The Cowboys signed veteran linebacker Tim Dobbins to replace Justin Durant. Durant, who has a second consecutive season end on injured reserve, will undergo surgery on his torn biceps Thursday.
Dobbins arrived from his home in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday morning, had a physical, signed and ran out on the practice field to get his feet wet learning the defense.
He set up a spot on the couch in the locker room after practice, still waiting on a locker.
“I have nothing,” Dobbins said, pointing to his small carryon bag. “No locker. No clothes. No shoes. I’m just here.”
Dobbins, 31, has played for the Chargers, Dolphins and Texans in 10 previous NFL seasons. He has 14 career starts.
“It’s a big opportunity,” he said. “I was technically sitting on the couch. If it’s ever coming to the end, you can tell it’s coming to the end, unless I changed that. I don’t have a lot of wear and tear on my body anyway. I’ve been playing a lot of special teams and I’m healthy. So just see how it goes.”
The Cowboys have six linebackers on their 53-player roster other than Dobbins, including two rookies and Cameron Lawrence, who has played only three defensive snaps. They signed linebacker Will Smith to the practice squad, placing linebacker Troy Davis on injured reserve.
Smith was a seventh-round draft pick of the Cowboys this season. He was released before the season and lasted four days on the practice squad.
“We need to get some bodies in here and figure out what their roles are based on how capable they are,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said.
Dobbins said the closest comparison to the Cowboys defense is the defense he played in at Iowa State.
“That’s the closest thing I can wrap my head around,” Dobbins said. “It’s been a couple [years]. Once you know it, you know. It’s like riding a bike.”
The Cowboys also signed offensive guard Jeff Baca to the practice squad, replacing guard Rishaw Johnson. Johnson had been on the practice squad since Sept. 30.
With starting left guard Ron Leary nursing a groin strain, the Cowboys have only two healthy guards on their 53-player roster. Mackenzy Bernadeau will start for Leary, and Zack Martin starts at right guard.
Garrett said tackle Tony Hills is capable of playing guard.