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Cowboys training camp practice #1

Update [2006-7-29 23:31:11 by Grizz]: CORRECTION: In my report below I mentioned that Skyler Green dropped a couple of passes. In fact, it was Ahmad Merritt, not Skyler Green.

Update [2006-7-29 15:35:48 by Grizz]: Marcus Spears may have torn cartilage in his knee in this morning's practice and will have an MRI, if it's confirmed he will have surgery and will miss a few weeks. What a bad break in the first practice of camp. Jason Hatcher and Greg Ellis will have to fill-in.

Saturday, July 29th  (9-11 AM practice)

Just got back from the Cowboys first training camp practice. They have two football fields set-up side-by-side but the fans were allowed on only one side and one endzone. There were quite a few fans in attendance but I finally found a spot in the grandstands on the top row that gave me a pretty good view of the practice.

The players started arriving on the field at about 8:30 AM and Roy Williams was one of the first ones out. They continued to stroll on to the field until right around 9 AM when the last guy to come out was - you guessed it - Terrell Owens. Owens received a big cheer from the crowd and a chant of "T.O." went up from the faithful.

The weather was overcast and actually pretty mild so heat wasn't an issue. Before practice Roy Williams and Keith Davis were laughing it up for 5 minutes or so as the players milled around getting ready for the start.

Practice began with the team breaking up into positions; the defensive line was right in front of me. Chris Canty is a monster and Jason Hatcehr looked solid; a well-built guy who didn't look soft at all. Over on the other field the QB's were running simultaneous drills were they took the snap from center and handed off to a RB. Most of the other positions like LB, OL, DB were doing technique drills.

The team then lined up for an 11-on-11 drill with the starters taking the field first. Both Anthony Fasano and Jason Witten were being flexed into the backfield in the H-back position on different plays. Rob Petitti was working with the first-string at RT and because of the absence of Flozell Adams both Pat McQuistan and Marc Colombo were getting work at the LT.

On defense, the LBers were Singleton, James, Ayodele and Ware. Keith Davis was cleared to practice and ran with the first team at FS. When they switched out to the second team on defense, the secondary was Glenn, Beriault (SS), Pile (FS) and Jacques Reeves. The LBers were Rocky Boiman (SOLB), Fowler (SILB), Shanle (WILB) and Burnett (WOLB). The second string line was Ratliff, Thomas Johnson and Jason Hatcher. Greg Ellis got in on some plays and they had him standing up as a 3-4 SOLB.

The third-string DB's were Nate Jones and Marcus Coleman as CB and Abram Elam and Pat Watkins at safety. At LB on third-string were Carpenter, Oliver Hoyte, JJ Horne and John Saldi. They worked Kai Parham in there also.

During the first 11-on-11 segment they only called running plays and none of them were for big gains. They then broke into position drills again with the linemen and TE's against the DL and LBers in wide splits so everybody was one-on-one in the blocking. On one play in the drill Vontrell Jamison threw Marc Colombo to the ground hard.

The vets then took a break about an hour into the practice while the others did a few drills. During that time Terence Newman was actually out there with the rookies and young players helping out on some drills. He was then seen giving Quincy Butler some one-on-one tutoring in technique.

They came back together in 11-on-11 drills and started to call pass plays. Terence Newman made a great play defelcting the ball away on a long pass to Terry Glenn. Witten beat Roy on a TE drag pattern which they ran quite a few times. Look for both Witten and Fasano to run the drag and out patterns underneath this year. Jamaica Ractor made a nice play beating Aaron Glenn and Sam Hurd made a nice catch on an under-thrown ball by Henson. Jeff Mroz showed a good arm in practice, hitting a short out then laying one out deep for Skyler Green, but it was just a tad over-thrown.

The team then went to 7-on7 drills. Terry Glenn actually dropped a pass on a fade-stop route. Terrance Copper was lining up as the #4 WR behind Crayton but ahead of Green. Witten beat Ayodele on the drag route. Newman was covering Terrell Owens on the next play which was supposed to be a quick slant. But Newman fought Owens on the line, causing Owens to get off slowly, and the pass was incomplete. Owens then beat J. Reeves on a 10-yard hook. Crayton had Reeves beat on a long pass, but Tony Romo under-threw the ball and Reeves broke it up. Skyler Green showed good fight for the ball on a long pass but then dropped the ball. He dropped another pass so it looks like he needs some work on catching the ball. Both Henson and Mroz then completed some nice passes.

Later they went back to 11-on-11. Glenn made a nice catch on the side-lines after pushing off Terence Newman in a physical play. The second-string o-line during this 11-on-11 drill was Fabini, Peterman, Gurode, Procter and McQuistan/Colombo. Brett Pierce dropped a pass that was right in his hands.

Then came the play of the practice. Terrell Owens lined up against Aaron Glenn, beat him long and caught the bomb and ran it in for the TD. The crowd chanted "T.O." and cheered, and on his way back to the huddle Owens waved his arms up and down to get the crowd pumped up.

The team finished by running some goal-line plays and then Suisham and Vanderjagt kicked a few that were caught by the kickoff return guys. The first two guys to catch the kickoffs were Tyson Thompson and Terrance Copper. Skyler Green was on the second pair of guys to return the kicks.

That was it, practice was over. I'll upload some pictures I took either later today or tonight. I'll be heading back out for the 5-7 PM practice and will have another report tonight.

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