Wednesday, Aug. 2nd (9-11 AM practice)
Coach Parcells continues to shake-up the offensive line, today he had Marc Colombo as the starter at RT, followed by Fabini, then Petitti. I'm pretty sure he's just doing this to keep any of them from getting comfortable and make them all work like it's a battle for the starting spot, which it is. But Colombo was great in practice yesterday, so this may have been his reward. Andre Gurode continues to work as the starting center. One odd note, Mike Vanderjagt wasn't at practice this morning, or at least I couldn't find him, and when they did FG drills it was only Suisham and Fredrickson.
During the early drills when they were working on formations they used the 4-3 defense a lot, and they continued to mix it in throughout the day. They lined up with Ratliff, Coleman, Ferguson and Canty across the front. Ratliff continued to play ahead of Coleman in the base 3-4.
During the sprints Coach Parcells was very vocal yelling "let's go, let's go", trying to get inject some life into the practice. During the stretches he was talking to the guys and even went over to Rivera and gave him a playful slap on the top of the head.
During the positions drills Bobby Carpenter was working on the 2nd unit, again at WILB next to Ryan Fowler. The 3rd string ILBers were Scott Shanle and Oliver Hoyte. I was watching some of the OL drills and Kyle Kosier looks very quick when he has to pull, showing why they made the move to dump Larry Allen and replace him with Kosier. The test for Kosier is bull-rushes up the middle.
Greg Ellis spent a lot of the time working with the 1st string at SOLB with Al Singleton backing him up.
During the 11-on-11 drills Bledsoe opened up with a nice pass to Terrell Owens, JJ got a nice run to the right side and then a play after that Bledsoe hit Owens on a deep pass. Maybe Bledsoe and Owens are making an effort to get some chemistry going. Romo again didn't look as sharp as he had in the earlier practices, making a poor throw to Terry Glenn. Henson had a nice throw on a roll-out to MB3, who ran a good route. After the play Parcells yelled out "good play, Marion". They tried a sweep to the right but Junior Glymph stopped it, who is making a little noise for himself at camp.
They moved on to goal line drills, where Kevin Burnett came in to play in the middle on the 1st unit. The first play was a play-action pass that ended up being a TD on a catch by Fasano. Fasano made a nice catch as Roy was right on him and almost deflected the ball. MB3 ran the next one up the middle for a TD, then they ran a sweep with MB3 and Marco Rivera got out in front of the play. They tried a play to the right side with MB3 that didn't get in, there was a huge pile-up of players, and Parcells could be heard screaming "what the hell is going on here?" Romo came in and ran a play-action pass but overthrew the receiver, on the next play Lousaka Polite lined up as the tailback and ran it in with a hard run up the middle. After the play Parcells put his arm around Polite's shoulder and was talking to him as they walked back to the huddle. Polite scored on another run, then Henson overthrew Owens on a play-action pass. Mroz also had an overthrow during his series.
They did some kick off drills next with the 1st unit wedge consisting of Hannam, Colombo, Gurode and Coleman. Once again, during this drill Vanderjagt was nowhere to be seen.
I had a perfect view of the OL/DL drills today and it went like this. Flozell handled Hatcher, Canty got a good push on Kosier, Gurode stonewalled Ferguson then Colombo had no problems with Coleman. Fabini looked awful on and inside move by Bowen, then Peterman got beat by Bowen. Al Johnson was good against Thomas Johnson, and #64, who I guess is the new defensive lineman we signed, burned Procter. McQ did a good job on Hatcher, then Hatcher was able to bull-rush Roland. #64 got a good push on Batiste, then Peterman did OK with Ratliff. Petitti had no problem with Coleman and Colombo was OK against Bowen. Rivera handled Coleman and Gurode was solid on an effort with Sammy T. Kosier fought Canty to a draw and Hatcher finished the drill with a good speed rush against Flozell.
They ran a quick series of the hurry-up offense with no defense on the field, then had the water break. During the water break Parcells was holding a long conversation with Terrell, and Drew Bledsoe joined them about half-way through. I would've love to been privy to that conversation.
After the break they returned to the 11-on-11 drill, with the defense lining up in a 4-3 some of the time. This time the line was Canty, Ferguson, Ratliff and Coleman with the LBers Ware, James and Ellis. After that the defense substituted liberally with individual players but not so much as units like previous days. It was a more game-like situation for the defense while the offense continued to work in units.
Bledose opened his series with a play-action swing-pass to Fasano who had beat Ellis. JJ got a nice run after he made a nifty cut-back against Roy Williams. Bledsoe ran a bootleg and threw to Witten but Roy had the coverage. Bledsoe then threw a pass to Owens on the side-lines but it was high and Terrell couldn't hold on to it. JJ tried a run outside but Ware was there to stuff it. They tried a sweep to the right with JJ but Ayodele knifed through to stop it. They ran a play-action pass to Fasano who made the catch after beating Bradie James and Parcells gave Fasano props after the play, even patting him on top of the helmet. Henry then broke up a long bomb that was under-thrown by Bledsoe to Owens who was open. Bledsoe then had to dump the ball off on the next play after Ware got a good rush.
Romo came in and dumped it over the middle because Coleman had beaten Fabini for a near sack. Burnett almost got a sack on a blitz, and MB3 got some good yards on a sweep on the next play. Tony Curtis dropped a pass, then they ran the flea-flicker but Romo overthrew Crayton deep. Barber then ran off-tackle but Burnett was right there and laid a shoulder into him causing the ball to squirt free. Crayton couldn't pull in a long, poorly thrown ball by Romo and then Hatcher and Canty busted through for a sure sack.
On Henson's series Glymph got into the backfield to stop a run for a loss and Rocky Boiman showed some nice coverage on Tony Curtis on the next play. Tyson Thompson had a few nice runs during Mroz's series but Mroz was off-target on his throws.
They finished up practice again with the hurry up offense and none of the QB's were particularly efficient during the drill. Ware would've sacked Bledsoe on 1st down and Cratyon dropped a pass after being bumped by Watkins in coverage. Romo didn't do much in his series and Henson threw an awful pass that was picked of by Elam.
After practice I spoke to Akin Ayodele and asked him about his transition to ILB. He told me "it's going good, real good. I'm excited about it. We've got a great group of guys back there [referring to the LB corps]". Also, for 30 minutes or so during practice Jerry Jones was in the end zone talking on his cell phone. Could he be working on some kind of deal?
That's all for the morning practice, I'll be back after the afternoon session.