2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Cowboys, Dolphins get early preseason start

By BARRY WILNER - AP Pro Football Writer
    2013-08-03 11:09

CANTON, Ohio (AP) - The Miami Dolphins could be the only legitimate challenger to New England's AFC East dominance.

The Dallas Cowboys hope they will be a true threat in the NFC East, where both the defending division champion Redskins and the Giants are more highly regarded.

For two teams with so many question marks heading toward the 2013 season, an extra exhibition game can't be a terrible thing - provided no key players get hurt in Sunday night's Hall of Fame game.

Miami already has some injury concerns, with starting receivers Mike Wallace (groin) and Brian Hartline (left calf) hobbled in practice this week.

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo had offseason surgery for a cyst on his back, and coach Jason Garrett has been close-mouthed on Romo's availability for the lone game this weekend. Only Dallas and Miami will play five exhibitions this summer.

Five things to look for in Dolphins vs. Cowboys:

1. WHERE ART THOU, ROMO?: After signing a huge contract (six years, $108 million with $55 million guaranteed), Romo is expected to step up his game and become one of the top few QBs in the league since he is being paid like one. Garrett won't be putting him in any uncomfortable positions during the preseason, so it's unlikely he'll play against Miami.

But even with a banged-up offensive line, the Cowboys must find out soon just how healthy their latest franchise quarterback is and how he reacts to taking a hit. And Romo is eager to be behind center as often as possible to work with a strong group of receivers led by Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Miles Austin.

``I think more than anything just getting back into it, getting the body to start, stop, go, quit, that football entails,'' Romo said of the importance of practice and game action.

2. DION JORDAN'S ROLE: Miami traded up to the third spot in April's draft to grab Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan with the idea he could be the Dolphins' next Jason Taylor. Rookies, once they are signed, usually aren't held back in the preseason, and Jordan could wind up on special teams, too.

``That's a huge part of our team,'' coach Joe Philbin said. ``We have the potential to be very, very good on special teams this year. Dion's had an outstanding attitude toward special teams. To say he's too valuable, absolutely not.''

3. CALLING THE PLAYS IN BIG D: That's Bill Callahan's responsibility this year after Garrett had that chore taken away; he says it was a team decision, but speculation is that owner Jerry Jones opted for the move. The reasoning was that Garrett could be more focused on overall game scenarios if he wasn't telling Romo what play to run each snap.

An offensive line coach by trade - but a former head coach of the Raiders when they lost to Tampa Bay in the 2002 Super Bowl, and at Nebraska - Callahan is no novice. He held the offensive coordinator's title last year, his first with Dallas, and now truly fits the role.

4. STEPPING IN FOR BUSH: Reggie Bush now is in Detroit, leaving Miami as a free agent. He's never been the superstar projected when he came out of Southern Cal, but he's been a playmaker and gained 986 yards rushing and 292 receiving and scored eight times for the Dolphins in 2012.

His replacement could be second-year speedster Lamar Miller. Or it could be third-year man Daniel Thomas if he can stay healthy. Or rookie Mike Gillislee, a fifth-round pick.

5. NEW FACES: Both teams were very active in the offseason, and this game will provide an early look at some of those moves.

Miami brought in Wallace, CB Brent Grimes, LBs Dannell Ellerbe and LB Philip Wheeler, TE Dustin Keller, WR Brandon Gibson and OT Tyson Clabo. Dallas' key newcomer is defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, who made his biggest splash with the Tampa Bay defense that won the 2002 championship and is switching the Cowboys to a 4-3 alignment.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Giovani BernardOct 31 11:12a

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) is unlikely to play in Week 9.

Trent RichardsonOct 31 10:32a

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is not on the injury report for Week 9, and should be able to play Monday, Nov. 3.

Rashad JenningsOct 31 10:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) is aiming to return for the Week 10 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Ronnie HillmanOct 31 09:12a

Updating previous reports, Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (shoulder) is expected to have his normal workload in Week 9, despite his limited practice repetitions.

