Young Offensive Linemen Lead Youthful Influx for Cowboys

What a difference a year (and a lockout) makes.

If there is one position on this football team that has impressed me this preseason, it has been the youngsters along the offensive line.

If you would have told me that, leading into the season opener, Kyle Kosier would possibly be the most experienced player along Dallas’ offensive line, I would have asked you if winning football games was your primary motive.

Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones knew they had to inject some youth into the offensive line, a unit that was embarrassingly pedestrian in a disappointing 6-10 campaign last season.

Enter rookies Tyron Smith, David Arkin, Bill Nagy, and undrafted free agent Phil Costa.

The drafting of three rookie linemen single-handedly pushed two starters from the year before (Leonard Davis and Mark Colombo) off the roster.  That number could turn to three if Nagy and Arkin continue to outplay Montrae Holland.  Now it appears that little-known Phil Costa is set to make all-pro center Andre Gurode a backup, or push him off the roster altogether.

There has been one ever-present flaw on this team the past ten years, and it’s been their inability to draft and develop young talent on the offensive line.  It’s now possible that Dallas has four future starting offensive linemen to groom.

Tyron Smith looks to be exactly what the Cowboys thought he would be when they drafted him 10th overall.  At a young twenty years old, the sky is the limit for him from a talent perspective.

David Arkin seems to be developing nicely since arriving from tiny Missouri State.  If he continues down the path he’s on now, he could turn into the mauler with a mean streak that the Cowboys offensive line desperately needs.

The biggest surprise of this rookie group has to be Bill Nagy.  He has certainly exceeded expectations for a late round pick that never played much at Wisconsin.  It will speak volumes for him talent wise if he is starting at left guard on September 11.

Finally that brings us to Phil Costa.  An undrafted free agent brought in last year as nothing more than a camp body.  Costa quickly impressed, and now a year later has likely fought his way into the starting lineup.

I love what the Jason Garrett regime is doing so far.  They are making it known that no player is a lock to make the roster.  Guys who were previously guarantees to make the team (Keith Brooking, Montrae Holland, Andre Gurode, Igor Olshansky, Tashard Choice) are now in serious jeopardy of becoming expendable thanks to the great training camps of youngsters.

I don’t think anyone expected these young guns on the offensive line to play as well as they have this quickly.  Imagine an offensive line that consists of a 27-year old Doug Free, a 32-year old Kyle Kosier, a 24-year old Phil Costa, a 20-year old Tyron Smith, and some combination of 23-year olds David Arkin and Bill Nagy.  Now that’s what I call an infusion of youth, and a great preamble for the future.

Cowboys Extra Points: Scandrick’s Big Deal, Brooking Okay, Buehler Hates New Rule

Here are some team notes from around the web and ESPN and

LB Keith Brooking is not sure he will play Saturday at Minnesota, but the veteran linebacker would like to. “Is it an absolute necessity? I don’t think so,” Brooking said. “I’m going to feel comfortable either way.” Brooking practiced for the second straight day after missing roughly three weeks with a hamstring strain.

Cornerback Mike Jenkins participated in team drills Wednesday for the first time since suffering a stinger. Jenkins had been limited to walkthroughs and individual drills since he suffered the injury during the second week of training camp. “He looked like he never left today, which is good,” secondary coach Dave Campo said. “That means he stayed on top of things.” The Cowboys are confident that Jenkins, a Pro Bowler in 2009, can bounce back from an extremely disappointing 2010 campaign.

QB Jon Kitna was shaking his right hand and looking at his fingers after a defensive lineman grabbed Kitna’s arm as he was throwing. That’s a major no-no. Quarterbacks are not supposed to be touched.

WR Dez Bryant successfully executed a double reverse with WR Kevin Ogletree. His first two attempts in camps ended up in fumbles because he was flipping the ball too fast and far. WR Dwayne Harris was a big part of the first team offense’s work Wednesday. His best grab came on the sideline when he took in a Romo throw after out-jumping CB Mario Butler for the completion.

David Buehler is not pleased with the rule changes in the kickoffs in 2011. Kickoffs have been moved to the 35, making touchbacks all the more likely. Buehler had 51 touchbacks in his first two seasons. “I think they’re changing the rules too much,” Buehler said. “Football is getting kind of soft with Goodell making all the rule changes and everything like that. It gets kind of boring just seeing touchbacks all the time. I obviously want that but the ideal fan doesn’t want that. They want to see the run out, the big collisions and everything like that.”

