Jason Garrett took mercy on the team and only practiced for 2 1/2 hours today. Montrae Holland didn't practice after he experienced back problems in the morning walk-thru, David Arkin replaced him with the 1's. Abram Elam showed up for practice and is wearing #24, he played safety with Sensabaugh on the first-unit. It was a little bit of a sloppy practice, Tony Romo wasn't particular sharp, there were some drops from the WRs and some miscommunication on routes.
Practice kicked off with drills for special teams, blocking drills on punt gunners and some work on the 2-man wedge on kick returns. AOA and Bryan McCann still look like the primaries for kick returns with Dwayne Harris and Raymond Radway getting a little work back there, too. Chris Gronkowski continues to flatten people with his blocks in the 2-man wedge. Gronk and John Phillips worked together on one wedge, with Shaun Chapas and Jason Pociask on the other.
The team broke into an extended session of positional drills. The defense was working on keeping a fumble in-bounds so a teammate could recover it, and they were also working on ripping the ball loose from behind the ball carrier or QB. Other drills included the D-line and O-line hitting the sleds, the LBs working on getting into their coverage drops and making interceptions, and the secondary working on breaking forward on the pass for an interception. The WRs worked on using proper hand-technique to beat press coverage, the LB's worked on coming in from the edge on a blitz, beating the block and stripping the QB. The WRs ran some short patterns using the proper hand-techniques with Garrett throwing the passes. Garrett was once again lining up about 15 yards deep when the WRs ran some of the passing tree and was making sure they made good cuts, and admonished them for rounding them off.
There was another session of the defense working on different formations, while the offense went through route combination drills. On defense Ryan was using his "prevent" defense which has Ratliff, Spencer and Ware as the three down linemen, Bradie James as the MLB with seven defensive backs (a mix of safeties and corners) playing deep. They ran a brief session of 11-on-11 so that Ryan could practice the prevent formation, on the last play the offense tried a hook-and-ladder, lateral-bonanza, end-of-game play for fun, with Romo even getting downfield to get a lateral.
A session of WRs vs. DBs was next (with a little TE/LB thrown in). Orlando Scandrick knocked down a pass intended for Kevin Ogletree, Alan Ball got called for pass interference against Miles Austin, then Jason Witten beat Alex Albright over the middle. Dez Bryant caught one on McCann, Dwayne Harris beat Josh Thomas, then Witten battled Abram Elam, Elam had good coverage forcing a tough pass that Witten couldn't hold on to. Lyle Leong absolutely cooked Mario Butler, then James Cleveland caught a short one on Alex Ibiloye. Ogletree made a nice catch in the endzone on Scandrick, Austin and Ball had a good battle with Austin ultimately making the catch, and Jesse Holley made a nice catch on a high pass over Sensabaugh. Manny Johnson got a catch on Ross Weaver and Dez caught one against Cris Randle. On the last play Austin broke the ankles of Josh Thomas for an easy catch.
The team gathered for a series of 11-on-11. Romo had Bennett wide open on the backside but the pass was off-target. Spears ran over Arkin for what likely would have been a sack but the play went on and Holley made a catch. On the next play Bradie James was lined up over the center and he and Ratliff blew through to disrupt a screen play. Ratliff beat Costa to stuff a run. Dez and Austin tried a reverse but they muffed the handoff for a fumble. Holley dropped a short pass. Kitna came on but had no chance as Josh Brent went through untouched into the backfield on a blown blocking assignment. Kitna then threw too high for James Cleveland, hit Phillips on a short pass, then Orie Lemon shot the gap to kill a pass play. McGee came on and Tysson Poots dropped a WR screen, then Victor Butler beat Sam Young to kill a play.
Next was more work on special teams with drills for punt blocks, and FG blocks. Then a session of 7-on-7 that mainly featured short passes. Barry Church did have a nice pass breakup on a pass intended for Phillips, Radway couldn't hold on to a bomb with coverage from Josh Thomas.
More 11-on-11. Tyron Smith totally missed on a blitz by Scandrick that was a sack. Romo was pointing the problem out to Smith after the play. Scandrick then dropped an INT that was thrown right at him by Romo. Dez caught a crossing pattern, Ball had good coverage on a deep pass to Ogletree, then Romo hit Austin on a hot read after sensing a blitz coming from Scandrick and Lee. The last play of Romo's session resulted in a defensive holding call.
Kitna was next and the play was killed when Chris Randle shot through on corner blitz. The tackles were having problems with the corner blitzes. Radway dropped another pass, then a pass went off Dwayne Harris' fingertips. Manny Johnson joined in by dropping a deep pass. McGee came in and faced a jailbreak blitz and threw the ball away, then on the next play he scrambled out of the pocket when the secondary had good coverage.
Another session of 11-on-11 but this was no-huddle with down and distance situations thrown in. (1st-10) Romo hit Dez for 6 yards. (2nd-4) Bradie and Spears ate up a Felix draw. (3rd-5) Dez beat Ball along the sidelines. (1st-10) A WR screen to Dez but Ware stopped it short. (2nd-8) A draw to Lonyae Miller but Spencer snuffed it. (3rd-9) A short pass to Austin. Kitna and McGee both had a series, during it Radway caught a couple and Lyle Leong made a juggling catch over the middle.