ARLINGTON - It's Broncos-at-Cowboys tonight in the preseason closer. Does it matter if Dallas loses…
Cowboys-Denver. Eventful Day. Oh, Then A Game
Over the course of what should've been a nondescript Thursday preceding a nondescript preseason Game 4 visit from the Broncos, your Dallas Cowboys opted instead to own the headlines.
*It was revealed that Adrian Peterson may have flirted with Jerry about wanting to be a Cowboy.
*Oh, and that Jerry loves both Johnnie Walker Blue and Johnny Football of the Browns.
*Yet another secondary knucklehead, Jakar Hamilton, earned a four-game suspension by deciding he wanted to get high on something more than football.
*In a DB shuffle, B.W. Webb got the boot as Patriots ex Jemea Thomas rolled into town.
*And in a running back situation we proudly saw coming, Phillip Tanner's off-the-couch work suddenly makes him a 3-in-1 roster-member threat.
The Broncos defeated the Cowboys 27-3, sending the Cowboys to an 0-4 preseason record, their fifth winless exhibition season in franchise history.
With the release of second-year cornerback Webb and also the suspension of safety Hamilton, the Cowboys looked for a helper in their young secondary. Yesterday, Dallas signed rookie Jemea Thomas, the Patriots' sixth-round defensive back they cut on Tuesday, and his four tackles were tied for second-most for the Cowboys in the game.
Undrafted free agent rookie Ryan Smith, who starter Barry Church told CowboysHQ he was "rooting for" tonight, finished with two tackles and two assisted tackles. Most of his tackles came after Denver backs had gained four or more yards or after Broncos receivers made catches.
Tyler Patmon, the star of last week's preseason game in Miami, only registered two tackles on the night.
Cornerback Brandon Carr, who played two series tonight, felt like the defense made some progress but still had room for improvement.
"We did some great things," Carr said, "but we still want to fight to stay consistent. We want to fight to stay relentless every time we step on the field. We are always going to harp on takeaways."
There weren't any takeaways on the evening. Denver receivers Cody Latimer and Isaiah Burse each had over 60 yards receiving on the Cowboys secondary. Backup Denver quarterback Brock Osweiler, who played into the fourth quarter, went 9/13 for 190 yards and was only sacked once.
Still, like Carr, veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick believes in the young talent.
"I'm confident the guys they have that will be playing with me that will be playing for me, you know, are up for the challenge," said Scandrick.
Scandrick, along with Hamilton, will be serving a four-game suspension to start the season due to a violation of the league's substance abuse policy. This puts Jerry Jones and the rest of the front office in quite a pickle, as they need to must factor in these suspensions along with injuries along the defensive line in their final cuts over the weekend.
Said Jones: "Ideally, because of what we're doing with Scandrick, the perfect fit would be a combination corner/safety, one that could play both. That's something we should look at."
Versatility at various positions is why the Cowboys signed back veteran running back Phillip Tanner, who played with the club from 2011-13. CowboysHQ and 105.3 reported on Thursday morning that coaches think Tanner might fit the role of a player who could play running back, special teams, and fullback in a pinch. This would make up for the cutting of either Ryan Williams (running back), Joseph Randle (special teams), or Tyler Clutts (fullback). ... and the team seems to view Randle as the keeper in that bunch.
A PETERSON TAMPERING CHARGE?: Jerry Jones and Adrian Peterson both plead innocence regarding a phone call placed by the Vikings running back to the Cowboys owner. NFL history says they might be found innocent, too.
Jerry Jones concedes that he received a phone call from Peterson back in June - a call that allegedly included the star player expressing a desire to play for Dallas. But the owner clearly sees the communication as something well short of a tampering violation.
“We basically talked,” Jones told our colleague Kristi Scales 105.3 The Fan. “Adrian’s from Texas and certainly it was easy to talk to such a great player.”
An ESPN profile detailed the conversation, which occurred while Jones was attended a George Strait concert at AT&T Stadium. Depending on what Peterson actually said to Jones about a desire to play for the Cowboys, the NFL could investigate and consider tampering charges. Technically, under the rules, Jones was to contact the league office regarding the call, which he apparently did not do.
For Peterson's part, he's saying the call was as innocent as Jones claims, calling it "a casual conversation ... in which I never indicated I wanted to leave the Vikings. I'd love to retire a Viking.''
If the Cowboys are punished? There is very little precedent for a harsh ruling. A rare guilty finding, in 2008, found the 49ers in violation for tampering with Bears star linebacker Lance Briggs. Their punishment? The forfeiture of a fifth-round pick.
JAKAR EXCLUSIVE EXPLANATION: Reason for skepticism? Maybe so, once the logistics of the way a day of drug testing works inside an NFL facility.
But the Hamilton story is not complete without somebody talking to Jakar. And CowboysHQ has done that, in this exclusive visit in which Hamilton claims to not have failed the test, but to have missed it.
ONSIDE KICKS: Henry Melton (groin) did not play ... Dustin Vaughan needn't be "stashed" anymore. He's a future practice-squadder ... Ron Leary was the only offensive starter to do so here .... Mo Claiborne and George Selvie both tell CowboysHQ they'll be ready for Week 1 ... Zack Martin made it clear he's not bothered by his owner's Manziel crush ... Jerry Jones tells CowboysHQ he hasn't yet read the ESPN profile.
THE FINAL WORD: "If they need me to change lights, I'll change lights. If they need me to take out the trash, I'll take out the trash. Whatever they need, I'll do it." - Phillip Tanner, when asked by CowboysHQ about his possible roles.
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