CB Orlando Scandrick understands that the expectations increase as his money multiplies. That excites him. Scandrick has consistently performed well throughout training camp, instilling belief in the coaching staff that he’s capable of starting. But he had his best practice Wednesday, blocking a field goal, picking off a deep ball and breaking up several passes. That performance occurred as the ink was drying on Scandrick’s new $27 million dollar extension.

Pre-Season Game #2 – San Diego Chargers at Dallas Cowboys

Howdy Cowboys fans… The Silver and Blue will host the San Diego Chargers tonight at Cowboys Stadium in the second game of the preseason. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM and will be broadcast nationally on NBC.

Updated Injury Report

Status Changed 






Miles Austin 


Out, day-to-day 


Jon Kitna 


Returned to practice  

Status Unchanged

David Buehler 


Out indefinitely 

Montrae Holland 


Out, day-to-day 


DeMarco Murray 


Non-football injury list 


Tashard Choice 


Out, day-to-day 


Keith Brooking 


Expected to practice Tuesday 


Mike Jenkins 


Limited but practicing 


Bruce Carter 


Non-football injury list 


Teddy Williams 


Out indefinitely 

Kai Forbath 


Non-football injury list 


Terence Newman 


Out four weeks 

What To Expect Tonight

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he expects the starters will receive more work in Sunday’s game with San Diego than they got in the preseason opener last week against Denver.

“They played a long series on each side of the ball against Denver and got into that eight-10-12-play mentality,” Garrett said. “We’ll probably go longer than that. I can’t guarantee you a play number, but we just anticipate them playing longer. Hopefully, they will go into the second quarter and double the snaps.”

Five Things To Look For In Preseason Game #2

Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Star-Ledger with a good primer on what we should look for.

1. Scandrick’s starting bid

Orlando Scandrick has been the Cowboys’ nickel corner the past three seasons, but he’s in the last year of his contract and understands his future income will increase if he is considered a starting-caliber cornerback. Scandrick certainly sees this as another opportunity to prove he can be a starter on the outside next season, if not this year. Terence Newman will most likely not be brought back in 2012 because of age, injury history and his high salary.

2. A longer look at Romo & Co.

Quarterback Tony Romo and the regulars will play at least a quarter, if not more. It will be Romo’s longest stint since suffering a fractured clavicle last October, forcing him to miss the final 10 games of 2010. “I can’t guarantee you a play number or a time in the game when they’re coming out, but we anticipate them playing longer,” coach Jason Garrett said. “Hopefully into the second quarter, maybe double the snaps.”

3. Offensive line

Seventh-round pick Bill Nagy will get his turn at left guard in place of the injured Montrae Holland. (Fourth-round pick David Arkin got the start in the preseason opener.) The interesting thing is that Nagy was largely a reserve in college at Wisconsin, but now he is in a battle for a starting job with the Cowboys. The Chargers game will also serve as another test for rookie top pick Tyron Smith at right tackle.

4. Dan Bailey gets his shot

Incumbent kicker David Buehler is out tonight with a hip strain, giving rookie Dan Bailey a chance to get a leg up in the kicking competition. Bailey, who will handle all kicking duties tonight, has more than held his own against Buehler in training camp, and tonight he can put some real heat on Buehler.

5. The Rob Ryan defense

The Cowboys’ defense under the new coordinator didn’t get off to a good start in the preseason opener against the Broncos, who marched 74 yards on the opening drive against Dallas’ starters. The Cowboys will be helped by the return of nose tackle Jay Ratliff, who missed the preseason opener with a bad back. Ryan said he expects communication to improve dramatically, leading to better results against the Chargers and their potent passing attack.

Team Notes

Wide receiver Miles Austin missed his second straight practice Friday with a strained hamstring. Although the injury isn’t considered serious, he likely won’t play Sunday.

Defensive end Jason Hatcher was sidelined with a toe injury and is questionable for Sunday. Kicker David Buehler (sore hip) also didn’t participate and likely won’t play Sunday.

