Wednesday, August 26, 2015, 5:51pm
The veteran running back played four snaps vs. the 49ers. He carried three times for four yards and caught one pass for three yards.
"I feel good. I came out yesterday and was just a little sore," McFadden said after Wednesday's morning walk-through. "But I definitely feel good and I'll be out there today."
McFadden played in all 16 games last season. It was the first time during his seven years in Oakland that he didn't miss a game because of injury. He said Wednesday that he's not looking to be cautious with his workload during the preseason or regular season. McFadden also said he "definitely" expects to play Saturday in Dallas' third preseason game.
Tony Romo is expected to get his first action, albeit briefly, but this game will mean more for the running backs: Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar. None played last week against the San Diego Chargers and all three will be available Sunday.
Nobody will run away with the job, but they can at least ease the fears some have about the position group with a positive showing, the story said. But, fantasy owners will hopefully be able to get a look into the future in terms of which one has the most value for their team. The odds-on favorite is Joseph Randle, of course, but all three are expected to have some role in the offense.
It’s the same injury that Randle suffered in practice last week, keeping him out of the preseason opening loss against the San Diego Chargers.
“It’s the same thing I had earlier,” Randle said. “It flared up on me again. We will will get it right. I always want to be out there with my teammates. I can only do what I can do. It’s just something we have to keep fighting through.”
We'd prefer he be at practice and getting reps as the team's lead back, but this injury on its own isn't too worrisome. He should be fine by Week 1, probably sooner.
Cowboys writer Bryan Broaddus: I like what I saw from Darren McFadden in his first extensive work during the various team periods in which he took snaps. He looked decisive and committed to what he was handed from this Rams defense in the running game. He was in position to execute the check downs when needed and when asked to step up for pass protection, he was up to the task.
McFadden is perfectly capable of producing behind the team's talented offensive line, but we believe Joseph Randle will be more effective and is more likely to stay healthy.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015, 6:00pm
Murray sat out the game as the Eagles continued to tread lightly with a player who had 497 touches by the time the Cowboys were eliminated from the playoffs by the Packers. In an interview with Peter King of MMQB.com, coach Chip Kelly admitted that his approach to Murray this offseason has been fueled by concerns raised by the history of backs returning from a heavy workload in the previous season.
“I think there is a lot of validity to it,” Kelly said. “But how do you manage him going into a season? Our plan all along was to get another running back with him. I wanted to have two running backs, and that’s why we got Ryan [Mathews]. I don’t think you can have a guy carry it 370 to 400 times per season and be successful. We’re going to run it a lot — we always do — but we’ll have more than one guy doing it.”
Kelly hasn't really come out and said to the media that this has been his plan, which is fueling speculation there is more to the story - but that could be just how Chip wants it, for everyone to think Murray is hurt. It's pretty obvious the team is going to give Mathews his share of carries but the Birds run enough plays that Murray should put up his projected RB2 fantasy numbers. Mathews is looking like a pretty decent add for those who also grab Murray.
The running back competition predicted at the start of camp will take a little more time to get going for the Cowboys.
Darren McFadden made his camp debut Saturday but will be worked into practice slowly. Lance Dunbar also returned Saturday, but he will be worked in smartly too. Dunbar took the team drills Saturday and showed no signs of worry with the oblique strain.
Running backs coach Gary Brown predicted "hellified running" with his top guys available.
"As far as I'm concerned, we're right on schedule, as far as having a back or backs ready to go for the New York Giants," owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. "I'm not in any way anxious. When we practice the running game, we practice the physical aspect of it. It takes a lot of players to make the running game work -- not just the back."
Joseph Randle is the leader to be the Cowboys' lead back, but he has had more than 10 carries in a game just three times, and he has not averaged more than 3.4 yards per carry in those contests. McFadden hasn't averaged more than 3.4 yards per carry since 2011. Dunbar has 80 carries in his first three years. But for now, the story said, the Cowboys are going with what they've got at the RB position, saying only they will continue to evaluate talent. Gus Johnson signed as an undrafted free agent and scored a TD in the team's last preseason game, but now has a slight separated shoulder. If the injuries continue to pile up, Dallas may not have a choice but to bring in someone from the outside.
Sunday, August 16, 2015, 8:49pm
Cowboys TE Gavin Escobar has less than 20 receptions in his first two years in the league.
Yet Jason Garrett said the club has no regrets about selecting the tight end in the second round of the 2013 draft and points to the dominance of Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten in stunting Escobar's development.
"We feel good about what Escobar has done since he's been here,'' the Cowboys head coach said. "You know, a lot of people say when you drafted a guy that high, they want him to come in and be an immediate starter. What he needs to focus on is taking full advantage of his opportunities and trying to get better each and every day, and he's certainly done that.
"He's the right kind of guy, he works really hard at getting better every day and we've seen that progress. When he gets an opportunity, he'll be ready for it.
"Again, I certainly have no regrets about us drafting him. We like what he's done and he's going to be better and better each and every day he's out there."
