Cowboys defense is practicing what Monte Kiffin is preaching

Posted Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Dallas Cowboys defensive line coach Rod Marinelli said he wants the Cowboys to become “thieves.” He means it in the kindest of ways.

The Cowboys hired Monte Kiffin and Marinelli to help with the team’s turnover ratio. Dallas forced only 16 takeaways last season.

The Cowboys followed a two-takeaway game against the Miami Dolphins in the Hall of Fame Game with two more in the first half on Friday night against the Oakland Raiders.

On the Raiders’ third play from scrimmage, linebacker Sean Lee sacked Matt Flynn. Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher sandwiched Flynn, who lost the ball. Hatcher recovered at the Oakland 16, and the Cowboys converted with a field goal.

“It felt great,” Lee said. “For me, it has been a long time since I played — last October — to get back out there and hit someone else, it was a lot of fun.”

Later, the Raiders drove 84 yards to the Dallas 6, where they faced third-and-4. Backup quarterback Terrelle Pryor threw a pass in the end zone toward Brice Butler, but Cowboys rookie safety J.J. Wilcox picked it off.

Wilcox had a team-leading six tackles in the first half and defensed a pass.

Romo starts

Tony Romo made his 2013 debut. He played two series, leading the Cowboys to a field goal. They also had a field goal blocked.

The Cowboys quarterback completed 6 of 8 passes for 88 yards, including three passes to Dez Bryant for 55 yards. The Cowboys gained 91 yards in the two series Romo and the first team were on the field.

But the Cowboys’ first-team offense had three penalties for 20 yards, including two in the red zone.

“We had couple penalties that put us in a hole that cost us some points,” Romo said. “That is something that we are going to correct real fast. You just can’t overcome that stuff in the red zone. Other than that, I thought the guys did a really good job, and it’s been going just how it was in training camp. It’s been good.”

Practice facility to Frisco

The Cowboys are moving their practice facility from Irving, with the deal to be consummated at special meetings called by the city of Frisco for Monday. A source confirmed the deal is all but done.

Irving has served as the Cowboys’ home for 28 years but lost out on the bidding for a new facility for the Cowboys, as did Arlington, which is home to AT&T Stadium.


•  Dan Bailey missed only seven field goals in his first two seasons, getting only one blocked. The Raiders blocked a 26-yard attempt by Bailey on Friday night, with Tyvon Branch getting his hands on the kick. Bailey made a 38-yarder on the Cowboys’ first series.

•  The Raiders had some familiar names on their roster. Andre Gurode, Mike Jenkins, Kevin Burnett, Jamize Olawale, Andre Holmes and Alex Barron all played for the Cowboys at one time or another.

•  Several players were held out of Friday’s game, including three starters who didn’t make the trip. Defensive end Anthony Spencer (knee), defensive tackle Jay Ratliff (hamstring) and cornerback Morris Claiborne (knee) didn’t make the trip.

•  George Selvie, the star of the Hall of Fame Game, started at defensive end in place of Spencer. Nick Hayden started at defensive tackle in place of Spencer. Orlando Scandrick started for Claiborne.

•  Hall of Famer Larry Allen, who was at the team’s Hall of Fame Game last week, lives in nearby Danville, Calif. He was at the team hotel during the day and then watched the game from the Cowboys’ sideline.



Charean Williams, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @NFLCharean

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