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The VRR: News & Notes from the Cowboys Third Week of OTAs

The running backs this week have certainly seen their fair share of storylines. While Marion Barber reportedly slimmed down from 222 pounds to 210Felix Jones has received praise from both his coaches and Jerry Jones for his progress in the pass-catching department.

"Felix is way ahead of where he's been as a receiver,'' the owner said. "He's been impressive with how he's running his routes.

"That has a chance to get ugly if he's really good at running those routes coming out of the backfield.''

Could a speedier backfield help the offense put up more points? Well, on Tuesday, the team practiced its red zone offense--one area that could use improving. And it sounds as if the squad still has some work left to do.

"A number of times (last year) we got into the red zone, and then we got ourselves back out of the red zone, whether it be a penalty or a minus play," Garrett said. "The biggest thing is being efficient, particularly on early downs, to continue to stay in some reasonable down and distance situations where you can just run your offense."

Efficiency is something quarterback Tony Romo sometimes lacked in the red zone last season, as he finished 22nd in the league among quarterbacks who made at least 20 throws inside the 20. Romo threw three interceptions in the red zone, only two other quarterbacks throwing more in the area.

More VRR after the jump.

The offense, Romo in particular, fared better in yesterday's two-minute drills.

Romo scored on a keeper in the first-team's two-minute drill offering. He flung the ball in the air to celebrate. He was 7-of-9 in the two-minute drill, finding Jason Witten (three times), Marion Barber (three times) and Dez Bryant once. He took what the defense gave on the drive.

The Star-Telegram has pictures of Wednesday's practice. It looks like it was one-handed catching day for the wideouts.

Do you want to guess who John Clayton put atop his list of five rookies to watch?

1. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was one of the owners who passed on Moss in 1998 because of character questions. Jones couldn't let history repeat itself, so he grabbed Bryant with the 24th pick in the first round.

Bryant is a monster in practice. Like Hakeem Nicks of the Giants, Bryant has massive hands. When he wears gloves in practice, they almost look like boxing gloves because his hands are so big. Plus, he catches everything. One NFL observer at a Cowboys practice came out shaking his head. He said by the end of the season, Bryant will be the Cowboys' best wide receiver. The observer said Bryant will end up being better than Michael Crabtree, who should have a breakout season for the 49ers. Bryant is faster than Crabtree. Both receivers have great hands.

Putting Bryant on an 11-win Cowboys team is almost the same as what we saw last year with Harvin going to a playoff-bound Vikings team. Harvin caught 60 passes and scored eight touchdowns. Bryant may not get 60 catches in an overloaded Cowboys receiving corps, but he could get 10 touchdowns and loads of highlights.

Todd Archer tries to temper folks' enthusiasm on Bryant by noting the rookie wideout's recent "mixups" with Tony Romo.

On Tuesday, he had a couple of mixups with Tony Romo, although he was able to make a catch anyhow. On Wednesday, there was another downfield mixup that had the rookie smacking his helmet. During the team, seven-on-seven and two-minute periods that I charted, he did catch one pass from Romo.

On a side note, Archer put together a comprehensive list of when Dallas' player contracts will expire. 26 after 2010...YIKES!

Jerry Jones is rather cut-and-dry in regards to Patrick Crayton's absence from OTAs.

"There's nothing to be confused about," Jones said during the Wednesday practice. "Patrick is under contract. This is a voluntary workout. When we have mandatory workouts, he'll probably be the first player in line to be here. That's really the way it is and really no confusion."

So remember that Australian Olympic sprinter, Josh Ross, who was supposed to tryout for Cowboys? Evidently he will be working out at a football camp in Dallas that is not directly associated with the Cowboys.

Below, Bradie James talks with the media after returning to practice on Wednesday.

Brandon Williams continued to impress the coaches this week. If he can make a full recovery from last season's ACL surgery, he may be the #3 guy behind DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer. Below, the CBS11 crew discusses Williams' return to the practice field after Monday's OTA.

Alhough it may not have the controversial substance of the Darren Sharper-Visanthe Shiancoe Twitter fightKeith Brooking is welcoming the challenge from Eagles' TE Brent Celek, who commented that he "can't wait to play" against Brooking again.

"Oh, he’ll find me, I promise," Brooking said. "You can print that one. He won’t have to look for me very hard." After a moment’s thought, Brooking extended an invitation to his friend from Philly.

"He can jump in the middle of our huddle, if he’s that bad," Brooking said.

Ahh, the ol' San Antonio vs. Oxnard Training Camp debate. Jerry Jones says, let's continue to do both!

"I’m very pleased with having camp in San Antonio half the time and California half the time," Jones said. "That looks like a hand to me (going forward)."

Speaking of training camp, the BTB 2010 Camp Fundraiser is still on. With 106 people donating more than $3000, that's pretty darned good. Though, we are still driving for that 125, so if you haven't yet donated, just click below!

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