Jason Garrett Talks Roster Depth: Right Tackle, Third Receiver, Newest Defensive Back

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Jason Garrett has always placed a high value on competition, and yesterday he talked about a couple of players who earned a shot at more playing time based on their performance in practice, in the film room and on the field.

Yesterday we took a look at the individual snapcounts accumulated by the Cowboys against the Bengals. Along the way, we wondered whether the snapcounts were indicative of a change in the depth chart along various positions on the roster.

In his late afternoon press conference yesterday, Jason Garrett also talked about some of the opportunities some of the younger and newer players got against the Bengals, and specifically talked about the Free/Parnell rotation, the recent emergence of Dwayne Harris and how pleased the Cowboys are with one of their newest acquisitions, defensive back Sterling Moore.

Here's transcript of what Garrett said in his presser yesterday. The full video of the press conference can be seen at dallascowboys.com.

Q: Was the Free/Parnell rotation more about Free not playing as well as the Cowboys wanted or was it more about Parnell doing things the Cowboys liked?

Garrett: "I think it’s a combination of both."

"Jermey Parnell got a chance to play a couple of weeks ago and he really did a good job. He has a lot to learn about playing tackle in the NFL, but he goes about it the right way. He worked very hard in practice and he competes in ballgames. He’s a very talented guy, and he’s one of those guys when you watch him playing, you see him getting better. He’s learning from the experiences that he has. Sometimes those experiences aren’t always good. He gets beat. But he keeps competing, he keeps fighting. So we felt like, hey, this guy is worthy of a shot."

"Doug has played well at times this year and at other times not as well as we need him to play. And we just felt like [the rotation] was the best thing to do."

"We split some reps with those guys in practice last week, and we were going to alternate series early on in the ballgame and see how those guys responded. I think they both responded well to the opportunity."

Q: Did you see enough from the Free/Parnell rotation to continue that for the rest of the season?

Garrett: "We don’t want to make those determinations yet, but certainly both those guys handled the situation well. I think they responded well to the opportunities they got."

"Jermey stepped in there; it didn’t seem too big for him at all, just like it had when he played for Tyron a couple of weeks ago. And similarly, we thought Doug responded well – both to the work that Jermey was getting in practice, and certainly to the opportunity that Jermey got in the game. When Doug went back in there, he responded well. He played one of his better games in recent games."

Q: Dwayne Harris 35 snaps to Ogletree’s 13. Is that the same type of thing as with Parnell, that Dwayne has earned his shot?

Garrett: "Absolutely. We try to create competition here and we try to give the guys we think are worthy of an opportunity that opportunity in the game. If they do well with that, we try to give them more."

"Dwayne has really done a nice job for us in the return game the last month or so, he made a lot of big returns for us; difference-making plays. I think that’s given him some confidence, and it’s carrying over into his play on offense. He made a couple of big plays in the game."

"But again, we’re really proud of Kevin in the ball game too. He made a couple of big plays for us down the stretch of the game; when Dez goes out, he goes in and catches the ball on their sideline, then makes a big catch over the middle for a first down for us. So both those guys handled the situation well and responded well."

Q: How good of a job has Sterling Moore done over the last few days since he was brought in off the Patriots practice squad?

Garrett: "Sterling has done a really good job for us over a short period of time. He’s a guy that we like. We liked him coming out of school; he played for New England last year during their playoff run and he was on their practice roster. So we felt like he could help us."

"And if you remember a couple of weeks ago when we signed him, he came in here at four o’clock on a Friday afternoon and we played him in the game. He’s a smart player, he’s a talented player, he has good quickness and a good feel for playing in the game."

"And he’s able to pick up a few different things: We’ve trained him at corner, we’ve trained him at nickel, we’ve trained him at safety and he really seems to be adept at picking all this stuff up and taking it from the practice field and meeting room to the game. And he had more of an opportunity yesterday because of Mo going out, and he did a good job. He was physical at the end of plays; he was around the ball a lot, punching the ball out."

"So he handled himself well, and we anticipate him playing better and better the more he is around here."

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