Cowboys notes: Spencer still on sideline patrol as he deals with setback

Posted Sunday, Sep. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Dallas Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer is further from returning to the starting lineup than he was last week.

Spencer, who played 34 snaps in the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, was inactive for Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams.

“We thought during the week it didn’t look like he’d be able to go this week,” Cowboys defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said. “We didn’t know for sure, but he had another little setback. We’re sure [eager] to get him in there.”

Spencer missed practice Wednesday and Friday and was limited Thursday. He has practiced only three times since undergoing knee surgery July 25.

George Selvie has started in Spencer’s spot, and he had two tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit on Sunday. Selvie has two sacks in three games.

Austin hamstring

Receiver Miles Austin left the game in the third quarter because of a hamstring injury. Coach Jason Garrett said the Cowboys considered using Austin but kept him out because they were ahead.

Austin has been slowed by hamstring injuries the past two seasons. But he was healthy in training camp this year and had been healthy until now. He came in tied for the team lead in receptions. He had two catches for 22 yards against the Rams.

Waters plays more

Mackenzy Bernadeau and Brian Waters alternated series, with Bernadeau getting the start at right guard. Waters, who played four series last week, appears closer to playing a full game.

Waters, who signed with the Cowboys on Sept. 3, is expected to take over the starting spot.

“I could [play a full game], but that’s a coach’s call,” he said. “We’ve got a good group. The more players, the better, because it’s a long season. You find out in the NFL that you’ve got to have more than five offensive linemen to be successful.”

Ron Leary injured his knee before halftime. He sat out one series, with Bernadeau at left guard and Waters at right, before returning.

Wilcox starts

Rookie J.J. Wilcox started at strong safety and played nearly the entire game, until the starters departed. He had three tackles.

“We respect the job Will Allen has done,” Monte Kiffin said. “Will’s been a great help to the young guys, but we wanted to get J.J. out there, because he does have a lot of ability. If you don’t play those young guys, you’ll never know. Don’t put them out there in the 10th game of the year. Find out if they can play.”

Wilcox had a 23-yard interception return, but Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher was called for roughing the passer to negate the play.

“Hopefully, many more [interceptions] to come,” said Wilcox, who played only six defensive snaps.

Harris good and bad

Dwayne Harris muffed a punt, causing the Cowboys’ only turnover. But he also played with a hip pointer, coach Jason Garrett said.

“He really showed a lot of mental and physical toughness throughout the game,” Garrett said.

Garrett called the turnover a bad play, but noted that Harris came back and played well, including catching a 24-yard touchdown pass.

“Dwayne is back there because he’s been so solid with the football,” Garrett said. “And it was a bad play. It was a bad play by him, and our defense went out and responded the right way. And I think Dwayne responded the right way himself as the game wore on.”

Bailey miss

When Dan Bailey missed a 35-yard field goal in the third quarter, it was a rare event. It was only his second miss ever at AT&T Stadium, but his first “true” miss at home. The other home miss was a block of a 47-yard kick by the Giants in 2011.

This one may have been blocked, also.

“It actually got tipped,” Bailey said. “It’s kind of one of those things. You hear and see the ball when you make contact, then you hear something else, and you look up, and it’s not exactly where you thought it was going to be.”

Before the miss, Bailey, undrafted out of Oklahoma State three years ago, was 7-for-7 on the season and 68-for-75 in his career. He had missed only once under 40 yards, when he missed a 21-yarder at San Francisco as a rookie. Of his other six previous misses, four had been 50-plus attempts on the road.

Scandrick impact

Orlando Scandrick recorded his first sack of the season and finished with three tackles, plus a quarterback hurry.

He got an encouraging talk from Monte Kiffin the locker room after the game, and he credited Kiffin for inspiring him to be as productive as Ronde Barber.

“When he got here, he put on a lot of film,” Scandrick said. “A lot of his good stuff was from Tampa. Ronde’s there. This is the same defense. Ronde had so much production in this defense. So much, for so many years. And if I can just get to maybe half of that — when you look at some of Ronde’s stats, he’s got 40 sacks, 20 interceptions. That’s phenomenal stats.”


• The Cowboys are 2-0 to start a season at AT&T Stadium for the first time in its five years.

• The Cowboys’ 18 yards allowed in the first half was the fewest they’d allowed in the first half in more than 20 years. They gave up 17 to Seattle in 1992.

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