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Football briefs: Cowboys’ LB depth suddenly comes into question

PFW staff

The Way We Hear It: Cowboys’ LB depth suddenly comes into question

The injuries to OLB Anthony Spencer and ILB Kevin Burnett suddenly have crippled the Cowboys’ LB depth for at least the regular-season opener, perhaps longer. Both players are trying to get back for the Week One game against the Browns.

But there is a chance neither will be available, which would leave only Bobby Carpenter and Justin Rogers as the experienced backups at linebacker and could push sixth-round OLB Erik Walden onto the roster for a week or two.

One big effect it could have is really messing with the nickel and dime defensive packages. Burnett moves to the inside, and Spencer often goes into a three-point stance on the four-man front. It remains to be seen if the remaining players could fit in there; they haven’t stood out in preseason action to date.

NFL Whispers

VIKINGS: Vikings TE Garrett Mills’ bothersome right ankle has kept him off the field and could cost him a roster spot. His lack of play this preseason has hurt his cause, despite the coaching staff’s interest in his ability. If Mills is cut, don’t be surprised if the team that drafted him — the Patriots — takes a hard look.

COLTS: The Colts are willing to suffer the inevitable growing pains and mental mistakes of second-year LB Clint Session, who has been thrust into the starting SLB role with Tyjuan Hagler rehabbing a torn pectoral muscle. Session is more natural on the weak side, but the feeling is that his knack for the big play could make him a star on either side if he can learn to harness his energy.

BROWNS: Recently acquired Browns CB Travis Daniels was a player whom Cleveland GM Phil Savage had been eyeing for a long time, a source close to the team tells us. He’s likely to be the primary backup corner but won’t be seeing time as the nickel back. Because Daniels is new to the system, the Browns don’t want to burden him with learning slot responsibilities.

The Fantasy Buzz

With Eagles WR Kevin Curtis out about two months after having sports hernia surgery, it was thought that rookie DeSean Jackson would get a chance to start. However, the team likes the progress that Hank Baskett has made this preseason and probably will insert him into the starting lineup. Jackson still should be on the field a lot as the slot receiver, but it apparently will be Baskett and Reggie Brown lining up out wide.

The fact that Texans RB Ahman Green restructured his contract this week means that he should be safe from the upcoming roster cuts. Green has missed most of the preseason with a groin injury, and rumors were flying that the club might release him before Week One. Now that he’ll be saving the Texans $2 million, though, Green won’t have to worry about his roster spot. But he should worry about his playing time in the team’s crowded backfield.

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