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Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie waited the entire offseason and most of August for the right opportunity to sign with an NFL team.Then almost as soon as he did http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/ ... ier-jersey , he was thrown right into the action. Rodgers-Cromartie signed with the Oakland Raiders last Thursday as a late addition providing depth in the secondary and was immediately put on the field for nine snaps the following night in an exhibition game against Green Bay."That was a big surprise to me," Rodgers-Cromartie said Monday. "But it felt good to be out there and run around and get back into the game."Rodgers-Cromartie had been waiting for that chance ever since getting cut by the New York Giants in March. He talked with several teams and visited four but didn't sign a deal until the Raiders called last week.The market wasn't strong for a 32-year-old who lost his starting job last year and was suspended for one game by the Giants for an unexcused absence."You just have to wait," he said. "'It's frustrating because I still feel I have ability to go and be out there. It's frustrating. But you have to understand. Being an older guy, teams are looking to go younger. You just have to wait."Rodgers-Cromartie is doing his best to get up to speed quickly. He said he was only asked to play man coverage in his brief stint against the Packers and is trying to learn the language of coordinator Paul Guenther's defense.Rodgers-Cromartie said he's leaning heavily on former Giants teammate Leon Hall, who has been with the Raiders this entire offseason and also played for Guenther in Cincinnati.Rodgers-Cromartie has been a productive player in his career with 30 interceptions and 144 passes defensed in 153 career games for Arizona, Philadelphia, Denver and the Giants.He can play multiple spots in the secondary, although he said he's more comfortable at cornerback than safety right now because he is still learning the new defense."That's what I love about the acquisition," coach Jon Gruden said of his versatility. "I think he's a corner. I think he's a guy that can play the nickel because he's played the nickel. You can put him in there in a dime position. He can play deep. He's played in every defense known to man and he can still run. He has size and length. Right now he's mastering our defense. We'll try to get a few snaps, hopefully, from him at Seattle and see what happens."While the Raiders brought Rodgers-Cromartie in just before the start of the season Womens Antwaun Woods Jersey , they made several other moves Monday starting with a trade that dealt receiver Ryan Switzer and a 2019 sixth-round draft pick to Pittsburgh for a fifth-round pick next year.Oakland had acquired Switzer during the draft in a deal with Dallas for 2016 second-round pick Jihad Ward. The Raiders had high hopes for Switzer but Dwayne Harris beat him out as the returner and reserve receiver."He's a capable guy coming in there in the slot," Gruden said. "He can go outside. He showed some separation when he did play the other night. Had a good return called back. He's a versatile player. We can hand him the ball. We can do a lot of things with him. He's tough. He was just hurt last year. That was why you didn't hear from him."Oakland also signed free agent cornerback Jarell Carter and defensive tackle Connor Flagel. Tackle Breno Giacomini was released and receiver Griff Whalen was placed on injured reserve with turf toe.One player who still isn't with the team is star pass rusher Khalil Mack, who has been holding out all year as he seeks a long-term contract. Mack skipped the entire offseason program, training camp and now will miss the entire exhibition season.Whether he reports before the start of the season in two weeks remains to be seen."I don't want to put any timetable on it," Gruden said. "This has obviously been a long a process that has been grueling for both parties and fans and me personally. We're just hoping we can get him in here." Dak Prescott and Cam Newton find themselves in similar situations entering Sunday's regular-season opener at Carolina.Both quarterbacks are adjusting to a new group of receivers and playing behind banged-up offensive lines.The Cowboys will be looking to replace wide receiver Dez Bryant , the team's career leader in touchdown catches, and tight end Jason Whitten, who retired after 15 seasons.That's no easy task.The primary options to be slot receiver are Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns and rookie Michael Gallup. But Tavon Austin and Terrance Williams could be factors, too. Geoff Swaim and Blake Jarwin are the top two tight ends."I think each of the guys we have who are going to be up for this game are versatile," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "You can put them in different spots."Dallas also has holes to fill up front with All-Pro center Travis Frederick battling a rare auto-immune disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome and is doubtful for the game. Six-year veteran Joe Looney will get the start alongside rookie left guard Connor Williams. However Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin is set to start after dealing with a hyperextended left knee in the second preseason game.Newton faces similar issues in Carolina.The Panthers upgraded their speed at wide receiver in the offseason by trading for veteran Torrey Smith Womens Jaylon Smith Jersey , signing free agent slot receiver Jairus Wright and using a first-round draft pick on D.J. Moore. All three figure to play a role in the passing game alongside returning No. 1 receiver Devin Funchess."We don't know what we have yet and that is why Sunday is so important for everybody — because we finally find out," Newton said.Carolina's offensive line was going to have a difficult time replacing All-Pro left guard Andrew Norwell — and that was before it got hit hard by the injuries.Second-team All-Pro right tackle Daryl Williams, left tackle Matt Kalil and Norwell replacement Amini Silatolu all went down with knee injuries in the preseason. Kalil went on injured reserve , meaning Taylor Moton will make his first NFL start at left tackle. Williams and Silatolu returned to practice this week, but it's still unclear if they'll be healthy enough to play against Dallas.RARE HOME OPENER: Coach Ron Rivera joked this week that he "has to get used to" the idea of playing a home opener. In Rivera's eight seasons in Carolina, this is only the second time the team has opened the season at home.DAVIS SUSPENSION: The Panthers will be without weakside linebacker Thomas Davis, who's suspended four games for testing positive for PEDs.That's a pretty big blow to the defense given Davis' skills and https://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com ... sch-jersey leadership. But Rivera is high on 2015 first-round draft pick Shaq Thompson, who has had an outstanding preseason filling in. Thompson was drafted as Davis' heir apparent, but the veteran continued playing at a high level, thus limiting Thompson's reps. So this is Thompson's chance to shine.Rivera said Thompson has potential to be "an elite linebacker in the league."ELLIOTT FALLING FOWARD: Ezekiel Elliott doesn't have to worry about a suspension hanging over his head to start this season. The Cowboys' third-year running back may be primed for a big season, which concerns Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly."He's an elite running back Womens Deonte Thompson Jersey ," Kuechly said. "He's big, he's strong and he's powerful. He will run though you, and he always falls forward (for more yards). ... So when we hit him, we have to keep him where he's at and not let him do that."McCAFFREY'S ROLE: It's time to find out if Rivera backs up his statement about wanting to get running back Christian McCaffrey "25-30 touches per game." Rivera has said the team would like to use McCaffrey similar to how the San Diego Chargers used Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson.That seems like a lot of touches, particularly for a player with a slender build such as McCaffrey. But it's hard to blame Carolina for wanting to get the ball into the hands of its playmaker as much as possible.KICKING DEBUT: Brett Maher is set for his NFL regular-season debut as the replacement for Cowboys career field goal leader Dan Bailey. Dallas cut the second-most accurate kicker in league history because of Bailey's struggles after an injury last season and his relatively large salary for his position. The 28-year-old Maher has four years of CFL experience."In this profession, every single thing that you do is kind of pressure-packed," Maher said.AP Sports Writer Schuyler Dixon in Dallas, Texas contributed to this report.
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