Escobar has caught 18 passes for 239 yards and six touchdowns in his career. He has failed to catch a pass in 17 games he's played and has only two games with more than one reception. His highlight: three catches for 65 yards and two touchdowns in the team's first game against the New York Giants last season. The tight end caught five passes for 47 yards in the preseason opener against San Diego. Going into last season, those who followed the team thought Escobar would be more of a factor in the passing, so much so it would actually hurt Witten's value. That never really panned out. Although Witten produced his second lowest yardage (703) total in his career, with only his rookie year lower (347). His 64 receptions were the lowest since 2006.
The 8-yard touchdown run was nice.
But more than anything, San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead appreciated being healthy and out on the field with his teammates on Thursday in his team’s exhibition opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
Woodhead had not been in a game since suffering a broken ankle in a Week 3 contest at Buffalo, which ended his 2014 season. Woodhead scored the first touchdown of the game for the Chargers against the Cowboys on an 8-yard draw up the middle.
Woodhead only carried the ball once and was in Thursday’s game for a total of three plays, so it’s clear the Chargers want to ease him into live games. However, Woodhead appears to have the same explosion he showed two years ago, when he finished with over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and eight total touchdowns, the story said. Woodhead could be huge in the Chargers passing game with rookie Melvin Gordon likely getting the early down work. Rookies often struggle in pass protection which means Woodhead should return to having PPR value.
Finally, the Dallas Cowboys will get to see what they have in running back Darren McFadden. McFadden said Saturday after the team's morning walk-through practice that he'll be full-go for the first time in practice this evening and will take part in team drills.
McFadden has missed the first 11 practices of training camp while recovering from a strained hamstring he suffered the week before the club's first practice in California. McFadden also missed several practices during the Cowboys' offseason practices while nursing a different hamstring injury.
Saturday, August 15, 2015, 10:25am
On the second series, he was unable to fight through a physical defender on an in-route and was cut short by a yard on a third-and-6 play. But on the next series, Street came up with two tough crossing routes down the field from Dustin Vaughan. He was able to separate himself from the young receivers.
As for those young receivers, Deontay Greenberry, George Farmer and Nick Harwell can’t afford the mistakes they made. Greenberry had two drops. Farmer couldn’t make a tough catch. Of the three, Harwell was the best, but he needs to make those “wow” catches to earn a spot. He didn’t do that.
Street likely only sees action in four-WR sets for the Cowboys if he makes the team, so it will limit his fantasy value.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015, 6:27pm
Randle took part in individual drills and did on-air work during the morning practice but in the 11-on-11 team drills he was a spectator and undrafted rookie Gus Johnson took the first-team turns at tailback.
Considering today's practice was the final work before Thursday's preseason opener against the San Diego Chargers, Randle's lack of work in team drills is an indication that he will not play in the game, although coach Jason Garrett would not discuss the specifics of who will and will not play.
"I would love to play but that's not up to me," Randle said. "That's the coaching staff's job to do that kind of stuff, so we'll let them do their job."
During Monday's practice, yet another Dallas Cowboys running back missed practice when Joseph Randle sat out with an oblique injury. With Darren McFadden Lance Dunbar on the shelf, it was undrafted free agent back Gus Johnson who got the call over 2014 draft pick Lache Seastrunk. In his first real opportunity with the first team offense, Johnson shined.
Johnson looked good throughout practice, and he stood out specifically during the team's goal-line drills. At 5-foot-10 and 215 pounds, Johnson has an ideal build for short-yardage situations. His build is also unique to the rest of the Cowboys' depth chart at running back.
"Gus did a good job yesterday. We had a short yardage and goal line," Tony Romo said on KTCK-AM 1310 via the Dallas Morning News. "It's hard because you don't have live so you don't have the chance to show your ability to break a tackle, maybe get through a gap with a thud, not being a thud, it's not a tackle. I just think he showed a little bit when we were live yesterday in some of the shortage. He's got a chance."
Johnson was the 2014 Southland Conference Player of the Year after rushing for 1,683 yards and 23 touchdowns on 256 carries. Over the course of his collegiate career, Johnson averaged 6.2 yards per carry and finished with 51 rushing touchdowns and 3,892 rushing yards. With all the injuries and not really a clear-cut RB1 on the team, it's not out of the question the team could ride an unknown who steps up in camp.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015, 2:07pm
Now that Cowboys RB Joseph Randle has a strained oblique (he was in pads for Tuesday’s practice), Lance Dunbar continues to nurse an ankle injury and Darren McFadden has yet to take the practice field with a sore hamstring, the color-coded alert level for fans has been elevated to red.
It’s unlikely the club does anything at the moment.
First of all, even if Randle does play in Thursday’s game anyway, he will only get a handful of carries.
Secondly, all three backs should be on the practice field Saturday.
The next two preseason games and two days of practice against the St. Louis Rams will serve as the basis of the evaluation for this RB committee, the story said. If the coaching staff feels it must add another runner, it will reach that conclusion later in camp. Chris Johnson was reportedly offered a one-year deal by the Cardinals Tuesday, which left some top names like Steven Jackson, Ben Tate and Pierre Thomas as possible options.
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