It’s been more than two weeks since a groin injury to Terence Newman vaulted Scandrick into the starting lineup. Although the jury is still out as to whether he’s proved once and for all that he’s more than just a slot corner, Scandrick appears to be on the right track to convincing the Cowboys he can play outside in the base package.

Wide receiver Dwayne Harris could be making a push to be the team’s third receiver as he continues to impress with his natural play-making abilities and and intsity on the field. Harris hauled in five passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner in the Cowboys’ preseason home opener against the Denver Broncos. 

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Charles Haley, Larry Allen, Drew Pearson To Be Enshrined In Ring Of Honor

Big news today as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones announced that Drew Pearson, Larry Allen and Charles Haley will be inducted into the Cowboys Ring Of Honor.

Look for the induction ceremony to take place during halftime of the November 6th game against the Seattle Seahawks, and let me just say how excited I am about this.

As we read here on LSS last week, there were rumors floating around that Drew Pearson was going to be enshrined in the R.O.H., but to learn that the great Charles Haley and future Hall of Famer Larry Allen will be honored right along side Pearson came as a big surprise to me and honestly it’s such a great thrill.

Cowboys fans have been pining for Pearson’s enshrinement for the better part of two decades now, so I’m most happy for him.

“All of these guys were part of some of the greatest moments and were very impactful to having those moments,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “All three of these guys deserve to be here. I don’t have a program of one a year or two a year. I have a program of how it feels and this felt good.”

Congratulations to the three newest members of the Ring of Honor!

A few interesting position battles for the Cowboys

As the Cowboys get ready for week 2 of the preseason against the Chargers, I can’t help but get excited about some of the position battles going on. There seems to be a different feel to the team right now as far as not expecting the same starters to keep their jobs like in past seasons. Competition makes players stronger and in the end hopefully it makes the team stronger. I have my thoughts on some of the battles going on. I would love to find out from others what they think.

David Buehler vs Dan Bailey. I get an uncomfortable feeling when Buehler lines up for a FG and Bailey has shown in camp so far why he was the best kicker in college last season. I’m hoping in the next few preseason games that Bailey gets a chance to kick some field goals instead of just kicking them in practice.

 John Kitna vs Stephen McGee. I understand Kitna is a proven veteran and he did a good job last season when Tony Romo was injured, but he is 38 years old. Do the Cowboys move on and promote McGee to backup? I think playing behind Romo and Kitna has helped his game and has made him confident that he can get the job done. But do the Cowboys feel the same?

Montrae Holland vs David Arkin. The Cowboys are going with rookie RT Tyron Smith, but should they also go with rookie LG Arkin over Holland. Although Holland is a veteran the question is can he stay healthy? If Arkin is a starter will playing between Andre Gurode and Doug Free be enough to help him get adjusted in a hurry?

Anthony Spencer vs Victor Butler. At the end of 2009 Spencer showed some nice things in his game and then he followed that up with a disappointing 2010 season. Victor Butler has always been a favorite of mine and so far in camp and in the first preseason game he seems to always be in the backfield and around the ball. Do the Cowboys promote Butler to the starting lineup opposite DeMarcus Ware?

Some interesting battles for the Cowboys this preseason. I can’t wait to see how everyone votes and I can’t wait to see how these positions work there way through.

Ryan’s Tribute To Landry

In our first pre-season game did anyone notice the defense ran a 4-3 flex defense on the first play?
There were three linebackers on the field and in the middle was a player wearing the No. 54. Cowboys fans were taken back to a time, when the Cowboy’s first and only coach, wearing his suit and his famous hat was standing on the sideline.

On the first play from scrimmage, new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan called for the team’s starters to line up in the 4-3 Flex, a formation conceived by Tom Landry — the legendary coach whose fingerprints are all over this franchise.

“Without living in the past, we try to put that in front of our players to understand what the tradition means, what the star means, what the standard is and all that,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “I think it fits in with all of that. It was Rob’s idea all the way. He brought it up to me and I said I love that. That’s tremendous.”

The Cowboys worked on the formation in practice and didn’t wait long to show it to fans expecting to see one of Ryan’s cutting-edge defensive alignments. Instead, they watched No. 54, reserve linebacker Kenwin Cummings, jump in a three-point stance and play the role of Randy White, the Hall-of-Fame defensive tackle who was the centerpiece of the “Doomsday Defense” that scared opponents in the 1970’s.

