Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Hunting For Turnovers, Looking For DL Options

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Latest Dallas Cowboys headlines: Turnovers are a key priority for Kiffin's defense, Jason Hatcher and DeMarcus Ware give their linemates a vote of confidence, Dez Bryant works on focusing all his energy on the game.

On day three as a Cowboy, Brian Waters took first team snaps:

Cowboys Are Hunting for Turnovers - NYTimes.com
Tom Spousta writes that the Cowboys sound more comfortable under Kiffin than they did under Ryan and have adapted quickly to Kiffin's instinctive approach from Ryan's complex, read-oriented defense. The result: more turnovers.

"Just get it and go," Brandon Carr said. "Take out the room to think about it."

"A lot of gray has been taken out. The mentality has changed. They’ve been pounding and beating it into us since they stepped foot inside these doors and our first meeting as far as effort and hustling to the ball and creating and forcing those turnovers."

One of the jobs for the Cowboys is keeping Dez from getting too hyped too early before the game - Carlos Mendez, Star-Telegram
For all the enthusiasm and excitement Dez Bryant brings to gameday, sometimes it can be a little too much and the Cowboys have worked with Bryant to make sure he saves his energy for the game.

"I remember last year, sometimes I used to go so hard before the game that I’m in a full sweat," Bryant said. "I know some of the coaches didn’t like that. I had to tone it down a little bit."

Dallas Cowboys WR Miles Austin sees benefits of more practice - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
Miles Austin had his first injury-free training camp in quite a while, and he says he sees the benefits.

"You can notice it just playing more," Austin said. "Obviously it feels better being a part of it because when I wasn’t a part of it for a few weeks in those offseasons other guys were working. Do I know the plays? Yes, I know the plays, but being able to rep them like I was doing during the season and being able to do that early in the season is a good feeling."

Hatcher looking forward to DL reinforcements as Cowboys plan to bring back Jerome Long - Carlos Mendez, Star-Telegram
Hatcher explains the need for depth along the defensive line and then goes on to give his backups, including re-signed Jerome Long, a vote of confidence:

"Yeah, you really don’t think about getting tired, for the most part. You’re just trying to get to the football," Hatcher said. "It’s going to be a very tough for me, but I’m built for it. I’m in the best shape of my life. I’ve just got to go out there and take it one snap at a time. When I get tired, I trust the guys who are coming in that they’re going to do the job just like I left."

"He understands the scheme better than anybody," Hatcher said of Long. "He’s just one of those guys who got caught up in the numbers game. I thought he did a great job. … He can come in and spare me a lot. And you’ve got Cohen. He can play 3-technique and nose tackle. So we’re really not worried about the game at all."

Cowboys' new DE Rayford says he has DT experience in his background from Arena League and CFL - Carlos Mendez, Star-Telegram
Looks like in a pinch, the Cowboys could also use newly signed defensive end Caesar Rayford as a defensive tackle. Rayford said that's the position he was practicing at this week, and that he's played a similar position before:

"In Arena, you’re kind of like on the guards, so it’s kind of like being inside, because I lined up inside and on the guard," he said. "And in Canada in the playoffs, I had to play D-tackle, in 2009, against Hamilton and Montreal. So I’ve lined up inside before and tangled in there."

You can watch his full interview by following this link to the mothership.

Cowboys prepared to start "brick layer" at defensive end - David Moore, DMN
George Selvie will most likely start at defensive end on Sunday, and Ware expressed his confidence in Selvie, calling him a brick-layer.

"When you have a guy that’s coming in off the couch, we call him the brick layer,’’ Ware said. "He comes in a lays a brick at a time, being effective. "He has built a pretty nice house over there at left end.’’

DE Anthony Spencer still out and not expected to play Sunday - Brandon George, DMN
Anthony Spencer failed to practice in any of this week's practices, and as he's virtually certain not to play in the season opener, fans can now officially begin wondering whether Spencer will be available for Week 2.

Anthony Spencer on whether he’ll play Sunday: ‘I don’t feel very confident’ - Rainer Sabin, DMN
The injury report lists Spencer as "questionable" for Sunday, and even that is probably too optimistic an assessment.

"I mean there is a possibility,"Spencer said. "But I really haven’t done too much this week so I don’t feel very confident. We’ll see."

Mo Claiborne says he still got a little winded in practice this week, but he's good for the game - Carlos Mendez, Star-Telegram
Okay, this is not what I wanted to hear: Claiborne said he still got winded in practice this week.

"It went good," he said. "I picked up where I left off. Little winded here from time to time, but I expect that from all the reps I’ve been taking."

"I feel good. I feel ready. I feel ready to play. Anxious just because I haven’t been out there, haven’t been in preseason. So really looking forward to this."

Bass Injury, Witten’s Role, Scandrick vs. Cruz - Bryan Broaddus, DallasCowboys.com
Broaddus looks at contingency plans for Ben Bass’ injury, how the offensive line will shake out Sunday vs. the Giants, and predicts a big day for Jason Witten on Sunday.

NFL confirms: Read-option QBs can be hit like runners - ProFootballTalk
An NFL officiating video says that read-option quarterbacks can be hit like runners, even if they don’t have the ball - but they have to be in a "running posture." Two exceptions: Brady may never be touched in any way, Vick can be hit all the time.

Jim Harbaugh sees problems with rules on read-option quarterbacks - ProFootballTalk
Who didn't see this one coming?

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