*Defensive end Lorenzo Washington's chances of making the 53-player roster aren't good. It's hard to make the club in the tub, as Jimmy Johnson used to say. When you're a rookie free agent, you have to be on the field. Washington hasn't been. He's been rehabbing a hamstring injury. He tried to come back yesterday and had a set back.
*Tony Romo better not get hurt. Jon Kitna has taken a lot of snaps in the NFL. But he turns 38 in September, and he didn't take a snap last year. Stephen McGee is a long way from being ready, if he's ever going to be ready.
*Safety Barry Church, a rookie free agent from Toledo, and cornerback Bryan McCann, a rookie free agent from SMU, have chances to be this year's Ogletree. Kevin Ogletree was an undrafted free agent last year who surprised everyone. Secondary coach Dave Campo has liked what he's seen so far from Church and McCann. Now, can they do the same thing in the preseason games? It's different in games, much faster.
*Andre Gurode better not get hurt. The Cowboys really don't have a good answer behind him. Left guard Kyle Kosier took a few snaps there yesterday. He has never played there. It would not be a good idea, long term, for Kosier to play there. They might get through a game with him there. Travis Bright, who also has never played center, has moved from guard to center and is the second-team center right now.
*Anthony Spencer could have a HUGE year. He was unstoppable today in practice, with back-to-back sacks of Romo in 11-on-11 play.
*I am rooting for Stephen Hodge to come back, but the odds are against him. The Cowboys drafted him last year, because they saw the next Bill Bates. He has yet to play and has barely practiced. The TCU-ex had mircrofracture surgery on his left knee almost a year ago and missed all of last season. He could start the year on PUP (physically unable to perform). That would entail missing the first six games.
*Brandon Williams has come back strong from his knee injury. It looks like DeMarcus Ware might get a breather or two, especially in the first half of games this year. Brandon is getting after the QB.
*David Buehler might be OK. I had doubts after watching him try to kick FGs last year, but he is a different kicker this year. He'll be on a short leash, and he knows it. But he's fine with that. He has gone 7-for-8 this week.
*Mat McBriar has changed a couple of things in his role as a holder. He got blamed last season for some of Nick Folk's problems, and probably, special teams coach Joe DeCamillis admits, blamed too much. Folk had bigger problems than McBriar. Buehler seems comfortable with McBriar. Tony Romo still likely will be the backup holder, but Jon Kitna, who has never held, and Patrick Crayton also will practice there some just in case.
*I think Dez Bryant will be a better punt returner than kick returner, but the Cowboys will give him opportunities at both. They need a breakaway threat in the kickoff return department, but I'm betting Kevin Ogletree ends up returning more kicks than anyone. Ogletree wasn't a threat to go all the way last year. Felix Jones likely still is their best returner, but they'll take some of his returns away to give him more opportunities out of the backfield.
-- Charean Williams