NFL Wire News

McFadden opens camp on Cowboys’ PUP list


The Sports Xchange

OXNARD, Calif. — The Dallas Cowboys refuse to talk Super Bowl.

However, they opened camp this week feeling good about their chances of improving on last year’s 12-4 campaign that ended with a loss in the NFC divisional playoffs.

The Cowboys had a strong offseason and believe this is their best team in years.

“Your final grade is your record,” Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said. “It’s impossible to grade the offseason when you’re trying to make your team better. I think we accomplished our goal. It’s like a draft class. At the end of the day, it’s how they perform over the next two or three years.

“We added personnel in the places where we needed to be better. The personnel looks better on paper. We’ll see how it plays out.”

The biggest question mark for the Cowboys is at running back and finding a replacement for the departed DeMarco Murray, who led the league in rushing with 1,845 yards last year.

The Cowboys have confidence that the combination of Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar will be able to get the job done.

However, all are largely unproven, and McFadden did the team no favors by sustaining a hamstring injury before training camp, forcing him to start training camp on the physically unable to perform list.

McFadden is in an all-too-familiar position.

Injuries have plagued him his entire career and were a huge factor in him becoming a bust in Oakland after the Raiders picked him in the first round of the 2008 draft following an All-America career at Arkansas. He averaged just 3.3 yards per carry the past three seasons in Oakland.

“We were aware that he has a history of some soft-tissue injuries,” Jones said. “I don’t think this is a major deal. We’re going to take the right precautions here and see what it is. At the end of the day, you want everybody healthy, and anytime someone’s not ready to go 100 percent, it’s disappointing. But at the same time, I don’t think this is something, him going on the PUP, that is going to be a long-term thing.”

McFadden, 27, signed a two-year, $3 million deal with the Cowboys in March. After playing all 16 games for the Raiders last season — a first in his pro career — he hoped his injuries were in the past.

“I was just working out and running routes, man, and it’s just one of those things that just happened,” McFadden said. “For me, it’s one of those things I hate it happening right now, but if I’m out there grinding, going 110 percent and trying to get better, it’s something that happened and I’m going to deal with it right now and just be ready to get back on the field when it’s time.”

Jones said the team would continue to look for help and won’t hesitate to make a move at the end of training camp or before the start of the season if it still has questions at any position.

However, he doesn’t deny that the Cowboys feel good about the team they have right now and their chances of making a deep playoff run.

“There are always things we are working to improve upon,” Jones said. “I’m sure there is going to be somebody on the 53(-man roster) that is not out here right now if not a couple of somebodys. We will have to see how that goes. But overall, we accomplished our goals. We executed on a plan. I must say we feel good about our football team.”

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