RB switch adds local rookie
There could be an upgrade to the running back position after the team waived injured RB Darrell Scott, who suffered a hip injury Wednesday. He was sent to Waived/Failed Physical on Thursday to make room for Ed Wesley, a former TCU tailback who was passed over in the Supplemental Draft on July 12.
Wesley, who rushed for 726 yards and six touchdowns in a by-committee backfield last season for the Horned Frogs, is from Irving, Texas, the same city of the Cowboys’ practice facility.
“It’s great to be this close to home,” said Wesley, who declared for the draft to help support his mother, who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. “My mom is actually so excited about this. I need to calm her down a little. But this is a dream opportunity for me and I’m going to make the most of it.”
Wesley will have to compete with fellow rookie Lance Dunbar, another local product from nearby North Texas for a chance at the No. 3 spot. The Cowboys are rather deep at tailback with DeMarco Murray, Felix Jones and Phillip Tanner.
Veteran ready to compete
When guard Mackenzy Bernadeau signed a four-year contract as an unrestricted free agent back in March, he knew there were no guarantees about a starting spot.
And that was before his hip injury that required surgery and has kept him out all offseason. He will be on PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) when training camp officially begins next week in Oxnard, Calif.
But when he returns, he knows he will have some catching up to do.
“I plan on coming in here and making up for lost time,” Bernadeau said. “Nothing in this league is given to you. They didn’t tell me I would start. I have to earn it. And now I have some catching up to do. We’ve got some young guys battling.”
“Those guys are going to push me and I’m going to push them,” said Bernadeau, who has 20 career starts. “Obviously my goal is to come in here and start and that hasn’t changed. I just have to get healthy and get back to work.”
Veteran LB Dan Connor, who has played outside in a 4-3 scheme, figures to be in the mix at inside LB in the Cowboys’ 3-4 scheme. He’ll likely compete with Bruce Carter for reps, but the team had him working some at OLB during Thursday’s practice, likely working on a package that can put Connor, Carter and Sean Lee on the field together.
While Morris Claiborne is the rookie CB garnering most of the attention, undrafted rookie CBs Isaac Madison and Lionel Smith have continued to be impressive since the first OTA in May. They both have legitimate chances to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.
DE Sean Lissemore is one of the few veterans practicing this week. He missed most of the offseason with a rib injury but said he is “100 percent and will be ready” once camp begins next week. DL coach Brian Baker said Lissemore was the most productive player “per snap” last year of all defensive linemen. He figures to be involved in a healthy rotation at both DE and DT.
The Cowboys’ decision not to make a significant offer to veteran punter Mat McBriar, who signed a deal with the Eagles on Wednesday, should signal their excitement in second-year pro Chris Jones, who replaced McBriar twice in 2011 because of injury. Jones, 22 from Carson-Newman, could also serve as the Cowboys’ place-holder for field goals and extra points.
Follow Cowboys reporter Nick Eatman on Twitter @CBSSportsNFLDAL.