Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Are Cowboys The Team To Beat In The NFC East?

Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE

Latest Dallas Cowboys headlines: Garrett calls Sean Lee the "heart and soul" of the defense, Sal Paolantonio likes the Cowboys for the NFC East, and Roger Staubach likes both Dez Bryant and Travis Frederick.

Sal Paolantonio: Dallas Cowboys the team to beat in NFC East - DMN
Paolantonio joined KESN-FM 103.3 ESPN Radio yesterday and talked about how he sees the NFC East shaking out:

"I think the Cowboys are the team to beat in the division. … I think the two biggest changes in a very volatile division are A.) Callahan calling the plays, B.) Kiffin calling the defense and his change of approach on defense for the Dallas Cowboys. It can’t be overstated."

Staubach predicts that Dallas Cowboys will make the playoffs, finish 11-5 or 12-4 - Brandon George, DMN
There you go folks, Roger is all-in on the Cowboys:

"We can be 11-5 in a second with a little luck and keeping people healthy, maybe 12-4," Staubach said Thursday night at AT&T Stadium. "And I think we’d take 10-6 right now, wouldn’t we? You just want to get in the playoffs."

Relentless DeMarcus Ware always in a rush - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Archer writes a nice profile piece on Ware. If you read only one of the links in this news roundup today, make it this one. You'll have a better day for having done it.

Jason Garrett on Sean Lee: He's the heart and soul of this defense - Charean Williams, Star-Telegram
Garrett channels his inner T'Pau (warning: obscure 80s reference) as he calls Sean Lee the heart and soul of the team.

"He’s the heart and soul of this defense, a guy that everybody responds to because he plays the right way, prepares the right way, is committed the right way, great passion for the game, and he shows it every single day."

Jermey Parnell still in Cowboys' plans - Calvin Watkins, ESPN Dallas
The Cowboys had expected Parnell to compete with Doug Free for the right tackle spot this year, but a hamstring injury to Parnell and a resurgent Free means Parnell has lost ground, but he still remains in the Cowboys plans.

"He gets after guys," Garrett said. "That’s a real positive thing. Technically, he’s got to get better. He plays too high. A lot of young players play high. He’s tall. It’s something he’s got to really work on, bending. And then he hasn’t played football in a little bit, so he’s getting back to where he needs to be."

Giants, Coughlin mull decisions at cornerback - San Antonio Express-News
In addition to questions along the O-line, it looks like the Giants are also not yet clear who'll be their starting CB opposite Prince Amukamara. Looks like there are four guys in the race, according to the article. Though I have to wonder whether calling that "good problems to have" is like calling the multiple options for the Cowboys at guard a "good problem to have."

Staubach says Cowboys deserve more credit than they got for picking Travis Frederick - Carlos Mendez, Star-Telegram
As a former QB, Roger Staubach has a better understanding of the importance of the center position than most other people. Staubach talked to Romo about Frederick, and here's his summary of that conversation:

"He says Frederick is as good as we expected," Staubach said. "He said really nice things about the guy. I don’t know him. But having a center is more important than people give the Cowboys credit for when they picked."

Roger Staubach: If Dez Bryant stays healthy, ‘there won’t be a better receiver in the league’ - J. Machota, DMN
Staubach likes what he he sees from Dez Bryant.

"Well if he stays healthy, there won’t be a better receiver in the league than Dez Bryant," Staubach said. "I don’t think there’s anybody better at what he can do in the league and there are some great receivers in the league, but what he did in the second half of the year last year is as good as it gets.

Cowboys LB Bruce Carter talks about Sean Lee's trouble with pens - DMN
Bruce Carter was on KRLD-FM 105.3 The Fan on Thursday and spoke briefly about what annoyed him most about Sean Lee.

"He never has a pen when we go into meetings. I give him a pen, he loses it, comes back the next day, asks for another one."

The new contract should help with that.

Micah Pellerin fined $15,750 for hit - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Pellerin was fined $15,750 for an unnecessary roughness penalty on a Cardinals kickoff return last week, writes Archer. But what Archer doesn't write is that Pellerin won't have to pay anywhere close to that amount, even if he makes the team.

If Pellerin makes the 53-man roster, he'll get a salary of $405,000, which means a weekly paycheck over 17 weeks of close to $24,000. Under NFL rules, once a player appeals his fine, players can be fined no more than 25% of their weekly paychecks, so the maximum Pellerin would have to pay would be slightly below $6,000. That's certainly worth filing an appeal over.

Mailbag: Which Injury Has The Biggest Impact Right Now? - DallasCowboys.com
Broaddus says Claiborne, Eatman goes with Leary. Which injury do you think has the biggest impact right now?

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Injury News

Jay Ratliff expected back for season opener - Calvin Watkins, ESPN Dallas
The clock is ticking for Jay Ratliff, and with every day he misses it gets more and more likely that he'll miss at least the season opener, and possibly much more beyond that. And despite what the title of this article indicates, nobody is really comitting to any type of timeframe for Ratliff, not even Jerry Jones:

"I’m very comfortable with what we’re doing," Jones told ESPNDallas.com recently. "Jay is improving. I know that he’s enthusiastic about his coaches, the prospects of this team, and I know how bad he wants to be on the field, both he and the trainers. Everybody said he’ll be back playing in the opener. That’s the way I look at it."

Dunbar, Claiborne hope to return for Week 1 - Calvin Watkins, ESPN Dallas
Claiborne will likely miss the two remaining preseason games as he recovers from his knee injury. Dunbar expects to have the protective walking boot on his left foot removed by the weekend. Both are working towards being ready for the season opener.

Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox back at practice, should play against the Bengals - Clarence Hill, Star-Telegram
That's it in a nutshell.

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Prepping for the Bengals

Witten spells out what Cowboys offense wants out of Bengals game - Carlos Mendez, Star-Telegram
Protect the ball, move the ball, get in the endzone. Repeat. Says the Senator.

Cowboys expect the full blitz package from Zimmer, Bengals - Clarence Hill, Star-Telegram
The Cowboys expect the Begnals to blitz a lot, especially since the Bengals have been very aggressive with their blitz packages in the preseason so far.

Parnell will get more time against Bengals to 'catch him up a little bit,' Garrett says - Carlos Mendez, Star-Telegram
Parnell missed a lot of time in training camp with a hamstring injury, so Garrett wants to give him extended playing time at right tackle against the Bengals

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