It also proved effective. Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware batted down Denver quarterback Kyle Orton’s pass at the line of scrimmage. After the game, he beamed when reminded of the play — one that seemed ripped from the Cowboys’ glorious past.

“It was a tribute,” Ware said.

A tribute that I would of never dreamed would come from Rob Ryan. My hats goes off to you Coach Ryan! It shows that you understand the history of the Dallas Cowboys and respect that. That alone makes this Cowboy Fan have respect for you.

LSS Exclusive: An Ultimate Fan Experience

I am in no way a VIP.  But I have had the luck to experience a lot of special memories from the NFL over the years.  I will share a few.

When I was young I had the chance to go see some games with Dad.  And car pool to the games with our family.  Everyone should have a chance to go…at least once.  I received a signed ball from the Super Bowl V Champion Baltimore Colts.  The ball was also signed by several great players (from the 70’s) who were not part of that team.  I also have a briefcase that is blind embossed with the NFL logo.  It came straight from 280 Park Avenue, New York, NY.  And if you do not know the address, it is the league headquarters.  I carry it everywhere.

Additionally, I have had the good fortune to tour team facilities.  On two separate occasions.  And on the second tour, our group was lucky enough to see Ed doing some squats – and Ozzie on the treadmill.  It is a special moment in a fan’s life to have these experiences.  The memories will last a lifetime. 

Recently I was overwhelmed to have the opportunity to cover this year’s Hall of Fame Enshrinement for Lone Star Struck.  And on this occasion I was to be the reporter of record.  Being though I have never had a course in Journalism, I like to consider my part in this role as a “reFANer”.  A new word.  It even has one of those squiggly red lines under it (in my software) that indicate a miss-spelled word.

As the “reFANer” of record, I feel it is my duty to attempt to provide adequate words for the weekend long thrill ride.

In the film “Rudy”, the character Daniel Ruttiger said, (upon entering Notre Dame Stadium), “This is the most beautiful sight these eyes have ever seen!”  And those sentiments are not far off.  I have seen the front entrance to the Hall hundreds of times, but it has never looked quite so “beautiful”.

To add an extra feeling of joy to this journey, I had credentials.  I had access.  But I also had responsibility.  I was to interview Deion Sanders (in a small group) and have a story to tell.  Not too hard for a guy who enjoys any creative outlet.  It actually turned out to be the easiest part.  And I say that because as a reporter, or in this instance a “reFANer”, I had to maintain a sense of dignity…of professionalism…and composure.

I have had some experience in that role from my previous good fortune.  While taking the tours, I had to promise I’d respect the fact that I was given that access – and I was responsible for the group I brought as well.  So this time would be child’s play.  But it wasn’t.  Not in the least.

This time I was exposed to players who were from MY team.  And they were from an amazing time in our team’s history.  My three favorite Cowboys were all on hand.  And I stood about three feet from Emmitt Smith, who ranks at the top in my book.  My family even named a pet after him.

It was all I could do to contain myself and not run up to him to shake his hand.  “I must remember composure and dignity”, I thought to myself.  “Calm down, this weekend I am with the media – a professional…not a fan”.

I would have no respect for some of the great reporters of this game if they acted like a child when a player was around.  So I went with the flow and I acted appropriately.  But it was great to feel that child inside.  The kid who got goose bumps as a 44 year old man.  I smiled from ear to ear and took it all in. 


The whole experience: admission in the Hall; seeing members from my team; being part of a very small group who witnessed the signing of the CBA; attending a Hall Ground Breaking; and interviewing Deion; shaking hands with Chris “back, back, back” Berman and Ed “Too Tall” Jones.  I could go on and on.  Not very far from a fan’s utopia.

I even had the pleasure of being in the same small circle with some of the people who help make this game so great for the fans.  As some of the NFL front office staff were on hand.  I even stood about a foot from Roger Goodell at one point.

Others may have been seeking personal photo opps.  Or autographs.  But not me.  I did my best to be a reporter.

Luck can take you to places you have never been.  So can hard work.  I have experienced both over the past few years and look at where it got me.  Behind a narrow, yellow strip of paper.  Past Security.  Within arm’s reach of some of the greatest men to ever wear a helmet…and take the field.

