The shirts and shorts were back for the Cowboys morning practice after two consecutive sessions with pads. Missing were the veterans, who got the morning off. The coaches worked with the youngsters and veteran backups, but not before a miffed Wade Phillips rallied his players mid-practice, dissatisfied with the early pace of 11-on-11 drills.
The hitting was non-existent, and with such a short lineup, I've giving you an appropriately abbreviated report.
Special teams opened the practice, as usual. This morning the coaches began work on kickoff coverage and returns for the first time. The staff divided the labor, with Joe DeCamillis working with the coverage men in the center of the formation, demonstrating how to head-fake opponents out of the way while maintaining lane discipline. Later, DeCamillis flipped the drill around and had the players work on blocking incoming kickoff coverage guys.
John Garrett and Reggie Herring worked with the return guys: Garrett drilled the edge blockers behind in the initial line and Herring worked with the two-man wedges.
The backups then spend the second half of practice working on play execution -- at a high pace. Initially, that pace was not quick enough for Wade Phillips' satisfaction, and he huddled the players around him to urge some more urgency. The pace did pick up afterwards, but there's nothing conclusive to be gleaned from their work. There was no blocking on the line of scrimmage and the plays were run at three quarters' speed once the ball was snapped. It's hard to talk about coverage when the emphasis was on knowing one's role. The most I can say for the final drills is that I saw the 3rd and 4th string QBs toss a lot of dumpoffs to backs in the flats.
I'm looking for the veterans and full pads to return this afternoon. Come back then for more thorough news.
-- Martellus Bennett remains within the injured ranks. He watched from the side today in a white t-shirt.
-- Josh Brent is close to returning. He wore a jersey and ran sprints in the end zone with the other rehabbing players.
-- Coffee Nerdness: Peter King was in the front row of the Alamodome press box, making his annual pass through Cowboys Camp. And yes, he was sipping from a Starbucks cup. In the King tradition, I want to mention that this and all my camp articles are fueled by coffee roasted at The Fair Bean, my local haunt in Austin, Texas. This morning's brew was Honduras, a medium roast prepared just last Thursday.
Come to the light, Peter. Indie roasters beat that over-done industrial stuff any day of the week.