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Dallas Cowboys news and notes

It's Friday, a week into training camp and just eight days until the first preseason game. This is the stretch of camp where the coaches really start to get a good impression of all the bubble players. Guys are tired, sore and hurting but the coaches want to see effort increase as we get closer to the season. It will be interesting to see who really starts to stand out in the next week.

Also, don't forget that Hard Knocks premieres next Wednesday on HBO.

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Here's the DMN report of yesterday's practice. The most interesting note there is that Joe Berger has been the most dominant and consistent reserve offensive lineman.

DeMarcus Ware sat out the practice as a precaution but it is expected he will be participating today.

The hands down play of the day happened early in practice when Marion Barber knocked LB Tyson Smith back to 2nd grade with jaw shattering block.

When last seen, athletic trainer Britt Brown was asking if Smith could recall his hometown.

Todd Archer also has a few extra nuggets he has gathered so far in camp. Most notable is his observation that the defense is communicating much more than in the past.

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After yesterday's speculation that Jay Ratliff was uncertain about the move back to defensive end, it appears that Marcus Spears and Ratliff asked for more practice time at the new postions.

The switch between Jay Ratliff (nose tackle to defensive end) and Marcus Spears (defensive end to nose tackle) was met with a positive reviews by both players Thursday.

Though Ratliff expressed some concern about the switch, he and Spears asked for more playing time at the different positions during practice.

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While we as fans aren't really that comfortable with it, the Dallas Cowboys are satisfied with Brad Johnson as a backup. The only real concern about Johnson is his lack of arm strength but the important things we have to remember is that he is a good decision maker and he has the respect of the players around him.

"Bull's not going to lose the game. He's going to execute the offense. He's going to take you down the field. It might take you 20 plays, but you're going down the field. He's not going to make those mistakes. He's going to lure the defense to sleep and then, bang, hit it across the top."

While it would be nice to have someone at #2 who can come in and lead the team like Romo, that scenario is very unlikely. How many teams have that luxury? If Peyton Manning or Tom Brady went down with an injury for a month or so, how do you think their teams would fair with Jim Sorgi and Matt Cassel at the helm?

It isn't the ideal situation for the Cowboys to be in, but it is comforting to know that at the very least we have a quarterback that knows the offense, won't make mistakes and has the experience to know what to do in any given situation. That's the most we can hope for anyway.

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The battle between Adam Jones and Terrell Owens is the highlight of camp so far. One thing that has seemed to fly under the radar however, is that Owens has been helping Jones out every chance he gets.

When Owens beat Jones with a stutter-step move to the post, it was time for a little Q and A with the Pro Bowl receiver.

"We talk a lot, like a couple of routes that he beat me on," Jones said. "I go to him, 'What was really the route? Why did you do this? Why did you do that?' "

Having the best receiver in the game break it down and tell you how he just burned you can only be helpful to a cornerback, don't you think?

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Mickey Spagnola says that AJ's enthusiasm to embrace competition can only help the team around him.

"Yeah, that's what he is," Campo said. "He's a fun guy and he likes to play football. The key is getting a bunch of guys that like to practice, that like to play the game.

"When you get a bunch of guys out on the practice field that are having fun, it's infectious. Everybody picks everybody up, because I'm going to be honest with you, I'm 61-years-old and there are times when I walk out here that I'm not sure I want to be out there. I'm a little sore and tired. But if those guys run around having a good time, then I'm having a good time.

"It's infectious for everybody; it's good for everybody."

And AJ is still getting accolades for his punt catching skills.

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DC.com has a cool Q & A with Terrell Owens, which includes this juicy bit of info:

Which defensive backs have impressed you?

Owens: Well, obviously the ones we drafted. [Mike] Jenkins looks good and the guy really standing out is Evan Oglesby. He's been making plays throughout camp. It just shows you the film-work he has put in - obviously not playing a lot (last year), but really learning from the other guys. When guys aren't on the field due to injuries, those are the opportunities he's taken advantage of. For me, he shows up on the film.

The S-T also has this very uplifting quote from T.O. about getting to the Super Bowl this year:

"We've got to win a playoff game first," said Owens, wearing a little piece of white tape on his nose to protect it from the sun.

Well said.

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Deon Anderson has no fear. None at all. I mean, the guy ate a cricket!

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Check out Far Rider's Fanpost on this Bradie James article.

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Michael Irvin pens a nice letter to this year's HOF inductees.

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Go here to watch NFL.com's coverage of the Cowboy's training camp.

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