This reporter didn’t even care that the suit I brought on the trip. The one I was to wear (and did) to the formal dinner presentation of the gold jacket…had a tear in the seam that I forgot about.  It was in the worst possible place.  I remembered while putting it on, a half hour before the event.

I was happy the full time photographer let me crouch in front of him. Now he is a professional.  He got a great look…and he had a great laugh.  I am a giving person after all.  I am so glad I did not pack the neon boxers though.  And that I have never really been a Commando kinda guy. 

Thank you Lone Star Struck…for the most beautiful weekend this football fan’s eyes have ever seen…

LSS Exclusive: Seven Buses to Canton

2011 Hall of Fame Enshrinee Deion Sanders came to Canton, Ohio with TRUTH.

“Truth” in this case is the name that adorned the group’s shirts.  And you could easily locate them making their way around the Hall grounds.  They were in attendance for the Enshrinement Ceremony and they watched the Ground Breaking Ceremony for the Hall’s new addition.

I had a chance to ask several members of the squad exactly what TRUTH stands for.  They responded in unison: “Trust in God, Respect Myself and Others, Understand I have unlimited possibilities, Try my best and never give up, Honor myself and the Truth Creed at all times”.

Coach Ray Elder was with the group and I asked him to share a little more about the program.  He said the boys range in age from 5 to 14.  The team has buses that pick the teammates up for practice and they provide a way home for them as well.  The children/young adults have access to instruction in various sports, however this was the football unit.  He said the organization provides a place for the kids to grow as individuals.  They also provide an alternative to the temptations our youth normally encounter.

The coaches provide instruction to kids first and foremost in life.  But they also value education. They currently have teams for football, baseball, basketball and soccer and they do not discriminate based on gender.  Through visiting their website ( I was able to find that they also work with young women.

The effort is spearheaded by Prime Time Association.  The nonprofit organization founded by Deion and his wife Pillar.  The mission of Prime Time Association is:

Our mission is to serve communities by reaching and teaching our youth through sports and education. We promote positive self images by providing an environment of coaches, mentors and tutors who believe in our youth. We encourage them to embrace the highest values and sense of responsibilities to their families, peers and communities. We invest in the mental, spiritual, physical, financial and overall well being to build stronger kids by reinforcing education.

Their trip to Canton was funded by the parents of the team.  The cost of $325 per child was economical considering the trip.  They started out in Dallas but they had an agenda.  Stops included games at the University of Memphis and Louisville.  In their efforts they like to expose the kids to the college experience.  So they plan their trips accordingly.  In fact their stay in Canton included Malone University.

Word from Deion was they won their games.  From my perspective they have won a great deal more than just a game.

LSS Exclusive: Deion Sanders – More Than Meets the Eye

Speaking in a small group to Deion Sanders was an enlightening experience. The flamboyant entertainer is also a reserved and humble individual. He is a man who puts others first. You will hear Deion speak of family, and that certainly includes his immediate family and his mother – but he also has an extended “family”. He traveled to Canton with seven buses that included his TRUTH football family.

His respect for older players is honorable. He mentioned that they made everything possible for his era of players and today’s era. In fact, Deion was overwhelmed at a Hall of Fame luncheon that included some of those players. He said, “You look over your shoulder and you see all these guys who shaped the game, all these guys who made a way for you. The guys who sacrificed for you to do what you do. They made significantly less than what you earned even though they were deserving.” He said he was “touched”. “Touched by stories of those players who only received a small wage for their part.” And he was understanding and compassionate for their trials.

Deion is also fan, like most of us – and he wears it on his sleeve. Fans have an enthusiastic way of sharing football stories and he is no different. That big smile we see from Deion “the entertainer” was quite evident coming from Deion the fan, “you understand I grew up on Bob Greise…Mean Joe and Mike Haynes.” It was easy to see how highly those players are regarded in his eyes and in his smile.

Deion’s enshrinement speech included a thank you to God. He also thanked his spiritual advisers. And as only Deion can do, he then thanked Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube for coming. He spoke of his childhood. And he spoke of responsibility. He spoke of family and he spoke of commitment. The fireworks that typically follow an enshrinement ceremony actually began when his name was announced. So to speak. He was the last enshrinee Saturday night and the crowd on hand came alive, hanging on his every word.

