Depth Chart Review: Cowboys Hurting at TE

Rookie Brandon Sharpe scored on a six-yard interception return against the Bengals.

Most who follow the Cowboys know by now that backup tight end John Phillips is out for the season with a torn ACL. The team has announced the signing of a new backup tight end and the release to two other players. This move will affect the depth chart for a few of the positions discussed a few days ago.

Offensive Line

Free vs. Barron: Doug Free looked very solid at left tackle. Backup Alex Barron didn’t. Here’s a clip showing some of Free’s better plays in the opening series:

Second-Team Lineup: The Cowboys’ starters only played one series in the first quarter. The second-team line consisted of the following: C Travis Bright, LG Mike Tepper, RG Pat McQuistan, LT Barron, and RT Robert Brewster. McQuistan was beaten by a spin move on one play, and Barron had trouble with a speed rush that led to a sack late in the first quarter. Brewster also almost gave up a sack in the first quarter.

Offensive Backfield

Jones’ Fumble and Barber’s Fist-Pumping: Felix Jones had only one official carry, with two other negated by penalties. His final run looked like it might be a touchdown, but he fumbled into the end zone. Fortunately, Cincinnati was called offsides on the play. Marion Barber rushed twice, including a two-yard gain on third down that gave the Cowboys a first down. Barber, of course, provided his signature “go crazy folks!” routine for his two-yard effort.

Tashard Choice: Choice saw the most action with seven carries for 41 yards. He had a couple of decent runs, including an 11-yarder that gained a first down.

Herb Donaldson Doesn’t Impress: It would be hard enough for Herb Donaldson to make the team, and his fumble in the second quarter didn’t do him any favors.


Tight Ends Look Good Before Injuries: Dallas quarterbacks targeted tight ends John Phillips and Scott Sicko 11 times and hit on 9 of those passes for 104 total yards. However, Phillips is gone for the season, and Sicko suffered a concussion. Dallas on Tuesday signed rookie Dajleon Farr, who played in college at the University of Miami and the University of Memphis.

Roy Catches the Ball!: On the opening drive of the game, Tony Romo threw a high ball over the middle to Roy Williams, who typically finds a way to drop such passes. However, Williams pulled the ball in for a 21-yard gain down to the Cincinnati 19.

Ogletree vs. Holley vs. Hurd: The entire receiving corps from 2009 is back, but the team has added rookie Dez Bryant. This means that there is probably only one slot open for Kevin Ogletree, Jesse Holley, or Sam Hurd. All three caught passes against the Bengals. The stats:

Ogletree: 7 targets, 2 receptions, 25 yards.

Holley: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 20 yards.

Hurd: 3 targets, 1 reception, 4 yards.

Defensive Line

Stephen Bowen: Stephen Bowen had an impressive game with a sack and three QB hurries.

Good Depth: The Bengals only managed 43 yards on the ground for the entire game, even with the Cowboys relying on backups along the defensive line. Jason Hatcher and Junior Siavii were solid last year and looked good against Cincinnati.


Lots of Williams: Jason Williams and Leon Williams combined for 11 total tackles against the Bengals. And Brandon Williams picked off a pass and returned it 36 yards to set up a field goal.

Welcome, Brandon Sharpe: Brandon Sharpe appears on the third team on the team’s depth chart page, but his bio is completely blank. He is a rookie free agent from Texas Tech who made a big splash by returning an interception six yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Sharpe played the majority of the game.

Defensive Backfield

We Didn’t Shut Out T.O.: Terrell Owens was the target of four passes, and he caught two. One of his receptions came when he was matched up against Mike Jenkins. The second came against Jamal Wall. Owens would have had a third in front of Terence Newman, but the play was negated by a penalty.

Reserves in the Secondary Frustrate Bengals’ Backup QBs: Several younger players saw considerable action against the Bengals, including Wall, Cletis Gordon, Michael Hamlin, Barry Church, Bryan McCann, and Danny McCray. Backup QBs J.T. O’Sullivan and Jordan Palmer struggled against the Dallas reserves, combining to complete only 14 of 31 passes for 135 yards and three interceptions. McCray picked off a desperation pass on the last play of the game.

Special Teams

Buehler Passes His First Test but Misses Long Attempt: [Note: this has been corrected]: David Buehler’s long field goal was 34 yards, and he missed a 49-yarder after the opening drive of the third quarter. Two of his five kickoffs were also downed for touchbacks.

Church and McCray Active on Special Teams: McCray not only picked off a pass, but he also recorded two special teams tackles. Church had a total of three tackles on defense plus a special teams tackle.

Titus Ryan is Injured, Then Released: Titus Ryan opened the game with a 38-yard kickoff return. However, he suffered a broken thumb and was released on Tuesday.

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  • Tim Truemper

    Didn’t Buehler miss a 49 yarder?

  • Tim Truemper

    Oh! about the te situation. What happened to Rodney Hannah?

  • Tim– Yes. He missed his first attempt of the second half from 49 yards. I completely forgot about it. Thanks.

  • Regarding Hannah, he is apparently a free agent. Several of his profiles still list him as a member of the Cowboys, but he hasn’t been on the roster since 2008. Here’s his Wikipedia page: