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Dallas Cowboys news and notes

The Star-Telegram lists five players that have had impressive showings so far in camp. Surprise! Bobby Carpenter's name comes up again.

LB Bobby Carpenter

The skinny: Until he breaks into the starting lineup, Carpenter might never live down the bust label he has been tagged with since being picked in the first round of the 2006 draft. But he is having the best camp of his career and is showing signs that he can be a major contributor. The question is finding a role in a stacked linebacker corps. He plays behind starter Zach Thomas and Kevin Burnett, who plays on passing downs. Coach Wade Phillips said he will find a role for a player if he proves he can contribute. Time will tell if that’s true.


BTB pal Todd Archer has a good article about an overlooked aspect of the game: the communication of the defense on the field.

As a receiver settles into position, the cornerbacks will tell the linebackers the alignment.

The safeties are responsible for the overall picture, talking to the defensive backs and linebacker and setting certain coverages with different one-word calls depending on the formation. That is why re-signing Ken Hamlin was vital.

An important new tool for the defenses this year will the helmet communication devices, something Bradie James is getting used to.

"One thing that I've learned, and I'm glad we started doing it, but I talk a lot in the huddle," James said. "I'm talking and he's talking. I'm sure you guys will see me stepping back a lot trying to get the call because it'll be so loud.

"You don't want to mess up on the play before because (Stewart) will be like, 'What the hell are you doing?'" he laughed. "I can get the on-the-field coaching right there. I didn't want to be that guy, so in order for me not to be that guy I better make as many plays and get in that playbook."

A wrinkle in the rule allows just one of these helmets on the field at a time. If Burnett and James need to play at the same time, one of them will put on a standby helmet without the device.


Some people are concerned about secound-round pick Martellus Bennett. A lot of us were scratching our heads when he was drafted, especially since his work ethic has been suspect in the past. Now we have Peter King saying he's concerned by Bennett's body language on the field, and the DMN scribes set out to investigate.

While he certainly has room to improve, the coaches are pleased so far with his work and Bennett says he's just a laid back guy.

"Actually, I like the way I walk around; it's like a stroll," Bennett said. "People can say what they want to say. They've been talking about me for years. Pretty soon it will be, 'Look at me now.' "

Bennett has tremendous upside as a TE and we are going to have to be patient with him and give him time to develop. He was given the short straw at Texas A & M where they didn't have a good passing game and he is having to perfect all the intracancies of the position that he never learned in college. Jason Garrett says he's on his way and they'll continue to work hard at it.

"This is a really hard adjustment to come up here and do it," tight ends coach John Garrett said. "He has a lot of ability. Every day we continue to strive to get the right footwork, the right technique, the right hand placement, right assignments, right adjustments."


In other news, Tony Romo is still striving to improve.


Danny Amendola, all 185 pounds of him, is on the second team kickoff coverage unit. It will be interesting to see how he does on Saturday.

Amendola joked that he was a kickoff coverage monster at Texas Tech.

"I was headbusting," Amendola said. "Yeah, not so much. All 185 pounds worth, I guess."


The S-T has some background on backup offensive lineman Joe Berger.


The Cowboys quite possible will have a starting caliber running back playing behind Marion Barber and Felix Jones. I was excited as heck when he was drafted (I know Grizz was), and he has started to turn heads in camp as well.

If Sunday's lone practice was any indication of what kind of running back Choice is, then the Cowboys may have found themselves a draft-day steal. The rookie had one of his best practices to date, breaking lose for several long runs and scoring a couple touchdowns. He even caught a few balls, showing what he can do in space.


Hard Knocks debuts tomorrow night on HBO.


BTB regular scottmaui, King of the Fanshots, has some more good stuff posted.

Check them out here, here and here.

alienasia has a good Roy Williams video here.

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