Because in the spotlight he IS “the entertainer”. But when the lights are turned off, he is a man who could not even focus on his enshrinement or the significance of this weekend until Friday. That is because through Thursday, his focus was on the young members of his football “family”. 

After Saturday’s ceremony, when the stadium crowd had gone, you could see Deion in the NFL Network broadcast area. The honor of what took place that evening had finally set in. And so did the emotions for a person who had reached such a pinnacle in their field. When he was finished with the broadcast he came out and hugged his extended family. They were all so proud.

Each of his five children wore their dad’s colors that night. The colors he wore so proudly over his 14 year career with 5 different teams. He never mentioned which of the colors he looked best in. Or which one was his favorite. Personally I believe his new favorite color is Light Hagger Gold. Deion said on Sunday, he wants to wear his gold jacket whenever possible. He wasn’t going to take it off. He said he was even going to wear it on the NFL Network until they make him stop.

He is proud of his accomplishments as a player and of the abilities he once had. Deion now looks to future possibilities to touch other people – especially the children in his life. He enjoys numerous friendships with ex-teammates and with ex-opponents. And he even established a new friend in fellow 2011 enshrinee Chris Hanburger.

Deion truly believes in himself and he believes in his relationships with others. He is extremely proud of his actions as a person. That is simply due to the fact that with Deion…there IS so much more.

We welcome Blaine to the LLS team and thank him for covering the HOF Ceremony for us.

A few thoughts from Cowboys-Broncos

It was great to finally get back into football last night as the 2011 Cowboys started their preseason with a 24-23 come from behind win against the Broncos. The starters were out of the game early, which meant a chance for the other players looking for a spot on the team to show their stuff. With any first preseason game there were some good things and some bad things. The new Rob Ryan defense is still a work in progress as there seemed to be some confusion in the secondary at times. The starters on offense moved the ball early and came away with a field goal. I guess you really can’t take much from the first game. For me it was fun to watch the younger players and to see who stood out. I came away with a few thoughts as I watched.

-The kicking competition between David Buehler and rookie Dan Bailey could be the best battle of camp. Buehler kicked a 42 yard field goal in the first quarter, but it was not pretty since at first it did not look to be good. Bailey kicked off four times in the game and all four went into the end zone, two of which were touchbacks.

-The secondary gave up some big plays during the game and it looked like communication was an issue at times. Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins did not play, but safeties Gerald Sensabugh and Abe Elam did start. 

-I’ve been a big Victor Butler fan since he came to the Cowboys. Against the Broncos he seemed to be in the backfield many times. I expect big things from Butler this season and it could end up being a problem for Anthony Spencer if he doesn’t pick up his game.

-Felix Jones looked good as he broke free for an 18 yard run in the first quarter and also added a 16 yard gain on a screen pass from Tony Romo two plays later.

-Rookie Tyron Smith seemed to play well in his very first pro game. He played the first half and showed how athletic he is on many plays as well as how strong he is. I think moving Kyle Kosier to RG will only help Smith in his development.

-I’m sure the Cowboys are looking for someone to step up in the punt return game. On the Cowboys four punt returns they totaled -1 yard. As far as kickoff returns, it was rookie Raymond Radway with a 40 yard return and fellow rookie Dwayne Harris added a 32 yard return during the game.

-Speaking of rookie wide receiver Dwayne Harris. He continue to impress in his first game as he caught a short pass from Stephen McGee and then out raced the Broncos defense for a 76 yard touchdown to tie the game in the fourth quarter. Then with 15 seconds left in the game and on 4th down it was once again Harris who scored on a 13 yard touchdown pass from McGee to get the Cowboys to within one point. Harris ended the game with 5 receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns. He could push Kevin Ogletree for the third wide receiver spot as the preseason continues.

-The backup offensive lineman did not do a great job of protecting Stephen McGee at times. Depth on the line should be a concern. When they did protect McGee he played well and seemed to have more confidence as he threw for 208 yards and three touchdowns against the Broncos.

These are just a few of my thoughts coming out of the first preseason game. I love that there is competition at certain positions and that the team is open to that since in past years it seemed it was never that way. I look forward to the position battles continuing and what the final roster will look like once the regular season starts. Next up for the Cowboys is San Diego next Sunday night at Cowboys Stadium. 


