Dallas Cowboys

August 23, 2014

Patmon’s big plays might earn him a job

Rookie Tyler Patmon has two interceptions and forces a fumble.

The Dallas Cowboys haven’t given Tyler Patmon a roster spot yet, but the undrafted rookie free agent took a step or two or three closer after Saturday’s game.

Patmon had two interceptions, including one he returned for a 9-yard touchdown, and forced a fumble.

“I think he’s trying to make this team,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “He played like that.”

Patmon is competing with B.W. Webb, a fourth-round pick in 2013, and Terrance Mitchell, a seventh-round pick this year. Webb sat out Saturday’s 25-20 loss to the Dolphins with a hip injury.

Meanwhile, Patmon starred.

In the second quarter, he knocked the ball from tight end Dion Sims at the Dallas 26, with safety Barry Church recovering. On the first series of the second half, Patmon picked off Miami starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill at the Dallas 5. Tannehill tried to force a pass to Brian Hartline.

He saved his best for last, reading the Dolphins play and timing it correctly, stepping in front of Armon Binns just as Matt Moore let go of the ball.

“Turnovers. Turnovers. Turnovers,” Patmon said. “Coach [Rod] Marinelli pounds it in our head, and I was able to get my hat on the ball. The first interception was a great disguise by our defense, a great rush by our D-line and their quarterback threw it right to me. Those are plays I’ve got to make. The third one, man, was just a great job by our coaches preparing us. When I saw it, saw the motion, saw the receiver go behind the quarterback, instincts took over, and I was able to make a play on the ball. I knew it.”

OL struggles

With three first-round picks on it, the offensive line is expected to be the Cowboys’ strength this season. They added right guard Zack Martin to the mix this year.

But Tony Romo was sacked three times and hit a couple of others. The first-team line also was called for three penalties.

Left tackle Tyron Smith and right tackle Doug Free were called for holding penalties, though Free’s was declined. Left guard Mackenzy Bernadeau had an illegal use of hands penalty declined against him.

“They’re a strength, but it shows that they’ve got some more work to do,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “I think that’s the kind of thing they’ll have plenty to work on, and when they do, they’ll make them better for San Francisco. I’m just glad we were able to sit here and talk about that without talking about Romo being a little tight in the back.”

McClain plays

Rolando McClain spent much of the first half standing at the ready, by defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, with his helmet buckled. But he didn’t enter the game until 8 minutes remained in the first half.

He played into the second half.

The Cowboys had given him some first-team reps at middle linebacker as they attempt to put together their best combination of linebackers.

Dallas went with rookie Anthony Hitchens at middle linebacker in their base defense for most of the first half, although they started in the nickel with Bruce Carter and Justin Durant as their only linebackers.

McClain finished with two tackles; Durant had three; Carter had two; and Hitchens had two.

“No comment again,” McClain said. “Just got to get better.”

Injury update

Tight end Jordan Najvar, an undrafted rookie from Baylor, was the Cowboys’ most serious injury Saturday. He tore his Achilles’ near the end of the game.

“There’s no way to explain it, don’t know why and hate it for him,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.

Cornerback Morris Claiborne (shoulder), defensive tackle Henry Melton (groin) and tight end Gavin Escobar (shoulder) were among the players the Cowboys scratched before the game.

The Cowboys have some concern about the injury to defensive end George Selvie’s right shoulder. Selvie, who had off-season surgery on the same shoulder, had it wrapped in ice afterward.

“We’ll need to watch that,” Jones said. “They didn’t think it’ll keep him out, but we’ll just have to watch it. It’s good we have two weeks on that one right there.”

Running back Joseph Randle (ribs) and receiver Dwayne Harris (hip/ankle) both said they are day to day. Running back Ryan Williams left with cramps and cornerback Justin Green aggravated his shoulder.

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