Selvie, Mathieu to start as Cowboys visit Cards

In his preseason debut, George Selvie played as if he was an

answer for the injury problems the Dallas Cowboys have had at

defensive end.

In his second game, the fourth-year player looked more like

someone who was out of a job when training camp started.

Selvie gets another preseason start Saturday at Arizona in what

he figures might be his last good chance to make it in the NFL.

Tyrann Mathieu has been a camp sensation in his first shot with

the Cardinals. The former LSU star will start at safety in place of

the injured Rashad Johnson. The rookie sat out last season after

the Tigers kicked him off the team over failed drug tests.

Mathieu had a 12-yard sack, a tackle for loss, a pass defended,

two special teams tackles and a 24-yard punt return in his NFL

debut last week, a 17-0 preseason victory at Green Bay.

Selvie wasn’t quite that dominant a week earlier in the Hall of

Fame game, a 24-20 Dallas victory against Miami.

But he had two sacks, made a great read on a bootleg to disrupt

a play and forced Matt Moore to throw early when DeVonte Holloman

returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown.

”He looks like he has played in this league before,” Cowboys

coach Jason Garrett said. ”He had a really good performance. But

he’s got to come back again and keep doing what he was doing.”

That was a little more difficult when Selvie ended up running

with the first team and faced starters five days later at Oakland.

He didn’t record a tackle – although he didn’t get as many plays

because of his move up the depth chart.

The Cowboys signed Selvie three days into camp after backup

Tyrone Crawford tore an Achilles tendon in the first full practice

and Anthony Spencer, the starter at left end in the new four-man

front, was forced to miss the rest of camp for arthroscopic surgery

on his left knee.

Selvie was working behind Brandon Bass, an undrafted player in

his second year, until his play against the Dolphins.

”You’ve got to produce,” Selvie said. ”If you don’t produce,

I might be sitting at home again and know that I might not get

another call.”

Selvie was a seventh-round pick by St. Louis in 2010 out of

South Florida, where he had nearly 70 tackles for loss and 29 sacks

in four seasons. He played in all 16 games as a rookie for the

Rams, but was among the final cuts a year later.

Since then, he’s appeared in 20 games while bouncing from

Carolina to Jacksonville and then Tampa Bay, which cut him before

he could get on the field.

”The last few years have been a roller coaster ride,” the

26-year-old Selvie said. ”I think you grow and you learn. I think

I’m a better player. I didn’t want to be just a camp body. I’m not

a camp body player, so I’ve got to go out there and show them what

I’ve got.”

Mathieu, a Heisman Trophy finalist in his second season with LSU

in 2011, was a first-round talent who dropped to the third

round.

The 21-year-old was mostly a cornerback and special teams star

with the Tigers, but safety has been the 5-foot-9, 186-pound

Mathieu’s predominant spot in camp with the Cardinals.

”You just go out and make plays,” Mathieu said. ”I don’t

think there’s any science to it. Physical characteristics will play

its part in certain situations but for the most part, it’s all

about making plays and being in the right spot at the right

time.”

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Follow Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at

https://twitter.com/apschuyler