Cowboys outside linebacker Greg Ellis has been activated for his first game of the season today against the Rams. Ellis will likely see minimal time in pass-rush situations.
Ellis elevated his rehabilitation this week working in pass rush drills during the team portion of practice. Wade Phillips said Ellis had a 50-50 chance of playing and was listed as questionable. Ellis did not play in the preseason.
Normally the team hotel of any visiting NFL team is loaded with fans and autograph seekers. They often hang out in front of the hotel hoping to grab a player or two as they walk in the door. What I witnessed on Sunday morning at the Cowboys' team hotel reached a new low in taking advantage of the situation. Cowboys tight end Jason Witten walked into the same elevator as myself, as well as an eldery woman. "Are you Jason Witten?" she asked. "Yes ma'am, tha'ts me," Witten responded. "Can you sign something for me?" she asked. "Sure. Sure," Witten said. Remember, she said can you sign some thing. The woman then pulled out about 10 or so glossy action photos of Witten. She went on and on about how these were for her grand children. I gave the woman a hard time and told Witten to expect the autographed photos to appear on E-Bay in less than an hour. But Witten patiently signed every picture and listened to the woman talk. Players may not always sign autographs - and Witten's experience on Sunday showed me a good reason why they don't stop for everyone - but when they do be sure not to ask too much from them.
Officially, the Cowboys said linebacker Greg Ellis did NOT practice on Friday. He was dressed, just didn't do anything.
Officially, cornerback Terence Newman's practice was "limited." He did not speak to reporters today in the locker room.
And from the Bears side of things ...linebacker Brian Urlacher (back) did not practice on Friday.
As far as game status for the walking wounded in Chicago:
Punter Brad Maynard (groin), defensive end Alex Brown (ankle), center Olin Kreutz (ankle) and Urlacher are all probable.
Facing Bears returner Devin Hester has been likened to pitching to Barry Bonds when he was in his prime: Do you even bother? When the odds and statistics suggest Hester is going to do some damage, do you try to muscle up and prove can be one of the few to stop him? "Oh, I think yeah," Cowboys special teams coach Bruce Read said. That doesn't mean the Cowboys will kick to Hester. It means Read is like anybody else - you want to try to see if you can. "All of this is fun. It's scary stuff and our guys have been fantastic," Read said. "It's been a great challenge. Hester is different because of his numbers and what he's done. He can take a game over on his own. So we have to do all we can to prevent him from scoring points and getting good field position." The last time the NFL saw a returner this explosive was Dante Hall when he was in his prime with the Chiefs; in '04, he returned two punts and two kicks for touchdowns. He also returned one in the postseason for a score. "I was at San Diego when he was with the Chiefs, and we covered him before he was 'Dante Hall' and I was saying this guy is really good," Read said. "They were like, 'We don't know who he is.' At least these guys know who (Hester) is."
From the 20 or so minutes we were allowed to watch practice ... Cornerback Terence Newman was dressed and practicing. Greg Ellis was dressed and doing some drills. Newman should - and stress should - talk to the media today. But it's looking as if he's close to playing. He remains a game-time decision. Coach Wade Phillips said if Newman plays, he may not start but play nickel situations and that it's doubtful he would return punts. As for Ellis ... well, time marches on.
No, sorry but Cowboys assistant coach Wade Wilson doesn't have secret red-colored bat phone to coach Wade Phillips. He could have helped a little this week with scouting; Wilson was the Bears quarterbacks coach last season. But Wilson is currently serving a five-game suspension for violating the league's banned subtance policy. By NFL rule, Wilson can have no contact with the team during this suspension. However, Phillips said before the season Wilson did talk to the team a little bit about the Bears, mostly about schemes. This is what he probably said: Don't kick it to Devin Hester. Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are two of the best linebackers in the league. Rex Grossman can be easily throttled.