Monday, July 31st (9-11 AM practice)
It was an overcast day that kept the temperature down and led to a spirited practice. The offensive line saw a shake-up as André Gurode replaced Al Johnson as the starting center on the first team. Jason Fabini was moved to 3rd team RT and Marc Colombo was elevated to 2nd string RT for the duration of the practice. Pat Watkins saw some time on the 2nd team at safety in the second half of practice, but that was because Justin Beriault was nowhere to be seen. I don't know anything for sure but he may have been injured as I couldn't find him anywhere on the field. Marcus Coleman worked some safety with the 3rd string.
Greg Ellis continues to work with the LBers and was seeing time replacing Al Singleton on some plays with the 1st team. With Colombo playing RT, Pat McQuistan was playing LT with the 2nd team. We also have a new kicker out there today, #3, I guess he was the guy we worked out after practice on Sunday.
After the team did the normal skeleton formations and stretching, they moved into position drills. Pat Watkins was getting some lengthy instruction from the secondary coach on lining up properly on the shoulder of the TE, but deep in the secondary, and some technique advice. During the LB/DB drills Greg Ellis was receiving some personal tutelage from Mike Zimmer.
They ran the RT/TE vs. DE/OLB, then RG, C, LG vs. NT and ILBers, then LT/TE vs. DE/OLB blocking drill. Petitti manage to get a good drive on Coleman, then Ferguson was stout in the middle during his turn. Canty stood up Flozell and held his position. Fasano managed a draw with Ratliff and Pepper Johnson stood up Al Johnson. Burnett did a great job beating Pat McQuistan which drew raves from Parcells. Fabini again looked poor in his drill; I think Parcells is sending him a message by demoting him to 3rd string. Peterman and Procter absolutely destroyed Montavious Stanley on a double-team, then Jay Saldi got beat and Parcells instructed him not to re-cock his arms once he established contact with the blocker. Once again, Petitti drove Coleman back and is looking good so far, Carpentner got pushed around a little on his turn. Gurode manage to get a nice block, then Ratliff crushed McQuistan. Peterman got a good block on his turn and McQuistan came back with a nice block on Hatcher. Bowen got the better of Fabini at the end of the drill.
They moved to the opposite field to run the 11-on-11 drill which consisted of all runs. I couldn't see too much so I won't speculate on what happened. They then ran some FG formation.
After the water break they ran some more 11-on11 drills, where Bledsoe tried to throw long to Owens, but the pass was under-thrown and Henry leaped to break it up. A few plays later Terrance Copper got into a shoving match with Newman and Henry jumped in at the end to push Copper. It wasn't as good as the Colombo/Burnett fight but they seemed to be getting chippy out there after a few days. Romo had a receiver open but didn't get much on the ball and Watkins jumped in to pick off the pass. MB3 ran off-tackle and then Romo connected with Jamaica Rector on a nice play.
They went to the nickel defense and brought Glenn in at corner, Ellis came in and so did Ratliff. I couldn't see the exact line-up though; once again a line of players blocked my view. During that nickel set they had another mini-scrap but I couldn't see who was involved. During much of this drill they were working the corners of the line with sweeps, off-tackle plays and QB roll-outs.
They broke off into 7-on-7 drills but I concentrated on the OL/DL match-ups. Gurode did a nice job on Ferguson, and Ratliff got the better of Rivera. Coleman got his revenge on Petitti by blowing him up, then Colombo handled Bowen easily. Rivera looked OK against Coleman, and Al Johnson was OK with Pepper Johnson. McQuistan absolutely buried Hatcher on his turn. Then Roland handled Hatcher, leading to a come-down from the good work Hatcher showed the day before. Ratliff got a good push on Peterman and Coleman beat Fabini to the inside. Hatcher tried a speed rush around Flozell and Flozell ended up ripping his helmet off, accidentally of course. Jamison then got an OK push on Flozell. Kosier fought Canty to a draw and Gurode fought Sammy T. to a draw. Rivera ended the drill by handling Bowen.
I would say that Gurode looked strong today and is threatening to beat out Al Johnson. Parcells moved him into the starting line-up today and he responded. Also, Jay Ratliff was very active today, strengthening his bid to make the final roster.
The team then worked on driving the ball off the goal line. The ball was place at the offense's 1-yard line. On the first play they had Fasano lined up at FB and handed him the ball on a dive up the middle. They also used Polite as FB, then ran a play-action pass where Henson hit Crayton on a nice long pass.
They went back to 11-on-11 and ran a flare pass to Fasano but Roy was right there to eat him up. Coleman and Ayodele stopped a JJ run, then Bledsoe hit T. Glenn on a pass over the middle. Bledsoe finished his rotation with a draw to JJ. Romo took over but his first play was ruined when Ratliff busted through for a sure sack. Aaron Glenn then broke up a bomb intended for Rector, Ryan Hannam made a good catch on a bad throw by Romo, then Shanle stopped an inside run by MB3. Romo then hit Crayton on a nice pass in front of Watkins. Henson managed a nice throw to Glenn on an out then tried a dump to Polite who was covered up by Carpenter. Mroz tried a quick slant but Carpenter was in position and then ran a flare pass that Ellis made the tackle on.
At then end of practice they ran short-yardage, 3-TE sets. JJ ran an off-tackle, then they ran a long pass to Owens from the set who beat Newman for the catch. They managed to get Polite in as the tailback on the last downs.
I'll be back at the afternoon practice which I'm sure will be a shoulder pads and shorts practice. I'll also be posting some pictures later this afternoon. Oh yeah, for a little comic relief, I spotted Suisham sneaking off to the porta-potty on the corner of the field during the middle of practice. Also, Jerry Jones' grandson was signing autographs. Nice work if you can get it.