Monday, July 31st (5-7 PM practice)
The second practice of the day was a "shorts and shoulder pads affair" that really seemed like two different practices. The first half was dominated by formations, punts and technique work. The second half was a lively affair with Coach Parcells getting vocal.
The Cowboys started practice working on the punt formation. The first team gunners appear to be Copper and Reeves. Backing them up were Coleman and Nate Jones, followed by Rector and Tolver. I was surprised not to see Watkins as a gunner because of the work he did at FSU. He was on the end of the line on one of the back-up punt teams. Keith Davis was working as the punt protector backed up by Crayton. Both Lousaka Polite and Marion Barber got a tongue lashing for not staying in their lanes during punt coverage.
After that they ran some half-speed drills with the dime defense. They lined up like this: Ellis, Ratliff and Ware across the front, Shanle and James at LBer, Roy running as a hybrid LB/DB, with Glenn, Newman, and Henry at CB and Coleman and Davis at safety.
Andre Gurode was still working with the first team and Justin Beriault was not at practice. Watkins moved into the FS spot on the 2nd team and Willie Pile moved over to SS. On the third string Coleman was working at safety and Lenny Williams took over at CB.
During the half-speed 11-on-11 drill Jamaica Rector got chewed out for lining up wrong, being told that he "was holding up practice".
They moved onto position drills for longer than usual, I guess this is standard practice for the second practice on a two-a-day. There was a lot of work on technique; I did see Coleman and Ratliff tear it up while zig-zagging through the stand-up dummies and popping them with either arm. I also watched the LBers for a while and Paul Pasqualoni is loud and manic. He was all over Junior Glymph for lining up wrong telling him to "look at the frickin' chart" that they show them before the drill. Immediately after that Bradie James stopped the drill because he had screwed up the call, saying "my bad".
On the other side of the field the WR's and the QB's were working on the hurry-up drill, with the receivers running their patterns, the QB making the pass then everyone hurrying up to get lined-up again. Meanwhile, Jim Burt was drilling the NT's in the art of getting their hands up into the chest of the lineman. They ran it over and over.
Then things got a little exciting. They had one-on-one's between the WR's and the CB's. Terrell Owens cooked Lenny Williams for a catch, getting physical with him on the jam and then blowing by him. Crayton beat Glenn, then Rector made a great side-line grab. Skyler Green let one get through his hands, then Henry busted up a long bomb to Owens. Crayton beat Newman and then Copper made a nice grab. Glenn had blanket coverage on Rector forcing an incomplete and Skyler couldn't get his hands on a bad pass on an out pattern.
Then it was the match-up that everyone wanted to see. T.O. vs. T-New. It was a good one. They were physical from the start and Newman was going toe-to-toe with T.O. About 10-12 yards deep T.O. pushed off on Newman ala Michael Irvin and turned around to make the catch. Newman was kind of mad afterwards.
Crayton then made a catch against Lenny Williams on an out pattern, just getting his feet in-bounds. Skyler caught a slant on Nate Jones and then Rector made a killer diving catch on a Henson bomb, beating Lenny Williams.
After that they did some 11-on-11 drills with the defense using the nickel. On the nickel they lined up like this: Ellis, Ratliff, Canty, Ware; at LB were James and Shanle, and the secondary was Glenn, Newman and Henry with Davis and Williams. They mixed this up with some regular defenses that the offense tried to run against. The offense was having success causing Parcells to exclaim "that's exactly what I want" on a couple of JJ and MB3 runs.
They went to real punts, and McBriar was booming them. The other kid, Fredrickson was off and on with his punts. Newman, Green and Rector were fielding them.
They broke up into 7-on-7 drills and OL/DL blocking drills. I decided to watch the 7-on7 and the receivers were getting the best of it but they were mostly short passes. Terry Glenn caught a slant, then Bradie knocked down a pass to Witten. Fasano beat Singleton on an underneath route and Crayton caught one underneath. Fasano caught a pass in the flats but Willie Pile was right there. Tolver showed nice hands on an under-thrown Henson pass and then Crayton caught a side-line pass tapping his feet just in bounds, causing Parcells to yell out "he's hot!" Caryton then caught the next pass on a long bomb and Parcells yelled out even louder "you're on fire!" To which Crayton yelled back across the field "I know it, Coach." Indeed, Crayton had a spectacular practice catching everything in sight and showing great body control on the side-line passes.
They moved on to some 3-TE sets with the object being the defense stops the run then quickly calls time-out. Parcells would call in different down-and-distances and they did this for a couple of series.
They continued with 11-on-11 using the yard markers for situational calls. At one point the guy didn't flip it to second down and Parcells yelled over to him "Hey, it's second down. Can you count that high?" He was sort of joking and the guy with the down marker seemed unfazed.
During this drill Witten cooked Ellis on an out pattern, something we have to worry about if Ellis is forced into coverage from his LBer position. The defense left the middle wide-open on the next play and Bledsoe took off running like he was Mike Vick, well, he was dreaming he was Mike Vick. MB3 made some nifty moves behind the line to avoid the defense on a run. Glenn was covering Owens on the next play and was bumping him and it looked like he half-way tripped him causing Owens to laugh out loud and continue cracking up all the way back to the huddle. Rector showed good hands by catching a ball in traffic, then everybody's favorite Pat Watkins jumped a pass to Copper and picked it off. That was his second of the day as he got one in the earlier practice.
They ran some more plays, including a long pass to Witten from Bledsoe, then another fight broke out. Junior Glymph took a swing at Sean Ryan and the two started to go at it before it was broken up. Parcells had seen enough of the fighting and sent the whole team running to the fence and back. Along the way you could hear guys yelling "who started it" as they were not happy to be running.
Parcells concluded the practice by having Bledsoe, Romo and Henson each run a series of the hurry-up offense, trying to drive the ball 60-yards or so for a touchdown.
There you have it, I may post some pictures later and you know I'll be back at it tomorrow.