Cowboys hold out hope Anthony Spencer can play Sunday

Posted Wednesday, Sep. 04, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Another day, another day without Anthony Spencer.

The Dallas Cowboys defensive end missed practice Wednesday. He has not practiced since undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery July 25.

But the Cowboys are holding out hope that Spencer can be ready for at least spot duty Sunday.

“It depends on how he looks tomorrow and then the next day,” Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said when asked if 20 plays was the best-case scenario. “If he looks like he could play, I think it would still be a game-time decision on how much he could play.”

The Cowboys already are missing starting defensive tackle Jay Ratliff, who is out at least six games while rehabbing a groin injury. Nick Hayden replaces Ratliff in the starting lineup.

George Selvie would start at left end in place of Spencer. The Cowboys traded for two other defensive ends this week, getting Edgar Jones and Caesar Rayford for depth purposes.

“It’s a great opportunity for me,” Selvie said. “It’s something I’ve been waiting for, but just going out there and playing, that’s all I’m hoping for.”

Selvie played nine games for the Jacksonville Jaguars last season. He has never made a regular-season start. Hayden, who had a high-ankle sprain last season, didn’t play a down, but he has made 13 career starts.

The Cowboys are not expecting running back Lance Dunbar (foot) or safety Danny McCray (hamstring) to play Sunday. Both were on the side doing rehab during practice Wednesday.

Fewer turnovers

Tony Romo threw for 4,903 yards and 28 touchdowns last season, but he tied his career high with 19 interceptions. He also lost three fumbles. The Cowboys finished minus-13 in turnover ratio with 16 takeaways and 29 turnovers.

Romo has his priorities this season.

“My job is going to be to protect the football,” Romo said. “That’s my No. 1 job going into every football game, and I’m going to do the job that this team needs to win the football game. That’s what we’re trying to do every week when we play, and that’s my job when I step out there.

“Obviously the No. 1 thing for me will be not having anything negatively happen. When I say that, it’s not just turnovers. It’s negative plays, getting us into the right plays and doing the things that can get us out of other things. A lot of that stuff falls on the quarterback’s plate, and that’s a good thing, especially when you’ve been in a system for an extended period of time throughout the experiences. I’ll go into it with the right frame of mind and do what needs to be done.”

Coughlin sees benefits of walk-around coach

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett gave up play-calling duties this year, and Giants coach Tom Coughlin said there are benefits.

“There was a point in time for me, I just said, ‘You know what? I’ve got to be the head coach of the entire team,’” Coughlin said in a conference call Wednesday. “I thought I was spending so much time trying to be prepared for the play-calling duties, that I felt like it was maybe closing some doors of opportunity for me to be involved in motivation of our players, the management of our players, to a better extreme. So that was the reason for me.

“I do think that it does allow you to become very, very familiar with the opponent. It does allow you to be in position perhaps to be a situation or a play or a series ahead from where you might be if you were the play-caller. It also allows you, I think, to get more involved in special teams, which is so critical.”

Coughlin said he gave up play-calling when he arrived in New York from Jacksonville, and he said he had been “back and forth on it” when he was with the Jaguars.

“I think it’s an individual thing,” Coughlin said. “There’s no general statement about how it should be done. People have obviously done an excellent job of coaching their team and still being the defensive play-caller or the offensive play-caller. I do think it’s an individual- and situational- and knowledge-of-your-franchise-type of decision.”

Meet & greet

• Cornerback Morris Claiborne will be greeting fans and serving up chicken fingers at the new Raising Cane’s in Arlington on Monday from 5-6 p.m. The restaurant is located at 1322 No. Collins Street.

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

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