Pre-Season Game #1 – Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys

I thought this day would never get here!

The Dallas Cowboys will host the Denver Broncos tonights at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. Kick-off is at 7:30 PM CST and will be broadcast live in the Cowboys local viewing area or re-broadcast on Friday on the NFL Network .

Updated Injury Report

Pos. Player 



C Andre Gurode


Placed on PUP list

LB Bruce Carter


Placed on non-football injury list

RB DeMarco Murray


About one week, placed on non-football injury list

RB Tashard Choice


About one week

LB Keith Brooking


About one week

WR Teddy Williams


Out indefinitely

K Kai Forbath


Placed on non-football injury list

CB Terence Newman


Five to six weeks

G Montrae Holland



CB Mike Jenkins


Limited but practicing

NT Jay Ratliff



WR Titus Ryan


Out indefinitely

What To Expect Tonight

Don’t expect quarterback Tony Romo and most of the regulars to get more than one or two series against the Broncos tonight, but it will be great just to see our guys all suited up and on the field at Cowbys Stadium.

There are plenty of rookies in training camp hoping to win spots on the opening week roster so expect to hear plenty of new names, many of which we’ve highlighted in the last two months here on LSS. Players who should log plenty of time include running backs DeMarco Murray and Lonyae Miller, wide receivers Raymond Radway and Lyle Leong, linebackers Alex Albright and Orie Lemon, and offensive linemen, Tyron Smith and David Arkin.

For Jason Garrett, tonight’s his first preseason game as the Cowboys head coach and he will set the barometer for what he expects from his players on the field in terms of focus, determination and attention to detail.

Rob Ryan also debuts as defensive coordinator and will look to fine tune his new defensive schemes which some players are still struggling to adapt to.

Five Things To Look For This Pre-season

Charean Williams of the Star-Ledger with a good primer on what we should look for.

1. Return of Romo and Dez

Tony Romo hasn’t played since breaking his left clavicle in an Oct. 25 game against the New York Giants. He missed the last 10 games. Romo and Dez Bryant played only six games together, with Bryant catching 18 passes from Romo for 211 yards and a touchdown. Bryant was a candidate for offensive rookie of the year honors last season before breaking his right fibula while returning a kickoff in a Dec. 5 game against the Indianapolis Colts.

2. Blocking for Romo

The Cowboys released right tackle Marc Colombo and right guard Leonard Davis. First-round pick Tyron Smith is replacing Colombo, while veteran Montrae Holland was penciled in as the starter at right guard. But Holland has been out since Friday with a lower back injury. So the Cowboys moved veteran Kyle Kosier from left guard to right guard to provide Smith with a veteran next to him. Rookie David Arkin will start at left guard tonight, while second-year center Phil Costa will start in place of Andre Gurode, who is rehabbing from off-season knee surgery.

3. Kicking competition

Rookie Dan Bailey has been the better field-goal kicker in a duel of kickers, but veteran David Buehler has the edge in kickoffs. In his first season as the team’s place-kicker, Buehler made only 24 of 32 field goals and missed two extra points last season. But he has 51 touchbacks in two seasons. Though Jerry Jones said the Cowboys could employ two kickers this season, as they did in 2009, it’s more likely the job is Buehler’s or Bailey’s.

4. Rob Ryan’s defense

The Cowboys ranked 31st in points allowed last season at 27.3 points per game. The 436 points surrendered was the most in Cowboys history. Players claim Wade Phillips’ defense became “predictable” last season. New defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is anything but, with an 80-page playbook. With only one different starter — free-agent signee Abe Elam has replaced Alan Ball at free safety — the Cowboys are counting on Ryan to take them back where they were in 2009 when they ranked among the best.

5. Cornerbacks, anyone?

The Cowboys offered free-agent prize Nnamdi Asomugha $10 million a year. The cornerback signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, leaving the Cowboys to hope Terence Newman and Mike Jenkins rebound this season. Newman played through a rib injury last season when he allowed 58 receptions for 871 yards and three touchdowns. Jenkins lost his confidence early, allowing 54 receptions for 935 yards and five touchdowns. Now, both are injured. Jenkins is out with a stinger. Newman has a groin injury that will keep him out at least through the preseason. Orlando Scandrick and Alan Ball will start tonight, but Bryan McCann and rookie Josh Thomas will get their chances to shine.

