout is over with I am going to go in and let Jim [Maurer] look at my ankle and see how it is and I am going to go from there.”
Are you taking the ankle slow or going full speed if the lockout were to be lifted?
“Like I said in my opinion I feel I can roll with it now, but if Jim [Maurer] says to take it slow I am going to take it slow. If it’s up to me I am going full speed. I only know one speed and that is full speed.”
Do you find it interesting that everyone is trying to find out everything that is going on with you off the field and get in your business? Is it a nuisance to you?
“Coming in I am one of those guys that I’m not going to lie I hate the after session [with the media]. I hate it. Now I look at is as people are going to say whatever they want to say. I just gotta learn with what I feel like saying that I have to keep moving forward as long as possible. The true fans around me that will see me doing the positive things and that’s the only thing that matters.”
A report on ESPN DFW by Todd Archer Wednesday says that the Cowboys expect to open their training camp on July 28.
If everything goes as planned with the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and players over the next few days, the Cowboys will hold their first training camp practice July 28 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, according to multiple sources.
This gives the Cowboys just 6-7 days to prepare to have all of their players, equipment and staff in San Antonio, ready to go in time for their slightly abbreviated camp.
As Archer notes, this is the last year of the Cowboys' contract with San Antonio, but they do not have a tour of America planned, as they did in 2010.
There could be a few scheduling bumps as a result of the new start date, most notably one rescheduled preseason game.
According to sources, the Cowboys and Denver have looked into moving the Aug. 11 preseason opener at Cowboys Stadium to Aug. 13. If that happens the Cowboys could have 15 days of practice inside the Alamodome before returning to Valley Ranch.
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