DeAngelo HallOct 31 08:52a

Washington Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall (Achilles') tore his Achilles' again at home and had surgery to repair it Thursday, Oct. 30.

Ron JohnsonOct 30 08:22p

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Patrick WillisOct 30 07:52p

San Francisco 49res CB Tramaine Brock (toe) and LB Patrick Willis (toe) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Jimmie Ward (quadriceps) and CB Chris Culliver (hamstring) practiced in full.

Chris MatthewsOct 30 07:42p

The Seattle Seahawks re-signed WR Chris Matthews and TE Brett Brackett to their practice squad Thursday, Oct. 30.

Scott WellsOct 30 07:42p

St. Louis Rams OG Rodger Saffold (shoulder), CB Janoris Jenkins (knee), DT Aaron Donald (shoulder) and S Cody Davis (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Rodney McLeod [ More ]

Luke JoeckelOct 30 07:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars OT Luke Joeckel (concussion) has recovered nicely from the concussion he suffered in Week 8, and he could play in Week 9 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Joeckel [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

Arian FosterOct 30 07:12p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (knee) was limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Johnathan JosephOct 30 07:12p

Houston Texans LBs Brian Cushing (knee), Brooks Reed (groin) and Jeff Tarpinian (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. RB Alfred Blue (ankle), LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee), CB Johnathan [ More ]

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Justin TuckOct 30 06:42p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin), CB Carlos Rogers (knee) and WR Kenbrell Thompkins (non-injury) did not [ More ]

Anthony CollinsOct 30 06:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Anthony Collins (foot) and LB Brandon Magee (knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee), WR Trindon Holliday (hamstring) and DE Michael Johnson (hand) were limited.

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Louis VasquezOct 30 06:22p

Denver Broncos S Quinton Carter (hamstring) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Lamin Barrow (concussion), TE Virgil Green (calf), LB Steven Johnson (ankle) and OG Louis Vasquez (illness) [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 30 06:22p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (shoulder) was limited in practice for the second straight day Thursday, Oct. 30.

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Jordan CameronOct 30 06:12p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Chris JohnsonOct 30 06:12p

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Tom CrabtreeOct 30 06:02p

The New Orleans Saints waived TE Tom Crabtree Thursday, Oct. 30.

Patrick PetersonOct 30 05:42p

Arizona Cardinals S Tony Jefferson (head) and TE Troy Niklas (ankle) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DE Calais Campbell (knee), LB Kenny Demens (knee), S Rashad Johnson [ More ]

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Kansas City Chiefs CB Jamell Fleming (hamstring) and LB Josh Martin (hamstring, knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Eric Berry (ankle) and CB Christopher Owens (knee) were [ More ]

Demario DavisOct 30 05:22p

New York Jets CB Darrin Walls (calf, knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OT Oday Aboushi (shoulder), CB Phillip Adams (groin), LB Antwan Barnes (knee), OG Willie Colon [ More ]

Keenan RobinsonOct 30 05:12p

Washington Redskins S Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) and OT Trent Williams (knee) were limited in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Ryan Kerrigan (wrist), LB Trent Murphy (knee), CB Tracy [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 05:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) practiced in full for the second straight day Thursday, Oct. 30.

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Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) will start against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 9, barring any setbacks this week in practice, according to head coach Jay Gruden. [ More ]

Mike PounceyOct 30 05:02p

Miami Dolphins OG Daryn Colledge (illness, back) LB Chris McCain (foot) and TE Dion Sims (toe) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Nate Garner (neck), LB Koa Misi [ More ]

Andre BranchOct 30 04:42p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Will Blackmon (finger), DE Andre Branch (groin), DE Chris Clemons (non-injury), LB Geno Hayes (non-injury) and DT Roy Miller (non-injury) didn't practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB [ More ]

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