Team Notes

** Tony Romo said earlier in camp that he was throwing the ball as well as he ever had in his career, but the results were mixed. Over the last five days, however, he was on fire. He had a great scrimmage and was great the next day.

** Dez Bryant’s best play of camp was not any catch or run, even if he had a few of them. Bryant’s best play was his reaction after DeMarcus Ware picked off Romo near the goal line and sprinted to catch up to the All-Pro linebacker and punch the ball free for a fumble.

** While Bryant draws oohs and aahs from onlookers, Miles Austin went somewhat unnoticed. I’m not sure he had a drop inside the Alamodome, and he looked Terry Glenn-like with some of his grabs down the middle of the field. Tremendous body control.

** Lonyae Miller could force the Cowboys to keep four tailbacks. The best part of his camp? According to Jason Witten, Miller has not yet missed a blitz pickup — and against this defense, that is saying something. With the Jets looming in the opener, that means a lot.

** Tyron Smith will benefit greatly from having Kyle Kosier next to him. Several defensive players said once Smith gets his hands on them, they can’t break free. But he has to figure out whom to block in a hurry. This was a good move by the coaches to flip Kosier to right guard.

** Not sure there is a leader in the fullback race between Chris Gronkowski, Shaun Chapas and Jason Pociask. I’d like to see all of them keep their feet moving as they block. Chapas is probably the best athlete but this could drag on until the final cuts.

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Cowboys Third Rounder DeMarco Murray Is Ready For Prime Time

The Dallas Cowboys drafted running back DeMarco Murray in the third round of the this year’s draft.  I was surprised and pleased.

DeMarco attended the University of Oklahoma.  In his first game in 2007 he rushed for 201 yards and five touchdowns. He became the first player to score four touchdowns in a half in his Soomer debut.  He also entered the OU record book when he had a touchdown run of 92 yards.   Let me put it this way, he tied Adrian Peterson’s freshman touchdown record in 2007 with 15, that should sum up how talented this young man is.

  • All-Time Leader in Points scored (390)
  • All-Time Leader in Touchdowns (65)
  • All-Time Leader in All Purpose Yards (6,718)
  • All-Time Leader in Receiving Yards for a Running Back ( 1,571)

Most importantly with no fumbles!

He said in a recent interview,  “I also got to see Adrian Peterson for a year there. And he demonstrated how hard he worked – even when he wasn’t getting the ball. It’s just about hard work and that mind-set of competing”

DeMarco grew up being a Dallas Cowboy fan.  He was born February 12, 1988 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Murray attended Bishop Gorman High School, where he was an all-conference pick three consecutive years.  While he played at Grandview his team was 3-time Conference Champions. DeMarco earned All-state honors and Sunset Region Offensive Player of the Year award.  He was considered on of the top running backs in his class.

“Everyone overthinks it sometimes or at some point or another. You just have to relax, slow down and let the game come to you. You have to trust your eyes. Your eyes won’t lie to you. Trust your eyes; trust your keys and trust your technique and it all takes care of itself. The more reps you get can also helps. But for me it’s film that helps me the most. Even mental reps can help you see others’ mistakes so you don’t make them.”

Sounds to me like DeMarco does his homework and will give 100 percent to the team.

When asked about  injuries he replied:.

” Some say you use your thighs or hamstrings more because your knee hurts. I just think it’s all a part of God’s plan. We have no control over injuries. Its just part of life; you can walk down the street and twist your ankle. I’m just blessed to have had the career I’ve had. “

When asked what he learned most playing in college:

 ” That playing the position of running back is not just about running with the football. You have to be able to protect the quarterback. That’s one of the biggest things that was coached at Oklahoma and we worked on it all year as well as catching the football. You want to be an every-down back and not just a first-, second- or third-down back. You want to be a player that the coaches have trust in you to carry the ball as well as catch and block.  I just continue to work hard and take pride in blocking for the quarterback and catching the ball.”

The Dallas Cowboys signed Murray on July 29th to a four-year contract worth $2.97 million including  signing bonus worth $622,000.

We wish the best of luck to DeMarco and I know he will be a asset to the Cowboys!