During the offseason it has been speculated that the Cowboys could move Jay Ratliff back to defensive end, especially if Tank Johnson shows improvement at NT during training camp. At the very least it would benefit the Cowboys if they could institute a rotation along the defensive line, maximizing match-ups to their advantage.
Well, the past few practices fans and the media have noticed Marcus Spears playing at nose tackle and Ratliff practicing on the end. BTB regular Bigrigga31 covered the Spears move in his Fanpost a few days ago. Apparently this might not be just an experiment and could end up being a permanent move for the season.
"I think they're seriously thinking of moving me there [permanently]," Ratliff said after Wednesday's morning practice. "I don't think this is just a [training] camp thing. I think this will be continuous."
The move makes sense to me. It maximizes the potential of Spears and Ratliff while also building outstanding versatility on the defensive line. While it makes sense, Ratliff doesn't seem to keen on the idea.
Ratliff wants to remain at nose guard because he's developed a comfort level there.
Do you want to do this? "This is kinda of a a shock to me. I play nose. Pretty much all my game film has been nose or inside. I really don't have any game film outside. I'll get used to it."
I can understand Ratliff's concerns especially since he has been moved back and forth along the line his whole career, through college and the NFL. Yet the Cowboys gave Ratliff a nice contract specifically for his versatility and ability to play end and tackle. I admire his desire to want to play where he thinks he plays the best, but I don't think this move is one that is "permanent." This is something the Cowboys are doing to see how they might be able to move players around during the game.
JJT says that if Anthony Spencer plays to his potential then the Cowboys should achieve the same defensive success the Giants did last year.
Calvin Watkins has a nice story about the relationship between Terrell Owens and Tony Romo.
Hat tip to Far Rider for the story in his Fanpost.
Todd Archer has a pretty interesting article about kickers and their particulars about the shoes they wear.
"You've got to get it a little tight, and it'll expand a little bit and fit your foot," Folk said. "If you put my shoe on, it would feel weird because it's just molded to my foot now."
Most kickers and punters will wear preposterously small cleats, although Folk's 10 ½ is just a size down from the 11 ½ he wears with normal shoes. McBriar, however, will cram is size 12 into a 9 ½ .
The DMN has their practice report up from yesterday. They cover some stuff from the special teams practice from the afternoon, including some interesting news on the kick returners.
There were three sets of kickoff return units with Miles Austin and Isaiah Stanback on the first team. Felix Jones and Danny Amendola were on the second team, followed by Adam Jones and Mike Jenkins.
Nick Folk made 8 of 8 field goals as well.
The S-T talks about the "no name" receivers behind T.O.
Another "Sam Hurd has gotten stronger" article.
Dave Campo has a few things to say about the young cornerbacks on the team.
On Mike Jenkins: "Athletic, learning the game, instinctive."
Does he need work on the jam? "Yeah, footwork is not great but he's coming along. Good quickness. He's a young player."
Rick Herrin of the Star-Telegram is impressed with The Cat's speed so far in camp.
His burst was especially noticeable in Wednesday's morning workout. During team drills, Jones busted a long run for a would-be touchdown on a draw play darting through the defense and quickly showing an elite second gear. It appears Jones' speed which he showed at Arkansas is translating well against against the speed of the Cowboys defense.
Jones' running ability is getting noticed by his teammates as well and produced several oohs and ahhs have been heard from the sidelines. After his long run, injured cornerback Terence Newman gave him a high-five for the run.