Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Observations: Day 4

A day of Stars both on and off the field today. Larry Crocker, an old University of Miami coach, was in attendance along with the owners of the Time Bandit who are on the Discovery Channel(?). But my big moment was a chance to see Calvin Hill, the great Running Back for the Cowboys, and spend a few moments talking to him.

Calvin is an amazing guy and now works as a consultant for the Cowboys. Both Calvin and his wife Janet work with troubled players in the NFL and you could not find two finer people on this earth. My job is not only about playing a coach but also being a mentor to players, so I love any chance to get advice and inspiration from them. If I was a better writer, I could do a whole book on Calvin and Janet.

The other stars were on the field today, the offense is adjusting and was trying to get the upper hand on the defense. I saw Dez Bryant and Miles Austin make great plays today. Dez can be the most dynamic receiver out there and gave all the corners fits. He is still developing, and some of the few blown plays from the starting lineup I have seen have been on hot reads from Romo or Kitna to Dez. I am sure they will get this worked out.

Not many will talk about it today in the media but Sam Young playing LT had a good day and he keeps progressing. He will be one hell of a swing tackle for the Cowboys. He leaves me thinking after practice of how we can work him into the O-line as a starter. Another young guy, Phil Costa, has been working as the starting center. Trying to look back, but cannot remember a time where he has had a bobble with Tony Romo. Tyron Smith is holding good at RT and I saw him and DeMarcus Ware working together after practice (this is where I will take my chance to tell Warren Sapp to stuff it, Ware is a leader and a teacher).

Great battles today with the corner, safeties and receivers. It was give and take all day with both sides making great plays. Saw rookie Josh Thomas come off the side so quick for a QB sack it would make your head spin. Dwayne Harris had a great play for a touchdown. While Martellus Bennett had his ups and downs early, he came out solid later. I am seeing a different Bennett in practice this year. It is just not the flash plays but the hard plays he is coming up with. I still see Kevin Ogletree showing he is the number #3 receiver, I also see a good fight with the rest.

While I have not mentioned him so far for a few reasons, Barry Church has been playing the SS position. He is really doing a solid job. Cannot write a lot about him, but I will say he is a very solid. AOA continues to have great plays then some bad plays, but he is progressing.

Coach Houck had made some statements about the young guys today. Everyone has seen his statements, but now for mine:

If I were Houck, I'd know that I have great players in Doug Free, Kyle Kosier and Andre Gurode but I would be loving some of my young guys. While we all know Smith will be a starter at RT, Sam Young, David Arkin and Phil Costa are establishing themselves as the next starters. Over the next couple of years we will be getting much younger on our starting O-line. This is something many have been wishing for and it is a real possibility. Not a sure thing but a very good possibility.

Just a little on our UDFA RB’s. Miller is impressive out there and I see no chance he makes it past waivers to get on the practice squad. We have 3 RB’s in the rotation and unless Choice is traded, Miller will be on another team's roster and do very well. The other UDFA’s are also pretty good and I am not sure where they end up, but they could also end up on someone else's active roster. Now, these are practice observations and we need to see some live games, but they are showing that 'Garrett RKG' thing that I think other teams will be looking at.

I want to touch on leadership and coaching some. Our players were standing up as leaders during the lockout. I am seeing some mistakes out there on both sides, but nothing like what I would expect during a normal year, let alone the short year we have had.

Some of our new coaches are considered future HC’s in this league for a reason. I have started to see Houck being the coach of old. Not sure about Campo, when DBs have messed up it has been Ryan that steps in, but if you look at LBs it has been Eberflus that takes care of it. Coach Robinson was out today but hope he is back tomorrow.

I will be at Jets camp for the next few days but will try and get some reports for the Cowboys from friends back in camp and get them up. Will be back Wednesday night and hope to hook up with a BTB mainstay writer when I am back to double up on camp coverage. As always I will try and answer any questions as time allows.

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