Cowboys notes: Jay Ratliff’s long stay on PUP list not a concern

Posted Saturday, Aug. 10, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Defensive tackle Jay Ratliff’s stay on the physically-unable-to-perform list was expected to be short. Twenty-two days later, Ratliff has yet to practice, and the Cowboys have no timetable on his return from a strained hamstring.

Ratliff will miss all of training camp in Oxnard, as the Cowboys break camp on Friday.

Yet, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones remains unconcerned.

“I’m interested in him being in shape,” Jones said. “I’m interested in him having the best chance to play as much as he can during the season. I don’t have any desire to see him make a lot of plays in preseason. I know what he can do.

“So our goal should be — and I know it’s his – to get him out there so he’s lined up against the Giants [for the season opener] and [have him] stay on the field all the way through the season, relative to any injuries or anything like that.

“It’s unique, because we know what he is, and we see what he is physically right now. He’s very capable of playing at the level that he’s always played at. We’ve just got to not get in a hurry there.”

Ratliff, who turns 32 on Aug. 29, has had declining sack numbers each of the past four seasons. He has also had several injuries the past two years, including plantar fasciitis, two high-ankle sprains and a sports hernia that required surgery.

But the Cowboys are confident Ratliff can stay on the field and become a Pro Bowl-type player again as a 3-technique tackle in the 4-3 defense. Defensive line coach Rod Marinelli repeatedly has called Ratliff a “great” fit for the Tampa-2 defense.

“He’s got all the things you look for in a lineman in our system,” Marinelli said. “Movement, balance, speed, tough. He’s got a great attitude toward work. I mean, every play is his play in his mind.”

Waters still on radar

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo couldn’t wait to praise the team’s much-maligned offensive line after Friday night’s game. The only sack he took in two series against the Raiders was a coverage sack, and the Cowboys’ other three quarterbacks were not sacked.

Still, Jerry Jones said the Cowboys remain on the lookout for a veteran offensive guard. Former North Texas star Brian Waters, who has played with the Chiefs and Patriots, is the target, according to a source. Waters has not played since 2011 but lives in Waxahachie.

Jones declined to talk specifically about Waters, but said the team needs a veteran because they expect rookie center Travis Frederick and second-year guard Ron Leary to win starting spots. The Cowboys owner expressed faith in Mackenzy Bernadeau at the right guard spot, but Bernadeau’s injury history has the team looking for a proven veteran.

Webb struggles

As a fourth-round draft pick, B.W. Webb’s spot on the roster is all but guaranteed. The Cowboys have carried David Arkin, a fourth-round pick in 2011, for two years without his doing much of anything. But if Webb wasn’t a high pick, he might be in danger of not making the roster.

The William & Mary product has struggled thus far.

He had three tackles in 76 plays in the Hall of Fame Game against the Dolphins, giving up four passes for 29 yards while being targeted six times, according to Pro Football Focus. He had three tackles against the Raiders and was a favorite target of Raiders quarterbacks. He also fumbled a punt.

As if it couldn’t get worse for Webb, he was called out by his coach afterward.

“You are not allowed to have one of those nights,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “One of the things you are looking for in any kind of players, a young guy or a veteran, is you want to make sure they respond to the successes and adversities of the game. He had a couple of missed tackles early on for him. I thought he came back and tackled better. Then, he had the dropped punt.

“You’re not allowed to have bad nights. You never excuse it away to that. You have to keep battling, fighting, whatever opportunity you get, you’ve got to make sure you are taking advantage of it.”

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

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