Cowboys News & Notes: Dunbar Says Goal Is To Play In Opener

Norm Hall

Checking in on some injuries for the Dallas Cowboys, along with a few cuts to the roster.

Everybody was excited about the prospect of Lance Dunbar joining the Cowboys offensive attack this season. Last year he got a little time, but this year he was looking like a weapon. Then injury hit, 3-4 weeks with a sprained foot. That would be really close to the opener making his participation doubtful. But Dunbar plans on playing.

“That’s my goal,” Dunbar said of playing the first game. “Most definitely. It’s just disappointing but that’s football. That’s what happens. I’m just going to work hard to get back quick.”

His opinion on how long he'll be out?

“I’m not sure exactly but it’s day-to-day,” Dunbar said. “I know it’s getting better. It feels a lot better than it did yesterday. My mindset is just: get back in the weight room and get treatment on this. Get back there as fast as I can.”

Maybe we can gauge it by another player who is suffering from a sprained foot. Cole Beasley sprained his foot in the Oakland game but hopes to participate in the Bengals game, two weeks later.

“I still haven’t really run yet, but I’ve got to get to where I can run with my normal body weight, then get out and cut and make plants and do things that receivers need to do,” Beasley said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to practice before the week is over, but I’m not sure. We’ll see.”

Of course, no two foot sprains are exactly alike, so the comparison doesn't really hold, but hey, we're grasping at optimistic straws, here.

In Dunbar's absence, Phillip Tanner, the forgotten back from Saturday should start seeing more action. We love Tanner's bowling ball style on the field, but off the field he also has a great attitude even when not playing.

“I wasn’t really all into, ‘Why didn’t I play?’” Tanner said. “It was a coach’s decision. They tell me J-Ran is going in and I say, ‘Yessir, coach.’ I’m a company guy."

Asked if he was confused by the lack of playing time, Tanner said he can’t get caught up in that sort of thinking.

“That’s not my job,” Tanner said. “My job is, when they say, ’34, go in,’ go in and do it to the best of my ability.”

The he drops the dinosaur angle on us, adaptation is key!

“I always tell my kids about the dinosaurs all the time,” Tanner said. “People say they were the biggest and baddest, but they couldn’t adapt. If you can’t adapt to change, you see what happened to the dinosaurs. So that’s just my mindset, being able to adapt to whatever the situation is."

Dez Bryant has much love for Dunbar, and he thinks he'll play come Sept. 8th.

Dunbar’s had a good camp. What have you seen from him and how will his absence impact the team?

Bryant: “He’s explosive. He’s one of those guys who can turn a five-yard play into an 80-yard play. The guy’s just real explosive. Very fast, powerful. I think it’s probably the best thing for him. We don’t need him right now. It’s still the preseason. I’m pretty sure he’ll be ready to go Sept. 8.”

Okay, past the Dunbar angle, some other things were going on, like the Cowboys cutting down on the roster. One guy who we knew about from earlier is Alex Albright. He's injured and needs back surgery. Albright was likely getting passed in the linebacker competition anyway, but he was still a solid special teams guy.

Albright has been a core special teamer since joining the Cowboys in 2011 as an undrafted free agent. He made 17 special teams tackles last year and started two games on defense, finishing with 16 tackles and a tackle for loss. He had sports hernia surgery after the season but had recovered and was slowed some in the spring by the back injury.

“An expression we use a lot with him is ugly production,” coach Jason Garrett said “Sometimes it doesn’t always look great but he seems to make a lot of tackles. He’s around the ball on defense and in the kicking game … Disappointing for him not to be able to show us he can play again like he’d done all throughout his career, and disappointing for us because of the role he plays for us.”

The Cowboys also waived defensive linemen Travis Chappelear and Toby Jackson. Both players had injuries.

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