Friday, Aug. 4th (5-7 PM practice)
Bill Parcells and a low, setting sun in a cloudless sky conspired against your intrepid reporter this afternoon, making this easily the sketchiest of practice reports I've filed this week. Parcells held practice on the opposite field, and the endzone vantage point which usually allows me to see these practices was rendered useless by lines of players blocking the 11-on-11 drills. The setting sun streaming directly into the vision of the spectators also made watching practice today a hit and miss affair. Still, I persevered and moved my position four times and below is what I was able to witness with any kind of accuracy.
Terrell Owens missed his third straight practice and took his customary spot on the stationary bike. Coach Parcells had the team dressed in full pads for the second practice of a two-a-day, which I took as his displeasure with the team's performance so far in camp. Several sources who work the field also told me that the buzz is Parcells is extremely disappointed in what he's seen so far. Of course, that's just rumor so take it with a grain of salt.
The team started out working on the punt formation and then moved into formation drills. The line-up as far as I could tell didn't change except that for certain parts of practice Rob Petitti was starting at LT, yes, LT, and Flozell Adams was working with the second team. Colombo continued at RT backed up by Fabini, and Gurode continues to start at center.
After sprints and stretching they moved on to position drills. Vincent Brown, who coaches the inside linebackers was asking for more tempo from his charges and Paul Pasqualoni was instructing the outside linebackers to have "quick feet, and don't wind up when you hit the sled". They proceeded to work on technique while popping the practice sled, with DeMarcus Ware being singled out for some good work during the drill. Kevin Burnett also got an "atta boy".
The back 7 of the defense then worked on the nickel formation with the same line-up employed over the past few days. The 2nd unit nickel, from what I could see, looked like Shanle and Carpenter at LBer, Reeves, Davis, Jones and Glenn with Coleman playing center field.
Over on the other field the offensive line was working on combination blocks against two stunting DL/LB combos. Ware tried a spin move into an inside rush but Petitti was able to pick it up pretty well. Rivera and Colombo were able to neutralize Ellis and Ratliff, and Canty tried to bull-rush Kosier, but Kosier held firm. Ware then put a speed rush on Petitti to the outside and blew right past him like he wasn't even there. Hatcher tried to bull-rush Flozell but the big man was having none of that. Tarullo and Rivera did a nice job on Ellis and Coleman, while Procter and Batiste held their own against Hatcher and Glymph. Al Johnson held up well under a Ferguson bull-rush and McQ stood up Ware on an inside move. Stephen Bowen overpowered Tarullo on a bull-rush and Gurode had no problems with Stanley. Boiman looked like he was going to beat Roland, but the 6' 9" giant recovered well. Ware and Ratliff worked a stunt and Ware got good penetration on the inside, and then Johnson stymied Sammy T.
Next they went to 11-on-11 - all running plays - and I had to change positions to see it so I missed most of Bledsoe's set, but they were running full-contact during this drill and someone put the ball on the ground. I'm assuming it was either JJ or MB3 because it was the 1st unit. I got over in time to see some of Romo's series, which started with MB3 running up the middle for little gain. Then Kincaide made a sweet move at the line of scrimmage and busted off a long run. On the next play they ran a sweep to Tyson Thompson and Keith Davis just lit him up, the best hit I've seen so far in camp, and the defense exploded in celebration. Thompson got stuffed on his next run, and then Demetrius Summers came in and made a good move in traffic to pick up a decent gain. Summers also got good yardage on a run to the left, then Thompson broke some ankles on defenders who had gotten into the backfield and made a nice gain. On the next play Summers danced in the backfield again but Singleton laid a lick on him.
They switched over to punt coverage with Green, Newman, Crayton and Rector taking turns fielding the punts. Crayton actually dropped one. After that they had a water break and Parcells was having a long discussion with Skyler Green, I assume about punt returns since they had just finished that drill.
They went back to 11-on-11, this time mixing in pass plays and I had to switch positions again to see the action. Bledsoe hit Witten, who had beaten Bradie James, on a 15-yarder, then threw the next one low to Witten who couldn't handle it. He hit Fasano out in the flats then hit Glenn on the sidelines who had beaten Henry, but I think the ref ruled him out-of-bounds.
Romo came in and had the best series of the day, with Parcells yelling encouragement at him because of his quick decisions and accurate passes. He fired one into Rector for a decent gain, then hit MB3 on a 15-yarder, MB3 had lined up on the outside for the play. He shot one deep to Copper but unfortunately Copper didn't get his head around in time to catch it. He then hit Tony Curtis deep, even though the ref called offensive interference on the play. Parcells was heard yelling "penalties are your fault"; I guess the guilty party tried to blame someone else.
Henson threw a bullet pass a short distance to Hurd, but it was high and he couldn't haul it in. He then threw into the flats to Hannam because the rush was closing in. Hurd then made a spectacular catch on a high throw from Henson, receiving praise from the players on the sideline. Henson finished by throwing an old-fashioned jump pass to Curtis.
It was time for some redzone 11-on-11 action and Bledsoe started out well. He hit Crayton on an out pattern and Crayton turned it upfield for a big gain, possibly a TD. He then came back and fired a TD to Terry Glenn. Romo came on and threw one over Tolver's hands, then ran a draw to JJ, followed by an Aaron Glenn INT, but there was some controversy if he actually caught it. I never saw the official ruling. He finished with a TD to Rector.
I had to change positions once again and missed much of the next drill but I did see Henson throw a pass that was broken up by Abraham Elam and Parcells could be heard yelling "nice play, Abe" three consecutive times.
They finished practice with Parcells calling out a situation for each QB. He told Bledsoe he was at the 50-yard line with 17 seconds to go and no timeouts. He rolled out but had to throw it away on the first play, then hit JJ on a screen who ran it out-of-bounds because Henry forced him. Bledsoe tried to hit Witten on a bomb down the middle but was unable to connect. Romo came in and had 12 seconds with no time outs and looked like he started from around the opponent's 40-yard line. The first play was a bad snap that he picked up off the ground, scrambled a little bit then threw a long pass incomplete. For some reason, he didn't get a second play. Henson had 3rd and 5 from around the 10-yard line in the redzone and had to scramble up the middle with no one open. They marked the ball down and rushed the FG unit onto the field and Suisham kicked a chip shot.
Practice ended and Parcells gathered the team around him. They were in the a long time and then I swear I thought I heard Parcells make a couple of rookies sing. I believe it was McQ and Demtrius Summers. If they were singing it must've been their fight songs, but all this was happening on the opposite end of the field from where I was so don't quote me on it. I'm sure one of the regular media heard what was going on and will fill us in.
Tomorrow's supposed to be an intra-squad scrimmage so that should provide plenty of juicy material. As long as Parcells doesn't play it on the opposite field and put a giant curtain around it.
Update [2006-8-5 4:40:49 by Grizz]: The DMN blog solves the singing mystery at the end of practice: