Tucker & Bates Cut Sunday Evening

Cornerback B.J. Tucker and guard Justin Bates highlighted a list of seven cuts made by the Cowboys on Sunday. Both Tucker and Bates were taken in the 2003 NFL Draft.

The players waived were safety Jonathan Martin, receiver Gary Lusk, fullback Jason McKie, punter Filip Filopovic and linebacker Lewis Mackey, putting the Cowboys roster at 74.

Making the moves with Tucker and Bates intriguing is that both were 2003 draft picks. Parcells, however, said he doesn't care how they were acquired. Production is all he's concerned with.

"There were two guys I felt I wasn't going to play them anymore," Parcells said. "There are other guys I do want to play."

Offsetting the losses of Tucker and Bates is promise being shown by rookie free-agent cornerback Jeff Sanchez and Don McGee and rookie free agent guard/tackle Torrin Tucker.

--While pleased with running back Troy Hambrick's performance against the Texans, Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said he still needs to see more from the third-year pro before declaring him the unquestioned starter.

As a result Hambrick, who carried eight times for 38 yards and a touchdown against Houston, will get even more of a workload against the Steelers Thursday.

However, he will likely share the spotlight in Pittsburgh with veteran Adrian Murrell. The eight year veteran, who signed with the Cowboys last week after being out of football for two years, must get ready in a hurry, Parcells said.

"We got to put some 3-In-One oil on him," Parcells said. "With that in mind, we ran him before the game Friday night. He had a full-scale workout on Saturday. We are trying to speed him up. If he is going to compete, he is going to have to play (against the Steelers.)

The injury to running back Reshard Lee is not as bad as originally thought. He will have arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday, keeping him between two and four weeks. Michael Wiley also returned to practice Sunday after missing last week with a shoulder injury.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Quincy Carter vs. Chad Hutchinson at QB. If Carter didn't play against the Texans, he would be out of the quarterback discussion. But Carter rose to the occasion with a strong performance, completing 10 of 17 passes for 141 yards and a touchdown. Most importantly, he led the Cowboys to 17 points and didn't commit turnover. Hutchinson will have to have an equally strong performance against the Steelers this Thursday to retain his starting job.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Gennaro DiNapoli vs. Matt Lehr at Center. Lehr has played well so far in place of the injured Al Johnson. However, DiNapoli, who started last season for the Titans, will get a closer look against the Steelers this week.

Billy Cundiff vs. Ola Kimrin at PK. The competition finally got under way in the second quarter against the Texans last Friday after the Cowboy went the first five quarters of preseason play without a field goal attempt. Cundiff was good from 45 yards out. Kimrin missed a 41-yarder but made a 39-yarder.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: WR Zuriel Smith. Credit Cowboys coach Bill Parcells for the uncovering of receiver/kick returner Zuriel Smith at tiny Hampton University. Smith rewarded Parcells with an 83-yard punt return touchdown against the Texans. Considering Smith's college career -- he once returned three kicks for touchdowns in one game -- his return against the Texans was no accident and neither was the find by Parcells.

"I have a habit of doing something every year when I coach, looking through the Division II and Division III return leaders stats," Parcells said.

"One day last spring, I started looking through them. This guy's stats were very, very good on both punts and kickoffs so I decided to investigate. We got a tape on him. Then I called him up. I found out as much as I could find out about the guy. The reports kept getting better and better. Most people felt he was too slender, too small. He is a uniquely built guy. He looks like a junior high basketball player. But he put on 10 or 12 pounds in our weight program and is doing a little better."

ROOKIE REPORT: CB B.J. Tucker was cut after being hobbled most of camp with strained hamstring ... CB Jeff Sanchez has impressed since being signed two weeks ago and was part of the reason Tucker was cut ... Guard/tackle Torrin Tucker received praise for his play in the Texans preseason game. He is the vying for a job as the team's fourth tackle ... QB Tony Romo didn't make the most of his chance to play against the Texans. Although he completed four of six passes, including a 60 yard touchdown pass to Randal Williams, Romo had an awful fumble after misreading the play and then threw a near interception when he should have ate the ball.

INJURY REPORT: CB Pete Hunter: out month with a fractured forearm.

C Al Johnson: lost for the season after undergoing microfracture surgery on his right knee.

RB Michael Wiley: Back at practice after missing Cardinals and Texans games with a sore shoulder.

WR Reggie Swinton: missed the Cardinals game with a strained hamstring.

RB Reshard Lee: Will have arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday on sprained left knee. Will be out two to four weeks.

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