This morning's practice was a full-pads practice. Stephen Hodge was still working on the side because of injury, and a big white guy was also over there but he didn't have a jersey on so I couldn't tell who it was. (UPDATE: Todd Archer sent me an email telling me the "big white guy" was Tim Anderson. Thanks Todd!)
The Cowboys seem to be placing an emphasis on special teams as they opened practice again by working on that area. First, they broke into groups; the gunners were working on techniques to get past the blockers, another group worked on punt return blocking from the middle and the third worked on blocking the gunners. It looked like they were emphasizing proper technique and balance. They moved to some actual punting with Mat McBriar, he had some good punts that were high but not very long along with a few that were not up to his standards. He looked to be kicking free and easy; his injury appears to be fully recovered. Catching punts were Terence Newman, Patrick Crayton and newcomer Willie Reid. Covering punts as gunners were Courtney Brown, DeAngelo Smith, Pat Watkins and Alan Ball.
After that session they broke into positional warm-ups then came together for team stretching. They broke off to work on FG's after that with both Nick Folk and David Buehler taking turns. They really didn't go for distance, but the sound of the ball coming off Buehler's foot was striking, the boom was just a little louder than Folk's.
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They broke off into positional drills with the offense going through some running plays and the defense practicing technique drills in their groups. During these drills on offense, the second team o-line was Pat McQuistan, Ryan Gibbons, Cory Procter, Montrae Holland and Doug Free. The defensive backs were working on close-coverage man-to-man techniques with the "offensive" player doing start-stop patterns and the DB was supposed to stay with him as he slowed down and sped up again. The WRs were working on different short pattern drills including catching with another guy's hand in the face.
Next came a round of 9-on-9 - no WRs or CBs. Tony Romo opened with a middle run to MB3 through a nice hole but Gerald Sensabaugh caused him to fumble. Felix Jones went left and followed a nice pull block by Leonard Davis. Tashard Choice ran a draw play through a huge hole in the middle. Jon Kitna gave Choice the ball but Stephen Bowen stuffed the play. Felix had a nice run up the middle and then Alonzo Coleman had a nice run on a delay. Stephen McGee took over and gave it to Coleman for a short run, then Keon Lattimore was stuffed by Victor Butler, and Justin Rogers stuffed a delay. Romo came back and gave it to MB3 who followed Bigg, Marc Colombo and Jason Witten for a nice gain, then MB3 had a good run after cutting off a block of Kyle Kosier, but on the next run Igor Olshansky shut it down. Kitna followed but the first run was doomed by Bowen and Bobby Carpenter, then Kitna dropped the snap on the next play. Felix had an OK run in traffic and was eventually stopped by Jerome Carter and they finished on a nice run by Choice behind the blocks of Doug Free and Montrae Holland.
The whole team reconvened for a session of 11-on-11. Romo handed off to MB3 who had a nice run up the middle, next was a counter roll-out with a short pass to Witten in the flats but Sensabaugh was not fooled and made the stop. Marcus Spears got good pressure on Romo who dumped it to MB3 but Keith Brooking was there for the tackle. They tried a pitch to Felix but Brandon Williams had good contain and Steve Octavien made the tackle. Romo hit Witten on an out after feeling the pressure, then he connected on a long pass to Miles Austin who found a hole in the zone coverage.
Kitna came on and gave it to Choice who made a nifty run through traffic, then he tried a pass but felt the pressure from Marcus Dixon and Michael Hawkins broke up the pass. They tried a run play but Holland, on a pull, collided with Kitna in the backfield from bad timing. Another little reverse roll-out pass connected with John Phillips, and Kitna finished by hitting Kevin Ogletree on a hitch with Orlando Scandrick making the tackle. McGee dumped a pass to Lattimore and then handed it to Lattimore who made a short gain in traffic.
Romo was back in, but Witten had a false start and was replaced by Bennett. MB3 had a nice run after Flozell Adams popped Brandon Williams on the edge, followed by Mike Jenkins making a nice break-up on a pass intended for Roy Williams, Ocatvien had gotten good pressure on Romo. Felix tried a run but Bowen was there to stop him, then they tried another counter roll-out but Dixon stayed at home and blew up the play. Kitna came on and pitched to Choice who had a nice run, on the next play Justin Rogers and Victor Butler met at the QB but they threw the pass anyway, but Hawkins had good coverage. DeMarcus Ware busted up a run in the backfield that was meant for Choice. Rudy Carpenter tried a handoff but Jay Ratliff busted through and caused a fumble on the exchange. Carpenter then tried to hit Mike Jefferson on an out but he ended up out-of-bounds.
After a short break, they came back for another session of 11-on-11. Romo threw a shot pass to Bennett but Sensabaugh closed it out quickly with a tackle. MB3 had a short run before Bradie James stopped him. Bennett had a nice 15-yard catch over the middle, Sam Hurd made a nice catch with Jenkins draped all over him, then Felix ran a pitch play following blocks of Bigg and Colombo. They tried Felix again in the middle but there was no room. Kitna started with an incompletion intended for Isaiah Stanback. He then dropped a shotgun snap halting the play, then John Phillips and Kitna almost collided after Phillips was in motion throwing off the timing of a pass play. Kitna finished with an OK draw to Lattimore. McGee hit Ogletree with a perfect pass but Ogletree dropped it. McQuistan had a false start and he was immediately replaced. (The Cowboys aren't tolerating the false starts in this camp). Under pressure, McGee had to dump a pass to Lattimore.
Romo was back in and ran a successful screen to MB3 who followed a block from Kosier. They tried a dump off to MB3 next but Jason Williams broke it up. Roy made a short catch in front of Scandrick, they tried a draw from the shotgun but Matt Stewart stuffed it. Romo hit Felix short over the middle but Victor Butler popped the ball out from behind for a fumble. Romo finished with a pass in the flats to Lattimore. Kitna hit Bennett on a pass, then tried an off-tackle with Choice but Ware and Ratliff both penetrated into the backfield. Ware followed that up by sacking Kitna. Kitna finished by overthrowing Willie Reid on a deep crossing pattern. Rudy Carpenter then tossed a sweep to Lattimore who made a beautiful cut towards the middle for good yards, then they tried a dump pass but Jason Williams was all over it.
That was it, another practice this afternoon.