It's almost time for the Dallas Cowboys. If you just emerged from cryogenic suspension and are not aware of it, they travel to New Jersey to play the New York Giants Wednesday night in NBC's nationally televised NFL Kickoff game.
Given the nature of the opening game against the defending Super Bowl Champions (a phrase it still pains me to write), there is a lot of coverage out there on the interwebs. To keep you as up to date as possible here at BTB, I have collected some pertinent articles for your reading pleasure.
The Cowboys released the first injury report of the new season. Fourteen players are on it, but the good news is that only three of them saw no action in practice on Sunday. The only surprise was that DeMarco Murray was listed with a wrist injury, but since he also saw full participation in practice, it does not appear to be much of an issue.
Actually, Murray feels like he is way ahead of where he was last year.
"Last year I was behind the 8-ball starting out, without being able to get the physical reps," he said. "It was definitely hard for me to pop in and then everything's going so fast, I'd hear the calls in the meeting room, I'm picking it up, picking it up and once I finally get out there, it's like ‘blah blah blah blah blah,' and I'm like, ‘Man.' "
"So it definitely helped me out a lot, just getting the physical reps and being able to go back and watch film and being able to correct my bad plays that I had."
More stuff for the hopeless Cowboys addict after the jump.
Of course, the injury that every Dallas fan in the known universe is focused on is the lacerated spleen of Jason Witten. But Witten talks like he is planning to be on the field if it is at all possible.
"If I get cleared, we're playing," Witten said. "It's the only way I believe you can approach the game ... This is what you play for. You work so hard. I know what that feeling was like losing up there, and obviously it's just one game, but it would be great to get a big win up there, regardless of whether I play."
A certain friend of his feels the same way.
"The good thing is, J's been out here," quarterback
Tony Romo said. "So, for me, it's kind of exciting to know that we're probably going to have him in the game. That's something that's important."
Another injured Cowboy is looking to be back as well. Miles Austin has been sort of overlooked, probably due to the intense scrutiny paid to Dez Bryant and his off field issues. He has missed most of the pre-season, but Romo is not worried, because the same thing happened last year, and it worked out pretty well.
Austin didn't play in a pre-season game in 2011 and came out to catch five passes for 90 yards and a touchdown in the opener against the New York Jets.
But one player who is definitely in a catch-up mode is last-minute signee, backup tight end Colin Cochart. He is working hard at it, though.
Cochart received his playbook last night and got five hours of sleep before practicing Sunday. He said he has a great opportunity as a young tight end in Dallas, where he can learn from Jason Witten and
In addition to tight end, Cochart also played all four phases of special teams in Cincinnati. He said he hasn't sat down with special teams coach Joe DeCamillis yet, but he anticipates he could be involved on kickoff, kick returns, punts and punt returns in Dallas.
In a move that has longer-range implications, the Cowboys have restructured DeMarcus Ware's contract. Stephen Jones is working his cap magic again.
The Cowboys have a little more than $5.5 million in salary-cap room entering the season and would like to carry over as much room as possible to 2013 because of the remaining $5 million hit they will take from the NFL's cap sanctions that were imposed in the offseason.
The Cowboys have their roster set for now, and one of the things many have noted is that with the cutting of Stephen McGee, there is no third quarterback available, including on the practice squad. However, they may have a ready-made fallback plan now.
Just for the record. No one claimed Stephen McGee today so he will most likely go on their emergency list.— Bryan Broaddus (@BryanBroaddus) September 2, 2012
OK, not one to get excited about, but it is a plan. Of sorts.
While we here have been watching every bump, bruise and boo-boo to the Cowboys like overprotective mothers, it is worth noting that the other guys have their own injury problems. One player that has been limited, Hakeem Nicks, does look to be ready to go. However, the same article has a note in it that may have Jason Garrett making some adjustments to his game plan.
Prince Amukamara is likely out for Wednesday's game with his high ankle sprain.
The Giants have some issues in the secondary that Romo and the receivers will hopefully be able to exploit. And if that has Garrett pondering the possibilities, the news that backup left tackle Sean Locklear is likely starting may have Rob Ryan absolutely drooling.
Locklear will be protect Eli Manning's blind side on Wednesday night instead of projected starter Will Beatty, according to someone informed of the team's plans for this week's game.
Locklear is a nine-year veteran in his first year with the Giants, and has had some glitches getting used to the system. Since he "will be protect" Manning (hey, I just copy what the highly paid media types write), DeMarcus Ware and company may have a very productive night. This game could feature a duel between the pass rushes, and if Dallas comes out on top, it would greatly improve the chances of winning.
Finally, in talking about the Giants, I just cannot pass up one last article. It is my evil side coming out, I know, but I think some of you will enjoy it. I don't have to quote anything, because the title pretty much says it all: Cowboys won't say it, but Martellus Bennett was bust.