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Cowboys practice for the fans tonight

The Dallas Cowboys will be practicing under the lights in an open session at Texas Stadium tonight. If any BTB’ers are local and are going to the practice, I expect a full write-up of the happenings, Grizz style! Get your pen and paper ready.

Roy Williams was held out of team-practice yesterday with a little tendinitis in the knee as a precautionary measure. Pat Watkins got some work at strong safety in his absence, along with Courtney Brown. It sounds to me like they want to have the diversity of Ken Hamlin, Pat Watkins and Courtney Brown being able to play both safety spots. It may be reading too much into it, but this may be an indicator that they aren’t planning on carrying five safeties and that Dowayne Davis hasn’t been doing enough on special teams to warrant a roster spot. That’s just speculation on my part, though.

Injury report from yesterday: Terence Newman, Anthony Spencer, Kevin Burnett, Miles Austin, Ronnie Cruz, Quincy Butler, Tyler Everett and Marcus Dixon all sat out.

I love this idea, zone coverage is OK, but if you have the personnel to play man-to-man, do it. You have to have guys who can play press coverage and you need defensive line/linebackers that can apply pressure and do it quickly.

The Cowboys played mostly zone coverage last season. Terence Newman battled a foot injury all season. Jacques Reeves and Nate Jones saw considerable playing time. Both were unrestricted free agents after the season, and the Cowboys let them go.

This season, the Cowboys' cornerback situation is drastically different. With the additions of Jones and rookies Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick, the coaching staff believes the defense can play more man-to-man coverage.

The comment from Wade Phillips about El Gato possibly not doing kickoff returns sure set off a firestorm with the Cowboys faithful. I want to see Felix back there but if Wade feels he’s too integral to what we’re doing on offense, I’m not going to be broken-hearted if he goes with Miles Austin (when healthy), Isaiah Stanback or Orlando Scandrick. Plenty of coaches throughout history have not played guys on special teams for fear of injuries. It’s nothing new although it’s rare with a guy who’s not a starter. My guess is that Felix will end up back there some during the season, but it might be in situational duty and not a regular thing.

Anyway, the special teams did up their play against the Broncos, let’s hope it continues this week. Orlando Scandrick and Tashard Choice  are two guys getting noticed on special teams.

Scandrick in particular could bolster the units in his rookie year. In addition to his cover skills, the Cowboys were intrigued by his special teams production at Boise State. He blocked a school-record seven kicks and came within inches of stuffing a Broncos missed field goal attempt at the end of the first half, his pressure forcing kicker Matt Prater to push it far left.

Broncos punter Brett Kern saw plenty of rookie running back Tashard Choice on one of the most bizarre plays you'll ever see. Choice deflected the punt but the ball landed in the arms of Kern, who raced down the right sideline for a 36-yard gain and a first down. Tough break for the Cowboys' fourth-round pick.

The Dolphins are shopping John Beck for a fourth-round pick. That’s too high, pass.

Hat tip DMN blog.

Don’t go living in the past T.O. Also, the team says that if this was a regular season game, Terence Newman would probably play.